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Learning Updates Thread

If you want to learn philosophy or rational thinking, you need to do some stuff on a regular basis. Read books, write notes, write outlines, write articles, write journaling, study stuff, have discussions, etc.

I suggest you write a short, weekly update. How did your week go? What did you do? Did you make progress on your goals? (Figure out some goals and write them down. If in doubt, talk about it or read and watch a wide variety of things.) Do you want to make any changes going forward? Sharing this update is optional. You could do it like journaling.

Write a longer, monthly update. Reflect more on how learning is going, what's working or not working, whether you should adjust any goals or stop or start any projects, what got done or not, etc.

Sharing monthly updates is recommended. If you don't share monthly updates or explain why not, I will not regard you as actually trying to learn philosophy.

I think it'd be best if a bunch of people shared monthly updates at the same time. So let's use the first of the month. Post them below. Put the month and your name in the title field when posting a monthly update, and leave the title blank for anything else, so the monthly updates stand out more.

Posting on your own website and sharing a link here is fine too. With the link, include at least one paragraph of text with some summary and some info to interest people in clicking the link.

Elliot Temple on September 11, 2020

Messages (20)

Aug - Sept 11 curi

I suggest people post Aug updates now to get started instead of waiting to do their first update on Oct 1. I'll go first, but *don't try to copy me*.

I wrote 23 blog posts from Aug 1 through this post. Lots are related to my discussions at Less Wrong (LW). LW discussion was not very productive but worth a try and it helped clarify for me what was available there. I might continue to post there sporadically. Also it led to http://curi.us/2363-discussion-with-gigahurt-from-less-wrong

I read Rationality AI to Zombies (second half), Raft, Timelike Infinity, Flux, Ring, Moneyball, 1984, Animal Farm, Way of Kings Prime, Three Worlds Collide, POOGI Forum, Haystack Syndrome (50%), Vacuum Diagrams (50%).

I wrote 1989 words per day. That doesn't count discussions like FI posts and curi messages. I try to track, roughly, what writing I think is useful for making forward progress. I wrote 18,500 words of freewriting (a lot is similar to journaling).

I've made lots of videos, particularly for Max tutoring.

That's all good.

The world is being dumb about COVID and riots. It's revealed a lot of government incompetence. I've been following politics less and I quit posting to Twitter.

Big picture: I've continued connecting Goldratt ideas to YesNo and CF. I think I've made progress on improving the ideas, so that's good. I also wrote some Critical Fallibilism stuff but not a lot. I'm actively thinking (and writing) about target audience, writing approach, state of the world, goals, etc.

curi at 7:33 PM on September 11, 2020 | #17985 | reply | quote

> And write a *longer, monthly update*.

By chance I'm doing this today and tomorrow, and was planning to share it to FI (unlike weekly, which I don't think is necessarily interesting enough)

> If you don't share monthly updates or explain why not, I will not regard you as actually trying to learn philosophy.

I think this is fair. Esp because they don't have to talk about everything and can do it under a new pseudonym.

> So let's use the first of the month. Post them below.

Maybe use the 1st of the month from October on? (Otherwise we wait like 3 weeks?) In any case I'm going to share my one here today/tomorrow.

Max at 7:34 PM on September 11, 2020 | #17986 | reply | quote

Aug - Sep 11 Alisa

I updated my learning plan. Below is a summary of the changes.

## Goal: Spend enough time on FI

I intended to spend 2 hours per day on FI at least one day per week. On each of the other days, I intended to average 30-60 minutes on FI.

Result so far: From 2020-07-07 through 2020-09-10, I averaged slightly over 30 minutes per day total (computed with the average() function in the Google Sheet where I track my time). My time tracking is sometimes estimated (I don't always use a stopwatch), so it could be less than 30 minutes. I only had 3 days in that period (computed with sum() and if()) where I spent at least 2 hours on FI. If I were on track with my goal, I would have had at least 9 such days. I think I should change either my goal or my approach for achieving my goal.

## Goal: Practice free-writing

I intended that every day, with 50% probability, I would start off by free-writing for 5 minutes.

Result so far: I have never started off with free-writing. I think I should change either my goal or my approach for achieving my goal.

## Goal: Post to FI every day

This has been going OK.

## Goal: Keep my FI posting error rate low

What this goal amounts to is: I intend to write postmortems for ~all the errors in my posts that I learn about that are in error categories I care about (as listed in my learning plan). This has been going OK.

## Goal: Follow up on things

There are a fair number of messages from the past few months that I've been meaning to follow up on. I intend to add them to my learning plan soon in order to better keep track of them.

Alisa at 10:19 PM on September 11, 2020 | #17993 | reply | quote

#17993 I also judged that I finished Elliot's *English Language, Analysis & Grammar* and *Using Commas* essays. The remaining topic I'm currently working on is the "Check Your Understanding" section of Yes or No Philosophy.

Alisa at 10:29 PM on September 11, 2020 | #17994 | reply | quote

> I think I should change either my goal or my approach for achieving my goal.

Do you know how to make a decision like that? (How?)

curi at 10:54 PM on September 11, 2020 | #17995 | reply | quote

I finished (audiobooks):

- "Teaching Johnny to Think" by Leonard Peikoff

- "Isaac Newton" by James Gleick

- "Philosophy: Who Needs It" by Ayn Rand

- "Popper" by Brian Magee

- "Why Businessmen Need Philosophy" by Ayn Rand

I partly listened to:

- "Ending Aging" by Aubrey de Grey

- "Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman" by James Gleick

I started (audiobooks):

- "Economics in One Lesson" by Henry Hazlitt (only doing specific parts)

- "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand (co-listening)

- "The Virtue of Selfishness" by Ayn Rand

- "The Goal" by Eli Goldratt

- "The Fabric of Reality" by David Deutsch (epistemology chapters)

I posted 5 blogposts to encourage myself to keep the blog active. 3 posts where only quotes.

I started practicing typing again. I do roughly 1-2 sessions in Typesy a day.

I have moved to sitting by a folding table more and less in the sofa.

I have started reworking my goals.

My previous goals were too vague. I am working on more specified goals.

I restarted working on Simply Scheme after getting stuck and quitting.

I organised Vienna for RRS following.

I started watching some "Tutoring Max" videos.

Aug - Sept 12 nikluk at 4:18 AM on September 12, 2020 | #17996 | reply | quote

> If you don't share monthly updates or explain why not, I will not regard you as actually trying to learn philosophy.

I am not actually trying to learn philosophy. I haven't ever tried very much / very hard to learn philosophy.

I have a hobby of discussing some topics where philosophy is relevant. As a side effect of pursuing that hobby, sometimes I learn some philosophy. I expect that pattern to continue for the near term.

The near term goals I have are not about philosophy. I don't want to discuss the details of my current near term goals and my progress towards them in public for privacy reasons.

I will say that my near term goals include, as one outcome, getting to a life situation where I think I might decide to actually try to learn philosophy.

However I also recognize that I could succeed at my current near term goals, they could have the effect I anticipate on my life situation, but I might continue to decide not to try to learn philosophy.

Or I could succeed at those goals but they don't have the effect I anticipate on my life situation.

Or I could fail to achieve those goals.

Or something else could happen in my life which would prevent me from trying to learn philosophy, like major sickness or death.

So, I recognize lots of scenarios where I never actually try to learn philosophy. But I'm also still optimistic that at some point I will actually try to learn philosophy.

Andy Dufresne at 2:16 PM on September 12, 2020 | #17998 | reply | quote

Aug - Sept 11 Anne B

SICP: I went from section 1.2.4 to section 2.1.3 in SICP, completing all the exercises except Exercise 2.3, which I am still working on even though I’m doing some of the stuff after it. I watched both the lecture videos by the authors and the lecture videos by Brian Harvey, up through those covering section 2.1.3. I’ve spent 6-18 hours a week on SICP.

Analysis: I want to try different methods of organizing analysis. I did some tree analysis and some chart analysis of paragraphs or sets of paragraphs.

Grammar: I posted at least twice a month about grammar, with a focus on thinking about the grammar I learned last year so I don’t forget it.

Karate: I continued to practice 15-20 minutes a day. My focus is on learning what the correct moves are for each form and on remembering them. (I was very far from knowing all the correct moves when I started this study in February.) In this period I covered two new forms (Bassai and Sip Soo) and reviewed the nine I had worked on before August. I also improved my spear hand strikes.

Technology: I reorganized my website. I tried different methods of formatting my blog posts. I posted my first image to the curi blog. I tried Ulysses, TextSniper, Vienna. I continued to slowly work on learning keyboard shortcuts.

FI: I watched all the curi videos that came out and took notes on them, and read almost all FI posts and curi blog posts and FI Discord chat.

Reading: I’ve read at least two hours every week, sometimes taking notes and sometimes not.

Future: I plan to continue with all of this. I may do more of Simply Scheme in addition to my SICP work.

Anne B at 3:13 PM on September 12, 2020 | #17999 | reply | quote


> I watched all the curi videos that came out and took notes on them

Why don't you share notes?

Anonymous at 3:35 PM on September 12, 2020 | #18000 | reply | quote

I wrote (#17993):

> I think I should change either my goal or my approach for achieving my goal.

curi replied (#17995):

> Do you know how to make a decision like that?

I don't know what "a decision like that" refers to*. However, I can say that I don't know how to make *this particular decision*.

*I realize that it refers to decisions that are similar in some way to the one I mentioned, but that doesn't give me enough information.

Alisa at 10:07 PM on September 12, 2020 | #18001 | reply | quote

Preparing for monthly review and quarterly plan change - 2020-09-13

It's time to do my monthly review and to do my quarterly plan change.

I started documenting my thoughts on this. I decided to break it up into multiple posts. Here's the first in the series.


GISTE at 4:42 AM on September 13, 2020 | #18004 | reply | quote


> I think the biggest win was this: comparing now to the past, I now view learning with the help of other people very differently than previously. Other people can only serve a support role. This is something I knew in abstract but I don't think I successfully incorporated that thinking into my actions until recently. So like in the past, I might get a reply from Elliot and then all my thinking regarding learning goes out the window and now I'm just focussed on what Elliot said, out of context of the broader goal of me learning stuff, out of context of the framework of me driving my learning and how Elliot's ideas (or anybody's external ideas) fit into that.

I've noticed a positive difference. It's partly about being more autonomous and continuing regardless of whether I say anything or not. It's partly about solving some problems on your own instead of getting stuck and being helpless. E.g. I've noticed a few times I was considering replying to tell you something, but then you figured it out yourself later in the post.

> I now watch a lot more of Elliot's screencasts (finished all Tutoring Max series, now working to finish Tutoring InternetRules series).

You write anything about under 10% of them? Why don't you have things to say more often?

curi at 10:53 AM on September 13, 2020 | #18006 | reply | quote


> > I watched all the curi videos that came out and took notes on them

> Why don't you share notes?

I didn’t think of it. I’ll consider posting my notes in the future.

My notes would be different if I knew I was going to post them. I’d take more notes. I’d omit some personal stuff that I thought of in response to the videos. I’d think more about the videos. I’d go back more to make sure I heard and understood things correctly. I don’t know if I want to spend more time on the videos than I have been.

Anne B at 4:19 PM on September 13, 2020 | #18008 | reply | quote

Max's learning report 2020 week 38

My LR for 2020 week 38: https://xertrov.github.io/fi/105 (should work soon if it doesn't yet)

my incomplete LR from last week: https://xertrov.github.io/fi/posts/2020-09-13-learning-report-2020-week-37/

Max at 6:56 PM on September 20, 2020 | #18088 | reply | quote

I didn't post anything about my LR, partially b/c it was like 4 minutes before *tutoring max 42*.

I also posted my LR with a title for the week, but OP says to only do that per month.

I listed a lot in the LR, including links to some postmortems. I talked about about the speedrun I was doing and some updates. I listed some goals of mine, though not in much detail. I didn't really add any sort of reflection to my LR, which I think I might do next time (as well as taking more notes along the way).

Max at 5:25 AM on September 21, 2020 | #18093 | reply | quote

September 11-30 Anne B

SICP: I did Exercises 2.4 through 2.14 and posted my answers.

Analysis: Several times, I started to write an analysis of a passage but didn’t finish it. I’m doubting that the kind of analysis I was doing was good enough and/or that it was useful to me to do it. Or maybe there’s something else going on. I still have a goal of being able to analyze text better, but I’m thinking about other ways to accomplish this.

Grammar: There wasn’t anything else in September that I wanted to post about grammar. I did read a lot of what Justin and others were posting about grammar, and sometimes answered them.

Technology: I looked up how to do things, some of which I’d looked up before and forgotten, and I solved problems that came up in my apps. I spent over eight hours on this, which is more than usual for me.

FI Content: I watched and took notes on the curi videos Tutoring Max #40, #41, #42, #43, #44, Tutoring InternetRules #15, and the curi podcast Rationalism and Convention.

Reading: I spent 3-5 hours per week reading.

Bigger Picture: I’m happy with my coding work. I think I’m learning. I’d like to have another good project in addition to that so that I can switch to it when I’m tired of coding. I want to think of projects that would help me get better at reading. But I also don’t want to pressure myself to take on more than is comfortable for me, so I might also just stick with the coding.

Anne B at 8:43 AM on October 1, 2020 | #18179 | reply | quote

sept 12-30 curi

I wrote 1997 non-discussion words/day. I read some books and used RSS feeds more. I did tutoring videos and some coding work. I was harassed and banned from LW. I'm still studying Goldratt some. I'm still watching chess videos. I worked on Critical Fallibilism (CF) outlining, CF exploratory writing and CF goals/planning.

Progress is OK. No big breakthrough. Not stuck.

In Oct, I plan to do more CF and Goldratt stuff, and to mostly avoid 2020 US election politics.

(Do not try to copy the style, length, format, etc., of my updates.)

curi at 11:15 AM on October 1, 2020 | #18181 | reply | quote

sept 12-30 curi

I finished listening to:

"The Goal" by Eli Goldratt

"It's Not Luck" by Eli Goldratt

"Isn't It Obvious" by Eli Goldratt

I started listening to:

"Radical Son" by David Horowitz

Continuing Simply Scheme. Progress OK.

Started learning Ruby. Progress OK.

Worked on ~3 decision trees.

1 blogpost.

n at 2:16 AM on October 2, 2020 | #18211 | reply | quote

Sep 12 – Oct 2 Alisa

Having failed at my goal of spending more time on FI (see #17993), I set a new goal and updated my learning plan (emphasis added):

> I want to spend more time posting to FI.

> From 2020-07-07 through 2020-10-02, I averaged slightly over 30 (estimated) minutes per day writing FI posts (computed with the AVERAGE function in the Google Sheet where I track my time). Since 2020-09-11, I've been using a clock to track my time most days. My average amount of time per day spent writing FI posts as measured by the clock is 22 minutes. *I intend to spend at least 30 minutes per day writing FI posts as measured by the clock.*

> Note: The total amount of time I spend on FI is more than what's counted above, because I keep up with FI list, the curi.us comments, and the FI newsletter.

Having failed at my free-writing goal (again, see #17993), I added an easier goal to my learning plan for now:

> Every day, my goal is to free-write for 1 minute.

Once I have that under my belt, I intend to go back to the previous free-writing plan.

In #17993, I stated a goal of following up on messages from the past. I have since added those messages to my learning plan and replied to one by qqbb.

My goals of posting to FI daily and keeping my posting error rate low by writing postmortems have been going OK.

Alisa at 8:18 PM on October 2, 2020 | #18218 | reply | quote

My LR for 2020 week 40: https://xertrov.github.io/fi/posts/2020-10-04-learning-report-2020-week-40/

I reflect a bit about curi and my conversation in curi.us/2380. I have some updates on speedrunning SSOL (WR dropping, new route maybe). I started using lifetick to better manage my goals, though not sure how it'll go.

Max at 6:34 PM on October 4, 2020 | #18229 | reply | quote

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