Baisius

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Why aren't we all using Taffix?

Huh. A sister (chemical) plant to mine manufactures HPMC in Belgium. That's probably what's making the actual barrier. I wonder how necessary the other ingredients are.

A No-Nonsense Guide to Early Retirement

I only give 10%, but that is enough to make itemizing deductions worth it for me, when combined with my mortgage interest. I am also looking to retire early (or at least become financially independent and increase donations substantially). Good financial advice is always relevant to everyone.

A No-Nonsense Guide to Early Retirement

Three hundred dollars is a pretty minimal deduction. I expect there are at least a few effective altruists on here who have significant enough charitable contributions that it still makes sense to itemize deductions even with the increase in the standard deduction.

A No-Nonsense Guide to Early Retirement

cash contributions to charity have a special call-out

Is this true? I don't think it is. From irs.gov: "You may deduct charitable contributions of money or property made to qualified organizations if you itemize your deductions."

A No-Nonsense Guide to Early Retirement

I found my favorite strategy for responding to salary questions on r/negotiation several months back: "Right now I'm focused on trying to figure out if this job is a good fit for the direction I want to take my career. If we both decide it is, I'm sure we can come to an understanding on salary."

Then, if they press: "Well I don't think it's fair to consider just salary in comparing job offers. I'd have to look at a total holistic benefits package to fairly compare two offers."

Then if they insist: "Look, you and I both know that my naming a desired salary puts me at a negotiating disadvantage. Please don't ask again." At this point, you probably don't want to work at this company anyway.

A No-Nonsense Guide to Early Retirement

Two notes:

  1. I'm in a pretty high tax bracket, but I still do Roth IRA/401k contributions. This is because if you are maxing out your accounts (which if your goal is "early" retirement, you almost certainly will be) you are protecting more real dollars from taxes. The contribution limits are the same regardless of whether you contribute on a traditional or Roth basis. If I can protect $6000 and never have to pay taxes on it or protect $6000 that I'll eventually have to pay taxes on, I'd rather take the tax penalty now and protect more real dollars. I never see this discussed anywhere, but it's my primary motivating factor in doing Roth. There is also the flexibility consideration which you mention. (There are also more advanced strategies such as backdoor Roths and mega-backdoor Roths that you didn't really touch on, but they're not super important.)
  2. One thing you don't discuss is the tax advantages of owning a home. All interest you pay (in the US) is tax deductible. Commentary on the prudence of that aside, it doesn't seem likely to change any time soon. Besides which, interest rates are currently so low that it probably makes sense to finance other items as well, even if you have the ability to pay for them out of pocket. But I'm not up to speed on car/student/etc. loans, so that might not be true for other asset classes. My recently refinanced interest rate on my home is 2.5%. At a rate like that they are literally giving money away, if you assume 3% inflation every year (admittedly a debatable assumption). If you are risk-tolerant (most people aren't risk tolerant enough, remember) you should generally be happy to finance debt to invest the returns in the market.
[Link] Still Alive - Astral Codex Ten

Interesting. I didn't realize that (wasn't active on LW at the time). Is Scott not interested in cross posting?

[Link] Still Alive - Astral Codex Ten

Does Scott's contract with Substack prevent automatic cross-posting here? I really do loathe Substack as a UI.

Covid 12/24: We’re F***ed, It’s Over

One of the differences is that transmission is, for obvious reasons, much, much easier to control on an island. Hawaii isn't doing nearly as badly as the rest of the United States, for example.

Covid 12/24: We’re F***ed, It’s Over

I downloaded the dataset from OurWorldinData and estimated the % of cases coming from the UK strain based on the GSAID chart (Note: It's unclear what exactly they mean by "Week 47", so the percentages might be off by up to 7 days, but I did my best.) If there is better data on this, (In particular, an updated GSAID dataset) please let me know, I couldn't find any. I would be happy to redo the below analysis with data past 11/16.

On the below charts, the top chart is total Covid cases. The bottom chart is total Covid cases broken down by strain. I started this by saying I thought you were overreacting, but then I deleted that sentence, because now I'm not sure. One thing you will notice that is lost in the above is that the emergence of the new strain was immediately followed by a large reduction in total cases. It was already at 10% of sequenced strains by ~11/16. This gives me some hope that things are not as dire as maybe they appear. Without the data from 11/17 onward, it seems really hard to say what's happening in the UK with respect to the new strain. But I'm finding several sources now that are saying current infections in the UK are ~50% new strain. So that would be consistent with the possibility that lockdowns leveled out the old strain infections at ~15000 per day and the rise over the last few weeks is all attributable to the new strain. But I think ultimately the data I have is inconclusive.

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