Sorted by New

Wiki Contributions


Yeah, I was thinking this same thing. I feel like I’m social sciences I’m more concerned about researchers testing for too many things and increasing the probability of false positives than testing too few things and maybe not fully understanding a result.

I feel like it really comes down to how powerful a study is. When you have tons of data like a big tech company might, or the results are really straightforward, like in some of the hard sciences, I think this is a great approach. When the effects of a treatment are subtler and sample size is more limited, as is often the case in the social sciences, I would be wary to recommend testing everything you can think of.

I’m by no means an expert on the topic, but I would have thought it was a result of both object-level thinking producing new memes that society recognized as true, but also some level of abstract thinking along the lines of “using God and the Bible as an explanation for every phenomenon doesn’t seem to be working very well, maybe we should create a scientific method or something.”

I think there may be a bit of us talking past each other, though. From your response, perhaps what I consider “uncoupling from society’s bad memes” you consider to be just generating new memes. It feels like generally a conversation where it’s hard to pin down what exactly people are trying to describe (starting from the OP, which I find very interesting, but am still having some trouble understanding specifically) which is making it a bit hard to communicate.

“The success rate of, let's build a movement to successfully uncouple ourselves from society's bad memes and become capable of real action and then our problems will be solvable, is 0.“

I’m not sure if this is an exact analog, but I would have said the scientific revolution and the age of enlightenment were two (To be honest, I’m not entirely sure where one ends and the other begins, and there may be some overlap, but I think of them as two separate but related things) pretty good examples of this that resulted in the world becoming a vastly better place, largely through the efforts of individuals who realized that by changing the way we think about things we can better put to use human ingenuity. I know this is a massive oversimplification, but I think it points in the direction of there potentially being value in pushing the right memes onto society.

This is very interesting. I find this somewhat persuasive and am updating in the direction of being more afraid of getting covid. That being said, I think I'm still pretty far from your level of concern.  I can think of three places where I think we may disagree.

  1. I find your example in K very odd, in that it requires 100/900 people without covid to get illnesses that are as bad as long covid, but only 10/100 people who had covid to have similarly bad symptoms from long covid. It would be weird if we lived in a world where people without covid are so much more likely to get other illnesses that they're more likely to have symptoms that could be confused for long covid then people who actually had covid (if this was the case for some reason, that would also make covid way less scary), and I think your assumption breaks down if the scenario was set up differently.
  2. Judging by the effect size of vaccines on hospitalizations and deaths, my priors would be that they would be more than 50% effective against long covid (or at least the really bad long covid that seems most worrisome). The study in C makes me update a little towards 50% but not that much.  One potential issue is that e.g. if 25% of the unvaccinated long covid were psychosomatic, and vaccination does not affect the probability of psychosomatic long covid, then an observed reduction of 50% from vaccination, would mean a 67% reduction of non-psychosomatic covid.  I would guess Omicron is also less scary, given that it seems like it doesn't infect the lungs nearly as much, but I'm less confident on that.
  3. This is somewhat specific to me, but I suspect a lot of the people reading this also fit into the group of <40 yo, healthy, and not obese, so maybe it applies to others as well. Given how big the differences are between demographics for covid, I find anything that looks at the population-level to be potentially misleading for me.  One thing that makes me feel less worried is looking at the results for professional athletes.  There's an obvious selection bias, there, but I think it's better than having a non-obvious selection bias in basically any other study, and I suspect my risk factors are more similar to professional athletes than to the average American (given that risk scales superlinearly with age, weight, and medical history, it's probably the case that a median American is closer to a professional athlete than to the mean American, and I'm younger and probably healthier than median). The other nice thing about professional athletes is that their health is tracked very closely (though unfortunately, I don't see much work being done to compile and study it altogether).  I feel like this is similar to the "How many people do I actually know that have been affected by this?" approach.  From what I can tell, >50% of athletes in the four major US sports seems to have had covid already, and I can only find a few cases of long covid per sport.  That seems approximately consistent with long covid risk being between 0.1%-1%, which isn't far off from some of the estimates being quoted. Notably, though, I'm having trouble finding any cases that have come from after vaccinations were widely available.  There could be all sorts of confounders here, the most obvious being that no one would yet be talking about a long covid cases from an Omicron infection they got a few weeks ago, but the fact that these leagues are not being devastated by long covid, despite having professionals who are very dependent on their lung function and energy levels makes me feel reasonably good about my own prognosis.

That being said this report that you referenced suggests the odds ratios between demographics are not as extreme for long covid as they are for hospitalizations or deaths, which would mean maybe I'm not that much safer than an average person.  That could potentially also be explained by a fairly uniform distribution of psychosomatic cases, though.

In my own limited research, I found dihydromyricetin (used in Asian hangover cures for years as oriental raisin tree extract) to have the most compelling scientific evidence for it, and I've tried some products that contain it and given them to my friends, and anecdotally, they seem to have some effect (though it's hard to say for certain it's not just placebo).  Anecdotally, it seems to work best if you take it both before and after drinking (or between drinks).

That being said, I find your arguments pretty convincing and may add some activated charcoal to the stack (or think a bit harder about what types of alcohol I want to drink)


I would guess that most people who are serious enough about these types of questions to be involved in animal EA would probably distinguish between different animals.  I feel like after reading about (sorry, I'm not going to take the time to dig up the sources) the subject and talking to some people in the EA community, my views are now approximately:

-80% confident factory-farmed, caged, chickens are net negative (agree they're less similar to humans, but the conditions are so bad, that the physical pain alone seems very bad)

-70% confident factory-farmed pigs are net negative (better conditions than chickens, but seem more likely to be bothered emotionally by being in captivity)

-70% confident factory-farmed cattle are net positive (probably depends on the farm and how much time they spend on a grass diet)

By net positive/negative, I mean just for the animal itself, not for the world, which might require health and environmental concerns, though I tend to think animal welfare is the largest factor in most cases.  Also, confidence that their lives are net positive or negative does not really matter as much as the distribution of how positive or negative, but obviously that would be a lot harder to communicate quickly here.

I assume most other birds are treated like chickens, though I don't really know. I have not given enough thought to fish.

For reference, I'm only like 80% sure that the average human life is net positive.  It just seems like a really hard thing to know, but that's a conversation for another time.  I'm just stating this for calibration.

I think this is a really cool idea. Good luck with your fast.

At the risk of undermining your post by second guessing the decisions of people made 80 years ago under duress, I can't read that article without thinking "If they were needed there, alive, to guard the seeds, maybe they should have eaten some of the 370,000 seeds?"  To be clear, that does not diminish my respect for their restraint (I certainly could not have done that) or Vavilov's contributions.

I had a vague expectation that I was supposed to do something strategic but I wasn’t sure what. (It turns out this was in fact false)


Actually, unlike a standard second price auction where it's game theory optimal to just bid your fair value, there is a strategic element to this game, since the price you bid or offer will affect the clearing price.  In this case, the price at which your P(trade_occurs) * expected_utility_gain_from_trading is maximized is probably not your true fair value.  To give one simple example, if you were 100% confident their bid would be higher than your fair, you would definitely want to offer above your fair so that the mid price is higher.