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Avoid the abbreviation "FLOPs" – use "FLOP" or "FLOP/s" instead

i can’t think of another (pseudo-)acronym which gets used as an all-caps unit, off the top of my head. i may toy around with “Flop” as a unit, like GFlop for a billion operations, GFlop/s for a billion operations per second.

Donohue, Levitt, Roe, and Wade: T-minus 20 years to a massive crime wave?

this could make certain statistical measurements less noisy, but as you point out there are so many confounding variables to deal with (e.g. period effects). if we couldn’t conclude anything from the 50 years ago where we made this same change (in reverse), i don’t quite understand what’s different this time around such that we will be able to conclude things from this change.

Limerence Messes Up Your Rationality Real Bad, Yo

Not only do our brains say "no fuck you, you don't get to work on rockets"

getting yourself to somewhere on this curve which is not the far left but also not too far to the right can be unbelievably productive. there’s a certain type of infatuation which drives one to show off their achievements, which in turn requires one to make achievements. building a rocket, and inventiveness in general, is a decently high status thing: you may experience a greater drive to actually do these things during a certain period of infatuation.

Why is so much political commentary misleading?

If people were more aware of the limits of politics, disengagement and cynicism would probably increase. These attitudes are already a problem, particularly among the less educated, and are associated with a series of negative outcomes.

this is a particularly interesting statement to me. on the one hand, the bulk of your post is about illuminating the limits of politics, and you mention academics and such admitting to these limits. hence, “awareness of the limits of politics” is supposed to be a highly-educated view. then you illustrate the downstream effects of disengagement and cynicism, but cite these as problems among the lesser-educated — the opposite end of the education spectrum.

so which is it? is awareness of the limits of politics a good thing only when a person is “highly educated enough” to convince themselves that carrying on the illusion, and not disengaging, is a good thing? if this is true, you should be able to convince the other person of this view, and then feel safe in revealing the rest of the truth. much of this post has the vibe of “we can’t trust these fools with the truth, thus we’re going to withhold it and thereby ensure that they remain fools”… there’s a lot of hubris to that idea.

How do I use caffeine optimally?

i’m not sure i’d recommend nicotine even in gum form. you’ll notice an obvious boost the first few times you do it — and the shorter half-life is nice for working in the evenings — but like most other drugs you build dependence quick. after a couple weeks you literally won’t notice any effect from taking that same initial dose. overcoming that by bumping the dose is, obviously, unsustainable.

if you do go the nicotine route, try both the gum and the lozenges. gum is more effective at quickly weening you off of cigs because it replaces one ritual (smoking) with another (chewing), whereas the lozenges are really just about physically delivering nicotine to the body without much ritual (i.e. they’re less “habit forming”).

ETH is probably undervalued right now

Eth lending rates on Aave/Compound have remained < 1% for literally years. most returns in DeFi are dollar-denominated. the sustainable ones don’t seem to move much outside the 2-6% APY range (except during bull markets where people will pay a premium to leverage their Eth/BTC — but we’re no longer in a bull market). the 20% APY dollar-denominated yields have shown themselves to largely be unsustainable (e.g. UST). in an environment where the sustainable DeFi yields no longer vastly outcompete bonds/treasuries, why would you be bullish on DeFi?

follow-up: if you’re using DeFi today, which platforms are you using which i’m likely to be overlooking when i make these claims?

An Approach to Land Value Taxation

in areas where land is competitive — i.e. those areas where LVT is most impactful — it’s common for developers to buy a lot, tear down an existing home, and then build a new one. consider:

lot with old home (O) -> empty lot (E) -> lot with new home (N)

if O -> N is a value-positive transition, and it’s not possible to go there without passing through E, then both O -> E and E -> N ought to be value-positive. O -> E is valuable because it reduces the amount of work required to reach the valuable (and more liquid) state N.

so why don’t we see more empty lots go up for sale in areas where it’s routine to redevelop lots? my guess is it’s just different types of friction coming together to create a transaction cost around selling empty lots. integrating that whole process from O -> N overcomes the transaction cost, yielding more profit. maybe you can say “gosh, structure X would go great on lot Y or Z”, but you have no way of communicating “i’d pay $D for an empty lot Y or Z”, and so a meaningful market for empty lots never emerges.

but create a market for empty lots — i.e. reduce the transaction costs in that area and encourage separate specialization of O -> E from E -> N — and you should have much more data for calculating land values. i’m not sure how to create that market other than literally creating a marketplace and then incentivizing each side of the market to participate in your marketplace until it’s bootstrapped, i.e. the Uber approach.

Collating widely available time/money trades

adding to this: fold related tasks together. let your commute be your workout (i.e. jog or bike home from work). if you want to cook a good meal some evening, but also leave time open for socializing, then invite your friends over to cook with you. if you want to learn woodworking and don’t like the furniture in your home, then learn by building new furniture.

that last bit is where the “trade money for time” scheme risks being derailed. in the end, you’re never strictly exchanging money for time — outside of life-extension efforts. you’re identifying an opportunity to replace your time spent doing A with time spent doing B, at a cost of C. the more you dislike A (doing the dishes), probably the more you should be willing to pay for replacing it with B (reading a book while the dishwasher runs). but if A isn’t a chore… if it’s a hobby you enjoy for its own sake (woodworking), then it might not ever make sense to outsource it.

because most of us specialize in only one form of production, we think of these trades as me giving money and receiving a preferable use of time. once you’re dealing in productive hobbies, it’ll make sense to treat this as an exchange that can go in either direction. if your hobby is to woodwork, but you live next to Ikea, in might be a reasonable course of action to spend $200 on lumber, a few evenings turning that into a table, and then selling the table for $150. it looks dumb on the surface but each trade individually could make sense (my enjoyment from this hobby is >= $200; my benefit from this table is <= $150).

then you get to the point where it’s worth considering nonfungible intangibles — like sentimentality. that table from above might be worth $150 to a buyer off the street, but your grandma might consider the thing “priceless”. she would never buy it from you for what it’s actually worth to her, because doing so destroys some of the sentiment she attaches to the table. so gift the table to her. she’ll be inclined to pay it back in other forms (hosting dinners, etc — chances are she’s more than covered the cost of the table by raising you though so arguably you’re paying back a > $150 debt with the gift).

Making stable, free nations as a hobby

i happen to mostly agree with you on those broad ideals. a large space full of constant experimentation allows for regularly finding better ways of doing things: American dynamism in a nutshell.

Abortion comes to mind as an example of a moral question that the government has to legislate on.

yes, and no. abortion is relevant to a government because most governments promise a specific set of rights to their citizens which must be defended, and one of these rights is protection from violence. it’s reasonable for a government to approach abortion strictly from the angle of “at what moment(s) in human development do we grant humans their citizenship.” as with the question of justice, the decision-making here could be guided by processes which are either closely tied to morality (“life is sacred; citizenship is granted at conception”) or less directly related to morals (“for the good of the country, citizenship should be granted once the expected gains from providing it outweigh the cost”).

in a competitive landscape, one might expect selective pressures to optimize for the latter interpretation. in fact, if one understands morality to be a thing which emerged in the context of social cooperation, one might expect the individual’s moral view to yield similar results to the amoral view of decision making — and that significant disagreements at that level are due to radical changes in the human experience since roughly the agricultural revolution, where the optimal methods of cooperation began to shift at a rate that challenged the ability for morals to match. but this is me shooting loosely-formed ideas from the hip here: i’ve never looked into the history of morality and it could easily exist for reasons other than facilitating social cooperation.

Making stable, free nations as a hobby

Discussion of whether "punishment" is even a useful concept from the government-level perspective or whether the goal should always be reduction in future crime.

more broadly, to what degree ought a government promote any specific framework of morality, v.s. preserve the space for society at large to explore.

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