Posts

Comments

Comment by gbear605 on Essentialness of Data · 2021-07-16T15:15:34.923Z · LW · GW

Viliam's description matches my understanding of the history. TV started out with free over-the-air broadcasting, with admittedly just a few offerings (only three channels originally). They were ad supported, but generally had much fewer ads than today. Between the 1960s and 1980s cable was introduced, and initially was ad-free but paid. Then they gradually introduced ads to the format once people were locked in and hooked to the shows available. Now the quantity of ads is greater than ever, plus it costs money. Today a few channels still offer that free over-the-air broadcasting, but it's much fewer than there used to be at the peak. So now we're in a state where you both need to pay and get a large quantity of ads.

Of course, streaming services have somewhat disrupted that model, but many streaming services both cost money and have ads. Plus to get all the same shows as on cable you need a large number of streaming services and they all add up to cost more than the cable package would!

You might say that the quality of the television shows has gone up, and you can definitely say that it's worth the tradeoff, but it's not obviously worth it to everyone.

Comment by gbear605 on Will the US have more than 100,000 new daily COVID-19 cases before January 1, 2022? · 2021-07-15T19:52:54.191Z · LW · GW

One thing going against that is that the UK has focused on single-shot vaccination while the US has had much more double-shot vaccination, which seems to have an impact on the delta variant.

Comment by gbear605 on Will the US have more than 100,000 new daily COVID-19 cases before January 1, 2022? · 2021-07-15T19:51:56.401Z · LW · GW

The US had 35k new reported cases yesterday[0], so we'd have to have a spike of 3x the current numbers. That's not impossible (the rate two weeks ago was a third of the current rate!), but it doesn't seem 99% certain to me, especially as the percent vaccinated continues to go up, albeit at a slower rate.

The last time the US hit 100k was at the beginning of February, five months ago, when it was a lot less vaccinated, and the peak of the spike in April was 85k (with a 7-day average of 73k), so we'd have to have a worse spike than in April with higher vaccination rates.

The elephant in the room is of course the delta variant, but having a confidence of 99% seems to be overstating it in my opinion.

[0]: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

Comment by gbear605 on Essentialness of Data · 2021-07-15T00:57:32.432Z · LW · GW

One significant problem is that differential privacy requires trusting that the implementation is free from bugs, both intentional and unintentional ones. In some cases you can monitor the network packets (though who monitors all the network packets all the time?), but in many cases you can't. That's especially an issue with hardware devices that communicate using encryption.

I generally would trust that Firefox isn't going to have an intentional bug in their telemetry, and I don't think that Google would either (they have too much to lose from the bad publicity), but what about all of the miscellaneous ad companies? And anyone can have an unintentional bug in their implementation.

The companies involved have, as a general group, already shown that they will act maliciously, so I can't trust them when they say they aren't being malicious.

Comment by gbear605 on Will the US have more than 100,000 new daily COVID-19 cases before January 1, 2022? · 2021-07-10T16:39:33.738Z · LW · GW

To rephrase that, "Yes" requires that at least one day has reported >100k cases while "No" requires that all days have reported <100k cases. So if there is variance it will increase the chance any given day will be reported wrongly and a single wrong reporting of >100k will make "Yes" inaccurately occur. Of course, if it only spikes >100k real cases on a few days, and those days also have variance, that will make "No" inaccurately occur, but I agree that that's an unlikely situation.

The real problem would be if the CDC has a consistent reporting error. For example if some states with high real case counts were to stop reporting data and the CDC then extrapolated from the remaining lower case count states, they could report an inaccurately low number of cases.

Comment by gbear605 on Why did we wait so long for the threshing machine? · 2021-06-29T20:48:11.462Z · LW · GW

When comparing to other inventions like "the loom, the spinning wheel, the printing press", it's important to consider how much time/effort they save compared to the alternative. The threshing machine has a simple alternative and as a fraction of a farmer's life, it's relatively little time (as an overestimate, 1/20, so it can at best make farmers 5% more efficient).

Looms are somewhat of a bad comparison since it's essentially impossible to make cloth without one. Similarly, the printing press is necessary for books to be widely available. Both of them are necessary to allow their activity to even occur, so there will be a strong incentive to create one.

However, the spinning wheel is more comparable to the threshing machine, since it's not necessarily needed but is a time saver. The big difference between spinning and threshing though is that before the spinning wheel women would spend a huge fraction of their time making textiles and most of that was spent spinning. Keeping a family of six clothed in comfort would take about 22 labor hours each day (split across the women of the household), meaning that women would spend about half of their waking hours making textiles. About 85% of that time was spent in spinning alone. The spinning machine is 10x more effective than hand spinning, so it frees up perhaps 6 hours a day per woman. (source: https://acoup.blog/2021/03/19/collections-clothing-how-did-they-make-it-part-iii-spin-me-right-round/)

Of course, making all farmers 5% more efficient is great, but since everything is decentralized no individual has the incentive. Meanwhile, freeing up that amount of time from spinning is absolutely life changing.

Comment by gbear605 on Are bread crusts healthier? · 2021-06-18T18:23:50.515Z · LW · GW

As a child, I was definitely (repeatedly) told that the crusts are healthier than the rest, with the reasoning being something like "the vitamins rise to the top."

Comment by gbear605 on Looking for reasoned discussion on Geert Vanden Bossche's ideas? · 2021-06-07T00:47:44.172Z · LW · GW

Note also that the FDA has already approved that shots for alternate strains would be able to have much more limited testing, just for safety, which would take about two months. Slower than ideal, but given that production and distribution takes a while anyway, it's not too bad, and (judging by the response to the current vaccines) the additional testing will be important for getting people to actually take the vaccine.

 

Two months behind isn't great, but it's short enough that I'm not worried.

Comment by gbear605 on Sabien on "work-life" balance · 2021-05-26T15:33:07.691Z · LW · GW

This concept of direct versus indirect value seems quite related to the concept of alienation from the product of labor. In both cases, although the worker does receive value from their work (a paycheck or feeling like they're helping the world), the worker does not directly benefit from the actual labor that they are doing, making them feel unconnected with their work and lose motivation.

Comment by gbear605 on How to compute the probability you are flipping a trick coin · 2021-05-15T17:54:40.963Z · LW · GW

If you're interested in making a follow-up post, I'd enjoy an analysis of the possibilities when the coin is not fair but is also not double sided. For example, if a coin has a 75% chance of turning up heads, how does the probability look? If a coin turns up heads 50 times in a row, it's probably neither fair nor a 75/25 coin, but if it turns up heads 10 times in a row I might guess it to be 75/25.

Comment by gbear605 on Technocratic Plimsoll Line · 2021-05-15T13:03:20.846Z · LW · GW

To some extent the dichotomy is weak. For example, in the US at least, the political appointees, especially for relatively lower positions, tend to be people who first rose to the top as technocrats and then were politically selected. Even at the top, the process in which a person becomes a president or a senator requires passing a test of skill, albeit a very different one. This contrasts with a monarchy where the ruler has to pass no test other than not being revolted against.

From the other direction, I presume that in countries where you have to be part of the party to have any role in government, you at least also have some level of qualification, and they don’t just choose randomly from the party ranks.

Comment by gbear605 on Highlights from The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie · 2021-04-11T18:28:33.463Z · LW · GW

That's a bad plan unless you're fine with a decent risk of foreclosure - the market can (and in the past, has) go down and stay down for 10+ years. If that happens, you now have lost much of your equity in your house and have payments to make. If that coincides with losing your job (which is of course correlated with the market) then you're at high risk of being foreclosed on.

If you really want to have higher returns with higher risk, another strategy is to buy stocks on margin. You can't have the extreme multiples of the 1920's, but you can still get much higher returns. The tradeoff is the potential to also lose it all.

Of course, you might think that that risk is worthwhile for the extra returns, but they definitely are not for me.

Comment by gbear605 on The EMH is False - Specific Strong Evidence · 2021-03-18T23:21:53.349Z · LW · GW

The GPU company increase is notable because the reason Nvidia and AMD have done well has little to do with AI. It's almost entirely about crypto, with some portion about video gaming. So while you would have done well if you had invested in GPU companies in 2015 because of AI, your results wouldn't have actually been causally connected with your reasoning. If you take out Nvidia and AMD then your results are not nearly as much better compared to SPY. And I'm not really convinced that most of the rest of the tech increase has much to do with AI either, perhaps other than Tesla, although their increase seems more akin to Gamestop than to a company more based on fundamentals.

Of course, you could also have done better than the economy than by just investing in tech stocks, but that's not nearly as much of an exciting conclusion (though still a bit of an exciting one).

However, that's missing that the EMH is fundamentally based on risk - it's easy to get better returns than the market, even over a five year time period, by investing leveraged. But then if the market goes down, it's easy to lose everything. I haven't calculated the numbers, but I suspect that someone who invested leveraged from 2015 to 2020 would have been looking great in January 2020 and then be bankrupt in April 2020. Tech has a different risk model than investing leveraged, but it definitely is higher risk than the overall US economy..

You can beat the market by investing in a high risk market, but that's literally what the EMH tells you, so it's a boring conclusion.

Comment by gbear605 on Seven Years of Spaced Repetition Software in the Classroom · 2021-03-07T06:02:35.287Z · LW · GW

SRS for muscle memory

I don't know how they were thinking of it, but theoretically you can put any action into an Anki card: 

  • do a problem from chapter 1.5 of the linear algebra textbook
  • play through X specific piano piece
  • do five pushups

(though I doubt that the spaced repetition algorithm will really help with that last one)

I can further imagine that a skill which operates largely on muscle memory, like a martial art, could be done similar. "Do five kicks" could help you get the muscle memory behind that specific kick into your head, as long as you can be an accurate judge of how well you performed the kick.

Comment by gbear605 on Coffee trucks: a brilliant idea that someone should do? · 2021-02-20T16:31:39.285Z · LW · GW

The app concept would be difficult for a startup since you need to both introduce the truck and the app at the same time - it's a two-sided market. An existing coffee company would have an easier time, since their customers already have the app; they just need to add the feature to the app and start sending out the trucks. 

Comment by gbear605 on Why I Am Not in Charge · 2021-02-08T04:26:44.285Z · LW · GW

Notably, Rasputin really was threatening the empire - many historians consider him a significant contributor to the revolution. The suggestion here is that trying to change the working system from the inside - being a Donald Trump - can lead to a completely different system replacing it. The replacing system might be worse in a completely different way, or it might be better, but either way it's going to cause a lot of pain in the mean time. Be careful what you try - destroying the FDA or the CDC may just lead to more people refusing to get vaccinated or wear masks, while simultaneously leading to snake oil or to a resurgence of other diseases. A gain in one area leads to being much worse off in others.

Comment by gbear605 on Covid cafes · 2021-02-05T04:23:59.067Z · LW · GW

A Chinese restaurant near me built a plastic enclosure at their doorway, with an airlock that they place the food into, before closing the door and letting you open the opposite door. It works great, although it was definitely non-trivial to construct.

Comment by gbear605 on Covid cafes · 2021-02-05T04:21:53.934Z · LW · GW

I suspect that there's a bimodal distribution with COVID concern. In one group is the people who aren't concerned, or are only a little concerned. They might not eat or drink inside, but they have no problem going to a grocery story or buying a coffee inside. For them, ordering outside has no benefit but some downside (lack of normalcy and the normal reasons that ordering isn't done outside, like inclement weather). Obviously there is the real downside of COVID risk, but they're either not very concerned or don't believe in it.

In the other group are people who are quite concerned. They would never eat or drink inside, and going to the grocery story would be a stretch, as would ordering a coffee from Starbucks. But generally, they'd consider the pros and cons and not buy a coffee, likely whether it is indoors or outdoors, since they probably aren't doing the math and are just judging the activity by the general "safe" versus "unsafe" buckets. These type of people are likely not going to be going to Starbucks, regardless. This is doubly the case since people often go to a cafe as part of another activity, which this second group of people is less likely to be doing.

Because the second group isn't going to be buying coffee, Starbucks isn't going to be particularly worried about catering to them. Thus Starbucks is likely only considering the effects on their business from the first group of people, and that first group would rather be indoors than outside.

Obviously this is a massive generalization, and it's really more of a spectrum, but I think the analysis still holds when stretched out over the average group. They'll cater the most to the people who buy coffee at Starbucks the most, and those are the people who are going to be the least concerned about it being outdoors.

Comment by gbear605 on Unpopularity of efficiency · 2021-02-01T00:00:54.345Z · LW · GW

How often is the world actually a well functioning priority stack?

Comment by gbear605 on The True Face of the Enemy · 2021-01-13T02:38:00.373Z · LW · GW

It's funny... a lot of it sounds exactly like work.

Comment by gbear605 on Would a more deadly virus have induced greater compliance with US lockdown restrictions? · 2020-12-20T19:14:04.714Z · LW · GW

I don't know about a New Zealand path, but I do think that there would have been a much more significant response.

Consider that to a significant degree, populations seem to be fairly good at maintaining COVID-19 spread to a constant rate (ie. an R_t of around 1). This seems to be based on feedback mechanisms that operate through hearing news of the virus, through official channels, mainstream media, and social media. For instance, if you hear that the government is telling you not to go out and that the hospitals are full and that many people are dying, you will likely comply, but once those are working, you will become less cautious, causing the cycle to repeat.

I would suspect based on this that a more dangerous disease (either higher IFR or higher infectivity) would result in more cautious behavior, likely causing a flatter behavior rather than the peaks that we have had with COVID-19, but the response would be substantially the same. That said, if it was especially more dangerous (black death or smallpox levels), then a substantially different response might be possible.

Comment by gbear605 on Unexplored modes of language · 2020-12-10T15:32:51.903Z · LW · GW

There are a number of whistled languages, most notably Silbo. They're usually used for communicating across large empty spaces (think gaps between mountains).

Comment by gbear605 on Unexplored modes of language · 2020-12-10T15:32:07.278Z · LW · GW

Note that much of the research involving Pirahã is dubious.

Comment by gbear605 on Cultural accumulation · 2020-12-07T22:46:10.671Z · LW · GW

Looking at https://usafacts.org/data/topics/economy/economic-indicators/gdp/gross-domestic-product/?adjustment=Inflation it looks like the USA's GDP in 1944 was $3.1T in 2019 dollars, so the Manhattan project (even spread over four years) couldn't be anywhere near $3.3T.

Comment by gbear605 on Why are young, healthy people eager to take the Covid-19 vaccine? · 2020-11-29T02:09:53.057Z · LW · GW

I have a friend who has been taking HCQ for a chronic illness since long before the pandemic, as it’s been historically used for. They have to go in for regular retinal checks to ensure that they aren’t going blind, and they are other significant concerns. They’re on it because those risks aren’t as bad as the effects of their chronic illness that HCQ relieves. But those risks are still bad. And if HCQ doesn’t help, then they definitely don’t want to give it out to everyone.

Comment by gbear605 on [deleted post] 2020-11-27T16:47:57.762Z

I think the answer to whether numbers are in the map or territory is simply mu. A map describes the territory and the territory is made out of atoms. Numbers are clearly not made out of atoms, so they can't exist in the territory. But they don't fit into the map either because the map must change when the territory changes, but numbers don't change no matter how many atoms you move around or how much you change how atoms interact with each other. Suppose an all-powerful being changed the world so that any time two objects got near each other, a third appears: 1 + 1 = 3. The entire math canon could still work, and you could still spend lifetimes describing it, but it wouldn't be helpful for describing how the world works. It would be neither in the map, nor in the territory, but it would still be real. Mu.

Comment by gbear605 on Why are young, healthy people eager to take the Covid-19 vaccine? · 2020-11-22T16:12:36.905Z · LW · GW

There is no significant risk of lasting negative health consequences after infection

That's simply false. In fact, there is an abundance of evidence of it. 

https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/covid-19/finally-confirmed-vitamin-d-nearly-abolishes-icu-risk-in-covid-19

You're... citing someone with a PhD in nutritional science primarily interpreting a study with n=76, and trying to deduce from that a 96% decrease in fatality risk. That's not how those statistics work. You simply can't get that level of information from the studies cited.

Comment by gbear605 on Comparing Covid and Tobacco · 2020-11-17T22:46:24.540Z · LW · GW

Other than wearing masks (which hardly is a burden), I don't really see people sacrificing too much to help prevent others outside their family and friends from getting COVID. There are obviously exceptions to this, such as the entire medical community, but I don't think that there was truly a huge personal sacrifice to prevent others from getting COVID versus preventing others from dying of smoking. What sacrifice there was can, I think, be explained up by the same reason that charities like the Against Malaria Foundation that operate primarily in Africa can be much more effective than charities that operate in the US - out of sight, out of mind.

Comment by gbear605 on Comparing Covid and Tobacco · 2020-11-17T21:43:06.244Z · LW · GW

Sweden precisely shows why your question is misguided. They had significantly fewer governmental restrictions, but their economy did the same or worse over the last year than the other Scandinavian countries. My interpretation is that average people care a lot about their personal pandemic risk and are willing to do all these measures regardless of the laws, while the laws help stop the super-spreader marginal cases. 

Because of this, the governmental restrictions have approximately zero economic cost while have a significant health benefit. The governmental expenditures have not truly been COVID-relief. Rather, they have been depression-relief, where the depression is caused by people's desire to avoid COVID.

For a specific example, everyone at my company is allowed to work at the office, both by the government and by the company. Despite that, not a single person does. Similarly, my area currently allows people to eat inside restaurants, but almost no one does.

Comment by gbear605 on Anatomy of a Gear · 2020-11-16T18:40:30.029Z · LW · GW

This was a very good explanation of why to use a gears level explanation instead of an atom level. But it lacks the other direction - how do you determine if something is a gear instead of a gearbox? Regarding the image at the top of the post, how do you decide whether to describe using the blue boxes or using the gears?

Comment by gbear605 on Why haven't we celebrated any major achievements lately? · 2020-11-10T17:47:13.106Z · LW · GW

For a more recent example than trans-Atlantic ocean liners, when The Beatles arrived in the US by plane in 1964 they were greeted by a crowd of 3000 fans. That doesn't seem likely to happen today (and not just because of airport security).

Comment by gbear605 on A review of Where Is My Flying Car? by J. Storrs Hall · 2020-11-08T02:23:59.452Z · LW · GW

A similar question regarding rising costs in the US is around the cost of public transportation, especially building subway tunnels, where costs can vary by a factor of ten, with the US's cost being about the highest globally. The blog Pedestrian Observations has talked a lot about it, for instance in this blog post. Per it, the ultimate cause is that the US is unwilling to learn from other countries because it still perceives itself as being top in the world at public transit while much of Europe and East Asia is surpassing it.

Comment by gbear605 on Nuclear war is unlikely to cause human extinction · 2020-11-07T13:46:59.938Z · LW · GW

When I've previously considered human extinction caused by nuclear wars, I've known that the immediate blasts wouldn't kill everyone. However, what are the effects of a lower overall population with fewer habitable areas and less access to resources? That's doubly true since the areas that will have more people survive will almost definitionally be developing countries that are now suddenly cutoff from imports. I believe that humans as a species would likely survive, but I also suspect that it would be the end of modern civilization. Adding to that, I've seen hypotheses before that the remaining resources left underground but easily accessibly by non-modern technology would not be enough to "reboot" civilization, especially fossil fuels. Overall, despite the very likely non-extinction of the human species, it would much more likely be an extinction of the human race as a space-faring species.

Comment by gbear605 on What risks concern you which don't seem to have been seriously considered by the community? · 2020-10-28T21:03:50.072Z · LW · GW

Could you expand on "you don't need to hugely stretch general relativity for closed timelike curves to become possible"? After all, the only thing keeping everyone from flying off of the planet is a minus sign in different equations relating to gravity, but we don't worry about that as a risk. Are the changes to general relativity similar to that, or more like "relativity allows it but it has some huge barrier that we can't currently surpass"?

Comment by gbear605 on Local Solar Time · 2020-10-23T19:58:37.628Z · LW · GW

I can easily imagine a world where the railways switched from local solar time to universal time, without developing timezones. Afterall, the problem with local solar time is that it changes between cities, and that's true with timezones as well, it's just less frequent (and with even hour or half-hour multiples). If anything, universal time would be easier. Universal time doesn't work for non-railroads very well though, so I can totally imagine local solar time sticking around without having to seriously change anything about the world. 

Comment by gbear605 on Bet On Biden · 2020-10-18T23:31:12.520Z · LW · GW

I was merely noting that 538, the makers of the prediction model that the post is discussing, believes in the voter suppression. If you think they're wrong about the voter suppression, then you probably also shouldn't believe in their prediction model. On the other hand, if you think they're right about the prediction model, then why are you doubting their voter suppression research?

Of course, it's perfectly consistent to think that they are wrong about both the model and the voter suppression, but the post was assuming that you believed in the prediction model.

Comment by gbear605 on Bet On Biden · 2020-10-17T23:53:48.617Z · LW · GW

Notably, the 538 prediction doesn't include a number of outside factors, primarily around mail-in ballots and voter suppression. 538 has already talked about the problems with mail-in ballots being rejected, and there are also concerns about not having all of the ballots counted before the cut-off point where they have to finish counting. Republicans have also made it harder for Democrat-leaning bases to vote. These are factors that will hurt Biden more than Trump. All those links are to 538, and there are other articles on the site about those same issues. If you believe in 538's model, you should probably also believe in their articles that indicate that these outside factors will be important. If you don't believe in the articles, then why do you believe in their model?

Either way, this is not a clear case where the market is wrong.

Comment by gbear605 on Upside decay - why some people never get lucky · 2020-10-10T04:05:58.838Z · LW · GW

One response is that China currently has a lot more than it's historical boundaries, to the extent that those can even be properly defined, given that it hasn't truly been a continuous country. See https://medium.com/@millwarj/we-need-a-new-approach-to-teaching-modern-chinese-history-we-have-lazily-repeated-false-d24983bd7ef2 for a recent article I read that discusses it.

Comment by gbear605 on The rationalist community's location problem · 2020-09-25T00:22:20.626Z · LW · GW

I suspect that the confederate flags and guns were a poorly specified way to say "Republican." Obviously there are some Republicans who are part of the community, and even more conservatives in general, but a significant portion of the community is gay and trans, two groups that are often discriminated against in more conservative areas of the USA. That portion of the group seems to be even more prevalent in the Bay Area community. The concern, to me at least, is not difference of thought, but rather being discriminated against.

Comment by gbear605 on Covid 9/17: It’s Worse · 2020-09-23T02:45:53.686Z · LW · GW

Hm, when I was making the excluding-2020 graph I was intending to include 2019 as well, but it might have been taken out accidentally. 

Comment by gbear605 on Covid 9/17: It’s Worse · 2020-09-19T18:33:45.443Z · LW · GW

That makes more sense - there would be more land on fire, but the fires would be weak fires, not the destructive fires that we're getting now.

Comment by gbear605 on Covid 9/17: It’s Worse · 2020-09-19T03:07:21.760Z · LW · GW

Huh wild. I guess I have heard about redwood trees surviving forest fires, so that makes some sense, but man those'd be some big fires.

Comment by gbear605 on Covid 9/17: It’s Worse · 2020-09-18T03:02:14.768Z · LW · GW

Looking at the acres of forest burned over the last twenty years

It's been going up significantly over time - the trend-line goes from about 500k acres in 2000 to 1.5M acres in 2020, making me doubt a regression to the mean. Even excluding 2020, the trend-line goes from less than 500k acres in 2000 to about 1.1M acres in 2019. I'm expecting more years like this one in the future, although hopefully not quite as bad.

(data from Wikipedia)

Comment by gbear605 on Covid 9/17: It’s Worse · 2020-09-18T02:56:47.187Z · LW · GW

Per the Wikipedia page this year more than 3% of the state has burned (and it's continuing to burn), and thus a good deal more than 3% of the forestable land area has burned. Unless all the forests burned every 20-30 years, this would suggest that this year was significantly more than the historic average. Given that the past decade has averaged about 1 million acres, and the state is about 100 million acres, and not all the state is able to be forested, I'd guess that the last decade's averages have been at least around the historic average if not more.

Comment by gbear605 on Covid 9/17: It’s Worse · 2020-09-18T02:51:13.327Z · LW · GW
The bigger point is that once again we have two distinct versions of ‘scientific consensus’ about what’s going on with these fires.

Perhaps it's all my filter bubble, but what I'm hearing democrats say is that the issue is caused by a history of mismanagement combined with climate change. After all, the mismanagement hasn't changed significantly over the last twenty years, but the fires have gotten significantly worse over the last twenty-thirty years. The people I know who have lived in California for the last fifty years have talked about how until the mid-90s, they didn't hear about wildfires at all, and since then it's significantly gone up. Looking at the list of twenty largest fires since 1932, ten are since 2010 and an additional seven were between 2000 and 2010. Only three were before 2000. Graphing the acres burned over time since 2000 shows a clear increase, and that remains even if you remove this year's fires.

Obviously there's more time for brush to accumulate, but as other comments have mentioned, the fires burning have removed some of that brush, taking away fuel, so that's likely close to a wash, and I doubt that it could explain an increase of 3x on the trend-line.

Overall, climate change seems like a necessary cause for these fires, even if not a sufficient one. Of course, the mismanagement is also a necessary cause - and I've certainly seen plenty of left-leaning leaders blaming California for that - but keeping both causes in mind is important, especially when one issue is local to California and the other issue is global.

Comment by gbear605 on Why haven't we celebrated any major achievements lately? · 2020-09-15T23:33:52.990Z · LW · GW

My understanding is that the permanent damage occurs to much of the same degree in people who don't show any symptoms (and are of course, not treated).

Comment by gbear605 on Against boots theory · 2020-09-14T13:39:44.411Z · LW · GW

I always interpreted "The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money." as saying that this is one way that the rich become richer. I don't think anyone doubts that rich people either have higher income or start with a lot of money. But then they also have these structural advantages that help them be "so rich." The "ghetto tax" is one place, but then there's everything else - less stress, for instance, or being able to pay for education. Boots theory isn't just spending less money, although that's what he describes, but every place where rich people are able to become richer because they have more money to start out with.

Comment by gbear605 on A Brief Chat on World Government · 2020-09-14T01:42:20.092Z · LW · GW

You both seem to be assuming that competitive pressures from other governments is what causes current governments to be stable. However, that seems pretty unlikely to me. I doubt the US government would be significantly different, even if there was no ability for other governments to compete with the US at all (eg. no migration, no trade, no military). After all, how does the US government currently compete? Obviously with the military, but the US government isn't becoming less corrupt to avoid being out competed with the military. Aside from that, migration seems to be the main way, and if anything the US government attempts to be less fit in that regard.

The forces that keep it stable are rather entirely internal. Similarly, a world government would be kept stable through the forces of politics - presumably some form of democracy.

Comment by gbear605 on Open & Welcome Thread - September 2020 · 2020-09-13T23:28:28.768Z · LW · GW

That's definitely how it was taught in my high school, so it's not unknown.

Comment by gbear605 on The ethics of breeding to kill · 2020-09-08T12:54:30.513Z · LW · GW

Sorry, let me amend my statement to “every adult human not in a coma”