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June 2020

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33jimrandomh2moDespite the justness of their cause, the protests are bad. They will kill at least thousands, possibly as many as hundreds of thousands, through COVID-19 spread. Many more will be crippled. The deaths will be disproportionately among dark-skinned people, because of the association between disease severity and vitamin D deficiency. Up to this point, R was about 1; not good enough to win, but good enough that one more upgrade in public health strategy would do it. I wasn't optimistic, but I held out hope that my home city, Berkeley, might become a green zone. Masks help, and being outdoors helps. They do not help nearly enough. George Floyd was murdered on May 25. Most protesters protest on weekends; the first weekend after that was May 30-31. Due to ~5-day incubation plus reporting delays, we don't yet know how many were infected during that first weekend of protests; we'll get that number over the next 72 hours or so. We are now in the second weekend of protests, meaning that anyone who got infected at the first protest is now close to peak infectivity. People who protested last weekend will be superspreaders this weekend; the jump in cases we see over the next 72 hours will be about *the square root* of the number of cases that the protests will generate. Here's the COVID-19 case count dashboard [] for Alameda County and for Berkeley. I predict a 72 hours from now, Berkeley's case-count will be 170 (50% CI 125-200; 90% CI 115-500). (Crossposted on Facebook [] ; abridgeposted on Twitter [].)
20tilia2mo11 months later, I'm still living a sugar-free life See original post: [] Hey folks. Last August I wrote about how I quit sugar using ripe fruit. I'm excited to share that I've managed to keep it up for nearly a year now. Cooking: It helps that I'm proficient in the kitchen and can foods that satisfy my desire for variety, while keeping the carb count low. For someone who is less experienced, I could see them ending up eating the same thing and then getting frustrated. Foods I've made include a noodle-free lasagna, chicken shawarma, tuscan kale soup, chili (without beans), roasted asparagus, homemade ranch dressing, cauliflower soup, Szechuan eggplant tofu, spicy pork curry, and a different crustless quiche every week since March. Cravings: As I mentioned in my original post, my cravings used to be quite bad. There were times when I ate sweets in a mental state of "It's harmless and I deserve it" but worse were the times when I ate sweets despite internally screaming, "Don't eat it! Bad! No! Stop!" Since eliminating sugar from my diet, I have not ever felt an out of control craving for sweets. There are times when I get a desire for them, but it feels more mental, and it's easier to resist. Cheat days: I mostly don't have cheat days. I've had a handful (maybe 3) which are more like cheat meals, and I still try not to over indulge, eat a huge piece of dessert, or a big pile of noodles. I've let myself have nearly insubstantial quantities of my partner's desserts, if we're out at a restaurant together (RIP to restaurants). Results: I'm super proud of myself for changing my diet to a more healthy one. If that were the only outcome, I would be very happy. However, I am proud to share that in addition to the (I assume) health benefits of having a diet with very minimal ref
19eukaryote2moI have a proposal. Nobody affiliated with LessWrong is allowed to use the word "signalling" for the next six months. If you want to write something about signalling, you have to use the word "communication" instead. You can then use other words to clarify what you mean, as long as none of them are "signalling". I think this will lead to more clarity and a better site culture. Thanks for coming to my talk.
18mingyuan1moHOUSEMATE CONFLICTS It’s been a heck of a weird year so far, and what with quarantines and pandemics and protests and everyone’s ensuing mental health crises, I know a lot of group houses that have seen significant internal strife, my own house among them. So I’m writing this not necessarily because I think it’s insightful, but because I think it might be healing (or, failing that, at least explanatory). --- When choosing housemates, you’re usually thinking along the lines of, “Are these people interesting to talk to, financially responsible, and generally non-odious to live with?” You probably want to have in place mechanisms for conflict resolution, but those conflicts will likely be along the lines of “should we hire cleaners or just be stricter about chores?” or “how late at night is it okay to play music?” – relatively low-stakes. In many cases, you can also just move out if you find you have irreconcilable conflicts, which puts an upper bound on how bad the situation can get. But lately, we’ve been thrown into a world where the housemate question is more, “Do I trust these people to make life-and-death decisions for me and be arbiters of my every action, and do we have conflicting neuroses that will drive us crazy if we’re forced to spend every day together for the foreseeable future?” To me, that sounds a whole lot like marriage, and I sure as hell wouldn’t marry someone on the basis of, “well, they happened to be there and seem pretty okay overall.” (I don’t even want to marry my wonderful boyfriend of three years!) And while moving is always costly, it's much more so in a world where you can't have other people come in your house and touch your stuff, you can't feel safe renting a car to move the stuff yourself, travel is very limited, and wherever you move to is where you'll have to spend nearly 100% of your time. In the archetypical marriage – a close and trusting relationship between two people who love each other – you can sit down and talk through
17TurnTrout1moFor the last two years, typing for 5+ minutes hurt my wrists. I tried a lot of things: shots, physical therapy, trigger-point therapy, acupuncture, massage tools, wrist and elbow braces at night, exercises, stretches. Sometimes it got better. Sometimes it got worse. No Beat Saber, no lifting weights, and every time I read a damn book I would start translating the punctuation into Dragon NaturallySpeaking syntax. Have you ever tried dictating a math paper in LaTeX? Or dictating code? Telling your computer "click" and waiting a few seconds while resisting the temptation to just grab the mouse? Dictating your way through a computer science PhD? And then.... and then, a month ago, I got fed up. What if it was all just in my head, at this point? I'm only 25. This is ridiculous. How can it possibly take me this long to heal such a minor injury? I wanted my hands back - I wanted it real bad. I wanted it so bad that I did something dirty: I made myself believe something. Well, actually, I pretended to be a person who really, really believed his hands were fine and healing and the pain was all psychosomatic. And... it worked, as far as I can tell. It totally worked. I haven't dictated in over three weeks. I play Beat Saber as much as I please. I type for hours and hours a day with only the faintest traces of discomfort. What?