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Covid 10/21: Rogan vs. Gupta

I don't like listening to Rogan, but I do like hearing him translated into rationalist-speak.

Choice Writings of Dominic Cummings

Four, he has uniquely powerful ideas about how to do project management well...

I am interested in this. Any suggestions for posts that focus on project management specifically?

A Contamination Theory of the Obesity Epidemic

Other examples of drugs that also seem to work for weight loss are GLP-1 agonists, which are relatively new and potentially promising.

Covid 7/22: Error Correction

I keep seeing references to 'long covid' by smart people, usually in the context of "we need to confirm what the effects are" but have never seen any real evidence from obscure or mainstream sources that it's something worth thinking about much. Surely if it were a real and important thing it would be identified and proven as such by now?

At this moment it strikes me as something that's probably either bullshit or a minor consideration until further evidence emerges to the contrary, but smart people continue to mention it. What am I missing?


I think it can be argued that in the West that practical achievement and directed pursuit probably is like this at a core level - humans are capable extraordinary effort if the conditions (and pressures) are right. Parenthood is one of the things that is still like everything used to be - pushed to the edge of human capability because there isn't another option. I think for many other modern pursuits a common failure mode is indulging in the eases and luxuries of modern existence - no such option with parenthood or language immersion.

Related thought: slogans like 'Just Do It' are effective because people grok that the human mind will trick you into taking easy way out if the option is there. 'No excuses' is an attractive motivating strategy and does usually work in the short term, but long term environment design is more imporant.

Covid 7/1: Don’t Panic

AFAIK the main effect from the PM's policy change seems to be around relaxing indemnity rules for GPs so that they could hand out AZ if they wanted to without getting sued by people who develop the blood clot disorder. Previously this was an issue due to the current ATAGI advice recommending against it.

I thought the PM's statement on this wasn't too crazy - the blood clot risks are objectively still very low and the ATAGI report contemplates the then near-zero covid in Aus as you note. I assume somebody in govt realised that at current and projected vaccine rates it'll be a long time before the country opens up / stops having to lockdown extremely hard every time covid leaks into the community - and then the recent NSW outbreak brought the issue to a head.

Vaccination supply has not been that reliable or consistent so far, and AZ is the only vax currently made locally so I think vaccination regimes that don't involve AZ do risk a longer 'fortress Australia' period.

Swiss Political System: More than You ever Wanted to Know (I.)

Thanks for the article - very informative and exactly the kind of content I enjoy!

In 2017 Australia held a public survey on whether same-sex marriage should be allowed, the results of which were pledged informally to be enacted by the government. Public votes on specific issues are relatively rare in Australia, so the debate around the procedural merits of voting on this particular issue were quite active.

I recall the main arguments against conducting a survey were mostly procedural criticisms, that it is wastefully expensive to hold a postal survey when public polling had revealed consistent majority support for same sex marriage for a number of years already. Wikipedia tells me the survey cost $80m AUD, so I wonder how much this Swiss system costs over the long haul?

The arguments in favour were mostly that it would break political and procedural gridlock over the issue and settle things once and for all with the legitimising stamp of direct democracy.

In the aftermath I found myself thinking 'we should do this more often' - so it's nice to see that somewhere in fact does do it more often!

PS: It's interesting to see the high rejection rate for referendums in Switzerland. The same-sex marriage survey was in fact suggested by the centre-right party who were historically opposed to same-sex marriage, and it's generally accepted that they viewed the direct (voluntary) vote as the best chance to get a 'no' or ambiguous result on this matter and introduce a long-term mandate against legalising same-sex marriage.