All of JeremyHussell's Comments + Replies

Covid 10/7: Steady as She Goes

What happened here wasn’t that Harvard and the CDC stopped being interested in truth. That ship sailed a while ago. What happened here was that Harvard and the CDC’s lack of interest in truth was revealed more explicitly and clearly, and became closer to common knowledge.


Further, thinking and talking about organizations as if they were interested or disinterested in anything keeps leading to errors. CDC and Harvard likely have no institutional rules or incentives in place to promote truth over falsehood, or even to promote trust in the institutions t... (read more)

Possible worst outcomes of the coronavirus epidemic

After-the-fact analysis of the causes of major disasters often reveals multiple independent causes, none of which would have caused a disaster by itself, but each of which degraded or disabled the usual safeguards in place for the other problems. This seems to come up in everything from relatively small-scale transportation disasters to the fall of civilizations, and possibly in major extinction events. E.g. there have been many large asteroid impacts, but the one which finished off the dinosaurs happened to also coincide with (and possibly triggered or ex... (read more)

Yes, and there are biggest locust explosion in 70 years now.
Possible worst outcomes of the coronavirus epidemic

Once enough people have been infected and recovered, gaining immunity, the evolutionary pressures on a virus switch from "spread as fast as possible into new hosts" to "keep the current host alive and infectious long enough to encounter a host without immunity". Even though influenza periodically bypasses existing immunity, the evolutionary pressure towards lower mortality is still present most of the time. In particular, our actions to quarantine and isolate, if sufficiently widespread, will also put a lot of evolutionary pressure towa... (read more)

Coronaviruses in general, including the original SARS-CoV, do indeed have proofreading enzymes, which is why their genomes are so unusually stable (and hence so unusually large) for RNA viruses. I didn't dig down on the SARS-CoV-2 genome yet (I only started looking into this in depth yesterday) but a quick search suggests that the proofreading exonuclease is indeed there [].
Simplified Poker

8 months late. I'm coming into this cold but having previously read about a very similar competition to create strategies to play Rock-Paper-Scissors (RPS). First, work out all the decision points in the game, and the possible information available at each decision point. We end up with 2 binary decisions for each player, and 3 states of information at each decision point.

So my first strategy is to predict my opponent's decisions, and calculate which of my possible decisions will give me the best result. For RPS this is pretty simple:

P(R), P(P), ... (read more)

An Undergraduate Reading Of: Macroscopic Prediction by E.T. Jaynes

Note that this paper was first published in 1985, not 1996. The full source is in a footnote at the bottom of the first page.

Well spotted! This helps with putting the maximum entropy comments in context.