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Long Bets by Confidence Level

If you want to make a long-term bet one of your options is to register your bet with the Long Now Foundation as a Long Bet. They have some rules, which are roughly:
  • Both parties put up the same amount, at least $200/each.
  • Long Bets effectively runs a donor-advised fund (DAF).
  • When the bet concludes the winner chooses a charity to receive the money.
  • The charity gets the initial stakes, plus half the investment income.
While people have all sorts of reasons why they might want to use Long Bets, one question is: how confident do you need to be for placing a long bet to result in more money going to your preferred charity than just putting the money in a DAF now?

Let's say I claim we'll have talking horses ten years from now, and you're skeptical. You consider betting $1000 against my $1000 via Long Bets. If you win you'll get your $1000 back, my $1000, and half the investment income which (figuring the stock market returns a nominal 7%) will be ~$967, for a total of ~$2967. On the other hand, if you had just put your $1000 in a DAF you'd have ~$1967. Is this a good deal?

Provided putting the money in a DAF for at least that long would otherwise be your best option, if you're 100% confident that (a) you'll win and (b) Long Bets will still be around, then it's a solid deal. You're up about 50%. On the other hand, the less confident you are the worse the deal looks:

(sheet you can copy and play with)

For example, at 60% confidence you're neutral at 6 years, and negative after that. At 75% you're down to neutral at 16 years. At 90%, 32 years. At 99%, 75 years. For an organization trying to promote long-term thinking, it's surprising they would choose a fee structure that penalizes long-term bets so heavily.

full post...

Ungendered Spanish

Spanish has gramatical gender in a way English doesn't:

una amiga ruidosa — a loud (female) friend
un amigo ruidoso — a loud (male) friend
unas amigas ruidosas — some loud (female) friends
unos amigos ruidosos — some loud (not-all-female) friends

I remember when I was studying Spanish, learning the rule that even if you had a hundred girls and one boy you would use the male plural. My class all thought this was very sexist and unfair, but our teacher told us we were misapplying American norms and intuitions.

It's been interesting, ~twenty years later, following the development of gender-neutral ‑e:

LW For External Comments?

There are several blogs which (a) cross-post to LessWrong and (b) have a relatively quiet comment section on their "canonical" sites: Meteuphoric (canonical, LW), Don't Worry About The Vase (canonical, LW), Sideways View (canonical, LW), etc.

In general, I'm much happier to comment on LW, FB, or somewhere else where I already have an account and trust to have a decent notification system. I'll occasionally comment on someone's independent blog, if there's no other option. When I do, however, I usually don't end up seeing replies or other comments, and managing my subscriptions is a pain. This is why I've never built independent comments for my own blog, and have always asked people to comment on other sites.

I'm wondering whether it might make sense for LW to run shared commenting infrastructure for independent blogs that are cross posted to LW. This could look like:

Elementary Statistics

Our elementary school has a directory listing kids and parents, and since we live in the future it's a spreadsheet, which means I can count things. A typical family at this K-5 school has one child enrolled (76%). The child has two parents (96%) with different last names (59%), but they share a last name with at least one parent (89%). The parents don't share email addresses (95%) or phone numbers (97%), do use gmail (72%), and do have Boston area codes (68%). Our family in the majority for each of these, even though there's naively only a 18% chance of that happening and they seem reasonably independent.

It's surprising to me that while parents mostly don't have the same names as each other (59%), only 11% of their kids have hyphenated names. I guess people realized that hyphenated names grow exponentially? I'd like to look at how the children's last names relate to parental gender, but that would involve annotating inferred genders for ~500 parents.

Boring details:

Long-lasting Effects of Suspensions?

I recently read "The School to Prison Pipeline: Long-Run Impacts of School Suspensions on Adult Crime" (Bacher-Hicks et. al. 2019, pdf, via Rob Wiblin) which argues that a policy of suspending kids in middle school leads to more crime as an adult.

Specifically, they found that after controlling for a bunch of things, students who attended schools with 0.38 more suspensions per student per year were 20% more likely to be jailed as adults:

Dance Weekend Schedule Checklist

When I've been booked for a dance weekend, the organizers generally send a draft schedule out a few weeks in advance to look over. If they don't send one I'll usually ask about two weeks out. There are a few things I want to check, since it's easy for organizers to miss things when putting schedules together:
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