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2013 Less Wrong Census/Survey

Done, all questions answered. Yvain, well done on clear questions and good design.

The Inefficiency of Theoretical Discovery

Seconded, I am also curious about why this is hard/how the style needed differs from how lukeprog and Eliezer write papers.

Hofstadter's Superrationality

I keep thinking that this is one of the big reasons identity and group politics are so prevalent. It helps answer the question "is this person sufficiently like me?".

Emotional regulation Part II: research summary

An informative read, thank you.

Also, for this "oh my god, and then I have to cite my sources!" I find that what makes life easier for me is to do in-place citations as I write (sometimes not completely correctly). That way, there is no "and then", as I've done all the thinking about my cites as I was writing.

The Stable State is Broken

Replications make much more sense as an example. You could also add the file-drawer problem in research. Why do we not see studies that do not find anything? Because there is no prestige in publishing them. (Some journals do try to correct for this, but they have to explicitly do that)

The Stable State is Broken

Reminds me of Scott Aaronson's Malthusianisms. Is this the article you couldn't find?

Also, I am not sure your example of science is correct: After all, plenty of very famous journals do publish retractions, and some that do not are (rightly) laughed at (parapsychology journals for example).

Longevity Insurance

An appealing idea. I would also consider such an insurance.

I also see a problem, similar to kilobug's second point: How would such an insurance handle a person refusing some recommended treatment? Especially if the treatment is effective (say in terms of life expectancy), but also has nasty side effects (for a while/for the rest of your life/etc). The parallell obvious to me is life insurance and suicide, but life insurance does not pay out for death due to suicide. The policy becoming void if treatment is refused (without caveats) would, however, be a dealbreaker for many people (me included). As far as I can tell, Robin Hanson's proposal also does not address this.

I can imagine wanting to say something about what risk/quality of life/life expectancy tradeoffs I would want to make (and thus what treatment I would refuse), but it's not clear to me how something like this could be specified.

Epistemic security: example from experimental physics

So, it’s like if you use a map of the territory to build a road from A to B, and then you later realize that the map that you used to build the road was wrong. But the road still takes you from from A to B! So it doesn’t matter if you built it with the wrong map, it still works.

I think this summary omits a key point: How we know that the road still takes us from A to B? As far as I can tell, the answer is "by experiment" --- we know from repeated use how the instruments behave, and therefore it doesn't matter what our map of the world was when we initially built them. It could, of course, be that they are off --- but we know (by experiment) their precision, and so we can use that to check precision on other things.

What do you think?

Intellectual Hipsters and Meta-Contrarianism

The counter-counter culture often cares just as much about differentiating itself from the culture as it does the counter-culture.

Of course they do, otherwise their signalling would be indistinguishable from the culture's, and thus useless.

Arrow's Theorem is a Lie

Oh, right. I should check before posting.

I don't quite see the second part, but thank you for the explanation.

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