Thursday, June 30, 2011

David and I talked this morning about his presentation-to-roommates. He keeps mentioning that motivation equation, which is pushing me toward noticing it more often in random places. I have some reservations about talking in the morning, because I can't talk for more than about half an hour without actually deciding to go to sleep sooner at night or moving meditation. Tomorrow I'm trying the half an hour tack.
Also tomorrow I will have no caffeine, as I had two cups of coffee and a soda today, which is 3x more than any day in the last month. Danger! I brought up simple math / grounding features in real world effects with my manager and he was very interested, so I'm escalating up to my boss' boss' boss.
Over lunch I did 20 minutes of walking insight meditation. It was fascinating! There's so much that's going on... and you can try to note all of it, or just focus on say the sensations in the left foot, etc.
After work I talked with Ben some about our physical intuition project. We determined that there are two natural categories things seems to fit into, physics problem solving and cognitive science about learning, and that the next steps are to find and read more papers. He's focusing on physics and I on learning, both with an aim towards intersection.
Then we finished up playing The Mountain Witch, which was fun. Eric plays Tengu as slapstick incompetent thieves very well.
Oh and I sent out one of the games for Saturday to be playtested but my instructions weren't very good and I didn't get much data back. :( Worse yet I'm pretty sure I could have predicted that had I spent 2 minutes thinking.
Blogger is still down!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Concentration this morning was good, I kept slipping into a moar-grinning state and managed to briefly put my attention on the good feeling itself several times.

The dev team played Whirlyball in the morning. I analyzed the game and how our group of complete amateurs played it, determined my best plan was all-time-defense (no one else did this on either team ever) to block up the poachers and break up any quick point attempts, and proceeded to stop lots of the other team's potential and pick up quite a few stray balls which otherwise would have been 50/50, while lessening our offense by at most a trivial amount - 5/10 cars on offense is so clumped that 4/9 might have even been better.

At home I worked some more on the meetup plan, then Skyped with David for like 2 hours brainstorming, thinking, etc. more on what's best to do, what structure to use time-wise, etc. It was very, very productive. Like a lot. Oh and there were some things with a certain experiment but I don't know if I'm supposed to talk about it, probably not.

Now I'm off to do a bit of reading before bed, I'm being Ben's assistant for a LW post on physical intuition.


Whoops this is late. I started the day off with some okay concentration practice, not as good as yesterday but hey practice. Then I discovered I didn't need emissions testing and got some plates and now my car's all right.

Work was super-fun today, as I got to check in 58.5% of my open bugs at once. Usually that's a bad idea on many levels but not this time! I skipped my regularly scheduled epistemic rationality subskills practice, and I'll be skipping several other things this week, because I'm planning for a super-awesome Gauntlet of Cognomancy event on Saturday. Rationality testing has to start somewhere, and... well, okay, it already started a little with calibration tests and those surveys but I'm claiming it's starting for realz now. Or Saturday.

Also I talked with Will, which was a lot of fun! Leads me to believe I should call up random other people from the mini-camp and not just wait for the rotation which will take months. We discussed what I've been doing, what variants of the mini-camp interest me, what variants of the mini-camp I think would interest those I know, and some more stuff.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Where did everyone go?

I chose to sleep in today, I think I've not been getting quite enough sleep. Concentration practice was very good, I reached access concentration quickly, dropped out later, and got back in. Or at least I think that's what happened. :D

David and I played some ping pong out in the beautiful Seattle summer. Got to take advantage of the two months while they're here...

I went to our weekly meetup in Seattle. But there were only 3 of us! :( Next week I'm going to host a meetup on the eastside and I plan to use my usual heuristic of going to the other extreme, very structured, so tomorrow I'll put together as much of that as possible minimum a plan to put it all together.

After coming back I finished the penultimate step of wrapping up the car purchase, now I just need to get it emissions tested and registered and get some tags. Also I wrote some more code for the utility app, and would have reached a nice milestone except I'm choosing to sleep more tonight also.

Thinking about career

This morning I did some fairly pleasant concentration. I was able to tell a very distinct difference between actually staying with the breath for several in+out breaths versus just thinking sort of "about" the breath. Later I did some walking insight meditation, and for the first time actually considered the three characteristics of impermanence, suffering, and no-self explicitly while noting. I saw the difference between feeling touching the ground and my mental representation/remembrance of it several times.

I got a temporary trip permit for my car until I get it emission tested and the title transferred and tags registered and whatnot on Monday, and got back in time to talk with Kate in our Skype chat rotation! Video chat is great, there was times I briefly forgot we weren't actually physically present. Not many times, but still. My two-week action item is to actually have my wardrobe basics finished up, and hers is to investigate some things around exercise. Then I went to John's place for optimancy practice. We thought a lot about what wants feed into which careers are best for us, how to go about evaluating careers, and things and stuff. ;) John sent an email to Carl describing this and that we want to share/practice career planning with the Seattle meetup.

We also spent some time thinking through John's choice of projects, whether working on making Bayesian statistics more accessible is a good sort of project, whether it hits his goals, etc.

I created a tentative budget for myself. Next week, Tuesday actually, I will go to First Tech and try setting up a bunch of accounts.

And I read through what we've written on OB/LW about testing rationality. There are some good ideas, but in general we don't have a good comprehensive idea or plan. The best I saw was Eliezer's "do something even if it's wrong because maybe we can bootstrap off of it".

Saturday, June 25, 2011


This morning I wasn't feeling very good so I decided to do concentration, which reminds me I need to post about whether concentrating on the shivery sensations I get while concentrating is a good idea.

I got a lot done at work this morning, and the afternoon was completely spent in a big retrospective meeting. Back home I watched some Angel and didn't really feel good about time spent doing that, then got a bunch of random paperwork together re: car. I'm pretty disappointed with the Angel-watching thing in retrospect, I'll do a "do I want to watch the rest" calculation this weekend, I'm pretty sure the answer is either no or "wait a month then start again" since I still have random obvious improvements cluttering ("cluttering") my schedule.

Friday, June 24, 2011

"Did you lose weight?"

Insight practice, with a focus on sensations other than hearing. I feel like I want to make more time for meditation but unlike 30 minutes, I think a full hour in the morning might require some small restructuring of my schedule to work without sleep loss.

I shaved the facial hair on the sides of my head, between the sideburns and the chin area, and wore a black fitted v-neck t-shirt to work. My boss' boss' boss stopped me in the hall to ask if I had lost weight and that I was looking more like a German artist than an American developer, so that was fun, also I'm not sure wth he meant by German artist. :)

I am on my way to desiring to talk with people I haven't met. I haven't desired to do so yet, at all. I'm a bit worried that if I get the desire without removing whatever pushes me away from it, I'll get some kind of internal conflict, but at that point it should be fairly easy to pull up the conflicting pieces and examine them more closely and resolve them. That's how I'm guessing this will go, anyway.

I had a talk with a friend who enjoys "finance stuff" about how she has hers set up, what kinds of things she recommends I do or read up on, etc. Pretty useful.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Whoops nausea!

Today I moved meditation to other parts of the day, noting while walking and busing. That's because I had to get up early to bring the car to the mechanic. Result: it's basically fine, I'll give Tom a check tomorrow.

I got screened for Lasik. I think I'm going to have it done, but I haven't gone through and done the math yet. A strange thing happened during one of the tests - I suddenly got very nauseous, nearly passed out, and in general felt like I had a hangover. Apparently this is a not-too-uncommon reaction to the steps of numbing, dilating, poking, and putting strips in the eyes. So yeah that was fun.

After 6 days, I now desire to clean my stove. I used smiling as the reward.

I brainstormed a bunch of possible topics I could lead or present on at a meetup, and looked more in-depth to the topic of bounded altruism and trade between subagents.

Speaking of subagents, I'm reading Internal Family Systems, the book Critch? described as something he'd recommend everyone read though they'd think it was full of woo. :D Luckily I embrace pjeby's admonition "Therefore, a rationalist that wants to obtain useful information needs to have a lower threshold for rejecting source of information based on their epistemic hygiene, and focus only on the predictions made by a model.


Yesterday I stopped practicing before the allotted time, for no good reason. This didn't feel good and I think wasn't good and I am resolved not to do that again for at least a week.

I re-read the first two chapters of Data Analysis and about half of the third, and I'm not sure what I was doing those months ago when I first read it, 'cause I got a lot out of reading them again (though most was rehash).

I'm buying the car, almost certainly. Getting it checked today, but it's a friend who just moved back to Redmond that's selling it and he says he just got it checked a month ago, and I've been driving it for a couple days now. It's above 95%, maybe even 98% at this point.

The accountant didn't actually have a ton of useful stuff to say. Or, rather, he had plenty of useful things, most of which I felt like I already knew, but knowing which things are the points that should be on my Finance Checklist (TM) is useful.

After work I went to Tom and Brandi's place, with Chris Brown, and we had pizzas Tom made and went to this beer place and had some beers and then went to Chris' and played Rock Band and had some scotch. Was it fun? Yes, but I think I can cut having more than 3 beers in a given night out from my life completely and be fine.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Zone Offense

Today I practiced insight. Whenever I got a glimpse of a mental image I noted everything I could about it and tried to lengthen its appearance. I don't know if that's a good idea or not but I would like to see if attention to the little imagery I have might help it arise more often.

Frisbee today was great, we learned to play zone, and really really looked like we were coordinated as a team out on the field. Afterwards we had dinner and while most of the conversation was about TV shows :S we did talk a bit about this one dude's upcoming 3-minute talk on perspective changes which reminded me about so I sent him a link.

I tried calibration exercises with 25%/75% and 25% is very hard. I think I'm going closer to 10% but it's hard to tell without doing a lot of questions. John reminded me I had given short shrift to Data Analysis: A Bayesian Tutorial half a year ago and it's much less of an energy commitment than Bayesian Data Analysis so I'm going to go back to it.

My next math project is to characterize when the following works and doesn't work as an approximation and by how much it fails when:
You want to estimate P(A|e1e2e3...) so you get estimates of lnO(A), lnL(e1|A), lnL(e2|A), etc. But e1, e2, e3, ... aren't independent. So discount them using intuitive simple arithmetic as if they're each a bunch of independent data points but some are shared with another grouping of evidence, or as if another grouping of evidence screens off some of the evidence, then add the results into lnO(A) and get your posterior estimate.
Example: I have either a d6, d8, or d10, each with probability 1/3. I roll my die and a d8 and report the sum X. I reroll the d8 and report the new sum Y. What's P(d6|XY)? Answer: lnO(d6|XY) ~= lnO(d6) + (1-0.5)*lnL(X|d6) + (1-0.5)*lnL(Y|d6) + 0.5*(0.5*lnL(X|d6)+0.5*lnL(Y|d6)). And if that just totally doesn't work, are there simple heuristics for combining correlated lnLs that usually work?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Meetup day

So... today I aroused myself by concentrating on the pleasant feelings I had while grinning. True story. It was really weird.

I spent some time bartering for fireworks. I feel like I could have done better than I did were I to just apply my knowledge that rejection's okay more, but I still got way better deals than last year. Actually that'd be a good stat to track, I got just under 25 shots per dollar this year, with one larger-shot portion, so that's ~26-27 shots per dollar. Next year I'll go for 30?

I wrote a bit more of my utility app, it crudely estimates utility from stated preferences between lotteries now. I need to make the estimation converge faster with a better model, display the utilities in a nice scale-and-translation-invariant way, and choose which lotteries to ask about based on current utility estimates as the three next steps.

We had a meetup! It was a lot of fun. People there: Chris, Jess, Yoni, Morgan, Ben, John, me, (Robin). We did some practice on wants/goals, and I have some homework: do the math of various things around not working, like "how long can I live at my current rate without any further salary", "how much does it cost to take 6 months off of work and do something random". During dinner Jess shared two tips that sound really useful: 1. Nordstrom personal shopper, where someone dresses you up for like an hour and you can take pictures and get advice and such. 2. Go to the Bellevue goodwill 'cause fancy people drop of like-new stuff there. At the very end the 4+1 of us left discussed briefly how our inner cognition goes on, which was fascinating. Some people talk to themselves, some have little subpeople holding conversations.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Drip drop the remnants of rain kept distracting me while concentrating, so I switched to noting. I felt like I could just keep going forever, definitely in a flow state, there were just few enough drops per second that I could notice all of them.

I talked with David Jones and we brainstormed possible ways to target people to get them to come to meetups and different things they might enjoy while at meetups, split by field of study.

I'm buying the car. Unless something crazy happens when I take it to the mechanic for a checkup or when I tell my accountant (excited to see him for the first time Tuesday!), neither of which seems very likely at all. I'm also reading The Big Short, which is inspiring me to go try to break the world. It's been done before and will be done again. And I put together the stuff I need for my accountant visit, and scheduled an appointment to see how Lasik would work for me, and dropped off my shoes to get repaired.

Every time I noticed an ugh field while writing down a task in the past couple weeks I made a note. Today I tried the quick feeling elimination technique on each of them.

I got a haircut but still haven't decided what to do with my facial hair... and I spent a solid chunk of time in the mall watching people. I definitely have an ugh field about practicing social effectiveness, as measured by aversion effectiveness rather than the strength of my feeling.

Coming Out

This morning my meditation was interrupted by needing to carpool. Poor planning on my part. I had a real-live meetup at my house though! Jack from the lw-seattle mailing list came, as well as four of my friends and my three roommates, making about 3.5 / 9 regular LW readers. I figure I can get away with that once as a combo "LW meetup + tell everyone I know who's interested about mini-camp". We also did a series of three exercises:
1. Fermi calculation: two different ways, estimate the cost of the fuel required for a 747 to fly from Seattle to New York.
2. Calibration: 1x Wits & Wagers card with 50% and 95% confidence intervals.
3. Value of Information: estimate the value of being given a mapping from what you eat to outcomes like health, energy, social cost, etc.

I had hoped each would lead nicely to the next, but I should have chosen a simpler VOI with a greater magnitude like "college student choosing career" maybe.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Power Outage

Kasina again. I grew suspicious that my lack of visualization skills was actually a hindrance for this type of meditation and posted to Dharma Overground, and my suspicion was confirmed - it's only a problem for a very few things, and kasinas are one.

I did a bunch of calibration until I got decent at 50%/90% on Wits & Wagers cards. Let's see if that carries over past one session!

While roleplaying 3:16 there came a point where my mind went blank at a time when it was obvious what to do next, very clear that I needed to narrate a flashback scene related to a quality I could use to conclude the current scene. Upon reflection I am fairly certain the cause of the blankness was fear. I'm not certain what the root of the fear was... I can tell a story about being afraid my idea wouldn't be good enough or something, but I'm in fact only certain about the emotion itself. I'll have to find a way to trace that one back.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Kasina. I have been much less interested by concentration than I had been by insight. Here are the previous two starts to that sentence which I revised due to mini-camp training: "Concentration is much less interesting..." and "Concentration interests me less..."

I have a list of what I might need tomorrow, so I'll go get it today. Yesterday (I'm posting the following morning) I went to visit some old friends who moved back here. I found out he is selling his car. Now I have it and will look up its stats and such and my guess before looking anything up is that given that I will buy a car in the next month, I'll buy his with probability 80%.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Spreading Rationality

Kasina meditation again, and I will be choosing a new object after today, one that is not white. Also I set 1-hour light reminders throughout the day to be mindful of the breath for the next minute or so.

I have to return both belts, they are slightly too big with new buckles. I'm gradually collecting my quest items though.

At work the dude I mentioned rationalization to came up to me today without prompting and said he was noticing other times when he was working from the conclusion backwards. Awesome!

Played frisbee, exercise is good. And we're coming together as a legit team.

I didn't really get much done on either metaness or finance today. I didn't set a timer this time, and I definitely got distracted more than usual. Back to timers. Good to know I guess.

I had my roommate do the calibration game with me, with one of the Wits & Wagers cards, 50%/90%. We both did horribly and he noticed anchoring explicitly once.

Don't Mix Learning With Exercising

Concentration with trying to find the joyful parts of the breath and move focus to those as much as possible. I'm nearly convinced I want to stay in concentration practice until I reach the first jhana. I tried the 1..10 out-breath counting during the day some and it's really friggin' hard while talking to people.

At one point during the day I told my PM ~"Don't come to a conclusion then figure out why it's certainly right. That's the wrong way around." This was mildly socially inappropriate (though we were alone so it wasn't hugely bad) which was probably fine except I didn't think it all the way through before speaking.

I went back over my quick Fermi calculations for whether buying a car is worth it and found one glaring math error and one glaring structural error. The math error was a completely dropped term which was in favor of buying a car, and the structural error was that I looked at the one-year benefits, not the one-time benefits minus costs plus the per-year benefits minus costs. Fixing the structure is also in favor of buying the car. Translating to dollars it looks like even buying outright gives about a 100% ROI capped at a $15,000 investment with a bonus $5,000 one-time gain, and that's without a loan. (note: those numbers aren't real 'cause some of the costs and benefits aren't dollars and unlike dollars can't scale up)

Then I tried to go back over my pen-and-paper estimate I did near the beginning of mini-camp of "would meditation bring me significant benefits?" and see what it looked like when I drew the full causal diagram of how the pieces of evidence I had brainstormed connected, then compare that math with the sketchy math I did to estimate. I got stuck when the undirected version of my causal graph had loops. This session was definitely evidence in favor of "Don't Try to Practice What You Don't Yet Know".

Frustrated, I decided to end with a couple Wits & Wagers cards 50%/90% calibration and call it a day. I got 4/14 and 8/14, so I'll be doing calibration exercises next time for sure.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Meetup time!

I switched to a white disk concentration meditation to see how it went. It was very different than the breath. I'm not sure what (if any more than 0%) was actually interesting and what was mere visual artifact... altogether very strange. I just discovered the Dharma Overground forums, and they look pretty useful. Oh, and for the entirety of the half hour, I counted 1..10,1..10 on the exhale. After the first couple, I lost concentration and kept counting to 13, and after that I stayed 1..10 the entire time. Seems easier than wherever it was that suggested it led me to believe...

I spent some time learning about necklaces, and I'm going to price out a custom pendant. The first place I tried was super-busy so I'll have to get back to that. Also I found which tailor I'm going to use once my stuff starts arriving, and put Fabric in my hair for the first time.

The very-initial bits of the utility app are written, enough so that I can start writing interesting things without random barriers to beginning that would decrease my motivation. It doesn't sound like a lot but I think that's a really important step for me.

I didn't get to spend as much time optimizing my life as I wanted due to some bus problems, but I did sketch the beginnings of what looks like a reasonable budget. And I did a bit of meditating while walking.

The meetup was quite fun! Much better than at that burger+bar place. Everything seemed more comfortable and I was much more interested in people this time around. I don't know how much of that is due to the meetup changing and how much due to me.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Raising the Second Derivative

Insight for half an hour today. I raised my cushion slightly which helped my posture a bit. I noticed for the first time that part of what I thought was my breath was in fact a feeling distinct from breathing - I first noticed noting it after noting "holding" which didn't make sense, then looked more closely and discovered I could switch back and forth between it and my actual in-breath.

I spent a good bit of time procrastinating on working on social effectiveness by purchasing some more of my wardrobe kernel and then some groceries. Now I have some good t-shirts, enough black socks, boxer briefs, and Fabric. I did eventually go talk with some random people. One dude was coming back from a playtesting session at Microsoft, I didn't even know we had those! But it makes sense. if you're in the area.

I've now got enough of a handle on what to do for next Friday's meetup at my place that I feel confident it will go fine, though not much beyond that. My procedure was to think of things that people might be doing, write down what would help them, find the things I hadn't thought about and make a list of things to get/plan/etc during the week. This list was surprisingly small. Apparently meetups are easy, but I guess we'll see after Friday rolls around.

Best for last: my hour of metaness was fan-friggin'-tastic. Here's a summary: I knew I wanted to go back over my schedule, so I did, and rearranged it somewhat, and transferred some time from meetup-planning to finance, since that's what I wanted to work on last week. Then I asked myself why I found it so hard to actually work on social effectiveness. The answer was that I had no cached thoughts on how to work on it! Well, I had one, but my day wasn't set up right to go to a bar. So I took 3 minutes per category of thing I had scheduled for the next week to brainstorm concrete activities to do. I got a bunch of great stuff (and a lot of crap, 'cause it's brainstorming) and I feel like next week's improvements are going to be larger than this week's improvements. Raising the second derivative of my life felt really, really good.

Also it was very amusing to brainstorm ways to be meta during my session set aside for being meta. And since I had about 15 minutes left, I got to implement a couple of the things I had just brainstormed, and they worked well. Namely searching for large categories of things from the mini-camp that I didn't currently have scheduled to work on (I found one - developing the skill of self-modification), and brainstorming non-brainstorming-ways to generate new ideas about how/what to do.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Game Design

I bumped up my concentration practice to half an hour. I'm finding I enjoy insight practice more, probably because it feels like a challenge.

I had a small breakfast, light lunch, light dinner, and light snack later, and my energy stayed high the whole day. Looks like breakfast may be a big win. Also, while getting breakfast, I talked with the woman at the grill and the man behind me in line and shook his hand (I had met him earlier, but only once). It felt weird but pretty much okay.

After work I spent some time turning Zendo into a rationalist betting game. If it's great then maybe it can be a meetup staple; even if it's not great I'm pretty sure it will be a lot of fun once.

Oh, and GAH, did you know if you sync "mydeck" for the first time from a blank desktop client it will erase all of your ankiweb cards?? I know that now. :( I re-entered... 41 of them.

Finally, I learned the very basics of real estate finances: and emailed a recommended accountant, and shaved the back of my neck.

Day Off

I sat easily for 20 minutes of insight meditation this morning, noting about 10ish things per 4 seconds over many breaths in a row at the peak. Nearing lunch I finished up my current task, noticed I had under half an hour until lunch, and instead of (essentially) losing that time to switching costs and not getting any significant portion of a large task done as usual, I explicitly chose a small task that fit in the time period. Earlier this week I made a rather long list of work-related tasks and bucketed them just like my others, Urgent/Important/Awesome/Easy, so grabbing a short task was just a matter of perusing my Easy tasks. I felt very lethargic about 1.5 hours after lunch, and used the Splashing Cool Water Technique to break the feeling. Tomorrow I'll try breakfast/light-lunch/light-dinner again. I also entered several techniques from Zen to Done into my Anki deck, bought a pair of jeans, and posted some arithmetic to Less Wrong, but in general today was a Day Off: after work I played a bunch of ping pong and then a role-playing game "3:16" with friends.

Oh, I also added an interesting Anki card: "finish reviewing:" -> "add a card". Seems like a good idea if I'm going to be continually learning new ways to improve.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Diet, Beliefs Pay Rent, and Fermi

This morning I was able to sit for 20 minutes of concentration easily and spent only about 2+2+10/4ish = 4.5 definitely distracted from the breath. I switched up my diet to an omelet for breakfast, a light salad for lunch, a light salad snack at 3 'cause it was there, and a light corn/chickpeas dinner. I had lots more energy throughout the day - tomorrow I'll go back to my regular schedule to see if I can switch back and forth. During an afternoon meeting, I applied the "do a simple calculation instead of trying to intuit directly to the answer" heuristic which directly led to our team making the right decision on a question with a ~$45k swing in cost-benefit, which we only had a ~75% chance of making right otherwise (partially due to sunk costs), so that's +$10,000. Although actually there's a subsequent spot (after spending some of the effort) we'd have a good chance of killing it, so call it +$5,000 for the team.

I brainstormed a bunch of beliefs I hold <count> 30 actually, and then asked foreach what things the belief prohibited. I didn't take long, but instead brainstormed what they prohibited until getting 1-3 things for each belief - I think that's an important thing, since I want to practice seeing what my beliefs prohibit quickly and automatically, not after a period of focused thought. Then I went back and checked and found 7 I could actually just go test, 4 of which were Fermi calculations and 2 others of which I could and did test without much effort (that leaves 1: Tomorrow after work I will see if I can run 600 feet in 1 minute :D). Finally I did the 4 Fermi calculations which yielded:

  • ~0 evidence in the model for or against buying a car being a good idea (which is some evidence for "buying a car is neutral EV")
  • Quite a lot of evidence in the model for writing an app which assists modeling your revealed preferences as a decision utility being a good idea
  • Quite a lot of evidence in the model that I should cut way back on playing Dominion online, by a factor of about 5 before it's EV neutral again.
  • Quite a lot of evidence in the model that I should tentatively start up working through some of the exercises in Bayesian Data Analysis.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


This morning I found it difficult to concentrate during concentration practice, but I was able to visualize lots of things which I can't do in a normal state of mind. I felt somewhat lethargic after a big Spicy Talk lunch but not quite as bad as yesterday. I got some shoes and a measuring tape in the mail - I'm not sure whether I like the size of the shoe, it has a long toe. In the evening I wrote up my task list and which were Urgent, Important, Awesome, or Easy, so now I have a quick and easy way to improve without upfront cost of figuring out how to improve. Then I did some work figuring out what my finances look like now, what I might make them look like, where a good accountant is, and a bit of reading on what it takes to buy and manage investment properties.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Does Learning Learning Subskills Count?

This morning when meditating I found 20 minutes a stretch. I only did insight meditation, no concentration, and plan to do just concentration tomorrow. Then working on subskills was solely walking my sister through Fermi/EV calculations for whether she should go to a conference. I didn't improve a lot, but I improved at teaching them quite a lot. Also I was quite productive in the morning at work but lunch made me more lethargic than I expected, and it lasted a while. I had Tomato Basil Bisque with Sriracha and 2 orange juices. I played frisbee which was a lot of fun and made a friggin' sweet knockdown, ran through, cut really deep and made an awesome catch for the point.

Takeaways from the Fermi/EV session:
1. KEEP YOUR MODEL SIMPLE, like 3-4 components, the first time!
2. Gaining new information can be much more valuable than more immediate benefits.
3. Lora should feel fairly confident about not going to the conference instead of angsty. ;)

The Beginning

On Sunday I spent a bit over an hour optimizing the really low-hanging fruit in my life. I gained $100/mo ($120/mo if I follow through on moar canceling today) and ~4 hour/wk. Then I spent about 2 hours researching clothes and buying some articles online: oxfords and polish, belts and buckles, and a measuring tape.

Statement of Purpose

I just got back from a Less Wrong rationality mini-camp, a week-long retreat where we learned many subskills of epistemic and instrumental rationality. In this blog I'll note what I did the previous day to self-improve, build rational community, etc.

My initial plan calls for:
Su: 1.25 optimizing my life, 1.25 fashion, 2.5 writing a utility app
Mo: 1.5 rationality subskills
Tu 0.5 meta, 1 finance
We 1.5 rationality subskills
Th --
Fr 1.5 organizing meetups
Sa 1.25 metaness, 2.5 social effectiveness, 1.25 organizing meetups
Every day in the morning 20m meditation, up to 30 as soon as I'm comfortable with it