Stuff I Found Interesting In May
1) Jonathan Haidt has lunch with the FT.
2) Practical veganism, in Works in Progress:
If you want to reduce your suffering footprint and don’t want to become a vegan, you could stop buying fish, eggs, and chicken. That would reduce animal suffering almost 90% as much as becoming a vegan who eats no animal products at all (calculation from Veganomics).
3) The Comparative Illusion - “Have more people been to Russia than I have?”.
4) Just how painful are Kidney stones?
5) Rationality and the English language.
6) Adam Mastroianni on pop culture becoming an Oligopoly.
7) Get in the Van:
“Does anyone want to come with us to New York City?”
Two students volunteered themselves pretty quickly. They were both graduate students and already somewhat involved with Yale EA. I didn’t know either of them. In fairness, I had no idea who any of these people were.
I thought for a few minutes, and I decided: I’m going to get in their van. And so I did.
8) Peter Singer discusses utilitarianism with Tyler Cowen:
10) This blog (Good Thoughts) on utilitarianism looks like it could be very good!
11) A new primer on prioritarianism.
12) Bryan Caplan on the Bretton Goods podcast.
13) I’m trying to link less to ACX in the links of the month because I’m pretty sure >80% of people who sub to me already read ACX, but I still enjoyed this short piece of fiction on a house party in the Bay Area.
14) This piece in the Atlantic on Paxlovid and nuclear power - ‘What if we invented a technology to save the planet—and the world refused to use it?’.
15) An excerpt from Cowen’s new book on talent.
16) Erik Hoel (one of my favourite people on this site) on ‘secrets of the publishing industry’.
17) An article on happiness in the NYT:
The activities that make people happiest include sex, exercise and gardening. People get a big happiness boost from being with a romantic partner or friends but not from other people, like colleagues, children or acquaintances. Weather plays only a small role in happiness, except that people get a hearty mood boost on extraordinary days, such as those above 75 degrees and sunny. People are consistently happier when they are out in nature, particularly near a body of water, particularly when the scenery is beautiful.
18) I’m not sure if I’ve ever talked about Elicit before [EDIT: I’m now sure that I have, because I referenced it in a new post], but this is my favourite tool to use when I write posts summarising the evidence in articles about social science research. It uses GPT-3 to show relevant papers to a question you ask. My friend Eli also helped to make it, but I started using it before I knew that, so I’m pretty sure I’m not biased in favour of it.
19) Bill Gates responds to questions from various people you might have heard of.
20) Here’s an interesting forecasting paper - apparently people perceive forecasters as more trustworthy if they forecast that something is likely to happen, i.e. they trust someone forecasting a 70% probability of an outcome than someone forecasting. 30% probability of an outcome.
21) I always enjoy reading peoples’ dating profiles (is this a bad trait?), and I liked reading Brian Tomasik’s profile on his website a lot too.
22) Benjamin Hilton on how much of a risk climate change actually poses, plus a relevant tweet from him about his forecast versus Ord’s (the whole thread is worth reading):
23) I liked this article by Dan Wang on the strangeness of Berlin. ‘Keep [city] weird’ is a bit of a trope now (and maybe it was when this was written in 2015), but I still liked the piece!
24) I found a load of interesting stuff by just going on MR and putting in random page numbers to see what Tyler/Alex were sharing 5 or 10 years ago. Here’s page 900, change the number as you please.
25) You might have already my ‘world in 2072’ piece, but you should check out some of the other pieces written on the same subject, found in this thread (click the tweet to see the articles):