pscheyer

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Are there good ways to find expert reviews of popular science books?

The scholarly literature sometimes features article-type reviews of 'popular' science books.

I will look on ebscohost (google scholar may work as well)

for just the title of the book,

refine my search for publication dates in the first couple years after the original book was published (although I just saw an article-review on Seeing Like a State from 2010, 12 years after the original's publication)

And then there are often reviews from noteworthies in the same field as the work, particularly if the author has published in academia prior to the popular work.

I've found them largely useless for any research, however, due to their brevity and their largely not-serious approach. The review is simply not treated like a scholarly response, it's more of a 'five stars, would recommend' thing usually speaking, and even criticisms in the pieces feel off the cuff and not well considered.

The Best Textbooks on Every Subject

Subject: Warfare, History Of and Major Topics In

Recommendation: Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age, by Peter Paret, Gordon Craig, and Felix Gilbert.

I recommend this book specifically over 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu or 'On War' by Clausewitz, which seem to come up as the 'war' books that people have read prior to (poorly) using war as a metaphor. The Art of War is unfortunately vague- most of the recommendations could be used for any course of action, which is sort of a common problem with translations from chinese due to the heavy context requirements of the language. Clausewitz is actually one of the articles in Makers of Modern Strategy- the critical portions of On War are in the book, in historical context.

The important part of Makers of Modern Strategy is that each piece (the book is a collection of the most important essays in the development of military thought through the ages, starting with the medieval period and through nuclear warfare. I have other recommendations for the post-nuclear age of cyberwarfare and insurgency and I'll post them separately.) is placed in context and paraphrased for critical details. Military strategy is an ongoing composition, but the inexperienced read a single strategic author and think they have everything figured out.

This book is great because it walks you through each major strategic innovation, one at a time, showing how each is a response to the last and how each previous generation being sure they've got everything figured out is how their successors defeat them. My overall takeaway was one of humility- even the last section on nuclear war has been supplanted by cyber and insurgent warfare, and it is a sure bet that someone will always find a way to deploy force to defeat an opponent. This book walks you through how to defeat naive and inexperienced combatants in a strategic sense. Tactics, as always, are contingent on circumstances.

Personal Psychiatric Analysis

Interesting addition of the government perspective. I think that my contributions to that perspective have very little potential for value-added, as that perspective seems to be prevalent in academia and the private and public sectors. I am taking the individual perspective for this discussion.

I would also be interested in a Metamed opinion on this topic, as you are correct, it seems like the magnified version of what I'm suggesting. I'm basically asking 'should you hire metamed to prescribe you off-label nootropics based on existing studies?'

Personal Psychiatric Analysis

Taboo reliable. Sure. I hold the opinion that psychiatrists cannot predict that a given drug will improve a patient's long-term diagnosis, and that psychiatrists/psychologists cannot agree on what condition a patient is manifesting. I agree that we have no tools to know when or how they're unique. I'm taking the perspective that the (admittedly very biased individual) should consider trying available options with low entry costs and demonstrably unimportant side effects, to see if they are unique snowflakes like those few in the study. The costs seem low and the potential upside high when considering psychological augmentation via off-prescription nootropics.

Good point on the endocrine condition. Very similar situation to what i'm trying to express. Probably a better example than mine.

I'm trying to figure out if bias in the case of the consumer who doesn't have access to prescription medication is enough, if you have a perspective of 'try the otc thing to see if you get the same positive outlier result, if not, discontinue.'

Personal Psychiatric Analysis

Thanks for that last link, it was an interesting update on the effectiveness of psychiatry. I was weighting my knowledge of the prevalence of rotten corpses in psychology into my estimate of the effectiveness of psychiatric methods, which now seems to be conflating two very different things. Although it does still seem that the set of psychiatrists who are capable of ignoring the prevalent rotten corpses in psychology when prescribing drugs is still small enough to tip the field toward doing your own analyses. I guess i don't have a good set of heuristics for comparing the effects of personal bias v the effects of a psychiatrist trained in psychology and prone to that field's biases.

Yes, my example was loaded. The thought experiment was 'weird, unrecognized by the system outlier, of personal interest to the reader,' and whether/in-what-circumstances it should influence the reader to try the drug. If one of those circumstances is 'pharma doesn't try to make their drug look effective as a nootropic,' i feel it sums my perspective a bit better than 'pharma doesn't try to make their drug look effective for at least some people, within the set of markets they've established as worth aiming marketing toward during a given time period.'

Personal Psychiatric Analysis

That is one basic question to ask. The fact that it was not developed to combat a mechanism of senescence does not mean that it fails to inadverdently combat a mechanism of senescence. I agree that more study of the individual is in order. However, personally I'd probably still try the stuff in the interim- I wouldn't want to lose years waiting on papers to be published, and i feel that the chance is worth it.

The previous sentence is really the point of the prompt- what level of evidence do you need to strike out on your own, against the frequentist stats saying it doesn't happen for most people? What amount of upside?

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Military Rationalities and Irrationalities

Hahaha, exact same thing here. The US Air Force makes a big thing out of attention to detail- a single errant fold in a bedsheet or T-shirt results in the entire 50 person unit's crap being thrown everywhere and all of you have to do it again.

In contrast, we went to the shooting range once and had to hit the target a single time out of 40 shots to pass. In fairness, if the AF is using rifles everything is pear-shaped anyway.

Military Rationalities and Irrationalities

the nepotist bureaucratic nightmare that was the Roman Empire

One of my goals with this thread is to figure out how to avoid such nepotist bureaucratic nightmares, which have historically dominated the long-term outlook of empires from China to Rome to, increasingly, the US.

Military Rationalities and Irrationalities

Mmm. There are qualifications. First, your orders are enforced by other people- and limited by their ability to understand and adapt your orders. As time goes on and your orders are outdated, they will not be updated until someone of equal or greater rank devotes both attention and personnel to updating them, and it is rare for this to happen until something definitively proves they are outdated (an incident of some sort).

So, yes, a wide impact. But not a wide impact at your top quality level, a wide impact at the level that manages to percolate through your chain of subordinates and a persistent impact (for better or worse) until an incident causes a policy update.

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