Comment by zby on The GameStop Situation: Simplified · 2021-01-31T22:24:42.865Z · LW · GW

It just a flashmob. A flashmob in Macy's was so precovid - now we have flashmobs on capital markets:

Also GME should just raise capital and sell enough shares to get the price more reasonable. SEC should not just allow that - but encourage them.

Comment by zby on Design thoughts for building a better kind of social space with many webs of trust · 2020-12-16T07:55:55.446Z · LW · GW

See also Ben Thompson on social networking 2.0:

Comment by zby on Covid 11/19: Don’t Do Stupid Things · 2020-11-20T18:22:40.503Z · LW · GW

I would presume that many people here had bought stuff at Silk Way - it is puzzling that the discourse about antigen tests is still about the official approval and not about how you can import reliable tests from abroad. For my personal use I found online pharmacy in Germany that sends to Poland and does not check if I am really a doctor - but they probably don't send to US, so you need to find your own ways.

Comment by zby on Covid 11/5: Don’t Mention the War · 2020-11-05T21:58:22.605Z · LW · GW

Regarding Belgium - have a look at Czech Republic too.

Comment by zby on The Treacherous Path to Rationality · 2020-10-12T11:20:30.500Z · LW · GW

The biggest problem with thinking is that it shows us the inevitability of death. See for more - in short animals experience fear of death only in short time spans but because of our deductive thinking we know death is inevitable. That thought is as unbearable for us as it is for animals and we have to stop it somehow. One way to do it is just to limit thinking 'too much', others deform the way we see reality. Yet another one is religion promising life after death. For a long time religion was probably the main way to free the deductive powers of our thinking. Unfortunately it became too incompatible with science.

In this respect transhumanism is just like a new religion.

I support it - it is probably the least reality deforming defense we can have now.

I am going to delete this comment at some day.

Comment by zby on COVID Strategy 101 · 2020-10-10T09:43:15.799Z · LW · GW

I don't know much how the situation is in African countries, Middle East, India or Latin America, but there are two contrasting examples - European culture countries (including USA, Canada) that struggle with the pandemic and East Asian countries that managed to get it under control. There are also Western countries that are doing well - like Iceland or New Zealand and Australia - which is kind of in between - I think they are just remote enough. The main factor seems to be how disciplined the population is. There are many measures that limit the R and in the West we fail to enforce them, be it face masks, limitations for public gatherings or giving accurate and complete information to contact tracers. This is of course complicated by the mistakes that our authorities made - starting with discouraging masks use early in the epidemic - those failures further undermined the public trust in government actions.

We need a plan that is adopted to those circumstances. More bottom up action - to try many approaches locally and see what works and only then scale it up and maybe mandate. My pet idea is to build safe bubbles around us and especially around the most vulnerable. Most of the long and close contacts, that have the biggest probability of spreading the virus, come from our stable social network. Our family, co-workers, schoolmates, friends etc - these are people that can infect us most easily - but they are also people with whom we can negotiate rules. This strategy can be more effective than it seems. It was actually promoted back in April and May - but now we can eventually have one more tool to make it really effective - rapid tests. At home cheap tests can be a game changer here. Support

Comment by zby on Doing discourse better: Stuff I wish I knew · 2020-09-30T05:40:34.560Z · LW · GW
  1. There is also the universal Girardian mimetic failure mode. It is a spiral of ever increasing desire for things and status, where we want things because someone other wants it. I once wrote an essay on that in the context of internet discussions:

  2. Another failure mode: the replication crisis in science - where only new and surprising theses are being published, but there is no mechanism for reinforcing existing theories. This also happens in social media - people always want to learn new things. And probably more generally all the other things from


Comment by zby on Covid 9/24: Until Morale Improves · 2020-09-24T18:42:26.679Z · LW · GW

The interesting tidbit is WHO calling CDC and having their statements retracted. How come? What authority has WHO over CDC? Why it needs to be everywhere the same?

Didn't Trump withdrew US from WHO?

Comment by zby on Design thoughts for building a better kind of social space with many webs of trust · 2020-09-24T08:34:01.713Z · LW · GW


I think the road to a new wave of 'social networking' and 'tagging' systems is via better local capture of (marginal) knowledge - that is systems that facilitate adding notes and tags to online content and then searching it. We can do it manually - but it works only for stuff that we quickly recognize as important, it is much less efficient for stuff that grows on us slowly with marginal steps. It is kind of strange that after 25 years of the web bookmarks management is still so hard. After this is finally fixed - with systems like:, etc - then the next stage will be connecting these local knowledge repos.

Comment by zby on Design thoughts for building a better kind of social space with many webs of trust · 2020-09-21T10:37:04.847Z · LW · GW

Some technicalities:

  1. Forks: " If two groups disagree about what sorts of things should be posted in a fundamental tag like respectful discourse or safe content, they don't have to interact!" - how do you imagine such a fork happening?
  2. This might be marginal - but what if I have a friend that tags articles with for example 'good food' tag - and I trust that it is good food - but for me it is more 'indian good food'? Need the participants agree on a strict vocabulary to have any kind of information link?
Comment by zby on Social Capital Paradoxes · 2020-09-16T20:50:07.333Z · LW · GW

One more random thought. Exposing yourself for ideas from someone is much less risk than exposing yourself materially to him. But our trust has evolved for material interactions and there used to be an overkill of it for information interactions.

Comment by zby on Social Capital Paradoxes · 2020-09-13T07:11:30.705Z · LW · GW

The replication crisis of science is a good example of how current way of 'horizontal spread mode of good things' reaches its limits and needs a correction mechanism. The question is if the correction mechanism can spread horizontally or if it can only come vertically. If we can understand it - that is simulate it in our heads and see the outcomes - then we probably can convince others about it and it can spread horizontally.

It might be that the dichotomy of horizontal and vertical is too limited - ideas spread in bubbles. shows some more limitations of the current horizontal spreading mechanisms.

Another example: antigen tests idea ( - restated in medical/memetic metaphor - there was a cross reactivity of my (for example) memetic immune response system between the antigen and antibody tests.

Comment by zby on Social Capital Paradoxes · 2020-09-13T06:44:38.546Z · LW · GW

Ad. "Information is almost as good as iteration." - speculative There is a correlation between intelligence and openness - and the causal link is that people with intelligence can do simulations of others and predict their behaviour better so evolution packs these two traits together.

Comment by zby on Design thoughts for building a better kind of social space with many webs of trust · 2020-09-12T07:18:12.888Z · LW · GW

Some more random thoughts.

What is a social network? It is something that gathers messages from a network and presents them as a feed - is that a good definition? It also needs to let the users generate the messages.

What would be the messages? Links with tags, comments, photos, video, ...

In a way a social network is a generalization of:

  • the traditional web log (now blog) where you post the links and comments (here it would be a 'presence' I guess)
  • social bookmarking ( - where you tag links (here the question would be how public that would be - could someone from outside browse the web of trust?)
  • with some additional features it can also be a discussion forum

What would be the primary usage mode for you? Personally I am thinking about moving my blog out from Medium. I think it is also a good start - because saving interesting links and commenting is something to do frequently - so you quickly get content and you can test ideas.

Personally I don't get twitter - it is too random for me.

But a better discussion forum would also be interesting.

It is crucial to start with something that is useful even without a big network - otherwise it would require lots of funds to reach the critical mass.

Some more random inspirations:

Comment by zby on Design thoughts for building a better kind of social space with many webs of trust · 2020-09-09T19:57:02.425Z · LW · GW

Cool - I really want to use it :)

My own pet idea is to let users have full control over their feed algorithm with a scripting language or something plus a generic Publish Subscribe infrastructure. But your web of trust could be pretty close in all the use cases that I imagine.

Just to get things rolling - what business model do you see for it?

What would be a proof of concept for it? A bare bones system - what would it have to have so that we could test it?

And what do you mean by a 'browser app'?

Comment by zby on RT-LAMP is the right way to scale diagnostic testing for the coronavirus · 2020-08-08T19:47:55.370Z · LW · GW

OK, but do you have a more through comparison between PCR and RT-LAMP or is it just based on your intuitions?

And there are even more methods:

Comment by zby on What are the risks of permanent injury from COVID? · 2020-07-08T09:38:44.942Z · LW · GW

I have gathered some links in: -but I guess it is dated now. It is strange that we don't have stats about that - it is only one step more difficult than the CFR stats.

Comment by zby on High Stock Prices Make Sense Right Now · 2020-07-06T15:02:21.888Z · LW · GW

"money printing = devaluation -> inflation" - that is kind of obvious - I would start with asking what are the arguments against it. In 2008 it did not work that way - so it looks kind of disproved, but times are changing. The Ray Dalio recent blog posts suggest that the USD global reserve status might be at the end of its cycle. Another thing is that the US government debt it increasing and at some day it will reach one of two reinforcing thresholds: one where investors would start seeing it as dangerous (and demand higher rates) and the other where servicing that debt becomes burdensome and the US government would have to devalue it.

Comment by zby on Guided By The Beauty Of Our Weapons · 2020-06-01T19:39:00.761Z · LW · GW

Someone should forward this to Mark Zuckerberg - Facebook can do a lot of good without becoming the arbiter of truth.

(Just in case the reference is lost when this is read in the future:

Comment by zby on How strong is the evidence for hydroxychloroquine? · 2020-05-24T20:23:33.767Z · LW · GW

The same result bigger n:

Comment by zby on How likely is the COVID-19 apocalyptic scenario? · 2020-04-26T07:21:50.322Z · LW · GW

I would like to discuss #2 - there are some reports about that: - these leads to Reddit patient reports, I don't use Reddit that much and I don't know how reliable they are, are those even from real people?

It is consistent with the 'silent hypoxia' story - that the virus destroys the lungs in a way that makes them very inefficient it blood oxygenation - but initially still good at expelling CO2. We don't feel low oxygen - we only feel too much CO2 in blood. Here is an example article about that: , but googling reveals many more stories.

Another Reddit discussion thread: . It leads to some strange German language publication on an Italian web site, again not very reliable. But google for the doctor involved: and you get more stories.

Overall this does not look very difficult to evaluate more scientifically - so if this is a real phenomenon then there should be peer reviewed research about that and I was kind of skeptical at the beginning, but maybe it is just too early. Of course the anecdotal evidence that we have is consistent with and might not mean much - so it is very important to have some stats on that.

Comment by zby on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-30T07:41:26.544Z · LW · GW

It is also a hope in type 1 diabetes: - this is really unexpected stuff.

Comment by zby on Peter's COVID Consolidated Brief for 29 March · 2020-03-29T18:24:27.679Z · LW · GW

Hmm - the charts show daily changes in proportion to the previous day - this is not exactly second derivative. For example the function x*x has a constant second derivative - but it would slope down on such a chart.

Comment by zby on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-23T13:18:11.401Z · LW · GW

A meta question - can we find areas with mismatched incentives (à la ), and biases, where the applying the rational thinking methodology would have high leverage? What can LessWrong do better than official science?

Comment by zby on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-23T13:10:29.992Z · LW · GW

This is interesting subject - can we do here better than official science? As I understand the situation now there are still no good trials on this. There is one Italian trial that was heavily criticized: , and one Chinese that has not been published yet: - and some older ones for SARS

But maybe soon we'll have better data:

I think official science should be pretty good on this one unless we find some mismatching incentives like in Inadequate Equilibria

Comment by zby on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-20T10:09:02.615Z · LW · GW

Favipiravir - I have not seen this yet here, but it looks actually even more promising than chloroquine:

Reduction from 11 to 4 median days of treatment.

Comment by zby on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-15T10:51:10.982Z · LW · GW

The best article for an interested lay person I have seen is this The Economist article:

Here is an outline:

Comment by zby on Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread · 2020-03-14T09:28:15.596Z · LW · GW

How about using UV lamps and ozone in bathroom to sanitize the deliveries? This might be particularly useful for groceries.

Comment by zby on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-12T16:34:24.406Z · LW · GW

It worked in 1918:

Comment by zby on Seeing the Smoke · 2020-03-01T14:17:00.232Z · LW · GW

It would be useful to compare it to the previous pandemic possibilities: SARS, swine flu, avian flu.

People correctly try to reason by analogy - but it is important to find the differences.

Comment by zby on What is Success in an Immoral Maze? · 2020-01-17T11:02:43.991Z · LW · GW

How does that relate to all what was said (and sang) about 'rat race'?

Comment by zby on Is Rationalist Self-Improvement Real? · 2019-12-14T11:35:06.966Z · LW · GW
through giving me access to good ideas of the "invest in index funds" level

for me the point is about getting *consistently* good ideas, getting reliable ideas where applying scientific method is too hard. It is much less about self-improvement as it is about community improvement in the face of more and more connected (and thus weird) world. Rationality is epistemology for the internet era.

Comment by zby on Anti-social Punishment · 2018-10-11T17:44:11.698Z · LW · GW


A slightly broader theory: being too cooperative makes live easy for the non cooperators (the state in the Soviet Union case, but it also works in cases when people fall for some stupid maniulations). There must be many equilibria and some cultures stay at some middle level, they don't aim at the most productive ones out of fear not to be pushed into the least productive.

Comment by zby on Applause Lights · 2018-09-28T20:53:38.159Z · LW · GW

Sounds like