I find the SSC "Too much dark money in almonds" post interesting because it starts from the premise that there obviously isn't too much dark money in almonds, an argument from incredulity, and uses this (and similar) to argue that there isn't too much dark money in politics, but

if you start looking at almonds, it seems like there's too much dark money in almonds?

For example, here's a water policy expert who thinks a lot about CA water policy discussing the impact of almonds on CA

 https://onthepublicrecord.org/2015/05/05/turning-the-tables-on-almonds/ 
 https://onthepublicrecord.org/2015/04/17/more-almonds-make-them-prove-they-have-the-water-first/ 
 https://onthepublicrecord.org/2008/12/17/i-dont-even-like-wine/ 

Those posts are targeted at an audience of water policy nerds, so they don't lay out the full case because it's expected that readers will generally know what's going on in CA water policy, but IMO, if you look into this in detail there's a decent case to be made that

California water policy is a disaster on the same scale as California housing policy, caused in part by water policy that enriches some of the richest people in California, e.g., almond billionaires, at the expense of most others.

BTW, the reason this is a few tweets and not a blog post is because I did maybe 10-ish hours of reading on this topic and from that reading I think I'd need somewhere between 100 to 1000 hours of reading to write a post that I'd be comfortable putting on my blog.

In my social circles, people pass around a lot of articles by "smart generalists" who regularly write on a wide variety of topics. When the topic intersects with something I've studied, I usually find that the author has really fundamental misunderstandings about the topic.

I don't mean to pick on SSC in particular, I think that's probably the least wrong "smart generalist" blog out there (I don't include gwern in this category since he seems to stick to topics he has a good understanding of, which limits the range of topics he writes about), but

it seems very difficult and perhaps impossible to write about a wide variety of new topics all the time without saying a lot of things that are obviously naive or wrong to someone who's familiar with the field being discussed.

It's become trendy to say that you should have credentials in the field to discuss it.

To be clear, I'm not saying that.

I think anyone can put in the time and learn about anything, I just don't think that someone can put in the time and learn about everything.


You can follow @danluu.



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