Genesis 2019-11-14T16:20:47.508Z · score: 20 (9 votes)
Aella on Rationality and the Void 2019-10-31T21:40:52.042Z · score: 30 (10 votes)
Polyamory is Rational(ist) 2019-10-18T16:48:52.990Z · score: 26 (8 votes)
Interview with Aella, Part I 2019-09-19T14:05:18.523Z · score: 11 (14 votes)
Predictable Identities - Midpoint Review 2019-09-12T14:39:44.348Z · score: 20 (5 votes)
Unstriving 2019-08-19T14:31:56.786Z · score: 42 (29 votes)
Jacob's Twit, errr, Shortform 2019-08-17T23:49:43.993Z · score: 7 (1 votes)
Diana Fleischman and Geoffrey Miller - Audience Q&A 2019-08-10T22:37:53.090Z · score: 38 (20 votes)
Cephaloponderings 2019-08-04T16:45:57.065Z · score: 42 (19 votes)
Interview With Diana Fleischman and Geoffrey Miller 2019-07-16T01:34:26.156Z · score: 13 (11 votes)
PlayStation Odysseys 2019-07-01T17:41:52.499Z · score: 24 (6 votes)
Podcast - Putanumonit on The Switch 2019-06-23T04:09:25.723Z · score: 7 (3 votes)
Get Rich Real Slowly 2019-06-10T17:51:32.654Z · score: 32 (16 votes)
Lonelinesses 2019-05-31T13:55:55.135Z · score: 49 (18 votes)
Thinking Fast and Hard 2019-05-13T19:58:34.089Z · score: 27 (11 votes)
The State of Affairs 2019-05-03T16:18:31.706Z · score: 33 (13 votes)
Buying Value, not Price 2019-04-29T15:51:55.470Z · score: 35 (13 votes)
Interview with Putanumonit 2019-04-24T14:53:00.096Z · score: 17 (7 votes)
Airportpourri 2019-04-24T14:51:24.281Z · score: 6 (2 votes)
Exponential Secretary 2019-03-04T19:47:48.912Z · score: 19 (5 votes)
Cooperation is for Winners 2019-02-15T14:58:08.949Z · score: 23 (8 votes)
Masculine Virtues 2019-01-30T16:03:56.000Z · score: 49 (30 votes)
Curing the World of Men 2019-01-18T20:23:18.006Z · score: -9 (14 votes)
Finance Followups 2019-01-17T17:54:44.256Z · score: 29 (11 votes)
Why Don't Creators Switch to their Own Platforms? 2018-12-23T04:46:47.047Z · score: 45 (16 votes)
In Defense of Finance 2018-12-17T16:59:11.149Z · score: 54 (11 votes)
Peanut Butter 2018-12-03T19:30:56.907Z · score: 32 (8 votes)
Trigger Action Planning Workshop 2018-12-03T19:28:19.041Z · score: 7 (1 votes)
deluks917 on Online Weirdos 2018-11-24T17:03:20.474Z · score: 25 (8 votes)
Mandatory Obsessions 2018-11-14T18:19:53.007Z · score: 81 (29 votes)
UBI for President 2018-10-18T15:09:08.463Z · score: 44 (25 votes)
What the Haters Hate 2018-10-01T20:29:42.489Z · score: 28 (26 votes)
Hang Out on the Roof 2018-09-18T16:10:27.396Z · score: 6 (1 votes)
The Scent of Bad Psychology 2018-09-10T18:42:21.682Z · score: 44 (19 votes)
I am the very model of a self-recursive modeler 2018-09-06T21:45:41.646Z · score: 48 (19 votes)
Social Skills 2018-09-04T16:37:58.044Z · score: 6 (1 votes)
Player of Games 2018-08-29T21:26:37.672Z · score: 54 (21 votes)
Jobs Inside the API 2018-08-21T21:45:08.671Z · score: 63 (33 votes)
Top Left Mood 2018-07-24T14:35:26.170Z · score: 17 (9 votes)
The Biggest Problem in your Life 2018-07-22T14:56:04.244Z · score: 8 (2 votes)
Polyamory Panel 2018-07-06T20:51:52.498Z · score: 17 (5 votes)
Geoffrey Miller on Polyamory and Mating 2018-07-05T20:01:29.254Z · score: 9 (3 votes)
Debt is an Anti-investment 2018-07-05T20:00:38.267Z · score: 42 (20 votes)
Tau Day 2018-06-28T04:00:52.870Z · score: 14 (2 votes)
Geoffrey Miller on Research and Politics in Psychology 2018-06-19T21:03:44.758Z · score: 7 (4 votes)
Investing and Personal Finance 2018-06-18T22:09:56.586Z · score: 16 (3 votes)
Geoffrey Miller on Effective Altruism and Rationality 2018-06-15T17:05:08.827Z · score: 17 (4 votes)
Monty Hall in the Wild 2018-06-06T18:03:22.593Z · score: 24 (19 votes)
Quillette: Outgroups, Bias, and the Dark Web 2018-05-25T20:31:54.816Z · score: 14 (-10 votes)
The Context is Conflict 2018-05-18T02:16:51.535Z · score: 47 (17 votes)


Comment by jacobian on Babble · 2019-11-22T22:06:01.583Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This post changed how I think about everything from what creativity is to why my friend loves talking one-on-one but falls silent in 5 person groups. I will write a longer review in December.

Comment by jacobian on Aella on Rationality and the Void · 2019-11-01T19:58:58.205Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

LSD doesn't make your brain do anything your brain is incapable of doing, just many things that your brain hasn't done in a long while. The best description I can give is that it gives you the intellectual openness of a 5-year-old, the emotional openness of a 3-year-old, and the sensory experience of perhaps a baby who has not formed strong enough predictions of things like "the clouds don't shift in shape while I look at them". All of these are in your brain, but they're usually suppressed by the strong top-down predictions and ego-narrative that are generated by parts of your brain like the Default Mode Network. Psychedelics suppress the DMN and let the rest of your brain run free.

Comment by jacobian on Aella on Rationality and the Void · 2019-11-01T15:26:49.093Z · score: 18 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I missed the importance of that sentence in the actual conversation and moved on to the next topic, but then when I listened to the recording it made me go "Holy $&@%!" This is absolutely the biggest disagreement between me and Aella. To me, the fact that the sense of insight is the same is *absolutely terrifying*. It's not a good thing.

Comment by jacobian on Why Are So Many Rationalists Polyamorous? · 2019-10-25T19:20:59.966Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I used both "questioning intuitions" and "overcoming intuitions" in my own article, and both very much refer to what you wrote: understanding where they come from, dissolving when they're not useful. I probably should have chosen a better vocabulary. By "questioning" I mostly meant the *inclination* to even doubt one's intuitions, and by "overcoming" I meant the *ability* or *skill* at behaving in ways that go against your initial reaction (whether because the intuition is dissolved or overridden). I did not mean "overcoming intuition" to mean the normative stance that intuitions should be discarded willy-nilly or numbed, just the ability to do something about them.

Comment by jacobian on Frontpage Posting and Commenting Guidelines · 2019-10-24T23:00:21.390Z · score: 15 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I couldn't find a better place in 5 minutes of searching.

I think that the mix of "recent" and "upvoted" in the Latest Posts section skews way too heavily towards total karma, even for new posts with a tiny number of votes.

As a specific example, my link to a research post on polyamory, Rationality and correlated beliefs was strongly downvoted by the first person who saw it. This set its total karma to 1, which caused it to drop out of the front page within 2 hours of publication. It currently has 3 karma/3 votes. Now, when this happened before I just shrugged and assumed my posts were not good enough. But this is a super high-effort post containing a ton of novel data and analysis on a topic of interest to the community. I dare say it meets the frontpage criteria outlined above. It was linked by Tyler Cowen on Marginal Revolution and currently has 6,200 pageviews, but only 39 of them are from LessWrong.

I think that the "upvoted" part of the algorithm needs to either be downweighted, or its weight should be a function of the total number of votes. 0.5 karma/vote over 100 votes is a signal of low quality, even if the total karma is a healthy 50. 0.5 karma/vote over 2 votes is a signal of nothing at all, but its enough to kick the post out of the frontpage.

Comment by jacobian on Jacob's Twit, errr, Shortform · 2019-10-04T15:54:53.000Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If you're reading this, please fill out a short online survey to research the beliefs and habits of people in my online circles. The results, along with my hypotheses, will be published on It is anonymous, multiple-choice, and should take 5 minutes to complete. Thank you!

Comment by jacobian on Honoring Petrov Day on LessWrong, in 2019 · 2019-09-27T05:34:15.376Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

As they say in the KGB, one man's nuclear terrorism is another man's charity game show.

Comment by jacobian on Honoring Petrov Day on LessWrong, in 2019 · 2019-09-26T22:10:24.990Z · score: 12 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed. I have launch codes and will donate up to $100 without writing it in my EA budget if that prevents the nuke from being launched.

Comment by jacobian on Jacob's Twit, errr, Shortform · 2019-09-20T21:06:40.429Z · score: 13 (4 votes) · LW · GW


TL;DR: In Utopia, no one is Catholic.

Politics, business, technology, even rationality: many important things preoccupy us but leave the soul lacking. People crave connection, beauty, purpose, meaning, transcendence. These things can be found And so they turn to the many religions that seem to offer that.

Tim Urban noted that people in non-great relationships are twice as far from having relationships figured out as single people. They have two hard steps to take instead of just one: first to realize their current relationship is bad and break it up, then to find a great one. I'm starting to feel that today's religions are the bad marriages of the pursuit of transcendence.

Religions were not optimized to uplift humans, they evolved to serve their priests and their memes. They offer pieces of the good stuff, but at the heavy cost of false beliefs. And how can the ideal state of your soul be one where you believe falsehoods?

I have seen glimpses of my soul's ultimate goal. In poems, in woods, in cuddle parties. And I'm grateful that I could see them clearly, without the veil of one dogma or another obscuring my vision. I may or may not ever get there, but with religion I certainly won't. And when I hear about rationalist friends becoming religious, I grieve for them having fallen off the path.

I think that this is Sam Harris' core truth, which is why he's so adamant about the benefits of individual spiritual practice and the horrors of organized religion. Each person's path is their own, and while the wisdom and advice of others is indispensable, any person (or holy book) claiming to already know the destination is going in the wrong direction.

Comment by jacobian on Dual Wielding · 2019-08-27T15:18:00.366Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Updating slightly that dual-wielding is a good idea. Updating significantly that the Pixel has a crappy battery - my Note 9 only ever finished the day below 30% during the short while I was obsessed with Bloons TD 6.

Comment by jacobian on Benito's Shortform Feed · 2019-08-17T23:54:14.653Z · score: 11 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I've found Facebook absolutely terrible as a way to both distribute and consume good content. Everything you want to share or see is just floating in the opaque vortex of the f%$&ing newsfeed algorithm. I keep Facebook around for party invites and to see who my friends are in each city I travel too, I disabled notifications and check the timeline for less than 20 minutes each week.

OTOH, I'm a big fan of Twitter. (@yashkaf) I've curated my feed to a perfect mix of insightful commentary, funny jokes, and weird animal photos. I get to have conversations with people I admire, like writers and scientists. Going forward I'll probably keep tweeting, and anything that's a fit for LW I'll also cross-post here.

Comment by jacobian on Jacob's Twit, errr, Shortform · 2019-08-17T23:49:44.150Z · score: 10 (8 votes) · LW · GW

There's been a lot of noise lately about affirmative consent, a standard of consent which requires explicit verbal confirmation for every escalation of romantic or sexual interaction. It has been adopted as a standard by many college campuses, and efforts have been made to turn it into actual law.

Most of the discussion has centered around the use of affirmative consent as a legal standard, and as such it is quite terrible: unfair, unjust, and impossible to interpret in a consistent way that stops bad behavior without criminalizing normal conduct. But, what I haven't seen mentioned, is that adopting affirmative consent as a loosely enforced social norm is really good for nerds. If you're not great at reading body language and subtle signs, the expectation that you'll ask for verbal consent makes flirting much easier. You're no longer an awkward geek, you're hip to the times!

I've personally erred on the side of asking explicitly in the past, and I think it has worked out great for me. Most women were happy to give consent when asked, the momentary awkwardness of asking quickly forgotten. A few said "no", in which case it's a good thing I asked! And I doubt that even a single one was poised so evenly on the fence that asking for verbal consent turned her off me.

What do y'all think? And is this actually making life better or worse for women who date nerds?

Comment by jacobian on Diana Fleischman and Geoffrey Miller - Audience Q&A · 2019-08-12T21:19:08.626Z · score: 23 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I feel somewhat bad that this post caused a user to become so outraged that they incinerated triple-digit karma in response. I didn't want to get involved in that conversation, but perhaps it would have been better to delete it before it spiraled.

To provide a bit of context for this Q&A: it was held in a private apartment, as a free to attend meetup that Diana and Geoffrey volunteered their time for. Every question asked by me or by the audience was driven by pure curiosity, no one was trying to be edgy or promote an agenda. This doesn't mean that I endorse every opinion they hold, and indeed, as soon as the recorded interview ended our group argued about these topics for hours. I do, however, endorse Diana and Geoffrey as kind, thoughtful people who hold no prejudice or hate.

I shared this because I promised Diana and Geoffrey that I will transcribe and post the entire interview for them to refer to and for our friends who couldn't attend. If you disliked or downvoted this post: do you think the world would be better off if I held the interview and didn't post the transcript?

Comment by jacobian on Podcast - Putanumonit on The Switch · 2019-06-27T16:32:28.355Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I just finished transcribing a different interview that I conducted, and transcribing audio takes forever. Since the audio quality on this podcast is so good I don't think I'm going to transcribe. However if someone else volunteers to do so, I would be very grateful and will link to the transcript on Putanumonit.

Comment by jacobian on Lonelinesses · 2019-06-23T04:11:26.580Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I love the "air gap" metaphor, that's exactly what I was getting at.

Comment by jacobian on Get Rich Real Slowly · 2019-06-11T18:35:33.574Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The first paragraph in the post links to Get Rich Slowly , the post where I explain the why and how of getting 6-8% on global equity index funds.

Comment by jacobian on Get Rich Real Slowly · 2019-06-11T03:57:43.225Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you and thanks to Lanrian for the tip!

Comment by jacobian on You Have About Five Words · 2019-03-13T15:58:32.025Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This immediately got me thinking about politics.

How many voters could tell you what Obama's platform was in 2008? But 70,000,000 of them agreed on "Hope and Change". How many could do the same for Trump? But they agreed on "Make America Great Again". McCain, Romney, and Hillary didn't have a four-words-or-less memorable slogan, and so...

Comment by jacobian on Masculine Virtues · 2019-02-12T15:14:46.154Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW
The list of things which involve working on a team and are not straight misery is very short. At the moment I can come up with nothing that isn't competitive.

Marriage and a family, if you do it right. Spouses have very aligned incentives, along with the added bonus of sexual attraction and outside expectations of working together. It's tragic when couples turn marriage from cooperation to competition, but it's not at all inevitable.

Comment by jacobian on Masculine Virtues · 2019-01-31T19:47:06.260Z · score: 9 (5 votes) · LW · GW

This is a good point. In fact, I wrote an essay for Ribbonfarm about avoiding competition where you can, such as in education, careers, and dating.

This is not a contradiction. This post is about building *traits* that let you be competitive. That's why sports is the best place to learn them: it's a very benign and rule-bound form of competition, very unlike cutthroat politics, academia, AI startups etc. Building skills that allow you to compete doesn't mean you have to seek out zero-sum contests to grind your life away at, but it does mean that you won't get scared away from a field if it becomes competitive and starts forming a hierarchy. It lets you choose where to compete.

Example: MIRI can work on AI safety at its leisure because it successfully competed for a high rank in the hierarchy of EA organizations. MIRI has to compete for donations and employees, and sportsmanship values let it do so without destroying other EA orgs along the way.

Comment by jacobian on Masculine Virtues · 2019-01-31T16:19:20.754Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · LW · GW

According to Statista, 10-11% of Americans below the age of 50 have played soccer in the last 12 months. Wikipedia puts that number at 24 million and rising in 2006. There are 4 million players registered with official US Soccer Association, but I play every week and have no idea what that is.

So there are somewhere between 5 million and 30 million people who play soccer *regularly* in the US, and 25,000 were admitted to a hospital for head injuries for a rate of 1/200-1/1200.

I play every week but I don't go flying into the sort of aerial tackles that end up with two players banging heads, as well as being cautious about my cranium in general. If my chance of head injury given this is 1/1000 each year, playing soccer is still worth it.

Comment by jacobian on Curing the World of Men · 2019-01-23T18:56:32.652Z · score: 2 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Come on, man. I link to the source that I think would be most relevant for my readers to understand the following discussion. In this case, it's the official APA release on the APA website describing the APA guidelines, it's not like I was linking to some third party account. As for the PDF with the guidelines themselves, I link to it at least twice in my post and it is linked from the release as well.

Comment by jacobian on Finance Followups · 2019-01-18T19:48:00.816Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It could be libertarian bias, but I think almost all financial advice would turn into a horrible grotesque if someone turned it into binding law. Politicians are financial idiots, and they will legislate based on what their financial idiot constituents will approve of, not what will make people financially secure in the long term. What politician ever has even the incentive, let alone the knowledge, to do the latter?

Take Social Security for example. It's basically a Ponzi scheme that can only be sustained long-term by doing things that harm everybody, like excess inflation or excluding the people who paid for it (high earners) from receiving it. How is that different from an average financial idiot person taking on credit card debt and then making suboptimal life choices to keep the interest payments at bay? The difference is only in the national scale of the stupidity.

People make bad choices all the time when it comes to money, food and romance. But when politicians jump into those areas they make terrible laws, and those are much worse than mere bad choices.

Comment by jacobian on Some Thoughts on My Psychiatry Practice · 2019-01-18T18:29:47.040Z · score: 11 (8 votes) · LW · GW

If someone will stay in a relationship or job that drives them to the verge of suicide for "identity" reasons, it means that the person/institution providing someone's identity has almost unlimited power over them.

I'm thinking of something like academia, which is used to dealing with people for whom their identity as an "academic" is the most precious thing in the lives. It's not just internal "culty" things like academics having their own friend groups, markers, and even language. It's also how external society sees them, like academics having special social status and even different names ("My name isn't No, it's Doctor No!") that reinforce "academic" as a precious identity. As a result, academia can impose arbitrary rules on its members, overwork and underpay them, and cause them to be depressed and anxious at 6 times the rate of the general public.

Perhaps the antidote to this is to build up an identity that is self-conferred, rather than being dependent on the approval of other people. You can call yourself a "rationalist truth seeker" for example even if the rightful Caliph thinks you're a moron, so that's an identity that doesn't open you to exploitation.

Comment by jacobian on Finance Followups · 2019-01-18T16:53:40.729Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

$1,000 to cover an emergency isn't a measure of wealth, it's a measure of liquidity. For this reason it makes sense to compare it to income. If you have $200,000 in student debt but still have a couple thousand in your checking account in case your car breaks down, you would count as having the money the way the survey was run. Using the word "savings" in that sentence was probably a bad choice on my part.

Comment by jacobian on Finance Followups · 2019-01-18T16:48:39.040Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There's an annoying catch here. I think financial education can help if it comes with really actionable suggestions. Instead of just talking about general principles, the vast majority of people would do better by following some super simple guidelines like:

  • Don't take credit card debt unless it's to save a life.
  • If you have debt at >5%, pay it right away before doing anything else. Devote at least 20% of your income to paying off the debt, regardless of how much you make.
  • After debt is taken care of, put 20% of your income in a global stock index fund 401k each month on autopilot.
  • Whenever you think "I'll buy this thing so that people think I'm cool" consider whether when you see people on the street with the thing you actually think they're cool.

But whenever you write something like that, people will flood you with nitpicks about some convoluted case where the specific advice doesn't apply. In this way, people who understand the math and only need the general principles prevent everyone else from taking the simple and useful advice that would benefit them.

Comment by jacobian on In Defense of Finance · 2018-12-19T07:52:46.266Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Well, as a matter of fact it doesn't seem like they do - they want 8%-15%. You could start a bank that promises to stay at e.g. 30% equity, but the market seems to indicate that you'll have a hard time finding investors. Banks work hard to differentiate themselves since they ultimately offer very similar products, and I don't know of any large bank that successfully differentiates by having high equity ratios.

Comment by jacobian on In Defense of Finance · 2018-12-19T07:45:53.616Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Isn't this an argument for encouraging more profitable banking (e.g., by eliminating capital requirements) so that banks could afford to give personalized attention to small borrowers? If banking is restricted, there's only enough banking to go around for the big fish.

Comment by jacobian on In Defense of Finance · 2018-12-18T19:35:53.163Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

If we started downvoting silly puns my entire blog would be at -1,000,000 points forever. You got my +2, hang in there, Ryan!

Comment by jacobian on In Defense of Finance · 2018-12-18T19:34:14.351Z · score: 2 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I wasn't trying to sneak in an assumption of bimodality, I just wanted to go through the math for two relevant examples: 10% equity (where banks currently are) and 50% (where Cochrane wants them).

why is there so little demand in the middle?

I think there is - 11.2% is in the middle between 3% (the absolute minimum allowed) or the 6% pre-crisis and 50% (the highest non-joking suggestion). I don't know (I don't think anyone knows) whether 11.2% is the magic right number, but it seems to be in the right range especially compared to the extremes. But today all large banks are above the 6% average of 2007 and in the 8%-15% range (or 11%-17% if you're looking at Tier 1 Cap / RWA) and their balance sheets got more stable and boring.

This is how the system works: the pendulum swings back and forth from boom to crisis and eventually settles on a good equilibrium (for many things, not just capital ratios). This post is mostly an argument against kicking the pendulum viciously in one direction or another.

Comment by jacobian on Is Clickbait Destroying Our General Intelligence? · 2018-11-19T16:02:54.204Z · score: 11 (5 votes) · LW · GW
there used to be just a few newspapers serving all the bubbles

I think that this in particular is a positive factor for quality of discourse / general intelligence, at least for large segments of the population.

Monoculture TV was trending towards 20-minute sitcom episodes, but now that we have HBO/Netflix many people choose to watch 10-hour seasons with complex stories. Radio and TV had talk shows with 5-minute interviews, now millions choose to listen to 2-hour podcasts. National magazines for nerds had to appeal to all nerds in the nation, but now I can choose to read LessWrong.

Certainly some people choose simpler and stupider. But when there was no choice, the mass media had to appeal to the common denominator - maybe not the 1st percentile of simplicity and stupidity but at most the 20th, not the 50th. This means that most people get smarter things when they have freedom to choose more niche media.

Comment by jacobian on Mandatory Obsessions · 2018-11-17T20:58:08.198Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW
Find your way past the proselytizers to the calmer, more-mature non-evangelist obsessives.

If you write an excellent post about your obsession that gets 196 upvotes on LW, I'll find it even if I don't really share the obsession. That was kinda my point - people discover their own obsessions because they found something important / fascinating, not because someone shamed them into caring about it.

Comment by jacobian on Rationality of demonstrating & voting · 2018-11-07T22:31:08.589Z · score: 10 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's interesting that you chose Brexit as the best example of a tight vote on a single issue with clear and massive advantage to one side - the best possible case for voting. And yet, even with Brexit it's easy to make the case for discounting the apparent impact of voting.

$3 trillion gained by remaining in the EU.

$3 trillion gained to whom? A lot of people who voted "Leave" would probably agree that Brexit will lower GDP, but they clearly think that the benefits of leaving (in social cohesion, security, whatever) are greater than the GDP hit. You could say that they're voting selfishly and that the lost GDP accrues to all Europeans and the narrow benefits only to them, but that's a problematic argument - why didn't the Europeans selflessly vote to safeguard the interests of rural Britons? As you noted, even pure altruism often (and unfortunately) stops at a nation's borders.

The half of Britain who voted to leave think that the benefits of leaving to them, and thus to half of Britain, is greater than $3 trillion. If we could sum up actual utils accrued to people, rather than dollars accrued to some national accounts, how certain can you be that the number is even positive given that half the nation disagrees with you?

Many ‘Remainers’ who wish to stay in the EU want a second referendum on the matter; recently, hundreds of thousands of them marched through London to call for one.

So even in the cleanest possible case of a single-issue referendum, the decision that was voted on is yet to be implemented. And when you vote for candidates with a whole list of proposals, the chance that electing the candidate will get the actual proposal implemented is much lower still.

My argument is that doing the math on voting makes it look a lot worse than you'd naively assume, not that the math comes out against voting in every possible case. But this also means that just because the math may barely favor voting on Brexit it doesn't mean that it will for other, dirtier cases.

Comment by jacobian on On insecurity as a friend · 2018-10-09T20:22:04.408Z · score: 22 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Said, I hope take comment below as positive, because that is how I mean it. I am trying to honestly communicate my own experience, not pass judgment. This is 100% sincere and unironic.

Said, I have seen a lot of your comments on LW, on my posts and the posts of others. They are, by my standards, high on criticism and low on niceness. I personally formed an impression of you as disagreeable. Even though I have argued myself that LW should optimize for honesty over niceness, still the impression of you disagreeableness was colored negatively in my mind.

But now that you've stated that you're disagreeable on purpose, the negative effect flipped entirely to become positive. Instead of you being disagreeable by accident, it's intentional. I like diversity, and I support people who are on a mission to bring a new flavor to the community. Knowing this also makes it easier to take criticism from you - it's not that you hate me or what I write, it's just that you don't care if someone thinks you hate them and their writing. The Bayesian update in the two cases is very different!

This isn't to say that Kaj is wrong in being more cautious, or that you are wrong in not being cautious. Do your own thing, and own it.

Comment by jacobian on What the Haters Hate · 2018-10-03T17:33:47.072Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Hold on. If you had asked me how this post fares on the rule of three, I would have said "two".

True - I honestly think that the pattern of "someone is against my group so they must be against our stated principles" is both a mistake that people make in their own head, and a rhetorical device they use against the outgroup.

Relevant - Recognizing this pattern can allow people to overcome bias and better understand arguments, outgrouping, and tribal fights in general. Also, I haven't seen this exact idea formulated.

Kind - Nope. I could have chosen to write a bloodless post full of generalities, or a snarky post using Ezra Klein as a salient example. I chose the second option on purpose.

You seem to disagree with the "true" claim. Do you disagree with what I wrote above about the pattern? Or do you think that this wasn't the central point of the article, and that something else is both false and central (such as whether identity/gender/race cleave Americans into two tribes)?

Comment by jacobian on What the Haters Hate · 2018-10-03T14:16:08.938Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the clarification. That was my impression as well, and I didn't expect this post to be on the frontpage.

With that said: if you remember off the top of your head, can you link to some content that dealt with CW/political issues but still met frontpage standards? Would my Quillette piece meet the standards? The less lazy version of Jacob that you envisioned is discouraged partly because he doesn't know what the standards are for touchy subjects and is worried that even if he tried it won't be on the frontpage.

(To be clear, the real version of Jacob is just too lazy to do major rewrites of posts for LW, it has nothing to do with standard ambiguity).

Comment by jacobian on What the Haters Hate · 2018-10-02T18:42:12.667Z · score: 12 (6 votes) · LW · GW
not something I'd like to see on LW

And also not something I would write on the old LW. But it seems weird to censor out snark when cross-posting things from Putanumonit, although I'm beginning to think that I should have done so.

demon threads are not as inevitable

That's actually part of why I wanted to write this. I've written some moderately controversial stuff on Putanumonit, and yet I hadn't had to moderate any demon threads. And the barrier to participation on LW is even higher than on Putanumonit, with the karma system and the prevailing norms here. My post on Jordan Peterson has >150 comments on LW, and almost all of them are good. It's important to remember that sometimes you can mention a demon by name and the demon *isn't* summoned.

if you wanted to partition the population into two clusters as cleanly as possible

I wouldn't really want to do that, because the US is made up of dozens of clusters who end up in tenuous alliances, not two groups. Some people mostly care about abortion, some about the economy of their small town, some about preserving their Christian/hippie/Pakistani/furry subculture, some about X-risk and climate change, and many don't really care about any policy topic at all, just about fitting in with their friends and neighbors.

A plausible model of Dave Rubin is that he cares about gay rights and free speech, so 10 years ago he was a leftist (because gay rights issues were salient and leftists were his allies), and today he's an anti-leftist (because gay marriage is a done deal, and leftists are now his enemies on free speech). The issues didn't change, but the clusters of alliances did.

Comment by jacobian on What the Haters Hate · 2018-10-02T16:14:00.434Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I agree, "Jihadis act as if they hate American intervention in Muslim countries" or "Jihadis want to consolidate power and support in their communities" is a better model than "Jihadis act as if they hate Americans". My point was that all three are way better models than "Jihadis hate our freedom (tm)".

Comment by jacobian on What the Haters Hate · 2018-10-02T16:10:06.444Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

That quote from Klein seems to me to be paralleled by a Catholic saying: "The divides today that define which side you're really on revolve around issues of the Trinity, the Eucharist, and Papal infallibility". Such a Catholic will not see much difference between a Jew and a Hindu because both disagree with her statements about the Pope.

I was at a party with several rationalists on Saturday and met people who did not who Kavanaugh was, let alone Damore or Sage Sharp or Molyneux. And those are all millenials, how many 60-year-olds spare zero thought to "race, gender, identity, and equality"? It seems strange to claim that the world is divided into pro-X and anti-X when a huge number of people don't know about X, don't want to think about X, or just want everyone else to shut up about X. And if you divide the world into "care about X" vs. "don't care about X" then Klein and Richard Spencer are going to be in the "care about what color Americans are" group, and I'll be in the other.

Comment by jacobian on What the Haters Hate · 2018-10-02T15:47:27.384Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think that the issue here is a more general one, about the structure, purpose, and norms of the new LW.

This is not a LW post, it's a Putanumonit post. I rarely write about culture war on Putanumonit, but I also don't censor myself. Now when it comes to cross-posting on LW, it seems that there are two possible goals for LW that are in conflict:

1. LW being a central hub and one-stop-shop for the entire rationalist diaspora, and all rationalist bloggers are encourage to cross-post everything to it.

2. LW being CW-free, and all members are encouraged to keep politics and culture war entirely out of it.

In terms of what *will* happen, I am happy to follow the will of the LW leadership team. If they ask me to remove this post or change it to a link post, I will.

In terms of what *should* happen, I strongly support #1. There can be a norm that CWish content is kept out of Frontpage and Curated, but I think there's a big benefit to having everything on LW. I write to engage smart people in my ideas, and that's exactly what is happening here. Despite the touchiness of the post's subject, the comments so far are mostly civil and relevant. Rationalists should be able to write non-mind-killed things about CW-related subjects (I hope this one qualifies) and have non-mind-killed conversations about them.

Ultimately, this is a big part of what rationalists *are* talking about: in private blogs, on Reddit, in real life. If LW is our home, there should be a place for those topics on LW, even if with higher standards and stricter norms of discussion.

Comment by jacobian on What the Haters Hate · 2018-10-02T15:29:34.652Z · score: 8 (5 votes) · LW · GW
But the blind spot that you're accusing Klein of is one which implicitly assumes that he thinks in terms of ITTs, tribes which are distinct from ideologies, etc.

Oh, wow. The main point I tried to get across is in fact that Klein *doesn't* think in terms of ITTs and ideology-is-not-movement, and that's why he's led into thinking that Rubin is a reactionary. My fault here isn't falling into my own trap (which the last two paragraphs explicitly address), but unclear writing.

Comment by jacobian on What the Haters Hate · 2018-10-01T21:50:19.313Z · score: 17 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I read this comment five times and I have no idea what you mean. Does "an article" refer to this one, and the irony is that I'm too absorbed in my own ideology? If so, what am I missing: the fact that Klein can pass the IDW's ITT, or the irrelevance of ITTs to the subject, or something else?

Comment by jacobian on The Scent of Bad Psychology · 2018-09-13T17:53:03.847Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I usually cross-post the entire article if:

1. It's related to rationality and the sort of thing I would post to LW if I didn't have Putanumonit.

2. It doesn't have a lot of images and tables I'll have to reload and reformat.

3. I'm not too lazy.

This time, the fault was mostly with #3.

Comment by jacobian on Good Citizenship Is Out Of Date · 2018-09-13T14:18:48.111Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Local communities have also become more fragmented, which makes them a better fit for a lot of people but doesn't involve them in "citizenship". Example: I help organize the NYC rationality meetup, a league soccer team, a group of circlers, Effective Altruism events etc. All of those help me build ties and standing in my focused social groups, but none of them carry any broad reputation benefits in the vein of Mr. Smith.

When Boy Scouts were the only game in town then everyone could agree on the merits of being a scout leader, but also a lot of kids who would have been happier circling or playing soccer or double cruxing were stuck learning knots or whatever.

Comment by jacobian on The Scent of Bad Psychology · 2018-09-11T17:20:18.651Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I never even noticed that those are two different things! This was not a typo, it was a glaring hole in my education. Thank you for filling it up.

Oh, and pedantic correction: you misspelled *silicone* with an extra *l*.

Comment by jacobian on On memetic weapons · 2018-09-07T16:59:42.877Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW
This weapon has been deployed to good effect against bad things. 
It's good to dethrone powerful predators. Weinstein should not get to be a Hollywood power-broker.

The weapon is a weapon of connotation, it accuses someone (or something) of being bad by being somehow connected to a category that is known to be bad. But of course, you don't need to do this for things that are actually bad. "Harvey Weinstein has sexually assaulted multiple women and used his power to scare them into silence" is a much more persuasive argument than "Harvey Weinstein is sexist". The Nazis weren't bad because they were "nazis", it's because they committed genocide.

If the only statement you can make about someone is "Person X is Y-ist" without any further argument about what X is doing that's bad and harmful, the weapon is probably not deployed in the service of good.

Comment by jacobian on I am the very model of a self-recursive modeler · 2018-09-07T16:13:56.007Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, it's a bit half baked - a missing syllable here and there, no chorus, not enough lines. If anyone wants to expand this into a fully baked poem, I will be delighted.

Comment by jacobian on I am the very model of a self-recursive modeler · 2018-09-07T16:11:23.926Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There were too many line pairs that could either have 15 syllables or be utterly mangled. I decided to compromise by alternating 16-syllable pairs with 15-syllable pairs and pretending it's on purpose. There's a reason I don't advertise Putanumonit as a poetry blog :)

Comment by jacobian on Debt is an Anti-investment · 2018-07-10T22:00:45.381Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

1. Briefly, you'd want to establish some minimum amount to cover emergencies (maybe $10-$20k), because the opportunity cost of not having available cash to deal with an emergency is huge. After that, I'd recommend paying off the debt if you think you'll almost certainly pay it off eventually (rather than declaring bankruptcy).

2. I guess that would be like an investment that's risk-free, but sometimes the money you want to invest in it gets stolen. In any case, my model is about debt/investment trade-offs, not about dealing with scammers. Don't pay scammers, that's the only model I have.

3. I think it's quite useful to assess an actual probability of you declaring bankruptcy, perhaps by multiplying the chance of you not having enough income to cover living expenses over some time frame. I think income also matters a lot more for debt repayment than assets, let alone liquidity.

Comment by jacobian on A Rationalist Argument for Voting · 2018-06-11T15:36:59.836Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

On 1, both candidates suck, and not because someone on the margin votes or doesn't but because of a thousand upstream causes: the personality type required to succeed in politics, the voting system that ensures a two-party lock in, the inability of citizens to comprehend the complexity of modern nation governments, etc.

On 2, let me make my general argument very particular:

1. Polls show that polarization on politics ("Would you let your child marry a Democrat?") is stronger than polarization on any other major alignment.

2. Unlike other things, political party affiliation is mostly a symbolic thing with few physical implications (compared to a job, a sexual orientation, or even being a rationalist). This makes one's interaction with political parties consist mostly of signaling virtue and loyalty by vilifying the other party.

3. Unlike other things, there's an entire industry (news media) that fans the flames of political party mind-kill 24/7.

Some people are willing to die on the Batman-v-Superman-was-better-than-Avengers hill, but not a lot. On the other hand, the Romney-was-better-than-Obama hill is covered in dead bodies ten layers deep. Myside bias and tribalism are bad everywhere, but party politics is the area where they're observably already causing immense harm.

I'm a huge Sixers fan, but I don't hate Celtics fans. We bond over our mutual love of basketball. That's not how party politics works.