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A good read, good site, something that made you think.  If you really want to share it but don't think it's worthy of a post, here's the place.  Please include a summary.

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The Ape That Thought it was a Peacock is a very good article on evolutionary psychology and gender differences, and should be read as a vaccine against the nastier elements of PUA etc... It argues for the position that gender differences between humans, though present, have been greatly exaggerated by evolutionary psychology. It makes several points which were, to me at least, novel:

1)Human children are costly to rear and our females are often pregnant - high cost of childrearing tends to result in more equal parental contributions and monomorphism (sexes being similar)

2)Human females as well as males show morphological indicators of mate choice selection - e.g. enlarged breasts. This again resembles monomorphic species (compare peacocks where females are drab, because males don't help raise kids, and therefore do not need to choose). Intelligence maybe be a sexually selected trait in both sexes.

3)Distributions in effectively all traits overlap heavily, and the ones which are very different generally concern the tails of the distribution. E.g. we expect murderers to be the very right tail of the aggression distribution, where the slight average difference in the two populations could translate to a large proportional difference.

4)We expect human mating behavior to be facultative, and respond to relevant conditions, such as gender imbalances. This is what we observe anthropologically (Tooby and Cosmides made this point as well I think, in pointing out that variance does not imply the absence of behavioral adaptions).

Distributions in effectively all traits overlap heavily

With some exceptions such as vocal range (effect size = 4.5).

If you spend any time at all playing video games, and you have not played Deadly Rooms of Death, then you are playing the wrong games. I have never seen another puzzle game come close to the fun or difficulty of the puzzles in this game. It will make you think. A lot.

Here is a blog post I wrote about it. If you already play it, or if you start playing it, let me know. I would love to have more people to talk to about it.

I second this recommendation, but if you're interested in buying this game, I suggest you get it from here instead of the Caravel Games website. Much better deal.

Even SpaceChem? Note, I haven't played Deadly Rooms of Death, but SpaceChem is currently the most difficult "puzzle" game I've ever played.

I am not sure, I've played some of space-chem, but did not finish it.(I did not get stuck, I just stopped.) I haven't finished all the official DLC of DROD yet either, and have been actively trying for a long time. If someone feels they have played enough of both, they should let us know.

It might not be comparable, because they both might just get harder and harder depending on how much you try to optimize. I have been stuck on the same DROD room for days, and in the official games and DLC, there are over 2000 rooms.

If you like puzzle games, try out this free one: "Jelly No Puzzle". Easily some of the most interesting puzzles I've ever encountered in a game.

NSF Report Flawed; Americans Do Not Believe Astrology is Scientific

This is interesting in so far as it shows how easy it can be to reproduce and cross check serious studies (after all a real published NSF study) and possibly find small hidden flaws in it. Mechanical turk may be questionable but in this case it provided a simple and efficient and unbiased way to validate and extend the original study.

I'd like to see more of this.

A reverse engineering tour de force, found on HN this morning. Something about it struck me as very LWish. "By studying the epicycles of Ptolemy and Copernicus, we hope to get better at recognizing them in our own lives. "

"An increasingly popular theory holds that the mind should be viewed as a near-optimal or rational engine of probabilistic inference, in domains as diverse as word learning, pragmatics, naive physics, and predictions of the future. We argue that this view, often identified with Bayesian models of inference, is markedly less promising than widely believed, and is undermined by post hoc practices that merit wholesale reevaluation. We also show that the common equation between probabilistic and rational or optimal is not justified."

Gary F. Marcus and Ernest Davis. "How Robust Are Probabilistic Models of Higher-Level Cognition?" Psychological Science December 2013 24: 2351-2360. doi:10.1177/0956797613495418

A very good post on Ribbonfarm recently: From Cognitive Biases to Institutional Decay.

In totally unrelated news, distributed autonomous economic agents are becoming a Real Thing with Market Capitalization. is running a great series of talks by social scientists, HeadCon. The latest one by experimental philosopher Joshua Knobe is especially very good. There's also a transcript. Here is a quote:

The question is, given that there's no good psychological theories that involve an actual true self, why do people think that there's a true self? These kinds of theories that we're developing about human cognition can explain why, in the absence of any evidence for this kind of strange phenomenon, we would believe in it. So, what is the thing that's making us believe in it? Right now, we're working on this question, we don't know the answer to it, but one thought that we have is that the belief in something like a true self is the application to the self of a more general capacity we have to think of something like essence. So we have the idea of essence and compare our idea of essence to many different things. And then when we apply it to the idea of the self, we get this notion, the notion of the true self. And what we're seeing in the case of judgment of the true self is this kind of byproduct of our general way of thinking about things as having essences.

If we thought about other kinds of cases in which we might apply this notion of essence, we seem to apply this notion of essence using similar kinds of techniques but we wouldn't ever think in these other cases that the essence of something is actually, literally, a part of that thing. So, suppose you were thinking about a band, say, The Rolling Stones. You might have a certain notion that there's something like the essence of the Stones—what the Stones are really about. Then you might have this idea, you know, all the music that they've been doing since the late seventies is just a betrayal. So, the last 30 years of the Stones is just a betrayal of this thing, the essence of the Stones, like, what the Stones really mean—that's what came out in "Exile on Main Street."

But when we think about it, we're not thinking that the essence of the Stones is something like a certain part of the Stones. Say that the Rolling Stones were in front of us, it's not like we could point to a certain part of the band and say, that is its essence. The essence is this normative notion that if you saw their complete works, you could pick out this thing that's what makes them of value.

Now, with human beings we also apply this notion of essence and it seems like the criteria we use to figure out what is your essence are the same criteria we'd use to figure out what's the essence of the band. We look at all the different things you do, then we try to think, what is the most value in all of things that you do? And we think that is your essence. But then when we try to interpret what it is that we've come up with when we do this, we don't think of it in that way that we would naturally think of the essence of a band, or the essence of the United States, or the essence of social psychology. Instead, what we think is that there's actually some thing in you, like the true self module; it's sending signals to other parts that are being overridden. And it's maybe that that gets us into trouble. When we think of this notion of essences, it's almost something like a psychological theory.


This is an experimental thread aimed at relieving pressure on the open thread. If you have a comment about the this thread itself, write it here.

I don't think it matters too much, but I was not sure if my DROD comment belonged, here, open thread, or media thread.

I think this does matter.

It should have been in media, its almost exactly the sort of thing that the media thread is meant for.

Why did you even post the Meta thread if you were going to go through with your plan for more OTs even without consensus?

Also, I still haven't seen the reason as to why do you think the OT needs pressure relief, nor have I seen you address the cons of doing this.

Why did you even post the Meta thread if you were going to go through with your plan for more OTs even without consensus?

Consensus isn't really necessary. We will see based on the karma votes that this thread gets whether it's welcome or isn't.

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