Wiki Contributions


I just watched the Open C3 Subcommittee Hearing on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UFOs). Here's a succinct summary and commentary + some background

Less so under potentially adversarial conditions, when there are politics/culture-war aspects. For example, many people have large personal and social incentives to convince you of various ideas related to UFOs. In that case, it may not be the correct move to engage with the presented arguments, if they are words chosen to manipulate and not to inform. Do not process untrusted input,.

I'm curious if you think that this formulation of the above idea is still antithetical to epistemic rationality.

Stupid Reasons to Have More Kids

Kids can be surprisingly useful resources at a surprisingly early age.


On farms, as you've said, kids can figure out what to do and help out easily. If your work requires a lot of low-skill repetitive manual labor, kids can do that, and it can help teach them how to do your slightly higher-skill labor next year. 

This does not apply if you work as an engineer, or in an office, or many other cases where specific skills contingent on mostly-finished-developing brains are required to do your work and there is no manual labor that you can offload to children. If you expect your kid to go through the standard college route, there are 22 years of waiting before they can really do anything useful to help with your labor.

Lies Told To Children

It feels like an important metric is "karma per view" or "karma per read" or "karma per user-minute-looking-at-text" something similar. Currently, we can't gauge that, and so when someone who gives a strong prior that their post will be worth reading posts, that post will get more views which means more upvotes even if they have a similar "karma per read".

EDIT: EY's post loaded the second I posted this, but I promise it was an independent invention

February 2022 Open Thread

What asymmetries did you introduce into your simulations that lead to a difference? Models with no gender differences but with mandatory sexual reproduction usually tend to be 50/50 in my experience. 

Activated Charcoal for Hangover Prevention: Way more than you wanted to know

Excellent post. Well-researched, with important caveats put right where I was about to ask for a clarification, and solidly straddles the line between life advice and teaching new facts about the world. As someone with alcoholic's genes who gets almost no hangovers, I probably won't be trying this, but I appreciate knowing that activated charcoal might help if I do start to worry about hangovers.

Don't Look Up (Film Review)

I noticed the same thing, and realized that I was feeling the LW-tribe feeling of "people say they like real science but like fake science, only me and my in-group like real science". It was also annoying for me as I watched it, but I think that responding specifically to that phrase is as much a tribal signaling thing as using it is.

Second-order selection against the immortal

For a good paper on this topic, I have to recommend Werfel et al. 2017:

They make a spatial model of a world where resources replenish at a fixed rate and show that mortal populations outcompete immortal populations by improving their children's fitness, as there are fewer mass starvation events. 

Book summary: Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids

Hi - I like this post and I'm glad you were able to put 60% of the value of a book into a table! One question I had - you say that IVF costs $12k and surrogacy costs $100k, but also that surrogacy is only $20k more than IVF? That doesn't add up to me.

Also, sperm/egg donation are usually you getting paid to give those things, which help you have children technically. But those children are probably not being raised by you, so a lot of the benefits you cite, like playing with grandchildren, might be smaller for children created with donated gametes than children you bear and raise yourself.

What makes us happy and depressed?

I think winning at sports is more of a thing that lead to our ancestors increasing their chances of procreation. Would you feel as happy about your relatives becoming sperm or egg donors?

To me, executing adaptations that probably made my ancestors increase their chances of procreation does make me happier (flirting successfully with people, feeling high-status, eating good food, etc), but not the things that actually maximize my current inclusive fitness. Otherwise, I would be really happy about the thought of becoming a sperm donor! You might be interested in this post about executing adaptations.

What makes us happy and depressed?

Can you clarify? Are you saying that you are only happy while actively procreating or increasing your children/relatives' chance of precreation?

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