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Comment by glen-raphael on Covid-19: My Current Model · 2020-06-11T16:28:34.337Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That study made me much more inclined to think HCQ is useful as a prophylactic.

Among the full study group there was a reduction of illness of a bit over 17% but it's better than that: the study's supplementary appendix includes a chart that breaks out various subgroups including a breakout by DAY. The most benefit was found for people who started treatment on day ONE post-exposure. Next best was starting on day TWO post-exposure. By day three there was a negligible benefit and by day four there was a negligible harm - that subgroup actually did a bit worse than the control group.

So to get an average 17% improvement across the whole group we're combining two start days of positive improvement (days 1 and 2) with two start days that (eyeballing the chart) round off to roughly zero improvement (days 3 and 4). Since the N was pretty evenly spread across days, basic math says if we JUST looked at the benefit for people who start as early as day 1 or 2 we should expect to find about twice as much improvement which is to say a ~34% reduction in illness!

Given the curve on that data, I'm optimistic about prophylactic use; it's possible that starting on day 0 or day -1 does even *better* than 34%. And (contrary to the retracted studies) they found no evidence at all of serious side effects or heart issues.

If this study result replicates then people who obtain HCQ in advance (so they don't have to wait for study enrollment or shipping) and start taking it *immediately* upon known exposure are ~1/3rd less likely to show any symptoms of covid than if they didn't do that. Which could save thousands of lives. (We can't be 95% sure of this result yet because the study was too small, but less-than-perfect knowledge is still knowledge and under the current circumstances probably worth acting on.)

(Caveat: they didn't find benefit for age>50, the group we care most about. Caveat to the caveat: there were only 5 people in the "control" for age 50 - they didn't have nearly enough oldsters enrolled in the study to expect meaningful results for them.)

Comment by glen-raphael on Bay Solstice 2019 Retrospective · 2020-01-19T04:30:07.691Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

FYI, the two extra verses in that video are:

(1) since I was performing on a boat:

"They may drown my body when I die (x2)...If upon this stage I died, they might toss me off the side"

(2) Since I expected many Doctor Who fans to be in that particular audience:

"They may disintegrate my body when I die (x2)...If a Dalek wished me hate, he might say EXTERMINATE"

(Note: the boat verse can be used when not on a boat but is weaker then and one must in that circumstance change "upon this stage" to "upon a boat".)

Comment by glen-raphael on Bay Solstice 2019 Retrospective · 2020-01-17T03:14:29.862Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I notice that When I Die is incorrectly listed as requiring guitar, likely because in the spreadsheets the linked musical reference is to the solo guitar-and-voice version I recorded ages ago...but that guitar arrangement is (a) tricky, (b) not terribly conducive to singalong. Thus, I suggest anyone maintaining these sort of spreadsheets change the When I Die musical reference to a youtube link for the a cappella harmony version, such as this link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7ndK8aIF-I

UPDATE: That video version was recorded on a nerd-cruise with a couple context-dependent bonus verses that likely wouldn't be used (or would be used differently) at solstice so it might be even better to use a video that actually *was* from a solstice if we can find a good one with good sound. (I know the latest NYC solstice was recorded - is the video for that out yet?)

Comment by glen-raphael on Melting Gold, and Organizational Capacity · 2017-12-13T05:03:54.597Z · score: 58 (21 votes) · LW · GW

Hoping it's okay to drop down to the object level for a bit...something that's been bugging me about events like Solstice is the degree to which they resist being self-documenting. My ideal in this regard would be the Jewish Seder.

If you think about how a Seder works: there is a Hagaddah, where nearly everything that is said or done or sung is listed in the Hagaddah and read from it verbatim - it is an outline, it is a summary, and it is also the primary content. Most importantly, a Hagaddah explains its own structure; it starts out with text that clearly says what we-the-participants are collectively trying to do and why.

And everybody hears that explanation. The structure of the ceremony - what are we doing now, what will we do after that? - is not just intended as private knowledge for people running the ceremony - it's right out there for the participants to know as well. All of them.

So if somebody invites you to a Seder and you walk in blind having never been before, you immediately are given a hook to hang the experience on. "We are here tonight to tell the story of X in the manner Y which we think is important for reasons Z". The person who goes even once is clearly told as part of the event what it was the event was trying to do and if they keep a copy of that Hagaddah on their way out they themselves could run a very similar service next year by making some copies and following the instructions therein.

The fact that Seders are self-documenting and don't change much year-over-year substantially reduces how "heroic" one has to be to run one. You still have to coordinate finding a room and people to fill it and ingredients to put on the seder plate, but once the guests are present running the event itself is easy-peasy; anybody who had ever attended one could pretty easily figure out how to run one.

The polar opposite of that approach would be to invite people to events which appear to be run by a Mysterious Old Wizard, wherein one section is labeled "have somebody get up and deliver a topical original sermon on the theme of being scared and hopeless in the face of certain doom" and another is labeled "have somebody deliver a topical original sermon on the theme of renewed hopefulness in progress and human ingenuity" and another part is labeled "now have somebody perform some original songs they just wrote this month incorporating themes that fit with the aforementioned original sermons". This seems to me like playing the game on Hard Mode. Maybe there's no way around it when you're experimenting with a new format the first time, or even the first few times - the person starting such a thing is a Mysterious Old Wizard who has a wizard's skillset and wants to iterate quickly to see what works - but after you've been at it several years it might be time to lower the difficulty level from Hard to Normal.

Comment by glen-raphael on Cash transfers are not necessarily wealth transfers · 2017-12-13T03:35:07.092Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Private education in the third world is quite inexpensive - cheap enough to be affordable to a substantial fraction of the poorest families - according to The Beautiful Tree ( https://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Tree-Personal-Educating-Themselves/dp/1939709121 ).