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By Artyom Kazak

Artyom's links – January 16, 2020





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Artyom's links – January 16, 2020
By Artyom Kazak • Issue #1 • View online

The 2019 edition of the CFAR Handbook is available online. It’s a well-written supplement with descriptions of various rationality-adjacent life-improving techniques. It will probably be useful for conducting your own CFAR-like workshops, or perhaps as inspiration for things you could try on your own.
The Hammertime sequence touches similar topics, but was designed as a thing-to-do and not as a thing-to-refer-to; I completed it a while ago and I believe it was worth the time.
Zvi Mowshowitz (Don’t Worry About the Vase) has started writing a new series of posts arguing against the dictatorless dystopia of Scott’s Meditations on Moloch. Specifically: (a) why value-sacrificing, perfect/horrible competition doesn’t happen as often as it could, and (b) where does it happen and why.
Generally, Zvi is very good at making concepts legible, i.e. pointing at things that people sorta very vaguely recognize but don’t have names for and therefore mostly ignore – this series continues in the same vein.
Paradigms and Priors: an explanation of Kuhn’s “paradigm shifts” that makes sense. Or rather, all those explanations make about 30% sense each, and you have to read several – including the original book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions – to get the idea. I think that paradigms are very important, explain a lot about how people arrive at different views, and are directly useful if you want to figure out how to live your life.
A Deep Dive into the Harris-Klein Controversy: a detailed analysis of a “culture war” (race/genetics-related) debate between a scientist and a journalist. If you are very much on one side of this debate, you will be glad to understand how the other side thinks, even if only to become even more alienated from it. (But then reading about Kuhn’s paradigms might fix that.)
Peter Norvig’s On Chomsky and the Two Cultures of Statistical Learning talks about linguistics (generative vs statistical). It exemplifies my favorite genre of essays: “Here is someone famous who is arguing against something on sorta philosophical grounds. I will validate their point of view by showing how it makes sense and fits into a broader philosophical context, and then argue that it’s still wrong and also not particularly useful.”
Aphantasia: many people can’t visualize anything at all with their eyes closed; many can visualize things perfectly; and, frustratingly, both sides are unaware of each other.
Instead of sending people longreads about aphantasia (which they won’t read), I prefer this very simple and brutal one-picture aphantasia test.
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