All of Kerry's Comments + Replies

Kerry's Shortform

Final Section of Preface of Genealogy of Morals (see previous short forms)

Section 8 concludes the preface with a few important points.

If this writing be obscure to any individual, and jar on his ears, I do not think that it is necessarily I who am to blame. It is clear enough, on the hypothesis which I presuppose, namely, that the reader has first read my previous writings and has not grudged them a certain amount of trouble: it is not, indeed, a simple matter to get really at their essence. 

So, I need to read is early book, as he says, but just point... (read more)

Kerry's Shortform

Nietzsche Preface Part 7  (Paraphrase---see previous short-forms)

 

N concludes the preface by explaining that after this new world of ideas opened up to him, he began to search for "learned, bold, and industrious colleagues (I am doing it even to this very day)."

So he wanted to find others who had the ability and fortitude to explore this world with him, and it as been an ongoing process. This last part seems kind of rambling and confused to me compared to other parts...the tense shifts are weird. Could be a bad translation.

Enough, that after this

... (read more)
Kerry's Shortform

Nietzsche Preface Part 6 (Paraphrase---see previous short-forms)

I realize now that I was referring to N's first two books, and that they were not actually his first two books--for some reason, the preface gave me the impression that this was his second book, after Human, All Too Human. This must have been the second book on this topic, maybe. I can't quite figure it out because many of his books were published long after they were written, or became known long after, and it's hard to disentangle the list. The out of order publication, and of course his lat... (read more)

Kerry's Shortform

Part II of paraphrasing Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals, this time focusing on Section 5 of the Preface. I want to record my initial impressions of reading Nietzsche without much knowledge of other people's analysis--mainly for the reason he describes here: trying to get to the underlying commonalities in various theories before getting attached to a theory. Especially because I've found 20c intellectuals made a lot of errors interpreting the 19c, and I like to use 19c primary sources. This part (section 5 of the preface) seems pretty important. 

In re

... (read more)
Kerry's Shortform

Thanks--glad you found it somewhat useful!

Kerry's Shortform

Found a brief summary of Ree's book---guess they knew each other! 

he Origin of the Moral Sensations was largely written in the autumn of 1877 in Sorrento, where Rée and Nietzsche both worked by invitation of Malwida von Meysenbug. The book sought to answer two questions. First, Rée attempted to explain the occurrence of altruistic feelings in human beings. Second, Rée tried to explain the interpretive process which denoted altruistic feelings as moral. Reiterating the conclusions of Psychological Observations, Rée claimed altruism was an innate human

... (read more)
Kerry's Shortform

Attempt to understand Nietzsche and paraphrase him, since it seems a lot of people are interpreting him various ways that strike me as incorrect and even absurd. I may be the one who is wrong, but I want to sketch it out. (Some academics likely have it right, but their stuff isn't easily accessible.) 

Genealogy of Morals

Preface

People don't reflect enough on what it is they're doing in life--this part strikes me as weirdly vague in its phrasing. I'm not quite sure if he's saying they don't know what they really want, or what their purpose is, or what it... (read more)

9habryka6moI really appreciate summaries (even of the cuff ones) for classics and books, so thank you for writing this! I generally like Nietzsche and found this pretty useful.
3Kerry6moMain point: Ree was interested in altruism, and believed it was an evolutionary selected for instinct. Main point: I can see why Nietzsche reacted badly to these arguments, but wasn't offended by them. Ree worked backwards from categories of morals he'd made up, so that was kind of an issue, in his searching for an explanation to back up his assumptions. If you don't have good judgment on these things, like Niezsche did, this can get ridiculous very quickly. He also seems to think our sense of morality is something we emotionally feel about actions, which seems not the best assumption, and that the guilty conscience comes after these intuitions instead of being intertwined? It was probably more sophisticated than that in the book. But we're unable to control these feelings, and shouldn't feel guilty, because we can't choose anyway, but we feel we choose the wrong thing, and that when this happens, it has to be remedied--so we crave justice. It's not clear if these are reasoning errors or more like evolutionary intuitive/emotional errors. Oh. Okay. So basically since kids are yelled at and told they are responsible for doing bad things, they assume this is true and they deserve what they have coming. This seems kind of all over the place. Authority figures feel some actions are bad, and treat kids as thought that is the case and they can choose not to do them, and this is credible to the kids because they also innately feel these actions are bad and that they have choice. Therefore they see the punishment as necessary and logical. This sounds like it would be "moral foundations theory" or something, but this really doesn't seem to have developed reasoning about which traits would evolve from certain natural causes. Maybe the summary just doesn't bother to say. But he doesn't seem able to come up with the idea that altruism would have evolutionary benefits, although it doesn't seem like this idea would have been hard to generate even at the time, as animals coopera
The Four Children of the Seder as the Simulacra Levels

There's definitely truth in that, but I think it's below 80 on both counts, at least in 2020. Going about one's business even in an ordinary way requires an understanding of a lot of higher meanings. Very little directly corresponds to reality.

I think it is correct that "please pass the potatoes" is Stage 1, but it's not the best example for describing what this article is talking about. It's more about the hearer than the speaker, in some ways, and what broader context they bring to a straightforward statement.

I think th... (read more)

2Ericf8moThe "Please" doesn't actually belong. I was importing the definition "I would be somewhat happier if ..." into that word, but the cultural overtones cannot be escaped, and that puts the sentence anywhere on the Level Scale Upon reflection, I see that any request necessarily has overtones at all levels, due to the possibility of alternative phrasings. (Please X; X; Hey you, X; X, or else; ^&*^% X &*^%%)
The Four Children of the Seder as the Simulacra Levels

Forgot to add that I think there is a lot of overlap between stage 2 and 3, such that they may not necessarily be different levels of progress so much as different personality types who exist on the same level, which is nihilistic in character. Or, maybe, that a minority of 2 and 3 types exist at every stage---the former is the string-pullers of any age, and the latter is the abstract intellectual type. These people generally make up the elite class, and their behavior will differ depending on the stage of society. Most people never hit this level of cynic... (read more)

The Four Children of the Seder as the Simulacra Levels

Brilliant! Agree the story is getting at the same concept as simulacra levels, which can be far more "low-tech" than people realize. The increased abstraction or speed of change are not the drivers, but both a causes and effects of knowledge decay, which is the real driver. I believe the phenomenon is cyclical, and correlates broadly with generational change.

You may not agree with this, but I've been desperately trying to explain to people older than me that a critical mass of (mostly young) people have hit level 5, and it is our responsibil... (read more)

5Ericf8mo80% of US residents communicate at Level 1 80% of the time. "Please pass the potatoes," "where are the lightbulbs," "that will be $13.97," etc. have no higher meaning, and make up the vast majority of mouth noises/text strings communicated between people. The question of levels is limited to the 20% not related to immediate "molecules-impinging-on-my-body" things.
0Kerry8moForgot to add that I think there is a lot of overlap between stage 2 and 3, such that they may not necessarily be different levels of progress so much as different personality types who exist on the same level, which is nihilistic in character. Or, maybe, that a minority of 2 and 3 types exist at every stage---the former is the string-pullers of any age, and the latter is the abstract intellectual type. These people generally make up the elite class, and their behavior will differ depending on the stage of society. Most people never hit this level of cynicism or abstraction, but regular people borrow random 2 and 3 behaviors/concepts that appeal to their needs. I suspect the way it works is that the general public stays rooted for a long period at 1, but when their selectively collected 2/3 ideas reach a certain level of salience, the discrepancies shift them rapidly to stage 4, and the elites find they can't influence things the way they used to.
Tearing down the Chesterton's Fence principle

I think in the modern world there are a lot more truly "unnecessary" things around for no good reason, largely because we have so many resources and our society is so structured. This makes the calculus a lot trickier. But I think it's still a very important idea.

New Paper on Herd Immunity Thresholds

In some people, antibodies start to wane at that point, but they still have antibodies for some time. So there's definitely at least some immunity for longer than that, plus other types of immunity (T-cell, etc.) Plus, if everyone is losing immunity over different time frames, they're not going to contract it nearly as easily as when we were all at zero, since many others around them will still be immune. The staggering probably helps a lot. I think the same is true for colds, and I don't get a cold every couple of months, though I know some people do. More like once a year, and colds are caused by a bunch of different viruses, so it's not even once a year for each virus.

New Paper on Herd Immunity Thresholds
The 60%-70% result is based on a fully naive SIR (susceptible, infected, recovered) model in which all of the following are assumed to be true:
People are identical, and have identical susceptibility to the virus.
People are identical, and have identical ability to spread the virus.
People are identical, and have identical exposure to the virus.
People are identical, and have contacts completely at random.
The only intervention considered is immunity. No help from behavior adjustments.

Ugh. I just can't believe how ridiculous this all is, and how no one c... (read more)

Something about the Pinker Cancellation seems Suspicious

It was before that took off, but I'm pretty positive Pinker or a friend of his wrote it up as a pretext for interviews on the topic.

Thiel on Progress and Stagnation

Most or all of these ideas appear in other works, but many of them may still be original in the sense that he generated them largely from his own observations. A lot of it what someone with his intellect and personality would pick up on from personal experiences and by synthesizing wide reading. Few ideas haven't been independently reached by other people, whether or not they've been popularized or applied the same way. To pick one, "And if you don't say those things, well we know you're not the person to get tenure," is pret... (read more)

Kerry's Shortform

Adding a few more *possibilities*, not all of which I think are likely. I'm not as sure on some of the fundamentals as I once was, partly due to new evidence. The evidence remains poorly presented overall so I could be more off than I thought, but in most cases that would be true for almost everyone.

  • I'd been confident for a while much of spread was presymptomatic and aerosolized, with handwashing likely not doing much at all. I now think there's a small possibility something like fecal spread is involved, and that possibly the WHO is right a
... (read more)
Something about the Pinker Cancellation seems Suspicious

That's possible. It hardly seems necessary though---he could write the book without that pretext, though I get it helps. There have been sort of partial cancellation attempts already and that will probably continue--like the Epstein stuff, which to me it seems he should defend more vigorously. I get he may just want that to go away, but it seems absurd and dangerous to imply that he couldn't comment to a friend and co-worker about his judgment of the statute in question, just because it could be used to defend a bad person in court. That seems li... (read more)

Something about the Pinker Cancellation seems Suspicious

Update: Pinker has an interview out with the NYT itself. Given that this is the NYT, it is about as favorable a piece as he could obtain. Even with all the insinuation, it's pretty glowing. And they note the letter is weird (and also that the society's leadership declined to take action against him).

But the letter was striking for another reason: It took aim not at Professor Pinker’s scholarly work but at six of his tweets dating back to 2014, and at a two-word phrase he used in a 2011 book about a centuries-long decline in violence.
...
... (read more)
0Virgil Kurkjian10moYeah, I saw that too. Definitely good for Pinker and more suspicious data about the letter. A very jaded perspective could be that this is indeed a false flag but the whole end goal is just that Pinker wants to write a book about the subject and needed a way to insert himself into the conversation.
Book Review: Fooled by Randomness

Thanks for the explanation---that all makes sense. I guess what I was getting at is that as you said, it can be done in a completely sensible way by people who know what they're doing, but it tends to become split up in awkward ways.

Book Review: Fooled by Randomness

This is my take: I entered college in 2007, and took a few public policy courses with a professor who was excellent. She spotlighted this book, which I'll admit didn't make a huge impression on me at the time. But it was the first introduction I had to these ideas, and I think they stayed with me. When I reread it a few years ago, I really enjoyed it and thought it stated perfectly a lot of things I'd already picked up on or heard in more obscure ways in the intervening years. I assume that for many, particularly people who don't have a... (read more)

I've always disliked discussing statistics and finance, even though I enjoy learning about almost everything. The sense I got was that to understand and use it at all, you'd have to constantly master it and all its tricks--that there was no real in-between. The rules were always changing, and the underlying conditions.

One thing going on there for statistics is that the field greatly dislikes presenting it in any of the unifications which are available, which is something I learned only quite late myself. As often taught or discussed, statistics is treat... (read more)

2Sherrinford10moThanks for the different perspective!
Something about the Pinker Cancellation seems Suspicious

What stands out to me is that this looks low-effort, but stuff like the footnote thing, and some of the rather subtle though simple argumentation, seem fundamentally incompatible with being low-effort. This is what I see as most significant that something is off. And if you try and take the letter at face value or as an effort to be taken at face value, you would expect to see evidence of motivation/effort, since someone has to care enough to bother. That's also why I doubt the humiliation aspect---if you want to show someone you can enforce absurdity... (read more)

-1Kenny10moMaybe a GPT-2/3 'open letter to cancel a prominent public intellectual' that was accidentally shared/published?
Something about the Pinker Cancellation seems Suspicious

Here---there's an excerpt here. You can include them if you'd like.

Something about the Pinker Cancellation seems Suspicious

Matt Taibbi has written an article that makes me more confident it was a false flag...at least 55%. He doesn't argue this, but he also noted that the accusations were weirdly chosen and presented. It's paywalled, but a few quotes:

"When I reached out to the group’s listed email, they declined comment" (citing fear of threats, in a short and vague response.)

"The campaign seems to have failed, as it doesn’t appear the LSA is planning on taking action." (Why did it die out without any further info?)

"Pinker did... (read more)

4Virgil Kurkjian10moWow, very interesting finds. That does make it seem even more like a false flag. Could you share the link to the article (even though it's paywalled)? Also, would you mind if I added some of your points to the main post, for posterity?
Something about the Pinker Cancellation seems Suspicious

By "operationalize our disagreement," do you mean agreeing on what wou. I'm now more confident in my position. He's evidently volunteered to be a champion of the cause and take the heat, and the interview suggests he's thought a lot about the issue and how it works. So he would know how to "game" it. But it's evident he's not taking responsibility for the letter and probalby never will--it's not like

Literally as I'm writing this, I just saw that Pinker did an interview. I'm now more confident in... (read more)

Something about the Pinker Cancellation seems Suspicious

I assume you are asking me to give a probability....maybe 40%. The last few months have been so weird that it's harder for me to assess this than it normally would be---I have a feeling I'm not tracking the full range of plausible motives now in operation. I also don't follow Pinker very closely so I don't have a great sense of his behavior, tactics, and values. But the information given in this post seems to me strong evidence that this isn't what it appears to be, and Pinker seems by far the person with the most to gain from it (... (read more)

2Virgil Kurkjian10moSolid reasoning. 40% seems just a little high to me but I absolutely agree that, conditional on this being a false flag, Pinker has the most to gain from it.
6Pablo10moThanks for answering my question. I'd personally assign a ~5% chance [EDIT: on reflection, perhaps closer to 10%] to that hypothesis. If you can think of a way to operationalize our disagreement, I'd be interested in arranging a bet.
Something about the Pinker Cancellation seems Suspicious

This definitely explains a lot of it, but I feel like there's something missing from the analysis.

Something about the Pinker Cancellation seems Suspicious

These are very sharp observations, and I think you're on to something. Don't know what the real story is, but your suggestions are plausible. The one that seems most likely to me is Pinker preemptively canceling himself to inoculate against future attempts. I don't think it's outlandish. And I think it is quite possible that Pinker has some Machiavelli in him.

Or perhaps it was a plan by him and others to send the debate in a specific direction that they could more easily address. It's possible that he just caught the eye of some L... (read more)

7Pablo10moWhat's your credence in this hypothesis?
6ChristianKl10moThere are power struggles [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9AVo3jXjN8]right now [https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-news-media-is-destroying-itself]in most newsrooms between younger journalists who want the paper to follow intersectional norms and older journalists with more traditional ideals. Neatly executed actions can be competent and make sense for inter-organizational politics but seem incompetent and bizarre to the outside world.
2Virgil Kurkjian10moThank you! Yes, I wouldn't say that I have any particular view on what is happening, just that something seems off.
The Puzzling Linearity of COVID-19

My guess is that most people aren't infecting many others because of a number of factors, mainly awareness of the issue and social distancing measures. Most people are being extra careful compared to usual, especially about things that would have a high probability of transmission. I'm not sure how good the testing is...even if it is much better than it was, are they really anywhere close to catching all new cases, especially very mild ones? They are probably undercounting. But it doesn't surprise me that right now it's not taking off... (read more)

Kerry's Shortform

Add: vaccine won't do much, for reasons I've posted elsewhere.

The people it would make the biggest difference for would probably be too high risk to take a vaccine that wasn't heavily tested overtime, and may not be able to risk such a vaccine at all. They would have to rely on herd immunity. The feeling of psychological security it would offer lower-risk people may have some impact.

Kerry's Shortform

Update:


1) Going much slower than expected, but still expect a sudden shift at some point. It's starting to look like the health risks are less severe than many feared in April and May, but of course it's not no big deal either.

2) This is going as I expected, more or less, but I'm surprised by how much working from home continues. I also think concerts could come back early than expected, but they've all been postponed by a year now anyway, and there's no guarantee that they'll be able to go forward then, by any means. They a... (read more)

2Kerry10moAdding a few more *possibilities*, not all of which I think are likely. I'm not as sure on some of the fundamentals as I once was, partly due to new evidence. The evidence remains poorly presented overall so I could be more off than I thought, but in most cases that would be true for almost everyone. * I'd been confident for a while much of spread was presymptomatic and aerosolized, with handwashing likely not doing much at all. I now think there's a small possibility something like fecal spread is involved, and that possibly the WHO is right about it being more about large droplets. But they could also be very wrong, and I think they probably are. Even then, one would think masks help slow spread in brief interactions, so they work well enough for anyone practicing social distancing indefinitely, but beyond a certain amount of exposure, the reduction in spread is probably hours or days. Raincoats work, but if you go swimming in one... * It seems like this may be way, way less dangerous for almost everyone than people think. Not saying it's not a big deal or just the flu. But even with protests and other things, it doesn't seem like we're overwhelmed. Cases are going up, but they *will* go up, until we reach some level of immunity. The question is how much death and suffering results. Many of the cases seem minor. I think there is a decent possibility that historians will remember 2020 as a major overreaction, but this is by no means clear yet. It could go the other way, but I really don't think it will seem scarier than cancer in a few years in terms of death risk. Not anywhere close. Longer term effects in some cases, I'm not sure. Some reports are worrying. But the long-term effects of the shutdown, social and economic, may end up overwhelming such concerns. I'm very concerned about how things are going to go in the next few years---what the heck are we going to do about all the people who lost health
0Kerry10moAdd: vaccine won't do much, for reasons I've posted elsewhere. The people it would make the biggest difference for would probably be too high risk to take a vaccine that wasn't heavily tested overtime, and may not be able to risk such a vaccine at all. They would have to rely on herd immunity. The feeling of psychological security it would offer lower-risk people may have some impact.
Atemporal Ethical Obligations

I disagree with the idea that we're obviously more moral in a superior sense to people who lived earlier in American history. Perhaps in a "quantitative" sense. We started out in an environment more favorable to certain moral ideas, but we may have gone no further or not even as far as our predecessors in personal moral achievement/advancement. The improved environment was a result of the most recent predecessors' moral advancement. What we do with it represents how much moral gain we can take credit for.

While there are obvious except... (read more)

SlateStarCodex deleted because NYT wants to dox Scott

I suspect the strategy more to make it obvious the paper is aware of what it is doing, not allowing them to spin it as a misunderstanding after the fact. I think this changes their calculation more than people realize, but it's impossible to say what the final decision will be.

SlateStarCodex deleted because NYT wants to dox Scott

My prior for malice was also pretty high, and had updated in that direction significantly in the last year or so from monitoring the coverage, and also with recent details. It may not be an "evil villain" highly coordinated malice, but the incentives and dynamics led in the direction of enough general "bad faith" insinuation to be net negative. It didn't have to be intended as an attack on Scott or the blog, but rather as a morally obligatory denunciation of perceived ideas or associations---the increase of obligatory denunciation ... (read more)

3Kerry1yHere's an example of one thing that made me wary of the paper: https://medium.com/@lessig/lessig-v-nyt-very-good-news-d8b3c57150c4 [https://medium.com/@lessig/lessig-v-nyt-very-good-news-d8b3c57150c4]
A Personal (Interim) COVID-19 Postmortem

It's true that we learned more about the type of lung damage as things went on, but I still feel like that ventilator conversation was really implausible in hindsight. I'm not an expert, but experts seemed suspiciously quiet, and it should have been obvious to many of them that there were major practical concerns. Accounts from other countries seemed to suggest that ventilators were a poor choice for a significant number of COVID-19 patients, but all our resources seemed to go in that direction, rather than the seemingly obvious fact that you ha... (read more)

I'm not an expert, but experts seemed suspiciously quiet, and it should have been obvious to many of them that there were major practical concerns.

I feel like experts were suspiciously silent about a lot of things.

Covid 6/25: The Dam Breaks

Agree that we aren't wired for scale. Disagree that we haven't lost the ability to do things. However, eradicate COVID-19 was not something we ever had the ability to do--certainly not in the U.S.--I suspect that places like New Zealand will eventually be forced to open up out of desperation, as no miracle cure with be forthcoming, though I hope I'm wrong on that. But it was certainly a huge gamble for the countries that have sealed their borders and gone for eradication, and I totally disagree with the judgment that it was obviously the rig... (read more)

Does SARS-CoV-2 utilize antibody-dependent enhancement?

Very delayed response, sorry. I suspect that by the time we have a vaccine ready to go on a mass scale, it won't make a huge difference. People will return to life before then, for the most part. Not sure if the most vulnerable are able to get vaccines or if that is dangerous--if they can, it will make a difference for them. I don't think it will eradicate the disease because not everyone will choose to get it (especially as it seems dangerous side effects could be a thing with this vaccine, due to the autoimmune response, and being comfortable a... (read more)

2Spiracular1yI did specify long-term, which for me meant time-frames of around a year to a decade out. Honestly, I suspect you're largely right about the short-term. Well, except I might be more optimistic about vaccination efforts. Effective vaccination pushes in the past give me some hope. Also, the mutation rate is a good bit lower than the seasonal flu. SARS-CoV-2's point-mutations per year is around 28 substitutions [https://nextstrain.org/ncov/global?l=clock], which is about 1/2 as many as the flu. Or around 1/3 the rate, at ~1.1e-3 subs per site per year, compared to flu's 3.3 subs per site per year. (Different genome lengths, hence the different answers.)
Simulacra Levels and their Interactions

Excellent work! Look forward to your next post. COVID-19 was such a good illustration of much of this.

Can Covid-19 spread by surface transmission?

It seems unlikely that it is literally impossible (are any respiratory viruses not able to be transmitted via surfaces?), but everything I've seen suggests that we should be *way* more concerned about aerosol/air transmission. Maybe this is the wrong way to look at it, but I guess I figure if someone has left small amounts of the virus on a surface, they've also been breathing in that area, and probably left a lot more of it in the air. So if I'm near that surface, I should be more worried about the air by far. Especially since most masks ar... (read more)

Legibility: Notes on "Man as a Rationalist Animal"

Great points. Your last three paragraphs get at something especially important, and I agree with your characterization.

9Hazard1yThanks! I might want to make another post at some point that really digs into subtle differences between rationality and legibility. Because I think a lot of people's rationality is legibility. It's like the shadow side of rationality.
Kerry's Shortform

Pandemic Predictions

Just recording my predictions to see if they come true:

1) Pretty much everyone reopens by the end of the year and lets the virus run its course, with various precautions taken (mandating mask-wearing, etc.) There will be a paradigm shift eventually in which we accept going back to normal won't happen.

2) Most activities will resume, but live sports and especially concerts will remain contentious, as they seem like superspreader events, and demand will be down considerably. I hope concerts aren't going forever, but I expect in ... (read more)

2Kerry1yUpdate: 1) Going much slower than expected, but still expect a sudden shift at some point. It's starting to look like the health risks are less severe than many feared in April and May, but of course it's not no big deal either. 2) This is going as I expected, more or less, but I'm surprised by how much working from home continues. I also think concerts could come back early than expected, but they've all been postponed by a year now anyway, and there's no guarantee that they'll be able to go forward then, by any means. They are tied with stadium sports for the worst possible superspreadever events, I think. Sports are generally so much more important to most people that they will almost certainly get started first, but it is a bit tough because many venues host both so how do you do one without the other? Mandating masks and banning cheering may be attempted, but the problem with both events is that people can't wear masks and drink, and it's real hard to keep quiet even if you're trying. Sports crowds are generally much older, so the reverse could happen---young people adjusting to remote sports, and the older ceasing to attend. I don't know. 3) This is going on as I expected---not a whole lot of discussion of it, though. Starting to change a bit. 4) Going as expected, to the extent much can be expected here. Getting a lot of resistance on these, so adding more: 1) Higher ed is done. Less from logistics than puncturing the illusion surrounding the ponzi scheme nature of it, as well as the current American dream narrative. Makes people reconsider assumptions, but mostly the money won't be there or won't be easily spent. Elite colleges for certain things will return---tech and humanities---most people will stop getting a traditional college degree and turn to other types of programs or focus on ones that don't require it. Credentialism will lessen in many areas. 2) Not as sure here, but pretty significant economic disruption as people can't pay bills and d
How likely is the COVID-19 apocalyptic scenario?
The 1918 Flu pandemic's Second Wave killed massive amounts of young, healthy adults. 99% of deaths occurred in people under 65, and half of all deaths were in young adults 20 to 40 years old. Source: Wikipedia.

Oops! Thank you. I was aware of that, but got mixed up while writing and didn't separate my ideas. I meant "like 1918" as in a flu mutation that made it behave much more dangerously. I was thinking the next mutation might be more likely to target the old and sick instead of repeating the cytokine storm thing with the young, but... (read more)

Ways that China is surpassing the US

Personally, I believe this to be a fallacy, but it's hard to explain the real dynamic. It's something along the lines of "top government officials get the important/accurate information they need when they have a clear view of what they want done, and a determination to do it, regardless of the type of government." Different types of governments might have different goals, so the type of information that gets to the top might be different in each system. The problem arises when it isn't clear whether the government really wants to... (read more)

Does SARS-CoV-2 utilize antibody-dependent enhancement?

All very interesting, thank you for writing this up. Don't know enough to evaluate this, but it sounds plausible, and not very encouraging. Vaccines do not look promising, but perhaps further understanding of the disease will lead to other treatments that head off some of these complications.

3Spiracular1yVaccines are still our best shot in the long-term. I wouldn't phrase it as "vaccines do not look promising," but more as "SARS is relatively hard to vaccinate well." I do think we'll have a vaccine that works reliably, eventually. No other antiviral method has their price-to-effectiveness ratio. We were able to find fixes to the problems with some SARS-1vaccines, and I think we'll be able to route around these problems for SARS-2 as well. This just means that I don't expect vaccine development to be quite as fast as it would be for viruses without these known problems. Additionally, I suspect animal-testing could be crucial to the development of a safe vaccine, unless we're willing to risk a few human lives in their stead (which, maybe we are). And speaking personally, until the clinical trial results are in, I'm inclined to be cautious about taking vaccines that use large swathes of the viral S-protein, although I suspect some with smaller fragments will turn out to be fine.
How likely is the COVID-19 apocalyptic scenario?

Some others are talking about it, but most people don't want to hear it, so it's not getting signal boosted and the public is generally still hoping for a vaccine to fix it all. Certainly the authorities aren't ready to acknowledge otherwise. I don't think anyone has a clear picture, and you have to hunt around and sift information. I had the best luck on Twitter--lots of nonsense, but eventually I sorted out the people who seemed on top of things and saw what they called attention to and agreed upon. I think the probability of this sce... (read more)

6Rembert_Drijfmest1yThe 1918 Flu pandemic's Second Wave killed massive amounts of young, healthy adults. 99% of deaths occurred in people under 65, and half of all deaths were in young adults 20 to 40 years old. Source: Wikipedia. Apparently the virus had naturally selected in the trenches to become much more deadly. People mildly ill remained in the trenches, and so the virus could not spread. But those becoming gravely ill were taken to military hospitals, were the virus could spread. This is the opposite of what usually happens: mild cases spread because people still do their usual activities. Serious cases limit because people are too sick to spread it around. This is the very reason why epidemiologists monitor virus outbreaks in conflict zones: natural selection is reversed, resulting in a deadly virus strain. Isn't that exactly what we are doing in our lockdown world? We are socially distancing and self-isolating, so mild cases always die out. But when we get critically ill. we have to go to hospitals which, despite our best efforts, are hotbeds of infection. Sounds to me like we have a good chance for the second Covid-19 wave to be much deadlier.
Robin Hanson on whether governments can squash COVID-19

This is pretty much how I see it, too. But I don't think we're going to meet, swap stats, and decide whether or not to go to war. I think the lock-downs will slowly dissolve as people come to terms with reality and and lose patience/get stir crazy/run out of resources. We'll switch to mobilizing the best we can with regard to medical supplies and facilities, encouraging vulnerable people to stay at home, and building better support networks to get them what they need, and also for people who have sick relatives or who lose loved ones. We&apo... (read more)

Kerry's Shortform

Are you commenting on one of the quotes or my own comment? If the latter, I did not eschew political rhetoric. I said the issues were not confined to merely partisan or economic concerns. This was very much intended as a political post, but not a partisan one.

Who/what was called out in the quoted comments:

-"Liberal America"

-Our economic framework

-The President ("doofus Jell-O-Shot")

-American life

-Whole Foods

-Capitalism

-Neoliberalism

-Financial elites

-American institutions, including mainstream media outlets

-UK Institutions

-The public i... (read more)

Kerry's Shortform

Watching People Waking Up

Across the spectrum, people realize this isn't confined to merely partisan or economic concerns, but goes much deeper.

Sam Corey:

"Liberal America has been whipped up into this orgiastic frenzy to browbeat ideological deviance rather than lift themselves from the old familiar double-downer sideshow of half-measures and diminished expectations . . . This economy has the backbone of a mollusk . . . This flies far beyond the scope of a doofus Jell-O-Shot and his bungling of disease contamination. The coronavirus is more proo
... (read more)
1lc1yWhat's the word for when you eschew political rhetoric, and then directly therafter start decrying the state of our Institutions via political rhetoric?
Kerry's Shortform


*Note:* I wrote this draft a few months ago. I intend to write a series synthesizing all the information I’d collected for a book about how the 2020s would be an “interregnum” in which many of our fundamental assumptions would be undermined. The shock that exposes many underlying tensions has come unexpectedly early and suddenly, so I’ll just do this more informally.

In the concluding paragraph of the famous book The Complacent Class, Tyler Cowen wrote: “There is the distinct possibility that, in the next twenty years, w... (read more)

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