Comment by siclabomines on Covid 8/12: The Worst Is Over · 2021-08-16T15:46:14.348Z · LW · GW

 If not mandating vaccination for indoor dining, then what?

Even that minimally coercive approach you describe is pretty coercive; I don´t expect the benefits to outweigh the ugly side of making many tens of millions of people be injected with something they don´t like or trust or want. Some people are still getting convinced to get vaccinated just with time alone, and many other things could be done better to convince more people without more restrictions. I don´t know what to expand on without making this too long. 

Comment by siclabomines on Covid 8/12: The Worst Is Over · 2021-08-14T00:50:11.841Z · LW · GW


Comment by siclabomines on Covid 8/12: The Worst Is Over · 2021-08-13T17:39:44.030Z · LW · GW

the WHO who still refuse to admit Covid is airborne


Sort of.  For some months now, the WHO states that it can spread "in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings [...] because aerosols remain suspended in the air" 


EDIT: (used to ask why the link wasn't formatting properly)

Comment by siclabomines on Covid 8/12: The Worst Is Over · 2021-08-13T17:21:45.221Z · LW · GW

And if the choice is between ‘no indoor dining (or other X) for anyone’ and ‘no indoor dining (or other X) for the unvaccinated’ I know which one I’m choosing, and which one leaves me more free.

I agree that "no indoor dining for anyone" is worse than mandating vaccination for indoor dining. But I also don´t think the situation merits either. Protecting the immunocompromised and people that want but can´t get vaccinated doesn´t make up for the concerns.

Comment by siclabomines on Covid 8/12: The Worst Is Over · 2021-08-13T17:16:15.089Z · LW · GW

 we’d not only not make them mandatory, they’d be forbidden.

The space between those two is very small, maybe even negative.

Comment by siclabomines on Covid 7/29: You Play to Win the Game · 2021-07-29T21:33:42.901Z · LW · GW

Regarding the intelligence tests after COVID: Fourth, I can imagine some people that had COVID and go test themselves might actually want/expect to see some effect and end up not doing their best, to be a victim or have an excuse or something to blame for whatever.

Comment by siclabomines on Covid 5/6: Vaccine Patent Suspension · 2021-05-07T11:22:56.847Z · LW · GW

It's unlikely that these corporations would make the assumption that all future IP would also be "confiscated"

Do you have a good explanation to Moderna's market price drop?

Even if they made that assumption, what are they supposed to do? Stop investing in future developments, and slowly go out of business?

Borrow less, invest less, or, as you say in your last line, focus on other ways of making money that don't require innovation and IP?

Comment by siclabomines on Scott Alexander 2021 Predictions: Buy/Sell/Hold · 2021-05-02T15:44:28.465Z · LW · GW

Right! My untrained intuition still resists a bit; I should play with the numbers.

Comment by siclabomines on Scott Alexander 2021 Predictions: Buy/Sell/Hold · 2021-05-02T05:00:39.669Z · LW · GW

Niice, it makes sense! Thanks!

So to recap, I was right in that riskier assets can have higher avg returns, but I was missing the usually bigger and opposing effect where as the assets gets riskier, the same avg returns rely more and more on lucky very big gains while doing worse more often (at least if they are sort of lognormal). 

My second point I still think was correct, right? -- i.e., that if Scott believed ETH had some chance of total collapse (a mixture distribution), then this skews it to the other side and pushes the median below the mean, and gives some reason to think ETH is more likely to outperform BTC. Does this make sense?

Comment by siclabomines on Scott Alexander 2021 Predictions: Buy/Sell/Hold · 2021-04-30T14:15:39.090Z · LW · GW

If ETH is less risky than BTC then the median performance of ETH will outperform BTC and his probability could be consistent with EMH

Wait. Does this mean that EMH expects less risky investments to have higher performance on average? That sounds shocking enough that I must be confusing something here. Or is this some sort of median vs mean distinction that I'm not seeing


Comment by siclabomines on Scott Alexander 2021 Predictions: Buy/Sell/Hold · 2021-04-30T00:43:59.366Z · LW · GW

About 17 and the EMH. Can't Scott be just thinking that ETH is sufficiently more risky than BTC so it may have higher expected returns even with the EMH (the EMH allows this, right?). Or even that he might think ETH has some chance of total collapse (like an outlier at 0) so even with equal expected returns it's much more probable that ETH outperforms BTC than the other way around (?)

Comment by siclabomines on Toward A Bayesian Theory Of Willpower · 2021-03-27T15:23:28.820Z · LW · GW

What's this supposed to be estimating or predicting with Bayes here? The thing you'll end up doing?  Something like this?: 

Each of the 3 processes has a general prior about how often they "win" (that add up to 100%, or maybe the basal ganglia normalizes them). And a bayes factor, given the specific "sensory" inputs related to their specific process, while remaining agnostic about the options of the other process. For example, the reinforcer would be thinking: "I get my way 30% of the time. Also, this level of desire to play the game is 2 times more frequent when I end up getting my way than when I don't (regardless of which of the other 2 won, let's assume, or I don't know how to keep this modular). Similarly, the first process would be looking at the level of laziness, and the last one at the strength of the arguments or sth. 

Then, the basal ganglia does bayes to update the priors given the 3 pieces of evidence, and gets to a posterior probability distribution among the 3 options.

And finally you'll end up doing what was estimated because, well, the brain does what minimizes the prediction error. Is this the weird sense in which the info is mixed with bayes and this is all bayesian stuff?

I must be missing something. If this interpretation was correct, e.g., what would increasing the dopamine e.g. in the frontal cortex be doing? Increasing the "unnormalized" prior for such process? (like, it falsely thinks it wins more often than it does, regardless of the evidence). Falsely bias the bayes factor? (like, it thinks it almost never happens that it feels this convinced of what should happen in the cases when it doesn't end up winning.)

Comment by siclabomines on Covid 2/25: Holding Pattern · 2021-02-26T13:01:27.464Z · LW · GW

Whatever prevents the most infection, hospitalization and death is the right answer either way

I first read this sentence as suggesting that killing people is the best way to prevent infection.

Comment by siclabomines on Covid 2/18: Vaccines Still Work · 2021-02-18T15:07:23.069Z · LW · GW

Yeah, if R0 is held constant and also COVID-UK is going up in absolute numbers. 

Comment by siclabomines on Covid 2/18: Vaccines Still Work · 2021-02-18T14:04:34.038Z · LW · GW

Israel's deaths are dropping more slowly than I would have intuitively expected given the vaccinations; I now wonder if it's because of longer duration of the new strains which means we may have to wait a little longer until most of the previous infections resolve. Anyone that's been looking at detailed data (like strain prevalence, the ages of the people still dying, etc) has an opinion? (I just looked at the daily death and vaccination rate)

Comment by siclabomines on Covid 2/18: Vaccines Still Work · 2021-02-18T13:53:52.710Z · LW · GW

I haven't read the papers so, please correct me if I guess wrong (most likely), anybody.

I'm guessing the UK strain was estimated from relative growth between strains when the UK cases were skyrocketing, and that gave around ~40% higher R0 than COVID-classic. 

Now, say they were underestimating the duration of the UK strain. That would mean it is actually more transmissible than estimated -- but it was masked by the long timescales (transmissibleness means R, right?). And that would mean that it's that much harder to contain than we thought (yet it was contained in the UK, which is great and suggests I'm talking BS). And it also means that it comes to dominate COVID-classic that much faster when COVID is going down.

>     This means that  we should expect the English strain to arrive in numbers somewhat slower than its level of infectiousness would otherwise indicate.

I'd instead guess that we should expect it to arrive faster since it's would be more infectious than previously expected and the US seems to be mitigating much more decently than the UK at that time? Does this make any sense?

Comment by siclabomines on Covid 2/11: As Expected · 2021-02-12T12:31:04.775Z · LW · GW

I think you get more points for earlier predictions.

Comment by siclabomines on Covid 2/11: As Expected · 2021-02-12T12:24:47.046Z · LW · GW

So one should interpret the points as a measure of how useful you've been to the overall predictions in the platform, and not how good you should be expected to be on a specific question, right?

Comment by siclabomines on Covid 12/24: We’re F***ed, It’s Over · 2020-12-29T23:26:11.341Z · LW · GW

Yeah, I wasn't trying to be tautological. 


I am under the impression that you are thinking something like: "Bezos has ~100 billion to spend. If he spends 1 million in X, then he has 1 million less to spend on the rest. But he won't even get to spend it in his lifetime, so that extra million in X doesn't change how much he would spend in Y. Therefore, it's wrong to say that Y will become more available because Bezos spent in X.".

I don't think that's the right way to think about all this. (Warning: oversimplification coming):


Bezos earns some income, say, in a year. Almost all of it will be spent. Most will be invested and not consumed, so it will still increase his net worth, but that demand for stuff is still there, affecting the economy. Bezos is already probably spending about as much as he can, and what he is not spending he is saving which probably means transferring it to someone else who will spend it. So, if he spends USD 10 in X, it's reasonable imho to "expect" the economy to get USD 10 less spending in non-X stuff (on avg)

Comment by siclabomines on Covid 12/24: We’re F***ed, It’s Over · 2020-12-28T23:57:16.771Z · LW · GW

I think I disagree a bit with both (but what do I know).

For someone like Jeff Bezos, an increase in spending on Item A probably just results in slightly less money spent by his great-grandchildren in 100 years.

This doens't seem to me to be the right way to think about it. Short term, the more he spends on Item A will result in lower spending on Item B, or lower investment in his companies, a lower transfer of money from him to someone else (like through lower savings). Or more money being spent overall if he just uses up cash he had hidden in his pillow; which increases prices for everyone (but this will be made up for in some future).

If we want to make sure that the starving guy gets some of the food, can't we just allocate the food to him directly, rather than having to give him enough money to win a bidding war with Jeff Bezos?

Who produces the food and can set the prices? If it's private companies, then they wouldn't sell it to the state for cheaper than to Bezos, so it would be as expensive to the state as giving that same money to the poor and let them outbid Bezos. If the state owns the stuff, then [insert standard anti-socialism arguments]. If the prices are fixed by the state, then its inefficient and there may not enough production for all. If the prices fixed by the state but depend on the person -- or on how many of X you have bought this month or stuff like that -- then that introduces whole new types of messes.

Comment by siclabomines on PredictIt: Presidential Market is Increasingly Wrong · 2020-10-19T16:43:49.853Z · LW · GW

I doubt that kind of hidden information can affect PredictIt betting odds as it limits the amount each person can bet. 


There is bias or Zvi is reaching wrong conclusions with the same info.

Comment by siclabomines on Why hasn't there been research on the effectiveness of zinc for Covid-19? · 2020-08-24T22:38:17.122Z · LW · GW

It's the placebo effect, obviously; you can't get sick if you zinc it works.

Comment by siclabomines on Six economics misconceptions of mine which I've resolved over the last few years · 2020-07-13T11:43:46.463Z · LW · GW

Do they really get higher expected returns from that?

I know they do when the market isn't efficient (relative to the specific investor), but that doesn't help me.

Comment by siclabomines on Six economics misconceptions of mine which I've resolved over the last few years · 2020-07-13T08:31:01.703Z · LW · GW

Why is it that riskier investments should give higher expected returns?

I ask not because I don't get that the avg person would rather invest on something safe than something unsafe, all else being equal. I get that. I ask because I imagine that investors could bring their total risk down through diversification without harming the expected returns, so big money would prefer the higher expected returns even if they are risky, and in doing that, they'd bring down the extra returns from the riskier investments.

Is it because investments options are so correlated that diversification isn't enough to bring the risk of a portfolio down to acceptable levels? Or some other reason?

Comment by siclabomines on Causality and its harms · 2020-07-06T23:50:18.535Z · LW · GW

I have the opposite impressions. Science should embrace causality more and do it better. And as a layman term it should be refined so that we stop talking about the causes of any event as a cake where each slice has a name and only one name.

I find it hard to summarize why, at least right now, but my view is sorta similar to Pearl's (though I don't totally like how he puts it). Hopefully later I'll re-read this more attentively and comment something more productive (if no one has done a strictly better job already).

Comment by siclabomines on [META] Building a rationalist communication system to avoid censorship · 2020-06-25T02:18:11.397Z · LW · GW

I meant hiding just the CWish posts. There're enough non-CWish posts to attract people that value the way of thinking in general.

Also, it doesn't sound that bad to attract users through 1 to 1 recommendations only. Or allow unlogged people to read all, but only little by little release the power for new users to interact with the content. Maybe release it all at once if a high karma user vouches for you (they lose it that person gets banned or something). Maybe instead of karma, there could be another value that better reflects how much you are likely to value proper manners and thinking (e.g., it could be obtained by summing karma from different topics i in a way that overvalues breadth of interest ).

I'm just thinking out loud in real time. My main point one can go a long way just by limiting the rate at which new users can invade and screw with the content.

Comment by siclabomines on [META] Building a rationalist communication system to avoid censorship · 2020-06-23T23:54:09.025Z · LW · GW

I was 80% kidding. I do believe that the type of people that could attack this community are hugely people that can't tolerate trying to read and understand the kind of content in here; let alone Scott's 999999 word analytical yet clear essays. They didn't sign up for real thinking and nuance when they went into activism.

And unlike others, I don't think mobs are organized. They look like it, but its some sort of emergent behaviour that can be managed by making it boring for the average mob member to attack.

Comment by siclabomines on SlateStarCodex deleted because NYT wants to dox Scott · 2020-06-23T16:34:01.298Z · LW · GW

Fair enough.

Comment by siclabomines on SlateStarCodex deleted because NYT wants to dox Scott · 2020-06-23T15:18:37.601Z · LW · GW

I still don't get it. agc asked how is the retaliation NOT at attempt to stifle criticism. TurnTrout answered that it is not: it's retaliation for a doxing attack, not for criticism. Then wolflow said something that's "literally" wrong, and metaphorically I didn't get it; probably TurnTrout didn't get it too so he answered the literal interpretation. Etc etc.

But the upvotes-downvotes show I'm not seeing something here.

Comment by siclabomines on SlateStarCodex deleted because NYT wants to dox Scott · 2020-06-23T15:10:35.499Z · LW · GW

Of course, that was a given. I just assumed that most of us don't need days of exclusive focus to write an email.

Comment by siclabomines on [META] Building a rationalist communication system to avoid censorship · 2020-06-23T15:05:23.507Z · LW · GW

Simply requiring log-in to read some posts, and limiting the rate of new users (maybe even make it invite only most of the times, like a private torrent tracker), should go a long way to prevent mob attacks.

Comment by siclabomines on [META] Building a rationalist communication system to avoid censorship · 2020-06-23T15:03:39.886Z · LW · GW

Make a captcha with GPT-X rationalist content against real rationalist content. If you can't tell the difference, you are out :P

Also, train GPT-X on content that triggers mobs, and then use it to keep them busy elsewhere :P

Comment by siclabomines on SlateStarCodex deleted because NYT wants to dox Scott · 2020-06-23T11:20:10.469Z · LW · GW

Given the news cycle speed, it makes sense to get ready for the likely scenarios.

Comment by siclabomines on [deleted post] 2020-06-22T20:54:49.713Z

Where do these "shortform post" things appear?

Let's see. TEST TEST 1 2 3 lalala!


Is it not possible to delete this thing? Just edit or retract?

Comment by siclabomines on BBE W1: Personal Notetaking Desiderata Walkthrough · 2020-06-10T03:22:32.755Z · LW · GW

I've been mostly using a mix

  • vimwiki for the Babble
  • TeXMacs for the Prune
  • Anki as a bucket for short insights, with very good retrievability (from PC and phone): click "browse", and search. (I don't use it as much to memorize, though I really like to just be able to pop something out without noticing the ever growing mess, yet knowing that everything will EVENTUALLY come out. Also, I love to be able to easily set if I want to see the card again sooner or later. Honestly, I wish these kinds of systems weren't limitted to "memorization apps", and didn't try to be so automatic in their scheduling of the pieces of content.)
  • Occasionally, Freeplane for mindmaps. jrnl for quick and short date-stamped logs. Probably others...

I am not too satisfied though, so this post will be useful when I have the time to give it another shot.

Comment by siclabomines on Covid-19: My Current Model · 2020-06-06T04:32:36.732Z · LW · GW

My intuition is that the effect of the most infectious people getting infected first is even bigger than you suspect. It will not be herd immunity what brings this under control. Herd immunity would be if the infected person has a harder time infecting because some are immune already, and that requires some significant % of people being immune (unless it's juuuuust R=1.04 or something very near 1 but bigger, too much of a coincidence). Yet most countries got it under control at low %s with either lots or little action (even when at first many of the same countries seemed unable to affect the spread with anything short of total lockdown).

It seems much more reasonable that as the virus selectively removes the most susceptible, the R drops below 1 and that's it. The proportion of removed could be at 1%, 0.5%, 5%, no problem here. Argentina is having a spike despite being in lockdown for months, because they locked down too early, I think because the virus refuses to be tamed until it has eaten up "those" communities.

Regarding the rate being ~1, I share the suspicious attitude, but something doesn't feel right in suggesting the control mechanism is people's behaviour. Maybe there's something else. Or maybe there isn't even a control mechanism (one that slows the spread if the "next generation of infected is bigger and viceversa"), but the dynamics are is just not behaving naturally like an exponential. Maybe there's a "cap" of how many peoplee can get infected per 2 weeks because not that many (accidentally?) commit one of the "high-risk" things you suggest. Or the connection graph between people is shaped in a way that tends to this linear thing. I don't know.

Comment by siclabomines on The EMH Aten't Dead · 2020-05-22T11:47:26.489Z · LW · GW

You write quite entertainingly.

There's no room for luck in the "realistic" half of your diagram.

Comment by siclabomines on Why is this utilitarian calculus wrong? Or is it? · 2019-02-01T20:47:33.371Z · LW · GW

I think the calculus is correct, in the "non-iterated" game. The conclusion is correct in the same sense that it would be even better to donate $101 and come back the next day with a black sock on your head and steal a widget.

There's just something about the iterated exercise of mixing up donations and transactions that you don't like, and I share that intuition. I think in my case I feel that their strategy of selling at a high price discourages other potential transactions from people that value the widget between $20 and $100 and don't care about who's selling it. And I am particularly sensitive about taking advantage of the simple win-win opportunities first. Or maybe I just dislike the lack of transparency of dressing up the donation as a purchase.

In my experience for many people it's the other way around. Many are much more willing to buy some useless product at a high price, a product that they value less than its producing cost, instead of just donating. I assume it's because they feel it's better to pay someone that's "working" for their money than to incentivize begging.