Comment by cistran on Estimating COVID cases & deaths in India over the coming months · 2021-04-25T16:57:27.149Z · LW · GW

In 12 months US experienced a rate of infection of about 33%. In 4 months, Indian infection rate will be about a third of that, so 10%, unless their dominant variant has a much higher R0.

Comment by cistran on Young kids catching COVID: how much to worry? · 2021-04-24T13:41:26.706Z · LW · GW

How many cases of COVID were detected in your child's school in one year?

Comment by cistran on Young kids catching COVID: how much to worry? · 2021-04-23T20:06:39.146Z · LW · GW

Have you considered the cost and benefit of masks worn by your six years old child?

Is he getting bigger benefit than you?

Are his costs smaller than yours?

Comment by cistran on [deleted post] 2021-04-23T17:56:47.509Z

If Alice also want to date Carl, David, etc, does she have to do it again and again every time? Wouldn't it be easier to do it once and put in into a blockchain?

Comment by cistran on Young kids catching COVID: how much to worry? · 2021-04-23T17:31:32.423Z · LW · GW

Nobody seems to be doing any cost/benefit calculations on masks. Particularly when it comes to fully vaccinated people wearing them. Why are we not doing it, especially the cost part? The benefits at least are tractable. But the costs are not easy to calculate. Obviously they are bigger than the cost of masks themselves, time it takes to properly take care of them one way or the other, and the cost of their disposal.

Comment by cistran on Young kids catching COVID: how much to worry? · 2021-04-22T06:40:24.693Z · LW · GW

But it is a bigger deal for children. Children can get complications from throat infections. 

You were looking at problems with one in ten thousand odds, but you don't have ten thousand acquaintances of acquaintances, so it is unlikely that you would get second hand reports of problems with these odds. 

You have even less acquaintances with children, perhaps no more than a few hundred, so even problems with odds of one in a thousand are unlikely to reach you via second hand reports.

Comment by cistran on Young kids catching COVID: how much to worry? · 2021-04-21T19:12:55.826Z · LW · GW

Rare compared to what? I haven't seen actual studies but my anecdotal observations show about one person in ten wearing visibly moist and soiled mask. This maybe area dependent, so your observations may be different, and they are what matters. But kids are generally not as fastidious as adults. The main worry for young kids is how much more likely is the bacterial throat infection if the mask they are wearing is dirty. Here is a relevant article (

Acne aggravation from mask wearing is well-documented, but your kids are too young for that problem. 

Comment by cistran on Young kids catching COVID: how much to worry? · 2021-04-21T16:33:17.670Z · LW · GW

Have you looked into risks improper mask wearing poses? Things like moist dirty masks and associated  increased chance of bacterial infections and aggravation of acne. Children wearing masks in school are especially at risk of wearing masks improperly.

Comment by cistran on What does vaccine effectiveness as a function of time look like? · 2021-04-19T15:34:15.175Z · LW · GW

A potentially more interesting question is what vaccine effectiveness as a function of time looks like near its protection expiration date. Not much data to answer this one yet. May become relevant in 6 months in a worst case.

Comment by cistran on Covid 4/15: Are We Seriously Doing This Again · 2021-04-19T06:57:32.957Z · LW · GW

Here is another ironman for FDA decision based on nothing at all. What if they are scared of unknown long term effects and take any confirmed problem as a red flag pointing to unknown long term effects. This would push them away from moustache twirling villains category.

Comment by cistran on Covid 4/15: Are We Seriously Doing This Again · 2021-04-19T06:53:15.535Z · LW · GW

People between 12 and 16 not getting vaccines by the end of 2021 is not even a 90% proposition. Studies are already underway for this age cohort, and it is plausible that a vaccine will be available for teenagers as soon as September of this year.

Comment by cistran on Sometimes, it can take a while to notice confusion · 2021-04-14T16:43:21.008Z · LW · GW

I really appreciate this comment. I just want that good cautious people quit thinking themselves already guilty of manslaughter let alone murder. Just continue to be good cautious people. 

Infecting a reckless superspreader who will give it to everyone he meets did not occur to me.

 Paraphrasing a famous writer, the evil may triumph but not through me.

Comment by cistran on Sometimes, it can take a while to notice confusion · 2021-04-14T11:27:04.335Z · LW · GW

You severely overestimate your chance of actually murdering someone. Lets go through the numbers. Lets be generous and assume a 10% chance that you are an asymptomatic carrier. If you are, you have no more than 50% chance of infecting someone even if you don't wear a mask, so lets say with mask properly worn that is reduced to 30%. Now you are already down to 3% chance of infecting any person you encounter. Now, for you 80+ year old neighbor the chance of actually dying from infection is around 5%. So multiply your 3% chance of infecting the neighbor by 5% chance of death and you get 0.15% chance of murdering a person of advanced age. You'd need to encounter 7 of them to get to 1% chance of murder. 

Comment by cistran on Sometimes, it can take a while to notice confusion · 2021-04-13T21:58:40.344Z · LW · GW

I understand the assumption of vulnerability. But how does one assume that one is an asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic carrier if the chance of that is less than 10% on any given day? By itself it doesn't seem rational because if you assume you are pre-symptomatic you have to do something about it. Like testing. Testing very often for no reason comprehensible to the outside world.

Comment by cistran on How long would you wait to get Moderna/Pfizer vs J&J? · 2021-04-12T19:44:03.960Z · LW · GW

There is also a risk of PEG immunity which will make one immune to lipid nanoparticle vaccine.

Comment by cistran on Sometimes, it can take a while to notice confusion · 2021-04-12T19:38:55.771Z · LW · GW

What is the best way to correct mistake 3 on your list?

Comment by cistran on Is there any plausible mechanisms for why taking an mRNA vaccine might be undesirable for a young healthy adult? · 2021-04-10T21:06:27.575Z · LW · GW

The new lipid nanoparticle delivery method can potentially target a much wider range of cells than older modalities. Any cell can ingest an LPN and start displaying spike protein epitopes. All the cells that are not professional presenter cells and do not have MHC-2 complexes will be destroyed by immune system. Some critical, sensitive, hard to replace cells might be so killed at random if enough LPN get into systemic circulation which can occur if for example a needle pierces a blood vessel during vaccination and a large portion of LPN spills into the veins. The chance of this type of accident and the chance that significant damage to your organs will be done as a result is not very big, but it is a risk which you will be taking every time you vaccinate.

Comment by cistran on Risk Budgets vs. Basic Decision Theory · 2021-04-06T07:17:46.077Z · LW · GW

You can sum expected utility of doing your your activity A K times like so:

Calculate expected utility of doing activity A K times with K chosen in such way such that p is approximately 0.5

Then your calculation becomes: E = KU-C/2. Is this E still positive? 

Another objection is that you assume that C is fixed, but it is actually a function of utilities of all the activities Ai with positive utility which you will be unable to do if infected.

Comment by cistran on By which mechanism does immunity favor new Covid variants? · 2021-04-06T06:58:02.530Z · LW · GW

First, there should be competition between different virus variants for the cells to infect. This paper

( discusses competitive exclusion for shorter infection cascades.

Second, there are viruses that evolved to coexist with immune system and maintain stable populations inside human host without provoking super-exponential immune response. New variants of corona viruses that gain this ability will become permanent residents in people who are partially immune. Eventually these variants will constitute a majority of corona virus populations in human hosts.

Comment by cistran on Covid 4/1: Vaccine Passports · 2021-04-03T16:50:34.286Z · LW · GW

Vaccination passports must come with an expiration date and we do not know what date is best yet (obviously not 90 days.) This is because we don't yet know for how long the vaccines provide protection and because  new strains with higher vaccine escapes may emerge which will eventually necessitate boosters designed specifically against these new strains. 

Comment by cistran on Covid 4/1: Vaccine Passports · 2021-04-03T16:33:45.494Z · LW · GW

Census is explicitly prescribed in the Constitution. It is a very protected service which cannot be cancelled without a Constitution amendment. 

Comment by cistran on Covid 4/1: Vaccine Passports · 2021-04-03T15:45:54.270Z · LW · GW

False negative is worse than no test at all. It gives a person additional incentive to ignore mask rules.

Comment by cistran on Covid 3/18: An Expected Quantity of Blood Clots · 2021-03-19T10:26:09.545Z · LW · GW

I asked around my teacher acquaintances about the virtual classes. Turns out, no one is sending truant officers if kids do not attend their virtual sessions. All they have to do to get credit for a day is login in the morning. How is this worse than going back to prison?

Comment by cistran on Covid 3/12: New CDC Guidelines Available · 2021-03-18T08:38:19.304Z · LW · GW

This is because little evidence is available. You are looking at vaccination as an urgent matter. But your average chances of getting infected are only one in 4 in a given year. That is an average exposure of about 250,000 microcovids per year. Since average chance also includes people who make very little precautions against infection, it is likely that your personal chances are better than average. There are some people here whose personal chances are an order of magnitude lower than average. If you calibrate it by 3-4 months it will take for vaccines to become abundant in US and coincidentally to add 3-4 months of safety data, you might conclude that rushing vaccination with whatever is available is not necessarily the safest strategy.


As for unknown unknowns, this where more data helps. mRNA vaccines with lipid nanoparticle delivery mode are not like any previous vaccines so one might want to discount any experience obtained with past vaccines. 

Comment by cistran on AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine and blood clots · 2021-03-17T06:58:06.458Z · LW · GW

This neglects to account for a large group of people who have no opinion and will be swayed by any news, positive or negative. Overcoming a formed opinion is going to be harder.

Comment by cistran on Covid 3/12: New CDC Guidelines Available · 2021-03-16T21:43:31.959Z · LW · GW

One objection to that is that one must not just compare between vaccinating and getting Covid. One must also strive to pick the safest vaccine. 

Rotashield, the first rotavirus vaccine only caused one bowel obstruction in 20,000 vaccinated children, yet it was pulled from the market after a year because there were already vaccines 5 times safer.

If there is a large safety gap between different available vaccines, least safe must be declined in favor of most safe.

Another objection is that long term effects of any covid vaccine are not yet well-studied and there could be plausible mechanisms by which some of the vaccines could cause long term damage for example due to cumulative effects. 

Comment by cistran on Covid 3/12: New CDC Guidelines Available · 2021-03-13T08:05:58.946Z · LW · GW

I think I know why the deaths are below baseline as you said. A significant percentage of people who die spend many weeks on their deathbeds, and people on their deathbeds are too sick to be vaccinated.

Comment by cistran on Covid 3/12: New CDC Guidelines Available · 2021-03-12T22:38:52.419Z · LW · GW

Here is a simple question I got from my vaccine hesitant coworker: 

VAERS lists about 1400 deaths following vaccination by mRNA vaccines in 2021. 

He checked the flu vaccines deaths listed in VAERS and couldn't find more than 50 for each of 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. The question is why is there 30 times more deaths reported in VAERS following covid mRNA vaccination? Does it mean regular flu vaccines are 30 times safer? The total number of shots is comparable in tens of millions. 

Comment by cistran on If you've learned from the best, you're doing it wrong · 2021-03-08T22:57:35.333Z · LW · GW

Right, there is a difference between your clone who is a few lessons ahead of you and a really good teacher. So, you don't learn from the best, but try to find the best teacher?

Comment by cistran on If you've learned from the best, you're doing it wrong · 2021-03-08T20:14:07.286Z · LW · GW

You should still want to learn physics from Richard Feynman

Comment by cistran on Covid 3/4: Declare Victory and Leave Home · 2021-03-06T19:58:09.287Z · LW · GW

At some point in the near future this rate will become unsustainable. Because vaccine hesitant and vaccine avoiders are a significant minority everywhere.

Comment by cistran on Attempt at a gears model of getting infected with COVID-19 · 2021-03-06T19:09:33.834Z · LW · GW

Injecting RNA into cells is not enough.  There are also interferon protein complexes that interfere with viral RNA doing anything inside the cells. They must be bypassed or overrun or there will be no viral replication. These intracellular defenses make many viral infections grow much slower. 

Comment by cistran on The Future of Nuclear Arms Control? · 2021-02-25T19:26:48.543Z · LW · GW

USA is not the only nuclear power. Other nuclear powers which begin to descend their cost curves might be tempted to export the cheaper tech, especially if the expensive precision components are not wanted by the buyer. See the nuclear tech connection between Pakistan and North Korea, but make the cost of technology an order of magnitude smaller. 

Limiting the spread of cheap nuclear weapons will never become as impossible as banning firearms, but it will become harder.

Comment by cistran on Covid: CDC Issues New Guidance on Opening Schools · 2021-02-18T17:37:41.859Z · LW · GW

The FDA must actually say that children are ok to vaccinate, do you think they'll do that by September?

Comment by cistran on Covid: CDC Issues New Guidance on Opening Schools · 2021-02-18T07:44:10.383Z · LW · GW

I think you corrected your self later, but there was a sentence earlier about vaccinated children in classrooms.

That is not likely to happen this year. Vaccine trials for children are just getting under way

Comment by cistran on The feeling of breaking an Overton window · 2021-02-17T18:11:29.863Z · LW · GW

I think this post has a lot to do with shifting Overton's windows:

Comment by cistran on Remember that to value something infinitely is usually to give it a finite dollar value · 2021-02-16T16:41:53.962Z · LW · GW

Saving lives now may be worth more than saving lives later.

Comment by cistran on The Future of Nuclear Arms Control? · 2021-02-16T13:46:30.193Z · LW · GW

Any proposal that brings us closer to hundred million dollars nuke will probably be bad for preventing nuclear incident of the mushroom cloud kind. I think your proposal of reducing the size and yield of nuclear weapons also reduces its cost. 

A country like North Korea is unlikely to strike first with nuclear weapons precisely for reasons you mentioned. But possession of them is a significant deterrent against invasion by a conventional military force or insurrection aided by an outside military force, such as ones happened in Iraq and Libya. Any government concerned by a threat of such invasion or insurrection would love to emulate North Korean example now that it is clear that any other safety guarantees are insufficient. Any major actor that actively pursues the strategy of making its nuclear weapons smaller and cheaper must take care that they are not so small and cheap, that any government with a hundred million dollar budget can afford one. 

Comment by cistran on Heuristic: Replace "No Evidence" with "No Reason" · 2021-02-16T10:51:36.329Z · LW · GW

A very important special case of this: There is no evidence that COVID vaccination reduces transmission.

Comment by cistran on “PR” is corrosive; “reputation” is not. · 2021-02-16T07:38:48.389Z · LW · GW

All your examples point to self-inflicted reputation loss. I am talking about reputation loss inflicted from outside.

Here is my counter-example: Doctor Ignaz Semmelweis, the inventor of hand hygiene in medical (specifically OBGYN) practice. He was reviled and ridiculed and driven insane by the medical establishment of Vienne. 

Comment by cistran on “PR” is corrosive; “reputation” is not. · 2021-02-16T07:31:47.457Z · LW · GW

But dishonor is rarely used in its transitive meaning. It is difficult to reduce someone's honor by dishonoring somebody, only your own honor can be dishonored by you.

Comment by cistran on Contact with reality · 2021-02-15T17:59:51.635Z · LW · GW

Your machine will make you permanently stupider than you could be in a real world since it would continue forcing reasoning errors on you. Once you realize that, how can you trust that machine experience will remain better in pain/pleasure balance. In other words, what makes you confident the machine won't extract a payment of pain out of you in exchange for all the bliss you received?

Comment by cistran on The Median is Less than the Average · 2021-02-15T17:17:32.821Z · LW · GW

And yet, Piratebay stays online.

Comment by cistran on “PR” is corrosive; “reputation” is not. · 2021-02-14T11:29:50.048Z · LW · GW

PR is something that can be done to you as in negative PR. There is no negative reputation, or negative honor, there is only slander.

Comment by cistran on Participating in a Covid-19 Vaccine Trial · 2021-02-13T17:53:52.516Z · LW · GW

You are way better than average at avoiding infection then. CDC estimated that from February to December that there were a total of 83.1 million infections in US, over 20% of population.

Comment by cistran on Participating in a Covid-19 Vaccine Trial · 2021-02-12T20:44:40.726Z · LW · GW

Does accessing antibody test results break the double blind? Are you sure you didn't consent to not doing that?

Comment by cistran on Covid 2/11: As Expected · 2021-02-12T14:47:23.367Z · LW · GW

Is the JHU tracking site at very inferior to covid tracking project?

Comment by cistran on Covid 2/11: As Expected · 2021-02-12T14:37:32.927Z · LW · GW

Trying to help them how? Education? Financial incentives to vaccinate? Social disincentives to hold out?

At least some forms of trying will not be cost-effective.

Comment by cistran on Exercise: Taboo "Should" · 2021-02-12T09:48:30.236Z · LW · GW

or, you could use unhealthy only to mean things which are likely to decrease your health (mental health included)

Comment by cistran on Quadratic, not logarithmic · 2021-02-11T07:39:44.843Z · LW · GW

That's the point of the post. Given a large number of contacts, P(infecting at least one of them) > P(you are infected)

Lets illustrate. Suppose P1(you are infected AND (you are asymptomatic OR you are pre-symptomatic)) 

P2(infecting any one of your contacts) = P2'*P1 = where P2' is the probability of infection per contact

Then P3(infecting at least one of your contacts out of N) = 1- (1-P2)^N provided none of the N contacts are themselves infected.

And in P3>P1 it is always possible to solve for N.