I'm Ben Weinstein-Raun; I work at MIRI, and am originally from Blacksburg, Virginia.

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Prize: Interesting Examples of Evaluations

"Postmortem culture" from the Google SRE book:

This book has some other sections that are also about evaluation, but this chapter is possibly my favorite chapter from any corporate handbook.

Prize: Interesting Examples of Evaluations
Answer by benwrNov 28, 202010

Two that are focused on critique rather than evaluation per se:

benwr's unpolished thoughts

If I got to pick the moral of today's Petrov day incident, it would be something like "being trustworthy requires that you be more difficult to trick than it would be worth", and I think very few people reliably live up to this standard.

benwr's unpolished thoughts

Beth Barnes notices: Rationalists seem to use the word "actually" a lot more than the typical English speaker; it seems like the word "really" means basically the same thing.

We wrote a quick script, and the words "actually" and "really" occur about equally often on LessWrong, while Google Trends suggests that "really" is ~3x more common in search volume. SSC has ~2/3 as many "actually"s as "really"s.

What's up with this? Should we stop?

Did any US politician react appropriately to COVID-19 early on?

San Francisco's mayor, London Breed, declared a state of emergency in the city on February 25th, and it seems like she was concerned about the disease (and specifically ICU capacity) as early as January.

I don't know what actions the mayor's office actually took during this time, but it seems like she was at least aware and concerned well ahead of most other politicians.

benwr's unpolished thoughts

darn - I've been playing it on my old ipad for a long time

benwr's unpolished thoughts

Recently I tried to use Google to learn about the structure of the human nasal cavity & sinuses, and it seems to me that somehow medical illustrators haven't talked much to mechanical draftspeople. Just about every medical illustration I could find tried to use colors to indicate structure, and only gave a side-view (or occasionally a front view) of the region. In almost none of the illustrations was it clear which parts of your nasal cavity and sinuses are split down the middle of your head, vs joined together. I still feel pretty in-the-dark about it.

In drafting, you express 3d figures by drawing a set of multiple projections: Typically, you give a top view, a front view, and a side view (though other views, including cross-sections and arbitrary isometric perspective, may be useful or necessary). This lets you give enough detail that a (practiced) viewer can reconstruct a good mental model of the object, so that they can (for example) use their machine shop to produce the object out of raw material.

There's a pretty fun puzzle game that lets you practice this skill called ".projekt"; there are probably lots more.

Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread

It is possible to both rinse your phone and put copper tape on it.

Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread

Yeah, you're right that I imputed a particular mechanism that isn't supported by the Wikipedia page - thanks for pointing that out. I do still think that the ions-getting-on-things mechanism is part of the story, mostly because the reduction sizes are really large. This could indicate either (a) that most microbes end up on surfaces first via touch surfaces, and spread from there, or (b) that copper ends up on nearby surfaces. Or some of both.

In this particular case, though, I think it's quite likely (because I've seen my hands turn a bit blue) that in fact copper and copper oxides are getting on my hands as a result of the tape.

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