I’ve put off making a post on it for a while but something I’ve wanted to offer to anyone interested is free teaching to learn SuperMemo and incremental reading.
A big part of why I put it off is that it’s a pain to explain. Instead of explaining it, I’ll give a top level overview and a link to a video that explains it in more detail.
tl;dr: with SuperMemo/incremental reading, you can manage reading hundreds of articles in parallel (incrementally) without going insane, with long-term retention using spaced repetition. It’s a lot of fun, seriously. Unlike say Anki where you slog through reps, incremental reading intersperses learning making it highly novel and not monotonous.
If you want to try it, check out supermemo.wiki/start, download SuperMemo 18 here (no, you don’t want supermemo.com) and schedule a call with me (I’ve taught 30+ people over the last year, in ~1 hour can get you far enough to be able to start using it enjoyably). Possibly also join the supermemo discord server to ask questions.
Q: I’m on mac/linux/not windows what do I do?
A: Scroll down to mac and linux section here.
Q: SuperMemo UI is terrible!
A: yes. true. at some point though you stop caring and the lack of decent alternatives + fun will pull you through. Unless it doesn’t, in which case you could just not use it. Though I think giving it a try for at least a week is worth it.
Q: if it’s so great why does no one use it?
A: it’s a big pain to start using. it took me 5 months to start incremental reading after buying SM because I couldn’t figure out the documentation. That’s why I’m offering to teach anyone interested: I can get you to being able to use it fine after an hour.
While it’s still smallish, it’s much bigger than it was a year ago with around ~1,200 people on the SM discord server (and some amount of rat adjacent people).
If you have other questions feel free to ask. If you have insane expectations of very quick returns, probably don’t try it. I’ve taught a lot of people and the people who do consistently worst are people with high expectations and no patience for both getting better at learning/getting used to SuperMemo itself. If you don’t have insane expectations, try it and potentially get easy 10%+ long-term boost to life (or at least that’s conservatively what I’ve found. though there are massive benefits for me since ADHD renders me practically incapable of normal modes of declarative learning)
thanks for reading. seriously.
I took Raj up on this generous offer. I’ll post updates in the next few weeks as to how SM is compared to Anki!
Have any of you made an effort to apply expected utility theory to all the things you do? If so, how did you find it?
I’m guessing there are constraints that make routine application difficult but it seems like you could take those into account too
Something that’s bothered me for a while is: how is wealth created and value added to society? If I start a software company which marginally makes some people’s lives better, does this actually contribute to society? How zero sum are our efforts?I know the answer to this is somewhere in economics but I’m not really sure where and the 1 course I took on macro wasn’t really enough to answer this for me.
Any recommendations/people willing to talk me through this?
I would look at what your efforts are doing, net.
Make a software company that helps people keep track of their finances through an app? You are saving the [size of your userbase] * [hours per year each person saves or (hundreds of dollars in unneeded spending the person avoids)].
There are ways it might seem zero sum. For example, Microsoft Excel. It’s a tool that saves billions of hours versus pre-computer days, but some could argue that by occupying the niche it squats in, it prevents investment into maybe superior tools like (mathematica, google sheets, open office).
Make a software company that performs high frequency crypto trades? Arguably this is kind of zero sum—any money you scoop up is money left on the table by less sophisticated investors. Essentially you are skimming wealth from a whole bunch of people without creating any.
Say I make a software company that develops the software to adapt robotics platforms (like machines from Boston Dynamics) to do real world tasks. Probably this is absolutely a net good: in the long term, those robots are doing labor humans would have been stuck doing, and our civilization gets richer [once it finds a new job for the people the robots unemployed]. But in the short term, yes, your company workers won’t be too welcome at the factory you visit when designing the robots.
Okay nice, I think this answers half my question: can I do things that make a difference?
Where answers seems to be: just think about it, there isn’t a black magic answer
though I still want to get a better idea of what makes GDP/income/wealth of a nation increase
Well, in real terms, if the nation has N people, working M hours on average each.
Either you employ more people (economic crises cause employment to shrink and the inverse happens in booms), making M bigger and economic output larger, or you get more done per hour, making productivity higher.
Any sort of machine you invent that helps people get more done per hour increases real GDP if the machine is adopted and use many places.
For example, if you had invented the tractor, the consequences would temporarily have been mass unemployment, but later the people that would have been working in the fields can be doing other things.
You might not agree that the things they are doing are adding value—for example they might be wearing cosplay costumes in Times Square and charging tourists to take pictures of them. However, any good or service that other humans are willing to voluntarily pay for is adding to GDP, as if it were not providing value in excess of the cost, the buyer wouldn’t pay.
At an extremely basic level, different people value various goods and services differently, so if I trade something that you value more for something that I value more, then we’re both better off.
Don’t forget inventions: in the long run, changing the set of available goods and services has been even more important (!) than improving their distribution. Notable post-WWII examples include high-yield cereal varieties, smallpox and polio vaccines, everything made with semiconductors and all the services they enable...
https://clearerthinkingpodcast.com/?ep=028 listened to this episode of the clearer thinking podcast with michael vassar. Mistake theory and conflict theory get thrown around a lot but I don’t really get what they are nor how to figure out what the are. I’m not interested in in depth learning on them, does anyone have suggestions on concise summaries/sources to get a good enough idea of what they are?
See Conflict vs Mistake by Scott Alexander, and the Conflict vs Mistake tag
definition on tag already helping a ton:
Mistake theorists think problems in society are caused by people being bad at achieving common goals. Conflict theorists think problems in society are caused by adversaries with incompatible goals.
Mistake theorists think problems in society are caused by people being bad at achieving common goals.
Conflict theorists think problems in society are caused by adversaries with incompatible goals.
Thanks for pointing me to those, will give them a read!
Anyone have recommendations on good non-swiveling chairs? Unfortunately I end up fidgeting and moving around way too much with them (maybe some of my ADHD?). I’m using a normal chair now but I wonder if there’s something better for my back
How do you effectively represent knowledge in learning?
how do you effectively apply recognition primed decision making rather than lesswrong biases?
Is breadth of knowledge, depth of knowledge or applicability of knowledge more important? Whatever the answer is, how do you more dakka the hell out of it?