Rational Feed

Scott:

How Do We Get Breasts Out Of Bayes Theorem by Scott Alexander – “But evolutionary psychologists make claims like ‘Men have been evolutionarily programmed to like women with big breasts, because those are a sign of fertility.’ Forget for a second whether this is politically correct, or cross-culturally replicable, or anything like that. From a neurological point of view, how could this possibly work?”

Rationalist:

Introducing Mindlevelup The Book by mindlevelup – MLU compiled and edited their work from 2017 into a 30K word, 150 page book. Most of the material appeared on the blog but some of it is new and the pre-existing posts have been edited for clarity.

To Save The World Make Sure To Go Beyond Academia by Kaj Sotala – Academic research often fails to achieve real change. Lots of economic research concerns the optimal size of a carbon tax but we currently lack any carbon tax. Academic research on x-risk from nuclear winter doesn’t change the motivations of politicians very much.

The World As If by Sarah Perry (ribbonfarm) – “This is an account of how magical thinking made us modern.” Magical thinking as a confusing of subjective and objective. Useful fictions. Hypothetical thinking. Pre-modern concrete thinking and categorization schemes relative to modern abstract ones. As if thinking. Logic and magic.

Politics and Economics:

Object, Subjects and Gender by The Baliocene Apocrypha – “Under modern post-industrial bureaucratized high-tech capitalism, it is less rewarding than ever before to be a subject. Under modern post-industrial bureaucratized high-tech capitalism, it is more rewarding than ever before to be an object. This alone accounts for a lot of the widespread weird stuff going on with gender these days.”

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Rational Feed

Scott:

Predictive Processing And Perceptual Control by Scott Alexander – “predictive processing attributes movement to strong predictions about proprioceptive sensations. Because the brain tries to minimize predictive error, it moves the limbs into the positions needed to produce those sensations, fulfilling its own prophecy.” Connections with Will Power’s ‘Behavior: The Control of Perception’ which Scott already reviewed.

EA:

Ten New 80000 Hours Articles Aimed At The by 80K Hours (EA forum) – Ten recent articles and descriptions from 80K hours. Over and underpaid jobs relative to their social impact, the most employable skills, learning ML, whether most social programs work and other topics.

Can Outsourcing Improve Liberias Schools Preliminary RCT Results by Innovations for Poverty – “Last summer, the Liberian government delegated management of 93 public elementary schools to eight different private contractors. After one year, public schools managed by private operators raised student learning by 60 percent compared to standard public schools. But costs were high, performance varied across operators, and contracts authorized the largest operator to push excess pupils and under-performing teachers into other government schools.”

Rational Feed

Scott:

Book Review: Surfing Uncertainty by Scott Alexander – Scott finds a real theory of how the brain works. “The key insight: the brain is a multi-layer prediction machine. All neural processing consists of two streams: a bottom-up stream of sense data, and a top-down stream of predictions. These streams interface at each level of processing, comparing themselves to each other and adjusting themselves as necessary.”

Rationalist:

Simple Affection And Deep Truth by Particular Virtue – “Simple Affection is treating someone like a child: they will forget about bad things, as long as you give them something good to think about instead. Deep Truth is treating someone like an elephant: they never forget, and they forgive only with deep deliberation.”

Expanding Premium Mediocrity by Zvi Moshowitz – “This is (much of) what I think Rao is trying to say in the second section of his post, the part about Maya but before Molly and Max, translated into DWATV-speak. Proceed if and only if you want that.”

EA:

Is Ea Growing Some Ea Growth Metrics For 2017 by Peter Hurford (EA forum) – Activity metrics for EA website, donations data, additional Facebook data, commentary that EA seems to be growing but there is substantial uncertainty.

Politics and Economics:

Unpopular Ideas About Crime And Punishment by Julia Galef – Thirteen opinions on prison abolition, the death penalty, corporal punishment, rehabilitation, redistribution and more.

Links 11 by Artir – Psychology, Politics, Economics, Philosophy, Other. Several links related to the Google memo.

Podcast:

What You Need To Know About Climate Change by Waking Up with Sam Harris – “How the climate is changing and how we know that human behavior is the primary cause. They discuss why small changes in temperature matter so much, the threats of sea-level rise and desertification, the best and worst case scenarios, the Paris Climate Agreement, the politics surrounding climate science.”

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Metapost September 5th by sam[]zdat – Plans for the blog. Next series will be on epistemology and the ”internal’ side of nhilism. Revised introduction. Sam will probably write fiction. Site reorganization. History section. Current reading list. Patreon.

Are People Innately Good by Sailor Vulcan – SV got into two arguments that went badly. One was on all lives matter. The other occurred when SV tried to defend Glen of Intentional Insights on the SSC discord. Terminal values aren’t consistent. SV was abused as a child.

Misc:

Into The Gray Zone by Bayesian Investor – Book Review. A modest fraction of people diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state have locked in syndrome. People misjudge when they would want to die. Alzheimer’s.

Podcast:

Caplan Family Podcast by Bryan Caplan – “For the last two years, I homeschooled my elder sons, Aidan and Tristan, rather than send them to traditional middle school. Now they’ve been returned to traditional high school. We decided to mark our last day with a father-son/teacher-student podcast on how we homeschooled, why we homeschooled, and what we achieved in homeschool.”

Dan Rather by The Ezra Klein Show – “Rather and I discuss the Trump presidency and what it means for the Republican Party’s future, our fractured media landscape, and Rather’s own evolving career in media.”

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Minimizing Motivated Beliefs by Entirely Useless – The tradeoffs between epistemic and instrumental rationality. Yudkowsky’s argument such tradeoffs either very stupid or don’t exist. Issues with Yudkowsky: Denial that belief is voluntary, thinking that trading away the truth requires being blind to consequences. Horror victims and transcendent meaning. Interesting things are usually false.

Politics and economics:

Intangible Investment Monopoly Profits by Marginal Revolution – “Intangible capital used to be below 30 percent of the S&P 500 in the 70s, now it is about 84 percent. ” Seven implications about profit, monopoly, spillover, etc.

Podcast:

The Problems With Implicit Bias Tests by Rational Speaking – “The IAT has been massively overhyped, and that in fact there’s little evidence that it’s measuring real-life bias. Jesse and Julia discuss how to interpret the IAT, why it became so popular, and why it’s still likely that implicit bias is real, even if the IAT isn’t capturing it.”

On Foundations by EconTalk – “The power and effectiveness of foundations–large collections of wealth typically created and funded by a wealthy donor. Is such a plutocratic institution consistent with democracy? Reich discusses the history of foundations in the United States and the costs and benefits of foundation expenditures in the present.”

Rational Feed

Rationalist:

Exploring Premium Mediocrity by Zvi Moshowitz – Defining premium mediocre. Easy and hard mode related to Rao’s theories of losers, sociopaths and heroes. The Real Thing. A 2×2 ribbonfarm style graph. Restaurants.

Politics and Economics:

What You Cant Say To A Sympathetic Ear by Katja Grace – Sharing socially unacceptable views with your friends is putting them in a bad situation, regardless of whether they agree with those ideas. If they don’t punish you society will hold them complicit. Socially condemning views is worse than commonly thought “To successfully condemn a view socially is to lock that view in place with a coordination problem.”

Rational Feed

Scott:

Highlights From The Comments On My Irb Nightmare by Scott Alexander – Tons of hilarious IB stories. A subreddit comment about getting around irb. Whether the headaches are largely institutional rather than dictated by government fiat. Comments argue in favor of the irb and Scott responds.

Links: Exsitement by Scott Alexander – Slatestarcodex links post. A Nootropics survey, gene editing, AI, social norms, Increasing profit margins, politics, and other topics.

EA:

Ea Survey 2017 Series Cause Area Preferences by Tee (EA forum) – Top Cause Area, near-top areas, areas which should not have EA resources, cause area correlated with demographics, donations by cause area.

AI:

Incorrigibility In Cirl by The MIRI Blog – Paper. Goal: Incentivize a value learning system to follow shut down instructions. Demonstration that some assumptions are not stable with respect to model mis-specification (ex programmer error). Weaker sets of assumptions: difficulties and simple strategies.