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The GameStop Situation: Simplified

This explanation misses one major piece of the whole affair: it was not only a short squeeze (mostly, it was at first), but also a gamma squeeze (or gamma trap). It has to do with the hedging of option sales.

Here is a short explanation I wrote for a colleague:

gamma trap: most options are sold by market makers (e.g. investment banks), and they hedge the options they sell by purchasing (or selling) stock in order to be "delta neutral"
so if they sell one call at the money (strike price = current price), the delta is 0.5 (if the stock price increases by 1$, the call price will increase by 0.5$), and they will buy 50 shares to hedge (now if the price increases by 1$, they are up 50$ on the stock, down 50$ on the call, and they still profit by pocketing the premium)
as an option gets in the money (strike price < current stock price), its delta increases, meaning the market maker must increase the number of stock it purchases to continue being delta-neutral
here what happened is that redditors purchased a lot of cheap out of the money call options (low delta), and as the stock price rose and rose, these ended up far in the money, meaning the market makers had to purchase 100 stocks for each of these calls, driving the stock price higher, and pushing all calls farther in the money

ah, and gamma = the rate of change of delta depending on the stock price (so in particular here the fact that delta increases when an option gets in the money)

How can I find trustworthy dietary advice?

I think a productive way to look at it is to look for absence of evidence, which is evidence of absence.

Much has been said about "the western diet" that is killing tons of people, but in reality, what we really know is that being obese is bad for you, as is having severe nutrient deficiencies. Otherwise not a whole lot much is sure.

Let's take an example. Studies on meat consumption barely find a significant effect on all-cause mortality. But most often they fail to control for things as basic as pre-existing obesity or caloric intake. And if you step back one second, it's rather obvious: people who voluntarily reduce their meat consumption (or abstain completely) tend to be quite health-focused. All the people with a junk diet are on the other side. That ought to tip the scales, but even then, the finding is minuscule.

This absence of conclusive evidence really does tell you something: diet is much less impactful (to your health) than people give it the credit for. Consider, for contrast, that being partnered adds, on average, years to your life (I suspect this finding might also have a control problem, but the magnitude of the finding is in another league).

Something where diet really has an impact is your day-to-day well-being. I don't have a solid proof, but it seems to me that if your diet makes you feel like crap, it might not be that great in the long run, and vice-versa (beware deficiencies though, which take a long time to show up).

Unsolicited diet advice:
- Control your calories (track! I guarantee you will be surprised and learn something)
- Eat enough veggies / supplement to avoid deficiencies. You don't need that much, and you don't need to hit the RDAs necessarily - they're incredibly hard to hit with food only, so I supplement to be on the safe side. Also, animal products do actually have a ton of nutrients, compared to what popular wisdom sometimes seems to imply.
- Eat enough proteins. It's really hard to eat too much proteins, it's incredibly good for a ton of things, and it's generally filling besides.
- Eat enough fibers (the better argument for eating more veggies). Personally, my digestive system is weird and I actually supplement this as well (as psyllium), makes a huge difference, but I expect this is quite personal.
- Don't sweat the rest, and enjoy your food!

Imho, these are the 80-20 (or really 98-2) rules of nutrition. I've never seen any evidence that any of the intricate fluff makes any difference.

... or at least at the population level. It might worth experimenting with your own potential intolerances/needs (e.g. like my need for a ton of extra fibers). But that's not something you'll get as general advice. I do think there must exist books or resources on the subject however.

Efficiency Wages: A Double-Edged Sword

I agree, but I think the converse point is also true: employers will attempt to pay you less (under industry standards) if the job incurs any kind of side-effect that you might be proud about, or is in a glamorous industry.

I think this is a more important point.

The "it's not just about the money, but also about X, Y, Z" (freedom, cool working conditions, social impact, ...) is almost a platitude. I've had multiple employers using on me, and it really it wasn't warranted at all (the jobs were in niche sectors, but weren't glamorous, impactful to society, nor did they have extremely desirable working conditions).

The argument you make has been completely co-opted by HR departments.

The truth is that the job market is a market. It is a function of supply and demand. Jobs that are glamorous (in which I include impactful job) face more labor supply compared to other jobs, and so wages can be lower.

These jobs will naturally be picked by people whose utility function values the glamour highly compared to money. So your point remains true (they might be more motivated).

Will your high-glamour low-wages job seeker will be more productive than your low-glamour high-wages job seeker? Maybe, but I'm not so convinced. I think a key different is that glamour-preference is relatively inelastic, and there are fewer venues to gratify it. Whereas it's easy to jump ship when money is your only object, just find a company that pays more (not that this is a great strategy for money maximization, but it's easy). Another fact to consider is that there aren't that many truly high-paying job (or at least, high-paying enough such that the utility of the high-wage seeker would equal the utility of the glamour-seeker).

I also think a key driver of this "drive" in glamour-seeker is that, beyond low wages, employers tend to press their advantage by wringing out more from the employees. The video game industry is a prime example of this. I've also heard that many non-profits have notoriously bad working conditions. Mostly anecdotal evidence, but it adds up.

Finally, I doubt public defenders are more skilled than other lawyers - but they did clearly pick a different trade-off.

Is Rationalist Self-Improvement Real?

Nominating because the idea that rationalists should win (which we can loosely defined as "be better at achieving their goals than non-rationalists") has been under fire in the community (see for instance Scott's comment on this post).

I think this discusses the concern nicely, and shows what rational self-improvement may look like in practice, re-framing expectations.

While far from the only one, this was one important influence in my own self-improvement journey. It's certainly something that comes to mind whenever I think of my own self-improvement philosophy, and when it comes to trying to convince other to do similarly.

Pain is the unit of Effort

It worked! Also now that my interpretation has been confirmed, I can bask in the warm afterglow of rightness. What a day.

Pain is the unit of Effort

I assumed this was some kind of pastiche of the judgy-overarchiever trope, and I was quite entertained under that reading. But now I've come to the comments and everyone seems to interpret the post earnestly. I'm confused.

[Link] "Where are all the successful rationalists?"

The question pops up regularly. Jacob (Jacobian on here) wrote an answer here: https://putanumonit.com/2019/12/08/rationalist-self-improvement/

One issue I see is the narrow definition of winning used here. I think that people reflective enough to embrace rationality would also be more likely to reconsider the winning criteria not to just be "become filthy rich and/or famous". Consider that maybe the prize is not worth the price. I'd be more interested into people that have become wealthy/established/successful in their fields (without becoming a rock star I mean, just plain old successful, enough to be free of worries and pursue one's one direction).

What should experienced rationalists know?

This pays lip services to the sequences, but I don't really see a condensed version of what it teaches in the proposed materials. Not that I have a proposal for that either, but maybe someone has?

The US Already Has A Wealth Tax

He is not overstating.

To summarize the two main points, which other people already made:

  • Any wealth tax is on top of inflation. One cannot ban inflation without disastrous economic consequences (or so I'm lead to believe).
  • Invested capital tends to appreciate along with inflation, which makes sense if you think about it, otherwise it means it's losing value. Non-inflation adjusted returns on the stock market are much higher when the inflation is high. Also there is no reason not to stash all your money in the safest possible asset to avoid inflation.
My Dating Plan ala Geoffrey Miller

It very much is a non-quantitative argument - since it's a matter of principle. The principle being not to let outside perceptions dictate the topic of conversations.

I can think of situations were the principles could be broken, or unproductive. If upholding it would make it impossible to have these discussions in the first place (because engaging would mean you get stoned, or something) and hiding is not an option (or still too risky), then it would make sense to move conversations towards the overton window.

Said otherwise, the quantity I care about is "ability to have quote rational unquote conversations" and no amount of outside woke prevalence can change that *as long as they don't drive enough community member away*. It will be a sad day for freedom and for all of us if that ends up one day being the case.

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