Great Advice on What NOT to Say in 2020

Wed 23 Sep 2020 Leave a comment
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When you tell people in 2020 to be kind like Steve Jobs, or any other towering figure from the olden times, you’re telling them to pursue their own wealth and reputation at the expense of everyone else’s.

It’s 2020, the year of the beast. Maybe we should stop idolizing the people who got us into this mess.

Things You Probably Shouldn’t Say in 2020 (Or Ever, Really) by Jessica Wildfire

Categories: Experience, Opinion, Society, Wisdom Tags: ,

Infected College Students Sent Home

Wed 09 Sep 2020 Leave a comment
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“In recent weeks, as students have returned to campus, thousands have become infected. And some colleges have responded by sending students home, including those known to have the virus …

These decisions to scatter students — rather than quarantine them on campus — have led to widespread criticism. ‘It’s the worst thing you could do,’ Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s leading infectious-disease expert, said on NBC. ‘When you send them home, particularly when you’re dealing with a university where people come from multiple different locations, you could be seeding the different places with infection.’ …

Susan Dynarski, a University of Michigan economist, wrote on Twitter that ‘unloading students onto home communities‘ was “deeply unethical.’

There are no easy answers for colleges, because creating on-campus quarantines brings its own challenges. At the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, one student who tested positive — Brianna Hayes — said that no employee checked on her during her week in isolation. ‘Feverish and exhausted from the virus, she made four trips up and down staircases to move her bedding and other belongings to her isolation room,’ The Times’s Natasha Singer writes, in a story about campus quarantines.

Still, many experts say that the colleges that chose to reopen their campuses despite the risks, often for financial reasons, have a moral responsibility to do better. ‘Universities are not taking responsibility for the risks they are creating,’ Sarah Cobey, an epidemiologist at the University of Chicago, said.

— The New York Times Morning Briefing

Scientists See Signs of Lasting Immunity to Covid-19, Even After Mild Infections

Mon 17 Aug 2020 Leave a comment

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“Scientists who have been monitoring immune responses to the virus are now starting to see encouraging signs of strong, lasting immunity, even in people who developed only mild symptoms of Covid-19, a flurry of new studies suggests. Disease-fighting antibodies, as well as immune cells called B cells and T cells that are capable of recognizing the virus, appear to persist months after infections have resolved — an encouraging echo of the body’s enduring response to other viruses.”

Scientists See Signs of Lasting Immunity to Covid-19, Even After Mild Infections, The New York Times

Is Herd Immunity Closer Than We Thought?

Mon 17 Aug 2020 Leave a comment

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“In the early days of the crisis, scientists estimated that perhaps 70 percent of the population would need to be immune in this way to be free from large outbreaks. But over the past few weeks, more than a dozen scientists told me they now felt comfortable saying that herd immunity probably lies from 45 percent to 50 percent.

If they’re right, then we may be a lot closer to turning back this virus than we initially thought.

It may also mean that pockets of New York City, London, Mumbai and other cities may already have reached the threshold, and may be spared a devastating second wave.

The initial calculations into herd immunity assumed that everyone in a community was equally susceptible to the virus and mixed randomly with everyone else.

The new estimates are the product of more sophisticated statistical modeling. When scientists factor in variations in density, demographics and socialization patterns, the estimated threshold for herd immunity falls.

In some clinics in hard-hit Brooklyn neighborhoods, up to 80 percent of people who were tested at the beginning of the summer had antibodies for the virus. Over the past eight weeks, fewer than 1 percent of people tested at those same neighborhood clinics have had the virus.”

— The New York Times Morning Briefing

Not Global Warming, Climate Cancer

Thu 06 Aug 2020 Leave a comment

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People aren’t just ignorant. We’re bad at messaging.

The problem was never just warming — it was about a disruption in the normal, habitable range of our planet’s climate. Or, as [author and motivational speaker Simon] Sinek says, the problem isn’t global warming, it’s climate cancer.

We need to communicate exactly what the problem is in a way that people will immediately understand and emotionally feel. People get cancer. They understand the concept. They feel the need to act. And they understand what almost always happens to a cancer patient when they fail to act: they die …

Instead of telling people that we need to save someone or something else [e.g. “the earth, animals, some low-lying cities”], we need to warn people that they and their families are in danger. They need to know and feel the fear that failing to act will have on their own lives and those whom they love …

50 years is a long time. And, in addition to being selfish, we’re finite minded creatures. We like to see the results of the sacrifices we’re making. And we want to see them much sooner than 50 years from now …

People are overwhelmed with pressing, personal concerns. So lowering some random data point that affects something years into the future is always going to be pretty low on their list of priorities. We need to see and understand the difference we’re making in more immediate terms

If you made a product you were sure was great and it didn’t end up selling at all, would you blame the consumers who didn’t buy it? Or would you step back and take a long look at your marketing strategy?”

Simon Sinek Says We Got Global Warming Wrong, Medium

Focusing on Racial, Religious, and Nationalist Grievance and Undermining Democracy Itself

Thu 06 Aug 2020 Leave a comment


Caleb Smith; Office of the Speaker of the House / Public domain

“When Mitt Romney told a room of [Republican] donors during the 2012 election that there were ’47 percent of the people who will vote for the president [Obama] no matter what’ because they ‘believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it,’ even though they ‘pay no income tax,’ he was describing the conservative dilemma. ‘Our message of low taxes doesn’t connect,’ he said, a bit sadly.

… But slicing the electorate by income tax burden only makes sense if you’re wealthy enough for income taxes to be your primary economic irritant. That’s not true for most people. Romney’s 53 percent versus 47 percent split was a gentle rendering of an economy where the rich were siphoning off startling quantities of wealth.

Occupy Wall Street’s rallying cry — ‘We are the 99%!’ — framed the math behind the conservative dilemma more directly: How do you keep winning elections and cutting taxes for the rich in a (putative) democracy where the top 1 percent went from 11 percent of national income in 1980 to 20 percent in 2016 … How do you keep your party from being buried by the 99 percent banding together to vote that income share back into their own pockets?

In their new book, Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality, political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson offer three possible answers. [1] You can cease being a party built around tax cuts for the rich and try to develop an economic agenda that will appeal to the middle class. [2] You can try to change the political topic, centering politics on racial, religious, and nationalist grievance. [3] Or you can try to undermine democracy itself.

Despite endless calls for the GOP to choose door No. 1 — and poll after poll showing their voting base desperate for leaders who would represent their economic interests while reflecting their cultural grievances — Republican elites have refused.

How inequality is changing the Republican Party — and breaking American politics, Vox

A Cheap DIY Air Filter to Fight COVID

Thu 06 Aug 2020 Leave a comment

white exhaust fan hanged

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“‘This is not an air purifier and I would not recommend estimating CADR. This is a high efficiency filter on a box fan,’ [Jim Rosenthal, CEO of Tex-Air Filters] says.

This isn’t science yet. These aren’t peer-reviewed studies. This hasn’t been tested under ideal conditions multiple times. No one has run these stats. Caveat experimenter. Still, though—seems worth it. Right? ‘Sure, absolutely. It’s an air purifier. It’s not a HEPA air purifier, but it’s a reasonably good air purifier,’ Rosenthal says. “If that’s the only option, I’d rather see people do that than have nothing.”

Keep in mind, this is all with a basic filter literally rubber-banded to the most basic fan. It seems likely that someone could enhance the effect.”

Could a Janky, Jury-Rigged Air Purifier Help Fight Covid-19?, Wired

Another Vaccine Shows Promise

Wed 05 Aug 2020 Leave a comment

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“Novavax, which received $1.6 billion from the U.S. government to produce a coronavirus vaccine, announced encouraging results in two preliminary studies: In one, volunteers produced a high level of antibodies without dangerous side effects; in the other, the vaccine strongly protected monkeys from infections.

While some other vaccine candidates are further along with clinical trials, Novavax’s stands out because it is protein-based — the same proven technology used for existing vaccines against infections like shingles.”

— The New York Times Morning Briefing

“It is impossible to be virtuous and silent in the face of injustice.”

Mon 03 Aug 2020 Leave a comment

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“There isn’t a minute in [the new WWII movie] Greyhound when [Tom] Hanks’ character isn’t virtue signaling, the popular right-wing political insult that men throw at men who publicly express upright beliefs.

Captain Krause is a leader of men and to lead men, to truly lead them, a leader must be able to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong. They must then live by those values. That’s an inconvenient standard for many men today, specifically those who lurk online.

Instead, they mock those who are compassionate. Demands of justice are booed. They wag a finger at the merciful and whine about ‘virtue signaling.’ It’s a blunt rhetorical device but an effective one. No one wants to be smug or self-righteous, especially those who are neither. The result is some men are shamed into silence by their peers.

A goody-goody can be insufferable, but they’re preferable to cowards and assholes.

There are rare times in history when principles and power align. This not one of those times in history. The men who accuse others of virtue signaling are admitting they have chosen politics over all else. They will hurt other people if it earns them, or their allies, a crumb of power or influence.

Those same dudes will quibble that there’s a difference being virtuous and virtue signaling. There isn’t. It is impossible to be virtuous and silent in the face of injustice. They know they’re wrong but they argue anyway.”

The Old-Fashioned Virtue Signaling Of Tom Hanks by John DeVore

Happy Birthday, Geddy Lee of Rush!

Wed 29 Jul 2020 Leave a comment

20121128 Rush - Geddy 4!

Photo by Doug Wilson.  That’s me, eh?  Copyright © 2012.  All rights reserved, eh?

Born July 29, 1953 in Willowdale, (North York) Toronto, Ontario, Gary Lee Weinrib (known professionally as Geddy Lee) is best known as the lead vocalist, bassist, and keyboardist for the Canadian rock group Rush.

Happy Birthday, Ged!!!  Thank you for your inspirational example and for all the amazing music over the last 40 years.

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