Category Archives: Uncategorized

Is rationality overrated? Sometimes, it’s better to be reasonable.

“The study starts by distinguishing between two terms: there’s rationality, where you focus on maximizing the chance of getting what you want, and there’s reasonableness, where you strike a balance between what you want and social norms.

Although we might sometimes use rational and reasonable interchangeably, the study shows that people generally associate the former with the cold hard logic of self-interest and the latter with socially conscious traits like kindness or cooperativeness.”

The vicious cycle of disrespect and cynicism

“Moreover, cynical individuals tended to treat others with disrespect, which in turn predicted more disrespectful treatment by others. In short, experiencing disrespect gives rise to cynicism and cynicism elicits disrespect from others, thereby reinforcing the worldview that caused these negative reactions in the first place.”

Personality is not only about who but also where you are

“As a result of these broader changes, markets might have also changed our perceptions of affordability. In WEIRD societies with more resources (remember that the R in WEIRD stands for rich) kids might feel that they can better afford strategies such as patience and risk-seeking. If they get unlucky and pull out a green marble and didn’t win any candy, that’s okay; it didn’t cost them that much. But for Shuar kids in the rainforest with less resources, the loss of that candy is a much bigger deal. They’d rather avoid the risk.”

What is the problem with social media?

“In the case of social media, I would like to bring your attention to four foundational problems. There are likely more, but each of these is real, deep, and as far as I can tell, not yet fully understood.
In brief, these four are:

  1. Supernormal stimuli;
  2. Replacing strong link community relationships with weak link affinity relationships;
  3. Training people on complicated rather than complex environments; and
  4. The asymmetry of Human / AI relationships”

Chris Arnade on dignity and alienation in America’s working class | LIVE STREAM

Chris Arnade on dignity and alienation in America’s working class | LIVE STREAM

December 9, 2019 at 12:28PM

How to watch a football match like a professional coach

“Therefore the coach needs to look at everywhere else than where the ball is. Because the players’ positioning and movements will determine what options the ball carrying player does have. When I watch football from this zoomed-out perspective I call this level 2 watching.


Level 3 watching is very demanding and it takes a lot of practice. Maybe it will never be perfected because the options are so many. You still watch the game through the zoomed out lens that you use in level 2 but you now see the positioning as hypothetical. Instead of beginning to look for the movements you begin to look at the positioning.”

The horror of sameness

“In Judeo-Christian eschatology, there are two versions of paradise. One comes from the prophet Isaiah:

In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all.

In short, all conflict, contradiction and inequality will disappear and there will be peace and harmony. The other version of paradise appears in the Jewish Talmud as well as in the Christian Gospel of Matthew. From the Talmud: ‘A contrary order of things I have seen in the world beyond: the high in station are low there, the lowly are placed on high.’ And from the Gospel of Matthew: ‘So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’ In both cases, it is not equality and harmony that are promised, but a reversal of the existing worldly order.”

Moneyballing a Ballpark

from Ken Arneson

The complete history of Lucy’s pulling the football away

“Once we view Lucy and Charlie Brown’s autumnal tango in light of this poignant origin story—a cycle of pain and humiliation endured and transmitted—their annual football rite takes on a darker edge, and Lucy’s quips have the biting, sardonic twinge of someone who is not just out for fun, but for revenge.”

We learn more by trusting than by not trusting

“When our trust is disappointed – when we trust someone we shouldn’t have – the costs are salient, and our reaction ranges from annoyance all the way to fury and despair. The benefit – what we’ve learnt from our mistake – is easy to overlook. By contrast, the costs of not trusting someone we could have trusted are, as a rule, all but invisible.”

What Teaching Ethics in Appalachia Taught Me About Bridging America’s Partisan Divide

“Curious things start to happen to people when they listen generously. At the most superficial level, one hears things that he or she might not like. But one also hears the sincerity of people’s convictions, the authenticity of their experiences, and the nuance of their narratives. Being open is transformative because, almost inevitably, one finds that the stories they’ve been told about what people believe oversimplify reality.”

What Makes This Song Great? Ep.27 Peter Gabriel

What Makes This Song Great? Ep.27 Peter Gabriel

October 17, 2019 at 08:55PM

Tolerance of outsiders is also a human instinct

“Like many social animals, including several primate species, and also dolphins and elephants, we humans live in what are known as ‘fission-fusion’ societies – our allegiances are flexible; there is a fluidity in the size of groups into which we coalesce; and the boundaries between our groups or tribes are porous, depending on the circumstances. For instance, when food is abundant, individual members of fission-fusion species will temporarily dissolve their smaller formal groups and intermingle en masse. In contrast, when food is scarce, individuals will split into rival groups to search for food in different locations.”

What is a Tech Company?

“Note the centrality of software in all of these characteristics:

  • Software creates ecosystems.
  • Software has zero marginal costs.
  • Software improves over time.
  • Software offers infinite leverage.
  • Software enables zero transaction costs.

The question of whether companies are tech companies, then, depends on how much of their business is governed by software’s unique characteristics, and how much is limited by real world factors.”

Maybe Your Zoloft Stopped Working Because A Liver Fluke Tried To Turn Your Nth-Great-Grandmother Into A Zombie

“Throughout evolutionary history, parasites have been trying to manipulate host behavior and hosts have been trying to avoid manipulation, resulting in an eons-long arms race. The equilibrium is what we see today: parasite manipulation is common in insects, rare in higher animals, and overall of limited importance. But in arms race dynamics, the current size of the problem tells you nothing about the amount of resources invested in preventing the problem. There is zero problem with war between Iran and Saudi Arabia right now, but both sides have invested billions of dollars in military supplies to keep their opponent from getting a leg up. In the same way, just because mammals usually avoid parasite behavior manipulation now doesn’t mean they aren’t on a constant evolutionary war footing.”

The soccer stadium designed to be rebuilt every year

“Instead of cratering their downtown for an underground parking garage and pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the ground in the form of flashy, quickly-outdated amenities, the Wanderers built their Grounds with a much more humble plan in mind. They started with simple shipping containers to delineate the border of the stadium, removable bleachers offering just 6,000 seats, and a city price tag of exactly $0. (Well, the city helps cut the grass—a privilege for which the team pays rent.) The result? Tickets are selling out every game, and with their proof of concept delivered, the team is thinking of adding more, and maybe making a few other elements of their quasi-temporary stadium permanent.”

More here

Talk to Transformer

“In February, OpenAI unveiled a language model called GPT-2 that generates coherent paragraphs of text one word at a time.

For now OpenAI has decided only to release three smaller versions of it which aren’t as coherent but still produce interesting results. This site runs the largest released model, 774M, which is half the size of the full model.”

How ergodicity reimagines economics for the benefit of us all

“Expected utility theory has become so familiar to experts in economics, finance and risk-management in general that most see it as the obvious method of reasoning. Many see no alternatives. But that’s a mistake. This inspired LML efforts to rewrite the foundations of economic theory, avoiding the lure of averaging over possible outcomes, and instead averaging over outcomes in time, with one thing happening after another, as in the real world. Many people – including most economists – naively believe that these two ways of thinking should give identical results, but they don’t. And the differences have big consequences, not only for people trying to do their best when facing uncertainty, but for the basic orientation of all of economic theory, and its prescriptions for how economic life might best be organised.”

Book Review: Secular Cycles

“If history is just “one damn thing after another”, there’s no framework for figuring out what matters, what’s worth learning, what follows what else. The secular cycle idea creates a structure that everything fits into neatly. I know that the Plantagenet Dynasty lasted from 1154 – 1485, because it had to, because that’s a 331 year secular cycle. I know that the important events to remember include the Anarchy of 1135 – 1153 and the War of the Roses from 1455 – 1487, because those are the two crisis-depression periods that frame the cycle. I know that after 1485 Henry Tudor took the throne and began a new age of English history, because that’s the beginning of the integrative phase of the next cycle. All of this is a lot easier than trying to remember these names and dates absent any context.”

A New Clue to How Life Originated

“It means that two of the essential components of life, a protocell’s membrane and its proteins, provided the conditions for each other to exist. By sticking to the fatty acids, the amino acids gave them stability. In turn, the fatty acids concentrated the amino acids, perhaps encouraging them to coalesce into proteins. From the very beginning, these partners were locked in a two-step dance that continued for 3.5 billion years, and helped create all the richness of biology from a starting place of mere chemistry. “I agree completely,” Keller tells me. “It’s completely magical. You need those two parts together.””