Rational Feed


Ot112 Opentagon Thread by Scott Alexander – Bi-weekly public open thread. Scott has a new email, adversarial collaboration updates, affirmative action for leftwing commentators.

Kavanaugh A Probability Poll by Scott Alexander – Results of the SSC poll on Kavanaugh’s guilt. There was really no consensus among SSC readers. An interesting conclusion: “This question suggests there is no real consensus about how plausible an accusation has to be before it means someone should be denied nomination to the Supreme Court. People generally agreed that if there was below a 25% chance the accusations were true, he should definitely be confirmed, and if there was above an 80% chance, he definitely shouldn’t be. But between 25% and 80%, people were pretty split on whether the Senate should err on the side of not confirming a potential assaulter, or wait until it was beyond a reasonable doubt. If we were trying to make these answers into a guideline for how a Senator should vote, it looks like they would be satisfying the most people if they voted to confirm if they thought the accusations had a less than 50% chance of being true, and to reject if they thought they had a more than 50% chance. I wonder how many people would endorse this rule as written.”

Links: Insiteful by Scott Alexander – Standard SSC links post.


Anti Social Punishment by Martin Sustrik – A study of ‘public goods games’ where players can contribute to a common pool that is multiplied and then distributed evenly (including to people who did not contribute). A variant of these game allows players to ‘punish’ other players, presumably for not contributing enough. However in some regions of the world people are regularly punished for contributing too much to the common pool!

Things I Learned From Working With A Marketing Advisor by Sarah Constantin – Rules for business writing: People hate reading, s things should be broken up into separate, distinctive, consistently labeled parts, Confidence + Pleasantries = Business Etiquette.

Building Skyscrapers And Spending On Major Projects by Artir – An in depth review of skyscrapper construction times followed by a discussion of mega-projects in general. Conclusion: “So all in all, if we control away war, and increasing complexity, and the fact that you can’t optimise people beyond a certain point, and sprinkle on top some regulation-induced slowdown it’s not clear that there has been a slowdown or stagnation in general for major projects. There where the case is clearest for a slowdown are in defense and aerospace related projects, and possibly public transit, which might deserve its own blogpost.”

Maps Of Meaning Abridged And Translated by Vaniver – A very short summary of Petersen’s complicated Maps of Meaning.

Dominance Hides In Prestige Clothing by Robin Hanson – We almost never control for handicaps. This shows prestige is mostly about power and dominance not genuine admiration.


2018 Talent Gaps Survey by 80,000 Hours – What are the most pressing talent gaps in the effective altruism community in 2018? And which problems are most effective to work on? Survey of organizational leaders? Notably the survey revealed a really large difference in opinion between EA leadership and normal EA. EA leadership is very concerned about the far future and AI risk in particular: “The median view was that the Long-Term Future fund was twice as effective as the EA Community fund, which in turn was 10 times more cost-effective than the Animal Welfare fund, and twenty times as cost-effective as the Global Health and Development fund.”


Alignment Newsletter 27 by rohinmshah – Weekly AI alignment newsletter. Includes a very detailed review of Paul Christinao’s appearance on 80K Hours podcast.

Politics and Economics:

E7dy311 by SophisticatedBean – Curated Culture War Science Articles.

Link Post For September by Ozy – Assorted Links: False rape accusations, moral systems diverging on everyday problems, the Sabbath.


Paul Krugman by Conversations With Tyler – “Tyler sat down with Krugman at his office in New York to discuss what’s grabbing him at the moment, including antitrust, Supreme Court term limits, the best ways to fight inequality, why he’s a YIMBY, inflation targets, congestion taxes, trade (both global and interstellar), his favorite living science fiction writer, immigration policy, how to write well for a smart audience, new directions for economic research, and more.”


Author: deluks917

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

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