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I absolutely agree that children should be exposed to interesting people and environments, be self-directed, be tutored, and have apprenticeships.

But given that thousands of people had these experiences contemporaneously with geniuses, and only dozens are geniuses, I think the genetics are the secret sauce.

Also, genetic geniuses with non-exceptional experiences may have been just as much a genius as the famous ones, but did not have a chance to become famous, so again the experiences help with the fame, not necessarily the base characteristic of genius.

The lesson then is if you have a child who is a genius, do these things.  Unfortunately, very few of us can take advantage of that advice.  Fortunately, we should all try to do these things regardless of whether our children are geniuses.

I loved this!
But I have a compulsion to point out that Cyprus is on the same end of the Mediterranean as Cairo.

Given the horrifically inefficient way we are using our current idea-creating resources (people), it seems a much better investment to improve our efficiency, rather than creating more underutilized resources at great expense.

I see some basic flaws in the sleep-exercise and sleep-food analogies.

There are reasonably well-understood physiological mechanisms showing how slight overuse of muscles starts a process of strengthening those muscles.  I did not see any proposed mechanism for less sleep reducing your need for sleep.  (If I missed it, please let me know).  While it is true of lots of inputs (food, oxygen) I do not think it is defensible to arbitrarily generalize the idea that reduction of any input allows you to function with less of that input.

With the food analogy specifically, there is a much different element of control.  I can sit in front of a delicious meal at any time and abstain, even if my body is "telling" me I am starving, or I can eat garbage if my body is "telling me" I am not hungry.  I can't do that with sleep without chemical help, except perhaps delay sleeping for a few hours or sleep a few hours late.  My conclusion is that I sleep when my body needs sleep.  If I go to bed and 9 hours later wake up naturally, I needed the 9 hours.

Of course, if I wake up and have nothing to do, and decide to stay in bed for another hour, that does not mean my body needed 10 hours.  But the 9 hours I had no conscious control over? Yup, my body did what it needed to do.

In equatorial Africa, I assume it is quite dark for 10-11 hours every single night where there is no moon.

Generally interesting, but I have a quibble with this:

In the text here, you say

>>Walker outright fakes data to support his “sleep epidemic” argument. The data on sleep duration Walker presents on the graph below simply does not exist:

I went to your link to see the proof that it does not exist.  Pretty extraordinary claim.  Difficult to prove a negative and all.  Figured I would find something solid.  Other than two studies with evidence that contradicts Walker's general claim with a few specific examples, here's what you had:

>>I have not been able to find any data that would support the sleep duration numbers Walker provides in the book and it appears that they were simply made up.

I think that speaks for itself.

Could you (or others) provide one or two particularly egregious examples where "Governments Most Places Are Lying Liars With No Ability To Plan or Physically Reason. They Can’t Even Stop Interfering and Killing People"?  Maybe just one or two weekly posts to look at?

Clearly these organizations made mistakes, some significant.  I think even if 50% of their decisions were mistakes, the wording here is not really supported. You claim these organizations "Can't Stop Killing People"  Exceptional claims require exceptional evidence.

Other than that, great post.

I apologize if this is explained somewhere, but I have a question about this statement;

The key takeaway is that a 1% chance of having COVID, which is about the base rate of COVID in the US, costs older relatives a few days of life if you pass it on to them.

Is that an average loss of life over a large population of people exposed?

So in an oversimplified example, if the only effect of the behavior is 1 in 1000 older relatives would die 1000 days earlier than they would otherwise, the average loss is one day of life?

If that is the meaning, I am not sure I find that helpful. Nobody would notice the loss of one day.  But in reality, nobody is losing one day.  999 people lose nothing, and one person loses 3 years.  I do not want to be the cause of that, even if the odds are low.

Overall, I found this very informative.  One quibble:

Shorter hours, cleaner and safer factories, and the end of child labor are luxuries that could only happen after an increase in per-capita wealth. 

The per-capita wealth is at least one level removed as a cause.  The actual cause is increased profit for the factory that can be turned in to those benefits.  Do you have any evidence that early unsafe factories had insufficient profit for that to happen?  Is it safer to assume that the owners felt no pressure to give up their generous profits for the benefit of worker safety?

Regarding sports - I agree that physical activity is critical to wellbeing. I agree that team sports are a good way to build community.  But the non-physical benefits of sport are the lessons in perseverance, sharing, cooperation, humility, etc.  They are not intrinsic to the sport, but I agree sport can be a good vehicle for learning them, so they can be a net good. But there are other activities that teach the same lessons, and at the end of the day you have something more than a score.  Think Eagle Scout projects, hackathons, or Habitat for Humanity house building.

On the other hand, competitive sport can create conflict.  Often the conflict is a major part of a sport culture e.g. football players who intend to injure other players, albeit within the rules.  In the long run, I think these are counterproductive activities.

I think cooperative sports, or sports without head-to-head competition, e.g. rowing time trials can be good, but much less exciting to watch.

Which brings me to spectator sports.  They have all the disadvantages of participatory competitive sports with none of the advantages.  Is it really a net good to have millions of fans bonding with fellow fans over. game...against millions of fans who want nothing but the humiliation of your team? 

Art of all kind is similar to spectator sports. But the best art teaches the invested spectator something meaningful about life.  In many ways, that is the primary purpose of the best art.  As far as spectator sports, I think the most you can say is that you admire a quality of a team, but it is not something easily internalized.  And the commercialization and competitive emphasis makes this sort of introspection much less likely.

Thanks for provoking some thought!

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