cata's Comments

Pricing externalities is not necessarily economically efficient

What a wonderful page to come across -- I had misunderstood this for a decade.

Heads I Win, Tails?—Never Heard of Her; Or, Selective Reporting and the Tragedy of the Green Rationalists

Wow, this post really got me thinking. Dealing with this kind of pervasive filtering seems super important and also difficult. Thanks for writing it.

Your proposal that you can clue other people into your filtering mechanism seems hard in practice. Any effort in this vein means that you are saying that you suspect the consensus is misleading, which means that you are saying that non-consensus beliefs are more likely to be true, and people can pick up on this. I tried to come up with ways to express "this is cherry-picked, but" without triggering that but I couldn't figure out ways that seemed plausible.

Approaches like Raemon's, where you say "I'm just never going to talk about controversial thing X" seem mentally hard to update on -- in a world where there are a million people who say "I'm never going to talk about X" and a thousand who are constantly presenting cherry-picked evidence about X, it's very difficult for my mind to interpret the filtering disclaimers as object-level evidence about X that can fight with the evidence provided by the cherry-pickers.

No Really, Why Aren't Rationalists Winning?

The people I know IRL who identify as rationalists are doing great. Not a lot of people bet on prediction markets since the ones that exist are small and hard to use. Not a lot of people bet on stock markets since making money doing so is a boring full-time job.

I presume that the reason people don't post about how they are "winning" is because it's tactless to write a post about how great you are.

OpenAI releases functional Dota 5v5 bot, aims to beat world champions by August

As a strong amateur DotA player, this seems absurdly impressive, albeit much less impressive than if they could beat humans in the full DotA ruleset. (Their restrictions seem to be avoiding much of the "long-term strategic planning" part of DotA, e.g. choosing heroes, item builds, and level of aggression in a way that makes sense against the enemy team.)

This seems way more surprising to me than beating humans at Go.

Gwern wrote a summary comment with some opinions here.

Duncan Sabien: "In Defense of Punch Bug"

I thought just the same as you. It's extremely confusing to me that D would say "ugh" and then be unhappy when C changes their behavior. I didn't know this was a way people felt.

That said, I don't interpret "ugh" as a very strong comment. I wouldn't bother thinking to change my behavior because one person said "ugh."

Are long-term investments a good way to help the future?

If you're willing to buy or own equity in some particular company, your demand is driving up the price for that company's equity. That company may own some of its own equity, or can issue new equity, and can then sell it at a higher price, or use it to pay for things (e.g. employee compensation, deals with third parties) directly. As a result, they can acquire capital to do whatever kind of presumably-profitable endeavor they can think of, presumably creating real economic value (or else it shouldn't be making a profit.) Your trade returns and dividends are a portion of that value. At least, you know, in theory.

The Case Against Education

I agree wholeheartedly with Zvi's aesthetic opinion, which is that schools seem absurdly terrible, like a kind of dumb, terrible joke. I certainly wouldn't want to have to go to school again myself. I might rather select some different kind of minimum-security prison if I could.

However, I am not a child any more. When I was a child, I was different and I had a different personality. I went to a public school and a STEM magnet high school, and it was fine. It was a big waste of time, mind you. (I declined to go to college.) But it wasn't an incredibly unpleasant big waste of time, and unlike Zvi's experience it wasn't obviously worse than if my parents had just left me at home alone.

(I'm actually curious if Zvi would elaborate on his negative experience, which I didn't really understand yet. What's so unpleasant about sitting in class expending a tenth of your brainpower, if you are a smart kid? I sat in my class expending a tenth of my brainpower and I passed notes to people and programmed my calculator and read books and did math and thought about chess. That doesn't sound maximally productive, but it certainly doesn't sound torturous.)

There are many children like Zvi, who self-report hating school. Probably there are also many children who are ready to do something other than dick around in day care until they are N years old. I hope alternative arrangements flourish for those children and I am hopeful that my future children are among them. But there are definitely many, many children who are more or less OK with schools as they are, and all their stupid mediocrity. I'm wary of our crowd of outliers with our adult eyes looking with vicarious horror at something which is not actually that bad for the principals involved.

An Untrollable Mathematician Illustrated

Thank you for making this! The format held my attention well, so I understood a lot whereas I might have zoned out and left if the same material had been presented more traditionally. I'm going to print it out and distribute it at work -- people like zines there.

A LessWrong Crypto Autopsy

Thanks for this interesting infodump, I haven't looked hard at EOS yet (I am biased towards only bothering to learn about things which are actually "live in production" in a meaningful way, as a kind of bozo filter) but I will promote it in my attention.

I agree that Bitcoin could sort of tack on scalability with payment channels and tack on smart contracts with RSK. It just seems really unlikely that it's a better idea to do these things on top of a PoW blockchain layer that has tire fire governance. It's definitely true that some kind of worse-is-better network effect* could keep Bitcoin at the top in a way that's hard for me to understand -- I don't even have any explanation for why Bitcoin is at the top as of right now! At the end of the day, though, my original decision to buy Bitcoin and later Ethereum was based on my assessment of the technical usefulness of the work being done, and since that turned out so well, I'm going to keep riding that heuristic until I see it not work.

*Although it's interesting to speculate what the network would be. Ethereum has mostly caught up in terms of ease-of-obtaining-and-transferring; exchanges, wallets, node software, etc. Bitcoin never really hit the mainstream in terms of people transacting in it for everyday things, and due to congestion it probably won't now until payment channels are running and the kinks get worked out. One interesting thing that might be a "network effect" is the number of people with non-portable investments into Bitcoin's future, e.g. miners with Bitcoin ASICs. That's a lot of capital which is incentivized to make Bitcoin in particular succeed, and competitors don't have that.

A LessWrong Crypto Autopsy

I'm a little curious, can you go into more detail? I had always assumed that the "too inconvenient" barrier was when you had to mine it yourself, or when you had to slowly wire money to some fishy site like Dwolla and from there to some fishy exchange like Mt. Gox, and that by 2014 it would largely seem easier and less risky.

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