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Kickstarter Creator Spam

I'm running a Kickstarter, and maybe people who have done this before already know this, but apparently this gets you a lot of spam. Since starting it three days ago I've gotten eight different message offering to help me get my campaign funded, via Kickstarter's own messaging system.

Since I haven't gotten any legitimate messages, and these all look pretty aggressively commercial, what keeps Kickstarter from blocking them?

(On the other hand, since creators are notorious for using Kickstarter to spam their friends about supporting their projects, maybe this is just a thoughtful way to restore balance in the world?) more...

Comment Roundup II

As I wrote last time, sometimes I make comments on Facebook or elsewhere that, back when I had more time, I would have expanded into full blog posts. Since I don't seem to be getting around to that so much anymore I'm trying just collecting them here. more...

Anthropic Density

When people talk about the density of a city, they typically say something like "Somerville has 18k people per square mile". They're dividing the population by the area. This is nice and simple, but the statistic it gets you isn't actually a good match for what we mean when we say "density". We can do better!

The problem with using people/area for density is that this represents the an average from the perspective of the land. If there are 100 people per square mile and you pick a random square mile, you should expect to find 100 people on average. But we actually care about the perspective of the people living on the land: how many other people live near you? Let's call this "anthropic density." [1]

These metrics are similar, but not the same. Consider two towns, each square, each two miles on a side, each with the same number of people:

  • Town A is homogeneous, with the the people smoothly distributed over the four square miles.
  • Town B has a dense center, where 90% of the people live, and the remaining 10% are smoothly distributed over the rest of the town.


On Sharing

There are two main sharing philosophies I encounter with other parents. Say one kid is playing with a toy, and another kid comes up who wants to play with it:

  • Sharing is mandatory: the first kid has to share with the second.
  • Sharing is optional: the second kid has to wait until the first kid is done.
Spending Update

I haven't posted a spending update in a while, and we've had several big changes in our life: we bought a house, and we have two young children. Our lives are getting more complex financially, but I think it's still useful to describe where our money is going. more...

Conversation with Gleb of Intentional Insights

Gleb Tsipursky has been raising money for his organization, Intentional Insights, which he describes as an EA-aligned organization aimed at growing the EA community. At EA Global someone asked me what I thought of them, and I said Gleb had asked me for funding but I wasn't willing to. After I declined his request, we had a discussion in the comments on LessWrong which did not resolve my concerns and, actually, added more. The discussion is a little hard to read in that format, so here's a condensed version that highlights the main line of the discussion. more...

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