Comment by jodika on A Cost- Benefit Analysis of Immunizing Healthy Adults Against Influenza · 2014-11-11T14:12:27.497Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Judging by some of the attitudes I have heard from my friends about getting a flu jab (similar to Lumifer's comment), I have found that it is actually more effective to encourage people to get flu jabs for the benefit to others via herd immunity, rather than by emphasising the benefit to them.

I don't know if this is maybe some kind of ego-bias in that healthy people underestimate their chances of getting sick, or that doing something for you doesn't get you fuzzies, whereas doing it to help sick people and babies does.

Of course I am in a country that won't pay for healthy people to get the flu jab, but will pay for their hospital stay if they get sick enough to be hospitalised. The NHS does, however, pay for elderly people and people with most long-term health conditions (including asthma and diabetes) to get the jab.

I imagine that the NHS has done a cost-benefit analysis of the costs to itself to pay for healthy peoples' flu jabs versus their hospital stays if they do get sick, but I don't know if they have.

Comment by jodika on Procedural Knowledge Gaps · 2014-10-31T06:18:48.513Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

These days having few friends frequently signals maturity or coolness - someone who doesn't add everyone they've ever met to look like they have lots of friends.

I think the sweet spot is between 10 and 200 - go over that and people tend to imagine 'there's no way he could actually have that many friends, he just adds people at random and cares too much about popularity'.

Edit: Having said that, I just went back to my fb, which I no longer really use, and I'm on over 350. But largely that's because I've had it for a long time and not removed people I no longer see or have any real intention of seeing, so I don't only have actual friends as friends either.

Comment by jodika on Procedural Knowledge Gaps · 2014-10-31T04:17:09.558Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The secret to that is clothes that are simple and fit well.

So well-fitted dark jeans with shirt, no tie or a nice sweater/cardigan is a good look. Even 'jeans and a t shirt' can be a really nice look if the jeans fit you well and the t shirt is something classic like plain white (this also works well with a shirt partly or wholly unbuttoned over the top). There's also chinos which can work (just don't get them in too light or bright a colour if you're not confident about pulling off that look). If you live somewhere cold, peacoats and longer, slightly fitted coats are everywhere right now and they look good.

Advanced level - pick colours that complement your complexion. This is easier to gauge in person, but generally redheads rock green and jewel tones, blonds look good in cold colours and brown-haired guys are more likely to rock warm colours (though there are few people who don't rock blue). Brown-haired and darker-skinned guys are also a lot better at wearing white without having a tan.

Oh and practically nobody looks good in orange or yellow.

Comment by jodika on Procedural Knowledge Gaps · 2014-10-31T03:58:31.856Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In ambiguous environments, it is best to determine ok-ness on the basis of the people.

Good situations: You are both doing the same thing - looking at the same genre of books in a bookstore, the same exhibit in a museum or zoo, both walking dogs in a park etc. This makes it easier to talk as you already have one thing in common and you can comment on that to see if they are receptive to conversation.

Something unusual happens - a delay on public transport, something wacky is going on in the quad etc

If you mean quad as in university, you already have a thing in common - you're at the same university. It is likely to be okay to strike up a conversation.

They're waiting for something. In a queue or waiting for public transport etc - may be bored

They're having a cigarette - they probably have time for a quick chat and if you smoke too there's a kind of unspoken thing with smokers where they will have a chat

Presence of alcohol but not a restaurant

Bad signs: Person is wearing headphones or reading - they are busy and unlikely to want to talk

They are a woman under 40-ish and you are a dude: potential difficulties, see below.


So there is a thing with a guy approaching a strange woman - she is likely to inductively infer that you are not just after a friendly chat. The best thing to do is use caution and watch for signals that she doesn't want to be approached and be ready to back off if your intentions are misinterpreted. A good thing to do here is to make sure that it is immediately obvious that you are talking about something that is not her - comment on your shared situation ahead of saying anything like 'hello' or 'how you doing'. Commenting on the books or the museum exhibit or something like that lets her know that you're looking at that, not her tits.

Comment by jodika on What's the right way to think about how much to give to charity? · 2014-09-30T11:44:19.353Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think that's true? I think that, in practice, people value themselves more. But I think that it's a fairly common tenet of normal peoples' moralities that people are equal in value, and that if you asked random people, most of them would not say that they consider themselves to be more valuable or important than everyone else.

Which, yes, means that there's a discrepancy between what people say they believe and what their actions say they believe, but that's pretty normal too.

Comment by jodika on Open thread, September 22-28, 2014 · 2014-09-29T14:56:50.291Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the link and advice; I was basically looking for a review like that but lacking the studies-savvy to find it.

Comment by jodika on Open thread, September 22-28, 2014 · 2014-09-29T09:26:51.039Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah I had a quick look and that's about right for the price over here - certainly not doable for me, anyway.

Comment by jodika on Open thread, September 22-28, 2014 · 2014-09-28T18:36:38.231Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure it's possible to just get a blood panel on the NHS. My instinct is that I'd need to actually show symptoms of a vitamin deficiency.

Thanks anyway though.

Comment by jodika on What's the right way to think about how much to give to charity? · 2014-09-27T12:44:19.010Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's really difficult to 'shut up and multiply' in some cases.

I mean, I'm going to get personal here because it feels like the best way to articulate my problems with mathematical utilitarianism. But right now, I don't produce anything like what I cost my society (in terms of socialized medicine, and support I receive from my parents).

I feel very strongly that I shouldn't value myself more than a random African. But there are charities that claim I could save at least one life with what I spend on prescription fees every month. In terms of pure utilitarianism, unless I'm certain that I'm going to produce a lot more in the future and give some of that away, I probably ought to persuade my parents to give the help they give me with the rent to effective charities, borrow a bunch of money and give that to effective charities, then give the money I spend on my meds to effective charities until I basically kill myself.

That doesn't feel right, but it's what I get from shutting up and multiplying.

Comment by jodika on Open thread, September 22-28, 2014 · 2014-09-27T12:32:54.592Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know how many people here have medical or nutritional expertise, but for those who do, I have a question.

The benefits and risks of multivitamins have been discussed a little in the media, but as a layperson I find it difficult to look at the conflicting studies online and come to any particular conclusion as to what I should do.

Specifically, I am looking at this as a person with a chronic illness who finds it difficult to feed myself a diet as healthy as I would like due to money and time/energy constraints. I am therefore looking at supplementing eating as healthy as I can manage with a cheap multivitamin; but I would really appreciate if anyone with specialized knowledge, or just someone better at analyzing the available data than I currently am, could help me understand whether the reported risks are something I should be more concerned about than whatever benefit it may provide.

Comment by jodika on Open thread, September 15-21, 2014 · 2014-09-19T09:29:30.305Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

People, however, (as shminux said) do try kink all the time. It would not be unethical to do a study on people who are already kinky and see if they get kinkier over time.

Anecdotally, they start doing kink, they either decide it isn't for them and stop, or they do get kinkier for a while - because they're exploring what they like and it makes sense to start at the less extreme end of things.

Then they figure out what they like, which is often a range of things at differing levels of 'kinkiness/extremeness', and do that.

I mean, it's almost trivially obvious that compared to the size of the kink community, there is an almost negligible amount of people doing the human equivalent of directly stimulating their pleasure centres to the exclusion of everything else. They tend to make the news. The moderately kinky majority do not.

Comment by jodika on Open thread, September 15-21, 2014 · 2014-09-19T09:21:27.057Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the link; very helpful and interesting.

Comment by jodika on Open thread, September 15-21, 2014 · 2014-09-18T17:13:23.612Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It's a straightforward question about personal values. Do you think it's a good idea to have experts in EA or economics tell you what your values should be?

No, but they might know things like the scale of diminishing returns in terms of spending money on yourself, or at what minimum level of wealth do an acceptable majority of people (in x culture or x country) report being satisfied with their lives?

They might have a personal anecdote about how they earn a million dollars a year and live in a ditch and have never been happier, and they might know the psychological reasoning why some people are happy to do that and some people aren't.

I mean, yes, it's true that their answer is not going to be everybody's. But an attempt to answer the question seems very likely to turn up useful information that could help people make their own decisions.

Comment by jodika on Open thread, September 15-21, 2014 · 2014-09-18T17:06:05.471Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But I'll hazard a guess that the amount you need to spend to make it rather unlikely that you lose a lot of income >because of ill health isn't terribly large.

Well another complicating factor - in my particular case - is that with chronic and especially mental health conditions, it's actually very difficult to separate 'preventative healthcare' from frivolous spending. A lot of the things someone with my mental health might buy and do to keep them sane doesn't look like healthcare spending at all. A lot of things that it is considered normal and even laudable to sacrifice for one's education or career, especially when the latter is just beginning, such as sufficient sleep and leisure time, non-work-related social contact, etc are actually things where an insufficiency over more than a week or so will worsen my condition.

So you end up with people with conditions like mine spending money on things like ordering out to save time and energy, hiring help with the housework, paying frequently for travel to see friends - and it's not clear, even to the person whose life it is, how much of that is sanity preservation and how much is just nice to have (and how much, if any, is nice-to-have but you tricked yourself into believing it was sanity-preservation).

But that's a far more complicated question that I'm not going to ask people here to even attempt to answer.

Comment by jodika on Open thread, September 15-21, 2014 · 2014-09-18T12:34:05.383Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Is this a thing we should be asking if someone who is an expert on Effective Altruism and economics and similar could have a go at answering?

Comment by jodika on Open thread, September 15-21, 2014 · 2014-09-18T12:31:53.615Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Do you have a link? I'm just not sure that it's that obvious that pumping my (hypothetical) money overseas is a utilitarian good if I end up costing my own society more than I give away (which is pretty likely - to use a US example, hypothetical-me might end up costing orders of magnitude more to treat in an emergency room when I get sick because I didn't spend my own money on preventative healthcare).

Obviously the money hypothetical-I save the government isn't automatically going to go to good causes, but by doing my bit to make the society poorer, am I reducing people's overall tendency to have extra money to give away?

I dunno, probably need an economist and a lot of time to properly answer that question...

Comment by jodika on Open thread, September 15-21, 2014 · 2014-09-18T00:22:38.924Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks gjm, that's a really helpful comment. (And yes, quotation marks indicate 'this is the word I can think of but it is not necessarily the right word.)

I think points number 1 and 3 are especially relevant for me right now, and I have found talking it through on here to be very helpful in defeating an entirely non-useful lingering sense of guilt for not giving more when I really can't afford to, yet.

Comment by jodika on Things you are supposed to like · 2014-09-17T14:22:05.152Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

4 and 5 are anecdotally true for me, as a trained practitioner of two artforms (music and theatre); I often find that I can appreciate something greatly for its technical expertise and novelty of style or content at the same time as acknowledging that some things that achieve greatly in those areas actually fail at being accessibly entertaining.

I also definitely think 2 and 3 come into play a lot, especially when it comes to considering the monetary difference people are willing to pay artists (in terms of the price of paintings/sculptures, ticket prices, grant money etc) depending on whether they are famous or considered excellent by influential critics. We certainly don't consider the artistic quality of a newly discovered piece by a famous artist entirely on its own merits compared to a new or newly discovered piece by someone who isn't a big name.

Comment by jodika on Open thread, September 15-21, 2014 · 2014-09-17T13:48:20.495Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That's it, basically; it's about how much of a buffer I'm 'allowed' to give myself on 'reasonably comfortable'; I'm supporting myself and full-time student partner and not in permanent full-time employment so my instinct whenever I have a sniff of an excess is to hoard it against a bad month for getting work rather than do anything charitable with it (or it all goes on things we've put off replacing for monetary reasons, like shoes that are still wearable but worn out enough to no longer be waterproof).

I think Lumifer articulated better than I could what I really wanted to know the answer to, and while there may not be a general answer it does mean that I can at least go looking for things to read now my real question is clearer to me. So thanks!

Comment by jodika on Open thread, September 15-21, 2014 · 2014-09-16T18:25:48.044Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I have yet to find any thoughts on Effective Altruism that do not assume vast amounts of disposable income on the part of the reader. What I am currently trying to determine are things like 'at what point does it make sense to give away some of your income versus the utility of having decent quality of life yourself and insuring against the risk that you end up consuming charitable resources because something happened and you didn't have an emergency fund'. Does anyone know of any posts or similar that tackle the effective utilitarian use of resources when you don't have a lot of resources to begin with?

Comment by jodika on Review: Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids · 2014-09-15T19:42:37.996Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I fail to see from this review how the idea that raising kids effectively is less difficult than commonly assumed (or at least that many of the stressful and time-consuming things parents do are less effective than assumed) necessarily leads to the conclusion that one should have more kids. Surely the conclusion ought to be 'you should have more kids if you want to have more kids'.