Archive for December, 2011

December 23, 2011

Why do people like music?

It’s hard to see the evolutionary benefit.

December 19, 2011

Why do people make their own food so much?

Hardly anyone has a comparative advantage at it, and there are huge returns to scale.

December 19, 2011

How do creatures make abstractions from all the data they receive?

December 19, 2011

Why is it so hard to change social institutions?

There are heaps of ideas floating around for better ways to organize ourselves, but it seems we rarely try them.

December 19, 2011

How can we avoid publication bias?

December 18, 2011

We’ve been making and eating food forever. Why aren’t we better at it?

It’s not uncommon for people to invent recipes that are significantly better than what they would be eating otherwise. Also, almost nobody makes cake as good as my mother’s, yet they persist in making their sub-par cakes rather than looking up a good recipe. This seems related.

December 18, 2011

Why don’t good things spread between cultures more?

December 18, 2011

How can we better protect and provide for future people institutionally?

For instance ourselves in ten years. The question is relevant to the extent that we care to look after them, which I think is at least a bit.

December 16, 2011

How should you make decisions that have non-causal implications?

e.g. when deciding to smoke tells you you probably have a cancer causing gene, or deciding to take two boxes of money is strongly correlated with one of the boxes containing much less money.

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December 16, 2011

How should you decide what your preferences are?

Given a collection of behavior and some introspection say, which have various inconsistencies.