Paras Chopra Profile picture
curious about how reality works • founder of @wingify
Oliver Profile picture hopium researcher Profile picture Gary Young Profile picture Bülent Duagi 🇷🇴 Profile picture Nitin Ramrakhyani Profile picture 49 added to My Authors
17 May
How much can science tell us about reality?

(a really long 🧵 thread)
1/ Reading and re-reading The Brief History of Time when I was young, I grew up into adolescence with an unshakeable faith in science to reveal truths about reality.
2/ At school, we were taught scientific laws as if they're the gospel of reality, never to be changed and never to be questioned.

Once you understood magnetism, for example, you could seal that part of reality forever as being understood and then move onto the next thing.
Read 65 tweets
13 May
What you build your business on doesn’t limit how big it can grow.

(a 🧵 on this mental model)
1/ Can an app built on top of Facebook become bigger than Facebook itself?

It’s easy to believe that you will get limited by how big is the businesses on which your business is built. But that’s not true.
2/ An app built on top of Facebook can become bigger than Facebook because the customers and desires that Facebook serves are very different than customers and desires that the business that’s built on Facebook is trying to serve.
Read 14 tweets
13 May
*cough*

Not one day passes in the crypto world without drama.
Fundamentally, I do think it’s the right decision for Tesla, which is on a mission to push Earth towards zero carbon emissions.

But what’s beyond me is that it isn’t like they didn’t know about bitcoin related emissions earlier.
Frankly, wouldn’t be surprised if Musk announces TeslaCoin or SpaceXCoin (or something similar) soon.
Read 4 tweets
12 May
Hinting at the perceived sluggish rate of innovation in recent decades, Peter Thiel famously said that “we were promised 🚀 flying cars and all we got is 140 characters”.

But is it true?

In my next podcast, I pick @ArtirKel's brain on whether progress is slowing down.
Check out the full podcast here:

(Or search for "Bold Conjectures" in your podcast app)
@ArtirKel is an independent researcher who likes to get into details of things.

On his blog nintil.com, among a wide range of topics, he writes about how science is done, advances in human longevity research, economics and innovation.

Check out what all we cover.
Read 5 tweets
8 May
Difference between wealth and money.

(a short 🧵 thread)
1/ As the oxygen crisis during 2nd covid wave in India has reiterated,

wealth = *stuff* we want
money = *numbers* in our bank
2/ Being wealthy is a matter of priorities, while being rich is a matter of luck and hard work.
Read 10 tweets
6 May
I know some elder relatives of my friends have refused to get vaccinated and now they’re falling sick and a few have passed away.

Feeling sad because these sicknesses and deaths were largely preventable only if they had not fallen for the misinformation around vaccines.
Media is largely to blame for this.

They hyped up rare cases to scare people, and did not do enough to convince people that vaccines will save their life.
Unfortunately, I don’t see how this’ll change.

Media always optimizes for hype and people who fall for it keep propagating the hype, until it becomes indistinguishable from truth.

Read the research findings and think critically. It can save your life.

We’re really on our own.
Read 4 tweets
1 May
What if everything is conscious?

In the episode of my 🎙️ podcast, I and @Philip_Goff explore the absolutely crazy but increasingly popular view that everything in our universe is conscious (panpsychism).
If you have an hour to spare this weekend, listen to the podcast below.

The podcast largely covers @Philip_Goff's book: Galileo's Error: penguinrandomhouse.com/books/599229/g…

I absolutely loved reading the book.
Read 5 tweets
29 Apr
Find partners who can grow their business by building on top of your business.

(a 🧵 thread on this mental model)
1/ No business delivers value to the end customer all by itself. In reality, a business does very few things within its boundaries.

Everything else must come from other businesses: from renting servers on AWS, leasing offices, advertising on Google & buying laptops from Dell.
2/ Most of the time, such dependencies emerge naturally and evolve without any conscious effort.

However, sometimes some business dependencies can (and should) be deepened explicitly through partnerships.

invertedpassion.com/all-startups-b…
Read 15 tweets
28 Apr
Beyond Meat released their 3.0 of plant-based meat.

These comments on Reddit make my heart sing.

These burgers are:

- Better nutritional content
- Better for environment
- Almost at parity in cost
- Ethical

reddit.com/r/Futurology/c…
Imagine: if all the 70+ billion animals that get slaughtered each year for meat could tweet for someone to help them, we’d drown in their cries.
Also imagine, a superior alien race that farms all humans for meat because they love eating it.

Disgusting, right?

That’s exactly how we treat animals.

Meat-alternatives are the biggest ROI projects we have got in terms of alleviating suffering.
Read 6 tweets
27 Apr
Played around with some text to image generating AI models.

Some generated images in this tiny 🧵 thread.
"four dimensional alien"
"brain looking at itself"
Read 7 tweets
26 Apr
A friend’s brother requires immediate hospitalisation; the infection of his lungs is close to 50%, fever levels are high at 103.

He’s in Delhi.

The doctor has advised immediate hospitalisation.

Know any leads?

#CovidSOS #Delhi
It seems entire Delhi-NCR has 0 ICU beds, and while searching for them realised so many more people are looking for the same.

This is a terrible situation.

Anyone leads beyond Delhi? Cities around 2-3 hours away should be okay too.
Still nothing.

Our group of 10 friends has been trying non-stop for last 3 hours.

Feeling extremely angry.

If not ICU, even normal hospital beds will do as blood transfusion is most urgent.

Anything?
Read 6 tweets
24 Apr
If COVID infection rate is 0.04% after first dose of vaccination, getting the first shot to everyone in highly dense areas may be the best strategy for India right now.

We need a tsunami of vaccinations right now.

Why wait until 1st May? Is our vaccine supply getting 100% used? Image
Even if you doubt the data, there’s no doubt that:

- Even one dose is much better (at preventing death and severe hospitalisation) than no doses

- There’s no cure for COVID, so vaccination is the best strategy for preventing total number of future deaths
Sadly the vaccination numbers are falling, at a time when they need to rise exponentially.

scroll.in/article/993096…
Read 4 tweets
21 Apr
Prediction: most countries will experiment with launching their own digital 💸 currencies.

(a short thread)
1/ What’s a digital currency?

It’s programmable money directly issued from the central bank to citizens.

Right now, banks are intermediaries and central bank doesn’t issue money directly to citizens.

Read more here:
2/ The programmability of a digital currency is what makes it so appealing.

It can allow the central bank of a country to achieve their wet dream: precisely control the economy.

They will do it by precisely controlling the money in your hands.
Read 14 tweets
20 Apr
Depression is terrible, and severe forms of it could make people suicidal.

New research is finding that psychedelics are much more effective than anti-depressants at treating depression.
1/ For example, this randomised trial study that just came out found 70% of patients reduced depression symptoms within a week (as compared to anti depressant with 33% efficacy)

theguardian.com/commentisfree/…
2/ Unfortunately, even though evidence is accumulating on benefits of these drugs, they are still classified as Schedule 1 drugs in India.

Which means not even medical research is allowed.

See this by @Somaa_org

somaa.org/copy-of-campai…
Read 6 tweets
19 Apr
My moral code.

(a long 🧵thread)
1/ Lately, I’ve been feeling a lack of a well-deliberated, explicit moral code.

The world is changing really fast – we have Elon Musk trying to set up a human colony on Mars while Earth’s bio-ecosystem is degrading by the day.
2/ So, should I support the investment of resources into making Mars habitable while Earth is gradually becoming unhabitable?

This, obviously, isn’t the only question.

Every day, I feel like I need to decide which way to swing on controversial topics.
Read 67 tweets
13 Apr
There's a 💊 drug (named Zolgensma) that costs $2.5mn (Rs 18 crore). Currently the world's costliest drug.

Why is it so expensive?

(a tiny thread)
1/ It treats a rare genetic disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).

SMA is a horrible disease that kills 90% of babies before the age of 2.

Until Zolgensma, it was untreatable.
2/ The disease incidence rate is extremely low.

For example, in the US there would be only 400 new cases per year.

(Such diseases are called rare or orphan diseases)
Read 8 tweets
12 Apr
Crypto is the future of our society.

(a 🧵 thread on my podcast with @balajis)
1/ Balaji is a deep thinker on crypto and its implications.

Formerly the CTO of Coinbase and General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, he’s believes crypto technologies such as bitcoin will change the world the say way Internet did.

Here's the podcast:

2/ We touch on a lot of topics in the podcast.

• How to assess a strange new thing's potential
• How technologies rise and fall
• How to tell what's a fad and what's real
• How to identify nascent technology that will change the world
Read 65 tweets
11 Apr
I bet our descendants will get bored of exploring new planets faster than our ancestors got bored of exploring new lands.

Here’s why.
1/ Unlike distant lands, we can observe space from far.

We know an insane amount of stuff about Mars.

Compare this to Columbus who didn’t even know that the Americas existed.
2/ Unlike exploring the Earth, we have no expectation of stumbling upon another culture or language.

We have no expectation of stumbling upon something new to trade with.

We won’t find cloves or silk on Mars.

Space is barren.
Read 6 tweets
11 Apr
Hubble deep field, the most amazing picture of our universe.

(a tiny 🧵 thread)
1/ I learned so much from this recent paper by @tobyordoxford (h/t to @anderssandberg for tweeting)

This thread is based on that paper, so if you’re intrigued, highly recommend reading the entire thing arxiv.org/pdf/2104.01191…
2/ One of the most awe-inspiring insights from the paper is that many of the galaxies we see in the Hubble deep field image are FOREVER beyond our reach.

I don’t mean just practically, but even theoretically.
Read 17 tweets
10 Apr
Been looking at my historical chats and emails to understand how I thought about #bitcoin.

I think it’s a great way to adjust mental models for the future.
1/ In a 2011 chat, someone said they’re buying $5k worth of bitcoins (when it was $30 per bitcoin).

I told them I think it’s a bubble :)
2/ As per the emails, I and friends were pretty excited about it in 2013.

Understood the technology properly.

We were even cooking up ideas to make bitcoin transactions simple, like a PayPal for bitcoins.

But at $600 per bitcoin, I decided it was overhyped.
Read 12 tweets
9 Apr
How investing in startups is different from other kinds of investing.

(a tiny thread)
1/ The biggest difference is in mindset.

With startups, you don’t think how they can fail because they almost certainly will fail.

Rather you think about their best case - how big they can get if everything goes right.
2/ Another difference is in valuations.

In a sense, a startup company should be defined by its ability to tell a growth story instead of its size.
Read 14 tweets