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Dustin Wyatt
...nothing occurs contrary to nature except the impossible, and that never occurs.
...nothing occurs contrary to nature except the impossible, and that never occurs.

Dustin's posts

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I guess you shouldn't just accept your doctor's treatment at face value.

When you visit a doctor, you probably assume the treatment you receive is backed by evidence from medical research. Surely, the drug you’re prescribed or the surgery you’ll undergo wouldn’t be so common if it didn’t work, right?

it is distressingly ordinary for patients to get treatments that research has shown are ineffective or even dangerous. Sometimes doctors simply haven’t kept up with the science. Other times doctors know the state of play perfectly well but continue to deliver these treatments because it’s profitable — or even because they’re popular and patients demand them. Some procedures are implemented based on studies that did not prove whether they really worked in the first place. Others were initially supported by evidence but then were contradicted by better evidence, and yet these procedures have remained the standards of care for years, or decades.

It's weird how difficult it is to even question what your doctor tells you to do, but it is difficult.

The first person the article talks about googled some stuff about treatment of coronary artery disease while he was sitting in the ER. The article notes that the reason he questioned his doctors (wrongly) suggested treatment was that the man was "unusually self-possessed".

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Pretty much all of what politics is about nowadays is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic...

The always-interesting Scott Alexander asks probably one of the most important questions of our modern age:

Why the heck is everything getting so much more expensive?

So, to summarize: in the past fifty years, education costs have doubled, college costs have dectupled, health insurance costs have dectupled, subway costs have at least dectupled, and housing costs have increased by about fifty percent. US health care costs about four times as much as equivalent health care in other First World countries; US subways cost about eight times as much as equivalent subways in other First World countries.

I worry that people don’t appreciate how weird this is. I didn’t appreciate it for a long time. I guess I just figured that Grandpa used to talk about how back in his day movie tickets only cost a nickel; that was just the way of the world. But all of the numbers above are inflation-adjusted. These things have dectupled in cost even after you adjust for movies costing a nickel in Grandpa’s day. They have really, genuinely dectupled in cost, no economic trickery involved.

I've done a lot of looking in to this and I'm with Alexander on this. No one knows. There's lots of theories but I don't think there's any convincing arguments out there.

As Alexander touches upon, this phenomenon is the root cause for a large part of the divisions in our modern world.

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It may be possible that our personality when you're young has nothing to do with your personality when you're old.

By covering a period of 63 years, this in a sense is the longest ever personality study. But contrary to what we might expect based on previous findings, Matthew Harris and his colleagues at the University of Edinburgh failed to find any correlation between their participants’ personality scores at age 14 and their scores on the same items at the age of 77. “Personality in older age may be quite different from personality in childhood,” they said.

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Google can now reconstruct images from a pixelated source.

It's not perfect, but it's pretty impressive!

The basic idea is that neural networks know what lots of images look like and what those images look like when they're downsized and thus can make "educated" guesses as to what a downsized images looked like before they were downsized.

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That elated/weird feeling you get when you get an email notification about activity on a bug you filed years ago.

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I find this reassuring. Civil resistance (protests, etc) works pretty well!

For more than a century, from 1900 to 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance were more than twice as effective as their violent counterparts in achieving their stated goals.

Chenoweth talks more about the subject here:

The dataset sounds large:

I collected data on all major nonviolent and violent campaigns for the overthrow of a government or territorial liberation since 1900. The data cover the entire world and include every known campaign that consists of at least a thousand observed participants, which constitutes hundreds of cases.

How many people does it take for successful civil resistance?

Researchers used to say that no government could survive if five percent of its population mobilized against it. But our data reveal that the threshold is probably lower. In fact, no campaigns failed once they’d achieved the active and sustained participation of just 3.5% of the population—and lots of them succeeded with far less than that [5]. Now, 3.5% is nothing to sneeze at. In the U.S. today, this means almost 11 million people.

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I sometimes try to talk to my mostly tech-illiterate family (like, some of them don't even have internet at their homes) about the huge impact AI is going to have over the next 5 years. It's really hard to get them to understand!

Usually they end up with this surface level understanding that ends up mashing together what I've explained along with what they've seen in Terminator or whatever.


This article talks about some work at Stanford at training deep neural networks on skin lesion photographs.

_ A group of Stanford researchers has trained one of Google's deep neural networks on a massive database of images that show skin lesions. By the end, the neural network was competitive with dermatologists when it came to diagnosing cancers using images._

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White House press secretary Sean Spicer regarding number of federal employess: "dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years."

Reality says: "ehh..."

Chrome just told me Circloscope updated with new permissions:

* Read and change your data on a a number of websites
* Communicate with cooperating websites

What up with these?

Github is down! 75% of all programmers go play video games.
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