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methree's Shortform 2020-02-18T06:41:15.205Z

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Comment by methree on 10 Deadly Viruses And Bacteria Created In Labs - 6 SARS 2.0 · 2021-06-20T07:28:14.662Z · LW · GW

He provides circumstantial evidence that this pandemic was the result of the research. His purpose, however, doesn't seem to be the assignment of blame on political grounds but making sure that a very possible origin of the virus is not dismissed as a conspiracy theory, rendering prevention measures suboptimal in the future.

Comment by methree on 10 Deadly Viruses And Bacteria Created In Labs - 6 SARS 2.0 · 2021-06-20T07:22:43.197Z · LW · GW

A physics professor at the university of Hamburg, in Germany, spent over a year putting together research papers and publications from labs dedicated to that kind of research, like the one in Wuhan, and published significant bits of them along with commentary to instigate public discussion about Covid and the need -- or lack thereof -- of research related to making viruses more dangerous. He asks a great point: even in the best case, the research done so far on Coronaviruses from bats, manipulated to be more dangerous in a lab, has not helped us prevent a pandemic, so why continue to risk a breach?

This is a very condensed summary in English: https://www.uni-hamburg.de/en/newsroom/presse/2021/pm8.html . It links to the complete document in German and English; even if you don't understand German, all the snippets of published articles are in English, so you can follow along even without the commentary.

Comment by methree on How hard is it to disguise my gait? · 2021-06-08T07:11:50.663Z · LW · GW

Usonian = from the USA, which doesn't offend the sensibilities of the rest of the countries in the continent of America

Comment by methree on How hard is it to disguise my gait? · 2021-06-08T07:09:09.255Z · LW · GW

This video on how Usonian CIA operatives disguise themselves claims a simple piece of gravel in your shoe will change how you walk completely: https://youtu.be/JASUsVY5YJ8

Comment by methree on The Web is Turning into Cable TV · 2021-05-22T05:51:35.514Z · LW · GW

I agree with the majority of what you speculate about concerning the effects of an ad-oriented internet, although I keep seeing very good science and engineering content produced exclusively for the web and paid for through a mix of advertising and some form of sales (merchandise, the right to access early content, etc.).

The Mozilla Foundation publishes excellent articles on privacy on the web in their newsletter and then actually takes action, as does the Electronic Frontier Foundation; those would be good groups to contribute to if you want to support action against advertisers.

Finally, since I dislike ads but work in the advertising industry, I've thought of ways to reconcile the right to earn capital in a capitalist system, which is supported by advertising because it sways people's purchasing patterns, with the right to freedom of choice which many of us feel we inherently possess and which is threatened by advertising, which sways our purchasing patterns (especially painful is the fact that "successful" advertising often exploits behavioural biases and causes targets to make suboptimal choices, like spending more money than they can afford to).

For the last few years, I've entertained the idea of turning the tables completely by having machine agents seek out ads on behalf the consumer. Inspiration comes from human behaviour: if someone close to you knows you need new shoes, and they know your preferences, and they know your budget constraints, they can make pretty good recommendations -- parents even go ahead and buy things without further discussion, often hunting for discounts and making a lot of comparisons, shielding the child from the negative effects of advertising. An agent would do the same thing for the consumer: knowing their needs, preferences, and spending practices, it would actively keep an eye on relevant ads and only surface information about those it considers relevant. This may require more generalized artificial intelligence than currently exists, though.

Comment by methree on Estimating COVID cases & deaths in India over the coming months · 2021-04-25T05:31:22.835Z · LW · GW

This site attempts to provide a forecast for 130 countries, India included, and provides information on both sources and methodology. The data appears to be refreshed regularly, so it isn't stale. https://covid19.healthdata.org/india?view=total-deaths&tab=trend Maybe it will be of help to you.

Comment by methree on How can I find trustworthy dietary advice? · 2021-01-19T08:02:35.553Z · LW · GW

Indeed, since each body is a different ecosystem and each body exists inside larger, distinct ecosystems, you'll have to decide what your objective about health is and be satisfied with "good enough" and letting your body do its thing.

To illustrate the complications, people who descend from groups adapted to particular regions and who have now migrated or been forcibly relocated to others may have different dietary needs than the adapted, local groups. For example: someone living away from the equator traditionally consumed a lot more fish and milk derivates, which helped compensate for the lack of sunlight in winter. Skin colour and the composition of the microbiome in their gut also played a role.

Once you select an objective (live longer, reduce the chances of developing a disease you are genetically or environmentally disposed toward, reduce impact on environment, reduce animal cruelty, etc.), you can go the "literature" and find information. I like nutritionfacts.org, among others.

Collecting data on a regular basis will be helpful in tuning your diet; I'm thinking blood lab work and the recently en vogue microbiome DNA reports. Lastly, in my opinion, you should only consume supplements when you have identified chronic deficiencies, like vitamin D or B12.

Comment by methree on Which sources do you trust the most on nutrition advice for exercise? · 2020-12-16T08:43:12.457Z · LW · GW

There is a Dr. Greger whose speech I can't stand but from whose books and online videos I have learned a lot (search for nutritionfacts and How Not To Die. Also, there are many, free online courses on health topics like the microbiome, epigenetics, diseases, nutrition, etc. that you can take through the years as they keep getting updated with the latest learnings (currently in vogue is the role of the microbiota in the gut, for example, so every few months new information is made available). What I've learned is that the human body is incredibly resilient and you can live several decades without major problems on the worst of diets, it's the accumulation of stuff over time that leads to what are now called Lifestyle Diseases and the ones it sounds you are concerned about: cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, etc.

Since we now know the body is an ecosystem consisting of smaller ecosystems and embedded in larger ecosystems, the interactions are too varied for anyone to predict what the best thing for you to do is. Statistics and studies only apply to large groups and always have outliers anyway. Some basic trends are useful, however, so you can look at which general lifestyles tend to produce fewer problems: moderate exercise, low intake of animal protein, lots of fresh vegetables, legumes, and nuts lead to healthier lives. Your best bet is to support what evolution has already solved for you and understand human activities and lifestyles through history (not the last several thousand years, mind you) and see how you can reproduce the conditions to which human bodies adapted to within the confines of modernity. Really, exercise seems to be the single most potent and underutilized method of becoming and remaining healthy, so kudos on asking for advise.

I one last ramble: supplements are only necessary when you have identified a specific deficiency and you can't address it through your daily nutrition. Vitamin D3 comes to mind if you live away from the equator and don't eat fish skin.

Comment by methree on Which sources do you trust the most on nutrition advice for exercise? · 2020-12-16T08:42:54.314Z · LW · GW

There is a Dr. Greger whose speech I can't stand but from whose books and online videos I have learned a lot (search for nutritionfacts and How Not To Die. Also, there are many, free online courses on health topics like the microbiome, epigenetics, diseases, nutrition, etc. that you can take through the years as they keep getting updated with the latest learnings (currently in vogue is the role of the microbiota in the gut, for example, so every few months new information is made available). What I've learned is that the human body is incredibly resilient and you can live several decades without major problems on the worst of diets, it's the accumulation of stuff over time that leads to what are now called Lifestyle Diseases and the ones it sounds you are concerned about: cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, etc.

Since we now know the body is an ecosystem consisting of smaller ecosystems and embedded in larger ecosystems, the interactions are too varied for anyone to predict what the best thing for you to do is. Statistics and studies only apply to large groups and always have outliers anyway. Some basic trends are useful, however, so you can look at which general lifestyles tend to produce fewer problems: moderate exercise, low intake of animal protein, lots of fresh vegetables, legumes, and nuts lead to healthier lives. Your best bet is to support what evolution has already solved for you and understand human activities and lifestyles through history (not the last several thousand years, mind you) and see how you can reproduce the conditions to which human bodies adapted to within the confines of modernity. Really, exercise seems to be the single most potent and underutilized method of becoming and remaining healthy, so kudos on asking for advise.

I one last ramble: supplements are only necessary when you have identified a specific deficiency and you can't address it through your daily nutrition. Vitamin D3 comes to mind if you live away from the equator and don't eat fish skin.

Comment by methree on Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread · 2020-03-06T07:41:26.714Z · LW · GW

I would much rather rinse a mobile phone regularly if it is water-proof (an increasing number is!) than use copper tape, although I would not use soap on the screen, to preserve its oleophobic properties; alternatively, if I were in a very susceptible group or if the virus were much more dangerous to me, I would find it more effective to put the phone in a plastic bag and either exchange it often or wash it as often as my own hands.

The thought process here is that copper tape cannot be applied to screens, which can end up very close to faces, but washing with soap is effective.

Comment by methree on Disasters · 2020-01-23T06:58:21.792Z · LW · GW

Just curious, how much would you be willing to pay for a mail-based, yearly subscription to a service that takes care of the more onerous things you mentioned: planning, logistics, rotation; one that ensures you always have a one-week supply of essentials available (something to eat, medical, charger, etc) and manages their disposal (reuse and recycle) and refreshing on a regular basis?

I'm sure it's not necessary to have entire populations be prepared as long as enough individuals can help the rest (like the example of a neighbor with a pool), so I'm wondering how low the barrier for preparation needs to be to reach that amount of people, in monetary terms.