Rational Feed

Scott:

The Chamber Of Guf by Scott Alexander – Discussion of psychiatric disorders and Which of your myriad unconscious thoughts come to the surface?

Rationalist:

The Kelly Criterion by Zvi Moshowitz – An explanation of the maximum amount of your bankroll you should bet on a wager given the odds and your probability of winning.

EA:

Long Term And Near Term Causes by Ozy – All case areas can be approach in a short-term/incrementalist approach or a long-term/revolutionary approach.

Politics and Economics:

Gender Differences Roundup by SophisticatedBean – CW science rounup, mostly about sex differences.

Podcast:

John Gray On The Seven Kinds Of Atheism by EconTalk – “John Gray talks about his latest book, Seven Types of Atheism, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Gray argues that progress is an illusion and that most atheisms inherit, unknowingly, a religious belief in progress that is not justified. While Gray concedes that technological know-how and scientific knowledge improve over time, he argues that morality and political systems are cyclical and that there is no reason to be optimistic about the future.”

Tyler Cowen Robert Wiblin Stubborn Attachments by Conversations with Tyler – “Rob Wiblin of 80,000 Hours has the super-sized conversation he wants to have with Tyler about Stubborn Attachments. In addition to a deep examination of the ideas in the book, the conversation ranges far and wide across Tyler’s thinking, including why we won’t leave the galaxy, the unresolvable clash between the claims of culture and nature, and what Tyrone would have to say about the book, and more.”

Jason Collins On A Skeptical Take On Behavioral Economics by Rationally Speaking – “Jason Collins discusses some of the problems with behavioral economics: Why governments have started to rely too much on the field, and why that’s bad; why it’s suspicious that there are over 100 cognitive biases; when “nudges” are problematic; and more.”

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Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Where Is My Flying Car by Bayesian Investor – Mostly focuses on Nuclear, Flying cars, Nanotech “He looks at the post-1970 slowdown in innovation that Cowen describes in The Great Stagnation[1]. The two books agree on many symptoms, but describe the causes differently: where Cowen says we ate the low hanging fruit, Josh says it’s due to someone ‘spraying paraquat on the low-hanging fruit’. The book is full of mostly good insights. It significantly changed my opinion of the Great Stagnation. The book jumps back and forth between polemics about the Great Strangulation (with a bit too much outrage porn), and nerdy descriptions of engineering and piloting problems.”

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Book Review: The Complacent Class by ricraz – “Nevertheless, there’s undeniably some truth to Cowen’s core argument. Almost none of the physical technologies around us (buildings, cars, trains, rockets, household appliances) have seen significant progress over the last half-century; nor have systems like healthcare, law, politics or education. But more importantly, people aren’t even surprised by this stasis: the radical expectations of the mid-20th century have given way to doubt that our lives will be any better than our parents’, plus a generous helping of political disillusionment.”

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Nyoom by Alicorn – Alicorn describes how her mobility dramatically improved when she got a motorized scooter.

EA:

A orgs and Talent Constraints – EA orgs claim to be talent constrained but aren’t hiring despite substantial numbers of skilled applicants. This strikes some people are paradoxical. The resolution is that EA orgs mostly want superstars and are very cautious about spending senior staff time on hiring.

Politics and Economics:

CW Science by TrannyPorno – Weekly CW science roundup

Rational Feed

Scott:

Anxiety Sampler Kits by Scott Alexander – “Some friends and I made thirty of these Anxiety Sampler Kits, containing six common supplements with some level of scientific and anecdotal evidence for treating anxiety (thanks to Patreon donors for helping fund this). The 21 boxes include three nonconsecutive boxes of each supplement, plus three boxes of placebos. They’re randomly arranged and designed so that you can’t tell which ones are which – I even put some of the supplements into different colored capsules, so you can’t even be sure that two capsules that look different aren’t the same thing. Each box contains enough supplement for one dose, and all supplements are supposed to work within an hour or so. Whenever you feel anxious, you try the first non-empty box remaining. ”

Rationalist:

The Valley Of Bad Theory by johnswentworth – Researchers set up a wheel on a ramp with adjustable weights. Participants in the experiment then adjust the weights to try and make the wheel roll down the ramp as quickly as possible. The participants go one after the other, each with a limited number of attempts, each passing their data and/or theories to the next person in line, with the goal of maximizing the speed at the end. Performance increased over time but participants did not improve in how well they could predict which configurations would performa best. In addition some chains based on both data and theory where as other only passed on data. The ‘data only’ chains did better!

Additional Arguments For Nimby by Zvi Moshowitz – Long and kinda ramble-y but a good list of reasons why its bad to build more housing in San Fransisco. Core to Zvi’s arguments are a presumption that much of the value of San Fransisco is a status good and that people leaving their current communities is usually quite bad.

Politics and Economics:

CW roundup by r/SSC – Weekly Culture War quality contribution roundup

Rational Feed

Scott:

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.

Rationalist:

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.

EA:

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.”

AI:

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.

Podcast:

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.”

Rational Feed

Scott:

Steelmanning The Nimbys by Scott Alexander – Scott argues that building more housing will not actually reduce rents in San Fransisco. In fact more housing could increase rents because of amalgamation effects.

Highlights From The Comments On Nimbys by Scott Alexander – Scott quotes and responds to select quotes from his NIMBYism article.

Nighttime Ventilation Survey Results by Scott Alexander – Scott ran a ‘study’ where he encouraged people to try ventilating their room to reduce Co2. A minority of people reported big improvements. But overall Scott found the results disappointing.

Next Door In Nodrumia by Scott Alexander – Scott meditates on archipelago and what counts as public vs private.

Rationalist:

Challenge Coins by Robin Hanson – If you want to truly test your security you need to allow people to attempt ‘mock assassinations’. Not everyone should have this right but you should sell ‘challenge coins’ that allow people to attempt to get close to you and claim a large prize. The same principle applies in other domains.

Career Review: Academic Research by 80,000 Hours – “Entry requirements and what it takes to excel. What are your chances of success? How to maximise your impact within academia. How to assess your personal fit at each stage of your career. Which field are best to enter? How to establish your career early on, and trade-off impact against career advancement. Review of the pros and cons of the path.”

Misc:

Fasting Mimicking Diet Looks Pretty Good by Sarah Constantin – Fasting five days a month is probably the minimal intervention shown to cause life extension.

Quick Look At Progress In Nuclear Energy by Artir – “In sum, the case of nuclear is a clear case of institutional factors at play in how an innovation plays out over time. There is even a paper that has argued that the whole landscape of nuclear energy looks the way it does because of institutional reasons (military secrecy and subsidies) that locked-in a particular design family (PWR and BWR). Furthermore, organizational changes and tweaks to existing infrastructure have been able to squeeze almost 2x the power out of the same reactors by increasing the capacity factor.”

Politics and Economics:

CW Roundup by (r/SSC) – Weekly culture war quality contribution roundup.

Podcast:

Paul Christiano AI Alignment Solutions by 80,000 Hours – “Dr Paul Christiano on how OpenAI is developing real solutions to the ‘AI alignment problem’, and his vision of how humanity will progressively hand over decision-making to AI systems”

Noah Smith On Worker Compensation Co-Determination And Market Power by EconTalk – “Corporate control, wages, and monopoly power. Smith discusses the costs and benefits of co-determination–the idea of putting workers on corporate boards. The conversation then moves to a lively discussion of wages and monopoly power and how the American worker has been doing in recent years.”