Rational Feed

Scott:

My IRB Nightmare by Scott Alexander – Scott tries to run a study to test the Deck Depression Inventory. The institutional review board makes this impossible. They not only make tons of capricious demands they also attempt to undermine the study’s scientific validity.

Rationalist:

Winning Is For Losers by Putanumonit (ribbonfarm) – Zero vs Positive Sum Games. The strong have room to cooperate. Rene Girard’s theory of mimetics and competition. College Admissions. Tit for Tat. Spiked dicks in nature. Short and long term strategies in dating. Quirky dating profiles. Honesty on the first date. Beating Moloch with a transhuman God.

EA:

Effective Altruism Survey 2017 Distribution And by Ellen McGeoch and Peter Hurford (EA forum) – EA 2017 Study results are in. Details about distribution abd data analysis techniques. Discussion of whether the subpopulation is a representative sample of EA and its subpopulations.

Ea Survey 2017 Series Community Demographics by Katie Gertsch (EA forum) – Some results: Mostly young and male, slight increase in female participation. Highest concentration cities. Atheism/Agnostic rate fell from 87% to 80%. Increase in the proportion of EA who see EA as a duty or opportunity as opposed to an obligation.

Podcast:

The Future Of Intelligence by Waking Up with Sam Harris – “Max Tegmark. His new book Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. They talk about the nature of intelligence, the risks of superhuman AI, a nonbiological definition of life, the substrate independence of minds, the relevance and irrelevance of consciousness for the future of AI, near-term breakthroughs in AI.”

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Rational Feed

Scott:

Contra Askell On Moral Offsets by Scott Alexander – Axiology is the study of what’s good. Morality is the study of what the right thing to do is. You can offset axiological effects but you can’t offset moral transgressions.

Slippery Slopen Thread by Scott Alexander – Public open thread. The slippery slope to rationalist catgirl. Selected top comments. Update on Trump and crying wolf.

Rationalist:

Premium Mediocre by Jacob Falkovich – Being 30% wrong is better than being 5% wrong. Consumption: Signaling vs genuine enjoyment. Dating other PM people. Venkat is wrong about impressing parents. He is more wrong, or joking, about cryptocurrencies. Fear of missing out.

Entrenchment Happens by Robin Hanson – Many systems degrade, collapse and our replaced. However other systems, even somewhat arbitrary ones, are very stable over time. Many current systems in programming, language and law are likely to remain in the future.

Dangers At Dilettante Point by Everything Studies – Its relatively easy to know a little about alot of topics. But its dangerous to find yourself playing the social role of the knowledgeable person too often. The percentage fo people with a given level of knowledge goes to zero quickly.

EA:

Six Tips Disaster Relief Giving by The GiveWell Blog – Practical advice for effective disaster relief charity. Give Cash, give to proven effective charities and allow charities significant freedom in how they use your donation.

AI:

Nothing Wrong With Ai Weapons by kbog (EA forum) – Death by AI is no more intrinsically bad than death by conventional weapons. Some consequenitoualist issues the author addresses: Civilian deaths, AI arms race, vulnerability to hacking.

Politics and Economics:

The Uruk Machine by sam[]zdat – Sam’s fundamental framework: Seeing like a State, The Great Transformation, The True Believer, The Culture of Narcissism.

The Thresher by sam[]zdat – “Still, if what makes ‘modernity’ modernity is partially in technology, then the Uruk Machine will be updated and whirring at unfathomable speeds, the thresher to Gilgamesh’s sacred club.”

Four Decades of the Middle East by Bryan Caplan – “Almost all of the Middle East’s disasters over the past four decades can be credibly traced back to a single highly specific major event: the Iranian Revolution. Let me chronicle the tragic trail of dominoes.”

Podcast:

The Life Of A Quant Trader by 80,000 Hours – What do quant traders do. Compensation. Is quant trading harmful? Who is a good fit and how to break into quant trading. Work environment and motivation. Variety of available positions.

Benedict Evans by EconTalk – “Two important trends for the future of personal travel–the increasing number of electric cars and a world of autonomous vehicles. Evans talks about how these two trends are likely to continue and the implications for the economy, urban design, and how we live.”

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Play In Easy Mode by Zvi Moshowitz – Eleven examples of ‘selling out’ and taking the path of least resistance. Interestingly in several examples taking the easy path is quite defensible.

Play In Hard Mode by Zvi Moshowitz – “Hard mode is harder. The reason to Play in Hard Mode is because it is the only known way to become stronger, and to defend against Goodhart’s Law.” Zvi revists the eleven examples from ‘easy mode’ and shows how to approach them from a hard mode perspective.

Theres Always Subtext by Robin Hanson – Mostly a quote about subtext in film.

Paranoia Testing by Elo – Experiments to test if you have paranoia. Costs. Notes and some graphs.

My Tedtedx Talks by Robin Hanson – Ted talks by Robin about his books “The Age of Em” and “The Elephant in the Brain”. Talks are short ~12 minutes.

Internal Dialogue About End Of World by Sailor Vulcan – Short Story. Keep living, maybe we will win the lottery.

EA:

Things I Have Gotten Wrong by Aceso Under Glass – Mistaken evaluations: Animal Charity Evaluators, Raising for Effective Giving, Charity Science, Tostan.

Politics and Economics:

Marching Markups by Robin Hanson – “Holding real productivity constant, if firms move up their demand curves to sell less at a higher prices, then total output, and measured GDP, get smaller. Their numerical estimates suggest that, correcting for this effect, there has been no decline in US productivity growth since 1965. That’s a pretty big deal.”

The Muted Signal Hypothesis Of Online Outrage by Kaj Sotala – “People want to feel respected, loved, appreciated, etc. When we interact physically, you can easily experience subtle forms of these feelings… Online, most of these messages are gone: a thousand people might read your message, but if nobody reacts to it, then you don’t get any signal indicating that you were seen… . So if you want to consistently feel anything, you may need to ramp up the intensity of the signals.”

Many Topics by Scott Aaronson – Misc Topics: HTTPS / Kurtz / eclipse / Charlottesville / Blum / P vs. NP

The Courage To Stand Up And Do The Wrong Thing by Tom Bartleby – According to Supreme Court Justice Black, applying Brown vs Board of Education to DC schools was an unprincipled but correct decision. Have principles. Don’t follow them over a cliff. Acknowledge deviations. Charlottesville. Cloduflare suspends service to the daily stormer.

The Market Power Story by Noah Smith – Many issues in the American economy are blamed on the increasing market power of a small number of firms. Analysis: Monopolistic competition. Profits. Market Concentration. Output restriction. Three updates. Lots of citations and references to papers.

Unpopular Ideas About Political And Economic Systems by Julia Galef – Twenty-three ideas, many with references explaining the ideas. As an example “Many people have a moral duty not to vote”.

Unpopular Ideas About Social Norms by Julia Galef – Twenty-four ideas, many with references explaining the ideas. As an example: “Overall it would be a good thing to have a totally transparent society with no privacy”

Diversity And Team Performance What The Research Says by Eukaryote – Opens with several links about diversity and inclusion in EA. The pros and cons of different types of diversity in terms of group cohesion and information processing. Practical ways to minimize the costs of diversity and magnify the benefits. Lots of references.

Misc:

Can Atheists be Jewish by Brute Reason – Reasons MIRI can be an atheist Jew: Judaism is a religion, but being Jewish isn’t necessarily. Belief in god isn’t particularly central in most Jewish communities and practices. Because I fucking said so.

Podcast:

We Are Not Worried Enough About The Next Pandemic by 80,000 Hours – “We spend the first 20 minutes covering his work as a foundation grant-maker, then discuss how bad the pandemic problem is, why it’s probably getting worse, and what can be done about it. In the second half of the interview we go through what you personally could study and where you could work to tackle one of the worst threats facing humanity.”

Rational Feed

Scott:

Partial Credit by Scott Alexander – Blotting out the Sun. Short story.

Rationalist:

Emotional Labour by Elo – “I wanted to save you the effort of thinking about the thing and so I decided not to tell/ask you before it was resolved.” VS “I wanted to not have to withhold a thing from you so I told you as soon as it was bothering me so that I didn’t have to lie/cheat/withhold/deceive you even if I thought it was in your best interest”

EA:

We Have No Idea If There Are Cost Effective Interventions Into Wild Animal Suffering by Ozy – Many people are confident there are no effective ways to reduce wild animal suffering, Ozy disagrees. Ecosystems are complex but we aren’t completely uncertain. Wild Animal Suffering is a tiny field staffed by non-experts working part time.

Politics and Economics:

Greater Gender Parity Economics Suggests Reform Tenure Systems by Marginal Revolution – Biological clocks conflict with the tenure system timeline. Tyler recommends a much more flexible system with a variety of roles. The leaders in the economics profession have been ‘punching down’ at an infamous anonymous economics forum.

Podcast:

Seth Stephens Davidowitz On What The Internet Can Tell Us by Rational Speaking – “New research gives us into which parts of the USA are more racist, what kinds of strategies reduce racism, whether the internet is making political polarization worse, and the sexual fetishes and insecurities people will only admit to their search engine.”

Identity Terror by Waking Up with Sam Harris – “Douglas Murray. Identity politics, the rise of white nationalism, the events in Charlottesville, guilt by association, the sources of western values, the problem of finding meaning in a secular world.”

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

How Social Is Reason by Robin Hanson – Humans alone have a logical reasoning module. ‘Logical Fallacies’ evolved because they are adaptive for persuasion. Unschooled populations often cannot solve logical problems. Epistemic learned helplessness. Impressive complex arguments are preferred over simple ones.

Paths Forward On Berkeley Culture Discussion by Zvi Moshowitz – Follow up to Zvi’s post on the Berkeley rationalist community. A long sketch of the arguments Zvi would make and the article he would write if he had time to respond in depth.

EA:

Altruism Is Incomplete by Zvi Moshowitz – “I worry many in EA are looking at life like a game where giving money to charity is how the world scores victory points.” Controls in psychology are often motivated by researcher bias. Amazon is the world’s most effective charity. Life is about getting things done, often for selfish reasons. Veganism. Zvi doesn’t believe the official EA party line.

Misc:

Extremely Easy Problem by protokol2020 – How much water per second do you need to raise the sea level 6 meters in 100 years.

Ten Small Life Improvements by Paul Christiano (lesswrong) – Nine tech tips. Christmas lights all year round.

Podcast:

John McWhorter on the Evolution of Language and Words on the Move by EconTalk – “The unplanned ways that English speakers create English, an example of emergent order. Topics discussed include how words get short (but not too short), the demand for vividness in language, and why Shakespeare is so hard to understand.”

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Cthugha The Living Flame by Exploring Egregores – Rationalists as worshippers of an Eldritch Star God. Valuing knowledge and ideas above all else. Bonobos and transhumanists. Yudkowsky’s argument about distributed vs concentrated intellect. The AI box experiment. Nerds as the true extraverts. “What do you think the singularity will actually look like?” The site maps eight other Eldritch Gods to different philosophical dispositions.

Politics and Economics:

Moral Precepts And Suicide Pacts by Perfecting Dated Visions – “To be trusted to remain peaceful, you must be the kind of person who remains peaceful. And to be a peaceful person and earn the trust placed in you, you must be peaceful even when you have every right to fight. It’s the same with tolerance. If you want to shut up your argumentative opponents and vigorously retaliate when your opponents show signs of intolerance, you will not be trusted to be tolerant to others who are tolerant, even those who basically agree with you.” The constitution, World War 1, Nazis today.

Rational Feed

Scott:

Moral Reflective Equilibrium and the Absurdity Principle by SlateStarScratchpad – A long discussion about the nature of morality. The absurdity heuristic. Reflective equilibrium of moral values. The feedback loop between intuition and logic.

Rationalist:

Why Ethnicity Ideology by Robin Hanson – “he more life decisions a feature influences, the more those who share this feature may plausibly share desired policies, policies that their coalition could advocate. So you might expect political coalitions to be mostly based on individual features that are very useful for predicting individual behavior. But you’d be wrong.”

Embracing Metamodernism by Gordon (Map and Territory) – “Metamodernism believes in reconstructing things that have been deconstructed with a view toward reestablishing hope and optimism in the midst of a period (the postmodern period) marked by irony, cynicism, and despair.”

Internet Explorers Not Exploiters by Nostalgebraist – Exploit vs explore tradeoffs. Attention spans. How long should you try a math probem before you give up? Exploring new options can be uncomfortable since it might lead nowhere. Addictive games and the internet. Academic research.

Bathtime by The Unit of Caring – Bath time play with a baby. Things are compelling when they have the right balance of surprise and predictability.

Decisions As Predictions by Entirely Useless – “Consider the hypothesis that both intention and choice consist basically in beliefs: intention would consist in the belief that one will in fact obtain a certain end, or at least that one will come as close to it as possible. Choice would consist in the belief that one will take, or that one is currently taking, a certain temporally immediate action for the sake of such an end.”

Self Fulfilling Prophecy by Entirely Useless – The author analyzes various edge cases about intention and choice. They discuss how to modify their theories and whether they are on the right track.

EA:

Let Them Decide by GiveDirectly – Eight media articles about Basic Income, Give Directly, Cash Transfer and Development Aid.

Politics and Economics:

Seattle Minimum Wage Study Part 3 Tell Me Why Im Wrong Please by Zvi Moshowitz – Most writers thought the Seattle minimum wage study showed that low wage workers were hurt. Zvi found a fundamental flaw in their analysis. If you correct for raising wages in Seattle then the study seems to show low wage workers weren’t hurt or perhaps benefitted.

The Anti Slip Slope by samuelthefifth (Status 451) – An analogy between workplace noise and workplace sexism. How efforts to stamp out ‘workplace noise’ can get out of control.

Misc:

The Premium Mediocre Life Of Maya Millennial by venkat (ribbonfarm) – Venkat – “Yes, ribbonfarm is totally premium mediocre. We are a cut above the new media mediocrityfests that are Vox and Buzzfeed, and we eschew low-class memeing and listicles. But face it: actually enlightened elite blog readers read Tyler Cowen and Slatestarcodex.”