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Shared Circles including Kaj Sotala

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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 6

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2015-07-30 09:47:52 (6 comments, 6 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Reminds me of Paul Graham's "Why Nerds are Unpopular". Graham argued that schools end up having bullies and silly status games because there's nothing real to work on, so you can't form a hierarchy the natural way, by people differentiating themselves by their level of skill at what they're working on. So instead the hierarchy gets formed by status games. This work would seem to support that hypothesis, in that once you provide an alternative outlet to the urge to gain status, unhealthy dynamics are reduced.

> A pilot project at an Arizona school sought to steer students identified as bullies into high-status “jobs” — like being the school’s front-door greeters — to focus their aggression on something less harmful.

> Bullying fell “dramatically” in its wake, says Tony Volk, a Brock University psychologist who helped pioneer the genetictheory of bul... more »

Most reshares: 17

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2015-07-15 09:26:21 (1 comments, 17 reshares, 19 +1s)Open 

Can't unsee.

Most plusones: 19

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2015-07-15 09:26:21 (1 comments, 17 reshares, 19 +1s)Open 

Can't unsee.

Latest 50 posts

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2015-08-02 19:33:39 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

> So drop your obligations. Don't try to help the world because you "should." Don't force yourself because you ought to. Just do what you want to do.

> And then, once you are freed of them, if you ever realize that serving only yourself has a hollowness to it; or if you ever realize that part of what you care about is your fellow humans, the welfare of sentient creatures, or our future; or if you ever learn to see the darkness in this world and discover that you really deeply need the world to be different than it is; if you ever defy the natural order, and find something on this pale blue dot worth fighting for, worth defending, worth carrying with us to the stars:

> then know that there are those of us who fight,

> and that we'd be honored to have you at our side.

> So drop your obligations. Don't try to help the world because you "should." Don't force yourself because you ought to. Just do what you want to do.

> And then, once you are freed of them, if you ever realize that serving only yourself has a hollowness to it; or if you ever realize that part of what you care about is your fellow humans, the welfare of sentient creatures, or our future; or if you ever learn to see the darkness in this world and discover that you really deeply need the world to be different than it is; if you ever defy the natural order, and find something on this pale blue dot worth fighting for, worth defending, worth carrying with us to the stars:

> then know that there are those of us who fight,

> and that we'd be honored to have you at our side.___

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2015-08-02 18:22:38 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

[English summary: I explain and demonstrate the four-part process from Non-Violent Communication, using an example from my life where it helped resolve a conflict I'd been having with a friend.]

> Mua ottaa päähän se, miten sä välttelet vastuuta teoistasi.

> Tämä lause pyöri mielessäni useita viikkoja, kun eräs ystäväni toimi tavalla joka oli mielestäni väärin. Tiesin, ettei sen sanominen hyödyttäisi mitään. En kuitenkaan voinut olla ajattelematta asiaa kerta toisensa jälkeen, ja sen ajatteleminen sai minut lähes aina suuttumaan. Eniten ehkä siksi, että koin hänen toimivan väärin itseäänkin kohtaan.

> Jatkoin ajoittaista asiasta ärsyyntymistä ja turhaantumista, kunnes lopulta löysin paremman tavan muotoilla lauseeni. Soitinkin tämän jälkeen heti ystävälleni ja otin asian puheeksi.

Tämän viikonlopun konfliktienvälttämistä ja purkamista koskevassa ... more »

[English summary: I explain and demonstrate the four-part process from Non-Violent Communication, using an example from my life where it helped resolve a conflict I'd been having with a friend.]

> Mua ottaa päähän se, miten sä välttelet vastuuta teoistasi.

> Tämä lause pyöri mielessäni useita viikkoja, kun eräs ystäväni toimi tavalla joka oli mielestäni väärin. Tiesin, ettei sen sanominen hyödyttäisi mitään. En kuitenkaan voinut olla ajattelematta asiaa kerta toisensa jälkeen, ja sen ajatteleminen sai minut lähes aina suuttumaan. Eniten ehkä siksi, että koin hänen toimivan väärin itseäänkin kohtaan.

> Jatkoin ajoittaista asiasta ärsyyntymistä ja turhaantumista, kunnes lopulta löysin paremman tavan muotoilla lauseeni. Soitinkin tämän jälkeen heti ystävälleni ja otin asian puheeksi.

Tämän viikonlopun konfliktien välttämistä ja purkamista koskevassa Kehitystö-artikkelissa kerrotaan, millaisen paremman lauseen löysin ja miten.___

2015-08-02 18:21:48 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

The kid and I talk now and then about laws and social norms and law enforcement and things like that. I didn't expect it to show up in such an unexpected setting.

The kid and I are studying (algebraic) variables. She was making some headway with them, then got stuck on programs, so we went back to paper and algebraic formulas. Progress restored. I give her `x + 2 * y`. She thinks she's got it. Then she stops.

- Daddy, I have a question.
- Sure, what is it?
- I'm not sure what the answer is.
- Why not?
- I'm confused about what this is.
- Can you tell me why you're confused?
- Well, I can't tell if it's x plus 2-times-y or x-plus-2 times y.
- Good!

So we work out what the answers would be, and that they'd be different, so it does matter. I tell her there are three options. I show her (infix) parentheses. I... more »

The kid and I talk now and then about laws and social norms and law enforcement and things like that. I didn't expect it to show up in such an unexpected setting.

The kid and I are studying (algebraic) variables. She was making some headway with them, then got stuck on programs, so we went back to paper and algebraic formulas. Progress restored. I give her `x + 2 * y`. She thinks she's got it. Then she stops.

- Daddy, I have a question.
- Sure, what is it?
- I'm not sure what the answer is.
- Why not?
- I'm confused about what this is.
- Can you tell me why you're confused?
- Well, I can't tell if it's x plus 2-times-y or x-plus-2 times y.
- Good!

So we work out what the answers would be, and that they'd be different, so it does matter. I tell her there are three options. I show her (infix) parentheses. I tell her there are different notations we could use and draw her a parse tree. Or, I say, we could just decide that we do the multiplication before the addition.

- Is that a rule?
- Yes, that's a rule.
- I mean, is that a real rule?
- What do you mean?
- I mean, is that just a rule you're making up or do other people also follow that rule?
- No no, other people use it too.
- But we don't have to use it, right?
- No, really, we should. I mean, other people would expect you to use it.

Pause. Eyes get bigger. A slight look of concern crosses her face.

- The police?

#parenting  ___

2015-07-31 21:53:18 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Kirjoitin kuuden sanan scifitarinoita, kun internetissä käskettiin / I replied to a prompt to write six-word sci-fi stories in Finnish (slightly longer translations below):

* Vitkuttelin taas asioita maailmankaikkeuden viimeiseen hengenvetoon.
* Minut tutustutettiin tietoisille elämänmuodoille vasta kuusivuotiaana.
* Olin morsiusneitona megakorporaation ja jumalattaren häissä.

* I again procrastinated until the universe's last breath.
* I was first introduced to sentient lifeforms when I was six.
* I was a bridesmaid in the wedding of a megacorporation and a goddess.

Kirjoitin kuuden sanan scifitarinoita, kun internetissä käskettiin / I replied to a prompt to write six-word sci-fi stories in Finnish (slightly longer translations below):

* Vitkuttelin taas asioita maailmankaikkeuden viimeiseen hengenvetoon.
* Minut tutustutettiin tietoisille elämänmuodoille vasta kuusivuotiaana.
* Olin morsiusneitona megakorporaation ja jumalattaren häissä.

* I again procrastinated until the universe's last breath.
* I was first introduced to sentient lifeforms when I was six.
* I was a bridesmaid in the wedding of a megacorporation and a goddess.___

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2015-07-30 14:54:39 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Five questions for figuring out how you can make the biggest difference in the world:

1. How many people benefit? And by how much?
2. Is this the most effective thing you can do?
3. Is this area neglected?
4. What would have happened otherwise?
5. What are the chance of success, and how good would success be?

Five questions for figuring out how you can make the biggest difference in the world:

1. How many people benefit? And by how much?
2. Is this the most effective thing you can do?
3. Is this area neglected?
4. What would have happened otherwise?
5. What are the chance of success, and how good would success be?___

2015-07-30 14:42:13 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

> After growing up together, and mostly growing apart in the second half of the 20th century, the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive science, and neuroscience are reconverging on a shared view of the computational foundations of intelligence that promotes valuable cross-disciplinary exchanges on questions, methods, and results. We chart advances over the past several decades that address challenges of perception and action under uncertainty through the lens of computation. Advances include the development of representations and inferential procedures for large-scale probabilistic inference and machinery for enabling reflection and decisions about tradeoffs in effort, precision, and timeliness of computations. These tools are deployed toward the goal of computational rationality: identifying decisions with highest expected utility, while taking into consideration the costs of computation in... more »

> After growing up together, and mostly growing apart in the second half of the 20th century, the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive science, and neuroscience are reconverging on a shared view of the computational foundations of intelligence that promotes valuable cross-disciplinary exchanges on questions, methods, and results. We chart advances over the past several decades that address challenges of perception and action under uncertainty through the lens of computation. Advances include the development of representations and inferential procedures for large-scale probabilistic inference and machinery for enabling reflection and decisions about tradeoffs in effort, precision, and timeliness of computations. These tools are deployed toward the goal of computational rationality: identifying decisions with highest expected utility, while taking into consideration the costs of computation in complex real-world problems in which most relevant calculations can only be approximated. We highlight key concepts with examples that show the potential for interchange between computer science, cognitive science, and neuroscience.___

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2015-07-30 09:47:52 (6 comments, 6 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Reminds me of Paul Graham's "Why Nerds are Unpopular". Graham argued that schools end up having bullies and silly status games because there's nothing real to work on, so you can't form a hierarchy the natural way, by people differentiating themselves by their level of skill at what they're working on. So instead the hierarchy gets formed by status games. This work would seem to support that hypothesis, in that once you provide an alternative outlet to the urge to gain status, unhealthy dynamics are reduced.

> A pilot project at an Arizona school sought to steer students identified as bullies into high-status “jobs” — like being the school’s front-door greeters — to focus their aggression on something less harmful.

> Bullying fell “dramatically” in its wake, says Tony Volk, a Brock University psychologist who helped pioneer the genetictheory of bul... more »

Reminds me of Paul Graham's "Why Nerds are Unpopular". Graham argued that schools end up having bullies and silly status games because there's nothing real to work on, so you can't form a hierarchy the natural way, by people differentiating themselves by their level of skill at what they're working on. So instead the hierarchy gets formed by status games. This work would seem to support that hypothesis, in that once you provide an alternative outlet to the urge to gain status, unhealthy dynamics are reduced.

> A pilot project at an Arizona school sought to steer students identified as bullies into high-status “jobs” — like being the school’s front-door greeters — to focus their aggression on something less harmful.

> Bullying fell “dramatically” in its wake, says Tony Volk, a Brock University psychologist who helped pioneer the genetic theory of bullying and took part in an upcoming study of the Arizona project. [...]

> “The average bully isn’t particularly sadistic or even deeply argumentative,” he says. “What they really are is people driven for status.”___

2015-07-29 18:59:31 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

This "how to tidy your home" book is charmingly silly:

> Although I have visited many homes, naturally no one’s possessions or way of organising are identical. Yet all these possessions share one thing in common. Think about why you have the things you do. If you answer, ‘because I chose them,’ or ‘because I need them,’ or ‘because of a variety of coincidences,’ all of these responses would be correct. But without exception, all the things you own share the desire to be of use to you. I can say this with certainty because I have examined very carefully hundreds of thousands of possessions in my career.

> When examined carefully, the fate that links us to the things we own is quite amazing. Take just one shirt, for example. Even if it was mass-produced in a factory, that particular shirt that you bought and brought home on that particular day is unique toyou. The dest... more »

This "how to tidy your home" book is charmingly silly:

> Although I have visited many homes, naturally no one’s possessions or way of organising are identical. Yet all these possessions share one thing in common. Think about why you have the things you do. If you answer, ‘because I chose them,’ or ‘because I need them,’ or ‘because of a variety of coincidences,’ all of these responses would be correct. But without exception, all the things you own share the desire to be of use to you. I can say this with certainty because I have examined very carefully hundreds of thousands of possessions in my career.

> When examined carefully, the fate that links us to the things we own is quite amazing. Take just one shirt, for example. Even if it was mass-produced in a factory, that particular shirt that you bought and brought home on that particular day is unique to you. The destiny that led us to each one of our possessions is just as precious and sacred as the destiny that connected us with the people in our lives. There is a reason why each one of your belongings came to you. When I share this perspective, some people say, ‘I neglected this outfit so long it’s all wrinkled. It must be pretty indignant with me,’ or ‘If I don’t use it, it will put a curse on me.’ But from my own experience, I have never encountered any possession that reproached its owner. These thoughts stem from the owner’s sense of guilt, not from the person’s belongings. Then what do the things in our homes that don’t spark joy actually feel? I think they simply want to leave. Lying forgotten in your cupboards, they know better than anyone else that they are not bringing joy to you now.

> Everything you own wants to be of use to you. Even if you throw it away or burn it, it will only leave behind the energy of wanting to be of service. Freed from its physical form, it will move about your world as energy, letting other things know that you are a special person, and come back to you as the thing that will be of most use to who you are now, the thing that will bring you the most happiness. A piece of clothing might come back as a new and beautiful outfit, or it may reappear as information or a new connection. I promise you: whatever you let go will come back in exactly the same amount, but only when it feels the desire to return to you. For this reason, when you discard something, don’t sigh and say, ‘Oh, I never used this,’ or ‘Sorry I never got around to using you.’ Instead, send it off joyfully with words like, ‘Thank you for finding me,’ or ‘Have a good journey. See you again soon!’

> Get rid of those things that no longer spark joy. Make your parting a ceremony to launch them on a new journey. Celebrate this occasion with them. I truly believe that our possessions are even happier and more vibrant when we let them go than when we first get them.

(Kondo, Marie (2014-04-03). The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever)

... this framing might actually be the most effective possible in actually getting me to clean.___

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2015-07-29 13:24:13 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Good summary.

Good summary.___

2015-07-29 12:27:44 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Spotify API docs: "The field filter tag:hipster can be used in album searches to retrieve only albums with the lowest 10% popularity."

Spotify API docs: "The field filter tag:hipster can be used in album searches to retrieve only albums with the lowest 10% popularity."___

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2015-07-28 10:01:17 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

> There is a common phenomenon in the world of personal finance called “lifestyle creep.” It describes our tendency to buy bigger, better, and nicer things as our income rises. What if we adapted this concept to the rest of our lives in a beneficial way? [...]

> What if we trusted that adding more muscle or earning more money or getting better grades would come as a natural side effect of improving our normal routines? In other words, as our normal habits improved, so would our results. This idea of slightly adjusting your habits until behaviors and results that were once out of reach become your new normal is a concept I like to call “habit creep.”

> If you buy more things than your bank account can sustain, that’s not lifestyle creep. That’s called debt. Similarly, if you adopt a bunch of new behaviors you can’t sustain, that’s not habit creep. In otherwords, the key ... more »

> There is a common phenomenon in the world of personal finance called “lifestyle creep.” It describes our tendency to buy bigger, better, and nicer things as our income rises. What if we adapted this concept to the rest of our lives in a beneficial way? [...]

> What if we trusted that adding more muscle or earning more money or getting better grades would come as a natural side effect of improving our normal routines? In other words, as our normal habits improved, so would our results. This idea of slightly adjusting your habits until behaviors and results that were once out of reach become your new normal is a concept I like to call “habit creep.”

> If you buy more things than your bank account can sustain, that’s not lifestyle creep. That’s called debt. Similarly, if you adopt a bunch of new behaviors you can’t sustain, that’s not habit creep. In other words, the key is to avoid the trap of trying to grow too fast. Lifestyle creep happens so slowly that it is almost imperceptible. Habit creep should be the same way. Your goal is to nudge your behaviors along in very small ways.___

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2015-07-28 09:56:27 (1 comments, 2 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

New FAQ and introduction on Effective Altruism.

New FAQ and introduction on Effective Altruism.___

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2015-07-28 09:19:00 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

In the department of why did anyone ever think this was a good idea (yeah, I know, because they didn't think about it, but still):

> ...until just five years ago, it was up to a largely male-led team to figure out how to market tampons, maxi-pads and other feminine products at Kimberly-Clark, the company behind Kotex, Huggies and Kleenex. [...]

> The absurdity of the situation came to light about five years ago at Kimberly-Clark, when CEO Tom Falk brought the male executive in charge of Kotex to present a marketing strategy for the more than 90-year-old brand to the company's board of directors

> After the presentation, some board members politely asked Falk: “Don’t you think you can get a female to present the strategy to us?"

In the department of why did anyone ever think this was a good idea (yeah, I know, because they didn't think about it, but still):

> ...until just five years ago, it was up to a largely male-led team to figure out how to market tampons, maxi-pads and other feminine products at Kimberly-Clark, the company behind Kotex, Huggies and Kleenex. [...]

> The absurdity of the situation came to light about five years ago at Kimberly-Clark, when CEO Tom Falk brought the male executive in charge of Kotex to present a marketing strategy for the more than 90-year-old brand to the company's board of directors

> After the presentation, some board members politely asked Falk: “Don’t you think you can get a female to present the strategy to us?"___

2015-07-28 01:31:47 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

I've traditionally felt a little averse to describe my significant others as "beautiful", preferring words like "pretty", "cute", etc. I just realized that this is probably because my taste in female looks seems somewhat atypical, so that the kinds of people who are typically described as "beautiful" (e.g. beauty contest winners) often don't look all that attractive to me. So I don't feel like using the word about my partners, because on some level I've come to associate it with the kinds of looks that I'm not actually particularly drawn to. Whereas words like "cute" or "pretty" feel like they fit the bill much better, even though they feel lacking in not being as strong as "beautiful".

I've traditionally felt a little averse to describe my significant others as "beautiful", preferring words like "pretty", "cute", etc. I just realized that this is probably because my taste in female looks seems somewhat atypical, so that the kinds of people who are typically described as "beautiful" (e.g. beauty contest winners) often don't look all that attractive to me. So I don't feel like using the word about my partners, because on some level I've come to associate it with the kinds of looks that I'm not actually particularly drawn to. Whereas words like "cute" or "pretty" feel like they fit the bill much better, even though they feel lacking in not being as strong as "beautiful".___

2015-07-27 22:19:48 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Sticking with the theme of letting to of things once they're no longer useful to you, here's a post which I didn't initially reshare for some reason, but I've kept returning to its central idea so often since then that I have to share it now. Here's Nate Soares on a powerful idea: if you keep doing a thing X, and doing X keeps making you guilty, then that guilt isn't actually being useful for modifying your behavior. That guilt isn't useful for you, so let go of it.

> As far as I can tell, the way that guilt-motivated people tend to operate is by working fervently in attempts to avoid the scourge of guilt. This may be effective when it works, but as soon as it starts to fail, the failure often cascades into a full-blown failure spiral (you're guilty that you're not working, which makes you feel bad, which makes it hard to work, which makes you guiltier,... more »

Sticking with the theme of letting to of things once they're no longer useful to you, here's a post which I didn't initially reshare for some reason, but I've kept returning to its central idea so often since then that I have to share it now. Here's Nate Soares on a powerful idea: if you keep doing a thing X, and doing X keeps making you guilty, then that guilt isn't actually being useful for modifying your behavior. That guilt isn't useful for you, so let go of it.

> As far as I can tell, the way that guilt-motivated people tend to operate is by working fervently in attempts to avoid the scourge of guilt. This may be effective when it works, but as soon as it starts to fail, the failure often cascades into a full-blown failure spiral (you're guilty that you're not working, which makes you feel bad, which makes it hard to work, which makes you guiltier, which you feel worse, which makes it harder to work, …). As a result, guilt motivation often results in a boom/bust productivity/depression cycle that, as far as I can tell, results in people feeling quite bad about themselves and being much less effective than they would be if they could maintain a steady pace.

> Some might argue that the boom is worth the bust, that the productivity is worth the depression. This seems straight up false to me (and I have some relevant experience): the frantic productivity fueled by fear of guilt doesn't seem more effective (and often seems less effective) than intrinsically motivated productivity, and that's before we count the losses from periodic failure spirals. As far as I can tell, intrinsic motivation is just straight up more effective. [...]

> You might protest, "but then what do I do in the unsatisfying branches of reality? I need to find some way to prevent me from chasing short-term satisfaction at the expense of long-term benefits." If you regularly finding yourself binging netflix TV shows, and you would rather not find yourself regularly binging netflix TV shows, then shouldn't you feel guilty whenever you do?

> No! If the situation occurs regularly, then guilt is not the tool to use! You're welcome to feel guilty if you ever kidnap a baby or punch a homeless person, and you can tell that the guilt is working in those cases because you never do those things. But if you repeatedly find yourself in a situation that you disprefer, then guilt is just not the tool to use. That's not where it's useful.___

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2015-07-27 21:57:54 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

> In the last chapter we learned that deep neural networks are often much harder to train than shallow neural networks. That's unfortunate, since we have good reason to believe that if we could train deep nets they'd be much more powerful than shallow nets. But while the news from the last chapter is discouraging, we won't let it stop us. In this chapter, we'll develop techniques which can be used to train deep networks, and apply them in practice. We'll also look at the broader picture, briefly reviewing recent progress on using deep nets for image recognition, speech recognition, and other applications. 

___> In the last chapter we learned that deep neural networks are often much harder to train than shallow neural networks. That's unfortunate, since we have good reason to believe that if we could train deep nets they'd be much more powerful than shallow nets. But while the news from the last chapter is discouraging, we won't let it stop us. In this chapter, we'll develop techniques which can be used to train deep networks, and apply them in practice. We'll also look at the broader picture, briefly reviewing recent progress on using deep nets for image recognition, speech recognition, and other applications. 

2015-07-27 21:56:11 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

In tidying your home, one of the most important things is getting rid of stuff you don't actually need and has just become useless clutter. Marie Kondo suggests a simple test for determining whether something is just clutter: whether or not you feel a thrill of joy when touching the item. If yes, keep it, if not, get rid of it. But what if you something doesn't give you a thrill of joy, but you still hesitate to discard it?

> When you come across something that’s hard to discard, consider carefully why you have that specific item in the first place. When did you get it and what meaning did it have for you then? Reassess the role it plays in your life. If, for example, you have some clothes that you bought but never wear, examine them one at a time. Where did you buy that particular outfit and why? If you bought it because you thought it looked cool in the shop, then it has fulfilledt... more »

In tidying your home, one of the most important things is getting rid of stuff you don't actually need and has just become useless clutter. Marie Kondo suggests a simple test for determining whether something is just clutter: whether or not you feel a thrill of joy when touching the item. If yes, keep it, if not, get rid of it. But what if you something doesn't give you a thrill of joy, but you still hesitate to discard it?

> When you come across something that’s hard to discard, consider carefully why you have that specific item in the first place. When did you get it and what meaning did it have for you then? Reassess the role it plays in your life. If, for example, you have some clothes that you bought but never wear, examine them one at a time. Where did you buy that particular outfit and why? If you bought it because you thought it looked cool in the shop, then it has fulfilled the function of giving you a thrill when you bought it. Then why did you never wear it? Was it because you realised that it didn’t suit you when you tried it on at home? If so, and if you no longer buy clothes of the same style or colour, then it has fulfilled another important function – it has taught you what doesn’t suit you. In fact, that particular article of clothing has already completed its role in your life, and you are free to say, ‘Thank you for giving me joy when I bought you,’ or ‘Thank you for teaching me what doesn’t suit me,’ and let it go.

> Every object has a different role to play. Not all clothes have come to you to be worn threadbare. It is the same with people. Not every person you meet in life will become a close friend or lover. Some you will find hard to get along with or impossible to like. But these people, too, teach you the precious lesson of who you do like, so that you will appreciate those special people even more.

> When you come across something that you cannot throw away, think carefully about its true purpose in your life. You’ll be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order. In the end, all that will remain are the things that you really treasure.

> To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose. To throw away what you no longer need is neither wasteful nor shameful. Can you truthfully say that you treasure something buried so deeply in a cupboard or drawer that you have forgotten its existence? If things had feelings, they would certainly not be happy. Free them from the prison to which you have relegated them. Help them leave that deserted isle to which you have exiled them. Let them go, with gratitude. Not only you, but your things as well, will feel clear and refreshed when you are done tidying.

-- Kondo, Marie (2014-04-03). The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever (Kindle Locations 650-676). Ebury Publishing. Kindle Edition.___

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2015-07-25 23:13:57 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

I'll just leave this here.

I'll just leave this here.___

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2015-07-25 23:12:32 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Your daily dose of You're Living In A Cyberpunk World: hackers find a way to remotely gain control of a car [1], manufacturer issues a voluntary recall and software patch [2]. 

[1] http://www.wired.com/2015/07/hackers-remotely-kill-jeep-highway/
[2] http://www.media.chrysler.com/newsrelease.do;jsessionid=C09B783D4DEB460C21B34B1218687F70?&id=16849&mid=

Your daily dose of You're Living In A Cyberpunk World: hackers find a way to remotely gain control of a car [1], manufacturer issues a voluntary recall and software patch [2]. 

[1] http://www.wired.com/2015/07/hackers-remotely-kill-jeep-highway/
[2] http://www.media.chrysler.com/newsrelease.do;jsessionid=C09B783D4DEB460C21B34B1218687F70?&id=16849&mid=___

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2015-07-25 19:24:01 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

[English summary:  I discuss a psychological technique that involves taking your goals, and then creating an "if X, then I do Y" type rule about for fulfilling them. E.g. if someone's goal is "I want to be nicer to people", they might create a rule like "when I see someone, I smile at them" or "when someone else does something I like, I tell them thank you".]

> "Teen tämän jossain vaiheessa."
> "Vastaan tähän viestiin myöhemmin."
> "Tätä voisi koettaa joskus."

> Useimmille ihmisille nämä lauseet tarkoittavat kaikki samaa. Aikomus jää toteuttamatta, tai jos se tuleekin tehtyä, niin se ehtii jäädä vaivaamaan ja tuottaa stressiä. Kun tekemisen ajankohta on jäänyt epämääräiseksi, ei ole mitään mikä saisi tarttumaan toimeen.

> Millaiset ajatukset voisivatauttaa välttämään tämän o... more »

[English summary:  I discuss a psychological technique that involves taking your goals, and then creating an "if X, then I do Y" type rule about for fulfilling them. E.g. if someone's goal is "I want to be nicer to people", they might create a rule like "when I see someone, I smile at them" or "when someone else does something I like, I tell them thank you".]

> "Teen tämän jossain vaiheessa."
> "Vastaan tähän viestiin myöhemmin."
> "Tätä voisi koettaa joskus."

> Useimmille ihmisille nämä lauseet tarkoittavat kaikki samaa. Aikomus jää toteuttamatta, tai jos se tuleekin tehtyä, niin se ehtii jäädä vaivaamaan ja tuottaa stressiä. Kun tekemisen ajankohta on jäänyt epämääräiseksi, ei ole mitään mikä saisi tarttumaan toimeen.

> Millaiset ajatukset voisivat auttaa välttämään tämän ongelman?___

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2015-07-24 17:18:57 (4 comments, 3 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

> If you live in an expensive city like New York or San Francisco and have an average job—say, you're an office manager rather than a tech mogul or an investment banker—you probably don't feel particularly rich. The gap between the rich and the rest of us is the biggest it has been since the Great Depression.

> But it's easy to forget how rich you really are: If you make $52,000 a year, you're richer than 99% of the people on the planet. With a salary of $28,000, you're in the top 5%. And even if you're below the poverty line of $11,000 a year, you're still making more than 85% of the world.

> A new book called Doing Good Better, out on July 28, uses the global income gap, along with a few other economic calculations, as the basis for something called the 100x multiplier. If you give a donation to some of the poorest people in the world, yourmon... more »

> If you live in an expensive city like New York or San Francisco and have an average job—say, you're an office manager rather than a tech mogul or an investment banker—you probably don't feel particularly rich. The gap between the rich and the rest of us is the biggest it has been since the Great Depression.

> But it's easy to forget how rich you really are: If you make $52,000 a year, you're richer than 99% of the people on the planet. With a salary of $28,000, you're in the top 5%. And even if you're below the poverty line of $11,000 a year, you're still making more than 85% of the world.

> A new book called Doing Good Better, out on July 28, uses the global income gap, along with a few other economic calculations, as the basis for something called the 100x multiplier. If you give a donation to some of the poorest people in the world, your money will go 100 times further than if you'd spent it on yourself. Even if you might have felt powerless in the face of the world's biggest challenges, inequality actually puts you in a unique position to help.___

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2015-07-21 08:43:33 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

> In this article, we are asking why representations of LGBTQ themes and characters have been so scarce in the context of role-playing games. A preliminary analysis of the first three decades (1974–2005) of English language RPG source material shows that when the topic has not been silenced altogether, it has been met with reactions that seem humorous or extreme in hindsight. Our aim here is to map an alternative history of role-playing game source books, one that pays attention to queer sexualities, and connect these representations to other cultural spheres.

> In this article, we are asking why representations of LGBTQ themes and characters have been so scarce in the context of role-playing games. A preliminary analysis of the first three decades (1974–2005) of English language RPG source material shows that when the topic has not been silenced altogether, it has been met with reactions that seem humorous or extreme in hindsight. Our aim here is to map an alternative history of role-playing game source books, one that pays attention to queer sexualities, and connect these representations to other cultural spheres.___

2015-07-20 16:56:59 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

You Might Have Just Spent The Day Programming When: after work, I got on the bus and opened my Kindle to resume the novel I'd been reading. The novel had the following bit:

> I KNEW THREE THINGS even before I opened my eyes: that I was somewhere enclosed, probably no larger than a bathroom stall, that someone had changed my clothes— nothing was riding the way it should have, which probably meant my weapons were also gone— and that I was in serious trouble. Then I raised my aching head, opened my eyes, and added a fourth thing to the list: wherever I was, it was pitch-black.

And my momentary reaction was "what? no! You can't add pitch-blackness to the list of things you knew before you opened your eyes! Even if the list isn't typed to only contain such things, if you've named it as the list of things you knew before you opened your eyes, adding something youfou... more »

You Might Have Just Spent The Day Programming When: after work, I got on the bus and opened my Kindle to resume the novel I'd been reading. The novel had the following bit:

> I KNEW THREE THINGS even before I opened my eyes: that I was somewhere enclosed, probably no larger than a bathroom stall, that someone had changed my clothes— nothing was riding the way it should have, which probably meant my weapons were also gone— and that I was in serious trouble. Then I raised my aching head, opened my eyes, and added a fourth thing to the list: wherever I was, it was pitch-black.

And my momentary reaction was "what? no! You can't add pitch-blackness to the list of things you knew before you opened your eyes! Even if the list isn't typed to only contain such things, if you've named it as the list of things you knew before you opened your eyes, adding something you found out after opening your eyes is going to make the list's variable name inconsistent with its contents!"

...yeah.___

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2015-07-20 16:56:35 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

Hear hear!

Hear hear!___

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2015-07-19 20:27:59 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Dark Sun did this (their human-dwarf crossbreeds were even called "Mul", but it's an interesting concept that could be used more).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGFXcTsLJlg

tl;dw (but you should watch): Make half-elves into infertile hybrids a la mules or hinnies. Now there's a reason for parents to disapprove of interspecies relations (because they won't get grandchildren), a reason for half-elves to be adventurers (because they won't have a legacy the usual way), some nice words for racial discrimination, etc..

Also, lindybeige is pro-watch in general.___Dark Sun did this (their human-dwarf crossbreeds were even called "Mul", but it's an interesting concept that could be used more).

2015-07-19 20:15:40 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Interesting argument. I've heard many people express the view that they shouldn't have children due to environmental concerns. But according to one calculation at least, the average person causes about 20 tons of carbon emissions a year, and offsetting one ton of carbon emissions may cost as little as $1, suggesting that you could offset the carbon impact of having a child for a measly $20/year.

Of course, as is pointed out in the comments, the $1/ton figure may be an underestimate, but even if the real cost was ten times as much, $200/year is very little compared to the overall costs of raising a child. And as the author also points out:

> As further explored in my previous post, this completely neglects all the positive effects your child will have on others throughout their lifetime (and your children's children's lifetimes, etc.).  If you raise your child to... more »

Interesting argument. I've heard many people express the view that they shouldn't have children due to environmental concerns. But according to one calculation at least, the average person causes about 20 tons of carbon emissions a year, and offsetting one ton of carbon emissions may cost as little as $1, suggesting that you could offset the carbon impact of having a child for a measly $20/year.

Of course, as is pointed out in the comments, the $1/ton figure may be an underestimate, but even if the real cost was ten times as much, $200/year is very little compared to the overall costs of raising a child. And as the author also points out:

> As further explored in my previous post, this completely neglects all the positive effects your child will have on others throughout their lifetime (and your children's children's lifetimes, etc.).  If you raise your child to more than offset their carbon footprint (which, again, just costs $20 per year), their existence could be positive for the climate -- a positive effect which, like the previously assumed harms, gets amplified over time by the "legacy effect" of in turn influencing their children, and so forth.  (And that's not even getting into the non-environmental benefits discussed previously.)

> And this isn't just idle speculation of a "well, somebody could choose this..." form.  If we focus our attention just on those who would otherwise be convinced to refrain from having children for environmental/moral reasons, we're talking about a highly morally/environmentally motivated audience.  If they were willing to refrain from having their desired number of children just for moral-environmental reasons, they'd surely be willing to instead donate a few dollars a year to achieve the same environmental goals.  And they're likely to raise their kids to share these values. (One can never be sure how one's kids will turn out, of course, but I assume there's at least a decent correlation between the values they're raised with and the values that they end up accepting and living by in future.)

> So again, given how easy it is to make a huge difference with a small donation, I just find it baffling that ethicists even talk about -- let alone categorically recommend -- such unnecessarily drastic sorts of measures [as not having children].___

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2015-07-19 20:03:43 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

> But contrary to this popular belief, it turns out that tourists have nothing to fear about the areas of the zone that they visit, according to radiation experts within the Ukraine and internationally. In the course of a typical Chernobyl tour, the radiation absorbed amounts to a few microsieverts per hour, which, tour guides are fond of pointing out, is far less exposure than you've already received flying across the Atlantic to get there." Of course, the Zone in its central part still has places with elevated radiation," explains the FAQ of the "official provider of Chernobyl exclusion zone tours," ChernobylWel.Com, "But if you follow the suggested route and the guides' directions, your visit to the Chernobyl zone and Pripyat town will be absolutely radiation-safe."  [...]

> Although many popular films and video games depict the zone as an empty... more »

> But contrary to this popular belief, it turns out that tourists have nothing to fear about the areas of the zone that they visit, according to radiation experts within the Ukraine and internationally. In the course of a typical Chernobyl tour, the radiation absorbed amounts to a few microsieverts per hour, which, tour guides are fond of pointing out, is far less exposure than you've already received flying across the Atlantic to get there." Of course, the Zone in its central part still has places with elevated radiation," explains the FAQ of the "official provider of Chernobyl exclusion zone tours," ChernobylWel.Com, "But if you follow the suggested route and the guides' directions, your visit to the Chernobyl zone and Pripyat town will be absolutely radiation-safe."  [...]

> Although many popular films and video games depict the zone as an empty post-apocalyptic wasteland, Chernobyl is still very much an active working town. It's even somewhat populous. A church still welcomes worshippers; tons of workers commute into the zone daily to decommission the power plant and build the reactor's new containment structure; and hundreds of people, despite the government's orders, have refused to leave. "It is basically like any other Ukrainian town, minus children and minus a lot of the entertainment venues," said Ronnie Bassbär.

> Unlike other "ruin porn" sites, Chernobyl attracts tourists with a deep interest in the biological, historical, and political effects of the tragedy [...] Kovalchyk also emphasized the serious educational mission of his company's tours over any sensational value they might claim. "Our visitors are mostly well-educated people with a concern in world issues and in Chernobyl, in particular," he explained. After all, every visitor likely does some research prior to traveling in order to feel safe about the effects of radiation. "It's not like someone on a tour is like 'Chernobyl, what is that?'"___

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2015-07-18 14:36:23 (1 comments, 2 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

> The social justice narrative describes a political-economic elite dominated by white males persecuting anybody who doesn’t fit into their culture, like blacks, women, and gays. The anti-social-justice narrative describes an intellectual-cultural elite dominated by social justice activists persecuting anybody who doesn’t fit into their culture, like men, theists, and conservatives. Both are relatively plausible; Congress and millionaires are 80% – 90% white; journalists and the Ivy League are 80% – 90% leftist.

> The narratives share a surprising number of other similarities. Both, for example, identify their enemy with the spirit of a discredited mid-twentieth century genocidal philosophy of government; fascists on the one side, communists on the other. Both believe they’re fighting a war for their very right to exist, despite the lack of any plausible path to reinstitutingslavery o... more »

> The social justice narrative describes a political-economic elite dominated by white males persecuting anybody who doesn’t fit into their culture, like blacks, women, and gays. The anti-social-justice narrative describes an intellectual-cultural elite dominated by social justice activists persecuting anybody who doesn’t fit into their culture, like men, theists, and conservatives. Both are relatively plausible; Congress and millionaires are 80% – 90% white; journalists and the Ivy League are 80% – 90% leftist.

> The narratives share a surprising number of other similarities. Both, for example, identify their enemy with the spirit of a discredited mid-twentieth century genocidal philosophy of government; fascists on the one side, communists on the other. Both believe they’re fighting a war for their very right to exist, despite the lack of any plausible path to reinstituting slavery or transitioning to a Stalinist dictatorship. Both operate through explosions of outrage at salient media examples of their out-group persecuting their in-group. [...]

> I see minimal awareness from the social justice movement and the anti-social-justice movement that their narratives are similar, and certainly no deliberate intent to copy from one another. That makes me think of this as a case of convergent evolution.___

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2015-07-18 14:24:14 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

[English summary: my article about how emotions and reason are allies, not enemies.]

Tunteita ja järkeä ei useinkaan ajatella toistensa liittolaisina, vaan pikemminkin jopa toistensa vastakohtina. Tärkeä osa Kehitystön filosofiaa - ja myös minun filosofiaani - on kuitenkin se, että tunteet ja järki täydentävät toinen toisiaan.

> Mutta eivätkö tunteet saa meitä joskus käyttäytymään epäloogisesti, tai jopa itsellemme vahingollisesti? Saavat, mutta asioiden ajatteleminen järjellä ja logiikalla voi joskus myös johdattaa meidät virheellisiin tai jopa vaarallisiin loppupäätelmiin. Sekä järki että tunteet ovat erehtyväisiä. Ratkaisu tähän ei ole painottaa yhtä niistä toisen yli, vaan pyrkiä toimimaan tavalla, jossa niiden vahvuudet täydentävät toinen toisiaan.

[English summary: my article about how emotions and reason are allies, not enemies.]

Tunteita ja järkeä ei useinkaan ajatella toistensa liittolaisina, vaan pikemminkin jopa toistensa vastakohtina. Tärkeä osa Kehitystön filosofiaa - ja myös minun filosofiaani - on kuitenkin se, että tunteet ja järki täydentävät toinen toisiaan.

> Mutta eivätkö tunteet saa meitä joskus käyttäytymään epäloogisesti, tai jopa itsellemme vahingollisesti? Saavat, mutta asioiden ajatteleminen järjellä ja logiikalla voi joskus myös johdattaa meidät virheellisiin tai jopa vaarallisiin loppupäätelmiin. Sekä järki että tunteet ovat erehtyväisiä. Ratkaisu tähän ei ole painottaa yhtä niistä toisen yli, vaan pyrkiä toimimaan tavalla, jossa niiden vahvuudet täydentävät toinen toisiaan.___

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2015-07-18 14:19:41 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

A game that some of my friends are developing. Love this caption: "In Dianthia there might not be too many mountains, but there’s no lack of weird anti-gravitational goats."

A game that some of my friends are developing. Love this caption: "In Dianthia there might not be too many mountains, but there’s no lack of weird anti-gravitational goats."___

2015-07-16 13:05:22 (1 comments, 2 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

People have been saying that "growth in computing power won't let an AI think at superhuman speeds, because the growth in serial speeds has stopped and we're mostly only get increases in parallel power!" Wouldn't be so sure about that. Massively parallel version of the Atari DeepMind agent achieves an order of magnitude reduction in the time needed for it to learn a video game, and also gets a better performance than the original algorithm on 41 of 49 games. 

People have been saying that "growth in computing power won't let an AI think at superhuman speeds, because the growth in serial speeds has stopped and we're mostly only get increases in parallel power!" Wouldn't be so sure about that. Massively parallel version of the Atari DeepMind agent achieves an order of magnitude reduction in the time needed for it to learn a video game, and also gets a better performance than the original algorithm on 41 of 49 games. ___

2015-07-16 12:01:19 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

14:54 <@ksotala> From a paper: "To experiment in this domain, we use a modern off-the-shelf DNN trained with 1.3 million images to recognize 1000 different types of objects from the natural world."
14:54 <@ksotala> I'm amused by the use of the idiom "off the shelf" here
14:54 <@ksotala> Gives a mental image of there being a store selling deep neural networks
14:55 <@ksotala>"Hello, could I have a DNN trained with 1.3 million images please" "Okay that'll be 8.60"
14:55 <@Walther>"How much would it be for a DNN well-versed in scottish mythology?" "About 3.50"

14:54 <@ksotala> From a paper: "To experiment in this domain, we use a modern off-the-shelf DNN trained with 1.3 million images to recognize 1000 different types of objects from the natural world."
14:54 <@ksotala> I'm amused by the use of the idiom "off the shelf" here
14:54 <@ksotala> Gives a mental image of there being a store selling deep neural networks
14:55 <@ksotala>"Hello, could I have a DNN trained with 1.3 million images please" "Okay that'll be 8.60"
14:55 <@Walther>"How much would it be for a DNN well-versed in scottish mythology?" "About 3.50"___

2015-07-16 11:12:48 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

Yesterday, a little girl - maybe around six? - saw me and said "a man wearing a skirt" to her mother in a "what is the world coming to" tone of voice. I was amused, and also encouraged to keep wearing it in public because obviously there are still people in Helsinki who find this peculiar, and someone needs to expand their world view. Even if they're all six.

Also got catcalled later in the evening, which was kinda amusing and weird.

Yesterday, a little girl - maybe around six? - saw me and said "a man wearing a skirt" to her mother in a "what is the world coming to" tone of voice. I was amused, and also encouraged to keep wearing it in public because obviously there are still people in Helsinki who find this peculiar, and someone needs to expand their world view. Even if they're all six.

Also got catcalled later in the evening, which was kinda amusing and weird.___

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2015-07-15 09:26:21 (1 comments, 17 reshares, 19 +1s)Open 

Can't unsee.

Can't unsee.___

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2015-07-14 08:05:07 (6 comments, 1 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Slate Star Codex has once again a long post on things that studies indicate might help with mental issues, this time anxiety. Summary:

> No treatment stands out as extremely effective, and the best route to dealing with anxiety probably depends on many factors like your amount of free time, your motivation, your access to medical care, and your willingness to put up with side effects. After you’ve fixed lifestyle issues, I think any of “self-help workbook”, “start SSRIs”, or “try l-theanine” are good first options. On the other hand, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and kava are all options I would hold off on until you’ve tried a couple of other things.

> Like with the depression post, the most important conclusion you can take from this is that you have lots of options. Please don’t let people give you an SSRI and then give up. Work with your doctor. Anxietyactually has a pr... more »

Slate Star Codex has once again a long post on things that studies indicate might help with mental issues, this time anxiety. Summary:

> No treatment stands out as extremely effective, and the best route to dealing with anxiety probably depends on many factors like your amount of free time, your motivation, your access to medical care, and your willingness to put up with side effects. After you’ve fixed lifestyle issues, I think any of “self-help workbook”, “start SSRIs”, or “try l-theanine” are good first options. On the other hand, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and kava are all options I would hold off on until you’ve tried a couple of other things.

> Like with the depression post, the most important conclusion you can take from this is that you have lots of options. Please don’t let people give you an SSRI and then give up. Work with your doctor. Anxiety actually has a pretty good prognosis if people work on it, but it can be a difficult and frustrating process. Just remember: there are lots of options.___

2015-07-13 09:44:04 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

PSA: If you're in Europe and don't want to spent time and money on food, there are now several Soylent-like products available in the Old World:

Joylent: http://www.joylent.eu/
Queal: https://queal.eu/
Purelent: https://purelent.eu/
Ambronite: http://ambronite.com/

Notes: Joylent will soon be available as vegan version, though they've had delays with making that product available. Ambronite is also vegan, being made mainly of berries rather than the soy + protein + otherstuff recipe used by the other products, but is pretty expensive because of that.

PSA: If you're in Europe and don't want to spent time and money on food, there are now several Soylent-like products available in the Old World:

Joylent: http://www.joylent.eu/
Queal: https://queal.eu/
Purelent: https://purelent.eu/
Ambronite: http://ambronite.com/

Notes: Joylent will soon be available as vegan version, though they've had delays with making that product available. Ambronite is also vegan, being made mainly of berries rather than the soy + protein + otherstuff recipe used by the other products, but is pretty expensive because of that.___

2015-07-11 20:06:36 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Jaahas, Kolme muskettikoiraa löytyisi näemmä kokonaisena YouTubesta, suomeksi ja englanniksi. Ehkä koettaisin kuitenkin mennä ajoissa nukkumaan...

[Apparently someone has uploaded the full Dogtanian series to YouTube, in Finnish and English versions. But maybe I'd try to get to bed in time regardless...]

Jaahas, Kolme muskettikoiraa löytyisi näemmä kokonaisena YouTubesta, suomeksi ja englanniksi. Ehkä koettaisin kuitenkin mennä ajoissa nukkumaan...

[Apparently someone has uploaded the full Dogtanian series to YouTube, in Finnish and English versions. But maybe I'd try to get to bed in time regardless...]___

2015-07-11 09:28:09 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Kerron tässä artikkelissa enemmän siitä, että mitkä ovat niitä unelmia joiden vuoksi perustin Kehitystön.

[English summary: in this article, I talk about why I founded Kehitystö, our new blog/community.]

Kerron tässä artikkelissa enemmän siitä, että mitkä ovat niitä unelmia joiden vuoksi perustin Kehitystön.

[English summary: in this article, I talk about why I founded Kehitystö, our new blog/community.]___

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2015-07-10 07:51:21 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

The Finnish Transport Safety Agency started making preparations for allowing robot cars on the roads, and thought that this would probably require a change to the road traffic law. Then they noticed that the law's definition for "vehicle" never actually specified that a car would need to have a driver, presumably because this had been considered too obvious to mention. "Well," they said, "that's going to make this a lot easier."

The Finnish Transport Safety Agency started making preparations for allowing robot cars on the roads, and thought that this would probably require a change to the road traffic law. Then they noticed that the law's definition for "vehicle" never actually specified that a car would need to have a driver, presumably because this had been considered too obvious to mention. "Well," they said, "that's going to make this a lot easier."___

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2015-07-09 20:33:42 (3 comments, 4 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

Take several rats. Read their brain activity. Feed some of their brain activity to the brains of all the other rats. Get an "organic computer" composed of several rat brains, capable of carrying out different classification tasks.

o.O

> Recently, we proposed that Brainets, i.e. networks formed by multiple animal brains, cooperating and exchanging information in real time through direct brain-to-brain interfaces, could provide the core of a new type of computing device: an organic computer. Here, we describe the first experimental demonstration of such a Brainet, built by interconnecting four adult rat brains. Brainets worked by concurrently recording the extracellular electrical activity generated by populations of cortical neurons distributed across multiple rats chronically implanted with multi-electrode arrays. Cortical neuronal activity was recorded and analyzed in... more »

Take several rats. Read their brain activity. Feed some of their brain activity to the brains of all the other rats. Get an "organic computer" composed of several rat brains, capable of carrying out different classification tasks.

o.O

> Recently, we proposed that Brainets, i.e. networks formed by multiple animal brains, cooperating and exchanging information in real time through direct brain-to-brain interfaces, could provide the core of a new type of computing device: an organic computer. Here, we describe the first experimental demonstration of such a Brainet, built by interconnecting four adult rat brains. Brainets worked by concurrently recording the extracellular electrical activity generated by populations of cortical neurons distributed across multiple rats chronically implanted with multi-electrode arrays. Cortical neuronal activity was recorded and analyzed in real time, and then delivered to the somatosensory cortices of other animals that participated in the Brainet using intracortical microstimulation (ICMS). Using this approach, different Brainet architectures solved a number of useful computational problems, such as discrete classification, image processing, storage and retrieval of tactile information, and even weather forecasting. Brainets consistently performed at the same or higher levels than single rats in these tasks. Based on these findings, we propose that Brainets could be used to investigate animal social behaviors as well as a test bed for exploring the properties and potential applications of organic computers.___

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2015-07-08 08:57:02 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Monilla ihmisillä saattaa olla kokemus siitä, että heidän elämänsä tuntuu enimmäkseen tyydyttävältä, mutta jotakin tuntuu vielä puuttuvan. Mitä se voisi olla?

Kehitystön Touko Kuusi​ pyrkii tarjoamaan tähän kysymykseen yhtä mahdollista vastausta artikkelissaan "Sosiaalisuus, intohimo vai merkitys? – Mitä tutkimustieto kertoo hyvistä elämänvalinnoista".

> Kuvittele itsesi istumassa yksin aurinkoisessa kahvilassa. Näet kolmihenkisen porukan saapuvan. Kuulet, että he ovat vanhoja kavereita, jotka ovat ensimmäistä kertaa sitten kouluvuosiensa jakamassa elämänkokemuksiaan. Kaverukset ovat jokainen tahollaan tienhaarassa ja he etsivät toistensa kokemuksista elämälleen suuntaa.

> Sofi kertoo, että hänestä on tullut sosiaalinen pyörremyrsky. Punaposkinen ja iloinen Sofi työskentelee asiakaspalvelutyössä. Hän viettää paljonaikaa lukuisten ystäviensä kanssa huolia ja... more »

Monilla ihmisillä saattaa olla kokemus siitä, että heidän elämänsä tuntuu enimmäkseen tyydyttävältä, mutta jotakin tuntuu vielä puuttuvan. Mitä se voisi olla?

Kehitystön Touko Kuusi​ pyrkii tarjoamaan tähän kysymykseen yhtä mahdollista vastausta artikkelissaan "Sosiaalisuus, intohimo vai merkitys? – Mitä tutkimustieto kertoo hyvistä elämänvalinnoista".

> Kuvittele itsesi istumassa yksin aurinkoisessa kahvilassa. Näet kolmihenkisen porukan saapuvan. Kuulet, että he ovat vanhoja kavereita, jotka ovat ensimmäistä kertaa sitten kouluvuosiensa jakamassa elämänkokemuksiaan. Kaverukset ovat jokainen tahollaan tienhaarassa ja he etsivät toistensa kokemuksista elämälleen suuntaa.

> Sofi kertoo, että hänestä on tullut sosiaalinen pyörremyrsky. Punaposkinen ja iloinen Sofi työskentelee asiakaspalvelutyössä. Hän viettää paljon aikaa lukuisten ystäviensä kanssa huolia ja iloja jakaen. Sofilla on rakastava aviomies ja kaksi lasta. Sofista kuitenkin tuntuu, että hän elää oravanpyörässä. Vaikka hän nauttii elämästään, häneltä puuttuu isompi päämäärä tai unelma elämästä.

> Vihtori, joka on köyryselkäinen ja yksinelävä kertoo aivan toisenlaisen tarinan. Hän saa elämänilonsa virtaukseen (flow-tilaan) pääsemisestä matemaattisessa tutkimustyössään. Uteliaisuus kokeilla uusia asioita niin matematiikan kuin elämän muilla pelikentillä vetää Vihtoria eteenpäin. Silloin kun Vihtori ei ole töissä virtauksen keskellä, tuntee hän kuitenkin onnettomuutta.

> Meriä kiinnostaa maailmanparannus. Ruskettunut ja tummatukkainen Meri viettää aikaansa ulkomailla vapaaehtoistyössä hädänalaisia auttamassa. Merillä on kuitenkin hajanainen olo. Vaikka hän tapaa uusia ihmisiä ja parantaa maailmaa, hänestä tuntuu, että kaiken keskellä hän ei ehdi ajatella omaa henkilökohtaista terveyttään tai ihmissuhteitaan tarpeeksi.

> Istuessasi kahvilassa kuuntelemassa sivussa voisit helposti päätyä miettimään kuka ystävyksistä elää hyvinvoivinta tai merkityksellisintä elämä. Onko parempi olla sosiaalinen ja suosittu vai elää yksin jatkuvan flow-tilan (virtauksen) äärellä? Vai viekö maailmanparannus kuitenkin voiton? Tutkimustieto vastaa kysymykseen toisella tavalla. ___

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2015-07-07 16:41:14 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Currently Google's DeepDream algorithm is just a fad that people are using for generating psychedelic-looking images, but I think that more advanced versions of the same technology might actually start putting artists out of work. Not even creative professions are safe from technological unemployment, it seems.

Currently Google's DeepDream algorithm is just a fad that people are using for generating psychedelic-looking images, but I think that more advanced versions of the same technology might actually start putting artists out of work. Not even creative professions are safe from technological unemployment, it seems.___

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2015-07-07 16:38:19 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

I think that the psychedelic images that DeepDream produces today are just the start of what we'll see with this kind of technology. Wrote a bit about the ways in which it could be used for image quality enhancement, putting artists out of work, and of course, generating porn.

I think that the psychedelic images that DeepDream produces today are just the start of what we'll see with this kind of technology. Wrote a bit about the ways in which it could be used for image quality enhancement, putting artists out of work, and of course, generating porn.___

2015-07-07 14:31:51 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Today's job title: Civil Liberties Engineer.

> At Palantir we have a very interesting (and probably unique) position called the ‘Civil Liberties Engineer’ (or more properly a Privacy & Civil Liberties Engineer or PCL Engineer). Describing the role of the PCL engineer can be approached in two ways – from the top-down or the bottom-up.

> Let’s start with top-down. In many ways, Civil Libertarians and Security Hawks are natural antagonists; in practice however, we find a strange allegiance in that they both tend to accept the presupposition that security versus privacy & civil liberties is ultimately zero sum. One of Palantir’s founding principles is that this belief is a fallacy. It is possible to achieve security while at the same time protecting our privacy & civil liberties.This is the core ethos of the PCL engineer and the fundamental driver foreverythin... more »

Today's job title: Civil Liberties Engineer.

> At Palantir we have a very interesting (and probably unique) position called the ‘Civil Liberties Engineer’ (or more properly a Privacy & Civil Liberties Engineer or PCL Engineer). Describing the role of the PCL engineer can be approached in two ways – from the top-down or the bottom-up.

> Let’s start with top-down. In many ways, Civil Libertarians and Security Hawks are natural antagonists; in practice however, we find a strange allegiance in that they both tend to accept the presupposition that security versus privacy & civil liberties is ultimately zero sum. One of Palantir’s founding principles is that this belief is a fallacy. It is possible to achieve security while at the same time protecting our privacy & civil liberties.This is the core ethos of the PCL engineer and the fundamental driver for everything they do. PCL engineers are ‘action-oriented’ meaning they search for solutions and paths forward rather than problems and reasons to stop; it's easy to stand on the sideline and lob opinions - it's much harder (and more rewarding) to actually wade into the fray and try to improve the world.

> Looking at the PCL engineer from the bottom-up, we find that they have three primary responsibilities. The first is understanding the nature of Palantir’s deployments and making sure that our Forward Deployed Engineers (FDEs) are considering the relevant PCL factors associated with their projects as well as the various ways our technology can mitigate those risks while still enabling the mission. This is a varied task and requires deep technical knowledge as well as creativity and empathy. The second responsibility is external communication. PCL engineers spend a great deal of time engaging with the PCL community in the US and abroad to learn about the pressing PCL issues of the day and hopefully contributing to that conversation. PCL engineers try to educate this community on the nature of our technology and our approach to solving it so we can understand if we are making the best choices as we approach these issues. The third responsibility of the PCL engineer is internal communication. This is the role of educator and sounding board. PCL engineers work closely with the Palantir community to help them understand the nature of the PCL risks associated with their work and also to hear their concerns and think about ways to address them.___

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2015-07-07 06:39:41 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

A common misunderstanding is that effective altruism = earning to give. This blog post by 80,000 hours argues that most people shouldn't be earning to give, but rather working on valuable issues directly.

A common misunderstanding is that effective altruism = earning to give. This blog post by 80,000 hours argues that most people shouldn't be earning to give, but rather working on valuable issues directly.___

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2015-07-06 18:54:59 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Olen viimeisen puolen vuolen ajan ollut rakentamassa uutta, toistaiseksi pienen piirin toimintana pyörinyttä yhteisöä ihmisille, jotka ovat kiinnostuneita kehittämään itseään ja maailmaa ympärillään. Olemme nyt alkamassa tehdä toiminnasta hieman julkisempaa ja muuttamaan tätä pienen piirin puuhastelusta koko kansan liikeeksi. Ensimmäinen osa tätä prosessia on ollut luoda säännöllisesti päivittyvä blogi, jossa tulemme julkaisemaan inspiroiviksi ja hyödylliseksi tarkoitettuja kirjoituksia, jotka perustuvat samalla myös tutkimustietoon.

Blogin ensimmäisiä artikkeleita on oheinen kehitystökollegani Toukon kirjoittama teksti siitä, miten elämän peruskysymyksiin vastaamalla voi elää merkityksellisempää ja aidompaa elämää. Tutkimustietoa on aiheesta vähän, mutta juttu pohjaa yli 30:een aihetta liippaavaan psykologiseen tutkimuslähteeseen. Filosofi Esa Saarinenehti jo ylistää tätä artikkelia omalla F... more »

Olen viimeisen puolen vuolen ajan ollut rakentamassa uutta, toistaiseksi pienen piirin toimintana pyörinyttä yhteisöä ihmisille, jotka ovat kiinnostuneita kehittämään itseään ja maailmaa ympärillään. Olemme nyt alkamassa tehdä toiminnasta hieman julkisempaa ja muuttamaan tätä pienen piirin puuhastelusta koko kansan liikeeksi. Ensimmäinen osa tätä prosessia on ollut luoda säännöllisesti päivittyvä blogi, jossa tulemme julkaisemaan inspiroiviksi ja hyödylliseksi tarkoitettuja kirjoituksia, jotka perustuvat samalla myös tutkimustietoon.

Blogin ensimmäisiä artikkeleita on oheinen kehitystökollegani Toukon kirjoittama teksti siitä, miten elämän peruskysymyksiin vastaamalla voi elää merkityksellisempää ja aidompaa elämää. Tutkimustietoa on aiheesta vähän, mutta juttu pohjaa yli 30:een aihetta liippaavaan psykologiseen tutkimuslähteeseen. Filosofi Esa Saarinen ehti jo ylistää tätä artikkelia omalla Facebook-sivullaan.

Lisää on tulossa!

[English summary: have been building a new Finnish community for people interested in improving their own lives and the lives of those around them, and we're now starting to get active online]___

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2015-07-04 16:09:04 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Dedicated retranslators:

> Luksy's translation was on the literal side, Burke says. He tended to turn a Japanese word into the equivalent English word. So Burke assumed the role of a localiser, tying Luksy's translation together to create a flow that felt natural. The pair would often debate the finer details. Sometimes, the very fine details.

> The night before we speak with Burke, one of these debates took place. Sephiroth has just killed Aeris and he says, to a devastated Cloud, "Do not worry. Soon the girl will become part of the Planet's energy." Luksy had reservations about Sephiroth's "do not worry". The Japanese is more of a "never mind", he said, and "do not worry" suggests Final Fantasy's most famous villain offers Cloud an out-of-character condolence.

> "Sephiroth doesn't really... more »

Dedicated retranslators:

> Luksy's translation was on the literal side, Burke says. He tended to turn a Japanese word into the equivalent English word. So Burke assumed the role of a localiser, tying Luksy's translation together to create a flow that felt natural. The pair would often debate the finer details. Sometimes, the very fine details.

> The night before we speak with Burke, one of these debates took place. Sephiroth has just killed Aeris and he says, to a devastated Cloud, "Do not worry. Soon the girl will become part of the Planet's energy." Luksy had reservations about Sephiroth's "do not worry". The Japanese is more of a "never mind", he said, and "do not worry" suggests Final Fantasy's most famous villain offers Cloud an out-of-character condolence.

> "Sephiroth doesn't really understand emotion," Burke says. "He doesn't care, really. We went through the dialogue and we could see that it's just that he doesn't understand Cloud's position at that moment." Burke and Luksy laboured on the point, but eventually settled on the original translation. "It's just Sephiroth being a bit of a loony," Burke says.___

2015-07-04 15:34:42 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

> Indonesians surveyed by Galpaya told her that they didn’t use the internet. But in focus groups, they would talk enthusiastically about how much time they spent on Facebook. Galpaya, a researcher (and now CEO) with LIRNEasia, a think tank, called Rohan Samarajiva, her boss at the time, to tell him what she had discovered. “It seemed that in their minds, the Internet did not exist; only Facebook,” he concluded.

> In Africa, Christoph Stork stumbled upon something similar. Looking at results from a survey on communications use for Research ICT Africa, Stork found what looked like an error. The number of people who had responded saying they used Facebook was much higher than those who said they used the internet. The discrepancy accounted for some 3% to 4% of mobile phone users, he says. [...]

> At Davos this year, Sandberg told the well-heeled crowd (paywall) that in thedevel... more »

___> Indonesians surveyed by Galpaya told her that they didn’t use the internet. But in focus groups, they would talk enthusiastically about how much time they spent on Facebook. Galpaya, a researcher (and now CEO) with LIRNEasia, a think tank, called Rohan Samarajiva, her boss at the time, to tell him what she had discovered. “It seemed that in their minds, the Internet did not exist; only Facebook,” he concluded.

> In Africa, Christoph Stork stumbled upon something similar. Looking at results from a survey on communications use for Research ICT Africa, Stork found what looked like an error. The number of people who had responded saying they used Facebook was much higher than those who said they used the internet. The discrepancy accounted for some 3% to 4% of mobile phone users, he says. [...]

> At Davos this year, Sandberg told the well-heeled crowd (paywall) that in the developing world, “people will walk into phone stores and say ‘I want Facebook.’ People actually confuse Facebook and the internet in some places.” Or as Iris Orriss, Facebook’s head of localization and internationalization, has put it, “Awareness of the Internet in developing countries is very limited. In fact, for many users, Facebook is the internet, as it’s often the only accessible application.”

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2015-07-04 15:28:05 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Apparently we've again entered the part of the year where Dark Helmet says the only thing that can be said about the weather.

Apparently we've again entered the part of the year where Dark Helmet says the only thing that can be said about the weather.___

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2015-07-04 00:45:13 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

> Earnings tend to fluctuate significantly more in highly skilled professions than in others, rising to high levels for a number of years before plunging and, ultimately, rising again. Why is this the case? [...]

> Say there is a sudden demand for more engineering graduates.

> People cannot just move straight across from other professions to fill the new roles as they don’t have the qualifications. As a result, the demand for engineers remains higher than the supply, and wages go up as companies compete to hire from the limited pool of engineers.

> Seeing the increased wages on offer, more people enroll on engineering degree courses in order to take those jobs at the end and earn those wages.

> However, when they come to the end of their courses, there may well be many more new graduates than the number of jobs available – especially as yearaft... more »

> Earnings tend to fluctuate significantly more in highly skilled professions than in others, rising to high levels for a number of years before plunging and, ultimately, rising again. Why is this the case? [...]

> Say there is a sudden demand for more engineering graduates.

> People cannot just move straight across from other professions to fill the new roles as they don’t have the qualifications. As a result, the demand for engineers remains higher than the supply, and wages go up as companies compete to hire from the limited pool of engineers.

> Seeing the increased wages on offer, more people enroll on engineering degree courses in order to take those jobs at the end and earn those wages.

> However, when they come to the end of their courses, there may well be many more new graduates than the number of jobs available – especially as year after bloated year of eager engineering graduates spill into the labor market.

> Now the supply of engineers is higher than the demand. As a result, employers can offer lower wages (perhaps even lower than they originally were) and still be sure that there will be enough engineers to fill their jobs.

> At this point, with the rewards so low, people will become much more reluctant to enroll on new engineering degree courses.

> In the short term, this will help to equalize supply and demand as the “excess” engineers from the earlier rush will be able to find jobs. But as the years go by with few new engineers entering the market, the supply is likely to fall below the demand again.

> Return to the beginning, and repeat.___

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