Quick comment: I noticed that in all of your examples above, I chunk substantially bigger and fewer pieces. For example, in the "15 different bold bits" clip, I chunk it into about 8 pieces instead.
This is likely experience/background dependent; I happen to have a relatively strong background in ML and have read a stack of research papers recently, so I probably have both stronger noise filters and more complicated primitives available.
One possibly interesting side note: I never once, in any of your examples, considered metadata about the topic relevant. This includes things like the author names, "tested", "study proposed", etc. I suspect I've learned that 1) author names are almost never important, 2) test procedures are only worth thinking about if they're very explicitly detailed (which was not the case above), and 3) even if the test procedures are ok, they're typically only relevant as a cleanup/sanitization pass once the main concept is understood.
Let's be blunt here: the NYT article is pure, unbridled outrage bait dressed up as journalism. It's not trying to solve a problem, and it doesn't have any agenda other than to pack as much outrage as possible into the publication form factor so as to maximize eyeballs. It simultaneously craps on EA, the tech industry, SSC, rationalists, MIRI, tech investors and a stack of others. (I'm surprised that they didn't also include jordan peterson, because hey, why not?) That's not the sign of someone being honest.
IMO the correct response here is to recommend that friends and family unsubscribe or avoid the NYT. As far as as creating/finding a rebuttal and explaining things to others, don't. Instead, say the article was a hit piece designed to make everyone look bad, and shrug. Give it the kind of attention you give to crazy preachers on street corners. Let it fade into obscurity.
Remember that with outrage bait, you being outraged and complaining about the article to others is entirely the point. The only winning move is not to play.
I do a low-grade speedrun in the morning, every day. If you make it a habit, it becomes less of a stressful "speedrun", and more of "how you do things".
You know, from the outside, that looks pretty ridiculous. It is fast and efficient though. Thank you, Covid lockdown?
I think this might be (very slightly) unfair to mRNA vaccines, as the comparison between them and peptide vaccines is pretty situation dependent:
To sum up, my view is that mRNA technology is pretty great and I'm really, really glad someone was able to make use of the disaster that was 2021 to ram through safety and clinical trials. My issue is less with the technology and it's large promise, and more with how vaccine testing and rollout has been botched or unnecessarily slowed down at every level.
Peptide vaccines are easy and fast to both design and construct, while being safe unless you really screw up, and effective as long as designed correctly. However, they do have rather substantial limitations, and it's just happenstance that they're particularly well suited for the situation. I could see mRNA vaccines having a much wider berth.
In my case, I'd estimate that I've spent around two hundred hours over the last several months coming sufficiently up to speed on the topics that I can reason about them. I started with about your level of biology (or possibly less), but probably a slightly stronger chemistry background.
For the basics, I started with cell biochemistry, DNA/RNA, mRNA and protein construction. From the vaccine side of things, I just started looking up things I found in the whitepaper which I didn't understand, and once I understood all the terms I started looking for and reading research papers. When I found something I wasn't sure about, I researched it and learned about it.
As examples, in early January, I spent about ten days reading up on VED (vaccine enhanced disease). Shortly after, I spent a few days digging into chitosan, and trying to understand how sensitive nanoparticle creation is to changes in the mixing process (hint: not very.) Everything I searched for I was able to find, and pretty much everything reinforced the same internally consistent view of the world.
When you find something that doesn't make sense and you're stuck, write it down, file it away and come back to it later. Eventually you'll be able to make sense of it.
When you're able to read through most or all of the whitepaper and understand both what's being discussed and why specific things were selected, you'll be in pretty good shape.
It's not particularly difficult, it just takes time and effort.
I have two data points for dealing with this successfully, and both amount to "make it stop" instead of "improve things":
It should be noted that I'm aware of multiple attempts to use IUDs within friends and family, but only have one data point that was long term successful. Apparently the first year of an IUD can be brutal and it's not uncommon to give up after a few months.
Ugh. Thanks for the link.
I believe that initial post is what got me going down the rabbit hole of peptides and proteins and dna and rna and transcription factors oh my! It's been a long ride.
Sarah Constantin is confused, and likely has not spent significant time reviewing the vaccine design. From page 32 of the whitepaper:
"Empirical evidence should dominate selection criteria. Here are some best types of evidence:
Sorry about that; I believe I misread your comment as implying that if the moderator is ignorant, he won't have enough information to form a reasonable prior. My disagreement was along that line, as it seems that misinformation, especially about medical things, is so prevalent that everyone's default prior should be 'fraud unless lots of evidence points the other way'.