dreeves

Cofounder of Beeminder

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[Crosspost] On Hreha On Behavioral Economics

Btw, Scott mentioned having to read a bunch to figure out the subtle difference between loss aversion and the endowment effect. I attempted a full explainer: https://blog.beeminder.com/loss/

App and book recommendations for people who want to be happier and more productive

I don't necessarily endorse it but the moral argument would go like so: "I'm definitely not going to pay to read that article so me bypassing the paywall is not hurting the newspaper. The marginal cost is zero. Stealing from a kiosk, on the other hand, deprives the newspaper of a sale (and is just obvious plain old stealing)." In other words, "I'm not stealing a newspaper from the kiosk, I'm just breaking in, photocopying it real quick, and putting it right back. No harm no foul!"

A counterargument might be that you're contributing to demand for paywall-bypassing which does deprive the newspaper of sales, just less directly.

App and book recommendations for people who want to be happier and more productive

This list is pretty amazing (and I'm not just saying that because Beeminder is on it!) and you've persuaded me on multiple things already. Some comments and questions:

  1. CopyQ: I use Pastebot and I see there are So Many of these and would love a recommendation from someone who feels strongly that there's a particular one I should definitely be using.
  2. Google Docs quick-create: You inspired me to make a link in my bookmarks bar (built in to Chrome) to https://doc.new which I think is simpler and just as good. (Yes, it's kind of ridiculous that "doc.new" is their URL for that instead of something sane like "docs.google.com/new".)
  3. Beeminder vs StickK: Obviously I'm absurdly biased but I can't imagine anyone here preferring StickK and it would actually help us a ton to understand why someone might prefer StickK. Their referee feature is better, but everything else is so much worse! Especially anti-charities -- those are an abomination from an EA perspective, right??
  4. Pocket: We have an argument at https://blog.beeminder.com/pocket for why this is a big deal. (I guess I should also mention our Habitica integration; and Focusmate is probably coming soon!
Is there a beeminder without the punishment?

Good question and good answers! Someone mentioned that the fancy/expensive Beemium plan lets you cap pledges at $0. On the non-premium plan you can cap pledges at $5, so another conceivable solution is to combine that + a conservative slope on your graph + setting alarms or something? + chalking up occasional failures, if rare enough, as effectively the cost of the service.

Or like another person said, you can make the slope zero (no commitment at all), but that may defeat the point, with the graph offering no guidance on how much you'd like to be doing.

My Marriage Vows

PS: Of course this was also prompted by us nerding out about your and Marcus's vows so thank you again for sharing this. I'm all heart-eyes every time I think about it!

My Marriage Vows

Ah, super fair. Splitting any outside income 50/50 would still work, I think. But maybe that's not psychologically right in y'all's case, I don't know. For Bee and me, the ability to do pure utility transfers feels like powerful magic!

Me to Bee while hashing out a decision auction today that almost felt contentious, due to messy bifurcating options, but then wasn't:

I love you and care deeply about your utility function and if I want to X more than you want to Y then I vow to transfer to you U_you(Y)-U_you(X) of pure utility! [Our decision auction mechanism in fact guarantees that.]

Then we had a fun philosophical discussion about how much better this is than the hollywood concept of selfless love where you set your own utility function to all zeros in order for the other's utility function to dominate. (This falls apart, of course, because of symmetry. Both of us do that and where does that leave us?? With no hair, an ivory comb, no watch, and a gold watchband, is where!)

My Marriage Vows

Ooh, this is exciting! We have real disagreements, I think!

It might all be prefaced on this: Rather than merge finances, include in your vows an agreement to, say, split all outside income 50/50. Or, maybe a bit more principled, explicitly pay your spouse for their contributions to the household.

One way or another, rectify whatever unfairness there is in the income disparity directly, with lump-sum payments. Then you have financial autonomy and can proceed with mechanisms and solution concepts that require transferrable utility!

My Marriage Vows

I love this so much and Bee (my spouse) and I have started talking about it. Our first question is whether you intend to merge your finances. We think you shouldn't! Because having separate finances means having transferrable utility which puts more powerful and efficient and fair decision/bargaining mechanisms at your disposal.

My next question is why the KS solution vs the Nash solution to the bargaining problem?

But also are you sure the Shapley value doesn't make more sense here? (There's a Hart & Mas-Colell paper that looks relevant.) Either way, this may be drastically simplifiable for the 2-player case.

Thanks so much for sharing this. It's so sweet and nerdy and heart-warming and wonderful! And congratulations!

Bayes' theorem, plausible deniability, and smiley faces

Oh, Quirrell is referring to what game theorists call Cheap Talk. If the thing I'm trying to convince you of is strictly in my own brain -- like whether I intend to cooperate or defect in an upcoming Prisoner's Dilemma -- then any promises I make are, well, cheap talk. This is related to costly signals and strategic commitment, etc etc.

Anyway, I think that's the missing piece there. "Nothing you can do to convince me [about your own intentions] [using only words]".

Bayes' theorem, plausible deniability, and smiley faces

This is indeed a fun way to illustrate Bayesian thinking! But I have a monkey wrench! There exist people who view smileys as almost explicitly connoting passive-aggression or sarcasm. Like the whole reason to add a smiley is to soften something mean. I'm not quite sure if there are enough such people to worry about but I think that that perception of smileys is out there.

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