Please Take The 2019 SSC Survey by Scott Alexander – ‘The survey helps me learn more about SSC readers and plan community events. But it also provides me with useful informal research data for questions I’m interested it, which I then turn into interesting posts. My favorite from last year was Fight Me, Psychologists: Birth Order Effects Exist And Are Very Strong, which I think made a real contribution to individual differences psychology and which could not have happened without your cooperation.’
Boughs Of Hollink by Scott Alexander – Standard SSC links post. Search the comments for more information on whether the Jeanne Calment case was legitimate.
Thoughts From The Bay by Brian Lui – Insights from visiting the Bay including: Bad things are good, It’s hard to order food correctly and Social capital is uncelebrated.
On Privacy by Holly Elmore – ‘At first I thought my total honesty policy had purged me of a lot of the messy and conflicted feelings I used to have. But there was something suspiciously shallow about these more presentable feelings. I now believe that, because I scrupulously reported almost anything to anyone who asked (or didn’t ask), I conveniently stopped being aware of a lot of my most personal and tender feelings.’
Choose Accuracy Or Allies by Robin Hanson – ‘Imagine that person A tells you something flattering or unflattering about person B. All else equal, this should move your opinion of B in the direction of A’s claim. But how far? If you care mainly about accuracy, you’ll want to take into account base rates on claimers A and targets B, as well as more specific specific signs on the accuracy of A regarding B. But what if you care mainly about seeming loyal to your allies? Well if A is more of your ally than is B, as suggested by your listening now to A, then you’ll be more inclined to just believe A, no matter what. Perhaps if other allies give a different opinion, you’ll have to decide which of your allies to back. But if not, trying to be accurate on B mainly risks seeming disloyal to A and you’re other allies. It seems that humans tend to just believe gossip like this, mostly ignoring signs of accuracy’
Charity Overhead Is Not Evil by Ozy – ‘Concentrating too much on overhead can actually lead to charities becoming less efficient. Certain kinds of charities spend more on administration and fundraising than other kinds of charities do. For example, Charity Navigator notes, a food bank that takes donated canned goods will not spend very much on administration at all. Conversely, a charity that gives people cash might spend more money on administration, because they have to do accounting to keep track of all the cash. But it’s totally possible that the latter charity does better at helping poor people eat.’
Artifact Embraces Card Balance Changes by Zvi Moshowitz – Artifact, a digital card game based on DOTA, released a balance patch shortly after the game’s launch. The patch was met with almost universal acclaim. Zvi was originally skeptical of the patch and discusses its implication. Zvi wrote multiple follow up articles not linked here.
The Aristillus Series by Robin Hanson – Robin reviews the The Aristillus Series. The series takes place in a world with technology similar to our own. However a small group invents cheap anti-gravity and this technology lets the heroes set up a moon colony.
Feeding Everyone No Matter What by 80,000 Hours – ‘We could feed all 8 billion people through a nuclear winter. Dr. David Denkenberger is working to make it practical.’