The Open Thread: August 2017

The monthly Open Thread is a place for open discussion among my readers. Post anything you feel like sharing!

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66 thoughts on “The Open Thread: August 2017

  1. A number of readers here are math-enthusiasts IIRC.

    I’m curious to know what kind of books you prefer for learning mathematics.

    I did learn a bit of multivariate calculus and linear algebra as part of my economics courses in university, but I found that it was a very cookie-cutter approach — you just learn the technique and apply it without really learning what it means.

    I’ve been trying to learn calculus over again to understand more of the mathematics behind it, but personally, I find that I don’t have the patience to work through textbooks written in the axiom-definition-proof manner. I don’t know if it’s because I have more limited time now that I started working or because I just never learned mathematics in this way before; up through high school calculus, I mostly just followed lessons and did many problems and never had to use a textbook.

    I’m going through a calculus MOOC series by Robert Ghrist on Coursera. I like his approach, which focuses on problem-solving through worked examples while giving brief explanations of the underlying concept. The MOOC is advertised as covering the same material for single-variable calculus that engineering undergrads with some prior high school experience in calculus at UPenn go through although I suspect that is not quite true. I’m more than 3/5 of the way through the whole MOOC series now, on the lesson on trigonometric integrals — I find that playing the videos at 2x speed and following along the worked examples in the videos before doing the quizzes works best for me.

    Anyway, there was no suggested course text so I’ve been looking around for calculus textbooks in my free time. I tried to go through Spivak’s widely-recommended book; I can see why people like him as he slowly builds concepts and proofs up but I found him rather slow-going and I don’t see myself becoming a mathematician anyway so I don’t really see the need for me to learn proofs in detail — I just want to learn basically the most widely applied mathematics across most quantitative fields today, which are AFAIK: calculus up to basic partial differential equations, linear algebra, probability and statistics, and some discrete mathematics.

    On the other hand, I found the textbook written by MIT’s Gilbert Strang pretty good, but I still found it hard to read from beginning to end — I prefer reading specific sections of it to refine my understanding after watching Prof Ghrist’s videos. For example, after reading the section on linear approximation and Newton’s method, it struck me how simple the relationship between differentiation, linear approximation and Newton’s method is. Where f(x) is a function of x, df/dx = f'(x). In linear approximation you basically just want to find df. For Newton’s method, you want to find dx, and thus you shift the equation accordingly. It’s not that different from what we learned in primary school: Speed = Distance/Time where if you have any two of the values you can find the third.

    That brought to my mind a Feynman lecture where he contrasted the axiomatic “Greek” method of mathematics to the “Babylonian” method where you happen to know this and that and tomorrow you might forget some pieces but you can put it back together: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaUlqXRPMmY

    On Feynman himself, I remember reading that he taught himself calculus with textbooks tailored for autodidacts. I found out that the titles were “Calculus made easy” and “Calculus for the practical man”. They are both available on archive.org, I had a skim through them and thought they were pretty good, concise practical books but I didn’t have anything new to learn from them since they stopped at basically what is high-school calculus today.

    I found a number of similar old books on archive.org such as “The Calculus for Engineers” written by John Perry, published in 1897, which goes beyond the two books above although still mainly being about single-variable calculus. The explanations of the mathematical concepts are concise but informative and it is full of practical examples applied to mechanical and electrical engineering. The author has some other interesting books on Mechanics and Steam Engines too.

    I guess for now, the MIT OCW resources are my best bet if I don’t want to use textbooks written for aspiring mathematicians. I’m not attacking that approach btw, I’m just finding that I don’t like that approach to learning — I find that I prefer what Feynman called the “Babylonian” approach which goes by worked examples rather than axioms and proofs. Maybe it was because this was how I was taught from primary school up to high school.

    On the other hand I found this essay by Vladimir Arnold who quite savagely attacks the French “Bourbaki” approach to teaching using axioms: https://www.uni-muenster.de/Physik.TP/~munsteg/arnold.html

    Anyway, I’d be interested in any comments on approaches to learning mathematics or other resources.

  2. You mentioned somewhere that the meditation book will lack the new age bullshit found in many such books. New Age bullshit was the main reason why I was apprehensive towards mediation previously and if you really can produce something that is pure content (like you have before) it would be very welcome.

    1. I agree with you Don. After meditating 2 hours daily for the past six months I went to a local Zen joint recently to sit with those guys and see if I can get a few more technical insights.
      After reading about Soto-Zen I thought there might be less bullshit compared to other Buddhist traditions. However, I start to feel it as cultish as any other lineage. I even question the hyped benefits of meditation itself. When you face the wall you basically just calm your central nervous system. No satori, no ego death and all that BS. What would be your reasons to get into meditation, Don? Aaron, did you ever look further into Zen? What are your thoughts on it?

    2. I was never interested in Meditation and never will be unless of course, Aaron delivers on his promise of Meditation sans the new age bullshit.

  3. The main reason many guy issues don’t get talked about by feminists is because the writers of the articles are mostly women and don’t many of the struggles that men face.

    1. The one on the right looks the most fuckable to me, although she seems to be the fattest.
      Then I saw her age and realized she’s the youngest of all four.
      Can’t beat age (even though here it’s relative).

    1. Jordan Peterson had both his GMail and YouTube account blocked recently, but that decision got reverted. Censorship is alive and well, yet the West is supposedly the “free world”.

  4. Aaron, idk if you talked about it before, but have you read about that study called “Sexual Inactivity During Young Adulthood Is More Common Among U.S. Millennials and iGen: Age, Period, and Cohort Effects on Having No Sexual Partners After Age 18” that can be found with google or here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-016-0798-z ?

    The Result of the study is, that the latest generation (called generation y) has significantly less sexual activity than every generation before them.

    In my opinion this is kinda true, due to the fact that this generation is less social intelligent, less enterprising (their parents dry-nursed them all their life) and by using their smartphones most of the time they never developed actually some dating skills.

    Whats your opinion on that?

    1. I just skimmed the study. For those who cannot access the article, I quote this statement from the summary:, “Contrary to popular conceptions, more Americans in recent cohorts are not having sex as adults, with 15 % of those born in the 1990s sexually inactive since age 18 in their early 20s, twice as many as among those born in the 1960s.”

      The results don’t seem implausible. A topic on both my blog and forum once was that the number of clubs in England has substantially declined. One plausible explanation was that young people have less disposable income, think youth unemployment, another was that many women go to clubs for the attention, but nowadays women can get attention much more easily. All it takes are a smartphone and an Instagram account.

    2. @Alek, why do you think that feminism stops young people from going to nightclubs?

      People don’t have fun only and only if they can’t due to bad logistics (money). I don’t think feminism can stop biology but money can indeed put the breaks on biological urges. Due to concrete measurable numbers that shows the high underemployment and even unemployment what I say does not seem far fetched. At the end of the day night clubs only care about your money. If you can’t give it to the club or gentrification (more money) removes clubs from your area its all about money.

    3. – I blame feminism for less sex happening amongst young adults

      – Sex obtained from clubs was always a small percentage of overall lays (there are studies on where people meet sexual partners), even if all clubs on the planet closed it wouldn’t explain why so much less sex is had today than previous generations

      – Feminism made it easier for women to “slut it up”. Women don’t “slut it up” with average guys” though. All this means is that it’s easier to get laid if you’re a top 5% guy. It’s much more difficult if you’re one of the 95% of guys.

      – Not only did feminism make it ok for women to “ride the cock carousel” (i.e bang a string of top 5% guys)… it also made them openly hostile to the other 95% of guys. I’ve talked to people from previous generation, everybody says chicks were much nicer 20 years ago. They’re openly hostile today unless you’re a top 5% dude.

      When I was a small kid (25 years ago) my cousin snuck me into a night club. I remember how pleasant and nice everyone was. It was like a big birthday party. Everyone talking to everyone.

      – That’s why the 95% of guys are retreating into distractions, and choosing not to go in clubs etc. If you’re one of the 95% why would you go to a place where you’re treated like crap, to watch women sucking off the 5%?

      *-In some countries clubs are cheap or free. In my country the clubs had a couple of years trying a free-entrance thing. All clubs were 100% free. It boosted number of people going for a bit, then it died down anyway.

      **-Fortunately getting in the top 5% is actually relatively easy. We discuss it around these parts quite a lot (balacing 80/20 approaches to several traits vs minmaxing). If you implement what you read in minimal game, and Aaron’s overall advice on 80/20ing the gym… you can get to be a top 5% guy pretty quickly.

    4. Having heard all of this and even with the glimmer of doubt as to the extent of the penetration of feminism, I would like to know about becoming a top 5% guy? Please link to stuff you mentioned. Thank you.

    5. To be fair, a guy can make millions and not be in top 0.5%.

      – If he’s not diverting that money into things that make him more attractive or buying status…

      – If a guy is badly dressed, below average physique, has spent no time building a lifestyle that includes girls and all his money is just sitting in the bank… then he’s average in practical terms. That money means he can hypothetically be a top 5% if he used that money to do it.

    6. Alek got a good point there: Its not money, its feminism.
      Yes Smartphones, not being confident and less social intelligent is a good explanation for both guys and girls, but at the end of the day feminism has the biggest impact on why this generation has less sexual activities than any other generation before.

      Feminism nowadays has women taught:

      – to keep their demands high: it does not matter how you look like, you deserve a guy from the top 5 percent. How that works out tells us Hannah Witton http://blog.aaronsleazy.com/index.php/2017/08/02/hilarious-overweight-female-sex-educator-cant-get-a-date/

      – they’re perfect just the way they are: if you’re uneducated or lazy, you are perfect in any way you are. No more #fatshaming! You can claim, that each one has to accept you – fashion industry has considered that already: http://blog.aaronsleazy.com/index.php/2016/10/13/what-it-really-means-that-the-average-american-woman-is-a-size-16/

      – just because you are a women, you are better than men: Everything is the patriachy’s fault. Equality is when men have no power.

      Good to know, life hasnt always been like that: https://www.quora.com/Are-there-any-negative-effects-of-feminism

  5. Speaking of nutrition and fitness: is beer justa as bad as hard liquors? There’s the myth of the “beer belly”, but I don’t think there’s much truth to it. Alcoholism to the point of developing liver issues is going to swell your belly, it doesn’t matter if the tons of alcohol you consume are from beer or tequila.

    1. I don’t think obesity due to excessive alcohol consumption is a myth. Just look up the calorie content of your favorite alcoholic beverages. It’s just called a “beer gut” due to beer being the most commonly consumed kind of alcoholic beverages.

    2. Well, with the national beer having 150 calories per portion, what you say is true. But I’d still argue that beer is more benign than black rum (another staple from our local liquor production), for example, if only because you have to cosume tons of it before getting intoxicated.

  6. I can’t believe this is serious:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyTvar6Qd5c

    – Video where a PUA picks up a fattie and brags about it.

    I remember how I got in the community because sevens (even eights) were throwing themselves at me, and I didn’t know how to make a move, or what to do. I discovered all these guys claiming to get tens like crazy.

    Then when I met them in real life, they were all spam-pestering hundreds of girls to occasionally bang a four or five…

    Relates to what you said in the other post…

    people never fail, because they constantly move the goalpost. Didn’t get into Harvard? Nah, it’s not all that special anyway. Can’t fuck hot women without paying for it? Nah, hot women are stupid anyway; inner beauty is where it’s at. Can’t get a job? Nah, it’s reprehensible to take part in capitalist exploitation anyway.

    I have never ever been with a chick that didn’t have a flat belly (90% also skinny legs/skinny arms). Never, not even once been with a girl that lacked a flat belly. Not even a makeout or a blowjob. And 100% of them have been petite.

    Now, I’ve heard guys my entire life telling me that my tasted is weird. “Eeewww those girls look so fragile, you want some meat on a girl, she needs to have curves to be a girl bla bla”.

    And my favorite “Ewww it’s kind of “pedophilic” to be into girls who are so skinny and look so fragile” (they use fragile as a negative word for “petite/feminine”).

    Then I go and point out that every millionaire in town is paying for escorts that are like this. I also point that every single barista in the high-level lounges also has this look (thigh gap, flat belly, skinny arms, petite build). Are all the rich people and all the upscale managers “paedophiles”?

    It’s an interesting way that guys find to convince themselves that they don’t want skinny girls anyway. Apparently being attracted to feminine girls is a negative. Very nice rationalization. Apparently “real men” are into curvy girls and all that shit. It’s not that they can’t get the other ones… they don’t want them anyway…

    Nice story bro.

    1. If the onion made a video to parody the pua industry, this is probably what they’d produce.

      I still can’t believe this is a serious video. But then again I don’t watch pua videos.

      I thought rsd field videos were a joke with the pass out drunk sixes who can’t even string together a sentence. Apparently the average pua is even worse than rsd.

    2. “Then I go and point out that every millionaire in town is paying for escorts that are like this. ”
      Looks like an exception, but a buddy of mine who is fairly well off chooses hookers with usually 10 kg more than the petite ones I go for. I don’t understand it, but this seems to be his taste. So, one time he picked a girl more in my range and after we went outside I asked him how it was and he said he didn’t like it, “not enough meat on the bone”.
      Is it maybe because he could drop some weight, too and hence feels uncomfortable with petite girls, even when he pays for them?

    3. @Neutral, there is such a thing as too petite. For instance, I too like a bit of a perky milk board on a girl. I haven’t seen girls with natural jerky boobs who aren’t a bit big made.

    4. Nah, if there is porn for it, there’s a taste for it. And fat chick porn is at least as abundant as tranny porn.

      They may be outliers, but there’s definitely guys who genuinely like overweight women.

    5. Some guys are genuinely into “curvier girls” (5-10 pounds extra). It’s not a rationalization, it’s genuinely their preference. Very few guys are genuinely into fat girls, but they do exist.

      I can accept that someone can genuinely be into fat girls. Bragging about picking them up though is absurd. It’s like bragging about getting a job at McDonald’s, they’ll take anyone. You might genuinely like to work at McDonald’s, but bragging about getting a job there is weird.

    6. Conceivably, this may be one of the few PUA infield videos that does not involve a paid actress. Honestly, if you are spam approaching every woman in sight using some 3-second rule, you are probably not going to filter out much. Given that a lot of PUAs come off as pretty weird, picking the low hanging, rotting fruit is their only option.

  7. http://gizmodo.com/exclusive-heres-the-full-10-page-anti-diversity-screed-1797564320/amp

    Senior developer at google has written a memo about how bad ‘no holds bar’ diversity is and there should be selective diversity.

    here is a brief summaray…

    the author argues that women are underrepresented in tech not because they face bias and discrimination in the workplace, but because of inherent psychological differences between men and women. “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” he writes, going on to argue that Google’s educational programs for young women may be misguided.

    1. Guess spilling the truth isn’t worth it…the google manifesto author got fired. Ironically, corporate diversity doesn’t include diversity of opinion.

  8. There’s a lot of advice in the manosphere community about moving on after a relationship ends and I just want to clarify what’re good ideas and which ones are bad.

    It makes sense to go ahead and work out, be healthy, follow your mission in life and all that, but that’s talked a lot about on this blog and men should be doing those things regardless for their own benefit.

    There’s one piece of advice, however, that sticks out and just screams bad idea. It has to with the whole go out and get laid ASAP bit. You know, in theory that’d be a swell thing to do. But most people who have been in a monogamous relationship for some time aren’t really in a position to just go out and fuck hotties, and smashing nasties sure isn’t going to help your confidence.

    In my case, I’ve been either too busy or too tired to put much effort into a relationship as it is, much less having to worry about meeting new women at the moment. Let’s say that for me, I’m in the predicament where there’s still quite a bit to do in terms building a physique, career, a niche etc. so I’d be better off biding my time and just enjoying more freedoms and less emotional tantrums, rejections, and just focusing on fundamentals.

    Another note, if according to Maslow’s pyramid that it’s a fact that sex is one of the main basic needs of humans, is it detrimental to your health to go without for an extended period of time? Or can we just safely call bullshit on Maslow’s theory all together.

    It seems that the advice to get laid after a relationships ends as soon as you can, comes more from a place of inadequacy. Like as if to say, “yea, look at me, you bitch. I’m still a desireable alpha male capable of banging 5’s and 6’s. Sure showed you.”

    Anyway, If anyone has any practical advice on just being happy overall, that’d be welcome.

    1. Jumping back into the saddle right after a serious break up usually does not work well unless you are some kind of robot. As well, most of the manosphere argues that you need to focus primarily on your goals, and urgently finding a replacement girl sort of flies in the face of this. In your case, working on your physique, career and social niche are all good at helping putting yourself on an even keel, plus you might find girls just doing your thing.

  9. Hi Aaron,
    Is Ashtanga Yoga ideal for improving flexibility? or would other types of Yoga or even other types of physical activity be more ideal?

    I’m also curious to know how difficult was Ashtanga Yoga for you when you just started? (If I’m not mistaken,you had no previous experience with other types of Yoga and jumped immediately to Ashtanga)

    1. I don’t know whether it is “ideal” for that purpose; it’s certainly a suitable way to do so. Of course it will take some time to get proficient. My progression was fairly smooth, but your mileage may vary, depending on your level of fitness.

  10. I have a small gripe with your ideas about STEM majors. Science and Math majors are hardly a lucrative field. It is very difficult to find a job for them. Engineering on the other hand is a good field but it is hard to figure out what subfield of engineering will be in demand. For instance, petroleum engineers were in demand during the fracking boom in the US but that has now come down. You can include doctors in the above but there are many doctors that aren’t doing so well for every doctor that is doing well. The only good I see in being a STEM major is that you can easily become a more effective entrepreneur as opposed to say someone with a degree in drama.

    1. In general, STEM majors will provide you with better career opportunities. With a STEM background, you are, on average, much less likely to be unemployed or underemployed. Science can be quite lucrative, by the way. Just think of all the physics majors who work as “data scientists” or as quants, for instance. Petroleum engineers certainly don’t starve, and you’ll have a very hard time to find a doctor who doesn’t make at least a decent amount of money.

    2. I guess you are right. Its all relative. Compared to other majors, STEM majors are doing better. Therefore, like I said above, it is them who are more likely to be entrepreneurial. Which is what makes the world go around.

      Thinking about it, I too come from a background in Math and I work in finance. Ideally, I would follow my passions of genetic engineering and attack aging related deceases. But here I am, looking at derivatives contract prices.

    3. It isn’t related. That’s because I didn’t pursue my passion (genetic engineering) and instead pursued the opportunities available (finance) for me.

  11. Sooner or later it had to happen: “Cal State will no longer require math and English placement exams.” (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14965074. )

    >> The implicit message here seems to be, “let everyone pass through the system regardless of how qualified they actually are, but we’ll have to lower the bar to keep grades and graduation rates high.”

    1. This is incredible. A problem is that the OECD is, when it comes to education, simply braindead. They consider a high percentage of high school and university graduates a positive metric, completely ignoring that the average person is a moron. There would arguably be very little lost if the entire California State University system was shut down, and half the schools of the UC system, too. Limiting university access to the top 5 or 10 per cent of high school graduates would restore (some) faith in that rotten institution.

  12. On the topic of building a physique for practical purposes (appearance/stature/getting laid)… I discovered this video, this guy makes a lot of sense:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9HC2fsVKtY

    VideoTitle: 9 Ways To Look Bigger Than You Are
    Author: AlphaDestiny

    Basically recommends being 15% bodyfat (just like Aaron recommends)… and goes into some common sense stuff about looking big in real world situations (what to prioritize).

    1. I really like your links Alek, thanks also for linking Mike Israetel and Nassim Taleb in the past.
      They are very worth to follow.
      Maybe you can compile a short list of other good materials too 🙂
      Just like Aaron did in the sidebar.

    2. Agreed. Once you can get past the fairly silly name you’ll find the guy has some very good advice for legitimate naturals.

      His main programme certainly falls in line with the concept of ‘min/maxing’. His heavy emphasis on developing the neck, traps and shoulders whilst keeping a healthy body fat (12-15%) can make a fully natural lifter look fairly big.

    3. thanks also for linking Mike Israetel and Nassim Taleb in the past.

      They are very worth to follow.

      That’s ironic. The reason I linked to Israetel is because he says you don’t need to follow him unless you’re minmaxing.

      He basically says in that video (paraphrasing):

      “If you just want to look good, you can get great results with a minimal approach. So you don’t need all this nitpicky stuff I talk about. This is if you’re trying to get that last 0.1% to get an edge at a world class level competition”.

      He’s basically a super smart minmaxer who tells you that you don’t and shouldn’t minmax unless it’s your job or your only life goal.

    4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vou03hBhhog

      On going to the gym 2 days a week. Talks about people who live in the gym (minmax) probably have issues. Dysmorphia or not having a life outside the gym.

      Ironically that’s exactly what I do as well. Twice a week in the gym + i have weights at home. The smaller muscles I train at home. Hyoooge time savings… Let’s me get away with twice a week.

  13. I am reading Minimal Game. One point was to move to a city of at least 500,000 people. I disagree with this statement. There are cities that are between 300,000 and 500,000 that a guy could easily get laid in. I am from Minnesota, lived in Missouri, and now live in Michigan. In Kansas City, Missouri, a guy could easily get laid even though the metro area is around 2.1 million people and the city’s population is about 480,000. St. Louis is a little over 300,000.

    1. Look up the meaning of the proverb, “the exceptions proves the rule”. In fact, in Minimal Game I even explicitly mention a few aspects that may make smaller cities veritable hunting grounds. In your case, a large metropolitan area certainly affects how easily you can get laid in a city. Also, it probably takes a severe case of Asperger’s to believe that a city of a little more than 480,000 would be a valid counter example.

  14. @Aaron and others, is it true that what separates seducers or at least people who have a life with an abundance of women and men who aren’t seducers is their ability to tell horny women from women that are not horny at some point in time?

    1. Yes, but… there’s a couple of caveats…

      Note we’ve discussed this before in the context of “Why PUAs get better approach-to-lay ratios over time”. If their game bullshit isn’t real, how come they get better over time.

      (Most don’t, 99% of PUA get nowhere, for the few cases who legitimately get better results over time).

      But the explanation is simple. With experience you get better at recognizing which girls are down, which aren’t, when it’s time to do it, when it isn’t etc etc…

      The issues with these game believers is that they’re not even doing consciously. Overtime he’s learned what kinds of girls he has a bigger chance with, so he goes for those chicks.

      He’s learned when a girl isn’t giving off horny signs, so he ejects… he might backwards rationalize it though that he ejected for another reason. He might convince himself that he chose a certain girl because she was his “pick”… but in truth he just went for the girl most likely to put out.

      Now, Aaron (and most naturals I’ve met) are conscious about this.

      One of my best friends can walk into a place and point out which chicks are the horniest. He has amazing approach-to-lay ratios. Because he’s so fine-tuned to it…

      Be Warned though

      Don’t try to learn this. You can’t, it’s not a wise investment of your time.

      I mean sure, learn the basics from Aaron’s minimal game (how to gradually test, escalate step by step, it’s all in minimal game). That you can learn consciously.

      Also you might find my levels analogy useful:
      http://blog.aaronsleazy.com/index.php/2017/01/01/the-open-thread-january-2017/#comment-1192

      However you can’t consciously learn to tell which chick is horny and will put out. That will come from experience.

      is it true that what separates seducers or at least people who have a life with an abundance of women and men who aren’t seducers is their ability to tell horny women from women that are not horny at some point in time?

      TL:DR – Don’t mix up the correlations.

      – They didn’t get abundance BECAUSE they had this ability
      – They got this ability BECAUSE they have abundance

      Make sense? It’s chicken and the egg situation. But in this case the abundance came FIRST. The reading ability came SECOND.

    2. TL:DR – Don’t mix up the correlations.

      – They didn’t get abundance BECAUSE they had this ability
      – They got this ability BECAUSE they have abundance

      Make sense? It’s chicken and the egg situation. But in this case the abundance came FIRST. The reading ability came SECOND.

      In other words don’t fall into a false loop like:

      – I need this ability to get laid a lot
      – But I need to get laid a lot to get this ability…

      There’s a very easy roadmap…

      – You can apply minimal game,
      – start getting laid
      – and you will get the ability over time.

    3. Thanks Aleck. I am starting to get the hang of finding DTF women now. What you said is so true. Abundance first.

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