Warning: mentions suicide, may trigger existential crisis. Straussian. There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. - Albert Camus If you’re an antinatalist, you should kill yourself. If you think most of contemporary academic philosophy is...
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    Jun 23, 2022

    AGI: Scale Is All You Need

    Mostly rehash of Gwern’s commentary on recent AI progress. The best answer to the question, “Will computers ever be as smart as humans?” is probably “Yes, but only briefly.” - Vernor Vinge The release of GPT-3 two years ago marked...
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    Jun 5, 2022

    Book Review: Public Choice Theory and the Illusion of Grand Strategy

    Richard Hanania details how a public choice model (imported from public choice theory in economics) can explain the United State’s incoherent foreign policy much better than the unitary actor model (imported from rational choice theory in economics) that underlies the...
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    Mar 20, 2022

    Practical Ethics of Preimplantation Polygenic Screening

    I’ll never understand what possessed my mother to put her faith in God’s hands, rather than her local geneticist. - Vincent Freeman In the 1997 dystopian science fiction film Gattaca, its protagonist Vincent Freeman is labelled as an “invalid” as...
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    Nov 25, 2021

    Book Review: The End of History and the Last Man – Part I

    Parts II and III are coming soon. Overview 20th Century Pessimism The Weakness of Strong States The Right The Left The Global Liberal Revolution Capitalism With Democratic Characteristics Endnotes Overview Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History? was published mere months...
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    Aug 30, 2021

    Is The Lead-Crime Hypothesis Real?

    For two decades now, lead has been very strongly suspected of causing crime. Does it hold up? Overview More Recent Studies No Safe Level Of Lead Bit Of A Stretch? Too Parallel To Be True? Biased Data Hopelessly Confounded Publication...
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    Aug 21, 2021

    Why You Should Use A Password Manager

    I declare no conflict of interest. I’m just a happy user of Bitwarden and Authy (they’re free anyway). Problem 1: You Need Good Passwords Problem 2: Good Passwords Are Hard To Remember The Solution Can’t I Just Use My Browser?...
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    Aug 15, 2021

    Book Review: How Asia Works

    Why are Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and post-Mao China rich, while Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia are poor? How Asia Works: Success and Failure in the World’s Most Dynamic Region is a bland and sweeping title, but it is the...
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    Jul 31, 2021

    Why Zoom Sucks

    This was written in lockdown, before I had my 2 doses, so bear with me. Even when Zoom works, it sucks. 1:1 Calls As a listener, giving feedback is hard. In real life, you can keep talking while the listener...
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    Apr 10, 2021

    SCA Journal Club: Bitcoin Whitepaper

    Epistemic status: just trying to understand the Bitcoin whitepaper. The first 12 headings correspond to the parts in the whitepaper. My investment advice would be to invent a time machine to beat Satoshi. Eliezer Yudkowsky on Bitcoin as Pascal’s mugging:...
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    Dec 31, 2020

    Solution To Levinthal's Paradox

    Levinthal’s paradox is the second question of the protein folding problem, which became too long to be an endnote in my post about DeepMind protein structure prediction so this is sort of an appendix. Epistemic status: Not too sure, somehow...
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    Dec 17, 2020

    Charity Is Still Not About Helping

    This is sort of an appendix to my post about DeepMind protein structure prediction. Epistemic status: not too sure, just doing the back-of-the-envelope with more up-to-date numbers. This is an update of Gwern’s cost-benefit analysis of Folding@home (FAH) which made...
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    Dec 16, 2020

    Did DeepMind Solve The Protein Folding Problem?

    Epistemic status: I have no expertise, but below is my best guess from what I have read so far, mostly relying on AlQuraishi’s excellent essay. The first half of this post will be kind of a literature review on the...
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    Dec 15, 2020

    COVID-19 Vaccines: Much More Than You Wanted To Know

    Epistemic status: I have no expertise, and news about COVID-19 changes by the minute so this is likely somewhat outdated, but below is my best guess from what I have read so far (h/t Tyler Cowen, Alex Tabarrok, Eric Topol,...
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    Nov 19, 2020