X Is Not About Y Is Not About Psychology by abramdemski (LW 2.0) – In most domains we need to create proxies for progress. If you optimize too strongly to maximize a proxy measure the measure often stops being useful (Goodhart’s Law). In Machine Learning regularization is used to prevent issues of ‘overfitting’. Can we generalize regularization to a general anti-Goodhart technique.
Mushrooms by moridinamael (LW 2.0) – The question of whether to eat more mushrooms illustrates the epistemic hostility of modern life.
An update on fraud management in Uganda by GiveDirectly – “In this particular case, we conservatively size the fraud at less than 0.5% of funds transferred, but also gained some valuable insights.”
Politics and Economics:
Links 13 by Artir – Links: Economics, Philosophy, Computer Science, Psychology.
Privacy Is Real Privacy Matters by Sailor Vulcan – Reasons why privacy is not totally dead. Don’t share personal details.
Productivity Working Towards A Summary Of What We Know by adamzerner (LW 2.0) – A very detailed review of the productivity field. High level outline: Uncrowd your mind, Develop your ‘focus muscles’, Prevent procrastination, ‘Pregame’ before deep work, Think hard, Rest, Think easy, Follow through.
Politics and Economics:
Might Tech Super Firms Mean Great Stagnation by Marginal Revolution – Tyler thinks that there is a >50% chance that the tech giants have ended the Great Stagnation.
CEOs Don’t Steer by Venkatesh Rao (ribbonfarm) – “At the level of abstraction at which a CEO views what is going on, direction does not change, and more importantly, the CEO’s job is to make sure it doesn’t. CEOs are orientation locks”
Ars Longa Vita Brevis by Scott Alexander – [Fiction] The Alchemists’ great work must continue.
Living In An Inadequate World by Eliezer Yudkowsky (LW 2.0) – Eliezer answers why you should care about inadequacy analysis and Moloch’s Toolbox.
More Prediction Market Criticism by Robin Hanson – Hanson’s commentary on excerpts related to the debate about the accuracy of prediction markets.
Politics and Economics:
The Causes Of War by Bayesian Investor – “This book provides a good synthesis of the best ideas about why wars happen. It overlaps a good deal with Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature. Pinker provides much more detailed evidence, but Gat has a much better understanding than Pinker of the theories behind the trends.”
American Fantasies by Waking Up with Sam Harris – “The American aptitude for unfounded belief, the religious lunacy of the Puritans, populist mistrust of authority, the link between postmodernism and religious fundamentalism, the unique history of American religious entrepreneurship, the Trump phenomenon, the effect of fame on politics”
Concept Shaped Holes Can Be Impossible To Notice by Scott Alexander – It can be extremely difficult to tell if a concept is bullshit or if you just don’t understand it. Examples: Social Atomization, People who can’t smell but don’t notice.
Confessions Of A Slacker by Jacob Falkovich – Slack is the distance from binding constraints on your behavior. A distance formula for 1/slack. Maintaining a supply of all your resources, especially the scarce ones. Spare resources. Explore and exploit.
Molochs Toolbox 2 by Eliezer Yudkowsky (EA forum) – Sticky traditions and lack of common knowledge. First-past-the-post and wasted votes. The Overton window. Lower-hanging altruistic fruit and bigger problems.
The Nerd As The Norm by Everything Studies – The author is a nerd and therefore cannot trust his own intuitions as a guide to our other people work. Qualities of nerds and anti-nerds. An essay describing how a nerd-default society might perceive anti-nerds.
The Little Dragon Is Dead by Squirrel In Hell – This is a story of my 2-year-long struggle with an unwanted habit of clicking my neck, which had gotten out of hand around 2013-2015.
How Givewell And Mainstream Policymakers Compare The Good Achieved By Different Programs by The GiveWell Blog – “how GiveWell and other actors, such as governments and global health organizations, approach one of the most subjective and uncertain inputs into cost-effectiveness analyses: how to morally value different good outcomes.”
Cobbs Douglas by Chris Stucchio – An explanation of the Cobb Douglas model of production. The model is used to explain why companies in India have lower revenue per employee.
Homage To Threadalonia by Scott Alexander – Bi-weekly public open thread.
Meditation And Mental Space by Kaj Sotala – “One effect that I often notice after my meditation practice has been interrupted and I then manage to resume it again, is an increase in a kind of mental resilience. That is, when I have a lower resilience, feeling bad for any reason feels much more like an emergency.”
Dennis Rasmusse by EconTalk – “The intellectual and personal connections between two of the greatest thinkers of all time, David Hume and Adam Smith.”
Zeroing Out by Zvi Moshowitz – “Suppose you have an insight about Google. The efficient market hypothesis says you can’t make a profit. Your insight is not a new insight. The market has already priced it in. You know no more about Google’s future price than you did before. That’s the bad news. That’s also the good news: If you didn’t have that insight , you wouldn’t know any less about Google’s future price. Efficient market! I call this zeroing out. Your ignorance is not punished.”
Paradox And Pedagogy by whales (LW 2.0) – A sort of paradox occurs when you know something is wrong but you can’t point out what (ex: Perpetual motion machines). The itch is motivating. The benefits of resolving the paradox.
My Thoughts On Baygate by SlateStarScratchpad – The rationalist Bay community was not planned, it grew organically. Polyamorous people who throw great parties often get a ton of impressive stuff done. No one seems to specify what “the craft” actually means.
Moloch’s Toolbox 1 by Eliezer Yudkowsky (LW 2.0) – Mostly a long dialogue between three characters: A visitor from a better world, an undergrad who hasn’t taken economics and a cynical educated economist. Their dialogue illustrates Eliezer’s theory that most societal failures stem from three problems: Decision makers who are not beneficiaries, Asymmetric information or Nash equilibria that aren’t even the best Nash equilibrium, let alone Pareto-optimal.
Possible Big Future Change by Robin Hanson – Many parameters such as “percentage of people living in cities” have already moved from one extreme to another, so not much can change in terms of these paramaters unless they swing back. However much future change remains possible.
November 2017 Newsletter by The MIRI Blog – Eliezer’s new book, Research and General Updates, News and Links.