This is a book by Eliezer Yudkowsky on rationality. I would strongly recommend this to anyone interested in the subject and below I have put a few notes on bits I found particularly interesting. scope insensitivity: what would you pay to save 2000/20,000/20,000 birds? ideas is that you have a prototype bird and the emotional… Continue reading Map and Territory – Eliezer Yudkowsky
How confident are you?
There's a wonderful paper by Richard Zeckhauser (most of his stuff is pretty good) called investing in the unknown and unknowable. I could write about it but it's not too long and worth a read without me spoiling it. One thing that I do want to put up though is a little quiz from the… Continue reading How confident are you?
Influence – Robert Cialdini
A few points before the main notes. As is acknowledge throughout the book most of the tendencies noted are genuinely useful most of the time. Reciprocating actions helps build trust, accepting parental authority on what is dangerous when young is likely a useful activity. It is mainly when taken to new areas or pushed to… Continue reading Influence – Robert Cialdini
When we see an economic study or scientific test how do we know if the results are reliable? How do we know if we should pay attention to what we see labelled as scientific? We can look at the methodology or the ways the data was analysed but there is one thing that can act… Continue reading Sample size
Approximate geometric means
This post relates to finding the mean of two numbers. If I asked what the mean of 3 and 27 most people would say it was 15 but this is simply one version of the mean, the arithmetic mean (AM), where we look for a number that is an equal distance from the two through… Continue reading Approximate geometric means
How can you figure out the square root of a number quickly and to a decent degree of accuracy. You can try and figure out which squares the number falls between and try to guess where it falls but how can you do that accurately? Some of you will have heard of a Taylor series.… Continue reading Square roots
Mental maths: Logarithms
What is ln(8)? What about ln(100)? Or how about log2(10)? Logarithms can help us solve questions involving exponentials or cumulative events and, whilst you will rarely have to solve them without a calculator, I think being able to is a fun trick to know. To be able to solve any logarithm you need to know… Continue reading Mental maths: Logarithms
This is introducing a series on useful mental maths that I think it dramatically helps to know. It's true that in many professions being able to carry out complicated maths isn't required, however, it's also true that having some level of numeracy will help in almost all walks of life. I'm going to try and… Continue reading Mental maths
Factfullness – Hans Rosling
Hans Rosling takes a look at 10 tendencies that lead us astray when trying to evaluate facts in the world around us and how we can combat them.
I first came across the Kelly criterion in a paper by Haghani & Dewey where they give contestants a coin with a 60% chance to show heads, £25 and 300 flips to maximise their money. Well when I first read the question my performance would have likely been about as good as the average player,… Continue reading Kelly criterion