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Favorites November 14th 2023
While using a chatbot to rank chatbot responses isn't ideal, we can at least hope that if it makes mistakes it'll make the same mistake across all models it's ranking. Seems like an interesting ranking to watch over time.
This was the beginning of a lot of discussion on Twitter about whether Biden should drop out of the race. Nate points out that the situation is noticably worse than Obama's reelection situation ever was, Pelosi is actually getting that exact comparioson wrong. Yglesias had a whole article on the subject. Klein commented that he tends to agree, but points out that Biden is actually surprisingly popular compared to peer leaders. Maybe voters are currently not paying attention to the situation? Ozimek adds that the economic situation being positive takes a while to notice.
Turns out the headlines about slowing EV sales are actually about Ford and GM EV sales slowing. (I had actually mentioned a slowdown in EV sales in a previous newsletter)
It was reported that Google's lawyer 'visibly cringed' when the number was revealed.
• Short summary thread of an almost as short Axios article about how Trumps allies are pre-screening ideologies of potential appointees. Humorously, Trump himself probably couldn't pass the screening (does he have a preferred political philosopher?). But it's serious stuff, check out the sample questions. (src)
• Thread describing a delightful idea to try to improve techniques for detecting fake research. TL;DR: a competition where you take an unpublished null-result paper, modify it in a way that's not revealed, and then post a prize for anyone who can figure out how the study was modified. (src)
Flotsam and Jetsam
– Why do tables have four legs rather than three? (src)
– An old paper arguing that relaxed zoning would increase GDP massively had math errors. But researchers were already not citing this text, as other, better research has been published since. (src)
– WaPo article about inheritance in the United States (src)
– Study of reduced Floor Area Ratio regulations in India, which significantly reduced housing prices. (src)
– 40% of Manhattan buildings couldn't be built today, because of zoning. (src)
– Short Youtube video about fruit picking robots (src)
– Military partnership between US and Indonesia, the largest predominantly-Muslim country (src)
– Populations of almost all other countries view the US positively, except Australia, they're less positive. (src)
– 'Smart Campus' surveillance in China alerts authorities if it detects that a student may be fasting during Ramadan. Yikes. (src)
– Study of traffic congestion impact on health using the introduction of automated bridge toll collection. (src)
– China's GDP may never surpass US GDP, but their manufacturing base is still huge (src)