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Shermann

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Member since: Sat Feb 22, 2020, 12:55 PM
Number of posts: 3,303

Journal Archives

I agree that gifts should not be used to unduly influence the political process

The Senate and House Ethics Committee allows gifts of less than $50 to congressional employees.

So set the limit on the allowable value of gifts to those waiting in line to vote in Georgia at $50. If it's good enough for Congress, it's good enough for Georgians.

Bottles of water and ham sandwiches shouldn't be a problem.

Expensive bottles of wine and caviar are out.

The media seems to have stopped talking about CV-19 R-naught values

Early on it was estimated that CV-19 had a R-naught value of 6, which is very high “spreadability” score.

Now the media talks about these strains being some percentage more contagious, but the assertions lack supporting data or the rigor of R-naught values.

So we're getting less precise in characterizing mathematically how the pandemic is progressing.

The media seems to have stopped talking about therapeutics as well. What's going on on that front? Even with vaccines, we're still going to need therapeutics. It's all very odd.

Another red state contradiction

So North Carolina's famous House Bill 2 of 2016 was basically a state law designed to prevent local laws which would allow people to decide for themselves which bathrooms to use. North Carolina concluded that people could not be trusted to make these decisions appropriately and discreetly, and this manufactured threat rose to the level of requiring legislation (despite any significant evidence to that effect).

Fast forward to 2021. Texas has eliminated their mask mandate on the grounds that people CAN be trusted to do the right thing here without the government. This is despite a national emergency and mounds of evidence showing anti-maskers putting others at significant risk.

Can anybody straighten out this pretzel logic for me?

Will there be a fourth COVID-19 surge?

For the purpose of this poll I'll define a fourth surge as daily case counts in the US rising above 150,000 in 2021 (roughly twice where they are right now and half of the previous peak)

PSA: Don't take Otezla if you are allergic to Otezla!

The Otezla ads that loop on CNN relentlessly are a nuisance.

Why warn people not to take it if they are allergic to it? There's an obvious paradox there. Presumably their attorneys saw fit to build that escape hatch in there.

You can't sue us because of your severe allergic reaction, we had a warning about that!

The Republicans could use a similarly worded paradoxical disclaimer: Don't vote for any politicians who are going to break all their campaign promises! See now it's your fault.

Israel versus Sweden

So the MSM routinely points to Israel as the model country for managing the pandemic.

Sweden was the "naughty" country who touted herd immunity and held out resisting shutdowns the longest.

They have a similar population size, and similar case counts (with Israel actually having 100,000 more).

So what's up with that?

Propane preparedness

So one small silver lining of a disaster like the one in Texas is that people (and governments) in other regions can monitor the situation and apply lessons learned to their own emergency preparedness.

I saw long "propane lines" on the news coverage and realized I wouldn't know how to employ propane as a survival resource. The poor souls standing in the endless lines all had the standard (and heavy) 20 pound LP tanks. Are these being used in generators? I wouldn't think that many people have generators, let alone dual fuel versions that take propane. Are they using the propane for portable indoor propane heaters? I realize those are safe, but most of them are designed for the smaller 1 pound tanks and I don't believe it's common to have those either. Personally I'd be nervous running an indoor heater off a 20 pound tank.

What am I missing? I do have some butane supplies for cooking in my preps. I do have a 20 pound LP tank for the grill and that's all it's for. Surely these people aren't all just grilling hamburgers and hotdogs? I admit to my ignorance here.

Republicans aren't good with computer simulations

There are many branches of science which are dependent upon computer simulations due to the complexities involved or difficulties in doing direct measurements or experiments.

The best example is climate models. You can't run large scale experiments on the Earth's atmosphere, so you have to build these models. There are many different types of these, from the oceans to the atmosphere, all pulled together in Earth System Models (ESM). Climate deniers (largely Republicans) discount them all. Neither they nor the oil companies bother building their own.

On a related note, there are models of Peak Oil which are all snickered at by Republicans. I liken this to frat boys drinking at a keg party thinking the keg can never run dry. It's all good times...until PPPPPFFFERRTTPFEEFFFSSSS

Another example is the COVID-19 models. Republicans were quick to brush off the warnings emanating from them last Spring and cling to comparisons with the flu.

Then you have election polls. These are based on raw polling data with a lot of computer science heuristics weighing the data and providing predictions. Despite clear indicators of a Biden victory, these predictions were brushed off (not to mention the later brazen allegations of a stolen election in the face of that).

Then you have modeling of economies. Some of this insight is garnered from MMORPG player economies. Game companies learned very quickly that strong controls must be in place on the game assets to avoid massive imbalances of wealth and other unfair advantages. Republicans laugh this off as silly computer games.

The Big Bang! It's really hard to do direct measurements on that. Republicans are largely going with an alternate creation theory. You have your beliefs that you can't prove with absolute certainty, and we have our beliefs that we can't prove with absolute certainty. So it's a push, right?

What's the deal, Pubs? I can't think of a single subject or risk to society Republicans are spearheading with rigorous modeling work which the Democrats are blowing off.

MAGA Troll

This definition probably belongs in the Urban Dictionary, but I'll propose it here.

MAGA Troll

A MAGA Troll is someone who engages in any or all of the following:

1) Pitting two different factions against one another: The MAGA Troll hopes to maximize a manufactured conflict in order to create opportunities to elevate their status. While the MAGA Troll overtly aligns themselves with one side, they are in fact covertly exploiting both sides as pawns.

2) Disrupting productive conversation with unproductive conversation: The MAGA Troll will disrupt intelligent conversations with whataboutisms, pettifogging, distraction, and flooding the zone with shit ala Steve Bannon. Unlike other types of trolling which are more obvious, this is often done under the guise of pseudo-intellectualism.

3) Reverse Psychological Projection: MAGA Trolls often employ the Pee-wee Herman retort of "I know you are but what am I???". Skilled MAGA Trolls will instead proactively accuse their opponents of having their own weaknesses in an effort to deweaponize them. This led to the apt use of the term "psychological projection" to describe this behavior. In an absurd attempt to de-weaponize THAT term, MAGA Trolls now simply accuse the other side of psychologically projecting first (see pseudo-intellectualism above).

Holiday COVID-19 surge?

So I've been hearing a lot about the holiday COVID-19 surge which is to blame for the recent (third?) wave in cases and deaths in the US and the rest of the world. There's only one problem with that hypothesis. The data doesn't seem to back it up. If you look at the chart of active cases on JHU, we entered exponential growth in early September, much earlier than the holiday season. This growth continued all the way through early January. If anything, the rate of exponential growth (R-naught value) dropped off slightly in mid-November.

While there certainly WAS a holiday COVID-19 surge, this seems to be a poor singular explanation for the most recent wave.

The MSM doesn't seem to address this oscillation of waves that we see. Occasionally you'll hear that "people are acting more responsibly now" or something like that. That is statically difficult to accept at this macro level.

The simulations that I've looked at don't seem to show or explain these waves either. So what exactly is going on? It is unlikely that the vaccine could have caused this dramatic cresting that we see already.
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