- Cold Links: Useful
By Holden Karnofsky 3 min read

Cold Links: Useful

These are assorted links that I expect readers to maybe find useful on a personal basis. Don't worry, this won't be too frequent an occurrence - I aim for 99% of this blog to be about the last 100-10,000 years and the next 100-10 zillion years.

Ben Kuhn's tips for the most immersive video calls - the most comprehensive guide I've seen to good Zooming.

Some tips on how to make sure you have good wifi at your hotel/AirBNB. It shocks me that AirBNB doesn't do more to help (e.g., nudging hosts to verify and list their speeds and networking equipment, allowing guests to filter by this). Some of the tips here are obvious, some I didn't know, but it seems like a good checklist.

I strongly endorse this advice on PowerPoint presentations.

Interesting argument against wearing a bike helmet. I wear one because I don't want to look reckless and actively enjoy looking dorky, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I recommend traveling with an octopus plug so you never have to fight over an airport charger (instead, you're a hero!)

FiveThirtyEight looks at a recent review of randomized studies on which diets work best. The effect sizes seem pretty good - ~15lbs avg weight loss after a year - compared to what I expected based on previous coverage of this topic. Atkins doesn't win, Ornish (very traditional approach to dieting) does, though they're all extremely close, consistent with my general view that "any diet you can stick to will probably help because it will be different from eating whatever you feel like." Paleo isn't included in the analysis.

Basic take, but important. WSJ: The Man Who Wrote Those Password Rules Has a New Tip: N3v$r M1^d! "Bill Burr’s 2003 report recommended using numbers, obscure characters and capital letters and updating regularly—he regrets the error." Not surprising at all - it's bad advice that websites still enforce today, and XKCD's take is spot on. I recommend LastPass and maximal use of two-factor authentication.

Here's an excruciatingly detailed guide to filing a complaint with a credit reporting agency that actually gets acted on. Key advice is to stay away from online and phone communications and use certified mail for everything, which shows them you're collecting a paper trail and scares them; key incredible fact is that you're not allowed to use form letters because ... well, because credit reporting agencies don't want you to and they've lobbied to prohibit it. (Even though they use form letters.) I found this whole long thing weirdly fun to read. Just thinking about confronting one of these awful bureaucracies and knowing how to get good results made me smile. Advice may also have applications for dealing with bureaucracies more generally.

How to recognize when a child is drowning. If you donate to effective global health charities to save children's lives, then you need to know how to do this too in order to be consistent.1

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  1. This is a joke. If you don't get it, don't worry about it.