Futures Trading Brought Down Bitcoin Price - Econlib

Testing the Tide | Monthly FIRE Portfolio Update - June 2020

We would rather be ruined than changed.
-W H Auden, The Age of Anxiety
This is my forty-third portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goal.
Portfolio goal
My objective is to reach a portfolio of $2 180 000 by 1 July 2021. This would produce a real annual income of about $87 000 (in 2020 dollars).
This portfolio objective is based on an expected average real return of 3.99 per cent, or a nominal return of 6.49 per cent.
Portfolio summary
Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund – $726 306
Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund – $42 118
Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund – $78 730
Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund – $111 691
Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) – $201 745
Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) – $39 357
Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) – $231 269
Telstra shares (TLS) – $1 668
Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) – $7 310
NIB Holdings shares (NHF) – $5 532
Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) – $117 757
Secured physical gold – $18 913
Ratesetter (P2P lending) – $10 479
Bitcoin – $148 990
Raiz app (Aggressive portfolio) – $16 841
Spaceship Voyager app (Index portfolio) – $2 553
BrickX (P2P rental real estate) – $4 484
Total portfolio value: $1 765 743 (+$8 485 or 0.5%)
Asset allocation
Australian shares – 42.2% (2.8% under)
Global shares – 22.0%
Emerging markets shares – 2.3%
International small companies – 3.0%
Total international shares – 27.3% (2.7% under)
Total shares – 69.5% (5.5% under)
Total property securities – 0.3% (0.3% over)
Australian bonds – 4.7%
International bonds – 9.4%
Total bonds – 14.0% (1.0% under)
Gold – 7.7%
Bitcoin – 8.4%
Gold and alternatives – 16.2% (6.2% over)
Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio.
[Chart]
Comments
The overall portfolio increased slightly over the month. This has continued to move the portfolio beyond the lows seen in late March.
The modest portfolio growth of $8 000, or 0.5 per cent, maintains its value at around that achieved at the beginning of the year.
[Chart]
The limited growth this month largely reflects an increase in the value of my current equity holdings, in VAS and A200 and the Vanguard retail funds. This has outweighed a small decline in the value of Bitcoin and global shares. The value of the bond holdings also increased modestly, pushing them to their highest value since around early 2017.
[Chart]
There still appears to be an air of unreality around recent asset price increases and the broader economic context. Britain's Bank of England has on some indicators shown that the aftermath of the pandemic and lockdown represent the most challenging financial crisis in around 300 years. What is clear is that investor perceptions and fear around the coronavirus pandemic are a substantial ongoing force driving volatility in equity markets (pdf).
A somewhat optimistic view is provided here that the recovery could look more like the recovery from a natural disaster, rather than a traditional recession. Yet there are few certainties on offer. Negative oil prices, and effective offers by US equity investors to bail out Hertz creditors at no cost appear to be signs of a financial system under significant strains.
As this Reserve Bank article highlights, while some Australian households are well-placed to weather the storm ahead, the timing and severity of what lays ahead is an important unknown that will itself feed into changes in household wealth from here.
Investments this month have been exclusively in the Australian shares exchange-traded fund (VAS) using Selfwealth.* This has been to bring my actual asset allocation more closely in line with the target split between Australian and global shares.
A moving azimuth: falling spending continues
Monthly expenses on the credit card have continued their downward trajectory across the past month.
[Chart]
The rolling average of monthly credit card spending is now at its lowest point over the period of the journey. This is despite the end of lockdown, and a slow resumption of some more normal aspects of spending.
This has continued the brief period since April of the achievement of a notional and contingent kind of financial independence.
The below chart illustrates this temporary state, setting out the degree to which portfolio distributions cover estimated total expenses, measured month to month.
[Chart]
There are two sources of volatility underlying its movement. The first is the level of expenses, which can vary, and the second is the fact that it is based on financial year distributions, which are themselves volatile.
Importantly, the distributions over the last twelve months of this chart is only an estimate - and hence the next few weeks will affect the precision of this analysis across its last 12 observations.
Estimating 2019-20 financial year portfolio distributions
Since the beginning of the journey, this time of year usually has sense of waiting for events to unfold - in particular, finding out the level of half-year distributions to June.
These represent the bulk of distributions, usually averaging 60-65 per cent of total distributions received. They are an important and tangible signpost of progress on the financial independence journey.
This is no simple task, as distributions have varied in size considerably.
A part of this variation has been the important role of sometimes large and lumpy capital distributions - which have made up between 30 to 48 per cent of total distributions in recent years, and an average of around 15 per cent across the last two decades.
I have experimented with many different approaches, most of which have relied on averaging over multi-year periods to even out the 'peaks and troughs' of how market movements may have affected distributions. The main approaches have been:
Each of these have their particular simplifications, advantages and drawbacks.
Developing new navigation tools
Over the past month I have also developed more fully an alternate 'model' for estimating returns.
This simply derives a median value across a set of historical 'cents per unit' distribution data for June and December payouts for the Vanguard funds and exchange traded funds. These make up over 96 per cent of income producing portfolio assets.
In other words, this model essentially assumes that each Vanguard fund and ETF owned pays out the 'average' level of distributions this half-year, with the average being based on distribution records that typically go back between 5 to 10 years.
Mapping the distribution estimates
The chart below sets out the estimate produced by each approach for the June distributions that are to come.
[Chart]
Some observations on these findings can be made.
The lowest estimate is the 'adjusted GFC income' observation, which essentially assumes that the income for this period is as low as experienced by the equity and bond portfolio during the Global Financial Crisis. Just due to timing differences of the period observed, this seems to be a 'worst case' lower bound estimate, which I do not currently place significant weight on.
Similarly, at the highest end, the 'average distribution rate' approach simply assumes June distributions deliver a distribution equal to the median that the entire portfolio has delivered since 1999. With higher interest rates, and larger fixed income holdings across much of that time, this seems an objectively unlikely outcome.
Similarly, the delivery of exactly the income suggested by long-term averages measured across decades and even centuries would be a matter of chance, rather than the basis for rational expectations.
Central estimates of the line of position
This leaves the estimates towards the centre of the chart - estimates of between around $28 000 to $43 000 as representing the more likely range.
I attach less weight to the historical three-year average due to the high contribution of distributed capital gains over that period of growth, where at least across equities some capital losses are likely to be in greater presence.
My preferred central estimate is the model estimate (green) , as it is based in historical data directly from the investment vehicles rather than my own evolving portfolio. The data it is based on in some cases goes back to the Global Financial Crisis. This estimate is also quite close to the raw average of all the alternative approaches (red). It sits a little above the 'adjusted income' measure.
None of these estimates, it should be noted, contain any explicit adjustment for the earnings and dividend reductions or delays arising from COVID-19. They may, therefore represent a modest over-estimate for likely June distributions, to the extent that these effects are more negative than those experienced on average across the period of the underlying data.
These are difficult to estimate, but dividend reductions could easily be in the order of 20-30 per cent, plausibly lowering distributions to the $23 000 to $27 000 range. The recently announced forecast dividend for the Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) is, for example, the lowest in four years.
As seen from chart above, there is a wide band of estimates, which grow wider still should capital gains be unexpectedly distributed from the Vanguard retail funds. These have represented a source of considerable volatility. Given this, it may seem fruitless to seek to estimate these forthcoming distributions, compared to just waiting for them to arrive.
Yet this exercise helps by setting out reasoning and positions, before hindsight bias urgently arrives to inform me that I knew the right answer all along. It also potentially helps clearly 'reject' some models over time, if the predictions they make prove to be systematically incorrect.
Progress
Progress against the objective, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below.
Measure Portfolio All Assets
Portfolio objective – $2 180 000 (or $87 000 pa) 81.0% 109.4%
Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 98.8% 133.5%
Total expenses – $89 000 pa 79.2% 106.9%
Summary
The current coronavirus conditions are affecting all aspects of the journey to financial independence - changing spending habits, leading to volatility in equity markets and sequencing risks, and perhaps dramatically altering the expected pattern of portfolio distributions.
Although history can provide some guidance, there is simply no definitive way to know whether any or all of these changes will be fundamental and permanent alterations, or simply data points on a post-natural disaster path to a different post-pandemic set of conditions. There is the temptation to fit past crises imperfectly into the modern picture, as this Of Dollars and Data post illustrates well.
Taking a longer 100 year view, this piece 'The Allegory of the Hawk and Serpent' is a reminder that our entire set of received truths about constructing a portfolio to survive for the long-term can be a product of a sample size of one - actual past history - and subject to recency bias.
This month has felt like one of quiet routines, muted events compared to the past few months, and waiting to understand more fully the shape of the new. Nonetheless, with each new investment, or week of lower expenditure than implied in my FI target, the nature of the journey is incrementally changing - beneath the surface.
Small milestones are being passed - such as over 40 per cent of my equity holdings being outside of the the Vanguard retail funds. Or these these retail funds - which once formed over 95 per cent of the portfolio - now making up less than half.
With a significant part of the financial independence journey being about repeated small actions producing outsized results with time, the issue of maintaining good routines while exploring beneficial changes is real.
Adding to the complexity is that embarking on the financial journey itself is likely to change who one is. This idea, of the difficulty or impossibility of knowing the preferences of a future self, is explored in a fascinating way in this Econtalk podcast episode with a philosophical thought experiment about vampires. It poses the question: perhaps we can never know ourselves at the destination? And yet, who would rationally choose ruin over any change?
The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
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(Relatively) free market healthcare is better?

I recently listened to this episode of EconTalk which is an interview with Keith Smith who runs the private Surgery Center of Oklahoma, who does not accept insurance but instead takes cash (bitcoin, etc) and also posts prices for their operations on their website.
I've never had any major medical issues so I wanted to see if any of you could relate some personal experiences to see if this place is actually cheaper, and if so then how much.
For instance, I see they say an ACL repair will cost $6,790 but here it says that this operation can be as low as $3,510 and even has it being less than $5k in Oklahoma, but for another example they show a knee replacement is $15,499 but here it says this operation usually costs around $50k.
Another example...this place in Oklahoma will do a rotator cuff repair for $6,149 but looking here it says the cost for this procedure can range from about $5-15k.
Additionally, this episode of the Tom Woods podcast is about the same thing
An excerpt from the transcript: "We had a perfect example recently. We ordered some blood work – we have our negotiated cash discounts of usually 95 percent – and a patient’s blood work was accidentally billed through the insurance rate, because of a computer mistake at the lab. The price that they were quoted was $1,028. We ran that back through our system, and it cost $39 – a 97 percent savings just by cutting out the middleman."
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Memory and Judgement | Monthly Portfolio Update - March 2019

Everyone complains of his memory, none of his judgement.
– La Rochefoucauld, Maxims
This is my twenty-eighth portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goals.
Portfolio goals
My recently revised objectives are to reach a portfolio of:
$1 598 000 by 31 December 2020. This should produce a real income of about $67 000 (Objective #1) $1 980 000 by 31 July 2023, to produce a passive income equivalent to $83 000 (Objective #2) Both of these are based on an expected average real return of 4.19%, or a nominal return of 7.19%, and are expressed in 2018 dollars.
Portfolio summary
Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund – $732 134 Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund – $42 428 Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund – $76 692 Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund – $104 802 Vanguard Australia Shares ETF (VAS) – $78 091 Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) - $216 609 Telstra shares (TLS) – $1 769 Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) – $13 393 NIB Holdings shares (NHF) – $6 288 Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) – $83 212 Secured physical gold – $13 437 Ratesetter* (P2P lending) – $26 147 Bitcoin – $63 947 Raiz* app (Aggressive portfolio) – $14 491 Spaceship Voyager* app (Index portfolio) – $1 751 BrickX* (P2P rental real estate) – $4 621 Total value: $1 439 608 (+$40 302)
Asset allocation
Australian shares – 41.6% (3.4% under) Global shares – 23.6% Emerging markets shares – 2.7% International small companies – 3.5% Total international shares – 29.9% (0.1% under) Total shares – 71.5% (3.5% under) Total property securities – 0.3% (0.3% over) Australian bonds – 6.1% International bonds – 11.2% Total bonds – 17.3% (2.3% over) Cash – 1.2% Gold – 6.5% Bitcoin – 4.3% Gold and alternatives – 10.9% (0.9% over) Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio.
Comments
This month saw the total portfolio reach and exceed the original portfolio objective set at the commencement of this journey of $1 476 000.
Since that time, portfolio goals have been updated, but nonetheless it feels as though a significant milestone has passed. Measured over the past twelve months, strong progress has resumed, that being in part a function of the dull echoes of 'Bitcoin bubble' of late 2017 falling out of the time period.
The portfolio increased by a significant $40 000 this month. Part of this was new investments in Betashares A200, and a majority of this gain is attributable to the second instalment from the lowering of my emergency fund discussed here being invested. In the end, averaging two parts of this lump sum into the equity market around three months apart did not make much difference, except perhaps a mild psychological benefit. Together these moves made up the majority of the total portfolio gains. The value of the small Bitcoin holding has also increased slightly, despite its volatility having substantially reduced over the past year.
Another milestone this month has been the finalisation of my first significant March quarter dividend from A200, which will total around $1900. This is lower than expected, being equivalent to around 0.9% for the quarter, and lower than the expected distribution rate of the broadly equivalent Vanguard VAS ETF. It is quite possible that the end of financial year results will be better, however, and on a total returns basis the A200 ETF has still tracked its benchmark closely.
With Australian equities continuing to stay close to their long term price-earnings ratio of 15, Australian equity ETFs will likely remain the primary focus of investment over the next few months. This has been one of the most dominant trends of the journey so far, with total Australian equity holdings growing from around $277 000 in January 2017, and 28 per cent of the portfolio, to around $600 000 this month, and over 40 per cent.
A small action this month has been passing up the option of further investment in Australian real estate through BrickX. Distributions had built up to a level to allow a further small fractional investment. The Australian residential debate continues in full force, however, I cannot justify even small further incremental investments at current low yields, especially given my view of the likelihood of further capital losses.
Overall, expenses continue to track at steady levels. The low red distributions line from July 2018 onwards is a product of low December half distributions, and may be able to be revised upwards once June distributions are known. This would be a welcome revision, as 'credit card' FI seemed to come into view through the last two years, and then disappear in a discouraging way with the December 2018 distributions.
Progress
Progress against the objectives, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below.
Measure Portfolio All Assets Objective #1 – $1 598 000 (or $67 000 pa) 92.6% 128.8% Objective #2 – $1 980 000 (or $83 000 pa) 74.8% 104.0% Credit card purchases - $73 000 pa 85.0% 118.2% Total expenses - $96 000pa 64.6% 89.9%
Summary
This month has brought the portfolio to approximately three-quarters of the way to my Objective #2, and Objective #1 also draws appreciably closer.
Over the past month, as progress has accumulated, I have found myself meditating more fully on the nature and value of time and freedom. What has surprised is the powerful but gradual feeling of decompression that knowledge of the increasing proximity to the goals has brought. Fewer external events, daily stresses, impinge on my daily outlook.
This recent podcast from the Econtalk series, crystallised some of these thoughts, the first 10 minutes contains the best economic and empirical analysis I have encountered on the intersection of time, money, leisure and work. One of its key points - relevant for seekers of FI - is that our growing wealth over time affects how we see and value leisure time itself, and it also has some useful reflections on the concept of 'busyness'.
This month has seen some of this more valuable leisure time used looking at the summary version of the Credit Suisse Global Investment Returns Yearbook, released last month. This provides updated data from the single best long-term series on equity and bond returns across the world. One interesting aspect of this years updated estimate of long-term historical global equity returns (of 5 per cent) is that it includes for the first time markets that suffered total losses (Russia and China following revolutions in 1917 and 1949) - addressing the issue of survivorship bias. The report argues for significant modesty in expectations of future returns.
A practical implication of this is that my conservative long-term return assumption for global equities (of 4.5 per cent) may be marginally less conservative than when it was made at the start of the year. This podcast from Bloomberg, interviewing Yale Professor of Finance Roger Ibbotson - a key figure in the collection and analysis of historical financial market returns - will provide more related food for thought.
A further intriguing crossover from recent economic literature to FI issues is the release last week of this paper The Power of Working Longer by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which studies the relationship between the decision to work for longer, compared to investing more, prior to retirement. The intriguing summary finding is that delaying retirement by 3-6 months is equivalent to the effect of one percentage point of higher wages over a 30 year working life.
The Australian FI community has also been full of interesting content this month, with Aussie Firebug laying out the basics of FI in an excellent introductory podcast, and Strong Money Australia doing a short summary of his current progress in transitioning from property investment dominated portfolio to equities. Australian investor's benefits from higher dividend rates also got a mention in Big ERN's comprehensive safe withdrawal rates series. It was also great to see the appearance and progress of other new Australian FI bloggers, such a AFamilyOnFire.
With the month closed, the focus will now be shifting to awaiting and re-investing the quarterly dividends due, and contemplating that a further three months comparable to the last three - an unlikely but possible scenario - could see Objective #1 reached much earlier than my judgement had anticipated.
The post and graphs can be viewed here
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Bi-Weekly Rational Feed

===Highly Recommended Articles:
Superintelligence Risk Project Update II by Jeff Kaufman - Jeff's thoughts and the sources he found most useful. Project is wrapping up in a few day. Topics: Technical Distance to AI. Most plausible scenarios of Superintelligence risk. OpenPhil's notes on how progress was potentially stalled in Cryonics and Nanotech.
Superintelligence Risk Project Update by Jeff Kaufman - Links to the three most informative readings on AI risk. Details on the large number of people Jeff has talked to. Three fundamental points of view on AI-Safety. Three Fundamental points of disagreement. An update on the original questions Jeff was trying to answer.
Podcast The World Needs Ai Researchers Heres How To Become One by 80,000 Hours - "OpenAI’s latest plans and research progress. Concrete Papers in AI Safety, which outlines five specific ways machine learning algorithms can act in dangerous ways their designers don’t intend - something OpenAI has to work to avoid. How listeners can best go about pursuing a career in machine learning and AI development themselves."
Radical Book Club The Decentralized Left by davidzhines (Status 451) - The nature of leftwing organizing and what righties can learn from it. An exposition of multiple books on radical left organization building. Major themes are "doing the work" and "decentralized leadership".
Study Of The Week To Remediate Or Not To Remediate by Freddie deBoer - Should low math proficiency students take remedial algebra or credit bearing statistics. The City University of New York ran an actual randomized study to test this. The study had pretty good controls. For example students were randomly assigned to three groups, participating professors taught one section of each group.
Kenneth Arrow On The Welfare Economics Of Medical Care A Critical Assessment by Artir (Nintil) - "Kenneth Arrow wrote a paper in 1963, Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care. This paper tends to appear in debates regarding whether healthcare can be left to the market (like bread), or if it should feature heavy state involvement. Here I explain what the paper says, and to what extent it is true."
Becoming Stronger Together by b4yes (lesswrong) - "About a year ago, a secret rationalist group was founded. This is a report of what the group did during that year."
The Destruction Of American Cuisine by Small Truths - America used to have a tremendous number of regional cuisines, most are dead. They were killed by supermarkets and frozen food. This has been costly both in terms of culture and health (antibiotic resistance, crop monoculture risk)
===Scott:
Targeting Meritocracy by Scott Alexander - Education and merit are different. Programming is one of the last meritocracies, this lets disadvantaged people get into the field. If a job is high impact we want to hire on merit. The original, literal meaning of meritocracy is important.
Classified Thread 2 Best In Classified by Scott Alexander - Scott is promoting a project to accelerate the trend of rationalists living near each other. There are four houses available for rent near Ward Street in Berkeley. Ward street is currently the rationalist hub in the Bay. Commenters can advertise other projects and services.
Url Of Sandwich by Scott Alexander - Standard links post, somewhat longer than usual.
Opec Thread by Scott Alexander - Bi-weekly open thread. Update on Scott and Katja's travels. Salt Lake City Meetup highlight. Topher Brennan is running for Senate.
Can We Link Perception And Cognition by Scott Alexander - SSC survey optical illusions. "So there seems to be a picture where high rates of perceptual ambiguity are linked to being weirder and (sometimes, in a very weak statistical way) lower-functioning." Speculation about fundamental connections between perception and cognitive style. Ideas for further research.
Change Minds Or Drive Turnout by Scott Alexander - Extreme candidates lower turnout among their own party. Is base turnout really the only thing that matters? Lots of quotes from studies.
===Rationalist:
Learning From Past Experiences by mindlevelup - "This is about finding ways to quickly learn from past experiences to inform future actions. We briefly touch upon different learning models." Model-based and Model-Free reinforcement learning. Practical advice and examples.
How Long Has Civilization Been Going by Elo (BearLamp) - Human agricultural society is only 342-1000 generations old. "Or when you are 24 years old you have lived one day for every year humans have had written records." Human civilization is only a few hundred lifetimes old.
Choices Are Bad by Zvi Moshowitz - Choices reduce perceived value. Choices require time and energy. Making someone choose is imposing a real cost.
Erisology Of Self And Will: The Gulf by Everything Studies - "Part 4 will discuss some scientific disciplines with bearing on the self, and how their results are interpreted differently by the traditional paradigm vs. the scientific."
Philosophy Vs Duck Tests by Robin Hanson - Focusing on deep structure vs adding up weak cues. If it looks like an x... More discussion of whether most people will consider ems people and/or conscious.
Knowing How To Define by AellaGirl - "These are three ways in which a word can be ‘defined’ – the role it plays in the world around it (the up-definition), synonyms (lateral-definition), and the parts which construct the thing (down-definition)." Applications to morality and free-will.
Change Is Bad by Zvi Moshowitz - "Change space, like mind space, is deep and wide. Friendly change space isn’t quite to change space what friendly mind space is to mind space, but before you apply any filters of common sense, it’s remarkably close." A long list of conditions that mean change has lower expected value. Why we still need to make changes. Keep your eyes open.
Meditation Insights Suffering And Pleasure Are Intrinsically Bound Together by Kaj Sotala - The concrete goal of meditation is to train your peripheral awareness. Much suffering comes from false promises of pleasure. Procrastinating to play a videogame won't actually make you feel better. Temptation losses its power once you truly see the temptations for what they truly are.
Be My Neighbor by Katja Grace - Katja lives in a rationalist house on ward street in Berkeley and its great. The next step up is a rationalist neighborhood. Katja is promoting the same four houses as Scott. Be her neighbor?
What Value Subagents by G Gordan (Map and Territory) - Splitting the mind into subagents is a common rationalist model (links to Alicorn, Briene Yudkowsky, etc). However the author preferred model is a single process with inconsistent preferences. Freud. System 1 and System 2. The rider and the Elephant become one. Subagents as masks. Subagents as epicycles.
The Order Of The Soul by Ben Hoffman (Compass Rose) - The philosophy of accepting things vs the impulse to reshape them. Many philosophical and psychological models split the soul into three. Internalized authority vs seeing the deep structure of moral reality. In some sense math is the easiest thing in the world to learn. School poisons the enjoyment of rational thought. Lockhart's lament. Feynman. Eichmann and thinking structurally.
Aliens Merely Sleeping by Tyler Cowen - The universe is currently too hot for artificial life to be productive. Advanced civilizations might be freezing themselves until the universe cools. "They could achieve up to 1030 times more than if done today" [short]
Book Reviews by Torello (lesswrong) - Rationalist Adjacent. Each book has an interesting 'ideas per page' rating. Homo Deus, Sapiens, Super-intelligence, Surfaces and Essences, What Technology Wants, Inside Jokes, A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind.
Geometers Scribes Structure Intelligence by Ben Hoffman (Compass Rose) - "How does spatial reasoning lead to formal, logical reasoning?" Fluid and crystalized intelligence. Some history of Philosophy. How social dynamics lead to the evolution of reasoning. Talmudic and Western law, and their oddities. Universal Grammar and connecting with the divine. FizzBuzz.
High Dimensional Societies by Robin Hanson - In high dimensional space the distance between points varies less. What implications does this have for 'spatial' social science models (ex analogues of 1D spectrums and 2D graphs).
Feelings In The Map by Elo (BearLamp) - Confusion is not a property of the external world. The same holds for many emotions. Non-violent communication and speaking from your own perspective.
Lesswrong Is Not About Forum Software by enye-word (lesswrong) - The best way to increase activity on lesswrong is to get back the top posters, especially Scott and Eliezer.
Explication by mindlevelup - "This essay is about explication, the notion of making things specific. I give some examples involving Next Actions and systematization. This might also just be obvious to many people. Part of it is also a rehash of Act Into Uncertainty. Ultimately, explication is about changing yourself."
Concrete Instructions by Elo (BearLamp) - "The objective test of whether the description is concrete is whether the description can be followed by an anonymous person to produce the same experience." Some examples including the 'paper folding game'.
Human Seems Low Dimensional by Robin Hanson - 'Humanness' seems to be a one dimensional variable. Hence people are likely to consider ems conscious and worthy of decent treatment since ems are human-like on many important factors. Some discussion of a study where people rated how human-like various entities were.
Erisology Of Self And Will: A Natural Offering by Everything Studies - A description of naturalism and it relation to science. Daniel Dennet. Many philosophers are still dualists about the self. The self as a composite. Freedom as emergent.
The Hungry Brain by Bayesian Investor - A short review that focuses on the basics of Guynet's ideas and meta-discussion of why Guynet included so much neuroscience. "Guyenet provides fairly convincing evidence that it’s simple to achieve a healthy weight while feeling full. (E.g. the 20 potatoes a day diet)."
Boost From The Best by Robin Hanson - [Age of Em] How many standard deviations above the mean will be the best em be? How much better will they be than the second best em? How much of a wage/leisure premium will the best em receive.
Becoming Stronger Together by b4yes (lesswrong) - "About a year ago, a secret rationalist group was founded. This is a report of what the group did during that year."
In Praise Of Fake Frameworks by Valentine (lesswrong) - "I use a lot of fake frameworks — that is, ways of seeing the world that are probably or obviously wrong in some important way. I think this is an important skill. There are obvious pitfalls, but I think the advantages are more than worth it. In fact, I think the "pitfalls" can even sometimes be epistemically useful."
Letter To Future Layperson by Sailor Vulcan (BYS) - A letter from someone in our age to someone post singularity. Description of the hardships and terrors of pre-singularity life. Emotional and poetic. ~5K words.
===AI:
Conversation With An Ai Researcher by Jeff Kaufman - The anonymous researcher thinks AI progress is almost entirely driven by hardware and data. Back propagation has existed for a long time. Go would have taken at least 10 more years if go-aI work had remained constrained by academic budgets.
Openai Baselines PPO by Open Ai - "We’re releasing a new class of reinforcement learning algorithms, Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO), which perform comparably or better than state-of-the-art approaches while being much simpler to implement and tune. PPO has become the default reinforcement learning algorithm at OpenAI because of its ease of use and good performance."
Superintelligence Risk Project Update II by Jeff Kaufman - Jeff's thoughts and the sources he found most useful. Project is wrapping up in a few day. Topics: Technical Distance to AI. Most plausible scenarios of Superintelligence risk. OpenPhil's notes on how progress was potentially stalled in Cryonics and Nanotech.
Real Debate Robots Education by Tyler Cowen - Robots are already becoming part of the classroom. K-12 is an artificially creation anyway. Robots can help autistic or disabled children. Children sometimes trust robots too much.
Robust Adversarial Inputs by Open Ai - "We’ve created images that reliably fool neural network classifiers when viewed from varied scales and perspectives. This challenges a claim from last week that self-driving cars would be hard to trick maliciously since they capture images from multiple scales, angles, perspectives, and the like."
What Is Overfitting Exactly by Andrew Gelman - "If your model is correct, “overfitting” is impossible. In its usual form, “overfitting” comes from using too weak of a prior distribution."
Conversation With Bryce Wiedenbeck by Jeff Kaufman - "AGI is possible, it could be a serious problem, but we can't productively work on it now." AGI will look very different from current technologies. Utility functions are a poor model of human behavior.
Examples Of Superintelligence Risk by Jeff Kaufman - A series of extended quotes describing ways AI with innocent seeming goals can destroy the world. Authors: Nick Bostrom, Eliezer (and collaborators), Luke M, 80K hours, Tim Urban. Jeff finds them unpersuasive and asks for better ones. Lots of interesting comments. Eleizer himself comments describing how 'paperclip maximizers' might realistically occur.
Superintelligence Risk Project Update by Jeff Kaufman - Links to the three most informative readings on AI risk. Details on the large number of people Jeff has talked to. Three fundamental points of view on AI-Safety. Three Fundamental points of disagreement. An update on the original questions Jeff was trying to answer.
Conversation With Michael Littman by Jeff Kaufman - CS Professor at Brown's opinions: Deep Learning is surprisingly brittle in his experience. General Intelligence will require large fundamental advances. The AI risk community isn't testing their ideas so they probably aren't making real progress.
===EA:
EAGX Relaunch by Roxanne_Heston (EA forum) - The EA global satellite EAGA-X conferences have been low activity. Changes: More funding and flexibility. Standardized formats. Fewer groups approved. Stipends to primary organizers.
Uncertainty Smoothes Out Differences In Impact by The Foundational Research Institute - Many inside view evaluations conclude that one intervention is orders of magnitude more effective than another. Uncertainty significantly reduces these ratios.
Autonomy: A Search For A Measure Will Pearson (EA forum) - "I shall introduce a relatively formal measure of autonomy, based on the intuition that it is the ability to do things by yourself with what you have. The measure introduced allows you to move from less to more autonomy, without being black and white about it. Then I shall talk about how increasing autonomy fits in with the values of movements such as poverty reduction, ai risk reduction and the reduction of suffering."
Eight media articles on GiveDirectly, Cash Transers and Basic Income.- A world where 8 men own as much wealth as 3.6 billion people by GiveDirectly -
More Giving Vs Doing by Jeff Kaufman - EA is moving far more money than it used to and the ramp up will continue. This means direct work has become relatively more valuable. Nonetheless giving money is still useful, capacity isn't being filled. Jeff plans on earning to give based on his personal constraints.
Why I Think The Foundational Research Institute by Mike Johnson (EA forum) - A description of the FRI. Good things about FRI. FRI's research framework and why the author is worried. Eight long objections. TLDR: "functionalism ("consciousness is the sum-total of the functional properties of our brains") sounds a lot better than it actually turns out to be in practice. In particular, functionalism makes it impossible to define ethics & suffering in a way that can mediate disagreements."
Tranquilism by The Foundational Research Institute - A paper arguing that reducing suffering is more important than promoting happiness. Axiology. Non-consciousness. Common Objections. Conclusion.
An Argument For Why The Future May Be Good by Ben West (EA forum) - Factory farming shows that humans are deeply cruel. Technology enabled this cruelty, perhaps the future will be even darker. Counterargument: Humans are lazy, not evil. Humans as a group will spend at least small amounts altruistically. In the future the cost of reducing suffering will go down low enough that suffering will be rare or non-existent.
Arguments Moral Advocacy by The Foundational Research Institute - "What does moral advocacy look like in practice? Which values should we spread, and how? How effective is moral advocacy compared to other interventions such as directly influencing new technologies? What are the most important arguments for and against focusing on moral advocacy?"
An Argument For Broad And Inclusive by Kaj Sotala (EA forum) - "I argue for a very broad, inclusive EA, based on the premise that the culture of a region is more important than any specific group within that region... As a concrete strategy, I propose a division into low-level and high-level EA"
Not Everybody wants a Goat by GiveDirectly - Eight links on GiveDirectly, Cash Transfers, Effective Altruism and Basic Income.
Mid Year Update by The GiveWell Blog - Encouraging more charities to apply. More research of potential interventions. Short operations recap. GiveWell is focusing more on outreach.
===Politics and Economics:
College Tuition by Tom Bartleby - Sticker prices for college have gone up 15K in twenty years, but the average actual cost has only gone up 2.5K. High prices are almost compensated by high aid. Advantage: more equitable access to education. Disadvantages: Not everyone knows about the aid, financial aid is large enough it can seriously distort family financial decisions.
War Of Wages Part 1 Apples And Walmarts by Jacob Falkovich (Put A Number On It!) - The Author thinks minimum wage hurts the poor. Walmart can't afford higher wages. Copenhagan Interpretation of Ethics: Walmart helps the poor and gets blamed, Apple does nothing for the poor but avoids blame.
Links 10 by Artir (Nintil) - Tons of links. Economics, Psychology, AI, Philosophy, Misc.
Pretend Ask Answer by Ben Hoffman (Compass Rose) - A short dialogue about Patriarchy and the meaning of oppression. Defensive actions are often a response to bad faith from the other side. Its not ok to explicitly say you think your partner is arguing in bad faith.
Cultural Studies Ironically Is Something Of A Colonizer by Freddie deBoer - An origin story for Writing Studies. The fields initial methodological diversity. Cultural studies took over the field, empirical work has been pushed out. Evidence that some cultural studies professors really do believe its fundamentally bigoted to do science and empirical research endangers marginalized students. The field has become insular.
The Dark Arts Examples From The Harris Adams Debate by Stabilizer (lesswrong) - The author accuses Scott Adams of using various dark Arts: Changing the subject, Motte-and-bailey, Euphemisation, Diagnosis, Excusing, Cherry-picking evidence.
Study Of The Week Modest But Real Benefits From Lead Exposure Interventions by Freddie deBoer - Freddie reviews a survey he found via SSC. The study had very good controls. Methodology is explained and key graphs are posted and discussed. Scott and Freddie seem to agree on the facts but have a different opinion on how large to consider the effects.
Descriptive And Prescriptive Standards by Simon Penner (Status 451) - Leadership means winning the Keynesian Beauty Contest. Public opinion doesn't exist as a stable reality. Prescribing public opinion. Dangers of social reform and leaders twisting the facts to promote noble outcomes.
A Taylorism For All Seasons by Lou (sam[]zdat) - "Christopher Lasch – The Culture of Narcissism, part 1/X, current essay being more of an overview." A Masquerade where you must act out the mask you choose.
Mechanism Agnostic Low Plasticity Educational Realism by Freddie deBoer - Freddie's educational philosophy. People sort into persistent academic strata. Educational attainment is heavily determined by factors outside of school's control. The mechanism differences in academic ability is unknown. Social and political implications.
Kin Aesthetics Excommunicate Me From The Church Of Social Justice by Frances Lee - A SJ-insider's critical opinion of SJ. Fear of being impure. Original Sin. Reproducing colonial structures of power and domination within social justice. Everyday Feminism's belittling articles. More humility. Bringing humanity to everyone, even those who have been inhumane.
Study Of The Week To Remediate Or Not To Remediate by Freddie deBoer - Should low math proficiency students take remedial algebra or credit bearing statistics. The City University of New York ran an actual randomized study to test this. The study had pretty good controls. For example students were randomly assigned to three groups, participating professors taught one section of each group.
Should We Build Lots More Housing In San Francisco: Three Reasons People Disagree by Julia Galef - For each of the three reasons Julia describes multiple sub-reasons. More housing might not lower prices much. More housing won't help the poor. NIMBY objections might be legitimate.
Kenneth Arrow On The Welfare Economics Of Medical Care A Critical Assessment by Artir (Nintil) - "Kenneth Arrow wrote a paper in 1963, Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care. This paper tends to appear in debates regarding whether healthcare can be left to the market (like bread), or if it should feature heavy state involvement. Here I explain what the paper says, and to what extent it is true."
Thoughts On Doxxing by Ozy (Thing of Things) - CNN found the identity of the guy who made the video of Trump beating up CNN. They implied they would dox him if he continued being racist. Is doxxing him ok? What about doxxing someone who runs jailbait? Ozy discusses the practical effect of doxxing and unleashing hate mobs.
On The Seattle Minimum Wage Study Part 2 by Zvi Moshowitz - Several relevant links are included. Seattle's economic boom and worker composition changes are important factors. Zvi dives deep into the numbers and tries to resolve an apparent contradiction.
Radical Book Club The Decentralized Left by davidzhines (Status 451) - The nature of leftwing organizing and what righties can learn from it. An exposition of multiple books on radical left organization building. Major themes are "doing the work" and "decentralized leadership".
On The Seattle Minimum Wage Study Part 1 by Zvi Moshowitz - The claimed effect sizes are huge. Zvi's priors about the minimum wage. Detailed description of some of the paper's methods and how it handle potential issues. Discussion of the raw data. More to come in part 2.
===Misc:
Childcare II by Jeff Kaufman - A timeline of childcare for Jeff's two children. Methods: Staying at home, Daycare, Au pair, Nanny.
Easier Chess Problem by protokol2020 - How many pieces do you need to capture a black queen?
Book Review Mathematics For Computer Science by richard_reitz (lesswrong) - Why the text should be in the MIRI research guide. Intro. Prereqs. Detailed comparisons to similar texts. Complaints.
Information is Physical by Scott Aaronson - Is information is physical a contentful expression? Why 'physics is information' is tautological. A proposed definition. Double slit experiment. Observation in Quantum Mechanics. Information takes up a minimum amount of space. Entropy. Information has nowhere to go.
Book Review Working Effectively With Legacy Code By Michael C Feathers by Eli Bendersky - To improve code we must refactor, to refactor we have to test, making code testable may take heroic efforts. "The techniques described by the author are as terrible as the code they're up against."
The Ominouslier Roar Of The Bitcoin Wave by Artem and Venkat (ribbonfarm) - A video visualizing and audiolizing the bitcoin blockchain. A related dialogue.
From Monkey Neurons To The Meta Brain by Hal Morris (ribbonfarm) - Neurons that only fire in response to Jennifer Anniston. Mirror Neurons. Theory of Mind. The path from copying movement to human-level empathy. Infant development. Dreams as social simulator. Communicating with our models of other people. He rapidly accelerating and dangerous future. We need to keep our mind open to possibilities.
Newtonism Question by protokol2020 - Balancing Forces. Gravity problem.
Short Interview Writing by Tyler Cowen - Tyler Cowen's writing habits. Many concrete details such as when he writes and what program he uses. Some more general thoughts on writing such as Tyler's surprising answer to which are his favorite books on writing.
Unexpected by protokol2020 - Discussion of gaps between primes. "Say, that you have just sailed across some recordly wide composite lake and you are on a prime island again. What can you expect, how much wider will the next record lake be?"
Interacting With A Long Running Child Process In Python by Eli Bendersky - Using the subprocess module to run an http server. Solutions and analysis of common use cases. Lots of code.
4d Mate Problem by protokol2020 - How many queens do you need to get a checkmate in 4D chess.
The Destruction Of American Cuisine by Small Truths - America used to have a tremendous number of regional cuisines, most are dead. They were killed by supermarkets and frozen food. This has been costly both in terms of culture and health (antibiotic resistance, crop monoculture risk)
===Podcast:
Sally Satel On Organ Donation by EconTalk - "The challenges of increasing the supply of donated organs for transplantation and ways that public policy might increase the supply." Tax Credits. The ethics of donor compensation.
Podcast The World Needs Ai Researchers Heres How To Become One by 80,000 Hours - "OpenAI’s latest plans and research progress. Concrete Papers in AI Safety, which outlines five specific ways machine learning algorithms can act in dangerous ways their designers don’t intend – something OpenAI has to work to avoid. How listeners can best go about pursuing a career in machine learning and AI development themselves."
88 Must We Accept A Nuclear North Korea by Waking Up with Sam Harris - "Mark Bowden and the problem of a nuclear-armed North Korea."
Triggered by Waking Up with Sam Harris - "Sam Harris and Scott Adams debate the character and competence of President Trump."
Conversation Atul Gawande by Tyler Cowen - The marginal value of health care, AI progress in medicine, fear of genetic engineering, whether the checklist method applies to marriage, FDA regulation, surgical regulation, Michael Crichton and Stevie Wonder, wearables, what makes him weep, Knausgaard and Ferrante, why surgeons leave sponges in patients.
Nneka Jones Tapia by The Ezra Klein Show - The first psychologist to run a prison. 30% of inmates have diagnosed mental health problems. Mental heath view of the penal system, balancing punishment and treatment, responsibility versus mental instability, the tension between what we use jail for and what we should use jail for.
Tamar Haspel by EconTalk - "Why technology helps make some foods inexpensive, how animals are treated, the health of the honey bee, and whether eggs from your backyard taste any better than eggs at the grocery."
From Cells To Cities by Waking Up with Sam Harris - "Biological and social systems scale, the significance of fractals, the prospects of radically extending human life, the concept of “emergence” in complex systems, the importance of cities, the necessity for continuous innovation"
Inside The World Of Supertraining: Mark Bell by Tim Feriss - "Mark’s most important lessons for building strength. How to avoid injury and breakdown. Lesser-known training techniques that nearly everyone overlooks. How Mark became a millionaire by offering his gym memberships for free."
Eddie Izzard by The Ezra Klein Show - 27 marathons in 27 days, process for writing jokes, why he wants to run for parliament, inspiration from Al Franken's, borrowing confidence from his future self. What he learned as a street performer, routines are based on history and anthropology, World War I, 'cake or death?'. His gender identity, and how he integrated it into his act early on, etc.
Martha Nussbaum by EconTalk - "The tension between acquiring power and living a life of virtue. Topics discussed include Hamilton's relationship with Aaron Burr, Burr's complicated historical legacy, and the role of the humanities in our lives."
Rs 188 Robert Kurzban On Being Strategically Wrong by Rationally Speaking - Why Everyone (Else) is a Hypocrite." The "modular mind" hypothesis, and how it explains hypocrisy, self-deception, and other seemingly irrational features of human nature.
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Subreddit Stats: AskEconomics top posts from 2016-12-11 to 2017-12-10 16:42 PDT

Period: 363.79 days
Submissions Comments
Total 1000 9010
Rate (per day) 2.75 24.68
Unique Redditors 765 1500
Combined Score 9038 28269

Top Submitters' Top Submissions

  1. 75 points, 11 submissions: Ask_Everything
    1. How did Ireland become SO WEALTHY in spite of being hit by the Great Recession so hard? (10 points, 4 comments)
    2. Peru's economy grew by 7.8% per year since 2009. Is this due to quinoa exports? (8 points, 4 comments)
    3. Why can't employers hire 16% more employees and pay ALL of their employees 14% less in aggregare? This would make the unemployment rate 0% without adding to employer costs. (8 points, 10 comments)
    4. In the USA, an we have employee owned businesses like Bob’s Red Mill. Is there a model that allows a business to be municipal owned or partly owned by the municipality? (7 points, 3 comments)
    5. What are the best leading indicators for the economy or the stock market? (7 points, 11 comments)
    6. EITC VS Higher Minimum Wage for poverty reduction and reducing income inequality (6 points, 9 comments)
    7. How would implementing a $15/hour minimum wage NOT contribute to inflation across the board (thus negating its effect)? (6 points, 13 comments)
    8. In Communist USSR, (1) was the Gini Coefficient = ~0? (2) If everyone earned about the same amount, then was there poverty? (3) What were some economic triumphs of Communism? (6 points, 12 comments)
    9. India and China had equal Per Capita GDP (PPP) in '89. Why are all economic predictions of India so much more pessimistic about India than for China? (6 points, 4 comments)
    10. Why is there a black market for USD in developing countries? (6 points, 4 comments)
  2. 62 points, 6 submissions: VanGod21
    1. How much money could be collected with pigouvian and land/natural resource taxes in the United States? (21 points, 3 comments)
    2. Is income inequality an externality? (17 points, 16 comments)
    3. Why do private companies get the patent on drugs funded by the government? (9 points, 2 comments)
    4. Would cutting the corporate tax increase investment? (6 points, 4 comments)
    5. When is it better for the government to borrow money for spending rather than pay with taxes? (5 points, 5 comments)
    6. What are the biggest externalities in the United States? (4 points, 4 comments)
  3. 61 points, 6 submissions: BainCapitalist
    1. ACA replacement bill is out. Any changes from the original talking points that were released? (17 points, 1 comment)
    2. Examples of 'good' infrastructure plans? (12 points, 2 comments)
    3. Applications of blockchain technology? (9 points, 4 comments)
    4. Articles/ books on wartime economics? (8 points, 3 comments)
    5. Can I have a breakdown on all the major theories on the emergence of money? (8 points, 17 comments)
    6. Question about X-Tax (7 points, 6 comments)
  4. 54 points, 5 submissions: benjaminikuta
    1. Millennials are earning 20% less than boomers did at the same age in life... (19 points, 8 comments)
    2. Does marketing make society better off, or is it rent seeking? (12 points, 3 comments)
    3. The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 regulated the railroads, forced consistent cargo rates and eliminated price discrimination between long and short haul fares. Would it be fair to describe the law as enforcing a kind of "rail neutrality"? What was the impact of the law? (8 points, 1 comment)
    4. What if instead of a ban on plastic grocery bags, there was just an extreme tax? (8 points, 20 comments)
    5. What are some examples of natural monopolies that exist or would exist without government intervention? (7 points, 25 comments)
  5. 54 points, 3 submissions: Alethean
    1. If major countries go to war, what happens to their debt obligations? (30 points, 3 comments)
    2. Does the world have a contingency plan for a Chinese recession or financial crisis? (15 points, 11 comments)
    3. Is there much risk of contagion or a reduction in aggregate demand if/when bitcoin collapses? (9 points, 4 comments)
  6. 52 points, 3 submissions: Municipal_Man
    1. What are the most profound ideas of economics in the last 20 years? (35 points, 53 comments)
    2. Where can I find the Debt of a city and the GDP of a city? (10 points, 4 comments)
    3. What are the DISADVANTAGES of the EITC? (7 points, 3 comments)
  7. 48 points, 6 submissions: zangerinus
    1. net neutrality: good or bad? (13 points, 25 comments)
    2. In the 50's a single person in the US with a decent job requiring little or even no education could provide a comfortable home, education for their children, etc etc by themselves. Why were they paid so much or why hasn't that pay transitioned to 2017? (9 points, 9 comments)
    3. Best behavioral economics textbook? (7 points, 5 comments)
    4. Will US debt be a problem in the future? (7 points, 13 comments)
    5. Books/sources on Public Choice theory? (6 points, 2 comments)
    6. How to help third world countries? Why is foreign aid controversial among economists? (6 points, 10 comments)
  8. 48 points, 4 submissions: dewarr
    1. If the USSR was so ineffecient, how was it such a superpower? (21 points, 24 comments)
    2. Is Schrumpeter's "Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy" remotely approachable for a relative layperson? (11 points, 5 comments)
    3. Good history of economics textbook? (9 points, 5 comments)
    4. Does the concept of economic utility stem from ethical utiliarianism? (7 points, 6 comments)
  9. 46 points, 5 submissions: jomdo
    1. Does the U.S. have a different definition than the rest of the world, in regards to what exactly "Middle Class" is? (13 points, 14 comments)
    2. What are some fictional books that appears to have a realistic running economy- looking for books where one would later go back and say, "Hey maybe this happened because of ----" (10 points, 0 comments)
    3. What are some economic indicators of corruption? (9 points, 7 comments)
    4. Does anyone have a source that compares the income of every nation's lowest quintile? (8 points, 0 comments)
    5. How is it that there are modern nations with more income inequality than the Roman Empire (based on a study published by Cambridge) (6 points, 12 comments)
  10. 43 points, 5 submissions: neoliberalQuestions
    1. Is unilateral free trade as beneficial as bi/multilateral free trade agreements? Are there greater costs to it compared with other free trade arrangements? [x-post from /AskSocialScience] (11 points, 5 comments)
    2. How much contribution does healthcare make to health outcomes in the US compared with other factors like lifestyle, diet, environment, etc.? How does the US's mix of factors compare to those of other developed countries? (10 points, 2 comments)
    3. In the US, certain localities have short-run reduced employment prospects due to positive productivity shocks (automation, trade, etc.). What frictions/market failures prevent workers in these places from retraining themselves and moving away? (10 points, 6 comments)
    4. Is market power as little a problem (and anti-trust as ineffective at promoting consumer welfare) as depicted in this Econtalk podcast with Don Bourdreaux? (7 points, 10 comments)
    5. How might relatively low income localities mitigate the effects of a high national minimum wage? (5 points, 9 comments)
  11. 40 points, 4 submissions: CarltonFrater
    1. Am I crazy for wanting to be an economist? (13 points, 13 comments)
    2. Would a Masters Degree in Economics be a good choice for me? (11 points, 14 comments)
    3. Will Automation Lead to Drastic Unemployment and a Depression as some Speculate? (10 points, 14 comments)
    4. What is the relation between government spending as a percentage of GDP? (6 points, 1 comment)
  12. 37 points, 5 submissions: MTGTCG
    1. Which country has the best policies and institutions in place for economic growth? (11 points, 6 comments)
    2. What problems do mainstream economists have with libertarian beliefs? (9 points, 9 comments)
    3. Foreign Aid to the 3rd World (6 points, 4 comments)
    4. Intellectual Property, is it needed? (6 points, 2 comments)
    5. What is the best way to design the tax system if the goal is GDP growth? (5 points, 24 comments)
  13. 36 points, 4 submissions: Semaug
    1. What sort of impacts will Trump's proposed tariffs have on the economy? (13 points, 6 comments)
    2. Did economists see the 2008 recession coming? (10 points, 5 comments)
    3. What percentage of Venezuela's economy is run by the state(SOEs)? (7 points, 4 comments)
    4. Does the US spend a disproportionate amount on drug R&D compared to other countries? If so, is this related to the lack of price control? (6 points, 1 comment)
  14. 36 points, 4 submissions: rishijoesanu
    1. How do economists price carbon? (12 points, 14 comments)
    2. Can someone ELI5 Amartya Sen's Liberal Paradox? (10 points, 5 comments)
    3. Does automation cause Job loss in the long run? Thoughts on the new Kurzgesagt video? (9 points, 34 comments)
    4. What aspects of Ray Dalio's video "How The Economic Machine Works" is wrong or oversimplified? (5 points, 0 comments)
  15. 35 points, 5 submissions: remarkablecereal
    1. If people find a cheap way to make near unlimited amounts of gold, would the money backed by gold become worthless? (11 points, 10 comments)
    2. Is the "robot" revolution different this time? (7 points, 1 comment)
    3. When misers hoard wealth, can the market pretend it doesn't exist? (6 points, 11 comments)
    4. Why is war expensive? (6 points, 22 comments)
    5. Why is labour cheaper in developing countries? (5 points, 6 comments)
  16. 35 points, 2 submissions: Jyan
    1. Why tax brackets, rather than a smooth increase? (22 points, 8 comments)
    2. Judea Pearl wrote that "men were more qualified than equally paid women", in contrast to the usual statement on gender inequality. Is anyone aware of a citation? (13 points, 1 comment)
  17. 35 points, 2 submissions: Paul_2
    1. Is "Basic Economics" by Thomas Sowell reliable? (25 points, 3 comments)
    2. What is the standard of proof in economics? (10 points, 10 comments)
  18. 35 points, 1 submission: PM_ME_MESSY_BUNS
    1. /memenomics posts aside, is Ben Bernanke really a hero? Did the Fed save us from something much worse during the recession? How bad would it have been if the Fed acted as poorly and lamely as it did before/during the Great Depression? (35 points, 5 comments)
  19. 33 points, 2 submissions: johnfrance
    1. Most important books or papers in economics published since 2000? (27 points, 5 comments)
    2. Looking for good secondary literature on Ricardo, and JS Mill? (6 points, 2 comments)
  20. 33 points, 1 submission: papermarioguy02
    1. What parts of Friedman's "The Role of Monetary Policy" are now part of the economic consensus? (33 points, 1 comment)

Top Commenters

  1. zzzzz94 (2400 points, 299 comments)
  2. RobThorpe (1525 points, 515 comments)
  3. MrDannyOcean (1401 points, 185 comments)
  4. he3-1 (599 points, 65 comments)
  5. riggorous (534 points, 178 comments)
  6. generated_regressor (487 points, 131 comments)
  7. Petros557 (450 points, 112 comments)
  8. Integralds (432 points, 59 comments)
  9. ZerexTheCool (407 points, 99 comments)
  10. whyrat (394 points, 116 comments)
  11. Randy_Newman1502 (385 points, 80 comments)
  12. Cutlasss (369 points, 79 comments)
  13. isntanywhere (349 points, 93 comments)
  14. Cross_Keynesian (347 points, 59 comments)
  15. King_Freedom (339 points, 109 comments)
  16. themcattacker (321 points, 115 comments)
  17. IDontGiveAFuckDude (269 points, 78 comments)
  18. Greenhorn24 (266 points, 91 comments)
  19. jmo10 (240 points, 72 comments)
  20. panick21 (227 points, 108 comments)
  21. say_wot_again (203 points, 36 comments)
  22. bon_pain (174 points, 49 comments)
  23. UpsideVII (164 points, 37 comments)
  24. gorbachev (164 points, 27 comments)
  25. VodkaHaze (153 points, 33 comments)
  26. Yankee9204 (151 points, 33 comments)
  27. Hypers0nic (146 points, 33 comments)
  28. adam7684 (131 points, 21 comments)
  29. Philosopher013 (128 points, 38 comments)
  30. FinancialEconomist (127 points, 26 comments)
  31. loaengineer0 (123 points, 26 comments)
  32. neoliberalQuestions (121 points, 33 comments)
  33. Cystee (115 points, 33 comments)
  34. a_s_h_e_n (110 points, 31 comments)
  35. Frexican (106 points, 25 comments)
  36. ManWithAMasterplan (106 points, 18 comments)
  37. brberg (103 points, 22 comments)
  38. MiltonFriedom (102 points, 32 comments)
  39. Rimshotsgalore (100 points, 31 comments)
  40. HeFlipYa (97 points, 33 comments)
  41. VineFynn (96 points, 18 comments)
  42. electrodraco (94 points, 10 comments)
  43. MrCava (90 points, 26 comments)
  44. WikiTextBot (86 points, 50 comments)
  45. wumbotarian (86 points, 16 comments)
  46. Holophonist (85 points, 13 comments)
  47. MaesterMagoo (79 points, 26 comments)
  48. FatBabyGiraffe (77 points, 19 comments)
  49. badbooksaintbad (76 points, 17 comments)
  50. econ_learner (76 points, 15 comments)

Top Submissions

  1. Is there even one economist in here that thinks Trump's protectionist agenda will result in welfare gains for the American people? by deleted (38 points, 39 comments)
  2. What are the most profound ideas of economics in the last 20 years? by Municipal_Man (35 points, 53 comments)
  3. /memenomics posts aside, is Ben Bernanke really a hero? Did the Fed save us from something much worse during the recession? How bad would it have been if the Fed acted as poorly and lamely as it did before/during the Great Depression? by PM_ME_MESSY_BUNS (35 points, 5 comments)
  4. What parts of Friedman's "The Role of Monetary Policy" are now part of the economic consensus? by papermarioguy02 (33 points, 1 comment)
  5. Maybe a dumb question but, If we're so good at producing efficiently why can't more people live in a single income? by thebshwckr (30 points, 33 comments)
  6. My friend recently published this - help me prank him by gosick (30 points, 11 comments)
  7. If major countries go to war, what happens to their debt obligations? by Alethean (30 points, 3 comments)
  8. What programming language should an Economist learn? by MrEconomist206 (29 points, 61 comments)
  9. What is it really like to be an economist? by ListenAndObserve (28 points, 5 comments)
  10. Why does Marxism seem to be so much more prevalent in philosophical circles than in economic ones? by Oedium (27 points, 36 comments)

Top Comments

  1. 85 points: zzzzz94's comment in Can anyone explain why Austrian Economics is so unpopular?
  2. 67 points: say_wot_again's comment in Who hates Milton Friedman most?
  3. 45 points: he3-1's comment in Why does Marxism seem to be so much more prevalent in philosophical circles than in economic ones?
  4. 41 points: MrDannyOcean's comment in What is an economists opinion on Libertarianism?
  5. 39 points: he3-1's comment in How can I learn enough about economics to make informed voting decisions?
  6. 39 points: zzzzz94's comment in Where did the $15 minimum wage come from?
  7. 38 points: ManWithAMasterplan's comment in What are the strongest arguments against free college?
  8. 37 points: MrDannyOcean's comment in My friend recently published this - help me prank him
  9. 37 points: ZerexTheCool's comment in Is the field of economics separable from capitalism?
  10. 35 points: MrDannyOcean's comment in Maybe a dumb question but, If we're so good at producing efficiently why can't more people live in a single income?
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Rational Feed

===Highly Recommended Articles:
Superintelligence Risk Project Update II by Jeff Kaufman - Jeff's thoughts and the sources he found most useful. Project is wrapping up in a few day. Topics: Technical Distance to AI. Most plausible scenarios of Superintelligence risk. OpenPhil's notes on how progress was potentially stalled in Cryonics and Nanotech.
Superintelligence Risk Project Update by Jeff Kaufman - Links to the three most informative readings on AI risk. Details on the large number of people Jeff has talked to. Three fundamental points of view on AI-Safety. Three Fundamental points of disagreement. An update on the original questions Jeff was trying to answer.
Podcast The World Needs Ai Researchers Heres How To Become One by 80,000 Hours - "OpenAI’s latest plans and research progress. Concrete Papers in AI Safety, which outlines five specific ways machine learning algorithms can act in dangerous ways their designers don’t intend - something OpenAI has to work to avoid. How listeners can best go about pursuing a career in machine learning and AI development themselves."
Radical Book Club The Decentralized Left by davidzhines (Status 451) - The nature of leftwing organizing and what righties can learn from it. An exposition of multiple books on radical left organization building. Major themes are "doing the work" and "decentralized leadership".
Study Of The Week To Remediate Or Not To Remediate by Freddie deBoer - Should low math proficiency students take remedial algebra or credit bearing statistics. The City University of New York ran an actual randomized study to test this. The study had pretty good controls. For example students were randomly assigned to three groups, participating professors taught one section of each group.
Kenneth Arrow On The Welfare Economics Of Medical Care A Critical Assessment by Artir (Nintil) - "Kenneth Arrow wrote a paper in 1963, Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care. This paper tends to appear in debates regarding whether healthcare can be left to the market (like bread), or if it should feature heavy state involvement. Here I explain what the paper says, and to what extent it is true."
Becoming Stronger Together by b4yes (lesswrong) - "About a year ago, a secret rationalist group was founded. This is a report of what the group did during that year."
The Destruction Of American Cuisine by Small Truths - America used to have a tremendous number of regional cuisines, most are dead. They were killed by supermarkets and frozen food. This has been costly both in terms of culture and health (antibiotic resistance, crop monoculture risk)
===Scott:
Targeting Meritocracy by Scott Alexander - Education and merit are different. Programming is one of the last meritocracies, this lets disadvantaged people get into the field. If a job is high impact we want to hire on merit. The original, literal meaning of meritocracy is important.
Classified Thread 2 Best In Classified by Scott Alexander - Scott is promoting a project to accelerate the trend of rationalists living near each other. There are four houses available for rent near Ward Street in Berkeley. Ward street is currently the rationalist hub in the Bay. Commenters can advertise other projects and services.
Url Of Sandwich by Scott Alexander - Standard links post, somewhat longer than usual.
Opec Thread by Scott Alexander - Bi-weekly open thread. Update on Scott and Katja's travels. Salt Lake City Meetup highlight. Topher Brennan is running for Senate.
Can We Link Perception And Cognition by Scott Alexander - SSC survey optical illusions. "So there seems to be a picture where high rates of perceptual ambiguity are linked to being weirder and (sometimes, in a very weak statistical way) lower-functioning." Speculation about fundamental connections between perception and cognitive style. Ideas for further research.
Change Minds Or Drive Turnout by Scott Alexander - Extreme candidates lower turnout among their own party. Is base turnout really the only thing that matters? Lots of quotes from studies.
===Rationalist:
Learning From Past Experiences by mindlevelup - "This is about finding ways to quickly learn from past experiences to inform future actions. We briefly touch upon different learning models." Model-based and Model-Free reinforcement learning. Practical advice and examples.
How Long Has Civilization Been Going by Elo (BearLamp) - Human agricultural society is only 342-1000 generations old. "Or when you are 24 years old you have lived one day for every year humans have had written records." Human civilization is only a few hundred lifetimes old.
Choices Are Bad by Zvi Moshowitz - Choices reduce perceived value. Choices require time and energy. Making someone choose is imposing a real cost.
Erisology Of Self And Will: The Gulf by Everything Studies - "Part 4 will discuss some scientific disciplines with bearing on the self, and how their results are interpreted differently by the traditional paradigm vs. the scientific."
Philosophy Vs Duck Tests by Robin Hanson - Focusing on deep structure vs adding up weak cues. If it looks like an x... More discussion of whether most people will consider ems people and/or conscious.
Knowing How To Define by AellaGirl - "These are three ways in which a word can be ‘defined’ – the role it plays in the world around it (the up-definition), synonyms (lateral-definition), and the parts which construct the thing (down-definition)." Applications to morality and free-will.
Change Is Bad by Zvi Moshowitz - "Change space, like mind space, is deep and wide. Friendly change space isn’t quite to change space what friendly mind space is to mind space, but before you apply any filters of common sense, it’s remarkably close." A long list of conditions that mean change has lower expected value. Why we still need to make changes. Keep your eyes open.
Meditation Insights Suffering And Pleasure Are Intrinsically Bound Together by Kaj Sotala - The concrete goal of meditation is to train your peripheral awareness. Much suffering comes from false promises of pleasure. Procrastinating to play a videogame won't actually make you feel better. Temptation losses its power once you truly see the temptations for what they truly are.
Be My Neighbor by Katja Grace - Katja lives in a rationalist house on ward street in Berkeley and its great. The next step up is a rationalist neighborhood. Katja is promoting the same four houses as Scott. Be her neighbor?
What Value Subagents by G Gordan (Map and Territory) - Splitting the mind into subagents is a common rationalist model (links to Alicorn, Briene Yudkowsky, etc). However the author preferred model is a single process with inconsistent preferences. Freud. System 1 and System 2. The rider and the Elephant become one. Subagents as masks. Subagents as epicycles.
The Order Of The Soul by Ben Hoffman (Compass Rose) - The philosophy of accepting things vs the impulse to reshape them. Many philosophical and psychological models split the soul into three. Internalized authority vs seeing the deep structure of moral reality. In some sense math is the easiest thing in the world to learn. School poisons the enjoyment of rational thought. Lockhart's lament. Feynman. Eichmann and thinking structurally.
Aliens Merely Sleeping by Tyler Cowen - The universe is currently too hot for artificial life to be productive. Advanced civilizations might be freezing themselves until the universe cools. "They could achieve up to 1030 times more than if done today" [short]
Book Reviews by Torello (lesswrong) - Rationalist Adjacent. Each book has an interesting 'ideas per page' rating. Homo Deus, Sapiens, Super-intelligence, Surfaces and Essences, What Technology Wants, Inside Jokes, A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind.
Geometers Scribes Structure Intelligence by Ben Hoffman (Compass Rose) - "How does spatial reasoning lead to formal, logical reasoning?" Fluid and crystalized intelligence. Some history of Philosophy. How social dynamics lead to the evolution of reasoning. Talmudic and Western law, and their oddities. Universal Grammar and connecting with the divine. FizzBuzz.
High Dimensional Societies by Robin Hanson - In high dimensional space the distance between points varies less. What implications does this have for 'spatial' social science models (ex analogues of 1D spectrums and 2D graphs).
Feelings In The Map by Elo (BearLamp) - Confusion is not a property of the external world. The same holds for many emotions. Non-violent communication and speaking from your own perspective.
Lesswrong Is Not About Forum Software by enye-word (lesswrong) - The best way to increase activity on lesswrong is to get back the top posters, especially Scott and Eliezer.
Explication by mindlevelup - "This essay is about explication, the notion of making things specific. I give some examples involving Next Actions and systematization. This might also just be obvious to many people. Part of it is also a rehash of Act Into Uncertainty. Ultimately, explication is about changing yourself."
Concrete Instructions by Elo (BearLamp) - "The objective test of whether the description is concrete is whether the description can be followed by an anonymous person to produce the same experience." Some examples including the 'paper folding game'.
Human Seems Low Dimensional by Robin Hanson - 'Humanness' seems to be a one dimensional variable. Hence people are likely to consider ems conscious and worthy of decent treatment since ems are human-like on many important factors. Some discussion of a study where people rated how human-like various entities were.
Erisology Of Self And Will: A Natural Offering by Everything Studies - A description of naturalism and it relation to science. Daniel Dennet. Many philosophers are still dualists about the self. The self as a composite. Freedom as emergent.
The Hungry Brain by Bayesian Investor - A short review that focuses on the basics of Guynet's ideas and meta-discussion of why Guynet included so much neuroscience. "Guyenet provides fairly convincing evidence that it’s simple to achieve a healthy weight while feeling full. (E.g. the 20 potatoes a day diet)."
Boost From The Best by Robin Hanson - [Age of Em] How many standard deviations above the mean will be the best em be? How much better will they be than the second best em? How much of a wage/leisure premium will the best em receive.
Becoming Stronger Together by b4yes (lesswrong) - "About a year ago, a secret rationalist group was founded. This is a report of what the group did during that year."
In Praise Of Fake Frameworks by Valentine (lesswrong) - "I use a lot of fake frameworks — that is, ways of seeing the world that are probably or obviously wrong in some important way. I think this is an important skill. There are obvious pitfalls, but I think the advantages are more than worth it. In fact, I think the "pitfalls" can even sometimes be epistemically useful."
Letter To Future Layperson by Sailor Vulcan (BYS) - A letter from someone in our age to someone post singularity. Description of the hardships and terrors of pre-singularity life. Emotional and poetic. ~5K words.
===AI:
Conversation With An Ai Researcher by Jeff Kaufman - The anonymous researcher thinks AI progress is almost entirely driven by hardware and data. Back propagation has existed for a long time. Go would have taken at least 10 more years if go-aI work had remained constrained by academic budgets.
Openai Baselines PPO by Open Ai - "We’re releasing a new class of reinforcement learning algorithms, Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO), which perform comparably or better than state-of-the-art approaches while being much simpler to implement and tune. PPO has become the default reinforcement learning algorithm at OpenAI because of its ease of use and good performance."
Superintelligence Risk Project Update II by Jeff Kaufman - Jeff's thoughts and the sources he found most useful. Project is wrapping up in a few day. Topics: Technical Distance to AI. Most plausible scenarios of Superintelligence risk. OpenPhil's notes on how progress was potentially stalled in Cryonics and Nanotech.
Real Debate Robots Education by Tyler Cowen - Robots are already becoming part of the classroom. K-12 is an artificially creation anyway. Robots can help autistic or disabled children. Children sometimes trust robots too much.
Robust Adversarial Inputs by Open Ai - "We’ve created images that reliably fool neural network classifiers when viewed from varied scales and perspectives. This challenges a claim from last week that self-driving cars would be hard to trick maliciously since they capture images from multiple scales, angles, perspectives, and the like."
What Is Overfitting Exactly by Andrew Gelman - "If your model is correct, “overfitting” is impossible. In its usual form, “overfitting” comes from using too weak of a prior distribution."
Conversation With Bryce Wiedenbeck by Jeff Kaufman - "AGI is possible, it could be a serious problem, but we can't productively work on it now." AGI will look very different from current technologies. Utility functions are a poor model of human behavior.
Examples Of Superintelligence Risk by Jeff Kaufman - A series of extended quotes describing ways AI with innocent seeming goals can destroy the world. Authors: Nick Bostrom, Eliezer (and collaborators), Luke M, 80K hours, Tim Urban. Jeff finds them unpersuasive and asks for better ones. Lots of interesting comments. Eleizer himself comments describing how 'paperclip maximizers' might realistically occur.
Superintelligence Risk Project Update by Jeff Kaufman - Links to the three most informative readings on AI risk. Details on the large number of people Jeff has talked to. Three fundamental points of view on AI-Safety. Three Fundamental points of disagreement. An update on the original questions Jeff was trying to answer.
Conversation With Michael Littman by Jeff Kaufman - CS Professor at Brown's opinions: Deep Learning is surprisingly brittle in his experience. General Intelligence will require large fundamental advances. The AI risk community isn't testing their ideas so they probably aren't making real progress.
===EA:
EAGX Relaunch by Roxanne_Heston (EA forum) - The EA global satellite EAGA-X conferences have been low activity. Changes: More funding and flexibility. Standardized formats. Fewer groups approved. Stipends to primary organizers.
Uncertainty Smoothes Out Differences In Impact by The Foundational Research Institute - Many inside view evaluations conclude that one intervention is orders of magnitude more effective than another. Uncertainty significantly reduces these ratios.
Autonomy: A Search For A Measure Will Pearson (EA forum) - "I shall introduce a relatively formal measure of autonomy, based on the intuition that it is the ability to do things by yourself with what you have. The measure introduced allows you to move from less to more autonomy, without being black and white about it. Then I shall talk about how increasing autonomy fits in with the values of movements such as poverty reduction, ai risk reduction and the reduction of suffering."
Eight media articles on GiveDirectly, Cash Transers and Basic Income.- A world where 8 men own as much wealth as 3.6 billion people by GiveDirectly -
More Giving Vs Doing by Jeff Kaufman - EA is moving far more money than it used to and the ramp up will continue. This means direct work has become relatively more valuable. Nonetheless giving money is still useful, capacity isn't being filled. Jeff plans on earning to give based on his personal constraints.
Why I Think The Foundational Research Institute by Mike Johnson (EA forum) - A description of the FRI. Good things about FRI. FRI's research framework and why the author is worried. Eight long objections. TLDR: "functionalism ("consciousness is the sum-total of the functional properties of our brains") sounds a lot better than it actually turns out to be in practice. In particular, functionalism makes it impossible to define ethics & suffering in a way that can mediate disagreements."
Tranquilism by The Foundational Research Institute - A paper arguing that reducing suffering is more important than promoting happiness. Axiology. Non-consciousness. Common Objections. Conclusion.
An Argument For Why The Future May Be Good by Ben West (EA forum) - Factory farming shows that humans are deeply cruel. Technology enabled this cruelty, perhaps the future will be even darker. Counterargument: Humans are lazy, not evil. Humans as a group will spend at least small amounts altruistically. In the future the cost of reducing suffering will go down low enough that suffering will be rare or non-existent.
Arguments Moral Advocacy by The Foundational Research Institute - "What does moral advocacy look like in practice? Which values should we spread, and how? How effective is moral advocacy compared to other interventions such as directly influencing new technologies? What are the most important arguments for and against focusing on moral advocacy?"
An Argument For Broad And Inclusive by Kaj Sotala (EA forum) - "I argue for a very broad, inclusive EA, based on the premise that the culture of a region is more important than any specific group within that region... As a concrete strategy, I propose a division into low-level and high-level EA"
Not Everybody wants a Goat by GiveDirectly - Eight links on GiveDirectly, Cash Transfers, Effective Altruism and Basic Income.
Mid Year Update by The GiveWell Blog - Encouraging more charities to apply. More research of potential interventions. Short operations recap. GiveWell is focusing more on outreach.
===Politics and Economics:
College Tuition by Tom Bartleby - Sticker prices for college have gone up 15K in twenty years, but the average actual cost has only gone up 2.5K. High prices are almost compensated by high aid. Advantage: more equitable access to education. Disadvantages: Not everyone knows about the aid, financial aid is large enough it can seriously distort family financial decisions.
War Of Wages Part 1 Apples And Walmarts by Jacob Falkovich (Put A Number On It!) - The Author thinks minimum wage hurts the poor. Walmart can't afford higher wages. Copenhagan Interpretation of Ethics: Walmart helps the poor and gets blamed, Apple does nothing for the poor but avoids blame.
Links 10 by Artir (Nintil) - Tons of links. Economics, Psychology, AI, Philosophy, Misc.
Pretend Ask Answer by Ben Hoffman (Compass Rose) - A short dialogue about Patriarchy and the meaning of oppression. Defensive actions are often a response to bad faith from the other side. Its not ok to explicitly say you think your partner is arguing in bad faith.
Cultural Studies Ironically Is Something Of A Colonizer by Freddie deBoer - An origin story for Writing Studies. The fields initial methodological diversity. Cultural studies took over the field, empirical work has been pushed out. Evidence that some cultural studies professors really do believe its fundamentally bigoted to do science and empirical research endangers marginalized students. The field has become insular.
The Dark Arts Examples From The Harris Adams Debate by Stabilizer (lesswrong) - The author accuses Scott Adams of using various dark Arts: Changing the subject, Motte-and-bailey, Euphemisation, Diagnosis, Excusing, Cherry-picking evidence.
Study Of The Week Modest But Real Benefits From Lead Exposure Interventions by Freddie deBoer - Freddie reviews a survey he found via SSC. The study had very good controls. Methodology is explained and key graphs are posted and discussed. Scott and Freddie seem to agree on the facts but have a different opinion on how large to consider the effects.
Descriptive And Prescriptive Standards by Simon Penner (Status 451) - Leadership means winning the Keynesian Beauty Contest. Public opinion doesn't exist as a stable reality. Prescribing public opinion. Dangers of social reform and leaders twisting the facts to promote noble outcomes.
A Taylorism For All Seasons by Lou (sam[]zdat) - "Christopher Lasch – The Culture of Narcissism, part 1/X, current essay being more of an overview." A Masquerade where you must act out the mask you choose.
Mechanism Agnostic Low Plasticity Educational Realism by Freddie deBoer - Freddie's educational philosophy. People sort into persistent academic strata. Educational attainment is heavily determined by factors outside of school's control. The mechanism differences in academic ability is unknown. Social and political implications.
Kin Aesthetics Excommunicate Me From The Church Of Social Justice by Frances Lee - A SJ-insider's critical opinion of SJ. Fear of being impure. Original Sin. Reproducing colonial structures of power and domination within social justice. Everyday Feminism's belittling articles. More humility. Bringing humanity to everyone, even those who have been inhumane.
Study Of The Week To Remediate Or Not To Remediate by Freddie deBoer - Should low math proficiency students take remedial algebra or credit bearing statistics. The City University of New York ran an actual randomized study to test this. The study had pretty good controls. For example students were randomly assigned to three groups, participating professors taught one section of each group.
Should We Build Lots More Housing In San Francisco: Three Reasons People Disagree by Julia Galef - For each of the three reasons Julia describes multiple sub-reasons. More housing might not lower prices much. More housing won't help the poor. NIMBY objections might be legitimate.
Kenneth Arrow On The Welfare Economics Of Medical Care A Critical Assessment by Artir (Nintil) - "Kenneth Arrow wrote a paper in 1963, Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care. This paper tends to appear in debates regarding whether healthcare can be left to the market (like bread), or if it should feature heavy state involvement. Here I explain what the paper says, and to what extent it is true."
Thoughts On Doxxing by Ozy (Thing of Things) - CNN found the identity of the guy who made the video of Trump beating up CNN. They implied they would dox him if he continued being racist. Is doxxing him ok? What about doxxing someone who runs jailbait? Ozy discusses the practical effect of doxxing and unleashing hate mobs.
On The Seattle Minimum Wage Study Part 2 by Zvi Moshowitz - Several relevant links are included. Seattle's economic boom and worker composition changes are important factors. Zvi dives deep into the numbers and tries to resolve an apparent contradiction.
Radical Book Club The Decentralized Left by davidzhines (Status 451) - The nature of leftwing organizing and what righties can learn from it. An exposition of multiple books on radical left organization building. Major themes are "doing the work" and "decentralized leadership".
On The Seattle Minimum Wage Study Part 1 by Zvi Moshowitz - The claimed effect sizes are huge. Zvi's priors about the minimum wage. Detailed description of some of the paper's methods and how it handle potential issues. Discussion of the raw data. More to come in part 2.
===Misc:
Childcare II by Jeff Kaufman - A timeline of childcare for Jeff's two children. Methods: Staying at home, Daycare, Au pair, Nanny.
Easier Chess Problem by protokol2020 - How many pieces do you need to capture a black queen?
Book Review Mathematics For Computer Science by richard_reitz (lesswrong) - Why the text should be in the MIRI research guide. Intro. Prereqs. Detailed comparisons to similar texts. Complaints.
Information is Physical by Scott Aaronson - Is information is physical a contentful expression? Why 'physics is information' is tautological. A proposed definition. Double slit experiment. Observation in Quantum Mechanics. Information takes up a minimum amount of space. Entropy. Information has nowhere to go.
Book Review Working Effectively With Legacy Code By Michael C Feathers by Eli Bendersky - To improve code we must refactor, to refactor we have to test, making code testable may take heroic efforts. "The techniques described by the author are as terrible as the code they're up against."
The Ominouslier Roar Of The Bitcoin Wave by Artem and Venkat (ribbonfarm) - A video visualizing and audiolizing the bitcoin blockchain. A related dialogue.
From Monkey Neurons To The Meta Brain by Hal Morris (ribbonfarm) - Neurons that only fire in response to Jennifer Anniston. Mirror Neurons. Theory of Mind. The path from copying movement to human-level empathy. Infant development. Dreams as social simulator. Communicating with our models of other people. He rapidly accelerating and dangerous future. We need to keep our mind open to possibilities.
Newtonism Question by protokol2020 - Balancing Forces. Gravity problem.
Short Interview Writing by Tyler Cowen - Tyler Cowen's writing habits. Many concrete details such as when he writes and what program he uses. Some more general thoughts on writing such as Tyler's surprising answer to which are his favorite books on writing.
Unexpected by protokol2020 - Discussion of gaps between primes. "Say, that you have just sailed across some recordly wide composite lake and you are on a prime island again. What can you expect, how much wider will the next record lake be?"
Interacting With A Long Running Child Process In Python by Eli Bendersky - Using the subprocess module to run an http server. Solutions and analysis of common use cases. Lots of code.
4d Mate Problem by protokol2020 - How many queens do you need to get a checkmate in 4D chess.
The Destruction Of American Cuisine by Small Truths - America used to have a tremendous number of regional cuisines, most are dead. They were killed by supermarkets and frozen food. This has been costly both in terms of culture and health (antibiotic resistance, crop monoculture risk)
===Podcast:
Sally Satel On Organ Donation by EconTalk - "The challenges of increasing the supply of donated organs for transplantation and ways that public policy might increase the supply." Tax Credits. The ethics of donor compensation.
Podcast The World Needs Ai Researchers Heres How To Become One by 80,000 Hours - "OpenAI’s latest plans and research progress. Concrete Papers in AI Safety, which outlines five specific ways machine learning algorithms can act in dangerous ways their designers don’t intend – something OpenAI has to work to avoid. How listeners can best go about pursuing a career in machine learning and AI development themselves."
88 Must We Accept A Nuclear North Korea by Waking Up with Sam Harris - "Mark Bowden and the problem of a nuclear-armed North Korea."
Triggered by Waking Up with Sam Harris - "Sam Harris and Scott Adams debate the character and competence of President Trump."
Conversation Atul Gawande by Tyler Cowen - The marginal value of health care, AI progress in medicine, fear of genetic engineering, whether the checklist method applies to marriage, FDA regulation, surgical regulation, Michael Crichton and Stevie Wonder, wearables, what makes him weep, Knausgaard and Ferrante, why surgeons leave sponges in patients.
Nneka Jones Tapia by The Ezra Klein Show - The first psychologist to run a prison. 30% of inmates have diagnosed mental health problems. Mental heath view of the penal system, balancing punishment and treatment, responsibility versus mental instability, the tension between what we use jail for and what we should use jail for.
Tamar Haspel by EconTalk - "Why technology helps make some foods inexpensive, how animals are treated, the health of the honey bee, and whether eggs from your backyard taste any better than eggs at the grocery."
From Cells To Cities by Waking Up with Sam Harris - "Biological and social systems scale, the significance of fractals, the prospects of radically extending human life, the concept of “emergence” in complex systems, the importance of cities, the necessity for continuous innovation"
Inside The World Of Supertraining: Mark Bell by Tim Feriss - "Mark’s most important lessons for building strength. How to avoid injury and breakdown. Lesser-known training techniques that nearly everyone overlooks. How Mark became a millionaire by offering his gym memberships for free."
Eddie Izzard by The Ezra Klein Show - 27 marathons in 27 days, process for writing jokes, why he wants to run for parliament, inspiration from Al Franken's, borrowing confidence from his future self. What he learned as a street performer, routines are based on history and anthropology, World War I, 'cake or death?'. His gender identity, and how he integrated it into his act early on, etc.
Martha Nussbaum by EconTalk - "The tension between acquiring power and living a life of virtue. Topics discussed include Hamilton's relationship with Aaron Burr, Burr's complicated historical legacy, and the role of the humanities in our lives."
Rs 188 Robert Kurzban On Being Strategically Wrong by Rationally Speaking - Why Everyone (Else) is a Hypocrite." The "modular mind" hypothesis, and how it explains hypocrisy, self-deception, and other seemingly irrational features of human nature.
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Ripple CEO New Interview: Econ Club NY Gavin Andresen on BitCoin and Virtual Currency 04/04/2011 Bitcoin Crypto Market Price Analysis this wknd and weeks ahead/news/ICO's ECON 206: Market Power DJ Econ -

From Bitcoin’s inception in 2009 through mid-2017, its price remained under $4,000. In the second half of 2017, it climbed dramatically to nearly $20,000, but descended rapidly starting in mid-December. The peak price coincided with the introduction of bitcoin futures trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The rapid run-up and subsequent ... This week's episode of Econtalk was about BitCoin, the online crypto-currency that Security Now covered a few months ago. It took the form of a rambling interview with the project's principal Gavin Andresen about the high-level function of the system. Unfortunately, since it was for general consumption, there was very little technical content. Thus lots of pundits said Bitcoin was a bubble when its price was at $30. Then when it was at $300, even more suggested that it was a bubble. Each time the price plunges they say “I told you so.” Now the price of Bitcoin is over $3300, and even more people are saying it was a bubble. Noah Smith has a new piece in Bloomberg: Bitcoin’s price is free-floating, just like gold. It finds its own rate. (6) Sounds a lot like Ithaca Dollars… Should bitcoin get big, however, you may find yourself looking down the barrel of the Fed. The analogy with Bernard von Nothaus, who is doing hard time for challenging the preeminence of the dollar, seems more appropriate. Steam Bitcoin Group. Price Controls, by Hugh Rockoff. Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Foreign Exchange, by Jeffrey Frankel. Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Property Rights, by Armen Alchian. Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. A few more EconTalk podcast episodes: Gavin Andresen on the Present and Future of Bitcoin. EconTalk. May 5, 2014.

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Ripple CEO New Interview: Econ Club NY

they may not be so happy if Bitcoin gets really big and they can no longer do that - they'll have to start to trust somebody who is running one of these huh bigger data servers.” -Gavin Andresen Bitcoin and much more! Some say it is all about the blockchain, I say it is all about the BItcoin! Support the cause if you like what I have to say: BTC: 3HZ... Bitcoin Live Trading / Bitcoin Price Live / Trading BTC USD With Crypto Trading Robot DeriBot Deribot 202 watching. Live now; Supply and Demand Curves - Duration: 2:52. nrosek2 59,051 views. 2:52 ... Many people wonder how the price of Bitcoin is calculated, but it’s important to remember that it works no different than it would with other currencies or objects. Let’s first look at how the ... The Future of Bitcoin - Duration: 2 minutes, 1 second. Duke University - The Fuqua School of Business . 2,243 views; 6 years ago; This item has been hidden. Gold Play all. 0:39. Will you tell us ...

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