> Do I want to engage with the literature (the book)? That depends, can I take the literature seriously or is it just libertarian wet dreams?
"The literature" in this context isn't just Caplan's book (which you can take seriously), but also the papers he's citing and other books; a nontrivial part ...(read more)
An interesting thing to look at here is the history of literacy in England. [Here's](https://www1.umassd.edu/ir/resources/laboreducation/literacy.pdf) a graph of illiteracy, declining from 90% to 5% (for men) from 1500 to 1900. Of interest is that the compulsory schooling acts--basically the adoptio...(read more)
> For one, how do you estimate what a person's economic productivity would have been if they hadn't finished school? I don't see an obvious valid way to do it (I see many invalid ones though).
My suspicion is that if you want to engage with the literature on a subject, you need to actually read the...(read more)
I suppose I should also chime in with "school wasn't _that_ miserable for me," but I do recall thinking there was an obviously better option at the time--just spending my time alternating between reading in the library by my house and running around in the park by my house.
I also only recall two d...(read more)
It seems to me like the core problem here is that basic RL doesn't distinguish between environments and agents in environments--it doesn't have separate ways of reasoning about rain being associated with clouds and water balloons being associated with Calvin. Does it seem to you like there's somethi...(read more)
> But that only makes sense if insectivore populations have in fact, not decreased. Haven't they? Do you have data on it? Surely human activity has damaged the populations of many species, both over the last few decades and the last few millennia.
My understanding is that they have declined, but in...(read more)
Trophic compression seems likely. A further consideration, along similar lines, is what the food chain actually looks like when you turn it from an unweighted graph to a weighted graph. One could say that there are other species that prey on humans, but basically all humans die of non-predatory caus...(read more)
The changes to American national forests upon the reintroduction of wolves (and thus a reduction in the deer population) were supposedly obvious to non-experts; similarly, changes based on the collapse of friendly species (such as chestnuts being destroyed by blight) were also somewhat obvious (but ...(read more)
My understanding is that fat cells divide upon growing too large, but don't meaningfully die or merge upon growing too small \[see [here](https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/02/17/are-fat-cells-forever/) for a simple statement of the claim\]; that means the heaviest you've ever been is an input to a...(read more)
> But if you'd asked me in advance whether Conor would delete his entire posting history, upon deciding LW2 wasn't for him, I would have said that seemed very unlikely.
Conor said, several times, that this was the strategy he would take if he decided that LW2 wasn't for him. (I would link you to th...(read more)