T3t

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A No-Nonsense Guide to Early Retirement

Good compilation, I more or less agree with the suggested prioritizations and such.  One thing that I think may be worth a sentence or two in the appropriate section: management fees for the various funds in employer-sponsored retirement accounts vary widely.  While aiming for Vanguard will generally result in a low management fee, if some 401k plan doesn't have any Vanguard funds, the next best heuristic to choose between various index funds is whether the management fee is under 0.1%/yr (assuming it fits your other criteria w.r.t. diversification, etc).  The target-date funds that are commonly pushed by the 401k administrators often have absurdly high fees (1%+) which eat into returns a lot.

Anti-Aging: State of the Art

Oh, interesting, thanks for the correction!  I was just going by their website (linked in the OP), which may not have been updated since 2015(?!).

Anti-Aging: State of the Art

Minor correction: the metformin trial study (TAME) is not currently underway; they are still waiting for the FDA to designate aging as an "indication" to be treated (and also raising funding).

 

Good writeup, though, thanks!

What are good election betting opportunities?

Also confirming.  When I started the sum was $14.78.  I started with $10 and ended with ~$101.  It took about 35 minutes of mostly-but-not-entirely-focused clicking.

The Human Condition

This is interesting, and I'm (a little) surprised that I hadn't heard about it yet, but I don't think the parallel with Milgram is quite there. Yes, he's asking them to do something against their conscience, but as romeo points out, they more or less have a gun to their heads. And despite that, one of them (presumably) was brave enough (and quick-thinking enough) to surreptitiously record the hilariously blatant election fraud.

Half-Baked Products and Idea Kernels

I wouldn't say it's bad advice; it depends heavily on the context of the work. In an environment where you have some combination of:

1) a tight feedback loop with the relevant stakeholder (ideally the individual(s) who are going to be using the end product),

2) the product itself is amenable to quick iteration (i.e. composed of many smaller features, ideally with a focus on the presentation),

3) the requirements aren't clear (for example, the client has a mostly intuitive sense of how certain features should work; perhaps there are many implicit business rules that aren't formally written down anywhere but will come up as obviously "oh, it's missing the ability to do [x]" as the product gains capabilities)

...then avoiding significant investment in upfront design and adopting an iterative approach will very often save you spending a bunch of time designing something that doesn't fit your stakeholder's needs.


On the other hand, if you're operating in an environment where those conditions don't exist, such as one where you're mostly working on features or products that aren't easily broken down into smaller components that can be individually released or demoed to a stakeholder, and you have fairly clear requirements upfront that don't often change (or you have access to a product manager who you work with to iterate on the requirements until they're sufficiently well-detailed), then doing upfront design can often save you a lot of headache in wandering down dark alleys of "oops, we totally didn't account for how we'd incorporate this niche but relatively predictable use-case, so we optimized our design in ways which makes it very difficult to add without redoing a lot of work".


Having some experience with both, I'll say that the second seems better, in the sense that there are fewer meetings and interruptions, and the work is both faster and more pleasant, since there's less context-switching, conditional on the planning and product design being competent enough to come up with requirements that won't change too often. The downsides when it goes wrong do seem larger (throwing away three months of work feels a lot worse than throwing away two weeks), but ultimately that degenerates into a question of mitigating tail risk vs optimizing for upside, and I have yet to lose three months of work (though I did manage to lose almost two consecutive months working at an agile shop prior to this, which was part of a broader pattern that motivated my departure). I would recommend side-stepping that by attempting to find a place that does the "planning" thing well; at that point whether the team you're on is shipping small features every week or two or working on larger projects that span months is more a question of domain rather than effective strategy.

Mark Xu's Shortform

There are a few things to keep in mind:

1) The claim that 40 million Americans "deal with hunger" is, um, questionable. Their citation leads to feedingamerica.org, which cites USDA's Household Food Security in the United States report (https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/94849/err-270.pdf?v=963.1). The methodology used is an 11-question survey (18 for households with children), where answering 3 questions in the affirmative marks you as low food security. The questions asked are (naturally) subjective. Even better, the first question is this: “We worried whether our food would run out before we got money to buy more.” Was that often, sometimes, or never true for you in the last 12 months? That's an a real concern to have, but it is not what people are talking about when they say "dealing with hunger". You can be running on a shoestring budget and often worry about whether you'll have enough money for food without ever actually not having enough money for food.

2) A significant percentage of the population has non-trivial issues with executive function. Also, most of the population isn't familiar with "best practices" (in terms of effective life strategies, basic finances, etc). Most people simply don't think about things like this systematically, which is how you get the phenomenon of ~50% of the population not being able to cover a $400 emergency (or whatever those numbers are, they're pretty close). This would be less of an issue if those cultural norms were inherited, but you can't teach something you don't know, and apparently we don't teach Home Economics anymore (not that it'd be sufficient, but it would be better than nothing). This is a subject that deserves a much more in-depth treatment, but I think as a high-level claim this is both close enough to true and sufficient as a cause for what we might observe here. Making an infographic with a rotating course of 10 cheap, easy-to-prepare, relatively healthy, and relatively tasty meals is a great idea, but it'll only be useful to the sorts of people who already know what "meal prep" means. You might catch some stragglers on the margin, but not a lot.

3) The upfront costs are less trivial than they appear if you don't inherit any of the larger items, and remember, 50% of the population can't cover a mid-3-figure emergency. "Basic kitchen equipment" can be had for under $100, but "basic kitchen equipment" doesn't necessarily set you up to prepare food in a "meal prep" kind of way.

March 14/15th: Daily Coronavirus link updates

Twitter: Seattle approaching Lombardy levels

The claims in that Twitter thread (now deleted) have been retracted: https://mobile.twitter.com/CT_Bergstrom/status/1239348331186249728

rmoehn's Shortform

Kai Faust (not sure if he has an account here) has already developed a prototype desktop application (cross-platform via Electron) for this.

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