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Looking for reasoned discussion on Geert Vanden Bossche's ideas?

Note also that the FDA has already approved that shots for alternate strains would be able to have much more limited testing, just for safety, which would take about two months. Slower than ideal, but given that production and distribution takes a while anyway, it's not too bad, and (judging by the response to the current vaccines) the additional testing will be important for getting people to actually take the vaccine.


Two months behind isn't great, but it's short enough that I'm not worried.

Sabien on "work-life" balance

This concept of direct versus indirect value seems quite related to the concept of alienation from the product of labor. In both cases, although the worker does receive value from their work (a paycheck or feeling like they're helping the world), the worker does not directly benefit from the actual labor that they are doing, making them feel unconnected with their work and lose motivation.

How to compute the probability you are flipping a trick coin

If you're interested in making a follow-up post, I'd enjoy an analysis of the possibilities when the coin is not fair but is also not double sided. For example, if a coin has a 75% chance of turning up heads, how does the probability look? If a coin turns up heads 50 times in a row, it's probably neither fair nor a 75/25 coin, but if it turns up heads 10 times in a row I might guess it to be 75/25.

Technocratic Plimsoll Line

To some extent the dichotomy is weak. For example, in the US at least, the political appointees, especially for relatively lower positions, tend to be people who first rose to the top as technocrats and then were politically selected. Even at the top, the process in which a person becomes a president or a senator requires passing a test of skill, albeit a very different one. This contrasts with a monarchy where the ruler has to pass no test other than not being revolted against.

From the other direction, I presume that in countries where you have to be part of the party to have any role in government, you at least also have some level of qualification, and they don’t just choose randomly from the party ranks.

Highlights from The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie

That's a bad plan unless you're fine with a decent risk of foreclosure - the market can (and in the past, has) go down and stay down for 10+ years. If that happens, you now have lost much of your equity in your house and have payments to make. If that coincides with losing your job (which is of course correlated with the market) then you're at high risk of being foreclosed on.

If you really want to have higher returns with higher risk, another strategy is to buy stocks on margin. You can't have the extreme multiples of the 1920's, but you can still get much higher returns. The tradeoff is the potential to also lose it all.

Of course, you might think that that risk is worthwhile for the extra returns, but they definitely are not for me.

The EMH is False - Specific Strong Evidence

The GPU company increase is notable because the reason Nvidia and AMD have done well has little to do with AI. It's almost entirely about crypto, with some portion about video gaming. So while you would have done well if you had invested in GPU companies in 2015 because of AI, your results wouldn't have actually been causally connected with your reasoning. If you take out Nvidia and AMD then your results are not nearly as much better compared to SPY. And I'm not really convinced that most of the rest of the tech increase has much to do with AI either, perhaps other than Tesla, although their increase seems more akin to Gamestop than to a company more based on fundamentals.

Of course, you could also have done better than the economy than by just investing in tech stocks, but that's not nearly as much of an exciting conclusion (though still a bit of an exciting one).

However, that's missing that the EMH is fundamentally based on risk - it's easy to get better returns than the market, even over a five year time period, by investing leveraged. But then if the market goes down, it's easy to lose everything. I haven't calculated the numbers, but I suspect that someone who invested leveraged from 2015 to 2020 would have been looking great in January 2020 and then be bankrupt in April 2020. Tech has a different risk model than investing leveraged, but it definitely is higher risk than the overall US economy..

You can beat the market by investing in a high risk market, but that's literally what the EMH tells you, so it's a boring conclusion.

Seven Years of Spaced Repetition Software in the Classroom

SRS for muscle memory

I don't know how they were thinking of it, but theoretically you can put any action into an Anki card: 

  • do a problem from chapter 1.5 of the linear algebra textbook
  • play through X specific piano piece
  • do five pushups

(though I doubt that the spaced repetition algorithm will really help with that last one)

I can further imagine that a skill which operates largely on muscle memory, like a martial art, could be done similar. "Do five kicks" could help you get the muscle memory behind that specific kick into your head, as long as you can be an accurate judge of how well you performed the kick.

Coffee trucks: a brilliant idea that someone should do?

The app concept would be difficult for a startup since you need to both introduce the truck and the app at the same time - it's a two-sided market. An existing coffee company would have an easier time, since their customers already have the app; they just need to add the feature to the app and start sending out the trucks. 

Why I Am Not in Charge

Notably, Rasputin really was threatening the empire - many historians consider him a significant contributor to the revolution. The suggestion here is that trying to change the working system from the inside - being a Donald Trump - can lead to a completely different system replacing it. The replacing system might be worse in a completely different way, or it might be better, but either way it's going to cause a lot of pain in the mean time. Be careful what you try - destroying the FDA or the CDC may just lead to more people refusing to get vaccinated or wear masks, while simultaneously leading to snake oil or to a resurgence of other diseases. A gain in one area leads to being much worse off in others.

Covid cafes

A Chinese restaurant near me built a plastic enclosure at their doorway, with an airlock that they place the food into, before closing the door and letting you open the opposite door. It works great, although it was definitely non-trivial to construct.

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