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Criticism

This is an evergreen post. It’s linked from the header, and will be updated periodically.

Stat News

Post: Contra StatNews: How Long to Herd Immunity?
Type: Factual errors.
Summary: A Stat article forecasting time to herd immunity misrepresents basic research findings and contains non-trivial arithmetic errors.
Epistemic Status of Source: High – Stat is widely acclaimed and often featured on Marginal Revolution as an authoritative source.
Attempts to Contact: They have a form for correction requests.
Response: N/A.

Substack

Posts: How Substack Became Milquetoast, The Best Writing Against, For, and On Substack
Type: Abstract theoretical issues.
Summary: Substack’s incentive structure enforces homogeneity.
Response: Nadia Eghbal (Head of Writer Experience) replied here.
Notes: Substack did later change their leaderboard, though probably not in response to my writing.

Lambda School

Posts: Austen Allred is Consistently Deceptive, Lambda School’s Incredibly Naive Incentive Alignment, Correlated Returns are Insufficient for True Alignment
Type: Factual errors, abstract theoretical issues and misleading statements.
Summary: Lambda School’s CEO has repeatedly lied about student outcomes and misrepresented legal action against the company. Their incentive alignment is not theoretically sound.
Epistemic Status of Source: Low – I cite podcasts, tweets and forum comments from Allred. Startup founders are already notoriously dishonest.
Attempts to Contact: Email to Lambda School Chief of Staff.
Response: N/A.
Notes: I later clarified that despite its flaws, Lambda School is not necessarily inferior to a 4-year college degree.

Walter Issacson on Leonardo da Vinci’s Mathematical Ability

Post: Beware the Casual Polymath
Type: Factual error.
Summary: Issacson claims that da Vinci found a solution to the Delian problem. He details an incorrect solution. Further investigation reveals several other incorrect solutions by da Vinci, and no correct ones. Correct solutions discovered by mathematicians do not match Issacson’s description.
Epistemic Status of Source: Medium – It’s a pop-history book, albeit a very popular one.
Response: N/A.