Icosian Reflections

…a tendency to systematize and a keen sense

that we live in a broken world.

Reading Feed (January 2018)


Blog: Marginal Revolution | My Conversation with Charles C. Mann

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Wednesday assorted links

Blog: Schneier on Security | After Section 702 Reauthorization


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..."

Blog: Slate Star Codex | The Invention Of Moral Narrative

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Police Union Privileges, Officer Misconduct and Systems Thinking


Blog: Overcoming Bias | On Unsolved Problems

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Solve for the Dutch equilibrium

Blog: Marginal Revolution | The Return of Henry George?


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.

Blog: Slate Star Codex | OT94: Isotopen Thread

Blog: Fake Charity Nerd Girl | Saying no — "but I want to state for the record as a woman that out of the times I can recall that I’ve failed to say no to something that I didn’t want or that made me uncomfortable or upset, 0% have been because I was scared of the guy in question reacting with anger or violence and 100% have been due to a thought process like 'well it seems really awkward to say no right now … I mean it’s not like a big deal … I don’t want to make things weird …'"


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Where is talent optimized?


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Tax Design

Blog: JeffTK | Blind-Tasting the Impossible Burger

Blog: Open Philanthropy | Update on Cause Prioritization at Open Philanthropy

Blog: Marginal Revolution | The Jordan Peterson Moment

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Friday assorted links


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?"

Blog: GiveWell | GiveWell is hiring!

Blog: My Biased Coin | Some Notes on "Learned Bloom Filters"

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Police Union Privileges


Blog: Slate Star Codex | Conflict Vs. Mistake

Comic: xkcd | Hawaii

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Tyler Cowen’s 12 rules for life


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Tuesday assorted links

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Washington, D.C. New York City fact of the day

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Housing Hypergamy

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Why are professors poorly paid?

Blog: The Unit of Caring | There’s a discussion on my dashboard about whether UBI is harmful because it promotes idleness,...

Blog: Marginal Revolution | The five most influential public intellectuals?

Blog: Don't Worry About the Vase | Understanding-1-2-3


Blog: Making Magic | A Rivals Like No Other, Part 3

Blog: Tyler Cowen @ Bloomberg View | How to Root Out Corruption Without Introducing More

Blog: Marginal Revolution | What is optimal group size for solving hard problems?

Blog: Marginal Revolution | “Get Out of Jail Free” Cards


Blog: Slate Star Codex | Links 1/18: Helink Of Troy

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Off the Charts

Blog: Fake Charity Nerd Girl | California — "in French, “California” means “the world is going to end and we will go hot tubbing in our underwear and braid LED lights into our hair” and I think that’s beautiful"


Blog: What's New | Lehmer pairs and GUE

Blog: The Unit of Caring | I wish that people in jail for minor crimes, awaiting trial, unable to afford bond, were required to be let free when the government shut down. — "Sometimes I wish the government could actually be shut down, and then we could make an informed decision about whether we even fucking want it around..."


Blog: Marginal Revolution | The miracle of Israeli water policy

Blog: JeffTK | What if we got that alert?

Blog: What's New | The De Bruijn-Newman constant is non-negative

Blog: Marginal Revolution | The life of Edith Penrose


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Thursday assorted links

Blog: Marginal Revolution | South Korea kimchi deficit fact of the day


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.


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.

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Why it is fun to travel around China

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Tuesday assorted links

Blog: The Unit of Caring | I think for mental illness in particular, most good advice comes from a place of empathy.

Blog: JeffTK | Google Losing its Memory?


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

Blog: Overcoming Bias | Privately Enforced & Punished Crime

Blog: Slate Star Codex | Maybe The Real Superintelligent AI Is Extremely Smart Computers

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Monday assorted links

Blog: Luke.Muehlhauser | Excerpts from The Doomsday Machine

Blog: Compass Rose | What strange and ancient things might we find beneath the ice?

Blog: Marginal Revolution | A few simple points about immigration

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organisations?pace Betteridge...

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Crime Imprisons and Kills

Comic: xkcd | Memorable Quotes


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

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Sunday assorted links


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Let’s have more African immigrants

Blog: The Unit of Caring | Have you ever considered writing a step-by-step tutorial for, um, being a really patient, understanding, and compassionate person? You've given some advice here and there, but I'm not sure how actionable some people might find that. Sorry if I'm not making much sense. Basically, something like a twelve-step plan but for impatient, non-understanding, prone-to-hostility people who want to fix that, rather than for alcoholics?


Blog: Overcoming Bias | Our Book’s New Ground

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Innovation Versus Time and Culture Bound Normality

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Friday assorted links

Blog: The Unit of Caring | Productivity hacks — "there are bad things about the tech industry I guess but you can claw ‘a culture that sees productivity hacks and disability accommodations as the exact same sort of thing and is extremely happy to extend both wherever they’re helpful’ out of my cold dead hands.

Blog: The Unit of Caring | Productivity hacks, 2 — "And to be clear, there isn’t and shouldn’t be a dividing line between productivity hacks and disability accommodations."


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."

Blog: Slate Star Codex | Self-Serving Bias

Blog: Schneier on Security | Spectre and Meltdown Attacks Against Microprocessors


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..."

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

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Dolphin Capital Theory


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

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

Blog: The Unit of Caring | What's the significance of "you gave me wings when you showed me birds"? Also, thanks for being a great, consistent source of kindness on the internet!

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Georgescu-Roegen vs. Henry George vs. Wakefield vs. Solow

Blog: Marginal Revolution | It seems like there won’t be another Mickey Mouse copyright extension act

Blog: The Unit of Caring | How do you do it? How do you ooze compassion and kindness in every word you write? Were you always like this? Is it a skill you learned and then how?

Blog: Overcoming Bias | Elephant in the Brain Reviews


Blog: The ANOVA | archives: the Night the State Killed Michael Ross

Blog: MeyerWeb | How Do I Increase Accessibility?

Blog: Slate Star Codex | Fight Me, Psychologists: Birth Order Effects Exist And Are Very Strong

Blog: Marginal Revolution | What is the best book about each country?

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Fifty psychological and psychiatric terms to avoid?

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Monday assorted links

Comic: xkcd | 2016 Election Map

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Against teacher collective bargaining — "Our estimates suggest that teacher collective bargaining worsens the future labor market outcomes of students: living in a state that has a duty-to-bargain law for all 12 grade-school years reduces earnings by $800 (or 2%) per year and decreases hours worked by 0.50 hours per week. The earnings estimate indicates that teacher collective bargaining reduces earnings by $199.6 billion in the US annually. We also find evidence of lower employment rates, which is driven by lower labor force participation, as well as reductions in the skill levels of the occupations into which workers sort. The effects are driven by men and nonwhites, who experience larger relative declines in long-run outcomes."


Blog: Malcolm.Ocean | To trust or not to trust is NOT the question


Blog: Marginal Revolution | From the comments


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Assorted Friday links

Blog: The Unit of Caring | Anonymous asked: I'm rich. Why is it OK for me to spend my days reading and taking fun classes and living in a modern apartment when others are struggling to make it through college or starving? Do you think I am bad?

Blog: The Unit of Caring | Anonymous asked: What's with some leftists' "hurt liberal's feelings" mentality of activism?

Blog: Schneier on Security | New Book Coming in September: "Click Here to Kill Everybody"

Comic: xkcd | Meltdown and Spectre

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Benjamin Zycher on solar power


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Collective Action Kills Innovation

Blog: Schneier on Security | Spectre and Meltdown Attacks

Blog: Overcoming Bias | Kaczynski’s Collapse Theory

Blog: Slate Star Codex | Book Review: Madness And Civilization

Blog: Marginal Revolution | How they eat at the National University of Singapore — "“These are not just places where you eat — it’s where students and staff linger, mix and also learn from each other,” he said, adding that this element of campus life is “a cultural dimension that makes Singapore special.”"

Blog: Marginal Revolution | The Wizard and the Prophet

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Why Spielberg’s The Post bugged me (full of spoilers, but if you already know the history…)


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.

Blog: MeyerWeb | The Newwwyear Design

Comic: xkcd | IATA Airport Abbreviations


Blog: Overcoming Bias | Ten Could be Twenty or More

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Click even more sentences to ponder

Blog: Marginal Revolution | What explains the formation and decay of clusters of creativity?

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Why I write for Bloomberg View

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Should You Accept a Coffee at a Meeting or Interview? — from the comments: "And I thought that Prof. Cowen was the truly cynical one of the pair, but clearly it is time to reconsider."


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Why don’t cities grow without limit?

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Conversations with Tyler bleg