All of saliency's Comments + Replies

Because when in doubt go with convention.

I think there is a lot we don't understand.

Now if my wife found it bothersome perhaps we would not follow convention, but so far it she likes doing it. From a fathers perspective it is vastly superior due to the ability to leave a bottle out of the refrigerator for 6 hours instead of 1.

If you told me I had a 35 percent chance of winning a million dollars tomorrow, I’d try to sell you my chance for 349 thousand dollars.

I'd try to find out what my chance of winning really was, before attempting to trade.
I'd first look for a multi-millionaire to whom to make the offer.
I'd undercut you! Sub-linear utility and all that.

Very interesting, thanks.

I am pro-breast feeding but skeptical of the IQ claim. Can you link the study?

My guess is they compare the avg IQ to the average of a selection of people who breast feed.
I would expect this to be subject to selection bias.

Why are you in favor of breast-feeding at all? It is correlated with socio-economic status, and thus with all good things. But every correlation I have seen corrected for parental SES goes away, including IQ. Decades of randomized controlled studies demonstrate no effects. On the positive side, I must admit one cluster-randomized (n=31) study of IQ in Belarus, but I am not impressed.

Google says:

breastfeeding was found to raise intelligence an average of nearly 7 IQ points if the children had a particular version of a gene called FADS2.


Ninety percent of the children in the two study groups had at least one copy of the "C" version of FADS2, which yielded higher IQ if they were breast-fed. The other 10 percent, with only the "G" versions of the gene, showed no IQ advantage or disadvantage from breastfeeding.
The gene was singled out for the researchers' attention because it produces an enzyme that helps con

... (read more)

The school of thought shminux represents, though not popular in the main stream, is one I ascribe to. Bryan Caplan and a few others have books on the subject.

Shminux, this though is exactly why I see this group to be of value. I don't want to spend a lot of time doing research. I want to examine three peoples strategies and trust that I can blindly go with the suggestions, or at least have a strong starting point.

This group is certainly a good idea, but probably not in the way you describe. Chances are, the most value you get will be from babysitting by the people you trust, as one thing new parents lack the most tends to be the time away from their young children and spent with each other. If you find yourself spending a lot of time doing research, you are probably overthinking it.

One clarification I wanted to make is that, while it is easy to royally screw up your kids by being a surly, high-strung, abusive, or even overly possessive parent, it is hard to "... (read more)

Interesting read, thanks for the post.

"compliance costs vs. the risk of paying more taxes" -- This is why I use health savings accounts and commuter plans as an example.

"myopic" consumers -- There really are no individual consumers there are transactions. Myopic transactions perhaps would be a better description. On aggregate we have lots of myopic transactions. (bounded rationality) To answer you question -- I agree with you second part on myopic's but don't see how it is a problem for G&L. Sophisticateds are the ones driving the evolution of the system.

First thank you for the thoughtful response. This is more what I was hoping for when I posted... I don't agree with you signaling story but it is something I would not have considered.

"price discrimination" I don't think this is at all a story of signaling. I think it is a story of information/time costs.

My stories: If my wife picks up the circular at the store entrence and tells me that if I rip out this page an hand it to the cashier I will save a buck I do so. Most people don't do their health savings accounts or mail into NYC to have the... (read more)

No; I think they are trading off compliance costs vs. the risk of paying more taxes than they owe. But it's not clear that the price discrimination story is applicable here. Basically, the problem with Gabaix--Laibson is that its "myopic" consumers are persistently biased in addition to having bounded rationality. They persistently expect to be charged less e.g. for the hotel stay than they actually are. A boundedly rational consumer would expect to be overcharged for some addons, even if she dosn't know in advance what the marked-up addons will be or whether she can avoid the surplus charge (unlike Gabaix--Laibson's sophisticated consumers). This may or may not change her response to efforts at more "transparent" pricing. Yes, this is fairly obvious. But this also implies that naïve folks will avoid these same systems. In general, it will pay for sophisticated folks to credibly refrain from using such systems, unless the system provides further benefits (say, effective price discrimination). This is an asymmetrical information problem. People expect that a car mechanic will pad costs if she can get away with it; so they try to establish norms under which more info is provided, or else the practice is deterred directly.

made article more clear by adding /institution.

Institutions is still unclear. Retail stores can be said to be 'institutions' depending on your context.

In the first world people haggle by cutting coupons out of the newspaper. This is a form of price discrimination. It is also non-transparent pricing. Coupons also add to the asymmetry of information, ect,ect.

I would argue just the opposite, that we are way past our peak of transparent pricing and as time passes you will see a more byzantine maze develop.

As far as retail goes JC Penney recently failed in such a strategy be transparent. (read more)

Part of the problem is that while non-transparent pricing may or may not be self-sustaining (Gabaix--Laibson is not wholly convincing on this point), price discrimination is unambiguously so because it serves a useful economic function, namely defraying intra-marginal costs (including fixed costs and normal profit) in the most effective and least burdensome way. Cutting coupons is a comparatively efficient way of signaling that one is a highly price-sensitive customer and should not bear a significant share of these intra-marginal costs. The JC Penney strategy was affected by a similar issue in that they got rid of most of their discount sales, which also attracted highly price-sensitive folks.
Judging by the quality of your posts and comments, it's working perfectly.

All systems: A cities zoning board. The network of mortgage back securities. A large firm.

In all individual agents have incentive to shroud and prefer subscribing to a shrouded systems so as to extract rents.

Thanks for the comment. I use fragile because I am rifting off, and a bit against, what I expect is Taleb's idea for his new book antifragility.

Such usage is bad for readers who don't pay attention to Taleb. Such usage might be good for readers who do pay attention to him, but only if they (a) realize that's what you're talking about and (b) agree with your guess. Anyhow, you used other words, so I understood what you were talking about.

I'm baffled as to why this was down voted.

Google negative income tax and read the article...

Naz I think you are a little off though. the negative income tax is an implementation of a few possible implementations of a basic income system. Friedman liked it because it was better then normal welfair or the progressive tax we have. He wanted a flat tax. He did not particuly want the NIT, he wanted less welfair overhead and a flat tax.

If you do not have an income tax you can not use a negative income tax to implement a basic income.

Falkvinge is coming from the other direction. He is saying we wil

... (read more)

"families patriarch"......"sacrifice for the greater good of the family that she would be coerced into making"

Is it not clear I am talking about group level dynamics?

"I'm also not sure that "short-term" and "long-term" are a good way of classifying things into near and far. For instance, ideals about improving and ennobling yourself in school are "far" and part of what motivates one to go to school, and this is a long-term objective. But the actual task of going to school in the present and actually ... (read more)

It's not obvious. Certainly that's one possible interpretation, but the "I thought" structure of the post muddles this. You started off with the sentence "I was in the subway about a month ago when saw an advert for a new show The Bourgeoisie". Obviously, the fact that you had this thought a month ago in a subway is not relevant for the rest of the post - it's just background on what started this train of thought. However, it was not clear that the forced marriage bit was not likewise just background on what led you to the next thought. Instead, it looked like the post was just a string of separate thoughts, with no clear way of telling which ones happened to belong together and which ones were just there by accident.

Can you give me an example of short term coercion being of benefit at the group level?

"I thought about the cliche of a school kid being forced to give up his lunch money to bullies. I thought about how he'd need to go hungry while the bullies had a good time with his cash, and thought how it is easier to force others to sacrifice then to sacrifice yourself. I thought about the visceral way in which the threat of coercion is always be present in the lives of some people, and how they have to take into account in everything they do. I also thought of the way the bullies get constant sadistic pleasure out of it and a regular infusion of e... (read more)

I agree with jimrandomh's assessment that "coercion" is too broad and vague of a term. There are many kinds of coercion which use many different mechanisms ranging from physical violence to forceful persuasion and emotional appeals. There's the physical bullying kind of coercion, there's coercion by threat of losing social approval, there's being at work and being told by your boss to do something you don't like, there's a parent telling their kid to go to bed or else, there's a lover trying to guilt their partner into giving them sex... And "short-term" versus "long-term" isn't very well defined, either. (What about medium-term?) It's a bit like asking, "what do you think is more common, thinking for a short- or long-term purpose"? I'm also not sure that "short-term" and "long-term" are a good way of classifying things into near and far. For instance, ideals about improving and ennobling yourself in school are "far" and part of what motivates one to go to school, and this is a long-term objective. But the actual task of going to school in the present and actually attending the lectures and doing the exercises is "near". (And effectively studying is difficult because the near and far modes don't necessarily pull in the same direction.) I would say that if we did presume that it made sense to classify coercion as either "near" or "far" - which I'm not convinced that it does - then it would make more sense to put it as "near". Coercion usually isn't about remote noble ideals, but concrete pragmatic self-benefiting goals. That's "near". Even though there may often be a high temporal distance, the one doing the coercion can often see the progress being made towards the ultimate goal in the here and now.

Thanks for the feedback.

On readability when I say the below what do you think? "I thought that coercion may be one of the mechanisms that have enabled humans to engage and execute long term plans."

I thought of the below as a continuation of the above thesis statement. "If the immediate short-term costs are what most often repress long-term action then those not saddled with the short-term costs of their long-term actions will be prone to engage in more long-term action."

To say it a different way. People often don't engage in long-term a... (read more)

This particular sentence was easy to read. The next one was not. And this is much better than the original. In particular, the role of leaders was not originally clear.

Love the down votes with no comments!

What is your theory of intra-group coercion? Is it near?

This post is written in a stream-of-consciousness style which is hard to read. It could use a paragraph break or two. I'm still not entirely sure of exactly what "if the immediate short-term costs are what most often repress long-term action then those not saddled with the short-term costs of their long-term actions will be prone to engage in more long-term action" is trying to say in the context of this post, despite reading it multiple times. The style makes it seem not particularly well thought-out, especially since little evidence is provided in support of the conclusions. It seems like a transcript of the way you jumped from one thought to another, without really pausing to subject those thoughts to criticism. One could just as well construct an equally flimsy explanation with the opposite conclusion: "I thought about the cliche of a school kid being forced to give up his lunch money to bullies. I thought about how he'd need to go hungry while the bullies had a good time with his cash, and thought how it is easier to force others to sacrifice then to sacrifice yourself. I thought about the visceral way in which the threat of coercion is always be present in the lives of some people, and how they have to take into account in everything they do. I also thought of the way the bullies get constant sadistic pleasure out of it and a regular infusion of extra money. Coercion is near." Even if we were to accept the chain of reasoning, it doesn't really provide much useful information. Okay, coercion is near or it's far. So what? What should this make us anticipate [] that we didn't anticipate before?

I think that by the time you get to asking "is coercion near or far", you have already gone astray; it seems like a type error. There is no particular reason for coercion, which is a broad category of actions, to be connected to the near/far distinction, which is a fuzzy classification of modes of thought. It's also a very particular, familiar type error - it's Robin Hanson's trademark confusion. I can't downvote when he does it, since Overcoming Bias doesn't have that feature, but I would.

Great one. I was thinking the same thing :)

It should be noted though that this is a significant programing project though and probably out of the scope of a re-design. It is a project in itself.

Still nice idea.

Interesting idea, I'll up-vote it though it is not a top wish of mine.

If implemented I would like to see it implemented as a rollover on the karma bubble. Though interesting I don't think it justifies taking up real-estate.

Ah. It would be good to update the 'About Less Wrong' post, then.

Thanks, did we ever raise the number to 50?

Apparently so [], but the About Less Wrong [] page, which must have been updated more recently than the Karma Changes post since it mentions the Discussion section, now says it's 20.
0saliency12y []

I think the probability of the above is slim and better served by a bright meetup button or some such solution.

I think whatever the probability that a first time stranger sees a meetup close to them geographically and goes is eclipsed by the probability that the user will not be presented with an article of interest and that they will never become interested in the site.

With only 2/10 articles promoted being articles a person is far less likely to see something accessible/of interest to them.

This said everything in moderation. If the ratio was reversed so... (read more)

You are probably correct at this. A structural change to the website so that meetups and actual posts are placed seperate but are equally visible would probably be best.

I second this question. I would like to know the list of people who promote. I also would love to see who promotes what. Is this already possible?

Thank you for the link.

I think the title "Site features" is not ideal for this topic. I am probably doing it wrong but only found it after I knew it existed in the wiki.

Zack thanks for the links. I notice they have the about header do they have a navigation path I missed. My site and wiki search was unable to show me any such pages. How did you find them.

Zack, Vlad, Other editors: 1) Can the above links have a description of the powers the positions hold? 2) Is there a answer to the below commented question of who has the power to promote articles? (It was the point of my post.) 3) Could the above articles es be combined and detailed in the wiki and indexed by keyword so a search on editor(s) moderator(s) lists it.

Thanks for the links Cyan. I searched meetups but did not go to the second page...

You're welcome.
Why is that discussion on google groups rather then LW?

"You're on notice, NYC LW."

JGWeissman is not one of us. We kicked him out long ago for dishonorable behavior.

The only meta gaming that we are doing is that there will be no meta gaming.


Yes after we will compare notes.

Five of the NYC rationalists are starting a diplomacy game, we need two more.

The passcode is streetlight

I agree,

Hayek, the knowledge problem man, himself makes the argument* that most often it is best to select the norm. That this norm is the product of lots of calculation that would be expensive for you to redo.

I think it was Thoreau who wrote a story about a man that each day on awaking would remember nothing from the day before; who would then have to rediscover the use of a chair and pencil. This man could only get so far in life.

The rational man knows that he can only get so far in life if he is always re-calculating instead of working off of what oth... (read more)

Anyone know what story? It sounds interesting. Also see the film Memento.

Some of the MOO's programming is pretty easy. I think I used to use something called cyber.

You would create your world by creating rooms and exits. With just the to you could create some nice areas. Note an exit from a room could be something like 'kill dragon'

It got more complex with key objects and automated objects but even with simple rooms and exits a person could be very creative.

Yes, but if you want to make, say, a chess AI or a computer algebra system, then your code ends up being much longer and harder to read than it would be in Python.

"only about the ones that are deficient in the current instance."

How do you know what is deficient A priori? Investigation / diagnosis takes resources and have an opportunity cost.

Oversimplification has it's uses.

In an environment where you get multiple chances to solve a problem and the cost of failure is small it is often efficient to use trial and error. In order to efficiently use trial and error it is best to fix all but one variable and confirm or eliminate possibilities.

The success of trial and error techniques influence the way we think about problems. We naturally seek to simplify the system to the point in which it can be tested. When something works we start with it next time but if next time it does not work we move ... (read more)

Note that necessary-but-not-sufficient doesn't rule out oversimplification. You don't need to know about every necessary condition to solve a problem, only about the ones that are deficient in the current instance. You just can't generalize from such a solution, if the evidence supports the idea that there may be other necessary conditions that are deficient in other cases.

The Aggregate pricing only contains a price signal when participation is voluntary.

In this case the aggregate price reflects how the participant group values the service.

When participation is not voluntary the aggregate price only informs how the controlling interest values the service.

The non-voluntary members suffer the injustice of paying more then they would like for a service.

The problem is forced participation.

The colonoscopy is a good example of a procedure which on the macro level is low on the list of things that save lives. A planer, who will always be acting with limited resources, would be rational to not offer this service. Colonoscopy's do save lives though and individuals have different medical budgets. Given different budgets it is rational for some to get colonoscopies while others should not. I speculate that is is very rare to find a doctor who if you ask if you should get a colonoscopy will ask you how much money you make or what you medical budget is before giving you an answer.

I like how Robin Hanson points out that healthcare spending gets messed up by peoples need to signal loyalty to each other.

When you attach a price to medicine you are signaling a limit to you loyalty.

I agree, I think the system should be designed to handle trolls. Use mormon2 as a test.

If the system is not working perhaps it needs to be modified but should be modified for everyone. I like the part of the US constitution that restricts legislators from targeting individuals with legislation.

Single strength is related to:

1) Difficulty of producing the signal. (A collage degree vs high school degree)

2) The size of the handicap vs the positive signal (Not having a collage degree but making a lot of money.)

3) The difficulty in faking the signal.

There are several factors that make up your perceived level of power: 1) Symbols that reliably indicate wealth, intelligence, and high rank 2) Social proof: Having people publicly prove you have power over them. 3) Physical attractiveness 4) Knowledge of institutional power granted to you 5) Displaying behaviors that, in the ancestral environment, correlated with having high status My article only focuses on the last factor that determines your status. The behaviors I am referring to all follow your criteria. The lower status you are the harder it is to be indifferent towards interesting stimuli (stimuli most people would be reactive to). People who can display low status behaviors or appear more likable by lowering their status can only do so because high status was established by other factors.

Selfishness is a counter signal/handicap

How it is interpreted based entirely on your positive singles. Counter signals at best enhance the underlining signal.

If you are high status despite being rude then you must have some trait that compensates for your flaw. If you are low status and rude then you have no trait to compensate for your rudeness.

Scrapheap Transhumanism:

"I’m sort of inured to pain by this point. Anesthetic is illegal for people like me, so we learn to live without it; I’ve made scalpel incisions in my hands, pushed five-millimeter diameter needles through my skin, and once used a vegetable knife to carve a cavity into the tip of my index finger. I’m an idiot, but I’m an idiot working in the name of progress: I’m Lepht Anonym, scrapheap transhumanist. I work with what I can get."

Here is more:

HT:Tyler Cowen

Interesting article, but that guy could have avoided some suffering if he knew about ways to lessen pain without anesthetic. A common technique used by body piercers is to numb the area with ice beforehand. Really though, most of the benefits of those things don't require any cutting. Why not wear the RFID tag in a bracelet? Why not temporarily glue rare earth magnets to his fingertips? If that guy ever needs an MRI, he'll have to get the magnets removed from his body. If he's in an accident and the doctors don't know about his magnets, the MRI could injure him or damage the scanner. Edit: Oh, he has a blog []. It's umm... interesting.
Why is anesthetic illegal for "people like him"?

“Still seems it strange, that thou shouldst live forever? Is it less strange, that thou shouldst live at all? This is a miracle; and that no more.” Edward Young

Strangers and counter-signaling:

You cannot counter signal with people who have no previous impression about the attribute you are counter-signaling.

Whether the person is a stranger or friend is irrelevant. A counter-signal is likely to work whenever the recipient already has a positive view of the attribute you are counter-signaling.

Note you can send a positive and negative (counter) signal at the same time. If the net is positive counter-signal will work.

Good friends don't signal:

I think that friends that know you well do not pay much attention to sig... (read more)

I think your and Eliezer's statements contain much more signaling then counter-signaling and is why they work with strangers.

Free the data!

The reporting engine they have created is impressive but it always better to have more people looking at the data. Who knows what mashups hackers on the side would make?

I applaud the idea of getting a large set medical data together though crowd sourcing. I just wish anyone could run there own statistics on the data.

Freeing data is problematic for privacy reasons. Even if you don't have problems with releasing your own medical data some other people have problems. Anything that might reduce in some people refusing to sign up for the service reduces the virality of the internet service. Successful web 2.0 sites need high virality. You could add an optional button to release health information to the public but I would still imagine that it would be hard to convince a sizeable number of users to switch to that option. Users are selfish ;)
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