News

Coronavirus: why quarantine?

The article in OurWorldInData.org has this (symbolic) diagram that shows why it’s important to slow down the rate of infection. It’s not to decrease the number of people infected but rather to keep the healthcare system from being overwhelmed and so causing more deaths.

The horizontal line represents the theoretical capacity of the healthcare system.

Flattening the curve

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News

Coffee rulz!

11UP Health facebookJumbo

When I was a kid, my parents refused to let me drink coffee because they believed it would “stunt my growth.” It turns out, of course, that this is a myth. Studies have failed, again and again, to show that coffee or caffeine consumption are related to reduced bone mass or how tall people are.
Coffee has long had a reputation as being unhealthy. But in almost every single respect that reputation is backward. The potential health benefits are surprisingly large.

Good news!  Another vice becomes a virtue.  A survey of various studies and meta-studies suggest coffee (in it’s unadulterated, non-sugary, non-high-caloric form, e.g. black coffee) is good for you.
The article mentions some “coffee” drinks that are bad for you.  Like the  Large Dunkin’ Donuts frozen caramel coffee Coolatta (670 calories, 8 grams of fat, 144 grams of carbs).  A real cup of coffee has 5 calories.
This is all good news as I just bought a [amazon text=coffee grinder&asin=B00DS4767A] and [amazon text=maker&asin=B00O9FO1HK].
Or as I like to paraphrase Talleyrand

Black as the night, hot as hell; pure as an angel, bitter as love

Source: More Consensus on Coffee’s Benefits Than You Might Think

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News, NYC

Buy or Rent?

Is it better to rent or buy?

The NY Times has a great interactive calculator for evaluating the trade-offs of buying vs. renting. It looks to cover everything:

  • House Price
  • Interest rates
  • Length of mortgage
  • Downpayment
  • Planned time to occupy
  • Future rental rates
  • Housing market expected increases
  • Taxes
  • Maintenance fees

It produces a number like:

If you can rent a similar
home for less than …
$961 PER
MONTH
… then renting is better.

Is It Better to Rent or Buy NYTimes com

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News

Investing my money

Here’s some reinforcement from The Big Picture about why I have trouble putting money in the stock market:
Recall what Charles Ellis said when he was overseeing the $15-billion endowment fund at Yale University:

Watch a pro football game, and it’s obvious the guys on the field are far faster, stronger and more willing to bear and inflict pain than you are. Surely you would say, ‘I don’t want to play against those guys!’
Well, 90% of stock market volume is done by institutions, and half of that is done by the world’s 50 largest investment firms, deeply committed, vastly well prepared – the smartest sons of bitches in the world working their tails off all day long. You know what? I don’t want to play against those guys either.

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News, Technology

Iranian Hackers Suspected in Recent Security Breach

Looks like Iranian Hackers Suspected in Recent Security Breach are either trying to get back for Stuxnet and more on Stuxnet. More likely it was for a man-in-the-middle attack to install viruses or trojan horse by posing as the actual company and uploading a compromised version of the software. The compromised software could make it easier to monitor social networking sites, etc.

Comodo, a digital certificate authority and security software maker, said on Wednesday that it unwittingly issued fraudulent digital certificates for Web sites operated by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Skype and Mozilla. Digital certificates are used to vouch for the authenticity of a site owner and facilitate encrypted communications between sites and their users. Comodo revoked all of the certificates immediately upon discovery of the incident and notified the site owners, the major browser makers and relevant government authorities, it said.

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News, Politics

Death’s in Guantanamo

In the Vietnam war, 144 POWs died. According to documents released to the ACLU there were 190 deaths of detainees in the War on Terror (not all at Guantanamo).

… a detainee was killed by an unnamed sergeant who walked into a room
where the detainee was lying wounded “and assaulted him … then shot
him twice thus killing him,” one of the investigating documents says.
The sergeant then instructed the other soldiers present to lie about the incident.
Later, the document says an unnamed corporal then shot the deceased
detainee in the head after finding his corpse.

It’s horrific that for decades we thought of the treatment of POWs in Vietnam as the epitome of brutality but more prisoner’s died in our custody than in Vietnamese custody!
The defense department defends it as not being as bad as it sounds and that people have been convicted of murder:

The Defense Department disputes the allegations, saying it
takes detainee treatment seriously.

Some history:

Guantanomo

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