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mcherm : scottalexander   67

Reframing Superintelligence | Slate Star Codex
AI may not be as dangerous as many have feared because it might be just a set of special purpose tools.
ScottAlexander  SlateStarCodex  via:SlateStarCodex  ai 
september 2019 by mcherm
Ethnic Tension And Meaningless Arguments | Slate Star Codex
A lot of argument is just an attempt to associate bad or good things with a concept. This isn't how philosophy says we decide things but it does seem to describe observed behavior.
ScottAlexander  philosophy  via:SlateStarCodex  SlateStarCodex 
june 2019 by mcherm
RIP Culture War Thread | Slate Star Codex
Scott Alexander's post on how he was driven to remove the culture war thread.
censorship  freespeech  ScottAlexander  via:SlateStarCodex  SlateStarCodex 
february 2019 by mcherm
Refactoring: Culture As Branch Of Government | Slate Star Codex
Think as if culture were another branch of the government (along with judicial and executive). In a few cases, this viewpoint is helpful - for instance, when discussing free speech and the effect of cultural silencing.
personal_net  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander 
january 2019 by mcherm
The Chamber of Guf | Slate Star Codex
The brain has proto-thoughts (and proto-behaviors) and selects which to promote to conscious thought. Mood affects this (anxiety = more fears). OCD patients can get obsessed with one bad thought (eg: I might be gay, when they aren't). OCD drugs help, so does explaining this. Also, what OCD people focus on depends on culture.
ScottAlexander  brain  psychology  via:SlateStarCodex 
december 2018 by mcherm
Treating The Prodrome: How Schizophrenia Works
Maybe aggressive treatment of early schizophrenia symptoms is important. Scott Alexander describes how schizophrenia might work: it causes random stimuli to be treated as overwhelmingly important. In the long run this changes your underlying beliefs and values.
brain  mental_illness  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander 
december 2018 by mcherm
Sentimental Cartography | Slate Star Codex
Scott Alexander's collection of "maps" of abstract, non-geographic things.
maps  SlateStarCodex  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander 
august 2018 by mcherm
Did A Melatonin Patent Inspire Current Dose Confusion? | Slate Star Codex
MIT patented the proper dosage of a drug; the FDA decided to (not) regulate it as a supplement; and that is why all the stores carry an incorrect dose (even now that the patent has expired).
law  ip-law  patent  bureaucracy  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  medicine 
august 2018 by mcherm
Targeting Meritocracy | Slate Star Codex
On the importance of NOT relying overmuch on credentialism in hiring.
ScottAlexander  SlateStarCodex  via:SlateStarCodex 
august 2018 by mcherm
Different Worlds | Slate Star Codex
People with different personalities and different approaches to the world experience entirely different environments -- for instance some encounter discrimination everywhere while others never encounter it. Why and how?
discrimination  psychology  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  todo 
june 2018 by mcherm
Basic Income, Not Basic Jobs: Against Hijacking Utopia | Slate Star Codex
Scott defends Universal Basic Income, contrasting it with Basic Jobs (don't give out money, instead guarantee a job). He has a HUGELY detailed set of reasons.
SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  via:SlateStarCodex  basicincome 
may 2018 by mcherm
Mental Health On A Budget | Slate Star Codex
Some suggestions for people who need mental health care but live in the US and can't afford it.
ScottAlexander  medicine  health  brain  via:SlateStarCodex 
april 2018 by mcherm
The Hour I First Believed | Slate Star Codex
An argument that God exists, along with life after death, based on superintelligences and negotiating with simulations of their negotiating partners.
philosophy  religion  ScottAlexander  via:SlateStarCodex 
april 2018 by mcherm
Adult Neurogenesis – A Pointed Review | Slate Star Codex
Rats grow new neurons. Early studies showed (probably) humans do too. Many studies showed neuron growth is necessary for lots of stuff (like learning maps, positive growth mindset, and recovering from physical damage to the brain). But actually humans don't grow new neurons; all that science was wrong.
science  ScientificMethod  brain  ScottAlexander  via:SlateStarCodex 
april 2018 by mcherm
World War II was not realistic
A rant about how the "plot" of world war 2 is just not plausible. Oh, and it was written by "Scott Alexander".
history  via:reddit  ScottAlexander 
april 2018 by mcherm
Newtonian Ethics | Slate Star Codex
Why do people criticize not helping their neighbors me re than not helping the residents of a distant country? Morality operates on as inverse square law.
ethics  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander 
february 2018 by mcherm
Fight Me, Psychologists: Birth Order Effects Exist And Are Very Strong | Slate Star Codex
Birth order seems to have an effect, at least some places, despite research showing it doesn't.
via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  science 
january 2018 by mcherm
Adderall Risks: Much More Than You Wanted To Know | Slate Star Codex
Detailed analysis of the state of medical knowledge about the risks from Adderall and Ritalin, along with the observation that how we prescribe and prosecute them is silly.
brain  medicine  SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  via:SlateStarCodex  ritilin  adhd 
december 2017 by mcherm
Against Overgendering Harassment | Slate Star Codex
Men make up 29% of victims of sexual harassment, but our recent news coverage and discussion has completely ignored, even buried that fact, making it more of an anti-man witch-hunt.
ScottAlexander  via:SlateStarCodex  sexism 
december 2017 by mcherm
Contra Robinson On Public Food | Slate Star Codex
Capitalism, government, ALL systems have a failure mode where the forces of competition are more significant than the good intentions. The best solution is to "find a couple of elegant systems that all optimize along different criteria approximately aligned with human happiness, pit them off against each other in a structure of checks and balances, hope they screw up in different places, [...] keep enough individual free choice around that people can exit any system that gets too terrible, and let cultural evolution do the rest."
via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  philosophy  government  libertarian  economics 
november 2017 by mcherm
Contra Askell On Moral Offsets | Slate Star Codex
Axiology (study of what is good) =/= morality =/= law. Except in artificially extreme cases, follow later ones when they conflict. Offsets (like carbon credits) are OK for axiology violations but not for moral violations.
philosophy  ethics  SlateStarCodex  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander 
september 2017 by mcherm
Book Review: Surfing Uncertainty | Slate Star Codex
Incredible! This book review lays out a coherent overall explanation for "how the brain works". Sensory data filters up through layers. Each upper layer predicts what the lower will say. If lower DOES say that, fine. If lower guesses it is wrong, then fine. If lower thinks upper is wrong, it expresses surprise. Each layer works hard to develop a model that minimizes the surprise it gets from below. The model predicts lots of mental quirks and behaviors.
brain  SlateStarCodex  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  todo 
september 2017 by mcherm
My IRB Nightmare | Slate Star Codex
The process of getting approval to do human experiments prevented a simple, trivial, "ask a few questions" study despite enormous efforts.
ScottAlexander  science  ScientificMethod  bureaucracy  ethics  via:SlateStarCodex 
august 2017 by mcherm
Contra Grant On Exaggerated Differences | Slate Star Codex
Sexist employment in law, medicine, etc disappeared; in tech, teaching it didn't. Maybe it's not just "sexism" but biologically skewed preferences. Studies support this showing a sexual bias in preference for working with "things" versus "people".
ScottAlexander  sexism  womenintech  science  brain 
august 2017 by mcherm
What Is Depression, Anyway?: The Synapse Hypothesis | Slate Star Codex
An interesting theory about how depression works in the brain. And some healthy skepticism about it.
brain  SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  via:SlateStarCodex 
august 2017 by mcherm
The Parable Of The Talents | Slate Star Codex
People have different abilities, and different levels of IQ. How do we square this with ethics and what you should accomplish in life?
ScottAlexander  via:SlateStarCodex  iq 
july 2017 by mcherm
Cricket Team of Authors
"Rudyard Kipling, H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, P.G. Wodehouse, G.K. Chesterton, and A. A. Milne all played on the same amateur cricket team." -- Scott Alexander
via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  writing 
june 2017 by mcherm
Is Pharma Research Worse Than Chance? | Slate Star Codex
Recent medical research has discovered only a few drugs of marginal use for mental health, but a few things abused by drug addicts may turn out to be quite powerful. Maybe we're being too careful and should evaluate some chemicals with more side effects.
brain  chemistry  ScottAlexander  via:SlateStarCodex 
june 2017 by mcherm
Bail Out | Slate Star Codex
Scott Alexander looks at why so many people are imprisoned in the US. One block that CAN be addressed is the 1/5 who haven't been convicted yet -- mostly too poor to make bail. Just gifting them bail money seems to work; reforming the bail system would be good too.
prison  law  ScottAlexander  via:SlateStarCodex 
june 2017 by mcherm
Postmarketing Surveillance Is Good And Normal | Slate Star Codex
The FDA puts warnings on drugs for ALL KINDS of reasons. There are really obscure reactions, like side effects only in people who don't have a gall bladder, or only those who are Chinese or who eat sauerkraut. The FDA should use cost-benefit analysis when considering what risks to approve.
medicine  ScottAlexander  via:SlateStarCodex 
june 2017 by mcherm
The Atomic Bomb Considered As Hungarian High School Science Fair Project | Slate Star Codex
Scott Alexander recounts the theory that the Ashkenazi Jews are genetically more intelligent (or were, before Hitler killed them all).
genetics  brain  ScottAlexander  SlateStarCodex  via:SlateStarCodex 
may 2017 by mcherm
The Hungry Brain | Slate Star Codex
Homeostasis in hunger and weight gain -- some modern theories.
health  science  biology  SlateStarCodex  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander 
april 2017 by mcherm
A Modern Myth | Slate Star Codex
Greek gods, an omnipotent AI, all n a story by Scott Alexander.
story  onlinebooks  ScottAlexander  via:SlateStarCodex 
february 2017 by mcherm
SSC Journal Club: Mental Disorders As Networks | Slate Star Codex
Maybe the "mental disorders" we define in the DSM are so fuzzy because they aren't actually different disorders. Maybe most are just clusters of self-reinforcing symptoms.
brain  medicine  psychology  ScottAlexander  SlateStarCodex 
january 2017 by mcherm
Thin Air | Slate Star Codex
Mountains apparently protect against obesity. It's tempting to say that global warming (CO2 levels) are a cause of rising obesity, but on closer examination that seems to be bogus.
science  globalwarming  obesity  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander 
december 2016 by mcherm
Reverse Voxsplaining: Brand-Name Drugs | Slate Star Codex
Interesting analysis making the case against price controls for name brand drugs.
economics  ScottAlexander  via:SlateStarCodex 
september 2016 by mcherm
Ketamine Research In A New Light | Slate Star Codex
A major psychiatric drug turns out to operate through a completely different mechanism (it's a metabolite of the drug that's actually effective). This gives a chance to look back and see whether years of research pointed toward this or were just completely unreliable. Conclusion: decent, except where there were conflicts of interest.
ScientificMethod  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander 
june 2016 by mcherm
Be Nice, At Least Until You Can Coordinate Meanness | Slate Star Codex
Don't be mean to people unless it is as a group (enforcing a "law"). That's a minimum standard, probably allowing people to avoid meanness if they are careful.
ethics  SlateStarCodex  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander 
may 2016 by mcherm
The Ideology Is Not The Movement | Slate Star Codex
People form "tribes" by coalescing around something, a holy book for example. They will defend this "rallying flag" when they really mean to defend their group and it's micoculture. The deaf objecting to cures, for example. Or the culture may diverge from the flag and defend yet disregard it. Shia vs. Suni.
social  sociology  philosophy  culture  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  SlateStarCodex 
april 2016 by mcherm
Nerds Can Be Bees, Too | Slate Star Codex
If you're the sort of person who doesn't get patriotic and doesn't get caught up in pep rallies, you may find that you CAN get caught up if it's a group that you identify with.
social  SlateStarCodex  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  sociology 
april 2016 by mcherm
Book Review: A Future For Socialism | Slate Star Codex
Corporations seem to work as an organizing principle. Perhaps this is because they have a management hierarchy and the top of that is assessed on stock value, which is effectively a widely-disbursed voting mechanism where experts get a bigger vote. (I enhanced that somewhat.)
SlateStarCodex  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  philosophy  startup 
april 2016 by mcherm
Beware Regional Scatterplots | Slate Star Codex
If you make a scatterplot of geographic regions it can show a strong correlation even between things that aren't really related. Why? This article explains.
statistics  SlateStarCodex  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander 
april 2016 by mcherm
Read History Of Philosophy Backwards | Slate Star Codex
Because of their work the discoveries of most successful philosophers now seem obvious. So teach philosophy backwards explaining for each philosopher what previous misconceptions they clarified.
philosophy  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander 
february 2016 by mcherm
Nonfiction Writing Advice | Slate Star Codex
Some really good writing advice mixed in with this rather long (and fascinating) essay.
via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  writing 
february 2016 by mcherm
I can tolerate anything except the outgroup
Groups do not harshly attack the truly foreign, they harshly attack those subtly different but living side by side. "Red" and "blue" tribes in America are such outgroups to each other. And much more; read it.
ScottAlexander  SlateStarCodex  via:reddit  tolerance  ethics  socialclass 
february 2016 by mcherm
Schizophrenia: No Smoking Gun
A critique of a particular scientific paper and of a common approach to doing science.
ScottAlexander  via:SlateStarCodex  science  brain  ScientificMethod 
january 2016 by mcherm
Beware Systemic Change | Slate Star Codex
There are issues where everyone agrees what to do (but not how many resources to devote) and issues where people disagree of what is best to do. Focus on the first kind to avoid the trap of politics.
SlateStarCodex  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  ethics 
december 2015 by mcherm
Ethics Offsets | Slate Star Codex
Offering to donate to good causes to offset the harm you cause seems like it might be OK, but in extreme cases it seems unpalatable.
ethics  ScottAlexander  via:HackerNews 
december 2015 by mcherm
All Debates Are Bravery Debates | Slate Star Codex
Some people need to hear one extreme or the other, so depending on where a certain audience is coming from it may work to take extremist positions.
ethics  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander 
december 2015 by mcherm
Vegetarianism for Meat-Eaters | Slate Star Codex
Ethics of vegetarianism: eat cows, not chicken (it abuses fewer animals); spend a few dollars on animal protection charities to offset any harm you do.
ethics  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander 
december 2015 by mcherm
On first looking into Chapman’s “Pop Bayesianism” | Slate Star Codex
Bayesianism is a philosophy, not a math thing. Contrast with those who act as if everything is either proven true/false or fully unknown, or with those who say we can't know anything. Bayesians think we need to have a (non-zero, non-certain) probability for all beliefs, and update that as needed. Evidence that lots of people DON'T think this way.
ScottAlexander  via:SlateStarCodex  philosophy 
november 2015 by mcherm
What Developmental Milestones Are You Missing? | Slate Star Codex
He claims (with some examples) that the concept of mind (realizing that the world / others aren't the same as what's in your mind) is something that has rich nuances, and most people don't EVER learn it. I find this really insightful.
brain  psychology  ethics  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  philosophy 
november 2015 by mcherm
Reporter Degrees Of Freedom | Slate Star Codex
A close analysis of actual reporting on actual scientific studies. Reporters, while not lying, often seemed to report the exact opposite of the actual results.
science  ScientificMethod  journalism  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander 
november 2015 by mcherm
Perceptions Of Required Ability Act As A Proxy For Actual Required Ability In Explaining The Gender Gap | Slate Star Codex
Scott Alexander looks at actual data on female to male ratios in various professions (STEM and non-STEM) and finds extremely strong evidence for the claim that differences in math scores on the GRE account for nearly 100% of the differences.
iq  statistics  brain  sociology  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander 
october 2015 by mcherm
Non-Dual Awareness | Slate Star Codex
Observation: in some professions (professor, doctor, drug dealer, lawyer) you either "made it" or you don't -- a bimodal distribution. Other professions are more continuous. This is probably driven by regulation in the form of some sort of "licensing". It is probably also a bad thing (leads to abuse, etc).
economics  socialcomputing  via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  sociology 
october 2015 by mcherm
A Whiter Shade of Candidate | Slate Star Codex
The media reports Trump as having all white supporters. Actually, he has unusually high minority support for a Republican (still terrible) and in contrast Bernie Sanders has incredibly low minority support for a Democrat.
via:SlateStarCodex  ScottAlexander  politics  race  journalism 
october 2015 by mcherm

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