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The Blog Prize Digest — Issue #2 (& New Prizes!)

The Blog Prize Digest
The Blog Prize Digest
We continue to be very impressed by everyone’s blogging! One tip: Make sure you’re engaging with the topics set out here. There are a number of debates heating up in longtermism that we’re excited to read more about. And stick around to the end of this newsletter to read about new monthly prizes for posts. But first…

Some of our favorites from the blog roll
How Many People Are In The Invisible Graveyard? — Maximum Progress
Maxwell Tabarrok asks, how many lives could have been saved if US authorities had rolled out Covid vaccines a few months faster? It turns out to be hundreds of thousands. And he explains how to do better next time: “If this plan can stop one pandemic in a thousand years it will have already more than paid for itself.” Policymakers should take note.
Rob Long sets out a plan for understanding how computers might one day (or already) be conscious. This is Rob’s first post for his appropriately named blog, Experience Machines.
Alexander Hearn launched a new publication, Generation Zero, on space policy. In his second post, Alexander looks at the rules around rescuing endangered parties in space. To what extent does it parallel maritime environments, where ships typically have the duty to assist endangered persons even if it means diverting their course. But even these rules are ambiguous—How far is a ship expected to divert course?—and are based on a mix of treaties, domestic laws, UN conventions, and tradition.
Alexander finds that there are deep ambiguities in current Space law, which will soon be tested when Space tourism begins to grow.
There are 4 proposals for private space stations in the next decade. In the next few years, it is possible that, were there to be an emergency in space, another spacecraft might be available to help.
An interesting exchange...
One of our favorite exchanges this month was between Sam Atis and Peter McLaughlin. Sam first warns us to beware of interesting ideas.
Beware Interesting Ideas - by Sam Atis - All That is Solid
He lends us a clever argument about why interesting ideas aren’t simply no more likely to be true, but actually are more likely to be wrong. On a conversational level:
For an idea to be worth mentioning in conversation (or to be worth sharing on Twitter), it probably can’t be both uninteresting and untrue. A boring, false idea is unlikely to be the kind of thing someone brings up in conversation with you - there’s no reason for it to get brought up. If an idea is either interesting or true, there is a reason to mention it - true ideas are sometimes useful, and interesting ideas are, well, interesting.
But there’s also a deeper issue:
False ideas are more likely to be novel than true ideas, and spread faster.
Sam gives some interesting examples of those rapidly bits of information which often end up being too clever by half when the evidence comes in.
Embrace interesting ideas - by Peter McLaughlin
Peter McLaughlin responds: People do say boring and false things. But for those who care about interesting conversation, we self-consciously curate away from people who say boring things. In the end, interestingness becomes simply uncorrelated with truth. But we should still value interest, according to Peter, as uninteresting truths are abundant: We could simply list mathematical tautologies if we just wanted truthful facts. Perhaps interesting truths uniquely allow us to improve the world. But, like simple stories, we still may want to be suspicious.
Check out other great articles on Peter’s Substack including, It was never meritocracy anyways.
Congratulations to Dwarkesh Patel
We want to congratulate Dwarkesh Patel on his highly successful post, The Mystery of the Miracle Year as well as his Emergent Ventures grant.
The mystery of the miracle year - by Dwarkesh Patel
In his viral post, Dwarkesh argues that even within extremely productive careers, great scientists and inventors have had specific years with highly outsized impact. This suggests that productivity and impact may be even lumpier than we suspect. The post was shared by Paul Graham and Marc Andreessen, and earned him a follow form Jeff Bezos.
Fuck your Miracle Year - by Roger's Bacon
It also received a response from fellow blogger Roger’s Bacon, who—despite the inflammatory title—gently pushes back against some of Dwarkesh’s conclusions on the grounds that great discovery in youth is more difficult now that good ideas are becoming harder to find. But Ben Southwood pushes back agains that idea in the new issue of Works in Progress
Scientific slowdown is not inevitable - Works in Progress
If you are still hungry for more posts
Post prizes are here
We’re announcing Post Prizes, for the best posts each month on a given topic! (Note that these are prizes for post, not a suggestion that society is beyond the need for prizes).
Each month, we’ll announce a new topic. Tweet us or email us your entry and we’ll announce winners in the next newsletter. Blogs older than 12 months are able to qualify for these prizes. Each winner will receive $1000. 
Post Prize #1: The world in 2072
Theme: Describe the world 50 years from now 
We want to read about visions of the world 50 years from now. Fiction or forecasts are welcome. Ideally, pieces will be anywhere between 500 and 5000 words. 
Prize: We’ll award $1000 to the outstanding pieces
Deadline: Opens May 1, Closes May 30th
How to submit: When you have finished your piece, tweet a link to it and tag and follow our Twitter, @effective_ideas. If you do not have a twitter, email it to nickwhitaker@effectiveideas.org with the subject line Post Prize #1.
Keep an eye out for future post prizes including “how to increase your agency” and “critiquing longtermism.”
From the judges
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The Blog Prize Digest
The Blog Prize Digest

Curating the best posts from our bloggers

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