All of MichaelGR's Comments + Replies

Some more on proning in this NYT article:

Some patients, by taking oxygen and rolling onto their sides or on their bellies, have quickly returned to normal levels. The tactic is called proning.
At Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, Dr. Nicholas Caputo followed 50 patients who arrived with low oxygen levels between 69 and 85 percent (95 is normal). After five minutes of proning, they had improved to a mean of 94 percent. Over the next 24 hours, nearly three-quarters were able to avoid intubation; 13 needed ventilators. Proning does not seem to work as well i
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Something to keep an eye out for:

we also predict that the virus may invade multiple brain tissues, which may help explain to the loss of taste and smell in infected individuals. Has anyone seen evidence of further brain damage in COVID-19 patients? Please share if you do!
Also unexpected is the prediction that the virus may be able to invade the reproductive system (vagina, uterus, testis, cervix, ovary). Has anyone seen evidence for this? Please share if you do.
The COVID-19 targets do not show significant overlap with any major disease module (we tested it
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New post by Tomas Pueyo, the author of 'Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance':

'Coronavirus: Out of Many, One'

Here’s what we’re going to cover today, with a lot of data, charts and sources:
1. What’s the situation in the US and its states
2. Why the coronavirus should be a bipartisan issue
3. The economics of controlling the virus
4. Which decisions should be left to the federal government or to states
Here’s what you’ll take away:
The coronavirus is growing everywhere in the US.
Some states are on their way
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Video explaining the Czech Republic's experience of having everyone make home-made masks in about 10 days, from a starting point of almost no masks being worn in public in the country.

Here is their COVID19 infection curves on a log chart (seems to be flattening).

"The Case for Universal Cloth Mask Adoption & Policies to Increase the Supply of Medical Masks for Health Workers"

Excerpt from Twitter thread summarizing it:

We have very good evidence that universal adoption of cloth masks will combat the spread of the virus. Specifically, we know that 1) asymptomatic people spread the virus, 2) mask wearing by infected people prevents them from transmitting the virus (the report provides citations).
How large are the benefits? Even if masks reduce transmission probabilities by only 10% (and as you'll see
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It seems to me like this study wasn't very good and I've been more convinced by the rebuttals, such as this one:

The tone of this post, including the title, reminds me of an exchange between two characters on the TV show Deadwood (HBO, 2004-2006):

Wild Bill Hickok:
You know the sound of thunder, don't you, Mrs. Garrett?

Alma Garrett:
Of course.

Wild Bill Hickok:
Can you imagine that sound if I asked you to?

Alma Garrett:
Yes I can, Mr. Hickok.

Wild Bill Hickok:
' Your husband and me had this talk, and I told him to head home to avoid a dark result. But I didn't say it in thunder. Ma'am, listen to the thunder.

The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes…

— Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Hound of the Baskervilles”

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea...

  • Antoine de Saint Exupery
Has this actually been working []?
Both operations seem vitally necessary, but he's probably right that you should start with the latter.

“Smart people learn from their mistakes. But the real sharp ones learn from the mistakes of others.”

― Brandon Mull, Fablehaven

Others rarely collect enough data when making mistakes. Sometimes you need to go make the mistake yourself.
I'm not going to search for it, but I recall having heard that saying well before 2006.

The real sharp ones also learn from the mistakes of others.

“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”

  • Confucius

"Well it's alright for you, Confucius, living in 5th Century feudal China. Between all the documentation I have to go through at work, and all the blogs I'm following while pretending to work, and all the textbooks I have to get through before my next assignment deadline, I don't have time to read!"

The correctness of a decision can’t be judged from the outcome. Nevertheless, that’s how people assess it. A good decision is one that’s optimal at the time it’s made, when the future is by definition unknown. Thus, correct decisions are often unsuccessful, and vice versa.

--Howard Marks, The Most Important Thing p.136 (about investing, but applies to other things)

We have two classes of forecasters: Those who don't know and those who don't know they don't know.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Let us take what the terrain gives.

-Amos Tversky

I don't remember exactly, but I think it was from a conference where he was speaking with Eliezer on a panel or Q&A, so that might be it.

My understanding is that the advice is to be aware that you could also end up dead, so you should dig an extra grave for yourself. It's not practical advice, it's a warning that revenge is dangerous and not worth it.

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.


They say when you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

They underestimate me.

-A Softer World

That's terrible advice. Far better to spend that time thinking of a better attack plan. Make sure it includes contingencies to deal with anyone who may wish to avenge whoever you are killing.

Not only may questions remain unanswered; all the right questions may not even have been asked.

-Seth Klarman, Margin of Safety, p.90

“When you’re young, you look at television and think, There’s a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that’s not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That’s a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It’s the truth.”

-Steve Jobs, [Wired, February 1996]

Isn't that disproved by paid-for networks, like HBO? And what about non-US broadcasters like the BBC?
He was the guy who thought that people were too dumb to operate a two-button mouse. It's not that the networks conspired to dumb us down, and it's not that people want something exactly this dumb, but it's that those folks in control at the networks, much like Jobs himself, tend to make systematic errors such as believing themselves to be higher above the masses than is actually the case. Sometimes that helps to counter the invalid belief that people will really want to waste a lot of effort on your creation.
It's still an open question how well the networks succeed at giving people what they want. We still see, for instance, Hollywood routinely spending $100 million on a science fiction film written and directed by people who know nothing about science or science fiction, over 40 years after the success of Star Trek proved that the key to a successful science fiction show is hiring professional science fiction writers to write the scripts.

"Using the bible to prove the existence of god is like using The Lord Of The Rings to prove the existence of Hobbits."


Unless there are two horseshoe quotes, this one seems to be disputed:

I (or someone) should update that page; the earliest source of the horseshoe story that I know of is from a 1927 essay by Heisenberg: Edit: Actually that date is almost definitely wrong, the essay refers to a conference that took place in 1927, probably wasn't given there. The earliest Google Books result for this quote is Heisenberg's 1969 autobiography, though, so that's still earlier and more authoritative than any of the sources given on the Wikiquote page.

One of the most serious problems with modern "management" is that the incentives are all wrong. Imagine that I hire a programmer and pay him by the line of code. This idea has been so thoroughly debunked that it is nearly impossible to write out the consequences without sounding cliché. Yet it happens all the time: Companies promote "Architects" who are evaluated by the weight of their "architecture." The result is stultifying and demoralizing. The architect does not work to facilitate the programmer's work, he works to produ

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Hmmm, maybe a bit of an overgeneralization? Or a US-thing? I've never seen a manager being rewarded for the amount of "process" they impose on their team. I'm sure there are many bad managers, but it's also somewhat of a cliché for programmers to blame management for the parts of the work they don't like.
It also produces comic strips. So it's not all bad.

One perennial problem is the overwhelming incentive for analysts to issue “Buy” recommendations. The universe of stocks not owned by a customer is always much larger than the list of those currently owned. Consequently, it’s much easier to generate commissions from new “Buy” recommendations than from recommendations to sell.

-Joel Greenblatt

That whole "buying" vs "selling" dichotomy does nothing but cause problems. Let's just treat selling as buying negative stock.

It can be that, but I think it also illustrate the importance of understanding people's real goals and intentions and not assuming that they are what they appear to be at first glance.

"At one of our dinners, Milton recalled traveling to an Asian country in the 1960s and visiting a worksite where a new canal was being built. He was shocked to see that, instead of modern tractors and earth movers, the workers had shovels. He asked why there were so few machines. The government bureaucrat explained: “You don’t understand. This is a jobs program.” To which Milton replied: “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.”

-Milton Friedman story

The earliest known citation of the anecdote is from 1935, quoting Canadian William Aberhart []. Milton Friedman certainly told the story, and may have invented the somewhat snappier form quoted here. (Interestingly, William Aberhart was speaking for the Social Credit Party, which was hardly libertarian.)
Seems like more of a libertarianism quote to me.

A few points come to mind:

  • Presumably they also wanted a canal and there may well be an optimum point where you maximize some sort of combined utility
  • Jobs programs, even those that create nothing particularly useful, are about giving people a sense of worth and accomplishment, otherwise you could just hand out money. Obviously futile make-work activities like the one suggested achieve the opposite of that and are, indeed, often deliberately used to punish and humiliate people.
For the record, I'm pretty sure this story is apocryphal, though that doesn't take away from it's value as a rationality quote.

"The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in war."

--WSJ article about Navy SEALs

It's an interesting point but exceedingly simplistic, more so these days than ever before. What about "the more you think in training", or "the more you learn in training"? Don't get me wrong, I'm not denying the value of sweat (excerise, fitness, etc), I'm just saying it's not even close to the whole equation.
I wonder how many other people on LW heard this quote first while in the process of sweating in training; and how many other military aphorisms could be repurposed this way.

The way to maximize outcome is to concentrate on the process.

-Seth Klarman, letter to shareholders

I'd love to go, but I'm repainting our new apartment on that day and we already have people coming over to help so it's very hard to reschedule. I'll definitely be there the next time if it's announced long enough in advance. Thank you for taking the initiative!

Very cool of you. At least one person noticed!

Thank you.

Goes to show that nothing goes away on the internet; I posted the parent comment 2 years ago.

(Just pointing out to any futureland readers that the situation has changed slightly [].)
Yeah - I saw it was an old comment... older than the survey. I figured I'd post it - in case anybody who came by later wanted to know.

Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

  • Mark Twain

It has never mattered to me that thirty million people might think I'm wrong. The number of people who thought Hitler was right did not make him right... Why do you necessarily have to be wrong just because a few million people think you are?

-- Frank Zappa, quoted from The Real Frank Zappa Book

Zappa was a fantastic example of someone who kept their head firmly screwed on while simultaneously exercising his inner rampaging weirdness. Everyone should read the book.

Life is tough, but it's tougher if you're stupid.

-John Wayne, Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)

The Company that needs a new machine tool is already paying for it.

-old Warner & Swasey ad

Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.

-Chinese proverb

Sometimes they only unlock the deadbolt, and you need a friend to help push open the door. Sometimes the door is on the top of a cliff, and you need to climb up the rope of Wikipedia to get there. And so on. A lot of people who are having trouble learning something are having trouble realizing what resources they have available.

History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

-Mark Twain

I've added it to my list. I'm currently reading Poor Charlie's Almanack and liking it a lot so far.

The best business book I've read is probably The Essays of Warren Buffett (second ed.), but it's certainly not exhaustive in what it covers.

Update: I've got my copy from (really fast shipping - 2 days). Will probably have a chance to read it in February.

That's a good question. If I had to guess, I would say that most people used to be familiar with the domestic turkey that is being fattened for thanksgiving dinner (or whatever), and those probably can't fly very well, if at all.

In a strong enough wind, even turkeys can fly.

-Saying of investors

Technically off-topic...but I've never understood why people think turkeys can't fly. I've even seen an ornithologist quoted in the NYTimes saying it (when a live turkey was found on an upper level balcony). Maybe it's just domesticated turkeys...but I've definitely seen wild turkeys fly (and no, it's got nothing to do with the whiskey). Which brings me to an interesting (to me) question: why do people base a piece of "wisdom" on a reference that is untrue to begin with? [and in closing: You don't win friends with salad.]

I've heard a similar aeronautical saying: Of course pigs can fly, they just need sufficient thrust.

We will learn an enormous amount in the very short term, quite a bit in the medium term and absolutely nothing in the long term.

-Jeremy Grantham, about the stock market/economy.

Where all men think alike, no one thinks very much.

-Walter Lippmann

The fact that the above comment got a lot of upvotes (i.e, widespread approval) is ironic.

Take the bettors in the racetrack experiment. Thirty seconds before putting down their money, they had been tentative and uncertain; thirty seconds after the deed, they were significantly more optimistic ans self-assured. The act of making a final decision--in this case, of buying a ticket--had been the critical factor. Once a stand had been taken, the need for consistency pressured these people to bring what they felt and believed into line with what they had already done. They simply convinced themselves that they had made the right choice and, no doubt, felt better and it all.

-Robert B. Cialdini, Influence: The psychology of Persuasion, p.59

The person you are most afraid to contradict is yourself.

-Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Thanks for putting this together, I'm definitely saving it for later perusal!

Apparently, I contributed 27 quotes this year.

Here they are: MichaelGR's quotes []. This is not just for you, I built this for all the top 40 quote karma scorers.
I found 18 from me in the lists - one in a reply to another poster and one which duplicated a quote EY had posted in a top-level post.

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

-George Bernard Shaw

A man who has committed a mistake and doesn't correct it, is committing another mistake.


A concurring opinion: Sophocles, Antigone
From the Analects, although I can't seem to narrow it down any further. (There are a lot of ways to translate things.)
I think this is a useful way to think of things, so you don't worry about changing and committing another mistake--it's a good way to make yourself cost-sensitive to mistake duration.

The Noah principle: predicting rain doesn’t count, building arks does.

-Warren E. Buffett

Source: 2002 annual letter to Berkshire shareholders, according to [] and []
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