Rational Feed

Scott:

To Understand Polarization Understand The Extent Of Republican Failure by Scott Alexander – Conservative voters voted for “smaller government”, “fewer regulations”, and “less welfare state”. Their reps control most branches of the government. They got more of all three (probably thanks to cost disease).

Rationalist:

Regulatory Arbitrage For Medical Research What I Know So Far by Sarah Constantin (Otium) – Economics of avoiding the USA/FDA. Lots of research is already conducted in other countries. The USA is too large of a market not to sell to. Investors aren’t interested in cheap preliminary trials. Other options: supplements, medical tourism, clinic ships, cryptocurrency.

Politics and Economics:

No Us School Funding Is Actually Somewhat Progressive by Random Critical Analysis – Many people think that wealthy public school districts spend more per pupil. This information is outdated. Within most states spending is higher on disadvantaged students. This is despite the fact that school funding is mostly local. Extremely thorough with loads of graphs.

Rational Feed

Scott:

Against Murderism by Scott Alexander – Three definitions of racism. Why ‘Racism as motivation’ fits best. The futility of blaming the murder rate in the USA on ‘murderism’. Why its often best to focus on motivations other than racism.

Rationalist:

The Battle For Psychology by Jacob Falkovich (Put A Number On It!) – An explanation of ‘power’ in statistics and why its always good. Low power means that positive results are mostly due to chance. Extremely bad incentives and research practices in psychology. Studying imaginary effects. Several good images.

Responses To Folk Ontologies by Ferocious Truth – Folk ontology: Concepts and categories held by ordinary people with regard to an idea. Especially pre-scientific or unreflective ones. Responses: Transform/Rescue, Deny or Restrict/Recognize. Rescuing free will and failing to rescue personal identity. Rejecting objective morality. Restricting personal identity and moral language. When to use each approach.

EA:

Are Givewells Top Charities The Best Option For Every Donor by The GiveWell Blog – Why GiveWell recommend charities are a good option for most donors. Which donors have better options: Donors with lots of time, high trust in a particular institution or values different from GiveWell’s.

Links by GiveDirectly – Eight Media articles on Cash Transfers, Basic Income and Effective Altruism.

Updating My Risk Estimate of Geomagnetic Big One by Open Philosophy – Risk from magnetic storms caused by the sun. “I have raised my best estimate of the chance of a really big storm, like the storied one of 1859, from 0.33% to 0.70% per decade. And I have expanded my 95% confidence interval for this estimate from 0.0–4.0% to 0.0–11.6% per decade.”

Politics and Economics:

Build Baby Build by Bryan Caplan – Quote from a paper estimating the high costs of housing restrictions. We should blame the government, especially local government. The top alternate theory is wrong. Which regulations are doing the damage? It’s complicated. Functionalists are wrong. State government is our best hope.

Misc:

Epistemic Spot Check: The Demon Under The Microscope by Aceso Under Glass – Biography of the man who invented sulfa drugs, the early anti-bacteria treatments which were replaced by penicillin. Interesting fact checks of various claims.

Podcast:

Ed Luce by Tyler Cowen – The Retreat of Western Liberalism “What a future liberalism will look like, to what extent current populism is an Anglo-American phenomenon, Modi’s India, whether Kubrick, Hitchcock, and John Lennon are overrated or underrated, and what it is like to be a speechwriter for Larry Summers.”

On Risk, Statistics, And Improving The Public Understanding Of Science by 80,000 Hours – A lifetime of communicating science. Early career advice. Getting people to intuitively understand hazards and their effect on life expectancy.

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

A Tangled Task Future by Robin Hanson – We need to untangle the economy to automate it. What tasks are heavily tangled and which are not. Ems and the human brain as a legacy system. Human brains are well-integrated and good at tangled tasks.

EA:

S-risks: Why They Are The Worst Existential Risks by Kaj Sojata (lesswrong) – “S-risk – One where an adverse outcome would bring about severe suffering on a cosmic scale, vastly exceeding all suffering that has existed on Earth so far.” Why we should focus on S-risk. Probability: Artificial sentience, Lack of communication, badly aligned Ai and competitive pressures. Tractability: Relationship with x-risk. Going meta, cooperation. Neglectedness: little attention, people conflate x-risk = s-risk.

Angst Ennui And Guilt In Effective Altruism by Gordon (Map and Territory) – Learning about existential risk can cause psychological harm. Guilt about being unable to help solve X-risk. Akrasia. Reasons to not be guilty: comparative advantage, ability is unequally distributed.

A New President of GWWC by Giving What We Can – Julia Wise is the New president of Giving What We Can.

Politics and Economics:

The Use And Abuse Of Witchdoctors For Life by Lou (sam[]zdat) – Anti-bullet magic and collective self-defense. Cultural evolution. People don’t directly believe in anti-bullet magic, they believe in elders and witch doctors. Seeing like a State. Individual psychology is the foundation. Many psychologically important customs couldn’t adapt to the marketplace.

Identifying Sources Of Cost Disease by Kurt Spindler – Where is the money going: Administration, Increased Utilization, Decreased Risk Tolerance. What market failures are in effect: Unbounded Domains, Signaling and Competitive Pressure (ex: military spending), R&D doesn’t cut costs it creates new ways to spend money, individuals don’t pay. Some practical strategies to reduce cost disease.

Misc:

Sequential Conversion Rates by Chris Stucchio – Estimating success rates when you have noisy reporting. The article is a sketch of how the author handled such a problem in practice.

Rational Feed

Scott:

Open Thread Comment by John Nerst (SSC) – Bi-weekly public open thread. I am linking to a very interesting comment. The author made a list of the most statistically over-represented words in the SSC comment section.

Rationalist:

Momentum Reflectiveness Peace by Sarah Constantin (Otium) – Rationality requires a reflective mindset; a willingness to change course and consider how things could be very different. Momentum, keeping things as they are except more so, is the opposite of reflectivity. Cultivating reflectiveness: rest, contentment, considering ideas lightly and abstractly. “Turn — slowly.”

Skin In The Game by Elo (BearLamp) – Armchair activism and philosophy. Questions to ask yourself about your life. Actually do the five minute exercise at the end.

Epistemic Spot Check Update by Aceso Under Glass – Reviewing self-help books. Properties of a good self-help model: As simple as possible but not more so, explained well, testable on a reasonable timescale, seriously handles the fact the techniques might now work, useful. The author would appreciate feedback.

Misc:

Set Theory Problem by protokol2020 – Bring down ZFC. Aleph-zero spheres and Aleph-one circles.

Podcast:

Thomas Ricks by EconTalk – Thomas Ricks book Churchill and Orwell. Overlapping lives and the fight to preserve individual liberty.

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/p5n/instrumental_rationality_1_starting_advice/ – “This is the first post in the Instrumental Rationality Sequence. This is a collection of four concepts that I think are central to instrumental rationality-caring about the obvious, looking for practical things, practicing in pieces, and realistic expectations.” – Instrumental Rationality 1 Starting Advice by lifelonglerner (lesswrong)

https://www.reddit.com/r/slatestarcodex/comments/6hu8l8/the_fallacy_fork_why_its_time_to_get_rid_of/ – “The main thesis of our paper is that each and every fallacy in the traditional list runs afoul of the Fallacy Fork. Either you construe the fallacy in a clear-cut and deductive fashion, which means that your definition has normative bite, but also that you hardly find any instances in real life; or you relax your formal definition, making it defeasible and adding contextual qualifications, but then your definition loses its teeth. Your “fallacy” is no longer a fallacy.” – The Fallacy Fork Why Its Time To Get Rid Of by theFriendlyDoomer (r/SSC)

EA:

http://effective-altruism.com/ea/1bm/what_is_valuable_about_effective_altruism/ – Why should people join EA? The impersonal and personal perspectives. Tensions and synergies between the two perspectives. Bullet point conclusions for researchers, community leaders and normal members. – What Is Valuable About Effective Altruism by Owen_Cotton-Barratt (EA forum)

https://srconstantin.wordpress.com/2017/06/18/update-on-sepsis-donations-probably-unnecessary/ – Sarah C had asked people to crowdfund a sepsis RCT. The trial will probably get funded by charitable foundations. Diminishing returns. Finding good giving opportunities is hard and talking to people in the know is a good way to find things out. – Update On Sepsis Donations Probably Unnecessary by Sarah Constantin (Otium)

Politics and Economics:

http://lettucebecereal.com/2017/06/14/greecegdpforecasting/ – Transforming the Data. Evaluating the Model with Exponential Smoothing, Bagged ETS and ARIMA. The regression results and forecast. – Greece Gdp Forecasting by João Eira (Lettuce be Cereal)

Misc:

https://ai-alignment.com/approval-maximizing-representations-56ee6a6a1fe6 – Representing images. Manipulation representations. Iterative and compound encodings. Compressed representations. Putting it all together and bootstrapping reinforcement learning. – Approval Maximizing Representations by Paul Christiano

https://qualiacomputing.com/2017/06/18/connectome-specific-harmonic-waves-on-lsd/ – Transcript and video of a talk on neuroimaging the brain on LSD. “Today thanks to the recent developments in structural neuroimaging techniques such as diffusion tensor imaging, we can trace the long-distance white matter connections in the brain. These long-distance white matter fibers (as you see in the image) connect distant parts of the brain, distant parts of the cortex.” – Connectome Specific Harmonic Waves On Lsd by Qualia Computing

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Concrete Ways You Can Help Make The Community Better by deluks917 (lesswrong) – Write more comments on blog posts and non-controversial posts on lw and r/SSC. Especially consider commenting on posts you agree with. People are more likely to comment if other people are posting high quality comments. Projects: Gaming Server, aggregate tumblr effort-posts, improve lesswrong wiki, leadership in local rationalist group

Politics and Economics:

Links 9 by Artir (Nintil) – Economics, Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, Philosophy and other links.

Misc:

Travel by Ben Kuhn – Advice for traveling frequently. Sleeping on the plane and taking redeyes. Be robust. Bring extra clothes, medicine, backup chargers and things to read when delayed. Minimize stress. Buy good luggage and travel bags.

Rational Feed

EA:

QALYs/$ Are More Intuitive Than $/QALYs by ThomasSittler (EA forum) – QALYs/$ are preferable to $/QALYs. visual representations on graphs. Avoiding Small numbers and re-normalizing to QUALs/10K$.

Politics and Economics:

Amazon Buying Whole Foods by Tyler Cowen – Quotes from Matt Yglesias, Alex Tabarrock, Ross Douthat and Tyler. “Dow opens down 10 points. Amazon jumps 3% after deal to buy Whole Foods. Walmart slumps 7%, Kroger plunges 16%”

Misc:

Learning To Cooperate, Compete And Communicate by Open Ai – Competitive multi-agent models are a step towards AGI. An algorithm for centralized learning and decentralized execution in multi-agent environment. Initial Research. Next Steps. Lots of visuals demonstrating the algorithm in practice.