All of zby's Comments + Replies

The GameStop Situation: Simplified

It just a flashmob. A flashmob in Macy's was so precovid - now we have flashmobs on capital markets:

Also GME should just raise capital and sell enough shares to get the price more reasonable. SEC should not just allow that - but encourage them.

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.

3danohu1yI agree! Access to cheap informal testing has made a HUGE difference in my social circles, and I don't understand why it isn't being used all around me. Life is so much easier when you can work around different risk tolerances by giving tests rather than breaking off contact. Are the antigen tests that much harder to get hold of in other countries?
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... (read more)

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:

  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 al

... (read more)
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?

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://git... (read more)

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?
2MakoYass1y1: A continuous process of presences on each side endorsing their own side and unendorsing presences of the other side when they notice them posting incorrect things. An automated process may notice the split in the endorsement relations, and recommend naming uh, subtags (now starting to really doubt that calling them 'tags' instead of 'sets' was a good idea); tags with more specific meanings. 2: Maybe marginal yeah, someone else will have to apply the more specific indian food tag if they don't want to do it, which shouldn't end up being very much work. In exchange they get to take credit for the tagging and gain influence over the indian food genre.
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. ... (read more)

Social Capital Paradoxes

Ad. "Information is almost as good as iteration." - speculative There is a correlation between intelligence and openness - and the causal link is that people with intelligence can do simulations of others and predict their behaviour better so evolution packs these two traits together.

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

Some more random thoughts.

What is a social network? It is something that gathers messages from a network and presents them as a feed - is that a good definition? It also needs to let the users generate the messages.

What would be the messages? Links with tags, comments, photos, video, ...

In a way a social network is a generalization of:

... (read more)
Design thoughts for building a better kind of social space with many webs of trust

Cool - I really want to use it :)

My own pet idea is to let users have full control over their feed algorithm with a scripting language or something plus a generic Publish Subscribe infrastructure. But your web of trust could be pretty close in all the use cases that I imagine.

Just to get things rolling - what business model do you see for it?

What would be a proof of concept for it? A bare bones system - what would it have to have so that we could test it?

And what do you mean by a 'browser app'?

2MakoYass1yI think about that concept a lot. I've been trying to avoid looking at it during this because it would require designing and implementing a programming language and that seems harder than just doing this without it. But one day I really want to make a social network that just consists of remote reactive permissioned datatypes. Like, a social online programming shell/IDE + stuff for visualizing shared data. It would all just be typed data and the very thin, easily inspectable views people make for working it. It might end up giving rise to some very janky systems, but it would be extremely fun and probably extremely useful to anyone who frequently needs to make online ad-hoc stuff. Free to read articles (hm unless... [1]). A monthly fee plus excess expenses (we'll measure the computational expenditures of each user to reduce the DDOS attack surface. Not sure how common practice that is, but it seems like an important art to develop. If we're ever going to make a social online shell it's going to need to be able to measure computational expendature very precisely and always to attribute it to the one who's really to blame for it.) once a user wants to write, or to run queries that might be a little bit expensive. If there will be obligations to investors, the obligations need to have an expiration date. It doesn't have to come soon, but there has to be a constitutional commitment for the organization to, in the long-term, answer only to the mission of stewarding a productive global discourse. A fairly modular UI consisting of a way of looking at your presences, browsing webs, and opening views over your saved queries, I think [] [1]: If we're taking a fee at all, it might make sense to support a thing where... some content is only made easily accessible to people who are paying a commons funding fee, which is kind of like subs
RT-LAMP is the right way to scale diagnostic testing for the coronavirus

OK, but do you have a more through comparison between PCR and RT-LAMP or is it just based on your intuitions?

And there are even more methods:

What are the risks of permanent injury from COVID?
Answer by zbyJul 08, 20203

I have gathered some links in: -but I guess it is dated now. It is strange that we don't have stats about that - it is only one step more difficult than the CFR stats.

High Stock Prices Make Sense Right Now

"money printing = devaluation -> inflation" - that is kind of obvious - I would start with asking what are the arguments against it. In 2008 it did not work that way - so it looks kind of disproved, but times are changing. The Ray Dalio recent blog posts suggest that the USD global reserve status might be at the end of its cycle. Another thing is that the US government debt it increasing and at some day it will reach one of two reinforcing thresholds: one where investors would start seeing it as dangerous (and demand higher rates) and the other where se

... (read more)
Guided By The Beauty Of Our Weapons

Someone should forward this to Mark Zuckerberg - Facebook can do a lot of good without becoming the arbiter of truth.

(Just in case the reference is lost when this is read in the future:

How likely is the COVID-19 apocalyptic scenario?

I would like to discuss #2 - there are some reports about that: - these leads to Reddit patient reports, I don't use Reddit that much and I don't know how reliable they are, are those even from real people?

It is consistent with the 'silent hypoxia' story - that the virus destroys the lungs in a way that makes them very inefficient it blood oxygenation - but initially still good at expelling CO2. We don't feel low ... (read more)

March Coronavirus Open Thread

It is also a hope in type 1 diabetes: - this is really unexpected stuff.

Peter's COVID Consolidated Brief for 29 March

Hmm - the charts show daily changes in proportion to the previous day - this is not exactly second derivative. For example the function x*x has a constant second derivative - but it would slope down on such a chart.

March Coronavirus Open Thread

A meta question - can we find areas with mismatched incentives (à la ), and biases, where the applying the rational thinking methodology would have high leverage? What can LessWrong do better than official science?

3ChristianKl2yI don't think that there's a single "rational thinking methodology". We have a bunch of different tools. While the current FDA works at allow Moderna to do their human trials very early, it seems the same isn't true for the EMA and CureVac who advises CureVac to do their first human trial only in early summer. Getting the public to be angry at the EMA for giving advice that delays a potential vaccine might be a point of high leverage. There seems to be a strong need to get the educated public informed about the vaccine development business, so that we can exert public pressure on making it faster at the right points. [] [] for not privacy violating smart phone contact tracing is high leverage that might not get enough support from existing institutions. Quantified Self has many points where the existing institutions aren't yet focused enough. []
March Coronavirus Open Thread

This is interesting subject - can we do here better than official science? As I understand the situation now there are still no good trials on this. There is one Italian trial that was heavily criticized: , and one Chinese that has not been published yet: - and some older ones for SARS

But maybe soon we'll have better data: (read more)

March Coronavirus Open Thread

Favipiravir - I have not seen this yet here, but it looks actually even more promising than chloroquine:

Reduction from 11 to 4 median days of treatment.

1willbradshaw2yThanks, this is a nice layman's overview. I'm not a layman, though, and I'm planning on going much deeper than this (I've spent a lot of my weekend buried in virology textbooks). From the article: "HIV and SARS-CoV-2 have about as much in common as a human and a satsuma" I wonder whether this is just journalistic flair or actually grounded in something. They don't cite their sources very well, unfortunately.
Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread

How about using UV lamps and ozone in bathroom to sanitize the deliveries? This might be particularly useful for groceries.

0Davidmanheim2yPlease don't use ozone - []
2AlexSchell2yI should have made it clearer I don't deny we can literally flatten the curve, but rather the idea that Unclear to me how well St Louis did on the health care system front. Also, the pairing of Philadelphia and St Louis is a bit convenient if you consider the raw scatterplot [] (panel C bottom left - ETA Philadelphia is the dot closest to Pittsburgh per this table [] ).
Seeing the Smoke

It would be useful to compare it to the previous pandemic possibilities: SARS, swine flu, avian flu.

People correctly try to reason by analogy - but it is important to find the differences.

2Richard1212ySome data from the BBC comparing them: [] The current overall death rate is estimated at approx. 1%, with a fairly large number of cases. It has spread much further and faster than SARS or MERS, but is far less dangerous than either. Which makes sense - a disease which incapacitates or kills in a high percentage of cases is unlikely to spread as fast as one which has mild symptoms in most infected people. It now appears almost certain to become endemic. The real goal is to slow down the spread sufficiently to develop vaccines before this happens. That worked for bird flu and swine flu. It remains to be seen for Covid19
What is Success in an Immoral Maze?

How does that relate to all what was said (and sang) about 'rat race'?

2Zvi2y'Rat race' is a highly related concept. It's mostly a subset, I think, although your view of the term may vary. Rat race illustrates the idea that when all the workers try harder to get ahead of other workers, everyone does lots more work, often to no useful end, without people on net getting ahead. Or, alternatively, that you do all this work just to stay in place. It certainly has implications of 'what I am doing doesn't actually matter' and also 'what I am doing is a zero-sum game" which implies the first thing.
Is Rationalist Self-Improvement Real?
through giving me access to good ideas of the "invest in index funds" level

for me the point is about getting *consistently* good ideas, getting reliable ideas where applying scientific method is too hard. It is much less about self-improvement as it is about community improvement in the face of more and more connected (and thus weird) world. Rationality is epistemology for the internet era.

Anti-social Punishment


A slightly broader theory: being too cooperative makes live easy for the non cooperators (the state in the Soviet Union case, but it also works in cases when people fall for some stupid maniulations). There must be many equilibria and some cultures stay at some middle level, they don't aim at the most productive ones out of fear not to be pushed into the least productive.

Applause Lights

Sounds like