My Faults My Own

…beleaguered by the same

negation and despair,

show an affirming flame.

Reading Feed (January 2018)


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Blog: Tyler Cowen @ The Bridge | My Personal Moonshot — "Rather than talk about moonshots we might take collectively, let me go small scale and lay out the 'moonshot' I have tried to take with my own career. My goal is to be the economist who has most successfully used the internet as a platform to foment broad enlightenment..."


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | What is new at the World Bank? — "Mr. Kim is, by nature, a cheery person, but there was no mistaking the edge to his voice when he started talking about the World Bank economists whose pay is tied to how many loans they churn out. In his view, the bank needs to reward staff, Wall Street-style, for devising innovative financial solutions." And: this is the same Jim Y. Kim rumored to be on the shortlist for President of Harvard, before making claims that he was committed to his job at the World Bank. Lots more at the NYT story.


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Blog: Stephen.Wolfram | Showing Off to the Universe: Beacons for the Afterlife of Our Civilization — "Let’s say we had a way to distribute beacons around our solar system (or beyond) that could survive for billions of years, recording what our civilization has achieved. What should they be like?"


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Blog: (finish later) | 3 Thought Experiments: An Exercise in Ponens and Tollens

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Dear Canada: Don’t Ban Paid Blood Plasma Donation

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Do markets underprovide genetic insurance?

Interview: Conversations with Tyler | Ross Douthat on Narrative and Religion

Blog: Tyler Cowen @ Bloomberg View | Rule of Law Can't Ignore Human Costs — Weakly argued, I think, though Tyler does well to raise important points.


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | The value of media attention for mass killers — "But nobody wants it! Everybody hates it!" / "Oh. Well, then stop."

Blog: Malcolm Ocean (Tumblr) | very brief musings on the twiddler — On Malcolm's recommendation, I bought one of these. Am still figuring out how useful it is (i.e., have not yet been able to evaluate whether I can compose long-form content with it) but things look promising so far.


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Blog: Less Wrong | Announcement: AI alignment prize winners and next round


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Blog: Overcoming Bias | Social Innovation Disinterest Puzzle — "I naively assumed that the world was just as eager for better social designs. But in fact, the world shows far less interest in better designs for social arrangements. Which, I should have realized, is a better explanation than my unusual genius for why it seemed so easy to find better social designs. But that raises a fundamental puzzle: why does the world seem so much less interested in social innovation, relative to innovation in physical and software devices and systems?"

Blog: (finish later) | Against Incomparability


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Blog: Ribbonfarm | Cringe and the Design of Sacred Experiencesinter alia, quotes another essay: "When a work is labeled “experimental” it ought not to produce either disdain or admiration: it should only make us demand some rigor in the experiment. I think the reason we get so much bad experimental art is because no one understands how to make a good artistic experiment. We act like because something is “experimental” that somehow absolves it from having any standards at all. Bullshit. Just because a scientific experiment is an “experiment” doesn’t mean that scientists can do whatever they want. We apply rules to them so that the answers the experiment provides are answers we can use. Optimize experimental art for a certain result, rigorously. Know you’re experimenting. Avoid pretense. Then you’ll be able to say whether or in which realms you’ve failed or succeeded. You can use that information to make better art. Shitting on a canvas and calling it experimental so it will mean something gives us some nice information about people, but no useful information about art."


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Blog: Open Philanthropy | History of Philanthropy Case Study: Clinton Health Access Initiative’s Role in Global Price Drops for Antiretroviral Drugs

Blog: Overcoming Bias | When Disciplines Disagree

Blog: Julia.Galef | Insightful articles on free speech & social justice — "So these are all articles that I think contribute something useful to the discourse on free speech and social justice, by proposing a principled way to navigate tradeoffs, or by helping explain the dynamics that are producing our current situation..."


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Blog: Tyler Cowen @ Bloomberg View | Congress Needs to Bring Back Earmarks — "A handout here or there would help end partisan gridlock."


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | Collective Action Kills Innovation

Blog: Schneier on Security | Spectre and Meltdown Attacks


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Long: The Intercept | The Biggest Secret: My Life as a New York Times Reporter in the Shadow of the War on Terror — h/t Bruce Schneier.