67 episodes

Vaden Masrani, a PhD alum in machine learning at UBC, and Ben Chugg, a PhD student in statistics at CMU, get into trouble arguing about everything except machine learning and statistics. Coherence is somewhere on the horizon.
Bribes, suggestions, love-mail and hate-mail all welcome at incrementspodcast@gmail.com.

Increments Ben Chugg and Vaden Masrani

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 12 Ratings

Vaden Masrani, a PhD alum in machine learning at UBC, and Ben Chugg, a PhD student in statistics at CMU, get into trouble arguing about everything except machine learning and statistics. Coherence is somewhere on the horizon.
Bribes, suggestions, love-mail and hate-mail all welcome at incrementspodcast@gmail.com.

    #66 - Sex Research, Addiction, and Financial Domination (w/ Aella)

    #66 - Sex Research, Addiction, and Financial Domination (w/ Aella)

    What do you get when you mix nerds and sex research? A deep dive into the world of fetish statistics, men's calibration about women's sexual preferences, and the crazy underground world of financial domination. Stay tuned as Aella walks the boys through the world of gangbangs, camming, OnlyFans, escorting, findom, and even live-tests Vaden's wild hypothesis against her huge, thick, dataset.


    We discuss


    How to describe what Aella does
    Aella's bangin' birthday party
    The state of sex research
    Conservative and neo-trad pushback and whether Aella is immune from cancellation
    Are men calibrated when it comes to predicting women's sexual preferences?
    The wild world of findom (financial domination)
    Is findom addiction worse than other addictions?
    Differences between camming and OnlyFans
    Can a fetish ever be considered self-harm?
    Plus some live hypothesis testing! Does Vaden's hypothesis survive...?
    Aella's forthcoming journal based on Rationalist principles


    References from the ep


    Aella's good at sex series
    Aella's website
    Aella's blogpost on Fetish Tabooness vs Popularity
    "I spent $3,400 in a single day on financial domination": financial-domination addict James


    Clip starts at 12:25

    Findom Addicts Anonymous
    Fetlife bans Findom
    Domme won't let me quit (unethical), addicted to findom, please help | Reddit
    I don't feel bad for subs that are addicted to findom.


    Findom References

    (additional sources used for episode prep that weren't mention in the episode)



    Random Men Pay My Bills | BBC Podcast
    Interview with a Recovering Paypig - A Financial Domination Addict
    FINDOM is not FEMDOM
    Confessions of a 'Pay Pig': Why I Give Away Money to Dominant Women I Meet Online
    Special Episode on Findoms... | The Kink Perspective Podcast
    She Gets Paid Just to Humiliate Her Fans | New York Times


    Socials


    Follow us on Twitter at @IncrementsPod, @BennyChugg, @VadenMasrani
    Come join our discord server! DM us on twitter or send us an email to get a supersecret link
    Help us put heads in toilets and get exclusive bonus content by becoming a patreon subscriber here. Or give us one-time cash donations to help cover our lack of cash donations here.
    Click dem like buttons on youtube


    Send us $500 and call us your Queen, you steaming pile of s***: incrementspodcast@gmail.com
    Special Guest: Aella.
    Support Increments

    • 1 hr 6 min
    #65 - Libertarianism II: Economic Issues (w/ Bruce Nielson)

    #65 - Libertarianism II: Economic Issues (w/ Bruce Nielson)

    Back at it again, as we coerce you into listening to Part 2 of our four part series on Libertarianism, with Mr. Bruce Nielson (@bnielson01). In this episode we cover the Economic Issues section of Scott Alexander's (non-aggressive and principled) non-libertarian FAQ, and discuss his four major economic critiques of the libertarian view that free and voluntary trade between consenting, informed, rational individuals is the best possible thing ever, with no downsides at all. Also, can we interest you in buying some wasps?


    We discuss


    Loose ends from last episode - coercion and the Non-Aggression Principle
    What distinguishes a conservative like Bruce from a libertarian?
    Externalities
    Boycotts and Coordination Problems
    Irrational Choices
    Lack of Information


    References


    The Non-libertarian FAQ
    Planet Money on the Porcupine Freedom Festival


    Vaden's blog posts on Libertarianism / Austrian Economics / Anarcho-Captialism / Whateveryawannacallit


    First: Is Austrian Economics the Best Explanation of Economics?
    Second: Can we predict human behaviour? A discussion with Brett Hall


    Quotes


    The Argument:


    In a free market, all trade has to be voluntary, so you will never agree to a trade unless it benefits you.


    Further, you won’t make a trade unless you think it’s the best possible trade you can make. If you knew you could make a better one, you’d hold out for that. So trades in a free market are not only better than nothing, they’re also the best possible transaction you could make at that time.


    Labor is no different from any other commercial transaction in this respect. You won’t agree to a job unless it benefits you more than anything else you can do with your time, and your employer won’t hire you unless it benefits her more than anything else she can do with her money. So a voluntarily agreed labor contract must benefit both parties, and must do so more than any other alternative.


    If every trade in a free market benefits both parties, then any time the government tries to restrict trade in some way, it must hurt both parties. Or, to put it another way, you can help someone by giving them more options, but you can’t help them by taking away options. And in a free market, where everyone starts with all options, all the government can do is take options away.


    The Counterargument:


    This treats the world as a series of producer-consumer dyads instead of as a system in which every transaction affects everyone else. Also, it treats consumers as coherent entities who have specific variables like “utility” and “demand” and know exactly what they are, which doesn’t always work.
    - https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/02/22/repost-the-non-libertarian-faq/


    What is an externality?


    1.1: What is an externality?



    An externality is when I make a trade with you, but it has some accidental effect on other people who weren’t involved in the trade.



    Suppose for example that I sell my house to an amateur wasp farmer. Only he’s not a very good wasp farmer, so his wasps usually get loose and sting people all over the neighborhood every couple of days.


    This trade between the wasp farmer and myself has benefited both of us, but it’s harmed people who weren’t consulted; namely, my neighbors, who are now locked indoors clutching cans of industrial-strength insect repellent. Although the trade was voluntary for both the wasp farmer and myself, it wasn’t voluntary for my neighbors.


    Another example of externalities would be a widget factory that spews carcinogenic chemicals into the air. When I trade with the widget factory I’m benefiting – I get widgets – and they’re benefiting – they get money. But the people who breathe in the carcinogenic chemicals weren’t consulted in the trade.


    2.3: How do coordination problems justify regulation of ethical business practices?


    ... Let’s say Wanda’s Widgets has one million customers. Each customer pays it $100 per year, for a total income

    • 1 hr 33 min
    #64 - Libertarianism I: Intro and Moral Issues (w/ Bruce Nielson)

    #64 - Libertarianism I: Intro and Moral Issues (w/ Bruce Nielson)

    Liberty! Freedom! Coercion! Taxes are theft! The State is The Enemy! Bitcoin! Crypto! Down with the central banks! Let's all return to the Gold Standard!


    Have you encountered such phrases in the wild? Confused, perhaps, as to why an afternoon beer with a friend become an extended diatribe against John Maynard Kaynes? Us too, which is why we're diving into the ideological source of such views: Libertarianism.


    Welcome to Part 1 of a four part series where we, with Bruce Nielson (@bnielson01) as our battle-hardened guide, dive into Scott Alexander's non-libertarian FAQ. Ought George help, or ought George respect the government's property rights? Let's find out.


    And make sure to check out Bruce's excellent The Theory Of Anything podcast here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-theory-of-anything/id1503194218


    We discuss


    Varieties of libertarianism
    Why are some libertarians so ideological?
    Is taxation theft?
    The problem of public goods
    "Proprietary communities" and the perfect libertarian society
    Why the perfect libertarian society doesn't escape taxation
    Are we living in the libertarian utopia right now?
    Taxes as membership fees


    References


    The Non-libertarian FAQ
    George ought to help
    The Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman


    Vaden's blog posts on Libertarianism / Austrian Economics / Anarcho-Captialism / Whateveryawannacallit


    First: Is Austrian Economics the Best Explanation of Economics?
    Second: Can we predict human behaviour? A discussion with Brett Hall


    Quotes


    0.2: Do you hate libertarianism?
    No.


    To many people, libertarianism is a reaction against an over-regulated society, and an attempt to spread the word that some seemingly intractable problems can be solved by a hands-off approach. Many libertarians have made excellent arguments for why certain libertarian policies are the best options, and I agree with many of them. I think this kind of libertarianism is a valuable strain of political thought that deserves more attention, and I have no quarrel whatsoever with it and find myself leaning more and more in that direction myself.


    However, there’s a certain more aggressive, very American strain of libertarianism with which I do have a quarrel. This is the strain which, rather than analyzing specific policies and often deciding a more laissez-faire approach is best, starts with the tenet that government can do no right and private industry can do no wrong and uses this faith in place of more careful analysis. This faction is not averse to discussing politics, but tends to trot out the same few arguments about why less regulation has to be better. I wish I could blame this all on Ayn Rand, but a lot of it seems to come from people who have never heard of her. I suppose I could just add it to the bottom of the list of things I blame Reagan for.
    - https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/02/22/repost-the-non-libertarian-faq/



    Socials


    Follow us on Twitter at @IncrementsPod, @BennyChugg, @VadenMasrani
    Come join our discord server! DM us on twitter or send us an email to get a supersecret link
    Help us curtail freedom and get exclusive bonus content by becoming a patreon subscriber here. Or give us one-time cash donations to help cover our lack of cash donations here.
    Click dem like buttons on youtube


    How do you summon libertarians at a party? Finish the punchline and tell us over at incrementspodcast@gmail.com
    Special Guest: Bruce Nielson.
    Support Increments

    • 1 hr 52 min
    #63 - Recycling is the Dumps

    #63 - Recycling is the Dumps

    Close your eyes, and think of a bright and pristine, clean and immaculately run recycling center, green'r than a giant's thumb. Now think of a dirty, ugly, rotting landfill, stinking in the mid-day sun. Of these two scenarios, which, do you reckon, is worse for the environment?


    In this episode, Ben and Vaden attempt to reduce and refute a few reused canards about recycling and refuse, by rereading Rob Wiblin's excellent piece which addresses the aformentioned question: What you think about landfill and recycling is probably totally wrong. Steel yourselves for this one folks, because you may need to paper over arguments with loved ones, trash old opinions, and shatter previous misconceptions.
    Check out more of Rob's writing here.


    We discuss


    The origins of recycling and some of the earliest instances
    Energy efficiency of recycling plastics, aluminium, paper, steel, and electronic waste (e-waste)
    Why your peanut butter jars and plastic coffee cups are not recyclable
    Modern landfills and why they're awesome
    How landfills can be used to create energy
    Building stuff on top of landfills
    Why we're not even close to running out of space for landfills
    Economic incentives for recycling vs top-down regulation
    The modern recycling movement and its emergence in the 1990s
    > - Guiyu, China, where e-waste goes to die.
    That a lot of your "recycling" ends up as garbage in the Philippines


    Error Correction


    Vaden misremembered what Smil wrote regarding four categories of recycling (Metals and Aluminum / Plastics / Paper / Electronic Waste ("e-waste")). He incorrectly quoted Smil as saying these four categories were exhaustive, and represented the four major categories recycling into which the majority of recycled material can be bucketed. This is incorrect- what Smil actually wrote was:



    I will devote the rest of this section (and of this chapter) to brief appraisals of the recycling efforts for four materials — two key metals (steel and aluminum) and plastics and paper—and of electronic waste, a category of discarded material that would most benefit from much enhanced rates of recycling.
    - Making the Modern World: Materials and De-materialization, Smill, p.179



    A list of the top 9 recycled materials can be found here: https://www.rd.com/list/most-recyclable-materials/


    Sources / Citations


    Share of plastic waste that is recycled, landfilled, incinerated and mismanaged, 2019

    Source for the claim that recycling glass is not energy efficient (and thus not necessarily better for the environment than landfilling):



    Glass bottles can be more pleasant to drink out of, but they also require more energy to manufacture and recycle. Glass bottles consume 170 to 250 percent more energy and emit 200 to 400 percent more carbon than plastic bottles, due mostly to the heat energy required in the manufacturing process. Of course, if the extra energy required by glass were produced from emissions-free sources, it wouldn’t necessarily matter that glass bottles required more energy to make and move. “If the energy is nuclear power or renewables there should be less of an environmental impact,” notes Figgener.
    - Apocalypse Never, Shellenburger, p.66


    Cloth bags need to be reused 173 times to be more eco-friendly than a plastic bag:

    Source for claim that majority of e-waste ends up in China:



    Puckett’s organization partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to put 200 geolocating tracking devices inside old computers, TVs and printers. They dropped them off nationwide at donation centers, recyclers and electronic take-back programs — enterprises that advertise themselves as “green,” “sustainable,” “earth friendly” and “environmentally responsible.” ...
    About a third of the tracked electronics went overseas — some as far as 12,000 miles. That includes six of the 14 tracker-equipped electronics that Puckett’s group dropped off to be recycled in Washington and Oregon.


    The tracke

    • 1 hr 6 min
    #62 (Bonus) - The Principle of Optimism (Vaden on the Theory of Anything Podcast)

    #62 (Bonus) - The Principle of Optimism (Vaden on the Theory of Anything Podcast)

    Vaden has selfishly gone on vacation with his family, leaving beloved listeners to fend for themselves in the wide world of epistemological confusion. To repair some of the damage, we're releasing an episode of The Theory of Anything Podcast from last June in which Vaden contributed to a roundtable discussion on the principle of optimism. Featuring Bruce Nielson, Peter Johansen, Sam Kuypers, Hervé Eulacia, Micah Redding, Bill Rugolsky, and Daniel Buchfink. Enjoy!


    From The Theory of Anything Podcast description: Are all evils due to a lack of knowledge? Are all interesting problems soluble? ALL the problems, really?!?! And what exactly is meant by interesting? Also, should “good guys” ignore the precautionary principle, and do they always win? What is the difference between cynicism, pessimism, and skepticism? And why is pessimism so attractive to so many humans?


    Socials


    Follow us on Twitter at @IncrementsPod, @BennyChugg, @VadenMasrani
    Come join our discord server! DM us on twitter or send us an email to get a supersecret link
    Help us solve problems and get exclusive bonus content by becoming a patreon subscriber here. Or give us one-time cash donations to help cover our lack of cash donations here.
    Click dem like buttons on youtube


    Which unsolvable problem would you most like to solve? Send your answer via quantum tunneling to incrementspodcast@gmail.com
    Special Guests: Bruce Nielson and Sam Kuypers.
    Support Increments

    • 2 hr 45 min
    #61 - Debating Free Will: Frankenstein's Monster and a Filmstrip of the Universe (with Lucas Smalldon)

    #61 - Debating Free Will: Frankenstein's Monster and a Filmstrip of the Universe (with Lucas Smalldon)

    While you're reading this you're having a thought. Something like "wow, I love the Increments podcast", or "those hosts are some handsome" or "I really wish people would stop talking about free will." Do you have a choice in the matter? Are you free to choose what you're thinking in any given moment, or is it determined by your genetics, environment, and existing ideas? Is the universe determined, are we all Frankenstein's monster? How does one profitably think about that question? Today we have Lucas Smalldon on to help us think through these questions.


    We reference Lucas's blog post titled reconciling-determinism-and-free-will. Because it's is barely more than a tweet, we've included the entire post here as well:




    Reconciling Free Will with Determinism

    Free will and determinism seem to conflict with each other. But the apparent conflict disappears when we understand that determinism and free will simply describe the world from radically different perspectives and at fundamentally different levels. Free will makes sense only within the context of the physical world, whereas determinism makes sense only from a perspective that is outside the physical world. Consider the determinist statement, “The future exists and has always existed”. It seems like a contradiction in terms, but only because our language forces us to express the idea misleadingly in terms of the past and future. If we assign special meanings to the temporal words in the statement—namely, if by the future we mean “objectively real events that from the perspective of our present have not yet happened”; and if by always we mean “transcending time itself” rather than the usual “existing across all time”—then the contradiction resolves. Assigning these special meanings allows us to express determinism as atemporal and objective: as a description of a physical reality of which time is an attribute. Conversely, free will, which is by far the more intuitive concept, is needed to explain certain kinds of events (i.e., choices) that occur within time, and thus within the physical world that determinism describes from the outside. Determinism and free will are compatible. We really do make choices. It’s just that, from an atemporal determinist perspective, these choices have “always” existed.




    Follow Lucas on twitter or check out his blog.


    We discuss


    Levels of explanation regarding free will
    The (in)compatibility of different levels of explanation
    Why the lack of free will does not hinge on reductionism
    Memetic arguments for the non-existence of free will
    Whether we can have moral responsibility without free will
    The universe as a filmstrip
    Whether we're all just Frankenstein's monster


    Socials


    Follow us on Twitter at @IncrementsPod, @BennyChugg, @VadenMasrani
    Come join our discord server! DM us on twitter or send us an email to get a supersecret link
    Help us find freedom and get exclusive bonus content by becoming a patreon subscriber here. Or give us one-time cash donations to help cover our lack of cash donations here.
    Click dem like buttons on youtube


    How much do you want to want Frankenstein's monster? Send your answer down the tubes and over to incrementspodcast@gmail.com
    Special Guest: Lucas Smalldon.
    Support Increments

    • 1 hr 42 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

Bastaniii ,

Good topics, looking for more podcasts like these

Can’t stand the Ben Shapiro guy though

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