Chris Hibbert


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Anti-Aging: State of the Art

I once heard from a cancer researcher that we had, for all practical purposes, cured aging in mice, but the results have not yet translated into humans.


This seems untrue on its face. What we mean by "curing aging" is negligible senescence. The best that has been achieved in mice is doubling their life spans, AFAICT. Extended (human) lifespan would be nice, but it's not the goal. 

Puzzle Games

Broad spoilers for The Talos Principle:

The Talos Principle is in the same class of puzzle games and of the same quality as Portal and Portal 2. You are given some simple reusable tools and explore a large space needing to use your tools to open doors and disable traps.

Zoom Technologies, Inc. vs. the Efficient Markets Hypothesis

This argument misses the fact that some of the sellers in the market are selling because of other circumstances in their life or business. This doesn't affect the price on average, but it does make it unreasonable to say "you need to buy them from someone who's willing to sell at that price—who presumably does not agree that the price is going to go way up."

At any point in time, some of the sellers in the market are selling because their daughter is about to start college, or they are nearing retirement, or there's some other valuable they want to invest in with somewhat better prospects, and they need financial liquidity to do so. Similarly, there are buyers who just sold an asset (real estate, e.g., that finished construction) or received a bonus, or sold something else to protect their gains and need to get back into the market.

The point isn't that these behaviors move the price in one direction or another, it's just that not all activity in the financial markets is driven by disagreements about prices.

March Coronavirus Open Thread

Thanks, Peter! very helpful.

Update on the data: NY is now adding 5000 new cases per day. WA is above 200, and CA above 250. No one looks like they're stopped the growth in new cases. A slow exponential is still exponential.

March Coronavirus Open Thread

Airplanes pressurize to levels that aren't as high pressure as being on the ground, I'm pretty sure. They're trying to reduce the consequences of being at altitude, not increase above sea level.

March Coronavirus Open Thread

I've been following the daily numbers from California, Washington state, and New York, on, which were extremely informative, but they stopped reporting by state as of two days ago. Anyone know of a good source for daily state level new case data?

Summary: CA, WA, and NY had all reached 100 reported daily new cases by 3/14. Up to 3/19, neither CA, nor WA had broken through 200 new cases, but on 3/18, NY reported 1709 new cases, and on 3/19 they had 1069. The state level data is not available at the moment (when the site was working better, it said state level would be available), and even the regional data is broken in the current download.

March Coronavirus Open Thread

Going outside for solo exercise (walking, jogging, Tai Chi) is pretty safe. I'm not absolutely positive that tennis or volleyball (multi-player sports, but with shared contact with the ball) or ultimate frisbee or basketball (close proximity, occasional contact) are as safe. The SF Bay area shelter in place order encouraged going on walks or hiking, and that seems sensible to me.

March Coronavirus Open Thread

The donor centers are probably the cleanest place you can visit outside an ICU. Their standard hygiene practices are superb and have been so since the HIV epidemic decades ago. (I've been giving blood routinely for at least 35 years.) Even if someone were to visit who had been exposed, there's little chance they could transfer it to anything that would transfer it to you. The one opportunity you have to be close to other people who aren't being extremely cautious at all times is in the canteen for your mandatory 20 minute break after donating, and unless the donor center is extremely crowded, you'll be able to maintain a 6 foot separation and not touch anything that isn't freshly removed from packaging for your use.

I donated platelets a week ago. I stopped donating whole blood ~ a year ago after noticing that it impacted my ability to exercise (blood oxygenation, presumably) for a few weeks after donating. Now that I'm sheltering-in-place and not getting any of my usual aerobic exercise, I'm considering giving whole blood once I've passed the waiting period.

March Coronavirus Open Thread

Diseases normally evolve toward increased spread by reducing lethality because they don't have a superpower like Covid2019's ability to spread while the carrier is asymptomatic. I don't think there's much evolutionary pressure on this disease toward lower severity. Even if we do a good job of enforcing shelter-in-place in populous areas, there will be hidden reservoirs until we reduce the number of new cases in connected communities all the way to zero.

The normal evolutionary pressure works because there's some variation between different strains, and whichever variant can reach the most people comes to dominate. With a normal infection, once everyone is aware, you can quarantine people with evident symptoms and thus squelch the spread. Any variant that has milder symptoms has a better chance of spreading and becoming dominant. Covid2019 already has the ability to escape surveillance if there's any of it in the population, so a less lethal variant doesn't have a selective advantage.

Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread
Wear masks on the flight if possible.

This doesn't seem to be advised unless you have professionally fitted N95 masks. Surgical masks and nominally fitted serious masks do a decent job of preventing you from transmitting the virus, but little to protect you. And anecdotally, wearing a mask may cause you to touch your face and mask a lot more, which is on the wrong side of the trade-off.

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