Posts

Vavilov Day Discussion Post 2022-01-27T00:26:27.649Z
Vavilov Day Starts Tomorrow 2022-01-25T18:00:01.643Z
Nudging My Way Out Of The Intellectual Mosh Pit 2022-01-15T23:40:02.617Z
An Observation of Vavilov Day 2022-01-03T21:10:02.107Z
What would you like from Microcovid.org? How valuable would it be to you? 2021-12-29T04:42:01.675Z
Internet Literacy Atrophy 2021-12-26T12:30:01.540Z
Quick Poll: Booster Reactions 2021-12-21T07:40:07.347Z
Dear Self; We Need To Talk About Social Media 2021-12-07T00:40:01.949Z
Dan Luu on Persistent Bad Decision Making (but maybe it's noble?) 2021-11-15T20:05:21.442Z
Where did the 5 micron number come from? Nowhere good. [Wired.com] 2021-11-09T07:14:25.167Z
I Don’t Know How To Count That Low 2021-10-22T22:00:02.708Z
Quick Look: Altitude and Child Development 2021-10-18T01:20:02.081Z
Long Covid Informal Study Results 2021-10-16T07:10:05.056Z
Niacin as a treatment for covid? (Probably no, but I’m glad we’re checking) 2021-10-12T05:40:07.503Z
“Eating Dirt Benefits Kids” is Basically Made Up 2021-10-08T08:30:09.640Z
Consider Taking Zinc Every Time You Travel 2021-10-01T03:50:06.702Z
Review: The End Is Always Near 2021-09-27T07:40:02.355Z
Review: Martyr Made Podcast 2021-09-23T20:10:01.508Z
Long Covid Is Not Necessarily Your Biggest Problem 2021-09-01T07:20:05.374Z
Exercise Trade Offs 2021-08-31T02:40:05.381Z
Follow Up: Predictions as a Substitute For Reviews 2020-12-02T19:40:09.010Z
Prize: Interesting Examples of Evaluations 2020-11-28T21:11:22.190Z
What is your electronic drawing set up? 2020-10-14T05:42:58.165Z
Breaking Questions Down 2020-07-07T18:10:03.009Z
How to Find Sources in an Unreliable World 2020-07-01T18:30:02.468Z
Types of Knowledge 2020-06-20T17:20:02.229Z
Where to Start Research? 2020-06-16T18:10:06.689Z
Turns Out Interruptions Are Bad, Who Knew? 2020-06-11T23:10:00.782Z
The Oil Crisis of 1973 2020-05-22T15:50:02.578Z
Negative Feedback and Simulacra 2020-04-29T02:00:01.734Z
What Happens During a Recession 2020-04-20T03:03:56.586Z
Where should LessWrong go on COVID? 2020-04-13T21:39:53.675Z
LW Coronavirus Agenda Update 4/6 2020-04-06T17:53:11.106Z
What is the impact of varying infectious dose of COVID-19? 2020-04-05T21:40:01.406Z
LW Coronavirus Agenda Update 3/31 2020-03-31T21:40:28.553Z
April Coronavirus Open Thread 2020-03-31T16:48:41.980Z
What are the costs, benefits, and logistics of opening up new vaccine facilities? 2020-03-31T16:43:47.373Z
What will happen to supply chains in the era of COVID-19? 2020-03-31T01:57:14.587Z
How will this recession differ from the last two? 2020-03-31T01:32:47.895Z
What happens in a recession anyway? 2020-03-31T01:16:27.526Z
LW Coronavirus Agenda Update 3/23 2020-03-24T01:05:55.234Z
What will the economic effects of COVID-19 be? 2020-03-24T00:59:18.103Z
What should we do once infected with COVID-19? 2020-03-18T04:50:46.571Z
Where can we donate time and money to avert coronavirus deaths? 2020-03-18T04:50:13.629Z
How can we estimate how many people are C19 infected in an area? 2020-03-18T04:49:35.680Z
LessWrong Coronavirus Agenda 2020-03-18T04:48:56.769Z
How Do You Convince Your Parents To Prep? To Quarantine? 2020-03-16T03:42:06.061Z
Coronavirus Justified Practical Advice Summary 2020-03-15T22:25:17.492Z
LessWrong Coronavirus Link Database 2020-03-13T23:39:32.544Z
How useful are masks during an epidemic? 2020-03-10T22:12:34.160Z

Comments

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Patron Saint Holidays · 2022-01-27T20:43:05.843Z · LW · GW

Second place day: celebrate the Leipnizes, Wallaces, and that-guy-who-invented-the-telephone-6-hours-too-late of the world. Geniuses who made absolutely stunning breakthroughs, but were slightly slower or less popular or in the wrong country so it didn't count.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Vavilov Day Discussion Post · 2022-01-27T19:47:33.148Z · LW · GW

As I said on that post, I didn't want to host a general discussion on rationalist holidays as a whole on that post in particular (but this one is fine), and didn't feel right leaving up a casual trashing of things deeply meaningful to other people without letting them respond. 

Any of the following would have made me feel better about the comment:

  1. framing the dislike as a fact about you rather than an objective fact about rationalist holidays
  2. giving explanations (beyond "cringe", which is often used to police caring too much about unpopular things)
  3. being its own post or a comment on one like this, rather than on a narrowly scoped and fairly personal post.

It wasn't about defending rationalist holidays for me because rationalist holidays only occasionally resonate with me. But I respect what they mean to other people and didn't like seeing them so casually torn down. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Patron Saint Holidays · 2022-01-27T06:53:23.612Z · LW · GW

Ideas myself and others have had, off the top of my head;

  • Atul Gawande (checklist manifesto, rearranged how hospitals organize themselves to reduce medical error)
  • Moon landing
  • Invention/inventors of oral rehydration therapy
  • Gutenberg
  • Galileo
  • Newton
  • Darwin
  • Long list of people who sheltered victims from the Holocaust (plus that one German who bought 250k Nanking residents time to escape)
  • Norman Borlaug
  • A general abundance day celebrating all modernity has brought us (Ray suggests summer solstice for this, which seems right)
  • Polio vaccine guy
  • Actually, there are a lot of vaccines and they're most great, holidays for everyone
  • Gotta be something related to computers and/or the internet somewhere
  • Juneteenth
  • That guy who invented incubators for premature babies and funded them through carnival exhibits when hospitals ignored him.
  • Anniversary of banning leaded gasoline.

 

EDIT: While looking up the German in WW2 I found a French guy who saved half a million Chinese people in WW2 and I'm so mad I've never heard about him before.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Vavilov Day Discussion Post · 2022-01-27T01:57:45.387Z · LW · GW

It looks like you're framing this as a decision being made by and for a group as a whole (as opposed to an individual observation designed by and for each person themselves). Can you say more on why you believe that's the best frame? My sense is a lot of the off-LW conflict over Vavilov Day boils down to the framing of individual vs. collective decision.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Vavilov Day Discussion Post · 2022-01-27T00:41:02.252Z · LW · GW

Hamnox is pointing out a real risk that should be taken into consideration. But I think that ~taking hardship too seriously causes the hardship to expand, the same way some forms of back pain are made worse by babying them (others are made worse by pushing too hard. Sometimes the same person's back pain will alternate between these states. Reality is devastatingly complicated). Being too scared and not scared enough of hardship have both held me back at points, and although I didn't articulate it at the time, one of my goals in Vavilov Day was to quantify the cost of the hardship so I could make finer trade-offs.

I have overall been frustrated with the sense that rationalist holidays need to work for everyone, and would very much like to advocate for the concept that things can be hard, too hard for some people, and still very beneficial for others, and neither group is doing anything wrong. That goes both for "things some people are doing" and "no seriously, this is a community holiday"

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on An Observation of Vavilov Day · 2022-01-27T00:31:30.540Z · LW · GW

I'm glad Vavilov resonated with you. I don't want to host a referendum on all rationalist holidays but feel bad banning people from responding to you calling things important to them cringe, especially when I redirected criticism of the core idea to another post, so I'd like to direct all discussion on this comment to that same post.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Vavilov Day Discussion Post · 2022-01-27T00:27:37.150Z · LW · GW

repost of Hamnox's comment from the original Vavilov Day post

 

uncomfortable squirm

In my culture, one is to be super wary of lionizing martyrs.

I want to be excited about cool new holiday ideas. I think trying a fast in a coordinated group is a splendid idea. I want to celebrate the amazing capacity of humans to care about others and to do hard things for good reasons.

 

but pain is not the unit of effort.

dying for the cause is not a success.

not every cost is avoidable, but i never, ever want to become the kind of person

who mistakes the price sacrificed for a value bought

 

In my culture there's a meta-tradition around ritual hardships or labors: you are to set aside at least 5 minutes, by the very clock, for considering how you might cheat. If you find you could get results without the hardship, you are expected to cheat for the results and then go find some other way to challenge yourself.


 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on How to Escape From Immoral Mazes · 2022-01-26T01:50:31.332Z · LW · GW

Tl;dr I encourage people who changed their behavior based on this post or the larger sequence to comment with their stories.

I had already switched to freelance work for reasons overlapping although not synonymous with moral mazes when I learned the concept, and since then the concept has altered how I approach freelance gigs. So I’m in general very on board with the concept.

But as I read this, I thought about my friend Jessica, who’s a manager at a Fortune 500 company. Jessica is principled and has put serious (but not overwhelming) effort into enacting those principles, to good results (I think), both serious ongoing volunteer efforts and “call your local councilman” type stuff. She is the kind of person who in a smaller town could achieve “pillar of the community”, but probably not hero status. She has a nice life, but she also gives back, far more than the average American. She also, in her own words, “will not work for any company without an HR department.” She likes the bureaucracy of large companies, it makes her feel safer. Often her role in her volunteer work is being an interface between people with lofty principles but no plan and the soul-sucking bureaucracies who can implement but have no morality, and while I mostly have her own assessments on this it seems like it does seem like she’s helping.

I don’t see any good coming from giving Jessica this post. I think she’d get defensive and angry and it would make it harder for me to discuss the concept with her in a useful way. Which is fine, if we insisted every post be completely harmless to every single person we’d never get anything done, and it’s fine that this post was aimed at people with a shorter inferential distance.


I also don’t think it inspired any behavior change in me. But maybe in my case the inferential distance was too short, and there was nothing more to convince me of (although I don’t agree with all of it). 
 

But having ~ruled out both ends of the bell curve, I’m wondering what the range is of people this post is convincing to, in the sense of contributing to a change in decisions. I would love to hear from people who found this post or sequence influential, where you started from, where you ended up, and how you feel about it now.  And of course I'm also interested in evidence from the far ends of the distribution, especially if contradicts my data points.



 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Vavilov Day Starts Tomorrow · 2022-01-25T22:28:08.445Z · LW · GW

thanks to both of you, fixed now.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Implications of Civilizational Inadequacy (reviewing mazes/simulacra/etc) · 2022-01-23T19:34:29.048Z · LW · GW

Everyone I've seen be really into moral mazes as a concept takes a strongly conflict-theory approach to systems they believe are mazes. That the presence of the epicycles means there is no working with it and the whole system must be burned.

Now that I think about it, much of the purpose of the label could be to allow one to use conflict theory modalities on a system that won't acknowledge (and may genuinely not see) the conflict. Zvi's Out To Get You posts certainly seem to be that.

(Fwiw, I thought I knew what you meant with your top level comment, but this elaboration wasn't what I expected and is much more interesting).

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Consume fiction wisely · 2022-01-22T09:07:07.605Z · LW · GW

how are you defining nonfiction? amazon lists over a thousand books on bigfoot in the "science and math" section, and the first 10 all look like they're on the "definitely real" side. so a nonfiction label is no help.

possibly you mean "actually true" not "labeled as nonfiction in the bookstore", but that requires the reader know what's true ahead of time. which would of course be great, but remains elusive.

I should make clearer that I'm extremely in favor of people being much more careful what they include in their media diet, and that I agree fiction has risks people aren't cognizant of. I just don't think the nonfiction label is any protection against misinformation.

https://smile.amazon.com/s?k=bigfoot&i=stripbooks&rh=n%3A283155%2Cn%3A75&dc&crid=3S0BLIWO5DPKW&qid=1642841717&rnid=283155&sprefix=bigfoot%2Caps%2C146&ref=is_r_n_26

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Consume fiction wisely · 2022-01-22T00:42:47.470Z · LW · GW

It's not obvious to me that reading arbitrary non-fiction gives you more accurate beliefs than arbitrary fiction. No adult updates their probability that dragons are real after reading Game of Thrones, and nonfiction is full of both literal lies and statements that are technically true but deeply misleading that give you the feeling of being accurate information, such that you update on them.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on An Observation of Vavilov Day · 2022-01-19T08:32:25.277Z · LW · GW

I think you're raising reasonable points, fairly gently. I think the overall issue is important, and was in my mind as I planned and wrote this. I get that, given that this post was high karma and curated, and has at least one comment saying we should scale Vavilov day immediately, it felt important to you to note the pitfalls (even if I already pushed against the universalization).  But I don't have a way to respond to this in LW comments that doesn't feel like justifying my personal choices, and I'm not interested in doing that. 

Potential alternatives include "you create a top-level post discussing the general case",  an off-LW conversation between us, or just not following up. If anyone else wants to continue this conversation I encourage you to make your own post doing so (and feel free to link to it here): I'm leaving this comment up because I think it's important, but I will be locking or deleting comments that attempt to continue the conversation further on this post.


EDIT: Created a discussion post here.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on An Observation of Vavilov Day · 2022-01-19T08:21:02.756Z · LW · GW

I couldn't think of anything that met all of: could be done in a day, didn't require follow-up, and was actually useful instead of purely symbolic. Planting something has fantastic symbolism, but letting it die later is worse than not doing it at all, and plant care isn't a priority for me the rest of the year.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Long covid: probably worth avoiding—some considerations · 2022-01-19T05:23:54.309Z · LW · GW

Ah, yes. I think young people should probably take the long term effects of viruses more seriously in general.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Long covid: probably worth avoiding—some considerations · 2022-01-18T23:07:55.377Z · LW · GW

Then this doesn't seem like a counterargument to "to elderly people it would be effectively the same as any other serious stressor" to me. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Long covid: probably worth avoiding—some considerations · 2022-01-17T23:18:31.579Z · LW · GW

It looks like those deaths are "with covid" not necessarily "due to covid". I think that was a reasonable approximation at first, but it makes it a bad tool for tracking when covid becomes less dangerous and more widespread. 

However the fact that excess deaths are spiking with covid prevalence is pretty suggestive.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Long covid: probably worth avoiding—some considerations · 2022-01-17T22:25:45.847Z · LW · GW

How does this compare to other contagious diseases? 
EDIT: for aging in particular.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Long covid: probably worth avoiding—some considerations · 2022-01-17T19:24:58.190Z · LW · GW

I think that assumption is inaccurate, and is becoming more inaccurate over time. Lockdown is also hard on people and contributes to the excess deaths.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Long covid: probably worth avoiding—some considerations · 2022-01-17T06:58:58.032Z · LW · GW

When I looked into this there was a paper that compared psych sequelae from covid to influenza and flu-like illnesses and found "covid to be modestly worse except for myoneural junction and other muscular diseases, where covid 5xed the risk (although it’s still quite low in absolute terms). Dementia risk is also doubled, presumably mostly among the elderly." This was not controlling for age or acute severity, and data was gathered pre-vaccine.

(note: I did this research months ago and haven't done any follow-up, so trust what I wrote then over what I remember now)

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Long covid: probably worth avoiding—some considerations · 2022-01-16T20:49:37.470Z · LW · GW

I broadly agree but don't think that proves covid was the culprit. Vague shitty symptoms doctors refuse to grapple with were a problem long before covid, and if people with these symptoms can get better care by calling it long covid than leaving it open or blaming something else, they'd be stupid not to.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on (briefly) RaDVaC and SMTM, two things we should be doing · 2022-01-16T20:46:36.065Z · LW · GW

There's an easier study I'd like to do before the lithium experiment: compare water contamination to obesity rates. I have two decent but not amazing datasets to do this (the water one tracks 18 contaminants but not lithium by zip code, the weight one tracks % obese not BMI by county) and a statistician who will analyze the results if I get the data in a single spreadsheet. I expect there are APIs to do that fairly easily but haven't had time to dig into it myself. If someone gets the 18 contaminants plus % obese in a single spreadsheet, and fixes the issues with county vs. zipcode aggregation, I can get this analysis done fairly quickly. Bonus points if you find better DBs than I do (I wish it was BMI by zipcode, not % obese by county) or incorporate additional data, like income, age, well water usage, and density. 

I've discussed this with SMTM previously, they agree it's worth doing although are less excited than me because the water quality database doesn't include lithium. So additional bonus points if someone finds a database of lithium concentration in drinking water by county.

I'd happily pay $100 + credit on the eventual blog post for the spreadsheet combining the two DBs listed, and am open to negotiation on larger amounts if it's more difficult than I think it is or additional features are included.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Nudging My Way Out Of The Intellectual Mosh Pit · 2022-01-16T19:39:32.295Z · LW · GW

shrug I definitely ran into this repeatedly without an intervening success, it's possible there was something weird because they were older websites.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on New Year Review Resources · 2022-01-16T19:32:08.323Z · LW · GW

I'd be extremely interested in write-ups of alternatives to The Lean Start-Up, which I found valuable but also badly dated, with a lot of room for improvement.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Personal blogging as self-imposed oppression · 2022-01-16T09:00:27.395Z · LW · GW

A personal blog is like opening a public door to your mind. Do you really think that you won't clean up the contents for the sake of public appearances?

This isn't true by my definition of a personal blog, which makes me think you're using a different and probably narrower definition. Can you expand on what you mean by "personal blog"?

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Survey supports ‘long covid is bad’ hypothesis (very tentative) · 2022-01-15T04:58:30.282Z · LW · GW

I'm very curious about this as well. I expect MTurk (which Positly is built on) to disproportionately draw from people willing to tolerate a low wage for increased flexibility, who are disproportionately disabled.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Transportation as a Constraint · 2022-01-14T07:50:50.569Z · LW · GW

This post was well written, interesting, had multiple useful examples, and generally filled in models of the world. I haven't explicitly fact-checked it but it accords with things I've read and verified elsewhere.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on "Can you keep this confidential? How do you know?" · 2022-01-14T07:24:42.786Z · LW · GW

Conversations with Ray clarified for me how much secret keeping is a skill, separate from any principles about when would agree keeping a secret was good in principle, which has been very helpful in thinking through confidentiality agreements/decisions. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on (briefly) RaDVaC and SMTM, two things we should be doing · 2022-01-14T06:40:06.821Z · LW · GW

When I looked into it, you could see an effect on birthweight for babies born to mothers in high altitudes vs their lower-altitude siblings, and vice versa, which suggests to me something non-genetic is going on.  And the effect of altitude on birth weight held up in countries where altitude was associated with both lower and higher income (although that wasn't the sibling study), which pushes against and doesn't eliminate income effects.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on How To Fermi Model · 2022-01-14T06:32:53.271Z · LW · GW

I think this is an important skill and I'm glad it's written up at all. I would love to see the newer version Eli describes even more though. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Use Normal Predictions · 2022-01-09T20:44:16.605Z · LW · GW

Foretold (https://www.foretold.io/) supports many continuous functions including normal for predictions and resolutions. It also had scoring rules for continuous predictions and resolution functions, and composite functions for both. The creator, Ozzie Gooen, was working on an even more sophisticated system but I'm not sure what stage that's currently at.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Third Time: a better way to work · 2022-01-08T18:35:11.515Z · LW · GW

I'd be surprised if there were many people who were otherwise into the concept but turned off by the word ratio but not by rational (which was chosen as a pun on ratio).

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on An Observation of Vavilov Day · 2022-01-07T04:59:25.292Z · LW · GW

They didn't all die. I haven't found a denominator in English sources and my Russian researcher has been busy, but my very rough guess is that <1/2 of the staff died. That seems plausibly the outcome of the correct process to me- you start out with a zero-tolerance policy because it's easier to hold to (and because the highest-metabolism people will die first), but if you get close to having too few staff to protect the seeds,  ration them out. 

My understanding is that the seeds made it through the siege fine, although a good chunk were lost to ensuing neglect of the institute, so the deaths don't seem to have hurt the goal.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on An Observation of Vavilov Day · 2022-01-04T02:58:00.474Z · LW · GW

Re: more of the history. Working on it, but there was a combination of wanting to save something for a post on Vavilov Day, and Anna having priorities for the last week beyond finding Russian sources for me. 

Re: seed banks. I've been trying to figure out how to make this work. I think if we do something with plants, we have to make a reasonable effort to keep it alive over the next year, and I don't actually care enough about plants to do that (plus January is bad for planting). 

But maybe this would be a good shelling day for everyone to inventory their food and make sure they have met their own targets for shelf stable emergency supplies? It's not perfectly on theme, but stocking up on food is reasonably connected to sieges, and it is a genuinely useful thing to do.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on An Observation of Vavilov Day · 2022-01-04T02:36:55.115Z · LW · GW

I don't love the process for generating rationalist holidays right now and tentatively think it would be better to switch to a patron saints model. People who want to can have their own hero or event that's especially close to their heart (and maybe a few secondary ones, or ones important to their friends), and if several people who like each other pick the same one they do stuff together, and if a lot of people pick the same one that becomes a more shared holiday (although still not mandatory). 

One reason for this is there are just actually a lot of heroes in the world, with wildly varying resonances for a given individual, and the number of holidays the community can adopt and take seriously is pretty small. People only have so much time, and are often sharing their holiday budget with religious or more widespread secular holidays.

But the more important reason is that I really want some holidays that challenge or are demanding of people, and people vary a lot in how much of what kind of challenge they can safely take on at a given time.  A cultural push for fasting could be really bad for people with eating disorders, even if there's a well respected medical or practicality exemption. Mass Winter Solstice is in constant conflict over how dark to go, given people's different needs. Lots of people felt they'd been injured by being mailed doomsday codes for LW or EAF for Petrov day... 

But if you take away everything that could possibly hurt someone, you're left with parties (and even those aren't fun for everyone), and that feels sad and unfulfilling to me. So I think letting holidays exist and be respected without automatically scaling them would decrease damage done to people while upping the ceiling on what's achievable to those that want it.

If any particular hero/event does end up being so overwhelmingly popular it becomes a mass holiday, that seems fine, but letting it be an emergent process rather than an immediate bid for universality seems so much better.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on An Observation of Vavilov Day · 2022-01-03T21:12:29.425Z · LW · GW

If this sounds familiar and you went to bay area secular solstice, that’s probably because it was the topic of this song.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on What would you like from Microcovid.org? How valuable would it be to you? · 2022-01-03T01:49:32.639Z · LW · GW

My guess is that the focus on bubbles no longer makes sense, since almost no one is doing that now. Beyond that, I struggle to know what trade offs could make microcovid UI more approachable, without making it not microcovid. A number of people (including me) already complain it's too restrictive, and cutting down on options makes that worse. It's really not obvious to me that the value generated by doing existing microcovid, but simpler, outweights the loss of configurability. Also I literally don't know how to make it simpler or more inviting beyond tossing out options. I don't mean it can't be done, I mean I'm terrible UI designer who literally can't think of anything.

So I'd be really interested in:

  • arguments that microcovid is at the wrong place on the pareto frontier
  • ways to improve usability that don't trade off against specificity for power users
  • other numerical tools that could be useful to your family that aren't microcovid

For the last one: raemon has suggested a unitless assesment of "how risky is today compared to other days?" (and maybe location comparisons as well), created using microcovid, local prevalence numbers, and a single default human. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on What are sane reasons that Covid data is treated as reliable? · 2022-01-02T05:03:54.752Z · LW · GW
  • I've personally known many people who have had serious medical problems that sure looked clearly like vaccine reactions. On par with "Well now I can't get out of bed and can't think anymore" or "Oh shit, heart attack" kinds of reactions. But all these people I've known who tried to report their reactions were told "No, your reaction can't have been due to the vaccine, because the vaccine is safe and effective." I've heard lots of similar reports. Because this is about rejecting data collection, I don't see how anyone could possibly know how common/rare this is.

 

When I went to urgent care for vaccine side effects in June, they immediately accepted the explanation, said it was really common, and kept checking/pushing for more symptoms than I had. 

My report was also accepted by VAERS, although who knows if that does anything.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on A non-magical explanation of Jeffrey Epstein · 2021-12-31T00:38:07.948Z · LW · GW

 

As brought up elsewhere, this seems to be treating the FBI as both competent and honest in this interaction. I don't see a reason that has to be true. Yes, it would have been hard to de novo corrupt all of the relevant officers- but a culture of looking the other way on behalf of other law enforcement seems more likely than not. And it may not be the difference between a not saying "the CIA was here" vs. reporting no tampering, it may be more like "detecting tampering is noisy, things fail all the time, people will definitely overreact if I give equivocal results, so why don't I just say it definitely wasn't tampered with?"

A counterargument to this is that the CIA and FBI have been antagonistic in the past, but law enforcement is really good about closing ranks against outsiders.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on What would you like from Microcovid.org? How valuable would it be to you? · 2021-12-30T00:48:15.720Z · LW · GW

Have you seen this estimate? It's not a full calculator but lists sources enough that you can do your own math.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on COVID Skepticism Isn't About Science · 2021-12-29T20:43:19.812Z · LW · GW

This seems like a fully general argument against optional things.

Do you have estimates of the rate at which that happens (and subsequent harms), vs people who don't want to wear masks being forced to do so (and subsequent harms)?

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on What would you like from Microcovid.org? How valuable would it be to you? · 2021-12-29T09:18:15.144Z · LW · GW

I'm curious what would changes you would make, based on the information? The things that affect driving risk are generally well known and Josh took a stab at quantifying them; what would you do differently if you found certain numbers were off by 20%? 

Not strictly what you asked for but you might be interested in Dan Luu's write-up on car safety, which bears on my answer to the above question: safer cars cost more money, and a 20% increase in risk ups the amount I'm willing to pay for more safety. I could also see it being useful for weather conditions, which weren't an issue considered in the original report.

UPDATE: I made a guestimate and it turns out that if you're already a basically safe driver,  the difference between the safest car and a decent car has to be really stupidly safe to affect your risk of death much.  The safety number is made up right now, I have a request out to Dan for his estimate of the safety increase but otherwise am not planning on pursuing it, since it makes so little difference to my life.

UPDATE2: Dan says that among late model cars, the difference in safety is pretty negligible (but late model matters a lot)

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on What would you like from Microcovid.org? How valuable would it be to you? · 2021-12-29T08:43:11.350Z · LW · GW

Double checking you've seen https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/ucjfY46L6qyXefvBT/quick-examination-of-miles-per-micromort-for-us-drivers-with ?

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on What would you like from Microcovid.org? How valuable would it be to you? · 2021-12-29T07:31:58.544Z · LW · GW

What kind of simplifications would you like to see, while keeping the product something that's still fundamentally microcovid? 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Omicron: My Current Model · 2021-12-29T05:09:23.004Z · LW · GW
  1. First two shots don’t protect against infection, boosters do somewhat (60%?).

 

I'm guessing you mean "first shots obtained in spring or summer are likely to have declined by now"? Or do you mean the third shot gives you more immunity than you ever had with only 2?

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Solstice Quaker Darkness Circling · 2021-12-29T01:38:02.071Z · LW · GW

If you're doing darkness solstice in particular my take is that as long as everyone has appropriate gear, worse weather actively adds to the experience. California is easy mode but I wouldn't be surprise if the correlation holds at least as long as driving is safe.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Internet Literacy Atrophy · 2021-12-28T00:49:36.278Z · LW · GW

I think there's a shift. When I was learning tech, the goal was to build a model of what was going on under the hood so you could control it, on its terms. Modern tech is much more about guessing what you want and delivering it, which seems like it should be better and maybe eventually will be, but right now is frustrating. It's similar to when I took physics-for-biologists despite having the math for physics-for-physics-majors. Most people must find for-biologists easier or they wouldn't offer it, but it was obvious to me I would have gained more predictive power with less effort if I'd taken a more math-based class. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Internet Literacy Atrophy · 2021-12-27T04:29:27.657Z · LW · GW

Worth noting this was an extremely brilliant and online three year old who had a bunch of experience with multiple devices. She might not have seen my particular phone before, but I expect she had a good grounding in UI grammar. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Internet Literacy Atrophy · 2021-12-27T04:22:08.561Z · LW · GW

I always stop watching once the belt clicks and missed that. Thanks!

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on The Relationship Between the Village and the Mission · 2021-12-22T00:07:34.151Z · LW · GW

I think this metaphor is absolutely true, and the emphasis on doing The Most Optimal Thing makes it worse. 

However on the literal axes of "can you low-effort create value by providing a few snacks?" this was, at least for a while, extremely available. When I started volunteering to be the snack person post-covid, people were overjoyed to give me money to make this happen. When I offered someone the deal "it'll be about $n, I'm getting what I think is good and I'm not providing receipts", they were delighted (it ended up working out in their favor, since the other party I was doing that weekend was under-attended and the second party got the excess for free- but my impression is they would have been fine being fleeced on the deal, as long as food showed up at all). 

OTOH, I'm not sure this is sustainable. At an event I provide food for monthly (where I'm paying for it, not just handling the shopping), the rate of kudos declined really quickly over the last six months. It went from many people being extremely appreciative, to a handful of people saying "oh hey, thanks for food", even though the quality is improving as I learn. The core organizer of that event remains very appreciative so it's not in jeopardy, but if that wasn't present and the decline in kudos continued indefinitely, I can easily see myself getting fed up and stopping (I also expect it to plateau rather than crater).

I also feel I owe some karmic debt on this, because for years I was a pretty unappreciative party guest. I wasn't awful, I didn't make extra work for people, but I didn't understand the amount of work inherent in running a party and so didn't give others the recognition for it they deserved, a problem I expect is widespread.

So I think there is low-hanging fruit in the sense of "ways you can create value", but much less so in the sense of "ways you can generate appreciation in others".