• The repugnant solution (for nerds only)

    Recently, I was reading David Thorstad’s new paper “Existential risk pessimism and the time of perils”. In it, he models the value of reducing existential risk on a range of different assumptions. The headline result is that 1) most plausibly, existential risk reduction is not overwhelmingly valuable–though it may still be quite valuable, it doesn’t…

  • “Are we living at the Hinge of History” summarised in four quotes

    Our money goes further in the future, giving us an initial reason to invest to spend later. Unless we live at an especially important time.

  • I’ve Changed My Mind About Nuclear Power

    In certain circles, nuclear is seen as one of the best options for powering the world. For many years I too was pro nuclear. This is an important update because it changes what policies I think are best.

  • The Chaotic Approach to Learning

    I’ve been thinking about a new approach to learning which I haven’t seen anywhere else, here’s a bare bones sketch. I’ll tell you why it’s exciting at the end because I want to tell you what it is first.

  • Exercise you love

    If you want to get fit, try to find exercise that is fun. For me, it’s climbing. I want to go because I love it. If you don’t have something that is fun, be a scientist. Try things until you find something you love. Each experiment will teach you something (even if it’s just what…

  • Communication is Unbalanced

    If you get a message, it’s just one of the crowd jostling for your limited attention. Not responding is easy and understandable. Imagine you were in a real crowd of people talking at you at once, at all hours of the day. You might miss a thing or two, you’re only human. But when you…

  • Two Approaches to Learning

    Josh Kaufman argues you can learn anything in less than 20 Hours. This seems to contradict research that says it takes (on average) 10,000 hours to master a skill. Josh Kaufman doesn’t mean it takes you 20 hours to master a skill, it just takes that long to get “good enough”. This article explains two…

  • Don’t Learn Latin, Don’t Use Translations, Don’t Be a Hack.

    I recently read my first book in Spanish. To celebrate, I’m reflecting on how I got here. It was an arduous journey and there are many pitfalls to avoid. Three principles guided my way: Don’t be led astray Eliminate the unimportant Go slow to go fast

  • Radical Democracy

    How can governance represent the needs of the people?  How can governments disseminate power, and give equal consideration of interests? One proposal is quadratic voting, outlined in the book “Radical Markets”. The authors, Eric Posner and Glen Weyl, propose “Quadratic Voting”. This proposal replaces ‘one person one vote’. It replaces equal influence in choosing governments…

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where they Came From

    Sitting in the botanic gardens, hungover, watching the ducks skim across the water, waiting for the revival we knew only coffee could bring. Attempting a normal conversation. “Have you heard the theory that octopuses are aliens that arrived on a comet?”, my friend asked. I hadn’t. We examined this strange theory. It apparently relied on…