April 2020 (Links)

No, You Didn’t Just Lose Half Of Your Retirement Savings

Source: Mr. Money Moustache |By: MMM

Over time, we can be optimistic. You won’t take out all your money now (don’t do it), so just wait it out and things will get better.

The next software revolution: programming biological cells | Sara-Jane Dunn

Source: Youtube / TED Talk | By: Sara-Jane Dunn

Pogramming cells will be the next computing language. This is a way in which we can tackle diseases, make living software, revolutionalize agriculture.

E.g. crops that have double yield, fend of pests themselves, etc. The same goes for immunity of humans.

Other than most code, it’s self organising (without a ‘brain’ – bottom-up).

Research into embryonic cells, make naive ones again from muscle/other cells.

Made a tool that looks at cells, what leads to what (A => B v C)

Then probed the cell, to learn what is best/fastest way to get the cell back to naive state.

Now working on getting ‘computational biology’ to be a field that has great impact (bridge between software and wetware).

Episode 991: Lives Vs. The Economy

This episode of planet money talks about how much we value a life. The number is $3.000.000 in the US. Because of political reasons there is no difference between saving a kid (with many years to live) or extending an older persons life with 1 year. The price is based on (amongst other things) how much extra we pay people with dangerous jobs (e.g. company pays people 3.000 more per year, and chance of dying on the job is 1/1000 = 3M).

This ties back into the coronavirus measures and how it’s very much worth it now to keep things closed. More discussion also on Sam Harris’ podcast with Paul Bloom.

We can, and should, put a value on life, but calculating it (and all the externalities) is very difficult. And, of course, very unfair. Since we can still save so many lives from neglected tropical diseases (malaria, worms, vitamin c deficiency, diarrhea) for pennies on the dollar.

How Tech Can Build

Source: Stratechery / Ben Thompson

Great review and original opinion by Ben Thompson on how we should be building things again. About taking risk. About not being complacent. His three parting pieces of advice are:

  1. Tech should embrace and accelerate distributed work
  2. Invest in real-world companies that differentiate investment in hardware with software
  3. Find an investment model that works (less upside, but also less risk)

The Copenhagen Interpretation of Ethics

Source: Jaibot (Jia), fellow EA

“… it’s okay to notice a problem and only make it a little bit better. If everyone did that, the world would be a vastly better place. If everyone “exploited” opportunities where they could benefit and alleviate people’s suffering at the same time, we’d all be better off.

Nutrition, Programming Burpees, Supplements and Form, Let’s talk about it

Source: Iron Wolf

Discovered this YouTube channel. Awesome burpee content, and this one specifically about food, supplements, etc.

Newtonian Ethics

Source: Slate Star Codex

“We can confirm this to the case by investigating inverse square laws. If morality is indeed an unusual form of gravitation, it will vary with the square of the distance between two objects.”

Interesting take on ethics and something that EA tries to combat (make us not consider the distance). Could be used as a talking point when introducing people to EA (effective altruism).

The Anti-Amazon Alliance

Source: Stratechery

Good article about how to find customers and how different platforms (Amazon, Shopify, Google) are working on that and what is important there. Relevant as Google Shopping will become free to use in the future (EU).