Dan Weinand


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Split and Commit

Note that it might be very legally difficult to open source much of Space-X technology, due to the US classifying rockets as advanced weapons technology (because they could be used as such).

Covid 11/4: The After Times

I'm not sure that contagiousness is a good reason to believe that an (in)action is particularly harmful, outside of the multiplier contagiousness creates by generating a larger total harm. It seems clear that we'd all agree that murder is much worse than visiting a restaurant with a common cold, despite the fact that the latter is a contagious harm.

Although there is a good point that the analogy breaks down because a DUI doesn't cause harm during your job (assuming you don't drive in your work), whereas being unvaccinated does cause expected harm to colleagues and customers.

Is there a theoretical upper limit on the R0 of Covid variants?

Perhaps too tongue in cheek, but there is a strong theoretical upper bound on R0 for humans as of ~2021. It's around 8 billion, the current world population.

Is there a theoretical upper limit on the R0 of Covid variants?

I think you're correct that the difference between R0 and Rt is that Rt takes into account the proportion of the population already immune.

However, R0 is still dependent on its environment.  A completely naive (uninfected) population of hermits living in caves hundreds of miles distant from one another has an R0 of 0 for nearly anything. A completely naive population of immunocompromised packed-warehouse rave attendees would probably have an R0 of 100+ for measles.

I don't know if there is another Rte type variable that tries to define the infectiveness of a disease given both the prevalence of immunity and the environment. Seems like most folks just kinda assume that environment other than immune proportion is constant when comparing R0/Rt figures.

Internal Double Crux: Video Games

A one point improvement (measured on a ten point scale) feels like a massive change to expect. I like the guts to bet that it'll happen and change your mind otherwise, but I'm curious if you actually expected that scale of change.

For me, a one point change requires super drastic measures (ex. getting 2 hours too few sleep for 3+ days straight). Although I may well be arbitrarily compressing too much of my life into 6-9 on the ten point scale.

Some blindspots in rationality and effective altruism

One of GiveDirectly's blog posts on survey and focus group results, by the way.

Some blindspots in rationality and effective altruism

Fair points!

I don't know if I'd consider JPAL directly EA, but they at least claim to conduct regular qualitative fieldwork before/after/during their formal interventions (source from Poor Economics, I've sadly forgotten the exact point but they mention it several times). Similarly, GiveDirectly regularly meets with program participants for both structured polls and unstructured focus groups if I recall correctly. Regardless, I agree with the concrete point that this is an important thing to do and EA/rationality folks are less inclined to collect unstructured qualitative feedback than its importance deserves.

Some blindspots in rationality and effective altruism

I found it immensely refreshing to see valid criticisms of EA. I very much related to the note that many criticisms of EA come off as vague or misinformed. I really appreciated that this post called out specific instances of what you saw as significant issues, and also engaged with the areas where particular EA aligned groups have already taken steps to address the criticisms you mention.

I think I disagree on the degree to which EA folks expect results to be universal and generalizable (this is in response to your note at the end of point 3). As a concrete example, I think GiveWell/EAers in general would be unlikely to agree that GiveDirectly style charity would have similarly sized benefits in the developed world (even if scaled to equivalent size given normal incomes in the nation) without RCTs suggesting as much. I expect that the evidence from other nations would be taken into account, but the consensus would be that experiments should be conducted before immediately concluding large benefits would result.

The EMH is False - Specific Strong Evidence

Picking a Schelling point is hard. Since the post focused on very recent results, I thought that a one year time horizon was an obvious line. Vanguard does note that the performance numbers I quoted are time weighted averages.

You are of course correct that over the long run you should expect closer to 5-8% returns from the stock market at large.

The EMH is False - Specific Strong Evidence

I currently have a roughly 50/50 split between VTIAX and VTSAX. I would of course not expect to continue to get 30% returns moving forward (I expect 5% return after inflation), but that is the figure I got when I selected a one year time horizon for showing my return on Vanguard.com.

If I instead compute from 01/2020 to 01/2021, I had a roughly 18% rate of return. I don't know how your Wealthfront is setup, but I'll note that I have a relatively aggressive split of 100% stock and nothing in bonds.

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