Author Topic: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?  (Read 621033 times)

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2685 on: July 12, 2015, 10:30:47 pm »
I was wrong; SSC did a series on "Growth Mindset":

...the belief that people who believe ability doesn’t matter and only effort determines success are more resilient, skillful, hard-working, perseverant in the face of failure, and better-in-a-bunch-of-other-ways than people who emphasize the importance of ability. Therefore, we can make everyone better off by telling them ability doesn’t matter and only hard work does.

Spoiler alert: He doesn't approve.

That's such a gross oversimplification of the performance and cortical processing differences that have been measured in growth vs. fixed mindsets that I'm not even sure what to say. I would have to read his whole article to really refute it, but from  that quote it sounds like he's badly misinterpreting/misrepresenting the actual research into the effect of mindset on learning. Nobody, at least nobody credible in learning & memory research, believes that "only effort determines success" or that "ability doesn't matter".
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2686 on: July 13, 2015, 03:53:38 pm »
I was wrong; SSC did a series on "Growth Mindset":

...the belief that people who believe ability doesn’t matter and only effort determines success are more resilient, skillful, hard-working, perseverant in the face of failure, and better-in-a-bunch-of-other-ways than people who emphasize the importance of ability. Therefore, we can make everyone better off by telling them ability doesn’t matter and only hard work does.

Spoiler alert: He doesn't approve.
Can I just say: False dichotomy.

I didn't see your post yesterday, but yes. This.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2687 on: July 13, 2015, 04:09:15 pm »
I was wrong; SSC did a series on "Growth Mindset":

...the belief that people who believe ability doesn’t matter and only effort determines success are more resilient, skillful, hard-working, perseverant in the face of failure, and better-in-a-bunch-of-other-ways than people who emphasize the importance of ability. Therefore, we can make everyone better off by telling them ability doesn’t matter and only hard work does.

Spoiler alert: He doesn't approve.

That's such a gross oversimplification of the performance and cortical processing differences that have been measured in growth vs. fixed mindsets that I'm not even sure what to say. I would have to read his whole article to really refute it, but from  that quote it sounds like he's badly misinterpreting/misrepresenting the actual research into the effect of mindset on learning. Nobody, at least nobody credible in learning & memory research, believes that "only effort determines success" or that "ability doesn't matter".

There's a series of posts on it, fairly thorough from what I can gather.  I don't have enough background on it to make a strong decision either way.

Here's the series.  Posts are fairly long, for blogposts.

http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/04/08/no-clarity-around-growth-mindset-yet/
http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/04/10/i-will-never-have-the-ability-to-clearly-explain-my-beliefs-about-growth-mindset/
http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/04/22/growth-mindset-3-a-pox-on-growth-your-houses/
http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/05/07/growth-mindset-4-growth-of-office/

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2688 on: July 15, 2015, 12:08:49 am »
I was wrong; SSC did a series on "Growth Mindset":

...the belief that people who believe ability doesn’t matter and only effort determines success are more resilient, skillful, hard-working, perseverant in the face of failure, and better-in-a-bunch-of-other-ways than people who emphasize the importance of ability. Therefore, we can make everyone better off by telling them ability doesn’t matter and only hard work does.

Spoiler alert: He doesn't approve.

That's such a gross oversimplification of the performance and cortical processing differences that have been measured in growth vs. fixed mindsets that I'm not even sure what to say. I would have to read his whole article to really refute it, but from  that quote it sounds like he's badly misinterpreting/misrepresenting the actual research into the effect of mindset on learning. Nobody, at least nobody credible in learning & memory research, believes that "only effort determines success" or that "ability doesn't matter".

There's a series of posts on it, fairly thorough from what I can gather.  I don't have enough background on it to make a strong decision either way.

Here's the series.  Posts are fairly long, for blogposts.

http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/04/08/no-clarity-around-growth-mindset-yet/
http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/04/10/i-will-never-have-the-ability-to-clearly-explain-my-beliefs-about-growth-mindset/
http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/04/22/growth-mindset-3-a-pox-on-growth-your-houses/
http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/05/07/growth-mindset-4-growth-of-office/

That is a tremendous amount of writing, and the kernel of it seems to essentially be that if people misunderstand growth mindset research implications in the way that he is presenting, then the consequences could be to blame people for their own failure. He also seems to be saying that some of the results are unspectacular and difficult to interpret. And he's right.

However, what he is objecting to is a misrepresentation. I have a hard time telling whether he really misunderstands the research and implications on the profound level on which he is presenting them, or whether he is hyperbolizing in order to illustrate the potential for misinterpretation. I started formulating a rebuttal, but then noticed that your last link is where one of the researchers already has, which he was kind enough to post on his blog.

I also have to add, in response to one of his commenters, that it annoys the fuck out of me when people say things like "That is a bad study, I can hardly believe it was even published" with zero justification, when the only issue with the study is that the results aren't exactly clear-cut. Ambivalent or negative results don't make a study "bad". Design flaws or falsification make a study "bad". Honest presentation of the actual results is just science. It may be inconclusive science, but it simply acts as a roadmap for others who wish to research the same topic.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Cain

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2689 on: July 15, 2015, 12:25:12 am »
I will say this for Abercrombie - he has a formula, and he sticks with it.  Been reading Best Served Cold by him.

- Horribly crippled protagonist?  Check (after chapter 1).
- Betrayed?  Oh hell yes.
- A bit of a bastard themselves?  Undeniably.
- Reliant on smarts instead of brawn due to aforementioned crippled status?  Check.
- Assembles team of bastards to take revenge?  Check and then some.

Monzcarro "Monza" Murcatto is the captain of the Thousand Swords - a notorious and quite competent mercenary army.  Too competent in fact, an inconvenient fact which leads to her attempted assassination and being thrown off the top of a building.  Her brother is killed as well.  She's saved by an....experimental doctor of sorts, who through months of surgery manages to mostly put her mangled body back together again.  Downsides - walks with a limp, cannot use her right hand, her mercenary army is led by a traitor complicit in the plot to kill her, her former employer is close to winning his war and being crowned King.

Cue epic plan of revenge, involving a possibly autistic and extremely competent killer by the improbable name of Mr Friendly, an arrogant poisoner and his lovely assistant, a former torturer for the Inquisition, a Northman warrior meant to be seeking a better life, and an old drunk by the name of Nicomo Cosca - the former leader of the Thousand Swords until he was betrayed by...Monza.

And that's just the first quarter of the book.

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2690 on: July 15, 2015, 10:56:41 pm »
Cain, the things you read in books I've read always make me feel like I missed something.
It is motivating.
Not to read like you do, but to read a book again to see if I can see what you see.
If that makes any sense.
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Cain

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2691 on: July 16, 2015, 04:00:52 pm »
Thanks, but how so?  What have I picked on that you've missed?

Rococo Modem Basilisk

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2692 on: July 22, 2015, 12:26:32 am »
Finished The Annihilation Score a few weeks ago. It's, in my opinion, the best Laundry books -- for reasons I've elucidated at length in the spoiler thread and won't paste here.


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Cain

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2693 on: July 22, 2015, 12:42:06 am »
Good comments.  It was indeed nice to get outside of Bob's head for once, and see things from another POV, especially with regards to how he has changed over the course of the series.

It was also interesting to see Stross saying that the protagonist for some of the future planned books with be neither Bob or Mo, and that Case Nightmare Green is going to have an....interesting impact on the government's workings.  He did say the Laundry themselves could not undertake a coup, but if there are parallel paranormal branches of the British secret state or even overseas actors like the Black Chamber, they are not bound by the same rules, well... I could forsee a situation where the American paranormal services are sufficiently disturbed by a lack of seriousness on the part of the British government that they take matters into their own hands.

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2694 on: August 05, 2015, 05:10:33 am »
Poe's law ;)

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2695 on: August 05, 2015, 05:50:14 am »

I just got Churchland's "Braintrust" in the mail, so now I have to decide between that and Ariely's "Predictably Irrational".

BTW if anyone wants a really enjoyable, accessible introduction to the current state of the research in neuroscience, Churchland's "Touching A Nerve" is a good read.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2696 on: August 13, 2015, 06:00:03 pm »
I recently finished Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas De Quincey, I highly recommend it, along with Humor by Stanley Donwood.

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2697 on: August 14, 2015, 12:36:49 pm »
I'm working my way through the 'Core Sequences', also called From AI to Zombies -- this is the shit they encourage you to read before posting on LessWrong, and it's longer than Lord of the Rings. My complain with it thus far is that it's largely a shitty re-phrasing of stuff about biases that's explained more clearly elsewhere, interleaved with Yudkowsky cheerleading for nu-atheism and going on tangents about his childhood that ultimately don't support his points very well. My other complaint is that he keeps on making up new names for well-known phenomena, and weirdly misinterpreting existing names for existing things. (He has an essay about how 'emergence' doesn't mean anything. He misrepresents phlogiston as this straw-man version of shitty chemistry by pretending that it was much less of a coherent model than it really was. He claims that he has no idea why 'rationalization' is called that, after two essays about writing that looks rational but isn't. All these things sort of conspire to make him seem uninformed and kind of dumb.) Basically, I wouldn't encourage anybody to read it unless they want to understand the terminology used in LW posts; I have several completely different books to recommend if you want to understand the material Yudkowsky thinks he's teaching.


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Cain

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2698 on: August 14, 2015, 07:47:24 pm »
I think because of LW's general disdain for philosophy, there is a lot of reinventing the wheel that goes on there.  Not to mention Elizier putting forward some questionable or still highly debatable theories as if they were fact.  I'd be interested in seeing what alternatives you recommend.

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Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« Reply #2699 on: August 14, 2015, 09:49:10 pm »
I think because of LW's general disdain for philosophy, there is a lot of reinventing the wheel that goes on there.  Not to mention Elizier putting forward some questionable or still highly debatable theories as if they were fact.  I'd be interested in seeing what alternatives you recommend.

Thus far, most of what Yudkowsky has discussed has been covered better in Dennett's Intuition Pumps and in Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow. For some of the other stuff (like the Robber's Cave experiment and similar), I've seen better coverage in You are Not So Smart (although I haven't read the *books* -- my understanding is that the books are just selected blog posts, but I don't know if they contain those particular ones). He also covers material that RAW covers better, and material that is better covered by shit in the BIP. There are a handful of things Yudkowsky covers that I haven't seen covered elsewhere (such as the tendency to protect beliefs by arguing against them the same way fights happen in bad kung-fu movies -- by attacking them with one argument at a time and allowing them to heal between battles ;-) ). But, Yudkowsky has a bunch of severe rhetorical problems that really negatively impact how seriously you can take even his best essays.

For one thing, he has a lot of really good advice early on in the sequences about avoiding applause lights and avoiding using examples that fall along political lines, because certain subjects tend to make people think about things from the perspective of supporting their partisan positions rather than questioning themselves. And then he immediately proceeds to fill his essays with references to 9/11 and illustrate his examples with 'this kind of reasoning is almost as stupid as religious people are'. In other words, despite his position that religious people and neoconservatives, were they thinking rationally, would naturally come to the same conclusions as he does, he repeatedly phrases his essays in such a way that those people are discouraged from reading anything else he writes (and encouraged to see him as an arrogant ideologue with pretentions of rationality).

So much of his writing is based on the (naive) assumption that literally everyone who is reading the sequences is already a scientifically trained white male left-libertarian-leaning nu-atheist with poor self-awareness. And he proceeds to call people with those qualities 'enlightened' and 'deeply wise' while making fun of anyone who disagrees with some of his (essentially political) positions. Which means that, basically, even when he's right it's kind of disgusting (and I'm saying this from the position of a white male left-libertarian-leaning agnostic in a STEM field with such poor self-awareness that it's literally been diagnosed as a pathology). I half-expect an essay to be randomly about the superiority of trilbys over all other hats.


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