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Wellness Wednesday for November 8, 2023

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

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Do air purifiers really help allergies?

Sorry if this has been asked before, but it's spring in Queensland, which means I have done what I do every spring since moving to my townhouse - spend months trying to figure out an effective solution to my allergies before giving up and just keeping the house shut up when I'm at home. Generally this means liberal use of air conditioning, but over the past week I have been noticing that my sinuses are getting stuffed up when the ac is on. I've cleaned the filters, but it doesn't seem to have fixed anything.

But Queensland summers really only tolerate either liberal use of ac or maximum air flow through the house, so I thought maybe an air purifier might help. But I've never thought about them before - I used to smoke 40 cigarettes a day - and everyone I know thinks they are a scam, including my friend who is a doctor, who said the only study he'd seen had air purifiers exacerbating allergy issues for almost as many people as it helped.

I asked him to send me the study, but that was a week ago and I am now over feeling run down and congested and like someone is pushing a needle behind my left eye, so what do you guys think? Get an air purifier or burn my neighbours' gardens to the ground?

Here's how I think about this:

Just in my personal experience, HEPA filters seem to help with allergies, and visibly help filter out smoke when it's detectable by smell.

But let's ask The Science. What do we see? The first question to ask - does it remove microscopic particles from the air? If it doesn't, we can just stop. This is something I'd expect good data on, it's a (relatively) hard-sciencey question. Looking at this and this, HEPA filters seem to reduce particle concentration (of pm2.5 and bigger particles, which google says is how big allergy-related particles are) by around 50%. Which is substantial, but intuitively seems like less than you'd want. Of course, though, this depends on exactly what HEPA filters they used, how much ventilation there was, what kind of particle, etc. The first study says "ventilation was through the door" - does this mean through gaps in the door, or was the door open? idk. The second study also compares having multiple HEPA filters to one, and three filters on 'medium flow' seems to (eyeballing a very poorly constructed graph) reach 75% reduction in particles. Just intuitively, by having a good model on a (somewhat noisy) high setting, and either having it in a small room without too much air exchange or having multiple for your home, you'd get meaningful (80%+) reductions.

The second study does note some increases in ion concentration (not particle concentration) in HEPA on scenarios. But the increases are only present for some ions, in some particle size categories, so I think it's just noise.

I'm not really sure how much to trust random studies like this anyway. One has authors from "Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar University" and "Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune" and the other from Taiwan. The Indian study mislabeled several of their tables to seemingly show that air purifiers double particle concentrations,.

Okay, just from personal experience I'm pretty sure it removes particles, and the science seems to confirm it removes the right ones. But inferring that it stops allergies from that isn't particularly justified. What about studies on allergy symptoms? Well, there are a lot of positive results on google scholar. But they're all positive results on some measure but not others, and they're all either n=20-40 RCTs or meta-analyses of 10 n=20-40 RCTs. I don't think one should believe any of these, either as evidence for or against.

So, uh, my guess is if you pick the right ones and use it correctly, they're effective, mostly because some people I know claim they are. It looks like good ones are $100-$150 on amazon, so if it doesn't work it won't hurt too much. I'm not sure how to match the airflow rate or w/e to how big your room/home is, there's probably a guide on that somewhere.

But if you need increased airflow, that'll significantly reduce the effectiveness of the air filters. Certainly airflow from outside, and if the AC is introducing new particles from itself or outside, as opposed to just recirculating them, that'll hurt too. I guess it'll probably still help, but idk either way.

Awesome, thanks for this - a lot of it is info I'd sussed out already, but looking for that study sent me down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories and I emerged in a sea of insanity. Taking on your post, I bought an Electrolux with carbon filtering, so even if it doesn't help my allergies it will at least help my place smell nicer.

Suppose you are a 40 year old software engineer making 120k/year, and you somehow magically get banned for life from practicing the profession. You have decent savings to live off of for a bit and to supplement a smaller income for a while. What would you do? If you're so inclined, be specific and like narrate out a life plan.

Silly question, but why are you only making 120k/year? How long have you been in the industry? That's like entry-level for software engineers these days.

Has your time in the industry taught you anything about management at all? If I were you, I'd try to leverage your experience to become a tech lead. But maybe you could tell us more about why you don't want to be in the software industry anymore?

Where do you go, and what do you study, to make more?

I learned programming for a year, and since then have been working as a software developer (in crypto) for two years, and that's what I make. No degree or anything but I still think I can do better.

Well, I may not know too much about those answers, since I've had a relatively sheltered career. But I'll tell you what I think I know.

I did my undergrad at a school that has a pretty well-known CS department. And even though I wasn't too serious about pursuing a software career at the time, I had to choose some major, so I chose CS. And that ended up being a good decision. I don't think this makes me a better coder than most others in the industry, but the fact that I have the degree from a big name, it probably did well for me. It got me in the door of big tech, where I was able to work my way up to a nice salary. In big tech, you get your bosses to invest in your career, not just see you as a tool for getting work done. It's a growth-oriented culture, and managers are first and foremost judged by their managers on how well they grow their reports.

Other than making me look good, I mean, maybe also the universities taught me more about algorithms and theory, too. In your year-long programming learning, how much did you learn about how to analyze programs, think about algorithms, runtimes, space usage, different types of languages, etc? It's possible that that sort of in-depth thought about the theoretical nature of programming may be something else that's desirable about people who studied CS in college. Computer Science really is a separate thing from software engineering, and it's possible that you learn to think about code on a slightly different level. I'm not sure, because I don't really know what it's like to not have learned CS first.

The degree totally helped me, but you don't need it in big tech. They're not elitist, if you can show that you have the skills. If you don't have the degree, then you'll need like 3 to 5 years of industry experience, during which time you've amassed many stories where you've shown that you're hard working, methodical, you understand software, you care about the team you're on, and you're capable of making tradeoffs and decisions. Think about all of the times that you've personally done something that helped change the course of a project, or helped someone out, or made some sort of decision, and write them down and rehearse them for your interviews. If you have that, then you must also study Cracking the Coding Interview, and can absolutely get a high-paying job in big tech.

Also, you don't have to work in big tech to get a high paying job (though I know less about how to do this). But I think a lot of it comes down to, once again, you showing that you're methodical, smart, and hard-working, in much a similar way as above. And you can be hired as a tech lead for a smaller company. But once you're in a smaller company, there's usually less room for growth in salary (without simply leaving and going to another company), because the smaller companies are usually more focused on the bottom line instead of focusing on the growth of their employees.

I have no idea where these insane SWE salaries reported by everybody are, outside of a few specific cities. Never seen it anywhere near me, if it's here there must be some secret to finding it that I'm not aware of.

Hah, I feel the same way, people online with half my YOE who are ostensibly near me are reporting that they getting my salary! But still, from all my experience, your salary seems really low for someone who's not entry level. Location could have to do with it, how big your tech company is could have to do with it, whether or not you're pushing for higher salaries could have to do with it, and also sub-field and specialization could have to do with it.

No, your experience is typical. Only the top 10-20% of companies offer these insane salaries. Not everyone gets into FANG companies and if you aren't in a place like San Francisco, New York, Boston etc then you shouldn't expect 100k+ as entry software engineer even today. Depending on where you live 120k a year as a software engineer is very impressive. If you want those high salaries you have to be willing to change companies every 1-2 years, move, and get very good at doing interviews.

move to a cheap area?

Personally, I'd move into management.

What exactly don't you like about your job? Is it the actual work, the company culture, the commute, the lack of "meaning", or something else? Each of these has a different solution.

If you have money, become an entrepreneur. Buy a laundromat, or buy housing and rent it. Get multiple, independent streams of income. Landlording or laundromat (or whatever) stuff doesn't have to be full time; you can work while getting your footing.

Buy a laundromat

It seems like there are a lot of people doing this right now, but I would advise being very cautious. There are a lot of declining "mom and pop" businesses with massive hidden costs that sellers want to avoid disclosing, and newbies are falling into the trap. Water systems that need a complete rebuild, leaking gas tanks that touching in any way will cause a decade of EPA paperwork and fees/fines, and oh god the air conditioning. Not to mention lost suppliers and big clients that are making a lot of rural businesses impossible to run, but which the seller's carefully truncated records will show no sign of.

Someone in my town got conned into taking over a grocery store, and ended up paying multiple times the purchase price just to have the 60 year old gas tanks dug up and the soil sanitized to the EPA's satisfaction. He died, and now his aging boyfriend sells stationary and knick-knacks while serially renting out other parts of the building to restaurants and hobby stores that rarely survive a year (and never pay their rent that long).
Overall not a great investment.

You have to do your due diligence, but I've met people who got started like that. What you said is more or less true of buying any business

If by 'banned' do you mean 'unable to work as an independent contractor in any country'? If not, consider working remotely for an overseas company, or even relocating overseas. A lifetime of professional experience and the opportunity cost of wasting that experience is no small thing.

There are careers that are aligned with skills and traits that software engineers have. If I was only on 120k/year I would look at taking some Linkedin learning courses training in Agile and potentially becoming a Technical Business Analyst or even Product Owner. Courses would probably only take a few months if you hammered them full time. Once working again I'm sure your career could progress through commercial tracks rather than IT.

Side hustles might be independent software development making your own game (early access on Steam to finance/Patreon) or other software applications.

I'm not in IT at all, so I'm sure others might be able to find something more creative.

'banned' as in I kinda wish something would coerce me in this way because the thought of this being my vocation for the rest of my life is starting to feel pretty bleak. Really my post could have been reworded as something like "What are some options for a middle aged IT person who wants to change careers?" and just have people throw out ideas of "what I can be when I grow up" that aren't too ridiculous to choose as a middle aged man.

Like I know what I don't want but I don't know what I do.

40's isn't too late for a full career change. I met a guy at a meditation retreat once who went from being a tier one lawyer to a school teacher (and ended up fast tracking to principal). He was very happy with his decision even though he lost a chunk of his income, as he felt his old job was soulless.

Consider going to a proper career psychologist to help you figure out what you have an interest and aptitude in. You've probably got 20+ years of working left so its worth paying a few thousand if necessary for the happiness of working in a role that best suits you.

Also check if you have an Employee Assistance Program at your current workplace for free counseling along those lines (they're confidential).

I wish more people were introspective and aware of their internal motivations. It's annoying to have a girl say "I'm just not feeling it" after a few dates with no further feedback.

Maybe she just isn't feeling it (physical attraction). I know you want to think there is some deeper motivation given its ego protective, but Occams razor still applies here.

From my limited exp, I can tell you this happens when you don't follow rule 2. Rule 1 is the entry, rule 2 is the maintenance.

Out of curiosity, how many dates?

Let me turn it back on you a bit. Think deeply about your read of her, and of you. Why do you think she ducked out? Can you get that feedback even if it's not actually coming from her?

I think about five dates.

I can think of lots of potential reasons, but I'm clueless as to which we're most impactful.

In any case, I empathize with your disappointment.

Being a fellow male, I can't help but provide some minor advice. When I didn't make it with a woman, there were three, and only three reasons:

  • They didn't find me physically attractive.
  • I didn't try hard enough and schedule enough time for them to figure out who I was.
  • I became too vulnerable and emotional too quickly.

There's details under each of these, but they were the buckets. Another source of frustration for many men is the fact that #2 and #3 represent boundaries you have to work within.

I hate being in that situation. Really hard to tell if its just a personality mismatch or (if it has been happening regularly), there is some behaviour you have that is unattractive to most girls.

That kind of feedback would be really useful, but since you might only exhibit it on dates or one-on-one private situations with girls (an example would be being a really bad kisser; not saying this is you), its not something that your friends can help identify.

So you're kind of stuck and can't really improve without second guessing all of your dating behaviour.

Non-solicited advice (and this probably won't apply to you, but is generally useful for guys who keep finding themselves in this kind of situation): Some low hanging fruit can be optimising your fitness/fashion/hygiene. Another thing I find useful for 'very online' guys is to make sure that you are not mentally drained before your dates. If you've just spent 5 hours programming/playing games, you are not going to be a good date. Take a break from screens for a few hours before your dates or, in an emergency, meditate for half an hour. This will help you be present and improve your conversational ability.

Echoing self_made_human, not telling you the reason doesn't mean they don't know the reason. They might not, but, also, it's standard advice to never give a reason in such a situation. Among other problems, giving a reason makes some people think the reason is a problem to be fixed and then the relationship will happen after all, not merely an explanation.

I know. Still frustrating either way.

It's entirely possible she has concrete reasons, but doesn't wish to tell you because it might hurt your feelings or she's afraid you'll rage over it.

There's no point pressing it, and there plenty more fish out there either way.

I mean, the most likely scenario is she has concrete reasons she's not telling you, and those reasons are more like 'vibes' and are poor approximations of the load-bearing causes.

Also, though, if you revealed all of the tells you use to read someone, it makes it a lot easier for them to fake it later. Plus, I've heard women say that when they've given the men the honest reasons they didn't make it, the men react negatively.

My response to that is: Skill issue

Or at least for me it's usually very clear what is attractive about a woman, leaving aside near universals like looks, I prefer funny, kind women who love dogs and who I can hold a conversation with.

If they meet those criteria, I don't really see much room for subconscious deal-breakers.

I want to say that it's still a skill issue, and the reasons aren't actually that complicated and are accessible and influenceable to smart people with a bit of effort. That's true in a deep sense, but it's also true that the history of philosophy and psychology in adjacent areas is mostly series of hilarious failures at understanding human motivation and thought by very intelligent and subtle people, so it probably is going to be very challenging for even above-average people.

Some of it's a skill issue, but I think in the typical case, and almost certainly in the case of the OP, it's an incentive issue. What incentive does this particular person have to be properly introspective about what it is that she likes in a romantic partner? Perhaps a little bit better filtering, but is it that much better than just going on the whole "am I feeling it or not" test? That much better to be worth all the hard work and effort it takes to be actually introspective instead of falling into the extremely common trap of just convincing oneself that one is introspective? For some people, they're in a situation where being introspective in some particular area actually is worth it, and so they develop the skills for it (or not, and they just suffer). But for others, it's just not, so they don't bother, and they get to live better lives with more free time and less stress because of it.

Is there a rationalist / TheMotte meet up in SF? I used to belong to one in DC but haven’t gotten back into it since I moved away.

I could be wrong, but I don't think there's ever been a Motte specific meet up.

Your best bet is to wait for a Lesswrong/ACX meet up, I'm 100% certain that happens in SF on an annual basis, and there's bound to be some overlap!

I mean, it's SF. Probably more like weekly than annual. Considering Austin has a twice weekly meetup, I'd be shocked if SF doesn't.

I was speaking about formal ones open to all comers, the LW community is far more closely knit than us Mottizens, and I'm sure people here have hung out in person. I've certainly had offers to say hi if I'm ever in the States, but I wouldn't class that as a meet up.

Cheers

I posted a while ago asking for advice about switching from a job I really love, to a job with much higher pay (and apparently vacation time) and full remote. Well, I ended up getting that job, and start in a few weeks. So now I'm trying to set up a nice home office so that the remote work part doesn't turn into a negative. I have a sense of what kind of aesthetic I like, but I'm trying to find good artwork or desk decorations to add the final touches. Anyone know a good place or site to get inspiration for this? is the answer just pinterest/etsy or is there something I'm overlooking?

Buy a Putin themed calendar, like Japanese businessmen

I personally have some conversation starters in my background (that I actually find appealing).

I also have a small fridge next to my desk, and a couch for quick naps.

I am working on improving the overall appearance of my office.

Artifacts or artwork? how did you select your conversation starters?

I really like the idea of the small fridge, thank you

In this case, I have "The" massive Lego (Millennium Falcon) displayed behind me.

If I had my druthers, I'd have vinyl album sleeves up for the less nerdily-inclined and a representation of another hobby that I can speak deeply about. This is 2-birds 1-stone, because then you can use your office as a hobby item storage location, you just have to keep it neat and organized. I did like the idea of AI-generated artwork if you want it, but don't feel pressured to pander or shy away from abstract/purely aesthetic art.

Do think about potential downsides, though. For instance - I don't have anything with firearms displayed behind me for many reasons.

Man, what's with you and like 3 others suddenly landing significantly better jobs? I'm getting envious myself haha.

As for art, I think barring a few pieces I've saved over the years, I'm going to have an AI make something bespoke for me, you could give that a try.

Come to the US, we’ve got cost disease!

Though a lot of my industry has been struggling lately, and I couldn’t say whether that holds for the rest of the economy. Perhaps it’s the fabled “nonzero interest rate phenomenon.”

Come to the US, we’ve got cost disease!

Praying I can make it as a doctor, and then contribute to the rising cost of medical care 🙏

I dabbled in learning programming for a few weeks, but a few Leetcode easies in, I realized that with current visa restrictions being what they are, there's no way I can get credentials or competency high enough that I can beat the millions of other Indian programmers fighting for the same deal.

You decrease the cost of medical care wherever you practise medicine.

I certainly hand out medical advice for free on the Motte, so I can't imagine it gets cheaper than that haha

I have enjoyed playing around with AI to make various joke images, but I fear I'm not creative enough with my prompts to generate something interesting I'd actually enjoy looking at. Still, I'll give that a try.

In my case, I just got super lucky. A guy I worked with a few years ago reached out on linkedin and asked if I wanted to work at the company he now works for - I asked how much, he gave an answer and I had to take it. I think the key here is that the job is fully remote, but the salary is definitely keyed to being "acceptable" for the city the closest office is located in, which is a high cost of living city. I happen to live in an extremely low cost of living city (bought a 5 bed, 3 bath attached garage house for 300k in 2020).

I happen to live in an extremely low cost of living city (bought a 5 bed, 3 bath attached garage house for 300k in 2020).

Ouch. Don't remind me how much value ruble has lost. I could buy some land and build a similar house in a car-dependent suburbia of Moscow for about the same amount of money.

If the misfortune of others makes you feel better, a decent apartment or house in one of the major Indian metropolises costs about as much one in SF or London. And we make a tenth the money!

Anyone here do minimalist strength training?

I tend to fall into a pattern of lifting consistently for 3 months or so, then getting busy or injured and letting it lapse. So I never make any significant gains. I'm also a weekend warrior type athlete who plays an intense sport at a semi-competitive level. This really gets in the way of strength training. I'm doing way too much cardio and often suffer nagging overuse injuries.

I've tried Strong Lifts and Starting Strength. These programs seem okay, but better suited to a young person or one who doesn't do cardio or explosive sports.

Fortunately, there is research that the Pareto Principle applies to weightlifting. By doing just 1 heavy set a week one can get something like 50-80% of the strength gains one would by doing 15 sets.

Lately, I have reduced the volume of my workouts. It's feeling good so far. I'm still progressing and my knees feel better. I'm hoping that this will keep my consistent for a period of years and that the total gains I see will be much higher. I know I will reach a ceiling at some point which will require more volume to go past. I'll worry about that if it occurs.

There were a couple posts on Lesswrong about "optimal exercise" that you might like. This update, and the original one it links to.

WRT resistance training, I don't pursue any of the powerlifts (squat, bench, deadlift) anymore, instead focusing on other exercises that don't load the spine/knees as much but allow you to load the requisite musculature easily. Weighted step ups instead of squats can be loaded quite heavy. Hyperextensions, one-legged hypers, and reverse hyperextensions can work the posterior chain with 1/2-1/3 the load on the spine as deadlifts. Bench doesn't exactly load the spine but it is the most dangerous lift going by statistics (dropping the weight on yourself is the most common severe gym accident) and can be replaced with incline bench, dumbbell shoulder presses, and/or dips. These exercises are substantially easier to cue people on in a single session.

You might want to pick up 5/3/1 Forever. If you can get around Wendler's fairly poor explanation of how it works, there are a lot of fairly simple 2-day and 3-day templates that in theory could be done pretty quickly.

This is a question which has been asked here before, as well as in similar places, but more ideas are always welcome.

Through career progression and timely company changes, next week I will be starting a job at which I will earn far more money than I ever expected to make at any point in my life. My cost of living has not scaled with this at all. Something on the order of 15-20% of my income will amply cover all my needs. The rest is just gravy.

With this being the case: what are some ways in which I can use a surplus of money to improve my life?

I am also in a similar situation (not so dramatic perhaps, but I definitely didn't expect numbers on my income sheet to go up so fast). I even made a post here half a year ago before accepting the job offer asking for advice! I personally have too much of a middle class upbringing to ever consider spilling money into something that I can't convince my brain is good value for money. So so far I have just been treating people around me to nice restaurants and stashing most of the earnings in a checking account. But still some suggestions that might be of interest, roughly in an order of increasing cost:

  • Hire a cleaner. Not even that expensive if you don't have a large house.
  • High-end gym and/or private trainer.
  • Build yourself a solid wardrobe of high quality pieces that fit you well and match each other well. You can even hire professional help for shopping if you aren't sure about your judgment and don't want to spill money on expensive items that you will later not wear.
  • Do charity. Not the type of charity where you are feeding Western NGO types with your donations or giving mosquito blankets to African villages but stuff that leads to you having some standing in your community. My parents used to pay for medical treatments of poorer family members/acquittances and help with college tuitions of their kids etc. The respect and loyalty you get from such acts is difficult to describe if you have never witnessed people building such charity networks around them.
  • For any sporty hobby (surfing, skiing etc) you can spend a couple weeks with great private tutors in the best possible location and you will achieve a level of skill you didn't think possible. Later on this can lead to amazing vacations.
  • If you are the type of person (no judgment intended), high-end sex resorts in some Caribbean countries are the closest a man can reach the Islamic idea of heaven with money (at least non-billionaire level of money).

Ideally you will recognize that your brain is wired to seek all such status markers and worldly pleasures ultimately only for the purposes of passing on your genes in the best circumstances possible to the next generation. Try to leverage your situation to find a good partner and raise children in a favorable environment.

What's your living situation like? Buying a house ate up most of my money and also improved my life. It also opens a lot of opportunities to spend money on upgrades that you can't do in a rental.

Nice furniture is another option. My Aeron desk chair is a lot more comfortable than my cheap old one from Amazon. I love sitting in my Ekornes Stressless chair and reading. I sleep a lot better on an expensive king size mattress.

Hire a personal assistant to do all your life admin tasks. Hire a chef, or spend money such that you don't have to cook.

Just whip up a spreadsheet to calculate the new date at which you will be able to retire, and revel in the fact that it is only a few short years from now. (I recommend using the Consumer Expenditure Survey's "size of consumer unit by income before taxes: annual income less than 15 k$" numbers.)

Alternatively, if you have a cheap-but-rare porn preference (like skinny belly stuffing), see whether you can pay a few grand to sponsor a few videos.

Blessed be he who is not victim to lifestyle inflation.

Honestly, I struggle to understand this mindset. You can spend $100k on a nice 2 week vacation now, and that’s not hiring a yacht or being a baller in Monaco, that’s a modest 10 days or 2 weeks in Bora Bora or the Maldives. A nice new luxury car is $150-300k. A decent house in a nice part of a tier one city is probably over $5m. There are vicuña jackets at Loro Piana that cost $30k, and they’re actually very nice. Last year I still spent double than that on clothes and bags, and that was a comparatively lean year. I could easily spend a million dollars in a good department store in a few hours (hardmode: even without jewelry or furnishings). Truly, you are blessed.

I have faced a few problems in my life, but finding things to spend money on has never been one of them. Even many billionaires do not suffer from this dysfunction. My advice? Consider yourself lucky, save the money, and leave it for your kids to spend if you think them worthy.

You can spend $100k on a nice 2 week vacation now

How?? Or rather, what do you get out of a $100k 2 week vacation that you wouldn't get out of a $7k 2 week vacation (which still gives you $500 / day to play with, which in my experience is the level where I run out of waking hours to experience things faster than I run out of money with which to pay for those experiences). The only people I know who blow through high-5-figure amounts on a short vacation are people with major gambling problems.

Yeah the numbers don't add up. Even if every single one of your meals is in a Michelin Starred restaurant, and you live in hotel with gold plated toilets, and have a 24/7 slave literally physically carry you around so your feet don't have to touch the ground, you might reach 100k.

I think OP's budget included buying 50 Louis Vuitton items somewhere in there.

My examples were French Polynesia and the Maldives. My favorite resorts there are probably the Brando and Soneva Fushi (not Jani, although that’s more expensive), where a basic room is maybe $6k a night. That’s before food and drink (which obviously has to be flown in and is therefore extremely expensive), scuba diving ($250/pp/day) and/or other water sports, tips, transport by seaplane, flights to the country and various additional expenses. But this isn’t one-off stuff, there are whole large resort chains like Aman in this price segment with several dozen hotels around the world. Amangiri is probably $4k a night now for a basic room, that’s just to relax in the desert in Utah.

Thanks for the detailed response. And yeah I could see blowing through $500 / person / day on activities if you like scuba diving or anything involving flight. Still, even $500 / person / day for a family of 4 is only $28k over a 2 week period. So I think the question stands: what does Soneva Fushi (best price I can find is $2700 / night for a basic room) have that makes it better than e.g. Kihaa Maldives (a different 5 star resort in the maldives where even an instagrammable overwater bungalow with its own private infinity pool runs $500 / night, and a more normal room runs $275/night which includes breakfast and dinner).

Like don't get me wrong, Soneva Fushi looks nice but as far as I can tell it doesn't actually look substantially nicer than other nearby options.

I've never actually stayed at a $1000+ / night hotel - there has to be something better, or people wouldn't pay the extra amount. Unless it's just one of those things where once you're pulling in mid 7 figures a year you don't really care if you're spending $20k or $200k during your two week vacation because you run out of free time for vacations faster than you run out of discretionary money, so it's worth spending 10x as much for a 10% better experience.

I love seeing this and absolutely can't relate. My 2-week long Italian trip for $7k was extremely exorbitant. I felt like I bought whatever I wanted (Except for the 100 year anniversary edition Moto Guzzi I suppose), went to at least one Michelin star restaurant, and stayed in amazing places.

I'm knocked a Michelin star restaurant off my bucket list at it was like $5 per head. No regrets!

Yeah, we didn't go for something insanely expensive. Our biggest problem was assuming portions were tiny and vastly overbuying food. Could have got more wine.

Which? The only ones that cheap I can think of is probably that Chicken and rice hawker from singapore.

Also if you want to show off, eat at Michelin starred places. If you want to eat good, go to places that are "Bib Gourmand". It's a rating given out by Michelin for places they think is great value for money.

It was in Bangkok, but I can't recall the name rn, it had stars in two consecutive years, but I don't know if that makes it a two star restaurant or still a single one!

What's money good for if you can't spend it?

Then again, I count myself lucky that I'm not particularly consumerist, and barring buying a nicer house or car, my most expensive hobby, video games, has little to offer beyond splurging maybe 10 grand total on a top of the line PC, a ridiculous monitor and so on.

At least that's the case unless my income increases by an OOM or two, I'm sure I can find more hobbies to splurge or then, or donate some of it for political causes I care about.*

Fine liquors, ridiculously expensive clothing, fancy vacations, none particularly appeal to me, not that I'd complain if I got them.

*And invest heavily into index funds and tech companies but I intend to do that even with my minimal money, when I have more of it.

What's money good for if you can't spend it?

Safety, security, peace of mind coming from knowledge that you do not have to live from paycheck to paycheck, knowledge that you do not have to do cling to shitty job at any cost, knowledge that whatever is going to happen, you and your loved ones are not going to end destitute (barring some great catastrophe).

Trust me, I'm well aware of all of the above, and those are covered by "spend it". The potential spending is just deferred to the future, and in this case, we're talking about the lucky few who don't need to worry about that even if they're profligate purchasers otherwise, so I feel no need to spell that out myself.

Are you billionaire rich or mentally ill ?

I know people with 8-9 figure net worths and 1M USD + monthly incomes who don't spend even a fraction of this.

I don’t buy most of the things I cited and I’m not even close to billionaire rich. I was just illustrating that there are always things to spend money on. As for fashion, it’s my primary hobby (or at least expensive hobby, next to relatively cheap stuff like commenting here) and I buy a comparatively small number of interesting things a year. The spend a million dollars in a store thing was to say that I could if you gave me the money, not that I have or would, to be very clear.

There are vicuña jackets at Loro Piana that cost $30k, and they’re actually very nice.

I've never personally understood the allure of Vicuna, and I say this as someone who impulsively bought a $5k+ vicuna sweater when I was visiting New York this year shortly after getting my yearly bonus deposited into my account. I wore that thing like twice and didn't notice any difference from high end cashmere stuff you can get for $500, so I put the tags back on and it went back into its box where it has stayed. The sweater is extremely light too, significantly lighter than my other sweaters which psychologically makes me associate it with cheapness, as if the manufacturers had skimped out on yarn (my conscious brain knows vicuna wool itself is super light and LP would not do such a thing but that doesn't do anything for my subconscious), whenever I pick it up or wear it.

I have had many problems in my life, but finding things to spend money on has never been one of them.

Indeed, in the words of Oscar Wilde, “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”

if you like a relaxing form of travel, stay at top tier all inclusive resorts for 4-5 days at a time.

Do you have children? My surplus money vanished around the time they began arriving.

Unfortunately not, lol. I'm in my 30s now and it's been very strange how I continue to meet women that don't want to have children. That's a separate conversation of course, but yeah, it's just surprised me.

I'll second learning to Fly. I haven't and won't, but it's one of those things you consider as just what "other people" do. But it doesn't have to be. You can do it. There's nothing stopping you.

Ever wanted to learn to fly? Before I was married and had children I got my private license, it's easy to spend money on expensive hobbies. 12 weeks of skiing in Austria with a private instructor / guide. There are lots of skills where time with an instructor can really speed mastery.

In my early 20's I wasn't meeting woman that seemed interested in marriage. ~26 I started telling women / everyone I wanted to be married before I was 30. I was married at 29 with 8 months to spare.

Spend some on things that will save time. Invest the rest. "Retire" early in the sense that you keep working, but now with total freedom.

I've been in your shoes for a long time and I still can't think of ways to spend my money. I tried to enforce a monthly minimum budget, but couldn't make it work.

Here's the one nice thing I have which gives me the most joy: A cleaning person.

I'd caution against giving a lot of money to charity unless you think through all the externalities. Giving money to people directly or to EA-type causes is probably good. Giving to more traditional charities is probably net negative.

Hire staff.

Cleaners, and landscapers.

It really depends on what level of wealth your at beyond that. Honestly the best thing you could do would be to live frugally for a while, invest heavily, then retire.

I apologize if this is better suited to a Sunday thread, but it's top of mind for me right now.

Any recommendations for reactionary reading? I want to be specific that I have no interest in the "Dark Enlightenment" Yarvin/Land side of things as I've read enough of that to know it really is permanently-online neo-reddit-Edge-Lord content.

To maybe give a bit of a Customers Also Liked vibe; I'm moving through the works of James Burnham and have read a lot of Russell Kirk and Willmoore Kendall. I know these folks would be more in the traditionalist conservative camp, which I have enjoyed. Wondering if there's anything beyond them that doesn't actually drop into out-and-proud monarchism / theocracy.

Andrew Klavan might be up your alley.

it really is edge lord content

I’m afraid I have some bad news about historical reactionaries. After the Second World War, fascism was edgy by default. Go back before the First, and things just start looking trad, partly because the modern nRx guys have built their aesthetic on it.

Maybe you’d have some luck with Thomas Carlyle?

Was just offered a data analyst position, specifically in Revenue Management, starts January. Will be my first data job, transitioning from software engineering. Will also be my first in-person corporate job as I've been working from home since the pandemic. Any advice? I'm pretty good with SQL and the Python ML libraries, also setting up basic data pipelines in the cloud. But I don't know anything about Revenue Management.

I'm an early career Data Scientist in e-commerce and logistics so I might not have the best advice, but maybe the most recent advice.

  1. You know pythons ML stack and sql already that's starting off on a good foot. I don't think you'd benefit much learning more technologies. Most BI tools are the same if you know how to query using sql and for the really dirty stuff you can just pull out pandas and create a report in a python notebook.
  2. Learn the domain well. Can't really help you much there. But this is non-negotiable. You will be struggling a whole lot if you get some numbers and you second guess yourself if these numbers pass the smell test or not.
  3. Don't skimp on statistics or more generally just math like a lot of developers do. As an analyst, you probably won't need to be a Statistics God, but once again knowing your stats 101 really well will save you from a lot of second guessing and awkward moments. Here's an anecdote when it saved me a lot of trouble. We track the 90th percentile timings for a lot of things. One of the higher ups was confused at to why 90th percentile of A + 90th percentile of B wasn't equal to 90th percentile of A+B. Well because it's not a linear function and that property doesn't apply. I was asked to investigate why "things weren't adding up". Knowing some basic math saved me a lot of time/headaches, and continue to do so.
  4. Know how to answer basic questions. "What was our revenue during Q3 for location X only during the every alternate weekends" should take you like 3 minutes to answer. Boy oh boy is there a lot of confusion because simple things like this that can be looked up don't get looked up. Don't take anyone's word for anything. Just look these things up.
  5. Know how to answer the hard questions. Lack of information is... information. There's a reason we can drop the nth column when one-hot-encoding without any information loss. Because the counterfactual is information! Basically don't think like an SQL monkey and limit yourself to things that only the BI tool can answer with its GUI. There are lot of opportunities for questions like this in logistics. There exists no columns in a database that allows one to catch warehouse workers slacking off, items going missing or items not being checked in, etc, but a lack of certain rows tells me where to look. So keep an open mind towards the data it probably has some secrets there in plain sight. I'm sure there are lots of things like this in Revenue Management as well.

They should pair you with a functional expert who knows about Revenue Management. Even if they don't I wouldn't worry too much. Revenue is pretty cut and dry quantitative, so you're probably going to have straightforward requests without much room for interpretation.

The upside for all data roles -- forget having to write real tests! Just run the damn pipeline / model / whatever. There is no integration, everything is a one-off.

Until you get a VP-level (or higher) who builds their promotion case on creating the Integrated Data Infrastructure Omniscient Technology and starts to require really strict sprints and CI/CD pipelines ... for building reports.

But, for the time being, if you've actually written code in a real SWE environment, data work will be technically less rigorous, but with the potential for more back and forth with human principals.

https://manifold.markets/BenjaminIkuta/will-skookumtree-pinetree-successfu?r=QmVuamFtaW5Ja3V0YQ

I made a prediction market about the Hock.

It's generally admirable to work towards a challenging goal, but I do hope he doesn't attempt it without thoroughly adequate preparation.

I have to say that I do not wish for Skookum to go kill himself in the Alaskan tundra, but I do find the evolution of “The Hock” highly entertaining. I only give him about a 10% chance of actually going through with his plan.

I personally find it very distasteful to bet on someone's dying. I hope earnestly and sincerely for his success.

The more people bet on his dying, the more accurate the estimate will be and the less likely he'll do it if it's too low. Hope won't help him.

It's Skookum the Hock guy himself - I don't find it distasteful. It's rather amusing to me, to be honest. The market has the Hock guy at 7 to 4 against...

DM me the day before you set out, I'll bother to make the account on Manifold so I can get some fake internet points.

Ah, it's in winter? Adieu skook. Seriously, don't do this. Go to donner lake, at least you can survive by eating your arms while you wait for the thaw.

People have camped in the area in the winter. I think he could do it, but when he talks about bringing skis, it worries me.

That poster is freaking incredible lmao. Awesome stuff.

Thanks - I made it myself, with a little bit of assistance from @SomeoneElse on Discord (who respects the Hock, but thinks it's stupid and doesn't recommend it). He suggested changing the position of some of the text.

What survival/outdoor experience do you have? If zero, or very little, I'm going to be hopefully one of many voices telling you not to do this. Did Chris McCandless teach us nothing?

The SSC/ACX discord has a whole bunch of memes about our very own Skook, he's notorious for his ad-Hock insanity well before he showed up here.

Assuming this one is original (or not), it still made me chuckle!

I figure it's like a gastrectomy. Gastrectomies are proven to help with weight loss, but have extreme negative side effects, and really their only purpose is to help you diet anyways. The Hock will be effective because training and getting outside of your comfort zone is always effective. The Hock itself--that is, putting yourself in a life-or-death situation--will accomplish basically nothing.

As far as whether he'll complete it, he seems to be taking preparation seriously. If he actually understands what he's getting himself into and is not autistic enough to go without GPS etc. I think he'll probably make it through.

and is not autistic enough to go without GPS etc.

I would hope! But he seems to value the lethal risk for its own sake...

I can't be bothered to make a Manifold account just for the sake of this market (even if it made me chortle) so I'm just going to verbally registered my "no".

The whole point of prediction markets is to predict more carefully than just saying offhand.

You think I'm aware of what Manifold is without getting that much? I'm simply too lazy to bother when it's something as profoundly stupid as the Hock!

I don't think any of us even know what the hock exactly is, so it's hard to say what completing it means.

I think he's going to make a post about it with more detail at some point.

That makes one of us.

I have two fitness goals at the moment, in priority order:

  1. Lose pounds of fat
  2. Gain pounds of muscle

For the recent past, I've been focusing on this by adopting a more "bulking" strategy, wherein, I'd use larger weight for my exercises, and try to push my muscles to hit higher and higher weight limits. I'd usually do this by doing 2 to 3 of sets of 12 to 15 reps for each muscle, trying to push myself to muscle failure. So basically, more weight, less reps.

However, for achieving my stated goals, how does the above bulking strategy compare to a "toning" strategy, where I'd essentially be doing less weight, for more reps, and more time. With this sort of strategy, I may be doing up to 5 minutes of reps at a time, but with 1/2 to 1/3 of the weight as I'd be doing for bulking.

Which strategy is better to help me achieve my goal? Or should I do a mix, in which case, what percentage of time should be spent on each?

To achieve body recomposition, you need a lot of protein and a calorie deficit. It's all in the diet.

The lifting strategy, so long as you're doing something reasonable, is far less important. You don't need a specialized program.

Strong first.

That's a particular program, but it's also a general philosophy.

The rep range you're talking about (12-15 or higher) is undoubtedly in the hypertrophy or endurance strikezone. You're building muscle mass (but not strength) or building your body's ability to process lactic acid efficiently (endurance).

A better strategy, especially if longevity is even a tertiary goal, is to build overall strength first. Strength is built in the 3-6 rep range, with 5 (or "fahve" according to Saint. Mark) being a generally agreed upon gold spot. Sets also fall into 3-5 for most of the big compounds, with a major exception being deadlifts which should be done for only 1 - 2 sets if at all. Some folks completely replace deadlifts with cleans or power cleans.

Why "Strong First"? Because it's the most "convertible" to other fitness goals; endurance, hypertrophy, or a mixture of the two that is often called "toning" (which isn't, strictly speaking, a thing). If you can squat, bench, press, clean / deadlift, and row heavy, you can then start to manipulate the weight-reps-sets schemes for your specific goals. Going the other way doesn't work. I've seen badass PT Marines who can do 20 pullups fail to deadlift their own bodyweight.

Additionally, there seems to be a growing amount of research indicating that resistance training is the best exercise form for longevity.

Here's the good news: Unless you already have been lifting serious for some time, your first six months of going to the gym will yield noticeable and impressive results. "n00b gainz" are real regardless of specific weight/sets/reps combos. This is also good because it frees you from the mental stress of really caring about hyper-optimization of your routines. One note, however - please, please, please do compound lifts with free weights (unless you have some prior injury where this would be a real safety hazard). Isolated lifts are pointless for anyone who isn't a bodybuilder and if they're really over-worked, can result in such proportional imbalance that they increase the likelihood of injury. Machines are ok if your gym is a typical corporate gym that skimps on squat racks. Stay away from nonsense like band work (there are applications for this, but not general fitness).

I've seen badass PT Marines who can do 20 pullups fail to deadlift their own bodyweight.

high skeptical of this

Stay away from nonsense like band work (there are applications for this, but not general fitness).

"band work" = resistance bands?

What's wrong with them? They seem like a minimal equipment way to do strength training. Maybe they just are only functional at weights too low to be useful? Or is there some deeper issue?

I see three major drawbacks to bands:

  1. The increments are too large. Exercises span resistances from like 5 Lbs-250 Lbs for a modestly trained person. Some exercises you may be only able to increment by 1-2lbs per period. So you would need an absurd amount of bands for full coverage. Compare this to a barbell where you can get 1/4# plates, or a suspension trainer/rings where the resistance can be changed infinitesimally by changing the angle you are pulling at.

  2. You need a surprisingly strong anchor point, as strong as you would need for a suspension trainer. At the point where you are installing anchors in your house, there are better options. Recall how Harry Reid somehow managed to blind himself in one eye using bands. I don't recall if this was part of the cover story for his pancreatic cancer now that I'm thinking about it though. My point is that a band going flying off and crippling you is at least plausible enough story for a US Senator.

  3. The force curve is exactly backwards of what would be effective for hypertrophy stimulus. Most of the literature indicates the greatest stimulus occurs near the stretched position for a muscle. This is when the band is least extended for most exercises, also the point of least resistance a la Hooke's law.

They are very convenient and cheap, and I do use them to warm up sometimes, but aren't generally considered very good for serious training. Well, unless you are an elite powerlifter who subscribes to westside style accommodating resistance. But then you're far too advanced for anything here.

Going the other way doesn't work.

Of course it does. It's called an accumulation phase and it's bog standard powerlifter training.

If you're in a powerlifting cycle of any sort, you've already move past the beginner lifter phase which, I believe, was OP's situation. We're talking about two different things.

When you're a beginner, just about anything you do is going to lead to gains, so it makes even less sense to say base building "doesn't work".

I've seen badass PT Marines who can do 20 pullups fail to deadlift their own bodyweight.

Like literally you've seen someone who you know can do 20 pullups fail to deadlift their own body weight? Or just like with poor form? I'm trying to understand how that's possible, like worst case they should be able to row that weight and stand up just pivoting around a bar that is already at waist height. I've seen people that can can do 20 pushups who cant deadlift their own bodyweight, but that's a totally different part of the kenetic chain.

All that being said, I do tend to agree, which is why I used fahves in my example below. I didn't want to be too dogmatic about it, because other stuff can work. My rough view of the literature is that somehow it even suggest that it 'should' work just a well or better. My not very well supported theory, on why the other stuff seems to work less well than the laboratories studies suggest is that normal people have no idea exactly how hard you have to go to reach true failure in rep ranges > 10. Like a 20 rep set of squats to total failure feels uncomfortable at rep 6, starts noticeably slowing down at 8, feels like your legs are going to explode at 12, feels like you're going to vomit at 15, feels like you're going to vomit blood at 18, and requires entering the shadow realm the last rep or two. The lab studies that indicate higher rep ranges work tend to at least have a undergraduate telling the participants to keep going if they obviously have reps left in the tank. From casual observation, I think unprompted most people stop at very uncomfortable which can be very far from failure in high rep ranges.

I do actually recommend the starting strength book as well as practical programing. The big advantage being the novice linear progression is pretty idiot proof, or more charitably novice proof. I was a little bit surprised that it's no longer on the fitness wiki, because it used to be the go to suggestion for beginners on their fitness journey.

entering the shadow realm

Peace be upon you, fellow gym-meme brother/sister.

Re: "20 pullups, but no deadlift?" The case that comes to mind was a long distance runner who I saw doing a PFT. Rail skinny, but did kill his pullups. By sheer insane coincidence, ran into him at the post gym later that day. 2 plate deadlift, had to cat-back it by the third rep. My theory is that the hyper-specifically trained for his pullups on the PFT by doing .... a shit ton of pullups for several months. I can see how that would over emphasize biceps-to-lats but not actually develop the full posterior chain through the glutes and hamstrings. I think you're also probably correct in the "form" argument - he had no conception of how to use his legs to start the rep.

Now, would've been able to rack pull 225? Hey, maybe.

Our toothpick-built distance runner was deadlifting a good deal more than his body weight and was doing pretty well for someone who doesn't lift much if at all. If he was trying and failing with 185 for a single rep that would be different.

Also, he most definitely would have been able to rack pull 225, given that his deadlift form was shitty and he nonetheless got 2 good reps at 225. Starting as a stick-thin non-lifting dude built like a gazelle.

not a surprise. being fat or extra weight is of no benefit for the deadlift, unlike other major lifts

The distance runner was just a very skinny and fitter-than-average special case of 'untrained dude attempting weightlifting'. For someone who may step foot in a weight room twice in a good year this is pretty decent for a complete and total n00b. Sure, anyone who's not a total stranger to a weight room (unlike this guy) will smoke him, but the guy's a runner, not a lifter; he'd smoke us in a 5K for sure.

No way did that guy weigh anything close to 225. And even that weight he could lift.

This may be bro-science, but I've been taught that lower weight + higher reps is what to go for if you want to prioritize muscle mass versus strength. The reasoning having to do with the total amount of time your muscles are being activated. Again, probably bro-science, but at the least, that indicates that there's nothing about using lower weight + higher reps that significantly reduce one's muscle gain from weight lifting, since if that were the case, people would have noticed and not developed this bit of old wives' tale.

More generally, my own personal experience and general "common sense" among people who lift weights has been that, for 99% of people, whatever weight lifting regimen that is safe, challenging, and regularly stuck to is the best one for achieving their fitness goals, whatever those goals are. The differences that come from different types of strategies only matter for that 1% of people who take this very seriously and/or compete against other people who are hyper-optimizing their body recomposition. If you're not in that category, I'd say the main concern should be, can I do this "toning" strategy just as safely and just as regularly while challenging myself about as much as my other strategy? If so, then it'd be good to add it into your exercise toolbox, if only for variety's sake.

Doing both goals is possible if you are a novice. In that case I would recommend sticking to the 5-20 rep range and focusing on clean technique. Pushing to true muscular failure is probably not necessary, I don't interpret this as a license to totally slack off though. I would just stop at technical failure or 1-2 reps shy, normally this is perceived as "hard." Especially for people who have never trained hard before.

The terminology used here is... slightly non-standard. The dominant factor for losing fat or gaining muscle, assuming hard resistance training, is energy or caloric balance. If you are not a novice, and you would like to do both, you will either have to separate the goals into distinct periods or (not recommended though @self_made_human might provide a counter argument) hop on anabolics.

@Mewis's description agrees with my own interpretation of the consensus on muscle building stimulus. It's not clear there is an upper bound for the number of reps where hypertrophy stimulus stops, but below 50-60% of one rep max weights getting anywhere close to an effective distance from failure is very difficult. For example, say we define an effective set as within 4 reps of muscular failure. Choosing a weight of 1/2 of 1RM might be anywhere from 20-100 reps for true muscular failure. This is the first problem with very low weights, choosing a target to hit is very hard. Now say the true number of clean reps to failure is 50, reps 40-46 are all going to feel horrible. If you stop at 40 though, we likely haven't gotten 'close enough' to failure to deliver a quality