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Stayin' Alive 05/28/2020 15:29
(yeah, I know, science is a liberal hoax) of what we know about the transmissibility of Covid-19. Here's what is essential to know. Doctors originally thought that transmission by fomites -- virus on surfaces that people might touch, such as door handles -- was the most important route. But they now believe it's inhaled droplets and aerosols. The terms designate different sizes. Droplets are more than 5 microns, aerosols are smaller. They're both invisible however. Droplets fall out of the air relatively quickly and they can contaminate surfaces, so it's still very important to wash your hands ASAP after every time you are out in public, and not touch your face until you do. You can also use hand sanitizer, but 20 seconds of a good rubbing
Stayin' Alive 05/25/2020 11:59
asks the obvious question. Why the hell are we still conducting trials of hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 and why are doctors giving it to people. The verdict is in. It doesn't work. On the contrary, it kills people. He discusses this paper in which is a retrospective observational study -- yes, yes, not a randomized controlled trial but quite compelling:. [W]hen compared with mortality in the control group [i.e., people hospitalized with Covid-19 who did not receive HCQ] (9·3%), hydroxychloroquine (18·0%; hazard ratio 1·335, 95% CI 1·223–1·457), hydroxychloroquine with a macrolide (23·8%; 1·447, 1·368–1·531), chloroquine (16·4%; 1·365, 1·218–1·531), and chloroquine with a macrolide (22·2%; 1·368, 1·273–1·469) were each independently associa.
Stayin' Alive 05/24/2020 08:18
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the most important event in the Jewish liturgical calendar. It is established in today's reading, Leviticus 16, but the contemporary observance has no relationship whatever to the ritual described here. It is more than fair to say, in fact, that the Jewish religion is somehow descended from the religion of Leviticus, but it is not the same religion at all. The modern observance of Yom Kippur developed after the destruction of the Temple. It includes, oddly, recitation the night before of a prayer in Aramaic renouncing all vows. Of course Jews do not really renounce their vows - if they owe money or have a contract they still honor it the next year. But I digress. The elaborate ritual described here is es.
Stayin' Alive 05/23/2020 11:04
Why do Trump's supporters stand by him, no matter what? So asked Bob Altemeyer about two years ago. Given all the swill that's spilled over the dam since then, the question seems even harder to answer, but. Do read the whole thing. The gist is that people with authoritarian personalities don't think for themselves at all. You can't reason with them because they were never reasoning in the first place. They just want to be told what to think. Pull quote:. [T]he fidelity of Trump’s base remains astounding. He has made so many unforced errors because of his lack of understanding and low problem-solving intelligence, his vast ignorance, his enormous, never-ending dishonesty which seems as reflexive as his breathing, his explosive hostility, his
Stayin' Alive 05/23/2020 07:33
A commenter asks why people don't count death certificates to determine the actual number of deaths above the norm, since we can't trust the reported Covid-19 deaths. Well, people have done this, and it's pretty disturbing. Researchers who did this in Italy found the actual number of excess deaths to be twice the reported rate. In New York and New Jersey, the excess is at least 50%. This can happen because many deaths are not attributed to Covid-19, whether because they are attributed to influenza or pneumonia in the absence of testing, or because the virus can cause symptoms such as stroke and kidney failure, which is just now being understood. Now researchers at the have Uh-oh. "Our data suggest that we may be especially undercounting COV.
Stayin' Alive 05/21/2020 12:55
As you have likely heard, the failure of two dams near Midland, Michigan has forced the evacuation of thousands of people. Property damage will be immense. notes that most dams in the U.S. are privately owned, and that an analysis by the Associated Press found some 1,688 dams across the country in poor or unsatisfactory condition. This is a problem, since obviously government isn't going to force private dam owners to spend any money to prevent potentially thousands of deaths. That would violate the God-given principle of the Free Market™. However, there's another problem. Human-caused climate change is increasing the number of extreme precipitation events. Henson:. Although there have been some dry periods in 2020 across the Great Lakes sta.
Stayin' Alive 05/21/2020 11:55
. Jeong is a venerated tech culture journalist with a broad range of expertise, known for everything from authoring to . (She’s currently a senior writer at Vox’s sister site The Verge, which she’ll be departing for the Times.). She’s also an outspoken progressive and feminist, making her an obvious target for the that have been especially active of late, launching organized smear campaigns against left-leaning celebrities by weaponizing their old jokes and tweets. . . . Once Jeong’s hiring was announced, her detractors immediately started digging through her internet history to see what they could find. A survey of Jeong’s past commentary on Twitter reveals several mainly sarcastic tweets dating back to 2013, which were largely discussing a.
Stayin' Alive 05/20/2020 13:41
I don't have to blog about subjects that interest you. :. Whataboutism , also known as whataboutery , is a variant of the that attempts to discredit an opponent's position by charging them with without directly refuting or disproving their argument. Whataboutism is particularly associated with and . When criticisms were leveled at the Soviet Union during the , the Soviet response would often be "What about..." followed by an event in the . As noted, it is a word that was coined to describe the frequent use of a rhetorical diversion by Soviet apologists and dictators, who would counter charges of their oppression, "massacres, , and forced deportations" by invoking American , , , etc. It has been adopted by other politicians and countries. In
Stayin' Alive 05/19/2020 14:31
It shows what happens if we do nothing, and if we take various measures against transmission, and it adds important concepts one at a time. There's a lot to take in but it's all made very clear and presented so you can grok one idea before you move on to the next. One of the most important things to take away is that it matters how fast we get to herd immunity. Assuming there's no vaccine, that's the only realistic way out. (A permanent regime of testing and contact tracing is possible, but not much fun and it means people are still getting sick and dying, just at a low rate.) Even with that, assuming immunity is not life-long, there will be a steady but fairly low rate of infection -- i.e. the disease becomes endemic -- but we can live wit.
Stayin' Alive 05/18/2020 12:51
As I occasionally point out here (sorry to be a downer) everybody dies. Therefore, in public health, when we measure problems or evaluate policies we don't just count deaths. Comparing one problem to another requires, first that we estimate the number of life years lost. As a person of oldness I am not actually offended, nor do I feel discriminated against, by the proposition that we ought to care more about a problem that will kill 1,000 people under 20 than one that will kill 1,000 people over age 80. Some people have tried to argue that because Covid is more deadly among old people, it isn't that big of a deal. They aren't squinting at the data very hard, alas. While it is true that age is a risk factor for death, it cuts off a lot of li.
Stayin' Alive 05/17/2020 09:24
Leviticus 15 is another one of those chapters that fundamentalists pretend doesn't exist. We get that the priestly rituals detailed in Leviticus ended with the destruction of the second temple. Rather odd, if they were so important to God, that he lost interest at that point. (We'll get to more on that next week.) But at least it's proffered as an explanation. Nothing happened to cancel this out, however. The part at the end about menstruation orthodox Jews still pay partial attention to. 15. The. Lord. said to Moses and Aaron,. 2 “Say to the people of Israel, When any man has a discharge from his body, his discharge is unclean. 3 And this is the law of his uncleanness for a discharge: whether his body runs with his discharge, or his body is st.
Stayin' Alive 05/15/2020 11:38
I just finished reading Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed by Jared Diamond. I will say first that he is an extremely erudite and compelling thinker and writer. You will learn a lot from him. He discusses among other cases the Easter Islanders -- Rapa Nui in the indigenous language, the Greenland Norse, the Anasazi, and the Maya. These were all societies that endured for at least a few hundred years, then either disappeared completely or underwent a dramatic contraction in population and prosperity. Other societies that faced existential challenges managed to overcome them. He is interested in what makes the difference. In the case of Rapa Nui the story is uncomplicated by external factors such as invaders, loss of essential
Stayin' Alive 05/13/2020 11:34
. He isn't the first to note that the Administration has no plan whatsoever to deal with the second greatest crisis in our history. The individual occupying the office of president does not care on whit for any human being, or for that matter any animal, vegetable, or entity other than himself. And he is too stupid, intellectually lazy, and unreflective even to do himself any good. As Klein correctly explains:. We are used to policy debates revolving around whether the administration has chosen the right or wrong plan. You could imagine that being the case here. There are, at this point, from and , and , and . They differ in important, controversial ways. There are proposals that go all-in on mass testing. There are others that imagine a vas.
Stayin' Alive 05/11/2020 12:04
There is always a certain amount of slop in attribution of causes of death. Actually those annual influenza death rates that are talked about so much are estimates, because in ordinary times most people with respiratory infections aren't lab tested to confirm the pathogen. Death certificates might just say pneumonia. But enough tests are done to be able to extrapolate. Covid-19 is different in that people who present at the hospital with serious symptoms are tested, so a much higher proportion of deaths are laboratory confirmed. However, some states are only reporting laboratory confirmed deaths, and people who die at home are not usually tested and many of those deaths don't make it into the official counts. That's why every real expert be.
Stayin' Alive 05/11/2020 08:48
It is very puzzling how many reporters, commentators and politicians don't seem to get the basic idea that an epidemic has a temporal dimension. They will write something to the effect that a policy failure has resulted in the death of 60,000 Americans, and by the time the piece is published the number is 66,000. The front page of the New York Times today says that nearly 80,000 Americans have died, but as I write this at 8:40 AM the officially reported number is 80,678 and by the time you read this it will be more. The most bizarre use of this elimination of the dimension of time was back when people were saying things like 40,000 people die in traffic accidents every year and that's how many have died of Covid-19 but we don't shut down tr.
Stayin' Alive 05/10/2020 08:40
Today's excerpt is fairly short, which gives me an opportunity to say something about the origin of the Tanakh, and particularly the Torah/Pentateuch. The Torah is thought to have first been compiled around 600 BC, or perhaps considerably later. However, no documents anywhere near that old have survived. The text which is the basis of all modern Torahs and Christian Bibles is the so-called Masoretic text, which dates to around 600 AD but the oldest extant copies were made in the 9th Century. A somewhat older source is a Greek translation called the Septuagint, which differs in some mostly minor ways. The so-called Dead Sea scrolls, dating from around 200 BC to 100 AD, contain fragments of the Tanakh. These also differ in some respects from
Stayin' Alive 05/08/2020 10:15
or at least making a responsible effort. Several Republican governors are easing restrictions even though the rate of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths is still increasing in their states. And they're doing it with what seems not just a lack of judicious thought, but outright perversity, as in Georgia where the first businesses allowed to open included massage and tattoo parlors, followed in a few days by bars and restaurants. We'll see where that gets them in three or four weeks. Meanwhile, Connecticut was one of the hardest hit states, because of its proximity to the initial severe outbreak in the eastern New York suburbs. People in Fairfield County take the same train to work in Manhattan as people in New Rochelle, and as a result
Stayin' Alive 05/06/2020 11:05
In public health, we understand that commonplace assertions to the effect that human life is infinitely precious, or you can't put a price on human life, just don't work. Nobody treats human life as priceless, especially people who are inclined to say that sort of thing. Each of us personally takes risks such as riding in a car or climbing a ladder every day. Some people smoke tobacco, some people don't wash their hands after they handle raw meat. Some people work in dangerous occupations. And obviously we don't structure public policy around the proposition that human life is priceless. We don't provide affordable universal health care, to begin with. We allow the air to be polluted -- even more than before under the present administration.
Stayin' Alive 05/05/2020 11:24
No doubt you have heard tell of the . I don't think of this as a solid prediction, there are too many unknowns, but the basic point is that Republican governors are moving to lift mitigation measures even as the daily rates of new cases and deaths in their states are rising . The appearance that the epidemic has at least leveled off nationally is entirely deceptive. . New outbreaks are occurring even in rural counties that hadn't seen any cases until recently. These governors are engaging in the same magical thinking their Great Orange Eminence is known for. It will just magically go away. In case you haven't done the math 3,000 deaths a day is more than 1 million deaths in a year. Sure, it's a big country. You probably won't be one of them.

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