digital_carver

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Better air is the easiest way not to die

As far as I know, it's just a random person on the Internet saying things that seem well thought-out and with enough research to at least serve as a good starting point. There's also a Hacker News page with critical discussion and other semi-related information, for those interested.

Estimating COVID cases & deaths in India over the coming months

The policy briefing file is pretty useful, a useful summary and then a bunch of neat graphs. (I've been jealous of Zvi's posts on Covid-19 in the US for quite some while, and this is probably the closest we'll get for India.) They also include comparison with other model projections from different groups at the end, which gives some other possible projections to look at.

Leaky Delegation: You are not a Commodity

"knowledge compilation" or "production compilation," which serves only to specialize knowledge: turning a general operation like "recall the next digit of my phone number and then say it" into a specialized one like "say 'seven.'"

This is a great concept to add to my mental vocabulary, thanks for mentioning it.

(Going off-topic from the main point of the post here.) It helps me understand, for eg., the pattern of success and failure in teaching my dad how to use a smartphone. Originally, I kept trying to directly transfer the general knowledge I had, about what to expect from mobile UIs, the dark patterns websites and apps use, etc., and found very little of it stuck. It turns out that, if I instead give him the compiled knowledge, specific to each instance - which intuitively feels like a bad way to teach things - he's able to reverse engineer a "good enough" part of the general knowledge from that, given enough examples. (Insert comparison to the success of just-give-it-lots-of-samples ML over symbolic top-down AI here.)

This concept of general uncompiled knowledge vs specific compiled action is a good tool for thinking about pedagogy and learning, applicable in many ways.

[U.S. specific] PPP: free money for self-employed & orgs (time-sensitive)

I didn't read the post, but thank you for saying '[U.S. specific]' right in the title. I wish this was a norm more widely across the Internet.

Great minds might not think alike

Related: Career advice from Scott Adams (Dilbert's creator) suggests becoming "very good (top 25%) at two or more things." (He even goes on to suggest: "At least one of the skills in your mixture should involve communication, either written or verbal. ")

Being a translator is often a natural outcome of this; when you have two or more mental spaces to pick ideas and metaphors from, it becomes easier to describe complex things in one field without resorting to jargon, using the language of a different field. Trying to be a translator can also be useful to clarify your own understanding, for this reason - you can't hide behind jargon or "common knowledge" beliefs any more, and so have to go through, clarify, and perhaps reconstruct your mental models for what you're trying to translate.

Give it a google

An addendum to this, perhaps as a next level, is to give it a non-google search.

  • DuckDuckGo helps me avoid the SEO-driven spammy results more easily than with Google, which is particularly apparent when searching about products, or terms that could be construed as product-related. My hypothesis is that the SEOptimizers have learnt the specifics of what Google's algorithm looks for and so have refined techniques to get their less-deserving clients rise to the top, and (thankfully) those techniques don't work with whatever alternate algorithms DDG uses. (To be clear, it's not a strict "DDG is always better than Google" thing, rather that they're surprisingly good at complementing each other, one being good when the other gives weak results.)

  • Million short is useful when I'm searching for something that's had a lot of media attention, but I want to avoid the mainstream media pieces on it. It excludes the top 100/1000/.../million websites on the Internet (as ranked by Alexa) from its results, which is sometimes exactly what you want.

For the sake of completion, some other alternate search engines are Metager , Qwant , and Mojeek (all of which claim privacy as their primary benefit). And I love me a bit of wiby when I'm feeling nostalgic about the old, simpler, 90s Internet of plain personal pages, and want to experience some of that again.

How Lesswrong helped me make $25K: A rational pricing strategy

But job seekers have a lot of consultants/agencies/headhunters they can turn to and I'd imagine your price mostly depends on the competition

This is true, but also often overrated, especially when it comes to individual customers. If you're selling to businesses, do consider that they'd be willing to shop around and optimize to some extent, so differences from your competitors matter a lot. Individual customers however really hate having to search around, compare options, and risk choice overload; if they've found OP as a provider of this service, they'd really prefer to be able to choose them. At this point, OP is not in equal footing with the rest of the competition, and thinking so would lose them income.

I run a similar kind of business to OP, and what I've learnt over the years is that unless your prices are outrageously higher (as in an order of magnitude or more), pricing higher than your competition doesn't significantly affect your business, and often results in higher earnings (i.e. what you lose in raw customer numbers, you more than earn back with the larger individual revenues).

Logistics for the 2020 online Secular Solstice*

but we will have no resource margin for properly testing anything but Chrome. (I also sort of expect that the kind of person who uses an uncommon browser will be the kind of person to try it anyway.)

I live in such a tech (especially FOSS) bubble that I feel sad faced with the reality that anything other than Chrome counts as an "uncommon browser".

(Although, checking the stats, it looks like even on desktop, Chrome's browser share is only around 65%, which isn't as monopolistically high as I expected.)

(PS: this isn't meant to be a criticism of your decision at all, to be clear.)

The AI Safety Game (UPDATED)

Then, you try to think of how you could save the world, given the stuff written on the cards.

Just to make it explicit, does "save the world" mean things like solve world hunger, create a true utopia, take us on an accelerated path to post-scarcity state, etc.?

Pain is not the unit of Effort

If anything they found escape and respite in working on their education, and having hope and a direction to work towards increased their subjective well-being.

I think there's a useful distinction to be made here between general mental state and specific moment-to-moment emotional experiences. Working on something, that gives hope and respite from a feeling of helplessness, increases overall well-being in the general sense, but doesn't fully make up for the difficulties and annoyances that crop up while doing the work day after day after day, so in the moment it's still pain that dominates their experience. (So maybe here is part of the answer to applying this advice in these situations - if what you're working on improves general life satisfaction, even if it's painful at the moment, then that's an indication that you're doing it right. Although, caveats: (A) it's often difficult in these situations to tell if your life satisfaction is improving or not, both because -49 to -45 isn't as easily felt as 2 to 6, and your life is unstable and fluctuating enough that there isn't much of a reliable base state to compare to, and (B) this is more an indication of whether you've made the right strategic decisions - right course or career path that you feel good about - whereas I think the original point of the advice, and its maximum effectiveness IMO, is regarding tactical low-level decisions.)

I agree with your final paragraph entirely. Pain isn't a reliable unit of effort beyond a point, even in these contexts. Over time, it starts growing super-linearly for linear effort.

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