Comment by alahonua on The Holy Algorithm · 2021-04-03T20:12:50.491Z · LW · GW

Actually, the Easter 2021 date is in May for some Eastern communities: see

Comment by alahonua on Base rate of RCT from developing countries finding unexpected effects · 2021-01-12T17:12:23.843Z · LW · GW

The rapid availability of third world originated studies to internet searches by those living elsewhere, which has happened because of internet publishing and especially in the last three years because of openly searchable preprint sites such as medrxiv, is a new enough thing in science that I doubt there has been enough time to get a valid such likely future failure rate, especially if you are including preprints.

To get an approximate base rate you would need to check the years prior to open internet medical paper publishing. At minimum you would need to read the older years of paper versions of those nation's journals, likely in their medical schools, and count the studies fitting your criteria over the past ten years or more, ideally even including the studies rejected by such journals if you are including preprints in your questions about the Covid-19 studies. Not an easy project, so best to take the studies you mention as proposing a hypothesis, perhaps to be tested in the future via reproducibility. Just like most other clinical studies published by anyone else anywhere.

Comment by alahonua on A Simplified Version of Perspective Solution to the Sleeping Beauty Problem · 2020-12-31T22:14:51.442Z · LW · GW

From a completely subjective view, there can be no single answer as to what day of the week it is. It is whatever weekday  I decide it is. Who could gainsay it?

As soon as we allow an objective view of what day of the week it is, we implicitly allow an over-ride of the subjective viewpoint by the objective one, and the 1/3 probability becomes the better choice.

Comment by alahonua on An argument for personal identity transfer. · 2020-12-14T01:36:35.295Z · LW · GW

One advantage to a thought experiment is that it can be scaled without cost. Instead of your  sorites series, let us posit a huge number of conscious humans. We alter each human to correspond to a single step in your gradual change over time, so that we wind up performing in parallel what you posit as a series of steps. Line our subjects in "stage of alteration" order.

Now the conclusion of your series of steps corresponds to the state of the last subject in our lineup. Is this subject's consciousness the same as at start? If we assume yes, then we have assumed our conclusion, and the argument assumes its conclusions.

If we assume for sake of argument the subject's consciousness at the end of our lineup differs from the start of the lineup, then we can walk along the line and locate where we first begin to notice a change. This might vary with groups of subjects, but we can certainly then find a mean for where the change may start. This is possible even if in series we cannot perceive a difference between the subject from one step to another.

Comment by alahonua on An argument for personal identity transfer. · 2020-12-13T22:33:56.444Z · LW · GW

Almost all gradual-brain-to-device replacement arguments are indeed sorites arguments. You assume:

Plucking one or three hairs from a beard that has 10000 hairs beard is too small an action to change a beard visibly

Plucking 2 hairs from a beard with 9998 hairs is too small a change to see (true)

Plucking 2 hairs from a beard with 9996 hairs is too small a change to see (true)


plucking 2 hairs 4000 times from a beard is too small a change to see (false)

Comment by alahonua on Examples of Measures · 2020-11-15T19:20:40.796Z · LW · GW

Read this online classic paper about geometric measure theory, because it's really entertaining:

Comment by alahonua on Sleeping Julia: Empirical support for thirder argument in the Sleeping Beauty Problem · 2020-11-04T06:47:37.149Z · LW · GW

I think that OP is confusing expected value with probability.

The  expected value formula is the probability of an event multiplied by the amount of times the event happens: (P(x) * n).

This explains the P(B) = 1.5 the OP put above-- he means the expectation is 1.5, because P(waking with any one coin flip result) = 1/2 and the times it occurs is 3.

So the halfers believe the expectation is 1/2 for waking with heads and 1/2 for waking with tails.

The thirders have the expected values right:  1 for waking with heads, 2 for waking with tails.

Comment by alahonua on Born as the seventh month dies ... · 2020-07-11T07:34:16.525Z · LW · GW

This is correct, if you are excluding the case where both are boys both born on Tuesday. Otherwise you would not subtract p(A and B). But, you did not say only one, you said _at least_ one.

Comment by alahonua on Born as the seventh month dies ... · 2020-07-10T17:21:16.357Z · LW · GW

I don't think you have the dependencies quite right, because you can actually use more of the information than you do above to restrict the population from which you draw.

The real underlying population you should draw on seems to to be the population of fathers with exactly two children, of which one might be a boy born on Tuesday.

p(a two boy family given one brother was born on Tuesday) = (p(one brother born on Tuesday in a in two-boy family)) (p(two boys in 2 person families)) / p(out of all two person families, having one be a boy born on Tuesday)

which is if we say Tuesday birth is 1/7 and boy is 1/2,

(2/7) (1/4) / (2/14) = 1/2 so the Tuesday datum drops out.

Comment by alahonua on Do any mammal species exhibit an immune response in some of the herd in response to the infection in other herd members? · 2020-05-16T20:38:58.745Z · LW · GW

It is not a crazy question at all. In fact it has a variety of answers: I will summarize with a "no," a "yes," and a "no."

1. No, exposure of others to Covid-19 may cause them to become specifically immune to that virus, but it will not cause us to also become specfically immune unless we are similarly exposed to virus components themselves, not just the persons involved.

2. Yes, the fact that people near us are in distress because they are sick will probably cause us, as we too are distressed by the situation, to secrete stress hormone and related responses that will somewhat alter our immune system, for example by raising the count of neutrophilic white cells in our blood somewhat.

3. No, that particular kind of nonspecific change in our stress hormones and related effects on our immune calls is not likely to prevent Covid-19 infection in us.

Comment by alahonua on Help me with bayesian thinking re:coronavirus? · 2020-03-09T06:38:55.501Z · LW · GW

Yes, true. The exact numbers are very uncertain, but the qualitative point remains that someone who feels fever many days per winter has less chance of a similar day with fever being from covid than someone with a fever today who has had no fever for over a year.

Comment by alahonua on Help me with bayesian thinking re:coronavirus? · 2020-03-08T18:01:08.453Z · LW · GW

To answer properly you need to know the prevalence of fever of any kind. In particular, you might use the number of days with fever per year you had last year / 365, for example. If you literally never get a fever for years, I'd worry more then if you did.

P(19coro | fever) = P(fever| 19coro, about 0.5??) * P(19coro, perhaps 0.001??) / P(fever)

Comment by alahonua on Is it worthwhile to save the cord blood and tissue? · 2020-01-12T01:46:45.770Z · LW · GW

1. Not very valuable. Handling and storage costs far outweigh acquisition costs.

2. Unmatched, easy; well matched, somewhat difficult.

3. Generally it depends on the specific inherited immune characteristics of mother and child, similar to these factors in kidney donation.

4. For decades, yes, for a lifetime no.

5/6 No and sort of yes.

If you are going to donate cord blood for others, as a humanitarian thing, check with your OB/GYN about whether they know who would need to be there to ship the donation.

If you are going to save it for family use, I would do so only if you are aware of a known risk requiring use of such a donation in the baby or family, such as an inherited blood disorder or similar risk factor. If there is none, the cost-effectiveness of banking with a commercial outfit is poor unless you have inexpensive access to a liquid nitrogen-level freezer for long term storage. If the family has such an inherited disorder, check with the physicians treating it for instructions.

Comment by alahonua on How to avoid dying in a car crash · 2013-02-06T19:05:54.151Z · LW · GW

I know no one is likely to do this, but consider the safeguards taken by auto racing drivers. They are required to wear a helmet. For high speed driving helmets on all in the car would cut the death rate. That said, I doubt anyone will do this, as the inconvenience is great for a small payoff.