All of JesperO's Comments + Replies

Presumably the reason for such spam is that someone who's already been hacked once is more likely to be an easy target.

Re the straight male STEM nerds: shouldn't that be a good market for women who are into that stuff regardless, due to the uneven gender ratios? Like, if a community is heavily male dominated in the gender ratio, then presumably women in the community will need less traditional attractiveness to be competitive (relative to other communities), even if the guys primarily cared about traditional attractiveness?

That's what I thought before, but now I think the men just date outside the community.

Well, I'll give you some context. I am Scandinavian, and inclined to answer "no". Here's why: 

Making my parents proud does not really feel like one of my main goals. I care about having a loving relationship with my parents, and I care about my parents being healthy, happy etc. I know they are proud of me, but it doesn't feel like an important goal in itself. 

Note: They do have very similar values and we're all generally happy with the relationship.

Also, they don't have any narrow standards for being pleased, rather the opposite. Like, I have dif... (read more)

Oh, that's a REALLY interesting point.  I'm Scandinavian in heritage, though a number of generations in Canada and the US, and I also would answer "no".  Not because it's unimportant, but because I already have it, and it was never really in question.  

"Counterargument: There are things that are illegal but which people don't really consider immoral, like stealing a notepad from your office. Taking depositor funds as a "loan" is worse than this, but of a similar status. There's a notion that "if you win, it's not unethical"—like the story (celebrated in business circles) of Fedex gambling their last $6,000 of investor funds in a casino, without which the company would've failed. It seems okay because of social context—the majority of cryptocurrency funds do this sort of thing."

The analogy here doesn't wo... (read more)

I think most non-experts still have only a vague understanding of what cryptocurrency actually is, and just mentally lump together all related enterprises into one big category - which is reinforced by the fact that people involved in one kind of business will tend to get involved in others as well. FTX is an exchange, Alameda is a fund, and FTT is a currency, and each of these things could theoretically exist apart from the others, but a layperson will point at all of them and say "FTX" in the same way as one might refer to a PlayStation console as "the Nintendo." Legally speaking this is nonsense, but when we're talking about "social context," a lack of clarity in the common understanding of what exactly these businesses do might provide an opening for self-deception on the part of the people running them, regarding what illegal activities are "socially acceptable" in their field.

Looks like some text is missing:

"I do not expect this to ...  How expensive is doing it this way?"

Given that AFAIK there's been virtually no cases (1%?) among people who hadn't had sexual relations it seems like it transmits really ineffectively via non-sexual means. Why would it suddenly start infecting lots people in other ways, like via surfaces?

Thing is....our public health infrastructure is pretty well buggered at this point, and we don't have the resources to do adequate contact tracing. So is it spreading beyond sexual networks? Can't be sure, but it also seems like that's the only place we seem to be looking.

Re the nicotine restriction proposal: Smoking is a big deal though. It kills a lot more people than covid, and in slow horrible ways. If the proposal to ban nicotine in cigarettes works as intended it would save a ton of lives and prevent a ton of suffering. Few political proposals have had the potential to do that much good.

Genuine question, in the full on nuclear war scenario presumably most people wouldn't have food supplies and just starve. Do you expect to be able to protect your food supplies from organized plundering armed gangs? Eg former criminal gangs, or former police/military?

Yes. Compared to most other places, looting my area is unappealingly dangerous and expensive. In order for a stranger to successfully loot my home, they would have to: 1. Expend the fuel to travel a long way out into the middle of nowhere 2. Either loot all the visible homes along the way without getting shot, or coordinate with past looters to know to skip the more dangerous places. If a "skip this house" code starts showing up, you'd better bet we'll all be marking our own driveways with it. 3. If they're not the first looters, they'll probably have to either repair the main road or risk getting lost and/or stuck in the mud in a maze of logging roads to go around. Or I guess they could walk a few miles. But my community has all the equipment necessary to block the main road in several places, and we'd almost certainly do that if people from town started trying to come out and loot us. 4. Determine that my driveway is worth investigating, unlike the many similar-looking driveways around here which lead to nothing of value except possibly getting your vehicle stuck in the mud 5. Clear whatever stuff I've dropped into the driveway, or disembark their vehicles and walk an unknown distance 6. Figure out where my food is stored 7. Avoid/disarm any traps, or perhaps perfectly harmless configurations of stuff that look like traps, while searching my property and retrieving my food 8. Load the food into their vehicles, perhaps by carrying it a fair distance if they didn't want to spend the time or fuel clearing stuff out of my driveway 9. Safely return to their base of operations without running out of fuel, experiencing a fatal interaction with a neighbor, getting lost or stuck in the woods, etc. But if there are actually plundering gangs of any sort, having my food stolen would be the least of my worries. I would expect that the kind of lawlessness where groups of "former" criminals are attemptin

With a full scale nuclear war supply chains will collapse. How will you survive starvation? And if you have enough food or food production capacity, how will you be able to protect it from armed gangs?

Agree that empirical performance is a very important way to assess experts.

Unfortunately it can be tricky. In the RCT example, you need expertise to be able to evaluate the RCT. It's not just about knowing about their existence, but also you'd need to be able to eg avoid p-hacking, file-drawer effects and other methodological issues. Especially in a high stakes adversarial landscape like national politics. Joe Biden himself doesn't have enough expertise to assess empirical performance using RCTs. And it's unclear if even any of his advisors can.

Aren't those excess deaths just the direct covid deaths, from the unlucky few younger people who got covid and died from it? 

Excess deaths are deaths from all causes. But it's usually assumed that they're mostly covid deaths.

"Sweden has a higher population than the other countries listed so total numbers are not comparable. That alone doesn't explain all the difference."

The numbers I'm citing above are population normalized. They are total excess deaths per million (and per 100k in the economist link).

"It's unclear to me why and come to such different conclusions."

Ah, that data isn't cumula... (read more)

Yeah, precisely that page. Scroll down to the graph:
"Excess mortality: Cumulative number of deaths from all causes compared to projection based on
previous years, per million people, Dec 19, 2021

"The cumulative difference between the reported number of deaths since 1 January 2020 and the projected number of deaths for the same period based on previous years."

Sweden 883
Finland 411
Denmark 154
Norway 110
Iceland 92

Proportions are similar if you check out the economist's data below: (read more)

I'm referencing the numbers on Sweden has a higher population than the other countries listed so total numbers are not comparable. That alone doesn't explain all the difference. It's unclear to me why [] and [] come to such different conclusions.

Yeah, I agree that excess death data is preferable when available. For some reason Dumbledore's Army's original link isn't working for me ("page not found"). So I haven't yet seen state by state excess mortality data. But if it actually doesn't find any difference between the red/blue states that would undermine the argument from the NYT article above.

Looking at Our World in Data's limited cumulative excess mortality data Sweden has 2-8X higher excess mortality during the pandemic compared to other Scandinavian countries (with similar vaccination rates). T... (read more)

No. [] is the page for excess mortality.  Finland has +19 pp absolute change and +165% relative change while Sweden only has +8 pp and +125%. Norway even has +24 pp and +355%.  Sweden has lower excess mortality than Finland and Norway.
3Dumbledore's Army1y
Fixed the link, thanks for letting me know it wasn’t working.  If For whatever reason that link doesn’t work, it’s called The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Policy Responses on Excess Mortality and the authors are Agrawal, Cantor, Sood and Whaley.

Hm. I wonder if there's really a " minimal difference between the outcomes of US red states and blue states". From the graph here it looks like red states had  ~40% higher mortality per capita:

Maybe that's more from lower vaccination rates, than lockdowns - but it still undermines the argument that´s based on no significant red/blue state differences.

Dumbledore's Army was speaking about excess deaths. The article to which you link is about COVID mortality. 

In addition, it says "Either way, the per capita death toll in blue America and red America was similar by the final weeks of 2020." That suggests that the lockdowns didn't cause a difference in COVID-19 mortality but the vaccines actually did. Sweden is also an example of no lockdown but decent vaccine uptake.

In one thread someone wrote about one rationalist dying to sepsis because they locked down to the extent that they didn't go to the hospi... (read more)

7Dumbledore's Army1y
I think it’s entirely from different vaccination rates. Check the stats for 2020 only ie before vaccines were widely available. Because there were indeed no significant red-blue state differences then. The paper I linked above includes all US states in its analysis as well as 43 other countries. Edited to add: try going through the US states data in this report [], written March 2021 ie before the Delta wave with differential vaccine rates.

Yeah, it's overconfident to claim that lockdowns are "almost certainly net negative". This stuff is complicated.

But it's also not certain that lockdowns were "definitely a huge net positive" for older people. For example, for my 90 year old grandmother the life-saving benefits are much larger than for younger people. But the costs of a couple years in lockdown has also been huge for her. She's been persistently depressed, and her health has deteriorated a lot. Presumably from not moving around much any more. She's felt really bad about life since the pande... (read more)

Yeah, I wanted to make much the same point. My grandma died in 2015, but I've talked about it with my family members and we're all pretty certain she would have chosen to die of COVID rather than go into lockdown. In the last years of her life (especially after being widowed in 2008), she was very realistic about the fact that she didn't have much longer to live, and her whole life revolved around her community — she lived alone, but she was an important community fixture in her small town, and had been for decades. Not socializing would have removed her only source of meaning, and there's no way she would have thought that it was worth locking down to buy herself two additional years of life in isolation.

My wife is a doctor and I will do as she recommends if things get bad, in terms of deciding when to seek oxygen or other treatments.

Good points. 

Notably, those studies are still based on surveys and self-reports. 

Compare supposed long lyme disease or previously, supposed candida infection. In those cases a lot of people self-report various general, common symptoms like tiredness. In neither case is the disease medically recognized. Rather, its existence is doubted by medical authorities. In addition to these two, I  there's a series of past similar scares, with the same properties. These scares include at least electricity oversensitivity and worries about mercury dental... (read more)

* Your theory doesn't explain the prevalence of highly unusual Covid-specific symptoms among the mix that makes up Long Covid (I'm thinking of strawberries smelling like burnt tyres) * There's a plausible mechanism with Covid: Other viruses cause fatigue syndroms as well, probably autoimmune related, and it's plausible that the SARS-Cov-2 virus has properties that trigger this comparatively often. * There's a second plausible mechanism with Covid: It affects blood vessels and lots of organ systems at once, so lasting damage causing fatigue seems to make sense. (Note that this mechanism makes less sense for asymptomatic infection leading to Long Covid, which some anecdotal reports claim is also happening). * You fail to mention that there's a history of ignorant / narrow-minded doctors gaslighting patients with uncommon or not well researched actual chronic illnesses. * Some people's Long Covid symptoms are too outlierish in their severity to be anything that develops normally. E.g., people who used to be highly into sports report that they get out of breath just climbing stairs, and that this persists for a period of years. My impression is that this sort of thing never just happens without an identifiable cause. (I'm uncertain whether that type of Long Covid can happen after asymptomatic infection. That would be important to know to ascertain the use of vaccines for preventing Long Covid!) 

Re "proof of a lab leak [is] potentially very dangerous":

What's the danger model here? That the US government would be forced to condemn China in that case and that China would react very aggressively to that? And that would lead to some kind of escalating spiral? Or something else?

Pretty much but perhaps a bit more extreme. What if that then spins into the view of a biologic warfare act that is feeding into the growing nationalism and increasingly polarized relationships and politics both internationally and internally in some countries vested in the discussion?

At least on the internet you could argue that people give their permission by choosing to visit the sites (as opposed to avoiding them, or paying for an adfree experience). But maybe people aren't giving their permission because they underestimate the power of ads and are not making a conscious choice?

Curious what you think of JeffTk's argument about the counterfactual -  would universal paywalls be better? 

Cool! So that explains the weird effects at state borders.

On the bright side, that 88% of people may not be as insane as they seem. The vast majority of people don't think for themselves on most topics. Rather people outsource thinking to trusted institutions and specialized individuals. That makes sense. Unless you've focused a lot on how to think well it's going to be far too expensive and ineffective to figure out (most things) by yourself. 

Unfortunately, when the institutions are bad and spread insane views, this outsourced thinking causes the trusting majority to share those insane views.

when the institutions are bad and spread insane views, this outsourced thinking causes the trusting majority to share those insane views

Or alternatively, with the model of institutions as competent but dishonest, the takeaway from an action with an implausible-sounding explanation (pausing vaccination out of "an abundance of caution") is to make up your own explanation that would make the action seem reasonable (there are issues that are actually serious), and ignore all future claims from the institution on the topic ("we checked and it seems fine").

Th... (read more)

Great to hear you only got a mild case.

OT: what's your impression of COVID spread in Russia? According to official statistics total cumulative deaths and confirmed cases per capita in Russia are maybe half of what they are in Europe and the Americas. 

Do you expect this is right, or is there severe underreporting? If no underreporting - did Russia somehow manage the COVID response much better for some reason, or were you guys just lucky?

It is underreporting. There was an analysis of reported deaths, and the picture is grim: It looks like Russia has several times more deaths than was reported and maybe Russia is a world leader. Additional mortality is 338 000 deaths in 2020 (for 140 million population). Almost all my friends had covid.

Where can one get fluvoxamine and antivirals?

Fluvoxamine is a prescription drug in the FDA, so your doctor can prescribe it; [] might work as well. Antiviral procurement is similar if the antiviral you're seeking is a US prescription drug (in any case I'd consider Googling the antiviral name.)

Some more guidepost #7 experiences: I used to take daytime naps frequently, and ended up getting a lot of experience of #7. For me there was a lot of scary phenomenology in the beginning. Often I would see flashing occult symbols, hear loud noises and feel like my body was rapidly falling or being pulled off in some direction. If I let the fear take over I would wake up. But when I eventually learned to just observe the sensations, and solidly believed that they were nothing dangerous the sequence would reliably take me directly into lucid dreams.

Not sure ... (read more)

Maybe useful to put the TLDR at the top of the post? I had a similar reaction to MikkW and was originally intending to save the link to possibly read at some later time. But then I was lucky enough to start skimming the post instead, getting a good chunk of value. Would have done that for sure if there was TLDR that gave some more guidance.

(Great and well-written post-overall.)

Even if this is right, it still seems incredibly dysfunctional for CDC (and other governing bodies) to not use age categories among healthcare workers, and other essential worker categories.

That seems irrelevant to my claim that Zvi's favored policy is worse than the status quo.

The only real serious worry I've heard about is antibody-dependent-enhancement, basically that in a worst case scenario a vaccine could make the disease more dangerous.

There was a little of this from an early measles vaccine, where a small percentage of people who got it became extra sensitive to adult measles years down the line.  They revaccinated everybody who got that one with the newer, better one and it's been fine ever since. Given that all vaccine candidates that are close to roll-out more closely replicate a viral infection than that one did, I am not terribly worried, and I will take that as a future possibility to watch for and possibly need to get revaccinated for over the known risks of getting infected and spreading it to vulnerable people.

Very interesting overview!

It looks like most of the data is from relatively recent, smaller, recessions.

Did you look into the consequences of much bigger economic upheavals, like the great depression, any? Since there's some risk that the covid crisis could cause a much bigger recession than anything recent it would be interesting to know if these could have outsized effects.

• The Russia-suicides result may point in that direction, since the collapse of the USSR was a much larger crisis than - and there was a large increase in suicides.

•... (read more)

I specifically looked into the smaller recessions and not the Great Depression because it's just too weird. I think you might be right that this one will approach it, but before I look into the Great Depression I want to check out the 1970s oil shocks, which share with the present the common feature that they were caused by an actual thing changing, rather than financial tools misfiring. The Great Depression is also just so well known relative to the smaller recessions (although the Great Recession also has a lot of material on it).

So extrapolating from the current Singapore+Diamond Princess numbers, assuming 50% worldwide infection rate and 0-100% dead among severe/critical cases - and no hospital care - about 0.5%-3% of the world population will die.

2Sammy Martin3y
In other words, a CFR of 1-6%, with the lowest value overlapping with estimates being put out by governments right now. EDIT: I just read Scotty's new post on the subject and he's confused by that 10-20% figure as well []

Notably eg the Diamond Princess number (36) isn't critical cases, but "serious/critical" cases. Do you expect 70% fatality without critical equipment for the entire "serious/critical" category, or just the "critical" sub-category?

Further, curious about if there are explicable reasons underlying your 70% estimate, cause I am trying to estimate this myself too. Notably, I've seen numbers from China that 50% of critically ill patients die *with* medical care.

5Thomas Kwa3y
The "serious/critical" category on worldometer seems to mean "intensive care", or "critical" as defined in the WHO report. Singapore's 6% "serious/critical" means ICU admission. China's 8.5% is close to the 6.1% on the WHO report-- see below. Italy's 10% is also intensive care, though their criteria for ICU admission could be different. It's possible that the Diamond Princess number uses different criteria; do you know that they do? Anyway, the WHO said: Most ICU patients need mechanical ventilation, close monitoring for administration of drugs like IV vasopressors (1:1 or 2:1 nurse:patient ratio), or other scarce resources. But the inference from that to 70% mortality in an organized, severely-overcrowded hospital is mostly medical intuition. I have significant uncertainty from lack of reference classes, and also don't know how well hospitals will be organized.

From a quick and dirty skim of the linked article, it looks like the 10-20% number may not be based directly on the Singapore data - but possibly it is based on China data. Quote in context:

Fifth, the medical community needs to collectively find better ways to communicate and engage the public in the social media era. The public is understandably anxious about COVID-19, given how rapidly the epidemic has spread with 10% to 20% of hospitalized patients becoming severely ill.

According to the data here ( only 6/108 =... (read more)

3Wei Dai3y
Hmm, I had noticed that dividing the number of serious or critical cases by the number of total cases gives less than 10%, but assumed that's because not all cases had enough time to progress to where they might become serious or critical yet, and the 10-20% was the authors adjusting for that. But I guess you're right that maybe they just based it on China's data.

I am wondering this too. I think they contain more of the essential compounds we need need for our water/"salt" balance. Like, not just sodium and chloride as in table salt, but also maybe potassium and calcium?

Store bought "potassium salt" provides you everything but the calcium, unsure about the proportions though. Also, it looks like not all "electrolytes" contain calcium anyway. Eg this one just contains potassium, sodium and chloride and zinc: