Scott, I started tracking down your email cuz I have an article request, but I don't know how you feel about those and I don't know how you like emails to be worded for you to triage them.

Then I realized: maybe your commenters could help, and we could save your time.

Here's the article request: could you please write the nuanced and charitable version of this rant https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/kq8CZzcPKQtCzbGxg/quinn-s-shortform?commentId=eExTPyKGamWWMikrz ? I'm confident that I'm too strong and overstating certain things, but I honestly don't know exactly which things.

> Maybe neuroscientists or psychologists have good reasons for this, but "autism" is the most immensely deranged word in the history of categories--- what utility is a word that crosses absent minded professors and people who can't conceptually distinguish a week from a month insofar as you can wordlessly elicit conceptual understanding from them???? If you worked at the dictionary factory and you tried to slip that word in, you'd be fired immediately. So why do psychologists or neuroscientists get away with this???

I think there's something important here that people aren't talking about, and every time I see an excerpt from Michael lewis' SBF book my skin crawls.

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This thread is old, so I’m writing this out while I am thinking about it and I’ll repost it in the next open thread.

Does anybody have any good breakdowns of sexual partner statistics? Particularly in terms of lifetime sexual partners? Keep in mind that I know nothing about stats and I don’t have the capacity to evaluate whether a given study is good or not. Trusting y’all not to lead me astray.

I think my main question is that it seems odd to me that lifetime sexual partners is a normal distribution, particularly for men.

So, average number in the US is around 6. That doesn’t seem low, I guess, because there is a sizable percentage of the population that has 0-2 lifetime partners.

And I guess it makes sense that women would be a normal distribution. Most women can get laid whenever they want, so intuitively you would expect a bell curve there.

But for men... most men are wired to get laid as much as possible. Some can’t, or choose not to, or get into a serious relationship relatively early. I believe a majority of the population falls into one of those buckets.

But, for guys who can and don’t get locked down.... isn’t 6 a crazy low lifetime number? Wouldn’t you expect some sort of gap between, say, 5 and 20?

For example: average attractiveness guy gets a high school sweetheart (1). Goes to college, has a hookup and then gets in another year long relationship (3). Breaks up, one more hookup and one more relationship in college (5). Breaks up a year after graduating. After a year or two without getting laid, gets another 3 year relationship (6). Breaks up, gets motivated, is now a little more mature and confident, so he hooks up with a few girls over the next year (10). Around 27, meets a girl that becomes his wife (11). Divorced after 8 years, one more hookup and one more marriage that lasts til he dies (13).

That is more than double the lifetime average, and it seems lowwww. This is a guy who spends the majority of his life in committed relationships, never cheats, never goes through a slut phase where he sleeps with 8-10 girls in a year.

Shouldnt there be a somewhat fat tail of guys who sleep with 20 plus?

Also, has anyone found a good way to account for the fact that women probably tend to underreport lifetime partners and men probably tend to overreport?

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I’m looking for an article that I’m 80% sure was written here (or some adjacent Substack) that was a take down of a viral political psychology study. I can’t remember the specific “findings” of the study but it was one of those classic “we proved conservatives are bad” papers that always goes viral in parts of Twitter/Reddit despite having comically terrible methodology. Anyone know what I’m talking about?

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My Metaphysical Transit Authority shirt is finally starting to wear out, and I was thinking of ordering another one. But today my kid noticed a problem with it: the original trolley problem mentions five people in the path of the trolley, but the shirt only has four!

I intend to order another shirt whether or not you fix this, but please reply to let me know if you will fix it; this will remind me to place my order.

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Just getting caught up with the SBF trial and whoo.

Thrown *straight* under the bus by his former co-founder Gary Wang:


I'll be noodling around with other coverage but the defence strategy seems to be "Sam is a Good Boy, he's a maths nerd who doesn't drink or party! He was an honest businessman!" and the prosecution right now is going for "here is this list of witnesses gonna tell you that he was a fraud, he knew it was fraud, and he knew he was committing fraud, also it was all him and not them".

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The Democrats should throw their support behind Liz Cheney for new speaker of the house.

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Just because here is the only place where I get an understanding ear rather than being booed... 25 minute aboriginal land acknowledgement at the start of a meeting this week. I did time it. And again it included prayers to the Creator.

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OC ACXLW Unabomber manifesto 10/7/23


Hello Folks!

We are excited to announce the 45th Orange County ACX/LW meetup, happening this Saturday and most Saturdays thereafter.

Host: Michael Michalchik

Email: michaelmichalchik@gmail.com (For questions or requests)

Location: 1970 Port Laurent Place

(949) 375-2045

Date: Saturday, Oct 7, 2023

Time: 2 PM

Conversation Starters :

This week we take a look back at the ideas of Ted Kaczynski. He was a militant critic of modern industrial society who chose to propagate his ideas using terrorism against scientists. His methods were odious and horrifying, but were there ideas that were worth thinking about? Which ideas are wrong? Which ideas can be salvaged? How much do these ideas exist outside how writings, and how should we deal with them? Do they continue to be dangerous? Should the ideas of a person be erased from discourse because of the awful things they did?

A summary text and podcast audio can be found here:


ChatGPT and Claude summarize


The full text can be found here:

Industrial Society and Its Future


Audio version of the full text:


Walk & Talk: We usually have an hour-long walk and talk after the meeting starts. Two mini-malls with hot t

takeout food are easily accessible nearby. Search for Gelson's or Pavilions in the zip code 92660.

Share a Surprise: Tell the group about something unexpected that changed your perspective on the universe.

Future Direction Ideas: Contribute ideas for the group's future direction, including topics, meeting types, activities, etc.

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Why did the Democrats all vote to oust House Speaker McCarthy?

1) Considering the state of the Republican party right now, wasn't he a moderate that could be worked with? Didn't his compromise bill last Saturday to prevent a government shutdown prove that?

2) With McCarthy gone, aren't the odds high that his replacement will be a more extreme Republican who will be harder to work with? Won't that raise the odds of a government shutdown on November 17, which is something the Democrats don't want to happen?

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I think it began dying when the Soviet Union fell. Economic liberalism had a foil to keep it vital, and keep the criticism moored somewhat to reality. Without that foil, a lot of people assumed we were well on our way to Utopia. But while economic liberalism was delivering a lot for developing countries, its benefits were much more subtle in developed countries than they had been in previous generations. Basically, a lot of people, especially in the US, felt promised an ever increasing rate of standard of living improvement, thought that rate was too slow, or even negative, and mood affiliated themselves into believing the standard of living was actually decreasing. While this is easily disprovable, the sentiment is strong and is highly resistant to facts.

It is now unfashionable, and even inviting of mocking scorn to point out simple things like the increase in housing sizes in the US never ceased, that US manufacturing output continues to grow, that the standard of living considered unacceptable today would be luxurious 40 years ago, that the post WW2 economic growth that US workers enjoyed was built largely upon the fact that all of America's industrial competitors were destroyed and had to start over, etc.

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I don't know statues, but postage stamps are easier to access.

In that case QEII is a runaway winner, but you could disqualify her for reigning (not ruling).

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You always hear that German fairy tales are brutal, but I never knew that this extends to universal stories like Cinderella as well. The German variant has the evil stepsisters mutilated, blinded and ostracized as punishment for their abuse, while in the dominant English variant, Cinderella forgives them without a second thought and rewards them by marrying them off to rich noblemen once she's queen. I think if I had kids, I'd definitely read them the German version.

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The minister for immigration ordered the removal of cartoon murals from asylum centres intended for children to make them less welcoming.

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Joseph Stalin apparently has the Guinness World Record for raising the most statutes to himself. However, these statues were within the U.S.S.R., a country where he was the leader.

What historical figure (so no religious figures) has the most statues outside of a territory that they lived/ruled?

By way of example, I can see two George Washington monuments outside the U.S.A., John Adams has one, F.D.R. has at least six.

Can anyone beat six?

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I tested Scott Alexander's bet (https://astralcodexten.com/p/i-won-my-three-year-ai-progress-bet?utm_source=%2Fsearch%2Fsix%2520months%2520won&utm_medium=reader2) with Gary Marcus on DALLE-3. Scott claimed at one point that he had already won this bet but it still seemed pretty disputable. I would say DALLE-3 passes this benchmark pretty convincingly for 3/5 of the prompts (see photos here: https://twitter.com/_Soren__/status/1709257511780360312), but still is not able to get the key in the mouth of the raven in the stained glass window or the bell on the tail of the llama. Images generated with https://www.bing.com/images/create which is supposedly DALLE-3.

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Tom Hanks calls out a dental ad featuring AI generated Tom Hanks.


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Why has the tide turned against economic liberalism? Call it neo-, classical-, what you will, I mean laissez-faire, free-market, Adam Smith, capitalism.

I think I understand why the GOP turned against it. Trump figured out that the real issue among conservatives was anti-immigration and used that to destroy the other Republican presidential candidates in 2016. Trump had never really been a fan of the free market: his comparative advantage in NYC real estate was his ability to work the Byzantine bureaucracy, not change it. (See Scott's review of Art of the Deal.) He also understood that the working class blamed and loathed job offshoring almost as much as they blamed and loathed immigration for their not-better wages. And that there is a white professional conservative class which identifies for familial reasons with the working class.

That explains what turned the GOP against neo-liberalism. But where did all the neo-liberals go? Lord knows they didn't all rush over to the Libertarian Party, although I'm not sure why not. If the Libertarian Party was going to have a moment, 2016 should have been it, given that the GOP was suddenly dumping free-market capitalism down the drain -- but no, the Libertarian Party continued to spin in place that year.

What about the Democrats? They had never been the party of Adam Smith, but since Trump *did* drive off Reagan-Bush Republicans from the party, and since few of them joined the Libertarians, shouldn't those Never Trumpers have moved the Dems to the right economically?

The facts on the ground are that Bidenomics is much like Trumpenomics. Tariffs. Mercantilism. Buy American.

Liberalism is dead.

How does that suddenly happen in both major parties at once? One hypothesis, using the Median Voter Theorem, is that, whereas the position of the median voter hasn't changed much if we only look at the well-ordered 1-d economic dimension, the salience of other issues has grown, gradually but suddenly, like big wheels turning, and the median voter is in a very different position because economics is longer as deciding an issue.

That economics matters less as an issue might seem counterintuitive, given that the political rhetoric *about* economics has changed so much, but if that *isn't* the case: where did all the neo-liberals go?

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Does anyone have a good prompt for getting ChatGPT to reliably do translation? I've been trying to use the free version to translate chapters of a story from Japanese to English using "Please translate the following into English: <text>", but the success rate is less than 50%, and the worst part is that it is really hard to notice the mistakes just by looking at the output. For example, most recently, it just summarized a section of the story instead of translating it, but there's no way to tell that unless you carefully compare it to the original.

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I've been writing a blog about prediction markets and forecasting for awhile, mostly for people who are already interested in these topics. But lately, seeing the legal troubles Kalshi and PredictIt are facing, I was thinking about writing some outward-facing articles about prediction markets, trying to make the case for legalizing them to people who aren't already familiar with them.

Does anyone have any ideas for where I could publish an Op-Ed about this? I'm looking for outlets that have an audience mostly unfamiliar with prediction markets, but who might be receptive, and that are not-super-difficult to get an Op-Ed published in (so not like the New York Times or something). Thanks!

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Amateur geopolitics question/confused ramble:

I've never fully understood what it means to say "the US invaded Iraq to get their oil". The US government doesn't sell oil (right?). What was the exact mechanism by which the US benefited from Iraqi oil post-invasion? I guess they replaced the Iraqi leadership, then "negotiated" a good trade deal with the new Iraq government? Was it something to do with OPEC?

I guess I don't understand the government getting involved with the market like that. Petrol was expensive, so the government started a war to lower the price. But no-one, not even US citizens, asked them to do that - in fact, they had to do it under a pretence. What were the incentives? Did Bush expect lower petrol prices to get him re-elected?

If the price of cherries goes up, the government isn't expected to do anything. If the price of wheat goes up, maybe the government should negotiate tariffs or something. If the price of petrol goes up, apparently it's reasonable for the government to march half a million troops into a foreign country, kill tens of thousands of their citizens and topple their government. I mostly understand the difference between these three commodities, but I don't understand the role the government has in deciding which of these wildly inconsistent responses is warranted.

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When I go to sleep my mind starts to wander, I think about various problems that happened that day, my plans for the future and so on. Often I start to analyze things, imagining I'm explaining them to someone, for example some physical phenomenon or my political views. I noticed that sometimes it resembles a tree structure. I go from A to B to C, return to B, go to D, return to B, return to A, go to E.

When these things happen I also simultaneously see/imagine moving through space, and It's pretty much always Call of Duty 4 MW multiplayer maps. I played that game years ago when I was 15-17, now I'm in my late 20s.

From my wikipedia knowledge I can tell that hippocampus is involved in memory consolidation and spatial memory and it's active during sleep. Could what I experience be my hippocampus saving memories to long term storage accidentally triggering the spacial memory of those CoD 4 maps?

Also, am I accidentally doing Yoga Nidra? This video by Dr. K (at 5:46 in particular) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hIhFlNMFxY seems to explain the same thing.

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I recently read this blogpost:


It’s basically about moving to SF at 19 and living in a group house with 50 other people and finding your people. It was very inspiring…

I’m thinking of doing something similar. I recently graduated from uni in the UK, and the only time I felt I was with “my people” was at this Effective Altruist conference I went to once. I’m not even an EA, but I felt more energised there than at any other social event. I sense that SF will have a similar vibe.

I was wondering about the actual mechanics of it… how does one find a group house, how do you find interesting work, do random odd jobs etc.

Would love to hear people’s experiences!

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At a recent ACX meetup, I talked with someone who felt that when he found rationalists, he'd finally found his people. Rationalists weren't as much of a dramatic thing for me because from my point of view, rationalists aren't that different from (print) science fiction fans.

On the other hand, I don't think they're quite the same, and I think there are differences of style that I can't put a finger on. I realize there's a fair amount of overlap.

Anyway, what similarities do people see? What differences?

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A couple years ago I was extremely skeptical about Russia invading Ukraine, dismissing it as ridiculous. Obviously I was wrong, though to be fair this was before Russia moved troops into the breakaway regions. Between this and the actual invasion, I became preoccupied by adulting milestones and stopped following international news and posting on blogs. On reflection, I'd say that my extreme skepticism of the US government's warnings came from the Iraq War, which was the defining US foreign intervention of my generation (so far, anyways). Consequently I've started giving somewhat more credence to information from the US government.

My question now is which sources do ACX's readers (you) perceive as most reliable when it comes to the big issues of our time? On the Ukraine war, Al Jazeera seems to me the most trustworthy mainstream outlet so far.

Also, personal theory on why military aid to Ukraine has been escalated gradually rather than done all at once, in addition to the fear of NATO involvement and nuclear weapons, which seems to me plausible enough:

The US is looking to potential flashpoints of conflict around the world that's reached a stable equilibrium and where Russia is a significant player. While it wants Russia to "lose" in Ukraine, it doesn't want it to happen so quickly that there are rapid unpredictable consequences in those places. Eg, see Nagorno-Karabakh, Serbia and Kosovo, central Asia, and even India-Pakistan.

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If you're a broke brainiac, 7Sage, a high end LSAT tutoring company, is sane and reasonably pleasant to work for, and starting pay is $60/hr for tutoring and $100/hr for teaching classes. All work is virtual. You have to get a high score on the LSAT to be hired, though. I believe the cutoff is 175 out of a possible high score of 180. That's about 98th percentile I think. They don't care whether you are going to law school or not, just want to see the score as evidence that you're excellent at the test itself. They are actively hiring now. (I have no affiliation with them -- just happen to know someone who works for them.)

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How do the pawn shops actually function, from the economical perspective?

If I understand it correctly, they lend to people relatively small amounts of money with high interest, with some objects as a collateral. They make money either when the interest is paid, or if the objects are sold. First question, what is the typical balance between these two sources of income? Do most people pay the money back? Or is selling the objects actually the main source of profit?

Second question, what fraction of those objects was originally stolen? I mean, if you imagine yourself as a thief, in every place you break into, you find some cash, and lots of objects that are mostly useless to you. If only there was a convenient way to convert those objects into cash... oh wait, there is -- you just have to pretend that you are taking a loan that you are unable to pay back. It doesn't matter if you only get a fraction of those objects' market worth, because you got them for free anyway. Am I too paranoid here, or is this actually an important part of how these things work?

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What kinds of intellectual development is available to someone who comes to self-diagnose themselves to be temperamentally a "hater" or outright bigot?

Let's imagine someone who openly advocates policies that are invidious, widely characterized as racist, and politically immune to criticism due to the cluster of beliefs they've adopted. The public persona of Trump's adviser Stephen Miller comes to mind; I don't intend here to make a specific attribution that either person is in fact inclined to be a reactive and biased judge of others.

My question isn't about whether these people are "bad." Instead, I'm curious what path is available to someone who feels that, in their most intimate thoughts, they are very tribal, harsh in their judgments of out-groups, and then they come to recognize that their inclinations are truly biased in a distorted fashion.

Is there a path available to such people to extirpate these biases?

In our cultural climate, it'd be inconceivable to openly confess to such inclinations, unless they wanted to simply volunteer as a poster-child for "anti-racists." That camp frankly seems to believe that everyone *else* is as biased as this hypothetical Stephen-Miller-type admits to being.

Are there options for such a temperamental hater-reflex beyond the way functioning schizophrenics can recognize certain voices & beliefs as non-reality based?

What books/blogs/experiences could be developed to help such self-admitted bigots?

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Lately, I've gotten interested in radar jamming and deception, and in the countermeasures that are used against the jammers/deceivers. It's hard to find simple, clear information on what the state-of-the-art of these technologies are. Does anyone know about it?

Here's one question I have: if a radar is being jammed, it can solve the problem by switching to a new radio frequency. Of course, the jammer can quickly figure out what the radar did and then switch its own jamming signal to the new frequency. The solution seems obvious: Install simple computers in the radars that randomly switch frequencies once an attempt at jamming is detected. Aside from just jamming ALL radio frequencies, how can the attacker overcome that? Random switching is impossible to predict, so it seems like the defender should have an enduring advantage.

Another question: I've read that each military radar has unique strengths and weaknesses, and a specific kind of electronic "signature." Data on these factors are very valuable to enemies. What are examples of those strengths and weaknesses, and what defines a radar signature? Isn't a radar a radar?

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If levered ETFs are such a bad investment, why is the UPRO ETF (it's 3x the results of the S&P 500, calculated daily) up about 40x since 2009? If I'd put all of my money into UPRO on June 26th 2009, wouldn't I now have around 40x that amount? It was $1.26 on that day (its inception), it's about $40 today. The S&P 500 has increased about 5x in that time. Seeing as we're all investing in index funds with the assumption that they will eventually go up, isn't buying (index fund but 3x) at least 3 times as good?

Yes, I know all of the arguments against levered funds. Yes I understand that 3x leverage is only good for the day, not a longer period of time. Yes, I want to emphasize in all caps that I understand how volatility decay works- that it will fall more in market downturns, that it can actually have worse results than its index under some conditions (I think this was true for 2020). Yes I understand what a drawdown is, and how the arithmetic around them works. I get all that. But- my simple observation is that UPRO is up 40x since 2009. If volatility decay & drawdowns are such a bad thing, wouldn't it *not* be up by so much?

(Please for the love of God do not give me an explanation that includes how volatility decay & drawdowns works. I get it, I promise you)

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Are there any big multi day events that gather a lot of this crowd? Rationalist group vacations?

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I've been thinking about the tactics of a situation where multiple candidates are competing for a nomination, might write a substack post about it, was hoping to bounce ideas off people here and, hopefully, get some new ones.

Consider, first, a campaign without an initially dominant candidate, the Democratic campaign in 2020 not the Republican in 2024. Different candidates appeal to different groups of voters. The more candidates are splitting the votes of a particular pool, the fewer votes each would get. So it would make sense for two or more candidates who appeal to the same voters to agree that all but one of them will withdraw.

If everyone agrees that they are starting with equal chances of winning the nomination they could use some random method, perhaps rolling dice, to decide who stays in. Ex ante that improves the odd for all of them, since if they are not splitting the votes the chance that the nomination will go to one of them goes up. If their initial chances are not equal but they agree on what they are, they can do the same thing with weighted odds. If they cannot agree on what the chances are, perhaps they could agree that whichever of them does best on three selected polls will stay in, the others withdraw.

Next consider the current Republican race. The candidates face a choice between two approaches. One is to assume that if Trump remains in the race he will win it and aim to be the candidate if Trump has a heart attack, or is assassinated, or for some other reason drops out of the race. The candidate will want to pick up Trump's voters so should be careful not to attack Trump.

The other approach is to try to beat Trump for the nomination. That looks very difficult at present but not impossible. It might be a more plausible approach in a situation where there is a leading candidate but with a smaller lead.

One version of that approach is to be the anti-Trump candidate, in the hope that the primary voters become disenchanted with Trump's approach. That is the tactic that Chris Christie is attempting. Another is to out-Trump Trump, as Ren DeSantis is attempting.

Comments? Other approaches?

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Why did the war in Iraq/Global War on Terror in general lead to right-wing types becoming isolationist- but this didn't seem to happen after the Vietnam war, which was much more socially divisive and had way higher casualties? Unless I'm completely wrong about the Vietnam fallout.

I'm middle aged, so the right-wing turn from hawkish globalism to isolationism in the last 15 years has been absolutely head-spinning to live through. (Personal politics- vanilla center-left type who was strongly against the war in Iraq at the time). In the mid 2000s being on the political right meant a great deal of nationalistic enthusiasm for invading other countries thousands of miles away- we were maybe going to invade Iran after Iraq, possibly North Korea, and anyone else that looked at us cross-eyed too. Gems like 'we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here' were very common. Being against invading other countries on other continents was seen as traitorous and unAmerican. In an incredible turnaround, Iraq and Afghanistan are now widely seen as failures (which they were), and the American right has a very strong isolationist strain. Now many Republicans are questioning NATO, our treaty with South Korea, etc.

Was there such an isolationist turn after Vietnam, which again had way way more casualties than the GWOT? If not, why not?

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I may be interested in applying mechanistic interpretability to some deep learning models I am using in my research in astronomy. These are quite small models, few layers and thousands of neurons at most. What is the best tooling currently available? I am familiar with pytorch, so tools that seamlessly integrate with it would be best.

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Yesterday, Richard Hanania tweeted:

"This has nothing to do with actually sympathizing with Russia. For a small government party, taking a stand on Ukraine aid as the number one priority simply makes sense given what a huge portion of the budget it is. Ukraine losing will save social security."


Someone asked him what % of US GDP he thought was being sent to Ukraine. He replied:

"At least 40% last time I checked."


This is an absurd thing to think and claim. It's many many orders of magnitude wrong. When told this he didn't apologize or correct, but deflected that it doesn't matter because of like people dieting of fentanyl or something.

If you are a supporter of Hanania, does this make you update your priors on his analysis of various situations? Regardless of your opinion on Ukraine/Russia, he either refuses to accept the actual value of Aid or he is willfully throwing shit out there just to make his point. Does that not point to the potential of similar behavior on other subjects? Why should we take him and his analysis seriously?

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For those interested in the climate change debate, Statistics Norway has just released an open-access (English language) Discussion Paper arguing that it is not possible, based on available data, to determine how much of the warming trend during the last 200 years that has man-made causes. The paper can be downloaded here:


...for the record, Statistics Norway Discussion Papers have been through an internal review process, but not external review. However, the auhors are acknowledged professionals, and Statistics Norway is the authoritative "go to" place for professional statistical analysis in Norway, and has a thorough internal review process.

Discussion Paper (no. 1007/2023) by Statistics Norway. Title: "Is it certain that the recent global warming trend is mainly man-made?" Copy from abstract and conclusion:

"...we review key properties of global climate models and statistical analyses conducted by others on the ability of the global climate models to track historical temperatures. These tests show that standard climate models are rejected by time series data on global temperatures. Finally, we update and extend previous statistical analysis of temperature data (Dagsvik et al., 2020). Using theoretical arguments and statistical tests we find, as in Dagsvik et al. (2020), that the effect of man-made CO2 emissions does not appear to be strong enough to cause systematic changes in the temperature fluctuations during the last 200 years....In other words, our analysis indicates that with the current level of knowledge, it seems impossible to determine how much of the temperature increase is due to emissions of CO2."

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In late 2021, this was added to the Mistakes section (#41):

"In my 2014 review of The Two Income Trap, I suggested Elizabeth Warren was smart and good. Subsequent events have conclusively revealed her to be dumb and bad. ACX regrets the error."

Has Scott elaborated on this anywhere?

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Re: Czech Republic. IMO so far it's not that interesting in terms of TFR increase initiatives, as they haven't actually reached the 2.05 threshold necessary to sustain the population level. But there's 3 other countries that have managed to bring their TFR back to normal, as per World Bank data.

1. Kazakhstan. From 1.8 in 1998 to 3.32 in 2021

2. Georgia. From 1.55 in 2003 to 2.08 in 2021

3. Tunisia. From 1.96 in 2002 to 2.08 in 2021

As far as I know, none of them had particularly generous social programs. All of them did see a huge improvement in their economy over the past 20 years but usually this results in *decreasing* rather than increasing TFR. These should be the countries to learn from, not Hungary or Czech Republic which have failed to produce tangible results so far.

[Edited to update the list]

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I'm looking for a "work buddy" -- the idea is that we'd meet over discord/zoom for a couple hours and keep each other accountable during the work block (report what we're planning to accomplish, and then whether we've accomplished it). Right now my work schedule involves long chunks of uninterrupted time and I'm finding it hard to stay on track. I'd love for this to become a regularly (daily?) thing, but if you would like a one-shot work buddy (someone to meet for an hour and force you to get started on whatever you've been procrastinating on) I'd also be down. Also, I'd love to know of any preexisting groups I could join.

Contact: test128902 [at] gmail.com

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What are the best books on ADHD for high-IQ women?

For background, I am the partner. She is extremely talented and knows she has ADHD, but struggles to manage basic symptoms. It is certainly affecting our relationship.

Ideally, the book would speak directly to her experiences, would provide advice and guidance, and also be a good, intriguing read.

I'd also love to hear from women in this situation, or for their partners.

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We're coming up on Columbus Day again, and our annual fight on whether or not we should be celebrating the guy in the first place. One argument I think is given too little weight, is how incredibly reckless his decision to sail west was in the first place. His miscalculation of the circumference of the Earth and relative position of the far East is just staggering – not least since far better estimates had been around for thousands of years.

So I wrote down my thoughts about Columbus as 15th century tech bro: https://nordtomme.substack.com/p/columbus-reckless-stupidity

(and I illustrated it with a map and a blinking gif, that I know Scott would hate, but that I am nevertheless a bit proud of.)

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Me and a friend got into a cordial argument about therapy. My potential problem with therapy (although I guess it would be more correctly stated as a potential problem with therapists) is that, since it is a professional practice, you are meant to treat clients in a certain nonjudgmental, unconditional positive regard-y way; regardless of your personal opinions. But this also implies that there is a potential degree of fabrication/construction/faking which a therapist might be doing, in the case of, e.g., them disliking you at a personal level but having to act as a therapist regardless. (this shouldn't be extrapolated to me having the fear of being disliked-presume the client is a serial abuser, or a school shooter, or someone else who you would personally find abhorrent.)

This separation, as a professional, is entirely sensible. However, with someone who I am being almost completely honest with, and who I am trusting to handle my emotions-it seems hard to trust someone who is acting more like a therapist than like a person-who isn't letting their opinions color their behavior-because I'm not in the market for that sort of validation, I'm in the market for honest conversation. the fact that a person is wearing the therapist 'mask', if you will, makes it seem somewhat manipulative, in the sense of me being completely uncertain about if how my therapist acts is in accord with what they actually believe. That degree of acting-on-beliefs, that sense of coherency, is very important to me. (I want to talk to a person, not to an institutional gestalt of best practices.)

My question, from everyone and-more importantly-actual therapists, is the following: is this warranted? do therapists have the ability to separate their profession from themselves to this degree? and if so, is it reasonable to be worried about this sort of non-coherency?

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Has anybody here read Alexander Grothendieck's La Clef des Songes?

I saw a recent article about 28000 pages of his writing on "philosophy", and this seems to be the best-known of his non-mathematical works.

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Robin Hanson and Agnes Callard's 'Minds Almost meeting' podcast reliably infuriates me because of the mismatch in the two hosts' thinking styles but it really is the only podcast I know of where people talk about genuinely philosophical topics off the cuff and on net I really enjoy it. Does anybody know of similar podcasts?

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Arguments about free will usually turn into arguments about definitions, but as a definition of one type of "free will", can we not say that a person has free will over a particular action if they would have chosen differently if offered a sufficiently large incentive?

For example, for a million dollars I'll happily hold my breath for a minute, so I have free will over that. But I can't consciously slow my heart rate to 30 bpm, so that's outside the scope of my free will. A man can resist taking his first shot of heroin if you offer him a million dollars instead, but maybe the thousandth shot of heroin is impossible to resist and hence beyond free will.

I'm thinking of this definition particularly in the context of crime and punishment. If a criminal could possibly have been incentivised not to commit a particular crime then it makes sense to declare that they had free will when choosing to do it, and hence to punish them for it, because the existence of this punishment becomes part of the incentive structure that exists for others considering the same crime.

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Read an interesting piece on the relationship between CO2 and cognition


Does anyone know more about this topic / or have a different perspective on the literature?

The main claim of the piece is that there isn’t enough research. I’m interested in what people make of the research that already exists

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I'd like to check a theory. Part of what happened to cause a lot of elderly politicians at the top with no obvious successors is that health care got just a little better. With an extra ten or twenty years of healthspan (not great health,, necessarily, but not falling over) there was no urgent need to hand power over to younger people.

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Last week I was reading through the Iran Wikipedia entry and realized I have an exceptionally poor mental model of the country and their global influence. Generally I only ever hear about Iran when their nuclear program is discussed. So this might be a bit overly broad, but how do *you* think about Iran? Are there any interesting insights to be gained by contrasting their mostly Muslim culture with Western society?

More generally, have you recently found any of your models were woefully inaccurate and been forced to make updates?

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I can’t fault substack for trying to compete with twitter, but the latest app update was the last straw for me. The last thing I need in life is another rage bait delivery service. I’m back to reading just via email. Do any of you actually enjoy the new design or have had success curating the “tweets”?

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This may seem a couple of stupid questions about Trump's retained documents case but why did he take the physical documents anyway? Did he not know how to use the camera on a cell phone? And if he had taken digital images of them would it still be an offence?

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Ad Czech fertility rate: I suggest to compare it with Hungary, Poland and Slovakia over time. Ourworldindata has a handy tool for that: https://ourworldindata.org/fertility-rate.

Pattern in those countries is broadly the same: gradual fall from the peak baby boom of the 70s, then sudden further fall in the 90s, imho connected to regime change (1989), then gradual rebound in early 00s, which plateaued and then slightly fell after a few years (this is imho caused by the Great Recession), and then rebound when economy improved.

Czechia stands among those countries only in so far in that it had much deeper fall in the 90s and then much more robust rebound. Imho this is partially self-correcting mechanism at work (availability of housing stock etc.).

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Given this tweet: https://nitter.net/elonmusk/status/1708629197617336398 , has Elon Musk now fully sided with team Russia? Or is it just another pathetic attempt at trolling the libs, like his next tweet: https://nitter.net/elonmusk/status/1708632465282150796 ?

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I have recently come across the question of "how bad was colonialism?" a couple of times. Now, there's no denying that many atrocious crimes were committed by colonialists, but it's always important to consider the counterfactuals. Once one part of the world gets on track with science and industrialization and international commerce, while other parts of the worlds are literally still on a stone-age level when it comes to technology and institutions, can that conceivably be a stable situation? Would it even be ethical to leave indigenous peoples on their stone-age level, with outrageous child mortality and constant tribal warfare? What would have been the most benevolent way to bring those societies that want to join the modern world up to speed?

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It's claimed that black people use the n-word so much to 'reclaim' the word and 'rob it of its power'. Is this a defensible claim? It seems to me the n-word has literally never been more powerful than it is today. And yes, that includes during slavery, perhaps even especially compared to then.

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Last week UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman made a speech in Washington DC to the AEI. In it she said some things about immigration and integration that in any other time but ours would have seemed like plain common sense. Predictably in Britain's Virtue Signalling Party one-party state she was furiously bad-mouthed all across the MSM and political establishment. But what shocked me (and I'm not easily shocked) is that I couldn't find a single supportive thing on any Uk-based Substack either.

Hence this Open Thread.https://grahamcunningham.substack.com/p/carry-on-governing

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Is anybody an expert in psychometrics? I need help evaluating papers ORs.

I realized a family member had mental illness and now want to know the risks for my children. I'm making a "how many kids at what paternal ages means how much risk" model but need to know what parameters to put in. I have some confidence in the math, but less confidence in my ability to evaluate the validity of the papers from which I pull ORs.

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I am suspicious of Empathizing-Systemizing theory of autism and sex differences, and suspect that the original data the theory was constructed from is sufficient to disprove the theory. I wrote up the details for my test here: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6q3vr5t9kXFGkHbMC/a-content-analysis-of-the-sq-r-questionnaire-and-a-proposal

However before I charge ahead with an expensive test of the theory, I would like to adversarially collaborate with one or more people who believe in the theory to ensure that my investigation will actually be convincing.

If you are interested, consider joining the Rationalist Psychometrics discord to discuss: https://discord.gg/tanzAJQ3

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