Sarah Constantin (8/100 Substack posts) Profile picture
research @nanotronics. married to @oscredwin. all opinions my own. writing at and
Eli Tyre Profile picture Potato Of Reason Profile picture 2 added to My Authors
May 15 30 tweets 5 min read
Something around this topic seems really important, and part of it clicked for me just now. 🧵

1.) A promise is analogous to a debt. Making a promise = borrowing. Fulfilling a promise = paying back. 2.) If you have any integrity, it feels awful to be "trapped in debt", knowing you've made promises you probably can't keep.
Nov 1, 2021 12 tweets 3 min read…

Here's a model that seems actually supported by the literature. 1.) there are business "best practices" which are uncontroversial among industrial economists but aren't practiced by most businesses. things like "track your inventory and sales and profits."
Nov 1, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read… I have no idea if this is true but it is extremely validating; it claims that "readers"/"intellectuals" in politics ultimately win over "tv-watchers" because they have discipline and focus on their long-term goals. most political science refers to polling and electoral data, which leads to the depressing conclusion that almost nobody gives a damn about idealists' and wonks' policy goals.
Sep 15, 2021 28 tweets 4 min read

I was rooting for them to succeed, but this report has some damning customer quotes about their machines not actually working. It’s a very rhetorically aggressive report and makes some unfair arguments.

Saying that “just” miniaturizing assays and running them faster doesn’t make a difference is ignorant. Moore’s Law is “just” making smaller features and faster computer chips.
Aug 24, 2021 8 tweets 4 min read
@QiaochuYuan I kinda do @QiaochuYuan More seriously I don’t think parents had warmer relationships with their kids, or husbands with wives, decades or centuries ago.

Friendships might have been easier to maintain in communitarian societies, but also often less intimate & more rote.
Aug 4, 2021 27 tweets 4 min read
There’s a mode of social interaction that I really miss, and that’s “high volume/density, low expectations.” Small talk is “low volume/density, low expectations”. You don’t expect much from it, but you also don’t spend much time or energy on it. Low information content, safe but not that fun.
Aug 2, 2021 5 tweets 1 min read
Suppose you find out that someone you like/respect secretly hates you.

What would make you MOST unhappy, if they hated you for a reason you agree is fair/reasonable from their position, or for a reason that you think is unfair/unreasonable on their part? Suppose you find out someone you like/respect secretly hates you, for a good reason. How do you feel?
Jun 16, 2021 63 tweets 6 min read
One like = one piece of advice from Wine Mom Sarah to the youths

(Specific questions also welcome) 1: never invert a matrix if you don’t have to
May 8, 2021 49 tweets 7 min read
My current “impractical” project is building a comprehensive list of interventions that cause >20% complete tumor regression in metastatic solid tumors. Basically, the hardest of hard modes for cancer. I don’t think I’m quite done (will put it up in a post when I’m satisfied), but here’s what I’m seeing so far.
May 5, 2021 13 tweets 2 min read… One of many companies trying to make cell therapy more efficient. Cell therapy means taking cells out of a patient or donor, genetically modifying them, and putting them back in to treat a disease. CAR-T therapy does this with immune cells and has remarkable results in some cancers. But it costs $100k to produce one dose.
May 5, 2021 7 tweets 4 min read
@SteveStuWill @anderssandberg I think this article understates how big the disconnect is between how people think about charity/altruism and how they think about effectiveness or causal reasoning. @SteveStuWill @anderssandberg Years after being personally familiar with the EA movement I *finally* grokked, after a friend showed me some equations on paper, that these people were trying to spend LESS money to get a desired result (like lives saved.)
Apr 25, 2021 40 tweets 5 min read
I think there are two different concepts, *favor* and *trust*, that are not the same and (maybe) shouldn’t be pushed to be the same.

🧵 You favor someone, or view them favorably, when you are motivated to be their ally, or to be on their side.
Apr 16, 2021 79 tweets 12 min read… whoa this is fascinating. Eyeblink conditioning is when an animal learns to associate a stimulus with a puff of air to the eye, and to blink when the stimulus is presented alone.
Apr 9, 2021 8 tweets 11 min read
@TheZvi @jessi_cata @ben_r_hoffman @EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @zackmdavis Here’s the actual mechanism I think:

Cradle liberals like Scott get exposed, as adolescents or young adults, to social conservatives (often Christian) who are better prepared than they are to argue their case. @TheZvi @jessi_cata @ben_r_hoffman @EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @zackmdavis Cradle liberals like Scott are upset/hurt at the “meanness” of such views, but also are honest enough to acknowledge that sometimes upsetting things are true.
Apr 9, 2021 5 tweets 7 min read
@TheZvi @jessi_cata @ben_r_hoffman @EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @zackmdavis I think there are people who do think this! @TheZvi @jessi_cata @ben_r_hoffman @EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @zackmdavis Eg Scott thinks the Westboro Baptist Church is wrong to picket funerals, not because they’re object-level wrong about gays, but because the US as a whole hasn’t collectively decided homosexuality is wrong.
Apr 7, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read… I think I agree with this: I also prefer law to governance.

Not sure I agree with Hanson that law vs. governance is independent of the "size" or "amount" of government. A governance system (regulation) and a law system (torts) can be exactly the same in their "strictness/laxity". In his example of pollution, they can define the same actions as "pollution" and require equally costly penalties to polluters.
Apr 7, 2021 12 tweets 15 min read
@EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @ben_r_hoffman @TheZvi @zackmdavis To be clear, they do distinguish between intentional and unintentional harm!

They think (like the law) that if it’s sufficiently feasible to find out you’re causing harm and stop, you’re negligent if you avoid finding out and stopping. @EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @ben_r_hoffman @TheZvi @zackmdavis Also they believe (and so do I) that there’s such a thing as motivatedly looking away from the harm you cause, which is a very different behavior from genuine ignorance where you couldn’t have known better.
Apr 5, 2021 12 tweets 3 min read… Variations on the Golden Rule from many ancient sources, including ones I wasn't aware had one (Thales! the Mahabharata!) Interesting differences: some versions say not to do to others what would hurt/harm/be bad for you if it were done to you.

Others say not to do to others what you would "blame" them for doing to you.
Apr 4, 2021 34 tweets 19 min read
@EpistemicHope @ben_r_hoffman I think something has gone a bit wrong in this conversation and I need to regroup and think things over. Sorry, yesterday I said a bunch of stuff and now I'm not sure how true it is. @EpistemicHope @ben_r_hoffman "Tech development doesn't happen in startups" is a slogan, and whether it's true depends on what you count as a startup (is Google a startup? Is a 10-year-old company with 100+ employees still a startup?) and what you count as development (original inventions? application?)
Mar 10, 2021 5 tweets 1 min read
One thing I didn't investigate, but might check next, is how turnover effects play into all this. 🧵 So, let's say the conclusion of my post is correct, and most professional investors "under-research" (in the sense that they'd get better returns if they did more research.)

Is this a *societal* problem?

To answer that, we have to understand turnover.
Mar 9, 2021 16 tweets 9 min read
@jd_pressman @QiaochuYuan I mean, to the extent that you care about changing anything, it’s in some sense a “personal problem”, because you can only control your own actions.

I don’t usually see much “purchase” or usable value to be gained from the “cosmic horror frame. @jd_pressman @QiaochuYuan Whether you call it “broken” or not, we live in a world where perpetually going with the flow can land us in trouble. (Eg we can go broke, get sick, make mistakes that hurt people, etc).