Thursday, November 25th, 2021
Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021
This piece by Sarah Zhang in The Atlantic articulates what I’ve been feeling the last few months: we don’t know what to do next re Covid.
On the ground, the U.S. is now running an uncontrolled experiment with every strategy all at once. COVID-19 policies differ wildly by state, county, university, workplace, and school district. And because of polarization, they have also settled into the most illogical pattern possible: The least vaccinated communities have some of the laxest restrictions, while highly vaccinated communities—which is to say those most protected from COVID-19—tend to have some of the most aggressive measures aimed at driving down cases. “We’re sleepwalking into policy because we’re not setting goals,” says Joseph Allen, a Harvard professor of public health. We will never get the risk of COVID-19 down to absolute zero, and we need to define a level of risk we can live with.
Monday, October 11th, 2021
National treasure David Mitchell knocks it out the park with his (SPOILER WARNING) review of No Time to Die.
The main spoiler is: they’ve spoiled it. The producers of No Time to Die have spoiled Bond – either a bit or totally, only time will tell.
Another darn piece that expresses perfectly what I was thinking and that I didn’t write myself. This is one where I feel: no matter what, I couldn’t have done it quite this well, this straightforwardly.
Thursday, September 30th, 2021
More Stanford student bikers are observed wearing masks than helmets. OK now it’s just a pandemic of idiocy.
Also today I noted a pic of Israel’s foreign minister Yair Lapid stepping out of an aircraft at Bahrain’s airport. He was alone on the middle steps, his aides up top at the aircraft doors, the welcoming committee on the tarmac, yet he was masked. Covid theater undermines our public confidence in following sensible guidelines when they are actually sensible and salutary.
Tuesday, September 28th, 2021
Graffiti at Melbourne IKEA: NO JEW JAB FOR OZ, as reported by The Algemeiner. People can be so demented.
Wednesday, August 25th, 2021
To understand post-vaccination Covid, read “Israeli data: How can efficacy vs. severe disease be strong when 60% of hospitalized are vaccinated?” by Jeffrey Morris, a statistical data scientist at the University of Pennsylvania. [via Marginal Revolution]
Monday, August 2nd, 2021
Scuzzball extraordinaire Piers Corbyn is caught on camera accepting a bribe from a bogus AstraZeneca investor with a request to focus his very righteous ire on Pfizer and Moderna. Awesome!
Sunday, April 11th, 2021
Thursday, April 1st, 2021
In his Telegraph column, the invaluable Ambrose Evans-Pritchard lays it out that the UK has actually handled Covid pretty well:
We can see in hindsight that the UK began the war on Covid much as it has begun almost every major war over recent centuries: half asleep, in utter shambles, with obsolete contingency plans. The first wave had echoes of the Norway campaign in 1940, or the great retreat of the British Expeditionary Force in August 1914. It always seems to take time for Britons to pull themselves together. Ultimately they do. By the end of the First World War, the British armed forces were arguably the best-run logistical machine on the planet.
Monday, February 15th, 2021
Meaningless repetition of another person’s spoken words as a symptom of psychiatric disorder
The politicians are engaged in endless echolalia. The governor here (cum-Secretary of Commerce) actually had the _chutzpah_ to say, "I know you're all unhappy with the speed of vaccination, but our strategy is working."
Tuesday, January 19th, 2021
Tuesday, January 5th, 2021
From the CDC, US vaccination numbers. So far the state that’s done best is South Dakota at 3%.
Friday, January 1st, 2021
2020, the good news, by Doron Peskin at Israel’s Calcalist
Friday, December 11th, 2020
I’ve been surprised and disappointed by just how many people are hesitant to take up the COVID-19 vaccines now coming online. In this concerned Nautilus article “How to Build Trust in Covid-19 Vaccines”, the authors take on the issue with sober good sense, eg:
Mandatory vaccination policies should be avoided because they could backfire. More acceptable would be tying vaccination status to travel or access to public places.
Sunday, November 22nd, 2020
A close-to-the-ground view of the current pandemic response in Southern California. Mentions of food insecurity, and there’s color in the comments.
Sunday, November 1st, 2020
“Because the Republic is at stake”: David Goldman for Trump. Allow me to also attest: as president, Donald Trump has passed George Gilder’s Israel test with colors so stratospheric it almost makes one cynical about cynicism.
Wednesday, September 30th, 2020
Tuesday, September 8th, 2020
Sunday, August 30th, 2020
A solitary voice suggesting Vitamin D, Matt Ridley in The Spectator:
The bottom line is that an elderly, overweight, dark-skinned person living in the north of England, in March, and sheltering indoors most of the time is almost certain to be significantly vitamin D deficient. If not taking supplements, he or she should be anyway, regardless of the protective effect against the Covid virus. Given that it might be helpful against the virus, should not this advice now be shouted from the rooftops?
I do believe that the Western media — and therefore Western society in general — is actively uninterested in a biological reason for why darker-skinned people are suffering more from the novel coronavirus; such a materialistic and addressable cause does not fit the fashionable angle of systemic racism. So who suffers?
Thursday, August 6th, 2020
The Daily Mail has 8:38 minutes of police bodycam footage of the George Floyd arrest.
Given what this American Spectator article contains — the transcript of the exchange between George Floyd and the arresting policemen before he was even on the ground and the toxicology report stating George Floyd’s death was in all likelihood due to an overdose — the shit gonna hit the fan whether the courts find police innocent or guilty.
On Vitamin D and Covid-19 [via Marginal Revolution]. If there’s any truth in the conclusion here — that vitamin D deficiency worsens Covid-19 deadliness by an order of magnitude — then surely it is criminally negligent to not be running public awareness campaigns encouraging people to take vitamin D supplements — especially for darker-skinned citizens, adapted to block out sunlight and consequently vitamin D, and especially in sunlight-challenged locales.
Saturday, May 30th, 2020
The editor of Spiked castigates the media for misreporting facts on Dominic Cummings’ lockdown behavior. But Brendan O’Neill’s focus on possibly disingenuous facts misses the larger disheartening truth.
Which is that a senior head needs to roll for the UK Government’s humiliating and deadly botching of its initial response to the pandemic. (That many of the leaders themselves contracted the disease is emblematic of this failure.)
Since elections will not be held for years, the next best thing to the PM’s head is that of his high-profile advisor. And this is fitting: as the great visionary and strategist, Cummings should have been the one who got the PM to take the pandemic seriously in good time.
So the details of Cummings’ hypocritical behaviours under lockdown are merely the pretext for some just humiliation for him and this Government. His firing would be the catharsis that marks entry into the next phase of this pandemic; indeed these are political norms. Instead however we slouch further into uncharted territory — political as well as medical and economic.
Thursday, May 21st, 2020
SARS-CoV-2 apparently interferes with the body’s one-two process of knocking out a virus, reports Stat News on discoveries made by Benjamin tenOever of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The virus blocks the production of interferons by infected cells, which slows down viral replication. But the signal to bring in killer cells goes unabated. The result is an arms race of virus and inflammatory cytokines within the lungs. Ingestion of interferons could redress this problem.
Monday, May 18th, 2020
Saturday, April 25th, 2020
The biggest balagan ever, the USA’s flailing then failing pandemic response:
By the time the virus broke on American shores, the problem was not that the United States didn’t have a single plan for an international pandemic. The problem was it had dozens of plans, totaling thousands of pages, issued by different agencies and by different administrations, apparently with little thought to how they would be combined or who would implement them.
Thursday, April 23rd, 2020
Sunday, April 19th, 2020
The eleven days in question are 12th–23rd March. Eleven days in which the [UK] government decided to give up with contact tracing and do, well, nothing. Mass gatherings were still allowed (because “science”). Concerts and racing and Champions’ League football. Pubs. Public transport. Everything. The over-70s, it must be conceded, were advised to avoid cruises.
Friday, April 17th, 2020
A brief survey of Israeli exit strategies for coronavirus lockdown, including the 5/2 and the alternate week plans.
Forbes lists Israel as the #1 safest country from the Wuhan. Germany then South Korea are next. The USA and UK aren’t even in the top 40.
Monday, April 13th, 2020
Two useful data visualization resources on Covid-19 (AKA the Kung Flu, lest we forget):
Wednesday, April 8th, 2020
In 2006, Schwarzenegger as Governor of California built up a pandemic stockpile in the wake of avian flu that Jerry Brown subsequently sold off for pennies on the dollar. The initial cost was $200m, the amount saved annually by eliminating the program $6m. Which shows the issue of unpreparedness is totally bipartisan and systemic; indeed it is civiliizational.
Thursday, April 2nd, 2020
Bret writes a very nice one about his great Mum during these terrible days of Covid-19.
Humane, authoritative video by Dr Jeffrey VanWingen, a family physician in Grand Rapids, Michigan on sterilizing groceries.
Complete with photos, the fucking Chinese wet market is back in business. From the Daily Mail article: “The only difference is that security guards try to stop anyone taking pictures.” So I am finally posting this thought for posterity: #nukeWuhan.
Wednesday, April 1st, 2020
Devi Sridha, Chair of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, had been trying to sound the alarm about the British herd-immunity approach with pieces such as “Britain had a head start on Covid-19, but our leaders squandered it”.
Tuesday, March 31st, 2020
In times of infectious airborne disease, the burden of proof shouldn’t on wearing a mask, it should be on not wearing one. Scott Alexander at Slate Star Codex reviews the scientific literature on mask-wearing.
Sunday, March 29th, 2020
Andrew McCarthy painstakingly reviews the confusion in establishing the Covid-19 fatality rate.
Saturday, March 28th, 2020
Tuesday, March 24th, 2020
Sunday, March 22nd, 2020
Tim Ferris disseminates instructions for making a single medical ventilator work for multiple patients.