Open Thread 257
This is the weekly visible open thread. Post about anything you want, ask random questions, whatever. ACX has an unofficial subreddit, Discord, and bulletin board, and in-person meetups around the world. 95% of content is free, but for the remaining 5% you can subscribe here. Also:
1: In case you missed it earlier: please take the ACX Survey, expected time 20 - 40 minutes, results will be used to satisfy my curiosity and test weird hypotheses.
2: Some updates/corrections to last week’s Links post: Sniffnoy explains how private fire departments stayed in business. Questions about / alternative explanations for declining Native American test scores. The hack to beat AI at Go probably isn’t as interesting as I thought. Cremieux does a deep dive into the persistence-of-poverty-after-slavery study I hoped someone would do a deep dive into. Ivan Fyodorovich on why surname analysis doesn’t disprove Albion’s Seed.
3: In The Media Very Rarely Lies, I argued that a graph showing an apparent COVID-vaccine-related spike in miscarriages was probably just an artifact. I think the overall story I cited there was mostly right but I got some of the details wrong; I endorse this comment by Bob English. And here is another helpful comment making the (I agree) true point that we can’t entirely rule out a real effect but have to partly go off priors (while also giving some reasons why we should have a prior for low harm here).
4: At a recent IRL event I discussed pioneering rationalist Hal Finney and his essay Dying Outside (about getting the disease ALS). Thanks to whoever informed me that Hal’s widow is holding a fundraiser for an ALS charity - you can check it out here.
5: You have about one more week to get your first-round answers in for the 2023 Prediction Contest. Also, I think it would be fun (not necessarily scientific, but fun) to highlight and compare the answers of various famous people. If you’re a “famous” person (I’m thinking eg Zvi or Richard Hanania, not Joe Biden) who has already entered or is interested in entering, please send me an email so we can discuss whether it’s okay for me to do that (by default I won’t).