Robin Hanson Profile picture
Let’s skip witty repartee & discuss fundamental questions. Views are mine, not GMU’s or Virginia’s. Books: https://t.co/diCRXBHQCf, https://t.co/yqNuzLMRfP
potatowire Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
4 May
US govt is slated to issue a report on UFO stuff in about a month. What concretely could we bet on re that report? I expect it will add support to the idea that UFOs are real and weird, but how exactly could we bet on that?
This is to be a report on what has been seen, not on abstract theories to explain it. So there's no point in betting on what it will say on abstract explanations.
I take it as obvious that one can get much higher leverage from beliefs on an event by constructing specific bets tailored to it, rather than searching for existing financial assets that might correlated to some small degree.
Read 4 tweets
19 Apr
"possibility of a biological transfer [Earth <-> Mars] has practical implications for how we search for evidence of life [on Mars], both in terms of the quality of potential biosignatures and the likelihood that certain biosignatures might be expressed." liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.108…
"Assuming an origin of life on Earth, >300,000 objects could potentially have transferred viable organisms to Mars in the past 3.5 billion years. Assuming an origin of life on Mars and later transfer to Earth, the estimated number of viable transfers rises to >20,000,000"
"A viable transfer represents an unsterilized rock fragment that is at least 3 m in diameter, sufficient to protect dormant organisms from ionizing radiation damages for up to 10 million years"
Read 4 tweets
6 Apr
In business, "credit for a particular idea or success is always a type of refracted social honor; one cannot claim credit even if it is earned. Credit has to be given, & acceptance of the gift implicitly involves a reaffirmation & strengthening of fealty." thezvi.wordpress.com/2019/05/30/quo…
"There’s not enough objective information about people. When you really want to do somebody in, you just say, well, he can’t get along with people. That’s a big one."
"being fair, equitable, & generous with subordinates clash both with a logic that demands choices between people, inevitably producing hatred, envy & animosity, & with the plain fact that, despite protestations to the contrary, many people do not want to be treated fairly."
Read 8 tweets
6 Apr
If farmer-era folks had really understood how much industry-era folks would reject religion, nationalism, marriage, war, aristocracy, hard work, etc., would it had made sense, from the point of view of their values, for them to try to prevent the industry era from arising?
If forager-era folks had really understood how much farmer-era folks would reject their leisure, travel, animism, equalitarianism, & sexual promiscuity, would it had made sense, from the point of view of their values, for them to try to prevent the farming era from arising?
If pre-human primates had really understood all the changes that humans would make to themselves and the planet, would it had made sense, from the point of view of their values, for them to try to prevent the humans from arising?
Read 4 tweets
7 Dec 20
Went looking for what % of statements are lies in ordinary conversation. This paper say how many lies in 10 minutes (1.74), but not how many total statements in 10 minutes! tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.120…
This paper says how many lies in 24hrs, but again with no estimate of the number of statements made in that duration. academic.oup.com/hcr/article-ab…
Here's another paper with an estimate of lies per 10min (2.18), that doesn't say how many total claims were made in that period. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.111…
Read 4 tweets
1 Oct 20
Judging from Trump-Biden debate, it seems strongest argument on each side is seen to be the extremists they say are associated with other side. While each tries to deny there are many such extremists, or that they support 'em, other side says they really “dog-whistle” support.
On one side are the “white supremacists” and sexists said to dominate society, especially police. On the other are looters, crazy woke cancelers, and socialists pushing for massive increases and taxes and spending.
Now 1st, I 60 years old & don’t recall this being as big an issue in a US presidential elections before. So this seems evidence of our increasing polarization.
Read 5 tweets
28 Sep 20
What if a firm offers a product at a price, a customer buys it at that price, and they the firm regrets their choice? It seems they can do what Office Depot just did to me. They sent me an email saying my product had just been delivered. I called them back & told them no, 1/2
no product was delivered. They weren’t at all interested in tracking down this missing delivery, and told me my ONLY option was to get a refund. No I couldn’t get the same order again if prices had changed. 2/2
This was a $200 order, fyi, so well worth the trouble to find a misplaced delivery.
Read 4 tweets
26 Sep 20
Are 3 ways to pick: FREE - person/orgs make own picks, VOTE - pick together (direct or via reps), & RULER - authorities pick, keep job for life, pick successors.

Each of next 16 polls gives you a type of choice. For each one, say which way to pick make most sense for that type.
Which way to pick makes most sense for:

Building wood beam width
Which way to pick makes most sense for:

Age at which can marry
Read 17 tweets
26 Sep 20
Are 3 ways to pick: FREE - person/orgs make own picks, VOTE - pick together (direct or via reps), & RULER - authorities pick, keep job for life, pick successors.
Next 8 polls show 4 types of choices. Pick type where it makes most sense to pick via RULER, instead of FREE or VOTE.
For which choice type does it make most sense to pick via RULER, instead of FREE or VOTE?
For which choice type does it make most sense to pick via RULER, instead of FREE or VOTE?
Read 9 tweets
26 Sep 20
Are 3 ways to pick: FREE - person/orgs make own picks, VOTE - pick together (direct or via reps), & RULER - authorities pick, keep job for life, pick successors.
Next 8 polls show 4 types of choices. Pick type where it makes most sense to pick via VOTE, instead of FREE or RULER.
For which choice type does it make most sense to pick via VOTE, instead of FREE or RULER?
For which choice type does it make most sense to pick via VOTE, instead of FREE or RULER?
Read 9 tweets
26 Sep 20
Are 3 ways to pick: FREE - person/orgs make own picks, VOTE - pick together (direct or via reps), & RULER - authorities pick, keep job for life, pick successors.
Next 8 polls show 4 types of choices. Pick type where it makes most sense to pick via FREE, instead of VOTE or RULER.
For which choice type does it make most sense to pick via FREE, instead of VOTE or RULER?
For which choice type does it make most sense to pick via FREE, instead of VOTE or RULER?
Read 9 tweets
20 Sep 20
"68% of Republicans and 63% of Democrats holding that a nomination vote should take place. Independents supported going forward by a 71% margin." nypost.com/2020/09/19/mos…
The poll was done a few days before RBG died, and was on "if a vacancy occurred during the 2020 election year, the Senate should hold hearings on a nominee"
If this seems impossible to you, you may live in a bubble.
Read 5 tweets
17 Sep 20
Self-improvement is good, but sometimes fact that you try to improve can send a bad signal. (Eg "fart rate")

In 24 polls, I’ll give 4 people factors, & examples of related putdowns in parens.

Each time, pick factor for which trying-hard-looks-bad is most plausibly an issue.
For which factor is trying-hard-looks-bad most plausibly an issue?
For which factor is trying-hard-looks-bad most plausibly an issue?
Read 25 tweets
17 Sep 20
In each of 24 polls, I’ll give 4 factors by which people vary, plus an example or two of putdowns based on each factor in parenthesis.

In each poll, pick the factor where you care the most what other people think about how you rate on that factor.
For which factor do you care the most about what other people think regarding how you rate?
For which factor do you care the most about what other people think regarding how you rate?
Read 25 tweets
16 Sep 20
In each of 24 polls, I’ll give 4 factors by which people vary, plus an example or 2 of putdowns based on each factor in parenthesis.

Each time, pick factor most used to praise/admire people around you (perhaps for having LESS of it). Consider both frequency & intensity.
Which factor is most used to praise/admire people around you?
Which factor is most used to praise/admire people around you?
Read 25 tweets
16 Sep 20
In each of 24 polls, I’ll give 4 factors by which people vary, plus an example or two of putdowns based on each factor in parenthesis.

Each time, pick the factor for which you most aspire to improve yourself. Consider both the value and difficulty of improvements.
For which factor do you most aspire to improve in yourself?
For which factor do you most aspire to improve in yourself?
Read 25 tweets
15 Sep 20
In each of 24 polls, I’ll give 4 factors by which people vary, plus an example or two of putdowns based on each factor in parenthesis.

Each time, pick the factor most used to insult/disparage people around you. Consider both frequency & severity of the putdowns.
Which factor is most used to insult/disparage people around you?
Which factor is most used to insult/disparage people around you?
Read 30 tweets
12 Sep 20
Relative to the a-caps, the left anarchists in this debate are far more vague on what "system" they propose. They more have outcome goals & opinions on which acts are moral, but not concrete institution proposals.
The concept of "coercion" doesn't seem to actually do much work in setting left-anarchist policy positions.
I get that there are many concrete left & progressive proposals. & I get that anarchists don't like dominance or hierarchy. But I thought that they might also share concrete "coercion" related proposals, other than just tending left & anti-hierarchy. Seems not
Read 5 tweets
9 Sep 20
"Instead of being born into a world where you inherit most of your social relationships, … and there is strong in-group loyalty, obedience & conformity, now you have to find & develop your own mutually beneficial relationships."
newscientist.com/article/mg2473…
"This focuses attention on people’s underlying personalities, traits & dispositions, rather than their pre-existing relationship to you. Your success in the world is now tied to cultivating your attributes, making yourself appealing to others"
"fertile ground for the development of formal institutions & … equality before the law that would be hard to conceive of in a world of clans or kindreds. … towards voluntary associations of strangers in the form of labour unions, guilds, monasteries, universities & businesses"
Read 4 tweets
7 Sep 20
Saw Tenet, thought about how realistic are various aspects. Realize: we don't have a good conceptual definition for "how realistic is a movie". That is, how do you weigh all the different kinds and degrees of realism to produce an overall measure?
For example, you could say "how different would the outcome of the movie be if the most realistic possible option happened at every point, instead of what we saw?
But that probably makes most every movie outcome crazy different.
Or you might ask what % of film frames were close enough to plausible given the prior film frame. But that will make even pretty crazy movies count as relatively sane.
Read 4 tweets
29 Aug 20
In each of next 8 polls, you will see 4 kinds of info you could use to pick an expert (like those in my last set of polls). Assume you need to pick an expert/org, for yourself or someone you love. Which kind of info would you most want to know, to make a good choice of expert?
Which kind of info would you most want to know, to make a good choice of expert?
Which kind of info would you most want to know, to make a good choice of expert?
Read 9 tweets