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35 – Your Brain on Nootropics

** Fixed the audio. Please re-download for the correct episode. **

Drugs that boost mental performance for dummies.

Did caffiene help kickstart the Enlightenment era?


/r/nootropics for your nootropic discussion needs

Other places to discuss include Nootropics Depot and Longecity

Gwern’s posts on nootropics in general, and in-depth on Modafinil in particular

The Flynn Effect

The Last Psychiatrist’s Ritalin/Adderall post

You Pass Butter

The survey project where they’re gathering data on what humans would want self-driving cars to do in trolley-problem-like situations. Pretty fun!

Blindsight by Peter Watts on Amazon. Also available free from the author!

What Is It Like To Be A Bat? (note: PDF)

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34 – Lies, All Lies!

Slate Star Codex article – You Kant Dismiss Universalizability

Wikipedia page on the Revelation Principle

Eliezer’s post on LessWrong – Ends Don’t Justify Means (Among Humans)

Another LessWrong post – Protected From Myself

Louis CK bit on Lying (1:46 seconds long)

Short book by Sam Harris on Lying (six minute preview of audiobook)

Scott Alexander post on LessWrong – The Worst Argument in the World

The Prevalence of Lying in America: Three Studies of Self-Reported Lies

Kim B. Serota, Timothy R. Levine, & Franklin J. Boster


Eliezer_Yudkowsky 05 July 2009 comment on Not Technically Lying by Psychohistorian


Are animals capable of deception or empathy? Implications for animal consciousness and animal welfare

S Kuczaj, K Tranel, M Trone, H Hill

Animal Welfare. Special Issue 10:161- 173 (2001)


Comadena, Mark E. “Accuracy in detecting deception: Intimate and friendship relationships.” Annals of the International Communication Association 6.1 (1982): 446-472.

Comadena’s study finds that friends & spouses have better deception rates than acquaintances, but friends have better deception rates than spouses. So, it’s more like closeness helps your lie-detection ability up to a point, but past that point of closeness, it starts to hurt instead of help. Some other studies show no significant difference between detection rates of strangers vs people in close relationships


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33 – MIRI, and EA meta-discussion

We talk with Tsvi from MIRI

Game-playing algorithm that pauses Tetris

On The Origin of Circuits“, discussing a chip hardware evolution experiment

MIRI’s technical research agenda overview

Alignment for advanced machine learning systems paper from MIRI

Musk’s OpenAI

Paul Christiano’s about page, which links to his paper Tsvi mentioned

Logical induction paper from MIRI

Reason as Memetic Immune Disorder, by Phil Goetz (not Scott Alexander (yet))

The original “EA Has a Lying Problem” post. Lost of discussion in the comments, and also over at


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32 – Who’s Afraid of AI?

The Logical Fallacy of Generalizing from fictional evidence

Genie Button Though Experiment

Wait but Why on AI Part 1 and Part 2

The Downfall meme we mentioned. This is Steven’s favorite version.

Yudkowsky vs Hanson – Great AI FOOM debate  and the Video

Sam Harris AI TED talk

Albion’s Seed – SSC

Redditor provides an incredible explanation of how being poor can make you bad with money

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31 – Digital Rights and Privacy

Who can access the external part of your brain that you carry around in your pocket? What rights do you have to it? With Chase.

Police demand audio records from the Echo of a murder victim, Amazon displeased (more details)

EFF defends podcasting (as a whole) from a patent troll

Speaking of which – The EFF is the best. Seriously.

The pacemaker that thwarted a fire insurance fraud

The pacemaker that lives inside you is not legally yours and you can’t tamper with it

NewEgg defends online shopping carts from a patent troll

XKCD’s brilliant single-panel comic on DRM and piracy

iTunes deleted music off their user’s hard drive

A woman had her Kindle wiped by Amazon for using it in the wrong country

Published after we recorded – Why You Should Care About The Supreme Court Case On Toner Cartridges (From article – “you don’t “own” things like movies, music, or even the software on your phone; rather, it’s being licensed, which means companies can go to all kinds of lengths to keep controlling how, when, and where you use the things you’ve bought long after you’ve bought them.”)

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30 – Of Specks and Omlettes

We discuss a famously controversial post, despite our better judgement. With Sean and Matt.

The Post: Torture Vs Dust Specks

Rationality: From AI to Zombies – The Podcast

Shut Up And Multiply is actually taken from two posts: Circular Altruism and The “Intuitions” Behind “Utilitarianism”

Three Worlds Collide (also in audio)

The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas (pdf)

Ashton Kutcher’s Thorn program

“…And I Show You How Deep The Rabbit Hole Goes” – short story by Scott Alexander featuring pills of many colors

SMBC Comics is the best!

Superman and the Clan of the Fiery Cross radio shows

Reasons and Persons, by Derek Parfit

A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, by Thomas Sowell

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