As others have said, I strongly dislike posting of 3 hour videos without any timemark or summary of the main points. This is making the community do the work of extracting the information; on top of that people will not watch most (or any) of the video before commenting, so discussion quality will be low.
To not be completely negative, I watched the section on “Vaccine suffers censored” (there are time marks in the description on youtube) where all three of them claim explicitly that there is no monitoring. This is clearly inaccurate, for example we know that Israel has recently reported that myocarditis might be occurring more often than expected in young men. In addition, I know that Germany has the SafeVac app to make it easier for people to report side effects after vaccination.
Sure; there is plenty of research on kids with asthma taking vaccines, e.g. here
“Varicella vaccine failure in children was not associated with asthma or the use of inhaled steroids, but with the use of oral steroids” .
For the same opinion as guideline, see here.
I believe the drugs.com reference is automatically generated; their database lookup (presumably!) works this way: “brand name”-> “name of substance”-> “interactions of this substance with another substance (in this case the vaccine)”. I.e. they do not make a disambiguation between form of administration.
2) There are some real concerns regarding systemic corticosteroid effects, but they mostly apply when getting shots and (I think) tablets. Inhaled budesonide has a much shorter half life and reduced bio availability, so there is much less reason for concern.
Long running conversations are extremely common on old-style bulletin message boards/fora (see here for an example. This is mostly/solely because of the software design where threads are ordered only by the latest reply. Whether or not this leads to qualitative debate is another matter, often the same points get belaboured ad nauseam and moderators have to close old threads.
Negotiations are seem better than take-it-or-leave-it plans.
I agree, but I am somewhat partial to “take-it” plans. Instead of any negotiation, Israel would unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank (just like they did from the Gaza Strip) ,agree with the US on terms and basically say: “You have a state now, do what you want with it” (not unlike how Singapore became an independent country involuntarily) .
This has the benefit of simplifying issues, and solves an underappreciated problem on the Palestinian side: Any politician signing a deal that loses Jerusalem or other religiously significant land immediately becomes a prime target for assassination.
This applies to the Israeli side as well of course (it’s what happened to Rabin); to solve it one could appoint somebody with a terminal sickness as the responsible Prime Minister.
As a non-American: If the problem just applies to Texas or to Republican states in general, are there substantial barriers to getting an abortion in another state (for rationalists)? I have heard that argument made often online for why passing state level abortion bans is ineffective.
Some points that I have not seen mentioned before:
that this is just the kind of thing that happens when retailers are foolishly prevented (by public opinion, if not by law) from charging the true market price.
Yes, this is the natural course of events, just like it is natural that people will steal from me if I leave the door to my house open at all times. This however does not mean that the thieves are not morally to blame. (I understand this was not your actual point, but it is a common point in libertarian discussions). Both the manufacturer and the retailers consider the scalpers’ intention and tactics to be unwelcome. (Per the linked article, the scalpers have to write human impersonating bots to fool the retailers’ websites; they are not using public facing APIs). In that sense, scalpers are not playing by the rules and it is reasonable for people to be angry at scalpers, even though it may not agree with an utilitarian outlook on ethics.
b) Others have argued that through scalping people’s time vs people’s money is traded. That is correct, but it seems to me that you are also trading luck for money. Obviously, getting a PS5 in a store drop is governed by chance as well as time. I am not entirely sure how that changes the net welfare calculus:
On the one hand, through scalping the good goes to the consumer who is willing to spend the most in one resource (money), which is strongly correlated to how much they desire the PS5 (which is good for net welfare). Luck is not correlated to how much a consumer wants the good.
On the other hand, if you award goods by lotteries, people do not have to waste resources that do not actually incentivize the production of PS5s.
c) In the particular case of a PS5, it is preferable that the good goes to people with more time, rather than with more money, because the former will have more time to actually use the PS5, thus deriving more benefit from it. If everybody were perfectly rational, the rich bidders should have already priced that into their price, but I doubt that people are that rational in this circumstance without being able to really prove it.
The goal that they advocate is “This number will need to increase over time (ideally by late July) to 20 million a day to full remobilize the economy” I don’t see how you get weekly/daily testing of 328 million American’s with 20 million tests per day. They explicitely advocate that over time we should target a testing capacity that’s lower then weekly/daily.
They advocate for testing of workers, and my quote was “for large parts of the population”, so explicitly not everybody. 140 million tests per week is enough to cover the 125 million full time employed Americans, which would be enough for weekly testing. However, it was an incorrect reading on my part to assume that these tests should be distributed randomly to everybody in the workforce, the approach in the roadmap seems to rely on aggressive contact tracing + tests.
Even if they would have spoken in favor of daily testing, saying “we want daily testing” isn’t enough to get daily testing. It would have been needed to say “We should be okay with cheap low accuracy tests and allow them to be brought to market”. That wasn’t articulated in the roadmap.
Why are you saying this? Appendix A, B,C, and D deal explicitly and at length with how to achieve such testing capacity. You may disagree with their approach, but it is laid out. For example:
INNOVATING FOR SCALE (ACHIEVING A MORE EFFICIENT 2 MILLION AND GETTING TO 100 MILLION) A potentially more powerful approach may be to develop simpler protocols. We are indeed seeing rapid innovation to accomplish this—for example, replacing nasal swabs with spit kits. Rapid innovation would favor lab structures with generic robots and plates that can be easily adapted. Innovative lab designs can then be cloned and replicated.
To maximize existing testing capacity and throughput for asymptomatic surveillance, each household or community should be offered the option of daily sample pooling to facilitate early detection of the virus.
With regards to the top-down aspect, you say:
It’s decentral decision making where people on the ground and a lot of different perspectives are thus taken into account on the one hand and top-down bureaucracy on the other. The roadmap chooses the side of top-down bureaucracy.
This is again at the very least an incomplete and uncharitable summary. Appendix D deals with “innovative organizational strategies at the local level”:
response to the pandemic similarly needs a centralized authority for information gathering/dissemination, oversight of national production, and surge capacity, but it also needs a distributed capacity for execution that can respond quickly and flexibly to local circumstance.
It further lays out the benefits of a Fusion cell model that appears to integrate Top-Down with local decision making.
Again, it seems to me that your goal is to interpret this roadmap in an uncharitable way. Given that Glen Weyl has had reasonable criticisms of the rationalist community in the past, we should instead be maximally charitable.
This seems to be quite uncharitable at best. Here are a few points that are incorrect and surprising:
Managing to both avoid speaking about the need for science will at the same time advocating regulation that make it harder to do the necessary science is quite an accomplishment for Harvard ethicists.
At no point in the report are regulations endorsed to slow down science. On the contrary, the report calls for speeding up research into vaccines and therapeutics (p.20):
Throughout all four phases, research and development of both therapeutics and vaccines should proceed aggressively with the goal of accelerating the transition to phase 4 and hopscotching over the intermediate phases.
Despite your claim that masks are not mentioned, mask usage is at least somewhat endorsed (albeit there is not much emphasis on it):
Establish a culture of universal mask wearing in “hotspot” areas during outbreaks, and increased standards of hygiene and decontamination.
And of course, Weyl and the others deserve credit for calling for a massive increase in testing capacity with the goal of regular (weekly/daily) testing for large parts of the population very early. It is also not understandable how one would claim that a test-and-trace program is anti science, as it has been widely recognized as essential (including by rationalists).
Thank you for this interesting post. Could you clarify your assertion that the real world is not an idealistic deterministic system? Of course we cannot model it as such, but ignoring quantum effects, the world is deterministic. In that sense it seems to me that we might be unable to never confidently conclude that the butterfly caused the hurricane, but it could still be true. (and yes, in that Buddhist fable, my position has always been that trees do fall down, even if nobody sees it)
It feels odd to me to simultaneously argue that patents were unimportant and unenforced anyway so this will produce no benefit, and that the decision to suspend patents will hurt the drug companies so much that in the future they have less of an incentive to invest in drug development?
I was also confused by this, but I can imagine the following scenario:
There are 5 companies in the world with the necessary institutional knowledge to manufacture vaccines. Because of IP laws, the only way for them to manufacture a vaccine is to either license it or invent it. So by now, all of those companies have done one of either. Voiding the patents now would not make a difference.
However, if there is a new pandemic with the understanding that all vaccine patents will be voided as soon as they are filed (as an extreme case), why would Pfizer sink money into research when they know that Moderna definitely has the knowledge to manufacture mRNA vaccines and thus would copy it immediately.
Basically (bad metaphor incoming), the first mover disadvantage does not occur when the moves are only seen after everybody has moved already.
I am offering 2:1 odds in favour of the other side.
It is commendable that OP put a lot of work into this post, but tbh it does seem like many claims are way too overconfident given the evidence. I fear the “specialists in field X are grossly incompetent” is a frequent bias on lw, which is why not many people have pointed out the problems with this post.
1) Animal researchers have engaged with these type of videos; that they are not in awe about it, could also mean that they do not find it impressive or novel. Here is a good summary. It did not take me long to find this, and this link (or similar ones) should not be the 81st comment.
2)Yes, doing research on elephants is impractical, but that has nothing to do with doing research on dogs.Many animal cognition researchers have dogs and are totally happy and willing to try to teach their dogs language in their free time.
3)There are lots of studies with insane amount of resources poured into them with the goal of teaching animals language. Take this study in the 60s where they tried to teach a dolphin language by filling an apartment with water, having the handler live with the dolphin, and giving him an occasional hand*** . (yes, you read that right)
4) Bunny appears to be a Poodle mix; given that poodles are known to be a very intelligent dog breed, it is at least conceivable that they learned some genuinely surprising things.
I am willing to accept bets that general consensus in 3 years will be that Bunny and the vast majority of dogs in such studies do not have an episodic memory which they can communicate like claimed in this post.
With regards to estimating the death rate, I would caution against applying American infection fatality rates. On the one hand, India has fewer very old/overweight people, but you might have already accounted for that.
On the other hand, there is some evidence that severity in Indians and Bangladeshis is substantially lower. Among migrant workers in Singapore, who are mostly from India and Bangladesh, rate of ICU admission was only 0.0002 (20 out of 100 000 cases), which even accounting for the age of the average migrant worker is far lower than what we see in the US/Europe. I have seen some speculation that endemic coronaviruses in that region provide partial protection. I would look further into this to estimate expected death rates.
It does seem that close contacts of infected people acquire T-cell immunity even without infection, but at least 90 days after exposure there does not seem to be a decreasing trend: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-22036-z
Have you or anybody else sensibly written about the P1 variant in Manaus? Despite a prior infection rate of ca. 75% in January, Manaus not only experienced a surge in new infections, but also a record high in hospitalizations. This is evidence against the usual assertion that T-cell immunity will provide enough protection against new variants that we will not have to worry about Covid-19 anymore once 70% are vaccinated.
Agreed. In addition, the quoted article is summarizing the policy incorrectly it seems: They write that the school will be closed when there is no evidence of in-school transmission, but that is wrong: if contact tracers find the source as outside of the school, the school will (presumably) not be closed.
So if the model is true, one potential source of temporal variation might be waning immunity acquired after being exposed but not infected. Will link studies later, but many non-infected people show some T-cell responses against Sars-Cov2. In this scenario, e.g. a doctor gets coughed on, gets lucky, and develops some sort of temporal immunity that protects them for the next few months. After some time though this protection wanes and their risk increases again (this would probably not be a binary but continuous process).
I know too little about immunology, but afaik T-cell immunity wanes very slowly, so it does not quite fit the mark. Maybe there are other forms of immunity/antibodies that would explain this better.
Very interesting model, thanks for writing this up!
I will have to think about it in more depth. How do settings fit into this scenario where we know that basically everyone (50-75%) gets infected in an arguably short time frame: meat plants, close living quarters or prisons?
This is an interesting hypothesis, but I find it implausible that there is large temporal variation in vitamin D levels. Seasonal variation which might be even the biggest factor affects everybody the same, and it just does not seem to match my experience that the majority of the population changes their diet in such random ways that they could become Vitamin d deficient by chance. Same with indoor/outdoor activities, most people’s life is not that variable that they are spending each day outside one month, but not the next. Besides, Vitamin D deficiency is correlated very strongly with various commodities, which definitely do not randomly fluctuate.
I would also bet that the secondary household attack rate is similar across different age groups (except children) while it is known that Vitamin D deficiency is much likelier in older people.