Håkon Harnes

Tech lead @ Gi Effektivt
165 karmaJoined Trondheim, Norway


It's unclear to me why you think the procurement of tanks would demonstrate more of a closeness to the US than any other weapons system purchased from the US? It's a weird kind of trade-off indeed if they can choose between the US-made patriot launchers (as you suggest) or the US-made Abrams tanks, and they go for the tanks despite a clear military inferiority? I honestly don't follow the reasoning here.

Hi JKitson!

Thanks for posting this summary and analysis, I learned something new about the Taiwanese military today!

In the post you write this about the procurement of new tanks:

These units would be highly vulnerable and are of questionable use in a scenario where the enemy dominates the air. Ukraine has disabled thousands of Russian tanks and infantry fighting vehicles using drones, showing armoured vehicles vulnerability even in a situation where neither side has air superiority.

While it is true that drones, among many other factors, have made armoured vehicles and tanks more vulnerable on the modern battlefield, one would be wise to take note that this has resulted in neither Ukraine nor Russia using less of them. If anything we are seeing heavy reliance on armour for protection on a battlefield shaped by constant surveillance, artillery fire, loitering munitions and combat drones. That being said, we should be careful in drawing lessons from Ukraine and applying them to other contexts. Important factors are vastly different in Taiwan, such as geography, logistics, technology available to both sides in relevant quantities and quality etc.

One interesting thing to note regarding air superiority when looking at the war in Ukraine could be the seeming effectiveness of anti-air systems. On paper the Russian air force vastly outnumbers the Ukrainian, yet they have not been able to establish complete air superiority. On the other hand, we've also seen examples of very successful suppression of anti-air capabilities in fairly modern conflicts by a technologically superior attacker, for example during the gulf war or during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

My current take is that specifics and circumstance matter a lot and we should not be too quick to generalise from recent conflicts.

I had a quick peek at your substack and was unable to find anything on your background. I was wondering if you have any expertise or background from military analysis? It's completely fine if you wish to stay anonymous of course, and I'm not appealing to credentialism either, simply curious :)

I'm also curious if you could point me to what you believe is the strongest case for Taiwan's current strategy? What are the best arguments and / or proponents for the status quo you know of?

Thanks again, I really enjoyed the post!

Thanks for the great work you guys in AMF are doing!

20 million cases of malaria averted is a staggering number. I'm Norwegian, and as a comparison point those 20 million cases are being averted for around half the cost of the new Oslo public library. Admittedly it's a very nice library, but I have a feeling we would not be building it if it meant every Norwegian citizen had to suffer through malaria 8 times over and something like 80 000 mostly young children died.

Let's keep pushing the global resource allocation in a slightly more sane and equitable direction. Thanks for an inspiring post, best wishes for 2024!

I liked the talk. I also loved the boots! Great job.

Ah, yes, the CORS policy would be an obstacle. It might be possible to contact them and ask to be added to the list.

This is a neat tool!

Just a little heads up for people in terms of privacy. If you use the built-in helper to place your bets, your API key is sent to the owner of the manifolo service. I've glanced over the source code, and it does not seem to be stored anywhere. It's mainly routed through the backend for easier integration with an SDK and some logging purposes (as far as I can tell). However, there aren't really any strong guarantees that the source code publicly available is in fact the source code running on the URL.

I have no reason to doubt this, but in theory your API key might be stored and could be misused at a later date. For example, a holder of many API keys could place multiple bets quickly from many different users to steer a market or make a quick profit before anyone realizes.

I don't think there is any technical reason why the communication with the manifold APIs couldn't just happen on the frontend, so it might be worth looking into?

In general one should be very careful about pasting in API keys anywhere you don't trust. Seems like the key for manifold gives the holder very wide permissions on your account.

Again, I have no reason to suspect that there is anything sinister going on here, but I think it's worth pointing out nevertheless!

Thanks for posting the source code as well! Personally I did use my API key while testing and I do trust the author :)

I absolutely love that it infers resolving dates from the text! I was positively delighted when the field populated itself when I wrote "by the beginning of september". This is especially important on mobile.

Excited to see if this is a useful tool. Very polished, nice work!

Saving someone a google search hopefully:
XDRTB = Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis
MDRTB = Multi drug-resistant tuberculosis

Seems like it's my week of learning a bit about tuberculosis! What's up with the acronyms in the tuberculosis-space anyways? TB isn't that much shorter than tuberculosis.

I did a little more digging, and through a WHO report referenced by the Gates Foundation in their article, I think I've found something that could be the source of the claims in the report I skimmed.

Portnoy, A., et al. (2022). The cost and cost-effectiveness of novel tuberculosis vaccines in low- and middle-income countries: a modelling study. medRxiv, 2022.05.04.22274654. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.05.04.22274654

Interestingly, the baseline scenario assumes a vaccine price similar to you, around 5 USD per dose in a 2-dose regiment, which in my naive reading seems to confirm that the bulk of the costs are in fact in logistics. Of course, the headline is that even if the costs here are higher than one would like, it's still hugely cost-effective in terms of return on investment, and great news for the world as a whole!

Even if (on an extremely shallow read) it seems like it doesn't quite cross GiveWell's bar for cost-effectiveness. Unless I am confused about something. Again, if anyone knows if GiveWell has a take on this, I'd be very happy to see :)

Load more