Mathematician turned software engineer. I like swords and book clubs.


Covid 1/7: The Fire of a Thousand Suns

I would expect the prior to be to end up with something similar to the flu vaccine, which we try to get everyone to take approximately yearly and have more safety concerns about people not taking it.

Fight Me: Incumbent religions still get too much leeway

I find both directions plausible. I do agree that I don't see any existing institutions ready to take it's place, but looking at secular solstice, for example, I definitely expect that better institutions are possible.

There might be a sufficiency stagnation following similar mechanics to crowding out, since people have a "good enough" option they don't try to build better things, and centralized leadership causes institutional conservatism.

I would bet this is supported by worse outcomes for more centralized churches, like unitarians vs megachurches or orthodox catholics, but that's a weakly held belief.

Fight Me: Incumbent religions still get too much leeway

I think I find this plausible. An alternative to MichaelBowbly's take is that religion may crowd out other community organization efforts which could plausibly be better.

I'm thinking of unions, boys and girls clubs, community centers, active citizenship groups, meetup groups, and other types of groups that have never yet existed.

It could be that in practice introducing people to religious practices shows them examples of ways to organize their communities, but it could also be that religious community efforts are artificially propped up by government subsidies via being tax exempt.

The normative implication in this case, which I think is probably a good idea in general, is that you should focus on building intimate (not professionalized and distant) community groups to connect with people and exchange services.

Fourth Wave Covid Toy Modeling

A toy model that makes some sense to me is that the two population distinction is (close to) literally true; that there's a subset of like 20% of people who have reduced their risk by 95%+, and models should really be considering only the other 80% of the population, which is much more homogeneous.

Then because you started with effectively 20% population immunity, that means R0 is actually substantially higher, and each additional piece of immunity is less significant because of that.

I haven't actually computed anything with this model so I don't know whether it is actually explanatory.

Fourth Wave Covid Toy Modeling

I did some calculations of basic herd immunity thresholds based on fractal risk (without an infection model) a few months back, and the difference between splitting the population into high exposure vs low exposure captures more than half the change from the limit of infinite splits. The threshold stopped changing almost entirely after three splits, which was only 6 subpopulatuons.

With many other variables as exist here I'm not confident that effect would persist but my default guess is that adding fractal effects to the model will less than double the change from the homogenous case, and possibly change very little at all as the herd immunity threshold and therefore level of spread reduction will be changed even less (especially with control systems.)

That may end up being pretty significant in terms of actual number of deaths and infections at the end, but I would be very surprised if it changes whether or not there are peaks.

Feature request: personal notes about other users

I'd like to use this feature, especially to keep track if I meet a user in the walled garden or IRL but need consistency to remember which user they are. This is a common feature in video games and without it I would have no idea who most of my friends in League of Legends are.

I wouldn't be that worried about privacy for the notes, since I'd expect few of them to contain sensitive information, though they might contain some awkward information.

Anti-Aging: State of the Art

Yeah I think my main disagreements are 4 and 5.

Given stories I've heard about cryonics orgs, I'd put 10-50% on 5. Given my impression of neuroscience, I'd put 4 at 25-75%.

Given that I'm more pessimistic in general, I'd put an addition 2x penalty on my skepticism of their other guesses.

That puts me around 0.01%-20% spread, or one in ten thousand lower bound, which is better than I expected. If I was convinced that a cryo org was actually a responsible business that would be enough for me to try to make it happen.

Anti-Aging: State of the Art

Even 0.2% seems quite optimistic to me. Without going into detail, anything from 3-8 seems like it could be 10% or lower and 12-14 seem nearly impossible to estimate. I wouldn't be surprised to find my personal estimate below one in a million.

Make more land

I was trying to do a back of the envelope calculations of total cost of work and total value created (where I'm using cost of rent as a (bad) proxy for (capturable) value created).

I definitely wouldn't assume that the government or any single agent would be doing the project, just that the overall amount of capturable value must be worth it for the investment costs, then different parties can pay portions of those costs in exchange for portions of or rights to that value, but I doubt adding in the different parties involved would make my estimates more accurate.

Do you have a source for cost of similar projects? My estimates are definitely very bad for many reasons.

Alignment Research Field Guide

I want to have this post in a physical book so that I can easily reference it.

It might actually work better as a standalone pamphlet, though. 

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