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Two ominous charts on the financial markets 2022-01-08T14:07:30.897Z

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Comment by arunto on Risk and Safety in the age of COVID · 2022-01-21T09:48:57.967Z · LW · GW

The three perspectives map to some extent on to the political discussion in Germany. Currently there is a debate whether there should be a general vaccination mandate (there is already a mandate for health care workers). The parlament will not decide along party lines (which is quite atypical for the German political system), currently there are three possible bills:

a) A general vaccination mandate (18+ years), the reasoning behind that look somewhat like "Zero COVID" (but maybe it's a combination of "Zero COVID" and "Flatten the Curve").

b) A vaccination mandate for older citizens (50+ years) because those groups are primarily at risk and a high number of infections there puts too much stress on the healthcare systems (leading to capacity restraints for other urgent treatments, e.g. cancer surgery), "Flatten the Curve".

c) The rejection of a general vaccination mandate because everybody has the possibility of protecting themselves by vaccination, "Focused Protection".

Comment by arunto on Long covid: probably worth avoiding—some considerations · 2022-01-18T07:24:54.861Z · LW · GW

One possible component e.g. drug overdose deaths, with an increase of 31% from 2019 to 2020 (it will be interesting to see, how the numbers for 2021 are). CDC

Comment by arunto on Guidelines for cold messaging people · 2022-01-17T12:56:44.231Z · LW · GW

Great list, thanks.

I think for 7. there is a possible alternative:

Writing something like "In the case that you would be willing to answer my questions I have included them below this mail" and putting them in at the end of the mail (below the closing of the e-mail).

This could have advantages for both sides:

  1. The recipient can, if they choose, have a short look at the questions and decide based on that whether they want to answer. They don't run the risk of saying "yes" and then being confronted with a time investment they didn't want to make once they read the questions in a second mail.
  2. Maybe the questions are interesting for the recipient (increasing the likelihood of them answering).
  3. If the questions are easy to answer and the mail reaches the recipient at a time when he is able and willing to answer them it is not necessary for them to answer the mail and then wait for the questions.
Comment by arunto on Long covid: probably worth avoiding—some considerations · 2022-01-16T12:30:13.940Z · LW · GW

In general, I agree with your view that one should try not to get Covid (Unless the individual costs for trying not to get it are very high, which would depend on the individual life circumstances. Since here in Germany many things are closed down anyway, for me the costs are smaller than the benefit of playing ist safe). Having said that, short remarks about two of your points:

G. Here it is interesting to look at different countries. For me the default in the tool was UK and Germany, and the differences in excess mortality for the age group 15-64 were huge. I am not sure whether that can only be explained by different Covid rates in different countries.

Q. On a short time-scale one important factor could be how long ago you were boostered (assuming you have got 3 vaccinations). With a booster very recently (maybe a couple of weeks) it could be better to be infected now than in 3 months. (I still think it would be even better not be infected now or in 3 months, but depending on the individual costs of not getting infected the timing of the booster could be a relevant factor for some people).

Comment by arunto on Survey supports ‘long covid is bad’ hypothesis (very tentative) · 2022-01-15T18:32:01.548Z · LW · GW

Based on a study by the University Mainz (Germany) it seems to me that long Covid is real, but not necessarily if you look at the specific symptoms thought to be associated with long covid.

They compared three groups: 
Group 1 Covid patients ("wissentlich infizierte")
Group 2 persons with Covid antibodies not knowing that they had Covid ("unwissentlich infizierte")
Group 3 persons without Covid antibodies ("ohne Infektion")

a) Looking at a list of possible long Covid symptoms 59.5% of group 1 were asymptomatic, 60.4% of group 2 and 54.3% of group 3. Serious long Covid symptoms 7.3% in group 1, 9.3% in group 2 and 11.3% in group 3. [slides 18 and 21]. Taking this at face value would indicate a small protective effect for getting Covid symptoms against long Covid (not the official conclusions of that study, of course, and mine neither, but it would have been such an amusing headline).

b) Looking at the subjective health state, however, yielded more plausible results:
29.8% of group 1 (knowingly infected) reported worse health compared to before the pandemic, whereas 22.4% of group 2 (unknowingly infected) and 22.0% of group 3 (not infected) [see slide 13]. Maybe the difference between group 1 and groups 2+3 could be seen as a rough estimate for long Covid (my conclusion, not necessarily the study's), that would put the risk for long Covid at about 7.5%. Of course, there are factors that could lead to this estimate being too low (having had Covid reducing the anxiety related health problems compared to the other groups; then the organ based health problems for group 1 could be more frequent than 7.5% to get to the same overall results) or too high (persons who know they had Covid think they should say that their health is worse, e.g. because of the discussion about long Covid.).

Comment by arunto on Personal blogging as self-imposed oppression · 2022-01-15T15:31:18.688Z · LW · GW

As for the second risk (that your public claims become part of your identity), even pseudonymous blogging could be a problem if you have a certain number of followers.  To guard against this to some degree, the advice might be:
"You should try blogging under different pseudonyms" (maybe on different platforms when it is, understandably, discouraged to do so on one platform.)

Comment by arunto on Two ominous charts on the financial markets · 2022-01-10T06:42:05.878Z · LW · GW

Am curious, are you suggesting any actionable trading strategy?

No, primarily I wanted to point out certain risk factors. The last sentence of my post was meant primarily as an illustration of the sentence before that.

d) sounds like you might be suggesting long vol, are you suggesting that?

Based on the risk factors stated above (but also based on the fact that overvaluations can be quite long lasting) I think most likely is one of two scenarios: A continued increase in the stock market based on the feeling of "there is no alternative" or a marked reduction of equity prices, so basically a bimodal distribution of expected returns. 

Whether this is already priced in in the current option market I don't know. (And since I don't do short term trading I don't really care that much.) Without a specific prediction for the distribution of the expected returns (which I am unable to give above the more qualitative statement in the previous paragraph) I think it isn't possible to answer that. 

Comment by arunto on Two ominous charts on the financial markets · 2022-01-09T08:18:29.456Z · LW · GW

Thank you very much, now I have realized the problem. 

For some reason I had activated the option "Restore the previous WYSIWYG editor". After unselecting that I can paste pictures into the editor (but I don't have to because the current editors automatically used the best size for the pictures).

Comment by arunto on Two ominous charts on the financial markets · 2022-01-09T07:55:41.091Z · LW · GW
Which decades are you looking at? As recently as the decade before last (2000s) we had negative real (and nominal) returns for 10 years.

Sorry, I should have made that more clear. I am talking about the period since the start of the interest rate decline (mid 1980s to today).

"c) The change in the interest rate environment and the inexperience of the vast majority of players with such a change can lead to price movements that go far beyond usual price movements in the business cycle."
I'm not sure this sentence makes sense?

Let me try to rephrase that: I think we will be seeing a fundamental change in the financial markets due to an end to the 35year long reduction of real interest rates. And most of the actors have only known investing in an environment with more or less constantly decreasing real interest rates. I believe this combination could lead to widespread panic in the markets once the people making investment decision realize that they don't know anymore how the markets react due to the new environment.

Therefore we should expect forward returns to be low. The problem (for me) is there isn't much to be done about this. TINA. There is no alternative.

I believe that rationale for investing in equities is quite widespread today. Obviously, there is an alternative (accepting secure negative real returns), but in order to avert guaranteed losses investors take on risk. I am not saying that this is necessarily the wrong strategy, but it poses an interesting question: How will investors with this motivation for holding stocks react in a downturn?

Comment by arunto on Two ominous charts on the financial markets · 2022-01-09T07:38:14.428Z · LW · GW

The bond yields in your second figure are obviously not adjusted for inflation (ie, they are nominal yields, not real yields after inflation). So I'm not sure one can draw much of a conclusion from it.

That's true, I should have used a chart with real interest rates (I chose that specific graph because it was the one that made the problem salient for me when I had first seen it).

However, with real interest rates it looks similar: Real interest rates 1980-2020

Comment by arunto on Two ominous charts on the financial markets · 2022-01-08T15:25:09.526Z · LW · GW

Thanks. Resizing the image isn't a problem but how can I upload the resized image? If I click on the image icon in the editor I have to put in an URL.

Comment by arunto on Two ominous charts on the financial markets · 2022-01-08T14:11:51.537Z · LW · GW

(I know the charts are too small but I haven't figured out yet how to adjust the size of the charts in the editor).

Comment by arunto on Omicron Post #13: Outlook · 2022-01-08T01:27:09.417Z · LW · GW

When it comes to China a crucial question is how much more contagious Omicron is in a naive population (i.e. how much of Omicron's tramsmission advantage is not explained by its potential for breakthrough infections.) Do we have good estimates for that?

Comment by arunto on COVID Skepticism Isn't About Science · 2022-01-06T12:04:42.076Z · LW · GW

That depends on the outcome measure. For self reported health I think that is quite possible.

However, for all cause mortality (as in the paper) as an outcome measure I don't think a nocebo effect to be likely.

Comment by arunto on hamnox's Shortform · 2022-01-05T07:18:24.282Z · LW · GW
I mean, we can. Drop a bunch of humans naked in a forest today and they won't be able to replicate most of our inventions for centuries.

That's actually an interesting question. How much does it count, in practice, that we know that something is possible, even if we don't know the specific details? (And, of course, it would depend on the forest and its climate - how much energy is needed for how long for the mere survival and how much energy and time can be spend on replicating inventions).

Comment by arunto on What explains the excess mortality? · 2022-01-02T15:46:43.621Z · LW · GW

There are at least three additional maps on OurWorldInData that maybe partially could explain it:

Trust (1)

Healthcare Expenditure

Population density

(1) Unfortunately those numbers are from 2014. Given the political developments in the UK and in the US more recent data could look different. And "trust in government" would likely be the more relevant data point.

Comment by arunto on Covid risk of staying at a hotel · 2022-01-02T10:06:23.479Z · LW · GW

I think there are actually three important factors when it comes to aerosols:

1. HVAC system

2. Room cleaning

3. Former guests

I'd worry more about 2. than about 3., because in most cases room cleaning is more recent (higher prob of aerosols in the air) and it's hard work, leading to heavy breathing.

To some extent 1 and 2&3 could go into different directions - a HVAC system shortening the time a problematic amount of aerosols is airborne but possibly (depending on the system) leading to the the risk of getting aerosols from other rooms.

I would guess the safest thing would be (if that's possible in you location):

1 Hotel room without AC, just with ventilation for the bathroom.

2 Ventilating the room before taking of the mask and/or going outside for some amount of time after getting the room (so that the amount of aerosol, primarily from room cleaning, is reduced). Especially if you are early or you see signs of very recent cleaning (e.g. wet surfaces).

Unfortunately, I am not able to quantify the risk.

Comment by arunto on What are sane reasons that Covid data is treated as reliable? · 2022-01-01T19:52:08.757Z · LW · GW
I've never known anyone who has been tested for a variant of any kind. I don't know anything about how variant tests look different from a generic Covid test. So where are these numbers for variant spread coming from? Maybe hospitals do have special genetic tests and reliably do those? But then isn't there going to be a pretty strong bias based on the fact that these are only for people who are getting hospitalized?

For the US there is a surveillance program run by the CDC in which each week they get specimens from all US states to be sequenced. CDC’s Role in Tracking Variants

"Specimens will ideally represent a variety of demographic and clinical characteristics and geographic locations. Selection of a diverse set of specimens will help ensure a representative set of sequences are generated for national monitoring." National SARS-CoV-2 Strain Surveillance (NS3)

I guess that for other countries there are similiar surveillance programs in place.

Comment by arunto on COVID Skepticism Isn't About Science · 2022-01-01T16:51:03.178Z · LW · GW

It is an interesting research idea, but after skimming the paper I don't really trust their methods.

1. If I understand it correctly, then they are adjusting their results based by the deaths from 2020. Contrary to their claim I think it does not make sense to do that to control for seasonality. In 2020 Covid deaths in the US only became an issue by the end of March. And the countermeasures against Covid in 2020 could have changed typical behavioral patterns (e.g. travel) associated with possible deaths.

2. Their analysis methods don't seem to be adequate for this kind of panel data. They are running separate regression models for each month and each age group (table 2) - I don't think this is the way panel data should be analyzed (but I am no expert in that - one could ask someone with a background in econometrics about that).

3. If I understand it correctly, they ran multiple models and for aggregating the predicted vaccine deaths they have picked the submodel supporting their claim, which would be a big red flag from my perspective [see notes to table 3, "If a model using same (not previous) month vaccinations was significant and the equivalent models using previous month was not, then death estimates from those models were used instead (light gray boxes). Similarly, if a model using age-specific vaccination (i.e. doses administered to people >65 yrs) was significant and the equivalent model using all vaccine doses administered was not, then death estimates from those models were used instead (dark gray boxes)"].

4. One problem with their basic approach could be that vaccinations change behaviour and this changed behaviour could lead to deaths (that are unrelated to the vaccines). To control for that one would need e.g. the number of accident deaths (to subtract them from the total numbers before running the analysis).

Comment by arunto on Internet Literacy Atrophy · 2021-12-27T08:28:20.624Z · LW · GW

That is true but actually it is a main part of the problem. You don't need many new apps, but by not using them you can cumulatively loose (or not gain) crucial competencies you do need later on.

Comment by arunto on Internet Literacy Atrophy · 2021-12-26T17:35:45.998Z · LW · GW

For me (52 yrs old) it would actually be quite helpful to know what I should know/look into to keep up with current technologies. What is the current "internet canon" of tools, sites, and programs? And more general: How can I - at any given time - best find out which new things on the internet I should at least superficially learn in order not to be left behind?

Comment by arunto on How to select a long-term goal and align my mind towards it? · 2021-12-25T08:27:02.011Z · LW · GW

I think there are several perspectives from which you could approach the question of which direction(s) you want to take:

1 What are your values? What is really important for you?

2 What are your interests? What do you like doing? What activities get you in a flow state?

3 What are your strengths? What are you really good at?

4 From an empirical perspective, which directions have a positive effect on one's well-being?

Comment by arunto on Law of No Evidence · 2021-12-20T16:05:03.336Z · LW · GW

Yes, of course, we should demand that.

But as long as there are certain incentives in place we shouldn't be surprised if human beings act in accordance with those incentives.

Comment by arunto on Law of No Evidence · 2021-12-20T15:00:14.015Z · LW · GW
In the context of deciding how to handle a pandemic under uncertainty, or trying to model the world in the course of everyday life to make decisions, using the standards and sets of procedures of a criminal court is obvious nonsense.

That depends on the person's goals. If your goal as a politician or as a government bureaucrat is to maximize your time in office then that can be a very good standard given the incentives in those areas. I believe in most cases "There is no evidence" is short for "I don't want to be on record as making judgements on my own because then I could be punished for a judgement that turns out wrong".

Comment by arunto on Omicron Post #6 · 2021-12-13T19:56:05.618Z · LW · GW

Bredford's new data for Germany are quite interesting. An Rt of 3.2 with widespread mask mandates, compulsory testing for many public situations and something like a partial lockdown for unvaccinated persons (even though the vaccination status may not be that important for the spread of Omicron, locking down any 25%+ of the population should have a meaningful effect) leads me to the following predictions:

1. To stop the spread of Omicron (if that is what one really wants given the costs associated with it) a more or less full lockdown of all nonessential social activities would be necessary (whether that would be sufficient is a different question). - 75%

2. Since the German healthcare system (and those of many other European states) is near the limit of its capacity (primarily because of staffing shortages for intensive care beds), there will be a lockdown in Germany starting before January 15. - 55% (even if 1. were true, Omicron could be significantly less virulent).

3. Given the seasonality of the virus and the US being about 1 month behind Central Europe when it comes to the onset of autumn, the Rt in the US will increase to 4.5 or higher (more in the direction of the Rt in the UK). - 75% (could be lower if the control system kicks in fast).

Comment by arunto on Omicron Post #4 · 2021-12-07T09:17:27.513Z · LW · GW
Isn't that the vast majority of people in the US?

We know the vaccination rates (NPR). And we have estimates for the the number of infected persons (Estimated COVID-19 Burden). But do we have a trustworthy estimate for the intersection of those two groups (and with that an estimate for the total number of previously infected and/or vaccinated)? That would be important information, ideally statewise.

The other important data point would be the intensive care capacity.

Comment by arunto on Omicron Post #4 · 2021-12-06T19:30:17.644Z · LW · GW

Maybe I am extrapolating too much from the hospital situation here in parts of Europe (due to Delta's seasonality, not yet to Omicron) but I think the probability of widely overwhelmed hospitals is still too low with 17%, taken together with your other stated probabilities:

a) 50% Omicron not importantly less virulent than Delta (rephrased statement)

b) 95% Omicron most common strain

c) 65% Omicron with a transmission advantage of more than 100%

If we take that, and in addition,

d) Low vaccination rates in many US states outside of New England (NPR vaccination tracker).

then I would think about 30% is more likely, because the chance of not vaccine protected persons being infected with a virus not importantly less virulent should massively increase given your probabilities. (Actually maybe more than 30%, but the possibility of fast availability of treatment options, e.g. Paxlovid, has to be taken into account).

Comment by arunto on Omicron Variant Post #1: We’re F***ed, It’s Never Over · 2021-11-26T21:08:23.924Z · LW · GW

Re: Germany declaring South Africa as country with COVID variant of concern

This declaration has the legal consequence of a travel ban (excluding German citizens, who have to go into quarantine for 14 days).

Comment by arunto on Rapid Increase of Highly Mutated B.1.1.529 Strain in South Africa · 2021-11-26T09:43:54.488Z · LW · GW

Here are the slides for the video:

sars-cov-2-sequencing-new-variant-update-25-november-2021

Comment by arunto on First Strike and Second Strike · 2021-11-25T10:08:55.688Z · LW · GW
Missile defense systems constitute first-strike technology.

I think it is dual-use. A strong (compared to the offensive capabilities of a possible adversary) missile defense is a first-strike technology. A weak missile defense can be a very important second-strike technology.

E.g. in the context of US-China: Given the differences in the amount of warheads and delivery systems a strong US missile-defense system could be a destabilizing first-strike technology. On the other hand, a weak Chinese missile-defense could be stabilizing by enhancing the second-strike capabilities of China without harming the second-strike capabilities of the US.

Comment by arunto on Covid 11/11: Winter and Effective Treatments Are Coming · 2021-11-14T19:33:01.424Z · LW · GW

Additional information:

A couple of hours ago Austria has decided to implement a lockdown for unvaccinated citizens in all its states (Reuters).

And I have looked at the numbers for their two states with low vaccination rates:

Upper Austria: 55.89 % fully vaccinated (1), 415% increase in the Covid incidence in the last 4 weeks

Salzburg: 57.06% fully vaccinated (1), 490% increase in the Covid incidence in the last 4 weeks

Sources: Coronavirus in Österreich, AGES Dashboard.

Which closely mirrors the growth rate for the German states with similiarily low vaccination rates (Saxony, Thuringia).

(1): Here, fully vaccinated does not imply a third, booster shot.

Comment by arunto on Covid 11/11: Winter and Effective Treatments Are Coming · 2021-11-14T10:44:49.610Z · LW · GW

"The question is not whether cases will continue increasing, but rather whether the increase will accelerate and by how much. "

Looking at what is currently happening here in Germany and its neighboring countries (e.g. Netherlands, Austria, Denmark) the increase is highly likely to accelerate.

Why can a look at these European countries be somewhat predictive for the US? Berlin and Amsterdam lie further north than Montreal or Toronto. And the climate table for Berlin in September is similar to the climate table for Chicago in October. Therefore I think that the behaviour of the delta variant due to seasonality here in Europe now can to some extent give an indication what is going to happen in the northern half of the US in about a month. And the vaccination rates here are higher than in the US (completely vaccinated: US 58.5%, Germany 67.1%, Netherlands 64.8%, Austria 64.9%, Denmark 75.7% - numbers are based on NPR and ECDC; there are slightly different numbers für the European countries depending on the source I look at, but the general picture is clear, I think.)

Given those vaccination numbers and what is happening here (see below) I believe that parts of the US Midwest are quite likely to be hit hard by a next wave at the end of the year with current vaccination rates of 53.9% (Michigan), 52.3% (Ohio) or 50.1% (Indiana). And even the high vaccination rates in the New England states (e.g. Vermont 71.8%) could not be enough to prevent a next wave without at least some countermeasures against transmissions beeing in place.

Germany

Germany is back into exponential growth. The seven-day-R-value in Germany has been fairly constant at about 1.2 since mid October. However the growth rates differ between the states by their vaccination rates (from 57.4% fully vaccinated in Saxony to 79.1% in Bremen). I have calculated the correlation between vaccination rates and 7-day-infection-rate of the 16 German states, the results were r = -.78, p < .001. The steepest rise was in Saxony with an increase in infections over one month of nearly 500% and in Thuringia with about 400% (RKI).

The states with lower vaccination rates, Saxony (57.4%), Thuringia (61.4%), Bavaria (65.4%), and Baden-Wuerttemberg (65.5%), report massive problems with their hospitals due to shortages in intensive care capacity. Currently, they are able to compensate this with transfers to other hospitals within state but they expect to be forced to transfer patients to other states soon. There are on a regular basis reports from different states about outbreaks in nursing homes with half a dozen fully vaccinated (2x) inhabitants dying of covid.

This development has happened within the following regulatory framework: Germany has maintained mask mandates in public places (however not in most schools). For many situations, e.g. bars and restaurants, there has been a rule of "3G" (geimpft, genesen, getestet = vaccinated, recovered in the last 6 months, recently tested), although there are increasing regulations with "2G" (only vaccinated or recovered, no entry for unvaccinated). There are no vaccination mandates, e.g. for the healthcare sector.

It is not clear yet which additional measures will be implemented. There is talk about possibly changing to "2G+" (only vaccinated or recovered, but both with an additional recent test) and about reintroducing home office mandates for business.

Netherlands

The Netherlands had stopped most countermeasure (mask mandates, social distancing) on September, 25, but has reintroduced those measures after seeing a strong increase in infections. This weekend they opted for a partial lockdown (e.g. shops and restaurants closing at 8:00 pm, max 4 visitors at home, home office if possible) - an announcement that has lead to massive public protests (France24).

Austria

In Austria with a higher incidence than in Germany some states are imposing a lockdown for unvaccinated persons. It is planned to extend this lockdown for the unvaccinated nationwide (France24).

Denmark

Denmark with its high vaccination rate hasn't had problems on the scale of the other countries mentioned above. They lifted their restrictions mid-September but a recent surge of infections has forced them to reconsider reintroducing some countermeasures (CNN).

Of course, the vaccination rates between Europe and the US can't be compared without adjustments because e.g. the rates of natural immunity due to a prior infection can be different. But nevertheless, there are many parts of the northern half of the US with vaccinations rates so low that it seems unlikely that they will not have a massive infection wave. And Denmark with its very high vaccination rate shows that even the high vaccination rates in the New England states probably won't be enough without additional countermeasures to escape the next wave.

Comment by arunto on Speaking of Stag Hunts · 2021-11-07T16:08:51.402Z · LW · GW

"What are the multiple worlds with which it is compatible? Which worlds that we previously thought possible have been ruled out by this new information?"

Thanks for spelling it out like this, that is quite helpful for me. Even though the idea behind it was clear to me before, I intend to implement those two specific questions more into my thinking routines.

Comment by arunto on The S&P 500 Will Drop Below 3029 Before July 16 (65 percent confidence) · 2021-10-10T13:12:58.818Z · LW · GW

"Yeah, that's exactly how I look at it: The benchmark is the index, not cash. So I would see it as a 30 percent gain."

Why? If you are right you have 100% compared to 70% someone has who's position has lost 30%. Isn't that 42.9% more?

Comment by arunto on How should I behave ≥14 days after my first mRNA vaccine dose but before my second dose? · 2021-04-08T10:24:32.711Z · LW · GW

Maybe figure 1 of this article: Antibody Responses in Seropositive Persons after a Single Dose of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccine could be helpful. I think relevant are the blue dots (for persons seronegative before the first vaccine).

Since the antibody reaction is on a log scale I would be more confident after 28 days than after 14 days based on that graph. But the n for the different time ranges (days after vaccine) are much too small to be sure, of course (and I am not a medical expert).

Comment by arunto on Forcing yourself to keep your identity small is self-harm · 2021-04-04T08:23:16.228Z · LW · GW

I agree that "Keep your identity small" is too general as advice. But the problem Graham has adressed regarding identity is an important one.

So I would propose:

  1. Keep you political identity small. Because as soon as you strongly identify with a specific political group your ability to see reality relatively clearly can be greatly diminished, because politics has opinions about a great amount and variety of topics.

  2. Know your identities and try to realize that you opinions about the world in those areas that are relevant for you identities can be much more biased than in other areas.

  3. Try to have multiple social identities / group memberships because of their protective effects (e.g. Haslam et al., 2008; Iyer et al., 2009).

Comment by arunto on Why We Launched LessWrong.SubStack · 2021-04-01T11:11:29.426Z · LW · GW

Is this move permanent or just for the short term? Because your main expense should become quite cheap in the future due to a changing supply side.

Comment by arunto on The best things are often free or cheap · 2021-03-18T07:54:58.540Z · LW · GW

I really like the content of the post, but disagree with its title. I believe a better title would have been:

"Great things are often free or cheap".

Some examples for better things for that list have been mentioned by other comments. But there is a deeper reason I think the title is quite problematic:

Looking for "the best" seems to me a losing strategy when it comes to quality of life. There is (almost) always something or somewhere else that is better but out of your reach for several reasons (money, distance, time, etc.). If you look for that your experience will be contrasted with a hypothetically even better one, devaluing your own experience.

So, I believe we should not look for "the best", but we definitely should look for "great", for experiences that truly enrich our life and, as you rightfully pointed out, in many cases are cheap and easily accessible if we only start looking for them.

Comment by arunto on AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine and blood clots · 2021-03-16T15:56:02.098Z · LW · GW

Yes, that was the main argument for the decision of the PEI - the risk for a group that does not profit as much from a vaccine as older people.

If I had to guess:

  1. The women had taken oral contraceptives.
  2. Maybe this group will be excluded from this specific vaccine in the future.

(But it is just a guess, I am no expert).

Here additional background information from the German PEI (translation by deepl):

"In seven cases (as of 03/15/2021), a specific form of severe cerebral venous thrombosis associated with platelet deficiency (thrombocytopenia) and bleeding has been identified in temporal association with vaccination with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

It is a very serious disease that is also difficult to treat. Of the seven affected individuals, three had died.

The affected individuals had ages ranging from about 20 to 50 years.

Six of the affected individuals had a particular form of cerebral venous thrombosis, namely sinus vein thrombosis. All six individuals were younger to middle-aged women (see above). Another case with cerebral hemorrhage in platelet deficiency and thrombosis was medically very comparable. All cases occurred between four and 16 days after vaccination with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. This presented as a comparable pattern.

The number of these cases after AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination is statistically significantly higher than the number of cerebral venous thromboses that normally occur in the unvaccinated population. For this purpose, an observed-versus-expected analysis was performed, comparing the number of cases expected without vaccination in a 14-day time window with the number of cases reported after approximately 1.6 million AstraZeneca vaccinations in Germany. About one case would have been expected, and seven cases had been reported.

The younger to middle-aged group of people affected by the severe cerebral venous thromboses with platelet deficiency is not the group of people at high risk for a severe or even fatal COVID-19 course.

In addition to the experts from the Paul Ehrlich Institute, other experts in thrombosis, hematology, and an adenovirus specialist were consulted with the details of the reported cases. All experts were unanimous in their opinion that a pattern could be discerned here and that a connection between the reported above-mentioned diseases and the AstraZeneca vaccination was not implausible.

After an overall review and consideration of the above facts, the Paul Ehrlich Institute recommended that vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine be suspended in Germany as a precautionary measure in order to further analyze the cases. The German Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) has followed this recommendation. The Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will review during the week of March 15, 2021, whether and how the new findings affect the benefit-risk profile of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and the EU approval of the vaccine."

Source: PEI

Comment by arunto on AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine and blood clots · 2021-03-15T21:26:15.583Z · LW · GW

Today's statement by the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI), Germany's vaccine and pharmaceutical regulatory agency (translation by deepl, emphasis in the quote is mine)

"The Paul Ehrlich Institute informs - Temporary suspension of vaccination with COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca

Following intensive consultations on the serious thrombotic events that have occurred in Germany and Europe, the Paul Ehrlich Institute recommends the temporary suspension of vaccinations with the COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca.

Compared to the status on March 11, 2021, additional cases (as of Monday, March 15, 2021) have now been reported in Germany. Analyzing the new data status, the experts of the Paul Ehrlich Institute now see a striking accumulation of a special form of very rare cerebral venous thrombosis (sinus vein thrombosis) in connection with a deficiency of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia) and bleeding in temporal proximity to vaccinations with the COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca.

The data are being further analyzed and evaluated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Vaccinations with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine in Germany will be suspended until the EMA's evaluation is complete. Today's decision affects both initial and follow-up vaccinations.

The Paul Ehrlich Institute advises that individuals who have received AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine and feel increasingly unwell more than four days after vaccination - for example, with severe and persistent headache or pinpoint bleeding of the skin - should seek medical treatment immediately." PEI

Comment by arunto on AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine and blood clots · 2021-03-15T13:47:00.104Z · LW · GW

My prior would be that there probably is no blood clot problem. With the HPV vaccine there were the same fears and a large study showed that this was not the case (source: NPR ).

Blood clots are a somewhat common problem, see e.g. Data and Statistics on Venous Thromboembolism so cases of that are to be expected.

Of course, it is possible that this time it is different and of course, it should be investigated. However, I think that the probability is high that stopping using this vaccine while investigating will kill much more people than its continuous use.

Edit: Having thought about it a little bit longer, I am not so sure anymore about the last paragraph above. Because there is a second order risk: that the unlikely, I believe, case is true that the vaccine causes dangerous blood clots, but the public is told to get vaccinated anyway - possibly leading to a major loss of confidence in all vaccines once this is clear, and by reducing vaccination rates killing many, many more people than the blood clots.

Comment by arunto on Are there good negotiation classes? · 2021-02-24T21:32:45.322Z · LW · GW

For me some of the lecture notes from the MIT OCW course "Power and Negotiation" were quite helpful. However, that mostly applied to contract negotations - as others here have remarked, for the internal workings of a company those negotiation skills are much less relevant. For that I would rather look into diplomatic skills, dealing with conflicts etc.

Comment by arunto on Covid 1/21: Turning the Corner · 2021-01-21T19:45:13.373Z · LW · GW

I feel like restaurants suing so they can have indoor dining says something bad about America. European restaurants just don't do that, so restrictions don't need to be lawsuit-proof.

Not all of Europe's restaurants don't do that. In Germany there have been in most states lawsuits against Covid restrictions of all types, e.g. against restaurant closures.

Comment by arunto on Covid: The Question of Immunity From Infection · 2021-01-20T21:37:18.665Z · LW · GW

That doesn't look good. However, it could be less bad than it looks because of their matching criteria (Supplementary Table 1) not really assessing the severity of different types of prior health issues but their existence only (probably because that is what they had access to for such a large sample), e.g. "history of diabetes: Yes/No".

I think that a latent health status with a high probability of having complications (leading to a hospital stay) if contracting COVID-19 is also linked to a higher probability of a hospital stay or death in the following months even without contracting COVID-19. Hard to tell how much one should correct down the results of the study for deaths and hospital admissions based on that (but I believe there still remains a substantial negative long term impact by the infection with COVID-19).

Comment by arunto on Thoughts on Mustachianism · 2021-01-10T15:21:32.403Z · LW · GW

For me it seems to be more in the range weak-moderate, but I agree, it is definitely not zero evidence.

Comment by arunto on Thoughts on Mustachianism · 2021-01-10T07:35:42.938Z · LW · GW

So if people don't take up art or music during Covid with their excess free time, that seems like reasonably strong evidence that they also wouldn't take up art or music in a non-Covid world with excess free time.

Not necessarily. Fear and anxiety can inhibit exploratory behavior.

Comment by arunto on Centrally planned war · 2021-01-06T18:25:53.813Z · LW · GW

The idea behind it seem to date to the wars against Napoleon but could at first only be a applied to the higher leaders. To apply this idea to leaders lower in the hierarchy needed technological advances:

"It was not until the innovations in weapons technology from the late 1850s onwards, above all the introduction of the breechloading rifle and the resulting battlefield revolution (dissolution of the closed form in favor of a dispersed fighting style, introduction of the rifle squad instead of the company or even battalion column as the main fighting form of the infantry), that the lower troop leaders were forced, as it were, to take on more responsibility and initiative (not to be confused with acting on their own authority)."

Auftragstaktik in Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft (translation by Deepl)

Comment by arunto on Centrally planned war · 2021-01-06T11:16:43.905Z · LW · GW

I think each soldier looking after himself was the older model some centuries ago, and maybe still is in place in many civil war situations (to the detriment of the civilian population). However, within the current international humanitarian rules of law it seems to be quite difficult to do that.

And for modern maneuver warfare based on fast troop movements I don't see how soldiers could organize their own supplies.

Comment by arunto on Stock market hints for 2021 from past crashes · 2020-12-31T14:08:38.950Z · LW · GW

I think it could be helpful to distinguish between two kinds of crashes: Crashes brought about by an external shock (as with covid) and crashes brought about by internal effects of the financial systems (asset bubbles bursting). I think it is not self evident that the aftermath of those two types follow the same rules.

Comment by arunto on Vaccination with the EMH · 2020-12-29T07:46:46.199Z · LW · GW

I like this way of applying EMH to a wider spectrum of situations outside of financial markets. When I first learned about EMH in college a textbook condensed it to "There is no such thing as a free lunch!" Which has been quite helpful for me in a lot of financial situations.

So in order to vaccinate myself with the EMH an additional daily task (additional to the meditation about rewards you have mentioned) could be: Spend 5 minutes each day on identifying promises (by others, by the media, by advertising) or hopes (by me) of a free lunch. So that spotting those becomes automatic.