June 2020 Newsletter


Completed a React Native course on Udemy.

Built the MVP for Anyo, a mobile video messaging app using React Native and Firebase.


Schelling Fences on Slippery Slopes
Schelling fences, arbitrary lines in the sand that guide behavior, are very effective

Applied Picoeconomics
Thoughts on how to apply picoeconomics to improve yourself

Precis of Breakdown of Will
Comprehensive overview of picoeconomics; explains what hyperbolic discounting is

Game Theory

Bargaining and Auctions
The game theory of bargaining, auctions, and negotiations

What Is Signaling, Really?
Signaling can waste resources, but sometimes is the only way to believably communicate

Interlude for Behavioral Economics
Data on how people act in prisoner dilemmas, ultimatum games, and dictator games

Real World Solutions to Prisoners’ Dilemmas
Trust and anger are evolution’s solutions to prisoner dilemmas and ultimatum games

Backward Reasoning Over Decision Trees
Reasoning backwards over decision trees is useful for sequential games

Winning is for Losers
You should fail fast to find people who cooperate to play long term games with

Player of Games
If enough people are playing a game, somebody will be playing a different game

Information Theory

Visual Information Theory
Visual introduction of concepts in information theory like entropy, and mutual information

Information Theory for Intelligent People
An introduction to information theory, focusing on entropy and KL divergence

Inferential Distance

Illusion of Transparency
People underestimate differences in background knowledge, aka “inferential distance”

Expecting Short Inferential Distances
There used to be few inferential steps when sharing most info, now there’s often many

The Sad Truth of Inferential Distance
When someone won’t listen to reason, it’s probably because of inferential distance


Decision Theory FAQ
Introduction to decision theory, the study of making rational choices

The cognitive decoupling elite
Cognitive decoupling is the ability to block out context and past experience

A Deep Dive into the Harris-Klein Controversy
When people argue with different levels of cognitive decoupling, misunderstanding occurs

One Man’s Modus Ponens
Don’t be overconfident when you extrapolate from premises and conclusions that you hold true

The Jordan Peterson Mask
Jordan Peterson shares useful fake frameworks that gives motivation and meaning

Social Status / Signaling

The Premium Mediocre Life of Maya Millennial
Unskilled people signal fictional financial security and meaning for parents and employers


Tails of Great Soccer Players
For the tails of normal distributions, the average has more of an effect than the total population

Pokemonumber On It
Using simulations to estimate how long it takes to catch ’em all in Pokemon Go

Artificial Intelligence

May 2020 news
Links from around the web, and Gwern’s thoughts on GPT-3


CLI: Improved
Alternatives to standard CLI tools

Rolling Shutter
CMOS image sensors capture video by scanning vertically, which causes distortion

The Visual Microphone
Small vibrations of objects can be used to recover the sound in that room

Computer Science / Software Development

An Intro to Compilers
An introduction to what the frontend, optimizer, and backend do in a compiler

Really fast Markov chains in ~20 lines of awk
Using command line tools to create language generating Markov chains


The Skewed and the Screwed
The minority sex will get to dictate their preferences more in relationships

Do The Real Thing
Doing fake work requires effort, but in a way that feels doable and safe. Do real work

Who By Very Slow Decay
Life in the medical system as a terminal patient is terrible

Eight Short Studies on Excuses
Accepting sincere excuses can lead to a lack of schelling fences on a slippery slope

Democracy and Futarchy
Prediction markets are good at finding truth, and futarchy is a compelling way to pick policy

A Big Little Idea Called Legibility
Making a complex system simple is a common failure pattern for individuals and societies


Industrial Society and Its Future
The Unabomber’s manifesto on why industrialization and technology are bad for society, and why leftism is prevalent. Most of his thoughts on this are that modern life is too easy, which removes most opportunities to undergo the “power process”, which is where people get to accomplish difficult but necessary tasks in their lives.