An idiot’s guide to prediction markets

I have been trying to understand how to form better predictions for a long time. I will use writing this blogpost as an instrument for doing so. I came across an interesting question on manifold.markets, which is a website that gives people play money to predict the outcomes of events unfolding in the world. IContinue reading “An idiot’s guide to prediction markets”

Can we really make YouTube better?

Consider the following abstract from The challenge of understanding what users want by Kleinberg, Mullainathan and Raghavan: The gist is this: when you’re on YouTube, you can do one of two things: You can go down the rabbit hole of watching 57 videos of celebrities farting on camera, which will ultimately cause you to getContinue reading “Can we really make YouTube better?”

The anatomy of a whodunnit

When I would read Miss Marple stories by Agatha Christie, I would almost never be able to guess the killer. I would introduce all sorts of complexities into my guesses: the most suspicious person is obviously not the killer. It is probably the least suspicious, or the most medium-suspicious (median-suspicious?). But regardless of anything thatContinue reading “The anatomy of a whodunnit”

Deconstructing The Office as a joke at the meta level

The Office is my favorite show of all time. Period. I watched it obsessively everyday for about four years, until it was taken away by NBC and plugged into a far inferior viewing experience. Lots of people have written illuminating articles on what makes The Office funny. I’d like to write a much inferior articleContinue reading “Deconstructing The Office as a joke at the meta level”

Where do religious fundamentalists find the motivation

Religious fundamentalists are people who sometimes carry on attacks to spread their version of religion at the cost of others’ lives. Some questions that are often asked of them are: How can you justify killing others in the name of God? Which God asks you to kill innocent people? How can you possibly be representativesContinue reading “Where do religious fundamentalists find the motivation”

It’s never the big things

A couple of weeks back, a lot of people were predicting that Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of Britain and the party-animal-in-charge of the illegal Covid parties at 10 Downing, would resign soon. Someone said they’d be surprised if Johnson lasted the week. I was surprised. I’d surely heard about these parties; however, I didn’tContinue reading “It’s never the big things”

Some abstracts from social science papers

The following is the abstract from “Vaccination nudges“: But what about the troves of research that have shown nudges to be largely ineffective, at least in education? One possible takeaway is that nudges work when the effort required to negate the nudge is too high. For instance, cancelling the vaccination appointment takes some effort. This,Continue reading “Some abstracts from social science papers”