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Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? 2021-06-13T03:08:23.858Z

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Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid 7/8: Delta Takes Over · 2021-07-23T22:18:33.999Z · LW · GW

I don't see how policies that are barely adequate...can result in an excellent outcome

Because spread is exponential? "barely adequate" sounds slightly exaggerated to me, but if a country acts early and quickly, quarantining every case, they can mess up in other ways (so that R0 is well above 1) but still not have any Covid cases. I figured this was how Covid was controlled in Australia, NZ and SK (I still don't get what happened in Japan tho).

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid 7/8: Delta Takes Over · 2021-07-23T22:03:59.765Z · LW · GW

I wonder what the correct labels would have been. Was "Joe Biden inaugurated" supposed to be the local minimum?

Comment by DPiepgrass on Intentionally Making Close Friends · 2021-07-23T20:23:55.938Z · LW · GW

I guess I would perceive them as more easy-going and/or courageous if they were able to take off their clothes. It might also change how they perceive themselves, and how they perceive me. Plus, it feels weird being the only one in a relationship who can tolerate their own nudity. Even though I went through that phase, I no longer understand the version of me who lacked reciprocity: the boy who kind of liked seeing others naked but was terrified of being naked himself.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Intentionally Making Close Friends · 2021-07-23T17:34:07.423Z · LW · GW

Interesting. I'm pretty sure that for me, with the right person, I'd have a strong friendship after a few hours or days. I wonder if I ought to do something differently to meet others' seeming desire for slow-cooking friendship.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Intentionally Making Close Friends · 2021-07-23T17:28:36.806Z · LW · GW

Mainly because it is meaningful and important to me, and fun to share with others (it also reflects my love of freedom, which I forgot to mention). I was extremely ashamed of my body in my early life, but nudism was how I accepted the weirdness of being human and tamed my sexuality, and it turns out that I also really enjoy it. I've often felt that I was born on the wrong planet — but one look at me and you can see, I'm the most human darned alien you ever saw.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Intentionally Making Close Friends · 2021-07-23T15:00:42.042Z · LW · GW

Before seeing this I was just thinking about why I didn't have any close friends of the sort I wanted, and I figured the reason is that I need someone who is mostly like me, and such people are extraordinarily rare — one in a million, I guessed. No typical mind fallacy for me! I know I'm different, but I don't know what to do with this information: the differences in other people are mysterious and so non-actionable.

Maybe I'm only 1-in-10,000 or so, but regardless, I can't figure out how to find the others. I already frequent sites filled with vaguely similar people (LW, EA forums, ACX) but by design, these sites don't bring the closeness and intimacy I want. Plus, I live in Calgary — I know the Bay Area and NY will have more me-like people, but I failed last time I tried to get a job in the Bay.

Anyway, I may as well put down what I'm looking for:

  • Close friendship, preferably sharing a house
  • Rationalist-appeciating epistemology; a love of accuracy and precision to the extent it is useful or important (but not excessively pedantic)
  • Geeky, curious, and interested in improving the world
  • Liberal/humanist values, such as a dislike of extreme inequality based on minor or irrelevant differences in starting points, and a like for ideas that may lead to solving such problems. (OTOH, minor inequalities are certainly necessary and acceptable, and a high floor is clearly better than a low ceiling: an "equality" in which all are impoverished would be very bad)
  • Utilitarian/consequentialist-leaning; preferably negative utilitarian
  • High openness to experience: tolerance of ambiguity, low dogmatism, unconventionality, and again, intellectual curiosity
  • I'm a nudist and would like someone who can participate at least sometimes
  • Agnostic, atheist, or at least feeling doubts
Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-07-21T16:45:57.178Z · LW · GW

[Citation needed]

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-07-21T14:53:05.174Z · LW · GW

The claim that the concentration of LNP (lipid nanoparticles) is highest in the ovaries after 48 hours appears to be not only false, but a "pants on fire" kind of lie: the linked source shows the concentration as being 259 times higher at the injection site, and 170 times higher in the liver.

The chart showing the concentration as being highest in the ovaries simply leaves out the data for the injection site, for the liver, and for the spleen (which has over 10x higher concentration than the ovaries).

Edit: I had been investigating the claim about ovaries on Austin G. Walters' blog, which is the first thing Steve Kirsch links to his own post. It claims "after a 48 hour period, the Pfizer mRNA vaccine will have the highest concentration in the ovaries and bone marrow". However, although Steve himself shows the same chart as Austin, and the same chart was also featured in the Bret W / Steve K video, Steve's blog post shows another chart that includes Liver and Spleen (but still excludes injection site!) Oddly, this chart shows only 2x concentration in liver and spleen after 48 hours (rather than 170x). Note that in both cases the data is from rats.

So, why the difference? Well it turns out that both numbers are correct, and I used incorrect wording above. While the amount of LNPs is 259x higher at the injection site, 170x higher in the liver, and 10x higher in the spleen, the concentration of particles is only 13x higher at the injection site and 2x higher in the liver and spleen. The liver is way bigger than the ovaries, so a 2x higher concentration translates to a 170x higher total amount of LNPs.

Something else that I noticed is that Austin's and Steve's posts each link to the other, each one giving readers the impression that the link to the other is evidence for a claim. Which is... pretty weird.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-07-19T20:41:11.585Z · LW · GW

mRNA vaccines use lipid nanocoating. That same technology is used in other context to get drugs to cross the blood-brain barrier. 

I'm no biologist, but I know all kinds of things have lipid membranes (including bacteria), so I doubt that simply being lipid-covered is all you need to cross the barrier.

I haven't read about the J&J vaccine side-effects specifically

Well, it's important to Kirsch's position. After all, J&J has 568 deaths attributed to it according to OpenVAERS even though J&J is not mRNA-based (curiously, OpenVAERS is now reporting dramatically higher death numbers for Pfizer over Moderna, whereas they were ~equal one month ago).

I calculated that according to the latest numbers, 3.9% of vaccines injected were J&J vaccines (which is 8% of people "fully vaccinated" since you only get one dose of J&J).

Now, if my thesis is correct that the VAERS deaths are ordinary deaths that would have happened anyway, then approximately 3.9% of the deaths should be attributed to J&J. In fact, OpenVAERS (updated July 9) assigns 5.2% of deaths to J&J. Does this mean that actually there is a greater chance of death associated with non-mRNA vaccine shots? (well, the numbers are probably 2-3 weeks out of sync with each other, as the VAERS data lags behind. Perhaps this could account for the difference. Historical data is available, but not in an easy-to-read form. So I used the Wayback Machine instead, and found that ... er, 3.8% of vaccine shots had been J&J on July 1. No significant difference.)

The same sort of hypothesis can be applied to non-death VAERS reports, of course, but I leave that analysis for someone else who cares enough to do it.

Yes and that would be pretty stupid in a world where people might be willing to take a vaccine with less side-effects then the one's already on the market but not those already on the market. 

Perhaps... but if I'm right, Novavax would end up getting VAERS death reports at roughly the same rate as other vaccines. If most people who are reluctant to take a vaccine are (like my father) getting their beliefs from people like Kirsch who harp on VAERS, Novavax might not end up being perceived as safer even if it is. So a relevant question, I think, is whether we could expect right-wing news outlets to effectively communicate "Novavax has less side effects / is safer" (because I don't think an article in The Atlantic would sway the likes of my dad. edit: so I just Googled "side effects" Novavax site:foxnews.com and the first result is a video subtitled "Kurt 'The CyberGuy' Knutsson tells ‘Fox and Friends Weekend’ how he accidentally joined the Novavax trial coronavirus vaccine and what side effects surprised him the most." The side effects weren't bad, but the anecdotal approach being taken is not encouraging.)

Edit: btw, I totally agree that FDA needs reform, and it certainly wouldn't hurt to deploy small amounts of Novavax to test demand.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-07-19T05:10:26.023Z · LW · GW

One of the Ivermectin-supporting studies included in Lawrie's metastudy has been retracted due to glaring issues. This study (Elgazzar et al 2020) was the 5th largest study on Ivermectin by sample size (N=200) listed in the Bryant & Lawrie metastudy. Based on Figure 3 it looks like Elgazzar et al was one of only two studies that favored ivermectin without including the no-benefit line in the confidence interval.

Meanwhile, 6 other studies appeared to favor ivermectin but included the no-benefit line in their confidence interval, 1 study favored the control group and 2 studies sat in the middle. One of those, Fonseca 2021, had an especially narrow confidence interval centered around zero effect. This was not achieved via large sample size (N=167), but Fonseca 2021 was one of the few studies that ticked all the boxes for avoiding bias in Figure 2.

Now, it's well known that there is often a positive publication bias in science, but Dr. Malone put his weight behind the claim that in this case there's a negative publication bias. So, it's still plausible that ivermectin helps, but it hardly looks like a slam dunk based on the metastudy's Figures (I don't have time to read the text so much).

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-07-19T04:32:54.285Z · LW · GW

I haven't seen Kirsch advocate for Novavax, does he? Might U.S. officials be thinking to themselves "we bought plenty enough vaccines for everyone already, no need to buy more"? How do you conclude that the mRNA vaccines cross the blood-brain barrier? Do you have safety concerns with the J&J vaccine?

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-07-18T01:52:19.331Z · LW · GW

Yes, particularly this bit:

Austin Walters issued a correction to his blog post, after seeing this problem. Steve Kirsch took 25 minutes of debate before giving some half-hearted concession that his claim probably isn’t true. He still hasn’t updated his own writing or videos, and continues to tell people that the vaccine is causing mass casualties.

I have been criticizing Kirsch (and Lawrie) for not considering more than one hypothesis that could explain the data. But it's likely to be much worse: that people are going to him with better explanations and he chooses to ignore them. Classic denier: one who does not respond to evidence (unless confirmatory).

But charitably, maybe nobody's going to him with good arguments. Like, I randomly listened to a little of that 5-hour debate with Avi. At 36:11 Steve asks Avi what caused those deaths in VAERS and Avi's first thought is to suggest that maybe there's lots of false reports, based on just one example of a false report? ugh. (I looked at 37 reports elsewhere in this thread and didn't suspect any of them were simply made up. I did wonder if sometimes multiple reports sometimes happened for the same person, but didn't try to check.) Edit: or extra charitably, Steve's totally found good answers to the issues I raised and I just never happened to see evidence of that.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Local Validity as a Key to Sanity and Civilization · 2021-07-07T22:07:29.806Z · LW · GW

Lord Kelvin's careful and multiply-supported lines of reasoning arguing that the Earth could not possibly be so much as a hundred million years old, all failed simultaneously in a surprising way because that era didn't know about nuclear reactions. 

I'm told that the biggest reason Kelvin was wrong was that, for many years, no one thought about there being a molten interior subject to convection:

Perry's [1895?] calculation shows that if the Earth has a conducting lid of 50 kilometers' thickness, with a perfectly convecting fluid underneath, then the measured thermal gradients near the surface are consistent with any age up to 2 billion or 3 billion years. Recognizing that heat transfer in the mantle cannot be perfectly efficient, Perry subsequently modeled the deep interior as a solid with high "quasi-diffusivity." His results agreed with the original simple calculation in suggesting that the Earth could be several billions of years old. Full calculations of convection in the mantle (which were impossible until the advent of computers) confirm that Perry's reasoning was sound.

In other words, Perry was able to reconcile a physical calculation of Earth's thermal evolution with the great age that geologists required. Perry needed nothing more than to introduce the idea that heat moved in the deep interior of the Earth more readily than it moved in the outermost layers. Yet to this day, most geologists believe that Kelvin's (understandable) mistake was not to have known about Earth's internal radioactivity.

Of course, 2-3 billion is also too young, and with radioactive decay we can raise the age to ~4 billion years.

But wait, shouldn't convection also increase the cooling rate, so that the Earth in Perry's model should be cooler even if it were the same age as Kelvin's Earth? I am confused.

P.S. I find this piece abstract and hard to decipher, especially the discussion of law/Law; your early works were easier. More examples and detail are needed to connect the words to reality.

Comment by DPiepgrass on The Loudest Alarm Is Probably False · 2021-07-07T20:06:31.946Z · LW · GW

Hmm. My biggest alarm is that I don't have enough friends and am not social enough. But this is accurate; I have not one single intellectual friend of the sort I want, and people ignore my writing. I think the reason I don't act to rectify the situation is that I don't know how.

Okay, but what about other alarms, ones I don't notice so much? Well, I have an intense desire to be right (and not just appear to be right in the eyes of anyone else), and be knowledgeable... and so I frequent LW. I spend an unusual amount of time fretting over the accuracy and fairness of things I've posted earlier and often edit them days, weeks, or years afterward to provide more nuance and accuracy. I do this even at the risk of sounding boring and producing less writing, even though I think one needs a lot of writing to gain a following; might this interfere with my social life? Could be. Another alarm says I took a wrong turn to end up working on oil & gas software. I donate to clean energy efforts as a form of "offsetting", but this has the disturbing opportunity cost of reducing my donations to other efforts. That alarm seems reasonable and I'm open to different opportunities.

But, maybe this post has exactly the problem you linked to: offering good advice to those who least need it.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-07-07T17:39:29.409Z · LW · GW

This is possibly outdated, but I saw a publication by "National Research Council (US) Division of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention" from 1985 stating that "A manufacturer who produces and sells a defective vaccine that creates a risk of significant injury to the recipient is liable to any person injured by that defect under the principles stated in section 402A of the Restatement of Torts. This is thought to be the law in every American jurisdiction".

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-06-27T20:36:12.629Z · LW · GW

Well, Moderna and Pfizer's are both mRNA-based, but presumably different in some ways because they were made by different teams (and I thought I saw Bret or Dr. Malone say he would have preferred Pfizer over Moderna, though it's not in my summary). But AstraZeneca and J&J are "adenovirus vector vaccines", using chimpanzee adenovirus ChAdOx1 and serotype 26 (HAdV-D26) respectively; the latter was "under investigation as [a] protective platform against HIV, Zika, RSV infections and are in Phase-III clinical trials for Ebola" in early 2019. Now, adenovirus vector technology is pretty new. Even so, it would be an impressive coincidence if the risks were both substantial and the same for a ChAdOx1-based vaccine, a HAdV-D26-based vaccine and both RNA vaccines. Sure, they all use the spike protein in some way — probably it's necessary for the immune system to recognize the spike protein — but (i) eventually our bodies will encounter the spikes, either via SARS-Cov-2 or via vaccine, and I've seen no one make a case that a live, replicating virus is safer, and (ii) the evidence/argument for the protein itself being dangerous hasn't been made clear in any of the stuff I've seen.

But my main point is the seeming lack of interest from Lawrie, Dowswell, Kirsch et al. in the question of relative safety, because this is a known failure mode of anti-vaxxers all the way back to the Wakefield study. That infamous paper apparently linked the MMR vaccine to autism, yet many anti-vaxxers acted like there was some fully general link between all vaccines and autism.

Comment by DPiepgrass on War on Cancer II · 2021-06-27T04:30:10.437Z · LW · GW

Suggestion: before theorizing why "survival rates" diverge from not-dying rates, explain the difference between the two metrics.

Comment by DPiepgrass on [Prediction] What war between the USA and China would look like in 2050 · 2021-06-27T03:40:36.299Z · LW · GW

2021 man forgot "finding info about almost anything, instantly, for free, from home."

Now imagine if, in 2050, we could find/view books & scientific datasets as easily as we read the web... (in fact, why would it take until 2050? Oh right: copyright law and entrenched practices)

Comment by DPiepgrass on Why did no LessWrong discourse on gain of function research develop in 2013/2014? · 2021-06-27T03:32:15.578Z · LW · GW

That doesn't ring true to me. I'm curious why you think that, even though I'm irrationally short-termist: "100% is actually much worse than 90%" says my brain dryly, but I feel like a 90% deadly event is totally worth worrying about a lot!

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-06-27T01:59:02.929Z · LW · GW

I may not have time to read through all of that, but thanks for the links. I quickly learned some new things by following a few links there + googling around.

Most notably, some key evidence presented by Steve K that took center stage in the video, both evidence of the dangers of "the vaccines" and evidence of the effectiveness of ivermectin, comes from groups led by the same person, Theresa Lawrie. 

  1. Lawrie apparently founded a web site for ivermectin advocacy (registered March 7, 2021) after presenting evidence on Ivermectin's efficacy on January 13 (to "13 clinicians" and 7 others)
  2. Lawrie is the director of a group of 4 people calling itself "The Evidence-Based Medicine Consultancy" that called for "an immediate halt to the [Covid] vaccination programme" on June 9
  3. Lawrie published the meta-analysis Steve was raving about (with 6 co-authors), which found "Moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin" (published June 17 but, obviously, completed earlier)

Now, is Lawrie just one of those productivity superheroes vying for a Nobel prize? Or is there something suspicious about too much evidence and advocacy coming from the same person?

What makes me the most suspicious is that

  1. the anti-vaccine document performs no cost/benefit analysis before concluding that all three vaccines are too dangerous to use.
  2. it includes no analysis of base rates (the number of adverse health events that would normally occur in a large population in the absence of any vaccines).
  3. Edit 1: seriously, what are the chances that all three vaccines are both dangerous and equally so? Has that ever happened in history? I think not. (4 different vaccines are implicitly demonized by the video since it talks about US and UK data, but this document is UK-specific; the UK and US have used 3 vaccine brands each)
  4. Edit 2: I don't say this enough, but one must also consider the reaction of other experts. Large numbers of other experts think the vaccines are safe (safe enough to deploy widely, anyway) and that ivermectin is an interesting treatment but unproven. When experts in high places thought there was a risk of rare blood clots, they were often willing to halt the use of a vaccine even when doing so would lead to a larger number of overall Covid deaths. And of course, while regulatory agencies were understandably in a hurry, separate phase-3 trials were completed on each vaccine (in multiple countries) and showed adequate safety as usual. So the idea that these same experts and agencies are ignoring a wide variety of side-effects, including death, seems preposterous. The only argument I've seen against these numerous other visible experts comes from my father, who claimed the media is hiding information because they are controlled by George Soros, and from this video, which explains it as groupthink & social norms. As if scientists but not conservatives do groupthink & social norms.

I only skimmed the document, but I don't see any lip service paid to any of these issues or objections. And these are obvious objections, aren't they? So why wouldn't they be considered?

In the absence of other information, I assume that the lack of care demonstrated in this document is typical for Lawrie.

Unfortunately, my post ended up doing something I disapprove of: it listens to a handful of outspoken scientists (one in particular, it turns out) while utterly ignoring the majority who disagree. I hoped other LessWrong users would tell me how other scientists/experts are arguing the other side, but I got less of that than I hoped.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-06-19T19:26:51.599Z · LW · GW

Well, Google led me to the HHS VAERS FAQ which says

Healthcare providers are required by law to report to VAERS:

Healthcare providers are strongly encouraged to report:

  • Any adverse event that occurs after the administration of a vaccine licensed in the United States, whether or not it is clear that a vaccine caused the adverse event
  • Vaccine administration errors

Vaccine manufacturers are required to report to VAERS all adverse events that come to their attention.

Covid vaccines aren't explicitly mentioned in the PDF so the final list of reporting requirements seems to apply ("Any new vaccine recommended by the [CDC] for routine administration to children"):

A.Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (7 days)
B. Vasovagal syncope (7 days)
C. Any acute complication or sequelae (including death) of above events (interval - not applicable)
D. Events described in manufacturer’s package insert as contraindications to additional doses of vaccine (interval - see package insert)

Interesting, this isn't as clear as the CDC's statement that "FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death..." Now, if the FDA/CDC/HHS sent memos/bulletins/checklists to hospitals/clinics, these might be the sorts of instructions that front-line staff pay the most attention to. But, don't know how to see those.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-06-18T21:54:17.952Z · LW · GW

I constructed the second graph manually, by recording the number of results of 22 queries at OpenVAERS. OpenVAERS (which I learned about through Steve K) says it provides the same data as the government.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-06-18T21:50:11.751Z · LW · GW

I think you're saying that a Supreme Court with two-thirds Republican appointees won't give popular Republican ideas a fair shake, and that the concept of "standing" has been corrupted by "political will". Political will in the judicial branch? How does this work exactly?

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-06-18T21:36:36.485Z · LW · GW

Meh. It won't do much to harm the popularity of the video's message, since Tucker Carlson was promoting "Covid vaccines dangerous!" a more than month before this video arrived. And since the video was at 350K views last I checked, I'd guess it reached 500,000 by the time it was taken down.

While "Covid vaccines killed 20,000 people!" doesn't have good evidence behind it and, I think, will get people killed, I'm not sure taking down the video is actually helpful. Many viewers will notice that the censorship they were warned about has come to pass. Distrust of Big Tech, the MSM, and Covid vaccines will be bolstered.

But if you're YouTube, what do you do? Get into the debunking business, post a response video? Nah—there's no profit in it. Deleting is easy, and they don't even have to give a clear reason.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-06-18T00:24:55.451Z · LW · GW

An odd fact: search results on OpenVAERS disagree with this claim:

4561 deaths for "covid vaccines", <210 for every year before 2021

It says there were 4561 deaths for "covid vaccines" as of May 28 and less than 210 every year before 2021. But as of June 17, OpenVAERS disagrees (note: OpenVAERS says its data is "through June 4, 2021"):

In OpenVAERS there is an upward trend since 2012 that peaks at 605 deaths in 2019. So while the covid death counter has increased 29% in this dataset (possibly due to the passage of time), it also shows 234% more deaths in 2019. Not sure what to make of this.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Debunked And Well-Refuted · 2021-06-17T01:56:27.311Z · LW · GW

When faced with studies that seem to show opposite results, my default strategy is to assume both studies are correct and look for something I can learn from that. For instance, maybe they study two different countries and suggest a difference between those countries. Or maybe they have measured different things and you can learn about important nuances. Or... maybe one of the studies is P-hacking their way to victory. In any case, the devil's in the details.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Which rationalists faced significant side-effects from COVID-19 vaccination? · 2021-06-17T01:04:16.100Z · LW · GW

And in this particular case? How does shunning the denominator increase safety here?

Comment by DPiepgrass on Which rationalists faced significant side-effects from COVID-19 vaccination? · 2021-06-17T00:49:10.201Z · LW · GW

Fun fact, 3 months after contracting Covid, I got heart palpitations and a persistent cough which have continued for 3.5 months. Maybe just age? I'm 40, working from home, no known environmental changes, no new drugs, no other symptoms, no history of similar symptoms (except colds, of course). 3-month delay suggests "not covid's fault" but...weird!

Could you clarify how long between the vaccines and the palpitations (etc)?

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-06-17T00:27:43.230Z · LW · GW

Detailed summaries:

Suicides

- 958443 - self inflicted gun shot wound
- 1243487 - VAX DATE: 13 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 21 April 2021 - Patient Committed Suicide with a firearm.
- 1307657 Death by suicide [4 days after taking vaccination]
- 1349598 VAX DATE: 19 April 2021 | ONSET DATE: 19 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 23 April 2021 - he was COVID positive... patient did not have COVID prior to vaccination [sic].... patient...received the first dose of...PFIZER...on 29Mar2021... headache, sore arm, lethargic.... 19Apr2021, the patient received the second dose, and the patient was sick that day, headache/tired, diarrhea. On Tuesday (20Apr2021), the patient slept all day, headache, chills, diarrhea, no appetite, said he didn't feel right.... Friday (23Apr2021) diarrhea - took his own life by hanging himself. The patient did not have history or signs of depression, anxiety, or mental illness.

Other reports with indications that the death is probably not vaccine-related

- 1166062 - DATEDIED: 20 March 2021 - patient received second dose of Pfizer vaccine on March 17, 2020 while at work... her 5 month old breastfed infant developed a rash and within 24 hours was inconsolable...developed a fever. Patient brought baby to local ER... passed away. Diagnosis of TTP. [It sounds like the baby did NOT receive a Covid vaccine]
- 1347547 VAX DATE: 15 April 2021 | ONSET DATE: 16 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 21 April 2021 - The injury that led to the death occurred within 1 day of the decedent receiving the vaccine

Deaths more than 14 days after vaccine

- 1076949 - VAX DATE: 29 January 2021 - Patient admitted on 2/21/21 and died in hospital on 2/22/2021. Patient had a significant, lifelong underlying medical condition. 
- 1074788 - [This report appears to be for a fetus that died more than a month after the mother received the vaccine]
- 1372120 - VAX DATE: 01 May 2021 | ONSET DATE: 01 June 2021 | DATEDIED: 01 June 2021 - Pt called 911 for shortness of breath...Patient with sob, saying she can not breath , states it came on suddenly about a half hour ago and pt has not been feeling ill prior to this... became pulseless and apneic... no medical history other than anemia... J and J covid 19 vaccine recently. ... copious amounts of vomit, suction enroute to ed.
- 1366320 - VAX DATE: 10 March 2021 | ONSET DATE: 11 March 2021 | DATEDIED: 06 May 2021 - he died [Jesus Christ, that's all you have to say?]

No information about time between vaccine and death

- 1353097 - On an unknown date, the patient received second dose...Moderna...1 dosage form. On an unknown date, the patient experienced CARDIAC ARREST... It is unknown if an autopsy was performed... Follow up not possible as no contact details available

Death within 14 days, but major pre-existing illness

- 960841 - VAX DATE: 17 January 2021 | ONSET DATE: 19 January 2021 | DATEDIED: 21 January 2021 - 104.4 temp approximately 48 hours after being given the vaccine....treated with antibiotics, IV fluids, cooling methods...cardiac arrest on 1/21/21. HISTORY: ventilator dependent, anoxic encephalopathy, seizure disorder. OTHER_MEDS: Amantadine, clonazepam, clobazam, lovenox, dextroamphetamine-amphetamine, famotidine, gabapentin, keppra, robinul, polyethylene glycol, propanolol, sertaline, senna, valproic acid, vimpat, cefepime
- 1105115 - VAX DATE: 14 February 2021 | DATEDIED: 28 February 2021 - POC observed abscesses in the arm, groin, thigh and knees after the first vaccination. After the second dose, he was hypoactive. ...POC removed the sheet, she observed that her mouth and nose were full of secretions. HISTORY: Portal hypertension (secondary to portal vein thrombosis), Leukopenia, Thrombocytopenia, Epilepsy, Splenomegaly, Esophageal Varices, Asthma, Pancytopenia and Severe mental retardation.
- 1105146 - VAX DATE: 30 January 2021 | ONSET DATE: 30 January 2021 | DATEDIED: 02 February 2021 - 1/19 began vomiting and was hospitalized. On 1/30 he was discharged and later received the vaccine.... [later] He started coughing up foul-smelling secretions.... HISTORY: Epilepsy, Hydrocephalus, and Multiple Sclerosis
- 1199455 VAX DATE: 02 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 10 April 2021 - Patient reported difficulty breathing and chest pain... cardiac arrest... HISTORY: spina bifida, spinal meningocele, VP shunt, scoliosis, neurogenic bladder, constipation
- 1273475 VAX DATE: 28 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 29 April 2021 - Resident was checked at 1830 and found to be at baseline status. At approximately 1855, resident was found pulses and apneic.  CPR initiated... Resident expired 1939. CUR_ILL: Anoxic Brain Injury, History of MI, Uterine rupture, dysphagia, PEG TUBE, Tracheostomy. HISTORY: Anoxic Brain Injury
- 1343614 VAX DATE: 18 May 2021 | ONSET DATE: 20 May 2021 | DATEDIED: 24 May 2021 - presented to ED dept confused, incr n/v, weakness. Received palliative care... deceased. CUR_ILL: fibrolamellar hepatic carcinoma with metastatic disease OTHER_MEDS: xarelto, methadone, morphine, prochlorperazine, lorazepam, ondansetron, protonix
- 1349127 - VAX DATE: 19 March 2021 | DATEDIED: 04 April 2021 - Concurrent medical conditions included Traumatic brain injury, Movement disorder, Seizures (since she was a baby at 11 months old) and Speech loss. Concomitant products included CLONAZEPAM, OXCARBAZEPINE (TRILEPTAL) and GABAPENTIN for an unknown indication.... cause of death was not reported. An autopsy was not performed.... death certificate said... natural causes.
- 1365075 - VAX DATE: 10 March 2021 | ONSET DATE: 12 March 2021 | DATEDIED: 19 March 2021 - father said his son began throwing up 2 days after injection. They took him to the ER and patient was given some medication to stop emesis... Patient was reported to throw up everyday until his death on day 9. HISTORY: Cerebral Palsy legally blind Epileptic Seizures deteriorating bones in hips Hydrocephalus Shunt in head

Death within 14 days, no major pre-existing illness

- 1121695 - VAX DATE: 10 March 2021 | 01 March 2021 (sic) ...no significant past medical history...very severe diabetic ketoacidosis one week after receiving the vaccine...severe metabolic encephalopathy, aspiration pneumonia...
- 1255787 - DEATH; BLOOD COAGULATION...the patient was very healthy...date not reported for...vaccination...On an unspecified date...patient developed blood coagulation...patient subsequently died 10 days after vaccination; the cause of death was not provided...

Death within 14 days, seriousness of pre-existing illness is not clear

- 1067765 - VAX DATE: 08 February 2021 | DATEDIED: 08 February 2021 - died in his sleep through the night; This is a spontaneous report from a contactable consumer received via a Pfizer sales representative... Medical history included muscular dystrophy. HISTORY: ...Muscular dystrophy [This report is confusing: it says he received the vaccine Feb 8 and died the same day, even though he died in his sleep?] 
- 1078352 - VAX DATE: 02 March 2021 | DATEDIED: 05 March 2021 - Developed fatigue, body aches, headache 1 day after vaccination on 3/3. The morning of 3/5 complained of chest pain. Took Tylenol at 8:30 am. At 10:30 am his family found him unresponsive.
- 1140258 - VAX DATE: 26 March 2021 | DATEDIED: 27 March 2021 - Patient contacted 911 complaining of not feeling well and difficulty breathing... patient was found by EMS in cardiac arrest.
- 1187918 I am the PICU attending who cared for the patient after her cardiac arrest which we believe was about 3-4 days after her second Moderna Vaccine
- 1198540 VAX DATE: 01 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 11 April 2021 - Patient...unresponsive and not breathing...outside on the grounds of the campus. A rented scoter was next to him... There was no sign of trauma.
- 1204016 VAX DATE: 09 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 13 April 2021 - HE DIED SUDDENLY !!!!! JUST COLLAPSED !!!! [that's the entire description]
- 1206323 VAX DATE: 10 April 2021 - Pt received vaccine at 1130 on 4/10... Awoke at approx 0100 4/11, reported not feeling well, vomited, returned to bed. Found by housemate at appox 2100 4/11 unresponsive.
- 1209903 VAX DATE: 06 March 2021 | DATEDIED: 13 March 2021 [no symptoms, story or history provided]
- 1225942 VAX DATE: 19 March 2021 | ONSET DATE: 28 March 2021 - cardiac arrest at home... Patient placed on ECMO and imaging revealed bilateral large pulmonary embolism
- 1242573 VAX DATE: 18 April 2021 | ONSET DATE: 19 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 20 April 2021 - Heart failure
- 1243791 - VAX DATE: 10 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 12 April 2021 - found dead...at his home. HISTORY: History of clotting disorder at age 16 with Xarelto treatment and hospitalization
- 1261766 VAX DATE: 08 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 10 April 2021 - increased body temperature, seizure, death
- 1321517 VAX DATE: 30 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 01 May 2021 - He did not told me about any symptoms. He just died the next day of the vaccine.
- 1346657 VAX DATE: 18 February 2021 | DATEDIED: 19 February 2021 - deceased in bed, no known symptoms, undetermined cause and manner of death
- 1355039 VAX DATE: 22 May 2021 | ONSET DATE: 23 May 2021 | DATEDIED: 25 May 2021 - Cardiac Arrest
- 1372338 - VAX DATE: 21 May 2021 | ONSET DATE: 21 May 2021 | DATEDIED: 22 May 2021 - HISTORY: Asthma Anxiety/Depression/Panic

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-06-17T00:26:44.844Z · LW · GW

So, I decided to head on over to OpenVAERS, do some searches and look at some reports. Here are the number of results for a few queries for deaths in 2021:

5997 results in 2021 (all vaccines)
5869 results in 2021 with Vax Name "covid19"

3607 results in 2021 for 65+ (all vaccines)
3543 results in 2021 for 65+ with Vax Name "covid19"
1673 results in 2021 for 65+ with Vax Name "moderna"
1691 results in 2021 for 65+ with Vax Name "pfizer"
165 results in 2021 for 65+ with Vax Name "janssen" (Johnson & Johnson)
1061 results in 2021 for <65 (all vaccines)

1023 results in 2021 for <65 with Vax Name "covid19"
406 results in 2021 for <65 with Vax Name "pfizer"
458 results in 2021 for <65 with Vax Name "moderna"

214 results in 2021 for <45 with Vax Name "covid19"
101 results in 2021 for <35 with Vax Name "covid19"
37 results in 2021 for <25 with Vax Name "covid19"

Edit: for comparison, the average annual death rate in the United States in 2018 and 2019 was 719 per 100,000 or 0.719%. Since the population is about 328 million, the expected number of deaths in a normal year is about 2,358,000, and in a typical week, 45,228. Now, 51.56% of the population has received at least one vaccine shot as of June 10 (one week ago). Therefore, if it were the case that someone filed a VAERS report for every death that was not caused by the vaccine but happened within one week of vaccine administration, we would expect to see much more than 5869 death reports, perhaps 23,300 (or higher, because some people have received multiple vaccine shots and because older people are more likely to have been vaccinated). This is relevant because I read that "FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS", which explains why we see e.g. two deaths by gunshot wound in my roundup below.

Since there are only 37 deaths nationwide for age 24 and under, I decided to summarize all of them. Because I could. At least in this category we can rule out age-related illness.

I have divided these deaths into mutually exclusive prioritized categories. This means that if a death was in both categories B and D, I only listed it under category B which is listed first.

  • Suicides: 4 (though in one case the person was also ill)
  • Other reports with indications that the death is probably not vaccine-related: 2
  • Death reports more than 14 days after vaccine: 4
  • No information about time between vaccine and death: 1
  • Death within 14 days, but serious pre-existing illness: 8
  • Death within 14 days, seemingly no serious pre-existing illness: 2
  • Death within 14 days, level of pre-existing illness unclear: 16

Most of the "within 14 day" reports were also within 7 days. I will put the summaries of these reports in a separate message in the hope that LessWrong's display algorithm will be more likely to "collapse" that information.

An interesting indicator would be how many people are getting each vaccine. If the numbers of deaths for each vaccine is exactly proportional to the number of people receiving each vaccine, it would suggest that the vaccines are all equally safe, and if so, the most probable safety level is "very safe". (wrinkle: if e.g. J&J is a 'rising star', the death report curve is likely to lag behind the vaccination rate curve.) But where do I find that data?

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-06-16T21:58:03.630Z · LW · GW

If that's true (??), I guess lawsuits would be directed at the FDA instead. It'd be shocking if everybody involved had immunity (against lawsuits, I mean).

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-06-16T21:54:55.757Z · LW · GW

The thing I wonder most is how we can work out whether or not the VAERS deaths can be mostly attributed to natural causes, and secondarily, whether there's some way to tell if there is a strong underreporting of deaths (contrary to FDA regs) as Steve alleges (and, says Steve, OpenVAERS).

Comment by DPiepgrass on Which rationalists faced significant side-effects from COVID-19 vaccination? · 2021-06-16T19:06:55.498Z · LW · GW

Optimizing for reputation instead focusing on truth seeking is dangerous

Excuse me? I'm not suggesting there's anything wrong with measuring the numerator. Methinks thou doth protest too much.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-06-15T19:01:24.092Z · LW · GW

How is it more reasonable to focus on VAERS blood clots than VAERS deaths?

Comment by DPiepgrass on Which rationalists faced significant side-effects from COVID-19 vaccination? · 2021-06-14T16:42:50.035Z · LW · GW

Point taken. Even so, I'm concerned about the reputational and public-safety consequences of not simultaneously gathering "no side-effect" reports (conditional on the vaccines being safe).

Comment by DPiepgrass on Which rationalists faced significant side-effects from COVID-19 vaccination? · 2021-06-14T15:00:32.700Z · LW · GW

At the least, I would have expected this to be a poll, so as to get a denominator.

5 data points: my household and two coworkers suffered from (at most) temporary sore arms (4 Pfizer, 1 Moderna). Oh, and a mild headache under 24 hours. Edit: 670,000 more datapoints.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-06-13T21:03:49.683Z · LW · GW

Yes, as I said in my letter to my dad: elderly people already die often (big number nationally), so if vaccines are being given to millions of elderly people, we should expect a tiny percentage to die soon afterward from natural causes. A key thing to look at is whether it used to be rare (and in 2021 became common) to give the vaccines to ill elderly people, which could explain the increase in VAERS.

Still, why are blood clots given lots of attention but not VAERS reports? And if the FDA is so understaffed, why?

Comment by DPiepgrass on Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations? · 2021-06-13T11:31:27.960Z · LW · GW

Okay, I'll review the video again and add a list of controversial and interesting bits.

Comment by DPiepgrass on The noncentral fallacy - the worst argument in the world? · 2021-05-06T01:59:53.779Z · LW · GW

"X is in a category whose archetypal member gives us a certain emotional reaction. Therefore, we should apply that emotional reaction to X, even though it is not a central category member."

But what do we call this similar related argument? "X gives us a certain emotional reaction, and it is in a category. Therefore, we should apply that same emotional reaction to the whole category, even though X is not a central member of it." Or "X is good/bad because <facts>, and it's in a category, so the category as a whole is good/bad."

An example I saw today as an argument against civilian nuclear power due to nuclear waste: "Hanford has been leaking into the Columbia river for decades. Billions have been spent by the DOE. Contractors walk away with the money and the problem remains." But Hanford was established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project. It was not a civilian nuclear power site and civilian regulations generally weren't applied there.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Outlawing Anthropics: An Updateless Dilemma · 2021-02-27T13:31:20.776Z · LW · GW

My intuition says that this is qualitatively different. If the agent knows that only one green roomer will be asked the question, then upon waking up in a green room the agent thinks "with 90% probability, there are 18 of me in green rooms and 2 of me in red rooms." But then, if the agent is asked whether to take the bet, this new information ("I am the unique one being asked") changes the probability back to 50-50.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Are there examples of rationalists getting censored for COVID-19 related communication? · 2021-01-27T16:40:37.455Z · LW · GW

Let's hope a rationalist wouldn't write a headline about a "100%" effective COVID treatment without qualification and then, when discussing the two studies, not mention the size of the trials, not discuss the methodology and not show any skepticism (granted, this may well be different from what he posted on Medium).

Also, personally, there's no way I would mention a news report that "of 47,780 people who were discharged from hospital in the first wave, 29.4 per cent were readmitted to hospital within 140 days, and 12.3 per cent of the total died" - and repeat the ambiguous message without at least complaining that it never says whether "the total" refers to 47,780, or 29.4% of 47,780.

Medium clearly overreacted by deleting six years of his writing, which seems like a scarily common tendency in big tech (it costs them nothing except maybe a little reputation here and there; I suppose they avoid reputational damage mainly by reinstating those who manage to generate a certain amount of public backlash after-the-fact.)

Comment by DPiepgrass on Why quantitative methods are heartwarming · 2021-01-25T22:29:31.973Z · LW · GW

So, how is that different from JSON? I could take the elevator pitch at JSON.org and change some words to make it about LES:

LES (Loyc Expression Syntax) is a lightweight data-interchange format. It is easy for humans to read and write. It is easy for machines to parse and generate. It is a superset of JSON that looks similar to numerous other programming languages. LES is a text format that is completely language independent but uses conventions that are familiar to programmers of the C-family of languages, including C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, Perl, Python, and many others. These properties make LES an excellent data-interchange language, but also a good basis for DSLs and new programming languages.

LES is built on three structures:

  • Blah blah blah

I guess JSON had some additional evangelism which LES does not, but I don't know what exactly made it popular. You might say "well, JSON is valid JavaScript" but in practice that's usually not relevant, as it is unsafe to eval() JSON, and it is virtually unheard of to go in the opposite direction and write JavaScript data in JSON style. In practice, JSON is similar to JS but is clearly distinct, just as LES is similar to JS but distinct.

To put it another way: JSON provides data interoperability. It seems like no one has to explain why this is good, it's just understood. So I am puzzled why the same argument for code falls flat, even though I see people gush about things like "homoiconicity" (which LES provides btw) without having to explain why that is good.

P.S. no one disagreed with my arguments at the WebAssembly CG, so don't be too quick to judge my arguments as bad.

P.P.S. and to be clear, I don't expect the average developer to get it at this point in time, but the argument apparently fell flat even among language designers at FoC. Nobody said they didn't understand, but no interest was expressed either.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Why quantitative methods are heartwarming · 2021-01-25T06:47:38.720Z · LW · GW

It has not escaped my notice that hopping on a bandwagon is an easier way to gain attention, but a lot of people have had success by starting their own projects.

How is what I did different from Ruby, Python, Vue, Unison, V, Nim, or any of those projects where people make general-purpose libraries to supplement the standard libraries? And in particular, how is my LeMP front-end for C# different from C++, which began as a C preprocessor called "C with Classes"?

A tempting answer is that I was simply 20 years too late to be able to do something new, but V and Vue are quite recent examples. In any case, if we're talking about a project like LES - I am unaware of anything else like it, so which existing project should I have engaged with in order to make it a success? I did try to engage in 2016 with the WebAssembly CG, but that was a flop, as the other members mostly chose not to participate in the conversation I tried to start.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Why quantitative methods are heartwarming · 2020-12-14T07:54:09.410Z · LW · GW

Speaking of little tragedies, some tragedies got me thinking a long time ago.

My biggest one was the fact that most programming languages (1) aren't compatible...Python doesn't Interop with C# doesn't Interop with C++... So people struggle to keep reinventing the wheel in different languages and only rarely is a job done well; And (2) popular languages aren't powerful or extensible (or efficient) enough - e.g. I made a prototype unit inference engine for an obscure language in 2006 and still today not a single one of the popular languages has a similar feature. So I set out to fix these problems 13 years ago in my free time... and I'm still stuck on these problems today. I wished so much I could spend more time on it that in 2014 I quit my job, which turned out to be a huge mistake, but never mind. (There are web sites for my projects which go unnoticed by pretty much everyone. My progress has been underwhelming, but even when I think I've done a great job with great documentation and I've tried to publicize it, it makes no difference to the popularity. Just one of life's mysteries.)

Anyway, I've come to think that actually there are lots of similar problems in the world: problems that go unsolved mainly because there is just no way to get funding to solve them. (In a few cases maybe it's possible to get funding but the ideas man just isn't a businessman so it doesn't happen... I don't think this is one of those cases.) For any given problem whose solutions are difficult and don't match up with any capitalist business model, they're probably just not going to be solved, or they will be solved in a very slow and very clumsy way.

I think government funding for "open engineering" is needed, where the work product is a product, service, or code library, not a LaTeX jargonfest in a journal. Conventional science itself seems vaguely messed up, too; I've never seen the sausage get made so I'm unfamiliar with the problems, but they seem rather numerous and so I would qualify the previous statement by saying we need open engineering that doesn't work as badly as science.

UBI might work as an alternative. It would lack the motivating structure of a conventional job, but if I could find one other UBI-funded person who wanted to do the same project, maybe we could keep each other motivated. I noticed a very long time ago that most successful projects have at least two authors, but still I never found a second person who wanted to work on the same project and earn zero income.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Total Nano Domination · 2020-12-09T20:18:02.125Z · LW · GW

If a self-replicating microbot has the same computing power as a 2020 computer chip half its size, and if it can get energy from sugar/oil while transforming soil into copies of itself, modular mobile supercomputers of staggering ability could be built from these machines very quickly at extremely low cost. Due to Amdahl's law and the rise of GP-GPUs, not to mention deep learning, there has already been a lot of research into parallelizing various tasks that were once done serially, and this can be expected to continue.

But also, I would guess that a self-replicating nanofabricator that can build arbitrary molecules at the atomic scale will have the ability to produce computer chips that are much more efficient than today's chips because it will be able to create smaller features. It should also be possible to decrease power consumption by building more efficient transistors. And IIUC quantum physics doesn't put any bound on the amount of computation that can be performed with a unit of energy, so there's lots of room for improvement there too.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets - Part 3 · 2020-12-02T05:06:53.952Z · LW · GW

Especially as no character has given a reason to suspect any sort of "perception filter" a la Doctor Who. Incidentally, didn't Hogwarts often reconfigure itself in HPMOR? Seems odd, then, that Fred/George believe they've seen it all.

Comment by DPiepgrass on What should experienced rationalists know? · 2020-10-15T18:56:10.085Z · LW · GW

Thank you for this valuable overview, it's worth bookmarking.

The link in section 3 does not support the idea that humans don't suffer from a priming effect (this may not have been what you meant, but that's how it sounds). Rather, the studies are underpowered and there is evidence of positive-result publication bias. This doesn't mean the published results are wrong, it means 'grain of salt' and replication is needed. LWers often reasonably believe things on less evidence than 12 studies.

Comment by DPiepgrass on What should experienced rationalists know? · 2020-10-15T18:55:19.533Z · LW · GW

Thank you for this valuable overview, it's worth bookmarking.

The link in section 3 does not support the idea that humans don't suffer from a priming effect (this may not have been what you meant, but that's how it sounds). Rather, the studies are underpowered and there is evidence of positive-result publication bias. This doesn't mean the published results are wrong, it means 'grain of salt' and replication is needed. LWers often believe things on less evidence than this.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Dark Side Epistemology · 2020-07-03T07:55:20.917Z · LW · GW

Yeah, this was a good discussion, though unfortunately I didn't understand your position beyond a simple level like "it's all quarks".

On the question of "where does a virtual grenade explode", to me this question just highlights the problem. I see a grenade explosion or a "death" as another bit pattern changing in the computer, which, from the computer's perspective, is of no more significance than the color of the screen pixel 103 pixels from the left and 39 pixels down from the top changing from brown to red. In principle a computer can be programmed to convincingly act like it cares about "beauty" and "love" and "being in pain", but it seems to me that nothing can really matter to the computer because it can't really feel anything. I once wrote software which actually had a concept that I called "pain". So there were "pain" variables and of course, I am confident this caused no meaningful pain in the computer.

I intuit that at least one part* of human brains are different, and if I am wrong it seems that I must be wrong either in the direction of "nothing really matters: suffering is just an illusion" or, less likely, "pleasure and suffering do not require a living host, so they may be everywhere and pervade non-living matter", though I have no idea how this could be true.

* after learning about the computational nature of brains, I noticed that the computations my brain does are invisible to me. If I glance at an advertisement with a gray tube-nosed animal, the word "elephant" comes to mind; I cannot sense why I glanced at the ad, nor do I have any visibility into the processes of interpreting the image and looking up the corresponding word. What I feel, at the level of executive function, is only the output of my brain's computations: a holistic sense of elephant-ness (and I feel as though I "understand" this output—even though I don't understand what "understanding" is). I have no insight into what computations happened, nor how. My interpretation of this fact is that most of the brain is non-conscious computational machinery (just as a human hand or a computer is non-conscious) which is connected to a small kernel of "consciousness" that feels high-level outputs from these machines somehow, and has some kind of influence over how the machinery is subsequently used. Having seen the movie "Being John Malkovich", and having recently head of the "thousand brains theory", I also suppose that consciousness may in fact consist of numerous particles which likely act identically under identical circumstances (like all other particles we know about) so that many particles might be functionally indistinguishable from one "huge" particle.

Comment by DPiepgrass on Procedural Knowledge Gaps · 2020-07-03T06:40:15.252Z · LW · GW

I don't know of a good content aggregator. I guess I would like to see a personalized web site which shows me all the posts/articles from all the good blogs and publishers I know about.

RSS readers are a good start, but not every site has a proper feed (with full, formatted article text and images) and usually the UI isn't what I want (e.g. it might be ugly compared to viewing the site in a browser; also I'd like to be able to see a combined feed of everything rather than manually selecting a particular blog). In the past, I needed caching for offline viewing on a phone or laptop, but mobile internet prices have come down so I bit the bullet and pay for it now. I wonder what tools people like here?

I also wish I had a tool that would index all the content I read on the internet. Often I want to find something I have read before, e.g. to show it to someone with whom I'm conversing, but AFAIK there is no tool for this.

Another tool I wish for is a public aggregator: when I find a good article (or video) I want to put it on a public feed that is under my own control. Viewed in a web browser, ideally the feed would look like a news site, or a blog, or a publication on medium.com. And then someone else could add my "publication" to their own RSS reader, and the ideal RSS reader would produce a master feed that deduplicates (but highlights) content that multiple people (to whom I subscribe) have republished (I was on Twitter yesterday and got annoyed when it showed me the same damn video like 15 times retweeted by various people).