The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our incentives but in ourselves

Back in July, Scott Alexander wrote a post titled Meditations On Moloch, which seems to have greatly increased the popularity of fictional deities within the online LessWrongish community. The post vaguely annoyed me at the time, but I couldn’t quite say why until a couple more recent on Scott’s blog referenced it. Oddly, the original “Moloch” [Read More...]

The Interview and Kim Jong Un’s butthole

I’ve seen a bunch of people saying The Interview was awful, so I was a little apprehensive when my family got together to stream it tonight. But I loved it. I don’t know, maybe I have a slightly different perspective on this given that I spent most of the first year of Kim Jong Un’s reign living [Read More...]

Is finance evil?

In January, I’m headed to New York for an internship at a quantitative finance firm. As a result, I’ve spent a lot of time reading up on finance over the past few months, which means I’m starting to feel qualified to answer everybody’s questions about whether finance is evil. Also, if I write this post [Read More...]

Sullivan: Ta-Nehisi Coates is just mad about “deviations from the Black Power party line”

Okay, this is embarrassing. In the wake of the implosion of The New Republic, Atlantic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote an article arguing that the ostensibly liberal magazine had a nasty history of racism. He mentions former TNR Andrew Sullivan’s excerpting of The Bell Curve in the magazine’s pages, but that isn’t the focus of the article: The personal attitude of TNR’s [Read More...]

Keynesianism vs. monetarism

I originally posted this on Tumblr, mostly as a way of asking friends, “hey, do I have this right?” But people have assured me it is right, and a few people said they really liked it, so… As I understand it, Keynesianism and monetarism together represent the sane part of the spectrum of possible economic [Read More...]

Why I invest with Vanguard and Wealthfront

Until relatively recently I was pretty ignorant about personal finance. Most people are. In fact, my guess is that even among people who think they’re informed, a most will get ripped off at some point when it comes to things like their retirement savings. So I’ve started going around trying to give friends and family financial [Read More...]

Filtering who you talk to

Yesterday’s post in Ozy’s line up of re-runs complained about discussion-based college classes. And… I don’t know, maybe I’ve just been much luckier with the philosophy seminars I’ve taken, and some of the things Ozy complains about are definitely bad (the people who don’t want to be there, or who haven’t done the readings). But other seem [Read More...]

CFAR workshop review

Since doing my CFAR workshop in September, I’ve been meaning to write a review. Procrastination, in this case, has paid off, since Jess Whittlestone and Kaj Sotala have both recently written blog posts on their workshop experiences that I feel pretty comfortable endorsing. Jess has a nice, easy-to-read bullet-point summary, while Kaj’s post has a couple [Read More...]

Roko’s Basilisk illustrates the problems with the LessWrong community

I’ve previously written about the LessWrong community’s tendency to take crazy ideas far more seriously than they deserve. A lot of what’s convinced me of that is my in-person experience with the community, in my last year of living in the Bay Area (I moved here November 2013). But a lot of that stuff is [Read More...]