This is the bi-weekly open thread. Post about anything you want, ask random questions, whatever. Also:
1. Comments of the week are some rocket scientists discussing the significance of the latest SpaceX advances, Eric Raymond discussing the history of duelling (and continued on his own blog), and Richard on the reasons the soda tax failed in Berkeley but succeeded in Mexico.
2. This has a deadline of February 1, so I’m putting it here instead of waiting for the next links thread: Professor Stephen Hsu, who writes the blog Information Processing, is running for Harvard’s Board of Overseers as part of a wider “Free Harvard, Fair Harvard” campaign. Their platform is to use the college endowment to help subsidize tuition (with “free tuition” as a long-term goal), plus more transparent admissions process with special consideration to stopping discrimination against Asians. I’ve linked Steve a lot, and I know he agrees with this blog’s opinions about credentialism; he’s also one of the top scientists investigating human intelligence enhancement. Having a person like that helping lead Harvard would be…interesting. Right now it looks like he needs Harvard alumni to sign a petition to get him on the ballot; if you are an interested alumnus, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Some people on the subreddit are planning a London Rationalist Diaspora Meetup for LW, SSC, and/or EA participants. As per the usual rules everyone who reads this is invited, and you shouldn’t worry that you shouldn’t come because you “don’t feel interesting enough” or “feel like you wouldn’t fit in” or whatever. Meetup is at 2 PM 1/24/16 at the Shakespeare’s Head (which is exactly the sort of thing I imagine buildings in Britain being called) 64-68 Kingsway, WC2B 6BG London, United Kingdom. You can RSVP on Facebook if you want. I will not be able to make it but I send my good wishes.
4. Unsong update: chapters 2 and 3 are now up. And even if you don’t like fiction, you might be interested in Interlude ב, which I wrote sort of as a companion piece for SSC post Mysticism And Pattern-Matching.