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Author Archives: Scott Alexander

List Of Passages I Highlighted In My Copy Of “The Secret Of Our Success”

[Previously in sequence: Epistemic Learned Helplessness, Book Review: The Secret Of Our Success] A rare example of cultural evolution in action: Throughout the Highlands of New Guinea, a group’s ability to raise large numbers of pigs is directly related to … Continue reading

Book Review: The Secret Of Our Success

[Previously in sequence: Epistemic Learned Helplessness] I. “Culture is the secret of humanity’s success” sounds like the most vapid possible thesis. The Secret Of Our Success by anthropologist Joseph Henrich manages to be an amazing book anyway. Henrich wants to … Continue reading

[REPOST] Epistemic Learned Helplessness

[This is a slightly edited repost of an essay from my old LiveJournal] A friend recently complained about how many people lack the basic skill of believing arguments. That is, if you have a valid argument for something, then you … Continue reading

OT129: Opaque Thread

This is the bi-weekly visible open thread (there are also hidden open threads twice a week you can reach through the Open Thread tab on the top of the page). Post about anything you want, but please try to avoid … Continue reading

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Bay Area SSC Meetup 6/2

Join me at 5 PM on Sunday, June 2, for the traditional once-every-three-months big SSC Bay Area meetup. For a change of pace, it’ll be in San Francisco this time around. Meet on the grass near the tennis courts at … Continue reading

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Postscript To APA Photo-Essay

I was surprised how many people responded to my APA photo-essay with comments like “Seems psychiatry as a field is broken beyond repair” or “This proves you should never trust psychiatrists”. The mood I was going for was more “let’s … Continue reading

The APA Meeting: A Photo-Essay

The first thing you notice at the American Psychiatric Association meeting is its size. By conservative estimates, a quarter of the psychiatrists in the United States are packed into a single giant San Francisco convention center, more than 15,000 people. … Continue reading

OT128: Opentos Thread

This is the bi-weekly visible open thread (there are also hidden open threads twice a week you can reach through the Open Thread tab on the top of the page). Post about anything you want, but please try to avoid … Continue reading

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APA Meetup This Saturday

I’d like to meet any SSC readers who will be at the American Psychiatric Association meeting this weekend in San Francisco. I propose lunch on Saturday 5/18, 12 PM. We can meet at Room 312 (randomly chosen as a room … Continue reading

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A Critical Period For Lactation Fetishes

Enquist et al on lactation fetishes is one of my favorite papers. They wonder – as we’ve all wondered at one point or another – how people develop fetishes. One plausible hypothesis is “sexual imprinting”. During childhood, you have a … Continue reading