Progress Report, Jan 2015

Ch. 118-120 remain to be written, but I am taking the tentative plunge and saying that I currently but not solidly plan to begin posting HPMOR Ch. 104 on February 15th, 2015, and conclude with Ch. 120 on March 14th, 3.14 or Pi Day, at 12PM Pacific Time.  The idea of a finale celebration has been floated.  I’m curious as to what readers think about declaring Pi Day celebrations as the Schelling Point for HPMOR readers to meet up if there’s no larger local meetup.  I’d also like to know whether there’s any off-the-shelf software anyone would recommend for organizing meetups all over the world.

If I choose to solidify this date, I will post Ch. 103 on January 28th, 2015 at 5PM Pacific Time to announce the fact.

Speaking of finishing writing HPMOR, I’m looking for an English-speaking Chilean reader to meet me at the Santiago, Chile airport noonish on January 12th, in order to help me to get on a bus to another city (where I’ll meet up with Brienne).  Since I am not a Spanish speaker, this brief guidance would make me feel significantly less nervous about my trip.  Also, thanks to for helping Brienne find the place where she’s staying and where I’ll be visiting her.

The 13-essay sequence forming my abridged guide to writing intelligent characters in fiction is now complete.

I highly recommend to everyone that they read the most recent newsletter of the Center for Applied Rationality:

CFAR in 2014: Continuing to climb out of the startup pit, heading toward a full prototype.

This has important new information about what CFAR did and learned in 2014, and where they’re heading in 2015.  CFAR is also currently running their annual fundraiser and I highly commend this as an effective use of charitable dollars.

I’d like to take this moment to commend to you the products of the following companies started by HPMOR readers / effective altruists:

Bellroy (owned by active Effective Altruists) makes elegant and functional slim-profile wallets. (They are recruiting for several roles including a data scientist. Interested readers should send an effortful pitch to Matt Fallshaw is one of Bellroy’s founders and is an early CFAR alum and active member of MIRI’s Board of Directors. I have many complimentary things to say about Matt that this margin is too narrow to contain.

General Biotics is a recent startup that is producing a pill-based probiotic that may help to replenish gut flora aka the intestinal microbiome.  They intend to donate 10% of profits to effective charities.  If you are currently unhappy with your digestive system, this is a quick way to test whether your gut microbes might be the cause.  (If you don’t have a current pain point but are interested in trying general improvements, you might want to wait for v2.)

Either Ch. 103 will post on January 28th, 2015 at 5pm Pacific Time (yay!) followed by Ch. 104 on February 15th, or I will have been distracted by something going very wrong (boo!), in which case the next Progress Report will post on February 1st, 2015 at 5pm Pacific Time.