Level 2 here we (some of us) come

The best thing about scarcity is the period of time when you anticipate an end to the scarcity, and then the fulfilment when scarcity turns into availability. Humans’ very simple internal chemical mechanism for feeling a reward (a shot of dopamine) means that the hit when you get your needs fulfilled doesn’t last long –Continue reading “Level 2 here we (some of us) come”

Vaccination vs hospitalisation

The future is looking brighter for those outside Auckland, given that Ashley Bloomfield today talked about a new and improved COVID Alert Level 2 that will be proposed to Cabinet tomorrow. Cabinet will make its decision tomorrow afternoon as to what Alert Levels the country will be in when our current levels expire at midnightContinue reading “Vaccination vs hospitalisation”

Which is my bestest interest?

I have been discussing vaccination issues with my friend Phil, including debating whether people act in their own best interests, or not. Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2017, for his work demonstrating that limited rationality,┬ásocial preferences, and┬álack of self-control systematically affect human decisions, and thus market outcomes. Thaler is a proponentContinue reading “Which is my bestest interest?”

The unlucky country (not us)

Back in May 2020 I wrote about the lucky country, which is a nickname that was given to Australia in the 1960s. In May 2020, it seemed like both New Zealand and Australia were lucky countries, as both had zero to two new COVID cases a day following on from successful hard lockdowns. At theContinue reading “The unlucky country (not us)”

Vaccination & the trolley problem

I have realised that COVID vaccination could be considered as a variation on the trolley problem. The trolley problem is a famous set of thought experiments in ethics and psychology, examining whether it is acceptable to kill a smaller number of people in order to save a larger number. The trolley problem is often referredContinue reading “Vaccination & the trolley problem”

Level 3 treats

People were asking me yesterday what sort of treat I would like once New Zealand, other than Auckland and Northland regions, today reached the coveted status of COVID Alert Level 3. My answer was, a different place to exercise. The Level 3 rules allow day walking in the conservation estate (where Level 4 was ‘closeContinue reading “Level 3 treats”

The Stockdale Paradox

I love it when someone tells me about a paradigm that I haven’t previously heard of. New paradigms are always good for challenging your thinking. Paradoxes are particularly interesting, given that they put two things together that seem mutually incompatible, like Determinism and Free Will that I wrote about earlier this year. So today’s newContinue reading “The Stockdale Paradox”

When facts get in the way

I have been writing material for the annual report of one of New Zealand’s science institutions. There have been some particularly interesting nuggets of information; the one that has stood out for me is that provision of facts can sometimes polarise opinions further, rather than leading to agreement. For some of you this may seemContinue reading “When facts get in the way”

Snakes, ladders and daffodils

Today reminded me of a post I wrote last year entitled “Are we nearly there yet?“.; it turns out I wrote it nearly exactly a year ago. How did that year, and the last 1.5 years, go by so slowly and quickly all at the same time? When I wrote my post a year agoContinue reading “Snakes, ladders and daffodils”

Levels of vaccination

Our government’s reluctance to set a vaccine target doesn’t sit well with me. The current mantra is to set targets for everything, so that you can see if you have achieved them or not and to encourage people to reach them. Whether one should have a target for everything is questionable, but whether one shouldContinue reading “Levels of vaccination”