Personal achievement report, Dec 2011 – Jan 2012

It’s time for my second semimonthly personal achievement report! This one covers the period from December 13th (when I wrote my previous report) to January 31st. From now on, I’ll try to post reports at the end of each month.

So, what have I accomplished since I last reported?


* Two LJ posts, Not believing in your emotions and Interesting paper on the neuroscience of meditation. I’m pretty happy with “not believing in your emotions”, and count it as a very important insight.
* A Less Wrong post, The Substitution Principle. At the time of writing, it has promoted status, 59 upvotes, and also 59 comments. I’m pretty happy with it.


* Finished and submitted my two papers to the International Journal of Machine Consciousness. You can see the submitted versions here: Coalescing Minds and Digital Advantages. Unless something catastrophic happens, they should be published in print around summer. These will be my first peer-reviewed journal publications, so yay.


* Responded to a “writers wanted” ad on Less Wrong, and ended up doing a total of 12 hours of copyediting work for Quixey on a contract basis. They paid nicely, but I don’t know when/whether they’ll have more work for me.
* Submitted a summer job application to be an IT research assistant.
* Submitted an application for the Rationality Curriculum design position. Also wrote “The Substitution Principle” to be the start of a rationality training program, to be followed by concrete exercises, but didn’t get around designing the exercises yet. Need to do that next.
* Submitted a grant application to Taiteen keskustoimikunta, asking them if they’d want to give me money to write my book on how human minds differ from each other. I have no idea about my chances, but it can’t hurt to try.
* Began planning a way to make money by presenting myself as a rationality expert and giving lectures to various companies. That’s still under development.
* We figured that we didn’t have the time to release the secret crazy website project in time for Christmas and make it polished enough for our tastes, so we decided to postpone it for now. It’s still being worked on, though, and other secret crazy website projects await after that!


* Novel: secret co-written one that I’m not at a liberty to talk much about. We made progress on this one, developing a new way to write it and making considerable improvements on our main characters.
* Novel: The City of Light and Fire. No progress on this one, really.
* Novel: Dreamland (working title). Based on an RPG campaign I ran, so I already roughly know the plot for this one. Wrote one page worth of prose for it, which is not much but still something.
* Non-fiction book: How human minds differ, or, I need a catchier title (working title). Submitted a grant application and asked for money to write this one, and came up with a preliminary table of contents as a part of that.


* Passed the two exams (Introduction to Machine Learning, Introduction to Specification and Verification) I had.
* Currently doing two courses: Neuroinformatics 4 and Probabilistic Models. Was also supposed to test out of two courses (Distributed Systems and Software Architectures), but I haven’t gotten around doing the needed studying for those two.
* Made a Khan Academy account to revise some calculus that I’d forgotten. However, while I managed to remind myself of how derivatives worked, I was sorely disappointed to realize that there were no automated integration exercises offered. That’s what I’d have needed the most.


* Since it was Christmas, I put in an extra donation to the Singularity Institute, giving them a total of $140.
* Been actively posting various kinds of links on my Google Plus account, and they’re apparently being appreciated, judging from the fact that I’ve gone up from 622 followers on Dec 13th to 687 followers on Jan 31st. That’s 65 people. (Statistics courtesy of


Again, not a bad month. I’m still not doing as much schoolwork as the recommended pace, but then I’ll hit my maximum allotted student benefit months this fall, so I’ll need to find an alternate source of income before that. My income-finding efforts weren’t too bad so far, but I need to invest more in them still.

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