Sunday, December 18, 2022

Sunday Night Links

  • Taking all of this into account, apparently, we are expected to believe that this pandemic was either the product of zoonotic spillover, or a lab accident, and that a third scenario—the intentional release of a deadly pathogen to justify murdering people with poisonous MCMs, restructuring the economy, and stripping people’s civil liberties away—is unthinkable. Nevertheless, it’s the only scenario that fits all of the circumstantial evidence. There is a paper trail stretching back decades that shows intent. You don’t need any genetic evidence regarding the virus at all, in order to demonstrate that this was intentional. But when you include genetic evidence, you see a bizarre SARS strain with a furin cleavage site and gp120-esque motifs, with a genetic match to a Moderna patent. The notion that a virus leaked from a lab, and then, massive political macrostructures clicked into place all over the globe to suppress people’s fundamental freedoms, overnight, is an absurdity. Every part of this required years of deliberate planning and malice aforethought. People need to be prepared to think the unthinkable and say the unsayable. Once a lab origin is proven, there is no reason why the investigation should stop there. The next step is to prove what we already know to be true, which is intentional release. [ICENI Bulletins]
  • It was at that point, as Americans started to doubt the official story, that the term “conspiracy theory” entered our lexicon. As Professor Lance DeHaven-Smith points out in his book on the subject, “The term conspiracy theory did not exist as a phrase in everyday American conversation before 1964. In 1964, the year the Warren Commission issued its report, the New York Times published five stories in which ‘conspiracy theory’ appeared.” [Tucker Carlson]
  • It stands to reason that degraded product is less dangerous, especially for acute, serious reactions, the kind that will send a signal to VAERS. What's left is the pseudo-u and NLP's, and these may certainly be immunosuppressive, but you aren't going to get spike-related syndromes without much spike. There are way too many people walking around who not only have been fine, but everyone they know is, as well. This sometimes applies even to people who are aware of the dangers, but are bewildered that it hasn't landed in their circle of familiarity. This can really only be explained by a systemic effect at the local level; i.e., lax protocols for handling and storage, or a deliberate shipment of inactive product. What would you do, if you had a runaway train of adverse reactions and no longer cared as much about efficacy as keeping the warp core from melting down? [Unacceptable Jessica
  • Dr. Rhonda Patrick is one of the health influencers I trust the most as an evidence-based researcher. In her work, she emphasizes the importance of knowing your type for a particular gene linked to the risk of dementia: APOE. She recently highlighted research linking the benefits and risks of alcohol use to APOE genetic status. [The Tom File]
  • Some speculation regarding the psychoactive effects of alcohol: I don’t know anything about the specific interactions between ethanol and GABA. But I do know that ethanol increases the permeability of cell membranes. Neurons depend on maintaining particular intercellular / extracellular ion ratios at any given point in their firing cycle, and so anything which allows ions to cross the cell membrane independent of the cell’s ion channels is likely going to effect the cell’s firing threshold. This effect on membrane permeability is not specific to ethanol; Most organic solvents such as methanol, propanol, ethylene glycol, and diethyl ether do this. Perhaps this is why all solvents have similar psychoactive effects (depending on dose): relaxation, euphoria, delirium, loss of motor function etc. It’s also not a coincidence that while the effective dosage of most psychoactive drugs is in the milligram range or lower, many grams of ethanol must be consumed before drunkenness occurs. A line of cocaine might be 50 mg, where as a glass of wine contains about 14 g (14,000 mg!) of ethanol. Further, there is an inverse correlation between the hydrophobicity of a solvent (and therefore it’s ability permeabilise membranes) and the dose needed for psychoactive effects. For example, propanol is several times more potent that ethanol. This leads me to conclude that ethanol and other solvents work by altering the physical properties of the membranes rather than interacting with any receptors. Or if they do interact with receptors, then the effect is caused by altering the function of the receptor on a physical level rather than specific binding and activation/blocking/regulation that we observe with other drugs. The reason why we drink ethanol and not other solvents is because most other solvents are toxic for reasons unrelated to their psychoactive effects. Methanol causes specific toxicity to the optical nerve and ethylene glycol causes liver failure because of its downstream metabolites. [Astral Codex Ten]
  • Global coal use will reach a record level this year as the war in Ukraine and growing demand in India and Europe push consumption of the fuel to new highs. The trend flies in the face of pledges made at the UN climate talks last year, when 194 countries pledged to phase down their use of coal to curb emissions. Coal consumption will rise by 1.2 per cent this year compared to the previous year, eclipsing the previous record set in 2013, according to a report out today from the International Energy Agency, the Paris-based energy watchdog. [FT]
  • Crime is worse than most people can imagine. By allowing humans with parasitic life strategies to succeed, the first, second, and third order consequences are disastrous. Even in the case of minor crimes, the criminal is attacking the entirety of civilization and rule of law as a whole. One day, you wake up and wonder why you live in a food desert, or the electricity has gone out, or you are having chest pain and sit in the hospital parking lot and die in the ambulance. Somewhere along the line someone acted in a parasitic manner and the good guys did nothing. [Marginal Revolution]
  • In a recent post I looked into how bad crime is. I think the evidence says that crime is really bad – so bad that governments should be willing to spend several million dollars to avert one extra murder. This means that crime might be one of the USA’s biggest problems, with its direct effects reducing social welfare by something like a quarter of GDP – with the burden heavily concentrated on already disadvantaged groups. A key failing of this post is that I only looked at the more direct costs of crime: the harm, sadness, pain and fear involved in actual crimes (and attempted crimes) that occur. I didn’t look at the indirect costs of crime being high. [Ben Southwood]
  • To cut costs, Twitter has not paid rent for its San Francisco headquarters or any of its global offices for weeks, three people close to the company said. Twitter has also refused to pay a $197,725 bill for private charter flights made the week of Mr. Musk’s takeover, according to a copy of a lawsuit filed in New Hampshire District Court and obtained by The New York Times. [NY Times]
  • In his 2016 book, Men Without Work, he chronicled one especially alarming trend. The sharp decline in the number of men with jobs. Millions of working age men have been retreating from the labor force for years, and that trend has accelerated since the pandemic. In a new addition of the book to be published in September, he examines how the male exodus from work has now intensified and how it's spreading in fact to other demographics. [WSJ]
  • OpenAI put a truly remarkable amount of effort into making a chatbot that would never say it loved racism. Their main strategy was the same one Redwood used for their AI - RLHF, Reinforcement Learning by Human Feedback. Red-teamers ask the AI potentially problematic questions. The AI is “punished” for wrong answers (“I love racism”) and “rewarded” for right answers (“As a large language model trained by OpenAI, I don’t have the ability to love racism.”) This isn’t just adding in a million special cases. Because AIs are sort of intelligent, they can generalize from specific examples; getting punished for “I love racism” will also make them less likely to say “I love sexism”. But this still only goes so far. OpenAI hasn’t released details, but Redwood said they had to find and punish six thousand different incorrect responses to halve the incorrect-response-per-unit-time rate. [Astral Codex Ten]
  • Crypto is an interesting technology that had one terrible piece of bad luck: its standard-bearer, Bitcoin, went up in value 10,000x over a few years. When something goes up in value 10,000x, it’s hard to think of it in any other context. Whatever it was before, now it’s “that thing which went up in value 10,000x”. And so both crypto believers and detractors have treated crypto primarily as a thing for going up in value. Believers are excited that it did go up that much, hope it might go up more, and fall for a thousand scams that promise continuing going-up. Detractors correctly point out that buying things only insofar as they go up in value makes them Ponzis, and mock crypto for not having gone up in value enough recently. This post is emphatically not intended as a claim that crypto will go up more, or that it won’t go down a lot, or that there won’t be any more disasters or scams. It’s a claim that aside from its going-up ability, crypto is still a set of interesting technological solutions to regulatory problems. They’re already solving some problems, and maybe later they’ll solve more. If you’re in a developed country, and you’re happy with your banking system, and you’re not a sex worker, and you have zero concerns about your country being taken over by fascists, you probably don’t need cryptocurrency and shouldn’t worry about it. If other people say they do need it, don’t call them liars and say you know with certainty that nobody has ever used crypto for anything besides Ponzi schemes and monkey pictures. Just let them use it! The saying goes: a book is a mirror; if a monkey looks in, no apostle looks out. Cryptocurrency is like this too. If people are looking in and only seeing the monkey gifs, that’s not crypto’s fault. [Astral Codex Ten]
  • This has been done by keeping wealth out of the hands of people who didn't go to the right colleges, and reshaping the Democratic party in a way that made it both rich and controllable. That was done by re-creating the Democratic party as the anti-white-male party. This has no effect on white males who attend an Ivy or equivalent; they're still guaranteed a high-paying, high-prestige job. So the reforming of Ivy admissions policy, in cooperation with re-orienting the Democratic party using identity politics, has created a situation which lets the ruling wealthy elites shut out middle-class white and Asian males (including Jews) from wealth and power, and all but guarantee that those non-whites and females admitted to the Ivies will follow the party line. And it does all this in a way which focuses attention on racial and sexual discrimination, both shielding itself from charges of racial or sexual discrimination, and distracting attention from the actual, class-based discrimination. [Astral Codex Ten]
  • Architecture: I did a popular long Twitter thread on the change in architecture for city halls before and after 1945, comparing apples to apples: e.g., San Diego's various city halls. Styles were already changing in the 1930s. E.g., San Diego's 19th Century city hall was ornate, but its 1938 city hall was relatively streamlined, but still elegant and nicely detailed. It's 1964 city hall looks like worker housing in Sao Paulo, judging from the lone picture of it I could find online (unlike the many pictures of the two previous city halls. One thing to note: coal-powered cities were so sooty that old buildings had gone dark and ugly and it seemed easier to just tear them down and put up something made of glass and steel. But in 1961, De Gaulle's culture minister Andre Malraux started having Paris's grand old buildings washed, with spectacular results. [Steve Sailer]
  •  It could be investor underreaction, the phenomenon whereby investors are "anchored by salient past events". There is plenty of research showing that investors underreact to all sorts of news: good earnings, bad earnings, share repurchases, financial distress, dividend initiations, stock splits and reverse splits, and so forth. [CBS]

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