Sorted by New


Why GiveWell can't recommend MIRI or anything like it

By that logic, wouldn't it make the most sense to donate to an organization that lobbies for more international aid or scientific research than attempting to fund it yourself?

Stand-up comedy as a way to improve rationality skills

The theory of comedy that I find the most convincing is that things we find "funny" are non-threatening violations of social mores. According to that theory being funny isn't so much about being rational, but understanding the unwritten rules that govern society. More specifically it's about understanding when breaking social rules is actually acceptable. It's kind of like speeding. It's theoretically illegal to go 26 in a 25 mph zone. But as a practical matter, no cop is going to pull you over for it. I'm not sure that an especially detailed understanding of social norms is directly useful to becoming more rational. Maybe to the extent that you're more consciously aware of them and how they influence your thinking.

Elderly discovered with superior memory and Alzheimer’s pathology

It's good news and bad news in a way. It casts a lot of doubt on the efficacy of beta-amyloid (plaque) targeting drugs that are in the pipeline right now.

Maine passes Ranked Choice Voting

Paul LePage arguably won the governorship in 2010 because his opposition was fractured. He received 37.6% of the vote, while an independent candidate received 35.9% and a Democrat received 18.8%. He's fairly unpopular, so I wonder if that was a major driver for this. It also makes me wonder if ranked voting would be as successful in other states. Definitely a good thing though.

Did social desirability effects mask Trump's true support?

I think social desirability bias almost certainly did mask Trump's support.

The study I linked to is a pretty strong case for it existing. The study randomly assigned voters to complete a poll online or via phone. College educated voters were substantially more likely to support Trump in the online poll. Whether social desirability bias alone accounts for Donald Trump outperforming the polls is another question.