Timothy Johnson


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The Point of Trade

Working for a salary is also fundamentally a form of trade. In my case, I trade my time and expertise in writing software, and my company pays me.

Purchasing items is also trade - I trade the money I earned to buy goods and services from others.

To completely eliminate trade, I think people would need to be able to magically wish anything they desire into existence. (If you've watched The Good Place, I'm imagining something like what Janet is capable of.)

At that point, scarcity no longer exists. And since the main point of economics is to solve problems of scarcity, economics doesn't have much purpose either.

Why did the UK switch to a 12 week dosing schedule for COVID-19 vaccines?

Also, note that the UK recently decreased the time range from 12 weeks to 8 weeks: UK reduces gap between two covid vaccine doses from 12 weeks to 8 weeks (livemint.com).

I'm not clear on the reason, but they have vaccinated 80% of adults with 1st doses, so perhaps they've decided that the need for 1st doses is dropping:  Vaccinations in the UK | Coronavirus in the UK (data.gov.uk).

Bad names make you open the box

Thanks for writing this so clearly - I've bookmarked it to my list of favorite software engineering posts to share with others.

Good Macro, Bad Micro

Isn't this just a normal consequence of scale? If you had to maintain 500 cars, you'd probably be more systematic. With just one car, the chances of it breaking down on any given day are pretty low.

My own strategy is that I take my car to get inspected every time the maintenance light comes on, which is about 5,000 miles. The rest of the time, I don't worry about it.

The Schelling Game (a.k.a. the Coordination Game)

I've also played a cooperative version of this for two people, which we called Contact. It's entertaining for long road trips.

  • There's no category/question given - the game can go in any direction.
  • In each round, the players simultaneously pick words, then say them at the same time.
  • The game continues until there is a round in which the two players say the same word. The goal is to match as quickly as possible.
  • Words cannot be re-used in multiple rounds.

In theory, you could extend this to more than two people, but my guess is that it would become significantly more difficult in a larger group to get everyone to match.

Moral Privilege

I think this post would benefit from having at least one real-world example, as well as your fictional example. I can't tell what actual situations you're pointing to.

One high-level summary that occurs to me is that "trying to solve problems sometimes makes them worse" - but I think you meant something more specific than that.

Better air is the easiest way not to die

I used Wirecutter for this: The Best Air Purifier for 2021 | Reviews by Wirecutter (nytimes.com). I picked their top choice, the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty, about a month ago.

So far, it seems to work pretty well, and it's very quiet in standby mode - roughly similar to the fridge. But every time I fry anything on the stove, the fan automatically speeds up to the highest level, which is much louder, roughly similar to a typical conversation. On the bright side, though, at least that proves that it works.

Covid-19 in India: Why didn't it happen earlier?

I don't know if this is a complete answer, but maybe it has something to do with the average age?

India's population pyramid looks a lot different from the US or Europe:

Population of India 2020 - PopulationPyramid.net

Is there a good software solution for mathematical questions?

What kind of constraints do you have?

There are many constraint solvers for different kinds of equations. I enjoyed using pySMT, which provides a Python wrapper for several different libraries: pysmt/pysmt: pySMT: A library for SMT formulae manipulation and solving (github.com).

A New Center? [Politics] [Wishful Thinking]

Sorry, let me try again, and be a little more direct. If the New Center starts to actually swing votes, Republicans will join and pretend to be centrists, while trying to co-opt the group into supporting Republicans.

Meanwhile, Democrats will join and try to co-opt the group into supporting Democrats.

Unless you have a way to ensure that only actual centrists have any influence, you'll end up with a group that's mostly made up of extreme partisans from both sides. And that will make it impossible for the group to function as intended.

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