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Rationalist Town Hall: Pandemic Edition

I really would have loved to attend, but won't be able to make it at that time. Will you (with permission of the participants, I imagine) record the meeting, or maybe write some possibly anonymised summary of the discussion after?

Rationality and Climate Change

I definitely agree that there is a bias in this community for technological solutions over policy solutions. However, I don't think that this bias is the deciding factor for judging 'trying to induce policy solutions on climate change' to not be cost-effective. You (and others) already said it best: climate change is far more widely recognised than other topics, with a lot of people already contributing. This topic is quite heavily politicized, and it is very difficult to distinguish "I think this policy would, despite the high costs, be a great benefit to humanity as a whole" from "Go go climate change team! This is a serious issue! Look at me being serious!".

Which reminds me: I think the standard counter-argument to applying the "low probability, high impact" argument to political situations applies: how can you be sure that you're backing the right side, or that your call to action won't be met with an equal call to opposite action by your political opponents? I'm not that eager to have an in-depth discussion on this in the comments here (especially since we don't actually have a policy proposal or a method to implement it), but one of the main reasons I am hesitant about policy proposals is the significant chance for large negative externalities, and the strong motivation of the proposers to downplay those.

Emiya said cost-effectiveness will be treated extensively, and I am extremely eager to read the full post. As I said above, if there is a cost-effective way for me to combat climate change this would jump to (near) the top of my priorities instantly.

Rationality and Climate Change

I completely agree, and would like to add that I personally draw a clear line between "the importance of climate change" and "the importance of me working on/worrying about climate change". All the arguments and evidence I've seen so far suggest solutions that are technological, social(/legal), or some combination of both. I have very little influence on any of these, and they are certainly not my comparative advantage.

If OP has a scheme where my time can be leveraged to have a large (or, at least, more than likely cost-effective) impact on climate change then this scheme would instantly be near the top of my priorities. But as it stands my main options are mostly symbolic.

As an aside, and also to engage with lincoln's points, I am highly sceptical of proposed solutions that require overhauls in policy and public attitude. These may or may not be the way forward, but my personal ability to tip the scales on these matters are slim to none. Wishing for societal change to suit any plans is just that, a wish.

Covid 10/1: The Long Haul

You want to incentivise people to get positive COVID tests? Ballsy.

On a more serious note, I doubt anybody would be interested in enforcing this. Diners are going out of business due to COVID restrictions, and for many restaurant owners the choice between going out of business or looking the other way when people ask to be seated is clear. Furthermore the goal of all this is to keep the number of people who have contracted COVID as low as possible, your proposed 'fix' would only allow a small minority to work/participate.

Covid 9/17: It’s Worse

I think Hanlon's razor applies here. Thank you for sharing the 5k/day, I will make a serious effort to obtain similar doses.

Covid 9/17: It’s Worse

For reference, what dose are you thinking of? Here in EU-land I can only get 5ug (200 IU) supplements easily.

What's Wrong with Social Science and How to Fix It: Reflections After Reading 2578 Papers

Certainly, but it's not malicious in the sense of deliberately citing bad science. More like negligence.

What's Wrong with Social Science and How to Fix It: Reflections After Reading 2578 Papers

I think there is an important (and obvious) third alternative to the two options presented at the end (of the snippet, rather early in the full piece), namely that many scientists are not very interested in the truth value of the papers they cite. This is neither malice nor stupidity. There is simply no mechanism to punish scientists who cite bad science (and it is not clear there should be, in my opinion). If a paper passes the initial hurdle of peer review it is officially Good Enough to be cited as well, even if it is later retracted (or, put differently, "I'm not responsible for the mistakes the people I cited make, the review committee should have caught it!").

New Paper on Herd Immunity Thresholds

It would if those neighbourhoods are very homogeneous in terms of connectivity. Why would their (in)homogeneity be similar to European countries?

The Goldbach conjecture is probably correct; so was Fermat's last theorem

Since a+b = b+a shouldn't the total number of 'different sums' be half of what you give? Fortunately the rest of the argument works completely analogously.

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