Sparta by SlateStarScratchpad – A historian claims that Sparta’s military renown was developed during a period when Sparta’s actual military ability was declining. Scott disagrees and cites sources showing that the earliest records all claim Sparta was very powerful.
The Craft Is Not The Community by Sarah Constantin (Otium) – The Berkeley Rationalists are building a true community: Sharehouses, Plans for an unschooling center, etc. However many rationalist companies/projects have failed. Sarah doesn’t think it makes sense to tackle ‘external facing’ projects as a community. Tesla Motors and MIT aren’t run as community projects, they are run meriotocratically. Lots of analysis on the meaning of community and what makes organizations effective. Personal.
Drug Policy Reform 1 by MichaelPlant (EA forum) – 9300 Words. Six Mechanisms for drug reform to do good: Fighting mental illness. Reducing pain. Improving public health. Reducing crime, violence, corruption and instability (including international scale). Raising revenue for governments. Recreational use. Five major objections and the Author’s response.
Politics and Economics:
The Kolmogorov Option by Scott Aaronson – Kolmogorov was a brilliant mathematician as well as a sensitive and kind man. However he cooperated with the Soviets. An option for living in a society were many falsehoods are ‘official truth’: Build a bubble of truth and wait for the right time to take down the Orthodoxy. Don’t charge headfirst and get killed. There are no ‘good heretics’ in the eyes of the Inquisition.
Brief Thoughts On The Google Memo by Julia Galef – “So as far as I can see, there are only two intellectually honest ways to respond to the memo: 1. Acknowledge gender differences may play some role, but point out other flaws in his argument (my preference) 2. Say “This topic is harmful to people and we shouldn’t discuss it” (a little draconian maybe, but at least intellectually honest)”
Senator Michael Bennet by The Ezra Klein Show – Senator Michael Bennet. “This is a conversation about why Congress is broken, and what broke it. We discuss money, partisanship, the media, the rules, the leadership, and much more. We talk about what Bennet thinks House of Cards gets right (hint: it’s the sociopathy) and whether President Trump’s antics are creating some hope of institutional renewal.”