Links (59)

For those diet coke drinkers among you, yes aspartame is perfectly fine. It probably is not some kind of secret nootropic either. IVF is a procedure commonly associated with infertility treatments as a last resort option. It is also a requirement if one wants to do any embryo screening. There's a small rabbithole to be explored (I didn't fully go into it) of potential adverse effects of IVF: it might increase in risk of cerebral palsy among others, which could defeat the point of the screening itself (Excep…

On Reboot's Ineffective Altruism

I've seen "Ineffective Altruism" used a couple of times to poke fun at EAs. I remember the first time I saw the phrasing I jumped to some state inbetween of amused and confused. Ineffective Altruism sounds jocular (who would oppose something effective!) so what must be going on is a reaction to the EA aesthetic or specific definitions of "effectiveness". That in turn of course leads us to ask what that alternative effectiveness might be. Or is it a reaction against not so much EA but spe…

Links (58)

Unsurprisingly, human capital matters more than buildings for scientific output. Also, some evidence for the Newton hypothesis. Equipment Supply Shocks. And how Steve Jobs got a law changed to be able to get every school in California a computer. Inside Fast's (An apparel company larping as a payments company) rapid collapse Using ML to design hardware for specific NN architecture. Interesting as well how the authors paid attention to economics (considering engineering salaries, semiconductor manufacturing …

New Science's NIH report: highlights

New Science just published an excellent report on the NIH, both a good primer for those curious about how the world's premier science funding institution works as well as an essay packed with insights that go beyond the obvious. A recent theme of my latest few essays is the key importance of tacit knowledge in many contexts, and in science reform in particular. I noted elsewhere that the claim "the HHMI funds better researchers than NIH in aggregate" was generally believed to be true until Azoula…

Applied positive meta-science

As scientists we must accept that the world has limited resources. In all fields we must be alert to cost-effectiveness and maximization of efficiency. The major disadvantage in the present system is that it diverts scientists from investigation to feats of grantsmanship. Leo Szilard recognized the problem a quarter-century ago when he wrote that progress in research could be brought to a halt by the total commitment of the time of the research community to writing, reviewing, and supervising a peer review…

Links (57) & AI safety special

Not that many links this months, but there's an special on AI safety at the end Top forecasters vs domain experts An introduction to high-speed (i.e. hypersonic and supersonic) flight Givewell (Labs, which later became OpenPhilantrophy) has an old report on meta-research (as in science of science or meta-science). They started by taking to the leads we had – contacts at Cochrane as well as individuals suggested by John Ioannidis – and get referrals from them to other people he should be speaking with.. Wher…