All of knite's Comments + Replies

TLDR: Honesty is the best policy, and don't be a try-hard.

I understand that data collection is difficult and empathize with the people responsible for doing the work.

The thing is, SF used to publish everything as soon as they could! We accepted that numbers could be revised up or down as data was fully coded. This 5 day lag is IMO far on the wrong side of timeliness vs correctness.

Obvious next step: if there's a lot of low hanging fruit like this, let's find it? Have you considered using your LW/Twitter/blog to publicly solicit obvious, simple, and high leverage solutions to other big problems?

1[comment deleted]1y
I am confused; what do you imagine this series of posts is doing?

In dath ilan, it is virtuous to write more stories about dath ilan.

I expect agave to be generally preferred over table sugar and HFCS due to having a significantly lower glycemic index. I'm unfamiliar with Karo.

Agave syrup has a lower glycemic index (than sucrose), and it's marketed as a "health food" for this reason. But this is because it's mostly fructose, which has to be metabolized in the liver. So it doesn't cause the (maybe dangerous) blood sugar spikes, which means you also miss out on the satiety that would normally cause, and may thus overeat and get non-alcoholic fatty liver disease [] instead. Fructose is more intensely sweet than sucrose, so there is some additional concern that you could develop tolerance to the sweeter taste when it doesn't cause satiety and thus train yourself overeat food containing sucrose as well. If all these reasons are true, then agave is very bad for you, and possibly worse than glucose syrup or sucrose (which is a disaccharide molecule made of fructose bonded to glucose). HFCS is not the same thing as corn syrup. Cornstarch is made into corn syrup by breaking down the starches into their component glucose molecules (originally using heat, pressure, and acid, but it's now mostly done with enzymes), thus corn syrup is mostly glucose and water. It's also the primary ingredient in Karo-brand syrup. Corn syrup is made into HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup) by enzymatically converting some portion of the glucose into fructose (commonly about half, to make it a substitute for sucrose), which gives it very different metabolic properties compared to the corn syrup it started from.

Something I've been wondering for a while: are organizations/journalists/individuals filing FOIA requests to get emails and other relevant documents about how the CDC and FDA made their COVID decisions?

Yes. They are. It's what they do.

Potentially interested!

Big picture, if your friend wants a different blend of upside-to-work, perhaps they should consider hiring someone to work 15-20 hrs/wk, freeing them up to do <5 hrs/wk of supervision?

send me an email: []

This post is a bit hard to parse - please consider replacing "a.test" with something like "" or "" to clarify whether the issue is per-page caching or per-domain caching.

a.test is a test domain, while is a real domain that someone owns.

I posted my answer a bit late but this was a ton of fun!

Only four creatures have been known to do significant damage, implying that they've probably sunk some ships:

  • demon whales
  • nessie
  • merpeople
  • crabs

All attacks by these creature appear to be roughly the same relative frequency on a yearly basis.

Demon whales look the scariest, let's max out at 20x oars: -20% for 20 gp.

Nessie has probably taken out a few ships but she rarely does more than 90%. Definitely worth a cannon: -10% for 10 gp.

Merpeople and crabs both have weird long tails. Let's skip the merpeople entirely for 45 gp.

What's sinking all these ships?

... (read more)

Two thoughts.

First, it wasn't immediately clear that you meant within a range of [-1, 1], perhaps adding that to the graphic would help?

Second, this sounds like it generalizes as "trust your own opinion on any topic sigmoidally, scaling with your personal knowledge of it" - in other words, actively notice and reject your initial bias, until you have enough background to be truly informed, at which point you should trust your own judgment.

Thanks, I tried putting rough axis labels on it to get at the point better. The point goes one step beyond, to say that once you can trust your own object-level judgment, you can also better trust your own proxy-level judgment. For example, if you're a great programmer, you know good code when you see it. Because of that, you know good programmers, and so when they tell you that Jackie is a good programmer, you trust them. That means you no longer have to scrutinize Jackie's code in order to know whether or not to hire her onto your team. But if you're just starting out, and don't know how to judge code, then you should actively ignore it when people try to tell you that so-and-so is a good programmer. Such claims abound, and how will you know which to accept and which to ignore? They're a distraction at best, and at worst you'll be uniquely vulnerable to status-gamers.

If you're willing to write a data extraction script, and John Hopkins continues updating from a new source (that doesn't otherwise publish raw data), you can find the numbers on the embedded sub-pages:

Regarding 14/15, I felt that we were probably under-reacting, but "general consensus" is tricky. We were in the home stretch of the Trump presidency so I figured the baseline odds of "consensus" on anything were extremely low.

I'm kicking myself on #16 - I don't know enough about epidemiology to make such a strong guess.

Yeah, I did a similar thing on #38 where I was similarly overconfident on an economy question which I don't know nearly enough about. On #16 itself I was lower than I should have been because I was using "virus" as a reference class rather than "respiratory virus" which was an obvious mistake looking back at it.

Is the rule supposed to be symmetric around 50%? I used ln(p) - ln(.5) because Scott wrote:

"I scored these using a logarthmic scoring rule, adjusted so that guessing 50-50 always gave zero points."

However, this doesn't square with his second statement:

"Getting everything maximally right gives a score of about 14; guessing 50-50 for everything gives a score of 0, getting everything maximally wrong gives a score of negative infinity."

Do you know what the correct scoring rule is?

It looks like you're using the correct formula but maybe with a mistake of what the "p" in the formula means so that your scores on questions where the result was "false" are incorrect. I think you maybe used ln(probability put on "true")-ln(.5) and then multiplied the result by -1 if the actual answer was false? The formulation Scott used was ln(probability put on the correct answer)-ln(.5) So for q3 for example the calculation shouldn't be (ln(0.1)−ln(0.5))×−1=1.61 but should be ln(1−0.1)−ln(0.5)=0.59 

Your explanation is fantastic!

Zeroing out from Zvi's prediction, I am more optimistic and predict 4.3% national positivity rate.

I think that predictions are generally too pessimistic and that the rate of improvement will accelerate faster than the new strains matter and faster than the control systems kick in. I've been thinking this for a while and figure I should go on the record.

I agree! I would happily support these updates on Patreon, if that were an option. I understand that from Zvi's perspective that could be problematic for any number of reasons, including possibly reducing motivation.

Zvi - since "money is not in any way the reason I write these posts", how about favorite charities?

To be clear, I will happily accept any contributions people want to make, although I don't currently have a Patreon, and I believe this would be motivating rather than demotivating.

But if you'd like to donate it to charity instead, that's great too and I'd ask it be given to MIRI.

This seems worth a new post!

When you write one, I would be excited to read it! My best hypothesis at the moment is that there was substantial overlap between the people who were still betting on Trump post-election and the people who were actively looking for opportunities to disrupt the remainder of the electoral process like we saw on Jan. 6, or who assigned a higher probability to such disruptions succeeding. Such people may have felt they had "insider knowledge" that was worth betting on, and to some extent, they may have been better calibrated than the conventional wisdom.

That being said, as I am an offensive person and wear that mantle publicly and without shame consider this your invitation to leave. You are responsible for what you choose to engage with. I am not responsible for your feelings and reactions. If you choose to stay then that's on you.

Sorry bud, this is my post, so consider this your invitation to leave.

0Stuart Anderson2y

Anyone with half a brain can see what a disaster that would be

This is rather rude.

-1Stuart Anderson2y


"All gatherings with members of other households are prohibited in the Region except as expressly permitted herein."

"Nothing in this Order prevents any number of persons from the same household from leaving their residence, lodging, or temporary accommodation, as long as they do not engage in any interaction with (or otherwise gather with) any number of persons from any other household, except as specifically permitted herein."

As far as I can see, the only exceptions are for "worship" and "political expression".

Jeez, California is really trying to drive people away, huh? I’m sorry you have to live there.

Ah, you've made me realize that I haven't thought through the variability between cities and states. As someone living in California, I currently cannot: eat in restaurants (indoors or outdoors), go to bars (ditto), gather in groups outside my "household", or get my hair cut.

Yes! I kind of suspected you might be in a strict-lockdown bubble and overgeneralizing from that. BTW, you can’t legally see a single friend?!

I just watched this last night and planned to share it here as well!

Fantastic explanation of Bayesian reasoning. I was already well-familiar (or so I thought) familiar with the concepts, but this video helped firm things up!

So level 4 is...intention masking the absence of identity?

Then level 5 is nonsense words, masking the absence of intention.

For levels 6 and higher, please see [Cuil Theory](

I'm interested in this and would also love to chat!


Two securities (symbols to come later as this is still being actively traded)

Are you trading at a scale where this is relevant? The vast majority of symbols have volumes where a mere mortal's bank account won't move the market at all.

Great post overall! There seems to be a lot of recent interest on LW around playing the markets well. I'd love to set up a Discord for ongoing discussion and brainstorming, if there's interest.

I've been sitting on a good nugget of crypto earnings for years and have had a lot of analysis paralysis about diversifying into the re... (read more)

Interested in the discord discussion!

Option 3:  You have insufficient shared understanding/facts/terminology to comprehend each other's opinions and even begin having a real conversation.

Yes, while not central to the point of the article, opening on a false dichotomy is not a pleasant sight.

As a holder of other crypto (primarily BTC), how interesting is this opportunity relative to riding current growth?

Currently growth of cryptocurrencies (Including ETH) is solely based on what the market thinks it's valued (The most similar asset to compare it to would be gold). Sadly, the original vision of Satoshi Nakamoto has not come into fruition in any of the major cryptocurrencies.  The original utility of BTC was to become a medium of exchange. Today, the 'utility' of BTC is to primarily be used as a store of value.  The move of Ethereum from proof of work to proof of stake fundamentally changes the way we can derive its value. You can break it down the following way: 1. ETH can still be considered a store of value just like BTC 2. ETH can be staked to validate transactions and generate income 3. The development of Sharding [,most%20complex%20Ethereum%20scaling%20solution.], if successful, will allow Ethereum to become a medium of exchange, just like a major currency. 

What were (or are now) the best places for US persons interested in betting significant crypto sums?

Would love to hear more about your specific bets, as well as your "multiple six figure wins" friends! Personally, after maxing several PredictIt markets for a total of low thousands bet, I didn't feel like there was a good market place to bet larger size (tens of thousands USD or higher in crypto).

Entry fees count as "losses".

I'm pretty confident that the $85 would only be a loss if you loose the bet, which is not the scenario we are considering. I haven't found anything specifically on predictit, but here's what I found on slot machines, and I think the analogy is pretty clear: "A taxpayer recognizes a wagering loss if ... the total dollar amount of wagers placed by the taxpayer on electronically tracked slot machine play exceeds the total dollar amount of payouts from electronically tracked slot machine play during the session." -

Thanks for the link, it looks like you're right about being taxed on the $100/98.50/93.57. However, the initial $85 can be deducted from your taxable income (if less than your winnings).

So if you're in, let's say the 25% tax bracket, you have saved 25% * $85 = $21.25 in taxes, and have still made money on your bet. This becomes a bit murkier when considering standard deductions vs itemizing. Perhaps a more experienced bettor can chime in to step through the implications?

That is correct (for US taxpayers). You take all your gambling winnings, from whatever source derived, and subtract all your gambling costs to get your taxable gambling income (minimum $0/yr, no carry-over of losses). I don't know how many of the fees count, but the $85 certainly does. If you are more than an occasional gambler (eg "professional" poker player) you can do your own accounting, and report your net take. So, if you keep proper records, you should be able to report "on Jan 1, my predictit balance was $5,000. I deposited an additional $5,000 during the year, and withdrew $10,000 during the year, and ended with a balance of $7,500. Therefore, I had $7,500 in gambling winnings this year."
Where does it say that you can deduct the $85? All I'm seeing is that you can deduct gambling losses, and if you win the bet (which is the scenario we are considering), then I would think your gambling losses would be zero.

I am not a tax professional and have not yet filed taxes for my PredictIt gains. With that said, I am assuming that taxable gains are $93.57 - $85 = $8.75, not the $100 withdrawn.

I am not a tax professional either, but I generally rely on tubotax, and that is very clear that you do not get to deduct the cost of the shares from the winnings. I'm not entirely clear whether the taxable income is the $100 nominally won, the $98.50 after the first fee, or the $93.57 after the second fee, but those numbers are close enough that it doesn't really make a difference. See

I can confirm that this arbitrage opportunity exists and works as described. At the time of this writing, the sum of all Nos for the EC market is $14.70, and running the loop up to 850 shares turned $1000 into $1078. Depending on which contract actually resolves Yes, there's an additional payout of a few bucks.

The way PredictIt calculates risk and payouts for multi-contract markets seems very confusing and is making my head hurt a bit. My Max Payout for the market is $850, but I have no idea how this number was calculated, and it doesn't make any sense - m... (read more)

5Scott Garrabrant2y
I think Predictit pays on arbitrage according to the assumption that at most one bucket resolves to yes, but not according to the assumption exactly one bucket resolves yes, so that 850 is in the hypothetical world where none of the 16 buckets resolve to yes.

I've been using Forecast since the beta and enjoy it! A few thoughts:

  • There isn't enough incentive to bet on questions with long time horizons.
  • The 1K points/day are rather inflationary overall, which leads to...
  • A question's market can be moved rather significantly for just a few thousand points
  • Why is there a max of 10 shares per bet? Especially with the 1K daily point increase, any user who sticks around will have tens of thousands of points, and have a harder time allocating them
  • The leaderboard is opaque and varies wildly: I'm sometimes in the top 10, sometimes in the middle hundreds, and sometimes unranked, despite a consistent upward trajectory.
3Rebecca Kossnick2y
Thank you for using the app and for all your feedback. This may be hard to believe, but we're actually working on fixes for every issue you mentioned except the long time horizons! In particular, we have the following scoped into our current sprint: 1) improve our in-app economy management (i.e. so there's not so many inflationary points), 2) increasing the max share limit, and 3) updating the leaderboard to be less swing-y. The reason the leaderboard varies so drastically is that we use current liquidation value (how much you would get if you tried to sell your whole position this minute) rather than #shares X market price to calculate the leaderboard. As a result, if you have a big, market-moving position, you don't get the credit for it until the question closes in your favor. We've been using this value because we thought it would be a more accurate representation of your position in the market. It turns out it just confuses people and penalizes 'value investing'. Whoops! We don't have a good answer on incentivizing long time horizon questions. We've thought about giving points bonuses or possibly some form of dividend for holding questions for a long time. We're very open to feedback on this one.
Answer by kniteOct 17, 202010

Phew, this was hard! 50 is pretty hard, there's a lot of value in pushing yourself to do even 30. Another option for next time is to time limit instead: "you have 15 minutes, how many ways can you think of?"

Here are my 50:

Dig a hole and bury it

Disassemble it and give each piece to a trusted family

Place it into a lockbox at a reputable bank

Store it in a drawer and include detailed instructions in my will

Find Einstein's parents and give them the pen

Place it in a drawer with a sealed letter describing what should be done if found

Put it in a tree's branches


... (read more)

That's a great catch, thanks! With that correction as a final step, I feel much better about my initial estimate!

How many miles of train tracks exist in the world?

Radius of Earth = ~3,000 miles

Surface area of earth = 4 x pi x r^2 = 1.13 × 10^8 = ~10^8

25% of the earth is land 

10% of the land "needs" tracks

.1% of that land actually is tracks

10^8 x .25 x .1 x .001 = 2,500 miles

This feels obviously wrong, so let's buff the numbers:

Radius = 5,000 miles, 30% of the surface is land, 25% "needs" track, .5% of the land is tracks

3.14 x 10^8 x .35 x .2 x .005 = ~110,000 miles

Let's round that off to 100,000 miles.


Edit: Thanks to the comment from @philh, I see that I c

... (read more)
Comment on q1:

Thanks for posting these updates regularly! One quick formatting note: region ordering in the Positive Tests section is different from the earlier sections.

I have! I'll end up disagreeing with it in these posts, because we're both looking for things that the other isn't (I don't care about appetite or cost, for example), but it was good to see that we could agree on bulldogs. :)

I purchased zinc lozenges, high dose Vitamin C, and HCQ many months ago. I am trying to decide for action now, or as a pre-commit for later, on what is most appropriate to take.

For shopping, the internet exists!

That's right, my reasonning was flawed. Thank you!

I've loved Wirecutter's reviews for many years, but have occasionally been disappointed by their recommendations. It's hard to say whether their quality has actually gone down or if the success/miss ratio is constant.


External hard drive (pre-2016): no mention whatsoever of RPM, which is widely regarded as critical information when choosing a non-SSD hard drive. They didn't even include a blurb saying that RPM doesn't matter.

Bath towels (2019): Pasting my own comment: "I ordered a set of Frontgate towels based on this... (read more)

I think pointing at anything you want better conveys the nature of L4. You could describe L0 as "I don't point".

1Yoav Ravid3y
Right, i agree. so L4 would be pointing wherever, whether there's something there or not (no need to pretend there is, it's only about the act of pointing)

Thank you, Zvi, I've really enjoyed your simulacra posts and found them to be very insightful. As I read this post, I came up with my own formulation of the levels that feels useful:

L1: I point at something.

L2: I point at you.

L3: I point at myself.

L4: I point wherever I want.

1Yoav Ravid3y
Perhaps L4 in this formulation would be "I need not point"

"Overall, Chesterton's Fence needs context."

This is literally the point of Chesterton's Fence.

My real answer to what went wrong is that our civilization is profoundly inadequate. We have lost our ability to do things.

Civilization is made of people, and people aren't wired for scale. We haven't lost our ability to do things, we never had it. We have only ever done things at scale by accident, or for short periods of time (mostly wars and the Space Race).

When you live in a village of ~100 people, either you figure out norms for drought/famine/disease/etc quickly, or >90% of your community dies and the rest scatter.

In major cities, it&ap... (read more)

Agree that we aren't wired for scale. Disagree that we haven't lost the ability to do things. However, eradicate COVID-19 was not something we ever had the ability to do--certainly not in the U.S.--I suspect that places like New Zealand will eventually be forced to open up out of desperation, as no miracle cure with be forthcoming, though I hope I'm wrong on that. But it was certainly a huge gamble for the countries that have sealed their borders and gone for eradication, and I totally disagree with the judgment that it was obviously the right move, though it might turn out to be. I'm looking forward to the simulacra post, because I do agree that we've gotten to the point of denying the existence of the object level and that it is incredibly disturbing and unsustainable. Were this not the case, we would have handled COVID-19 much more sensibly, but we would not have contained it. I'm very confident of this. Humans have never tolerated or been able to plan for the kind of restrictions it would require, and it is likely literally impossible anyway---the economic and social dysfunction will probably render it unsupportable before we got a miracle cure, if that ever happens. (I use the term miracle cure instead of vaccine because I'm thinking of a vaccine that we get within a few years, that we are confident doesn't have major side effects and is widely effective, that we are able to mass produce and distribute at sufficient numbers to basically eradicate the illness worldwide, that would provide fairly long-lasting immunity, etc.---a truly effective vaccine that we actually are able to somehow give to huge numbers of people, including those hard to find and resistant to being vaccinated. This is a much taller order than "a vaccine.")

If the market regularly reacts to public statements of inefficiency ("stocks systematically rise on the third Thursday of each month but only under a waxing moon") by eliminating it, then this is *refutation* of the efficient market hypothesis.

Inefficiencies are priced in when they are: obvious, easy, and safe,. A non-obvious inefficiency is a true hidden edge. A non-easy inefficiency has a high barrier (capital, technical, physical, etc) to entry. A non-safe inefficiency has a high social barrier to entry.

Because names have power, I dub this the Passive Market Hypothesis.

Great review! Have you taken a look at Gwent? It's currently scratching the Hearthstone itch for me.

Very briefly. I played a few games. At lower levels, game seems very close to "higher point total on your cards wins," good cards crushed bad cards, and I didn't get engaged. What am I missing? Do you just need to stick with it until the cards power up?

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