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A Cost- Benefit Analysis of Immunizing Healthy Adults Against Influenza

Judging by some of the attitudes I have heard from my friends about getting a flu jab (similar to Lumifer's comment), I have found that it is actually more effective to encourage people to get flu jabs for the benefit to others via herd immunity, rather than by emphasising the benefit to them.

I don't know if this is maybe some kind of ego-bias in that healthy people underestimate their chances of getting sick, or that doing something for you doesn't get you fuzzies, whereas doing it to help sick people and babies does.

Of course I am in a country that won't pay for healthy people to get the flu jab, but will pay for their hospital stay if they get sick enough to be hospitalised. The NHS does, however, pay for elderly people and people with most long-term health conditions (including asthma and diabetes) to get the jab.

I imagine that the NHS has done a cost-benefit analysis of the costs to itself to pay for healthy peoples' flu jabs versus their hospital stays if they do get sick, but I don't know if they have.

Procedural Knowledge Gaps

These days having few friends frequently signals maturity or coolness - someone who doesn't add everyone they've ever met to look like they have lots of friends.

I think the sweet spot is between 10 and 200 - go over that and people tend to imagine 'there's no way he could actually have that many friends, he just adds people at random and cares too much about popularity'.

Edit: Having said that, I just went back to my fb, which I no longer really use, and I'm on over 350. But largely that's because I've had it for a long time and not removed people I no longer see or have any real intention of seeing, so I don't only have actual friends as friends either.

Procedural Knowledge Gaps

The secret to that is clothes that are simple and fit well.

So well-fitted dark jeans with shirt, no tie or a nice sweater/cardigan is a good look. Even 'jeans and a t shirt' can be a really nice look if the jeans fit you well and the t shirt is something classic like plain white (this also works well with a shirt partly or wholly unbuttoned over the top). There's also chinos which can work (just don't get them in too light or bright a colour if you're not confident about pulling off that look). If you live somewhere cold, peacoats and longer, slightly fitted coats are everywhere right now and they look good.

Advanced level - pick colours that complement your complexion. This is easier to gauge in person, but generally redheads rock green and jewel tones, blonds look good in cold colours and brown-haired guys are more likely to rock warm colours (though there are few people who don't rock blue). Brown-haired and darker-skinned guys are also a lot better at wearing white without having a tan.

Oh and practically nobody looks good in orange or yellow.

Procedural Knowledge Gaps

In ambiguous environments, it is best to determine ok-ness on the basis of the people.

Good situations: You are both doing the same thing - looking at the same genre of books in a bookstore, the same exhibit in a museum or zoo, both walking dogs in a park etc. This makes it easier to talk as you already have one thing in common and you can comment on that to see if they are receptive to conversation.

Something unusual happens - a delay on public transport, something wacky is going on in the quad etc

If you mean quad as in university, you already have a thing in common - you're at the same university. It is likely to be okay to strike up a conversation.

They're waiting for something. In a queue or waiting for public transport etc - may be bored

They're having a cigarette - they probably have time for a quick chat and if you smoke too there's a kind of unspoken thing with smokers where they will have a chat

Presence of alcohol but not a restaurant

Bad signs: Person is wearing headphones or reading - they are busy and unlikely to want to talk

They are a woman under 40-ish and you are a dude: potential difficulties, see below.


So there is a thing with a guy approaching a strange woman - she is likely to inductively infer that you are not just after a friendly chat. The best thing to do is use caution and watch for signals that she doesn't want to be approached and be ready to back off if your intentions are misinterpreted. A good thing to do here is to make sure that it is immediately obvious that you are talking about something that is not her - comment on your shared situation ahead of saying anything like 'hello' or 'how you doing'. Commenting on the books or the museum exhibit or something like that lets her know that you're looking at that, not her tits.

What's the right way to think about how much to give to charity?

I don't think that's true? I think that, in practice, people value themselves more. But I think that it's a fairly common tenet of normal peoples' moralities that people are equal in value, and that if you asked random people, most of them would not say that they consider themselves to be more valuable or important than everyone else.

Which, yes, means that there's a discrepancy between what people say they believe and what their actions say they believe, but that's pretty normal too.

Open thread, September 22-28, 2014

Thanks for the link and advice; I was basically looking for a review like that but lacking the studies-savvy to find it.

Open thread, September 22-28, 2014

Yeah I had a quick look and that's about right for the price over here - certainly not doable for me, anyway.

Open thread, September 22-28, 2014

I'm not sure it's possible to just get a blood panel on the NHS. My instinct is that I'd need to actually show symptoms of a vitamin deficiency.

Thanks anyway though.

What's the right way to think about how much to give to charity?

It's really difficult to 'shut up and multiply' in some cases.

I mean, I'm going to get personal here because it feels like the best way to articulate my problems with mathematical utilitarianism. But right now, I don't produce anything like what I cost my society (in terms of socialized medicine, and support I receive from my parents).

I feel very strongly that I shouldn't value myself more than a random African. But there are charities that claim I could save at least one life with what I spend on prescription fees every month. In terms of pure utilitarianism, unless I'm certain that I'm going to produce a lot more in the future and give some of that away, I probably ought to persuade my parents to give the help they give me with the rent to effective charities, borrow a bunch of money and give that to effective charities, then give the money I spend on my meds to effective charities until I basically kill myself.

That doesn't feel right, but it's what I get from shutting up and multiplying.

Open thread, September 22-28, 2014

I don't know how many people here have medical or nutritional expertise, but for those who do, I have a question.

The benefits and risks of multivitamins have been discussed a little in the media, but as a layperson I find it difficult to look at the conflicting studies online and come to any particular conclusion as to what I should do.

Specifically, I am looking at this as a person with a chronic illness who finds it difficult to feed myself a diet as healthy as I would like due to money and time/energy constraints. I am therefore looking at supplementing eating as healthy as I can manage with a cheap multivitamin; but I would really appreciate if anyone with specialized knowledge, or just someone better at analyzing the available data than I currently am, could help me understand whether the reported risks are something I should be more concerned about than whatever benefit it may provide.

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