The active ingredient in effective altruism was always supposed to be making it harder to trick yourself into feeling like you’re helping unless you actually are. - this was part of how I interpreted Eliezer’s post The Unit Of Caring. Money is something that definitely helps a quantifiable amount, and giving away money isn’t much fun, so by limiting your contributions to money you have sort of a commitment mechanism so that you know you’re actually helping instead of just signaling helping.A very good data visualization of the cost of World War II.
There was this big competition for robots trying to complete an obstacle course and do various tasks. But what people were really interested in was all the robots falling down trying to complete it.
Remember how I was all excited about HP using memristors for their big new project? Well it turns out they won't be using them after all. I'm glad the systems level work is being done but clearly this technology isn't as ready as I thought it was.
Boston has a pretty cool mass transit system by at least two metrics.
Selenium Boondocks goes over some of their best posts from their first 10 years of blogging.
Neural networks have been making a bith of a resurgence these last few years. In terms of processing visual data Google has done some work on showing what they're looking for. Some of those images are really trippy.
Remember Dune in Calvin and Hobbes? Here's Game of Thrones mashed up with Peanuts.
Here's an interview with a former policeman in Baltimore on what he thinks the problems in the force are. This sort of makes me think the move, long ago, to put police in cars to keep them isolated from their communities was a bad idea. I won't say that enforcing laws on communities that think they're unjust (part of the original motivation) is always a bad idea btu I think the cost was badly underestimated.
People have been doing research on certificate of needs that are required to build new hospitals and it doesn't look good for the poor or really anybody else. Back in the 1970s there was a common idea that "dog eat dog" competition between companies made capitalism less efficient than socialism and that we needed to prevent competition in order to lower healthcare prices. This sounds really weird nowadays for good reason but most of the laws designed to lower healthcare costs by preventing competition between hospitals are still on the books.