Posts

COVID transmission by talking (& singing) 2020-03-29T18:26:55.839Z · score: 23 (7 votes)
COVID-19 transmission: Are we overemphasizing touching rather than breathing? 2020-03-23T17:40:14.574Z · score: 29 (14 votes)
SARS-CoV-2 pool-testing algorithm puzzle 2020-03-20T13:22:44.121Z · score: 42 (10 votes)
Predictive coding and motor control 2020-02-23T02:04:57.442Z · score: 12 (5 votes)
On unfixably unsafe AGI architectures 2020-02-19T21:16:19.544Z · score: 30 (12 votes)
Book review: Rethinking Consciousness 2020-01-10T20:41:27.352Z · score: 42 (15 votes)
Predictive coding & depression 2020-01-03T02:38:04.530Z · score: 19 (4 votes)
Predictive coding = RL + SL + Bayes + MPC 2019-12-10T11:45:56.181Z · score: 24 (9 votes)
Thoughts on implementing corrigible robust alignment 2019-11-26T14:06:45.907Z · score: 16 (5 votes)
Thoughts on Robin Hanson's AI Impacts interview 2019-11-24T01:40:35.329Z · score: 18 (11 votes)
steve2152's Shortform 2019-10-31T14:14:26.535Z · score: 4 (1 votes)
Human instincts, symbol grounding, and the blank-slate neocortex 2019-10-02T12:06:35.361Z · score: 26 (11 votes)
Self-supervised learning & manipulative predictions 2019-08-20T10:55:51.804Z · score: 17 (6 votes)
In defense of Oracle ("Tool") AI research 2019-08-07T19:14:10.435Z · score: 19 (9 votes)
Self-Supervised Learning and AGI Safety 2019-08-07T14:21:37.739Z · score: 21 (10 votes)
The Self-Unaware AI Oracle 2019-07-22T19:04:21.188Z · score: 24 (9 votes)
Jeff Hawkins on neuromorphic AGI within 20 years 2019-07-15T19:16:27.294Z · score: 157 (58 votes)
Is AlphaZero any good without the tree search? 2019-06-30T16:41:05.841Z · score: 27 (8 votes)
1hr talk: Intro to AGI safety 2019-06-18T21:41:29.371Z · score: 33 (11 votes)

Comments

Comment by steve2152 on Would Covid19 patients benefit from blood transfusions from people who have recovered? · 2020-03-29T22:50:21.991Z · score: 10 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Yes it's a good idea, and it's already being done :-)

Comment by steve2152 on COVID-19 transmission: Are we overemphasizing touching rather than breathing? · 2020-03-28T18:08:56.535Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks! Yes, I think we're mostly on the same page, except my feeling that avoiding inhaled droplets is probably more important than avoiding touching your face. I still think that the public-health messaging I've seen is somewhat misdirected, and that all the celebrities and informational signs that say "wash your hands" or "don't shake hands" should instead more often say "don't have face-to-face conversations" and "if you talk to someone, you're spitting on them" and "cover your cough". The 2 meter rule is good, but I think it hasn't been communicated why that's important, if no one is coughing. Likewise, we all know that you should especially wash your hands after touching a contaminated surface. But conventional wisdom is that a contaminated surface is one that a sick person has touched. Do people realize that a contaminated surface is also one that a sick person has talked near? I, for one, did not connect those dots that until just now.

Comment by steve2152 on Ineffective Response to COVID-19 and Risk Compensation · 2020-03-28T17:22:30.986Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

FYI, that first article you linked was later retracted without explanation.

Comment by steve2152 on What is the safe in-person distance for COVID-19? · 2020-03-28T17:20:08.813Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Talking emits droplets and aerosols just like coughing does. In fact, I'm increasingly thinking that face-to-face conversations (especially without facemasks) are a major cause of asymptomatic transmissions. According to that theory, an indoor choir practice, with everyone singing loudly for extended periods, has to be one of the worst imaginable transmission risks. If the same type of super-spreader event happened in, say, a movie theater, I would be much more confused about it.

Comment by steve2152 on COVID-19 growth rates vs interventions · 2020-03-28T12:53:43.148Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Western-style lockdowns may be slightly effective for a week or two, then very effective thereafter, due to the disease running through all members of an infected household. Do we yet have data on this possibility?

Comment by steve2152 on AGI in a vulnerable world · 2020-03-27T02:17:19.880Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think the more important hypothesis is:

If something is just barely possible today with massive compute, maybe it will be possible with much much less compute very soon (e.g. <1 year).

I don't think it really matters for the argument whether it's a "small team" that improves the compute-efficiency, or the original team, or a different big team, or whatever. Just that it happens.

Anyway, is the hypothesis true? I would say, it's very likely if we're talking about a pioneering new algorithm, because with pioneering new algorithms, we don't yet have best practices for parallelization, GPU-acceleration, clever shortcuts, etc. etc. On the other hand, if a known, widely-used algorithm is just barely able to do something on the world's biggest GPU cluster, then it might take longer before it becomes really easy and cheap for anyone to do that thing. Like, maybe it will take a couple years, instead of <1 year :-P

Comment by steve2152 on What is the safe in-person distance for COVID-19? · 2020-03-26T20:58:48.982Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You might try this article and the many references therein. Sorry I don't have time for a better answer at the moment :-)

Comment by steve2152 on Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-26T17:19:47.005Z · score: 13 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I'm still trying to understand how COVID-19 actually spreads. (Related to my recent question on touching-vs-breathing.) Based largely on this article, my current very-low-confidence belief (in decreasing order of importance):

Again, very low confidence in all this. Thoughts?

Comment by steve2152 on Are HEPA filters likely to pull COVID-19 out of the air? · 2020-03-25T14:59:44.598Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Related: This NYTimes article discusses the interaction of HVAC and virus spread.

Comment by steve2152 on COVID-19 transmission: Are we overemphasizing touching rather than breathing? · 2020-03-25T11:30:27.220Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm very happy to hear that! Here in Massachusetts, we are doing many of the same things. It's just that that list of things somehow never coalesced into a message in my mind: "Don't breathe air that has been recently exhaled by someone else!" as a general principle for guiding my decisions and actions. I have heard "Wash your hands" 5000 times from officials, bosses, celebrities, etc., but I have never once heard that.

Comment by steve2152 on Ineffective Response to COVID-19 and Risk Compensation · 2020-03-25T11:20:51.712Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ooh, what did you read? Can you suggest any links?

Comment by steve2152 on Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-25T00:56:03.593Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm still pondering the implications of transmission being mainly about air, not touching. What interventions does that suggest? Besides the obvious things (opening windows, HVAC filters etc, masks & goggles), one thing I thought of is ... perfume!

We could all encourage everyone to wear perfume / cologne when they leave their home, and if anyone can smell anyone else, then they know you're not sufficiently well physically-distanced (too close or not enough air circulation).

Assuming this would work, I'm not sure how to get it to take off. Maybe an unusually considerate boss of an could tell their employees to all wear perfume (if they have any), to help ensure that everyone is keeping safe distance from each other, and to identify HVAC gaps? Or I could wear perfume and a hat / T-shirt that says "if you can smell my perfume, you're too close!" I dunno, just brainstorming :-P

Comment by steve2152 on Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-25T00:12:58.455Z · score: 11 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I like the discussion in Food Safety and Coronavirus: A Comprehensive Guide. Note that the author has a conflict of interest, but I don't think he let it affect the article.

Comment by steve2152 on What should we do once infected with COVID-19? · 2020-03-23T14:51:05.340Z · score: 24 (6 votes) · LW · GW

It's also important not to think of infection as binary, all-or-nothing: minimizing your cohabitants' inoculum may reduce the likelihood they get a severe case (I don't really know, I would just suggest that it's a possibility worth checking.)

Comment by steve2152 on Human instincts, symbol grounding, and the blank-slate neocortex · 2020-03-23T14:31:33.654Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

this is called phonological loop

Thank you for clearing up my confusion! :-)

when you use RNN to explain something...

To be clear, I am using the term "recurrent" as a kinda generic term meaning "having a connectivity graph in which there are cycles". That's what I think is ubiquitous in the neocortex. I absolutely do not think that "the kind of RNN that ML practitioners frequently use today" is similar to how the neocortex works. Indeed, I think very few ML practitioners are using algorithms that are fundamentally similar to brain algorithms. (I think Dileep George is one of the exceptions.)

Fodorian modules are, by definition, barely compatible with CCA

...unless the Fodorian modules are each running the same algorithm on different input data, right?

Comment by steve2152 on Should I buy a gun for home defense in response to COVID-19? · 2020-03-23T14:10:41.657Z · score: 3 (4 votes) · LW · GW

My understanding is that if you try to defend yourself with a gun, it's much likelier that, at the end of the day, you'll wind up dead. I would guess that a much better option is to find a really good hiding place for the things you don't want stolen, and have enough non-hidden stuff to make the criminal feel like they robbed you successfully. (And be a good liar.) Also get a security camera ... and/or a prominent sign that says you have a security camera. :-P The only scenario I can think where a gun might be worth having is a complete breakdown of civil order, with people literally starving of hunger etc. If you think that's sufficiently probable as to be worth preparing for, you can get a gun, and just absolutely don't use it unless that scenario actually happens.

Comment by steve2152 on Ineffective Response to COVID-19 and Risk Compensation · 2020-03-23T02:23:12.509Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Can you say why you believe "very few" infections occur by droplets directly landing on someone's face? The CDC says:

"The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

...It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads."

i.e. (as I read this) handwashing would help with a hypothetical, secondary mode of transmission, whereas properly-fitted masks / goggles would presumably help reduce the primary mode of transmission. This is consistent with a couple other sources I've seen, but I haven't delved into the literature.

Comment by steve2152 on Human instincts, symbol grounding, and the blank-slate neocortex · 2020-03-23T01:05:16.496Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, interesting!

My thinking about general intelligence is the combination of

Also, I'm not convinced that "general working memory" is a thing. My understanding is that we can do things like remember a word by putting it on loop using speech motor control circuits. But I would expect that someone with a lesion to those speech motor control circuits would still be able to, say, hold an image in their head for a short period of time using visual cortex. I think recurrent networks are ubiquitous in the neocortex, and any of those networks can potentially hold an activation at least for a couple seconds, and a few of them for much longer. Or maybe when you're thinking about "general working memory", you're really thinking of the GNW?

Comment by steve2152 on Using the Quantified Self paradigma for COVID-19 · 2020-03-22T21:43:04.549Z · score: 18 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Absolutely!! Turning "pre-symptomatic transmission" into "pre-obviously-symptomatic but post-subtly-symptomatic transmission" would be extremely valuable. That would (partially) replace the job currently being done (poorly in some places) by contact-tracing, testing, and/or wholesale population-wide physical distancing / lockdowns. I say this effort should be a high priority for anyone who can contribute to it.

Comment by steve2152 on Could we use current AI methods to understand dolphins? · 2020-03-22T21:10:44.145Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If Language A and Language B have word embeddings that partially overlap and partially don't, that doesn't necessarily mean it's impossible to match the part that does overlap. After all, that always happens to some extent, even between English and French (i.e. not every English word corresponds to a single French word or vice-versa), but the matching is still possible. It would obviously be a much much more extreme non-overlap for English vs dolphin, and that certainly makes it less likely to work, but doesn't prove it impossible. (It might require changing the algorithm somewhat, or generating hundreds of different candidate translations and narrowing them down, etc.)

I don't think "distinct words" is necessarily an unsolvable problem. Many languages have complicated boundaries between words, and thus there are more flexible methods of tokenization that don't rely on specific language structure like "words" (basically, they just combine the most common recurring patterns of consecutive phonemes / letters into tokens, up until they reach a predetermined vocabulary size, or something like that, if I recall). You would also need some sort of clustering algorithm to lump sounds into discrete phonemes (assuming of course that dolphins are communicating with discrete phonemes).

So my feeling is "very unlikely to work, but not impossible" ... conditioned on dolphins having a complex representational language vaguely analogous to human language (which I don't know anything about either way).

Comment by steve2152 on SARS-CoV-2 pool-testing algorithm puzzle · 2020-03-21T21:57:46.831Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

FYI, there's some discussion at this blog post

Comment by steve2152 on SARS-CoV-2 pool-testing algorithm puzzle · 2020-03-21T20:08:35.537Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I certainly agree that there's a very very good chance that no lives will be saved if we do a great job quantifying the potential benefits of test-pooling and disseminating that information. But I still think it's an activity with a sufficiently high expected value as to be worth someone's time to do ... compared to other ways that theoretical CS types could be spending their time to "help the war effort" :-)

Comment by steve2152 on Human instincts, symbol grounding, and the blank-slate neocortex · 2020-03-21T13:09:58.079Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you! I agree that much of what happens in the neocortex is not conscious, and agree with your 1+2+3. I have edited the wording of that sentence to be less confusing. As for what is and isn't conscious, I like the Global Neuronal Workspace idea. I use that a lot when thinking about the neocortex.

I think I used the term "sensitive windows" in footnote 2 for what you call "critical period of fine-tuning". I was thinking of things like low-level sensory processing, the fact that you can't learn a language in the native accent as an adult, etc. Then I also talked about "time windows" in the context of filial imprinting.

I used two different terms, "sensitive windows" and "time windows", but we may ask: are these two different things, or two examples of the same thing? I'm not sure. I would guess that they're the same mechanism, but the former is locking in "normal" information-processing connections (from neocortex to neocortex), and the latter is locking in specifically connections to dopamine neurons or connections to other hormones or some other type of connection to the limbic system. I'm still trying to understand how those latter connections work...

Comment by steve2152 on SARS-CoV-2 pool-testing algorithm puzzle · 2020-03-21T10:23:48.764Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Don't forget there could be many positives per pool...

Comment by steve2152 on SARS-CoV-2 pool-testing algorithm puzzle · 2020-03-21T00:59:11.724Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks! Interesting thoughts.

I agree that if P≥50% then pooling is likely useless. We eventually want to be doing things like testing everyone who has come anywhere close to a known case, and/or testing absolutely everyone who has a fever, things like that. So if we do things right, we're eventually hoping to be at P<5%, or maybe even P<<1% in the longer term. South Korea is commendably aggressive in testing, and they're at P<5%, or something like that.

Comment by steve2152 on Human instincts, symbol grounding, and the blank-slate neocortex · 2020-03-20T19:18:12.999Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

your examples of why visual perception needs the same things as language, including time window, is a standard, textbook-level (and often used!) proof of the fact they're both (widely understood) Fodorian modules

Interesting! Can you point me to a textbook or other reference that makes this argument?

the labels "conscious" and "subconscious" are strange, I'm used to calling those "What-path" and "Where-path"

If you're talking about the dorsal and lateral streams, that's not what I'm talking about. The dorsal steam and lateral stream are both part of the neocortex. I was talking about "vision processing in the neocortex" versus "vision processing in the midbrain (especially superior colliculus)". Does that make sense?

Comment by steve2152 on SARS-CoV-2 pool-testing algorithm puzzle · 2020-03-20T18:39:16.420Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Did you read the link at the top? It says it works for 64 people, right? Is that article unreliable or misleading or something?

Comment by steve2152 on Alignment as Translation · 2020-03-20T12:03:44.294Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure why your default assumption is that the AGI's understanding of the world is at a "low level". My default assumption would be that it would develop a predictive world-model with entities that are at many different levels at once, sorta like humans do. (Or is that just a toy example to illustrate what you're talking about?)

Comment by steve2152 on Alignment as Translation · 2020-03-20T11:55:24.387Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This is a fun idea. Does it work in practice for machine translation?

I still find it mind-blowing, but unsupervised machine translation is a thing.

Comment by steve2152 on What information, apart from the connectome, is necessary to simulate a brain? · 2020-03-20T10:28:07.072Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There's a chapter in Rethinking Consciousness (unrelated to the rest of the book) about whole brain emulation, and I remember he definitely discusses the spatial resolution required on imaging each individual synapse in order to capture its type and strength.

Comment by steve2152 on Ubiquitous Far-Ultraviolet Light Could Control the Spread of Covid-19 and Other Pandemics · 2020-03-18T18:07:07.425Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How about something with the form-factor of a mask with UV-LEDs inside? Oh wait, but then you might as well just wear a normal mask. :-P And it wouldn't protect eyes...unless it also emitted a sheet of light upward.

OK try again: Take your "wearable headlight" proposal, but with the form-factor of a baseball cap, emitting a narrow sheet of light downward from the rim, a couple inches in front of the face. So it wouldn't really hit other people, although it might get your hands and legs a bit sometimes. (And yes there are lenses to collimate UVC—e.g. UVFS—although they obviously won't be as cheap as molded plastic lenses.) This is only helpful if aerosol transmission is significant, which I don't know either way. :)

Comment by steve2152 on Reasons why coronavirus mortality of young adults may be underestimated. · 2020-03-15T19:46:39.791Z · score: 23 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Another possible confounder (sorta in the other direction) is the "inoculum", i.e. how many virus particles you get from the outside. It's big if you're a nurse and patients sneeze in your face all day. It's small if you touch a glove that touched a door that touched a hand that touched a sick person's tissue. It seems to be common knowledge (AFAICT) that bigger inoculum leads to worse symptoms for any disease. (Why? I guess there's kinda a race between the virus reproducing itself and the immune system figuring out how to fight it, and a big inoculum gives the virus a head start? Just guessing.)

Anyway, the anecdotes I've seen about healthy young adults dying of COVID-19 tend to be stories of doctors and nurses ... thus with presumably very big inocula. (I haven't systematically searched, that's just what I've come across.) Maybe this wouldn't generalize to low-inocula contexts, which are probably more common in the general public...

Comment by steve2152 on A Significant Portion of COVID-19 Transmission Is Presymptomatic · 2020-03-14T11:33:08.022Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for this!

I thought I read that in contact-tracing they found that 25% of transmissions were pre-symptomatic, but now I can't find the reference :(

Comment by steve2152 on A Significant Portion of COVID-19 Transmission Is Presymptomatic · 2020-03-14T10:42:31.002Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

So I guess if you're close enough to smell someone's bad breath, you're close enough to catch their COVID-19...?

Comment by steve2152 on Estimated risk of death by coronavirus for a healthy 30 year old male ~ 1/190 · 2020-03-13T23:30:43.396Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Oops, sorry confusing my Roko's!!

I was figuring there's 1 open hospital bed per 1000 people where I live (USA), which lets ~0.5% get infected per month. Are you sure it wasn't 0.1% hospitalized, rather than 0.1% infected? It doesn't really matter for this conversation, but it's still something I'd like to know.

I think we're largely in agreement. The question is, over a year (antivirals could be faster, fingers crossed), will people get sick of the increasingly large piles of bodies and demand more social distancing, or will they get sick of social distancing and demand less of it? Or swing back and forth each month??? It's hard to say...

Comment by steve2152 on Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread · 2020-03-12T16:14:16.061Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I haven't tried it, but there's a funny idea to stop touching your face by taping your elbows.

Comment by steve2152 on Estimated risk of death by coronavirus for a healthy 30 year old male ~ 1/190 · 2020-03-11T16:05:13.020Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Well, that's entirely possible.

But I also think it's possible that the US (where I live) would be worse-off (in terms of hospital overwhelmed-ness) than the heart of Wuhan. The logic is: Hubei is <5% of the population of China, and the central government could draw on the resources of the other >95% of the country to marshal a response. And the other 95% was unencumbered by the extreme social distancing that Hubei was undergoing.

By contrast, as far as I know, there could be exponentially-growing community transmission in every city in the USA right now. (After all, we know about the Seattle outbreak because there happened to be the Seattle flu study checking random people in Seattle, not because we were checking random people in every city and only found community transmission in Seattle. If I understand correctly.) If there's a crisis everywhere at once, then obviously marshaling a response is harder, not least because the people trying to marshal the response are hampered by the social distancing measures.

Not to mention various other differences between the US government and Chinese government and South Korean government etc. :)

Comment by steve2152 on Estimated risk of death by coronavirus for a healthy 30 year old male ~ 1/190 · 2020-03-11T13:54:47.017Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think Rob Wiblin is confused about the death rate with overwhelmed hospitals - link. He thinks it's 1.6%, but I think it's really 5-15%.

I really don't think P(treatment) should be an input to your analysis at all; it should be an intermediate result, if it's even worth mentioning at all. P(treatment) lumps together wildly different things. For example, compare P(treatment | 1% of the population is infected) vs P(treatment | 50% of the population is infected). The former requires 50x more treatment capacity. I'm not saying here that P(treatment | 50% of the population is infected) is definitely <5% or anything like that; I'm saying, at the meta-level, that the value of P(treatment | 50% of the population is infected) is an intuitively-understandable quantity whose value is worth debating directly, whereas P(treatment) is not.

Likewise, I think P(treatment | infection) lumps together very different scenarios, some where almost nobody gets infected but you personally get unlucky, and others where almost everyone gets infected.

Comment by steve2152 on Estimated risk of death by coronavirus for a healthy 30 year old male ~ 1/190 · 2020-03-10T19:42:37.112Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · LW · GW

As in my twitter comment at you, the random variables "treatment" and "infection" are very much correlated, so you shouldn't just multiply them like you would for independent random variables.

If you're going to say "infection = 0.4" ... and we know that hospitals are overwhelmed unless ≲1% of population catches it per month ... then it follows that, if you get infected, then you are almost definitely in a future scenario in which hospitals are overwhelmed. (Plug in "treatment=0".)

More precisely, we can oversimplify to two scenarios:

  • population-wide infection rate ≲ 3%ish, and therefore treatment ≈ 1, presumably because social distancing succeeded
  • population-wide infection rate >> 3%, and therefore treatment ≈ 0, presumably because social distancing failed and the thing kept growing exponentially

Your assumption that infection = 0.4 means that you think probably >50% chance that the second bullet point is the one that will come to pass. (Why are you skeptical about social distancing? It's working in Hong Kong... When thousands are dying each day, there would be a lot of political will for drastic measures, right?)

Anyway, under those assumptions, you should be able to prove that P(treatment | infection) ≈ 0.

So I guess I'm suggesting the simpler formula, risk = base_rate_untreated_mortality * age * sex * npec * context * infection, or something like that. Unless you decide you're very optimistic about social distancing succeeding, and consequently setting infection << 10%, in which case the "infection & treatment" scenario now becomes a noticeable contribution.

Comment by steve2152 on Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-10T16:28:18.134Z · score: 8 (5 votes) · LW · GW

A nice figure is that 1 person infected with COVID-19 requires (I think) 100x the hospital capacity of 1 person infected with the flu - 30x likelier to need hospitalization, and they stay there 3x longer if they do (you'll have to check these figures, but it's something like that I think...). Then that connects to the nightmarish Italian hospital situation you mention, and the fact that the death rate is dramatically higher without available hospital beds, including for young healthy people.

Comment by steve2152 on Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread · 2020-03-09T14:19:11.089Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This not-particularly-reliable source says "So far, there have been very few concurrent or subsequent bacterial infections, unlike Influenza where secondary bacterial infections are common and a large source of additional morbidity and mortality".

Comment by steve2152 on Open & Welcome Thread - February 2020 · 2020-03-09T14:16:39.020Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This not-particularly-reliable source says "So far, there have been very few concurrent or subsequent bacterial infections, unlike Influenza where secondary bacterial infections are common and a large source of additional morbidity and mortality". So ... I guess the doctors were giving antibiotics as a preventive measure that turned out to be unnecessary? Maybe??

Comment by steve2152 on Why would panic during this coronavirus pandemic be a bad thing? · 2020-03-08T13:10:14.799Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I sure don't want the people who are supposed to be balancing the electrical grid to panic and stay home to keep themselves and their families safe. Or the police, or the government employees in charge of coordinating everything, or the waste treatment plant workers, etc.

I don't want people to have the emotion of "panic" when they're told to isolate themselves to protect the community. The logic of panic is: "Who cares about "the community", I'm doing what's best for myself!"

Comment by steve2152 on Making a Standing Desk · 2020-03-08T01:21:17.246Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

+1 for the reminder to improve my work-from-home setup. Just bought some supplies myself. :-)

Shelf-as-minimalist desk is clever.

Comment by steve2152 on Open & Welcome Thread - February 2020 · 2020-03-06T21:18:31.261Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for explaining!!

Comment by steve2152 on What "Saving throws" does the world have against coronavirus? (And how plausible are they?) · 2020-03-06T18:42:44.804Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The best discussion I've found of warm weather is this blog post. The way I'm thinking of it now is: Different cities / regions / countries will institute different levels of anti-transmission interventions (social distancing, contact tracing, etc.). As in my other answer, there's some threshold of intervention which is good enough to stop exponential growth. Some regions will cross that threshold very early on the exponential growth curve, such that only a small fraction of their populations will catch it. Other regions will cross it very late, or not at all, and get it very bad. Warm weather will (more likely than not) help move the threshold in a favorable direction. Based on that blog post above, I think it's unlikely (but not impossible) that warm weather will move the threshold all the way to "no exponential growth even without any anti-transmission interventions whatsoever". But that's not necessarily relevant anyway; there will be interventions! Thus, warm weather will increase the number of regions that avoid problems. (Unless, of course, governments get cocky and relax the interventions in warmer weather, undoing the effects!)

Comment by steve2152 on How did the Coronavirus Justified Practical Advice Thread Change Your Behavior, if at All? · 2020-03-06T18:26:38.999Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

See my comment here; whatever ideas look like they came from that thread, probably did.

Comment by steve2152 on Open & Welcome Thread - February 2020 · 2020-03-06T10:29:46.463Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I thought pneumonia was a condition / symptom / cluster of symptoms, not a disease. You can have pneumonia caused by COVID-19, or pneumonia caused by a bacterial infection, or pneumonia caused by some other viral infection, etc. It's confusing because there's a so-called "pneumonia vaccine". It's really a "vaccine against a particular bacterial infection that often causes pneumonia". You can correct me if I'm wrong :)

Comment by steve2152 on Is Coronavirus active in Summer? · 2020-03-05T18:59:16.027Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think there's enough evidence on COVID19 to say much, but this blog post has suggestive evidence from Google Search Trends that previous coronavirus infections have dropped steadily over the course of March and April. (Presumably this data is dominated by the northern hemisphere.)

ETA: A much better idea is to read this blog post by someone who actually knows what they're talking about

Comment by steve2152 on Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread · 2020-03-05T18:26:11.330Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think I would feel guilty if I bought one of those, and then learned later that they're sold out, and the people building temporary hospitals can't get them.