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Phase I clinical trials exist for this purpose. The objective of Phase I trials is to establish safety, dosage, and side-effects of drugs in human subjects, and to observe their proposed mechanism of action if relevant.

It's rare for Phase II and III trials (which have clinically-relevant endpoints ) to be carried out on healthy subjects. Part of this is ethical considerations, but also clinical trials are extremely expensive to carry out, and there's not much payoff in learning whether your drug has some specific effect on healthy subjects.

Here is some colourful language for you: Dominic Cummings makes my memetic immune system want to vomit.

Part of it is because he sets off my Malcolm-Gladwell-o-Meter, but mostly it’s because he’s trying so hard to appear more knowledgeable and well-educated than he actually is. He surrounds himself with the trappings of expertise he obviously doesn’t have. Case in point: this “paper” is clearly a blog post which he converted to PDF via MS Word because he thinks that makes it look more credible.

The effect for me is a bit like receiving an email from a Nigerian prince, asking for your help in getting millions of dollars out of the country. My response is approximately the same.

How do you select (or deselect) the root set?

I've had some luck in open threads on SSC for stuff I would previously have directed to LW, but it's much noisier, and is a far cry from a fully-featured discussion forum.

The links are a new feature since I was last here, and I can't say I'm overwhelmed by them, tbh.

I haven’t posted in LW in over a year, because the ratio of interesting-discussion to parochial-weirdness had skewed way too far in the parochial-weirdness direction. There still isn’t a good substitute for LW out there, though. Now it seems there’s some renewed interest in using LW for its original purpose, so I thought I’d wander back, sheepishly raise my hand and see if anyone else is in a similar position.

I’m presumably not the only one to visit the site for the first time in ages because of new, interesting content, so it’s reasonable to assume a bunch of other former LW-users are reading this. What would it take for you to come back and start using the site again?

Similarly, I've read Austin's How to Do Things With Words. He's not winning any awards for his prose style, but he has a comprehensible project which he goes about in a rigorous, methodical way.

Subject: Written style and composition

Recommendation: Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects, by Martha Kolln and Loretta Gray

Reason: After reading Pinker's The Sense of Style, I wanted a meatier syllabus in the mechanics of writing well. My follow-up reading was Rhetorical Grammar and Joseph Williams' Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace.

I would actually recommend reading all three. Rhetorical Grammar is the most textbook-y of the recommendations, and The Sense of Style is more like a weighty, popular book on the subject, with Ten Lessons being more of an extended exposition/workbook on (you will be unsurprised to learn) ten broad principles of clear writing. All three books have similar messages and convergent positions on the subject matter. Rhetorical Grammar wins out for being the book I imagine one would learn most from.

Or a host for a beautiful parasitic wasp?

LW's strongest, most dedicated writers all seem to have moved on to other projects or venues, as has the better part of its commentariat.

In some ways, this is a good thing. There is now, for example, a wider rationalist blogosphere, including interesting people who were previously put off by idiosyncrasies of Less Wrong. In other ways, it's less good; LW is no longer a focal point for this sort of material. I'm not sure if such a focal point exists any more.

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