PrinciplesYou - Seems to be a new personality assessment tool 2021-04-22T19:20:46.384Z
AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine and blood clots 2021-03-15T13:16:24.878Z
For those who advocate Anki 2021-01-31T00:01:20.698Z
What do people think of the Futurism site? 2020-11-21T17:32:21.794Z
In 1 year and 5 years what do you see as "the normal" world. 2020-09-10T12:47:35.497Z
What is the current process for increases testing? 2020-07-12T17:21:49.847Z
Restricted Diet and Longevity, does eating pattern matter? 2020-06-01T21:28:19.010Z
Will the many protests throughout the USA prove to be good test cases for reopening? 2020-05-31T12:15:31.400Z
If bacteria gave us a tool for bio engineering, have viruses given us a delivery mechanism? 2020-05-20T22:31:08.099Z
Do any mammal species exhibit an immune response in some of the herd in response to the infection in other herd members? 2020-05-16T17:33:24.946Z
Will the world hit 10 million recorded cases of COVID-19? If so when? 2020-05-13T17:26:07.232Z
Settle Investment Trades Only Daily an improvement? True or False 2020-05-11T21:56:04.882Z
COVID-19 from a different angle 2020-05-04T17:58:02.100Z
Should we be reassessing the argument for globalization? 2020-04-26T13:52:40.126Z
Could city design impact spread of infections? 2020-04-22T14:57:54.511Z
COVID-19 and the US Elections 2020-04-08T18:25:20.425Z
What is going on in Singapore and the Philippines? 2020-04-06T11:27:25.268Z
What marginal returns now? 2020-03-30T23:12:03.853Z
Ideas on estimating personal risk of infection 2020-03-23T16:33:29.442Z
North Korea and COVID-19 2020-03-19T15:51:48.428Z
When will total cases in the EU surpass that of China? 2020-03-17T12:34:32.980Z
What might be learned from the COVID-19 buying patterns? 2020-03-15T02:58:26.078Z
Best time to take supplements? 2020-03-13T15:11:40.293Z
Dealing with the left overs: COVID-19 2020-03-05T14:10:02.299Z
To mask or not mask 2020-03-04T15:55:04.646Z
Did everyone miss the big thing about your phone? 2020-03-04T13:35:15.495Z
Is there a better way to define groups for COVID-19 impact? 2020-03-04T13:24:51.221Z
SARS, MERS and COVID-19 2020-03-01T20:53:06.459Z
Will the current COVID-19 outbreak increase the use of block-chain in supply chain management globally? 2020-02-28T14:53:15.777Z
Literature regarding epidemics and political stability? 2020-02-24T13:21:50.937Z
Making Sense of Coronavirus Stats 2020-02-20T15:12:51.292Z
It "wanted" ... 2020-02-15T20:52:07.094Z
Source of Karma 2020-02-09T14:13:30.650Z
Are the bad epistemic conditions global? 2020-01-25T23:31:21.283Z
AI Alignment, Constraints, Control, Incentives or Partnership? 2019-12-31T13:42:56.471Z
Double Cruz and Verification of Claims 2019-11-21T13:37:57.368Z
Current Law Proposed to allow competition in Social Media 2019-10-23T13:13:32.581Z
Does human choice have to be transitive in order to be rational/consistent? 2019-08-11T01:49:23.967Z
Would refining the question a bit be better in terms of getting to answers? 2019-08-01T16:25:32.549Z
Another case of "common sense" not being common? 2019-07-31T17:15:40.674Z
Learning Over Time for AI and Humans and Rationality 2019-06-13T13:23:58.639Z


Comment by jmh on Core Pathways of Aging · 2021-03-30T03:29:29.982Z · LW · GW

One thing I wonder about here is whether or not having a certain amount of "garbage" in the DNA is not actually a good thing. My understanding is that material transfers due to chromosomal overlaps as well. As that would be a purely random process there's no guarantees that transfers occur at the beginning and end of the used/functional gene segment. Having some amount of meaningless sections seems like it would reduce the probability of the legs of the chromosomes overlapping at dangerous locations.

Comment by jmh on Another RadVac Testing Update · 2021-03-27T15:47:46.994Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure DI water would be a suitable "placebo" here. Perhaps a placebo effect is not even what is occurring. Previously you were inhaling something with small particles -- a bit like what happens every spring with pollen. Perhaps a test with some other inert matter that might not even be able to invade your body much less produce some type of chemical reactions with the cells or cellular processes?

Comment by jmh on The EMH is False - Specific Strong Evidence · 2021-03-20T15:38:44.008Z · LW · GW

I think this points to two very important things about investing and trading regardless of EMH.

  1. psychology of the person
  2. We tend to note the loses we avoided (that is the money we kept) much higher than the gains we missed (the money we actually lost by not playing in the game).

Unless someone has a good plan for how to manage and overcome those two aspects of their own mind I suspect they will find it difficult to ever commit to any investing or trading program/strategy. It will not take too much to push them back into the behavior reflected in your comments.

Comment by jmh on Covid 3/18: An Expected Quantity of Blood Clots · 2021-03-19T20:10:37.305Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure about that. Seems like everyone gets that posted speed limits are not magic numbers such that exceeding them to any extent leads to carnage and high repair costs or that adhering to them ensure one avoids such results. The 6 foot rule is not really any different of a concept.

My experience has been that people generally give reasonable space, often erring towards more space than less where that choice is clearly possible.

Given that most people seem to get the arbitrary number is posted to give everyone some common standard to coordinate around without it being some type of exact numerical value of specific import.

As for those doing the messaging are also likely doing so based on filtered and skewed information -- just a variation on the central planner problem of non-omniscience.

Comment by jmh on AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine and blood clots · 2021-03-15T22:37:31.845Z · LW · GW

I probably could have worded things much better on that. No, to my knowledge no one has claimed or performed some type of correlation calculations on the data. The reference here was to one of the LW posts a little while back.

Comment by jmh on Covid 3/12: New CDC Guidelines Available · 2021-03-15T13:33:18.624Z · LW · GW

We're always putting others at some level of risk when we go out in public -- in fact in some cases we might say we're putting them at some risk if we don't for say people with medical and emergency skills that might just happen to be in the right place at the right time. So I think the question here is what is the marginal risk we're adding given the adjustments in behaviors nearly everyone has adopted while out in public.

It is also probably worth factoring in that for the grocery store it's also highly unlikely that we are now introducing (at least directly) any additional level of risk to those there than they are comfortable exposing themselves to. 

I do agree that there is an element of risks are clearly better understood from a system and not individual level analysis. But at this point, and for the example, I'm wonder just how much error and bias we introduce with the simple individual level argument compared to the complex system level argument.

Comment by jmh on A No-Nonsense Guide to Early Retirement · 2021-02-24T19:15:57.674Z · LW · GW

A few comments on aspects I think under/not noted.

  1. Always take advantage of any company matching program. If they have a good employee stock purchase plan that too can be free money. (But don't put all your eggs in the company basket!)
  2. People really need to think about what their spending will be during retirement. It will not be the same as during your working years. I think the comment about choosing where to live also factors in here.
  3. We don't really need to split our plans into working-retired in my opinion. For some (many?) maybe but choosing your career and who you work for or with should be considered. If you really enjoy what you do how is working really different from retiring? Or perhaps more relevant, how is working with 40+ years of experience and competence, and some of the perks that come with that, in an area and with a company you really enjoy? Moreover, negotiation around what flexibility one has, either hours or in locations is something to consider as one moves through their career as it relates to the retirement life they envision.

I think perhaps sometimes the retirement focus on the financial aspects only could miss some important aspects of that retirement as well as reduce the options set considered for accomplishing the more general goal of achieving those "golden years".

Comment by jmh on Media Bias · 2021-02-23T20:07:26.528Z · LW · GW

I've taken the view that generally we really don't have news as we did in "the old days" (which itself is a bit of a myth as going back farther than what one might call the golden age of journalism/reporting - 60s/70s era perhaps - I think we'd see the same type of outcomes.). Generally I take most news or media outlets to basically be about opinion that is hung on a few facts. Fits right in with the view on biases and incomplete information (selected or just incomplete).

I also somewhat see this as a case of nature abhorring a vacuum. When we started up with the 24/7 outlets and added the increased speed of transmitting information (and reduced costs) I think the industry ended up with way more slack for the actual new information generated per unit time. Something had to fill the gaps. I think that also drove a dynamic related to (self declared?) expert personalities and all the talking heads we find.

That said, there probably is good value in knowing or at least being a bit familiar with the current framing and meme that are dominant in any given topic space. So perhaps there is news but just new on a slightly different margin. 

Comment by jmh on Are we prepared for Solar Storms? · 2021-02-17T19:06:34.693Z · LW · GW

You might need to narrow you question down by clearly defining just what you mean by "prepared".

For example, we (most governments and international organizations) were not prepared to respond and protect people in general nor prepared with some fallback plan for  continuing needed economic and social activity during the event. We muddled though and in many cases individuals and individual organizations figured out what to do.

However, if we look at what happened when Trump got sick maybe government was prepared to perserve itself. The was a recent story about how he was actually much sicker than let on, almost to the point of putting him on a respirator. That was the report and I did not attempt to verify so.... If that was the case then clearly we have something that works wonders for the virus -- it's just not something the general public is being offered.

We might see the same with regards to any big electromagnetic event that causes sever damage to power grids and electronic things we depend so much on in our 21st Century lives. One might think that power to key government, military and research facilities will have a different experience than say, payment platforms, Amazon or Google processing data centers or even your local power provider or gas stations.

To me the big wakeup call here is less about what social institutions like government can do or could be expected to do and much more about everyone realizing the nature of the world we do live in. It's not safe, it's not kind and caring and in the end it is very important for everyone to take that into consideration as they live their own lives. While I am not a doom's dayer or survivalist I do think they get that aspect of living right. 

In other words, I think people in general have gotten very complacent about the risky and unpredictable nature of our world. Adjustments on that margin will probably make the world as a whole a bit more robust than calls for government or international actions -- not that such is not also needed but I think it only gets so far due to the inherent problems of that type of collective action.

Comment by jmh on Remember that to value something infinitely is usually to give it a finite dollar value · 2021-02-16T19:35:57.788Z · LW · GW

I'm a bit confused by "you" in the claim. If we're talking about individuals I'm not at all sure one must put a monetary value on something. That seems to suggest nominal values are more accurate than real, subjective personal values those monetary units represent.


In a more general setting, markets for instance, I think a stronger case can be made but for any given individual am not certain it would be required.

Broadening it out more, where multiple people are trying to work together to some ends I think would be the strongest case.

Comment by jmh on Your Cheerful Price · 2021-02-13T18:47:14.408Z · LW · GW

Willingness or ability? 

Comment by jmh on Making Vaccine · 2021-02-09T00:26:00.537Z · LW · GW

Doesn't this speak to your concern:

Spike 802-823cir: FSQ c LPDPSKPSKRSF c EDLLF ( Cys4, Cys17 disulfide)
IN TESTING, vaccine Generations 5, 6, 7, 8. 9
To preserve the loop structure present in the native conformation, we substituted cysteines for amino acids 4 (Ile>Cys) and 17 (Ile>Cys).

They perform the substitution to keep the shape that our immune system is looking for by recreating a disulfide bond that to form a loop with the same sequence the B-cells are targeting in the  virus.

While I agree their expression was "potentially beneficial" (or close) it seems clear to me the point was our B-cells are bonding to that loop and if there are not other aspect in the larger peptide that lead the cell to that site for bonding, construction the loop via the disulfide bond they introduce logically should result in triggering an immune response.

I'm not sure why they would need to provide some type of citation for this, much less that they would even have a source for this specific application.

Comment by jmh on The Story of the Reichstag · 2021-02-06T22:33:00.848Z · LW · GW

That somehow doesn't feel quite right -- something of a different class of things, unless you're saying that the general American perception now is we deserved the attack.

I would think perhaps the Vietnam War memorial might be a better case -- still not quite the same (I might even go as far as to say something of a mirror image).

Comment by jmh on Making Vaccine · 2021-02-04T20:17:17.691Z · LW · GW

Would an alternative (and possibly easier) approach be to simply take some additional doses -- it's my understanding that you really cannot make yourself sick with this type of vaccine -- over a week and then retest for antibodies?

If that still fails then consider figuring out how to perform your own mucus testing.

Comment by jmh on Making Vaccine · 2021-02-04T19:29:09.534Z · LW · GW

Thanks for the write up! I started to do this myself but quickly found I was a bit confused on how to even order the peptides. I was expecting to be able to search product lines but.... Not really possible. the process to simply identify some suppliers (not hard to find with Google) give them the amino acid sequences in the instructions and ask for a quote? (Hit that initial speed bump and have not gotten back to looking for phone numbers or customer support chat windows.)

Just a thought. So this doesn't scale well for storage and shipping it sounds but production is pretty simply and materials seem to be fairly durable for storage (I don't think the peptides decay quickly). If so, couldn't the model be that a small lab at the many, many, many pharmacy (or at lest the big chains) stores make batches for the appointments they have scheduled. Given that the delivery method seem to be better (thanks for bringing that up -- was going to ask) and that should take out a lot of the supply chain bottlenecks we have been seeing I would think. (Or once the transition and supporting setup/infrastructure locally is done.)

The other question, having taken this is there any concern about being required later to also take one of the officially blessed vaccines. This might be even more important is you don't show the antibodies for some reason but have reacted to the vaccine. I don't think I completely read the radvac white paper but don't recall them having any section that might have spoken to that.

Again, great write up and contribution.

Comment by jmh on The World is Full of Wasted Motion · 2021-02-03T02:20:55.398Z · LW · GW

One potential implication seems to be that if there are things I need to get done and an 80% level of done is acceptable then I can save a lot of time for things I really need to get 100% done.

Comment by jmh on The 10,000-Hour Rule is a myth · 2021-02-03T02:01:36.624Z · LW · GW

I think you have two aspects for the first cut: flavoring and cooking -- maybe add visual presentation (which also is affected by cooking). Flavoring seem to be what a number here are talking about -- salt, acid/spiciness, sweetness, bitterness/sharpness. For that I think just study the tongue and taste buds. Cooking is all about controlling the application of heat. 

For the visual it will be balancing color and numbers (odd numbers seem to be more appealing than even numbers it seems), and a bit about shapes/patterns.

Comment by jmh on For those who advocate Anki · 2021-01-31T16:08:58.239Z · LW · GW

I'll have to look into abilities to view and slow the playback. I do watch a fair amount of Korean language shows. Not sure if Viki's interface includes that or if I can setup PotPlayer (VLC always causes some problem on my system that I've never figured out -- and with all the options never willing to invest too much effort in solving)  to stream the shows and take advantage of the suggestion.

Side note on watching the foreign shows. Since I'm also watching for entertainment value if generally have CC turned on. However, one things I have learned is I have to be careful about getting into the habit of reading and not really listening. When that happens I just hear English in my head and it starts drowning out the Korean! Turning CC off if I want to be in pure study/learning mode solves that but trying to be in that mode 24/7 is really hard on the brain ;-)

Thanks for the Lang-8 suggestion, will look into that as well.

Comment by jmh on For those who advocate Anki · 2021-01-31T15:41:16.536Z · LW · GW

I think I missed that so thanks for the link.

Comment by jmh on For those who advocate Anki · 2021-01-31T15:40:48.303Z · LW · GW

I'm glad it not just me! ;-) 

Just recently in a different setting someone claim Duolingo was not a great tool but I suspect that is dependent on the person. If she has not tried other learning sites she might take a look at -- lots of free materials, a large set of books they have published, lots of YouTube videos and very personable teachers that keep things relaxed and generally fun. That has been my primary tool (their books and free materials) but still oh so slowly progressing.

I've never used Anki and not sure it will actually improve my performance with Korean (I pretty much replicate the spaced repetition myself) but some of the uses you've put it to offer something of a "doh!" moment about a broader use that might make it very worth my getting. Really liked the idea related to the insect experience.

Comment by jmh on What is going on in the world? · 2021-01-19T17:02:03.319Z · LW · GW

Seems like a number of the items fall under a common theme/area. I wonder if focusing on them separately rather than perhaps seeing them as different context/representations of a common underlying source is best.

Basically, all the bits about failing governments, societies/cultures/institutions seem to be a rejection of the old "Private Vices, Public Virtues" idea and Smith's Invisible Hand metaphor. So perhaps the questions might be what's changed that make those types of superior outcomes from the individual actions that never aimed at such results no longer as effective.

Is there a common gear that is now broken or are these all really independent issues?

Comment by jmh on COVID-19: home stretch and fourth wave Q&A · 2021-01-10T03:15:23.095Z · LW · GW

I would say the ethical aspect comes from what you do after your effort to become infected. Since your intent is to become infected, your next action is to self-quarantine for (up to?) 14 days and test. Without imposing your quarantine after the infection attempt you are shifting some risks to third parties.

I assume your goal is to avoid the rush and get your immunity sooner rather than later and not wait until you are eligible for a vaccine. Perhaps an alternative would be to try the DIY vaccine and then test for antibodies. 

Comment by jmh on COVID-19: home stretch and fourth wave Q&A · 2021-01-10T03:03:21.775Z · LW · GW

Thanks and I was not thinking of the cumulative/trade off value of the assessment. While I'm sure your "over a year" time period was purely illustrative, I would wonder about just what time interval one might want to apply for this type of budgeting approach for consuming your mCs.

For instances, it seems more reasonable (to me) to say "I want to limit my maximum risk of infection to 1%". Then over some period of time I can sum up the mCs and make sure I keep that under the 10,000 budget defined. Over time then the early spend gets put back in the budget.

Any thoughts on that?

Comment by jmh on Fourth Wave Covid Toy Modeling · 2021-01-08T19:33:55.934Z · LW · GW

In your model you seem to keep the R value constant at the 1.5 ratio (S$1 cell).

I've seen calculations regarding where herd immunity kicking in based on adjusting R given the percentage of the population with immunity (already infected).  I was not completely sure how to try making that adjustment so took the % infected in row 2 as the base constant from which I then subtract from the other values in that column.

I didn't look at the full impact but calculate an Adjusted New. For the most part the timeline runs the same -- the adjustment seems to more one period earlier than your calculations. For example, the adjusted new peak is on May 28 where as the peak in your calculations occurs on June 4. 

The big difference though is in magnitude.  The peak infections for the new variant in your calculations was  7,325,028. In my adjusted new variant cases the peak was 5,370,409. That seems to be a significant difference.

I'm wondering if the adjustment I'm apply for some reason is not valid.

Comment by jmh on COVID-19: home stretch and fourth wave Q&A · 2021-01-08T17:15:36.115Z · LW · GW

I'm wondering why you find a 70 in a million chance of getting infected as "quite a bit"? Or am I completely misunderstanding the microCOVID?

Comment by jmh on Change My View: Incumbent religions still get too much leeway · 2021-01-08T16:57:49.587Z · LW · GW

One thing I struggle with in your post is the concept of religion. I don't see that you offer a clear definition of what you are getting at so I have to fill in a lot of area and then try to apply your thought to that and see if any conclusions follow. I'm failing miserably I think.

Adding, perhaps to clarify my own thinking on what is really driving my comment. The post seems to take a highly complex subject area that touches on a number of largely separate (separable?) aspects of life and invited discussion on all as if they are a rather simple subject area.

Perhaps an example to illustrate. If we consider religion as a social institution related to beliefs and faiths that cannot be empirically validated we get a good separation between religion and science. However we also know that religions historically have played a rather large role in scientific inquiry historically (though admittedly the reverse is true). Similarly, we can cast religion in a social structure of governance/government.  I don't think we can discuss religion at the level of the OP without clearly delineating which aspect of religion we're talking about.

Comment by jmh on Anti-Aging: State of the Art · 2021-01-06T02:41:03.304Z · LW · GW

Very interesting.  Assuming we eliminated everything but accidental causes looks like we should live to about 120+ years. I think Sinclair had said that was the expected lifespan as well.

Taking the tool at face value, it seem that both personally and socially effort focused on circulatory diseases should give the biggest bang for the buck. Then again I didn't run through different cases of combination so...

Comment by jmh on Should I prefer to get a tax refund, or not to? · 2021-01-05T00:38:29.721Z · LW · GW

I think there are several factors to consider before you can answer for your self. 

First, discount rates. What is your discount rate for future money? If that is high then clearly getting the refund is not optimal for you and you'd be better off setting deductions such that you don't get much of a refund (or even perhaps owe a small amount). However, if your discount is 0 then you don't care if you get the money now or sometime in the future. 

The implication here seems to be that getting the refund is at best no better than not getting the refund. One might take a further step to say over the course of a year various things can come up where having a bit more cash would help so, risk adjusted, the refund is the second best choice for you.

The flip side might relate to personal financial discipline and spending habits. If you need to save (say for larger ticket item things or for placing in a savings/investment account) but struggle to achieve that the refund may well be better. It becomes something of a forced savings strategy. Money you never see is much easier to save than money you hold in you hand.

Comment by jmh on Anti-Aging: State of the Art · 2021-01-03T16:34:21.411Z · LW · GW

Regarding parabiosis, are you familiar with the Conboy's research on diluted blood plasma? I know they are trying to get a trial going -- but suspect the effort has been a bit delayed due on the main event for 2020.

Comment by jmh on Anti-Aging: State of the Art · 2021-01-03T00:35:36.712Z · LW · GW

I'm just wondering about the problems with funding and researchers. One would think that plenty of money is actual around but it's more about both awareness and some belief that a tangible return to the investors would be likely. That seems like it might be more a problem of asymmetric information as it were -- or perhaps a bit of "language" between the groups. What's your sense there?

For research is there any structure that might work a bit like various gig-econcomy sites. Basically forums that work as an infrastructure to allow a wide audience of those capable of research/analysis to form quick teams to tackle a problem. Or perhaps just do some of the initial leg work to see if some line of thinking is actually going somewhere? I have the suspicion that perhaps a lot of the effort here might be less about lab work and more about digging though the results (but that may well be completely wrong). 

If both the above are kind of right and some type of open infrastructure that brings both together might be useful -- though also suspect there must be a bunch of incubator type structures already in place.

Comment by jmh on Where are the post-COVID complainers? · 2020-12-29T04:09:30.965Z · LW · GW

This is very much a "gut reaction" type answer to your question.

The ones that are most likely to be complaining already are -- and they don't care if they have immunity or not.

Those the do care probably see two down-sides to the "complain to get more normality". First, they will tend to come across a bit as uncaring/snobbis: "I'm good now so you guys suffer on your own." or that that would be associated with the first group. (Given one can probably predict who someone voted for based on their being in the first group above that is really bad signalling.)

Additionally, who will they really be going out with at this point. Probably a bit of network effects here (going out is great, but not as a "solo" activity.) Plus, just organizing that movement will be problematic and activists have a number of high priorities at this time I suspect.

(Note,  I am with you on that approach being rather reasonable and would love to see, at least a travel passport type exemption adopted -- have the proof of vaccination and international travel is now allowed largely as it was pre-pandemic, implemented.

Interestingly, I posted a comment here maybe a month back with the same type of approach. It was not welcomed as I recall.)

Comment by jmh on Covid 12/24: We’re F***ed, It’s Over · 2020-12-29T03:32:28.363Z · LW · GW

What is the underlying argument here. I don't understand viral mutations sufficiently to know but have assumed they are largely random events. If so, isn't this claim a bit like a fair coin landing heads for the past 10 flips and claiming the odds of tails has not increase?

Comment by jmh on Covid 12/24: We’re F***ed, It’s Over · 2020-12-29T03:23:49.958Z · LW · GW

I agree that in a very strict sense money spent on X definitionally cannot be spent on something else (you already spent it so don't have it). But does that type of tautological view matter here? (And if that is not the basis of your point and I'm misunderstanding, sorry.)

This kind of reminds me of the old Richard Pryor movie Bruster's Millions

I suspect the numbers have change but at one point I recall Bezos had a new worth of 90 billion. Even with a paltry 1% return on total assets that's like 900 million a year. Could you spend all that? I'm not sure I could really keep tracking of an income stream like that -- I suspect I would often be doing the equivalent of dropping a million on the floor now and then and forgetting to pick it up for a week or so.

So the rich buying more vaccines doesn't really equate to not buying enough of other things that prices for those other things drop enough to make more available to the poor (who are budget constrained much more realistically than are the rich).

Comment by jmh on 100 Tips for a Better Life · 2020-12-28T16:44:24.870Z · LW · GW

Gym membership anyone?

Comment by jmh on 100 Tips for a Better Life · 2020-12-28T16:37:06.822Z · LW · GW

While I also agree the saying "earlier bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese" is quite often very worthy of remembering I think the examples might not be the best and it probably needs how the markets and industries evolved. The question is probably more along the lines of innovation that survived and grew and if the first mover basically lost everything or made a good return and moved on letting others pay up for their work.

I think a number of your examples are perhaps special cases, or at least cases with some unique aspect. Most seem to include very high fixed costs and exhibit rather large network externality effects. In such settings it's not too surprising to see long-run consolidation into a few key organizations (names) with all the precursors names dropped. But doesn't mean those earlier builders lost out (and potentially enjoyed greater rates of return on investment).

An example here might be UUNet. Forget search or social networking if UUNet (or someone like it) did not commercialize the technology of science backbone between the universities. They have not been around for over 30 years but was a very successful first (or at least very early, prior to "proven" space) mover.

Comment by jmh on What trade should we make if we're all getting the new COVID strain? · 2020-12-26T23:21:37.250Z · LW · GW

This might be of some help understanding the instrument.

In general if you sell a call you're saying you don't expect the price of the asset to increase (to the strike or above). If you buy a put you are saying you expect the price to go down. Both of these are bets on "short" side in a sense. 

The obvious difference is that selling the call costs you nothing up front but could expose you to a larger loss if the prices do spike up. Buying the put costs you the purchase price but after than you will not be exposed to any additional risks.

I think the claim by Zohar, "If you want outsized returns you need to take large risks." is either wrong or poorly stated. Clearly one can make great returns -- 50%, 100% and more -- buying puts and know exactly what you are risking which might be a relatively small monetary amount.

Comment by jmh on What trade should we make if we're all getting the new COVID strain? · 2020-12-26T15:46:49.243Z · LW · GW

If I were placing one of the bets I would likely bet against travel. It's recovered the most so likely has an easier drop; nice big spike in November. I would not go out too far as I think this will likely be something that has to happen sooner rather than later -- I don't think the trade is a slow burn type potential. Either you're going to see a move to say 22 quickly or options are not really a good vehicle for the trade.

I have not looked at of follow that ETF nor have I been closely following the industry. I would note a potentially unrelated item. The Philippines was planning to reopen schools in some of its provinces after the Christmas break. The administration just announce that has been suspended due to the new strain of virus. One might think similar concerns and thinking about the new strain would have an even larger impact on international travel and certainly any nonessential travel.

Comment by jmh on What trade should we make if we're all getting the new COVID strain? · 2020-12-26T15:29:38.255Z · LW · GW

So if I think that the probability of everyone getting COVID in the next six months is much likelier than the market, at least for a few days, what trade would capture that?


I suspect the first step in answering has to be what impact that increased infection is expected to produce. We should consider transmission rate and virulence.  To that we need to think about the current vaccines as well.

If we see a case of significant increases in transmission rate but a reduction in virulence then I would be surprised to see a big market drop due to this (but would expect to see some lower prices in January anyhow).  If we see that the new strain is protected from by the existing vaccines that holds too. We stay on the current recovery path so investment/trading plans don't really change here.

If we see a significant increase in transmission and virulence then you have to think about potentials for additional limitations on domestic and global economic activities again. Might not be unreasonable to think some of the travel/leisure companies are not going to make it so shorting that area should have a number of companies whose value goes to 0. Might also be some potential pure plays on building supplies in the HVAC area that specialize in air quality and ventilation (retail and commercial). That might be based on both people being concerned about their home systems and updated building codes to address airborne infectious pathogens such as coronavirus like this. 

The inability of the existing vaccines to protect against the new strain of the virus reported from the UK would only add to the down presser and to incentives to invest in higher quality indoor air.

While I think it is very difficult to infer just what is really moving the market in most cases one might flip the question here. Given the market is doing X, what does the imply about the assessment of the health and economic impacts of the new strain of virus. Is it that much more infectious? More virulent? Do you get immunity from it via the existing vaccines or have expectations that very quick modifications and use approval exist?

Comment by jmh on 100 Tips for a Better Life · 2020-12-23T04:11:35.976Z · LW · GW

Great list and post. Thanks.

Comment by jmh on How Hard Would It Be To Make A COVID Vaccine For Oneself? · 2020-12-22T20:33:58.245Z · LW · GW

While I also find this an interesting idea I'm wondering if this exchange maybe suggest some additional complications.

When Estep reached out to him earlier this year, Siber also wanted to know if the team had considered a dangerous side effect, called enhancement, in which a vaccine can actually worsen the disease. “It’s not the best idea—especially in this case, you could make things worse,” Siber says of the effort. “You really need to know what you are doing here.”

He isn’t the only skeptic. Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University Langone Medical Center, who saw the white paper, pans Radvac as “off-the-charts loony.” In an email, Caplan says he sees “no leeway” for self-experimentation given the importance of quality control with vaccines. Instead, he thinks there is a high “potential for harm” and “ill-founded enthusiasm.”

Church disagrees, saying the vaccine’s simple formulation means it’s probably safe. “I think the bigger risk is that it is ineffective,” he says.


Given it is from the end of July I might wonder if any evidence of the potential or making the disease worse by taking the home brew has been seen.

I am also not a big fan of the "'no leeway' for self experimentation" view as I tend to think more "putting your money where your mouth is" would be a better world. The concerns should really only be about significant negative externalities, such as you test on yourself and reduce everyone else's immunity type outcomes (not that I think that particular example would be possible).

Comment by jmh on How long till Inverse AlphaFold? · 2020-12-20T19:11:04.108Z · LW · GW

I'm wondering a bit about the idea that there are  X correct answers. That might be true of getting the shape but is share all the really matters here?

Comment by jmh on Covid 12/17: The First Dose · 2020-12-19T03:04:44.368Z · LW · GW

Regarding the late to the party home tests, perhaps one very positive aspect is the test approval has presumably set a precedence for some future infectious madness that shows up for some future party.

Anyone know if the actually mechanism might be flexible enough to allow a quick response for test kits? I would think possibly so but have not yet looked into that question. However, suspecting someone here might I have I ask. (Guessing that it's some type of DNA/RNA "fingerprinting" type of test so once the fingerprint is known the device can be loaded with the needed chemistry.)

Comment by jmh on What is it good for? But actually? · 2020-12-18T19:00:06.054Z · LW · GW

What about people just going somewhere else? I would think migrations would play a role here but not sure just how much to expect.

Comment by jmh on What technologies could cause world GDP doubling times to be <8 years? · 2020-12-12T16:24:56.307Z · LW · GW

Not confident enough to make this an answer but what about chemical engineering. If we can make the basic resources from whatever mater we have here no need to drag stuff in from space. Chemical processes both consume and produce energy. Figuring out how to capture some of that energy lost to heat might well allow weird things like constructing a strong alloy I-beam for construction without a foundry. Maybe that goes with the 3-D printing but at a element/molecule level.

I would think we have two paths there: organic/bio engineering and the inorganic (e.g., that I-beam). One the bio/organic side, we might be growing our housing/work spaces or roads. We would also be adding to real GDP by shifting spend from maintenance/repair in the form of healthcare to other outputs. (Is the value of healthcare contribution to GDP eventually going to be viewed a bit like a broken window type contribution?)

Comment by jmh on Parable of the Dammed · 2020-12-11T18:34:19.795Z · LW · GW

The rent-seeking is all the efforts to build the dams that exceed the benefits of getting the additional territory. Using rent-seeking in a very broad sense a al political economy/public choice literature. Clearly there is some type of benefit each side gets from increasing their territories -- that would be the rent they expect to collect by having ownership of the additional territory.

Each side if paying more to move the property line (reassign the property right to come area) than they are getting from actually owning the land. This occurs after they have already agreed on an allocation of property rights. Per Coase, all the remaining adjustments would then be payments by one side to the other for access/use or ownership. But why would they respect the allocation of rights by Coase more than the allocation they agreed among themselves?

Coase either needs Leviathan or a well shared and respected view of property rights. This last point seems a bit similar to a critique I heard James Buchannan made of David Friedman's Machinery of Freedom thesis. That is, the theory fails if all protection agencies do not hold the same fundamental understanding of property rights. Perhaps that same problem plagues Coase in this type of setting. In other words, Coase requires a shared property rights regime that is generally accepted, as is the external enforcement of those rights by outside parties. I had never real considered that type of constraint on Coase before.

Do you have some pointers to the many-player problem you mention -- hopefully not too mathy or with a good verbal summary of the argument. Or is what I've just "discovered" the general thrust of that problem?

Comment by jmh on Quick Thoughts on Immoral Mazes · 2020-12-10T14:26:58.996Z · LW · GW

Yes, you did mention the Gervais Principle. I found 4 references from Escaping Mazes but the main one seems to be:

The Gervais Principle can be seen as the prequel to Moral Mazes, dealing with life at lower levels of mazes that have to interact with the real world. Mazes need, as several quotes describe, people who keep their heads down and ‘do their job’ with no ambitions for further advancement. Ideally one does this as low on the totem pole as one can stomach and afford, as the life that results is far less odious and taxing. 

Some of the other references in that post related to the "loser" concept.

There were also 3 in the Round Up post, one being (Seems no one has taken up the suggestion):

If one wanted to do a full extension of the project, (17) On The Gervais Principle could be anything up to and including its own sequence. As I’ve noted elsewhere, I consider Gervais Principle and Moral Mazes to be fully compatible, and Gervais Principle has a bunch of stuff that expands upon the model.

Comment by jmh on Parable of the Dammed · 2020-12-10T05:36:44.882Z · LW · GW

Seems very consistent with views of rent-seeking as a negative-sum game.

Seems inconsistent with the Coase Theorem, and perhaps why, at least moderately impartial, third parties are better suited to mediating disputes than those directly involved. But when talking about politics and government where to find such an impartial 3rd party?

Comment by jmh on Anti-EMH Evidence (and a plea for help) · 2020-12-08T17:46:03.662Z · LW · GW

Just curious but where are you trading/investing? USA or elsewhere? I'm wondering about the type of options -- are they USA or European execution rights?

And, yes, I should have been clear on the potential downside of limiting gain to "during the life of the option"

Comment by jmh on Pre-Hindsight Prompt: Why did 2021 NOT bring a return to normalcy? · 2020-12-07T19:38:29.121Z · LW · GW

Or perhaps the first case of a treason trial and conviction for sedition for some high ranking political persons and the great recognition that rule of law and use of institutions necessarily imply no one ever gets everything they want -- losing must be an option in a viable democracy. One takes the L and goes back to prepare for the next game rather that living in the past?

Comment by jmh on Pre-Hindsight Prompt: Why did 2021 NOT bring a return to normalcy? · 2020-12-07T19:24:31.693Z · LW · GW

Stepping away from the current situation, am I far off by seeing the underlying sentiment being akin to the "good old days" type view some have of the past? At it's core it seems the view is that the old status quo is what defined a better "normal" than what we see as part of the required changes.

For example, just how terrible would it be that masks become a normal wardrobe item and soon becomes integrated into overall fashion designs?

Dining and bars stop being open areas where we all share the same space and air and turn into smaller, private spaces -- be they for groups of not more than X for dining and perhaps even individual  or much smaller for bar "stool" settings? Infrastructure changes to allow either the larger space to function as a bar setting for a larger group and the individual bar units include the ability to directly video chat with anyone at the bad -- so you can effective watch the big game together. Is that really a worse new normal that the prior one?

Or are you just thinking of the transition period to something that gets everyone back to what they would say is the equivalent of the old "norm"?