Rational Feed


HPPD And The Specter Of Permanent Side Effects by Scott Alexander – “Maybe 1-4% of people who have tried LSD are walking around with slightly distorted perception all the time.” How prevalent are these effects and what is causing them.

Unusually Awesome:

Ea Hotel With Free Accommodation And Board For by Greg Colbourn – Greg bought a hotel in Blackpool (UK) and is letting effective altruists stay there for free. Guest can build human capital or work on speculative projects. In fact he is also included a small stipend for food.


Messages To The Future by Paul Christiano – “If humanity drives ourselves extinct (without AI), I think there is a ~1/2 chance that another intelligent civilization evolves while the earth remains habitable. From an impartial and long-term perspective, I think that would lead to a future ~1/2 as good as if we had survived ourselves (in expectation). I’d guess that this new civilization would face an expected existential risk of ~20% (including risk from AI). By leaving carefully constructed messages I could easily imagine reducing that risk by 5-10%, i.e. by 1 to 2 percentage points. I’d expect to achieve those benefits for a total cost of ~$10M.”

Men Are Animals by Robin Hanson – Species where males are larger go extinct at ten times the rate of species where females are larger. Plant species are hermaphrodites. Why did males evolve?

Simplified Poker by Zvi Moshowitz – Zvi describes the rules of an extremely simplified version of poker. Figuring out the optimal strategy is pretty fun.

Simplified Poker Strategy by Zvi Moshowitz – Zvi’s approach to the poker game described above.

Sloppy V Careful Travel by Robin Hanson – An analogy about how to make intellectual progress: “In the short term sloppy interior fights have the most influence on politics, culture, and mob rule enforcement. But if you want to play the long game, careful border work is where most of the action is. In the long run, most of what we know results from many small careful moves of relatively high confidence. Yes, academics are often overly careful, as most are more eager to seem impressive than useful. And there are many kinds of non-academic experts. Even so, real progress is mostly in collecting relevant things one can say with high enough confidence, and slowly connecting them together into reliable structures that can reach high, not only into political relevance, but eventually into the stars of significance.”

Age Of Em Paperback by Robin Hanson – Robin’s pitch and preface for the new edition of ‘Age of Em’.

Dragon Army Theory Charter by Duncan Sabien – A detailed plan for an ambitious military style rationalist house. The major goals include self-improvement, high quality group projects and the creation of a group with absolute trust in one another. The leader of the house is the curriculum director and head of product at CFAR. [repost]

Dragon Army Retrospective by Duncan Sabien – Dragon Army is a military inspired rationalist house. They recently completed a six month Phase One. The house did quote well relative to a normal rationalist house (B+ grade) but fell far short of its goals (D-). The biggest problems were caused by four problematic roles: Ghost who were not engaged enough, White Knights who held others to an unreasonable standard and felt betrayed, Red Knights who were too distrustful of the project and its leadership and Black Knights whose mindset was far too transactional. [repost]


The Life You Can Save by Bayesian Investor – “The biggest weakness in his argument that aid is effective comes when he tackles the possibility that aid just fuels population growth in regions that are trapped in Malthusian conditions. He provides reasons to think the world as a whole isn’t close to Malthusian conditions. But what if some regions are in such a trap? His main answer seems to be: if you think that’s the case, donate to contraception charities instead. But that opens a whole can of worms – it suggests a large chance that I’ll waste money or cause harm by guessing wrong about regional conditions.”

To Grow A Healthy Movement Pick The Lowhanging by Nick Fitz and Ari Kagan – The authors ran of a survey to determine with demographics were most receptive to EA arguments. the results are very far from the actual demographics of the EA community.


Prisoners Dilemma With Costs To Modeling by Scott Garrabrant – “We consider a modification to open source prisoners’ dilemma in which agents in must pay some resources to model each other. We will use the modal combat framework, but where agents pay a cost proportional to the depth of boxes in their code. Even a small modeling penalty makes the FairBot-FairBot outcome no longer a equilibrium, since the best response to FairBot is to be CooperateBot and not pay the modeling penalty. The best response to CooperateBot is to be Defect Bot, and the pure DefectBot-DefectBot outcome is a stable Nash Equilibrium. In fact, I believe that DefectBot-DefectBot is the unique pure strategy Nash Equilibrium. Amazingly, this turns out to be okay! For small modeling penalties, there is a mixed strategy equilibrium which mixes between CooperateBot, FairBot, and PrudentBot!” [this post is kind of dense and not really recommended unless you already mostly understand the preceding quote]

Politics and Economics:

Explaining Monogamy Vox by William Buckner – Arguments against Vox’s promotion of Christopher Ryan’s theory that polyamory was the default in the evolutionary past.

Link Post For June by Ozy – Links on Effective Altruism, Discourse Norms, Gender and misc.


Westworld Apologetics An FAQ by Paul Christiano – Creative explanations of the inconsistencies in Westowrld season 2 in the form of a very amusing FAQ.


Conversation: David Brooks by Marginal Revolution – “Why people stay so lonely, whether the Amish are happy, life in Italy, the Whig tradition, the secularization thesis, the importance of covenants, whether Judaism or Christianity has a deeper reading of The Book of Exodus, whether Americans undervalue privacy, Bruce Springsteen vs. Bob Dylan, whether our next president will be a boring manager, and last but not least the David Brooks production function.”

Evolving Minds by Waking Up with Sam Harris – “Sam Harris speaks with Geoffrey Miller about evolutionary psychology. They discuss sexual selection, virtue signaling, social media, public shaming, monogamy and polyamory, taboo topics in science, genetic engineering, gender differences and the “Google memo,” moral psychology, existential risk, AI, and other topics.”

Biohacking 101 by The Bayesian Conspiracy – Biohacking advice from the guy who wrote ‘Im 32 and I spent 200K on biohacking’.


Author: deluks917

Software Engineer in New York City. Admin of the SlateStarcodex discord. Math PHD drop out.

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