Why aren't we all using Taffix?

It's really frustrating that the paper has no control group and they inexplicably only had 52 people in the study. Maybe I'm crazy, but when I see an underpowered study design, it makes me assume the product doesn't work. Companies with working products don't need to run sketchy studies..

How can I protect my bank account from large, surprise withdrawals?

In the US, "postpaid" mobile phone bills where you use your phone and then get charged for your usage are the most common, but if you're worried about surprise bills, you can do prepaid billing instead, in which case instead of being extended potentially-surprising amount of credit, the expensive thing you're trying to do just doesn't work. They also usually make it easy to add more money to your account in case you really do want to do something like expensive international roaming.

How can I protect my bank account from large, surprise withdrawals?

I think there's two pieces of this that really deserve separate answers:

How can you set things up so that if you get hit with legitimate huge charges, you can handle it without all the money in your checking account disappearing?

Put everything on a credit card. This is US-specific since I don't know the details in other countries, but if you pay off your balance every month, this generally won't cost you anything. In some cases, companies will charge you a higher amount to pay with a credit card (since it costs them more). You can mitigate this in part by using a card that gives you cash back or points. Beyond that, I would just treat this as the cost of insurance.

The benefits of this are:

  1. You can pay the charge off over time (although you'll also have interest payments)
  2. If you declare bankruptcy, you might not have to pay the entire thing
  3. If the charge is actually fraudulent, it's trivial to reverse it

If you have the option, you can also turn off auto-pay. This will leave you the ability to put the charge on a credit card later, but you may also be able to negotate lower payment with the original company. For example, auto-pay for hospital bills would be a terrible idea because you can use the risk of bankruptcy as leverage to make the hospital either reduce your bill, or let you pay it over time without interest.

How do you avoid getting hit with legitimate huge charges?

I think the answer is:

  1. Choose fixed-cost contracts over variable-cost where possible (unlimited or subscription plans)
  2. If you make a variable-cost contract, ensure there's a limit to how high it can go (high deductable health insurance, anything with a maximum price)
  3. If you can't get a limit on the contract itself, try to limit risk some other way (buy third-party insurance, like with health insurance)

In the case of Griddy, the trigger to wonder if you're exposing yourself to more risk than you wanted it that they're passing on variable "wholesale rates". Similar things that should trigger your risk instinct are variable rate loans and overage fees.

I'm not sure if there's a general purpose way to avoid this, besides inspecting every contract you pay, but you could try to find general-purpose insurance. There's a thing called "umbrella insurance" which protects you from liability risk in general (assuming you're found liable for something but you didn't do it on purpose). There may be other financial products that insure against even more general risks. It's worth noting that the value of these depends on how much money you actually have though, since bankruptcy law caps your risk(at worst) at all of your money*, so it's umbrella insurance isn't worth it if you don't have very much money.

Heliocentrism in the ancient era

extract the quadrupole term from a painful integral

I'm not math-y enough to understand what this means. What would an ancient Greek scientist see in the tides that they couldn't attribute to effects of the moon or sun (keeping in mind that they don't know the masses of either of those objects)?

Heliocentrism in the ancient era

Wouldn't the tides work the same way if the Earth was stationary with the sun and moon orbitting it?

The Glory System: A Model For Moral Currency And Distributed Self-Moderation

enforcing conformity is the entire precept underlying a system of law for punishment. In general, why would a more variable basis of punishment lead to more consistent outcomes?

This question makes me wonder what you think the benefits of a system of law are at all. If it's fine for any random person to punish you based on their personal opinion of good and bad, then why have standardized laws enforced by third-parties?

My answer is:

  • Having standardized laws lets people actually know what the rules are, instead of having to guess for each individual they interact
  • Having standardized laws ensures you have rules that are consistent (i.e. I don't have to worry about Group A punishing me for doing x and Group B punishing me for doing not-x)
  • Having the laws enforced by a third-party helps to avoid bias (i.e. it's bad for the alleged-victim and judge to be the same person)
  • Having standardized laws enforced by a third party seems to reduce cycles of violence (Group A hurts group B which hurts group A to get back at them..)

The proposed currency seems to lose these benefits by effectively importing violence into the currency. Note that you can already use any currency the way the OP proposes, by paying someone to break into your target's bank account and rob them), but that's illegal for good reason.

How poor is US vaccine response by comparison to other countries?

Under evidence for #5, the US preordered a large portion of the world's supply of mRNA vaccines for the first half of this year. The EU isn't having trouble with approval or distribution of these vaccines because they can't get them anyway.

Also under probably-#5, the US is sitting on tens of millions of AZ vaccines and waiting for approval, but:

  • Most countries don't have tens of millions of doses of known-good vaccines sitting around
  • Most countries don't have a large supply of the even better mRNA vaccines

Basically, the US did so well on the planning ahead/throwing money at it phase (at least compared to the even worse planning in most countries) that we have a good supply of vaccines despite doing really badly on the "actually using everything available" part.

Five examples

I really need to pay attention so I can give examples of why I like type checkers, but it's always hard to remember in the moment. I'm not sure how to remind myself to do it but I'll make a note to try to watch for this for a few days.

The dangers of digital vaccines

Nothing about what I described would be illegal, per se. It's their vaccine, if they want small but specific change from batch to batch, i'm not sure that would be illegal.

It's illegal for Moderna to add slightly more vaccine than expected to a vial without permission from the FDA. I guarantee that changing the contents of the vaccine without telling anyone is illegal.

The dangers of digital vaccines

We can't tell your age all that easily from a blood sample

Also I suspect it's easier and more accurate to directly get an age range from a blood sample by looking at things like NAD levels than to determine if the immune system reacts to a specific protein.

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