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Social Justice

Being taught by Milton Friedman makes you less likely to give long sentences on certain kinds of criminal activity, particularly around like drug crimes.”

Simultaneously “I understand why this was your best choice in this situation” and “aaaawkward”: “To top it all off, reports that Disney had been “browning up” some actors on set… drew a swift response from Disney, noting… that “diversity of our cast and background performers was a requirement and only in a handful of instances when it was a matter of specialty skills, safety and control (special effects rigs, stunt performers and handling of animals) were crew made up to blend in.””

A man whose mother has a severe intellectual disability discusses his relationship with her.

[cw: child sexual abuse] Why Honduran women are being driven to the US border. (Sample excerpt: “When doctors told [12-year-old] Sofia she was pregnant and explained that pregnancy meant she was going to have a baby, Sofia, in her soft, small voice, asked whether she could have a doll instead.”)

From the ‘social model of disability’ files: “In theory, a social definition of infertility—one laid out in terms of intentions and identities rather than diseases and disabilities—circumvents these problems. But it creates complexities of its own. Last year, researchers from Yale and the University of Haifa, in Israel, shared the results of a study in which they asked a hundred and fifty women who have frozen their eggs to explain their motivations. The overwhelming majority of the women cited what might be called “man problems,” including divorces, breakups, and male partners who weren’t yet ready to have children. It takes a conceptual leap to see a recent divorcée and a woman with endometriosis as equally infertile, but Campo-Engelstein argues that they are “similar enough that they should be treated the same.””

Effective Altruism

Is effective altruism growing? “Overall, the decline in people first discovering EA (reading) and the growth of donations / career changes (doing) makes sense, as it is likely the result of the intentional effort across several groups and individuals in EA over the past few years to focus on high-fidelity messaging and growing the impact of pre-existing EAs and deliberate decisions to stop mass marketing, Facebook advertising, etc. The hope is that while this may bring in fewer total people, the people it does bring in will be much higher quality on average.”

The uses of life history classification in understanding wild animal welfare. A thoughtful and nuanced review. (I’m cited!)

A foundational result on the question of how much wild animals suffer is wrong. I am mentioning this 10% because it’s cool and 90% to brag about my role as a catalyst here. (I complained at everyone I could find that this result didn’t make any sense because I was bad at math, and then it turned out to not make any sense because it was wrong.)

Rethink Priorities has an excellent in-depth summary of the evidence that invertebrates suffer, which incidentally explains a lot of really foundational issues related to animal consciousnes in general. Check it out!

Rationality (Practice)

Visualizations of different meanings of probability.

This LW post makes an interesting point about the difference between the norms and goals of science, but I’m mostly linking for the worldbuilding about ALIEN SCIENCE.

People view things as abstractions rather than as atoms, which causes them to miss ways they can interact with things to reach their goals. My summary is boring but the list of examples is very interesting and I really do recommend checking it out.

Subtle errors people make with the concept of conservation of expected evidence.

Weird situations with reasonable explanations, or “why 90% sure is way less sure than you think it is.”

List of examples where one man’s modus ponens is another man’s modus tollens. Again, the list of examples is incredibly interesting and much better than my summary.

The uses of divination.

Moral realism and moral nonrealism lead to very similar behavior for different reasons.

Rationality (Community)

I don’t agree with everything Ray Arnold wrote about the village versus the mission, but I think he crystallizes for me some important distinctions about the rationality community and moves the interminable conversations about rationalist community norms forward.

Again mostly of interest to rationality community people: rabbit hunts and stag hunts as a metaphor for community participation.


Why you should sometimes change your mind after saying ‘no’. I follow this advice personally. My son Viktor only knows a few words and therefore has a hard time expressing preferences without crying. A strict ‘no giving in to crying’ rule would basically mean I couldn’t reassess my decision based on the strength of Viktor’s desires. I am probably going to enforce a ‘no giving in to tantrums’ rule once he’s old enough to express preferences with words, but until then ignoring his communication just seems unethical.

Just Plain Neat

Overzealous cleaner ruins artwork worth 690,000 pounds.

Types of loneliness.

The Secret Rebellion Of Amelia Bedelia, The Bartleby Of Domestic Work.

This is so profoundly my shit that I honestly can’t believe it’s a real article: Georgette Heyer’s crossdressing novels as forced masculinization sexual fantasies.

Why AO3 is one of the best-organized sites on the Internet. “One wrangler, who goes by the handle spacegandalf, pointed me to the example of a character from an audio drama called The Penumbra Podcast who didn’t have an official name in text for several episodes after he was introduced. Yet people were writing fanfic—and trying to tag it by character—before they had any name to tag it with. Because spacegandalf had listened to this podcast—AO3 deliberately recruits and assigns tag wranglers who are members of the fandoms that they wrangle for—they had the necessary context to know that “Big Guy Jacket Man Or Whatever His Name Is” referred to the same person as his slightly more official moniker “the Man In the Brown Jacket” and his later, official name, Jet Sikuliaq (and that none of these names should be confused with a different mysteriously named character from a different audio drama, the Man in the Tan Jacket from Welcome to Night Vale).

This was recommended to me as one of the best profiles ever written, and it really is: the story of Ricky Jay, one of the greatest living magicians.