I've been a LessWrong organizer since 2011, with roughly equal focus on the cultural, practical and intellectual aspects of the community. My first project was creating the Secular Solstice and helping groups across the world run their own version of it. More recently I've been interested in improving my own epistemic standards and helping others to do so as well.

Raemon's Comments

Jan Bloch's Impossible War

What sort of warning do you want? It already provides more content warnings than most LW posts.

April Coronavirus Open Thread

(meta note: you can make posts "link posts", by clicking the link icon in the Edit Post page. I did that for your post so its now a proper link post)

Jan Bloch's Impossible War


I hadn't heard of Jan Bloch, and he indeed seemed both like an important figure in my memetic history, and object-level interesting for getting a sense of "who has previously attempted to anticipate major technological change, and prevent catastrophe?".

I'd be interested in posts exploring more details about what exactly he tried and why it didn't work.

What would you need to be motivated to answer "hard" LW questions?

I'm currently exploring a possible feature wherein question-authors, and moderators, can flag answers as "Top Answers", which trigger the question moving to the top of the home page, and adding the most recent "top answer" author as a co-author of the post.

Not 100% sure on the implementation details. Does that sound like that would help with this problem?

Has LessWrong been a good early alarm bell for the pandemic?

It seems like the relevant metric here is "when did people start preparing in some way?" not "when did posts increase." (This is a bit harder to check. I do naively expect that the turning point here would be Seeing the Smoke, which was indeed on February 28th which is inline with your analysis. I do think that this is still prior to most other people, or at least most Americans – not sure about other countries)

I do think a lot of the mechanisms by which rationalists I know did prepare was social – some rationalists were paying heavy attention to it, and they got their friends to be aware of it. This is less useful for people who aren't as socially entwined.

How long does SARS-CoV-2 survive on copper surfaces

Relevant section:

In an experiment with aerosolized SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1, at 21-23 degrees C and 40% humidity, both reached undetectable levels within 8 hours exposure to copper; by contrast, they lasted 72 hours on stainless steel and plastic.[1]

H1N1 influenza, which was another pandemic virus, though not a coronavirus, lasted significantly less time on copper than stainless steel; 10^5 viable viruses after 24 hours on stainless steel vs. 10^2 viable viruses after 2 hours on copper.[2]

Human coronavirus 229E remains infectious on plastic, ceramic, glass, and stainless steel for at least 5 days, was inactivated in less than 5 minutes on copper and brass when applied dry, and inactivated in less than an hour when applied in solution to metal alloys containing >75% copper.[4]

Using copper-coated surfaces in real-world environments reduces microbial contamination. In 5 residential healthcare facilities, where half of the doorknobs and handrails were coated with copper alloys while half were not, the bacterial concentration was significantly (p < 0.0001) lower on the copper-coated doorknobs and handrails.[5]  Similarly, when weights and grips in a gym were coated with copper alloy or left as rubber or stainless steel, the bacterial concentrations on the copper-coated surfaces were 94% lower than the controls.[6]

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