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Covid 11/19: Don’t Do Stupid Things

I would presume that many people here had bought stuff at Silk Way - it is puzzling that the discourse about antigen tests is still about the official approval and not about how you can import reliable tests from abroad. For my personal use I found online pharmacy in Germany that sends to Poland and does not check if I am really a doctor - but they probably don't send to US, so you need to find your own ways.

Covid 11/5: Don’t Mention the War

Regarding Belgium - have a look at Czech Republic too.

COVID Strategy 101

I don't know much how the situation is in African countries, Middle East, India or Latin America, but there are two contrasting examples - European culture countries (including USA, Canada) that struggle with the pandemic and East Asian countries that managed to get it under control. There are also Western countries that are doing well - like Iceland or New Zealand and Australia - which is kind of in between - I think they are just remote enough. The main factor seems to be how disciplined the population is. There are many measures that limit the R and in the West we fail to enforce them, be it face masks, limitations for public gatherings or giving accurate and complete information to contact tracers. This is of course complicated by the mistakes that our authorities made - starting with discouraging masks use early in the epidemic - those failures further undermined the public trust in government actions.

We need a plan that is adopted to those circumstances. More bottom up action - to try many approaches locally and see what works and only then scale it up and maybe mandate. My pet idea is to build safe bubbles around us and especially around the most vulnerable. Most of the long and close contacts, that have the biggest probability of spreading the virus, come from our stable social network. Our family, co-workers, schoolmates, friends etc - these are people that can infect us most easily - but they are also people with whom we can negotiate rules. This strategy can be more effective than it seems. It was actually promoted back in April and May - but now we can eventually have one more tool to make it really effective - rapid tests. At home cheap tests can be a game changer here. Support https://www.rapidtests.org/

Doing discourse better: Stuff I wish I knew
  1. There is also the universal Girardian mimetic failure mode. It is a spiral of ever increasing desire for things and status, where we want things because someone other wants it. I once wrote an essay on that in the context of internet discussions: https://blog.p2pfoundation.net/online-conflict-in-the-light-of-mimetic-theory/2009/11/25

  2. Another failure mode: the replication crisis in science - where only new and surprising theses are being published, but there is no mechanism for reinforcing existing theories. This also happens in social media - people always want to learn new things. And probably more generally all the other things from https://www.gwern.net/Littlewood

  3. https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/ZdtFBCtixqay5aoWF/design-thoughts-for-building-a-better-kind-of-social-space

Covid 9/24: Until Morale Improves

The interesting tidbit is WHO calling CDC and having their statements retracted. How come? What authority has WHO over CDC? Why it needs to be everywhere the same? https://www.overcomingbias.com/2020/09/the-world-forager-elite.html

Didn't Trump withdrew US from WHO?

Design thoughts for building a better kind of social space with many webs of trust


I think the road to a new wave of 'social networking' and 'tagging' systems is via better local capture of (marginal) knowledge - that is systems that facilitate adding notes and tags to online content and then searching it. We can do it manually - but it works only for stuff that we quickly recognize as important, it is much less efficient for stuff that grows on us slowly with marginal steps. It is kind of strange that after 25 years of the web bookmarks management is still so hard. After this is finally fixed - with systems like: https://github.com/WorldBrain/Memex/blob/develop/GETTING-STARTED.md, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24572449 etc - then the next stage will be connecting these local knowledge repos.

Design thoughts for building a better kind of social space with many webs of trust

Some technicalities:

  1. Forks: " If two groups disagree about what sorts of things should be posted in a fundamental tag like respectful discourse or safe content, they don't have to interact!" - how do you imagine such a fork happening?
  2. This might be marginal - but what if I have a friend that tags articles with for example 'good food' tag - and I trust that it is good food - but for me it is more 'indian good food'? Need the participants agree on a strict vocabulary to have any kind of information link?
Social Capital Paradoxes
Answer by zbySep 16, 20203

One more random thought. Exposing yourself for ideas from someone is much less risk than exposing yourself materially to him. But our trust has evolved for material interactions and there used to be an overkill of it for information interactions.

Social Capital Paradoxes
Answer by zbySep 13, 20203

The replication crisis of science is a good example of how current way of 'horizontal spread mode of good things' reaches its limits and needs a correction mechanism. The question is if the correction mechanism can spread horizontally or if it can only come vertically. If we can understand it - that is simulate it in our heads and see the outcomes - then we probably can convince others about it and it can spread horizontally.

It might be that the dichotomy of horizontal and vertical is too limited - ideas spread in bubbles.

https://www.gwern.net/Littlewood shows some more limitations of the current horizontal spreading mechanisms.

Another example: antigen tests idea (https://medium.com/@zby/it-is-9-months-now-why-we-have-no-mass-testing-for-sars-cov-2-yet-27b5f409c7d2) - restated in medical/memetic metaphor - there was a cross reactivity of my (for example) memetic immune response system between the antigen and antibody tests.

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