Wiki Contributions


Common knowledge about Leverage Research 1.0

Real people can and often are extremely dangerous and it is not rude to describe dangerous people as acting in dangerous ways, or if it is then it is a valuable form of rudeness. 

The rationalist community's location problem

At this point I think enough people have tried to make pitches for various cities that have achieved nothing that I don't really see the value in adding another one to the pile of attempts to get the community as a whole to move somewhere.

On the other hand, a lot of people have moved to a lot of places on an individual or small-group basis so I'm happy to pitch where I live, Madison Wisconsin, as a potential place you might not know about which I think is a pretty good compromise on a lot of things that people want from a place to live. 

Downtown Madison Wisconsin from Above

Madison has a good variety of restaurants, bars, cafes, parks, and other amenities in a small radius. You can rent anything from an efficiency to a whole house in walking distance from all of this without much hassle since there is a large market for student housing due to the relatively huge University in the city.

Rents in this area can vary from 450 a month (if you want to live with me in my house) to around 1800 for a 750 ft 1 bedroom in a brand new high end apartment building a couple blocks away from me. 

Crime: In like a decade parking downtown I have never had my car broken into, although I have had it entered a few times when I left it unlocked. I have never been randomly mugged. My roommate is smol and has walked around here at night for longer than I have and has never had a problem. Like many cities we've had some rioting/looting and increase in other crimes this summer but it's mostly not impacting random people. 

Culture: In normal years, we have a ton of live music and events in various bars, cafes, and theaters, as well as plays, art shows, and so on. Madison is big enough that touring bands usually stop here, although not always, and sometimes if I want to catch a show I have to drive an hour and a half to Milwaukee or 3 hours to Chicago. There is an enormous gaming scene here, with a ton of great MTG players, lots of roleplaying and LARP, as well as tabletop, boardgaming, etc. 

We also have Contra, Swing, and other dance scenes, as well as a few night clubs and an immense amount of bars. 

If you like walking outside, Madison has more parks per capita than any other big city, as well as just tons of trees, gardens, and greenery in most neighborhoods, and multiple lakes and rivers in walking distance of downtown. I can walk from my house to the center of government or into a forest equally easily. If you have a car, you can drive to a ton of state parks in an hour, as well as to The House on the Rock, but even if you don't it's easy to bike to see nature, if that's something you're into. 

We have a start-up and tech job ecosystem, mostly focused around biotech and healthcare industry but we do have a Google office and as well as Epic Systems in the next town over so there is a very significant percentage of people in software also. We have good internet options available if you are going to be working from home going forward too. 

The biggest downsides about living in Madison from my point of view are:

Winter -- Personally I really like having seasons, but if you can't stand cold and snow you will be miserable here for much of the year. 

Population -- Madison only has around 250,000 people, which means that your selection of people to hang out with in niche interest areas is fairly limited. We used to have a nice 8-12 person or so Lesswrong meetup group which fell apart after a bunch of people moved to the Bay Area. If you go to nerdy events you will find that you tend to see a lot of the same people over and over. Depending on your interests, you can still find lots of people to hang out with, but if, eg, you are averse to drinking you may have some trouble. 

The rationalist community's location problem

Driving a car is actually very safe. You can expect to drive a car full-time for 100 years before suffering a lethal accident. 

Baking is Not a Ritual

The only thing I want to add is that despite pretenses to sameness it's useful to remember that not all ovens are equal and having a conscious awareness of oven quirks can help a lot to diagnose what went wrong.

Open & Welcome Thread - February 2020

the absolutely important part that people seem to miss with a basic 101 understanding of EMH is "hard" in no way means "impossible"

People do hard things all the time! It takes work and time and IQ and learning from experience but they do it.

We run the Center for Applied Rationality, AMA

I believe the reason why is that knowing everyone in the community would literally be a full-time job and no one wants to pay for that.

Uber Self-Driving Crash

It is especially the case that it should prioritize braking in uncertainty when it's a lonely road with no one behind

Open & Welcome Thread - November 2019

Simplest answer: twitter is where everyone else is, which makes it the simplest and easiest way to interact conversationally with potentially anyone on earth without an intro or in-person meeting.

In addition, twitter enables easy one-to-many communication for celebrities who want to spread memes, and brevity is the soul of wit.


I disapprove of the lesswrongy tendency to try to coin new words or new meanings for old words for concepts that already exist and are useful.

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