Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.
50 Post author: Zvi 02 December 2011 06:01AM
We are giving away a $5000 prize for well-researched, well-reasoned presentations that answer the following question:
What are the best recommendations for what quantities adults (ages 20-60) should take the important dietary minerals in, and what are the costs and benefits of various amounts?
Part of the question is figuring out which ones are important. You may exclude any minerals for which an otherwise reasonable diet will always fall into the right range, or any minerals whose effects are relatively trivial.
If you have an excellent entry, even if you don’t win the grand prize, you can still win one of four additional cash prizes, you’ll be under consideration for a job as a researcher with our company Personalized Medicine, and you’ll get a leg up in the larger contest we plan to run after this one. You also get to help people get better nutrition and stay healthier.
Most of us spend a good portion of our time and money trying to figure out what would be best for our health, and then trying to implement those findings. We ask ourselves how to eat, how to exercise, what drugs and supplements to take and what treatments to seek, but everywhere we turn we find different opinions. Even if one reads the primary research, one finds studies riddled with problems. Most studies have an agenda to sell a product or prove a pet theory. They are then filtered by publication bias. When results are presented, many authors use framing to steer us to the conclusions they want us to draw.
We can and must do better.
We hereby challenge this community to do better. We're always saying how great and effective rationality is. This is our chance to prove it, and put those skills to the test. These problems badly need proper application of Less Wrong's favorite techniques, from Bayes' Theorem itself to the correction of a whole host of cognitive biases.
This contest is also a pilot for a larger contest; before we go and put a lot more money on the line and ask more questions, we want a chance to work the kinks out.
Entries are due by the end of day on January 15, 2012. This is a change of the original deadline, but it will not change again and it will be strictly enforced.
Final judgment will be made by Personalized Medicine’s Chief Science Officer, based on finalists chosen by our expert reviewers. If necessary, Peer Review will first be used to reduce the number of entries to a manageable size.