SELF-RECOMMENDING!

Washington DC Meetup This Tuesday

When: Tuesday, September 24. The meetup organizers told me to say 5 PM, but unless the stereotypes about government jobs are all true, this sounds too early. I’ll try to arrive at 5, but let’s unofficially aim for 6:30 as the time most people will be there.

Where: Teaism Coffee shop, 400 8th Street NW, Washington DC. But if it gets too crowded, we might move to the Navy Memorial Plaza just outside. You can check this Google Group for updates on this. Sorry!

Why: I’ll be in DC as part of the Meetups Everywhere tour. Also featuring special guests Georgia Ray of Eukaryote Writes, Alex Tabarrok of Marginal Revolution, a few people from MIRI and EA organizations visiting from the Bay, and other people who I might retroactively declare to be special guests once I know about them.

Who: Anyone who wants. Please feel free to come even if you feel awkward about it, even if you’re not “the typical SSC reader”, even if you’re worried people won’t like you, even if your approval rating is stuck in the low 40s and you didn’t even win the popular vote, etc.

How: For more info, contact robirahman94[at]gmail[dot]com, or check the Google Group.

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11 Responses to Washington DC Meetup This Tuesday

  1. The Nybbler says:

    The meetup organizers told me to say 5 PM, but unless the stereotypes about government jobs are all true, this sounds too early.

    Federal employees definitely tend to leave early. Whether this means they are coming in early or not I do not know.

  2. JohnofCharleston says:

    I’m planning to come at 5. It does mean ducking out a little early, but it’s relatively easy for Feds to do that. Most of us get more leave than we can reasonably take.

  3. Paul Brinkley says:

    A lot of fed employees are either military, ex-military, or civ who works with so much of the former that they have to adapt to their rhythm. Which often means 0600-1500 is core hours. Fed emps also do get ridiculous amounts of leave, but they typically take it on Monday or Friday, not Tuesday.

    That said, a lot of my office works 1000-1800, so I’m grateful it’s probably not as early as 5pm. Especially since I work halfway between DC and Baltimore, and getting in and out of DC around that time is like getting in and out of Earth’s gravity well.

  4. MartMart says:

    Hope it’s ok to go totally of topic here.
    In toward a predictive theory of depressions
    One finds this

    One complicating factor – how do we explain depressed people’s frequent certainty that they’ll fail? A proper Bayesian, barred from having confident beliefs about anything, will be maximally uncertain about whether she’ll fail or succeed – but some depressed people have really strong opinions on this issue. I’m not really sure about this, and admit it’s a point against this theory.

    I don’t speak Bayesian as well as I’d like, and while I’d like to understand it, I’m not studying it as well as I could. Having said that..
    Assuming a mildly complex task of some kind (cooking breakfast), there are many more ways in which in can fail, since many sub failures will cascade, than there are ways in which it can succeed, since overall success requires success on most of the subtasks. Wouldn’t it be a proper assumption that one is likely to fail at making breakfast, if one has no priors regarding their breakfast cooking skills?
    Likewise, since this effect snowballs with increased task complexity, in order to have a confidence in success on virtually any complex task, one has to have the prior of “I can successfully adapt to new challenges on the fly”, and if that prior is missing, along with most others, wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume the one is very likely to fail at just about everything?

    • JohnofCharleston says:

      I predict that commuting in the DC area makes a Bayesian depressed.

    • caryatis says:

      Everyone past infancy has some experience of succeeding at tasks. You also have likely observed other people successfully doing similar tasks. I don’t think it would ever in fact be the case that someone would have NO priors.

    • robirahman says:

      I think the most reasonable prior would be to assume that on average, you are as good at things as the average person, and the average person can solve a mildly complex task such as cooking breakfast. So your baseline assumption should be that you would make an average-quality breakfast, and then adjust from there if you are, for example, worse than average at cooking, or better than average at figuring things out.

      As for why depressed people believe they would fail… I’m not sure if their negative outlook about everything corresponds to any particular beliefs on specific topics. Like, if you ask “Are you up for a task today? How do you think you’d do?” and they say “Terrible! I can never succeed at anything :(” and you ask “Really? Not even making some eggs?” would they rationalize with “No! I’m awful at cooking”?

      • Doesntliketocomment says:

        As a depressed person myself, I can say with authority: No. I most often anticipate myself failing at simple tasks like cooking, in fact possibly moreso than much more complex tasks, like finding a job or going to grad school. This exact example is part of my life, I know I should easily be able to make breakfast for myself each morning but don’t.

        It’s important to realize there are two components: The first being whether you will successfully complete the task, the second being whether the task as you completed it will bring you net utility. These two items tend to get conflated.

        For the egg example, you might not have ingredients, or you might end up finding that it takes an unexpectedly long time and makes you late to work. But most importantly in your mind, you might not enjoy eating the eggs you cook, thus making the entire process a waste of time and hope. This last one is the most likely of course, you generally don’t enjoy anything much because you’re depressed. Taken together you end up with a task that could fail and make you feel worse, or could succeed and make you feel nothing. So yeah, not gonna do it. Better to stop and grab something, it’s familiar and safe and if there is a problem it’s not your fault.

      • Doesntliketocomment says:

        As a depressed person myself, I can say with authority: No. I most often anticipate myself failing at simple tasks like cooking, in fact possibly moreso than much more complex tasks, like finding a job or going to grad school. This exact example is part of my life, I know I should easily be able to make breakfast for myself each morning but don’t.

        It’s important to realize there are two components: The first being whether you will successfully complete the task, the second being whether the task as you completed it will bring you net utility. These two items tend to get conflated.

        For the egg example, you might not have ingredients, or you might end up finding that it takes an unexpectedly long time and makes you late to work. But most importantly in your mind, you might not enjoy eating the eggs you cook, thus making the entire process a waste of time and hope. This last one is the most likely of course, you generally don’t enjoy anything much because you’re depressed. Taken together you end up with a task that could fail and make you feel worse, or could succeed and make you feel nothing. So yeah, not gonna do it. Better to stop and grab something, it’s familiar and safe and if there is a problem it’s not your fault.

        (Interestingly enough, I seem to have somehow failed at posting this comment, so I’m trying again)

  5. shakeddown says:

    Rosh Hashanah is right around the corner, which I assume means Scott’s missing the taste of the traditional apples in Honey right about now. This gives us a new answer to the age-old riddle: what do an apple and orange have in common? Scott wants them in the DC Meetup.

  6. Paul Brinkley says:

    Thanks to all who appeared. I counted just shy of 100 people when we left Teaism for the nearby plaza, with more coming and going. I recognized Russ Roberts there, and someone claimed Megan McArdle made a brief appearance as well. I also recognized about 30 from previous meetups, and I finally got two of my friends to appear for the first time.

    Hardy: I have a note to ask about job opportunities.

    Jackson et al: we’ll have to talk about environmental issues again when / if I can get my GF to come to one…