SelfControl is also good for this.
Buying my girlfriend a vape. She smokes weed a lot and it’s been said that getting a smoker to switch to vaping is one of the best things that you can do in terms of longevity. She also says that it is much more enjoyable.
(She likes the Pax 3 a lot; Vape Critic seems like a good resource for reviews.)
Is it possible that there are different viruses we’re dealing with here? It just doesn’t make sense to me that we’re seeing such varying death rates, eg. Italy vs South Korea. The difference in medical quality doesn’t seem like it can explain it.
It’s been a while since I read REMOTE, sorry.
I haven’t been able to personally try or validate much from the book. It’s more that the things in the book make a lot of sense to me, and that I have a good amount of trust in the authors.
That said, there are some things that I do have personal experience with and can contribute my data point. I just started an actual remote job three weeks ago, and before that I’ve spent years as a solo founder of a startup, and autodidacting.
The biggest thing (by far?) I’ve encountered is that it’s important to have an off switch. Working from home, it can be tempting to check in and do a few tasks at 10pm. But when I do that, it makes it hard for my mind to properly “shut off” and relax.
I’ve found cabin fever to be a minor issue when I stay home too much, but never a major one.
I don’t feel like I can get away with slacking off at home. I feel like I’m ultimately just being judged on my output, the same as it is in a physical job. At the end of the day if my output isn’t there, I feel like my job would be at risk.
At the job I’m currently at we do something called donuts where every two weeks we’re paired with someone on the team to have a video chat with to get to know each other, and where talking about work is off-limits. The donut call I had made me feel closer to the people on the call, but I’ve also started to feel closer with the people I’ve been interacting with in general. And it’s not clear to me that feeling closer to people translates to more productivity at all.
Some people on my team aren’t native english speakers and have trouble with writing, but despite that, I don’t think it actually is much of a barrier. It involves a little bit more back and forth, but soon enough the signal comes through. This goes against one of the chapters in Remote. Perhaps being a clear thinker is what is important versus being a clear writer.
I’m a fan of REMOTE: Office Not Required.
Yes, exactly. Thank you for clarifying. I just read my original comment again and I think I didn’t make it very clear.
What? Why? How do you decide which professionals to trust?
I was telling my friends and family to prep for the coronavirus very early on. At the time the main response was, “ok, chill, don’t panic, we’ll see what happens”. Now that things have gotten crazy they think it’s impressive that I saw this coming ahead of time. That’s what my thinking was for point #3: perhaps this sort of response is common. At least amongst some non-trivial percentage of the population.
If you think your audience just isn’t smart enough to evaluate arguments, then, gee, I don’t know, maybe using a moment of particular receptiveness to plant a seed to get them to open their wallets to the right professionals later is the best you can do? That’s a scary possibility; I would feel much safer about a fate of a world that knew how to systematically teach methods of thinking that get the right answer, rather than having to gamble on the people who know how to think about objective risks also being able to win a marketing war.
I very much agree, but it seems overwhelmingly likely that we live in a world where we can’t rely on people to evaluate the arguments. And we have to act based on the world that we do live in, even if that world is a sad and frustrating one.
First, no one is choosing the virus so not a great comparison.
Yeah, that’s true. When someone eats fast food every day and dies of a heart attack it’s not quite as sad as when someone more innocent gets hit by a car.
But I view this as more of a mental skill that is built-up rather than something that people start doing immediately when thrust into lower-standad-of-living situations.
That’s a great point. I got caught up thinking about how (I think) people should respond as opposed to thinking about how it’ll actually play out in practice. That moves me a few more steps towards thinking that it is more harmful.
The fourth argument is just relevance to all of our wellbeing.
My intuition is that from here on out it’s going to be hard to find steps we can take that will have even a moderate impact on our wellbeing.
1) We know that we need to avoid contact with others, so I assume we’ll all being staying home. Given that we’re at home isolated from others, is there much left to do? Things that go beyond common sense and standard advice, like opening packages outside and disinfecting them?
2) Eventually we’ll face the question of when it is safe to end the quarantine. A conservative answer to that question is probably going to be “a few months after everyone else does”. Maybe by studying it we’ll learn that it’s safe to end quarantine after two months instead of three, but that doesn’t seem like it’s a particularly impactful use of time.
3) Sadly, we can probably expect some members of our community to be infected. Or at least the loved ones of some members of our community. So then, the question of how to deal with infection is inevitably going to present itself.
I feel torn about whether that will be the most important thing to focus on when it does. On the one hand, when you shut up and multiply, I’m pretty sure that xrisk is many, many times more important. On the other, I really care about people in this community. I’ve always felt torn about this question of how much extra moral weight to give to those who I care about.
Regardless, I feel pessimistic that there will be much room for us to offer useful advice here. The big question is probably going to be whether you’ll be able to navigate through the swarms in the hospitals to get access to treatment, and it seems unlikely that we’ll be able assist with that.
Fortunately our community tends to be on the young side, and we are probably all quarantined by now, so we’ll at least be good in a relative sense.
I think this made LessWrong a natural Schelling point of attention
Outsiders are paying attention to our coverage of the coronavirus? To a significant degree?
Do you know of places that would make good use of donations? If so, I strongly encourage you to write them up, ideally as answer here.
No, I don’t know of places that would be particularly good to donate to. The WHO seems like a safe bet. Also, GiveWell is looking in to it (which I also noted in the other post).
Personally I suspect that even without knowing the best place to donate to, earning to give would be a more efficient use of time. However, I don’t feel too confident in that. I don’t know enough about how effective professionals actually are in practice, and LessWrongers in general seem to be extremely capable, even when venturing outside of their areas of expertise.
I also think a top-level post making the case for or against focusing on COVID vs. (other?) X-risk is a great idea.
I agree. I just posted this question.
Also see https://blog.givewell.org/2020/03/10/march-2020-open-thread/.
Some coronavirus-related problems are more tractable today than normal problems.
Hm, that’s true, right now is a particularly good time to work on the coronavirus. I’m not sure if that outweighs the fact that other issues like xrisk are way bigger than the coronavirus though.
I totally agree that MMM got quite a few things wrong in that post. It’s caused me to decrease my confidence in him too. However, the lifestyle factors point didn’t strike me as one of those. We certainly shouldn’t take his word for it, but it seems worth considering the question.
Those are some good points you make, thank you. I agree that there is something to be said about how “lifestyle factors” are a conscious choice that people made. To me that nudges things somewhat, but isn’t a game changer. I don’t think it makes it 10x less bad or anything.
The economic impact is a point that I think is crucial to the question of how bad this really is, and I think it’s related to the questions I pose about how bad is it really to have less money. If bad economic impact means lower standard of living, and lower standard of living isn’t really that impactful on happiness, then maybe bad economic impact isn’t that bad. But I suspect that there are things I’m overlooking, and that bad economic impact is in fact relatively bad. So then, I update my viewpoint to being that it’s a notable amount worse than lifestyle factors deaths, but still in the same ballpark, not 10x worse. My confidence in the “how bad is it to have a bad economic impact” question is pretty wide though, because it’s not something I know much about.
with an imminent risk that 1-10% of everyone dies within the next two years.
Is that really a possibility? I imagine that governments would impose a strict quarantine before letting it get that bad.
For my low-income friends though, yes. Yes it is going to be that bad. Sometimes people don’t have jobs. Sometimes people don’t have savings. A large portion of people live paycheck to paycheck.
In the situation where you don’t have savings or a job, here is what I’m imagining. The majority would have family or a friend they could stay with until they get back on their feet, which doesn’t seem that bad. For those who don’t have anyone to turn to, I assume homeless shelters would be an option, as opposed to literally dying on the streets without food, water or shelter. Homeless shelters do provide basic needs, so if you want to be really hardcore with the “happiness is all in your head” stuff, you should still in theory be ok. But I don’t know much about what it’s truly like; maybe there’s more to it than that. On that note, to be clear, I don’t mean to come across as insensitive or anything. I fully acknowledge that I might be wrong here. What I’m trying to do is explain what my model is and figure out where it might be wrong.
That’s a great point, I totally agree. Like Isnasense mentioned in their comment, my faith in MMM is quite a bit lower after reading the post. However, it is still possible that correct about the points regarding how bad the coronavirus is compared to status quo thing like heart disease.
I don’t think we should take his word for it, but thinking about it from first principles, it seems at least very plausible to me. But maybe I’m wrong, that’s partly why I wrote this post. I’m curious to hear what others think.