Opendragon Thread by Scott Alexander – Standard SSC public open thread. Comments of the week are on Hitler’s rise and why the best defense against the far right is a vigorous moderate rightwing party. Vote for your favorite adversarial collaboration posts.
Links by Artir – Links: Tech, Bio, Philosophy, Psychology, Misc. Some discussion on the political views of historical philosophers.
News Accuracy Bonds by Robin Hanson – Using prediction markets to determine trustworthy journalism.
The Perverse Paradise of HRAD by Nostalgebraist – “MIRI’s ‘Highly Reliable Agent Design’ (HRAD) research program is founded in the idea that we need to state impractical (or non-practical) ideals about reasoning first, so we know what real AI programs should be aiming for, before we go on to judge those real programs. This sounds reasonable on the face of it, but has led this research into a cul-de-sac: it now consists mostly of technical work on the problems with its own chosen ideals, problems which largely arise from the very idealizations that separate the ideals from practical programs.”
Politics and Economics:
The Doomsday Machine by Eukaryote – Review of Ellsberg’s book on how close we got to nuclear apocalypse. In particular the USA was planning on total war with Russia and the branches of the military all wanted to participate. The concept of nuclear winter was not understood and military officials were hard to dissuade: “He’s most famous for leaking the Pentagon Papers, government documents on the Vietnam War that contributed to Nixon’s resignation. This book came out of a second set of documents he photocopied and intended to release after his trial for the Pentagon Papers, but lost in an act of nature.”
Book Reviews For August by Ozy – Book Reviews: BDSM, Catholic Theology, Nuclear War, the CDC, Autism research.
the Great White Divide by The Ezra Klein Show – Interview with David French of the National Review: “Conservative white Americans look at urban multicultural liberalism and notice an important fact,” he wrote. “Its white elite remains, and continues to enjoy staggering amounts of power and privilege. So when that same white elite applauds the decline of ‘white America,’ what conservatives often hear isn’t a cheer for racial justice but another salvo in our ongoing cultural grudge match, with the victors seeking to elevate black and brown voices while remaining on top themselves.”
Safe Space by Waking Up with Sam Harris – “Sam Harris speaks with Jonathan Haidt about his new book ‘The Coddling of the American Mind.’ They discuss the hostility to free speech that has grown more common among young adults, recent moral panics on campus, the role of intentions in ethical life, the economy of prestige in ‘call out ‘culture, how we should define bigotry, systemic racism, the paradox of progress, and other topics.”
On Solzhenitsyn, The Soviet Union And In The First Circle by EconTalk – “Russian Literature Professor Kevin McKenna of the University of Vermont talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the life and times of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. This is the opening episode of the EconTalk Book Club for Solzhenitsyn’s masterpiece In the First Circle: The First Uncensored Edition. A subsequent episode to air in the next few weeks discusses the book itself.”