9 karmaJoined Apr 2022


I think it’s a mistake to favour one technology over another. Ultimately, there will always be lots we don’t know about the future path of either technology.

If we are lobbying for changing energy policy then we should focus on ensuring externalities (CO2 emissions, air pollution, and waste) are priced in, that intermittency costs are priced in correctly, that badly-designed (e.g. based on misconceptions around risk) regulations don’t increase the costs of a given source, and that each energy source can compete on its own merits without undue favouritism.

That said, I think that chart you shared gives us reason to be unsatisfied with the status quo around nuclear. It should be getting cheaper but for whatever reason we aren’t building enough to benefit from Wright’s law.

Small points:

"The 12 month age limit in the current prize makes little sense: If someone has been producing valuable content for a long time, they will probably continue doing so for quite a while. The current prize is unfairly excluding past effort."

Isn't the point to incentivise additional blogging activity? A $100,000 prize for Scott Alexander is unlikely to increase the quantity/quality of ACX/SSC posts.

Also, if through this prize you have developed the habit of blogging/built an audience, then I suspect you are likely to continue. Especially, given how easy it is to monetise a newsletter/blog today.

“Except for rare exceptions (Slate Star Codex being the most notable one), blogs usually don’t provide much long-term value—who cares enough to read the whole archive of a blog, unless the author is exceptionally skilled?”

The whole point is surely to find and encourage more SSCs, and within a few weeks, they seem to have had some real success with Hands and Cities/The Fitzwilliam based on your assessment. 

Major point:

I think you significantly underrate the pedagogical value of a blog. Marginal Revolution has influenced the way I think about economics, longtermism, and effective altruism. But I can't easily point to the eureka post. I can think of the same with many other blogs. My knowledge of nominal GDP targeting, human capital signalling, zoning/spatial economics, optimal tax theory, etc. are all the result of reading blog after blog. I can't think of many, if any, books that have had the same impact on my worldview. Maybe I'm unusual on this front. But I suspect I'm not at all.