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I've seen proposals for buying coal mines as a way of efficiently reducing emissions, by reducing the supply of coal and thus driving up coal's price on the open market. But how does that balance against the increasing the demand for coal mines, thus encouraging coal prospectors to seek out new coal sources?

Intuitively, this doesn't seem that likely; it feels like new coal sources should be pretty hard to discover? But two worrying examples that come to mind include:

  • Discovery of fracking techniques, which lowered the cost of oil
  • (Apocryphal) the cobra effect https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perverse_incentive

One reason this has been on my mind: I wonder whether paying AI researchers lots of money to not do AI research would slow AI timelines, or would drive more people into research...

My sense is that coal mines 1) take a lot of money to make in the first place and 2) have poor future prospects. So the thing that happens if you buy a 40-year old coal mine with 10 years of coal left, and shut it down instead of operate it, is not that someone else just opens up a new coal mine with 50 years of life on it. [But this is probably more of a local effect than a global one--people are actually opening new coal mines somewhere.]

Rob Wiblin from 80k asks:

Suggestion: Inline comments for LessWrong posts, ala Google Docs

It's been commented on before that much intellectual work in the EA/Rat community languishes behind private Google Docs. I think one reason is just that the inline-commenting mechanism on a GDoc is so much better than excerpting the comment below. Has the Lightcone team considered this/what is the status?

(I vaguely recall them working on a live-collab feature, not sure if commenting would have been part of this)

If you go into a draft of a post and highlite text you can see a comment button. When I just tested it, clicking the button did nothing but at least the button to create comments is there. 

Okay, now I've used the live-collab/commenting feature on a LessWrong draft. It's pretty good! If you haven't seen it yet, I'd recommend writing a new LW post and requesting feedback; Justis Millis's feedback was super fast, highly detailed, and all-around incredibly valuable!

Can I turn on inline comments for a published LessWrong post too? Even after "publishing" it'd super useful to get the comments inline. In my view, a great post should be a timeless, living, breathing, collaborative document, rather than a bunch of words dumped out once and never revisited.

(There's value in the latter in terms for eg news posts; but LW's focus is less on that.)


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