Who to trust?
New England Journal of Medicine
The New England Journal of Medicine for the first time in 208 years steps into politics with an editorial signed by all of the journal’s editors:
With no good options to combat a novel pathogen, countries were forced to make hard choices about how to respond. Here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.
When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs.
This follows Scientific America endorsing someone for President for the first time in it’s 187 years:
The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment.
The Washington Post has an article projecting what might happen with the Corona virus.
This graph is not infections but rather how many critical-care beds are needed per 100,000 people.
The surprising thing is the timeline. Assuming we do everything there’s a really big peak in September.
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.
The best info I’ve seen so far about Coronavirus is at ourworldindata.org.
The section on fatalities by age in this section is particularly interesting. I am surprised at the low fatality rate for children which is good news.
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
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
- Planned time to occupy
- Future rental rates
- Housing market expected increases
- Maintenance fees
It produces a number like:
If you can rent a similar
home for less than …
… then renting is better.
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.
From here is this great history of science fiction in poster form. So many fond memories: “Cities in Flight”, “The World of Null A”, “Stranger in a Strange Land”, “Dune”, …
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.
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.