Posts

How reasonable are concerns about asking for patents to be lifted for COVID-19 vaccines? 2022-01-06T13:09:07.414Z
What explains the excess mortality? 2022-01-02T10:13:37.033Z
Quis cancellat ipsos cancellores? 2021-12-19T11:58:10.431Z
Should we postpone getting a booster due to Omicron, till there are Omicron-specific boosters? 2021-12-04T12:46:09.431Z
Should PAXLOVID be given preventively? 2021-11-27T16:51:54.947Z
Why don't our vaccines get updated to the delta spike protein? 2021-11-26T10:43:59.779Z
How much of the supply-chain issues are due to monetary policy? 2021-11-07T21:21:54.295Z
CFAR, responsibility and bureaucracy 2021-11-06T14:53:28.290Z
NATO: Cognitive Warfare Project 2021-10-21T09:57:03.475Z
Dominic Cummings : Regime Change #2: A plea to Silicon Valley 2021-10-02T19:35:28.871Z
How do you learn to take more beautiful pictures with a camera? 2021-09-22T12:52:31.224Z
Why didn't we find katas for rationality? 2021-09-14T16:43:44.648Z
How do you decide when to change N95/FFP-2 masks? 2021-09-10T07:40:41.353Z
How does your data backup solution setup work? 2021-09-06T09:10:48.659Z
Bupropion and CBD oil 2021-08-19T09:14:48.869Z
What made the UK COVID-19 case count drop? 2021-08-02T13:01:30.048Z
Prediction-based-Medicine instead of E̵v̵i̵d̵e̵n̵c̵e̵ ̵b̵a̵s̵e̵d̵ ̵M̵e̵d̵i̵c̵i̵n̵e̵ Authority-based-Medicine 2021-07-30T10:42:25.243Z
Academic Rationality Research 2021-07-25T13:59:02.848Z
Why is Kleros valued so low? 2021-07-21T13:50:11.732Z
Is there a reasonable reading according to which Baric, Shi et al 2015 isn't gain-of-function research? 2021-07-21T08:19:12.973Z
You are allowed to edit Wikipedia 2021-07-05T09:56:13.253Z
How would you run the statistics on whether Ivermectin helped India reduce COVID-19 cases? 2021-07-03T16:09:17.991Z
What's the effective R for the Delta variant of COVID-19? 2021-07-02T12:49:30.401Z
How do the ivermectin meta-reviews come to so different conclusions? 2021-06-29T22:34:47.443Z
What will be the aftermath of the US intelligence lab leak report? 2021-06-26T20:33:22.098Z
How do the side effects of Novavax compare to other COVID-19 vaccines? 2021-06-24T16:36:19.488Z
War on Cancer II 2021-06-24T14:59:33.464Z
How do you deal with people cargo culting COVID-19 defense? 2021-06-23T19:59:35.454Z
10 Deadly Viruses And Bacteria Created In Labs - 6 SARS 2.0 2021-06-19T22:29:59.999Z
Why did no LessWrong discourse on gain of function research develop in 2013/2014? 2021-06-18T23:35:35.918Z
Fauci’s Emails and the Lab Leak Hypothesis 2021-06-18T13:55:19.913Z
The aducanumab approval 2021-06-17T14:05:39.846Z
Are there any existing open source human evolution models? 2021-06-14T17:28:49.731Z
Which rationalists faced significant side-effects from COVID-19 vaccination? 2021-06-14T09:39:29.218Z
A systematic error that lead to a bad policy response to COVID-19 2021-06-12T19:56:30.399Z
Why do patients in mental institutions get so little attention in the public discourse? 2021-06-12T17:37:41.744Z
Should we vaccinate against PGBD5 which codes for a transposase? 2021-06-08T19:22:03.892Z
Will outlets like the NYT be captured by Chinese influence and if so, when? 2021-06-08T16:31:09.244Z
Hypothesis: lab mice have more active transposons then wild mice 2021-06-05T12:36:06.664Z
Anatomy, diseases and aging damage 2021-05-31T14:01:48.364Z
What should we expect from ARPA-H? 2021-05-19T12:21:41.941Z
SpaceX should provide IPFS proxies with Starlink 2021-05-17T15:05:28.521Z
Why Glen Weyl is a technocrat 2021-05-16T18:01:16.945Z
Why are the websites of major companies so bad at core functionality? 2021-05-06T16:02:09.691Z
Is there a good software solution for mathematical questions? 2021-04-25T18:03:09.594Z
Preventing overcharging by prosecutors 2021-04-06T11:13:50.893Z
What are the best resources to point people who are skeptical of getting vaccinated for COVID-19 to? 2021-03-20T11:18:52.089Z
How can we stop talking past each other when it comes to postrationality? 2021-03-12T15:15:20.948Z
Attempt at a gears model of getting infected with COVID-19 2021-03-02T15:39:36.087Z
How do you run a fit-test for a mask at home when you don't have fancy equipment? 2021-02-28T20:30:20.410Z

Comments

Comment by ChristianKl on Why rationalists should care (more) about free software · 2022-01-25T20:47:20.093Z · LW · GW

Blender having a bad UX is what makes it a specialist application. If it would be easier to use, I would expect more people to do 3D printing. 

There's certainly not zero investment into improving its UX but the number of resources going into that might be 1-2 orders of magnitude higher if it would be proprietary software.

Comment by ChristianKl on What are the counterarguments to a Faustian Vaccine Hypothesis? ($2k charity bounty) · 2022-01-25T20:39:31.366Z · LW · GW

The appearance of increased myocarditis/pericarditis and menstrual disorders for which no mechanism is proposed is the smoke hiding a much bigger fire. 

Covid itself is a perfectly fine mechanism to explain that. 

Comment by ChristianKl on What are the counterarguments to a Faustian Vaccine Hypothesis? ($2k charity bounty) · 2022-01-25T13:14:48.751Z · LW · GW

The people at RaDVaC took measures to hit other targets then the spike protein as well for reasons to make the RaDVaC more effective with future variants. The officially approved one that just use the spike protein do not follow the ideas that RaDVaC advocates here. 

Comment by ChristianKl on (briefly) RaDVaC and SMTM, two things we should be doing · 2022-01-25T11:33:10.718Z · LW · GW

Mystery 5 is only a real mystery if indeed animals under controlled conditions are getting fatter over time. The author presents two sources for this claim. 

I created https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/q/52923/196 to fact-check that claim.

Even if it's true it might however be genetic. Mice that live in a controlled environment where they are protected likely want to put on more fat in preparation for getting pregnant and have less need to spend energy on running around and a lot of other activities in which wild mice burn calories. The effect might be downstream from breeding the same way how the mice were bred to be more susceptible to cancer. 

Comment by ChristianKl on Why rationalists should care (more) about free software · 2022-01-25T10:17:20.206Z · LW · GW

In-house software is usually worse as far as UX goes than software where the actual user of the software has to pay money.

Even if companies would care about the useability of in-house software, general usability is not something that you need for particular use-cases. A company is likely going to optimize for its own workflows instead of optimizing for the useability of the average user.

I don't see why we would expect Blender to look different if open source would be legally mandated. Blender is already used a lot commercially.

Comment by ChristianKl on Postmortem on DIY Recombinant Covid Vaccine · 2022-01-25T09:43:12.644Z · LW · GW

That vendor seems to be a pharmaceutical vendor. In this post, he speaks about "Adiuvans-Mikrokristallen". 

That means it's very small crystals. If you look at table salt the size of the crystals you get when you buy it differs and that likely works the same for the aluminium salts.

Comment by ChristianKl on NFTs, Coin Collecting, and Expensive Paintings · 2022-01-25T09:14:41.702Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure what that has to do with what I said about copyright.

Comment by ChristianKl on Why rationalists should care (more) about free software · 2022-01-24T21:55:32.437Z · LW · GW

Any overt attempts to make things difficult loses the project good will with the community on which they often somewhat depend. 

You don't need to make any overt attempt to make things difficult to use for complex programs to become difficult to use. If you don't invest effort into making them easy to use they usually become hard to use.

The incentive to make it difficult to use if you are providing support has some interesting nuances especially with open core models but it is somewhat cancelled out by the community incentive to make it easy for them to use. 

There's little community incentive to make software easy to use. Ubuntu's useability for the average person is better than that of more community-driven projects. 

Starting in 2008 (number from memory) Microsoft invested a lot in useability for Microsoft Office. As far as I know, there wasn't anything similar for LibreOffice. GIMP's usability is still similarly bad as it was a decade ago.

Even though Blender basically won, its usability is awful. 

One of the key points of inadequate equilibria is that there are plenty of problems in our society where it's hard to create an alignment between stakeholders to get the problem solved. If we would legislate that all software has to be free software then that would prevent some forms that are currently effectively used to get problems solved from getting solved. 

Comment by ChristianKl on NFTs, Coin Collecting, and Expensive Paintings · 2022-01-24T21:38:31.949Z · LW · GW

If that would make up a significant part of the value of many paintings they would lose value as they move towards the copyright expiring. As far as I understand most paintings of that age class rather gain in value then lose value as the years go by.

Comment by ChristianKl on Why rationalists should care (more) about free software · 2022-01-24T20:51:59.094Z · LW · GW

The problem of raising the sanity waterline in the world that currently exists is not one of dealing with emulated consciousness. The word bottleneck makes only sense if you apply it to a particular moment in time. Before the invention of emulated consciousness, any problems with emulated consciousness are not bottlenecks.

Comment by ChristianKl on An Open Letter to the Monastic Academy and community members · 2022-01-24T14:41:01.306Z · LW · GW

If I look at the dictionary, one of the meanings of responsibility is:

​a duty to deal with or take care of somebody/something, so that you may be blamed if something goes wrong

In the video there the claim that in contrast to a CEO who's power is limited and thus does not have a duty to solve all ethical misdeeds of his organization a guru has more power and more duty to deal with significant ethical problems in his organization and is supposed to be blamed if things go wrong. 

Comment by ChristianKl on Why rationalists should care (more) about free software · 2022-01-24T14:34:02.591Z · LW · GW

That retaliation allowed the users to limit the damage because they could work around it. It however did nothing that was disadvantageous to the creator and thus there was no deterrent. The parties were not aligned to cooperate. 

Comment by ChristianKl on Why rationalists should care (more) about free software · 2022-01-24T11:04:19.187Z · LW · GW

As the maker of a piece of propriety software, you are not subject to this kind of check on your power and it is often in your interest to increase lock-in to your product from your users to make it hard for them to leave for a competitor, should they become dissatisfied. 

Creating network effects to lock in users is in the interest of open-source projects the same way as it's in the interest of propriety software. If you look in the crypto world someone who bases his technology on Ethereum or Bitcoin can get locked in even if he could fork software.

Thus free software can serve as a solution to an alignment problem between makers and users of the software.

A free software project that makes money by providing support has an incentive to make it hard enough to use the software while a propriety software might see providing support as a cost center and work hard to make the software easier to use so that less support is needed. 

In many cases, free software doesn't create incentives for companies to invest a lot of resources into making the software better for users in the same way that proprietary software does.

NPM recently had the developer of colors.js upload a version that broke a lot of programs because he had no incentive to be aligned with the users of his libraries.

If you want to look at whether incentives are aligned you actually have to look at the business models involved.

Comment by ChristianKl on Why rationalists should care (more) about free software · 2022-01-23T21:50:47.107Z · LW · GW

This sounds to me like a bunch of buzzwords thrown together. You have argued in your post that it might be useful to have free software but I have seen no argument why it's currently a bottleneck for raising the waterline. 

Comment by ChristianKl on Long covid: probably worth avoiding—some considerations · 2022-01-23T20:55:57.281Z · LW · GW

To balance that critique out, something that makes me think long-term issues from Covid are not so fanciful: a decent number of pathogens can cause weird long-term issues: EBV, measles, polio, Encephalitis lethargica, H. Pylori-->cancer. So COVID causing issues is not unprecedented.

Quite crucially, we know that SARS did often cause long-term issues. 

Still, the idea of Covid causing accelerated aging in mild cases seems unlikely to me. I can't justify this intuition in-depth but my understanding is that when pathogens do cause long-term issues, it is relatively specific to a tissue or organ type, so I'm skeptical of broadly dysregulated issues from a mild infection.

In the beginning of the pandemic there was a study that did heart scans that suggested that COVID infection generally cause lasting heart inflamation. It seems to me that there wasn't a lot of research to validate to what extend that's true and I see no reason to rule out that thesis.

Comment by ChristianKl on Postmortem on DIY Recombinant Covid Vaccine · 2022-01-23T15:29:06.965Z · LW · GW

At least for the adjuvant I managed to avoid pharma prices by buying pure aluminum salts.

From having read what Stöcker wrote about his vaccine production it seems like the pharmaceutically sold aluminum salts are delivered in a form that clumps less together which in turn increases bioavailability (that's also why you aren't supposed to freeze them).  

Comment by ChristianKl on Postmortem on DIY Recombinant Covid Vaccine · 2022-01-23T09:25:08.443Z · LW · GW

Stöcker is the founder of Euroimmun, a company that makes lab chemicals and also happens to make Covid antibody tests. Through his contacts, he managed to get his hands on the spike protein DNA early and made his own recombinant vaccine candidate. 

To be exact, part of creating the Covid antibody tests was creating the spike protein domains so his company was already creating those for reasons unrelated to making the vaccine. 

Comment by ChristianKl on Postmortem on DIY Recombinant Covid Vaccine · 2022-01-23T09:22:30.052Z · LW · GW

If you want to synthesize a new pandemic you would need to know what proteins to add. That's very hard. It's much easier to 

It seems the South African's for example put older variants together in the lab with antibodies against the spike protein to test how soon it evolves to get immune evasion. That's the kind of research with the potential to produce new pandemics waves like Omicron. 

Comment by ChristianKl on An Open Letter to the Monastic Academy and community members · 2022-01-23T09:09:16.557Z · LW · GW

I think it's quite problematic to see responsibility not about upholding promises that one makes and responsibility being about social roles one has. 

If I throw a party, then I have a special responsibility that the room is warm enough as the host that my guests don't have even when everyone can turn the thermostat. 

Soryu is actually talking about responsibility in the video. He claims that a guru-lead organization is ethically superior to a joint-stock corporation because that while in a joint-stock corporation nobody is really responsible for what the organization does in a guru-lead organization responsibility is clear.

By his own standards, he's more responsible for what happens here than the CEO of a major corporation is when something problematic happens in that organization.

Comment by ChristianKl on Grandpa Has Different Rules · 2022-01-22T13:33:11.040Z · LW · GW

They were pretty sad about this. After some thinking, Lily decided to ask Ricci whether this counted as a "Ricci adventure", and he said yes, after which she asked if this meant they could have ice cream. Rick confirmed with me that I was fine with it being his rules, and the kids were happy to have ice cream.

That sounds like a good exercise to deal with modern bureaucratic systems.

Comment by ChristianKl on Entropy isn't sufficient to measure password strength · 2022-01-22T13:28:36.005Z · LW · GW

One feature of good password schemes is that you have some way to recover lost passwords. 

Let's say I chose as my password: "Tithptacsp,aiwwitcwwcaelp". That password has plenty of entropy if you just look at it.

Then I might write down in some not "Entropy isn't sufficient to measure - 3-1". This allows me to go back to this post to look up the third paragraph and take the first sentence of it. Then I find the sentence "This is typically how people think about choosing strong passwords, and it works well in the case where we’re choosing among equally likely passwords" and can reconstruct "Tithptacsp,aiwwitcwwcaelp". Sentences are also generally good mnemonics. 

If someone would however know that I'm using LessWrong as my source for passwords this way, that would allow them to just go through all sentences on LessWrong posts which radically reduces the entropy. 

Comment by ChristianKl on There is a line in the sand, just not where you think it is · 2022-01-22T12:43:13.584Z · LW · GW

Modeling behavior as if there are specific lines might not be the best way. Your friend isn't the only one who thought that the politicians who received the money in the mask deals could have gotten away with it. Quite obviously those politicians also thought so at the time they made the deals. Those politicians in turn likely do understand the environment in which they are operating and how the lines are gerrymandered. 

Different people have different political strengths and can defend themselves in different ways when they are at the center of a scandal. The metoo allegations against Joe Biden did nothing, not because there aren't norms, but because it wasn't in the interest of the Democratic establishment to enforce norms. 

His mistake was this: He assumed that, if there was a norm against corruption, it would follow a definition of corruption that did in some way actually corresponds to the degree to which the act was harmful. 

I expect that most of the involved politicians would say that the mask deals were more harmful than the letter that Amthor wrote. I do think they believed that the COVID-crisis is very serious and that acting badly in it's context is very harmful. If you want to get people to follow a mask mandate, having politicians profit from deals with mask manufacturers is serious harm.

Does it make sense that MPs are obliged to formally record monetary payments they receive, but not stock options? Not really, but that is how it is.

That's a mechanism about how disclosure works but not one about the political pressure to resign after the scandal came public. I also don't think that the way the disclosure rules work here is a feature of gerrymandering. It's just that the German disclosure rules are not written with MPs being employed by startups that pay their board in stock options in mind given that most MPs work in other settings.

He thought that politicians could totally get away with this. How did he acquire that belief? A while earlier it was revealed that another politician received stock options from an IT startup, for which he then put in a good word at the government.

This summary ignores what the case was about. It's legal for a German MP to put in a good word with the government. An MP is free to be hired. The thing that's not legal for a German MP is to put in a good word for someone that pays them in their role as MP. Amthor used the letterhead of his parliamentary office and that's what makes it illegal corruption. If he would have actually used the letterhead of being a board member of the corporation, that letter would have been legal. 

When it comes to the mask deals then the allegation is that the relevant MPs acted in the scope of their job as MPs when they arranged the deal and it wasn't just a matter of using the wrong letterhead to make it legal. The mask deal is also hard to imagine without someone explicitly telling the MP that they are getting the money for making the deal.

With Amthor on the other hand it was not clear that anybody explicitly told him to do what he did with the government. And that does matter legally. 

Comment by ChristianKl on Guidelines for cold messaging people · 2022-01-22T10:42:15.261Z · LW · GW

I haven't down-voted. The amount number of private messages that get sent on LessWrong seems to be quite low. 

For most topics, it makes sense to ask a question publically, but there are messages that are personalized enough that private messages make sense. I wouldn't like to have a public norm that forbids messages like "I really like what you wrote on X, can I hire you to research Y and write a post about it". When it comes to telling someone about typos in their post a private message is usually better than a comment. 

A net negative karma score suggests to me that a majority believes that your proposed policy is too strict. 

Comment by ChristianKl on Implications of Civilizational Inadequacy (reviewing mazes/simulacra/etc) · 2022-01-22T09:35:26.380Z · LW · GW

We also face this problem with longtermist research. You could cheekily describe longtermism as "believing that the most important things have the worst feedback loops."

It seems to me like this mindset exists too much in longtermism. The current pandemic is feedback that previous biosafety approaches didn't work and it would be possible to react.

Comment by ChristianKl on Land Ho! · 2022-01-21T14:16:47.227Z · LW · GW

That did not of course stop stupid people from saying how stupid it would be to build things at sea level, no matter how much this was used as part of a project to protect the city, because guarding against climate change doesn’t involve the proper moral repentance, so it doesn’t count. The link is a New York Post article where this is the best objection they could find.

The New York Post article sounds to me overall positive but the journalist wasn't allowed to write a one-sided article so they had to bring up some bullshit argument given that the argument has been made by other people. 

One of the key questions here is how you would actually go about making this a reality. I imagine that if you make it a completely public project there's a good chance that the whole thing fails and becomes a political liability for the major that approved the project. It takes likely a decade to build and has the potential to produce political trouble in between.

There's no Robert Moses around to run the project. In the absence, it's worth thinking about how you would actually structure such a project and make it good politics.

Comment by ChristianKl on You Can Get Fluvoxamine · 2022-01-19T21:43:02.698Z · LW · GW

How do you go about deciding which overseas drug mail-order business to trust?

Comment by ChristianKl on (briefly) RaDVaC and SMTM, two things we should be doing · 2022-01-18T16:43:50.387Z · LW · GW

Eliezer's post has one paragraph on RaDVaC. It's a good paragraph but I wouldn't expect anyone that didn't hear about RaDVaC before and doesn't take Eliezer as an important authority to be convinced by that paragraph that RaDVaC is worth funding. A longer post would likely have included a more clear case of why RaDVaC is worth funding. Writing that case down wouldn't have been just for the sake of length. 

Comment by ChristianKl on (briefly) RaDVaC and SMTM, two things we should be doing · 2022-01-18T16:07:16.984Z · LW · GW

that first sentence is 100% false unless "proved themselves" means something like "proved that they are smart people" or "proved that they are acting in good faith" rather than "proved that they have something that works", which means that the second is waaaay premature.

RaDVaC is not only about the particular technology but also about the way the organization runs differently. The approach of being public about the technology and regularly iterating it is very different than the way vaccines are traditionally produced.

RaDVaC is for example right now both looking into the small peptide version they started out with as well as looking at subunit vaccines. 

Comment by ChristianKl on Adele Lopez's Shortform · 2022-01-18T14:32:59.495Z · LW · GW

The problem with that is that the Nitrogen does not go back into the atmosphere. It goes into the oceans and the resulting problems have been called a stronger violation of planetary boundaries then CO2 pollution. 

Comment by ChristianKl on Long covid: probably worth avoiding—some considerations · 2022-01-18T12:53:47.475Z · LW · GW

I remember from early in the pandemic studies suggesting that there's measurable long-term heart inflammation in many cases. That seems to be one plausible mechanism for long-COVID that's less subjective. Does anyone read the literature to have a more recent idea of this?

Comment by ChristianKl on Long covid: probably worth avoiding—some considerations · 2022-01-17T17:32:58.900Z · LW · GW

Psychosomatic is a word that's gets often used as if that would mean that illnesses aren't real.

If you tell someone with an allergy to cats to imagine that they are stocking a cat, that can be enough to trigger the allergy symptoms. The fact that an imagined cat is good enough to trigger the allergy shows quite clearly that the allergy is partly psychosomatic as it can be triggered psychologically.

The underlying mechanisms of such an immune response are however deep. One model of long COVID is, that it's partly about autoimmune issues. Those might be as psychosomatic as the above example of cat allergy. There's a neuronal pattern that gets the body to trigger defenses in a misaligned way. 

Comment by ChristianKl on Alex Ray's Shortform · 2022-01-16T23:20:07.755Z · LW · GW

What's your threat scenario where you would believe a bio-bunker to be helpful?

Comment by ChristianKl on Survey supports ‘long covid is bad’ hypothesis (very tentative) · 2022-01-15T14:55:48.119Z · LW · GW

Have you had covid?

Generally, it makes sense to both ask "do you think you had COVID-19" and "did you have a positive test". I remember that there was some study that claimed that subjective sense might be more predictive for long COVID symptoms than the positive test.

Comment by ChristianKl on (briefly) RaDVaC and SMTM, two things we should be doing · 2022-01-15T12:16:54.044Z · LW · GW

The Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED) is one of the recipients of donations for the Survival and Flourishing Fund.

Comment by ChristianKl on (briefly) RaDVaC and SMTM, two things we should be doing · 2022-01-14T09:50:51.638Z · LW · GW

One major goal that we are working on, but do not have sufficient funding to complete, is the establishment of working models for accelerated vaccine trials.

Do you have an idea of what order of magnitude of funding this would need?

Comment by ChristianKl on Uncontroversially good legislation · 2022-01-14T09:23:55.923Z · LW · GW

The proposal is explicitly about not removing any specific rule because that's hard but doing something else.

Comment by ChristianKl on avivo's Shortform · 2022-01-13T22:19:51.703Z · LW · GW

My main impression is that there's very little good data about what sleeping surface is optimal. 

When I went to a proper sleep doctor, the doctor recommended to me to put my bed on an angle so that my head is higher than my feet. This produced an interesting relaxation effect that I didn't anticipate beforehand.  

Comment by ChristianKl on Political Office for Beginners? · 2022-01-13T20:11:43.517Z · LW · GW

I personally do understand how political careers work in Berlin where I'm living, but I don't think you can easily transfer that to the US.

In a political system where the local political party controls the list of candidates, it's indeed central to interact with the local party.

In the US you frequently have situations where there are primaries that determine the candidates of a given party which produces different incentives. That dramatically reduces the political power of the actual political parties. 

One example is that it was advantageous for Obama to end Dean's 50 state strategy that provided local funding all over the US because Obama didn't have direct control over the party. Obama campaign created their own campaign structures independent from the democratic party that could then be used more directly to mobilize for the interests of the Obama administration. 

Comment by ChristianKl on Uncontroversially good legislation · 2022-01-13T18:24:43.178Z · LW · GW

You get some gain from third parties but it would still like writing code and at the end of the week all programmers send their word documents full of code to their manager and then the manager puts them into the repo. 

Politicians frequently vote on laws where they don't really know the full effects of the law because they don't fully read it and a word document saying  "we will strike paragraph XY and replace it with ZY in law A" doesn't make it clear what the law change does. 

Further down the road, if you would have such a system you could make a law that requires lobbyists to send their suggested law changes directly to the politician in a file that's like a pull request. 

Comment by ChristianKl on Uncontroversially good legislation · 2022-01-13T18:19:47.882Z · LW · GW

I do agree that the job of the department won't be easy. 

To the extent that you can create such a department without too much resistance, I think it makes sense to count the idea of creating the department as "uncontroversially good legislation".

Comment by ChristianKl on (briefly) RaDVaC and SMTM, two things we should be doing · 2022-01-12T18:00:20.209Z · LW · GW

I'm happy to hear that my cries resulted in at least some founding being moved to them even if it's still sad that there's still a funding gap.

In addition to what Eliezer already said about RaDVaC being good because it uses technology that can easily scaled up, RaDVaC has the potential to reduce infection by COVID-19 when given in addition to traditional vaccines because it potentially creates a mucosal immune system response in the upper respiratory system which the vaccines we currently have don't. 

While there's some potential that Omicron will end COVID-19 that is optimistic. We might need something like RaDVaC to finally end this pandemic. 

Comment by ChristianKl on Uncontroversially good legislation · 2022-01-11T22:47:45.642Z · LW · GW

Just because someone benefited in the past from the existing system and came into power based on the system doesn't automatically mean that it's still in their interest.

In the present system, a politician that's popular with the general population in his district can still lose his seat in a primary challenge. Changing to approval voting means that current elected officials have to fear extremists from their own parties running primary challenges against them less. 

Comment by ChristianKl on Uncontroversially good legislation · 2022-01-11T22:43:45.612Z · LW · GW

The new department would employ some bureaucrats, it's not clear to me why existing bureaucrats would feel a need to fight its creation. 

Also Moloch and entropy, so we are fighting powerful forces here.

That is why it's a job that needs a specialized team to combat it and can't just be done effectively in the existing structures. 

Comment by ChristianKl on Uncontroversially good legislation · 2022-01-11T16:50:33.707Z · LW · GW

Whether or not the minimum wage is good or bad overall is secondary to the question of whether employers should be the one's paying the tax in the first place.

People on the left already complain when Walmart doesn't pay its employees enough so that they have to get food stamps. There seems to be a strong belief that employers should pay living wages and that this is not the job of the government.

Comment by ChristianKl on Uncontroversially good legislation · 2022-01-11T16:48:19.699Z · LW · GW

Everyone agrees that bureaucracy overall is a problem in the abstract but when it comes to particular policy issues people are often in favor of using bureaucracy to solve them.

There should be a government department that has the job of reducing bureaucracy. It's staffed with people who go through existing laws and regulations and then publish suggestions for reform that reduces bureaucracy. 

I don't see an interest group that has an interest in opposing such a proposal. 

Comment by ChristianKl on Uncontroversially good legislation · 2022-01-11T16:42:47.161Z · LW · GW

In Germany, if you want to buy glasses you go to a shop that sells glasses, and they actually to the measuring of what the correct prescription happens to be in the shop by a person who has not studied medicine. 

It seems like the law in the US prevents shops that sell glasses from doing that. As a result, you don't have market mechanisms that push the process of determining what glasses you need to zero in the US the same way it's done in Germany.

Comment by ChristianKl on Activated Charcoal for Hangover Prevention: Way more than you wanted to know · 2022-01-11T16:13:30.596Z · LW · GW

But it sounds like you're talking about charcoal maybe being useful for clearing out weird blood stuff that accumulates at low levels over time, like lead and mercury... that's interesting. I never thought about that angle - even the idea helps explain why some people are into taking charcoal every day for general purposes. 

Yes, that idea comes to me when I read the description and it seems plausible that's what people who take it every day intent to do. 

Whether or not it actually works for that purpose however is another question.

Comment by ChristianKl on Activated Charcoal for Hangover Prevention: Way more than you wanted to know · 2022-01-11T15:29:35.637Z · LW · GW

Do we know how effective activated charcoal is at reducing other poisons like mercury content of the body?

Comment by ChristianKl on Uncontroversially good legislation · 2022-01-11T12:03:00.882Z · LW · GW

Laws should be written more like code is written. It should not be written by passing Word documents around but there should be software like Git that makes it clear who made what amendments and that makes changes to laws transparent.

Having good software here will be a quality of life improvement for lawmakers the same way Git is a quality of life improvement for programmers. It will also help all other parties that want to follow the legislative process. 

I would expect that it improves the quality of the average law because it's clear to more of the people working on the law what the law actually will do. 

Comment by ChristianKl on Uncontroversially good legislation · 2022-01-11T11:46:51.131Z · LW · GW

Why would you believe that to be uncontroversial?