Humming is not a free $100 bill 2024-06-06T20:10:02.457Z
Truthseeking is the ground in which other principles grow 2024-05-27T01:09:20.796Z
Do you believe in hundred dollar bills lying on the ground? Consider humming 2024-05-16T00:00:05.257Z
Betadine oral rinses for covid and other viral infections 2024-04-24T17:50:03.347Z
Jobs, Relationships, and Other Cults 2024-03-13T05:58:45.043Z
Nitric oxide for covid and other viral infections 2024-02-07T21:30:03.774Z
Love, Reverence, and Life 2023-12-12T21:49:04.061Z
Inositol Non-Results 2023-11-29T21:40:03.242Z
Raemon's Deliberate (“Purposeful?”) Practice Club 2023-11-14T18:24:19.335Z
Follow-up survey: inositol 2023-11-10T19:30:02.737Z
EA orgs' legal structure inhibits risk taking and information sharing on the margin 2023-11-05T19:13:56.135Z
Truthseeking, EA, Simulacra levels, and other stuff 2023-10-27T23:56:49.198Z
The Good Life in the face of the apocalypse 2023-10-16T22:40:15.200Z
Rationalist horror movies 2023-10-15T07:42:14.509Z
LW UI features you might not have tried 2023-10-13T03:04:57.542Z
Truthseeking when your disagreements lie in moral philosophy 2023-10-10T00:00:04.130Z
EA Vegan Advocacy is not truthseeking, and it’s everyone’s problem 2023-09-28T23:30:03.390Z
Luck based medicine: inositol for anxiety and brain fog 2023-09-22T20:10:07.117Z
Luck based medicine: angry eldritch sugar gods edition 2023-09-19T04:40:06.334Z
Dear Self; we need to talk about ambition 2023-08-27T23:10:04.720Z
Apollo Neuro Results 2023-07-30T18:40:05.213Z
Apollo Neuro Follow Up 2023-07-22T17:20:09.893Z
Grant applications and grand narratives 2023-07-02T00:16:25.129Z
Adventist Health Study-2 supports pescetarianism more than veganism 2023-06-17T20:10:06.161Z
Change my mind: Veganism entails trade-offs, and health is one of the axes 2023-06-01T17:10:02.075Z
Product Endorsement: Food for sleep interruptions 2023-05-31T01:50:02.768Z
What vegan food resources have you found useful? 2023-05-25T22:46:24.994Z
Lessons learned from offering in-office nutritional testing 2023-05-15T23:20:10.582Z
Product Endorsement: Apollo Neuro 2023-05-08T19:00:02.404Z
Long Covid Risks: 2023 Update 2023-05-06T18:20:01.259Z
Making Booking.Com less out to get you 2023-04-17T04:04:42.363Z
A different observation of Vavilov Day 2023-01-26T21:50:01.571Z
Vegan Nutrition Testing Project: Interim Report 2023-01-20T05:50:03.565Z
Iron deficiencies are very bad and you should treat them 2023-01-12T09:10:01.240Z
Monitoring devices I have loved 2022-12-31T22:51:22.455Z
Quick look: cognitive damage from well-administered anesthesia 2022-12-02T00:40:01.344Z
Follow up to medical miracle 2022-11-04T18:00:01.858Z
Luck based medicine: my resentful story of becoming a medical miracle 2022-10-16T17:40:03.702Z
The Balto/Togo theory of scientific development 2022-10-09T18:30:07.452Z
Dependency Tree For The Development Of Plate Tectonics 2022-10-05T22:40:02.602Z
Review of’s vitamin write-ups 2022-09-26T23:40:06.344Z
Guesstimate Algorithm for Medical Research 2022-09-14T17:30:01.112Z
Impact Shares For Speculative Projects 2022-09-05T18:00:18.800Z
Elizabeth's Shortform 2022-08-08T02:28:57.443Z
Cognitive Risks of Adolescent Binge Drinking 2022-07-20T21:10:01.513Z
Quick Look: Asymptomatic Herpes Shedding 2022-06-04T21:40:05.376Z
New Water Quality x Obesity Dataset Available 2022-05-27T19:50:07.693Z
Home Antigen Tests Aren’t Useful For Covid Screening 2022-05-03T01:30:05.921Z
I Caught Covid And All I Got Was This Lousy Ambiguous Data 2022-04-21T19:30:05.403Z
Butterfly Ideas 2022-02-22T07:40:08.072Z


Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Elizabeth's Shortform · 2024-06-07T19:40:49.127Z · LW · GW

1 day later, my retraction has more karma than the original humming post

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Arjun Panickssery's Shortform · 2024-06-03T20:22:45.730Z · LW · GW

3. put the spiciest posts behind a paywall, because you have something to say but don't want the entire internet freaking out about it. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Elizabeth's Shortform · 2024-05-30T00:15:09.230Z · LW · GW

This seems like a great thing to exist and you have my encouragement to write it. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Elizabeth's Shortform · 2024-05-29T23:39:51.491Z · LW · GW

Well in that case I was the one who was unnecessarily anxious so still feels like a cost, although one well worth paying to get the information faster.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on How to get nerds fascinated about mysterious chronic illness research? · 2024-05-28T03:36:47.427Z · LW · GW

I'm not quite sure what you're asking here. Do you want people interested in solving your particular problem? Solving the class of problems you're in (probably not option)? Solving mysterious illnesses in general?

Are you wondering why there's no one to hire? No one will help you for free? Not enough research money is spent on the topic?

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Truthseeking is the ground in which other principles grow · 2024-05-28T03:30:23.560Z · LW · GW

The phenomenon extends beyond math

Additionally, prodigies are amongst the most likely people to experience this, because they spend so much of their early life being the best in the room. Math grad students aren't comparing themselves to the 8 billion people who are worse than them at math, they're comparing themselves to each other, field leaders, and dead people who accomplished more at a given age. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Elizabeth's Shortform · 2024-05-27T19:09:05.480Z · LW · GW

I've heard that a lot of skill in poker is not when to draw or what to discard, it's knowing how much to bet on a given hand. There isn't that much you can do to improve any given hand, but folding earlier and betting more on good hands are within your control. 

feels like a metaphor for something. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Do you believe in hundred dollar bills lying on the ground? Consider humming · 2024-05-27T17:38:21.186Z · LW · GW

I don't know what you mean by "total amount" because ppm is a concentration

The spray is clearly delivering a set amount, but describing it in ppm. Since the volume and density of air inside then nose isn't changing, you can treat the change as a count rather than concentration. 


that tweet's interpretation agrees with mine.

My understanding of the tweet's model is that [actual released amount] * [8 hours] = 0.11ppm, so [released amount] = 0.11/8.

I still don't understand your number. Could you expand the equation behind "If NO is produced and reacts immediately, say in 20 seconds, this means the concentration achieved is 19.8 ppm"?

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Elizabeth's Shortform · 2024-05-27T15:16:06.058Z · LW · GW

EA organizations frequently ask for people to run criticism by them ahead of time. I’ve been wary of the push for this norm. My big concerns were that orgs wouldn’t comment until a post was nearly done, and that it would take a lot of time. My recent post  mentioned a lot of people and organizations, so it seemed like useful data.

I reached out to 12 email addresses, plus one person in FB DMs and one open call for information on a particular topic.  This doesn’t quite match what you see in the post because some people/orgs were used more than once, and other mentions were cut. The post was in a fairly crude state when I sent it out.

Of those 14: 10 had replied by the start of next day. More than half of those replied within a few hours. I expect this was faster than usual because no one had more than a few paragraphs relevant to them or their org, but is still impressive.

It’s hard to say how sending an early draft changed things. Austin Chen got some extra anxiety joked about being anxious because their paragraph was full of TODOs (because it was positive and I hadn’t worked as hard fleshing out the positive mentions ahead of time). Turns out they were fine but then I was worried I'd stressed them out. I could maybe have saved myself one stressful interaction if I’d realized I was going to cut an example ahead of time

Only 80,000 Hours, Anima International, and GiveDirectly failed to respond before publication (7 days after I emailed them). 

I didn’t keep as close track of changes, but at a minimum replies led to 2 examples being removed entirely, 2 clarifications and some additional information that made the post better. So overall I'm very glad I solicited comments, and found the process easier than expected. 


Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Do you believe in hundred dollar bills lying on the ground? Consider humming · 2024-05-27T05:39:54.645Z · LW · GW

Wait if 0.11ppm*hr is the integral, doesn't that suggest the total amount is 0.11ppm?  My biologist friends have failed me but that's this twitter comment's interpretation.

on the reagent math: I believe the methycellulose is fairly bulky (because it's sold separately as a powder to inhale), which makes the lower about of NO more believable. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Do you believe in hundred dollar bills lying on the ground? Consider humming · 2024-05-26T06:20:38.961Z · LW · GW

Yeah I definitely misread that ppm/hour. I'm unsure how to interpret *hrs, that seems nonsensical. I'm under a tight deadline right now but have reached out to some bio friends for help. Assuming this doesn't turn out to be a typo, I'd like to give you a bounty for catching this, can you PM me your paypal info?

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Living in an Inadequate World · 2024-05-22T22:17:22.000Z · LW · GW

I tried the imported ketoconazole shampoo recently and it indeed worked where American OTC shampoo had failed. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Do you believe in hundred dollar bills lying on the ground? Consider humming · 2024-05-18T22:51:53.123Z · LW · GW

This is consistent with the dose being 130µl of a dilute liquid

Can you clarify this part? The liquid is a reactive solution (and contains other ingredients) so I don't understand how you calculated it.

I agree the integral is a reasonable interpretation and appreciate you pointing it out. My guess is low frequent applications are better than infrequent high doses, but I don't know what the conversion rate is and this definitely undermines the hundred-dollar-bill case. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Stephen Fowler's Shortform · 2024-05-18T22:07:57.210Z · LW · GW

To go one step further, potentially any and every major decision they have played a part in needs to be reevaluated by objective third parties. 

I like a lot of this post, but the sentence above seems very out of touch to me. Who are these third parties who are completely objective? Why is objective the adjective here, instead of "good judgement" or "predicted this problem at the time"?

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Do you believe in hundred dollar bills lying on the ground? Consider humming · 2024-05-17T01:23:16.898Z · LW · GW

I haven't looked into it; seems plausible it helps, but since it's a signalling molecule I'm wary of amplifying it too much. 

The best known amplifier of NO in the bloodstream is viagra. My understanding is they haven't found general health effects from it, despite looking really hard and first investigating it as a treatment for heart disease. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Do you believe in hundred dollar bills lying on the ground? Consider humming · 2024-05-17T01:20:55.128Z · LW · GW

Yeah when I was writing this part of me kept saying "but humming is so cheap, why shouldn't everyone do it all the time?", and I had to remind myself that attention is a cost. This is despite the fact that it's not cheap for me (due to trigeminal neuralgia; I'll probably stick with enovid myslf) and attention is a limiting reagent for me. The too-cheap-to-meter argument is really seductive. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Thoughts on the relative economic benefits of polyamorous relationships? · 2024-05-09T22:02:05.521Z · LW · GW

I think some poly scenarios save money (although most are accessible without poly), but poly also gives you new and exciting ways to lose it (these can be replicated without poly too, but it's harder).

If you can't afford your home without everyone's income, then your housing stability is dependent on every relationship in the house. Hope everyone is chore compatible. And is in agreement on if the house allows kid. And everyone's work is near each other. And...

I've seen poly housing (and found family shared housing) go well and save money, but mostly when at least one person had a lot of financial slack (to paper over housemate losses) and no one was so badly off they can't afford to leave. If someone needs the house sharing to work, issues will fester until they become toxic.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Elizabeth's Shortform · 2024-05-03T19:34:19.019Z · LW · GW

citric acid and a polymer

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on How would you navigate a severe financial emergency with no help or resources? · 2024-05-02T22:56:01.855Z · LW · GW will give one time cash infusions to people with capital intensive problems (like moving costs, or keeping a vehicle). I haven't looked into them in a while; a few years ago there was a requirement that the cash infusion would get recipients on a stable track, I think that might be looser now. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Elizabeth's Shortform · 2024-05-02T22:23:18.886Z · LW · GW

All of the problems you list seem harder with repeated within-person trials. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Elizabeth's Shortform · 2024-05-01T03:43:13.213Z · LW · GW

I found the gotcha: envoid has two other mechanisms of action. Someone pointed this out to me on my previous nitric oxide post, but it didn't quite sink in till I did more reading. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Elizabeth's Shortform · 2024-05-01T03:41:42.982Z · LW · GW

Is there a lesswrong canon post for the quantified impact of different masks? I want to compare a different intervention to masks and it would be nice to use a reference that's gone through battle testing.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Betadine oral rinses for covid and other viral infections · 2024-04-26T21:15:00.779Z · LW · GW

Yep that's my main contender for the better formulations referred to in the intro. . 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on My experience using financial commitments to overcome akrasia · 2024-04-26T18:14:30.567Z · LW · GW

I don't think the original comment was a troll, but I also don't think it was a helpful contribution on this post. OP specifically framed the post as their own experience, not a universal cure. Comments explaining why it won't work for a specific person aren't relevant.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Elizabeth's Shortform · 2024-04-26T03:59:38.247Z · LW · GW

I think that's their guess but they don't directly check here. 

I also suspect that it doesn't matter very much. 

  • The sinuses have so much NO compared to the nose that this probably doesn't materially lower sinus concentrations. 
  • the power of humming goes down with each breath but is fully restored in 3 minutes, suggesting that whatever change happens in the sinsues is restored quickly
  • From my limited understanding of virology and immunology, alternating intensity of NO between sinuses and nose every three minutes is probably better than keeping sinus concentrations high[1]. The first second of NO does the most damage to microbes[2], so alternation isn't that bad.


I'd love to test this. The device you linked works via the mouth, and we'd need something that works via the nose. From a quick google it does look like it's the same test, so we'd just need a nasal adaptor.

Other options:

  • Nnoxx. Consumer skin device, meant for muscle measurements
  • There are lots of devices for measuring concentration in the air, maybe they could be repurporsed. Just breathing on it might be enough for useful relative metrics, even if they're low-precision. 


I'm also going to try to talk my asthma specialist into letting me use their oral machine to test my nose under multiple circumstances, but it seems unlikely she'll go for it. 

  1. ^

    obvious question: so why didn't evolution do that? Ancestral environment didn't have nearly this disease (or pollution) load. This doesn't mean I'm right but it means I'm discounting that specific evolutionary argument. 

  2. ^

    although NO is also an immune system signal molecule, so the average does matter. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Elizabeth's Shortform · 2024-04-24T20:55:06.346Z · LW · GW

Check my math: how does Enovid compare to to humming?

Nitric Oxide is an antimicrobial and immune booster. Normal nasal nitric oxide is 0.14ppm for women and 0.18ppm for men (sinus levels are 100x higher).…

Enovid is a nasal spray that produces NO. I had the damndest time quantifying Enovid, but this trial registration says 0.11ppm NO/hour. They deliver every 8h and I think that dose is amortized, so the true dose is 0.88. But maybe it's more complicated. I've got an email out to the PI but am not hopeful about a response…


so Enovid increases nasal NO levels somewhere between 75% and 600% compared to baseline- not shabby. Except humming increases nasal NO levels by 1500-2000%.….

Enovid stings and humming doesn't, so it seems like Enovid should have the larger dose. But the spray doesn't contain NO itself, but compounds that react to form NO. Maybe that's where the sting comes from? Cystic fibrosis and burn patients are sometimes given stratospheric levels of NO for hours or days; if the burn from Envoid came from the NO itself than those patients would be in agony. 

I'm not finding any data on humming and respiratory infections. Google scholar gives me information on CF and COPD, @Elicit brought me a bunch of studies about honey.


With better keywords google scholar to bring me a bunch of descriptions of yogic breathing with no empirical backing. 🎉

There are some very circumstantial studies on illness in mouth breathers vs. nasal, but that design has too many confounders for me to take seriously. 

Where I'm most likely wrong:

  • misinterpreted the dosage in the RCT
  • dosage in RCT is lower than in Enovid
    • Enovid's dose per spray is 0.5ml, so pretty close to the new study. But it recommends two sprays per nostril, so real dose is 2x that. Which is still not quite as powerful as a single hum. 
Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on My experience using financial commitments to overcome akrasia · 2024-04-24T16:55:35.623Z · LW · GW

I curated this post because

  1. this is a rare productivity system post that made me consider actually implementing it. Right now I can’t because my energy levels are too variable, but if that weren’t true I would definitely be trying it.
  2. lots of details, on lots of levels. Things like “I fail 5% of the time” and then translating that too “therefore i price things such that if I could pay 5% of the failure fee to just have it done, I would do so.”
  3. Practical advice like “yes verification sometimes takes a stupid amount of time, the habit is nonetheless worth it” or “arrange things to verify the day after”


Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Elizabeth's Shortform · 2024-04-23T02:53:36.773Z · LW · GW

Brandon Sanderson is a bestselling fantasy author. Despite mostly working with traditional publishers, there is a 50-60 person company formed around his writing[1]. This podcast talks about how the company was formed.

Things I liked about this podcast:

  1. he and his wife both refer to it as "our" company and describe critical contributions she made.
  2. the number of times he was dissatisfied with the way his publisher did something and so hired someone in his own company to do it (e.g. PR and organizing book tours), despite that being part of the publisher's job.
  3. He believed in his back catalog enough to buy remainder copies of his books (at $1/piece) and sell them via his own website at sticker price (with autographs). This was a major source of income for a while. 
  4. Long term grand strategic vision that appears to be well aimed and competently executed.
  1. ^

    The only non-Sanderson content I found was a picture book from his staff artist. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Nitric oxide for covid and other viral infections · 2024-04-23T01:28:34.625Z · LW · GW

long shot: did you find anything evaluating the dose of nitric oxide delivered by enovid? I want to compare it to humming but can't find any quantification of the spray. 

EDIT: followed the trial link you gave and found at 0.11 ppm*hour. I'm guessing that is the actual dose divided by 8 (since they administer 3x/day), but I'd love to be sure. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Elizabeth's Shortform · 2024-04-20T20:44:03.887Z · LW · GW

A very rough draft of a plan to test prophylactics for airborne illnesses.

Start with a potential superspreader event. My ideal is a large conference,  many of whom travelled to get there, in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation and air purification, in winter. Ideally >=4 days, so that people infected on day one are infectious while the conference is still running. 

Call for sign-ups for testing ahead of time (disclosing all possible substances and side effects). Split volunteers into control and test group. I think you need ~500 sign ups in the winter to make this work. 

Splitting controls is probably the hardest part. You'd like the control and treatment group to be identical, but there are a lot of things that affect susceptibility.  Age, local vs. air travel, small children vs. not, sleep habits... it's hard to draw the line

Make it logistically trivial to use the treatment. If it's lozenges or liquids, put individually packed dosages in every bathroom, with a sign reminding people to use them (color code to direct people to the right basket). If it's a nasal spray you will need to give everyone their own bottle, but make it trivial to get more if someone loses theirs.

Follow-up a week later, asking if people have gotten sick and when. 

If the natural disease load is high enough this should give better data than any paper I've found. 

Top contenders for this plan:

  • zinc lozenge 
  • salt water gargle
  • enovid
  • betadine gargle
  • zinc gargle
  • I'd really like to do humming but haven't yet figured out the logisitics of reminding the treatment group to hum without ruining the control group. 
Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on LessOnline Festival Updates Thread · 2024-04-19T03:19:33.596Z · LW · GW

I'm not a parent, but if I was I expect I would need this locked down before I could commit. And I would need to decide on attendance earlier, because traveling with kids is a lot more work. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on LessOnline Festival Updates Thread · 2024-04-19T03:18:45.266Z · LW · GW

I'm on deck to run something but haven't decided what yet. Some overlapping possibilities I'm toying with:

  1. Practicum for CFAR-style "could you solve this in an hour?" focused on health, environmental health, and, uh, looking for a good term for things like cognition improvement and better fitness. Super health?
  2. Emotional titration
Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on What's with all the bans recently? · 2024-04-14T18:20:40.458Z · LW · GW

First of all, thank you, this was exactly the type of answer I was hoping for. Also, if you still have the ability to comment freely on your short form, I’m happy to hop over there.

You've requested people stop sugarcoating so I'm going to be harsher than normal.  I think the major disagreement lies here:

> But the entire point of punishment is teaching

I do not believe the mod team's goal is to punish individuals. It is to gatekeep in service of keeping lesswrong's quality high. Anyone who happens to emerge from that process making good contributions is a bonus, but not the goal. 

How well is this signposted? The new user message says

Followed by a crippling long New User Guide

I think that message was put in last summer but am not sure when. You might have joined before it went up (although then you would have been on the site when the equivalent post went up). 



Going against the consensus is *probably* enough to get one rate-limited, even if they're correct

For issues interesting enough to have this problem, there is no ground source of truth that humans can access. There is human judgement, and a long process that will hopefully lead to better understanding eventually. Mods or readers are not contacting an oracle, hearing a post is true, and downvoting it anyway because they dislike it. They're reading content, deciding whether it is well formed (for regular karma) and if they agree with it (for agreement votes, and probably also regular karma, although IIRC the correlation between those was less than I expected. LessWrong voters love to upvote high quality things they disagree with). 

If you have a system that is more truth tracking I would love to hear it and I'm sure the team would too. But any system will have to take into account the fact that there is no magical source of truth for many important questions, so power will ultimately rest on human judgement. 

On a practical level:

My comments can be shorter or easier to understand, but not both. Most people will communicate big ideas by linking to them, linking 20 pages is much more acceptable than writing them in a comment. But these are my own ideas, there's no links.

Easier to understand. LessWrong is more tolerant of length than most of the internet.

When I need to spend many pages on something boring and detailed, I often write a separate post for it, which I link to in the real post. I realize you're rate limited, but rate limits don't apply to comments on your own posts (short form is in a weird middle ground, but nothing stops you from creating your own post to write on). Or create your own blog elsewhere and link to it. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on What's with all the bans recently? · 2024-04-09T23:49:47.164Z · LW · GW

It feels like you want this conversation to be about your personal interactions with LessWrong. That makes sense, it would be my focus if I'd been rate limited. But having that converesation in public seems like a bad idea, and I'm not competent to do in public or private[1]

So let me ask: how do you think conversations about norms and moderation should go, given that mod decisions will inevitably cause pain to people affected by them, and "everyone walks away happy" is not an achievable goal? 

  1. ^

    In part because AFAIK I haven't read your work. I checked your user page for the first 30 commenets and didn't see any votes in either direction. I will say that if you know your comments are "too long and ranty, and they're also hard to understand", those all seem good to work on. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on What's with all the bans recently? · 2024-04-07T23:35:27.085Z · LW · GW

I initially downvoted because I thought the complaint missed too many key factors. I've since changed to upvote, because I think the post provoked a good discussion. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on What's with all the bans recently? · 2024-04-07T22:14:34.113Z · LW · GW

AFAIK there was a wave of rate limits, not bans. I think it's a huge error to conflate those. Most importantly, you can complain on-site about being rate limited in a way you can't complain about being banned. 

I have complaints about implementation but the theory seems sound. I'd like the team to put more work into implementation or treat false positives as more costly, but that's easy for me to say since I'm not the one that has to do it. 


  1. the combination of imperfect filtering and no communication seems bad to me. How are people supposed to know their ban was a mistake and asking will help, instead of annoying mods further. 
  2. "retroactive to a year ago" sounds pretty bad to me. But I don't think that's the right frame. I think the team meant to intervene and not rate limit people who'd had an issue 11 months ago but have been great since. habryka described at least one ban as a mistake in comments on this post, so sounds like this was inconsistent. But conceptually I think it was supposed to be "we have a new tool for detecting people who have been below standards this entire time" not "we raised the bar". 
Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on LessWrong's (first) album: I Have Been A Good Bing · 2024-04-06T22:12:10.180Z · LW · GW

@Raemon told me to be aggressive with things like new lines and ellipses to alter the pacing. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on What's with all the bans recently? · 2024-04-06T21:27:21.430Z · LW · GW

But when rereading, I see that you don't say what to do about these comments. You only point out negative effects. What is your proposal? 


Rate limiting. If I was pope I'd make a few tweaks, but I think the concept is fundamentally sound and the implementation good enough. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on What's with all the bans recently? · 2024-04-06T01:28:37.648Z · LW · GW

It sounds like you don't think there should be any user-focused mod response between "nothing" and "banned". Is that correct?

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Nitric oxide for covid and other viral infections · 2024-04-05T19:43:14.611Z · LW · GW

Thanks, this is great.

Another option for the gap between in vivo and in vitro- NO is an immune system signal molecule. It's possible it has no direct effect but stimulates the immune system enough to be useful. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on What's with all the bans recently? · 2024-04-05T19:22:59.255Z · LW · GW

[disclaimer here]

My comments are too long and ranty, and they're also hard to understand. But I don't think they're wrong or without value.

I don't think "wrong or without value" is or should be the bar. My personal bar is heavily based on the ratio of effort:value[1], and how that compares to other ways I could spend my time. Assuming arguendo that your posts are correct, they may still be fall below the necessary return-on-effort.

That said, I think (and I believe the real mod team agrees) that Short Form should have a much lower bar than posts or comments on other people's posts. That's a lot of its purpose. 

  1. ^

    including the fact that rarer or more complicated views are often both more work and more valuable. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on What's with all the bans recently? · 2024-04-05T02:05:40.505Z · LW · GW

[note: I am technically a mod but in practice that means I give the team my opinions and occasionally curate something. The following is my opinion. I think it has some overlap with team members' opinion but I don't know how much, or how much of that opinion has made it into policy]

A counterintuitive effect is that bad comments are often worse for SNR than bad posts. Bad posts seem like they'd be worse, because posts are more important than comments and are placed higher. But karma works better (on average) on posts:  bad or mediocre posts get enough downvotes, or at least not enough upvotes to compete, and gently disappear.  But comments' views scale with the viewership of the original post, so a mediocre comment on a popular post will get lots of attention regardless of its karma. If a post gets enough comments that low karma comments can't get much attention, they still compete with new high-quality comments, and cut into the attention for the latter. 

And even if no one else sees a bad comment, they are still likely to be read by the author and annoy them. If this gets bad enough, authors may stop reading their comment sections or stop posting altogether. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on LessOnline (May 31—June 2, Berkeley, CA) · 2024-04-03T21:32:17.671Z · LW · GW

I'm on that list (in green) and first heard about this when I was invited, so I knew what the list meant going in. But as a general person with opinions, I felt that having an "invitee" list, especially one that mixed in confirmed attendees, was misleading and mildly manipulative.  But since almost everyone finds it intuitive, including @Zack_M_Davis, most of my concerns are allayed. 

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on How does it feel to switch from earn-to-give? · 2024-03-31T22:40:53.474Z · LW · GW

After 9 years in software, I switched to still being in software but for a noble purpose (mobile money in Africa), and then to nebulous indirectly-x-risk-related research work. My guess is my experience will not say much about yours. 

When I made the change, I didn't particularly feel like I was trusting myself more. My first reason is "the research on M-PESA in Kenya is too strong to argue with", although the part where I'd read that research for ~fun and trusted my interpretation maybe counts as trust in myself. But also: I wasn't happy at my old job and would have been leaving anyway, my new job had a much better set up for me even before mission considerations, everyone I knew supported the change (and my later move to independent work). 

The move did improve my sense of how valuable I was and how much I was allowed to invest in myself. I think it's good that that happened but it would have been better if I hadn't needed a mission to justify it.

You've talked about "becoming an adult" and "trusting yourself (to make world-improving plans)" as almost synonyms, and I think that's a mistake. If I was going to make a road map to impactful and responsible adulthood it would be as follows (hastily written, undoubtably missing stuff, etc):

  1. be stable and functional: take care of your health, your finances, and your housing. Be capable of showing up on time and keeping comittments. Have enough savings to weather emergencies and transitions without worry. 
  2. Be able to be a decent friend, family member, and possibly neighbor (which includes creating enough slack in your life you have capacity to help people). Don't be a parasite on any system. 
  3. Work on other people's projects
    1. Develop valuable skills, if you haven't done that for #1 
    2. Develop the skill of being useful to a boss, who may make decisions you disagree with and won't justify them to you. 
      1. This includes knowing when and how to ask questions, push back on bad ideas, shut up and do work you disagree with, and refuse when necessary.
    3.  Develop your sense of taste so you can figure out who is worth deferring to and who isn't
    4. Develop your ability to coordinate with peers, without the boss/teacher managing the process.
    5. Develop your ability to work with people even when they are very annoying. 
      1. Twice in short succession I had a big dispute with someone w/i X-risk community, and we went away thinking very poorly of each other. Not a big deal, there was no reason to think we'd ever have to work together. @Raemon (also the author of Earn-To-Save) told me that my complaints were legitimate but both people had valuable skills, and saving the world necessarily involved dealing with people at least that annoying. 

        So I did mediation with both. One went great, we are now friendly and have a lot of respect for each other. The other was a less smashing success but was good enough that when it looked like our projects would intersect I felt annoyed but not doomed.
  4. Gradually expand your sense of taste and ability to work autonomously. Any good boss wants to give you work off their plate, they will be delighted if you gradually work your way up to being an independent agent they can give vague instructions to do 
  5. Eventually you have the choice to your found your own thing (with or without co-founders) or work for someone, and the wisdom to know which will best accomplish your goals. 
Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Elizabeth's Shortform · 2024-03-31T20:51:16.181Z · LW · GW

Example of reactionary agency: someone who filled their house with air purifiers in 2020, but hasn't changed the filters since. 

Their reaction was correct, and in this case they're probably net better off for it. But it would probably have been worth dropping some other expensive reaction in favor of regularly swapping air filters, or putting the purifiers aside since they're useless at this point. 

[Full disclosure: I change my air purifiers regularly but haven't cleaned my portable AC filter in 3.5 years because I can't figure out how]

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2024-03-30T23:15:38.602Z · LW · GW
Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on LessOnline (May 31—June 2, Berkeley, CA) · 2024-03-30T19:07:17.742Z · LW · GW

How do other people feel about the list of invited authors? I feel dubious about a single list with both invitees and confirmed attendees (even if they're in different colors), but if most people don't find it confusing or misleading it seems less important.

Suggested voting: use percentage reacts, with 0 being "I absolutely find this confusing or misleading" and 100 being "I find this extremely clear"

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Iron deficiencies are very bad and you should treat them · 2024-03-29T00:57:02.345Z · LW · GW

To answer your object level question:

  1. I could generate evidence at least this good for every claim in human health, including mutually contradictory ones. 
  2. The book title "mindspan" pattern matches to "shitty science book"
  3. the paragraphs quoted pattern match to jumping around between facts, without giving straightforward numbers you can hold in your own mind. Why give percentage of childbearing women below a threshold, but averages for the ultraold?
    1. "adding tea to the diet reduces body iron and increases lifespan" really? this is what he thinks of as evidence?
    2. "a study of people who ate a Mediterranean-style diet (characterized mainly by less meat and more fish) had larger brains and key brain structures and less atrophy than frequent meat eaters."  lots of potential reasons for this, many of which are areas of deep research
    3. Data on the ultraold is useless because there's a good chance most of them are lying about their age.
  4. He didn't cite the most relevant information I know of, that regular blood donation improves health in men. Which probably means Alex wasn't done any investigation into this, he just read a few claims some time. 
Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on Iron deficiencies are very bad and you should treat them · 2024-03-29T00:48:17.157Z · LW · GW

Thank you, I appreciate that.

I'm about to give a lot of context. This is definitely a little unfair, and subjecting you to anger you are not responsible for. But I do feel like you've opened a can of worms, and it would be meaningful to me for you to put yourself in my shoes, which unfortunately requires a lot of context.

The context: 

  • The mod team[1] and many authors believe that no one is owed a response,. Some people disagree (mostly people who comment much more than they post, but not exclusively). I think the latter is a minority, although it's hard to tell without a proper poll and I don't know how to weight answers. 
  • Beyond that: because I write about medical stuff means I get a lot of demands for answers I don't have and don't owe people. On one hand, this is kind of inevitable so I don't get mad at people for the first request. On the other hand, people sometimes get really aggressive about getting a definitive answer from me, which I neither owe them nor have the ability to give. One of the biggest predictors of this is how specific the question is. Someone coming in with a lot of gears in their model is usually fun to talk to. I'll learn things, and I can trust that they're treating me as one source of information among many, rather than trying to outsource their judgement. The vaguer a question the more likely it is being asked by someone who is desperate but not doing their own work on the subject, and answering is likely to be costly with benefit to anyone.

    Your question patternmatched to the second type. 
  • As you note, I not only had left many comments unresponded-to, but specifically the comments above and below the comment you were referring to (but made me do the work to find). As far as I'm concerned, telling you I couldn't find the comment and giving an overall opinion was going above and beyond.
    • Which I do because sometimes on LW it pays off, and it looks like it did here, which is heartwarming. 
  • You say that you find omnivores to be worse at epistemics and discourse. My experience is strongly the opposite. These aren't incompatible- the loudest people on every side of every issue are usually the dumbest. But keep in mind that the critics of my work on vegan advocacy are drawn from that crowd. 
    • You came in suspicious of me on a post where I gave vegans and vegetarians useful tests, with grant money I acquired for this purpose, and helped them find vegan supplements. One of my big frustrations with my vegan critics is that they're treating me like a meat industry shill, when my major actions have been to help vegans stay healthily vegan. I don't think means anyone has to agree with me, but I've barely been able to get critics to acknowledge this and explain why it doesn't change anything for them.
      • one person did give a satisfying answer to this. It was educational and I appreciate his response a lot, although it did not ultimately change my mind. You can see our dialogue here. 
      • I've gotten 10-30 emails and comments from vegans telling me I drove them to get tested and if merited go on supplements, and one comment from one vegan saying I was one factor among many in them restarting small amounts of fish. And in the course of getting his statistics help on this post, I talked my dad into a more ameliatarian diet. So from my perspective I have done considerably more for animals than many vegan advocates. 
      • You might think that people who start eating meat are less likely to tell me, but like you said, I'm detectably not likely to yell at them for it. 
    • I think your implication is that I don't care about animal suffering or don't like vegans, and this drives me to attack them through any convenient vector. Neither is true. I care about nutrition because I care about nutrition and have for many years, as my blog will attest to.  I also care about epistemics and truthseeking in full generality (and my blog will provide a paper trail for that as well). So from my perspective the story that is some people caused a lot of harm (to animals, human health, and truthseeking within EA) by being not only incorrect, but loudly using dishonest tricks to get their way, on an issue I already cared about. 
      • AFAIK none of my vegan critics have acknowledged either of those points, which is also quite frustrating.
    • You might ask "doesn't this imply you [Elizabeth] should be extra charitable to vegans?". The answer is: I am. That's one reason I'm willing to engage with bad commenters (for one round). I'm also careful to distinguish between vegans and vegan advocates when I complain. If anyone else was this epistemically and materially harmful, in EA or LW, on an issue I cared about, I'd be much harsher. 
  • I find leaving a reply about comment A on comment B, which has nothing to do with comment A, to be bizarre at best and hostile at worst. Even if you didn't know how to link to comments, just giving me the author's name would have cut down on the effort demanded from me. 
  • Telling Alex "naw man, that's not meaningful evidence" seems like it will lead to less high quality disagreement with my posts, not more. 
  • A detailed refutation is a lot of work. 
  • I saw your question to Nina questioning her self-report before I saw this comment. It is in some sense a reasonable question, but in practice I get low quality versions of it all the time and it tends to come from incurious people. Additionally, I didn't like that you were speaking as an authority on her life, when she'd given the appropriate caveats. 


So the story from my perspective is: I put in a lot of work to help vegans stay healthy and to protect the epistemic commons of two communities explicitly dedicated to strong epistemics.  I bent over backwards to acknowledge animal suffering while doing so.  A subset of vegan advocates have responded to this work with with overt hostility and shitty epistemics, generating additional work for me that is of no benefit to anyone. I don't know if those comments make up a majority of comments of all comments or comments from vegans, but they are definitely a supermajority of my emotional memories from those comments.

Now someone comes in demanding answers, without making the barest effort to reduce the work that answering requires. He makes a sinister claim that I'm ignoring criticism, citing evidence that takes seconds to disprove. I know I can't give an answer with level of confidence he seems to want, and it doesn't sound like he's done any homework of his own. This[2] has historically created a lot of work for me with no benefit to anyone.  

LW occasionally produces miracles, so I answer, in a way that leaves open the door to a productive exchange. But don't put a ton of work into being nicer to the commenter than he was to me, because that's an unreasonable burden and I have a lot of data that says no amount of work will help.

And then it turned out to be one of those LW stories where someone generally reconsiders their views and apologizes for past behavior, which is great. But I don't regret my decision on a policy level.  

  1. ^

    which technically I'm on, but in practice it means I occasionally give an opinion in private or curate something. I have 0 power on a policy level

  2. ^

    by which I mean "demanding sure answers w/o homework". It happens about all kinds of topics, not just veganism.

Comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) on My Interview With Cade Metz on His Reporting About Slate Star Codex · 2024-03-28T18:49:55.578Z · LW · GW

aZMD: Looking at "Silicon Valley's Safe Space", I don't think it was a good article. Specifically, you wrote,

In one post, [Alexander] aligned himself with Charles Murray, who proposed a link between race and I.Q. in "The Bell Curve." In another, he pointed out that Mr. Murray believes Black people "are genetically less intelligent than white people."



End quote. So, the problem with this is that the specific post in which Alexander aligned himself with Murray was not talking about race. It was specifically talking about whether specific programs to alleviate poverty will actually work or not.


I think Zack's description might be too charitable to Scott. From his description I thought the reference would be strictly about poverty. But the full quote includes a lot about genetics and ability to earn money.  The full quote is

The only public figure I can think of in the southeast quadrant with me is Charles Murray. Neither he nor I would dare reduce all class differences to heredity, and he in particular has some very sophisticated theories about class and culture. But he shares my skepticism that the 55 year old Kentucky trucker can be taught to code, and I don’t think he’s too sanguine about the trucker’s kids either. His solution is a basic income guarantee, and I guess that’s mine too. Not because I have great answers to all of the QZ article’s problems. But just because I don’t have any better ideas1,2.

Scott doesn't mention race, but it's an obvious implication[1], especially when quoting someone the NYT crowd views as anathema. I think Metz could have quoted that paragraph, and maybe given the NYT consensus view on him for anyone who didn't know, and readers would think very poorly of Scott[2]

I bring this up for a couple of reasons: 

  1. it seems in the spirit of Zack's post to point out when he made an error in presenting evidence.
  2. it looks like Metz chose to play stupid symmetric warfare games, instead of the epistemically virtuous thing of sharing a direct quote. The quote should have gotten him what he wanted, so why be dishonest about it? I have some hypotheses, none of which lead me to trust Metz.
  1. ^

    ETA: If you hold the very common assumption that race is a good proxy for genetics. I disagree, but that is the default view.

  2. ^

    To be clear: that paragraph doesn't make me think poorly of Scott. I personally agree with Scott that genetics influences jobs and income. I like UBI for lots of reasons, including this one. If I read that paragraph I wouldn't find any of the views objectionable (although a little eyebrow raise that he couldn't find an example with a less toxic reputation- but I can't immediately think of another example that fits either).