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 It’s not economically inefficient for a UBI to reduce recipient’s employment · 2020-11-24T21:01:20.765Z · LW · GW

I think the efficiency lens is probably the wrong lens to try to make sense out of UBI.  Economic efficiency is about margins, maximizing total surplus and allocation of resources. UBI is really about distribution of the available surplus.

True, connections here exist but they are not all that clear or straightforward, which is what you are asking for. Economics lacks a strong micro-macro theory linkage (no grand unification theory/ well functioning micro-based macroeconomic theories).

Last, as a question about distribution, I think the answer will actually change depending on a number of underlying factors related to both the society and the economy. I think it is clear that UBI (basically that just means that some stuff is free for people -- or at least some people) will be some function of both the total surplus in the system and probably some things like level of joint production (very high in modern large corporation and developed economies) as well as, lets call them, the elasticies of the external economies of scale in the economy. Probably some other factors as well.

I do agree that in general if everyone in the USA got 8,000 a year the impact on work would be trivial. In fact one might expect that such a marginal gift might actually promote some additional effort -- with the UBI and 2 two crappy jobs I might actually be able to afford a nice late model car. Without the UBI the two crappy jobs not only will not provide the means to buy a decent car, the additional wear and tear may leave me without a working car so the second job in not really a good return for me. (Pure hypothetical but could certainly see something like that happening)

However, that UBI would be about 13% or total GDP. That would, I believe have a direct impact on overall financial savings and investment that would need to be weighed against any non-financial investment (e.g. education) as well as any realistic savings in terms of all the existing social programs. Lots of reasons one might be a bit skeptical of that actually occurring. If we don't have a new gain socially from the UBI in terms of on-going investments then one might expect to see the pie starting to shrink over time and that would not be a good situation economically, socially, politically or culturally.

Comment by jmh on Embedded Interactive Predictions on LessWrong · 2020-11-22T01:28:23.560Z · LW · GW

Unless I'm off base it looks like you form four different predictions on the same question. That seems odd to me. I would expect a one prediction per person making a prediction -- so later predictions would update rather than provide a new value along with the prior ones. It looks like you hold all four positions simultaneously. Also, if they are all considered current predictions then that might skew the average.

But maybe I am just not getting something about what's going on. Have not really looked beyond the LW post and comments.

Comment by jmh on Predictions made by Mati Roy in early 2020 · 2020-11-21T17:19:51.523Z · LW · GW

Regarding the CRISPR babies, hasn't that already happened?

Comment by jmh on Embedded Interactive Predictions on LessWrong · 2020-11-21T17:10:19.669Z · LW · GW

Is it just me or do all those prediction assessments from jungofthewon point to a rather undesirable feature of the tool?

Comment by jmh on Covid 11/19: Don’t Do Stupid Things · 2020-11-20T17:29:34.435Z · LW · GW

Pure side note here. It seems that most of the vitamin and supplement producers all tend to go big -- which is generally less good than smaller, more frequent doses.

I've considered starting to directly source the chemical and then make my own doses for personal consumption. Still tossing that idea around in my head but leaning that direction the more and more I come across information as you just mentions.

Comment by jmh on Covid 11/19: Don’t Do Stupid Things · 2020-11-20T17:24:30.735Z · LW · GW

Your don't do stupid things was largely me reaction to what some (many?) of the local restaurants seem to be doing. Outside dining started with spaced tables for nice weather. Then some covers to address sun/heat and shelter for light rain. Then as the weather has grown cold the tents are being enclosed. This last steps has always struck me as a WTF are you thinking here? Just because you have people outside in the parking lot, putting up that enclosed tent without any clear ventilation units to ensure the interior air is replaced with fresh external air is just trapping whatever people are exhaling within the confines. 

This strikes me as potentially worse than letting people eat inside where there is actually some form of ventilation and air filtration (though yes, might be something of a coin toss depending on what seat you end up occupying inside)

Comment by jmh on Anatomy of a Gear · 2020-11-17T15:10:20.847Z · LW · GW

As is often the case I did enjoy reading your post. They are always well presented and interesting.

I'm not sure if you had this view in mind while writing, but in many ways I read this as a very good approach to the practical application of Occam's Razor. Things need to be kept as simple as they can while still shedding light on the underlying question at hand. I think your post helps to consider just how, when and where one might simplify in our models/maps.

Comment by jmh on What Would Advanced Social Technology Look Like? · 2020-11-11T03:01:10.367Z · LW · GW

I'd like to see someone come at this from a slightly different direction.

What I take as "social technology" is what is often called social institutions -- law, customs, language, markets, rights regimes.... The way I tend to think about these, particularly since we tend to see a certain degree of frictions along the boarders where different institutions rub against each other, is as social tools.

Just as with any other tool, matching the wrong tool to a job produces anything from bad results to absolute disaster. Hammers don't work well with screws, and screw drivers are pretty useless with a nut and bolt. 

But it seems like social problems that our social institutions arose to address are not as nicely separable or often even as recognizable.

So what I would think would be a really interesting additional to answers here would be just what is the social problem being solved and is this one of the one's we've been dealing with for human existence, since we transitions between eras or something we think will be a future social problem that existing institutions cannot even begin to address.

Comment by jmh on When Hindsight Isn't 20/20: Incentive Design With Imperfect Credit Allocation · 2020-11-11T02:33:32.242Z · LW · GW

Just a side note. During my time in the Army it was always noted that group punishment was not to be imposed (outside basic training but I think that was a separate situation). I always thought that as a bit odd given the need for the unit to function as a whole. One might think that such an approach would promote more unity by make each unit member essentially their brother's keeper (and cell mate as it were).

The only way I could understand the point -- outside the innocent should not be punished aspect -- was that such an approach was likely to both disrupt unit cohesion and trust as well as allow one disgruntled member undermine the entire unit.

Comment by jmh on Three Open Problems in Aging · 2020-11-09T16:48:47.274Z · LW · GW

The Conboys are looking to start human trials with they neutral blood replacement approach ( 

I didn't realize they were tying their work to senescent cells though.

Comment by jmh on Three Open Problems in Aging · 2020-11-08T15:30:15.668Z · LW · GW

Frequently you make the claim about time frames and application to aging. While I do think that is something that needs to be looked at I also have a bit of a concern that it might include something of a error. An error along the lines of a fallacy of composition error -- all the parts are small so the machine must be small. 

In terms of senescence cells I'm not sure I follow you claim about they turn over too quickly. I understood the problem to be that some senescence cells don't die but sit out there as zombies doing things that are generally not well coordinated with the rest of the system (our body). The cells that reach senescence and then are garbage collected for recycling are not a problem for us.

So as I understand the issue with senescence cells it is the slow accumulation of such cells relative to healthy, normally functioning cells that leads to the problem. That doesn't seem to be a quickly turning over process. So when you say "senescent cells turn over too quickly" what is the context and what time frames are you considering?

Comment by jmh on What is the right phrase for "theoretical evidence"? · 2020-11-03T14:26:48.450Z · LW · GW

How would this then differ from the concept of circumstantial evidence?

Comment by jmh on What is our true life expectancy? · 2020-10-24T23:06:22.173Z · LW · GW

Something of a follow on to my "answer".

The premise seems to be that AGI will be able to give significant answers the the biological question about aging and longevity. If think if we want to say that is reasonable we should also be highly confident that that AGI would be able to solve the same questions about itself without having been given the answers.

For instance, assume the AI has no knowledge of how its hardware is organized or architecture, know knowledge of the instruction sets, know knowledge that it is even using binary or any of the information around the power or data flows within the system.

How well does the AI do in answering the questions about "How do I work?" Given that the computer system, the CPU and the language coding is simpler than that of a biological system understanding just how well that AI can solve itself might provide a pretty good indication on just what it do for solving us humans.

Comment by jmh on What is our true life expectancy? · 2020-10-24T22:59:12.181Z · LW · GW

I've heard it said (e.g., Sinclair) that the current life expectancy of the human body is more like 120 years. I think the 80 year number references is more like statistical measure of how long a human lives given all the things that do kill us in the world -- internal genetic flaws, biologic pathogens that attack us, accidents, life style impacts....

Accepting AGI 2075 seems like the first question to ask is will that help address "the stuff that kills us now" or address that and the way our biology seems to work?

Comment by jmh on Things are allowed to be good and bad at the same time · 2020-10-20T13:52:21.769Z · LW · GW

I wonder if, in the specific case of the job, the test would not be: were the two part of your decision to apply and then think you would accept if offered the position. If not, then are these more like second order aspects for the decisions you made (apply, will accept). Once you know you didn't get the job you're looking for things the resolve how you should feel about it -- be happy, be sad; anything other than ambiguous.

In other words, why weren't these two relatively significant attributes of a job you were interested in not part of your initial decision. Were they resolved/reconciled with one another before and then when not getting the job something changed?

Perhaps the another test would be to look at other situations where clearly good and bad coexist: driving you car, breathing, pretty much anything else we might do on a daily basis. Is it the case that for the situations we don't find ourselves in some internal conflict that we really have assuming one side just doesn't exist/is not true or have we accepts that both good and bad are coexisting?

If most of the time we are accepting the good and the bad together, why is it that in some cases we cannot?

Comment by jmh on Things are allowed to be good and bad at the same time · 2020-10-17T15:52:40.240Z · LW · GW

Is it possible that rather than your mind is actually taking both as true but struggling with how to actually compare the two? Without that internal scale on which you can put to the two alternatives and see which has more weight  you are stuck jumping back and forth between the two looking for something that allows that comparison. 

Comment by jmh on How much to worry about the US election unrest? · 2020-10-15T18:16:07.093Z · LW · GW

That is good to hear but was not part of the news story I read -- which wasn't one of the ones in the google search -- and the report I read was from the Saturday so perhaps prior to his clarification/retraction. I would say his retraction/clarification was provided because that "possible interpretation" was noted by more than just me.

Comment by jmh on How much to worry about the US election unrest? · 2020-10-14T13:56:37.609Z · LW · GW

I don't see how those are really all that far apart -- both say if the results don't support me they are questionable. After all, if an election is contested and that cannot be resolved what does happen with a sitting President? Does the US just do without one for a while?

But perhaps more relevant, it was merely pointing out the extent of the situation in the current election -- neither side is willing to say the results can sure to be taken as is but that they will be looking closely and very likely questioning them.

Comment by jmh on How much to worry about the US election unrest? · 2020-10-14T13:50:22.420Z · LW · GW

Public news reports. But here is a google search for you.

Comment by jmh on How much to worry about the US election unrest? · 2020-10-12T16:50:00.962Z · LW · GW

Just to add balance here, Bidden was reported as saying the only way he could loose would be due to some type of voting place shenanigans -- one possible implication being he will also not accept the results.

I suspect one of the highly positive/reassuring points might be the military has come out saying they will not get involved.

Comment by jmh on A simple device for indoor air management · 2020-10-02T15:44:28.211Z · LW · GW

If you are pulling air from outside do you also have some exhaust outlet to keep internal pressure largely constant? If not, could something be going on with building a positive pressure inside that then creates problems with your intake air flow?

Comment by jmh on Covid 10/1: The Long Haul · 2020-10-02T15:34:47.546Z · LW · GW

I did recognize that there was an incentive in that direction. I think the question on that point is would this type of policy increase the behavior towards contracting the infection significantly more than currently exists over the benefits of a more open economy that takes some account of the fact some people are not at risk or a threat.

As you note yourself, incentives to defect, and so increase the spread, already exist. The approach I was musing about might offer a middle ground that perhaps counter intuitively actually increases the incentives to comply by producing a safe customer base. Would there be people tying to make their fake "I survived COVID and have (temporary) immunity IDs"? Yes. But it seems to me that with a legal option to operate on a limited scale under conditions that are actually safer than the current limited operations might just get the business to consider looking rather than looking the other way.

Also, broadening the focus towards who has recovered might support some better work place organizational aspect. For instance, if employers do have a growing number of staff that has been infected and recovered and now back at work (or could return to work) having the most at risk employees than have never been infected working in close proximity to the recovered workers and away from those who may become infected is probably a net good for that high risk person.

The point really is not about restaurants and diners but shifting some focus on we do have a large and growing group of recovered people who should pose no risk to others any time soon. The idea that we only have one population of people when looking at business activities and what can and cannot be open, at some point, becomes rather stupid and actually increases the average level of risk compared to what could be achieved I think.

Comment by jmh on Covid 10/1: The Long Haul · 2020-10-01T23:09:46.395Z · LW · GW

The big mistake is indoor dining. Indoor dining is a terrible cost-benefit ratio. It’s one of the most dangerous things you can do. The experience is nice, but it’s in no way vital. The reason indoor dining is happening is because without it, the bars and restaurants would die, with long term consequences.


What happens if we say, indoor dining is fine, and even at above 50% occupancy levels as long as the diners can all prove they have been infected and recovered? They all probably still have whatever immunity one gets -- at least I would assume if immunity goes away in 3 or 4 months we would have clear examples of reinfection by now.

In fact, the solution to implementing that approach might go a long ways towards opening up international travel as well. That restriction is significantly impacting a lot of less developed countries. One might thing that is a more robust approach than the idea of the COVID-19 passport which seems to depend mostly on testing for the infection in a very short period prior to departure. 

Comment by jmh on Some thoughts on criticism · 2020-09-20T02:16:31.111Z · LW · GW

I wonder if there is not also another way to approach your goal. This may not get to everything you wish to improve but perhaps gets out of the whole eliciting honest and constructive criticism from your direct reports.

For the most part I see a people manager's job as not only making sure they are doing their job but more importantly have the support and resources needed to accomplish their responsibilities. So an indirect way of assessing your own performance on the job as their manager is to inquire about the challenges they are facing and then consider what role you can play in removing some of the challenges.

Comment by jmh on Covid 9/17: It’s Worse · 2020-09-18T00:04:59.084Z · LW · GW

Are the figures for the past decade the total burned, the planned burn or just the wild burn?

I ask because I read something, not closely at all, sometime in the past week or so, that seemed to be saying for the past decade environmental policies and regulators have been preventing so much of the planned burn the west has a serious problem Based on that one might think that rather than some mild years coming up more of the same, and even more of that, might be more likely.

For those living there I just say "Hope that is wrong!"

Comment by jmh on Book Review: Working With Contracts · 2020-09-15T20:23:06.295Z · LW · GW

While I don't think this quite gets to where you are suggesting every contract I have ever seen includes some clause that pretty much talks about the independence of the sections and how they stand even if some other clause is invalidated. That seems to be a form or modular/scope structure.

Perhaps the question there is where the difference might be. For instance, when using the software metaphor I don't think it is really good to compare a simple application to the contract but more like a whole suite of applications. Don't compare Excel to the contract but Office365. In this setting, does contract seem to stand a bit more firmly than say the security around the inner working of the applications within Office?

Or is than not really a good comparison?

Comment by jmh on Comparative advantage and when to blow up your island · 2020-09-13T13:14:09.558Z · LW · GW

I think another point to keep in mind when thinking of comparative advantage is that it is clearly a necessary condition for trade (or at least seems obvious to me that it is) but not clearly a sufficient condition.

Even in this two good model it seems that one must accept there is an implied third good, everything else (leisure, sleep, something else?) so the analysis of the two goods is a partial equilibrium analysis. If the margins are getting changed there then the general equilibrium has now been disturbed. That will then feed back into the two good relationships.

I think one of the questions then is just what margins or constrains are being relaxed when looking to trade based on the comparative advantage.

For instance, lets assume that the two islands specialize in either coconuts or bananas and then trade at the 1:1 exchange. Production and consumption has not changed. Since they clearly had more minutes in the day to increase output on their own consuming 10 bananas and coconuts a week was optimal. If that level of consumption is not changed due to trade (generally assumed to be the case but lets ask) what happens with the time no longer needed for production?

If the additional available time is now just boredom I would think trade becomes a bit of an annoyance and trade is curtailed. If that is true on one side but on the other they other things they can do with the time a different form of friction emerges, perhaps one side claiming the other is dumping or protectionist.

Comment by jmh on The Case for Human Genetic Engineering · 2020-09-01T01:38:23.956Z · LW · GW

One aspect of such engineering is clearly what is the focus -- clearly the "improved super human" a la Star Trek is perhaps too ill defined so it will have to be about doing things in parts.

I would be curious about your thoughts on where the current state of knowledge and technology might be between targeting intelligence versus targeting longevity. If we could make good progress on the longevity front that then releases some constraints on the efforts towards intelligence. However, it that is the harder nut to crack then one could argue focusing on intelligence gains leads to a relaxed constraint on longevity research.

I suspect the two paths are not all that complementary to one another beyond some rather basic level so parallel tracks might not work as well (assuming bio-engineers with the sufficient skills are a binding constraint).

Somewhat related to the above, am I correct in thinking your focus is less on improving the currently living and more on upgrading the next generation with these efforts?

Comment by jmh on The Case for Human Genetic Engineering · 2020-08-30T13:15:20.092Z · LW · GW

Yes, you state that much better than I did.

The idea was that we have chromosome pairs, each will have the same set of genes, but the gene on each chromosome can vary but are still the same "gene". So the label as allele (or mutation -- not quite sure where one draws the line between mutation and allele) seems a bit more clear to me.

Comment by jmh on The Case for Human Genetic Engineering · 2020-08-29T13:19:31.477Z · LW · GW

Interesting and I look forward to reading the other posts in this effort.

One minor nit. I think the correct terms in the bit on recessive traits is not gene but allele (genes contain two alleles as I understand the claims).

Comment by jmh on [deleted post] 2020-08-22T02:31:39.042Z

Perhaps I misunderstood what I was reading but I thought senescence in cells was not about them dying out but rather them becomes zombie cells -- no more division or "life" but not really dead or disposed of. That resulted in them (often?) pumping out various proteins that were not well coordinated with the bodies needs. I also thought some of the newer research was suggesting a connection between the quantity of senescence cells and the onset of cancers. Particularly on this last bit you seem to be saying the reverse so I'm a bit confused.

Comment by jmh on Highlights from the Blackmail Debate (Robin Hanson vs Zvi Mowshowitz) · 2020-08-21T17:19:30.577Z · LW · GW

Seems the entire discussion boils down to what should or should not be allowed to be sold. In a standard market one assumption and prerequisite for selling something is a legitimate ownership right.

Did Hansen establish some ownership right the blackmailer enjoyed? Did anyone establish any ownership rights at all?

In the case of the NDA bit that seems like a completely difference class than the case of blackmail. There seems to be a serious asymmetry between the "pay me to keep my mouth shut about your information" and that of "I will share this information with you but you must not disclose -- and I will even provide some compensation to add the incentive for nondisclosure beyond the pure contractual obligation and stated remedy".

Comment by jmh on Does crime explain the exceptional US incarceration rate? · 2020-08-18T01:05:48.143Z · LW · GW

I don't see why one thinks homicide is a good proxy for crime in general. I wonder if a different approach here might be simply focusing on homicide and incarceration to see if that sheds any light.

Comment by jmh on The Fusion Power Generator Scenario · 2020-08-10T16:40:58.252Z · LW · GW

Not sure if this is pure musing or a question. The, rather obvious, thought strikes me that this discussion could be held without any reference to AI at all. It is very clear that people with 150+ IQ are much more capable than those with 120 IQ and those with 120 are much more capable than those with sub 100 IQ.

For the most part we live in a market society driven my mass market demand, which seems like it will be dominated by a lower average IQ, which is designed and produced by the "smart" tail of the curve.

This has been the case (well perhaps not the market society claim) for most of human existence.

That suggests we might have evolutionary design patters that have been emerging to protect the masses of the human race from both their own (and perhaps misunderstood or even unknown) risky demand that are delivered by the smart minority of humans.

Is that line of thinking any part of the larger picture (AI alignment I suppose)?

Comment by jmh on What is filling the hole left by religion? · 2020-08-08T01:28:45.227Z · LW · GW

Yes, but when is that really the case. Perhaps it's a case of my just not seeing the setting as that of pure isolation. So while we might call it morality perhaps it is potential impact in other games we also play that are not one-shot.

For instance, I see someone drop $10,000 (or $100 if you want) and not notice they did. I let them walk out of site and notice no one else is around and quietly pick it up and put it in my pocket.

Later I'm out with friend having lunch or drinks and offer to pick up the tab. In generally we all tend to pay our own way as none generally had a lot of money to just throw around. They start asking why so how do I explain?

Or perhaps my child has been asking for a special toy that was not in the budget. Suddenly I can buy it. How do I explain that to my spouse and child?

The idea being the lives we live is not one with the degree of separability implied by the one-shot assumption, so the game setting is really a repeated game but not always with same players.

Perhaps that is just explaining why morality might emerge and so your point holds but I'm not sure.

Comment by jmh on Property as Coordination Minimization · 2020-08-08T01:04:09.323Z · LW · GW

Lacking a source to support the claim but I am very confident in the statement here, that sound very similar to the critique James Buchanan (Public Choice economist) made of Friedman's Machinery of Freedom. Basically the machine can work as long as everyone has the same understanding of property rights. Once that assumption is lost the machine is broke.

Comment by jmh on What is filling the hole left by religion? · 2020-08-04T23:51:07.021Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure that is as sound as suggested. Just when are we really in a one-shot PD setting? In the, I might argue, rare cases where we are, is it really morality or merely habit of thinking that set our behavior?

Comment by jmh on The Era Of Unlimited Everything: Unlimited Materials & Unlimited Money · 2020-08-01T16:29:27.987Z · LW · GW

Perhaps going a level further down we can talk about the wonder of polymers. Plastics. Oils. DNA. WIthout polymers we have no life I suspect.

Comment by jmh on Six economics misconceptions of mine which I've resolved over the last few years · 2020-07-14T22:42:58.077Z · LW · GW

I think the answer is yes. I would say it is a very similar strategy to that of corporate financial management and using financial leverage to improve returns and earnings.

Comment by jmh on School Has It Backwards · 2020-07-14T15:02:31.757Z · LW · GW

Should I ask what question you were asking when you decided on this position ;-)

I think you are creating an incorrect dichotomy. Neither schools, nor learning in general, are about either getting answers or posing questions. I think they are a bundle we take together.

To the extent you are arguing modern schooling approaches might tend to penalize a curious (and probably less focused) mind in the interest of conveying known facts and knowledge I would agree to some extent. At the same time, there are a lot of people that seem born with a lack of intellectual curiosity, or at least a lack of discipline and gumption to pursue that interest (a lot of us are lazy, though I suspect many like me just have to work a lot harder than others to get the the same place so lazy might just be another way of saying lack or energy to get there).

Comment by jmh on Six economics misconceptions of mine which I've resolved over the last few years · 2020-07-14T02:22:04.765Z · LW · GW

I think all these sort of fail on the basis of partial equilibrium rather then general equilibrium but here are a few thought that may or may not fit somewhere.

1. Is a bit of a Say's Law take. One thing that might be considered is just how quickly the realized new demand from increased wages (and how quickly some might react in terms of quantity of labor employed is reduced) transmits thought the local economy. If demand propagates quickly, 1 might hold.

2. That's an interesting approach. Could increased wages result in increased investment in human capital? Maybe, maybe not. An interesting historical debate might come back here. The old Cambridge Capital Controversy, as it was explained to be once, basically supports a multi equilibrium outcome. One is a high wage equilibrium with a low return to capital (the w and r in the model). While the debate was supposed to be been resolved and so the two outcomes not possible I never got the sense that all agreed so perhaps there might be something there.

3. Was a theory called Efficiency Wages.

All that said, I think the biggest problem with wage theory for economics is that "wages" are not really set as much in the market as in the corporate HR office. This is not to say that there is not linkage to external markets, but borrowing from old monetary policy terms, is only loosely linked. Within a medium to large (and probably even what would be called small these days) corporation the effort is very much a complex joint production activity and margins are poorly understood (and probably not even known in a lot of cases). The standard micro economic analysis only goes so far. The margin really should be some unit output from the corporate effort. Wages then become more a political economy setting where the issue is more distribution and less about allocation. (Include all the thinking about need for "slack" for productivity...)

Comment by jmh on Was a PhD necessary to solve outstanding math problems? · 2020-07-11T01:34:57.545Z · LW · GW

No clue if they might fit well with your thinking or if it is even common, but where would you put the case where the person has a Ph.D. but in a different field from their main study?

Would that fit better with the non credentialed case? I would like to think so but perhaps just having the paper gets you into the club.

Comment by jmh on (answered: yes) Has anyone written up a consideration of Downs's "Paradox of Voting" from the perspective of MIRI-ish decision theories (UDT, FDT, or even just EDT)? · 2020-07-07T00:16:37.337Z · LW · GW

Not sure where of if this fits into your thought or not. In many was I see both the paradox and many of the attempts to explain it may well stem from incorrectly specifying the question. The argument is that the payoff from voting for any given person is lower than the costs incurred so why vote?

However, since people clearly do vote isn't the better question to ask: what did we miss in specifying the equation that results in the implication all these people are irrational and imposing costs on themselves?

In other words, rather than accepting the claimed paradox why not just take the empirical observation and then look for the underlying explanation. Would a good scientist ever talk about the paradox of flight once observed?

Comment by jmh on Second Wave Covid Deaths? · 2020-07-05T15:32:21.926Z · LW · GW

I suspect a couple of things might be worth considering, but I'm not the expert here either so take everything with the view I am speculating/thinking aloud not stating any findings.

I don't think testing will tend to lower the CFR as that testing will move things towards the real IFR rather than the CFR. This probably related to point 1 & 2 above.

I think the 10-12 days from the old data to say we see movement in the death data due to the new cases probably has some type of skew in it, the older the data the more likely it will be complete. That should be driven by the the death reporting distribution (and perhaps even corrections). The closer the old data gets to the new threshold of new deaths it should under report due to the lag. Perhaps we need to look at the distribution of reported deaths over that 8+ week period before trying to assess the results after the 10-12 days. I'm not sure if that is what you are saying in point 3.

Comment by jmh on High Stock Prices Make Sense Right Now · 2020-07-05T15:08:58.293Z · LW · GW

Do you make any adjustment on the PE evaluation, particularly for the top 4, in light of all the ways reported earning can be manipulated. I have not looked but would you have the same list if looking at things from a revenue based valuation or a free cash flow valuation?

Comment by jmh on Second Wave Covid Deaths? · 2020-07-03T15:11:49.250Z · LW · GW

Small addition on:

If there was a 7 day lag, we'd expect to see a 20% increase in deaths by from May 31 to June 28. Eyeballing the google deaths data things look basically flat. So I guess that means a drop of ~20% in fatality rate over that month.

The CDC site says the lag on reporting deaths is between 2 and 8 weeks -- and can be longer.

Comment by jmh on Second Wave Covid Deaths? · 2020-07-03T00:00:20.867Z · LW · GW

Might be that deaths are being classified a bit differently now too. Just looking at for the national level numbers/trend for "Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified (R00-R99)" look different from last year. I also heard someone claim that something of a spike in pneumonia deaths is happening but didn't really see that in the data.

But I would also think some marginal improvement in treating patients and keeping them alive has occurred as well.

Comment by jmh on Half-Baked Products and Idea Kernels · 2020-06-25T16:07:53.563Z · LW · GW

That was the experience I had in the last corp I worked for. They traditionally were waterfall and trying to move towards agile. As T3t notes below, it's best not to think of things as either or (and I suspect you are not suggesting such).

A couple of related thought come to mind though. One clearly is the cost of the bug and effort to fix -- I don't think all environments support ease of update to code base or code modules. Additionally, in different settings having something go wrong for 30 minutes might be a minor inconvenience (I'll do something else this morning and come back this afternoon) while in other cases you might be talking about billions in damage/loses or even lives lost.

There is also something of a culture aspect here. Organizations and the staff who lived and breathed waterfall have a lot of business processes & procedures and human thought process in place that don't really support agile, and vise versa.

However, I think the approach in the OP is fully compatible with either waterfall or agile development. But it might actually be more valuable to the former. Might also generalize pretty well into things like, say, vacation planning????

Comment by jmh on When is it Wrong to Click on a Cow? · 2020-06-22T20:07:01.920Z · LW · GW

What if we rephrased the question as "When is it okay to be bored?"

The way the post seems to frame the setting is that these three are doing things in a largely nonsocial setting. None are overtly engaging in some activities that imply some form of social interaction. As such, if we consider that aspect and then pose the alternative "go home and stare at the wall" does that suggest any additional takes on how to assess the situations?

Comment by jmh on Why do all out attacks actually work? · 2020-06-13T12:45:33.526Z · LW · GW

But why doesn't the all out attack work against status?

This model, when we're only talking about status, seems like another reflection of the "I can't" view so no commitment to make the effort is made.

I assume your "slap down" is not merely those with status ridiculing the idea attempting to point out flaws in the theory or design but rather that of applying both economic, political and perhaps even raw force to stop you. In that case the issue doesn't seem to be status (though clearly that might indicate a level or location of risk). It issue is the ability of others with an interest in stopping you in achieving that goal. Seems to me that decision process there would be performing a calculation on a different set of inputs than status.