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Paxlovid Remains Illegal: 11/24 Update

You're right; my statement was too broad, and there are definitely types of noncompliance whose dangers are very real. I should have said that there seem to be cases in which the dangers of noncompliance are almost entirely imaginary, and people don't seem to be bothering to check; they notice that official policy has predictably terrible outcomes, and complain about it, but stop short of seriously considering what would happen if they just didn't follow the policy.

The CDC's botched test kits are the first and best example I know of. It seems to me that if the kit recipients had just used the good components they already had lying around instead of the CDC's bad ones, and then were asked to justify what they had done, their response would have been no more blameworthy, and led to little more consequence, than "well, this kit I bought at Ikea had a busted screw, so I just used this other screw with the same threads and length that I had lying around". That this didn't happen makes me think that compliance for compliance' sake was the recipients' main motivation. I find that disappointing.

Paxlovid Remains Illegal: 11/24 Update

Is there some way I can donate Bitcoin to get a Mexican meth lab to shift their production to Paxlovid? Or any other action that helps get Paxlovid to people, that doesn't require being in the pharmaceutical or healthcare industries and doesn't assume that complying with whatever the FDA says is required?

I continue to be disappointed by people's compliance with authority during this pandemic. The perceived dangers of noncompliance seem almost entirely imaginary to me.

Forecasting: Zeroth and First Order

When zeroth order approximation turned out to be just reference class forecasting, I expected first order approximation to be reference class forecasting modified in a simple mathematical way (such as multiplication) by an inside-view adjustment factor. E.g. if the last 3 homework assignments all took 12-16 hours, and this assignment seems significantly harder than any of those, but not as hard as any two of them put together, maybe it will take 22 hours. (Implicitly, that might mean I scored the relative time-consumingness of the previous three assignments as 6, 7, and 8, and this one as an 11.)

This seems similar to what first order actually ended up meaning in the article, but the article seemed to focus on cases where the inside-view adjustment factor is very objective. In the COVID example, it was just "what's the date?" Objective adjustment factors are great when they're available and related in a simple way to the outcome, but subjective adjustment factors like the "homework time-consumingness factor" still seem like they could be significantly better than either (1) making a prediction without using any reference class information at all, or (2) using only the reference class information and ignoring clear differences from the reference class rather than trying to adjust for them.

Visualizing in 5 dimensions

A filmstrip (or filmgrid, etc.) each frame of which is itself a filmstrip (filmgrid, etc.)

Transcript for Geoff Anders and Anna Salamon's Oct. 23 conversation

I donate a meaningful amount to CFAR and MIRI (without being overly specific, >1% of my income to those two orgs), and check LW weekly-ish, and I had never even heard of Leverage until the recent kerfuffle. Anecdote isn't data but I sort of agree with this comment's grandparent here.

Chu are you?

Thanks. It still takes work, but understanding math usually does; at least now someone who (like me) finds this part radically harder to understand than anything earlier in the article has more chance of noticing that a more spelled-out explanation is available.

Chu are you?

Please incorporate footnote 1 into the text. I pounded my head against this for over 10 minutes, while assuming [1] was some kind of bibliographic reference, and only noticed the footnote at all because it was at the top of the screen while I was writing a comment complaining I just could not understand the red-green-blue representation of groups despite extraordinary effort. (Also, footnote 1 really needs to be after the sentence "Only colorings which have at least one element in the right color slot for ALL the relations of the group are allowed." I found this sentence to be the brick wall through which my understanding could not pass.)

Lakshmi's Magic Rope: An Intuitive Explanation of Ramanujan Primes

Relatedly, I was horribly confused when I started reading the article because I didn't understand that the "magic line" wasn't actually a line in the mathematical sense (lines go on forever, line segments don't). For me it would have been a lot better to call it a magic (piece of) rope.

Visualizing in 5 dimensions

They're separate, and equally spaced (like actual film). That means that the difference in radius between the first and second 2-spheres has to be much larger than the difference between the middle and next-to-middle ones. I don't visualize more "frames" than I need for whatever I'm doing, though fewer than 5 doesn't really work, so I think most often I use 5. You can still get an "all on top of each other" (2d) "view" by making the 2d spheres semi-transparent and looking at the filmstrip from one end.

It actually extends okay into a planar grid of 3d frames for 5d; less well to 6d (things start "occluding" others too much) but maybe still sometimes useful. You can even add meta-film and sort of get it up to 9d. Anything beyond that I don't find it possible to actually see any variations in all the dimensions at once (I'd REALLY like to have an intuitively meaningful visualization of the Leech lattice, but 24d just doesn't seem possible with any technique I can think of...)

In my experience / opinion, the biggest problem with these techniques is that rotations that are partly in one "level" of the visualization and partly in another really aren't natural... of course, for the special case of a sphere, rotational invariance means that doesn't matter :-)

Look at the Connection Machine CM-1 and CM-2 ( for a really cool physical realization of this, btw.

Taboo "Outside View"

I always hear "swag" ("scientific wild-ass guess"), which manages to incorporate both "ass" and "wild guess".

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