All of masasin's Comments + Replies

Vax passports - theory and practice

Compare how it's done in Europe: Vaccinations happen in vaccination centres, and your status as well as the vaccine details (lot number etc) get registered with the government. Each country has an app that generates a QR code that is common throughout the EU, and restaurants etc can check it in places which require a vaccine passport. I'm more inclined to trust those than some random cards which are often handwritten!

1tkpwaeub1moNo argument there. Even with that, there's still the very human process of checking, which still ends up being ministerial (especially if they're having to check people against photo ID's, etc - I look nothing like my drivers license, especially when I forget to shave). Things will get better on that front (more and more places seem to be adopting the SMART Health Card framework, and mobile drivers licenses are becoming more common) but that's going to take time. Every little bit counts though, and if some mandates are less enforced (or not enforced at all) that still sends a general message. The really important point is that the ultimate target of the mandates is the individual, not the business. To the extent that it really matters, individuals who openly defy vaccination mandates will get caught, especially when we take underlying controls into account (cell phone data, credit card transactions, security footage, etc). We will certainly be able to trace outbreaks back to unvaccinated individuals, as needed.
How can one identify the absolute safest car in practice rather than theory?

Start with the basics. Make sure each passenger is buckled in, and that they have the seat angle and headrest etc at an appropriate position. I actually have some automation whenever I enter my car (Tasker yay!) that do things I tend to forget to do, and opens up a talking checklist that I go through before starting the car or after parking. (I can make a post if there's interest.)

I bought a dashcam to help improve my driving (plans before every drive, then a critical review of drives). I also found good channels for advanced driving (e.g., Advanced Drivin... (read more)

The Best Software For Every Need

I think it starts with (or contains) an F, so I don't think it's that. Maybe Foam?


I'm wearing a KN95 with a cloth mask on top.

The Best Software For Every Need

Software: Tasker, to automate everything Android. Alternatives: Automate, IFTTT, Llama

More details on this post, including a comment of mine detailing things that my setup does. I'll have some posts coming up as well, regarding Tasker and checklisting to drive.

But the point is, it's extremely powerful and flexible. There are also a bunch of plugins (some free, some paid), that expand it even more. With Termux, for example, you can even write regular Python programs to do complicated stuff as well. Pretty much anything I needed to do, I was able to do, and ... (read more)

Tasker actions which save me time and sanity

I don't use focus mode for anything, though some apps are fullscreen by default.

The Best Software For Every Need

I'm using Obsidian as well. IIRC there is an open source alternative that aims to work with Obsidian markdown files (with features still being added the last time I looked). I forgot what it's called, though, and it doesn't have the same plugin ecosystem either.

1dajare2moIt's possible that you have Zettlr in mind []? And possibly not! But given the high degree of overlap with Obsidian's approach (Zettlr's forums/discussion address this matter in several threads), it's worth noting in this curated post. It, too, is a Markdown based writing + note-taking + idea-connecting (Zettelkasten model) app which is open source and cross platform.
Tasker actions which save me time and sanity

I love Tasker, and it's probably the major thing keeping me from switching to iOS. I've never used the scenes, but here are my two major profile groups:

  1. Tap an NFC tag in the car to toggle driving mode. Brightness and volume are set to an appropriate value, earphones are disconnected (with a reminder to remove them from my ears), forced connection to car Bluetooth (it doesn't always connect if I don't use Tasker), starts a 2-hour rest timer, automatically quiets alarms when they happen (once had 15 minutes on the highway before I could stop and turn it o

... (read more)
1just_browsing3moWow thanks for sharing. I might steal the NFC / walk scheduling ideas -- those sound like they could be useful. Long shot but you haven't happened to figure out how to get Tasker to interface with "Focus Mode" have you? That's one thing I haven't managed to get Tasker to detect yet.
Who was the person who escaped the Nazis a day before they cracked down?

Thanks! That's actually where I found it in the first place. I thought it might have been Szilárd, but wasn't able to find the quote.


I started preparing in January. Bought my first ever car to avoid public transit, and bought emergency food and masks etc too. By the time China closed down Wuhan, I thought it was high double digits that a pandemic was inevitable. By the time the Diamond Princess happened and so many people on the ship got infected, it seemed likely that it was airborne (and the fact that SARS spread that way was an extra data point). I encouraged my SO to fly over because I didn't think we'd be able to meet that year otherwise. (She ended up coming, but we were about a w... (read more)

2Dr_Manhattan5moWait, you can't get N95 or KN95 there?
How refined is your art of note-taking?
  1. Almost never when learning a new skill etc. Commands, sometimes, but the setup cost is way too high.
  2. Often. Especially for things like plans etc.
  3. I keep a journal whenever I remember to do so. Planning or things I need to do when working towards certain goals are worked out on a whiteboard for the outline, and then filled in with more and more details.
  4. I used a bullet journal for a year or so, and a physical journal for a year. Keep for a while in the past, then OrgMode, and now I'm using Obsidian.
  5. To not forget my ideas. I have too many. Most still end up forgotten because I didn't bother to write them down, but still.
If my previous research is wrong, what are my options ?

Why not both? Refer to the new paper in the errata.

Sometimes, it can take a while to notice confusion

Which is still a huge probability. That being said, the precautions to prevent murdering others are exactly the same precautions that would reduce my probability of getting sick in the first place.

Sometimes, it can take a while to notice confusion

Until I get symptoms, the highest probability was that I hadn't gotten COVID yet. On the other hand, even if there was a 1% chance that I was infectious (able to spread COVID to others) on any given day, it's not high enough to warrant a test, which is uncomfortable, and expensive unless it was positive or I had a confirmed exposure. At the same time, it was high enough that e.g. my neighbours (80+ years old) or the person at the supermarket might get sick from it, and be hospitalized, not to mention the secondary effects, so I made sure to breathe slowly ... (read more)

-1cistran8moYou severely overestimate your chance of actually murdering someone. Lets go through the numbers. Lets be generous and assume a 10% chance that you are an asymptomatic carrier. If you are, you have no more than 50% chance of infecting someone even if you don't wear a mask, so lets say with mask properly worn that is reduced to 30%. Now you are already down to 3% chance of infecting any person you encounter. Now, for you 80+ year old neighbor the chance of actually dying from infection is around 5%. So multiply your 3% chance of infecting the neighbor by 5% chance of death and you get 0.15% chance of murdering a person of advanced age. You'd need to encounter 7 of them to get to 1% chance of murder.
Sometimes, it can take a while to notice confusion

Assume you're both infectious and vulnerable to infection.

I disagree with their #3. I've had a prior that I had an asymptomatic infection at less than the background rate of asymptomatic infections in the population in general. So, no symptoms would definitely not cause me to think I have been infected, unless I had more information (e.g., a test result). I certainly wouldn't act as if I was immune. At the same time, the probability that I had been infected without symptoms was high enough that I always treated myself as infectious, just in case.

Even being... (read more)

1cistran8moI understand the assumption of vulnerability. But how does one assume that one is an asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic carrier if the chance of that is less than 10% on any given day? By itself it doesn't seem rational because if you assume you are pre-symptomatic you have to do something about it. Like testing. Testing very often for no reason comprehensible to the outside world.
Sometimes, it can take a while to notice confusion

Didn't really have much of a choice about #2. I was living alone, and didn't want to househunt in the middle of a pandemic. Ended up living rent-free.

What are your greatest one-shot life improvements?

Inbox was awesome and I used it from day 0 to day day -1. Adding a note to the reminder when you snooze was the most useful part.

Takeaways from one year of lockdown

Did you cultivate the fear of cars on purpose? Why? Did you use to be able to drive before?

I got my license in 2010, but didn't really drive until Feb last year. It took me a month to start the car up. It took me another 3 months to get on a highway, and 4 months after that until I was comfortable going on longer trips. Obviously COVID, so I had to teach myself for the most part. And I'm still relying on certain automations (e.g., sensors to make sure I don't destroy things while backing up, adaptive cruise control to control my speed and distance, etc.) I... (read more)

Takeaways from one year of lockdown

I was living on my own, but I locked down on 9 March. From when my SO had to leave the country on 21 March, to when I was kicked out of the country in Jan, the only person I had physical contact with was one hug on 20 September. The friend was on day 14 of her own quarantine. And when I finished the quarantine in the old/new country in Feb, that was the first time someone had seen my face in person since my SO.

I got my first ever car in Jan 2020 because I didn't want to risk public transport. I bought lots of food and masks etc. I convinced my workplace to... (read more)

4mingyuan9moGod, life would have been so much better if I could drive. I could have gone home to my family. I could have done so many things! But extremely unfortunately I spent 2019 and the latter half of 2018 cultivating a pathological fear of cars, and specifically me driving them. Agh. Anyway I'm glad you're satisfied with what you did, that's really good! Definitely watch out for that agoraphobia – I've heard a lot of people express that same sentiment and I sincerely hope we don't all end up socially crippled for the rest of time. Do you ever have those totally normal dreams where you're.... doing anything at all.... and then you realize that no one is wearing masks and why are you so close to them? Alas.
Covid 3/4: Declare Victory and Leave Home

Quick explanation of the weeks. It's not the first time you mention that.

The rest of the world uses this method of counting weeks:

Week 1 is the first week (starting on Monday) with the majority of its days in January. This year started on a Friday, so we only had 3 days in Jan in the week containing New Year. As a result, we ended up with 2020 having 53 weeks.

So, on the graph, Week 53 is Dec 28 to Jan 3, while Week 1 is Jan 4 to Jan 10. We're currently in Week 10.

What to do if you can't form any habits whatsoever?

Looking at the list:

  • Blaming others: Maybe 2? When I see how badly COVID was handled. I started preparing in January last year, the governments didn't do much for months, and then didn't learn and didn't learn and kept reopening. When I see people who still haven't learned how to wear a mask properly, who can't keep their distance or who do things because they're the exception for some reason? I have seen a total of three people in person since March, and none of them were unmasked or inside or at a close distance. I know I'm not contributing to the sprea
... (read more)
What skills or habits have lasting value through time?

Being able to have routines and habits in the first place.

1Duff1yYes, I very much agree. So learning the skill of creating new positive habits. I like B.J. Fogg's idea of Tiny Habits for that (aka Implementation Intentions or if-then plans from Peter Gollwitzer). Although sometimes we also need to deliberately grow them from a tiny habit to a full-blown habit too.
What to do if you can't form any habits whatsoever?

At least in my case, I don't think I have depression. I'm pretty much always happy (according to my counselor, who can read my facial expressions). The happy isn't that high, but it's not sad either. It's more like a stable emotion on the positive side, pretty much no matter what happened. Which isn't that nice when things that are supposed to give you an adrenaline rush (e.g., roller coasters and jumping off planes) or feel nice (e.g., exercise or delicious food etc) still have me at the exact same regular happy. (I'm bad at emotion words because alexithy... (read more)

2ChristianKl1yThat alone isn't good evidence. Filling out Burn’s Depression Checklist [] would give more information.
What to do if you can't form any habits whatsoever?

I was trying to find something that helps me form something that doesn't need any deliberative attention, though. Can you give an example of where it might be useful?

What to do if you can't form any habits whatsoever?
  1. I've tried introducing routines around that, but (at least with me) it works really badly.

    Most of the time, it's less going to bed and more like suddenly waking up a few minutes/hours after. If I was wearing regular clothes, that's what I'll wake up in. When I get up it's usually because of a message notification, so that tends to be the first thing I look at. I do have routines set up on my Google Home for going to sleep (turns off the lights and starts background noise) and waking up (turns on the light and reads the news), but they go unused more ofte

... (read more)
2kithpendragon1yThis is something I've never experienced, nor has it ever occurred to me that it might be the case. To use the tooth brushing example: for me, that happens every night only because it's part of the "Getting ready for bed" mental checklist. I'd like to share that checklist along with some annotations. It takes between 30 and 45 minutes from start to finish. This checklist began life some 20 years ago and has been carefully sculpted over that time to accommodate my own changing needs, as well as those of my partner and our relationship. To be clear, I'm not suggesting you need to adopt this checklist or anything like it; rather I want to share a very mature and complex habit of mine that accomplishes many varied goals, and the performance of which now feels very continuous and normal to me. After this long, each item has been coordinated to flow neatly into the next, and each moves me closer to the goal of being asleep in bed by a certain time. Of course, I can't always control that time, but I try to keep it within an hour of standard for health reasons. This checklist is one part of a larger but somewhat looser script that actually starts at dinner time and ends when my alarm goes off in the morning. On occasion, I have skipped this entire process, falling asleep in whatever situation the evening leaves me in. I don't recall ever being disturbed by this happening, but I do notice that I tend to feel a bit gross and groggy the next morning. Specifically, I deliberately notice that so that I remember that feeling if I ever get the idea that "I can skip it, just this once". That way I have something to hold against the urge to make what I already know are poor choices for me. GETTING READY FOR BED This list begins as soon as I notice it is after 20:30, and ends when I am in bed with the lights out. * Verbally prod partner into action. This promotes a more regular bedtime. * Locate cat and take her upstairs to the bathroom. Hold cat patiently while partner brus
What to do if you can't form any habits whatsoever?

So what would the procedure be for e.g., brushing teeth? I've done it thousands of times already. It's still a conscious decision whenever I realize that I haven't brushed my teeth in a while. Repeat a few times because e.g., I see something on the way to the bathroom so I go do something else, so brushing my teeth is delayed by another few hours/days.

2Vladimir_Nesov1yI was addressing the title. There are things that can be done, I named one of them (by the general strategy of making progress on helplessly difficult problems through finding similar but easier problems that it's possible to work on). It doesn't encompass everything, and likely doesn't straightforwardly help with any issue you might still be having. I suspect that if "procedures" include cognitive habits and specific training of aspects of activities that usually get no deliberative attention, it might still be useful. Probably not for brushing teeth.
What to do if you can't form any habits whatsoever?

I'm using a complete blocker for those things, but then I get distracted by others. I don't think the gummy vitamins would work for me because I'd just end up eating them all with or without brushing my teeth. (I forget to eat until my hands start shaking, and I have emergency peanut butter set aside for that, but if there's something else that's easy to eat it might become the new target.)

I try to offload as much as I can to checklists, but I can't get started with the task (and there's no guarantee I'd finish it even when using the checklist; even going ... (read more)

What to do if you can't form any habits whatsoever?

How did you get the original routines (which enabled the habits) started in the first place?

What to do if you can't form any habits whatsoever?
  1. The fact that you have a daily anything is the thing I'm having trouble with. Since moving away from home 13 years ago, the things I used to do daily because family forced me to no longer happened, including things like brushing teeth or showering.

  2. I use checklists for so much. They're on my phone, and I go through them before e.g. leaving the house, turning the car on or off, taking a shower, doing laundry, cleaning things, throwing out the garbage, etc. For the car, for example, I do point and speak (or touch and speak) for every item in the checklis

... (read more)
7kithpendragon1y1. I'll bet you sleep periodically, right? That would be a good place to start hanging routines! Even if you don't have a regular bedtime or (more importantly) wake up time, the mere fact of going to bed or getting up can trigger checklists of their own that include hygiene and such. It also helps to understand (and remind yourself periodically) why you think your habits are of value. Maybe you could title your checklist "Bedtime Routine that helps me to X" or something? 2. Sounds like you've got a good chunk of a system going that just wants some polish. (Hint: that's an ongoing process. No system is ever really "done" unless you magically stop learning and growing.) As for thing-placement issues, Adam Savage offers a rule for that: When you ask yourself "where should this be?", the answer is the same as pretending you need the thing now and figuring out the first place you would look for it. The hard part for me has been remembering that I actually want to put stuff back where it belongs on future occasions. Sounds cheesy, but I've found it helpful to thank each object -- out loud, by name -- as I'm putting it away. Kind of makes the act of tidying up feel like I'm taking care of the tools that take care of my needs. 3. COVID has been hard on people in a lot of ways, particularly when it comes to routines. I'm sorry to hear that it's un-grounded part of your self-management system: that really sucks. While it's beneficial to export mind to the environment, it's important to remember that everything is temporary on some timescale. Most of the time we don't have to think about that much, but it's good to have at least sketches of backup plans for when things dissolve out from under us. The trick is not getting caught up in an anxious thought spiral at the same time! Takes practice, I'm afraid. 4. From what you've said, a couple of weeks at a t
What to do if you can't form any habits whatsoever?

I'm on long-term release Ritalin with instant-release, which is the most effective of the ones that are legal in Belgium (I moved 3 years ago). It makes almost zero difference other than my mouth is slightly drier.

What to do if you can't form any habits whatsoever?

The only meds that (slightly) worked (Aderall) are illegal where I live now. Adderall was also not anything amazing, just slightly less resistance to changing contexts.

How to think about wearing masks / distancing within the household?

It does help. It reduces the amount of virus particles that you inhale, and the severity of the disease. And if you're ventilating well, there's an even lower risk. For what it's worth, I've been on my own since March, and haven't really interacted with anyone else since then.

How the Moderna vaccine works, and a note about mRNA vaccines

Thanks! I modified the post. Could you take a look?

A breakdown of priors and posteriors - an example from medicine

You're completely right here. I meant odds of 3:1 in general, as opposed to when they're a complement. (Also, 90 + 30 is more than 100%.) I'll edit it.

It's only 75% and 25% when the sum of probabilities is 100%, but O(red car:green car) can be 3:1 when 60% of cars are red and 20% are green, or when 3% of cars are red and 1% are green. The remainder are different colours.

The different kinds of confidence

Understood. It might indeed be useful instrumentally. That being said, I'm not sure how I would be able to display a different confidence level than I felt without lying (I don't lie). Is it something you say, or is it just your posture etc? Or is there something else?

1Bucky3yI think it's mainly a matter of what I choose to focus on. I won't volunteer information on my confidence level and generally won't be asked. In answering questions I will emphasize all the parts of the role I can do and what I've done in the past. I won't volunteer the fact that I am not confident in a particular area as this would raise a huge unnecessary red flag for the interviewer. If I think I am below average at a certain skill I will say that I can do it (in a confident manner!), give what examples I can and leave it at that. This is true but doesn't tell the interviewer the whole story. A smart interviewer will dig down into the specifics and will ask more specific questions, meaning that you have to tackle your weak areas. In that case I will feel free to be more open as I will be more confident in the interviewer's ability to accurately assess myself and the other candidates. In my experience smart interviewers are rare.
The different kinds of confidence

In the context of this post, your confidence in your absolute skill is the same.

When interviewing, you're comparing yourself to people who have applied (the fact that you got an interview indicates that you might be more suitable than most of the applicants), and maybe to the other interviewees too.

When you start the new job, on the other hand, your relative skill is probably about the same, but your instrumental skill is much lower than the other employees' because you don't know the systems/tools/jargon that the company uses. You'd need to learn new things, ask questions, and get feedback to get up to speed.

1Bucky3yI think the framing of 3 types of confidence is helpful but I think displayed confidence is something else entirely. In the context of a job interview, the interviewee's displayed confidence is often used (at least subconsciously) by the interviewer as a proxy for their competence. If I am up against a less competent individual who displays greater confidence (whether real or pretended) then in displaying my true level of confidence I am giving a signal to the interviewer that I am less competent than the other person. Therefore I must pretend that I am more confident than I am, otherwise I lose out.