Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Two by sam[]zdat – The author talks about the blog’s namesake, the Biblical Samuel. The system of judges and prophets seems better than the rule of kings. But David’s reign is considered the golden age. The wants our present creates can only be fulfilled by it, there is no going back to judges. Samuel had phrophecy but David had poetry and psalms, we have the internet. The blog’s name is also a reference to samizdat, a name for clandestine literature in the soviet union. Samizdat were created hastily, they looked shitty but authentic; in many cases the official media had to respond to them. The internet age is an age of modern samizdat.

The Sheepskin Effect by Zvi Moshowitz – Zvi’s mom is the head of undergraduate biology education at Columbia. Many seniors are surpassingly far away from graduation. They may have put requirements that are difficult for them last. Or their transcript may have structural issues, for example their major GPA might be too low. These considerations weaken the sheepskin effect; the last year of college really is the most important.

EA:

New Research On Cash Transfers by The GiveWell Blog – “New research suggests that cash transfers may be less effective than we previously believed in two ways. First, cash transfers may have substantial negative effects on non-recipients who live near recipients (“negative spillovers”). Second, the benefits of cash transfers may fade quickly.”

Politics and Economics:

Sex Redistribution and Disability by Marginal Revolution – The disabled often are unable to find sex partners. This is an important angle with which to view ‘sex redistribution’. In fact some charities do match sex workers with disabled individuals.

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Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From World Of Warcraft by Said Achmiz – Goodhart’s law in World of Warcraft. Metrics like ‘damage per second’ are correlated with success but over-optimizing for metrics like DPS can cause problems.

AI:

AGI Safety Literature Review by Katja Grace – Paper Abstract: “The development of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) promises to be a major event. Along with its many potential benefits, it also raises serious safety concerns (Bostrom, 2014). The intention of this paper is to provide an easily accessible and up-to-date collection of references for the emerging field of AGI safety. A significant number of safety problems for AGI have been identified. We list these, and survey recent research on solving them. We also cover works on how best to think of AGI from the limited knowledge we have today, predictions for when AGI will first be created, and what will happen after its creation. Finally, we review the current public policy on AGI.”

Politics and Economics:

Links 16: Bodily Redistribution by Artir – Links: Phycology, Economics, Energy, CS and AI, Economics. Artir also comments about sex redistribution, the incel drama and what is socially acceptable to write.

Rational Feed

Scott:

Classified Thread 5: Classified Never Sinned by Scott Alexander – “This is the…monthly? bimonthly? occasional?…classified thread. Post advertisements, personals, and any interesting success stories from the last thread.”

Rationalist:

In Defense Of Punch Bug by Duncan Sabien – A very long defense of punching each other when you see a Volkswagen beetle. Many people in the liberal zeitgeist are extremely offended by ‘punch-bug’ and consider it a violation of personal autonomy an invasion of boundaries. Duncan talks about resolving such a deep difference in worldviews and works through lots of meta topics around disagreement.

AI:

Debate by Open Ai – “We’re proposing an AI safety technique which trains agents to debate topics with one another, using a human to judge who wins. We believe that this or a similar approach could eventually help us train AI systems to perform far more cognitively advanced tasks than humans are capable of, while remaining in line with human preferences. We’re going to outline this method together with preliminary proof-of-concept experiments and are also releasing a web interface so people can experiment with the technique.”

Podcast:

Clinton Reporting by The Ezra Klein Show – “Amy Chozick reported on Hillary Clinton for a decade. She was there as Clinton’s campaign fell short in the 2008 Democratic primaries. And as the New York Times’s lead reporter on the Clinton campaign in 2016, she was there as Clinton seemed certain to win in 2016 — and there on that night in November when she lost.”

Rational Feed

Scott:

History Of The Fabian Society by Scott Alexander – The Fabian society was a lackadaisically run and unabashedly upper class socialist society founded in 1883. They were amazingly successful, made substantial progress by 1900 and their platform seems to have been adopted by the modern center left. How did they succeed?

Rationalist:

A Pull-able Thread Of The Social Fabric by Robin Hanson – The extreme reaction the left has to ‘rightwing’ proposals points to serious problems in our society. Will this situation be a thread that unravels society when pulled?

Why Economics Is And Should Be Creepy by Robin Hanson – Creepiness is about ambiguous threat and unpredictability. People who do not follow norms therefore seem creepy. Economists seem threatening because they are analyzing situations inside the personal sphere and not following ‘personal sphere’ norms. In particular economists seem creepy because on the surface they seem trustworthy and high status but are willing to break societies taboos.

EA:

Announcing The Effective Altruism Handbook 2nd by CEA – The center for effective altruism released an updated handbook. This handbook is intended as an introduction to the core EA concepts. Notably the book has a ton of illustrations.

Politics and Economics:

Unrestricted Housing by Jeff Kaufman – Bay area rents would fall by half if we eliminated a set of major restriction and thereby quadrupled the highest density allowed.

Podcast:

Ryan Holiday On Conspiracy by EconTalk – “Author Ryan Holiday discusses his book, Conspiracy, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. This is a crazy episode about a crazy book about a crazy set of events–the Hulk Hogan lawsuit against the website Gawker, a lawsuit that was secretly funded by Peter Thiel. Holiday explains how this happened and the lessons for all of us related to conspiracies, patience, strategy, and revenge. Along the way, Holiday discusses his techniques for reading and lessons for how to grab someone’s attention when looking for a job or opportunity.”

On The Wrong Way To Think About Parenting by Rationally Speaking – “Developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik explains why modern parenting is too goal-oriented. Alison and Julia discuss whether anything parents do matters, whether kids should go to school, and how kids learn discipline if you don’t force them to do things. They also discuss Alison’s reservations about Steven Pinker’s book Enlightenment Now, and her concerns about potential downsides of modernity.”

What Is Christianity by Waking Up with Sam Harris – “Sam Harris speaks to Bart Ehrman about his experience of being a born-again Christian, his academic training in New Testament scholarship, his loss of faith, the most convincing argument in defense of Christianity, the status of miracles, the composition of the New Testament, the resurrection of Jesus, the nature of heaven and hell, the book of Revelation, the End Times, self-contradictions in the Bible, the concept of a messiah, whether Jesus actually existed, Christianity as a cult of human sacrifice, the conversion of Constantine, and other topics.”

Mega Identities by The Ezra Klein Show – “Yes, identity politics is breaking our country. But it’s not identity politics as we’re used to thinking about it. In Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, Lilliana Mason traces the construction of our partisan “mega-identities”: identities that fuse party affiliation to ideology, race, religion, gender, sexuality, geography, and more. These mega-identities didn’t exist 50 or even 30 years ago, but now that they’re here, they change the way we see each other, the way we engage in politics, and the way politics absorbs other — previously non-political —spheres of our culture”

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

The Case Against Education Splitting The Education Premium Pie And Considering Iq by Zvi Moshowitz – Why doesn’t IQ raise wages much more? Why don’t employers give IQ tests.

Inefficient Doesn’t Mean Indifferent by Zvi Moshowitz – Inefficiently trying to achieve a goal is not proof that people don’t really care about the goal. “If you help anyone anywhere, you are blameworthy, because you could have spent more resources helping, but even more so because you could have spent those resources more effectively.”

Meditations On The Medium by mindlevelup – Essays don’t get updated frequently and can’t force readers to actually ‘sit and think for five minutes’. In addition there has not been enough experimenting with the form of the essay.

Form Your Own Opinions by Ben Pace – Try to actually think for yourself and integrate perspectives into your existing models. Lots of visualizations of how this can work.

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Noticing The Taste Of Lotus by Valentine – Notice when you are ‘eating lotuses’, that is engaging in addictive behaviors that were designed to keep you engaged (ex facebook). IT can be ok to eat lotuses but you need to remember what they taste like.

Podcast:

Owen Cotton Barratt Regulating Risky Research by 80,000 Hours – Researchers working on dangerous topics (such as making new viruses) cannot be trusted to be sufficiently safe. The right way to balance the incentives is to require liability insurance.

Rational Feed

Scott:

Call For Adversarial Collaborations by Scott Alexander – “An adversarial collaboration is an effort by two people with opposing opinions on a topic to collaborate on a summary of the evidence. I’m offering a prize, plus a chance to get the results published on SSC, to any teams (probably of two people each) who want to do adversarial collaborations. If you want to participate, comment on this post with what subject you’d like to work on and what your opinion is on the subject. Or look through existing comments, find someone who has the opposite opinion to you on a subject you care about, and reply to them saying you want to be their foil. After that you can exchange emails and start working.”

Rationalist:

The Case Against Education by Scott Aaronson – Scott Aaronson reviews Caplan’s ‘The Case Against Education’. Despite a deep love for the world of academia Scott concludes Caplan is substantially correct.