All of agc's Comments + Replies

The claim that a school is ‘the safest place for our kids’ in a pandemic is grade-A Obvious Nonsense

I'm not sure about that. Covid isn't all that dangerous for children, and possibly a good portion of them would otherwise be in some unsafe kind of childcare.

Note that even if I’m allowed to get one, I don’t intend to get one if the peak has already passed.

Why is that? If I somehow make it through the next 4 months without getting Covid I wouldn't mind an other booster, to top up fading immunity and protection in case there is a more virulent Omicron-derived variant in the future.

I don't know Zvi's reasoning, but you'd be able to get such a booster upon news of that variant, which might be better than getting it several months before the variant. (But perhaps worse than "long enough before that you can get a fifth shot when it arrives".) I have some abstract concern about the possibility of developing immune reactions to mRNA shots so that we can only get a limited number of them over a lifetime. I haven't looked into it in depth or even what experts think, it's not right now gonna stop me from getting a shot that seems important, but it might swing me to no on a just-in-case.

A 2012 CFAR workshop included "Guest speaker Geoff Anders presents techniques his organization has used to overcome procrastination and maintain 75 hours/week of productive work time per person." He was clearly connected to the LW-sphere if not central to it.

Kids of dirt eating age will change their teeth in a few years anyway, so I think tooth-wear is less concerning.

I'm not sure I would call eating dirt a tenet of modern parenting. Most parents will stop their children if they see them eating dirt. It's more a question of how hard you try to stop them. 

this may be a bubble thing- the parents I know generally won't, and the stated reason will be that eating dirt benefits the children's immune system.
On the other hand, it will not stop most children from intentionally ingesting quite some amount of dirt.

Is Zvi actually claiming McAfee didn't kill himself, or are there more layers of sarcasm than I could get through?

I got a feel of this growing sunflowers last year. They got quite big, significantly taller than me. They died in autumn as herbaceous plants do, but as I cut them down I noticed the part where the stem meets the root was seriously woody. Like, I could have cut out a small piece and convinced someone it was a piece of wood.

And, conversely, Palm "trees" do not actually have wood - they are just very large stems with lots of layers. Kind of like Ogres.

I think it's worth throwing some shade on Joe Rogan, despite the overlapping ingroups.

He's kinda being wrong on the internet and highlighting it didn't seem like it would be helping?

Things i have wondered about this week:

  • The UK has vaccinated a larger share than the US, although America is catching up. Still, US states seem to be opening up to all adults very soon, while the UK is only going to 45+. Why is that? My current theory is that the UK has much higher vaccine take up among older people.
  • Why is Japan doing so few vaccinations? They could afford afford it and surely have the organizational capacity. Are they so confident that they can control the virus that they don't bother? Are kindly letting the west have the vaccine first si
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3Tom Richards3y
Anti-vax sentiment is much rarer in the UK than in the US (or indeed most countries). It would be very surprising if uptake in the UK were not significantly higher. There is as yet no significant national policy response to the prospect of possible escape variants. In particular, the current plan is to use August to vaccinate children, when I think a better use of the infrastructure at that point would probably be to give Pfizer/Moderna/Novavax to people who got AZ first time round in a bid to stave off a potential Autumn wave of B.1.351, B.1.617 or some other variant (assuming AZ's apparent underperformance against B.1.351 is real and generalizes to other similar variants, as I think likely).
5Zac Hatfield-Dodds3y
If it was legal to sell vaccines for the market price, or anywhere near their actual value, of course. Thanks to monopsony purchasers (i.e. irrationally cheap governments), we instead see massive underproduction.
The real answer is Astrazeneca. More than half of vaccinated people in the UK have been vaccinated with Astrazeneca... and they are concerned about the actual effectiveness of this vaccine, and possible variant outbreaks (there have been three instances of "surge testing" where they go door-to-door following an outbreak: According to Eric Topol (whose opinion is based on a few studies), Astrazeneca is not effective against B.1.3.5 (south-african variant). Due to effectiveness of Pfizer and Moderna, the US (and Israel) can afford to relax restrictions much more than their european counterparts.

Do they think ‘oh the six foot thing was all a lie?’

I think everyone understood that six foot was not a magic line but a rule of thumb, and it can be relaxed now that things are better.

I didn't get the point about Walid Gellad's tweet. Is he someone I should recognize?

I do not think everyone understands this, and I think if they did (in general understand such things) the world would look very different. Certainly those messaging do not think people understand it.

Walid Gellad is a relatively prominent Very Serious Person epidemiologist, but not one of the most known/influential, so makes sense you don't know, but he's one of the chorus of people doing the thing in quesiton.

This looks sensible and will probably save you money compared to buying a car, as long as neither of you use the car very often. One option to consider is to have them keep full ownership of the car and you pay a per-mile rate. Employers pay a standard rate of $0.56 per mile when an employee uses a private car for work. This is probably a bit higher than true cost, but they are taking the risks of unexpected repairs and such. That arrangement would be easier to get out of if needed: You just stop driving it.

Second this. The lawyer part of my brain says to draw up a written contract to make sure you get your share of the cars value back at the end, which just adds to the complexity and tension of the situation. But not drawing up that contract is placing a lot of trust in the housemate. A simple per-mile rate seems much simpler and easy to get out of, and the IRS provides a standard rate for that.

Since this popped up on the front page Recommendations today, did we ever get any clarity? My general feeling is that initial viral dose is not all that important.

I've gotten to the point where I think something is technically wrong with my account. I literally cannot find a single interesting room.

Try joining communities/clubs on topics you’re interested in. Then any rooms started by their members should pop up in your lobby. Also, I’ve heard that following people you’re interested in helps improve the suggestions.

I have now spent about 3x15 min in the Clubhouse app after getting an invite from Azatris in this thread (thanks!) So far I haven't found anything interesting. I guess I need to go in with a good idea of what I'm looking for.

At the moment the start view is just rooms in languages I don't speak. There are long lists of people I never heard of, and some Silicon Valley people I have heard of but not interested in. "Upcoming for You" is marketing NFTs and "Boss Talk".

I'm not trying to talk down Clubhouse. It's clearly very appealing to a lot of people. What am I missing?

Clubhouse has finally added a feature to learn which language rooms you join. When you joined Clubhouse did you fill out your interests? You can also search for clubs or people you want to follow. Like any network it takes time when you join to figure out which are the interesting clubs and who are the interesting speakers.
I'm still searching for the appeal in a similar fashion as you, as I don't want to miss out, but not understanding it very well either.

The UK is rolling out twice weekly lateral flow tests quite widely:

  • Anyone who wants it (mainly for those who work outside the home)
  • All Secondary school children
  • All school staff
  • Parents of primary and secondary school children

That seems like a really good thing. My worry is that a lot of parents will skip it because nose swabs are uncomfortable.

Though becoming less uncomfortable. Regulation/manufacture is belatedly catching up to the idea that you can take a swab from the front of the nose, which is MUCH more bearable.

I should probably know this, but are any of the mass produced COVID vaccines peptide vaccines?

The Novavax candidate is a recombinant protein.
I don't believe so, only radvac and euroimmun are peptide based. My question is why none of the commercial vaccines are peptide based (?) given this is a very well established vaccine technology (and particularly well suited for sars-cov2. 

This is completely on the side, but I find your analogy "dreaded stress ball of uncertainty" strange. A stress ball is a small soft ball and squeezing it with you hands is supposed to be relaxing and make you less stressed.

Yeah, in hindsight the word order there is wrong, I'll think about fixing it, but also I never really "got" stress balls.

Yes, this feels related to slack. No-one has really figured out how to get both slack and efficiency.

They feel like opposites and I it strikes me as strange to think they can be achieved at the same time. This probably roots on how I tried to understand slack in terms of the magic the gathering colors terms as a very green property. Evolution can either be radiative or convergent. You can either have natural selection or natural expression. In a cuthtroat world only the very best survive and the smallest mistake gets you killed. In a world of abundance flexibility lets you go into niches you didn't know you could thrive in. With color wheel one could think efficiency as a black concept ie which costs are worth taking (Can I and do I want to cut off my arm in order to get my objectives?) or blue concept (What is the easiest and minimum amount of effort to get me to my objective?). A slack green would oppose as enemy color to black that having an arm is big chunk of flexibility just thrown away, it would make sense to lose this battle in order to go into future battles with both arms. It is okay to carry around limbs that are not crucial for the issue at hand. As opposition to blue, achieving only your goals mean you miss out on growth. Doing one thing good means you are only going to do one thing in your life. Being vibrant and adaptative lets you grab the sunshine where it happens to be rather where you are looking for it.

Ok sure, at that point it's basically a synonym for network effects.

I haven't seen a strong argument that "stag hunt" is a good model for reality. If you need seven people to hunt stag the answer isn't to have seven totally committed people, who never get ill, have other things to do, or just don't feel like it. I'd rather have ten people who who are 90% committed, and be ready to switch to rabbit the few days when only six show up.

I agree with the thrust of Johns' response, IE, the stag hunt is a stand-in for a more general class of coordination problems, pointing at the property there are multiple equilibria, and some are Pareto improvements over others. The stag hunt is kind of the minimal example of this, in that it only has 2 equilibria. I generally agree that using Stag Hunt unfortunately may connote other properties, such as this only-2-equilibria property. However, it seems to me that you think real coordination problems almost never have this all-or-nothing flavor. I disagree. Yes, it's rarely going to be literally two equilibria. However, there aren't always going to be solutions of the sort you mention. For example, if your family is having a day out and deciding where to eat, and Uncle Mortimer categorically refuses to go to the Italian place everyone else wants to go to, often the family would prefer to follow Mortimer to some other place, rather than letting him eat on his own. Everyone but Mortimer eating at the Italian place is seen as a "failed family day" -- each person individually could go to the Italian place on any day (this is like hunting rabbit), but they wanted to do something special today: a family meal. Many cases where people take a vote are like this; particularly in cases where you vote yes/no to pass a resolution / go forward with a plan (rather than vote between a number of alternatives). An organization might be able to handle one or two solid refusals to go along with the vote outcome, but a sizable minority would be a serious problem. The reason people are willing to go along with the outcome of a vote they don't agree with is because the organization remaining coherent is like stag, and everyone doing their own thing is like rabbit.
On paper, I basically agree with this. In practice, people (at least in this community) mostly seem to use stag hunt as a toy-model stand-in for games with increasing returns on number of players "hunting stag", which is quite a bit more general than the pure stag hunt reward function. For that purpose, it is a useful model; the key qualitative insights do generalize.

I thought fomites was though to have been a significant vector with SARS-1. (i.e.

The authors say "non negligible" though. And it's a simulation study. Besides in the limitations section they acknowledge the absence of literature on many biological parameters.

The White House has released a "National Strategy for COVID-19" (pdf) that should be worth critiquing along with the day 1 priorities. I will take it as a good sign that the tweet has "aggressive, coordinated" before "equitable".

On an other note, I wonder what your current best estimate for the increase in R with the new strain is. Has the UK managed to get R below one because the different is smaller than the 0.7 we thought, or just because the control system / lockdown is so powerful?

For why new strains now, the English strain was first detected in September but nobody cared much until Christmas. Now that strains are a hot topic they get reported more. I'm not sure that explains the whole explosion in new strains, but maybe part of it.

I wonder if there was a new and more infectious strain in Europe last spring. They could explain part of why it spread so much faster in Europe and the Americas than in East Asia. Although in that case I would have expected the European strain to have reached Asia eventually.

I feel like restaurants suing ... (read more)

The White House has released a "National Strategy for COVID-19" (pdf) that should be worth critiquing along with the day 1 priorities. I will take it as a good sign that the tweet has "aggressive, coordinated" before "equitable". On an other note, I wonder what your current best estimate for the increase in R with the new strain is. Has the UK managed to get R below one because the different is smaller than the 0.7 we thought, or just because the control system / lockdown is so powerful?
Not all of Europe's restaurants don't do that. In Germany there have been in most states lawsuits against Covid restrictions of all types, e.g. against restaurant closures.

As of Jan. 21 2021, Our World in Data reports that ~52% of all confirmed COVID cases in the world have happened since Nov. 1, and ~74% have happened since Sep. 1. This maybe makes it a bit less surprising that we'd see more mutations over the past five months, since the amount of circulating virus in the world is much higher.

(Though there's also more testing now than there was in the past.)

I'm looking forward to tomorrows edition. Especially:

  • UK cases have flattened out, although at a high daily level. The "control system" is very powerful.
  • New York seems to be doing ok in vaccinations relative to other states, despite Cuomo's ideas.

The actions would have made (some) sense if we were supply constrained on vaccines. If supply is severely limited, you want to incentivize ordering only what you will definitely use, and you want to be very careful about using each dose in the most effective way.

It seems everyone assumed we'd be supply constraint and then never updated when it turned out distribution is the bottleneck. Actually, do we have strong evidence that vaccine supply is not currently limited in the US?

One reason I'm asking is that the UK seems to be doing much better in theory: Sim... (read more)

The UK does seem to be supply limited, or at least limited on something before the point where vaccines get delivered to hospitals. They've also sped up quite a lot in the last week.

Minor nitpick, but it's RNA vaccines in English (or mRNA). I take it ARN is the French word order.

Thanks - corrected.

Any advice for those of us in southern England? :-/

Everyone seems surprisingly relaxed here, although we're in a pretty hard lockdown. Schools are closed, etc.

I wonder if these things happen more in cultures with a tradition of religious sacrifice.

A few questions:

When are these likely to pay out? Will I have to wait until January 20 or even later?

For the Secretary of State and Attorney General, what happens if Biden becomes president but the senate refuses to confirm his nominees?

Finally, why does PredictIt ask for so much personal information, and can I get away with entering fake info?

To your second question, if Biden becomes president, then Trump's cabinet will likely resign, and if they don't then Biden will fire them. If the senate refuses to confirm Biden's appointees, then the answer to "Who is the senate-confirmed X on Feb 15 or March 1?" is nobody, and therefor definitely not Mike Pompeo or Bill Barr.

As someone who has not been following this threads and only read the last two, can I throw in some criticism? Do stop me if I am violating norms here.

The style seems to assume that the reader has read many previous threads and agree with you on every aspect of covid. I'm not sure I disagree with you on anything, but I would like some motivations. Combining this with a lot of sarcasm actually makes it hard to understand what positions you are arguing for sometimes.

On the topic itself, I am hopeful that the public discussion will get less partisan after the election. Unfortunately, a virus can spread far in three weeks.

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply
Just go back and skim a couple of them. You wouldn't start a book in the middle and then criticize the author for being hard to follow

How could an outside observer tell the difference between this, and a cult trying to stifle criticism?

doxing =/= criticism
They couldn't. Retaliating, or threatening to retaliate, is simply an incorrect avenue to address this behavior. The NYT, and most observers, will immediately discount all opinions from a direction that contains members who behave this way. Retaliation or threats is applying a wrong theory of mind/decisions to the organization. It's not an individual, and doesn't feel fear. It's not irrationally averse to your anger or actions, and it VERY rationally will decide whether to ignore or crush you, with no thought at all to giving in or reconciling.
The difference is, I think, that we're just asking them to not publish Scott's name. I would not support this kind of pushback against criticism, even if it were silly.  Edit: This is not an endorsement of Mati_Roy's list. I do endorse politely writing to NYT.

Put them on a table at work or school with a sign saying "fee - take one".

I mean, I can definitely distribute them randomly. I'm trying to figure out if there's something better to do with them. (They're also gallons, so a bit tricky to distribute)

I wonder if China will direct the masks to politically friendly countries, or let the free marker decide.

They'd likely ship them out to everyone as fast as they can, this is their chance to regain political points after this disaster. They already helped out Italy by donating medical supplies and enough people on the social medias are starting to regard them with a better opinion than other European countries, so as a political move is hugely effective.

I'm confused. Here is a quote from a UK website: "Infant formula is usually based on processed, skimmed cow’s milk. Added ingredients include vitamins, fatty acids and prebiotics (carbohydrates that can stimulate the growth of ‘good’ bacteria in the digestive system)." Are things very different in the US?

2Gordon Seidoh Worley5y
Maybe my experience of it is skewed, but there are lots of plant-based formulas sold in the US or primarily plant-based with small amounts of animal products added for nutritional reasons rather than as a base.

All good points, but you are missing one consideration. Paying off debt is a perfectly risk-free investment, but also an investment that is difficult to withdraw. I have a couple of months salary in a bank account earning ~0% interest, while paying a couple percent interest on a mortgage. In theory, I am throwing money away and should pay off as much as I can. The difference is that the money in the bank account is easily available if I need it.

You are absolutely right that anyone paying 20% interest on credit card debt should pay it off before thinking about investments.

Insolvency is very expensive! You can map it into the framework outlined in the post by assigning insolvency some interest cost of x% where x% >> 4%. If you don't like assigning a made up interest cost to being insolvent you can instead think of the whole thing in terms of a higher order representation such as utility. It then follows that you should cover your insolvency before covering most debts.

I feels like you have some specific examples in mind, but are deliberately not sharing them. That makes me reluctant to comment, as I want to know what I am discussing.

Initially I have two issues: a) I think you are using two different meanings of the word interest: things you find interesting, and things you gain utility from. b) Groups only rarely enforce strict rules for joining, so there are hardly any true collective interests by your definition.

I also had that sense, but I actually appreciated the effort here to factor out the object level discussion into a post about general principles, that fits the frontpage criteria.
3Said Achmiz6y
The former is a subset of the latter. See this comment.

Maybe this is a good example.

If we were willing to admit the students who would benefit most by objective criteria like income or career success, we could use prediction markets. The complete lack of interest in this suggests that isn’t really the agenda.

Robin is saying that lack of interest in using prediction markets for student admissions shows that universities don't actually want the best students. I can think of many other possible explanations:

  • They have never heard of prediction markets. It's a fairly obscure concept.
  • They don't believ
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