Wei_Dai

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(USA) N95 masks are available on Amazon

You could try medical tape and see if you can seal the mask with it, without shaving your beard.

Tips/tricks/notes on optimizing investments

When investing in individual stocks, check its borrow rate for short selling. If it's higher than say 0.5%, that means short sellers are willing to pay a significant amount to borrow the stock in order to short it, so you might want to think twice about buying the stock in case they know something you don't. If you still want to invest in it, consider using a broker that has a fully paid lending program to capture part of the borrow fees from short sellers, or writing in-the-money puts on the stock instead of buying the common shares. (I believe the latter tends to net you more of the borrow fees, in the form of extra extrinsic value on the puts.)

Anti-EMH Evidence (and a plea for help)

In addition to jmh's explanation, see covered call. Also, normally when you do a "buy-write" transaction (see above article), you're taking the risk that the stock falls by more than the premium of the call option, but in this case, if that were to happen, I can recover any losses by holding the stock until redemption. And to clarify, because I sold call options that expired in November without being exercised, I'm still able to capture any subsequent gains.

Anti-EMH Evidence (and a plea for help)
  • I'm now selling at-the-money call options against my remaining SPAC shares, instead of liquidating them, in part to capture more upside and in part to avoid realizing more capital gains this year.
  • Once the merger happens (or rather 2 days before the meeting to approve the merger, because that's the redemption deadline), there is no longer a $10 floor.
  • Writing naked call options on SPACs is dangerous because too many people do that when they try to arbitrage between SPAC options and warrants, causing the call options to have negative extrinsic value, which causes people to exercise them to get the common shares, which causes your call options to be assigned, which causes you to end up with a short position in the SPAC which you'll be forced to cover because your broker won't have shares available to borrow. (Speaking from personal experience. :)
Anti-EMH Evidence (and a plea for help)

Gilch made a good point that most investing is like "picking up pennies in front of a steamroller" (which I hadn't thought of in that way before). Another example is buying corporate or government bonds at low interest rates, where you're almost literally picking up pennies per year, while at any time default or inflation could quickly eat away a huge chunk of your principle.

But things like supposedly equivalent assets that used to be closely priced now diverging seems highly suspicious.

Yeah, I don't know how to explain it, but it's been working out for the past several weeks (modulo some experiments I tried to improve upon the basic trade which didn't work). Asked a professional (via a friend) about this, and they said the biggest risk is that the price delta could stay elevated (above your entry point) for a long time and you could end up paying stock borrowing cost for that whole period until you decide to give up and close the position. But even in that case, the potential losses are of the same order of magnitude as the potential gains.

Anti-EMH Evidence (and a plea for help)

At this point, it is very clear that Trump will not become president. But you can still make 20%+ returns shorting ‘TRUMPFEB’ on FTX.

There is a surprisingly large number of people who believe the election was clearly "stolen" and the Supreme Court will eventually decide for Trump. There's a good piece in the NYT about this today. Should they think that the markets are inefficient because they can make 80% returns longing ‘TRUMPFEB’ on FTX? Presumably not, but that means by symmetry your argument is at least incomplete.

I can think of various other ways to easily get 10%+ returns in months in the crytpo markets. For example several crypto futures are extremely underpriced relative to the underlying coin.

This sounds more like my cup of tea. :) Can you provide more details either publicly or privately?

Anti-EMH Evidence (and a plea for help)

Thanks for the link. I was hoping that it would be relevant to my current situation, but having re-read it, it clearly isn't, as it suggests:

It’s much less risky to just sell the stocks as soon as you think there’s a bubble, which foregoes any additional gains but means you avoid the crash entirely (by taking it on voluntarily, sort of).

But this negates the whole point of my strategy, which is to buy these stocks at a "risk-free" price hoping for a bubble to blow up later so I can sell into it.

Cryonics without freezers: resurrection possibilities in a Big World

Now I’m curious. Does studying history make you update in a similar way?

History is not one of my main interests, but I would guess yes, which is why I said "Actually, I probably shouldn’t have been so optimistic even before the recent events..."

I feel that these times are not especially insane compared to the rest of history, though the scale of the problems might be bigger.

Agreed. I think I was under the impression that western civilization managed to fix a lot of the especially bad epistemic pathologies in a somewhat stable way, and was unpleasantly surprised when that turned out not to be the case.

Persuasion Tools: AI takeover without AGI or agency?

You mention "defenses will improve" a few times. Can you go into more detail about this? What kind of defenses do you have in mind? I keep thinking that in the long run, the only defenses are either to solve meta-philosophy so our AIs can distinguish between correct arguments and merely persuasive ones and filter out the latter for us (and for themselves), or go into an info bubble with trusted AIs and humans and block off any communications from the outside. But maybe I'm not being imaginative enough.

Open & Welcome Thread – October 2020

By "planting flags" on various potentially important and/or influential ideas (e.g., cryptocurrency, UDT, human safety problems), I seem to have done well for myself in terms of maximizing the chances of gaining a place in the history of ideas. Unfortunately, I've recently come to dread more than welcome the attention of future historians. Be careful what you wish for, I guess.

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