Powerless Placebos by Scott Alexander – “The most important study on the placebo effect is Hróbjartsson and Gøtzsche’s Is The Placebo Powerless?, updated three years later by a systematic review and seven years later with a Cochrane review. All three looked at studies comparing a real drug, a placebo drug, and no drug (by the third, over 200 such studies) – and, in general, found little benefit of the placebo drug over no drug at all.”
Paper Trauma by Qiaochu_Yuan (LW 2.0) – Paper, especially big sheets of paper, is enormously useful as a memory and thinking aid. Most people developed an aversion to paper because they were forced to write down so much useful stuff in school. Let go of this aversion.
Politics and Economics:
The Elephant In The Brain by Bayesian Investor – Another review of Hanson’s book on hidden motivations. Connection to Scott’s posts on Cost Disease. Implications for society: Low cost health interventions will be ignored, we will continue to ignore non-obvious sources of bad health (like sleep disruption). Implications for self improvement and ways the reviewer personally benefitted.
Capital In The Twenty First Century by Grey Enlightenment – Picketty’s ‘Capital’ argues that inequality will widen because returns to investment exceed the overall growth rate. However: “The r>g phenomenon is only limited to specific regions and sectors, namely Silicon Valley, Manhattan, tech, and financial sector, and America.”