philh's Comments

Requesting examples of successful remote research collaborations, and information on what made it work?

I don't know much about it, but the Polymath project seems to have had some success. It's both remote and highly distributed though, so unless you're planning to work with 40 people any lessons might not generalize.

April Coronavirus Open Thread

How much do we know about gender differences?

I saw a reddit thread suggesting that women have different symptoms than men, though it was super anecdotal and I can't find it now. I know women have a lower death rate, and I understand that was originally suspected to be because men smoke more but more recently maybe that turns out not to explain the whole difference? This paper suggests that men have more ACE2 than women, which is the enzyme the virus binds to.

Is this a thread that's been well explored by others?

Is this info on zinc lozenges accurate?

I don't know and I don't know.

Well, a tablet would be a lot smaller. If they worked at all... I guess either they'd be really low dose compared to a lozenge, and you'd have to suck on many many of them; or they'd be highly concentrated, and then sucking on many many of them seems like a bad idea and sucking on just one seems unlikely to work very well (it's supposed to spend a while dissolving).

If you have specific tablets in mind, you could look at the formulation and see whether, if they were lozenges, they'd be acceptable. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the difference between a tablet and a lozenge is something that would rule out all tablets.

My Bet Log

Is now a good time to point out that this bet can be thrown?

As in I could deliberately infect myself or some other member? Sure, but I'm not gonna do that for 30 euros and I think my opponent doesn't expect me to.

If I was that type of person, and ignoring all social, ethical and legal consequences of doing so... there are at least two factors making my expected payout from it lower than 30 euros, potentially even negative in combination:

  1. There's still some chance I'd win naturally.
  2. We decided on a set of mutually agreeable arbitrators in the case of ambiguity. If he thought I'd done this, then regardless of other consequences, he could appeal to one of them, and I think he'd have a decent chance of them siding with him.

When your first sample is from known liars and your second from people that fucked everything else up that doesn’t inspire confidence.

Sure, these numbers are obviously not very reliable. But:

  1. If the actual infection rate is 100x the reported one in Hubei, that's still only 10% of the population. If it's 100x the reported rate in Italy, that's still only 5% of the population. If Italy fucked up unusually badly, it'll be less than 5% in most of the rest of Europe (where most of the chat participants live). Though admittedly the numbers are still growing.
  2. Confirmed numbers are actually unusually relevant for this, because if someone has a mild case and never gets tested, I may not win the bet.

Well, there’s a very good reason for that, isn’t there?

I consider this off-topic and I'd prefer it not to be discussed in this thread.

Coronavirus Justified Practical Advice Summary

I don't personally know more than that. The citation for the second bit that I quoted is: Lawson, L. D. & Hughes, B. G. Characterization of the formation of allicin and other thiosulfinates from garlic. Planta Med. 58, 345–350 (1992).

Welcome to the Haskell Jungle

I find type level programming (e.g. type families, higher kinded types) to be fairly important. For example, ghc is implemented using a technique called "trees that grow" that allows you to make slight modifications to a data structure in different places that it's used. Instead of "in this part of the codebase, we assume that the Maybe Frobnicator field has been populated with a Just", you can have "in this part of codebase, that field just has plain old type Frobnicator".

Where can we donate time and money to avert coronavirus deaths?

I haven't read it yet, but this post on the EA forum tries to answer the money question.

Coronavirus Justified Practical Advice Summary

And since I had to look it up: the RDA is only 600 IU, assuming no sun exposure. (600 IU = 15μg)

Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread

Note: In the summary post, this comment thread suggests getting only normal amounts of vitamin D.

Coronavirus Justified Practical Advice Summary

Fwiw Chris Masterjohn (see below) also recommends garlic. He recommends crushing it before eating though:

180 micrograms per day of stabilized allicin; or one clove of fresh, raw garlic, crushed, exposed to open air for ten minutes, and eaten without cooking or mixing with other ingredients; or 4 grams of garlic powder, mixed with water, exposed to open air for ten minutes, and eaten without cooking or mixing with other ingredients.


Garlic does not contain allicin itself. Rather, it contains alliin, which is converted to allicin within ten minutes when raw garlic is crushed, or when garlic powder is mixed with water, and either are allowed to sit at room temperature in the open air for ten minutes.

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