lincolnquirk's Comments

Should I buy a gun for home defense in response to COVID-19?

I understand that - if you’re facing down someone else who’s armed you should obviously just comply. I’m mainly expecting this strategy would work against e.g. unarmed looters. Do you not think it would?

Adding Up To Normality

I’ve seen this advice / philosophical point a few times (and I mostly agree with it), but I don’t feel like I have a complete understanding of it. Specifically, when does this not apply?

For instance, coronavirus: to me, this doesn’t “add up to normality” and I’m trying to sort out how it’s an exception. As soon as we heard about the coronavirus, the correct action was to take prep advice seriously and go prepare; and governments moved far too slowly on updating their recommendations; etc. Life after coronavirus is super different than life before. If you were reciting “it all adds up to normality” while reading about corona, you’d probably miss some important opportunities to take quick action.

My guess is that the rule is not supposed to apply to coronavirus (perhaps it’s too object-level?) but I don’t exactly understand why not.

Should I buy a gun for home defense in response to COVID-19?

It seems like a big part of the value of a gun might be the ability to wave it around and say "I have a gun". So, as an alternative strategy, have you considered buying a prop gun and practicing the words in a mirror?

What I'm doing to fight Coronavirus

Nice! I hadn’t heard of your product till now, and I immediately bought it upon seeing this post & your website. I hope it works :P

How do risks differ between locations? (re: Coronavirus)

If you can effectively “stay home” and socially isolate yourself, your particular living situation (how many housemates you have and their likelihood of bringing the virus to you) seems to swamp all other variables.

Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread

Ok, masks are the thing I am looking for advice for in the US. I do not know where to get them -- I checked Amazon and they're sold out, and my local drugstore doesn't seem to stock them at all (or are also sold out). Various advice online suggests that only n95 masks will be effective. Is that true? Talk to me more about the masks.

How does electricity work literally?

I can give some partial answers based on my own models:

AC is used for transmission because transformers are ubiquitous and incredibly valuable at all stages of transmission, and transformers work using AC (you need a changing electrical field to generate a changing magnetic field). Transformers allow you to convert the voltage and isolate circuits. Isolation is important for safety, and voltage conversion is important to achieve the cross purposes of safety and efficiency. High voltage allows you to transfer more energy with fewer losses, but is far more dangerous to work with. This gets to your resistance question -- resistance / heat generation are related to the amount of current and the thickness of the material. To transfer a given amount of energy, higher voltage means less current needed for the same wire, which means less heat losses.

Why 50Hz (or 60 in the US)? As far as I know, this is largely arbitrary. I do know that subtle differences in the frequency are used for signaling grid load. has a lot of info though!

As for metering, I have no idea how current meters (ammeters/watt meters) work, but I am pretty sure no net electrons are entering or leaving e.g. your house or your appliance. Electrons in a circuit should be conserved, they're just the means of transfer of energy.

Go F*** Someone

I really enjoyed this post. The analogy of capital vs. labor really hit home in particular, I realized that’s exactly how I’ve been implicitly treating dating, so I think this post is likely to change my behavior in the future. Thanks for writing it.

We run the Center for Applied Rationality, AMA

What aspects of CFAR's strategy would you be most embarrassed by if they were generally known? :P

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