Djoser Joseph Osiris by Scott Alexander – “The other day a few people (including Ben Hoffman of Compass Rose) tried to convince me that Pharaoh Djoser was the inspiration for the god Osiris and the Biblical Joseph. The short summary is that the connection between Djoser and Osiris is probably meaningless, but there’s a very small chance there might be some tiny distant scrap of a connection to Joseph.”
Why Is Clozapine So Great by Scott Alexander – Clozapine is a very effect anti-psychotic but it has large serious side effects. NDMA agonists and a proposed mechanism for Clozapine. Maybe you could just give patients a normal anti-psychotic plus glycine.
Erisology Of Self And Will Campbellian Thinking In The Wild by Everything Studies – “In this section I’ll show some examples of casual conversation revealing Campbellian ideas. Comment threads attached to online newspaper articles are excellent sources of such casual conversation. Written down in a neat and accessible form, their existence makes it practical to do this kind of research for the first time.”
Don’t Blame Griggs by Scott Alexander – Griggs vs. Duke Power Co is commonly cited as making it prohibitively hard for companies to use intelligence tests in hiring. Scott argues this doesn’t explain the rise in credentialism. You can still ask about SAT scores. Fields with easily available test scores (LSAT, MCAT) are still credentialist. Other countries lack equivalents of Griggs vs Duke.
The Future: Near Zero Growth Rates by The Foundational Research Institute – Moore’s law cannot possibly go one for more than ~400 years, we will hit physical limits to computation. At 2.3% growth in energy use we would need to coat the Earth in Solar panels to get enough solar energy in only 400 years. If we captured all the energy from the sun we would run out in 1350 years. The universe can only support so much economic activity. We will in a very unusual part of humanity’s timeline in terms of growth rates.
Funding Constraints For Ea Orgs by Jeff Kaufman – Value of direct work vs donation. Jeff argues EA organizations could make use of more resources. For example EA-Global could hire non-EA professional conference organizers.
Taking Integrity Literally by Ben Hoffman (Compass Rose) – Defending Kant. Fight the murderer or shut the door but don’t become the sort of person who considers lying. Honesty is optimal in healthy environments. Thoughts on unhealthy environments. How Ben started to become honest about how late he would be. Not lying to yourself or others.
How I Found Fixed The Root Problem Behind My Depression And Anxiety After 20 Years by Kaj Sotala – Finding the root cause: self-concept. How to cultivate lovable self-concepts (ex: bravery). Consider memories where you lived up to the concept of being brave. Also consider cases where you failed. Integrating the positives and negatives into a healthy whole. Positive benefits the author experienced: professional success, emotional landscape improvement, negative emotions disappeared. Expected relationship changes. Lots of personal history details throughout.
I Cant Be Your Hero Im Too Busy Being Super by Jim Stone (ribbonfarm) – “But people don’t generally take on the burdens of inauthenticity without good reason. Often it’s because they want to occupy social roles that allow them to get their physical and psychological needs met, and other people won’t let them play those roles unless they are the right kind of person. Sometimes people put on masks simply to secure the role of “community member” or “citizen” or “human being”.”
On Becoming A Better Person by Waking Up with Sam Harris – “David Brooks. His book The Road to Character, the importance of words like “sin” and “virtue,” self-esteem vs. self-overcoming, the significance of keeping promises, honesty, President Trump.”
Highlights From The Comment Thread On Meritocracy by Scott Alexander – Real merit vs credentials. Which merits do we reward? Meritocracy causes high ability people to concentrate into one class. Just rid rid of ruler and structural divisions between people. Scott finds the later idea utopian. ” The most salient alternative to meritocracy isn’t perfect equality, it’s cronyism.”
Write Down Your Process by Zvi Moshowitz – Writing down your thought process helps you improve. Magic R&D’s openness. Zvi’s success as a MtG player and writer.
Complexity Is Bad by Zvi Moshowitz – People can only think about ~3 things and store ~7 pieces of information in working memory. People will simplify in unexpected ways or fail to engage. Some concepts that help you manage complexity (ex: Resonance, Chunking). A link to the MtG head of R&D’s podcast about why complexity is a cost.
People Dont Have Beliefs Anymore Than They Have by Bound_up (lesswrong) – Actions are not deduced form goals. Beliefs are not deduced from models of the world. Maybe nerds have real beliefs but most people do not. Less nerdy people will probably interpret in your stated beliefs as social moves and will respond in turn.
Julia Galef On How To Argue Better And Change Your Mind More by The Ezra Klein Show – Thinking more clearly and arguing better, Ezra’s concerns that the traditional paths toward a better discourse. Signaling is turtles all the way down, motivated reasoning, probabilistic debating, which identities help us find truth, making online arguments less terrible. Julia heavily emphasizes the importance of good epistemic communities. Being too charitable can produce wrong predictions. Seeing like a State.
Targeting Meritocracy by Scott Alexander – Education and merit are different. Programming is one of the last meritocracies, this lets disadvantaged people get into the field. If a job is high impact we want to hire on merit. The original, literal meaning of meritocracy is important.
Politics and Economics:
War Of Wages Part 1 Apples And Walmarts by Jacob Falkovich (Put A Number On It!) – The Author thinks minimum wage hurts the poor. Walmart can’t afford higher wages. Copenhagan Interpretation of Ethics: Walmart helps the poor and gets blamed, Apple does nothing for the poor but avoids blame.
College Tuition by Tom Bartleby – Sticker prices for college have gone up 15K in twenty years, but the average actual cost has only gone up 2.5K. High prices are almost compensated by high aid. Advantage: more equitable access to education. Disadvantages: Not everyone knows about the aid, financial aid is large enough it can seriously distort family financial decisions.
Easier Chess Problem by protokol2020 – How many pieces do you need to capture a black queen?
Childcare II by Jeff Kaufman – A timeline of childcare for Jeff’s two children. Methods: Staying at home, Daycare, Au pair, Nanny.
Sally Satel On Organ Donation by EconTalk – “The challenges of increasing the supply of donated organs for transplantation and ways that public policy might increase the supply.” Tax Credits. The ethics of donor compensation.
Learning From Past Experiences by mindlevelup – “This is about finding ways to quickly learn from past experiences to inform future actions. We briefly touch upon different learning models.” Model-based and Model-Free reinforcement learning. Practical advice and examples.
EAGX Relaunch by Roxanne_Heston (EA forum) – The EA global satellite EAGA-X conferences have been low activity. Changes: More funding and flexibility. Standardized formats. Fewer groups approved. Stipends to primary organizers.
Choices Are Bad by Zvi Moshowitz – Choices reduce perceived value. Choices require time and energy. Making someone choose is imposing a real cost.
How Long Has Civilization Been Going by Elo (BearLamp) – Human agricultural society is only 342-1000 generations old. “Or when you are 24 years old you have lived one day for every year humans have had written records.” Human civilization is only a few hundred lifetimes old.
Politics and Economics:
Links 10 by Artir (Nintil) – Tons of links. Economics, Psychology, AI, Philosophy, Misc.
Book Review Mathematics For Computer Science by richard_reitz (lesswrong) – Why the text should be in the MIRI research guide. Intro. Prereqs. Detailed comparisons to similar texts. Complaints.