Wherein I annotate things.
Today, responding to (the more fun half of) Noah Smith’s blog post, “Academic signaling and the post-truth world”:
Lots of people are freaking out about the “post-truth world” and the “war on science“. People are blaming Trump, but I think Trump is just a symptom.
For one thing, rising distrust of science long predates the current political climate; conservative rejection of climate science is a decades-old phenomenon. It’s natural for people to want to disbelieve scientific results that would lead to them making less money. And there’s always a tribal element to the arguments over how to use scientific results; conservatives accurately perceive that people who hate capitalism tend to over-emphasize scientific results that imply capitalism is fundamentally destructive.
But I think things are worse now than before. The right’s distrust of science has reached knee-jerk levels. And on the left, more seem willing to embrace things like anti-vax, and to be overly skeptical of scientific results saying GMOs are safe.
I’m choosing to skip over this bit, because many reasons, but mostly it just wouldn’t be fun for me.
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Got catching up to do! More links!
“This is just a pointer to two new (non-technical) papers of mine that look at the implications of various falling costs associated with new technologies.” — Digitopoly | Falling Costs: Two Non-Technical Papers
“Those departures put pressure on Alphabet to transform its science project into a working commercial product.” — Google is launching a new self-driving car company called Waymo – Vox
“So, to sum up: They aren’t privy to his data. He isn’t privy to them. And because they work from encrypted data, they can’t use their machine learning models on other data—and neither can he. But Craib believes the blind can lead the blind to a better hedge fund.” — Numerai Used 7,500 Faceless Coders Paid in Bitcoin to Build Its Hedge Fund’s Brain | WIRED
“If a thousand virtual worlds take shape, so too can a thousand AIs.” — Google’s Improbable Deal to Recreate the Real World in VR | WIRED
“Interested readers can view our complete recommendations, but a new Trump national space policy should declare:[…]” — Opinion: Dear President Trump: Here’s How to Make Space Great Again | WIRED
“Are Ideas Getting Harder to Find? Yes, say Bloom, Jones, Van Reenen, and Webb.” — A Very Depressing Paper on the Great Stagnation – Marginal REVOLUTION
Annnnd we’re back. Finals is a pain.
“Using data on expenditure on research and development, and patent applications, receipts, and citations, we show that the Chinese economy has become increasingly innovative. ” — From “Made in China” to “Innovated in China”: Necessity, Prospect, and Challenges
“Yes, it may be a damaging four years for research, innovation, the economy (driven by R&D), and the environment – some irrevocable. But that’s not reason to lose hope. Instead it’s a challenge to all of us to get involved. We must be more dedicated than ever to work for change.” — Dear Scientists: Our Government Needs You – Scientific American Blog Network
“Science, rather than appearing like a human enterprise, full of fits and starts in the never-ending search for knowledge, is expected to prove claims once a week, or even more frequently. And I think that’s bad for readers and viewers.” — Why science news embargoes are bad for the public – Vox
“This means the social costs of new techniques (as opposed to the costs captured in market prices) are systematically underestimated.” — Bite-back, Joel Mokyr
“What will happen to those efforts under a Donald Trump presidency? One thing seems likely: Set aside Mars. Private companies are going to get a chance to do business on the moon.” — What a Trump presidency means for NASA and the future of space exploration — Quartz