Classified Thread 3: Semper Classifiedelis

This is the…monthly? bimonthly? occasional?…classified thread. Post advertisements, personals, and any interesting success stories from the last thread. Also:

1. Iacta_Procul, who posted about some of her life/mental health problems on the subreddit a few weeks ago, and who lots of people said they wanted a way to help, has decided to quit her dead-end job and try to start a math tutoring company. She has a Masters in math and offers to tutor any non-statistics undergrad mathematics, or any necessary test prep for the SAT/ACT/GRE/GMAT (including English/vocabulary/non-math sections). If you’re interested, contact her on Wyzant.

2. Isak – who doesn’t comment here much but is pretty active on Rationalist Tumblr Discord – is homeless right now, having trouble getting his disability check, and asking for some money to help stay afloat and get his life back on track. See his Fundly campaign page for more information.

3. An old friend of mine is looking for AI/data science people in North Carolina who he can ask questions about the opportunities there. If that describes you, email me at scott [at] shireroth [dot] org and I can get you in touch. (got enough responses; thanks to everyone who emailed)

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164 Responses to Classified Thread 3: Semper Classifiedelis

  1. wearsshoes says:

    Can anybody suggest use cases for a crowdfunding platform where backers create a pool of money, to be taken by whichever creator is first able to deliver a satisfactory product or occurrence? This is for a project related to my studies.
    Some that I’ve already thought about are Open Source software, fan art, and community organizing.

    • zorbathut says:

      This is cough a tiny bit larger in scope than the others, but you’ve basically described X Prize.

      • 6jfvkd8lu7cc says:

        And there was the Longitude Act leading to multiple rewards paid mainly for improvements to time keeping hardware.

        I guess in the modern days Open Hardware development is just as plausible a target as Open Source Software.

      • hnau says:

        There’s also the Millennium Prize Problems in mathematics.

        Thinking at the smaller scale, a lot of question-answering sites like Quora and StackExchange have “bounty” systems that let users offer a reward for helpful answers.

        In between those extremes it’s harder to come up with examples. You mentioned open source and fan art, which are both excellent ideas. Anything that would normally be copyrighted falls into this category, really– writing, video, podcasts, translations, music, etc. Educational materials might be a particularly cool application.

        The “occurrence” category is a little weirder and could get creepy fast, depending on what kind of occurrence you have in mind. It’s also harder to reward fairly– how do you verify who made something happen? One possible workaround would be to offer to donate the pool of money to a relevant nonprofit instead.

        • 6jfvkd8lu7cc says:

          Everything can get creepy fast… Literal Genie staisfaction of constraints can ruin everything.

          For many events it is easy to verify who made something happen, if there are multiple visible technical roles to coordinate or some special equipment to provide, the organiser can make this structure provable.

          And if there is nothing traceable needed for organisation — why exactly this group of people ready to pay real money for something to happen needs an external entity?

        • wearsshoes says:

          I think that any successful platform of this type would need to moderate the types of things that could be bountied, and would have inevitable spin-offs which sought to provide markets for people who disagreed with the form that this moderation took. I think that there would have to be an awareness of the assassination market problem and strong moderation / community norms in place to prevent such a platform from becoming associated with that problem.

          Educational materials is a good one, thank you!

    • 6jfvkd8lu7cc says:

      Maybe you are being too specific. Software (and hardware development) bounties could be reasonably (this is worse, but may require lower bounty to be appealing) just escrow-source: there would be a legal obligation to either continue selling with a specified acceptable price formula, or release the source in case of discontinuation.

      Art could be comissioned as fully original with different limitation than being inside some universe. After all, companies have used bounties for original art for advertisements, this sometimes works.

      Generally, if you want to enumerate less-obvious use cases, I would recommend searching for historical examples of bounties, and look at any kind of statistics classified by sectors of economy — for every kind of possibly paid activity, check if it has scalable benefits and whether there could be a bounty put on it.

      For example, if there are multiple sports centers in an area, a group could offer a bounty to the first sports center to offer some specific set of less common activities/equipment (I guess acceptance would require a legal commitment to offer month passes in the next three years below some specific price, adjusted by officially published inflation level).

      Of course, in some case — for example, with Open Source software — bounties create interesting incentive situations in term of short-term features vs. long-term maintenance.

      • wearsshoes says:

        Escrow-source (I’ve not heard that particular phrase before) is a good idea, and I’d been advised that this was a source of large legal complexity that I should avoid before my concept for this platform had been more fleshed out. Open-source is an area where norms and strong legal frameworks for sharing are already established.

        Incentives are a good point. Perhaps it would turn out that people were willing to fund maintenance, but inevitably you’d run into the whole problem of overjustification effects sapping intrinsic motivation. Maybe open source coders should start Patreons.

    • RDNinja says:

      Wesearchr basically did this for bounties for dirt on politicians and public figures. I think some even got paid out before it imploded.

      • wearsshoes says:

        If you know more, could you tell me or link me to the history of how Wesearchr went from being that to the more general crowdfunding site for alt-right causes that it is now?

        • RDNinja says:

          I don’t know the details. You should ask Clarkhat (on Twitter, or occasionally in these comment sections). All I know is that it was founded by Chuck Johnson and Pax Dickinson, then Pax said he wasn’t getting paid anymore, accused Johnson of fraud, etc., left and started his own alt-right crowdfunding site (Counter.Fund). That’s what I gathered from Clarkhat’s Twitter feed, anyway.

        • nydwracu says:

          My guess is that they needed to bring in money and realized their platform could also be used for crowdfunding. If I’m remembering correctly, Pax understood the potential for Wesearchr to eventually be used for crowdsourced scientific bounties and the like — but I think the obvious political difficulties would’ve made it very difficult for Wesearchr to pivot in that direction.

    • Brad says:

      Isn’t this model socially wasteful? All the person-hours of work put in by everyone that doesn’t win is deadweight loss. No one sees it, no one benefits from it, and it isn’t compensated.

      • wearsshoes says:

        That’s a good critique. Many other creative processes have high waste though, such as startups, novel-writing, and biomedical research. I’m not convinced that the equilibrium for this model would be any worse. Furthermore, for many (not all) types of projects, if a project bid is not accepted the creator will have a usable product that they own the full legal rights to and can use in some other way.

      • Petro says:

        1) Depending on what is being done you can create a bounty for just the proposal to do the work, then award that. That limits the deadweight loss to the time in creating the proposal.

        2) If the work is for some sort of tangible product those that don’t win can flip their work over to Kickstarter and source the work anyway–having competition is often good for producing better products.

        3) As part of the bounty process allow people interested in doing the work to register and form teams.

        • wearsshoes says:

          Going off of #1, you could even have spec writers bidding to create satisfactory specs for pools asking for something like “a specification for X that we collectively like”, I think.

    • Petro says:

      I wrote a proposal for something like this and posted it to the Cypherpunks mailing list in…late 1995 or early 1996 that essentially encapsulated your first sentence. This was the “Bounty Software Project” that never got off the ground because I get distracted easy and was a REALLY bad programmer back then.

      These days there seems to be at least one implementation of that idea–

      To answer your question directly: Anything you can write a clear acceptance criteria for that one or more people want. Seriously. *ANYTHING*. Production runs of multiple physical items will be more problematic than say “We want a tool like Google Docs (Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Shared Drive) that we can install our own instances of”, but there’s no reason you couldn’t do a two part bounty where one is “we need a design for a shoe with these critera (vegan leather, zero drop commando sole, Goodyear or Norwegian welt, etc.) and the follow it up with a a build bounty for “200 to 500 pairs of this design to provided sizes, including wide and narrow widths…).

      Back in ~1994 Jim Bell wrote a piece of work where he described how to build a “Deadpool” to pay for contract assignations. The only problem here is the anonymous payment infrastructure/currency. And that’s about as extreme–and literally–a bounty as you’d get.

      Kickstarter et. al are basically about 90 degrees off of this–the person who would “win” the contract under what you’re proposing says “I can build this” and a bunch of people throw money at them until it either gets done, or fails.

      You’re just doing it slightly different–you’re saying “I want this thing built, who else wants it” and you start piling up money. At some point someone will say “Ok, it’s worth my time to build that”.

      • wearsshoes says:

        Thanks, this is really helpful! Since this project was derived from research on existing crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter, I already had the sense that in principle nearly anything goes.

        I was thinking about what would happen if proposals could be linked in some way such that users could allow an incentive pool or some part thereof to be offered to whoever finished any one of the related projects. For example, if one backer wanted a utility knife with certain functions, a second backer wanted one with similar but not identical functions, and a third backer felt that either of these projects would satisfy their need. Would that have implementation challenges?

        • 6jfvkd8lu7cc says:

          I think that would create complex incentive structures. This can either lead to efforts spent on metagaming, or to general frustration, in arbitrary combinations.

          (and in your example there are all the partial scalability issues linked to physical delivery — with Kickstarter you know the subscriber count before you buy the materials, here with overlapping pools you will have madness)

    • 6jfvkd8lu7cc says:

      And a counter-question: what are your current plans about timeframe management? With Kickstarter there is a well-understood date for go/no-go, and then projected delivery date, and then a general understanding of how production delays work. So you can tell the user «commit or do not commit».

      In your model users do not know the timeframe. And I guess many users will want to commit to something like «this year or I don’t care». Will it be precommitment to selected date? Can commitment be extended? What information do you reveal about pool size evolution?

      • wearsshoes says:

        These are all critical questions, but I’m nearing the edge of my depth right now. Allowing backers to leave the pool freely would lead to tragedy of the commons type problems. I think backers could be individually allowed to choose the duration of their bid, but that if so this must be set beforehand. If nothing meets the spec in this timeframe, you get your money back. Some kind of reward system to incentivize longer bids? Definitely options to renew.

        Don’t know about what information you’d reveal. Seems like it would be good to at least label “trending” pools, maybe allow even more transparency. If antes aren’t permanent, indicating projected future dropoff might be relevant too, to give creators some sense of whether or not a project will be worth it later. This seems like a headache for creators, though.

        Thanks for giving me stuff to research!

        • 6jfvkd8lu7cc says:

          Well, you need to freeze money (because even with sincere commitments both payment data and contact data expire in single-digit years). So unlimited-length antes with no guarantee of ever getting anything (not even a creator’s promise — the creator isn’t there yet) would not be popular with backers.

          You have to reveal the pool size at least at some reasonable points in future (according to current commitments), because for some things one-month commitments make sense, and for some things one-year commitments are too short — you should assume that only creators can distinguish such things, and then you have to give them information for such a decision.

          But the notion of «trending» will reveal something about 2D distribution of «pool size at date X according to commitments done by date Y». Because «yesterday this pool got $10’000 with deadline of two months» and «last quarter this pool got $50’000 with deadline of four years» are very different notions of «trending» — both are relevant.

          A note on transaction costs — charging then refunding has a cost, you probably want to pass it to users explicitly, and this means that you should provide a very clear path both to get a refund and to move the refund into a different pool. The latter option, of course, is better for the user transaction-cost-wise.

    • SUT says:

      “The Netflix Prize”, Kaggle, InnoCentive,, The Hackaday Prize.

  2. buttcake says:

    Is there anyone here by any chance from Trieste, Italy ?
    I’m looking to make irl friends.

    • Petro says:

      A few years ago my brother was laid off from work after almost 12 years at a large development company.

      I had him send me his resume.

      His email address at the time was

      Now, I suspect that “69” has the same connotations in Italy–I’ve been to Pompeii–as it does in America, so I trust you see the problem in a professional…um, software development professional, not the other kind..environment, no?

      Ok. So given your “screen name”, is that going to filter *out* the kind of people you want to meet, or filter them in?

      • noyann says:

        Neither. I would think he was born in ’69.

        • Petro says:

          Oddly, that never occurred to me, because he was. Which explains why he chose it.

          But I bet there are more people in America, and in HR and related functions that would see it my way instead of that way.

          But the point is, why take the risk when it’s just as easy NOT to?

      • buttcake says:

        I just thought it’s a funny name lel.

  3. Rick Hull says:

    As a software engineer, I am interested in back end, infrastructure, and devops work, primarily remote though locally flexible and interested in travel.

    Elixir > Ruby > Python > Perl > Bash

    Contact me at gmail dot com

    • honoredb says:

      I really would like to see more SSC readers at Medidata, we’re a potentially high-leverage place to fix the kinds of issues with clinical trials that Scott talks about. We have an SF office and do a lot of Ruby microservice and infrastructure work. I’ve put you into the system so I hope somebody in SF will reach out to you. I’m in NY, but if you’d like to talk feel free to contact me (work email is aweiner at mdsol dot com).

  4. sinesalvatorem says:

    [TL;DR – Seeking platonic meetups irl in the Bay Area]
    Advertising in this thread has been working out surprisingly well given that I usually get here late. So, count me as a satisfied participant! Nonetheless, I hope actually catching this thread in time will mean I can properly fill up my calendar. So, here’s the same ad as last time:

    I am Sine Salvatorem from Tumblr and, while I rarely comment here, I’ve met Scott a few times, been linked in his links posts four times (that I recall), have read every post on this blog, attended meetups, and generally kept up with SSC. I also have a blog that random people at parties recognise me from, so that’s nice.

    This is sort of a personals ad, but not a very date-y one. I just really really like hanging out with new people; ideally one-on-one. The degree to which meeting people to spend time with is quality-of-life improving for me is pretty huge, so I’m willing to go out of my way to do so, if anyone in the SF Bay Area would like to meet up with me (I can mostly transport myself).

    I am open to hanging out with pretty much anyone in a wide variety of settings. Thus far, I’ve found cafes, restaurants, and individual people’s houses to be the nicest sensory environments. I’m OK with having long winded conversations about abstruse topics (ask me about what amateur maths or linguistics I’m working on this week) or with coworking most of the time and not really saying much. I am also cool with actually going on dates with people who want to do going-on-dates, but it should be noted that I’m a lesbian.

    If you are at all interested in hanging out with a random blogger individually, please feel free to contact me! I am actually super open to being contacted and it’s hard to mess up when saying hello to me. I can be contacted via:
    -Tumblr as sinesalvatorem
    Facebook as Alison St
    -Email as alison[dot]streete[at]
    -OkCupid as sinesalvatorem

    (Facebook and Tumblr work way better than the other two, since I check them every day instead of once a week.)

    • jonatankilhamn says:

      I’m a long-time reader of SSC, from Sweden, and my doctoral school is doing a study trip to SF in a few weeks. I went looking for meetups and stuff and found this. I have this rose-tinted view of the amazing SF scene, and I’m dreaming of a supernatural guide to help me cross the threshold into that magical world. If that’s overhyped, then I’m looking for a person to spend time with me while I’m there, or even better introduce me to a moderately-sized meetup or other social occasion.

      I read your post about being the welcome wagon, so I guess you’re my best first point of contact, Alison! I, uh, also found your dating quiz and took it just for fun, but I’m not interested in dating you romantically.

      If anyone else is reading this and wants to introduce themselves to a confused Swede visiting for a few days, please do! I’ll be staying at Union Square on Oct 16th, and then in Palo Alto on Oct 17th–21th. I think I’ll be free for socialising pretty much every evening 16th–20th!

  5. Rebecca Friedman says:

    Oooh, I’m getting in early!

    Hello, everyone! Basically the same add from last time: I am a freelance editor specializing primarily in fantasy and science fiction, but good for most types of fiction (the more of a genre I’ve read, the better I am; no sex scenes please, I’d be utterly useless, and I don’t read mysteries by desperately trying to solve them ahead of the detective, so I can critique all other aspects of your mystery but not that one; that said, I have no problems at all with stuff that doesn’t quite fit in any genre, or is generally strange – I enjoyed Unsong) and occasionally interesting non-fiction. My previous work includes fantasy, light romance, the variety of not-quite-fantasy where the geography and history are invented but no magic is present, superheroes, urban fantasy (you may be noticing a pattern here), military sci-fi, mysteries (usually fantasy mysteries), and “interesting nonfiction” (mostly my father’s books, that’s how I got started). Not all of this is published, but for some representative samples: Harald (see note about how I got started), Cantata (a really early one which I firmly recommend on its own merits), and Curveball (web serial superhero fiction, some of the editing I have done is in visible comments, though not all).

    My own website is here. My prices are, according to my advisers, unreasonably low, but it seemed like a good idea while I work on developing a clientele. (I might be better at editing than marketing.) I realize random online people may not be the most credible, so I have an offer to do five pages free, so you can get an idea of what you’re gonna be paying for: worst-case scenario, you still have the five pages. (And for anyone high-scrupulosity: I won’t be offended if you try and then end up deciding getting edited isn’t for you.) Contact info is on the website, and – that should be it! Ask if you have any questions.

    • RDNinja says:

      Can I ask, what is your comfort level with religious content? I have an SF novel (Firefly-esque medical mystery with aliens) with two devout missionaries among the main characters. Is that something you think you could do justice to?

      • Rebecca Friedman says:

        OK, so missionaries/religion aren’t an issue at all. I’m Christian. >.> And I majored in Italian medieval and renaissance literature, so am quite used to literature with religious themes/religion as the topic. (Including reading Ricci on China – so at least some missionaries in specific.)

        I don’t have any significant background in medicine, however. So if you need someone who can double-check that you got that part of it right, I unfortunately won’t be able to do that. I can tell you whether it’s coherent to someone who doesn’t have extensive medical experience; I don’t know which of the two you’re primarily looking for. (And, obviously, I can do normal SF editing.)

        So, depends what you’re looking for! But the religion is very much not a problem.

        • Philipp says:

          So is it primarily line/copy-editing that you are doing, then, Rebecca, or do you also do more conceptual stuff?

          (A thought, which I add only because I’d hate to think that potential customers might turn elsewhere over something easily fixed: I found the text of your personal website difficult to read, and that’s with a well-lit laptop screen in a room that’s only a little dark. I wonder if a different type-face–perhaps sans-serif, perhaps a standard serif font like Garamond, at least for the longer paragraphs–would be easier on visitors. The color of the lettering and the size of the text-boxes might also be things to play around with; to my mind’s eye, even just switching the text to black would help a lot, but of course only experimentation could tell. Either way, good luck with the editing business!)

          • Rebecca Friedman says:

            I do everything. Well, everything except formatting – my medium is text. So I can do everything from its/it’s up to “this plot twist is throwing away all the tension you’ve carefully built up” or “I don’t understand why this character is doing this.” (Or, of course, “this plot twist really works” – it is important to tell the author what works as surely as what doesn’t, both are useful information.) I usually send back both the document with lots of individual comments inserted into the text (which are a mixture of straight grammar/typo/missing word stuff, stylistic rhythm-of-this-line-feels-off stuff, and commentary on the story itself) and a second document with overall comments on plot elements, detailed explanations of grammatical points, and all the stuff that’s too long a discussion to work in in-text comments.

            … and not again. You’re the second person to describe trouble reading the font; I like it and it’s perfectly readable for me, but at two separate people I should probably do something about it. Maybe Sunday – I have a rush job for the next two days which should eat up most of my time until then. Thank you for the feedback; it’s useful to know.

          • TheEternallyPerplexed says:

            Seconded about the site design. IDK much about WordPress, but maybe one of the templates (search “wordpress website template free”) can be tweaked to your taste?
            Nitpick: “http://” (always test-click your links).

          • Rebecca Friedman says:


            Oh dear, but that is a template!

            I’ll tweak it, I’ll tweak it. Thank you for the feedback – really.

            … and how did I do that. OUCH. Oh dear. Thank you for the good advice – I will definitely keep that in mind.

        • gbear605 says:

          I also agree that the font and overall website design (especially the color combination) leave me with a feeling that I shouldn’t trust your copy-editing skills.

          • Rebecca Friedman says:

            Thanks for the feedback! I’ll keep that in mind.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            I don’t have a problem with the color combination. The font strikes me as only slightly eccentric.

            However, the big problem is that the lines are much too long for easy readability.

    • TheEternallyPerplexed says:

      Sounds good to me (but I am not a native speaker, and advertising specialists will always come up with something even better).
      The UI idea was, you swapping help with Rebecca Friedman for her website design, me playing the matchmaker.

      • Rebecca Friedman says:

        … I confess I’m a bit confused, not sure who you’re talking to? For the record, that is something I would potentially be interested in, but it’d depend on details. Otherwise I’ll just redo it myself. At any rate, thanks for the interest!

  6. stoodfarback says:

    Need a ruby expert? I’m a freelancer looking for new clients. While most of my expertise is in ruby, I can do the usual full-stack stuff (html/css/js/ops).

    I’ve also been playing with elixir recently, which I really enjoy. Would be interested in a more junior role working with phoenix/elixir/erlang.

    Available for up to ten hours per week. Rate is negotiable and depends on project specifics, but as a rough range expect something around $100-150/h.

    Contact is my username @ gmail.

  7. yossarian says:

    A mad scientist currently doing corporate data wrangling looking for a job in an English-speaking (preferrably, I can learn another language yet) country. You can see my resume at linkedin here. To complement my mostly-IT resume, I’ve studied chemistry, biology, physics, math, some geology… I’ve driven a tractor, and I worked at a collider. Looking for a job or an advice on what kind of a job an IT-leaning polymath can find. If you want to get in touch, you can either send me a message on linkedin, or mail me at nitrat [at] mail [dot] ru.

  8. pipsterate says:

    Last time I advertised a webcomic I write and illustrate, which I’ve described as “epic fantasy from a rationalish perspective.”

    The response here was generally positive, but many people complained about the font being difficult to read, especially on mobile. I’ve changed the lettering since then, so you will probably find it much more legible now.

    • rahien.din says:

      Just started from the beginning. I really like the pixellated quality of your artwork, and how you manipulate pixel size. Very evocative! The story and the dialogue are nice and crisp. Looking forward to reading more.

      I agree that the font is distracting at first – A vs R in particular – but I don’t think I’ve made it far enough in to appreciate your changes. And I can mostly top-down it into place now.

    • Ninmesara says:

      I’ve been following the story, and both the universe and the story are compelling. The only criticism is that I think fight scenes are taking way too much space. I loved the dialogues in which characters discuss details of the word, and the strategic balance between the factions of the galaxy. Fight scenes are interesting too, but I feel they drag too much. Other than that it’s great!

      • pipsterate says:

        Fair point, it is a bit excessive to use so many pages to represent only a few minutes of combat. I do look forward to getting back to more dialogue scenes once the current fights are finished.

        Thanks for reading!

  9. Ana_BCN says:

    Is anyone else looking for IRL friends in Barcelona, Spain?

    Basically I’ve been mostly a lurker in SSC for a year and a half or so, and read back on a lot of Scott’s previous writing. I have no online presence with which to advertise myself. Here are the basics:

    I’m female, mid-20s, background in Mathematics, currently doing a PhD in Logic. I enjoy reading, mostly fiction. My favorite thing to do with someone is talking at length about whatever is interesting to at least one of us – preferably both :). I also really like singing (100% amateur).

    If you want to meet and chat (not date) please drop me a line at ana_bcn [at] protonmail [dot] com.

  10. TheTime says:

    Have you ever thought “I really want to see a poetry slam about fear, hell and supernatural ideas inspired by the pro suffering position from the Suffering Vs. Oblivion debate in Hebrew“?
    Well, you delightfully weird person, it’s your lucky day: רוחות ושדים
    (if the words aren’t clear enough there’s a transcript in the dooblydoo)

  11. mobile says:

    Earlier in my career as a physician I lived in eastern Tennessee under a federal program that subsidizes physicians to work in underserved parts of the country (not unlike the premise of Northern Exposure). I treated enough morbid obesity and opioid addiction than I ever thought there could be. I belong to a loose confederation of mid-career physicians with similar experiences, now practicing mainly in coastal US cities. We call ourselves Doctors Without Borderers.

  12. albertborrow says:

    Does anyone know an easy place to do fiction editing work on the internet? Destructive reading is a hobby of mine, but I get the feeling some of the work I do is worth spare change. This is a spur-of-the-moment comment, so I haven’t done too much research.

  13. Walter says:

    Scott is awesome for helping out readers. I love how this community pitches in to fix problems with the world. I hope that Iacta and Isak’s situations improve!

    I write a web serial called The Fifth Defiance about superpowered people, here’s the link.

  14. Emily says:

    Habitica ( is an app/website where you can track your habits, daily tasks, and goals and get points for getting done the stuff you want to get done. I’ve found it mindbogglingly helpful for getting certain kinds of self-improvement done. I floss! I code in Python! I have a new job!
    There’s a party capability as well, where you can quest. I’m not sure how useful this piece is relative to the rest of it, but if you want a party to do occasional quests with (and get very occasional reminders if we’re questing and keep getting hit because you haven’t done your dailies), you can post your user ID here and I’ll invite you, or PM me on reddit (heterodox_jedi).

    • armorsmith42 says:

      Is having the app crash multiple times while first trying it out an aberration? That was my experience and I concluded that it was a much less production-ready app than it perhaps was.

      • Emily says:

        I don’t think the app has ever crashed on me. I’ve gotten some error messages and I’ve had some issues where I add goals on my mobile device but they don’t actually get added.

  15. Isaac says:

    I’m an aspiring rationalist looking of people to discuss matters of common interest with.
    I train neural nets and make pretty pictures of data. I read books and watch a tiny subset of anime.


    Tell me about yourself, ask me about myself, let’s talk about interesting things!

    If any of this sounds interesting, contact me.
    Email address:

  16. piato says:

    I’m looking for people to be excited about Magic: The Gathering with, on the internet. I’m looking for two groups of people, not necessarily overlapping:

    1) People who’d like to post/play silly deck-constraint challenges with one another via Skype/TappedOut
    2) People who are interested in discussing MTG as a 25-year work of corporate art that can be talked about using the vocabulary of art-criticism, and hence want to discuss things in a way that’s much more Killing A Goldfish than Cardboard Crack.

    (email – mostlyconnect at gmail)

  17. anyonymouspoliticalmusings says:

    Is anyone here a Haskell developer looking for a gig? My startup (a platform for virtual guidance) is always on the lookout for strong engineers that know Haskell. We are venture backed, offer competitive pay packages, and are tackling a big problem (guidance inequity in the US education system).

    If you’re interested, you can find a full job description and apply here:

    • Izaak says:

      I’m a new graduate as of next May, I’ve worked in Haskell as often as I can on my own time, and I’m interested in finding a job that uses Haskell. Should I bother applying?

      • Dai says:

        There’s really no harm in applying, and it’s the best way to find out what exactly companies want.

        The best way to bridge perceived experience gaps like that is to have a strong GitHub with cohesive projects to show. Particularly if you have skills in something else like devops (typically not taught in school, so it’s good to demonstrate experience somehow), or frontend (they use React, last I recall).

        • anyonymouspoliticalmusings says:

          We generally tend to hire folks with more experience, but if your skills are strong, our tech team is open to candidates from all backgrounds

  18. rahien.din says:

    I’m looking for someone to help me with a (probably very basic) database problem.

    I have a set of data that is currently segmented into multiple .csv files. I’d like it to be in a single database so I can analyze it easily. This data set is constructed on an annual basis, with multiple updates through each fall. So, rather than a single compiling job, I’m seeking a method to be able to compile whenever I like. I would like this method to exist in such a way that I could see it, to understand/modify it.

    This is all for a spare-time hobby, so I don’t have any professional contacts who would do this for me. I’ve tried to build an Access query, but I suck at query design, and have since been told that Access is near-obsolete anyway. Moreover my laptop lacks the power to execute an operation of this size in a way that would let me experiment. I’ve tried to hire the job out (via Brickwork), but the proposed solutions were all web-based, such that I would have to pay for a domain name indefinitely in order to keep using the method, and I would not be able to own/modify it. I have basically no programming skills.

    Here’s my rot13’ed email : fuht.onepn@tznvy.pbz. Email me if you’re interested. I will send you the data set and describe how I would like the method to compile it, and we could talk payment.

    • Walter says:

      Bet we are enough nerds that it’ll get done for free right here in the replies.

      Feels like the pseudocode we need is:

      0: Target folder, can be a hard coded value
      1: Make a list of the .csv files in the target folder
      2: For each file in the list, read it into a string and add it to a collection of strings
      3: for each string in the collection of strings, slit it by commas and turn it into an object, add the new object to a collection of objects
      4: for each object in the collection of objects, add it to a DB query
      5: execute that query

      Anybody want to make a real version?

    • 6jfvkd8lu7cc says:

      It may be that the transaction friction is higher than the effort needed for the actual task.

      I haven’t done specification-nitpicking for some time, so I will try to ask questions without any intention to actually solve the problem (hopefully, posting the answers will help you actually get the assistance you want).

      1. You say that the data size is large — how large in objective units?

      2. You want a single database to analyze — what do you expect this database to be? A unified CSV? A database in some format you already know how to use (what format)?

      3. You say data comes annually. Is the format always the same? I mean column layout and data representation in each column.

      4. You say «multiple updates each fall». Are the updates strictly additive? Does an updated CSV replace all the CSVs that have come earlier that fall? Or are the updates replacing a subset of lines?

      5. CSVs… they are all different. Do you CSVs have the same delimiter? Do they need quoting? Do they have multiline string entries?

      6. You say the notebook you want to use for that is not powerful enough to experiment too much. (Side note: maybe you can manually cut out some subset of data, of total size around a thousand lines in a dozen of files, and experiment with that?) What is the environment you would prefer to use? For example, what is the operating system? How large or how complex to install are the extra tools allowed to be? Are there some tools installed that you would actually prefer to use, so that it would be simpler for you to understand the complete solution?

      For example, for Linux/MacOS, always the same layout, numbers-only, same-delimiter, only-new-lines, huge-CSV-output case the solution could be just

      (head -q -n 1 "$(ls input/*.csv | head -n 1)"; tail -q -n +2 input/*.csv) > merged/out.csv

      But this is the simplest case possible, and approximately the most corner-cutting solution possible.

      • rahien.din says:

        I may not know how to answer some of these.

        1. The main table contains 135,289 entries, with 13 columns apiece. There are three other tables that modify or add columns, and three others that allow the renaming of certain values. There is a simple uniquely identifier for each entry, spanning all of these tables.

        2. I mostly don’t mind the exact format. As long as it stays within a Windows-based ecosytem, I should be able to get it into Excel where I do all my analysis.

        3. The format is the same, or, it is close enough that I am willing to clean it up.

        4. Updates add new entries to the tables, using the same format.

        5. I believe the .csv’s share the same delimiter. At least, there’s nothing that seems different about any of the files. I might not have the technical chops to answer this appropriately.

        6. My notebook is an Asus that I bought at Best Buy in an emergency and it gags on this dataset. I am only familiar with Windows. While I would like to be able to fully understand the solution, I don’t think that I will have the available mental overhead (given everything else IRL) to take advantage of that. I mean, I haven’t even mastered what is probably a very basic database problem. Functionality is number one. As to the size and complexity of the tools, I’m not looking for flash, and simpler is probably better, but, I am not sure I fully understand the trade-off.

        • colton says:

          Long time lurker, registered to come out of the woodwork because this seems to be an interesting problem. Hi!

          It sounds like all of your analysis happens within Excel, so I suspect that a database might just end up adding unneeded complexity. Instead, you probably just need something to merge all of these CSV files into a single file format Excel can handle (probably also CSV for simpler code handling, but I digress).

          It sounds like the real complexity here will come from the tables that modify/add columns and/or rename values. Could you provide examples or, if more practical, the actual files?

          • Petro says:

            Colton’s right–what you need is an Excel guy, not a database guy.

          • skef says:

            If what you need amounts to translation from individual CSVs to some appropriate, and likely different, arrangement in an Excel workbook (including, for example, multiple tabs), and would like this converter to run on your windows laptop, that’s quite straightforward, and I could do it for you. Just reply here indicating interest and I’ll write to your email.

          • rahien.din says:

            It sounds like the real complexity here will come from the tables that modify/add columns and/or rename values.

            Definitely that. Further, there are many entries which simply don’t contain information and need to be ignored. Teaching Excel to ignore them is something I could implement, but at the heavy cost of weird array formulas and unwieldly INDEX-MATCH lookups. And the laptop would brick itself.

            I suppose a VBA could do that more efficiently, but I am definitely below the VBA level, other than creating simple mathematical functions.

            EDIT : Correction! This link will download a .zip of the 2005 data.

          • skef says:

            This link will download a .zip of the 2005 data.

            With data like this, it might be more straightforward to go with a real DB (MariaDB, perhaps) and get someone to give you an appropriate SQL query or view. Each of these CSVs will go into the DB with a single command (e.g. mysqlimport), which could be followed up with a little bit of SQL to build indexes (for performance).

        • eccdogg says:

          I recently merged about 100 csv files each with about 400k lines each into one csv file using R and I still have the code for that. If you are willing to do R I could give that to you.

          Could you give more detail of the exact problem? Is this for football statistics by any chance (multiple updates in the fall seems to fit).

        • Nonketh says:

          Okay, well, if I wanted to get some CSV files into a relational database on a slow computer, then I’d download SQLite, open sqlite3.exe and run the following commands:

          .open database // open a database file, creating it if it doesn't exist
          create table maintable (id int primary key, colname1, colname 2...); // omit this if the column names are at the top of the csv file
          .mode csv // use commas as delimiter
          .import mainfile.csv maintable

          And do something similar for the other files. You can make a batch file to do something like this automatically, if you get tired of typing the commands. To do so, make a file called something.bat, and put the SQLite commands you want to run in a text file, one per line.


          @echo off
          sqlite3 < commands.txt

          But as others have said, you probably don’t need a database if you want to work in Excel. Excel can convert .csv files into spreadsheets directly, in case you didn’t know. Just open excel and open the CSV files.

          Having other tables that affect the main table sounds pretty weird to me, as well. You could probably learn to write a script in Python or something to apply those changes to the main table, but I don’t know what you’re trying to do, so I’m not sure.

        • CatCube says:

          I’m not sure about the number of lines you’re dealing with, but watch out for Excel’s maximum. I think it’s around 1mm for the current versions, but it was 65,536 for a lot of earlier versions. If you combine enough of these files, you may run into that.

          I know this because I had a dataset of about 18,000,000 lines in CSV format, and I had to come up with methods to reduce those so I could work with it in Excel. I ended up learning some Python, because it has easy CSV support.

    • rossry says:

      Ooh, if you want an Excel-based solution, then this seems up my alley. VBA’s not my first or best language, but I can probably write serviceable code. (Unfortunately, since I don’t currently own a personal computer that runs Excel, I will now attempt the Hard Task of writing code that compiles on the first try, and memorializing my failure in the SSC comments section if I fail.)

      Notes: This is Excel-VBA code that will (hopefully) dump the contents of all .csv files in a specified directory onto a single sheet of an Excel workbook. It assumes that all csvs are CRLF-terminated (which they should be if they were produced from Windows).

      – Open a new Excel workbook.
      – Alt-L Alt-V will take you to the VBA code window.
      – Tools -> References -> [find and add Microsoft Scripting Runtime].
      – On the left-hand side, there should be a sidebar with some stuff like “Sheets”, “Modules”, &c.
      — right-click Sheet1 (in the sidebar of the code window), rename it to wsData
      — right-click Modules -> Insert -> Module. You should get a blank white editor pane in the main window. Copy-paste something like the following:

      (sadly, WordPress won’t let me use <pre> tags to give this proper indenting, so un-indented code is what you get.)

      Option Explicit

      ' NB: This may leave residual rows and columns around if you ever decrease the total number of ids or the total number of columns. If you're about to do that, then first delete the entire contents of the target sheet.
      Sub import_data()

      Dim fn as String, fd as Integer, ln as String, ln_split as Variant, i as Long
      Dim hdr_file as Dictionary, hdr_all as New Dictionary, ids as New Dictionary, d as New Dictionary
      Dim id_name as String, id as Variant, hdr as Variant
      id_name = "id"

      fn = Dir("C:\file\path\to\directory\*.csv")
      While LenB(fn) 0
      fd = FreeFile

      Open fn For Input as #fd

      ' set up hdr_file as a map from index to (file-specific) column name. make sure all column names are added to hdr_all.
      Set hdr_file = New Dictionary
      Line Input #fd, ln
      ln_split = Split(ln,",") ' this (and all other instances of ",") will have to change if your csvs are separated by something other than commas
      For i = LBound(ln_split) To UBound(ln_split)
      hdr_file(i) = ln_split(i)
      hdr_file(ln_split(i)) = i
      hdr_all(ln_split(i)) = vbNullString
      Next i

      If Not hdr_file.Exists(id_name) Then
      MsgBox "File " & fn & " has no column '" & id_name & "'. Probably fix the id_name that the macro expects. Exiting now."
      Close #fd
      Exit Sub
      End If

      ' now iterate over subsequent rows, inserting their ids into ids and data into d
      While Not EOF(#fd)
      Line Input #fd, ln
      If LenB(ln) 0 Then
      ln_split = Split(ln,",")
      id = ln_split(hdr_file(id_name))
      ids(id) = vbNullString
      For i = LBound(ln_split) To UBound(ln_split)
      d(id & "|" & hdr_file(i)) ' this (and all other instances of "|") will have to change if | appears in any id or column name.
      Next i
      End If
      Close #fd

      fn = Dir

      ' give each column name observed in any file a unique column number for output
      For i = LBound(hdr_all.Keys) to UBound(hdr_all.Keys)
      hdr_all(hdr_all.Keys(i)) = i+1
      wsData.Cells(1,i+1).Value = hdr_all.Keys(i)
      Next hdr

      i = 2
      For Each id in ids.Keys
      For Each hdr in hdr_all.Keys
      If d.Exists(id & "|" & hdr) Then
      wsData.Cells(i,hdr_all(hdr)).Value = d(id & "|" & hdr)
      wsData.Cells(i,hdr_all(hdr)).Value = vbNullString
      End If
      Next hdr
      i = i + 1
      Next id

      End Sub

      – Now put your cursor anywhere between “Sub import_data()” and “End Sub” and press F5 to run the macro. Um, hopefully that worked.
      – If it works, you can put a button to call the macro into a worksheet with Developer -> Insert -> [find the thing that looks like a button] -> right click -> Assign Macro -> import_data -> OK

      I won’t commit to monitoring the replies here; ping me at (rot13) ebff@e-l.vb if it’s broken and you can’t figure out how to fix it.

      [I tried posting this once, and it briefly seemed to exist before it disappeared. This is me trying again.]

    • Douglas Knight says:

      I can’t tell what your problem is. I’m suspicious that a lot of people are jumping in and offering advice without understanding the problem, although maybe the problem is obvious to people who know excel. (Advice to completely abandon excel is reasonable without further understanding, but you’ve already considered that option.)

      You mention two problems: it’s slow, and it’s manual. It is a little odd that analyzing the data is not, apparently, slow, but importing it is. People seem to be focusing on automating the merge. This is important, but they seem to be ignoring the computational bottleneck, and that should be examined. What’s really confusing me is what do you mean by “compile”? Do you mean converting a csv into an xls, or do you mean merging a bunch of tables into one? If it is the merging process that is slow, that could be done an external program. It would probably be very easy to write such a program, and a commenter would probably do it for free. But if the problem is converting it from csv to xls, then that is probably a more difficult problem. But maybe you could live with telling excel to import and walking away while it works.

      • rahien.din says:

        It’s more of the merging tables type problem.

        Once I can merge the data, and can pull a subset out of the data, moving it into my analysis worksheet for output should be pretty trivial.

      • skef says:

        I’m suspicious that a lot of people are jumping in and offering advice without understanding the problem, although maybe the problem is obvious to people who know excel.

        Anyone who has done a moderate amount of technical consulting (in the generic, informal sense of that term) has faced the problem of balance between the best approach from a technical standpoint, and the expectations of the consultee. That attempt to balance is most of what you’re seeing in this thread.

        @rahien.din has a (not entirely explained) problem, and also an expectation of how it might be solved. He has specifically expressed hope that he might understand the solution enough to modify it. People are trying to respond in that spirit.

        Given that the data in the zip archive is relational, and there are many tables, it would probably be most straightforward to do the translation with SQL, for two reasons. The first is that the actual “lines of code” would be very small. You just import the CSVs, add a few indexes, and then run a query, the output of which could be directed to a file for import in to Excel. The second is that the database addresses the memory and I/O issues, if it gets to the point where those are significant.

        But if the “client” doesn’t and won’t see that as the most straightforward solution, it’s irrelevant. And the fact that he is asking “the internet” for advice makes the trust he can put in any individual answer quite low. That’s just how the cookie crumbles.

  19. GarrisonTaylor says:

    If anyone is looking for an intern in the field of computer science for next summer or a future fall/spring semester, especially in the Greater Boston Area, check out my LinkedIn and my Github or email me at garrisontaylor [at] gmail [dot] com for a copy of my resume.

    I’m an undergraduate student majoring in computer science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. I have had four years of experience creating software in Java and C++ for a FIRST Robotics Competition team. In two of those years, our team was in the top two teams in Massachusetts, thanks in large part to my work in computer vision and motion control algorithms. Using Python, I have done research into the visibility of solar transits in ultraviolet wavelengths to investigate its usage in discovering exoplanets. I have also taught introductory and intermediate Python to high schoolers and middle schoolers to get them interested in becoming the next generation of computer programmers.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this!

    (Note: I post on SSC and the rest of the rationalist diaspora fairly frequently using a different account. I did not want to associate the two names too obviously)

  20. lifetilt says:

    I have a robot ringbearer for hire.

    If you’re getting married in the northeastern US, are a nerd, and lack a small child in the family to do ringbearer duty, oh boy is this the gimmick for you. It even doubles as a videographer. Sort of. If you don’t mind a robot claw in the foreground of your wedding video. I originally built this for my own wedding and it was a hit with the guests.

    Proof of concept video:

    That was when the design was much more primitive. Here’s what he looks like now:


  21. maia says:

    Do any of these describe you?

    * Interested in living with other rationalists in the Bay Area over the long term (decades)
    * Worried that rented group housing isn’t a long-term sustainable model, but still want to avoid the loneliness and atomization of our modern society
    * Interested in having kids or living near people with kids
    * Positive on owning real estate in the Bay Area in order to accomplish these other goals

    … Then please come check out Waterline Cohousing, a project to build a village-like cohousing community.

    Start by joining our mailing list, where we talk about what’s new with the project and upcoming events!forum/waterline-cohousing

    And if you’re interested in getting in on our initial funding push to buy land, please contact me at mwerbos at Google’s email service.

    • Skivverus says:

      If some but not all are accurate descriptors, how many are sufficient? (Phrasing here implies one; phrasing on the mailing list signup implies more)
      Also, is “already living in the Bay Area” necessary?

    • Sean says:

      My wife and I have wanted to do this sort of thing for years! Requested group membership – would love to hear more.

  22. Dai says:

    Experienced Haskell consultant interested in early-stage ventures.

    Specialties including Machine Learning, HPC, Software security (Protocol Analysis, Differential Privacy), Project Architecture, Education, Fullstack (ghcjs/reflex)
    Also interested in cryptocurrency and hardware synthesis.

    Rates from 200$/hr to Pro Bono, depending on personal interest and how important the end goal is.
    For pure development gigs per-task bounties broken into well defined criteria help align incentives.
    Hybrid training workshops/substantial architectural consulting is more effective at an hourly rate or for equity.

    Bay area, Cambridge area, or remote.

  23. Philipp says:

    Hi everyone! My friend Ella, with whom I share a writing blog, posted updates in the last two classified threads about the books we were planning to self-publish. I’m happy to say that both are now avilable on Amazon (and participating affiliates), in paperbook and Kindle e-book formats.

    My book, The Sign of the Sibyl, is an epic fantasy that combines academic politics, cut-throat political intrigue, the tension between science and magic, and age-old prophecies of the end of the world (natch!) The story follows two young scholars from 17th-century Cambridge, acquaintances of Isaac Newton, who travel by magic to a parallel world that bears striking similarities to the Roman Empire–and to the Atlantis of legend. You can read more on our blog (with a link to a PDF of the first chapter) or find it on Amazon.

    Ella’s book, Safekeeping, is a light-hearted young adult mystery-adventure. Set in Mendacia, a fictional Central European country whose ethos is part Medieval, part Byzantine, and part Victorian, the story centers around seven girls. Summoned without warning to the king’s palace, they learn that one of them is a princess, hidden at birth from her mother’s murderer, who is still looking to kill her. The girls face poisoning, kidnapping, and brigands, trying all the while to stay one step ahead of the murderer, irritate the Greek prince who is supposed to marry the princess, and (of course) try to figure out which one–or how many–of them is actually of royal blood. Again, you can read more on our blog, which has a link to the first chapter, or find the book on Amazon.

    • Walter says:

      Congratulations on publishing, y’all! Way go to!

      • Philipp says:

        Thanks, Walter! Obviously, self-publishing is in principle easy enough (you don’t have to convince an agent or editor to take your work), but managing things like layout, covers, and the like is not so simple, if you want to do it well.

    • pipsterate says:

      I looked through the sample chapter of your book and I found it fairly entertaining. I’m a real cheapskate, so I’m not sure if I’ll buy the full book, but I just wanted to let you (and any less cheap onlookers who may be interested) know that I liked what I read.

      • Philipp says:

        Thanks for the good word, pipsterate!

        • Philipp says:

          First: thanks to all those who have been reading our blog over the last few days!

          Second: I will be holding a sale for the Kindle e-book of The Sign of the Sibyl from September 21 through September 27, inclusive, on Amazon and Amazon UK (sadly, price promotions aren’t available on other international Amazon affiliates–a choice of theirs, not mine, I can assure you!)

          Here’s how it will work:

          At 12:00 am GMT, September 21, the price will drop to 0.99 GBP on

          At 12:00 am Pacific Daylight Time, September 21, the price of the e-book will drop to 0.99 USD on

          At 12:00 am, September 28 (in the respective time-zone), the book will revert to the ordinary list price of 7.49 USD/5.75 GBP. Throughout, it will remain free for subscribers to the Kindle Unlimited program, as well as to those who borrow it from their friends via the Kindle Owners Lending Library.

          At least, that’s the plan. It’s the first of these sales that I’ve done, so I’ll be posting to the blog (linked in my username) about any difficulties that may arise.

  24. Elizabeth says:

    I recently moved to the Seattle area, making me possibly the first rationalist to move to Seattle from Berkeley. What do you like to do here (besides the Monday reading group)?

  25. pscheyer says:

    I’m a Chicago area Cybersecurity pro looking for work. 4+ years of military (Air Force) Cybersec experience, plus an MBA. Hit me up if you’re hiring or know someone complaining about the lack of good cybersec help.


    • Petro says:

      Experian might soon have some openings 🙂

      (sorry, couldn’t resist)

    • Dai says:

      Have you looked into cyber security at MIT Lincoln Lab (division 5)? They hire quite a few with your background, and you may feel right at home next to the airforce base

      • pscheyer says:

        I looked into it just now- I’m located in Chicago, my search hadn’t gotten that far afield. But you’re right, it is in my wheelhouse. Thanks for the rec.

  26. Traveling Salesmantis says:

    Hello fellow Slate Star Codex readers! An exceptionally good bunch, indeed.

    I’m writing to offer my freelance services. They encapsulate three different tracks:

    * Data track: SciPy Stack, e.g. Numpy, SciPy, pandas
    * “Back-end” web track: e.g. Pyramid, Flask, Django
    * Instruction track: i.e. providing training on either of the above

    I’m a one-man operation; all work is personally performed by me. I am available for off-site work, as well as for on-site work in most of Manhattan and some of Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey.

    My negotiable rates are:
    * Daily: $650
    * Per half-day: $350
    * Weekly: $3000
    * Per part-time week: $2250

    Payment is due net 7, with the first payment due prior to commencing. I will accept partial payment in Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.

    I am a strategic and thoughtful communicator who responds to customer e-mails rapidly during business hours.

    I have an eclectic breadth of work experience, allowing me to quickly wrap my head around a new problem space—to “not miss the forest for the trees.”

    I become available for additional work late next week. You may reach me by e-mail at [pardon my address obfuscation] username “skinnerbox21,” on GMail’s domain.

    I am looking forward to working with you!

    ―Traveling Salesmantis

  27. vcanadav says:

    My company is looking for programmers and system administrators. We are based in Canada and develop software for hotels; all our engineers work from home. If you are able to work on Mountain Standard Time time (or within a 3 to 5 hours of MST) we are interested in talking to you.

    Credentials are nice but we care far more about having that “knack” for programming that some people have and some people do not. If you feel you have this knack (regardless of credentials) and are interested in working from home, please contact us at

    If you enjoy commuting to an office this is not an experience we are able to provide.

    • maintain says:

      Should I mention SSC when I apply? Will this give me added cred, or will this just confuse the person who is checking the email?

  28. arthurjj says:

    I know a lot of Scott’s readers are programmer’s so they might be interested in this.

    My wife and I wrote a children’s picture book ABCs of Programming to teach babies and toddlers there ABCs using programming terms. We wrote it because I’m a programmer and I was just telling my son “Daddy talks to robots”. I wanted to be able to explain what I did.

    Now my son knows I make Algorithms, Debug, and shave yaks

    • Jiro says:

      Just like you should be careful about how you spend your weirdness points, you should also be careful about making your children have to spend them. Telling a child about yak shaving is a sure-fire way to make him run out of weirdness points when he (inevitably) talks about it in front of someone else.

  29. summerstay says:

    You might know me from the AI-assisted translation of Genesis 1 Scott posted. A few years back, I self-published a book about artificial creativity from long before the invention of computers. Here’s the description from Amazon:
    “Machinamenta is an exploration of the ancient roots of machines which are designed to be creative. It begins with the divination systems of prehistoric Africa, which followed mathematical principles to generate unique utterances in response to the questions of petitioners. Tracing the influence of philosophers and artists, inventors and scientists, musicians and mystics, it goes on to explore machines that, before the dawn of the twentieth century, were designed to write poetry, compose new melodies, understand language, prove theorems, and create artwork. It concludes with an examination of the current and future prospects for someday building a machine that can truly be called creative.”
    link to the Amazon page
    The set of people who are interested in AI, creativity, divination, art, magic, language, and history at the same time, in the same book, seems like it might have a pretty big overlap with the readers of Unsong. It’s steampunk nonfiction, if that’s a possible thing to be.

  30. hlynkacg says:

    Quibble: I’m no latin scholar but I think the title ought to read Semper Classificatis.

  31. Linksworth says:

    Any other rationalist folks out in Hawaii? Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person in the state who reads SSC or even knows what the Sequences are.

  32. mundo says:

    I made an Android party game called Word Nazi. It could be succinctly summarized as “A dirty version of Taboo, in the same way that Cards Against Humanity is a dirty version of Apples to Apples”. It’s in the Android store here: It ain’t pretty but it is genuinely fun to play with a group of friends and some beer.

    Normally it costs $3 for the full version, but these codes will unlock it permanently if you use them in the next few days:

    Thu Sep 14 01:00:00 PDT 2017 : ecd1df
    Fri Sep 15 01:00:00 PDT 2017 : e82cf4
    Sat Sep 16 01:00:00 PDT 2017 : 4cc8bc
    Sun Sep 17 01:00:00 PDT 2017 : 7ae3c8
    Mon Sep 18 01:00:00 PDT 2017 : 86e623

    I don’t post here much, so to demonstrate that I’m not just an opportunistic spammer I offer the following proof that I am really an SSC sort of person:

    “I’m moving but I don’t know where I’m going,” Tom said intransitively.
    “I think I know who stole my cookie,” Tom guesstimated.
    “Even if her country songs might stink / I do not think she should be in the clink”, Tom sang, freely in rhymes.

    • adder says:

      I love how many app developers respond obsequiously to their low-rating reviews, but you respond with:

      Sorry you didn’t like it, but I’m pretty sure the regular Taboo doesn’t have “tentacle porn”.

  33. Barry says:

    I am looking for a web developer with social-platform building experience to join a nascent startup as a full partner. NYC Metro area preferred.

    Please contact at for full details.

  34. Sam Reuben says:

    Well, I’ve finally done the unconscionable, and joined in with the mass of blogs that probably don’t need to be written. Subject matter is almost entirely distinct from the SSC subject matter, but maybe a few people will like it, so hey why not. Linking to it here.

    • aNeopuritan says:

      Good start. Add (another Last Psychiatrist diasporan) and to your reading list.

      • Sam Reuben says:

        Thanks – that was one of the things I was hoping to get from this. Never enough to just write without reading. Appreciate the help!

  35. safrazine says:

    Hi, I’m looking for a psych and/or medical research assistant position in the Boston area. I have a BS in psychology and experience both as a mental health counselor and medical scribe.

    If you know someone or have any suggestions/questions, email nishaphi [at] gmail.

  36. ThomasStearns says:

    I’m considering a launching an AI/NLP/transfer learning themed startup (MVP in development) and looking for an engineer to join as a partner. Strong Python/DevOps experience wanted, preferably with GPU infrastructure. Boston area preferred but certainly not required.

    I can be contacted at

  37. temujin9 says:

    I’m bootstrapping a software consulting firm. I would love to work with fellow Slate Star readers; I’m currently working to buy advertising on SSC, using the following copy:

    Need advice on a software issue? The Greenfield Guild can help you steer in the right direction, regardless of what that direction is. Initial web consults (up to 60 minutes) are free. Schedule yours today.

    I’ll read through this thread more thoroughly, since I see at least one of you advertising for something close to my core skillset (DevOps / Site Reliability Engineering). I also need to find people familiar with selling into the IT consulting space; if you or someone you know does that, please reach out (temujin9[at]greenfieldguild[dot]com).

    • TheEternallyPerplexed says:

      Wording of the ad doesn’t ring for me.
      “Regardless of what” sounds like you don’t care (it’s the direction, meant to be understood you are competent all around the compass, the verbal mind can get that, but unconciously it has a tone of dismissal and imo is likely to have a tone of “customer’s will? not important!”)
      ==> more positive words, like “in every direction [you want | you are heading]”
      Also, the steering metaphor: Who decides direction? If you are thinking along the role of helmsman (or autopilot?) (with customer as captain) that needs to be more clear, imo.
      Maybe wording like “help you get more traction / get traction and speed faster towards …” would be better describing your aims? (I dunno, just thought from the skillset).

      Hey, wasn’t there an editor a few ads up? Are you by chance versed in user interface design, too?

      • Deiseach says:

        “The Greenfield Guild can help you get where you want to go”? “The Greenfield Guild can help you, whatever direction you decide”?

      • temujin9 says:

        The “regardless” was also in reference to my firm’s long term involvement. I’ll give the free initial consult for work that I wouldn’t advise the client to hire us to do, and be glad of it. The intent is to network and build a good reputation, not just drum up clients.

        Looks like I should find a better way to phrase that. Thanks for the heads-up.

        (EDIT: What do you think of this? “Need help with a software issue? The Greenfield Guild is glad to assist, whether you need a full team to tackle your project, or just a little advice. The initial video consultation is always free: schedule yours today.”)

      • temujin9 says:

        To answer the other question: I’m not a UI guy, but I have several I can bring on board if the project requires it.

  38. Hivewired says:

    I’ve started creating daily rationalist youtube videos.

    IIt’s presently just me talking into a camera, but I think they’re pretty decent?

  39. Alkatyn says:

    Anyone have connections for jobs in China? Living there now and looking for new oppurtunities.

  40. tjfwainwright says:

    Looking for work in the people side of tech or finance (sales, renewals, etc) in the Pittsburgh area. This is for an EA “earning to give” approach as a transition after spending the last couple of years in graduate school applications and the recruitment process for an intelligence service.

    Also just Pittsburgh contacts in general, especially if you like board games!

    Email is myusername at gmail dot com

  41. buntchaot says:

    German political sciences/sociology Grad Student looking for a high impact or career capital building position.

    I have relevant experience in EU Lobbying and Business Association work, although it was a couple years ago.

    My studies are currently focused on armed conflicts, but i also had my share of basic econ, philosophy.
    Have done a little statistics work before, but would need some time to get back into it for anything more complicated than a correlation.

    I am basically willing to move anywhere.
    (depending on location and pay, travel costs and costs of living might be constraining factors)

    Long time SSC lurker, have sold beer, cheap jewellery and worked at a homeless/addict rehabilitation nonprofit’s cafe.

    languages: English & German

    I would be grateful for any input on how to build my career but especially pointers to concrete opportunities.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Are you interested in AI risk? I understand a lot of AI risk strategy groups are looking for political science people to help understand the dynamics of potential AI arms races? I can try to get you in touch with them if you want.

  42. corticalcircuitry says:

    Hey all,

    I have been studying neuroscience for years and just finished writing a book about how the neocortex works. It is meant to be readable by anyone. I hope some of you would find it interesting. Here’s a Kindle link:

    Here’s a free PDF:

    If anyone likes it and wants a paper version, I will have some in Berkeley in a couple of weeks (and on Amazon in a month or so).

  43. Lord Poochie says:


    I’m a 30-yo straight white male in the South bay area interested in dating. I came here for a job here after finishing grad school, and it’s been pretty tough for me to meet people. Online dating hasn’t been very helpful. But, if you’re a girl and reading this blog, chances are you are already my type, so I might as well post. (note I’m not into polyamory…)

    I work in tech but that’s not really where my interests lie. I’m not interested in spending all day talking about the exchange rates for the latest cryptocurrency. I’d much rather talk about history or philosophy or books. I especially have a soft spot for Russian literature. Tell me about the weird movie you just saw! Tell me your latest favorite song and teach me the words so I can sing along way too loudly! I don’t care about sports, but I want to go backpacking and swim in random lakes that have no name. Email me, lordpoochie at gmail and we can exchange pics.

  44. Incurian says:

    Anybody play VR? I got an Oculus recently, and I have a ton of a free time, but it’s hard to find [good] people to play with consistently. I have a couple buddies, but I’d really like to expand the pool of people I play with regularly. I’d love to get some teams together for Bridge Crew, Onward, Echo Arena, Rec Room, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, and especially the free beta weekend for From Other Suns at the end of the month. Steam, Oculus, and gmail accounts are the same name.

  45. danallison says:

    I’m building an open source app called Calculist. It’s an outliner app that also does computation, sort of like WorkFlowy meets Excel, or a browser based Emacs org mode. I wanted to mention it here mainly for marketing purposes, but also because I’m looking for other software developers who might be interested in contributing to the project. I’m also in need of marketing advice. I suck at marketing.

  46. Aspiring Catgirl says:

    We’ve started a group with the intent of making money. If you want to work on various projects to build skills and turn a profit, please come join us in the links below.

    Beginner’s Guide

    discord chat

  47. shakeddown says:

    Does anyone know of any analogue of Vanguard/Wealthfront in Israel? (To clarify, I mean “easy, effective fire-and-forget investing”).

  48. theodidactus says:

    Hello SSC community,
    I’m a bit late to this party, but I’ll probably post on the next open thread as well.

    My name is William Dooling, I’m the guy that wrote Synchronicity, which I shared on a previous classified thread, and which seemed to get a pretty good reception around here*

    Anyhow, I’ll announce, here, the completion of another creative project, this one is a bit more interactive.
    I have recently created a text-based adventure game, in the manner of the old fantasy games that were popular in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. It was created using ADRIFT, a tool for creating interactive fiction (if you don’t know about that, I suggest you check it out here:

    There’s a link to the game on my website, here:

    you can download the game as a windows executable file here:
    (your computer might think it’s a virus)

    You can download the game as an “adventure pack” that runs off the ADRIFT engine here

    and you can get the adrift engine itself here

    The above links will always go to the most recent version of the game, and I intend to update it quite a bit over the next day or so, as people find more problems with the game that my playtesting crew missed. It’s a pretty big game, and it’s designed to be very difficult (and more than a little confusing).

    The game has an old-school manual, here which I suggest you take a look at even if you have no intention of playing the game, because I’m really happy with how it turned out.

    If you have any questions about the mechanics, or if you find any bugs, please write me at and I’ll try to get back to you as quickly as I can.

    Good luck out there, stay sane, and don’t get eaten…

    * who am I kidding, you guys gave some of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received.

  49. shdown says:

    I am probably also too late, but whatever.
    Looking for IRL friends in Moscow, Russia; or online friends from anywhere.
    I am interested in programming, especially in low-level/system programming; want to lean Haskell and some maths. It would be great to find a study buddy.
    Obviously interested in rationality and stuff like that.
    Rot13’ed email: fuqbjaavar@tznvy.pbz

    • 6jfvkd8lu7cc says:

      Well, I hope for maths you do know about IUM existence… although that only works if you want to study maths quickly enough.

  50. charcoalhibiscus says:

    Psychiatrist recommendations in the Bay who aren’t Scott? Looking mostly for one who is reasonably intelligent, is willing to take preferences/suggestions/concerns into account or at least explain intelligently why they shouldn’t apply, and won’t mess with an existing treatment plan that’s working. (And I guess has some availability for new patients.) Insurance network not terribly important.

  51. angularangel says:

    Going to post a link to my Agora project again. Basically, a new kind of Internet forum aimed at solving online discussion. Though I need a lot more data and a lot more work to get there, of course. XD

  52. mindlevelup says:

    Hey everyone,

    I write rationalist essays over at mindlevelup.

    Recently, I just compiled lots of stuff from 2017 into an instrumental rationality book. You might find it interesting.

    There’s a two sections on planning and habits that are well-researched, as well as stuff that is far less rigorous.

    Link to chapters + readable Google doc here

  53. yodelyak says:

    Hi SSCers.

    Self-promotion time: Popehat gave me a shout-out-tweet when I borrowed his sock-puppet writing style for a blog post/lawsplainer of my own. I don’t even think of my blog as a real blog yet–it’s just for practice, as it were.

    Anyway, if anyone here knows Popehat’s main writer Ken, maybe check in on him and encourage him to keep writing full posts? The site hasn’t been updated for a monthish now, and while there’s still a vigorous Popehat presence on twitter, apparently, I don’t really like venturing into the hellscape of twitter for my popehat fix… but I do want to keep getting my popehat fix.

  54. angularangel says:

    Oh! Hey scott, I was thinking of putting together a toot bot for you on mastodon. Does that sound like something you would be okay with? No promises about actually doing it, though. XD

    Edit: That is to say, a bot that would post links to your articles automatically. XD