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Omicron

I was supposed to be in Frankfurt by now, but my winter break—the first in three years—has been cancelled (thanks, Omicron!) and I'm still at home.

Probably very few of you track Nicola Sturgeon's weekly COVID briefings to the Scottish Parliament, but I find them very useful—unlike Boris Johnson there's zero bullshit and she seems to be listening to the scientists.

Today's briefing was palpably anxious. Some key points:

  • 99 confirmed Omicron cases in Scotland (pop. 5.6 million), up 28 from yesterday

  • Omicron confirmed in 9 out of 14 health districts, community transmission highly likely

  • Doubling time appears to be 2-3 days(!) with an R number significantly higher than 2 (!!)

  • Scope for vaccine immunity escape is not yet known, although hopefully it's not huge. However, Omicron is confirmed to be more able to evade acquired natural immunity after infection by other strains—if you didn't get jabbed and think having had Beta or Delta protects, you're in for a nasty surprise

  • It's not clear how deadly it is yet, but seems to be comparable to Delta. However, it's much more contagious

  • Scottish government is advising all businesses to go back to work-from-home, everyone should mask up and socially distance in public, and everyone should take a lateral flow test before going out in public for any purpose—work, pub, shopping, meeting people

  • Scot.gov moving to review the situation daily as of 8/12, rather than weekly (hitherto)

  • And get your booster shot (or first/second shot) the instant you're eligible for it

I'm bringing this up because this is the shit that the Johnson government should be doing, and on past form will probably copy badly in about 2 weeks (by which time it'll be 5-7 doublings down the line, i.e. utterly out of control).

It has not gone unnoticed that a strain that is twice as transmissible is much deadlier than a strain with twice the immediate mortality rate, because exponential growth in the number of cases means it ends up with many more people to kill.

My current expectation is that Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid will—have already—fucked up the response to Omicron and that the English NHS will come dangerously close to (or may actually) collapse by Christmas. Scotland handled successive waves better, but will probably still have a very bad winter (our border with England is porous, as in non-existent). And we may end up back in April 2020 levels of lockdown before this is over.

1765 Comments

1:

It's not clear how deadly it is yet, but seems to be comparable to Delta. However, it's much more contagious

This is one thing where the opinions seem all over the map. I suspect it is due to lack of data. Currently in the US the government health wizards seem to feel that for any one case it is less deadly than Delta but given that it is more contagious there might be a lot more deaths from it in total going forward as more people will get it.

On a somewhat related note, has anyone done any studies of how this might change the death rates for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations and if in any one country will it make a statistical difference in terms of the total population?

2:

i'm hopeful about this variant. sure it's only 166 mostly young people in south africa we have data about, but if you look at the cases vs. deaths graph for the first time in 4 waves for them the deaths are not following the cases. it's encouraging. if it happens in europe we'll get rapid immunisation with minimal hospitalisation very quickly. it's a huge "if", but it could end up being the best thing that ever happened in all this

3:

So locally (Alberta, Canada):

Nov 29: No confirmed cases of omicron, monitoring 156 travellers https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/kenney-hinshaw-covid-19-omicron-1.6266519

Nov 30: One confirmed case of omicron https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/deena-hinshaw-covid-19-alberta-1.6268276

Dec 2: 4 confirmed cases of omicron https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-covid-19-update-1.6271671

Dec 6: 2 Alberta schools have been notified https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/2-alberta-schools-notified-after-new-cases-of-omicron-variant-confirmed-since-friday-1.6275120

Dec 7: 11 cases confirmed https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/omicron-surveillance-alberta-1.6275783

And obviously based on the fact that Alberta has the second-lowest vaccination rate of any province https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/vaccination-coverage/ (please note the NWT/Yukon are even lower but they're territories) I'm reasonably certain there's more omicron floating around than we officially know about.

Sigh. It's almost as if the last 2 years have taught us nothing. Our gov/healthcare system still hasn't officially acknowledged that COVID-19 is truly airborne (e.g. no N95 or better mandate for healthcare workers).

4:

There does seem to be a fair bit of evidence that this variant leads to less serious cases. In which case, the higher contagion could actually be helpful -- if it drives out more lethal variants.

5:

Covid-19 seems more and more like a triffid. So long as we can see it, it's not all that dangerous--compared with smallpox or black plague. When we go blind to it....

Sorry about your vacation though. That sucks.

6:

There does seem to be a fair bit of evidence that this variant leads to less serious cases. In which case, the higher contagion could actually be helpful -- if it drives out more lethal variants.

The nasty things about Covid19, as with coronaviruses in general, are: --Immunity fades fairly quickly, even to the same exact virus. Why is not clear, but any protection from this group is only temporary. The adaptive landscape the viruses face continuously drops toward "open range." The COvid19s and our immune systems are not in a Red Queen race.
--Viruses continue to mutate randomly, so non-lethal versions can become lethal again, as with the flu.

If we had long-term immunity, that might favor a Red Queen race between human immune systems and the viruses that might push the virus towards nonlethal and rapidly spreading versions, the better to get to the children and other non-immune people.

With Covid19, it may turn out that a few six-month boosts provide better and longer term immunity than 1-2 shots given close together. Hopefully. We'll find out over the next year.

If that's not the case and our immune systems always lose their antibodies to Covid19, then without continuous vaccination efforts, we slump back to the wide-open vulnerability we had in 2020. Unfortunately, I don't think that's going to select for a less lethal covid19 variant.

7:

Sorry, but you are out of date. It's ALREADY completely out of control. The reason that this isn't obvious to pretty well everyone is that the UK's (yes, UK's) testing regime is an utter shambles, and the published data reflects that; billions of public money handed to foreign organisations to do fuck-all.

Not merely have they stopped using PCR and sequencing on entry to the UK, they have done similarly to places like prisons and care homes. What's more, the test results come in erratically over several weeks (1-3, I think, but I have not analysed carefully), AND the data published by PHE is dated as if it were current but refers to the figures of nearly 3 weeks previously (19-20 days) ON TOP of the previous delay! But even the only 2-3 week old data published on December 3rd shows Omicron spreading explosively. We are probably 7 doubling times in already, starting from an unknown (at least several, possibly tens) number of primary cases. Say, 1,000 cases scattered all over the UK.

https://imgur.com/gallery/FphMSqR

However, there is some very inconclusive evidence (not just hearsay and anecdata) that it is not as lethal as delta, though we won't have any reliable data for a couple of months.

8:

My wife and I got lucky in that we went to Germany in October, crossing from Bamberg to Trier in the process. At that point we thought everything was gently easing off. We were wearing masks and having daily PCR tests.

We then did BristolCon later in that month, and everything was sensible, people at the convention wearing masks in panels and everything.

So we were pretty relaxed for Novacon 50 a fortnight later.

Which caused about ten people to get Covid, myself included, ages ranging from 50s through to 70s. Not recommended. So yeah, even if it were just (just?) delta, it'd be time to lockdown again. But a variant that seems much more infectious? Definitely.

9:

Unfortunately, I don't think that's going to select for a less lethal covid19 variant.

Is there an example of a disease that evolved to be more lethal?

10:

Is there an example of a disease that evolved to be more lethal?

Um, most of the lethal ones? They didn't spin out of the ether, they jumped into humans from somewhere else, then mutated to spread. Certainly Spanish flu and Covid19 became more lethal as they went along.

The thing to remember about viruses is they don't care about lethality. They don't care about anything. They're just imperfect replicators that randomly walk across a changing selective landscape by their trillions, and we deal with the ones that win whatever jackpots are to be had. While it's thought that some viruses have become less lethal as they went along, the evidence for this is fairly scant, so far as I know.

That's why I compared Covid19 to a triffid. When it sneaks up on you, it's really dangerous. With sufficient effort, it's a manageable threat. But it's likely to be a chronic problem going forward, not a crisis that we go through and put behind us.

11:

Do you have a link to her briefings?

12:

Um, most of the lethal ones? They didn't spin out of the ether, they jumped into humans from somewhere else, then mutated to spread. Certainly Spanish flu and Covid19 became more lethal as they went along.

I'm sorry, I framed that badly. After it's initial burst into the human population, has any disease continued by evolving so that it's dominant form ends up being more lethal? Spanish Flu no longer kills large numbers of people and I don't believe that the Delta variant is more lethal than initial COVID.

13:

Actually, the evidence that some become less lethal is pretty good, but it's not precise, and it's unclear how much is selection of the virus and how much selection of the hosts. Also, it applies ONLY to viruses that kill a high proportion of younger people in short order, for obvious statistical reasons, so current COVID need not apply.

14:

Is there an example of a disease that evolved to be more lethal?

I believe the second wave of Spanish Flu was an example. The second wave certainly killed a lot more people, but its not clear why.

One theory is that during the war soldiers with mild cases were kept on duty in the trenches but serious cases were invalided back to large field hospitals behind the lines. In the trenches there were few opportunities to infect more than your squad mates, but back in the hospital there were lots of potential hosts. Hence the war selected for the more severe variants.

However I find that the Wikipedia section on this theory cites Malcolm Gladwell as a source, and I can't find anything else to support it.

15:

Charlie Much as it pains me, I agree re. Sturgeon on this one. She's doing exactly the right thing & ( On this subject ) there's no waffling or bullshit.

Madam boss' employers have done the sensible thing, here: "No-one to come into our main office ( London EC2 ) unless they feel they have to - everybody else PLEASE work from home!" I wonder how many others will be as sensible?

I expect a severe lockdown about Mon 27 December - and yes, the lockdown could easily be as bad as the very first one.

David L It will sweep through the unvaccinated morons & brainwashed, same as in the US & everywhere else. I just hope that those of us who are triple-jabbed will manage OK, even if we do get infected.

H I predict yearly ( maybe even 6-monthly ) adapted-booster "jabs" for the rest of the foreseeable

16:

How is it that “Sorry” makes this comment much more obnoxious-sounding than leaving it out would have, especially because the actual content is pretty informative?

17:

H I predict yearly ( maybe even 6-monthly ) adapted-booster "jabs" for the rest of the foreseeable

We don't actually know what the best vaccination regimen is, because the testing period was so short. With a great deal of luck, it might turn out that 2 shots six months or a year apart provide long-term immunity. We'll find out.

18:

There does seem to be a fair bit of evidence that this variant leads to less serious cases. In which case, the higher contagion could actually be helpful -- if it drives out more lethal variants.

Wrong.

A more contagious strain with high R number spreads exponentially faster than a less contagious but more lethal strain. Whereas the lethality scales linearly. Upshot is that a strain that's twice as lethal kills twice as many people, but a strain that's only half as lethal but 2x more contagious may spread through many times as many people in a given period, and thus ends up killing more people overall.

See also.

Finally, COVID19 infection doesn't confer lasting immunity, and acquired immunity doesn't automatically cover new/unfamiliar strains.

Remember, human intuition is a terrible guide to exponential growth, and exponential growth is what's killing us here.

19:

Does it? Sorry :-)

I am way out on the Aspergers scale, and find it very hard to understand how people who are not will react.

20:

They're live-tweeted via @theSNP every Tuesday from 2pm. Then all over the news media. Not sure there's an official website carrying it.

21:

Spanish Flu no longer kills large numbers of people

Spanish Flu is influenza, and it still kills many, many people every year. That particular strain of the H1N1 influenza A virus burned through the entire accessible population and maxed out the kill: subsequently we haven't been hit by a random remix that's as lethal and as contagious, but it's only a matter of time. Note that the 1918-20 flu strain's mechanism of lethality is to cause a cytokine storm very similar to the causative mechanism of the lung damage seen in SARS-NCoV19.

22:

I've been telling my parents in Spain to be very careful this Christmas. Here in Quebec the government claimed two days ago (could have been yesterday) that there was no community transmission, which I translated in my head as "we're not looking hard enough."

Time-to-remake seems to be getting shorter and shorter.

23:

Much as it pains me, I agree re. Sturgeon on this one.

There's a reason for her sky-high approval ratings among Scottish politicians: she's been doing these straight-talking no-bullshit reports since the beginning of the pandemic, clearly listens to scientific advice, and does her best to base public policy on the evidence.

Scotland being part of the UK she is then routinely overruled by the likes of Johnson/Hancock/Javid/Sunak -- in particular, furlough/lockdown payments are throttled by the Exchequer -- but we have overall done a bit better than the other UK regions as a result of not having totally incompetent leadership in a crisis.

I expect a severe lockdown about Mon 27 December - and yes, the lockdown could easily be as bad as the very first one.

Agreed. And many more folks dying in ambulances in hospital car parks -- or worse, asphyxiating as hospital oxygen runs out.

24:

Until it reaches saturation, when the exponential growth stops. In addition to what you say, it's not as simple as a more contagious variant will eliminate a less contagious one, as that assumes the former gives immunity to the latter. We shall have some idea in 3-4 months.

25:

Thanks very much. For some reason twitter doesn't work at all on my main browser (firefox), but I could run another and look at that.

26:

Here in Denmark (population 5.8 mil) we carry out roughly 300,000 - 400,000 tests per day where all positive tests get sequenced. The first omicron case was detected on 22nd of November. Now, just over two weeks later, we have 398 cases in total.

We have roughly 5000 positive COVID-19 cases per day, with roughly 100 being omicron on 4th of December.

Today, the health authorities have made it clear that their attempt at containment has failed. Given how new omicron is they don't have the numbers to determine if it is deadlier, but one spokesperson has likened its contagiousness to the measles.

The spread of omicron in Denmark by day of test are on page 3 in the linked pdf: https://files.ssi.dk/covid19/omikron/statusrapport/rapport-omikronvarianten-07122021-1t6o

27:

Looking at today's headlines & news ... [ C-19 + everyting else ] I think BoZo's days supposedly "in charge" are numbered. Every single thing is covered in bluster, lies & incompetence. It's as bad as Chris Grayling, but with bad jokes & buffoonery. The appalling problem is - what piece of lying shit gets to step into being PM, now? One has to remember that the MP's only get to choose ... after the tory "grassroots" make a selection. So, Patel is out & so is Grease-Smaug, but whom & how much longer will this go on for? James II & VI - the last "leader" we had who was this incompetent & disastrous - lasted approx 3 years & 10 months, so ... mid 2023?

28:

What the morrow may bring:

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-03619-8

Beyond Omicron: what’s next for COVID’s viral evolution

29:

Until it reaches saturation, when the exponential growth stops.

Except it doesn't stop if, like most coronaviruses, acquired immunity is neither comprehensive nor lasting.

In that case (as with COVID19) you potentially get an endemic disease with regular reinfection and an increasing cumulative probability of death or severe disability. Worst case, the cumulative mortality could hit 50% over 30 years, making it as deadly as the Black Death, if more drawn-out.

On my sunnier and more cheerful side, however, I see three targets in vaccine research right now:

  • longer duration of effect

  • broader spectrum of coronaviruses protected against

  • easier storage (ideally indefinitely in ordinary 2-8 degree vaccine fridges)

The first would mean we can go from six month to annual or maybe multi-annual boosters.

The second means we don't need new boosters against breakout strains, and may gain protection against relatives (eg. some cold viruses, SARS, MERS).

The third means it's far easier to vaccinate the developing world.

... And I think there's commercial demand (ie. profits to be made) from hitting any, much less all, of these targets.

30:

I think we're heading for either Sunak or Javid. Both millionaire libertarian banker types. (Wildcard: it depends how racist the 1922 Committee collectively feel the party base is.)

31:

Comment

Wrong

Well, no, not wrong actually. What you’re pointing to is the speed of the deaths, not the final amount. It assumes that the population is unlimited. But that’s not the case and in a population with an upper limit, the lethality matters more than the transmission rate. I.E., if the population is 1000 people and all of them get covid, the more lethal variant is going to kill more of them than the less lethal one, no matter how quickly it happens. If the less lethal variant spreads so quickly that it drives out the more lethal variant, then there will be fewer deaths overall.

Ie, in a population of 1000 where it’s 50/50 cases between two variants, one of which kills no one and one of which kills 10%, then you’re going to have 50 deaths (5000% and 50010%). In a situation where the non-lethal variant spreads to everyone before the more lethal variant can, then you’re going to have no deaths at all. That’s an extreme and speculative example, but it applies at lower levels as well.

That particular strain of the H1N1 influenza A virus burned through the entire accessible population and maxed out the kill:

Well, yes, that was my point: the Spanish Flu isn’t killing people any more.

as that assumes the former gives immunity to the latter.

Yes -- and we just don’t know what the case is here. The assumption that it doesn’t is just as much an assumption.

32:

I have had PCR tests for reasons. The typical time from test to (thankfully negative) result would be 25 hours.

33:

To be a bit less blunt than EC.

I suspect the UK has the similar sampling issues as the US does. The anti-vaccine folks in the US mostly don't believe they need tests as (well pick from 100 reasons) and so they only get tested when in the hospital with bad symptoms. So asymptomatic and mild cases in this population are not tested. Those of us vaccinated, especially those who did it because it was smart, tend to get tested before and after situations where we MIGHT get infected. And we are less likely to get infected.

So test results statistically are not very good are providing indicators of what is happening. We have something like 1/3 of the population that isn't vaccinated and is resistant to doing anything that might help out which creates a huge hole in the data.

34:

But it does stop growing exponentially. We are already in the situation where were have an endemic disease (with Delta), and it seems almost certain that we will have with Omicron (with or without Delta). And, I agree that we don't have a clue about the shape of the cumulative probability curve, though we DO know that it will be the primary cause of death in the elderly (miracle treatments excluded). Best case - it's not much worse than influenza is today. Worst case is as you say.

I am expecting to die from it within a decade or so.

35:

Yes. Before my hip replacement, I had one at lunchtime on Friday, and the results were in before 7 am on Monday. Yes, sequencing takes a little long, but not much nowadays. The reason for the delays is ENTIRELY for the political reasons I gave.

36:

Re: '... and we just don’t know what the case is here'

Agree - still too soon to say. Based on discussions on TWiV, reliable assessments of omicron are still weeks away.

About the African apparent 'low' severity:

Their demos are vastly different vs. EU/UK, NA, Asia, etc. -- far fewer oldsters, i.e., the population segment with the highest mortality rates for this virus overall. Not sure whether anyone's done a reweighted-by-demo's analysis on this variant but until that's done, we're not sure what the actual overall lethality of omicron is.

You'll have to scroll about a third to see this median age chart.

https://ourworldindata.org/age-structure

37:

if what little we know of the 166 patients in the tshwane district will be similar in europe's older population then updating the vaccine for this variant is foolish and counter-productive, leading for further variants that evade immunity. there was an extremely comforting article about long term immunity in nature in june that shows 95% retention of memory b cells 11 months after recovery from infection ("Naturally enhanced neutralizing breadth against SARS-CoV-2 one year after infection" second paragraph of the discussion section), but a june article is uncertain to hold true still. the authors of the article speculated years, if not decades of immunity. of course new variants could evade long-term immunity even then, but that's already much better than having unvaccinated and unexposed people around. the bureaucrats will push us to take more injections after the third but i see little evidence that this is needed just now. "twice as effective" seems impressive, but if you write 92% instead of 85% which is the exact same thing, it's just not crucial.

38:

Re: '... long term immunity in nature in june that shows 95% retention of memory b cells 11 months after recovery from infection'

Works for younger people who have stronger, more efficient (much more adaptable) immune systems, not so much for older folks or younger folks with iffy immune systems*.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02532-4

'In Israel, for example, elderly people who got their shots at the beginning of the year seemed to have almost double the risk of severe illness during a July outbreak compared with similar individuals who were immunized more recently7.'

E.g. folks with diabetes, an inflammatory disease, currently or recently in cancer therapy.

Not sure how this is exactly relates to the above re: b memory cells, but ...

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/06/who-strongly-advises-against-convalescent-plasma-for-treating-covid-patients.html

39:

My forward-thinking manager said ‘I don’t want you on public transport’ some time in Feb ‘20, and I’ve been back in for a couple of days since - and we’ve cancelled the long planned team meetup.

The one time I went to the pub to socialise - October - someone at my table went down 4 days later and we all got contacted by track-and-trace. We missed a gig last weekend - as my wife was ill, and being responsible didn’t want to infect other people - but we saw the notification after saying, ‘we suggest you get a PCR test’.

And I’m looking at things I want to go to - and not going - while knowing there is zero financial support for the artists and promoters.

(I also suspect there is a horrible spiral where indoor crowds in stand-up venues become increasingly made up of risk-takers, until it becomes a dead cert)

I do expect a chilling effect in 2022 - anyone planning or budgeting in the performing arts or cons next winter is going to be very risk averse.

Assuming they haven’t been sent to re-education camps to be retrained a pig-slaughtering HGV drivers.

40:

What all of you optimists except Charlie seem to be forgetting is that long COVID affects 15-80%* of all cases even the mildest. There is already evidence that having had beta or delta COVID doesn't protect you from having omicron, although it may result in milder cases, but then you are back to how much damage can even the fittest of the young take before we see loss of organ reserve that impacts on quality of life then life.

  • I've seen estimates of 80% although I don't think they were as reliable as lower estimates, however given that the damage that has been assessed is caused by micro clots it's quite possible that we are not seeing all the damage that has been caused. After all we know eg that you can be perfectly healthy with less than 50% of kidney function, so there is a lot of organ reserve that can be used up before we realise we have another health crisis on our hands.
41:

The problem with the Spanish Flu is that it currently does not exist, possibly outside of someone's lab.*

Another lethal H1N1 flu could easily re-evolve, and then we'd go through the same sorry mess all over again. Although the second time around, I suspect that the Anti-Mask League won't be in San Francisco.

That's the problem with viruses: it's roulette all the way down. The Delta strain is unlikely to be an offshoot of the previously dominant Alpha strain, while Omicron is not closely related to either Alpha or Delta. It came from somewhere else. This makes it tricky to predict what will happen, because it's not a coevolutionary duel of a common virus strain against human immune systems, it's a chaotic and possibly multispecies landscape wherein viruses that are harbored in one host for an extended period, or in another species, ultimately emerge with a substantially new genome and new properties.

Finally, even if SARS-CoV2 becomes just another cold virus, the more they dig, they more they find coronaviruses very much like it in South East Asia and southern China. We're the new frontier and pathogens are the new settlers. Do they strike it rich, or are we too inhospitable. We'll see.

*It's been recreated as a research tool, I believe.

42:

Google news just served up the following headline from Faux Newz:

COVID-19 spread more by men, loud talkers: study

Since it is Faux Newz, I didn't follow it any further than the headline ...

Got my booster a week ago yesterday. I've been wearing a mask whenever I'm out & about - which ain't much - doctors' appointments & grocery shopping plus a trip around the corner to the big 'ol Baptist Church's parking lot to set up my big telephoto & photograph a hawk sitting atop the steeple.

I wish this shit would go away. It's been almost two years with minimal human interaction and even with the little dog & some Zoom meetings I've been feeling kind of lonely lately. You guys have been a lot of help, but it's not the same as getting out and spending time with people.

43:

What was the hawk?

44:

David L @ 1:

It's not clear how deadly it is yet, but seems to be comparable to Delta. However, it's much more contagious

This is one thing where the opinions seem all over the map. I suspect it is due to lack of data. Currently in the US the government health wizards seem to feel that for any one case it is less deadly than Delta but given that it is more contagious there might be a lot more deaths from it in total going forward as more people will get it.

On a somewhat related note, has anyone done any studies of how this might change the death rates for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations and if in any one country will it make a statistical difference in terms of the total population?

Most of what I've heard about "Omicron" has come from NPR:

"Omicron" might be slightly less deadly than "Delta" but is much more transmissible. It's gonna' catch up with "Delta" at some point, but for now "Delta" is still the killer - especially among the UN-vaccinated. Natural immunity appears to dwindle significantly. If you just recovered from "Delta" a couple of weeks ago, your natural immunity might be enough, but if you had Covid last year, NO.

The people who developed the mRNA vaccines are already working on a vaccine specific for "Omicron". The work on the original Covid vaccines appear to have given them a good head start.

The Biden administration appears to be doing the right things, but are hampered by the recalcitrant minority of scheisskopfs & certain parties who are obstructing for political advantage. I expect the anti-vaxx extremists are gonna need A LOT of horse dewormer paste. I do feel some sympathy for their kids.

I haven't heard anything about "Omicron" reaching North Carolina yet, but I expect it will get here sooner rather than later.

45:

Here's that experimental study: Men spread more respiratory aerosols than women, study finds - A new study "suggest[s] that men could spread the disease [COVID-19] more effectively," an aerosol scientist said (Nicole Karlis, November 14, 2021)
Respiratory Aerosol Emissions from Vocalization: Age and Sex Differences Are Explained by Volume and Exhaled CO2 (November 9, 2021)
Particle number concentrations between 0.25 and 33 μm were measured from 63 participants aged 12–61 years with concurrent monitoring of voice volume and exhaled CO2 levels. On average, singing produced 77% (95% CI: 42,109%) more aerosol than talking, adults produced 62% (CI: 27,98%) more aerosol than minors, and males produced 34% (CI: 0,70%) more aerosol than females.

46:

I would be very glad to hear from a reliable source that Omicron is less-virulent than other circulating strains of Covid.

But the numbers aren't in yet, on virulence.

They're in on transmissiblity, and the news is genuinely frightening.

If Omicron is half as virulent - that is to say, half as likely to cause serious illness, death, or long-term disability - it's still more dangerous than Delta, because it's going to infect so many more people; and it is already doing it so fast that healthcare systems are going to fail in under a month.

That's the less bad news.

The potentially terrible news revolves around the question of why it spreads from person to person so easily.

If there's no more bad news, we'll hear that it's a change in the virus' behaviour - perhaps it's like Delta, camping-out in your throat and your nasal cavity, so your exhalations carry more viral particles; or maybe the viral particle remains viable for longer in the air.

But the bad news, if it's coming, is in the most likely explanation for higher transmissiblity: Omicron is probably better at getting into your cells. Or much, much better at evading your immune system.

Those explanations, if true, would mean that a more transmissible virus is a more virulent one; and they are quite likely to be true.

But that's not yet known: optimism is nice to hear, right now, but caution and precaution are the way to go, while we await better data.

And what is known already, is that Omicron is dangerous.

I have made my own predictions elsewhere, and I see no need to repeat them here, because Charlie's forecast of a half-assed and ineffective response, followed by surging cases and a panic-stricken 'nail the doors and windows shut' lockdown, is not only on the cards - it's the hand we've already been dealt for the pre-existing trajectory of Delta in our partially-vaccinated nation of partially-masked schoolchildren and pub drinkers.

Only... Faster.

And, potentially, much more damaging.

And I think we're all underestimating how damaging it will be if we get the 'best possible' scenario of hundreds of thousands of people being 'moderately' ill, all at once, not quite sick enough to need a hospital but far too ill to work.

You do know that we're still short of lorry drivers, right? Health workers, too, if you're paying attention; and it seems likely that there's somewhere we're not paying attention, some essential service to society we never think about, with a manager realising he can't staff today's shift and there's no cover, anywhere, in any other depot within reach.

Hold onto that thought, as you walk up the High Street, past another bank or burger bar that's 'Closed due to staff shortages' and you know damn' well it's a covid outbreak on the premises: already, with the numbers we had and the hand we were dealt a week ago, before Omicron overtakes everything else.

47:

waldo @ 42: What was the hawk?

I'm pretty sure it was a Red-Tail

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-tailed_hawk

They're the most predominant hawk around here.

He was a big one, so I'm sure he wasn't a Cooper's Hawk or a Sharp-shinned Hawk. Might have been a Red-shouldered Hawk, but he didn't appear to be as streamlined as those appear to me.

I'm fairly sure it's the one I saw on the ground back in October while walking my dog. He was guarding a squirrel he'd taken. I got a much closer look at him then, but I wasn't able to go home to get my camera & tripod.

Somebody else came along, tried to get too close to him & he flew off ... which is how I know he was guarding his catch, because I saw it after he left.

I came back later to check and it looked like he'd been back & taken his catch to a more private location to have dinner.

The proverbial "Chickenhawk", even if they rarely do eat chickens. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBJ1ZlTPd5I

48:

Cases in Africa

Thought I'd watch an update/discussion on COVID-19 Omicron from another med-sci source to see if there are any differing opinions: Nope - still too early to say!

However did learn something that I hadn't seen mentioned in media reports. According to the second guest: the majority of African Omicron cases were college kids ... seems they had a party ... so we really don't yet know how bad this virus is for older folks. It's probably also too early to see whether there's any increase/decrease in incidence of long-Covid.

'The Omicron Variant and the New Antivirals: How Much Will These Change the Pandemic in 2022?'.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQL-tU22XoY&ab_channel=UCSFDepartmentofMedicine

I tend to try and visualize unfamiliar topics to help understand what's being said and decided early into the first speaker's comments that I needed a reference diagram. Found this and thought folks here might also like to see what the COVID-19 life cycle and replication dynamics are.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41579-020-00468-6/figures/1

49:

Nile @ 45: If Omicron is half as virulent - that is to say, half as likely to cause serious illness, death, or long-term disability - it's still more dangerous than Delta, because it's going to infect so many more people; and it is already doing it so fast that healthcare systems are going to fail in under a month.

Yeah, the way I took the news was that "Omicron" might be more deadly some time in the future if you haven't already died from "Delta", which is already a killer HERE AND NOW.

If you haven't already gotten vaccinated, DO IT NOW to improve your chances of being alive long enough to find out what "Omicron" might do when it becomes the dominant strain.

Not minimizing "Omicron", but "Delta" is already killing a lot of people. Anyone who is not going to do what they need to do to protect themselves from "Delta" doesn't need to worry about "Omicron".

50:

Hmph. Sadly my name got purged (and no rules broken!) :( . Since the name got purged, and the cat is out of the bag today, we were referencing "EverGrande" previously (which might get you hacked $.50c hello) and all that that entails (entrails, mostly). IF you're wondering why an Anarchist would 'support' the CCP party response, we'd suggest looking at what happened to RU and having a little human empathy - if those dominoes go, whelp, it'll make the IMF and Vietnam look like kindergarten.

But, here's a freebie: there's a massive counter-reaction to #4 booster in the works which B.J. & co are counting on and Omicron is how they're gonna do it. It's all Culture War[tm] and this one is going to get ridden like the gold-hearted harlot at Appleby Fayre, with sprinkles and a spank fest that's designed to exhaust all the Ultra-Violence into graaar for anything more 'Liberal' than Fox News[1]. We'd suggest looking up (Dec 5th) a certain A F Nielll twitter spat and various members of the GBNews crews turning around with knives out [This is, somewhat ironically, actually good news: reverting to type and with the Fleet-Strt. Foxes and Media all joining in to knife the Old Bastard shows... $$$ is behind the opposite view]. This goes from UK local to AUS, to IL to SA to USA. "Build Back Better"'s opposition (of the Bannon kind) have been counting on this one for a year+ now.

Given that not many here actually pay attention to the 'voice of the people' this one.. has legs. Ground work been laid, all the boxes ticked, rub their noses in the shit-smell time. Now, we could list you all the Attack Vectors, where they're being deployed and how the angles are getting grinded, but... We liked that Name[2]. Even denotes which side we're on, given what mongooses are famous for and all that. Hint: grep "Blackfella" then take a look at the sudden interest in Aboriginal rights in AUS from Brei-barf for example[3].

~

TL;DR

They don't give a fuck about who is dying, they care about Impact (Font Bold). And remember kids - they still work for the "Build Back Better" crew, they just don't think you're part of that 'Better' bit.

[1] Shout out to Jewdas, we thought the joke was funny. And, more importantly: correct. Weird how rampaging mobs doing actual violence in IL isn't as shocking as a few teenagers acting out now, isn't it? My my, all those 'concerned' responses. Pro-tip: if you're dancing in a Cube Costume, in a modern City, you're gonna get roasted no matter your faith or ethnicity. And yes: we know you use the Cube Costume to trip the "mentally inferior" into crises and crash, naughty, naughty, that's an ancient trick from Roman times. And no: you didn't invent the skull-fuck either.

[2] Reference is Gamestop "We like the Stock". The Apes, well... should have watched Mr Robot.

[3] It's probably one of our Brothers doing the "mix-tape" effect: this shit is easy mode.

51:

~Appendix Note: if you even imagine [1] is either hate fueled or wrong, we've a long list of the Cube Costume (hmm, NYC, very public, poor little Arab on top of a statue breaking down, last 2 years?) being deployed as a deniable Terror Weapon. Know what we call it? Primitive. In that it only works on predominantly Abrahamic based Minds these days. Go look up their twitter, there's a nice long line of people happy to shout "kappo" at anything even faintly amusing. And yes: The Cube thing is real, we can even give you it in Aramaic, given that your fake modern Hebrew wasn't spoken back then. [And, tbh: modern pronounciation SUCKS, you all sound like you're from New Jersey / the worst slums of Arwad if you can remember that far back].

And we're not joking about Omicron being used as a lever either. Florida, Texas both squaring up to it, and you've got at least three National Guard commands willing to not go for another boost. Doesn't help that Pfziiierrr C level is now blaming "other vaccines" for deaths of course. Or the cool $10 billion profit in the last month / week taken home by ~8-10 largest investors.

Oh, and a lot of proper scientists viewing the program as, well: if not mis-managed, at the very least wantonly lax in larger movements[1]. We're not doubting the science, we're doubting the supply chain and societal applications of a profit driven Corporate Cash In.

Or: In other words, just from worrying if the wedding is on or off A person can develop a cough. Adelaide's Lament (there's your AUS link) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RX-eFkGdJNM (oh, and bonus points if you spot the thumbnail picture).

52:

I saw a red-tailed hawk perched on a dead woodchuck by the side of the road with cars whizzing by around three feet away a couple of years ago. I caught one in my backyard a few years back which I thought was injured until the rehabilitator who took it in told me that it had West Nile.

53:

We have an assortment of hawks around here. One day about 10 years ago I saw some in the air above and in front of my car. The shadow came down my lane and over the car. The wingspan was 6 feet or more.

JBS, this was between the Costco and McDs on Wake Forest Road.

54:

David L @ 52: We have an assortment of hawks around here. One day about 10 years ago I saw some in the air above and in front of my car. The shadow came down my lane and over the car. The wingspan was 6 feet or more.

JBS, this was between the Costco and McDs on Wake Forest Road.

I see them frequently all around Raleigh. That's right near the Crabtree Creek Greenway 1. The thing here is I haven't been able to get out much for photography in the last two years due to Covid and that's not the only problem it has caused me even though I managed to avoid catching it so far.

But I have that big lens FOR birding (600/F4) and this was a perfect chance to use it while keeping social distancing. The last time I got to use it was two years ago; end of October 2019. My main purpose for buying it was to photograph the eagles nest at Shelley Lake.

Peregrine Falcons nested on the Wells Fargo building in downtown Raleigh in 2020 ... and I think at least once in the past on the "Progress Energy (old CP&L)" building. Don't know if they came back in 2021 or not. I also didn't get a chance to photograph the eagles nest at Shelly Lake this year (or last). I didn't even get to check if they'd come back this year.

1 The spot David is talking about is about a hundred feet up from the greenway and Crabtree Creek is the one we talked about flooding and all the Volkswagen Beetles floating away. Raleigh's greenways are pretty good natural habitat running through the city. Many of them are the result of flood plain zoning changes after those floods back in the 70s & 80s. If you can't build there, maybe you can use it for a kind of linear park ... or a parkway for pedestrians & cyclists - no motor vehicles and on most of them no horses.

55:

jazzlet Actually, that's what worries me. I'm almost 76, but for my age, fit & healthy. I suspect I would resist an Omicron infection - BUT - what really scares me is "long Covid". No more dancing, difficulty maintaing my allotment, permanent tiredness ... shudder - no thank you. So - take precautions.

56:

Norway has gotten some attention (and not in the good way) related to omicron. There was a christmas party last weekend with 120 attendees where 2 had just come back from South Africa, and were likely infected. Last I've hard 60 of the 120 guestss and 90-100 in total (guessing their family, but could also be others at the restaurant) had tested positive. Only 13 have been sequenced to confirm omicron so far, and there could be multiple infection vectors involved. It doesn't help that we were already in a new wave of delta spread, setting fresh records on daily infections and approaching hospitalizations not seen since the initial wave in March/April 2020.

57:

We've got you beat. 53000 people at an anime convention and it looks like it was an omicron spreader event. The various agencies trying to trace things have tracked down about 35K of them so far.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/12/officials-trying-to-contact-all-53k-anime-convention-attendees-in-omicron-probe/

58:

You mean people like Bozo and Trumpolini? Are you sure this is Faux News?

59:

For the benefit of those outside the UK, this is currently taking up all the publicity oxygen here.

TL;DR: last year, just as we were heading into near-lockdown, Downing Street staff held an illegal Christmas office party. The Prime Minister has spent the last month asserting that while there may have been a gathering it was entirely in accordance with the rules (without explaining how this was possible). Now a video has been leaked of a practice news conference at which staff made jokes about this party.

The only question now is, can Kier Starmer, leader of the opposition, use this to actually land a punch on the PM at Question Time. Trouble is, Starmer is a laywer who also happens to be a politician, and what he thinks of as a devastating cross examination, the media think of as "meh!".

60:

All the First Ministers statements are published here: https://www.gov.scot/collections/first-ministers-speeches/

Anything put out by the Scottish Government is here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/

61:

«she's been doing these straight-talking no-bullshit reports since the beginning of the pandemic, clearly listens to scientific advice,»

But the scientific advice and the evidence is overwhelmingly to adopt test-trace-isolate as a strategy instead of halfbaked lockdowns to limit cases, that results in death rates 10-100 times lower than in Scotland or England, see Finland or Korea-south etc.

For "some reason" all nations of the UK, just like most european governments, have ignored the scientific advice and evidence, and have chosen the same strategy that results in 10-100 times death rates.

62:

Thank you. Bookmarked. I have read the latest one, and it is exactly what such a report should be.

63:

If R > 2 with Scotland's current precautions (and it's worth noting that there is not and cannot be hard evidence that that is true, because we only started looking for it last week) then full April 2020 lockdown WILL NOT STOP IT without vastly higher levels of adherence than have been seen in any Western country including the "success stories". "Full lockdown" will at best slow the progression, not stop it. Which means we have to STAY in full lockdown until we have a targeted vaccine and have rolled it out widely. Nine months. If Sturgeon's advice says R>2 and she's not taking further action she's just continuing to be about 24hrs better than Boris which yes, is better, but it's not much to boast about.

64:

"there is not and cannot be hard evidence that that is true, because we only started looking for it last week"

However, there are data going back further, though (for reasons I have mentioned in the past, it has only recently been collated) so what you say is wrong. Note that I am not saying there IS hard evidence, because I have not analysed it.

"then full April 2020 lockdown WILL NOT STOP IT without vastly higher levels of adherence "

Not even those would stop it now. It's too late. All that could be done is to slow it enough to keep the strain on the NHS under control. That is what Sturgeon is trying to do, and Bozo is not.

65:

No it isn't. It was. It's now too late. You can use test and trace to stop something getting out of control but, once it's out of control, it's a waste of time, effort and money. The time it might have helped with Omicron was if it had started on November 1st; starting it now isn't going to achieve much, and won't achieve anything unless there is thorough and fast sequencing for all people arriving from abroad. I explained the situation in #7.

66:

Data from Public Health Scotland released today says that there are 389 confirmed or suspected cases of Omicron-variant COVID-19 in Scotland but none of them have (yet) required hospitalisation. The earliest cases were from spreader events two weeks ago so that's plenty of time for some of them to get sick enough to need a hospital bed, and they haven't. Right now, even with the number of Omicron variant cases on the rise the numbers of COVID-19 hospital bed cases and ICU cases in Scotland is falling steadily.

The key factor in the Scottish government's thinking on precautions is "Can the NHS cope with the load?" Right now it looks like it can so any fresh restrictions, especially on the run-up to the holiday season will be applied with a light hand. All of the new suggestions are just that, recommendations for businesses to permit work-at-home etc. rather than mandates.

Other interesting information in the PHS bulletin is that about half of the Omicron-variant cases are in the age band 20-39, the Young Immortals with the lowest rate of vaccination and the greatest propensity to party hard in large crowds. Who knows, we may even eventually discover that Omicron is sexually-transmissable.

67:

"*It's been recreated as a research tool, I believe."

There's an interesting story behind that:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/reconstruction-1918-virus.html

68:

Possible good news IF you have had 3 Pfizer jabs - as I have ...

69:

Greg @54: I suspect I would resist an Omicron infection - BUT - what really scares me is "long Covid".

Yes. Long COVID is the part of the iceberg that's below waterline. There are a lot of awful long-term disabilities from it, but one of the most frightening is persistent mental incapacity.

I know that "data is not the plural of anecdote", but, for those who care, here's my experience with long COVID brain fog.

Disclaimer: I already had some cognitive deficits plaguing me. (Probably cortisol poisoning -- when I was young everybody was ranting about how drugs would ruin your life, but nobody ever warned me about work. Especially decades of overwork.) Still, while the doctors were diagnosing my loss of mental function, I took an NP panel and I was in the upper quartile for almost all measures of brain function. So that was my baseline. COVID changed matters, quickly and radically.

I got COVID in June of 2020. Very mild symptoms. The most significant was that I lost the part of my sense of taste that told me how spicy food was. Since we rotate cooking duties in our household, the results were tragicomic... Other than that, though, COVID itself wasn't a thing. I figured I'd gotten off lightly: just lucky.

It was a few weeks before I realized that I had become frighteningly fucking stupid. Even the simplest projects (e. g. building a work desk) were incredibly difficult. Skills and aptitudes that I'd had since the 70s or 80s deserted me. I left tools outside when I knocked off for the day. I left the door unlocked so many times that the landlord changed the doorknob for one that was always locked. I lost the ability to focus on much of anything.

Driving became difficult. I lost the ability to find things, even when I was looking right at them. (Loss of visual pattern recognition was one of the most unnerving symptoms.) I lost items, sometimes permanently, but mostly just for a few hours or days because I set them down in an unaccustomed place. I'd forget things all of the time. I had very little capacity for sustained focus.

My ability to remember words and names for immediate use fell off a cliff -- sometimes it would take hours to remember the name of a person, or a writer, or a band whose music I wanted to hear.

Luckily I had retired shortly before COVID hit. I'd have been unable to remain in a job at all.

Brain fog has now been riding me for nearly a year and a half. I'm finally surfacing, to some extent. I currently seem to have roughly two good brain days followed by 1-4 days of still being listless, of still being unable to find my ass with both hands in my back pockets. But this really is a hopeful trend. We all respond much more strongly to a first derivative than to the value of the function itself, and it's pretty encouraging to be where I am now.

I probably won't get back to the level of thinking and focusing that I used to have. Long COVID has cost me a great deal.

But my lack of capacity isn't a problem for society at large.

Consider, on the other hand, the immediate and knock-on effects of persistent brain fog, of the kind I've got, in a big slice of the population. We're going to need people who are smart and mentally awake. Every hampered mind is a loss.

I can only say that I hope brain fog proves to be uncommon, shorter-lived and fully recoverable.

70:

It seems here in the god ol' USA-YAY, only the mayor of NYC is even attempting to take precautions for the inevitable coming surge. He mandated vaccination quarantine and proof for everyone, including young kids, to enter indoor venues from movie theaters to restaurants, with the idea of slowing things so our hospitals aren't overwhelmed like 2020, when we were the hottest of hot spots for covid, and we, unlike anywhere else in the USA had a full lock down. The governor of NY state is merely "strongly suggesting" masking in all indoor venues and getting vaxxed and boosted. But no mandate. Yet several regions of the state covid hospitalizations have surged so much in the last weeks there are no more beds. And again, already way behind non-covid medical procedures and even emergencies are being postponed and untreated.

Manhattan was an island in the whole country with such low rates of hospitalizations, deaths and positivity. But of course with the opening up to international travel ... Broadway ... not to mention that really stupid stuff such as the anime con brought up here earlier -- even my zip code, with very high vaccination and boosting, which was testing down in the lowest of numbers, cases hardly registering, no hospitalizations and no deaths, has increased numbers at an alarming rate.

I wish we would do what Singapore has done: if one has not gotten vaccinated, and acquires covid, then you and your family pay for it, not the state, city or insurance.

Christmas is going to be like last year's, again, I fear.

71:

This preprint is making the rounds. If it passes a day or two of scrutiny, policies should start to change immediately. Reduced Neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant by Vaccine Sera and monoclonal antibodies (2021/12/08, medrxiv (preprint), Alexander Wilhelm, Marek Widera, Katharina Grikscheit, Tuna Toptan, Barbara Schenk, Christiane Pallas, Melinda Metzler, Niko Kohmer, Sebastian Hoehl, Fabian A. Helfritz, Timo Wolf Udo Goetsch Sandra Ciesek)
Abstract:
Due to numerous mutations in the spike protein, the SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern Omicron (B.1.1.529) raises serious concerns since it may significantly limit the antibody-mediated neutralization and increase the risk of reinfections. While a rapid increase in the number of cases is being reported worldwide, until now there has been uncertainty about the efficacy of vaccinations and monoclonal antibodies. Our in vitro findings using authentic SARS-CoV-2 variants indicate that in contrast to the currently circulating Delta variant, the neutralization efficacy of vaccine-elicited sera against Omicron was severely reduced highlighting T-cell mediated immunity as essential barrier to prevent severe COVID-19. Since SARS-CoV-2 Omicron was resistant to casirivimab and imdevimab genotyping of SARS-CoV-2 may be needed before initiating mAb treatment. Variant-specific vaccines and mAb agents may be required to treat Omicron and other emerging variants of concern.

On the up side (yes, please!) there are reports that loss of smell is less common with Omicron infections, and loss of smell is correlated (don't know if directly causally) with negative covid-19 cognition-related sequelae. OTOH, Delta and Omicron will be circulating simultaneously.

Bill Blondeau - I very much hope you recover most of your function. There has been/will be a lot of experimentation including personal experimentation being done, and sadly a lot of quackery. What have you been trying, if you're willing to share?

72:

There is some scant evidence that T-cell immunity is more important than antibody immunity, and Astrazeneca does better than Pfizer and Moderna in that (not surprisingly). Probably so does Sputnik and other traditional vaccines. But, frankly, there is precious little data and (sorry Greg) Pfizer is very bad about abusing data for marketing and even disinformation.

73:

I think we're heading for either Sunak or Javid. Both millionaire libertarian banker types. (Wildcard: it depends how racist the 1922 Committee collectively feel the party base is.)

I think the people who fund and lead the Conservative party would be happy to ditch Johnson, now that he has given them an 80-seat majority. They don't like all his talk of spending money and increasing national insurance; they was to get back to core tory values of austerity and cutting taxes. They'd be far happier with Sunak or Javid in charge. They couldn't move against Johnson when he was popular; once they sense he's an electoral liability, they'll get rid of him in an instant.

74:

"Consider, on the other hand, the immediate and knock-on effects of persistent brain fog, of the kind I've got, in a big slice of the population. We're going to need people who are smart and mentally awake. Every hampered mind is a loss."

I certainly hope that you (and everyone suffering from this) have a full recovery. And I wonder if this kind of thing has started to show up in the statistics of automobile accidents, airline pilots not able to pilot, truck/lorry fleets losing available driver-hours, etc.

76:

And, unrelated to omicron or anything else, how 'bout some good news?

Excerpt: Warp drive pioneer and former NASA warp drive specialist Dr. Harold G “Sonny” White has reported the discovery of an actual, real-world “Warp Bubble.” And, according to White, this first of its kind breakthrough by his Limitless Space Institute (LSI) team sets a new starting point for those trying to manufacture a full-sized, warp-capable spacecraft.

In an interview, White added that “our detailed numerical analysis of our custom Casimir cavities helped us identify a real and manufacturable nano/microstructure that is predicted to generate a negative vacuum energy density such that it would manifest a real nanoscale warp bubble, not an analog, but the real thing.” In other words, a warp bubble structure will manifest under these specific conditions. White cautioned that this does not mean we are near building a fully functioning warp drive, as much more science needs to be done (Updated 08/12/21).

“To be clear, our finding is not a warp bubble analog, it is a real, albeit humble and tiny, warp bubble,” White told The Debrief, “hence the significance.” --- end excerpt ---

https://thedebrief.org/darpa-funded-researchers-accidentally-create-the-worlds-first-warp-bubble/

77:

To illustrate the magnitude of the problem faced by the UK Con party, I commented on another site earlier today that "I would trust Larry (Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office) more than I would trust any member of the Bozo cabinet".

78:

David L @ 56: We've got you beat. 53000 people at an anime convention and it looks like it was an omicron spreader event. The various agencies trying to trace things have tracked down about 35K of them so far.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/12/officials-trying-to-contact-all-53k-anime-convention-attendees-in-omicron-probe/

Yeah, that's gonna' suck, but at least the anime festival didn't end with an invasion of killer elves from another dimension.

79:

paws4thot @ 57: You mean people like Bozo and Trumpolini? Are you sure this is Faux News?

"Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while."

Google News said it was Fox. I didn't follow the link. I was just amused by the headline, especially since it was a headline from Faux Newz.

But I think Bill Arnold had links to the actual studies the headline must have been based on @ 44:

80:

Greg Tingey @ 67: Possible good news IF you have had 3 Pfizer jabs - as I have ...

Very good news. I have to go out today to get another Crock-Pot (I fucked mine up!) and I have to go to the dentist Friday to have two teeth pulled. I've already been on soft foods for a month, and it looks like it's going to be another two months before I'll get off of them. The Crock-Pot is cheap to replace (~ $20), but god help me if I break the damn Vita-Mix.

I got the third Pfizer a week ago last Monday (29 Nov), but Omicron was worrying me a lot. I'm doing everything I can to protect myself, but it has come at a very inconvenient time.

81:

Bill Arnold @ 70: I very much hope you recover most of your function. There has been/will be a lot of experimentation including personal experimentation being done, and sadly a lot of quackery. What have you been trying, if you're willing to share?

Thanks for the good wishes, Bill.

The only thing I've specifically used as a brain fog helper is turmeric, taken daily in capsule form. I was advised to try it by a person who said it had helped her; I did some checking and there is apparently some peer-reviewed science supporting that. (She also recommended several other things that had no science. I declined to go down those rabbit holes.) So I tried it, and was pleased with the result: modest improvement over the course of a couple of weeks, with no noticeable fade thereafter. This may, of course, have been coincidental with an improvement for other reasons, and possibly a placebo; but I am brutally pragmatic about these things. I maintain that the placebo effect is still, after all, an effect. And turmeric is inexpensive.

Another factor that probably influences the progress of my recovery from brain fog is that our household is vegan. Plant-based diets do have beneficial effects on vascular health, and vascular dementia has been a concern of mine for family history reasons. Two notes on this:

  • I am not trying to start a conversation about veganism. It's a ridiculously divisive topic, and squabbles about it should stay on Reddit where they fucking belong. I'm certainly not advocating veganism here in the comments. You do you, YMMV, etc.
  • Our plant-based diet is pretty healthy, based on well-verified nutritional science. Mostly. We do have the stereotypical vodka and oreos on the shelf.

There is a third aspect to my recovery: physical activity. As far as I know, regular exercise is associated with mental clarity and energy. I do use a bicycle when feasible, shovel dirt, rake leaves, scramble around with ladders to prune trees, etc. The more of this I do, the better things seem to go.

I sort of wish I had other things to tell you. One dietary supplement (although possibly no more than a placebo) that seems to help, and two more-or-less platitudinal lifestyle choices, seems kind of a meager yield for your question.

82:

I wonder if this kind of thing has started to show up in the statistics of automobile accidents

Well, automobile accidents here dropped during the pandemic, with the fatality rate remaining constant. The number of accidents has gone back up, and the fatality rate has gone up too.

Based on the limited driving I've done, the increased fatality rate would be idiots driving on empty streets during the pandemic, and continuing to drive the same way now that traffic levels are back to normal.

How you distinguish between ordinary idiot-related accidents and long-Covid-related accidents I leave to those wiser than myself. Which doesn't appear to be the politicians currently in charge of Ontario's pandemic response.

I recall seeing somewhere that there's a correlation between Tox. gondi infection and causing accidents, established by testing organ donors. Don't know if similar testing is possible for long Covid yet.

83:

"I haven't heard anything about 'Omicron' reaching North Carolina yet"

Would you know?

Serious question. Here in New Zealand I believe we're still genome-sequencing all positive Covid cases, so we know exactly what's here and if you get Covid they'll know which cluster you are in, and quite likely who you got it from. So we know that all cases in the community in our country now - and for the last few months - track back to one failure at the border. So it's all Delta here, for now, as one case of Delta got in past our border controls.

But are you guys doing similar and genome-sequencing all - or a lot of - the cases that test positive? It's really hard to tell just what's going on internationally, and how different places compare in their testing and genome sequencing.

84:

Another voice from NC. It's hit or miss. I think they sequence all the cases that wind up in hospitals. And maybe all of those that are PCR tested.

Plus we have 2 very major research hospitals local to Raleigh/Durham who do a lot. But if you're in BumF&*k nowhere where the hospital has 12 beds, I don't know. Our governor and his "in charge of state medical things" department tries hard to do the right thing but we are a 50/50 state where the legislature supports "freedom" most of the time so there is a constant fight. And the rural areas are more "freedom" than "we need to deal".

Given the university student population within 25 miles of me is maybe 100K plus staff plus 4 major medical centers and just my county school system is north of 140K students plus all the staff to make that work, new things tend to appear locally fairly quickly.

My point is that getting "invincible" students below the age of 25 to be responsible 100% is basically a dream.

85:

Re: 'There is a third aspect to my recovery: physical activity.'

Yeah - regular moderate exercise is key. Some people need a more structured plan like the below to help make sure that they exercise all of their bits.

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/physical_medicine_rehabilitation/coronavirus-rehabilitation/_files/impact-of-covid-patient-recovery.pdf

Another thing that I've seen crop up is cognitive therapy (CI Therapy) which sorta looks similar to the behavioral re-education/physical re-training rehab that's given to people who've suffered strokes.

There's also: getting enough restful sleep, avoiding stressful situations and doing some meditation type exercises like tai chi (see below) that demand extended periods of mental focus combined with fine physical/muscular coordination while also being relaxing.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8054611/

[[ escaped underscores to unbreak link - mod ]]

86:

Here in New Zealand I believe we're still genome-sequencing all positive Covid cases Here in Scotland we nominally have a similar population (to 100_000 or so), but we have the issue of having a frontier line that you can walk, cycle, drive, be driven, take a train, fly or sail over with no customs or immigration formalities, so all cases might be pointless?

87:

"so all cases might be pointless"

It might.

In NZ we're doing it as part of our contact tracing, and associated attempts to get people with Covid to isolate and stop the spread. Most people who get Covid are easily linked to a household member or similar, how they got it is obvious. They aren't the main problem.

If you come down with Covid here and we know that someone who visited the same supermarket or whatever has Covid, and your infections are genetically linked, we know what's going on and can make good warnings about who should stay home and isolate. If it's very closely genetically linked to other cases, we know there's at most one missing link in the chain of infection.

But if you come down with Covid and genome testing says it's quite unrelated other Covid cases, that's a sign that we've got an undiagnosed cluster of cases, and the disease is spreading in a community. Time to intervene, warn people there, ramp up testing in that area/suburb or that church group, or school, or whatever.

But while genome testing everyone may be overkill places like Scotland, what I don't know is where that leaves you. How many would you be genome testing?

88:

Whelp, "Plan B" is live. Something put the Cat amongst the pigeons today, for sure. Quite exciting. Wasn't expecting tears and the literal sacrifice of the Maiden, but there we are. And we've even got GB News adjacents calling out to "Arthur" (the King, not the comic).

And right on cue, come the sounds of that campaign we warned you about[3].

Not sure: someone explain if your societies are supposed to function like this, all seems a little chaotic, doesn't it? Now imagine if you knew that last night, could have made a killing...

Talk about "bang for your BUCK", eh? bum-tish

~

Regarding the Pfzizere PR blitz: not convinced. They're relying on invitro modelling and their stock bump is too juicy for them to not run with #3 boost as sufficient, and this is after stating it wasn't effective. We've read contrary science and it checks out. We'd trust a spiked punch bowl in a student party more than a Pfizer C level rep on TeeVee for reference, and for good reason.

~

The only thing I've specifically used as a brain fog helper is turmeric

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piracetam - won't hurt you unless you OD to the max, good for old brains anyhow, circulation is always good.

Unless you're talking about the other kind of brain-fog and awakening, at which point our advice will get a lot more specific.

~

Oh, and Evergrande. shrug

[1] You're not going to understand the Jewdas / language references without watching the back-story to a UK / London affair currently being used as part of another Culture War. Put it this way: there are parts of Berlin you wouldn't want to host a PKK rally, and there are parts of London where turning up to dance in the Cube Costume would be considered ill-advised. So, either the organizer was a muppet or looking for a response: this isn't condoning the response, but we're not naive enough to imagine that putting teenagers into dangerous situations for media attention isn't something that has/will/can be done. Note: back when it was perfected it was used to entice Roman patrols into ambushes, not that you lot know that. [1a] The joke is an inclusive one: since Hebrew (modern) is a 'resurrected' language, the intonation is largely fake. Accurately fake, but still fake. Thus, having the "Ruling Council of UK" produce a video solemnly explaining the 'correct' pronounciation and so on is hysterically funny or hysterically atemporal depending on your reading. Arwad is/was a trading port back when Judea was under the Bablyonian thumb and even prior to The Jewish People actually arriving in the region, so natch: and yes, your modern accents are somewhat worse. Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead, Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell And the profit and loss. [1b] It's a loving / inclusive joke: if all of you have terrible accents then all of you share something quite quaint / cute in a terribly jarring way to us. And trust us: Arwad was a riot back in the day. Ask your Mums where merkins come from...

[2] Appleby Fair is the largest Traveller / Gypsy (in the original, cute wooden homes with horses, sense) gathering in the UK. It's also very horse based. And a lot of sex goes on, but we digress. Also, probably going to have a massive crack down next year with the fuzz using their new powers to the max, but we didn't tell you that here. The implication was... well: We respect those visiting the fair and gold-hearted harlots far more than we respect what happened today, but it tracks, doesn't it? (Bonus round: M. Hancock getting the PR handy on dyslexia and all concerned are rather into horses). Again: cultural references you're not going to spot unless you're horsey / know your UK class break-downs. It was quite a magnificent insult for those engaged with dressage, put it that way. (And they... totally fucked her, live on TV).

[3] Not joking about the National Guard either. A certain General Flynn has just fingered the CIA as responsible for the Jan 6 / Q revolt (he's not wrong: wrong agency, but 100% an OP to get the reigns of that bolted horse back under control, grep it, we told you back then), which is preeeeety spicey in Evangelical Lands. Oh, and totes #3-4 booster is being used as the wedge. And those Guards have Armouries chocka-block full of heavy weapons and MRAPS! Weeeee!

~ That's just a snap-shot of the actual thought that goes into posts, we usually don't bother to explain, but the Cube Costume is a touchy one.

89:

So is it correct to say that, if compared to delta, omicron is 5x as infectious and 1/5th as fatal, then the same number of people die from omicron as for delta?

90:

No-one reads our comments, but no, not really.

Here's the break-down (in a % of population sample and referencing health of populations rather than individuals):

0) Covid19 already ganked a load of the most vulnerable, so that weights your "total fatality" figures right out of the gate

1) More infections = higher probability of mutation into new strands [This is Bad]

2) More infections = higher probability of 'Long Covid' and/or stuff like: myocarditis, nerve damage, lobe function loss rather than death [This is bad]

3) Given the DNA sequence (which, ahem is a bit strange and SA lab location noted, nasty history of weaponised AIDS research there) anomalies this looks like a recursive back-track to a more original strain, meaning work done on later strains not in the lineage (hello vaccines) won't be as affective [This is bad]

4) There's no specifics, as of yet, on H.S.S variant tweakage. Call us cynical, but the lack of response to the current variants' ethnic bias has been noted. Aka: "It's great when the Natives don't have immunity to our STDs".

But....

It will kill less people due to the fact that prior strains aleady killed a shit-tonne of people who were vulnerable to it. Probably not even a statistical blip, especially given Medical Treatment has learnt all the lessons (aka: don't fucking tube unless required, NYC). This is the "Nerve Rider" variant.

Which... will also feed into that Other Ting we told you is happening right now. Aka: "This is just the flu, waaa waaa.... WAAAAARGH, IT'S A CULTURE WAAAR".

91:

(Above: not DNA sequence, it's a virus. RNA.)

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/scientific-brief-omicron-variant.html

If you want to get technical, this is the danger zone part:

Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 harbors a unique insertion mutation of putative viral or human genomic origin

The Omicron variant harbors 37 mutations in the Spike protein, which include six deletion mutations, one insertion mutation and 30 substitution mutations... This highly mutated Spike variant harbors a novel insertion mutation ins214EPE. Although the position 214 appears to be an insertion hotspot10 the EPE insertion in Omicron appears to be novel. Previous analyses of sequences deposited in GI SAID suggested that insertions in the SARS-CoV-2 genome likely arise from polymerase slippage or template switching.

Searching the HCoV-229E genome for homology to a nucleotide sequence encoding ins214EPE shows the presence of an identical sequence in HCoV-229E’s Spike protein, which could have been exploited for template switching (Figure 2). Furthermore, based on analysis of single cell RNA seq data (Table S2), we see that the receptors of SARS-CoV-2 (ACE2) and HCoV-229E (ANPEP) are co-expressed in gastrointestinal (e.g. enterocytes) and respiratory tissues (e.g. respiratory ciliated cells). This gives rise to the plausibility of such cells in co-infected individuals being exploited as sites of genomic interplay between different viruses

https://osf.io/f7txy/

It's not ideal having a SARS take cues from Flu, for reference.

92:

So is it correct to say that, if compared to delta, omicron is 5x as infectious and 1/5th as fatal, then the same number of people die from omicron as for delta?

Epidemiologists don't like to boil down their equations, but it's obvious from the graphs that infection rates lead to nonlinear growth of infection, so no, 5 times as infectious with 1/5 the bad outcomes is not a wash.

A way to think of this is as a bank account. You have two choices: the standard Delta account with the standard Delta interest rate and fees, or the speculative new Omicron account with an interest rate that's five times the Delta interest rate, but with 1/5 the fees of Delta.

If you want to maximize your returns, do you choose Delta, or Omicron? Or are they the same? It's not the simple, as noted in #89, but this is the basic problem.

And yes, in this example, the account is denominated in infections and the fees are deaths and other negative outcomes for humans.

93:

So is it correct to say that, if compared to delta, omicron is 5x as infectious and 1/5th as fatal, then the same number of people die from omicron as for delta?

No. As Charlie has pointed out several times, infection rates scale exponentially over time while fatality per infection (the case fatality rate) remains linear. You might not wish to take that at face value just because we say so, so here's a worked example.

Say R=2 for delta and R=10 for omicron (that is 5x). Person D0 has delta and person Om0 has omicron. D0 will infect 2 people (D1 and D2) while Om0 will infect 10 people (Om1 through Om10). D1 and D2 will infect 2 people each (D3-6) with 7 people infected after 2 iterations. Om1 will infect 10 people, as will Om2... the last person infected by Om10 will be Om110 with a total 111 people infected after 2 iterations. After 6 iterations when we're up to D127 and Om1.1 million, at which point we've probably seen our first delta death since we started counting, but we're already up to 222 omicron deaths (on average). At 7 its 2.5 delta deaths from 256 infections and 2.2 thousand omicron deaths from 11 million infections. At 8 it's 5 delta deaths from 512 infections and 22.2 thousand omicron deaths from 111 million infections, which would represent saturation for the UK I guess.

I may err a bit in details, but at least that's the general idea. Pick slightly more pessimistic numbers and the outcome worsens in proportion. This ignores the problem that 22 thousand people dying in ICU beds is a capacity emergency no matter how well resourced your health system is, and that many many more deaths would result just from that.

94:

I should dd a proviso: this isn't a prediction, exactly, just a working-through of what infection versus case fatality rates actually mean in practice. There are reasons why it might be less bad, including the ones mentioned at @89 and @91. This was just my attempt at redressing the apparently missed exponential growth thing.

Regarding capacity, the thing about ICUs is that just building more of them isn't enough, intensive care is both a medical specialty and a nursing specialty and training practitioners has a lead time of years. Which is why you might see a wave of doctor resignations and career changes resulting from hospitals and health systems telling their clinicians: "whatever your specialty is now, your future includes having intensive care as a specialty too, you don't have a choice about this".

95:

SFR / Bill Blondeau

"Exercise"

Yes, this is also supposed to help in prevention in the first place. Most weeks, 3 times a week, I'm walking a km each-way to my allotment & then pottering/gardening for anything from an hour to 4 hours, all in the open air. Should be good for me ...

Another recurring theme.. How people, especially fuckwit tory politicians REALLY DO NOT GET "doubling" or "exponential" growths, even now - some wanker on the radio, in the past hour, talking about a "tiny starting number" - obviously never heard the grains-of-rice-on-the-chessboard story. What a plonker.

[ 264 is a large number ]

87 / 89 / 90 - oh SHIT

96:

There's also the issue that the fatality rate is linked to the infectiousness, as in will the healtcare system have the resources to treat you. I suspect that the fatality rate for untreated omicron is worse than treated delta.

97:

Well, it's possible to genome sequence all positive PCR tests, but that will work at the speed of genetics, rather than the speed of any of plot, politics, or infection.

98:

turmeric, […] there is apparently some peer-reviewed science supporting that.

I recently came across a short article by Derek Lowe on curcumin research. It seems to be really easy to produce spurious positive findings. So I'd be wary even of peer-reviewed science on this compound.

99:

«But the scientific advice and th/e evidence is overwhelmingly to adopt test-trace-isolate as a strategy»`

«It was. It's now too late. You can use test and trace to stop something getting out of control but, once it's out of control, it's a waste of time, effort and money.»

I was indeed commenting to the past as to Sturgeon's complicity as to the past 18 month.

As to the current situation, fast-spreading variants like Delta and Omicron indeed put a strain on test-trace-isolate as testing and especially tracing need to be faster. But it is still a lot less expensive and more effective than half-baked lockdowns.

As to it being too late, as Delta and Omicron may have already spread too much, that can be reset, as China-Taiwan or China-mainland and other areas have done, with either (or both) short (a few weeks) very hard lockdowns, to let current cases burn out without spreading, or with fast mass testing. As to the latter:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-54504785The Chinese city of Qingdao is testing its entire population of nine million people for Covid-19 over a period of five days. The mass testing comes after the discovery of a dozen cases linked to a hospital treating coronavirus patients arriving from abroad. In May, China tested the entire city of Wuhan - home to 11 million people and the epicentre of the global pandemic. The country has largely brought the virus under control. That is in stark contrast to other parts of the world, where there are still high case numbers and lockdown restrictions of varying severity. In a statement posted to Chinese social media site Weibo, Qingdao's Municipal Health Commission said six new cases and six asymptomatic cases had been discovered.

That is twice the population of Scotland... When there is a will there is a way. What is missing is Johnson's, Starmer's, Sturgeon's will. Yes, Sturgeon has given better reporting on the situation than the spivs in England, but that is not enough.

100:

Sturgeon has no powers to even test those entering from outside Scotland, whether from other parts of the UK or outside it. It is unlikely that test and trace would have helped significantly with that constraint.

101:

If you do 100 tests on something irrelevant, it is almost certain that there will be some that show a positive link and some a negative link. This has been known since the early days of statistics.

102:

Going by my very simplistic maths, a doubling time of 2-3 days would infect the entire population of the UK by the end of January. Probably overwhelm hospitals around the end of December.

Why are we not in ultra lockdown right now?

103:

Lockdown is politically painful, the dependency of politicians on donations from businessfolk guarantee it. It will be even less possible in the US, as the dependency on the goodwill of the donor community is greater.

104:

Politicians can only do what the polis (the people) permit them to. Last year Scottish schools were closed, remote learning implemented and exams cancelled in an attempt to reduce the spread of the first variants of COVID-19. This effort to mitigate an infectious disease nearly brought down the government and cost the Education minister his job as children's education was clearly impacted. The result is that schools, which are plague Mixmasters at the best of times, have been open throughout 2021 with the children in their classrooms and doing their part to spread this disease in their communities because the polis demands it.

105: 76 I mentioned this in another thread. My thinking was that they had theoretically created a bubble in the quantum foam not space-time. Though this could be useful in creating a warp drive or wormhole because of the negative energy density. I have no idea if this is correct! 81 I know exactly what you are going through with long covid as I have M.E. It's awful, best of luck. 82 I haven't driven for years as I felt I couldn't trust myself. 88 Thanks for the Piracetam, I have been suffering from both brain fog and myoclonic jerks. They have both settled a bit, but if they get worse I might try this.
106:

You have a point, but the holders of wealth will demand access first, theirs may be the voice you heard.

107:

You're going to have to explain the "cube costume" thing to me in words of one syllable. And "Jewdas", whatever it is. Something to do with the insane libelous Corbyn/anti-semitism allegations? (I am aware of certain parties trying to conflate anti-semitism with anti-zionism; and related parties trying to convince us all that "judaeo-christian" values are real, despite Judaism having a radically different axiom system from Christianity (no afterlife, no heaven, and no hell -- just for starters).

Also I'm utterly unclear about what you think booster vaccines are being used as a political wedge for -- even the direction you think they're being pushed in.

Not that anything has made much sense since 20th February 2001, of course ...

108:

Why are we not in ultra lockdown right now?

I hear you.

Where I live (Ontario), our 4th wave started in the end of October (27th or so).

After a slow rise, it's gone exponential. When you plot new cases on a logarithmic graph, it's been a straight line for the past 3-4 weeks (r2 over 0.981).

Right now, the 7-day average crossed 1000 new cases / day earlier this week. If things go on as they are, by Jan 1 2022, new cases will be around 1900-2000 per day.

And our premier does nothing to throw on the brakes.

1 For the linear line of best fit on the logarithmic graph.

109:

Regarding capacity, the thing about ICUs is that just building more of them isn't enough, intensive care is both a medical specialty and a nursing specialty and training practitioners has a lead time of years.

Training time for a fully qualified ICU nurse in the US is seven years.

Training time for a doctor is at minimum 5 years and, to consultant level, 10-12 years.

Also, even in non-pandemic times these are high-stress specialities and training is wasteful: about 30% of nurses quit the profession within 2-3 years of graduation, and while I lack data, I'm not sure doctors are any better at staff retention. And at the other end, people retire earlier than in other jobs -- medicine requires constant skills updates, nursing and surgery require physical condition, and after age 50 it's mostly about passing on skills to the next generation and/or winding down in low-intensity areas.

We are currently burning out an entire generation of talent in the space of a couple of years, and even if there's a massive recruitment ramp-up after the pandemic to train twice as many medics and nurses and auxiliary professions as usual, it'll take 10-20 years to get back to adequate staffing ... assuming another pandemic doesn't come along in the meantime.

We mostly trend older on this blog -- I think most of us are over 50, in many cases over 70. This is therefore going to lead to our premature deaths, even if we dodge COVID19 successfully.

110:

Why are we not in ultra lockdown right now?

Oh look, the Prime Minister's latest wife has just popped out another Prime Ministerial baby!

(This is called "throwing a live baby on the table", as "throwing a dead cat on the table" was looking kind of tired this week given the utter wtfery about the multiple Downing Street Christmas parties during the 2020 December lockdown, the Police refusing to investigate due to "lack of evidence" despite being tasked with signing in all visitors to 10 Downing Street and searching them for, well, Secret Santa presents ... )

I swear I have no idea how to even satirize this using the New Management.

111:

Added to the human resource issues, we might be looking at a succession of corona viruses as varieties mix and mingle in the unvaccinated. Not nearly as fast as Stephen King's "Captain Trips", but a return to normal looks like a forlorn hope in so many ways.

112:

It's over a year old, but still valid:

https://www.tvo.org/article/perimeter-institute-a-physicists-adventures-in-virology

Well worth watching. PI lectures are usually interesting, and this one was timely as well. It roughly sums down to 'people don't really understand exponential growth, and persist in assuming all growth is linear'.

113:

This was just my attempt at redressing the apparently missed exponential growth thing.

Years ago at a physics conference we had a guest speaker whose thesis was that a great many problems in the world stem from people not really understanding exponential growth.

114:

This is therefore going to lead to our premature deaths, even if we dodge COVID19 successfully.

As a first approximation, would going back to the days before antibiotics be a reasonable analogy?

115:

Yes, except we've already gone back to the days before antibiotics -- antibiotic resistant bacteria kill tens of thousands of folks a year in the UK simply because most of our antibiotics barely work any more.

116:

Jewdas is a left-wing Jewish Diaspora group, based in London. Their work includes parodies of both anti-semitic and pro-zionist [expletive deleted], along with a certain amount of community outreach and cultural stuff. No idea what specific thing of theirs SotMN is refering to here.

(They came to a lot of people's attention when Corbyn attended a passover seder they held and was promptly attacked by the press for "being antisemitic" by going to a jewish festival with what our definitely non-hateful media mysteriously decided were the wrong kind of jews.)

117:

The days when a prime minister regarded their duty to be to the country are long gone. Currently, it comes after the (usually foreign) plutocrats, the knuckle-dragging backbenchers, and the sheeple that are needed to win elections.

While Omicron is spreading exponentially for now, that cannot continue indefinitely. What we don't know is what will happen when the majority of the country has been infected, and is being reinfected. Bozo et al. are assuming the most optimistic outcome; SAGE, Whitty etc. are more realistic, but are being ignored.

As OGH said, satirising this is almost impossible.

118:

I offer for the optimists here my definition of the "new normal": Each year will be worse than the previous year, but the rate at which things get worse will continually increase.

I'm uncertain whether the increase is linear, geometric, or exponential, however (and since I'm disabled in the UK, probably won't live long enough to find out).

119:

Re: 'Sturgeon has no powers to even test those entering from outside Scotland, whether from other parts of the UK or outside it.'

'Power' is often used interchangeably with 'budget' - so unless it's a cheap (easy) fix, pols are unlikely to try to implement it.

Just saw this on my GoogNews page - no mention of Omicron but still hopeful that this type of test can be easily adapted to measure a variety of new types of antibody.

Here's a plain language version ...

https://www.utoronto.ca/news/u-t-researchers-low-cost-pinprick-test-measures-covid-19-immunity-under-one-hour

'... a pinprick test that accurately measures the concentration of coronavirus antibodies in blood in under one hour. And it’s cheap – costing a toonie ($2 CDN) or about tenth of current tests.

Their method is detailed in a study published this week in the journal Nature Communications.

“Our assay is as sensitive as, if not better than, any other currently available assay in detecting low levels of IgG antibodies and its specificity – also known as false-positive rate – is as good as the best antibody test on the market,” said Stagljar, who collaborated with public health agencies and blood banks from across Canada to have the test validated on blood samples taken from former COVID-19 patients.'

Here's the link for the published article:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-22102-6

Article title - no bets that Murdoch/FauxNews go apesh*t over at least one biochem term.

"A homogeneous split-luciferase assay for rapid and sensitive detection of anti-SARS CoV-2 antibodies"

120:

Charlie

Why 20/02/2001?

@ 110: Wait for another Dead Cat, as BoZo & his tame lickspittle ( Paul Scully ) make sure the conditions set for TfL are unreachable & the Capitals' transport collapses, for which they will then do their best to blame Khan - who, being an idiot, has walked right into this one ...

Talking of fitness, I had to get some blood-pressure readings. An average of approx. 123/82 isn't bad for a an almost-76-year old.

Oh yes, why has the type-in box started to require a double carriage-return to get a new-line in the viewed output?

121:

Why 20/02/2001?

The date of George W. Bush's inauguration. After which, policy changes basically rendered 9/11 inevitable (and with PNAC neocons running the State Department, made a short victorious war likewise inevitable).

122:

Sounds about right, I have little in the way of foresight, but a new variety of COVID every year or two until after I've died would not be a surprise.

123:

Rapid (cheap) COVID test ...

And they've got a short (0:02:31) YT video white-board animation/drawings explaining the test! Hope other researchers adopt this multimedia approach to explain their research.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vu17zrzjarI&ab_channel=TheRoyalInstitution

'Introducing: A rapid, sensitive test for detection of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2'

The date on this video is March 2021 - quite a lag to publishing.

124:

>>I swear I have no idea how to even satirize this using the New Management.

James Nicoll's review of Doomsday Book by Connie Willis.

Humorous (?) how things that seemed incredibly unlikely now seem extremely probable:

https://jamesdavisnicoll.com/review/confusion

125:

Well, I'm just back from having the third hole poked in my arm. Pfizer again. Town centre heaving on the way there.

Had a good laugh on the way back from spotting a house roof that has been completely covered in solar panels. On the north side. FFS.

126:

"Oh yes, why has the type-in box started to require a double carriage-return to get a new-line in the viewed output?"

I imagine it's a side effect of the addition of markdown support.

(Is that actually worth keeping, Charlie? Nobody seemed to be over the moon about it, but it does appear to be breaking several people's URLs and post formatting.)

127:

infection rates scale exponentially over time while fatality per infection (the case fatality rate) remains linear.

Again, though this assumes a vulnerable population with no upper bound. Looking at it from the opposite direction (ie, total population), the situation looks a lot different. A country with 100 million people will get infected with omicron faster and experience deaths faster, but ultimately will have fewer deaths overall than with the delta variant. IE, a case fatality rate for delta of 1%, in a population of 100 million all of whom get it, would result in 1 million deaths. If omicron's fatality rate was 1/5 of delta that would be .2%, resulting in 200,000 dead.

This assumes that having a case means you have (some level of) immunity against another case, which has been the situation with earlier variants, though it's too early to tell with omicron.

Obviously -- like all these discussions -- this is highly simplified.

(As a specific example, the delta variant, which was more transmissible than previous ones, had a lower peak of deaths and lower total deaths (so far) in the United States than earlier variants. There's all sorts of confounding issues with this, though, including the vaccines, so it's hard to claim much from it.)

128:

TermiteDellaPunteggiatura @98: I recently came across a short article by Derek Lowe on curcumin research. It seems to be really easy to produce spurious positive findings. So I'd be wary even of peer-reviewed science on this compound.

Thanks -- good article. Informative, illuminating, and (as you point out) short.

However, it doesn't move me to discontinue turmeric. The point of the article is that curcumin is a "waste of time". From the author's point of view -- scientific skepticism, which I do endorse in general -- that's a valid interpretation.

I, on the other hand, am not approaching this from a scientific point of view. I'm doing personal risk management. Let me break it down in Teaching the Horse To Sing fashion:

  • Turmeric seems to be beneficial to me, to some extent.
  • If the benefit is physiologically real, then discontinuing would be foolish.
  • If the benefit is not physiologically real, it may be a placebo effect. As I have mentioned, I'll take a placebo effect if I can get it.
  • If the benefit is not physiologically real, and is not providing me with a placebo effect, it's a simple mistaken belief.
  • Since the benefit of turmeric is possibly actual, the cost of discontinuing might be negligible, but could be significant.
  • The downside of continuing with turmeric as a hopeful therapy is minimal. It costs little, and I've not seen documented side effects.

I do approach measures that are not scientifically supported with considerable caution. However, the ongoing scientific quest for truth about turmeric is not my main concern. In medical and nutritional areas, science is slow because human subjects are widely variable and many effects take a long time to appear. I don't have time to wait for a final consensus.

129:

As folks have been telling me for the last five years and more, solar panels are really cheap and getting cheaper every year so why NOT put them on the north-facing roof too? It's not like it's the Dark Side of the Moon there.

I've seem pictures of an American two-storey tract home which has solar panels on the walls around the upper windows. This could become a lot more common as solar panels inevitably drop in price to a dollar per square metre.

130:

Over the next few years virtually everyone is going to catch some strain of Covid.

This is a thing that is going to happen that no power or technology currently on earth will prevent.

However, there is strong reason to believe that the vaccines will in most people prevent serious disease. That’s the whole point of them, or to prevent you catching it but to prevent tot from dying of it.

The early days seems to show that the vaccines + booster are just fine at preventing serious disease for Omicron as well. Still too early to make that call but so far, so good.

The other hopeful thing is we now have reasonably effective treatments. These need to be fully deployed however.

With regards to long Covid the real question is do the vaccines so prevent that? I do not know the answer there but we are going to find out.

131:

Yes, Markdown is worth keeping.

URL syntax has changed, but:

[name of target](url_goes_here)

Gives you a named link; If your link includes a backslash, escape it thuswise: \\

Overall there's a lot less typing involved and it's easier to remember than raw HTML. It's also the same syntax used on Reddit, Wikipedia, in Discord, and on a host of other popular websites.

132:

In terms of how contagious omicron is, I provide what the writer of this comment on a different board provided. Additionally the commentator has had covid, despite being double jabbed early in the fall due to attending a soccer match with tens of thousands of fans. His entire family then got covid, one at a time, over a period of weeks.

[ "Some anecdotal evidence about how easily omicron spreads. My daughters ballet teacher had a class last Tuesday am where one person tested positive.

Since then every single person in the class tested positive, and everyone in her Tuesday afternoon class other than one woman who was triple jabbed and has had a previous infection also tested positive. Positive side, nobody was particularly ill. " ]

133:

In Scotland? The demand is considerably the greatest in winter, and the sun reaches a massive 10.5 degrees about the horizon (with a 6 hour day) in midwinter. Even on a horizontal surface, you can't expect much more than 130 KJ/day (*) per square metre, and you will get half that on a UK sloping roof.

(*) Roughly 2 KW-minutes.

136:

~Laughs~

Yeah, if Nyarlahotep threw a wild party and did less than a trillion in properly damage it wouldn't be very credible. At the very least I'd expect a large hole in the ground. And who's he going to invite? Hastur and Yog-Sothoth? Better hope Azathoth doesn't show up!

137:

I regard that as the date the Republican Party officially became put-them-in-a-hospital-and-keep-them-there insane. (They started being unhealthy when Nixon ran for president in 1968 and negotiated with the Viet Cong.)

138:

On the north side? There's a lawsuit!

139:

"markdown support" = ????
And .. "Markdown" is, or appears to be a simpler form / format / tool than HTML ...
err .. THIS one? - said he using HTML ...
Linkie to where I can find a set of clues to rely on, that are "Easy-to-Use" please? There seem to be several available - which one do people recommend, in other words.

I must say that pictures seem to be easier .. Though - do they still need a pre-existing URL - or can one post from one's own files?
I ask because I still can't get into "tinyurl", as it's full of self-advertisement & no clues
Oh, & how does one present Square-Brackets in this formatting?

140:

icehawk @ 83:

"I haven't heard anything about 'Omicron' reaching North Carolina yet"

Would you know?

Serious question. Here in New Zealand I believe we're still genome-sequencing all positive Covid cases, so we know exactly what's here and if you get Covid they'll know which cluster you are in, and quite likely who you got it from. So we know that all cases in the community in our country now - and for the last few months - track back to one failure at the border. So it's all Delta here, for now, as one case of Delta got in past our border controls.

But are you guys doing similar and genome-sequencing all - or a lot of - the cases that test positive? It's really hard to tell just what's going on internationally, and how different places compare in their testing and genome sequencing.

The Governor & public health officials have been holding regular news briefings on how things are going on the Covid front - mostly number of cases, trends & progress on getting people to get vaccinated - but they did talk about "Delta" when it showed up. So I expect once "Omicron" reaches North Carolina it will be mentioned in the briefing.

North Carolina has a NPR mini-network (mostly in the east) based on WUNC radio which carries the briefings live and the local TV stations have it in their news feeds and I see both sources pop up in Google News.

I'm guessing Google's algorithm takes into account the IP address block assigned to my ISP and the frequency I click on local news stories - especially about Covid - and includes it in what it serves up to me.

Short answer, I expect to see it reported in the news when (not IF, WHEN) it gets here.

141:

Oops! NOT "tinyurl", my bad. I'm looking for a really easy way to get piccies from my files into a URL-format for easy transmission/publication. And Photobucket have screwed up & the other one wasn't helpful either

142:

Yes, that MarkDown.

Let's test with the preview button:

[I am in brackets]

(I am in parentheses)

but brackets followed by parens makes a link

  • an asterisk for a bullet point

emphasized text inside a pair of asterisk

really emphasized text inside a double pair

143:

'Power' is often used interchangeably with 'budget' - so unless it's a cheap (easy) fix, pols are unlikely to try to implement it.

The powers of Holyrood, and thus the Scottish Government, are defined in the three Scotland Acts. Whilst Public Health is devolved, which could be used to justify testing people entering Scotland, Immigration is not devolved, so detaining people for testing as they enter Scotland might well be unlawful.

... and the Scottish Tories and Labour would probably be very keen to argue it was unlawful, and also an example of the SNP trying to divide the UK! Presumably to be followed later on by arguing that the extra deaths caused by people not being tested as they entered Scotland was the fault of the SNP.

144:

Yabbut when solar panels are cheaper than paint (next year maybe?) people can just fix them on every surface on their house even if the positional efficiency isn't the best.

145:

The current work-in-progress contains --

(This is not a spoiler, it won't be out for more than a year and may well change before publication)

-- The Prime Minister, who throws a royal reception, and Eve Starkey is invited.

It is made clear to her that Gifts are Expected: specifically the skull of Rupert de Montfort Bigge. (His Nibs collects skulls, as should be clear by this point in the series.)

Luckily Eve has the aforementioned skull, or at least a skull purportedly belonging to RdeMB (hint: it shows up in the last chapter of Quantum of Nightmares).

The PM receives the cranium, touches it, and says, "hmm, full marks for trying, but this is the skull of the wrong Rupert de Montfort Bigge: bring me the right one, there's a good girl."

(This is what is called a plot point, in the trade.)

Anyway: white tie receptions at Lancaster House, the Black Pharaoh taking a keen personal interest in a couple of protagonists, implication that Eve fails to find the right skull her own will do perfectly well as a substitute, you get the idea.

146:

Yes, that Markdown.

To enter a special character (like [ or ] or \) just prefix it with a backslash to tell Markdown to ignore it.

Here's a basic guide to Markdown syntax.

147:

SFReader @ 85:

Re: 'There is a third aspect to my recovery: physical activity.'

Yeah - regular moderate exercise is key. Some people need a more structured plan like the below to help make sure that they exercise all of their bits.

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/physicalmedicinerehabilitation/coronavirus-rehabilitation/_files/impact-of-covid-patient-recovery.pdf

I have trouble with some of those and I haven't had Covid - short or long (parts of me that got broke from over-use or abuse whenI was younger). And I think some of that "brain fog" may just be a part of natural aging ... having Covid on top of it makes it worse, but it's already there before you get Covid.

Another thing that I've seen crop up is cognitive therapy (CI Therapy) which sorta looks similar to the behavioral re-education/physical re-training rehab that's given to people who've suffered strokes.

There's also: getting enough restful sleep, avoiding stressful situations and doing some meditation type exercises like tai chi (see below) that demand extended periods of mental focus combined with fine physical/muscular coordination while also being relaxing.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8054611/

Having nothing to do all day but sit at this damn computer doesn't help my insomnia. I don't do Tai Chi, but I do have housework that needs doing. I try to get up up and do a few minutes after every comment I write, but that's hard too if I get carried away ... and the little dog don't like it so much because he's just got comfortable in my lap and I get up and the lap goes away. There's a lot of inertia to overcome and the isolation of quarantine aggravates my natural laziness.

148:

the little dog don't like it so much because he's just got comfortable in my lap and I get up and the lap goes away

How big is 'little'? You can get puppy chest carriers that are kinda like baby carriers (the womb-with-a-view model, not the backpack ones).

149:

Yabbut when solar panels are cheaper than paint (next year maybe?) people can just fix them on every surface on their house even if the positional efficiency isn't the best.

I realize piss-taking is ongoing, but I wanted to bring up a couple of semi-serious nits to pick.

One is that there's about a million metric fucktares of suboptimal roofs in dire need of solar paneling. These vary from those that were designed to be "cosmetically attractive" dormer heaven models to old homes whose roofs weren't designed for the weight of panels. There's therefore a huge potential market for smaller, lighter panels.

The other is that certain environmental groups are looking into the whole carbon offsets scam sector. Instead of buying up tree farms and promising not to cut them for 50 years, only to watch them burn, the enviros are looking into paying for solar on the roofs of poor people's homes and apartment buildings. If this helps them get off GHG emissions, it's not a bad thing, and since it's in a city, it's theoretically easier to monitor than a forestry project.*

Anyway, go back to having fun with us solar idiots, but if you have any other ideas along the line of solarizing towns for fun and profit, send them my way. There's actually room for change.

*Speaking as a one-time vegetation ecologist, the one time I looked at actual planting and monitoring data from one of these projects, I was unamused.

150:

Speaking as a one-time vegetation ecologist, the one time I looked at actual planting and monitoring data from one of these projects, I was unamused.

Back in the 1970s there was a Big Thing about growing pulpwood in Scotland on hillfarms and other marginal lands. It was the sort of depauperate monoculture you'd expect but in these enlightened days it would be considered Green as fuck because "trees!".

However the tax benefits and investment vehicles that flowered like desert plants in the rain based on buying 45-degree land at a hundred quid an acre and planting it with Government-subsidised trees that wouldn't be harvested for decades (when the capital gains bill would come due) were very much sought after. A lot of folks who weren't actually in the pulp timber biz like comedians and actors ended up owning surprisingly large parts of Scotland, at least temporarily.

151:

Didn't know that, thanks!

Yes, it's something like that in the carbon offset game. Basically, you have a tree farm, and the carbon offset market pays you to leave the trees planted, rather than cutting them on a 50 year rotation. I've even seem some proposals to do carbon offsets by paying a tree farmer not to cut for 30 years. If this is on a tree farm with a 50 year crop, well golly gee, that's an additional revenue stream...

The real problem that's become apparent in the last two years is that tree farms in northern California burn quite enthusiastically, especially when under severe drought. You may have seen these reported as wildfires in your news feed. And they were. Partially. Most of the land that burned had already been logged, often several times. So investing in reforesting these places on the assumption they won't burn in the next century? That's risky.

So far as growing trees like corn in monocultures... There's this little problem. Corn's an annual. Even so, it has its share of pests, even though it's only around for a few months. Trees that are planted in dense, genetically uniform stands and left for decades? Yeah, they're, what's the word...oh yeah, vulnerable. That's a big problem with industrial forestry. While they've made progress towards making super weed trees, I don't think it's a solved problem yet.

152:

That all sounds great and it sets up the rest of the book very nicely, but it doesn't satirize Boris's Xmas party. My point was that you'd have to get a bit further out there to make proper fun of the current PM, as in "what could the Black Pharaoh do that would actually result in having questions asked in Parliament which might bring him down politically?"

Answer? Go on a "Great Old Drunk" with his Elder-God buddies and do some real damage.

153:

The obvious improvement would be some kind of mixed crops, (the other obvious improvement would be a government which takes Climate Change seriously.)

154:

I think the pulpwood cycle was about thirty years or so, this was not an attempt to re-establish the great Caledonian Forest which had been nearly all logged out for iron-making charcoal a couple of centuries back. I certainly remember seeing one such pulpwood plantation going in just to the north of my father's cousin's hillfarm in the Central Belt and seeing it logged out some time later at about the thirty year mark. I do remember just how badly the ground was rutted and dug up from the industrial-grade machinery used to harvest the pulpwood trees.

The monoculture was worse than just lots of the same type of tree, they were actually cloned rather than grown from seed to reduce costs and guarantee all the trees being cropped would be at optimal growth when the time came. Driving through the Borders of Scotland you'd see these great swathes of pulpwood covering the hills, dotted with clumps of dead trees where some pest or disease had taken out every tree within reach before the owners could get in and cut firebreaks to stop the spread.

Timber wildfires aren't often a thing in Scotland although sometimes bracken and gorse will catch fire or be set on fire by idiots in the summer if it's hot and dry enough. It's pretty rare for the fires to go anywhere much though and controlled burning of the hillsides is often done in the late summer to prep the ground for overwintering sheep later in the year.

155:

I think the burnout rate in the USA is going to stay with us for a long time. Last week I received my covid booster in a small rural Utah county of 2,500 people (2,500 sq miles/6,400 sq km, or a little smaller than Devon). My wife works at a nearby national park, so that's where I spend my winter months. The young nurse administering the shot was a former ICU nurse who quit her job at a Salt Lake City hospital after working non-stop with covid patients for the past 18 months. We had some time to chat, and I'm surprised she lasted that long. Extra shifts, an average of 2 patients dying per shift (the record was 7), working in full protective gear in a negative pressure environment, which meant that taking a bathroom break necessitated leaving the floor and spending a significant amount of time getting out of her protective gear. Knowing that other patients weren't getting the care they needed because every ICU bed was filled with a covid patient (don't get a heart attack in SLC, it won't end well). This on top of getting to know multiple patients for a week or two before intubating them, knowing that the majority would die, or if they survived, have chronic health issues for the rest of their lives.

She chose to move back to the small town she's from and work to get more people vaccinated there. They're up to 51%, so perhaps she's having an impact. I'm glad she's nearby, but that kind of loss multiplied by many thousands is going to have huge impacts on the USA's already disfunctional healthcare system.

156:

My son's SO is a nurse at an infusion clinic. It's associated with a world class cancer and transplant hospital so well, they don't want to kill off the immuno compromised folks.

For months she went from dealing with 5 or 6 patients a day in the clinic to visiting the homes (hotels for many) of 2 to 3 a day. They are now back in the clinic but she getting worn out. And dealing with the hoaxers, deniers, etc... is no fun. Not so much the patients but all their relatives and friends.

Many medical centers in the US have been refusing transplants to people who will not vaccinate or will not live a life after the transplant to avoid Covid. (Why invest $100K to $1mil into someone who is almost trying to die soon after?) All of this is raising the stress level.

157:

Duffy @ 89: So is it correct to say that, if compared to delta, omicron is 5x as infectious and 1/5th as fatal, then the same number of people die from omicron as for delta?

My guess is it's going to depend oh whether we can convince the anti-Vaxxers & CovIDIOTS to get vaccinated.

My opinion is still anyone who goes to the ER with Covid symptoms and hasn't been vaccinated, they should be sent home with a tube of horse dewormer paste.

"Don't come back until you've been vaccinated. There are sick people who are here through no fault of their own and you don't need to be sucking up resources we need to use for them."

158:

I think the burnout rate in the USA is going to stay with us for a long time.

I have a suspicion that the nursing school entrants are more likely to be from the anti-vac crowd. Just a feeling but still. And if I'm right it will not help us dig out.

(My son tried to do nursing but his brain wasn't wired for the memorization needed.)

159:

She of many names under yet another pseudonym @ 90: No-one reads our comments, but no, not really.

That's because "no-one" here understands WTF you're talking about any more than you do.

Maybe try for clarity instead of cryptic cynicism.

160:

Charlie Stross @ 121:

Why 20/02/2001?

The date of George W. Bush's inauguration. After which, policy changes basically rendered 9/11 inevitable (and with PNAC neocons running the State Department, made a short victorious war likewise inevitable).

With the PNAC neocons in charge WAR was inevitable, but there was never any chance it was going to be either short or victorious. They'd been drinking their own Kool-Aid for too long

... and still are.

161:

Some places have rationed ICU care, and that's how they do it.

Beyond burnout, the other interesting factor is the rise of traveling nurses. There's a sub-industry of nurses doing contract work: travel to a place, live there for a few months, work in a hospital or whatever. The pay is higher than for a regular RN, because there's no job security.

A number of nurses are quitting their career gigs and becoming traveling nurses to replace the others who are leaving, especially if they're young and don't have families. The pay is higher, and if they fry, they can take time out without getting fired. The end result is that hospitals are paying more to employ traveling nurses than they were for staff nurses, and the travelers they get aren't as familiar with the local systems as the staffers they're replacing.

A bit awkward, that, but it's capitalism in action.

162:

"what could the Black Pharaoh do that would actually result in having questions asked in Parliament which might bring him down politically?"

Nothing practical. He's an immortal eldritch abomination and absolute despot. Nobody can stand up against him within the UK: at the end of the Laundry series arc the monsters won (although the humans managed to stall their ability to continue to bootstrap their presence in our universe to the max).

See, it's like asking what Queen Elizabeth II could do that would bring her down politically. Per YouGov polling h popularity rating is 72%, only 11% of the UK public dislike her, and 97% have heard of her, meaning she's more famous than Jesus. Liz could probably stab Boris Johnson in public and get a round of applause: dance naked across Tower Bridge ditto (except she's 95 and won't do either of those things), about the only things I can think of that would make her, personally, less popular would be to abdicate or maybe to marry Donald Trump. (CASE NIGHTMARE ROYAL CONSORT.)

163:

I have a suspicion that the nursing school entrants are more likely to be from the anti-vac crowd.

Nursing is an "acceptable" career track for women from a certain type of religious background. So you end up with a proportion of young-earth creationists, i.e. evolution denialists, in that profession, and they just can't cope with antibiotic resistance or vaccines or anything that forces them to think outside their carefully welded-shut box of religious shibboleths.

(The rote memorization incidentally is part -- a small part, admittedly -- of the reason I eventually bailed on being a pharmacist. My memory is shit, always has been, and I spent way too much time looking things up in books because I couldn't be certain I remembered it.)

164:

becoming traveling nurses to replace the others who are leaving, especially if they're young and don't have families. The pay is higher

In the neighborhood of $250K. More or less depending on need and location. Which is double or triple a regular gig.

165:

there was never any chance it was going to be either short or victorious

Yeah, I was being sarcastic (I think at this point in time anyone who thinks Iraq or Afghanistan were "short" or "victorious" needs a rest in a padded cell) and referring to Vyacheslav Plehve, who famously said "To avert a revolution, we need a small victorious war." (He didn't get it.)

166:

I'd love to see Liz marry Donald Trump. He'd probably have to become a British citizen and that would remove him from U.S. politics. (Definitely not gonna happen, though.)

167:

110 - In this case, "absence of evidence is absence of investigation"?

119 "Sturgeon has no powers to even test those entering from outside Scotland". That is very much the case. The Scottish government does not have powers that could be used to stop people entering Scotland from literally anywhere.

125 - I can't quite match that, but I did notice a neighbour with solar panels on the West face. Those won't receive insolation until the afternoon, when they'll maybe get 3 hours.

128 - I've seen anecdotal suggestion that tumeric also has some effects against arthritis and hypertension.

152 - Could Charlie actually satirise better than Allegra Stratton already has?

New Mark-up issue; I can't always update/edit a comment that I've previewed. Attempting to do so sometimes generates a "server hang-up".

168:

icehawk@83: Would you know?

Serious question. Here in New Zealand I believe we're still genome-sequencing all positive Covid cases, so we know exactly what's here and if you get Covid they'll know which cluster you are in, and quite likely who you got it from. So we know that all cases in the community in our country now - and for the last few months - track back to one failure at the border. So it's all Delta here, for now, as one case of Delta got in past our border controls.

Given the spotty nature of testing here in the States, a lot of our knowledge of how the variants are doing comes from testing wastewater. To bookend our experience with it, here's an article from Ars on a preprint on the subject back in May, 2020: Poop alert: Sewage could signal impending burst of COVID-19 cases and ABC7 posted one yesterday about detecting Omicron: Traces of omicron found in Southern California sewage, scientists say

169:

I just got COVID-tested today. Not happy, but I don't seem to have a bad case (if I have it at all.)

170:

" I don't do Tai Chi, but I do have housework that needs doing."

There are other exercises that are vaguely Tai Chi-ish that could keep your body moving. I think someone has already recommended Leslie Sansone's videos, and I'd endorse that.

E.g., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYuw4f1c4xs

171:

Luckily there are numerous reasons why it can't happen.

Firstly, Trump's vulgar AF, and Liz does not put up with that kind of shit.

Secondly, he'd have to get a divorce. (That used to be an obstacle to marrying into the Firm: less so as of Chuck'n'Camilla, but still questionable for the head of state's nominal squeeze.)

Thirdly, he'd have to convert to CofE and attend services regularly -- after all, it's her church (as in: one of her titles is "defender of the faith").

Fourthly, there are a lot of duties attached and Trump would fuck them up appallingly and end up under house arrest in a drafty castle in the highlands within a matter of minutes. (Nodding, smiling, and listening politely is part of the package. Phil the Greek got away with the odd off-colour joke, but he was a war hero and an eccentric royal. Trump would be crucified by the British press -- look how they monstered Meghan Markle: they're a lot more aggressive and nasty than the servile US presidential press corps.)

Fifthly, he wouldn't be allowed any social media or dodgy business deals that might backfire and stain the reputation of the Royal Family. Prince Charles sticks his name very delicately in front of some products of the Duchy of Cornwall -- expensive, high quality, organically farmed/artisanally produced foods -- and that was nearly too controversial for the royals.

Sixthly, he wouldn't get a crown. No "King Donald" allowed: he'd be, at best, the royal consort, married to the Queen, and granted a toy title from the stockpile of vacant ones the royal family keep on hand for the kids when they need to present as duke of this or princess of that.

Finally, she's 95 and you don't get better from being 95. Sooner or later -- probably sooner -- she'd die and he'd be politely invited to fuck off back to America.

(There's a promising romcom concept in here, and I could probably get my agent interested, but I don't need the hate mail I'd get from my UK readers.)

172:

Robert Prior @ 148:

the little dog don't like it so much because he's just got comfortable in my lap and I get up and the lap goes away

How big is 'little'? You can get puppy chest carriers that are kinda like baby carriers (the womb-with-a-view model, not the backpack ones).

I've got one. Doesn't work to well with a 15lb Shih-Tzu because he's just a tiny bit too big for the one I bought. I probably should look to see if they make a larger one, but the pet supply store doesn't really allow me to "test drive" them to see if he's going to fit.

And it's useless for house cleaning because he won't stay in it when I bend over to pick stuff up.

173:

Troutwaxer @ 166: I'd love to see Liz marry Donald Trump. He'd probably have to become a British citizen and that would remove him from U.S. politics. (Definitely not gonna happen, though.)

If you're gonna' wish that evil shit on somebody, why not wish it on someone evil? What's Liz ever done to you?

If Trumpolini is gonna' dump Melanoma to make a political match, he should marry Putin.

174:

Another factor that probably influences the progress of my recovery from brain fog is that our household is vegan. ... vascular dementia has been a concern of mine for family history reasons.
I was hesitant to suggest anything since I don't have personal experience with long-COVID , but vegans sometimes have insufficient DHA (an Omega 3 fatty acid) and choline; both are easily supplemented (inc vegan), and there is pre-COVID-19 lore relating deficiencies in both to brain fog, and also some mixed-results science (including recovery from brain injury and reductions in all-cause dementia), easily found with scholar.google.com. And there is that tantalizing UK biobank study[1] (still a preprint, but cited a bunch of times) finding loss of grey matter (which DHA might help rebuild) in some COVID-19 patients. But the effects of DHA (if any in an adult) are not obvious in my experience.
Choline definitely immediately helps my brain/mental clarity (especially visualization and metacognition) - a high-quality source like "alpha-gpc" or "citicoline", spread over the day.
As SotMNs says, Piracetam is a essentially-non-toxic-except-in-very-large-doses nootropic; it should be combined with a choline source. Not approved in the US but available, approved (prescription) in Europe. There are other stronger racetams and related compounds, but that one has a long half life in the body and is well-studied. (And a bunch of other nootropics, but be warned that that's a rabbit hole.)
As SotMNs also says, depending on the nature of the ... deficits, there are other approaches. (Not all legal, and some a bit risky. And she knows rather more than I do, I am sure.)

Re the vascular dementia, exercise is definitely good and you have that covered. Basically anything improving blood flow to the brain (excepting hypertension).

I do approach measures that are not scientifically supported with considerable caution. However, the ongoing scientific quest for truth about turmeric is not my main concern. In medical and nutritional areas, science is slow because human subjects are widely variable and many effects take a long time to appear. I don't have time to wait for a final consensus.
This is the right attitude, IMO.
It also applies at a larger scale, to e.g. anti-COVID-19 public health measures, which should attempting to stop/slow the exponential growth when it's easier, not when is undeniably obvious.

[1] Brain imaging before and after COVID-19 in UK Biobank (preprint, June 15, 2021)

175:

I think I see some parallels between H. W. Bush + team -> W. Bush + team and Bismark + Moltke the Elder -> Kaiser Wilhelm II + Moltke the Younger. Last time it was a short, victorious war! Plus, I'm better than my father / ex-chancellor / uncle! I'm going to do what they could not! I'm going to finish what they started! Narrator: About that...

176:

Got my 3rd booster shot of Pfizer three weeks ago and my annual flu shot the week before that. Took sick leave the next day after getting the booster, felt muzzy headed and fatigued, with an aching shoulder (Uh, why was I in the kitchen? Oh, yeah, I was going to make the coffee). Felt fine a day later.

Regardless, I decided not to go to Michigan for the holidays, they’re dealing with high rates of Delta right now. My niece’s family contracted Covid two weeks ago, she had a cough and congestion, her husband just lost taste and smell (both were vaccinated), their four-year-old son had a fever with sniffles. Their symptoms lasted three days and have recently tested negative. They were scheduled to get their boosters when they got sick.

Not to suggest that things are hunky dory here in Texas. It is utterly stupefying that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting COVID-19 Vaccine mandates and before that banned mask mandates for schools (A federal judge overruled Gov. Greg Abbotts ban on mask mandates for schools in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act). Meanwhile, COVID-19 (Delta) continues to spread in Texas as well.

177:

There's a promising romcom concept in here, and I could probably get my agent interested, but I don't need the hate mail I'd get from my UK readers.

You'd be amazed (I am) at how many folks in the US follow the royals. My wife does. Or did. Mostly now she's into documentaries or docudramas about various things a few decades or more ago. I personally follow it as closely as I do Oz rules football.

Hooking Trump into it would create a huge backlash here. At least with 1/2 of the population. :)

178:

"Markdown"
Thanks to everybody - will study.

JBS @ 159
I've been saying that for YEARS - does it make any difference? Nah.

179:

Aka: "This is just the flu, waaa waaa.... WAAAAARGH, IT'S A CULTURE WAAAR".
I checked the 5 Dec Andrew Neil twitter feed like you suggested(IIRC). Was tempted to dive in A-10 style at the replies to Mr Neil, who is (or should be) getting a lesson in influence ops. Irritating shifts in the antivax messaging.

This table is good, and there may be subsequent updates in the thread. (Image at the pic link.)
Omicron neuts studies ... Strong discrepancy between studies with live vs pseudo.

Dec 9th CET morning update. Now with the results of @JanineKimpel as well. pic.twitter.com/ORBsCH2dxH

— Yaniv Erlich (@erlichya) December 9, 2021
180:

Kardashev @ 170:

" I don't do Tai Chi, but I do have housework that needs doing."

There are other exercises that are vaguely Tai Chi-ish that could keep your body moving. I think someone has already recommended Leslie Sansone's videos, and I'd endorse that.

E.g., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYuw4f1c4xs

Yeah, I already walk for exercise. Don't really have room inside to do it the way she does, but I get about half an hour every day, but I wouldn't get through that workout.

Hips, knees & ankles are trashed from my years in the military; carrying too much weight. But the REAL problem is severe stress incontinence from radical prostate surgery.

I've got to have another operation to implant an AUS device. The VA isn't doing "elective" surgery right now.

181:

Liz beat me up in Middle School. I don't care who Trump marries - just get him out of our country!

182:

News story: Main, NH, and NY are mobilizing the National Guard to help with medical issues of overworked and understaffed.

183:

Liz beat me up in Middle School. I don't care who Trump marries - just get him out of our country!

I think Liz has spent enough time, erm, thinking of England.

My vote would be for Andrew.

Now, given the way those two operate, I'd only like to see Andrew and Donnie get hitched if they're sharing a cell. Not hunting as a pack...

184:

Took sick leave the next day after getting the booster, felt muzzy headed and fatigued, with an aching shoulder (Uh, why was I in the kitchen? Oh, yeah, I was going to make the coffee). Felt fine a day later.

My wife and I had those general symptoms for a day or so after each shot. And I've had them after about 1/3 of my flu shots over the years. My brain fog I attribute to the sinus headache I tend to get which just makes me pissed at the universe while it lasts.

As to the arm hurt, I can't remember a shot that has caused that. At least not for a few decades. Even the fat needle ones. Maybe it comes from all the day to day scratches and whacks I got growing up where we did all our own home and auto repairs then the small tractor driving a did as a teen. I think I just shrug off minor nicks.

Ah, Texas. We had an apartment in the DFW area for 10 years. Closed it up summer of 2020. Glad we did. I was a resident of NC the entire time. My wife is officially back. Abbot is just nuts. Well him and Patrick and friends are doing everything possible to hold onto power. Google Patrick and seven mountains if you want to get scared.

186:

My house faces East - West. Like many old houses in Norfolk it has a steep roof at the East (front) elevation and a shallow West facing roof which has about twice the area. According the the table in “Which” a 30 degree west facing roof will give 97 percent of the maximum possible. And since it’s the back of the house it won’t be visible from the road so the fact that it’s in a conservation area shouldn’t cause planning problems. South facing is not the only option.

https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/solar-panels/article/solar-panels/solar-panel-installation-aiRvu3N6OyEN

187:

A day ago I wrote this:

but we are a 50/50 state where the legislature supports "freedom" most of the time so there is a constant fight. And the rural areas are more "freedom" than "we need to deal".

Then today I saw this: USA Freedom

188:

You can get puppy chest carriers that are kinda like baby carriers

I just wore my normal small rucksack across my chest for a trip into Transreal to pick up "Invisible Sun" on release, with one of her blankets in the bottom - the Pup hadn't completed her vaccinations. She was very tolerant [1], and quite enjoyed it.

Two weeks later, and she was having none of it; wanted to walk everywhere. Right now she's 16kg of enthusiastic Labrador pup, and was actually quite good on her second visit to the shop...

[1] Mike was very tolerant too - the pup is cuter than the rugrats were when I carried them around in chest harnesses / backpacks... (firstborn is nearly twenty now)

189:

icehawk asked on December 8, 2021 21:37 in #83:

Would you know?

We would know in Oregon. This week, Oregon scientists begin testing wastewater for the Omicron variant. Wastewater surveillance has previously identified emerging variants, including Delta. In collaboration with Oregon State University (OSU), Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) wastewater surveillance program monitors sewage for variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The program, launched in September 2020, tests wastewater for COVID-19 in more than 40 communities throughout the state, covering more than 60 percent of Oregon’s population. https://covidblog.oregon.gov/wastewater-surveillance-program-expected-to-detect-omicron-spread-in-communities/

190:

Thirty plus years ago I met Al Kreitler, a maker of bicycle rollers whose toy dog (A full size smaller than a Shih Tzu) habitually rode in Mr Kreitler's bib overalls, tiny head & fore paws peeking out over the top between the straps.

192:

https://phys.org/news/2021-12-anti-covid-stainless-steel.html

High-copper stainless steel kills stuff than lands on it in ways that low-copper doesn't. Since stainless steel is all over public places (etc) this might help reduce spread of {disease of the day}.

High-copper stainless is already a product, but those grades cost more so aren't commonly used. But they're already approved for most uses, so it really just comes down to whether the governments/companies are willing to pay a bit extra. Not sure that will apply inside labs, where stainless is often chose for its other properties (resistance to strong acids, for example)

193:

Houston here. And it's already loose in the community from waste water surveillance and one person that tested positive and has no history of travel. It's in the house with you already.

194:

It is utterly stupefying that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting COVID-19 Vaccine mandates

And look at what we/they get. https://appleinsider.com/articles/21/12/09/employee-covid-outbreak-forces-apple-to-close-texas-store

An Apple Store in Texas has shut down after 22 employees tested positive for Covid-19 in the wake of the busy Black Friday shopping weekend.

Upscale outdoor mall north east of the DFW airport. Been in that store a dozen times or more.

But in Texas businesses cannot have mask mandates for customers or employees, last I heard.

195:

[At] the end of the Laundry series arc the monsters won (although the humans managed to stall their ability to continue to bootstrap their presence in our universe to the max).

Kind of reminds me of Clarke's 'Childhood's End'. It might have been one of the inspirations for Laundry, I think.

(Also I like the Markdown, I made one mistake with an url because I didn't remember this was also Markdown. I write most of my documents at work using it nowadays, in addition to many internet places using it, so I think it's good to have here.)

196:

You might become the first person in centuries sent to the Tower by royal command :-)

197:

171 - Phil the Greek was also a product of a bygone age, and IIRC a member of the Greek "royal family" (not clear on his last constitutional position in Greece). Neither of those defences apply to Trumpolini.
And indeed Phil's most prestigious title in the UK was "Queen consort".

173 - snort

176 - There is a low (but non zero) chance of a vaccinator literally striking a nerve when administering any intra-muscular vaccine. OKs?

186 - I can't recall the formula offhand but the efficiency of a solar panel is concerned with sines and cosines of latitude of the installation, right assention of the Sun and installation pitch angle.

195 - I'm having to learn Markdown from scratch. I'm not convinced it has any advantages over HTML, but it doesn't have any obvious issues beyond having to learn it.

198:

Mixed crops is what they are now driving with the forestry grant structures in Scotland - they won't support monocultures, softwoods have to be mixed and an element of broadleaf also has to be included.

199:

The advantage of Markdown is that simple stuff is simple: asterisks for emphasis, blank line for paragraph etc. You can start by just typing, and pick it up as you go along, learning a new bit every so often. The resulting text is also easy to read because the basic Markdown syntax is very close to what people normally type anyway.

In contrast HTML has a big barrier of entry to anyone who hasn't done programming before. This is a tag. Every tag must have a closing tag. Learn a bunch of one-letter codes for tags. You need to know this before you start typing.

I'll grant the hybrid that this blog uses worked OK, but Markdown is now well enough known that it makes sense to introduce it. Though the escaped-underscores thing is a nuisance.

200:

Now that's surprise. /s

201:

Ok, tell me how this was meaningful when I typed it! The HTML tag would explicitly say "boldface" once you'd learnt it.

203:

Noted! You will also find my namesake (a pirate) in one of V. E. Schwab's books. And another (space marine, I think?) in one of Scalzi's. It's common enough among writers who have hung out together IRL.

204:

Well, for *me* using asterisks for emphasis and _underscores_ for italics is something I learned a long time ago, from the BBS times. I think it's been that way for many other people too, and Markdown is a good thing because it is a common definition for things.

So, for me it's easier than HTML (which I've used only for a bit less than those text-only thing). You still have to learn what <b> and <i> mean, and they break the flow of text more. In my opinion.

Also, those links are much easier to write (and read from the source) than the HTML <a> tags.

205:

why dont they grow trees, convert them into charcoal- extract the wood gas as fuel, then landfill the charcoal.? surely that would work?

206:

Markdown was actually a formalization of, and extension of, earlier versions of plain-text markup like SEtext, which indeed go back to BBS days.

Markdown simply added analogs for the most common HTML formatting directives (anything in HTML 3, basically), plus an easier-to-remember hyperlink (the link text you click on is in square braces, followed (in brackets) by the URL it refers to).

You can inline HTML within Markdown text if you want to get fancy. But you don't need the whole raft of recursively nested document classes and subtypes and divisions if all you want is text with the odd link and emphasis.

207:

*185 I saw that article, but I don't think it's any more reliable than the original one. It says that vacuum energy is dark energy which is only a theory, and that this is intrinsic to the fabric of space which I don't think is proven either. Am I wrong?

208:

Yes, I gathered it was not unusual and all in fun.

At least your fictional counterpart seems to have good survival sense.

I sometimes run the tabletop RPG Cyberpunk (from which the computer game Cyberpunk 2077 is descended). The setting is a parallel that diverges from the real world around 1990. I sometimes like to play around with what would have happened to people I know/know of in that alternate. Assuming that they would have survived it.

One thing that does make me chuckle is in that world our current queen is Princess Beatrice, rebranded as Victoria II.

209:

Trump would fuck them up appallingly and end up under house arrest in a drafty castle in the highlands within a matter of minutes

And that's a problem how? Sounds like a positive outcome to me…

210:

Doesn't work to well with a 15lb Shih-Tzu because he's just a tiny bit too big for the one I bought. I probably should look to see if they make a larger one

My niece has one for her 35 lb French Bulldog. He is apparently quite happy with how it takes him everywhere he wants to go without the possibility of someone getting closer to his servant than he is :-)

211:

And here I was hoping that 2022 would be the year to finally visit UK (with both a Sputnik and a Moderna jab, whatever you prefer, officer) for the first time and hear that one band from the 1970's whose music I grew up with in their, well, natural habitat.

Back to hoping that the concert is postponed till the world is slightly less crazy.

212:

204 and 206 - If you're going to start arguing this sort of stuff with me, it may help to know that I first learnt using WordStar (CP/M and MS/DOS), and then WordPerfect 5.1. So I'm kind of used to control codes and function keys (with toggles) for starting and ending formats, legal paragraphs etc. I still hate Wurd style sheets as well.

213:

Re: Tree farms. No idea what is happening in other parts of the world, but foresters moved away from monocultures in the 90s. I was on the front line of that, working as a treeplanter every summer from about 90 to 01.

In the first couple of years we were literally planting monocultures. Spruce was seen as more economically profitable, so we were planting white spruce everywhere, at 2 metre spacing. Of course, all the spruce in high/dry sandy ground has likely died decades ago now.

By the mid-90s we carried mixed bags of trees roughly reflective of whatever had been in place before the logging. In Northern BC that was usually a mix if white and black spruce, pine, alder and fir. With specific instructions where to put each type (i.e. high and sandy=pine, low and wet= white spruce, swampy =black spruce). The ground preparation rules also changed dramatically over that decade, for the loggers and also for us.

It's been 20 years since I left the industry but at least in Alberta and BC the state of the art has long since moved beyond monoculture. Almost certainly that is because monoculture wasn't working. Government regulations required trees to be replaced to a certain density in a cut within a certain number of years. Where it didn't work it was an expensive replant or an expensive fine and it affected their ability to cut elsewhere.

Climate change has of course changed the algorithm by a lot. The mountain pine beetle which used to be reliably controlled by cold winters was able to spread across the province and wreak havoc (fast forward a decade and we now watch the fires burn).

On one notable but discouraging occasion I supervised a crew that was replanting an area I had planted myself 7 years earlier. Of the four thousand trees I had planted I was able to find 2 alive, and neither of them particularly healthy. The mix we planted the second time was much different and more suitable to the terrain (high, grassy, dry).

214:

It would seem that the US Supreme Court may have spotted the problem - probably too late, but never mind.
And are attempting to avoid a "Dred Scott" case
Except that I think it's too late, they are going to have to choose between relgious bigotry & the wishes of the majority of the US population....
Interesting

215:

Personally, I don't think there's going to be another lockdown... Or rather, there might or might not be a lockdown on paper, but in practice everyone will ignore it and do whatever they want because who the hell cares anymore? Any legitimacy and credibility the government ever had on this topic has been pissed away: The leak about the Christmas party last year was certainly the last straw but let's face it, the last lockdown wasn't so much lifted as it just fizzled out because nobody was sure what the rules were anymore.

I'm glad I was already depressed before all this happened, it must be so much harder to cope if you weren't low-key looking forward to dying anyway.

216:

Tried Wordstar three or five times, and gave up. (I also did the same for emacs.)

Then came WP 5, and it was Wonderful! Usable! And note that my old spec for a word processor is "it is a replacement for a typewriter, and if I can't sit down at it for the first time and type a letter and print it out in five minutes, its bells and whistles have overwhelmed its primary function."

Word style sheets, like Word, are crap. But then, not one word processor puts out anything but absolute crap HTML. Which pisses me off, since WP had the killer Web app, and they were blind: quick, those of you who used WP 5 and later: what's F3 do? Unlike Word, displays ALL formatting codes. And think about it - they were 1-1 with HTML. If WP had a "export/save as HTML" function, it would have given perfectly good HTML, not this every-single-format-code-on-every-single-line crap.

217:

Oh, but I've got one better, that I just realized this morning: not only do those laws (and the ones in other states) take away womens' right, and healthcare, and... it's worse: they're ANTICAPITALIST!

I mean, if this was a problem, surely the Invisible Hand of the Market (tm) would have solved it, right?

218:

I thought French bulldogs were dinky little handbag rats, that had cat ears and were cat-sized and basically looked like cats that had run into a wall at high speed if you didn't have your specs on. They were inexplicably popular among UK glamour models a while back. I can't see how one could get to 35lb and still be able to walk; that's more than a quarter of my own bodyweight, and really rather an excessive load for a handbag.

219:

I saw the word "Casimir" in the original link and immediately lost interest on the grounds that that word is basically just a longer way of spelling "magic".

220:

My COVID test came back negative!

221:

"There is a low (but non zero) chance of a vaccinator literally striking a nerve when administering any intra-muscular vaccine."

...but a high chance that you will fucking well know about it if it does happen.

The conventional crook-of-the-elbow blood sample site is worse because of all the important bits that are crammed in there. I once had a consultant take a sample from there himself because he was a big consultant rah rah rah and we don't need no steenkin' nurses. Except that nurses do it all the time and you hardly notice what they're doing, whereas this chap couldn't find the vein and got the nerve instead. I noticed that to the extent of passing out on the floor, and gaining an instant powerful antipathy to having blood samples taken which I still find a bit of a problem many years later. It does rather make me wonder why that site is so popular over all the other more visible veins that are not intermingled with live wires.

222:

Congrats!

So did ours (that we had Tues).

223:

I really, REALLY hate it when they do the back of the hand. That hurts a lot worse.

I've had numerous vampires, er, phlebotomists who got it right, esp. the ones who do it all the time.

224:

Unfortunately, I still feel sick... but that's just making sure I'm stress free for a couple more days.

225:

216 - Well, I actually rather liked WordStar, but note the mention of CP/M; there wasn't just nothing better but nothing else at all when I started.

221 - Well, back in 2000, I crashed and rolled a car at about 60mph. The worst injury I received was from an F1 (new junior doctor) trying to take his own blood sample.

226:

it's worse: they're ANTICAPITALIST!

George Will (a very conservative US columnist who thinks Trump is a horrible aberration in the US political system but is afraid he will become normalized) wrote 20 or so years ago.

"Conservatives" are all about total freedom in money but control in people's person lives.

"Liberals" are all about total freedom in people's personal life but control in their money.

Way overly broad but so true in so many ways.

And yes I know you thing GW is a turd.

227:

There is a low (but non zero) chance of a vaccinator literally striking a nerve when administering any intra-muscular vaccine. OKs?

Based on this then most people I know get a nerve hit.

My point was that my hands from the wrist to finger tips have a LOT of white lines from various nicks and scratches. Plus a couple of fingers that don't flex all the way to my palm from getting caught between a scraper blade and the back of a tractor (flat on flat at least) when I forgot about leverage. I'm used to small aches and pains. Which makes be pause when answering that doctor/nurse question "on a scale from 1 to 10 how bad does it hurt"?

228:

I thought French bulldogs were dinky little handbag rats

This Frenchie won't fit in a handbag. I can't speak to the 35 lb from personal experience, because he won't let me pick him up, but that's what my niece told me one day. He certainly looks heavier than Big Red, the 25 lb cat that used to curl up on my lap, so I think it's in the right range.

A bit of quick googling turns up that typical max weight is 18-25 lbs, so 35 is heavy but given that he's larger than usual (ie. taller at the shoulder) and a definitely overweight it certainly sounds possible.

229:

"Conservatives" are all about total freedom in money but control in people's person lives.,/i>

Except they're not about total freedom in money. They're quite happy to control the money too, as a means of controlling people.

230:

"Markdown is now well enough known that it makes sense to introduce it."

Is it? I'd heard the word, but never actually encountered it; I thought it was just another word for the kind of cut-down replacement for HTML you encounter on forums which also gets called BBcode sometimes. Charlie says Wikipedia uses it, but if so they must have changed things quite a lot since the last time I edited anything, since the syntax he describes is nothing like what I remember.

"the basic Markdown syntax is very close to what people normally type anyway."

I consider that to be a bad thing, because it means you have to stop typing the kind of thing you normally type and start remembering fairy fiddles to make things continue to come out the way you expect them to. Hence why I brought the subject up in the first place: the most visible result of its introduction was a flood of broken URLs because it's no longer possible to simply copy and paste a link and expect it to come out unmangled, and some people's posts coming out with all the paragraph breaks removed.

To be sure the HTML support brings the problem that people type a bra to indicate "less than" and their post ends up truncated at that point, but most cases of that could be caught by having the code for the "limited subset of HTML tags" deal with tag-like things that aren't in that subset by escaping the bras and kets so they come out as ordinary text, instead of just wiping them out altogether.

231:

The interesting thing about that is that WP's internal usage should be half-decent HTML at all. Everything else I've encountered that automatically generates anything more than trivial HTML generates hideous dogshit - not actually incorrect, but oh dear what a horrible mess. Quite a few things use HTML internally to describe formatting, and while the obvious way to put their data into a web page is to intercept that internal HTML and whack it straight in, it requires so much editing just to get it into a form where you can understand how it interacts with the rest of the web page that it may well be easier to get the output as simple unformatted plain text and re-insert the HTML formatting by hand.

For actually writing web pages in its own right I always just write the HTML and CSS by hand in a plain text editor. It's not like it's difficult, after all, and apart from anything else I just don't see the point of doing it in any more fancy way.

232:

Speaking as someone who's gotten acupuncture, oh hell yes you know when a nerve's been struck. You know when the needle is near a nerve.

My acupuncturist was needling the point between index finger and thumb, which I think most people know. The actual point is in the middle of the fleshy part of the hand, right near a nerve, and it uses a needle that's longer than a vaccination needle. One of his questions is "tell me when it hurts," meaning, is it getting close to a nerve, and he stops and backs up when it starts hurting.

While a pharmacist doing a jab won't have that level of needle manipulation skill, if you're worried about nerve damage, scream stop if you feel a nerve light up when the needle gets near it. Trust me, you will know.

By the way, if you're wondering about why acupuncture works, remember that nerves are physical extensions of your brain in your body. A large number of acupuncture points aren't superficial (especially in arms and legs), they're at depth in tissue. What they're doing with the needles is moving energy, in the sense that the therapists are trying to get cold areas to warm up through vasodilation (heat is a form of energy, so they're "moving chi to a cold area"), trying to get spasms to release and go back to normal (movement is also a form of motion, so restoring normal range of motion "improves chi flow"), and so forth. This obviously won't aid against conditions caused by pathogens directly, but if a headache has you tied up in knots, stimulating various nerves to release the knots and restore circulation will help quite a lot. The various meridians seem to be a combination of major nerves (the Ren channel more or less maps the main trunk of the vagus nerve) and mnemonic maps for linking points that have similar effects on different parts of the body.

233:

Yes, the ones who do it all the time are fine. Although some of them have an annoying habit of saying "sharp scratch" or something when they stick the needle in. With the ones who don't tell me when to expect it there's a good chance I won't notice them doing it at all, which is how I want it since after that consultant episode, feeling the needle tends to trigger the same syncope reaction no matter how trivial the sensation actually is.

234:

My "professional" web pages* say, at the bottom, "this page will load faster than almost any other website. Proudly built in vi".

  • I'm trying to decide what my hosting provider offers for a blog that I'm willing to use, since I seem to need one, having become a writer. (about 2k words yesterday....)
235:

"that doctor/nurse question "on a scale from 1 to 10 how bad does it hurt"?"

I find that kind of impossible to give a meaningful answer to. "...where 10 is the worst pain you can possibly imagine" - right now nothing my imagination can come up with is remotely like what I'm actually feeling. Plus it doesn't exactly get a lot of practice at realistically imagining pain in any case, and moreover it's currently working full throttle in the opposite direction, trying to imagine that the thing which does hurt doesn't. I end up having to try and figure out what use they are going to try and make of the information in my kind of case, and guess which number is going to give them the most accurate clue.

236:

@223

I can testify to that - I was hospitalised with an infection a few years ago, and they needed to test arterial blood.

Cue one student doctor making 6 failed attempts to find the vein through the back of my hand - agonising. I later found out he should have stopped after the third failed attempt and got someone else involved, but I think it was a matter of pride for him...

Of course, when he FINALLY gave up and handed over to another student doctor, she got it at the very first try...

237:

Ex-military medics are good, too.

238:

I'm sometimes fuzzy on the scale, but I can give them something.

1 is "ouch". 2 is ow! 5 is "I took ibuprofen somewhere between 3 and 4. I'm hurting. 9 is either "the time I did not take stool softener after knee surgery, and was on hydrocodone for several days, and finally was on the john", or "I'm curled up on the couch in utter pain, and my SO at the time (20 years ago) called my oncologist, and I just don't remember if there was an ambulance involved, or she drove me. 10 - I'm assuming I passed out.

239:

Re: 'escaped underscores to unbreak link - mod'

Please elaborate - I've no idea what this means (non-techie here). Thanks!

240:

Re: Student doc & blood draws

That nasty blood draw sounds weird although it can happen even if that student doc had done his/her homework practicing on a gadget like the below. I found this very easily on BigRiver and am guessing that there are many sources/manufacturers of such devices for various bits of human anatomy.

"IV Practice Arm Infusion Model, WELLiSH Venipuncture Practice Arm Intravenous Model Injection Practice Kit Designed for Training and Perfecting IV Venipuncture Techniques"

I'm all for student doctors being allowed to examine me but pokes/jabs I want supervised!

241:

I consider that to be a bad thing, because

Well, I disagree.

HTML's design brief was to provide a simple subset of SGML, with hyperlinks, that could be used for a distributed machine-parseable hypertext information system. It's not intended to be human-readable and, once you get beyond a very minimalist subset, it isn't.

Markdown was designed to add explicitly human-readable markup to plain text, enriching it to minimal word-processing spec. Along the way it picked up some extras that turned into an actual word processing format and a hypertext language -- it's the document format used by wikipedia, for example (and almost all other wikis).

The point is, Markdown is designed to be readable by human minds and trivially editable using a text editor without introducing tons of weird parser errors from unclosed tags and other syntactical bloopers.

And as noted elsewhere upthread you can inline HTML inside of Markdown.

242:

I assume _ is an escaped underscore. Dead std. So, if your link is thisisa_website.com, you should escape it this_is_a_website.com.

243:

And, from what you and other say, it sounds like the way I learned to write email, as well as posts to usenet... and like the way I post, anyway.

244:

Single syllable? We've already failed.

"Cube Costume" = חֲנֻכָּה fan-cy dress but a lot more. Chabad operations and more esoteric usages therein - call it the proto modern OPS[1] and learn the current boogeyman status to Islam and so forth [the joke is that Oxford St. London is not exactly the Green Zone that UK / IL media are wanting to portray, but... the humour is there for those who are into it. Monsieur De-Polard-Canard just exited (with a very nice 'pension' retainer, we might add) from the smear rag sooo... we think the BAME meeting = woke antisemitism in Uni got too sad even for his backers to excuse]

Jewdas = London anarchist Jewish peeps, got mentioned on "Have I got news for you" via selective Twitter quote + REALLY OBVIOUS audience sound editing of SILENCE [the producer was not a smart woman] and then an over-zealous member of the 55th Tuffton set went live on air (the blonde one, close to Tic-cc-ee) on Sky news to denounce them. As did many of the Journo set who just went to an award ceremony last night / week (fronted by MENA cash, and not the pro-~Journalist kind) as we learn today that Assange is the first to get the Deportation movement on the rails. Get used as a punching bag a lot and get a lot of Cultural Pressure of the negative kind. If you want deep trawl, one ex-Grauniad member who sold Assange out to MI5 (wet his knickers allegedly) who was there also slandered them heavily.

Essentially anyone who went to the awards is "Sus" and Owned. Talk about Bonfire of the Vanities.

And, of course: you have to know / understand who is the ultimate giver of Language / Words and why, to this day, there are those who follow Judaism who refuse to speak Hebrew (modern).

It's a conceit[2] with dollops of respect benear the Flea-on-a-Flea and racous tone. From the perspective of a Mind around when Arwad was young. Which, notably, was around for a few hundred years before Hebrew (original) entered the region and thousands before Aramaic was spoken there.

The layers are there just as a gift during the festival of Light to cheer people up if they want to dig far enough to get the merkin joke (itself a... "hidden mystery" and not talked about much, but imports are imports and fashion is fashion).

It's 5782 and y'all still not willing to talk about wigs, let alone merkins. Scandal a couple of thousand years old over who was getting their wigs (and merkins) from non-Frum sources!!111!11! [And the answer is, of course: that which gives the Light].

Why bother? Because Jewdas believe in it, and they deserved a cuddle. Our cuddles usually just confuse you though.

Note: that doesn't explain all of it, which we can do, but that'd be boring. And no-one reads it anyhow. Like, literally, no-one reads it.

~

Also I'm utterly unclear about what you think booster vaccines are being used as a political wedge for -- even the direction you think they're being pushed in.

People expect Vaccines to function, usually for life or at least 10 years.

If you want the simple version: a lot of cold hard snakes who'd rather have a servile population and don't care much if a certain percentage die off are more than willing to scuttle things to get "back to normal".

DeSantis proposes a new civilian military force in Florida that he would control

But in a nod to the growing tension between Republican states and the Biden administration over the National Guard, DeSantis also said this unit, called the Florida State Guard, would be "not encumbered by the federal government." He said this force would give him "the flexibility and the ability needed to respond to events in our state in the most effective way possible." DeSantis is proposing bringing it back with a volunteer force of 200 civilians, and he is seeking $3.5 million from the state legislature in startup costs to train and equip them.

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/12/02/politics/florida-state-guard-desantis/index.html - Dec 3rd 2021

Knowyourmeme copy pasta about 4th, 5th, 6th,... nth booster shots is a commonly seen mimetic weapon and so on.

You're a smart Ape, connect the dots. Serious money being spent on both sides of this Culture War. And one side is gonna use 'the Science' (and the greed / bastard nature of Psfixzzer C level) to the max, ain't they?

We'd suggest reading about all the protests around the EU to get a sense of it.

And no, "John" didn't fail you: you're just not ready for the un-redacted full version.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OperationWanderingSoul(VietnamWar)

[2] John "Donne" https://www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossary-terms/conceit itself a pun.

245:

SFReader @ 239: Please elaborate

The new Markdown syntax uses underscore characters to tag some text as emphasised, so if you write something _like this_ it comes out looking like this.

But that raises the question: how did I get the underscores visible up there to explain what I meant? The answer is that I actually typed it \_like this\_. The backslash is called the escape character in this context, presumably because it frees you from the normal interpretation of what you type and gives you something different. Various programming languages and markup formats have different escape characters, although backslash is the most common. Using an escape character on some text is known as "escaping" it, in the same way that applying paint to something is known as "painting" it.

What the mod means is that they inserted extra backslashes into your post so that the underscores came out as underscores instead of random bits of italics.

How did I get the backslashes visible in my second paragraph? I escaped them of course. So what I actually typed was \\\_like this\\\_. How I got all those backslashes visible is left as an exercise to the reader.

See also The Telnet Song

246:

Yeah, well, after 5+ months of chemo 20 years ago, and they never put in a shunt (I forget why), finding my veins on the first try indicates that the phlebotomist is in the top 10% of all phlebotomists.

247:

Re: Paul @245

Thanks! I'm going to save your explanation.

Re: Whitroth @246 - '5+ months chemo' -

Yeah, we've got a running joke that any non-heme/onc experienced medico who sees my family member's arm is probably going to think 'user'. Depends on the season - if summertime t-shirt weather, the experienced ones take a quick glance around the clavicle area to check for any sign of usual insertion cut (scar) for the central venous line.

Re: Heteromeles - Herbals

OOC, are you (or your in-house pharmacist) familiar with the 'The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines' (1999)? I just checked and it's still more than I'd like to spend ($189 semanticscholar dot org). If it's still sufficiently up-to-date I might check whether I can get it via inter-library transfer. (Assuming any of the public libraries in my area have it.)

248:

Honestly: cutting out a load of fun there. Including the stuff about when The Nation stopped using Hebrew (ancient) and the Roman patrol ambushes (done mostly by a sect that no-one mentions these days, not Chabad) and so on.

Like, the Festival of Lights is actually a celebration of this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maccabean_revolt -- note the Map. Then check out where Arwad is[1]. Then check out a modern map. Then check out current news from IL about their Wall and how proud they are of it. And how over a million people are stuffed in there.

You want conceit?

After 3,000 years, that's pitiful gains there boyos. For a shit load of dead people.[2]

So: actual conceit. Jewdas' gag, pretty on point.

And the Cube... ooooh. You're not ready for that conceit or Commentary.

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arwad

[2] See? How deep do you want your layers? A little deeper than modern trash shouting "kappo" at anything they cannot process.

249:

Many-named FUCKWIT @ 244
Vaccines WORK - got that yet?
I tell you 3 times is true seems to work for the omicron variant, too - I've had 3 shots.
* DO NOT* spread anti-vaxx lying propaganda in here, thank you very much!

Paul
Is the "Telnet Song" related to the Ode to a Spell Checker ??

250:

OOC, are you (or your in-house pharmacist) familiar with the 'The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines' (1999)? I just checked and it's still more than I'd like to spend ($189 semanticscholar dot org). If it's still sufficiently up-to-date I might check whether I can get it via inter-library transfer. (Assuming any of the public libraries in my area have it.)

No, I'm not familiar with it. I'd suggest trying the interlibrary loan route first, to see how useful it is. Aside from the phun pharmaceutical phrolics that are herbs, whose diverse chemicals can be hard to quantify, characterize, and standardize batch to batch, the real problem is that I don't know how German 1999 herb quality laws (if any) play with those of other countries, like particularly the US. Since the USA minimally regulates herbs, something that's regulated to be safe in Germany may be minimally quality-controlled here.

Still, if it will keep you out of trouble, spend some coin and check out a copy.

251:

Greg, your knee is jerking hard enough to hit you in the face there.

She isn't spreading anti-vax propaganda. She is snarking at the heatless swine that are "and don't care much if a certain percentage die off."

252:

Whitroth @238:

I'm sometimes fuzzy on the scale, but I can give them something.

Allie Brosh critiqued a pain scale that has been in use for a while and came up with an alternate one. Pretty funny.

From the descriptive pictures:

0: Hi. I am not experiencing any pain at all. I don't know why I'm even here.

6: Ow. Okay, my pain is super legit now.

10: I am actively being mauled by a bear.

253:

Nobody with a functioning brain expects all vaccines to last for life. I’ve had flu vaccine every year for over twenty years. But I’ve only needed polio and smallpox vaccine once. I’ll only need pneumonia and shingles vaccine once. Anti tetanus needs to be boosted every few years which is why you’ll be offered one if you have a deep cut. Most vaccines are cheaper than antibody testing and very much cheaper and more effective than treating the disease Pfizer have made a lot of money from their COVID-19 vaccine but it’s saved a lot of lives. Oxford/AstraZeneca sell their vaccine at cost to third world countries and don’t make much profit anywhere.

254:

Since pharmacists in a certain hospital I know well are authorized to prescribe pain-killers for patients under doctor supervision, the following scenario came up some years ago:

"On a scale of 1 to 10, what's your pain level right now?"

"Oh, it's like 10, 16. I'm in pain. Give me drugs, I need to kill the pain..."

You can guess the rest.

This, incidentally, was before my local officials started getting serious about treating homeless people with addiction problems. It's still a contentious issue, but the liberal bleed-hearts explain to their conservative opponents that frequent flyers like the one above cost the city $400,000 per person per year or more in emergency room bills, ambulance rides, and so forth. At a fraction of that cost, the city or county could rent them an apartment and a slot in decent therapy and rehab. It's not that simple of course, but since the city and county are picking up the tab regardless, they getting a little better at realizing when compassion is a lot cheaper.

255:

Yes. You're a well educated man who understands (at least rudimenatary) biology and so on.

If you are an American Citizen, you're now in the top 30% of your populace. If you're from India, 83%. And so on. Iceland, 99%, you're that one weirdo on the black sand beach in that hut that no-one knows how they arrived or what[1].

We'll make it simple for you: not all your fellow Humans understand this. Many don't have the economic liberty to access "a free vaccination" if they could. Some cannot because they are not legal citizens. And so on.

The reasons are multi-tudinous; the results are death. We'd suggest blaming the systme rather than the people being preyed upon by it. This includes those slavishly believing in PFsxzzrer and other C-Level Corp execs from Comnpanies whose main model (tied to insurance scams) is: "Bleed the fuckers dry".

Want to bitch about it?

Don't blame Individuals (essentially not an issue in this): blame your systems. And your system is fucked.

~

For the record: this body has had no immune shots. Given we can ramp the internal temp up to ~108 without it dying and there's a shit load of much nastier fucking shit making its penis dance in there, trust us: not all of the "un-vaxxed" are threats to you. Shit you not, the stuff they tried to infect us with was faaaaaaaaar worse than a Conovirus. Heart goes SILENT RUNNING for 7 days on certain stuff. We've also not been able to talk to another H.S.S for years.

See above: vaccination =/= anything special. It's not a fucking badge, and some humans (chemo, immon-comp'd, AIDS etc) don't have the luxury of the choice.

So don't be a (AUS TRANSLATION) cunt and think you know better.

~

You also missed the entire point which is worrying.

[1] He's a Wizard / Satanist of sorts. Cunt didn't bother to show up when we arrived, which is getting pretty ironic right now.

256:

Bravo Lima Poppa 3 @ 193: Houston here. And it's already loose in the community from waste water surveillance and one person that tested positive and has no history of travel. It's in the house with you already.

And just now, checking Google News, North Carolina has their first confirmed case of Omicron.

I had my oral surgery appointment today, so I'm only up for a short time ... until the pain meds kick in again.

257:

Paul @ 199: The advantage of Markdown is that simple stuff is simple: asterisks for emphasis, blank line for paragraph etc. You can start by just typing, and pick it up as you go along, learning a new bit every so often. The resulting text is also easy to read because the basic Markdown syntax is very close to what people normally type anyway.

In contrast HTML has a big barrier of entry to anyone who hasn't done programming before. This is a tag. Every tag must have a closing tag. Learn a bunch of one-letter codes for tags. You need to know this before you start typing.

Yes & no. I know a very small subset of HTML. I learned all of the HTML I know from commenting here. Highlight text and right click to "View Selection Source" and save the tags in notepad to use as a template later I have a document on my desktop named "HTML-tags DOT txt" that I use when composing replies. I always select "Preview" to see what it's going to look like. Mistakes are usually obvious and I can correct them and preview again ... and again and ... until it looks right before I click on "Submit". Might not be the most elegant or intuitive, but looking at Markdown, it doesn't seem any more intuitive than what I've already learned to do with HTML.

I'll grant the hybrid that this blog uses worked OK, but Markdown is now well enough known that it makes sense to introduce it. Though the escaped-underscores thing is a nuisance.

And I guess I'll eventually figure that out if the blog switches over to Markdown completely from HTML.

258:

Robert Prior @ 209:

Trump would fuck them up appallingly and end up under house arrest in a drafty castle in the highlands within a matter of minutes

Trump would fuck them up appallingly and end up under house arrest in a drafty castle in the highlands within a matter of minutes

You don't want to have to deal with all the shit he'd cause getting there.

259:

Robert Prior @ 210:

Doesn't work to well with a 15lb Shih-Tzu because he's just a tiny bit too big for the one I bought. I probably should look to see if they make a larger one

My niece has one for her 35 lb French Bulldog. He is apparently quite happy with how it takes him everywhere he wants to go without the possibility of someone getting closer to his servant than he is :-)

He'd probably be too big for the one I bought too. The problem is finding one without the pet supply store getting all in my shit because I'm not going to buy another one UNLESS I can be sure it's the right size.

260:

Greg Tingey @ 214: It would seem that the US Supreme Court may have spotted the problem - probably too late, but never mind.
And are attempting to avoid a "Dred Scott" case
Except that I think it's too late, they are going to have to choose between relgious bigotry & the wishes of the majority of the US population....
Interesting

They've already chosen religious bigotry. They're just trying to avoid paying the price for their choice.

261:

whitroth @ 217: Oh, but I've got one better, that I just realized this morning: not only do those laws (and the ones in other states) take away womens' right, and healthcare, and... it's worse: they're ANTICAPITALIST!

I mean, if this was a problem, surely the Invisible Hand of the Market (tm) would have solved it, right?

They're not anti-MONOPOLY, so one invisible hand washes the other.

262:

Pigeon @ 235:

"that doctor/nurse question "on a scale from 1 to 10 how bad does it hurt"?"

I find that kind of impossible to give a meaningful answer to. "...where 10 is the worst pain you can possibly imagine" - right now nothing my imagination can come up with is remotely like what I'm actually feeling. Plus it doesn't exactly get a lot of practice at realistically imagining pain in any case, and moreover it's currently working full throttle in the opposite direction, trying to imagine that the thing which does hurt doesn't. I end up having to try and figure out what use they are going to try and make of the information in my kind of case, and guess which number is going to give them the most accurate clue.

I don't have any problem at all with the "worst pain you can possibly imagine"

When I got Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever down at Fort Hood, they took me to the ER in an ambulance (I know this because I momentarily woke up on the gurney when it went around a corner at speed).

When they got me into the ER they woke me up and told me they needed to do a spinal tap because they'd had a case of meningitis admitted that day.

The doctor had a great deal of trouble finding where to get the fluid sample from; told me I had the flattest spine he had ever seen and he couldn't find the bumps that told him where to stick the needle. I don't know how many times he had to stick it in, and if he had trouble finding the fluid, he had no problem at all finding nerves.

I try to be stoic because I don't want people to think I'm a whiner and a cry-baby ... but I screamed.

Thirty-three years later and I STILL KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE where 10 is.

What you really want to avoid is the one that "goes to eleven".

263:

Mike Collins @ 253: Nobody with a functioning brain expects all vaccines to last for life. I’ve had flu vaccine every year for over twenty years. But I’ve only needed polio and smallpox vaccine once. I’ll only need pneumonia and shingles vaccine once. Anti tetanus needs to be boosted every few years which is why you’ll be offered one if you have a deep cut. Most vaccines are cheaper than antibody testing and very much cheaper and more effective than treating the disease Pfizer have made a lot of money from their COVID-19 vaccine but it’s saved a lot of lives. Oxford/AstraZeneca sell their vaccine at cost to third world countries and don’t make much profit anywhere.

I've had the polio vaccine twice - or have had two different polio vaccines - Salk & Sabin. Maybe even three times, they gave us so damn many vaccinations before we went to Iraq.

I had the smallpox inoculation twice. First time as a 5 y.o. before I went to grade school. Probably Tetanus vaccine as well. I don't remember any others, I don't think the measles, mumps, chicken-pox, etc vaccines were developed yet. I did have all three of those while I was in elementary school.

The second smallpox inoculation was in 2003. Smallpox had been eradicated in the wild, but the Army decided it MIGHT be a bio-weapon in Saddam's arsenal. Got it right before Christmas and wasn't allowed to go near my family during the holiday because my brother had a six month old infant and my sister's little boy was in middle school and apparently there's a chance you can spread the disease before the body develops its immunity.

My first flu shot came in the early 70s. There was a Swine Flu outbreak & I remember there were mandatory vaccination. I don't remember any anti-VAXX at the time. Swine Flu sucked & it apparently was bad enough that it was killing some people and who wants that? Hadn't turned into a political football yet.

264:

Re infection rates of COVID variants: Presumably the variant after Omicron will be Pi. Will that be 3.14159 times more infectious?

265:

PilotMoonDog
And how am I supposed to be able to detect what you claim, amidst all the random bollocks, obfuscation & verbiage, eh?
- See also: Mike Collins @ 253, yes?
- - And, for further inanity to the point of being suicidal, see # 255.

JBS
If you are correct - & I'm horribly afraid that you are, that won't get them off the hook ( I hope )

AndrewMck
😁
But, Omicron SEEMS TO BE a much less serious variation, on the information now coming in ... Lots of cases, zero-to-very-low numbers of "hospitalisations". In the UK, no deaths, at all - so far.

266:

253 - I've said this on other sites too. Flu (like Covid 19) is a mutagenic virus, which is why you "need" annual flu jabs. Polio and smallpox are not so markedly mutagenic, which is why you need fewer, less regular jabs (but polio boosters are recommended if you live in or travel to countries where it is endemic).

257 - My argument also. Markdown is not "better" than HTML, just different (and IMO different numbers of leading and training asterisk characters to open and close boldface, italic and underscore is emphatically less intuitive than b, i and u tags). Other stuff, like numbered lists and indent levels may be better, but I don't use them much.

262 - Well, a spinal tap does involve sticking sample needles near nerves (the aforementioned spinal column).

264 - Yes, and well "everything is better with pi(e)". ;-)

265 - OTOH the first UK hospitalisations with omicron are only due about now based on dates when cases were assumed (on evidence available, some or all could actually be alpha).
Also, there are some dubious (to me) sounding statistics coming out, like, with an (assumed AIUI) R of 2, if 1 person in a gathering of 100 has omicron, 66 of that hundred will be infected over the next 2 weeks. I always thought that the R number was a positive float of the number of people that would be infected by a single case.

267:

It's not just whether they mutate, but how long resistance lasts. I used to have TAB every 6 months, and it wasn't because they changed the vaccine.

It is unlikely that alpha is confusing the matter; it's essentially dead in the UK.

The statistics vary from the dubious to the bogus, and the example you gave is in the latter camp. The thing to remember is that social behaviour affects R at least as much as the infective agent.

268:

My first flu shot came in the early 70s. There was a Swine Flu outbreak & I remember there were mandatory vaccination. I don't remember any anti-VAXX at the time. Swine Flu sucked & it apparently was bad enough that it was killing some people and who wants that? Hadn't turned into a political football yet.

Actually it was a bit controversial. But in those days it was private conversations for the most part. No Internet or social media to amplify it all out of proportion. I have memories of my father making some very mild comments about it wondering if it really was a serious flu strain or just a way to see if the US population would accept being told "everyone get vaccinated". This was very out of character for my father and it may have been he was commenting on what others said. But it really stuck with me.

Looking it up the Swine flu was around 2008. The "Hong Kong" flu was 68-69 and was likely what I (and maybe you) were thinking of.

269:

OTOH the first UK hospitalisations with omicron are only due about now based on dates when cases were assumed

Some of the Scottish cases of the Omicron variant are linked to two specific spreader events which can be dated exactly. The first was a "private event" AKA a wedding or birthday party or the like, on 20th November and the second was a large music event on 22nd November at the SEC Hydro with several thousand people in attendance (the headline act later cancelled their tour as COVID-19 was detected in some of their band members and crew but there was no mention of Omicron variant in the press report).

As of a few days ago, nearly three weeks after initial exposure, none of the twenty or so confirmed cases from those events had required hospitalisation according to Public Health Scotland, with the infected individuals staying at home in isolation. Saying that we didn't get a breakdown of the ages of the infected individuals but the cases from the music gig were most likely younger people (18-35).

Typically COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic for about five days then symptomatic for ten to fourteen days afterwards during which time hospitalisation is likely to occur if the patient deteriorates. By twenty days or so since infection most people exposed to a spreader event are considered clear of any virus they may have picked up.

270:

The statistics indicate roughly a fortnight's delay between infection and hospitalisation (if relevant), and a fortnight between that and death (if relevant). Of course, those are population averages. We shall have a pretty good idea of its severity by the new year.

The gummint has cocked up its latest variant report data, so I can't show people any pretty pictures.

271:

But, Omicron SEEMS TO BE a much less serious variation, on the information now coming in ... Lots of cases, zero-to-very-low numbers of "hospitalisations". In the UK, no deaths, at all - so far.

Greg, omicron is so new that there hasn't been enough time for the deaths to ramp up.

Remember, people with severe COVID19 tend to collapse about 9-11 days after infection. And then it takes weeks (sometimes longer) before they die in an ICU bed. There's also a 2-3 day incubation period for this strain. So we don't really see peak deaths until 2-4 weeks after we hit peak infections.

Also note that South Africa has very different demographics for the UK -- the population is younger on average -- and has sky-high levels of HIV compared to the UK, which results in immunocompromised patients.

Basically we don't know how Omicron will affect the UK population yet: SA isn't necessarily a good model, and anyone saying "but this strain isn't as deadly" is to some extent indulging in wishful thinking.

272:

Part of that is because they keep changing their minds about how long immunity lasts, and vaccines change (which often affects that). Tetanus has been 3, 5 and 10 ten years, lifetime, and 'when you get a dirty cut' in my lifetime, so I have had at least half a dozen.

273:

And then there's this report: Omicron could cause 75,000 deaths in England by end of April, say scientists -- Peak of 2,400 daily hospital admissions is most optimistic scenario if England stays in Plan B, say advisers.

(Plan B is: mask-wearing, working from home, and booster jabs. It's where England is at, already. As I already noted, reading between the lines it's glaringly obvious that Nicola Sturgeon wants to go further -- but furlough/lockdown payments are in the hands of Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, former Goldman Sachs banker turned hedge-fund capitalist, and son-in-law of a billionaire. Guess what his natural inclination is ...)

274:

Sign me up as in favour of MarkDown. It's my standard format for writing notes and simple documentation for myself, although I tend to get complaints about recieving notes in .txt or .md format instead of .docx.

The one problem with MarkDown is that it's not all that standardised. I'm most familiar with the flavour used on GitHub, but there are differences. Notably, WikiMedia uses a distinctly different dialect - or at least, the wikimedia server that we maintained our lab documentation on did.

As a few examples, GH-flavoured markdown emphasises like so:

  • **bold text**
  • *italicised text* and _italicised text_
  • [hyperlink text](hyperlink url)
  • * first level bullet point
  • space * second level bullet point

While wikimedia formatting looks more like

  • '''bold text'''
  • ''italicised text''
  • [hyperlink_url hyperlink_text]
  • [[internal_link_url internal_link_text]]
  • * first level bullet point
  • * * second level bullet point

Finally - MarkDown isn't all that well suited to splitting documentation across multiple files. So I tend to write more complex documentation in ReStructuredText (RST) - at least, after leaving tyhe group that used WikiMedia, anyway.

I will echo the complaint about escaping characters, though. Once you start adding escapes in, the primary benefit of MarkDown (i.e. that it's perfectly human-readable text even with all of the formatting characters in-line) gets lost relatively rapidly. I'm not sure what the solution to that is, mind you. Either it's a special character, or it isn't.

275:

Unlike Word, displays ALL formatting codes.

Ah, the WP "Reveal Codes." I had a job once where I was responsible for hundreds of pages of reports that had to be updated each legislative session, all done in WP. I inherited the documents, which had passed through several/many hands. I spent most of a month after my first session with them with "Reveal Codes" turned on, cleaning out the cruft.

276:

As of today (11 December 2021) in Scotland, new reported cases of COVID-19 are up, reported death rates are down a little and the number of cases requiring hospital care and intensive care support are also down. This is in comparison to a couple of months ago, before the booster vaccination program kicked off and of course before the Omicron variant was first reported in Scotland three weeks ago.

277:

I'm seeing disturbing reports about the age distribution of omicron cases admitted to hospital with severe disease in South Africa -- that fully 30% of them after under 5's.

In SA the full vaccination rate is reportedly 30%, so the juvenile admissions aren't an artefact of the elderly population being protected against severe disease: everyone's getting it, kids are just getting it much worse than with previous strains.

If this holds up, then it's a show-stopper for the UK, where until now the normal assumption has been that kids are safe, it's the old farts like us who need to shelter. (We haven't even green-lit vaccination for under-12s yet.) After all, schools are disease swap marts.

278:

Yeah :-( As the SAGE people know, we simply don't know - and if we wait until we DO know, and it is anything but the best-case scenario, it will be too late.

I have seen those reports about Omicron attacking younger people (#277), too, but hard data appear non-existent. Again, we shall know by the end of the year, but need to act now.

279:

Markdown question for those in the know…

Suppose I want to paste a URL, as I have been in the habit of doing, and that URL contains underscore characters (as many do). Is there an easy way to do that and have it show up just as it is, or do I have to manually edit the URL after I paste it, and hope I don't miss an underscore or add and extra backslash?

280:

schools are disease swap marts

I started reading Michael Lewis' The Premonition a few months ago. There's a part at the beginning where he's writing about a science fair student who came up with an improved mathematical model of disease spread by noting that schools aren't offices for tiny people (as they were treated in the official models at the time).

A great many people who make decisions about schools* seem to have spent very little time in an actual classroom.

*There was the official in an Ontario Conservative government who decided that each student needed as much room as a bank teller, so set the funding for schools based on that. Corridors, libraries, boiler rooms — all counted as part of a student's average space.

281:

Pulling this from way back in #182:

News story: Maine, NH, and NY are mobilizing the National Guard to help with medical issues of overworked and understaffed.

This isn't going to work.

The National Guard is a part-time militia. Guess what they do the rest of the time?

That's right, they work, in that state, doing jobs like ambulance driver, nurse, emergency medicine tech... if they have medical skills, they're already working. Having the Guard called up moves them to some other part of the state, where they are no longer familiar with what's going on, can't retreat home at the end of the day, generally makes them less effective.

If all you wanted were grunt laborers, offer $25 an hour.

282:

Yes. Use regular HTML A HREF syntax and Markdown will refrain from mangling underscores in the URL target, although it will interpret underscores in the link text as emphasis. Demo: thisisbrokenandwill_fail.

(That points to a non-existent html page: https://www.antipope.org/charlie/this_is_broken_and_will_fail.html .)

Added complication: a bare URL in Markdown text will be turned into an HTML link when posted (with the URL copied into the link text, as happened above).

So there are actually three ways you can post links, now:

  • Markdown link using [caption](URL)

  • HTML link using normal HTML syntax (remember to escape underscores in the caption)

  • Bare URL (will be turned into a link)

283:

The National Guard is a part-time militia. Guess what they do the rest of the time?

Am I right in thinking the Guard know what their members' civilian specialties are and allocate them to roles accordingly? (So that civilian medics/nurses/etc would be given equivalent roles when called up.)

If so, there may be some useful roles -- for example, drivers for ambulances so that the civilian paramedics can leave that part of their job to someone else and focus on stabilizing patients on their way to hospital.

I'm reaching here but there must be something worth doing, unless this is just a political photo-op mobilization.

284:

The National Guard is a part-time militia. Guess what they do the rest of the time?

Well, applying Hanlon's Razor, it could just be double counting by someone who hasn't thought it through:

"Our state has N paramedics working in the ambulances, but we have another G paramedics in the National Guard, making a total of N+G available in emergencies".

285:

In the USA, the waves of the Great Influenza of 1918 - 1922 (they say often date it 1918 - 1920, but big waves, though not everywhere the same time, continued into 1921-22) hit different populations harder. 1918-1919 was mostly men and women between 15 and 45. The wave that most affected children came later.

I don't know as much about how it worked throughout the period in other parts of the world. But Pale Rider (2017), by British historian, Laura Spinney, unlike US author John M Berry's The Great Influenza (2004), has a far more global outlook. Both books are brilliant -- and yes, I thought so when I initially read them at publication, and more so since re-reading them in These Times.

For a contemporary medical overview:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1088249/

286:

Tetanus has been 3, 5 and 10 ten years, lifetime, and 'when you get a dirty cut' in my lifetime, so I have had at least half a dozen.

I've had nurses ask me if I'm current on my Tetanus shot a few times over the last 10 years. I look at them and ask how to know?

287:

Re: 'I don't think the measles, mumps, chicken-pox, etc vaccines were developed yet. I did have all three of those while I was in elementary school.'

I mentioned/posted about measles in a previous topic but I think it bears repeating.

Measles resets your immune system to zero.

In many ways this is one of the most dangerous viruses out there - get this and all of your library of immune antibodies just vanishes. Probably why kids seemed to catch every cold/flu in circulation until they hit high school (in the pre-MMR vax days): they were! Until they restocked their antibodies.

https://asm.org/Articles/2019/May/Measles-and-Immune-Amnesia

288:

I'm reaching here but there must be something worth doing, unless this is just a political photo-op mobilization.

And referring back to the comment about grunt labor at $25/hr.

The NG is people all with a military background. They know how to organize themselves (to some degree) and take orders and somewhat obey them. And they can mostly read a manual and follow a process. Some (many?) people seem to exist in a universe where these are foreign concepts.

As to pulling away ambulance drivers and such, the NG is a broad swath of the population. They might hit a few docs and ambulance drivers but in general they will also get a lot more bank tellers and such. But anything lasting longer than a week or so gets to be disruptive.

289:

A bit of a topic change.

Some people look askance at those of us who get all "crawl in a hole and hide" when tornadoes are nearby. Growing up in the tornado area of the US tended to wire us that way.

Mayfield Kentucky just got hit hard last night. Literally looks like a war zone. 20 miles south of where I grew up. I visited and was through this town multiple times the first 20 years of my life.

weather.com wpsdlocal6.com

70 or more dead in Kentucky (maybe just Mayfield?)

Likely a lot of even smaller towns in bad shapes once communications gets re-established. This was from a line of storms/tornadoes which started in Arkansas and ran through 1/2 of Kentucky.

290:

Am I right in thinking the Guard know what their members' civilian specialties are and allocate them to roles accordingly?

Yes, very much so. That doesn't stop them from doing odd things (my brother-in-law is a high school math teacher, who was placed in charge of a tank training company because he met the minimum requirements and it was available).

291:

As the state is effectively forcing a woman to have a child that she does not want, does this mean that - the state becomes financially reponsible for the upkeep of that child, and/or - the state becomes totally responsible for the care of the child ? If not, why not ? ( assuming the woman feels the same way after the child is born )

292:

I'd also point out that when the Guards are doing multiple tours in Afghanistan or Iraq, and when they're the first line operators for some of the drone and other specialized units, the notion that they're part-time is laughable. More like contract workers rather than career. The National Guard isn't what it was prior to Bush II.

The National Guard played a big role in the early stages of the pandemic, basically doing the semi-hazardous grunt work (clean-up, disposal, and decontamination), doing logistics, and especially (IIRC) helping the hospital engineering sections keep the ventilators running. Hospitals at that point didn't have much experience using their oxygen systems at 100% capacity, and they needed more engineers and mechanics fast to help keep their systems operating at all. They needed more oxygen too.

The problem with Covid19 is that it doesn't make money for hospitals (a long-hauler is going to pay a million dollar bill? Pull the other one). Normally hospitals depend on expensive elective surgeries to bring in the bucks to support the emergency and ICU departments. But during a pandemic surge, this revenue goes away. That, in turn, means hospitals have trouble finding the money to surge-staff things like engineering, support, janitorial (which they outsource anyway) and so forth. Hauling in the National Guard to do these things actually isn't stupid.

I'll admit that having a 50+ year-old nationalized health care system would have avoided all these problems, but unfortunately we don't live in that particular leg of the trousers of time.

293:

Um....

Let's see, in my life, it's always 9-10 years for tetanus boosters. (And the time before last was me going to "occupational medicine", working at the NIH, because I'd cut my head, and that was the NIH std. Ditto when I had one a year or two ago with Kaiser-Permanente, which was on the same schedule.

It's bundled now, btw, with MM and P, IIRC.

Shingles, you need the equally-long-term jab, and now you want the new one - genengeneered version, two jabs over 2? 3? months. Had both earlier this year.

294:

Oh, yes. Wasn't that capability wonderful?

In the late nineties, I knew a number of secretaries who knew both WP and Word, and hated the latter, and loved the former.

295:

In that case, the URL-related part of my objection could be met by having the Markdown parser only trigger on URL-like things that are already in its own syntax, using that syntax as the trigger, and not also through matching a "looks like a URL" regex or whatever. In that way both HTML-syntax URLs and bare URLs would be handled by the ordinary parser, as was the case previously, and the problem that it is no longer possible to simply copy and paste a URL and expect it to work without further ado would cease to apply.

296:

I started having tetanus shots in the early 1950s. Some of my multiple vaccinations were because there were no records. I am surprised at multiple smallpox ones, because the ones we had left a large and highly indicative scar.

297:

The same is true in the UK, though it started under Thatcher, and got worse under Blair. There was a time when the Territorial Army wasn't used for foreign adventurism; it was intended for home defence (hence its name) and as a reserve in time of war.

298:

I'll admit that having a 50+ year-old nationalized health care system would have avoided all these problems, but unfortunately we don't live in that particular leg of the trousers of time.

Unfortunately here in the UK we do ... and we hit COVID right at the tail end of a decade of (mis-)rule by austerity-obsessed Conservatives that had left 15% of all nursing positions vacant, closed hospitals, reduced the number of beds by something like 40% (going from memory) and generally imposed "efficiency" improvements with the objective of ultimately selling it off piecemeal to private equity and reconfiguring it as a US-style system (and leaving the rump NHS as a single payer in an insurance-friendly market).

If that sounds like insanity to you, that would be because it is.

(Health is a devolved matter, and Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are to some extent insulated from the English madness. However, spending among the four nations is managed centrally and the others have to march in lockstep with England.)

299:

Word for DOS was ghastly as of version 5.0 and 5.1. Then Microsoft somehow emitted Word 5.5 for DOS which ... well, they went full-on for the CUI interface (same menu/keystroke structure as Windows 3.1, only in a DOS application) as a side-effect of working with IBM, and it actually worked and was usable.

But then they shitcanned it and cut over to Word for Windows, which was Not Perfect. WinWord started out as an attempt to port Word for Mac to run on Windows. Word for Mac was the best word processor on that OS for many years -- it peaked with Word 5.1 for MacOS in 1986 or thereabouts -- but it suffered from too much success.

Microsoft reassigned their entire Mac dev team for Word, then the project manager left, and Word 6 for Mac was orphaned. (It was going to be Word 5.1 only with a Basic scripting language.) So WinWord sputtered along, then Microsoft decided to focus on a common code base, and emitted Word 6 for Windows and/or Mac. Which was written on Windows and ran like a dog on Mac, using a horrible compatability API that caused inconsistent UI problems and much bloat.

Anyway: the takeaway is Microsoft Word peaked with version 5.1a on MacOS, and on DOS it peaked with version 5.5. While Word for Windows was god-awful terrible and no good until roughly 1997, nearly a decade later.

Hint: I know whereof I speak, I wrote a technical book and a couple of novels using Word 5.1 for Mac back in the day.

300:

Re: 'Mayfield Kentucky just got hit hard last night.'

Saw the headlines in GoogNews which included an article about the BigRiver depot there also taking a hit: considerable damage, unknown number of employees trapped (why?*) but not razed to the ground like some nearby homes/small biz.

Geez - wonder who's going to get Fed/State emergency funds/help, how much and how fast? Better yet - base that 'help' on amts paid in taxes.

  • The emergency weather systems send alerts/alarms for target area residents to take shelter - why didn't BigRiver employees?
301:

"...the UK, where until now the normal assumption has been that kids are safe, it's the old farts like us who need to shelter. (We haven't even green-lit vaccination for under-12s yet.) After all, schools are disease swap marts."

That's rather a BBC way of stating the assumption! I'd put it more along the lines of "kids generally don't get ill from it, therefore there are no visible signs of their role in transmission and we can easily get people to forget about, or not realise in the first place, the point that they do still catch and spread it. That way we can shut down discussion of what to do about schools, don't have to spend any money on it, and don't have to deal with parents' objections to our incompetent handling of the situation being amplified to hysterical levels because of their kids being involved."

It could end up being the case that if kids now do get ill from it, the policy of "fuck schools, thanks to our disinformation nobody cares" will be forcibly collapsed, to everyone's (eventual) advantage. If we're lucky, also some parents who have had the disease without knowing where they got it might realise that one way they could have got it indeed was kids bringing it home from school, same as they always do with every sniffle that's going, even if it didn't look like it. If we're really lucky, the involvement of kids might even be enough to get parents to drop their inexplicable persistence in voting for the Tories.

302:

The best I can usually manage is "well, I know it wasn't within the last five years..." followed by an attempt at tracing connections through my memory to try and come up with a date for the last occasion I can be reasonably sure I did have one. At some point they get fed up with listening to me wibbling on and decide to just give me one anyway. It seems to work; at least, I haven't got ill with tetanus yet.

Last time I had one they were also asking me about my diphtheria vaccination status, which baffled me entirely; I might have had it when I was too small to remember what the jab was about, but basically I just don't know. Reason being apparently that nowadays the tetanus vaccine comes combined with diphtheria in its standard form, and the plain tetanus-only version is some kind of special order thing that they don't get in unless someone actually can't have the diphtheria bit (or something along those lines). Must say it surprised me a bit as I didn't think diphtheria was anything like as likely to infect you as tetanus; nor is it something you catch in the same way, so "if you can get one you can probably get the other too" does not apply.

303:

Speaking of medical treatments... this isn't about COVID, but rather UK medical. If someone does something and gets hurt, say, climbs on a ruined castle that has a sign "not safe, and if you go on it, we're not responsible" or however it was phrased in Aberystwyth, is there any penalty, monetary or otherwise, if they need serious treatment?

304:

I think you're conflating two different things.

The Amazon warehouse was in Edwardsville Illinois. Which is really East St. Louis. Nearly 200 miles north of Mayfield Ky.

And that area doesn't get enough tornadoes to have shelters in every (or maybe any) buildings. Much less regular drills. That is mostly something that happens west of the Missouri River. And when the sirens (if they exist) do sound (or now days your phone goes off) you really need to make a decision of what you can do in the next 5 to 10 minutes. Tornadoes spin up very quickly.

Anyway, my point is that staying IN the warehouse was likely the best things to do. Without the knowledge that the warehouse would be hit.

I read the storm front itself was moving at 60mph. Which for a weather SYSTEM is just plain hauling ass.

One last point. Tornadoes are incredibly local. I've been near a few, but never "in" one. One came through here 30 years ago and left a 20 miles long trail. That one obliterated trees 100' from a house we almost bought a month earlier. But no issues with the house. One big box store leveled (exploded really) with merchandise all over many acres yet the office I went to work in the next morning was fine. You see a house foundation with nothing on it and the ones next door are fine or even a house with a missing WALL and the rest of the house intact. Even the furniture in the exposed rooms still in place.

305:

"WinWord started out as an attempt to port Word for Mac to run on Windows."

...but if you expected it to be as good as the Mac version, you would be sorely disappointed, because it was shit. I used both of them, and was indeed so disappointed.

I strongly suspect the Mac version was what Borland used to produce their Turbo C manuals. We defined our company documentation style to be basically identical to those manuals because (a) they were very clear and (b) making Mac Word produce something exactly the same - in every detail - was trivial to do.

There are still copies of that Mac Word floating around and I have got it running under Linux with the Basilisk 2 emulator. Still the same, but for just knocking up the odd one-page letter which is all the word processing I do nowadays it's not worth the hassle of using an emulator instead of something native.

306:

No. Doesn't matter how you got injured, or how obviously dangerous the thing was that you were doing at the time, nobody tries to get on your case about it. The worst there is in that line is that motorcyclists are medically nicknamed "organ donors".

307:

The emergency weather systems send alerts/alarms for target area residents to take shelter - why didn't BigRiver employees?

It's entirely possible the alerts didn't reach them, which is a tragedy.

It's also entirely possible that the alerts reached them (or some of them), but there was no refuge they could reach in the time they had, due to the construction of the facility. That would also be a tragedy.

I also know that I've received fire evacuation alerts and had to argue with other people for 15-20 minutes that the alert is real and they should evacuate. Imagine that happening inside a big facility, where some manager doesn't wanna believe for just a bit too long.

Or it could be some combination of all three.

308:

The worry is that the next variant may give rise to irrational behaviour.

309:

WinWord started out as an attempt to port Word for Mac to run on Windows.

My understanding of the general path.

MacWord redone to be WinWord.

Then MWord team told to follow WWord team at a spec level. They might share come code if asked politely.

Then MWord given source but much of it was .Net and similar based so it was a big re-write. And forget OLE.

Now they actually share a code base. Which I think is up to 90% or so. Mostly for layout and features. UI for each is done to match the UI needs of the platform instead of the Mac folks being told to make it "more like Windows". And the codes changes/fixes now flow both ways.

Macs just have too big a penetration into school and universities to ignore reality. And MS has taken a much more "we're OK to sell them Office or M/O 365 without Windows as long as they don't use Google docs and email". Ballmer leaving was what allowed that to happen.

310:

"tetanus vaccine comes combined with diphtheria in its standard form"

DTP, I think.

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/vaccines/dtap-tdap-vaccine.html

311:

That exists too but more as a kids'-standard-shots thing. (Of course different countries may have different defaults.)

312:

Like, literally, no-one reads it.
My Name is No One - The Mechanisms - 3:03
My Name Is No-One
"But I choke down the pain ‘cause one good throw and the eye of the Cyclops is mine!
I wouldn't do an op like that drunk, though. (Well, not under the influence of ethyl alcohol.)

(I kinda like their treatment of the Trojan Horse, though.)

Did have fun rabbit-holing down the Festival of Lights / Anwad / etc; thanks for that.

[cranky after nearly 2 years of anti-COVID-19 NPIs; even though hypersensitive introvert, so rant ahead.]
The low vaccination rate in the US currently has a dominant partisan component prodded and amplified by mass-homicidal operators. (Not entirely unexpected.)
In an alternate trouser-leg of time, where DJT won the election and was still POTUS, there would be right wing vigilante squads (perhaps with distinctive clothing, though the shirts would not be brown) staking out the homes of anti-vaxers. They would be organizing shaming(/shunning) campaigns. There would be mandatory vaccinations in the workplace with the “Trump vaccine”, enforced with severe (employee-only (employers are sacred)) sanctions. Evangelical church members would be knocking on doors about vaccination-Jesus. Etc.
And US vaccination rates would be 10-20 percentage points higher than they are now.

Most of the unvaxxed in partially vaxxed populations where vaccines have been available for many months, are, when unmasked, a statistical (mortal) threat to public health. Omicron(/vaccine escape) shifts this a bit, but delta and omicron will co-exist in populations. They, especially when unmasked, deny access to public places by those concerned about their health, especially to those who are immune-compromised or otherwise unvaccinatable. (I have not yet found a superspreader event case study where the index patient was verified to be always wearing a mask.) In the US there are Stand-Your-Ground laws in way too many states; we have been Lucky so far that there has been no vigilante action against people threatening the health of others with unfiltered exhaled plumes infectious material.

Video:

.@jordanklepper vs. Anti-Vaxxers in SoCal pic.twitter.com/oOIM1JHha9

— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) December 9, 2021
313:

David L @ 268:

My first flu shot came in the early 70s. There was a Swine Flu outbreak & I remember there were mandatory vaccination. I don't remember any anti-VAXX at the time. Swine Flu sucked & it apparently was bad enough that it was killing some people and who wants that? Hadn't turned into a political football yet.

Actually it was a bit controversial. But in those days it was private conversations for the most part. No Internet or social media to amplify it all out of proportion. I have memories of my father making some very mild comments about it wondering if it really was a serious flu strain or just a way to see if the US population would accept being told "everyone get vaccinated". This was very out of character for my father and it may have been he was commenting on what others said. But it really stuck with me.

Looking it up the Swine flu was around 2008. The "Hong Kong" flu was 68-69 and was likely what I (and maybe you) were thinking of.

If it was controversial, I don't remember the N&O reporting the controversy. I was already a news junkie and devoured the paper daily.

The vaccine campaign I remember was probably some time after 1974, because I was already married. I remember it because my wife was a drama queen & a big cry-baby about getting shots and she bitched at me nonstop the whole day - before we went, while we were standing in line and after we came home.

It was done on a Sunday afternoon in the Broughton High School cafeteria. According to Wikipedia there was a Swine Flu outbreak in the U.S. in 1976.

314:

dsrtao @ 281: Pulling this from way back in #182:.

News story: Maine, NH, and NY are mobilizing the National Guard to help with medical issues of overworked and understaffed.

The National Guard is a part-time militia. Guess what they do the rest of the time?

That's right, they work, in that state, doing jobs like ambulance driver, nurse, emergency medicine tech... if they have medical skills, they're already working. Having the Guard called up moves them to some other part of the state, where they are no longer familiar with what's going on, can't retreat home at the end of the day, generally makes them less effective.

If all you wanted were grunt laborers, offer $25 an hour.

It works better than you think. Frequently National Guard medics are not drawn from medical profession. When not on duty they're grocery store clerks or para-legals in some law office. The actual Doctors & Nurses will generally be exempt from a state call-up for medical emergency. They might bring on Doctors & Nurses from OUTSIDE the emergency area.

There are plenty of NON-medical, logistics & administrative roles the National Guard can fill to free up medical personnel. You don't have to be a doctor to drive the ambulance.

315:

.” You're a well educated man who understands (at least rudimenatary) biology and so on.” I’m not a biologist. My MSc is in clinical biochemistry. My wife knows much more immunolog than I do.

“If you are an American Citizen, you're now in the top 30% of your populace.” I’m not American I’m British.

“We'll make it simple for you: not all your fellow Humans understand this. Many don't have the economic liberty to access "a free vaccination" if they could. Some cannot because they are not legal citizens. And so on.” I’ll make it simple for you. You don’t need to state the obvious. But in the UK there’s no such block to vaccination.

“The reasons are multi-tudinous; the results are death. We'd suggest blaming the systme rather than the people being preyed upon by it. This includes those slavishly believing in PFsxzzrer and other C-Level Corp execs from Comnpanies whose main model (tied to insurance scams) is: "Bleed the fuckers dry".” Why are you afraid doing to write Pfizer? They are just capitalists. Their profiteering is possible because the US government won’t regulate them. The Oxford group chose the help mankind rather than get rich,

“Want to bitch about it?:” About what?

Don't blame Individuals (essentially not an issue in this): blame your systems. And your system is fucked.

I do blame individuals. Vaccination is a public duty. Those who are able to be vaccinated but choose not to, either out of misplaced individualism or because they’re basically freeloaders and deserve to die from their disease. But in doing so they infect others. ~

“For the record: this body has had no immune shots. Given we can ramp the internal temp up to ~108 without it dying and there's a shit load of much nastier fucking shit making its penis dance in there, trust us: not all of the "un-vaxxed" are threats to you. Shit you not, the stuff they tried to infect us with was faaaaaaaaar worse than a Conovirus. Heart goes SILENT RUNNING for 7 days on certain stuff. We've also not been able to talk to another H.S.S for years.”

Is there medical reason for your refusal of vaccinations or are you a freeloader?

See above: vaccination =/= anything special. It's not a fucking badge, and some humans (chemo, immon-comp'd, AIDS etc) don't have the luxury of the choice.” Immunocompromised people are protected by the majority who are vaccinated. Vaccination is special. Just like antibiotics. Modern life would be impossible without them. So don't be a (AUS TRANSLATION) cunt and think you know better.

~ You can call me what you want but you’re wrong.

“You also missed the entire point which is worrying.”

I you were worried about people missing the point you would take care to write in comprehensible text. I glance at your posts because sometimes they contain interesting facts but I can’t be bothered deciphering deliberately obscure and/or redacted language. And I’m perfectly aware of vaccine dangers. I refused the HIV vaccine required for my job because it had a slight increased risk of multiple sclerosis. Since my mother died of this I’m statistically already at thirteen times the risk of the general population. My wife initially refused the same vaccine required for her job in virology until she had been reassured that it wasn’t the flavour grown in vaccinia. She was very ill as a young child after her smallpox vaccine.

316:

Charlie Stross @ 283:

The National Guard is a part-time militia. Guess what they do the rest of the time?

Am I right in thinking the Guard know what their members' civilian specialties are and allocate them to roles accordingly? (So that civilian medics/nurses/etc would be given equivalent roles when called up.)

If so, there may be some useful roles -- for example, drivers for ambulances so that the civilian paramedics can leave that part of their job to someone else and focus on stabilizing patients on their way to hospital.

I'm reaching here but there must be something worth doing, unless this is just a political photo-op mobilization.

The state AG's department knows their soldiers civilian specialties and their MILITARY specialties. They won't be calling up Doctors & nurses who work in one hospital and assigning them to work in another hospital. They probably would ask doctors who didn't work in a hard hit area to volunteer for state duty.

And most National Guard medics do not work full time in the medical field. They're medics on the weekend and during Annual Training or Deployment, but generally the people called up to state duty will perform ancillary roles.

317:

arrbee @ 291: As the state is effectively forcing a woman to have a child that she does not want, does this mean that - the state becomes financially reponsible for the upkeep of that child, and/or - the state becomes totally responsible for the care of the child ? If not, why not ? ( assuming the woman feels the same way after the child is born )

You know damn well they don't. They only care about the "child" from conception to birth. After that they're on their own.

And the so-called pro-life assholes have no shame either, so don't expect them to take any responsibility for their actions.

318:

Bill Arnold @ 312
DO NOT DO THAT
I was expecting some sort of explanation regarding sotmn's irrationalities - I actually got EarShit. ...
Sorry, I know that US "Stand -Your-Ground" so-called "Laws" are fucking stupid, but you are making no sense to a UK resident - explain or shut up about such things - PLEASE?

Mike Collins @ 315
DOUBLEPUSGOOD Thank you - that's the best take-down of the seagull's raving lunacies, incoherence & plain dangerous insinuations I've yet seen.
HINT: My neighbour ( & a friend ) is severely immunocompromised - transplant. SELFISH & STUPID SHITS like sotmn are not wanted, thank you!
And, may I repeat in bold?
If you were worried about people missing the point you would take care to write in comprehensible text.
THIS, exactly - for how many times, now?

319:

Elderly Cynic @ 296: I started having tetanus shots in the early 1950s. Some of my multiple vaccinations were because there were no records. I am surprised at multiple smallpox ones, because the ones we had left a large and highly indicative scar.

Same here, but my second smallpox vaccination came 48 years after the first one. For many of the soldiers in the Brigade, it was their FIRST smallpox vaccination. Most of the younger soldiers were born after smallpox was considered eradicated in the wild.

But based on the fear that smallpox might be developed as a biological weapon, the Army decided to vaccinate everyone, even us old farts who already had the inoculation as a child.

Whether the fear was reasonable I don't know, but I do think taking precautions against it was reasonable.

320:

"I you were worried about people missing the point you would take care to write in comprehensible text."

She did.

The original post you and Greg are doing your nuts about was quite clear about who its actual targets were. All that is required is to read it without a preconceived intention of discovering glaniform tendencies in the interpretation. That she is actually saying pretty much the opposite of what you are accusing her of is not at all obscure, and she is both correct and justified in saying that you have completely missed the point (in multiple ways, and repeated the error in subsequent posts).

PilotMoonDog has already made the same point @ 251, but it seems that it needs to be repeated.

321:

Is there medical reason for your refusal of vaccinations or are you a freeloader?

I wouldn't do an op like that drunk, though. (Well, not under the influence of ethyl alcohol.)

The answer is simple: we suggest you grep "do not want to be put into a lab and subject to vivisection". Suggesting we take your vaccine is akin to necking ivermectin horse paste[1]: different physiology. And... given the amount of effort spent fucking assassinating Others like us (the woods, the woods) and the RAMPANT ideological STAMPING ("The Beast": "We Disagree") while we're being extremely polite about Abrahamic Religions, trust us: if we needed it, we'd already have been forced to have it.

If we took it, we'd be feeding a whole another Conspiracy line, that one about Saline injections and A/B/C grades. And potentially taking a dose from a Human Being who required it.

Sigh.

OBVIOUSLY: since x2 shots are now totally fucking useless, get a booster and hope that the 70-7% coverage is enough and the R rate is kept under 1.4. You're all very smart people, you know the drill. We assumed this was a base-line knowledge base.

And: pray very very hard you don't get our version of this, which is a little bit more hard-core. And death is not an option.

"There is Light" - spoilers kids: the goodies don't name winning genocidal warfare as "The Festival of Light" even if it's about their freedom and then sing about it for 3.000 years if they actually told the Truth to their children about absolutely anything (merkins!). And they don't make it such a Mental Mindset that their Eurovision Singers are shocked that no-one else views their country as a "Light Bringers Beacon" when we watch them knee-cap children.

You know, for reference there.

Lol, just joking: you're British, this is 100% your bag of Chai.

[1] There's a bonus hidden joke here about RU / CN vaxes and so on, but hey.

322:

Sorry, I know that US "Stand -Your-Ground" so-called "Laws" are fucking stupid, but you are making no sense to a UK resident - explain or shut up about such things - PLEASE?
Imagine some armed (concealed gun) hair-trigger-temper male in a US Stand-Your-Ground state, who is fully onboard and approving of public health measures like vaccination and masks indoors in public spaces.
Spice it up - his wife recently died of COVID-19, infected by some unmasked, unvaccinated COVID-skeptic - she was wearing a surgical mask but the stochastic killer was near her in a room and coughing Delta plumes for minutes and a surgical mask isn't as good a defense as a tightly-fitted N95.
While he is in a shop, some other COVID-skeptic starts loudly making fun of him for wearing a mask, calling him an ignorant gullible sheep, etc, while convincingly coughing (maybe pretend) to be more of an asshole.
Our hair-trigger-temper guy says to keep away. COVID-skeptic asshole approaches, coughing loudly. Our hair-trigger temper pulls his concealed gun, guy shoots him in the leg. Hits a major artery. Guy bleeds out, dies.
Oops.
Maybe a few similar copycat cases happen after it gets in the national press, or not. (US population is 330 million.)
Our hair-trigger-temper guy and his lawyer decide to use a Stand-Your-Ground defense, because it is all they have and the incident was recorded on shop video.
The US press goes wild. Our hair-trigger temper guy is either acquitted or convicted; doesn't matter - COVID-skeptic asshole is still dead, and the killing of COVID-skeptics becomes a thing.

This hasn't happened, yet.

(Also, SotMNs has said nothing anti-vax - it's all meta, about the anti-vax movements/factions, the propaganda driving them, the agendas driving the propagandists/influence operators, the entities driving those agendas, and regrettable things like very high pharma company profits and tone-def corporate executives that can be, and are being, used by homicidal propagandists.
And - to your other point (re "this body") , if it helps you, think of it as fiction - the persona is mocking the pronunciation of modern Hebrew, up-thread, which I am pretty sure you do not believe is true. )

323:

Re: 'I think you're conflating two different things. The Amazon warehouse was in Edwardsville Illinois. Which is really East St. Louis. Nearly 200 miles north of Mayfield Ky.

You're right re: conflating/not understanding the distances involved. Heteromeles is also right: probably a combination of factors. But ... I still wonder about how much attention some of these mammoth warehouse/depot operators give employee safety. Because tornadoes are usually written off as 'acts of god', not sure whether their insurance provider will investigate and provide a list of mandatory/recommended improvements. The org sidestepped answering how many employees were there by claiming the tornado struck during shift change, i.e., potentially many more employees.

The news updates are pretty grim and I don't think our weather patterns are going to get much calmer over the next few years. Whatever a very high profile for-profit-corp does or does not do re: corporate responsibility wrt on-the-job employee safety matters now and long term. (I've recently seen articles saying that some insurers are balking about coverage for problematic GW/CC areas.)

Re: 'I've been near a few, but never "in" one.'

I have while vacationing on a 10 or 12 ton displacement boat in a small bay in one of the Great Lakes. We had about 15 minutes' warning over the marine band.

324:

the persona is mocking the pronunciation of modern Hebrew, up-thread, which I am pretty sure you do not believe is true.

We totally are: but for very different reasons to what you might suppose. There's an extremely (deadly) touchy area about this Theologically speaking which we are not litigating: we've presented an alternative ("accents") that is also Factually True (in that, no-one alive has the same accent as a Trader looking for Wigs / Merkins circa 700CBE/BC in a trade port that harboured almost all near Languages at that point[1]) while respecting the (stupidly wasteful) huge amount of Scholarship that has gone into making sure that Hebew (Modern) is "factually" true[2] and also respecting those who believe that even speaking the Language is a blasphemy that we can't repeat here.

...And also: most IL people speak with fucking terrible grammar anyhow. And their accents are all over the place, due to teaching multiple waves of immigrants their "new Mother Tongue".

It's a joke: it's not disrespectful.

~Also, it's Meta: the last known speakers of Hebrew (ancient) were.... traders. At that very port.

BE NOT AFRAID

[1] And, more importantly: is actually in the Torah / Bible, thus offending no-one. The name is a bit mangled, but it's there. i.e. no additional Existential Angst required.

[2] As in: you might think this is just like speaking Latin or Greek, but... technically not true, at all.

325:

I'm reaching here but there must be something worth doing, unless this is just a political photo-op mobilization.

It would also be useful to see if there is a difference between the role assigned and the role touted in the media.

Back when Toronto had a really bad snowstorm and the mayor called in the Army for assistance, the city took a lot of flack for calling in soldiers to shovel show. (Pictures of soldiers with snow shovels were front-page news.)

But that wasn't the assistance requested at all. Lastman (the mayor) was worried about ambulances not being able to get through and requested the military provide some ATVs and medics, which were stationed around the city to transport patients to hospital in the event of heart attack etc.

A low-ranking officer ordered his men to shovel show in front of a TV crew, thinking 'military helps out' was good PR, and didn't realize that that story would be reported as the entirety of their mission.

326:

The emergency weather systems send alerts/alarms for target area residents to take shelter - why didn't BigRiver employees?

Because workers aren't allowed to bring their phones with them, so wouldn't get texts/alerts, is probably one part of that puzzle. So taking action would require management to make a decision favouring workers and cutting productivity, which is measured by algorithms and affects compensation/job security.

I suspect that a manager shutting down a warehouse for a tornado that missed wouldn't be well-regarded by those algorithms. And simply allowing workers to leave without passing security would be a loss-control nightmare — so again a decision that would negatively impact careers.

327:

Mike Collins: Hear, hear!

328:

I wrote this post after an exhausting day. I ended up writing HIV instead of Hepatitis B vaccine.

329:

Bill Arnold
"Also, SotMNs has said nothing anti-vax.."
REALLY?
Here she is in #321
..."The answer is simple: we suggest you grep "do not want to be put into a lab and subject to vivisection". Suggesting we take your vaccine is akin to necking ivermectin horse paste[1]: different physiology. And... given the amount of effort spent fucking assassinating Others like us (the woods, the woods) and the RAMPANT ideological STAMPING ("The Beast": "We Disagree") while we're being extremely polite about Abrahamic Religions, trust us: if we needed it, we'd already have been forced to have it."
READS like ant-vaxx propaganda to me, where it isn't the usual ravings.

330:

The Seagull speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than anyone on this blog. Her reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff; you shall seek all day ere you find them, and when you have them, they are not worth the search.

331:

You've started reading the Seagull's postings again, they have you on their hook again and they are taking pleasure from your reaction again. I recommend you stop paying attention completely but it's your choice. You may also, like I do, ignore those like Bill Arnold that do interact with the Seagull but again it's your choice.

I interacted with people like this a long time ago on Usenet. It was never a satisfying experience. YMMV.

332:

As an American, I must say I'm amazed (for one word; sickened may be better though) but the tendency of too many nations choosing to cease mitigation efforts too early to chill out the masses, as it were -- the same masses they pretty consistently ignore outside of empty campaign promises. Of course, we are even worse in the US where states are free to ignore federal directives and courts are knocking down one federal mandate after another in order to push the GOP's longterm goal of shrinking the federal state which, obviously, also involves rendering it as powerless as possible.

333:

Whether the fear was reasonable I don't know, but I do think taking precautions against it was reasonable.

Smallpox was a horrible, horrible disease and I'm glad it's gone.

I'm unusual for my age cohort -- aged 57 -- in not having been vaccinated: I still remember having had an exemption certificate in my passport when traveling in the 1970s.

(I had severe atopic eczema as a kid, so they patch-tested me when they came to vaccinate everyone in my year at school. I had a bad enough reaction they gave me a pass, Epipens not having been invented yet.)

334:

the (stupidly wasteful) huge amount of Scholarship that has gone into making sure that Hebew (Modern) is "factually" true

It's not stupidly wasteful if your perspective is that it's a necessary cost of nation-building an artificial polity assembled from settlers drawn from all over the world. Which indeed the modern state of Israel is: Aliyah only got under way from the 1880s onwards, and nobody spoke modern Hebrew before then: it picked up pace during the 1930s/40s (can't think why ...) and then accelerated, and the State needed a common language (and couldn't adopt English, Arabic, or German for ideological reasons: Yiddish might have been viable but would have excluded the Sephardic community and in any event took a huge hit during the Shoah).

Anyway, it's very largely an artificial language. Case in point: my first cousin paid his way through PhD studies in English by translating SF novels into Hebrew during the 1970s, and one of the things that kept tripping him up was the need to invent new Hebrew terms for words he ran across in English. (This isn't that surprising when you consider that, per Teresa Nielsen Hayden -- one of my editors at Tor.com -- almost every SF/F novel reinvents the language to some extent.)

335:

Plus the fact that even 'standard' English is a huge language, it has a zillion variants, and they keep exchanging words and uses.

336:

"Couldn't adopt English ... for ideological reasons." Uh?
I can see why German or Arabic might not be a "good idea", but I'm missing something here, all too clearly.

337:

England was the Imperial power with the League of Nations Mandate in Palestine, 1918-48.

To the Jewish settlers they were an oppressive foreign occupation who hunted, arrested, and executed resistance fighters: and who also refused entry to Jewish refugees from the Third Reich, resulting in uncounted thousands of deaths.

It's not well-remembered in the UK, but pretty much as soon as Israel declared independence it acquired an Army -- which had formerly been known as the Haganah. This was more or less the equivalent of the pre-Irish independence IRA in terms of scope and activity. They were the mainstream paramilitary arm of the movement: the more radical/activist types splintered off to form Lehi and Irgun (also known to the British as the Stern Gang). Anyway, thing is, the formative influences of the Israeli Army were: fighting a resistance against British occupation, and (a minority pursuit) fighting for the British (in the Jewish Legion) against the Nazis, which is where a lot of their officers were trained. And with universal military service the army was a major component of nation-building, with disproportionate political clout. (An old Israeli joke: "why will there never be a military coup in Israel?" To which the answer is, "because the cabinet are all generals!")

Finally: the first wave of pre-Mandate Jewish settlements in Palestine came from German and other European nations, including Russia. (Anti-semitism in Europe goes back a long way: IIRC about a quarter of a million Jews were murdered in pogroms in Europe circa 1914-18.) British Jews were a small minority of this. So English wasn't widely spoken, and was a language associated with foreign imperialist occupation.

338:

The latest UK report indicates a R value of 3.7, a doubling time of 2.3 days, and that it will dominate by the end of December. But that won't appear in the published data until well into January.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/investigation-of-sars-cov-2-variants-technical-briefings

339:

I couldn't figure out from that document whether this R-value is assuming unvaccinated or vaccinated, or whether the vaccination status is immaterial to the transmission rate. I would hope that high rates of vaccination lowers the likelihood of transmission; it seems to for other variants.

340:

Going science fiction-adjacent for a moment, it's worth noting that the current martial art Krav Maga was in part developed by a combat instructor (Imre Lichtenfeld) in the Haganah and subsequently in the IDF.

I point this out in an SF context because setting-appropriate martial arts are good window dressing for many stories. What we consider martial arts are often the commercialized descendants of the hand-to-hand, and small-weapons combat skills developed by guerrillas, spies, paramilitaries, and gangsters. For example, I wouldn't be surprised if some former Al Qaeda members haven't opened self defense gyms in Pakistan already, the same way some former SEALs are teaching their stuff here in the US.

It's part of the post-conflict half-life of military arts and sciences, fortunately or unfortunately. While various forms of wrestling seem to be universal in humans (especially among children and young men), and indeed aren't limited to humans, combat arts seem to be more historical: they're the legacies of conflicts, where someone tries to figure out how to teach their skills either to protect others or to make money. The interesting thing is that it's rare for these systems to last all that long, probably because good fighters are comparatively rare, while duffers like me are the norm, and the bad tend to flood out the good, especially if there's little need to actually use the skills as they were intended.

Just something to think about. If you want to have grumpy middle-aged men teaching antifa skills in refugee camps somewhere, that's actually might be appropriate in a few decades.

341:

SFReader @ 300: Re: 'Mayfield Kentucky just got hit hard last night.'

Saw the headlines in GoogNews which included an article about the BigRiver depot there also taking a hit: considerable damage, unknown number of employees trapped (why?*) but not razed to the ground like some nearby homes/small biz.

Geez - wonder who's going to get Fed/State emergency funds/help, how much and how fast? Better yet - base that 'help' on amts paid in taxes.

Looks like it's going to be the states of Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky or at least the parts of those states that were affected by this storm system.

• The emergency weather systems send alerts/alarms for target area residents to take shelter - why didn't BigRiver employees?

How do you know they didn't? Maybe wait a bit until you have some facts before talking smack just because you don't like their employer.

342:

That document is specific to the UK so presumably assumes a high vaccination rate (the UK is way ahead of the USA currently).

Also warning nobody knows yet -- or will know for at least a month or two -- if omicron causes long covid, much less how likely you are to come down with long covid after omicron.

Which is worse: a strain with 1% mortality and about 5% long-term (multiple years) disability, or a strain with 0.1% mortality but 25% long-term disability? In purely personal terms it sucks to be dead ... but the "25% disability" option would be an economic catastrophe.

343:

Tornadoes

For those who have never lived where these are a "thing".

Tornado Alley in the US does have a very high incidence of tornadoes. And building codes reflect that. To the extent that schools now have bomb shelter like rooms in them for students to hide in when one is near. And there people do have cellar rooms and such where they hide out at times. Many towns in this part of the country have sirens for warning.

For the rest of us who live where tornadoes might show up...

99.999% (maybe a few more nines) will never ever see one or have their home or work location hit. Not quite as rare as a meteor strike but as something to worry about it is closer to that than any day to day concern.

More and more buildings have a safe room which is likely something like the bathrooms in a warehouse are made of cement block walls instead of drywall over framing. But no where near bomb shelter like in the "alley".

Warning systems over phones are great. But for tornadoes they are a total Pain in the Ass. Our weather forecasting state of the art is to where someone might get a half dozen alerts in 2 or 3 hours and no tornadoes ever appear. Which is 99% of the time. So most everyone just turns the alerts off as they are great at interrupting meetings, video calls, diner, etc... Seriously most everyone turns them off.

And when you actually get the warnings of a tornado nearby you have 5 or 10 minutes to do something. Which means get under something NOW and hope the building you are in doesn't come down around you.

Again, I've lived in tornado prone areas for 60 years or so of my life. I've spent 2 nights in basements of old masonry buildings. I've been in the middle of major outbreaks. (Check out the April 1975 one in the US.) I've had them touch down within 10 miles of me multiple times. I have NEVER EVER seen one or been in a building damaged by a tornado. The closest was about 5 years ago when the sky turn charcoal gray and rain was literally pouring down. One was one the ground 3 miles away.

You just can't plan your daily life around them.

Oh, yeah. I had boarded a plane at DFW when we were told the departure was on hold as a storm cell was passing over the airport. After 30 minutes we pushed back and took off. I found out after landing that a tornado had touched down about 5 to 10 miles east of the airport. And made a mess of an area. But while over us was just storm system strong enough to pause operations at the airport for a bit. And DFW is a bit over the top when it comes to caution for such storms. Check out the L1011 Delta crash there back in the 80s.

344:

Agreed. In grad school on the edge of Tornado Alley, I was once in my office around 10 pm (grad student!) during a storm when the tornado sirens went off all around me. Great! What to do? Looked out the window, and I couldn't see a damned thing. Which is normal, when you consider what a major rainstorm looks like at night. So I moved away from the windows and got back to work. The tornado passed a few miles away.

That's the problem: even when you know a tornado is out there, sometimes there's not a lot you can do, and running into the storm isn't often (or usually) the best answer anyway.

Now, if you're like someone I once knew online, who lived in Oklahoma and had his prized ethnographic knife collection displayed all over the walls of his house...getting into the basement during a tornado warning actually might be a reasonably intelligent move. I never knew if he told his neighbors about his decorations, or how they felt about them.

345:

I haven't heard anything about "Omicron" reaching North Carolina yet, but I expect it will get here sooner rather than later.

It's here. It was sequenced in the Charlotte area a day or two ago.

Got my 6th PCR test Friday. Negative. [yeah]

346:

had his prized ethnographic knife collection displayed all over the walls of his house...getting into the basement during a tornado warning actually might be a reasonably intelligent move. I never knew if he told his neighbors about his decorations, or how they felt about them.

I like it. But you know when the wind is throwing something at you at 100+mph I don't think it makes much difference as to how sharp or pointed it is. A scrape of wood framing might do more damage than a knife blade.

347:

Pigeon @ 302: The best I can usually manage is "well, I know it wasn't within the last five years..." followed by an attempt at tracing connections through my memory to try and come up with a date for the last occasion I can be reasonably sure I did have one. At some point they get fed up with listening to me wibbling on and decide to just give me one anyway. It seems to work; at least, I haven't got ill with tetanus yet.

Last time I had one they were also asking me about my diphtheria vaccination status, which baffled me entirely; I might have had it when I was too small to remember what the jab was about, but basically I just don't know. Reason being apparently that nowadays the tetanus vaccine comes combined with diphtheria in its standard form, and the plain tetanus-only version is some kind of special order thing that they don't get in unless someone actually can't have the diphtheria bit (or something along those lines). Must say it surprised me a bit as I didn't think diphtheria was anything like as likely to infect you as tetanus; nor is it something you catch in the same way, so "if you can get one you can probably get the other too" does not apply.

My guess is diphtheria is still a problem out in the wider world even if it's been mostly wiped out in the U.K., E.U. and U.S.. I think in the U.S. you can still get the tetanus alone shot if it's indicated (i.e. deep wound and you don't know when you last got a tetanus booster). Otherwise if you're getting the booster because it's been 10 years or so & it might include the diphtheria booster as well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DPT_vaccine

I'm pretty sure I got the DPT booster at least once as an adult. And as it turns out, because I signed a form to have my Army medical records turned over to the VA when I started to draw retired pay, the VA actually knows when I last got a tetanus booster.

I'm a little surprised your NIH didn't have a similar record.

348:

David L @ 304: I read the storm front itself was moving at 60mph. Which for a weather SYSTEM is just plain hauling ass.

And even if you live right in the middle of tornado alley, you're not really expecting - or making preparations for - a storm system like that one in DECEMBER.

One last point. Tornadoes are incredibly local. I've been near a few, but never "in" one. One came through here 30 years ago and left a 20 miles long trail. That one obliterated trees 100' from a house we almost bought a month earlier. But no issues with the house. One big box store leveled (exploded really) with merchandise all over many acres yet the office I went to work in the next morning was fine. You see a house foundation with nothing on it and the ones next door are fine or even a house with a missing WALL and the rest of the house intact. Even the furniture in the exposed rooms still in place.

I had been up to visit my Mom who at the time lived up near the NC - Virginia state line. On the way home I crossed the path of the tornado about 10 minutes ahead of it and I didn't even see storm clouds. The big box store that got leveled was one of the locations I serviced for the burglar alarm company. I drove past it at midnight & I believe the first alarm came in about 10 minutes later. I found out about the tornado the next morning when I was dispatched to the location to shut down the alarms.

350:

Greg Tingey @ 318: Bill Arnold @ 312
DO NOT DO THAT
I was expecting some sort of explanation regarding sotmn's irrationalities - I actually got EarShit. ...Sorry, I know that US "Stand -Your-Ground" so-called "Laws" are fucking stupid, but you are making no sense to a UK resident - explain or shut up about such things - PLEASE?

Mike Collins @ 315
DOUBLEPUSGOOD Thank you - that's the best take-down of the seagull's raving lunacies, incoherence & plain dangerous insinuations I've yet seen.
HINT: My neighbour ( & a friend ) is severely immunocompromised - transplant. SELFISH & STUPID SHITS like sotmn are not wanted, thank you!
And, may I repeat in bold?
If you were worried about people missing the point you would take care to write in comprehensible text.
THIS, exactly - for how many times, now?

The thing you should try to keep in mind is that fully HALF of the people in the U.S. have below average intelligence.

This also holds true for the U.K., the E.U. and the rest of the world.

351:

Charlie Stross @ 333:

Whether the fear was reasonable I don't know, but I do think taking precautions against it was reasonable.

Smallpox was a horrible, horrible disease and I'm glad it's gone.

I'm unusual for my age cohort -- aged 57 -- in not having been vaccinated: I still remember having had an exemption certificate in my passport when traveling in the 1970s.

(I had severe atopic eczema as a kid, so they patch-tested me when they came to vaccinate everyone in my year at school. I had a bad enough reaction they gave me a pass, Epipens not having been invented yet.)

Yeah, I was speaking specifically to whether the fear that Saddam had made a biological weapon out of smallpox was reasonable. Turns out he hadn't, but WE (especially those of us down in the mushroom farm) didn't know that at the time.

I'm not sure when the WHO and/or CDC declared smallpox eradicated, but at some point THEY decided to discontinue vaccinating children against it (at least here in the U.S.). As a result, when the possibility Saddam might have developed a smallpox bio-weapon came up, significant numbers of our brigade (younger soldiers) had never had the smallpox vaccine.

As a precaution THEY decided to vaccinate EVERYBODY and that's what I considered a "reasonable" precaution, even though it turned out to be unnecessary.

And knowing what I know now, I still think it was a reasonable precaution even though it inconvenienced me personally.

352:

Re: 'Maybe wait a bit until you have some facts before talking smack just because you don't like their employer.'

I am waiting for facts - but their history suggests certain possibilities that would not leap to mind for other orgs.

BigRiver is not a particularly old outfit, so their custom designed/built warehouses can't be that old either. Plus some of their major warehouses/depots cost $1billion to put up. What happened just doesn't make sense. At some point a journalist will check whatever's on file with the local city hall re: building permit, blueprints, inspections, etc. (I'm assuming that that area/city required such.)

353:

As OGH implies, the R value is specific to a particular disease in a particular society in a particular state (e.g. vaccination and lockdown both reduce it). For two strains in exactly the same conditions, the R values are proportionate to their inherent infectivity, but that's all you can say.

354:

Charlie Stross @ 337: England was the Imperial power with the League of Nations Mandate in Palestine, 1918-48.

To the Jewish settlers they were an oppressive foreign occupation who hunted, arrested, and executed resistance fighters: and who also refused entry to Jewish refugees from the Third Reich, resulting in uncounted thousands of deaths.

Kind of ironic, because if memory serves, it was the British who first came up with the idea for Jews to have their own state located in Palestine ... dating back to the 1840s .

355:

JBS & Charlie
I knew that the Attlee guvmint had attempted to ban Jews from "returning" to Israel in 1945-8, but have never, ever found out why they did what seems to me to be a profoundly stupid move. I mean .. w.t.f?

356:

Yeah, about those nay-sayers and how's it's all noise:

OBVIOUSLY: since x2 shots are now totally fucking useless, get a booster and hope that the 70-7% coverage is enough and the R rate is kept under 1.4. You're all very smart people, you know the drill. We assumed this was a base-line knowledge base.

BJ just went "live" (pre-recorded) with... this exact message. Like, literally: the UK is attempting to make sure all 18+ can access booster shots by the end of the year (doubtful, but the intent is clear).

PM of IL has put out an immediate call for child vaccination, has issued travel warnings (72 hrs, UK, Belgium, Holland) and other things:

Prime minister Bennett in Israel

'i ask all parents now: protect the children of Israel - no need to make an appointment - GO STRAIGHT TO THE VACCINATION CENTER https://twitter.com/itosettiMD_MBA/status/1470041103726530561 Irene Tosetti, today, official embedded tweet in Hebrew (Modern).

And this, today: Israeli study finds 2 Pfizer shots fail to neutralize Omicron, but booster effective https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-study-finds-2-pfizer-shots-fail-to-neutralize-omicron-but-booster-effective/ Times of Israel, 12th Dec 2021

Look: we're being polite. It is considered highly naughty to fucking tell you what your Leaders are about to announce prior to them doing it and so on. If you do it too much, Vox Populi might start considering them "not Leaders".

~

READS like ant-vaxx propaganda to me, where it isn't the usual ravings.

That's how vaccination works: you get a dose you know the body can handle, so that when it meets the proper versions it has a defence. Put it this way: you are not accustomed to the various proper Disinfo stuff going live (as we speak) but we can see it all before it does go live and make jokes (and even meta-meta jokes) about it.

Look: we can produce you a proper .mil spec doc on what's running now, but:

a) You won't believe it b) Even when it does go live, it'll have been adapted to the weak spots we've pointed out, which is why demanding it in vanilla speak is akin to asking for imbedded 0 days in software c) We're not exactly talking only about current Covid / Omicron stuff, if you know what we mean d) It's fucking boring and even running a "Consider Phlebas" meta-historical joke that isn't (we're pretty sure) anti+semitic and more importantly is actually a key to a more 'progressive' Future in the notoriously hard to reach hermeneutics of Othodox thought merely to suggest that some Anarchists stating "The Diaspora is good, actually" has merit is annoying

while

e) We'd rather much more be talking about other stuff. f) The drinking is because Memory [redacted].

Example: Pfuzzzzer (why don't we spell it? because spiders are searching for it) stock price and so on is a raging fucking hit at the moment. Knocking it out of the park, and whoever got the C-level on UK TV either a) knows this reaction and was planning for it (hello Tufton St) or b) is a raging muppet or c) is so totally beholden to out of date and useless ancient PR machinery thought it was a good idea (hello Prince Andrew's crew).

And, sad to say: you managed to not have even the lightest doses of protections here. Which isn't your fault, you're just pre-modern variant Minds.

And yet we do try, so you don't get scrambled Eggs.

~

Re #334: well, yes, obviously, but rather it come from a person with knowledge than something like us. We're taking (gentle) aim more at the rather longer tradition of arguing over which horn of a ram is best to grasp first and so on. The larger point (for the non-secular) was that, you know, at least some of us attempt translation (conceptual). Not that they'd read it, given certain criteria, which is the meta-joke.

357:

President Eisenhower was reported to have been shocked when he discovered that half of all Americans had below average IQs.

358:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/12/us/politics/newsom-texas-abortion-law-guns.html

Angered by the U.S. Supreme Court decision to continue allowing private citizens to sue Texas abortion providers, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California on Saturday called for a similar law giving ordinary residents legal standing to file lawsuits against purveyors of restricted firearms.

As predicted California might use the SCOTUS gutting of federal protection to restrict gun wrongs. I predict SCOTUS will have no hesitation finding that gun laws are different from women's rights.

359:

Oh, and for the record:

Omecron largely ignores the x2 initial shots due to (as we stated back when) RNA branch dynamics.

It spreads through those are vaccinated, it travelled via those who were vaccinated, and it can infect those who are vaccinated x2 only.

Stop the shit about blaming the "leper class" of un-vaxxed or we'll make it personal.

360:

In theory, Texas & a lot of other states have safe haven laws which means a woman can turn over a newborn baby to the state, no questions asked. Justice Barrett has referred to such laws in her arguments against legal abortion. In practice I'm not sure what the plan is if there's a dramatic increase in the number of "safe haven" babies. That's going to require a lot more tax money.

361:

Sigh: forgot, have to explain: Our reasons for that are multi-tudinous: but we'd suggest asking a simple question: The UK has had almost none of the protests / riots seen in the EU / IL (check out last night, PM abode, anti-vaxxers[1]) etc etc and yet is almost the only one who has introduced Law to make it illegal.

Why?

The answer is 2011 ish riots.

The meta-answer is something a lot more darker.

p.s.

A modern State that makes Protest illegal with immediate jail time and makes Citizenship a secret conditional determined by the State without recourse to appeal and makes Journalism and Free Speach conditional on political or economic or ethnic or racial background is....

Fascism.

Fucking warned you.

[1] And yes: if you don't think we're going to use IL anti-vaxx protests as a means to make sure actual anti+semitism that the fucking clown show B/C/D list celebs have fucked up so badly then sorry, not sorry. You're humans: we'll slap you silly with the simularities until it makes sense.

362:

They were attempting to prevent this:

النكبة

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakba

Since, you know: they had very good empirical data from India (pre-Ghandi) on how to prevent violent uprisings and so on, as well as Ireland.

Since, you know: for all of us who aren't fucking muppets and can read, and who refuse to be threatened by jumped up little grobbits whose main education is blinkered propoganda tripe, the Founders of Israel were pretty fucking explicit on what they were aiming to do. Like: explicitly so. So explicitly so that the whole German thing was pretty entwined with it until the end of WWI and a certain artist getting the amazing idea that Concepts like this were Universal.

Like, really: Germany didn't just spawn Nazism in that period.

The more interesting question is that quite a few Jewish people also knew this and were pushing for it not to happen. Usually involving walls and guns waaaay before it got Industrialised.

"Festival of Light"

Be careful what you wish for.

363:

RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRight on!

364:

GREAAAAAAT ANSWER!

3-Alarm Fire Breaks Out in Rice Dryer at Kellogg’s Plant

Fire crews were called to a Kellogg’s plant in Memphis, TN after a fire ignited inside the facility Sunday afternoon, several local news organizations reported.

https://www.powderbulksolids.com/food-beverage/3-alarm-fire-breaks-out-rice-dryer-kelloggs-plant

Unlike you, we know WHY.

GOOOOOO, TIGERS!

365:

Actually it does.

And any warehouse built in the last 10 years will be permitted. And likely have a "safe space" inside it. Which is fine for a high wind thunderstorm but dicey for a tornado that hits the building. For that you just hope.

The bigger possible loss of life is the candle factory in Mayfield. So far they have brought out 40 people. But 110 are thought to have been inside it when it was taken out.

Have a read: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/dec/12/kentucky-tornado-survivor-candle-factory

Notice the picture.

Being in a building when a strong tornado hits is like a 500 pound bomb being dropped on the building.

366:

Don't let them talk smack to you.

Said Candle Factory is a hot-bed of corrupt offiicals using ex-con (parole) labour and refusing all kinds of safety stuff including preventing them from leaving work. It's malfeasance list is a mile long and the local PD are involved. Family who owns it: major power player in the region.

Reddit, for once, doing some due diligence.

~

Like: does anyone on here actually bat for the Light Side or did we miss a fucking note or something.

367:

Did the math. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1A3apMX4HVC1z6LWbUMWE-46VX9ROCPlp/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=117896955502397650801&rtpof=true&sd=true shows Omicron would spread to everyone in the US in 100 days at the aforementioned R value and doubling rate.

368:

R rate is determined by reality, aka: local populations.

Given the vastly disparate population experience of the USA (vax %, vax type, dosage types, limitiation enactments (means: masks, distancing etc) your document is...

Wank.

Bad dangerous Wank.

So... GRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAT?

369:

As of today the candle company is differing from the State officials and claiming of the 110 employees 8 are dead and 8 are missing, stating in the local media that they have been able to contact all the other employees by phone.

It won't be the first time (if true) where the first reports to the media end up being far worse than the reality days/weeks later once things calm down and the processes can track everything down.

371:

That number is unclear. Of the 110 workers who were believed to be at the factory when the tornado hit, there have been only 40 rescues of workers by first responders, according to Beshear. The last rescue was at 3:30 a.m. Saturday, he said.

"We're gonna lose a lot of lives at that facility," Beshear said. "And I pray that there will be another rescue, and pray they'll be another one or two. But it's a very dire situation at this point."

However, on Sunday a spokesman for the candle factory said of the 110 people in the factory when the tornado struck, eight are confirmed dead and eight remain unaccounted for.

The rest have been reached and are alive, said Bob Ferguson with Hawks Bill Group LLC. "We've had a very productive day" getting in touch with employees, adding most of the survivors are in shelters where they could charge their devices so they could answer calls from the company, he said.

Weird. 110-40 = 70.

110-16 = 92

Where did boss man do his math?

372:

OOOOH, better question:

Why does a DC lobbyist run a fucking candle factory?

Bob Ferguson is the Chief Executive Officer and a founder of the Hawksbill Group, a global diversified business and communications consulting firm based in Washington, DC, and Hawksbill Advisors, a Hawksbill Group company focused on public policy that provides strategic counsel in public policy and external and regulatory affairs to clients worldwide.

https://hawksbillgroup.com/bob-ferguson/

S L A V E R Y

373:

(Answer: he doesn't. But that's some HIGH GRADE FIREPOWER to bring to a fucking candle factory, if you know what we're actually saying. Big $$$ rate).

Seriously? This is all performance art, right? You all actually know the players doing this and are taking the piss, right?

374:

Such spam.

And: pray very very hard you don't get our version of this, which is a little bit more hard-core. And death is not an option.

25-30 Broken Covenants and so on later.

Here's the spoiler: 5,000 years of History, no-one made that connection before. Entire lives dedicated to that sole edifice.

Took us 10 minutes while drunk: that's how shit your are.

375:

Pro-tip 77th / 8031 or whatever.

Don't do the "slight nudge spelling mistake" on something that makes you look like fucking muppets. Aaaaand.... totally out of your remit at that.

Hey: it's gotta be liberating to learn something new about your dead fucking society after 3,000 years, right?

Here's a joke: "What happens when you can't push your target into extreme crisis and violence to enable the next part of your plan"

"Ho ho ho"

"You just get the next Arab online to do it"

~

That's your fucking internal coms.

376:

It spreads through those are vaccinated, it travelled via those who were vaccinated, and it can infect those who are vaccinated x2 only.

Stop the shit about blaming the "leper class" of un-vaxxed or we'll make it personal.

What the flipping fuck are you talking about. Please give me an interpretation of what the fuck you said that isn't "the unvaccinated cannot spread Omicron variant Covid, only the vaccinated can." Functionally equivalent to "the vaccine makes you spread 5G spike proteins".

I don't know what purpose you have in conflating the small business tyrants bombarding spittle at schoolchildren and the people in the global south who don't have access to vaccines. Why are you trying to have me have sympathy for the fascists that spout reactionary bollocks in practically the same sentence as antivax propaganda by putting exploited workers in front of them?

377:

Some of us are laughing hysterically, since the governor of California has announced he's asked his staff to draft a bill for individuals to sue for $10k manufacturers of firearms, ghost guns, etc.

The SCOTUS is going to be looking at that in horror.

378:

By Ghu, a post I can pretty much read straight, and appreciate.

Oh, btw, about the spiders... back in the later usenet days, a good number of folks had a sigfile about three or four lines long, with every primary word that Raptor, or whatever is was called, that was run by the NSA to look for Suspicious Posts, so that they'd be overwhelmed by too much to process. Right now, your obfuscations is so trivial, compared to the Trumpists, and Q, and the rest their systems will mark it to have attention paid to it somewhere around 2041, if anyone ever gets to it.

379:

Btw, you're driving me (USan) nuts - IL is also the std/postal abbreviation of Illinois.

I know, I know, next you're going to tell me that CRT is not the acronym of cathode Ray Tube.

And it's nice to have you to read, now that I've just stopped even skimming JBS.

380:

The odds on the IWW being involved is minimal. Maybe it was scabs who didn't know what they were doing, he says, innocently.

381:

I have doubts about how big a deal he is.

From a quick search: "Hawkesbill Group...has 3 total employees across all of its locations and generates $253,142 in sales"

Another grifter.

382:

Please give me an interpretation of what the fuck you said that isn't "the unvaccinated cannot spread Omicron variant Covid, only the vaccinated can."
The context is the unvaxxed, and the Omicron variant. The evidence is shaping up that there is not much functional difference between the vaccinated (with current vaccines) and the unvaccinated with regard to Omicron spread, excepting perhaps those who are recently boosted (and maybe also those who have had the second dose recently; I haven't seen evidence for this but am presuming it might be true.). (Delta, against which vaccines work OK (for low levels of exposure at least - mask up), continues to be rampant, though; a parallel pandemic, essentially.)
Yes, there is disinformation being deliberately spread as you describe, asserting that only the vaccinated are spreading Omicron. SotMNs is not saying that, at least not in my reading. Wear a tight-fitting N95 mask, and push your local jurisdiction to declare an indoor public spaces masking requirement.[1]
It's also a point in time; in the next several months boosters or maybe 2-shot series covering Omcron and probably Delta too will start to become available.

[1] I live in NY State: New York governor orders temporary indoor mask mandate (December 11, 2021. Goes live tomorrow.)

383:

Someone want to do a wellness check on Greg? Twelve Seagull posts in four hours (and nine minutes, if you want to split feathers) can't be good for the poor chap's blood pressure…

384:

President Eisenhower was reported to have been shocked when he discovered that half of all Americans had below average IQs.

When I started teaching my principal was really upset that 50% of our students in one particular category had failed the provincial literacy test. There were two students in that category, and one had arrived in Canada the previous week and spoke almost no English. She knew why that student failed, but still insisted that 50% was too high a failure rate…

She later got promoted to special assistant to the director of education.

Neither event filled me with confidence in the ability of management…

385:

The SCOTUS is going to be looking at that in horror.
California Governor Gavin Newsom is quite directly attacking the "conservative(aka radical)" wing of the US Supreme Court with this. Other states should do similar, but different enough that a single SCOTUS decision couldn't void them all without voiding the Texas abortion ban law. One I'm thinking of is wealth taxes (forbidden by the US constitution), collected by legal privateers, with the states taxing all collected revenue but a very generous fixed fee. (or maybe a percentage fee, to encourage targeting the richest of the rich.)

Gavin Newsom To Use 'Logic' Behind Texas Abortion Ban To Ban Assault Weapons (Robyn Pennacchia, December 12, 2021)
This will give the conservative wing of the court three options. They can retract the Texas decision, thereby making it so California can't pass their version, they can try to only ban California's law, thereby making a mockery of themselves and the Constitution (and making it a hell of a lot easier to justify packing the court), or they can let California's law stand.

386:

Neither event filled me with confidence in the ability of management…

But how good was she at filling out forms and writing memos and such?

387:

Opportunity knocks: I get to test the new markup system and also share a cartoon about plague idiots. It works in preview.

388:

356, 359, 361, 362, 364, 366, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375,

Skulgun
I have deliberately NOT read any of the multiple diarrhoea-splatterings listed above - as pigeon ( IIRC ) said, it's a lure, a trap, a snare. And she's "just" sectionable ....

Robert Prior
😁
Oddly enough, I've just had a set of blood pressure checks & it's perfectly OK. Approx: 123/84 over 14 readings ...

And, since you pointed it out & as I've noted above ( 11 vacuum-filled rants )
Didn't we have a rule, somewhere, about how many of these were actually allowed at a go? - Something like THREE ??

389:

Meanwhile, if we are talking about evil & corrupt practices, just as a reminder This pops up in the press, reminding us of dark corners
As a further addition, let us not forget that, though some/all of the plod involved in the non-prosecution of the murderers of Steven Lawrence were racists ... bloody all of them were corrupt & on the take, mainly from the people who actually did the murder. But MetPlod decided they would rather be labelled "Institutionally Racist" rather than "Totally Bent" ( As well as being partly-racist. )

390:

Robert Prior @ 384: She knew why that student failed, but still insisted that 50% was too high a failure rate…

On the other hand, maybe she had to fill in a monthly report with a box for the number but no box for the explanation about this one student, and she knew, or feared, that this was going to reflect badly on her and the institution she was managing. When a measure becomes a target....

Obviously the above is speculation, but in my experience with senior management its not that the individuals are stupid, its that the system contains a bunch of perverse incentives, and trying to fix them simply creates a new crop. Expecting an individual caught in the middle of this to solve the wider problem is just victim-blaming (albeit a rather better paid class of victim than usual).

Bear in mind that while you saw your Principle as being the top of the local hierarchy, she probably saw herself as being lower-middle, with a lot of people back at Central Office being senior to her, and a big chunk of her job was to insulate you from all of the stuff above as best she could.

Sorry if this sounds like a lecture, but the pathologies of large organisations is one of my interests, and I really hate it when people blame an organisational pathology on someone who is just the messenger; not only is it unfair, it masks the real problem.

391:

It isn't hard to do a much more realistic analysis - the exponential growth obviously slows as the proportion of people who have had it becomes significant. However, given that it is almost certainly throughout the USA already, it is likely to be dominant before that.

392:

whitroth @ 377:

Some of us are laughing hysterically, since the governor of California has announced he's asked his staff to draft a bill for individuals to sue for $10k manufacturers of firearms, ghost guns, etc.

I've been waiting for that shoe to drop ever since I read about SB.8 (the Texas abortion law in question).

The SCOTUS is going to be looking at that in horror.

They've been warned. The Firearms Policy Coalition submitted an amicus brief predicting exactly this in an Amicus brief. Not that it would take a legal genius to make such a prediction; I'm sure that every member of SCOTUS banged their heads on their desks when they first looked at SB.8, because its so obviously a hack of the Constitution as a whole rather than just about abortion in particular. Any state legislature can now pwn any part of the constitution or federal law it doesn't like using the same mechanism.

The "conservative" wing of SCOTUS isn't just anti-abortion; its biggest ideological position is "originalism" or "textualism" (there are subtle differences). Their main reason for disliking Roe v Wade is not because it allowed abortion, but because it was judges who invented the law. (I'll note in passing that the 9th Amendment is an open invitation to judges to do exactly this).

But now this puts them in a bind. SB.8 has clearly cracked the constitution wide open, but there is no existing constitutional mechanism for blocking it. So either they invent one out of whole cloth (oh the humanity!) or they let it happen.

Right now I think they are trying to find some existing mechanism which will block SB.8. But its clearly going ot be a kluge at best.

393:

The British treatment of Jewish refugees 1933-45 was obscene, but after that is another matter.

Balfour was an ignorant idiot, and the mandate was damn-near impossible to manage, but Britain honestly did try. Remember that it was supposed to allow a Jewish home without harming the existing Palestinian residents. That was objectionable to both the Jewish and Palestinian terrorists, which is why Northern Ireland is the closest comparison.

394:

And knowing what I know now, I still think it was a reasonable precaution even though it inconvenienced me personally.

Smallpox vaccinations for the military was and is a good idea. It's known that the Soviets weaponized it, and the smallpox genome has been exhaustively sequenced and is relatively -- some years ago New Scientist staff ordered synthetic RNA that could (with a few additional steps) be used to reconstitute a live smallpox strain, so it's probably one of the easier biological weapons to create and work with.

Not that any biological weapons are sane or sensible ...

395:

So does this make the UK's present R number likely to be an overestimate?

396:

Random "life recapitulates Charlie's fiction" digression

Remember how COVID19 killed the third book in the Halting State trilogy?

(Plot: a flu-like pandemic leads to a long-term post-viral syndrome typified by Cotard's Delusion (and whacky Shkreli-esque treatment grifters converge). Cotard's Delusion is the psychotic state in which the patient thinks they're dead and either in hell or trapped in a rotting lifeless carcass: in effect, it gave rise to a real life zombie pandemic -- of people convinced they're the walking dead.)

Well, guess what just popped up on my radar via Pubmed?

Post-COVID-19 psychosis: Cotard's syndrome and potentially high risk of harm and self-harm in a first-onset acute and transient psychotic disorder after resolution of COVID-19 pneumonia

No, really, I do not want to live in one of my own novels, please go away now.

397:

if memory serves, it was the British who first came up with the idea for Jews to have their own state located in Palestine

That was evangelical Christians wanting to use Jews as a useful local proxy to keep the Ottomans out. Didn't play well with the Jews in question, most of whom ignored it -- prior to Theodore Herzl's ideological construction of nationalist Zionism in the late 1890s, the only Jews talking about going to live in the holy land were a handful of religious scholars who mostly never got around to it (it was essentially a religious debate centred on messianism, which means something utterly different in Judaism from the Christian meaning of "messiah" you are probably more familiar with).

I think it's often easily overlooked, but Zionism emerged at the same time, and in the same place as a bunch of other European ethnonationalisms, namely sprouting from the rotting body of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (components of which today are: Austria, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, plus bits of Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Germany ...).

398:

Paul
Yes, the shoe has dropped, but, but ... Will SCOTUS as presently riggedconstituted actually, you know, follow the law, or will they fall into the "Dred Scott" trap & rule according to bigotry & religion?
Or will they try to "kludge" it, as you also suggest. Whatever they do - unless it's uphold Roe v Wade - I think they are in the shit - as seen from here, but you are closer to this & more knowledgeable.
Um.

Charlie @ 396
The remedy is obvious. Start writing modern, "Stross" takes on Simak.

Um. "Markdown" not working for "strikethrough" - had to revert to HTML

399:

...a flu-like pandemic leads to a long-term post-viral syndrome typified by Cotard's Delusion...

No thank you; the excerpt was fun to read but I don't want to live in that story either. * tired sigh *

Is anyone doing really fun utopian fiction? How about Culture fanfic? I could stand emigrating to the Culture. Let's copy something like that.

400:

I predict SCOTUS will have no hesitation finding that gun laws are different from women's rights.

I agree.

But I note that if they do so, it'd provide ammo for a -- hypothetical at this point -- Democratic backlash to appoint another six bodies to the Supreme Court.

(I do not believe Biden is the POTUS to lead such a fight-back: he's old, he came of age back when bipartisan politics was still a real thing, back before the Gingrich insurgency wrecked the previous consensus on playing by a common rule book. I have no idea whether Harris has the ideological inclination to fight back: I doubt she'll get the opportunity.)

401:

I'm not sure what the plan is if there's a dramatic increase in the number of "safe haven" babies. That's going to require a lot more tax money.

There's an obvious modest solution: these babies are footloose parasites! So obviously the Texas legislature needs to make it a felony to extort benefits from the state merely by virtue of being a helpless baby. Life sentence, of course! Then we can send them to baby jail and raise them as slaves unless they're lucky enough to be purchased for adoption by members of approved Quiverful churches who need live-in domestics.

(I wish I thought this was implausible. As it is, pencil it in for the 2024 Texan legislative program.)

402:

A modern State that .... Fascism.

Yes, and they'll install Priti Patel in 10 Downing Street specifically as a pre-emptive counter to accusations of racism. (Because, as Josef Goebbels reportedly/anecdotally told Fritz Lang, "you see, Fritz, we decide who's Jewish or Aryan".)

NB: this is what the New Management books are all about.

403:

Greg, see her comment 361.

Here's a hint: people who live in fascist surveillance states (or who believe they do) cannot speak openly because to do so is to invite retribution. So they tend to use allegory, metaphor, indirect speech, and stuff that snitches working for the state -- who tend to be authoritarian followers, who in turn tend to be literal-minded -- will have difficulty understanding.

And I hate to break it to you, but you have more than a little of that particular mind-set. (Not saying you're a fascist: but fascists notoriously dislike ambiguity and word-play ...)

404:

I'm sure that every member of SCOTUS banged their heads on their desks when they first looked at SB.8, because its so obviously a hack of the Constitution as a whole rather than just about abortion in particular. Any state legislature can now pwn any part of the constitution or federal law it doesn't like using the same mechanism.

You missed the point. Anti-abortion is a component of a reactionary crackdown on women's rights (and also LGBT rights and anything that the evangelical religious right dislike), but the real goal of the religious right is opposition to desegregation (and, ultimately, to the emancipation of any non-white anglo-saxon protestants).

For about 40 years successive Republican presidents and senates have been pushing the SC further towards originalism because the original constitution was compatible by design with slavery. Gutting one amendment opens the door to gutting others, including the First Amendment, which is not just freedom of speech but also disestablishment of religion. They can legislate piecemeal to let approved white patriarchs keep their guns (along with their well-disciplined women and children), but ditching all the amendments is a treasure beyond price if you want to turn the USA into a Christian Dominionist theocracy.

405:

My long-stalled space opera Ghost Engine is an attempt to emulate the "mouth feel" of the Culture universe without being anything remotely close to a copy or fanfic.

I got about 16 months into writing it, far enough to discover how insanely hard a target it was, when my father went into his terminal illness in early 2017 and after that Stuff Got In The Way: I hope to pick it up again and get back to work in 2022.

406:

And, since you pointed it out & as I've noted above ( 11 vacuum-filled rants ) Didn't we have a rule, somewhere, about how many of these were actually allowed at a go? - Something like THREE ??

I counted 12. Most have been deleted now, so I suspect there is either a posting limit being applied or their content was even more provocative than usual.

This behaviour does make referring to comments by comment number an exercise in guessing, though. I'm replying to your comment which I see as #396, but you are writing about Charlie's comment #396 so it appears you have a time machine, and we have to guess which comment you are referring to. This is one reason I reply to one comment at a time, even if it means several short comments.

407:

I'm replying to your comment which I see as #396

Comment #379, and I clearly need more tea before continuing. :-(

408:

Twelve Seagull posts in four hours

Which is nine more than are allowed (and twelve more than are necessary). Mods: act as you deem needful. Or not. Not my blog, after all.

409:

No. It means that almost everybody is misunderstanding or misusing it.

410:

Greg Tingey @ 389: as seen from here, but you are closer to this & more knowledgeable.

I'm actually in the UK. I follow this part of American politics, partly because the collapse of the US would be an event of world historical importance even greater than the collapse of the USSR, and partly because its fascinating in the same kind of way as a slow motion train crash.

Charlie @ 395: You missed the point. Anti-abortion is a component of a reactionary crackdown on [lots of things]. ... if you want to turn the USA into a Christian Dominionist theocracy.

I can certainly see that Republican culture-warriors think that way, including the Dominionists, but I don't read SCOTUS (with the exception of Amy Barrett) as thinking like that. Maybe that's wishful thinking on my part, but it looks to me like they actually believe in textualism/originalism, and just can't see the extent to which they are imposing their own religious and political beliefs on their supposedly disinterested legalistic thinking. These are people who have devoted their lives to the concept of the rule of law. I just can't think that tearing up the Constitution is on their agenda.

But I agree, when the proposed California law lands in front of them they are going to have to either fish or cut bait. That's when we'll see what they really believe.

@394: fascists notoriously dislike ambiguity and word-play

I think they see it as a weapon to be wielded by themselves when out of power and banned when they are in power.

411:

Charlie @ 394
I DID NOT NEED the shitgull to tell me that (via Patel ) we are headed rapidly into fascism.
Though, because of the way tory party leader-selection is set up, so it won't be her, but some other stalking-horse, whom I cannot predict. - { SEE BELOW } I find both the current bills on "policing" & "elections" extremely disturbing - my late father's predictions & anger in the 1950's are coming home to roost, because that generation is dead, & not enough of us listened to their warnings. As for ambiguity & word-play, we all do it, yet even you groaned at her, earlier on, so .. Pot:Kettle ( Which itself is wordplay, yes? )
@395 ... Except who will be first back into bondage in the US? Women or "minorities" - I would guess the latter, THEN removal of the vote from women.
But, your last para is on the money - what's our equivalent - won't be "chrisitan" though - I suspect the internal contradictions might wreck it.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
For those uncertain here's how it works - copied from "The Institiute for Government"
... The election takes place in two stages. In the first stage (shortlisting), Conservative MPs put their own names forward. MPs then vote in a series of rounds to whittle down the candidates. In the first two rounds, the candidates who don’t meet a certain threshold of votes are eliminated. For all subsequent ballots, the candidate who comes last is eliminated, until there are only two candidates remaining.

In stage two, the party membership is balloted on which of the two final candidates they prefer.

The timescale for each contest is set out by the 1922 Committee.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
That first stage will eliminate Patel - enough tories know that she is poison to the electorate, so who is a likely pair to be selected from the present bunch of tossers?

412:

On the other hand, maybe she had to fill in a monthly report with a box for the number but no box for the explanation about this one student, and she knew, or feared, that this was going to reflect badly on her and the institution she was managing.

Undoubtedly. Principals are judged by how much they improve OSSLT results from previous years, so one whose school has a pass rate of 99% (up from 98%) is asked "why only 1% improvement" while one whose school went from 5% to 15% is commended.

Sorry if this sounds like a lecture, but the pathologies of large organisations is one of my interests, and I really hate it when people blame an organisational pathology on someone who is just the messenger; not only is it unfair, it masks the real problem.

I've had principals who were actually good at their job, as opposed to getting promoted. Ranting at your staff about a result no one on staff can change isn't being a messenger — a good manager would explain to the staff why the board would be unhappy with these results, and pound heads at the board not to judge an entire school by the test results of one recent immigrant who had only attended for a couple of days before the test. It the board was getting it's knickers in a knot about that one number, she should have explained it to them. My good principal would have (and frequently did). But she didn't earn the nickname (among staff) of "Teflon Karen" for nothing.

My point wasn't that she was a bad manager (although she was), but that she seemed unable to understand that one student failing in a category of two students meant that the category had a failure rate of 50% — there was no way to have anything other than 0%, 50%, or 100%. She accepted that the kid had no chance of passing*, but still thought the failure rate of 50% was too high and wanted it lowered — something like 10% would be acceptable. Total inability to understand what the numbers actually meant.

*Now they'd have been given a deferral, but that wasn't an option then.

413:

No, really, I do not want to live in one of my own novels, please go away now.

Given your record, maybe you should stick to fiction set in a happy, cheerful world from now on?

You will either get your wish of not living in one of your novels, or we all get a happy, cheerful world :-)

414:

That first stage will eliminate Patel - enough tories know that she is poison to the electorate, so who is a likely pair to be selected from the present bunch of tossers?

The electorate don't matter -- as witness the bill to mandate voter ID which is transparently copied from the Republican playbook aimed at suppressing poor/minority/young voters (who don't vote for the authoritarian right). Also note the attempt under Cameron at reducing the number of Westminster seats, which plays to the Tories (a disproportionate number of Labour/LibDem/Scottish seats were to be merged with safe Tory seats or outright abolished).

What they really want is a leader who appeals to the Conservative Party membership, then a couple of years of press barrages to soften up the electorate. I reckon Desi Himmler could plausibly go the distance because the membership can tell themselves "but I can't be a racist, I voted for her" and she appeals to all their worst instincts. Also, like Cameron, she came out of the Public Relations Department (in her case, tobacco marketing -- blech).

Unlike Cameron, she has impeccable credentials on the euroskeptic/brexit wing of the party, and today's Tories are the product of a determined entryist campaign by UKIPers: being a toxic xenophobe is more important to the parliamentary back benches than just about anything else.

Also? Don't underestimate the competence of any BAME woman who started out with a comprehensive school background and climbed to the top of the racist, sexist Tory party. Frankly, I find the prospect of a government led by Desi Himmler terrifying, and so should you.

415:

Would it help if I said I'm currently pastiching Regency romance?

Think Bridgerton, only in Laundry style:

The Doctor picked up a large pair of calipers. "I shall take some measurements," He announced, then began muttering under his breath. "It's all in the skull you know, according to Herr Gall, the leading professor of cranioscopy. We practice only the most modern of the sciences here, my lady! I specialize in Galvanism and the hysterical paroxysm, while my colleague Doctor Baker is an expert in the homeopathic arts, leeching, and cupping. We will get to the bottom of what ails you, to be sure!"

It's set in 1816. And lest you imagine historical adventures in the dream roads are fun, toilet paper wouldn't be patented for another 40 years, and it would be another decade before the first brand arrived with the selling point, it's splinter-free.

416:

My personal view of SoTMNs' postings:

Sokath, his eyes closed

417:

400 - OK, cheers.

402 - What's this "we" stuff Englisher? ;-)

403 - Personal account. I did a 1 year lower course to fill time and for extra credit in year 12 (of 13 if you did them all). Our "mock final" had results of I scored 92%, the next best student scored 64%, and the other 5 all failed, with a fail mark of under 30%. However, 6 out of 7 scored over 50% in the final and the other guy I already mentioned also scored over 70%. (there was no way to distinguish 71% from 100% on the grading system used.)

418:

Charlie Really, you should know better ..
OF COURSE I find Patel really, deeply scary, it's just that I don't think she'll make it. OTOH the boss refuses to accept my judgement of Patel as a fascist "Because you can't stand a woman in power" ( Yes, really! )
People are complicated.

Phinch @ 416
I had to look that up & am still not much wiser.
( Anti-revelation? Full of obscurity? Meaningless? )

419:

but the real goal of the religious right is opposition to desegregation (and, ultimately, to the emancipation of any non-white anglo-saxon protestants).

You do understand the current make up of SCOTUS is: 6 Catholics 2 Jewish 1 Anglican/Catholic

Which is NOT the historical makeup.

420:

Err.... markdown.

You do understand the current make up of SCOTUS is:

6 Catholics

2 Jewish

1 Anglican/Catholic

421:

It was my way of commenting on SoTMNs' commenting style and OGHs' comment regarding use of metaphor to impart information. The line itself is a misquote from a well regarded ST:TNG episode called Darmok which is all about communication with a species that uses metaphor and allegory to communicate.

I believe, but I'm willing to accept I could be wrong, that you do not have a lot of the cultural background/context to decypher their posts not that you're incapable of understanding the use of metaphor in communication.

My view is that communication doesn't just require a common language but also context and cultural understanding. I break down SoTMN's posts into: Yes, I understand this bit No, I don't understand it but I know where to find the right "dictionary" to comprehend it. Totally clueless.

Overall, life it too short to try to complete a cryptic crossword where I don't have all the cultural references.

422:

I sincerely hope that it is satirising that unspeakably ghastly sub-genre to hell and back again. It's taken over Book View Cafe, so I haven't bought anything from them in ages.

423:

Which makes be pause when answering that doctor/nurse question "on a scale from 1 to 10 how bad does it hurt"?

I broke my hand at judo the year before last; knew I'd done it, immobilised it immediately with a cold pack, and it didn't really hurt. At the A&E ward (Accident & Emergency - UK equivalent of "ER", which across here tends to stand for "Elizabeth Regina") I got that question...

...and was able to answer "on a scale of 1 to 'Passing a kidney stone', it's a 2". Which seemed to surprise them, but it honestly didn't hurt that much.

424:

It's the gratuitous obfuscation that annoys me - there USED to be some reason for that for some of the things said, but I gave up when I found that almost none could not have been said openly and safely and the obscurity level ramped up. Several posters here say things in circuitous ways, because the content could harm them or someone else (e.g. by identifying a source) - that's reasonable.

There are some things I don't post because they are just too damn dnagerous, both for me and OGH - yes, the UK has made it illegal to express dissent with certain government policies, no matter how moderately and how much based on evidence.

Yes, I fairly often include references that I don't expect people to get, but I ensure that I either give a clue or ensure the posting can be understood without them - in my view, that is a distinguishing mark of literature worth reading. Works that are comprehensible only to a small in-group, but are published for a wider one, deserve to fail (but regrettably often don't).

425:

Yes, I asked for clarication of what 3 was, and said "is it like cutting your finger"? I was told that it was much less, which is bizarre, because even cutting a finger is just curse and carry on pain.

426:

Greg @ 389

Whatever they do - unless it's uphold Roe v Wade - I think they are in the shit - as seen from here, but you are closer to this & more knowledgeable.

My feeling from a distance is that at this point it doesn't matter what they do.

At this point most of the population of the US has finally become aware that the justices have been appointed for political reasons and not for their ability to uphold the Constitution.

This means no matter how they rule, a significant part of the population will view the Court's decision(s) as illegitimate.

Trump's 3 Justices, plus others, were placed on the court to overturn Roe v Wade - so a failure to do so will enrage the right and likely result in they as well as the Democrats calling for an expansion of the court (now that the Democrats conveniently put the idea into play).

But unlike the Democrats the Republicans are likely to have the votes in the Senate to achieve it in the next 6 years.

Charlie @ 391 (I do not believe Biden is the POTUS to lead such a fight-back: he's old, he came of age back when bipartisan politics was still a real thing,

While I agree with you regarding Biden, it is a moot point - the Democrats don't have the votes in the Senate to achieve anything as radical as an expansion of the Supreme Court.

427:

Am I right in thinking the Guard know what their members' civilian specialties are and allocate them to roles accordingly?

In the UK, this doesn't happen (or at least, we reservists kept saying it would be a helpful thing, but the regulars kept giving it a stiff ignoring).

Our problem was that since the loss of Crown Immunity in the early 1990s, the British Army has a fixation with course qualifications. Any responsible task needs you to be a Suitably Qualified and Experienced Person (SQEP); which sounds great, but falls at the first hurdle when a regular looks at a civilian qualification which they don't understand, and can't map directly to an Army equivalent... "but it's not on the list!"

It's not such a problem with analogous tasks like "coach firers on a rifle range" or "be a practising doctor / vet"; but is rather more of a problem when it's "design software" or "operate heavy machinery". It gets fun when the Army only just manages to pack two days' training into a working week, by insisting that military drivers need a full week's course to convert a civilian license into "allowed to drive a Landrover".

It gets even more fun if they accept the qualification, but then get squirrelly because troublesome civilians haven't got a universal mechanism for recording and demonstrating that you've stayed current in your (Landrover-driving / software design) skills since you qualified...

Their thinking is that it's great when Captain Cynic actually is a subject-matter expert in software specifications - but a bit of a risk-management nightmare if Major Stross is recorded as a pharmacist ;) i.e. was qualified twenty-five years ago, to twenty-year-old standards and procedures, and is well out of practice...

428:

It's the gratuitous obfuscation that annoys me - there USED to be some reason for that for some of the things said, but I gave up when I found that almost none could not have been said openly and safely and the obscurity level ramped up.

I know multiple very high IQ people in real life who do this. And others very high IQ people who do not. I came to the conclusion that this was being done to PROVE their superiority. If you didn't get the point, and quickly, then you were just not as smart as they are. In their opinion.

Those that don't do this tend to be very nice people to be around and don't make it obvious that they ARE high IQ people.

429:

My outsider understanding of the senatorial election cycle in the US is that the next election or two have the Republicans a bit more vulnerable than the Democrats - more current Rs up for re-election. As opposed to the last election cycle, where the opportunities for D advancement were limited as most R incumbents weren't in an election. That may also help explain their current blitz on voter suppression laws.

At some point I sincerely hope the gerontocratic stanglehold on American politics will come to an end, ideally without being replaced by a young, charismatic fascist. How much longer can the turtle live?

Living in Canada it is almost impossible not to be affected by the culture war spillover, like swimming in a pool next to a splashy sewage tank. I would love a few years of boring politics, but I just don't see it happening.

430:

Phrinch - & Charlie
I use quite a bit of metaphor myslef ... but the shitgull's ramblings are several layers deep, with zero guarantee of anything actually THERE when you reach bottom.
I second EC's remarks @ 415
It's utterly pointless wanking to show how "clever" she/it/he is.

431:

In what way are "wealth taxes" forbidden by the US Constitution? There's been a good bit of talk in the last year about instituting them.

432:

Ok, I probably shouldn't do this - it's Charlie's blog, after all - but try my novel, 11,000 Years. I really am pushing "yes, we can make the future better than the past". It's not all happy - that wouldn't be worth publishing - but.... And I've got more novels coming. I understand that, for some idiotic reason, the subgenre is being referred to as "hopepunk".

433:

The absence of a smallpox scar is a good way to identify chickenhawks.

434:

For one - Greg, the posts from last night by SotMN were amazingly comprehensible, to the point I actually looked at them, rather than just skipping.

For another, Charlie, I understand that... but for analogy and metaphor to work, the writer and the reader must share a background that allows it to be understood. Otherwise, it's like having a one-time pad based on a book, and you don't know which book in the library of 1000 books.

For example, I grew up hearing of the Good Samaritan... but never had a clue, like 99% of Americans, of what its author was saying, until I read a column of Isaacs (back in the seventies, I think), where he explained the guy who'd been mugged was still wearing REALLY EXPENSIVE silk underwear, and the "good Samaritan" was an older Black man pushing his belongings in a shopping cart. (Samaritans were very much not viewed as "good people", more like the way rabid suburbanites view inner-city Blacks.)

If SotMN were to refer to Samaritans, what I read would depend on whether it was before or after I read Isaac's column.

436:

My outsider understanding of the senatorial election cycle in the US is that the next election or two have the Republicans a bit more vulnerable than the Democrats

Like you an outsider, but the expectation is that it is the Democrats that are vulnerable next year - in part because historically the party who holds the White House tends to lose in the mid-term elections.

But it is also a question not of who hold the current Senate seat, but how safe/vulnerable that seat is - and while I would be happy to be proven otherwise it appears far too many of the Republican Senate seats are safe. CNN for example is showing 10 potential flip seats, and only 6 are Republican with 4 Democrats at risk.

A complicating factor for the Democrats is the current disconnect in the electorate - while not fair Biden is being blamed for the current high inflation. While it should go away by election time, it is distorting voter views on the economy which they think is worse than it is.

more current Rs up for re-election. As opposed to the last election cycle, where the opportunities for D advancement were limited as most R incumbents weren't in an election.

At one point in the 2020 election cycle the Democrats were talking of picking up Senate seats, potentially giving them 52 to 55 of the 100 - that didn't happen.

Unfortunately the election results seemed to indicate the undecided were tired of Trump but not the Republican Party.

437:

For those of us who don't think we are living in a Charles Stross novel, and for those of us who would rather be living in a Charles Stross novel than the real world:

Elon Musk is Time's 2021 Person of the Year.

My immediate reaction: "They picked Nyarlathotep."

438:

I tend to be in the "don't bother" caucus with regards to SoTMN. If I want to be insulted by someone who has a problematic relationship with cited references and similar conventional realities....well, I engage in San Diego politics, and that stance is de rigueur among those involved in some forms of development and also in non-agenda testimony (one hour's worth per Board of Supervisors' meeting, although that hopefully will change one day). There's little point in doing it for fun, at least for me.

If there were the possibility of a genuine conversation, well, that would actually be quite refreshing.

As for the Samaritans, they're actually still around, and it's worth reading up on their modern relationship with modern Judaism some time. I don't pretend to be familiar with it, except that it seems to be as complicated as any other long-term factional relationship in that part of the world is.

439:

Time magazine is addicted to capitalism, the way Pravda was addicted to communism back in the 1970s. The ideology is so pervasive it's invisible to the folks working there.

As for Musk ...

Read my lips: Elon Musk is, by all accounts, a flaming asshole. Also, one on one, personally charming. He's a blinkered idiot when it comes to societal issues and the environment and biological systems. His politics is pretty dodgy, too, as far as I can tell. (I have low expectations for a South African apartheid-era emerald mine heir: given his lack of a filter on twitter, I'm half-surprised he hasn't come out with flagrantly racist bullshit, so he's exceeding my low bar in that respect.) He's also a visionary when it comes to building manufacturing systems for transportation engineering -- be they electric car factories or spaceship factories. (And no question, the factories are the key to his success: rapid prototyping and iterative development have clearly reaped huge rewards both at Tesla and at SpaceX.)

Anyway, there is no paradox here. I grew up reading the same visionary SF: the difference between us starts with the fact that Musk has leverage, a monomaniacal determination to die on Mars, and a near-mystical talent for talking investors into bankrolling crazy/brilliant/stupid boondoggles, enough of which payed off to make him look like a magician. He also had a few extra-good insights along the way: that the way to sell electric cars was to make them sexy instead of glorified eat-your-greens golf buggies, or the need to go for vertical integration in the manufacturing process of spaceships, reducing supply chain dependencies, to optimize for reliability and production cost rather than efficiency, and to go all-out for reusability even when there was no market pressure.

Finally, I'd just like to note that both Henry Ford and Walt Disney were sexist, racist, assholes (Ford was clearly a white supremacist); Bill Gates got divorced over the contents of Jeffrey Epstein's little black book, which is kind of creepy in its own right: Steve Jobs was a notorious asshole in person (and an egomaniac), nobody had a kind word to say about Thomas Edison or Andrew Carnegie or J. P. Morgan. It's almost like there's a pattern here?

Successful industrialists are almost always lousy human beings. All we can judge them by is their accomplishments (and hope that those outweigh their drawbacks as people, so that their legacy is overall positive).

440:

And if Nyarlathotep had had a significant impact on the world he'd be in the running. Person of the Year isn't supposed to be an honour, as Time points out on a regular basis. Hitler, Stalin (twice), Ayatollah Khomeni and Donald Trump have all been there.

List

441:

This behaviour does make referring to comments by comment number an exercise in guessing, though.

There have been a number of occasions over the years when something like this has happened. I have found myself coming back to the conversation to find entire sub-threads disappeared with no notice. The experience is rather, er, Glasshousian.

I would put in a request to the moderators to leave little notices behind in deleted posts, so that readers can keep track more easily. I realize it's more work to do that, though.

442:

"The title is given to a person or group of people who 'most influenced the news and the world — for better or for worse' over the past year."
It also satisfactorily explains a recent cryptic tweet by Mr. Musk:

thinking of quitting my jobs & becoming an influencer full-time wdyt

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 10, 2021

(I sorta track that account, for reasons other than cryptocurrency "tips". :-)

443:

Successful industrialists are almost always lousy human beings. All we can judge them by is their accomplishments (and hope that those outweigh their drawbacks as people, so that their legacy is overall positive).

No Bezos this year? Oh well.

Speaking of humanity...

I'd note that, given the situation our species is in now, giving monomaniacs power to assert their vision despite the rest of us has resulted in temporary benefits more than permanent ones. Given that our species has been around for tens if not hundreds of thousands of years, probably our 300 year-long experiment with fucking around and finding out was not as wise (or even as smart) as it seemed at the time.

Perhaps it's possible that those who practiced age old traditions and thought we imperialist colonizers were freaking insane knew something really obvious that we were carefully blinding ourselves to?

444:

Oh yes. But Time doesn't do that anymore; witness the obvious choice for 2001 (bin Laden) not being picked because his face wouldn't sell magazines.

445:

Mike Collins @ 357: President Eisenhower was reported to have been shocked when he discovered that half of all Americans had below average IQs.

Especially after he figured out he'd chosen one of them to be his Vice President.

446:

" his Vice Presiden"

Nixon was somewhat crazy and evil, but he wasn't stupid.

447:

Crouchback @ 360: In theory, Texas & a lot of other states have safe haven laws which means a woman can turn over a newborn baby to the state, no questions asked. Justice Barrett has referred to such laws in her arguments against legal abortion. In practice I'm not sure what the plan is if there's a dramatic increase in the number of "safe haven" babies. That's going to require a lot more tax money.

I believe if the state is going to deny the right to abortion they should be liable for ALL of the costs associated with the unwanted pregnancy and completely provide for all of the child's needs until at least his/her 18th birthday ... unless the child is born with some birth defect that requires institutionalization when support is for LIFE.

448:

"Perhaps it's possible that those who practiced age old traditions and thought we imperialist colonizers were freaking insane knew something really obvious that we were carefully blinding ourselves to? "

Edmund Burke would have tended to agree, I think.

449:

It could have been worse; in Jimmy Carter we had a POTUS that was below average IQ. ;-)

450:

Greg Tingey @ 379: 356, 359, 361, 362, 364, 366, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375,

And, since you pointed it out & as I've noted above ( 11 vacuum-filled rants )
Didn't we have a rule, somewhere, about how many of these were actually allowed at a go? - Something like THREE ??

I remember at some point reading that it was maximum of 5 at a single go. And looking at the post numbers that seems to be the case here; batch of 4 & response from someone; batch of 2 & response; batch of 5 & responses.

Not my blog, so it's not up to me to determine if she's following the guidelines or not. I usually don't read more than the first couple of lines. If it's nonsense by the end of the first paragraph, it's probably going to be nonsense all the way down, so I just move on to the next comprehensible comment.

451:

Perhaps it's possible that those who practiced age old traditions and thought we imperialist colonizers were freaking insane knew something really obvious that we were carefully blinding ourselves to?,/i>

Not so much carefully blinding as resolutely shutting our eyes, plugging our ears, and yelling "lalalalalalallla can't hear you".

452:

"Perhaps it's possible that those who practiced age old traditions and thought we imperialist colonizers were freaking insane knew something really obvious that we were carefully blinding ourselves to? " Edmund Burke would have tended to agree, I think.

Whether or not you believe Graeber and Wengrow's thesis in The Dawn of Everything, they appear to be onto something in their first chapter, wherein they posit that Rousseau's notion of the "noble savage" was due in large part to the conversations among the European literati spurred by encountering the Indians of North America. They'd finally run into a culture that hadn't been in dialogue with them for centuries, and the critique of their colonial efforts and social mores was a shock to the system. Burke was alive at that time, so I wouldn't be surprised if he was caught up in that whole question of what a proper society looked like.

BTW, they parse "noble savage" as not ethically noble," but as living the way nobles did, on rural, largely wooded estates, and hunting. Assuming that's a correct interpretation, I think that's another point: the very wealthy and society's drop-outs often choose to live more as hunter gatherers, rather than as middle or lower class working stiffs. That may be telling us something.

453:

No I didn't :) I think it's probably Nojay you're confusing me with.

I was pointing out that the people flying off the handle at La Polynomielle were being daft because what she was actually saying was not far off being the total opposite of what she was being shouted at for. She wasn't "spreading anti-vaccine propaganda"; she was pointing out some of the misconceptions which facilitate its being spread, and calling down some of the slimy arseholes who are happy with the spreading of disinformation and dodgy "facts" about the disease in general because they can make money out of that.

It gets interestingly "meta" (as they say) to consider how that set of exchanges typifies a widespread problem with comprehension in general: people are far too fond of jumping to premature conclusions and then hanging grimly on to them come hell or high water. People encountering a complex set of circumstances (in a very general sense of which "a piece of writing" is merely a subcategory) attach far too great an importance to the first little bits they come across in the fringes of it, and far too little to all the other bits they get to later; they construct an initial model which is consistent with what they know so far (at so early a stage that "consistency" is no more than correlation on one single isolated point), and then doggedly refuse to amend that model in the light of what they discover later no matter how gross and glaring the inconsistencies become, preferring simply to discard any later discoveries and forget they ever happened because they don't match that incorrect preliminary model.

In the case of a piece of writing, to which people reply also in writing, this tendency very often and very clearly takes the form of people latching on to one or two particular keywords which they noticed straight away, and then mentally rewriting the rest of the piece on the fly in the mould of some antipathetic context where the same keywords also often occur, which somehow enables them to maintain a quite staggering degree of blindness to what the piece of writing in question actually says: it's not uncommon for people to go so far as to copy and paste quotes from the piece in the belief that the quotes support their interpretation when in fact they quite obviously refute it, yet somehow they are entirely unable to notice this.

This problem is not a function of the lady in question's style, but a function of the readership. I've had it done to me numerous times and using language as precise and definite as possible doesn't make a fuck of difference. I've also had it done to me in physical actuality, times without number for as long as I can remember, and (for instance) failing to display symptoms of heroin withdrawal when abducted and isolated doesn't count as an indication that I was never on the fucking stuff in the first place but indeed was just off work with flu. How clear the evidence is and how unambiguously it's communicated make no difference at all once people have superglued their hand to the wrong end of the stick in the first place.

454:

Paul @ 383: whitroth @ 377:

Some of us are laughing hysterically, since the governor of California has announced he's asked his staff to draft a bill for individuals to sue for $10k manufacturers of firearms, ghost guns, etc.
I've been waiting for that shoe to drop ever since I read about SB.8 (the Texas abortion law in question).
The SCOTUS is going to be looking at that in horror.

They've been warned. The Firearms Policy Coalition submitted an amicus brief predicting exactly this in an Amicus brief. Not that it would take a legal genius to make such a prediction; I'm sure that every member of SCOTUS banged their heads on their desks when they first looked at SB.8, because its so obviously a hack of the Constitution as a whole rather than just about abortion in particular. Any state legislature can now pwn any part of the constitution or federal law it doesn't like using the same mechanism."

The "conservative" wing of SCOTUS isn't just anti-abortion; its biggest ideological position is "originalism" or "textualism" (there are subtle differences). Their main reason for disliking Roe v Wade is not because it allowed abortion, but because it was judges who invented the law. (I'll note in passing that the 9th Amendment is an open invitation to judges to do exactly this).

But now this puts them in a bind. SB.8 has clearly cracked the constitution wide open, but there is no existing constitutional mechanism for blocking it. So either they invent one out of whole cloth (oh the humanity!) or they let it happen.

Right now I think they are trying to find some existing mechanism which will block SB.8. But its clearly going ot be a kluge at best.

Won't even be a bump in the road. The Right-Wingnut majority will have no problem finding the proposed California Law intrudes on a Constitutional Right, while the Texas law does not.

They won't even have to resort to pretzel logic to do it.

455:

"I'm a little surprised your NIHNHS didn't have a similar record."

Theoretically it should have, but in practice patient records have always been a horrible mess, with bits here and bits there and bits getting lost and no real way of either assembling all the scattered bits of information into a single complete record or of making it available to whoever needed it. So every doctor and every hospital who had ever seen me would have part of the story, but they would all be missing much more of it than they had, and the most complete record would be in my head. Computers and networking are supposed to have made it better these days, but the computer systems themselves are kind of a notorious shambles and although it is a bit better it's still a long way from good.

456:
It's the gratuitous obfuscation that annoys me - there USED to be some reason for that for some of the things said, but I gave up when I found that almost none could not have been said openly and safely and the obscurity level ramped up. I know multiple very high IQ people in real life who do this. And others very high IQ people who do not. I came to the conclusion that this was being done to PROVE their superiority. If you didn't get the point, and quickly, then you were just not as smart as they are. In their opinion. Those that don't do this tend to be very nice people to be around and don't make it obvious that they ARE high IQ people.

When I had a job, I explained to my students the following little insider's tip: "If you are paying attention, and cannot understand what is going on in a lecture, then you should conclude that the lecturer doesn't understand the material."

My own goal when presenting research at conferences was to convince my audience that I was a complete idiot because the explanation was so obvious.

My German colleagues remained gloriously unmoved by the idea that a good presentation ought to be intelligible.

457:

Today's Covid update in the Province of Ontario.

They are confirming Omicron is doubling every 3 days, vs 34 days for Delta.

Omicron is now 31% of cases in Ontario, will be dominant by next week.

One expert thinks Omicron is so contagious that he expects everyone, even those triple vaccinated, to become infected.

https://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/2021/12/13/two-shots-may-not-be-enough-heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-booking-a-booster-as-omicron-surges-in-ontario.html

458:

How do you know they didn't? Maybe wait a bit until you have some facts before talking smack just because you don't like their employer.

"Larry Virden's last text to his wife was "Amazon won't let us leave."

https://www.reddit.com/r/antiwork/comments/rfgahs/larryvirdenslasttexttohiswifewasamazon/

Screenshot linked from that article, no surprises anywhere.

Bought media summary of the facts so far: https://truthout.org/articles/warehouse-workers-deaths-prompt-renewed-scrutiny-of-amazons-no-phone-policy/

When you have a company that prides itself on pushing the extremes of sociopathic behaviour and is regularly found to put policy, let alone profit, above human life, it's quite reasonable to assume that they will continue to do that unless there's evidence of a change.

460:

I haven't read through all the comments, so sorry if I'm repeating.

The rote memorization incidentally is part -- a small part, admittedly -- of the reason I eventually bailed on being a pharmacist. My memory is shit, always has been, and I spent way too much time looking things up in books because I couldn't be certain I remembered it.

No, that's doing it right. When lives depend on it, looking it up is the correct thing to do, a lesson that consumed a lot of lives before things like checklists were accepted. A pilot might have 10000 landings under their belt, and have done three that day, and have another pilot watching them to catch mistakes. They still get out the book and look up how to configure the plane for landing.

461:
I use quite a bit of metaphor myslef ... but the shitgull's ramblings are several layers deep, with zero guarantee of anything actually THERE when you reach bottom.

Greg,

Surely the standard, usual, English words for the concept you are describing would be: "Seagull Droppings"...

... if that's not considered too meta.

462:

"And lest you imagine historical adventures in the dream roads are fun, toilet paper wouldn't be patented for another 40 years, and it would be another decade before the first brand arrived with the selling point, it's splinter-free."

Yes, but that was actually OK, because they hadn't invented shitting yet either. People could hide in or be shut in some wardrobe or unused room for months or even years if they were supplied with food and water, yet not ever would their presence be given away by sewage trickling out of the cracks in the door or dripping through the ceiling of the room below, or even people wondering why it always smells like a toilet in that part of the house.

Come to that, it wasn't all that uncommon to successfully keep a rotting corpse concealed in much the same kind of unsealed conditions. You couldn't do that these days. I can only conclude that part of the Wisdom Of The Ancients was a thoroughly perfected method of domestic waste removal, of which the knowledge was entirely lost after it was banned in the interests of people making money out of selling bog paper.

(Oh yeah, "hysterical paroxysm"... may I make so bold as to wonder if something resembling a hand-drill with an eccentric mass in place of the chuck might feature in this tale?)

463:

Charlie Stross @ 385:

And knowing what I know now, I still think it was a reasonable precaution even though it inconvenienced me personally.

Smallpox vaccinations for the military was and is a good idea. It's known that the Soviets weaponized it, and the smallpox genome has been exhaustively sequenced and is relatively -- some years ago New Scientist staff ordered synthetic RNA that could (with a few additional steps) be used to reconstitute a live smallpox strain, so it's probably one of the easier biological weapons to create and work with.

Not that any biological weapons are sane or sensible ...

Yeah. I agree. All I'm saying is the Bush/Cheney administration's claims about Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction were BOGUS, all lies. But we had no way of knowing that for sure back then. I suspected it then because I already knew Colon Powell was a lying asshole. Today we KNOW he was lying, and we know HE knew at the time it was a tissue of lies.

Given all that, I still think the smallpox vaccination was a good idea. Hell, I think the Anthrax vaccinations were a sensible precaution at the time, given that even if "we" DID already know it hadn't come from Iraq, we didn't know where it had come from.

464:

Oops. That should have been replying to Charlie Stross @ 394:

465:

Charlie Stross @ 397:

if memory serves, it was the British who first came up with the idea for Jews to have their own state located in Palestine

That was evangelical Christians wanting to use Jews as a useful local proxy to keep the Ottomans out. Didn't play well with the Jews in question, most of whom ignored it -- prior to Theodore Herzl's ideological construction of nationalist Zionism in the late 1890s, the only Jews talking about going to live in the holy land were a handful of religious scholars who mostly never got around to it (it was essentially a religious debate centred on messianism, which means something utterly different in Judaism from the Christian meaning of "messiah" you are probably more familiar with).

I think it's often easily overlooked, but Zionism emerged at the same time, and in the same place as a bunch of other European ethnonationalisms, namely sprouting from the rotting body of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (components of which today are: Austria, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, plus bits of Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Germany ...).

I still think it's kind of ironic.

466:

"This behaviour does make referring to comments by comment number an exercise in guessing, though."

It isn't a wonderful method in any case, because unless the comments being referred to are within the last 10 posts or so, it means scrolling back through seas of text trying to find them and then doing the same in the other direction to find the comment with the references again.

To get around this problem I have written a script which looks for the common ways in which people habitually cite comments by number, and turns them into links to the cited comments. Looking for # or @ or * plus an optional space, then a string of digits, and also for a string of digits at the beginning of a paragraph followed by a space, seems to catch nearly all of them; of course it also catches such sequences being used for other reasons, but that is much less common on here, and it's not important anyway since it's obvious from the context that those particular added links are spurious.

That solves the scrolling-and-searching problem, but being purely client-side and not keeping persistent state to track numbering changes, it still gets thrown out of whack when comments are deleted. A server-side implementation as part of the new post parser would solve that aspect too.

467:

Greg Tingey @ 411: @395 ...
Except who will be first back into bondage in the US? Women or "minorities" - I would guess the latter, THEN removal of the vote from women.
But, your last para is on the money - what's our equivalent - won't be "chrisitan" though - I suspect the internal contradictions might wreck it.

Here in the U.S. it's likely to be "women & children first", but it will happen in stages, the way voting rights & abortion rights have already been whittled away by previous GQP administrations.

Not with a bang, but with a whimper. We won't lose all of our rights at once - the Constitution, Bill of Rights & equality before the law (13th, 14th & 15th Amendments) will be nibbled to death by rats.

468:

"it was the British who first came up with the idea for Jews to have their own state located in Palestine"

...which later got a great big boost from British efforts to mess with people's heads during WW1 and persuade Jews in general, and those living in the region and those influential in US government/finance in particular, that it was in their own interests to support the British side and not the Ottomans.

Of course they were also trying to persuade all the other groups in the region of the same thing, and trying to make sure it would end up under British control to help fuel the Navy, and trying to minimise how much of the Ottoman lands the French got because even if they are on the same side they're still French, and generally being massive fucking weasels with everyone. So it's not really much of a surprise that the Mandate was a thoroughgoing fuckup and the most favourable view the inhabitants tended to have of the British ended up being to look northwards and say "well at least they're not the French".

469:

That's why I generally quote part of the text I'm replying to. It means that even if there are several matches people can just find in the page to see the whole context (including replies if people quote the same bits). We've had many episodes of numbers being off, but we still have users who just say "#123: not quite, think more like powers of arrest", a comment that is almost worthless when posted and quickly becomes absolutely so.

470:

""Larry Virden's last text to his wife was "Amazon won't let us leave.""" ... "...renewed-scrutiny-of-amazons-no-phone-policy/"

So how did he send it then?

471:

We won't lose all of our rights at once

Might be useful to sit down and make hard limits for when you consider the place to be a failed state and be ready to execute your fallback plan.

It does seem that the "democracy was a failed experiment" side have become much more blatant recently. And somewhat scary that Australia and the UK are trying the exact same techniques without even filing off the serial numbers.

In 'straya we've just seen voter id law get dumped because even half the far right party couldn't keep a straight face when talking about voter impersonation. We have compulsory voting, and most cases of impersonation are with consent (often of the "technically illegal" form, like my gf filling out the voting paper for her mother, then her mother signing it. In theory her mother had to actually tick some of the boxes as well). But the compulsory thing means that the Australian Electoral Commission have a pretty good handle on how many cases of problematic voter impersonation there can possibly be, as well as on how many there are. Oh, and ~80% of apparent cases are found to be clerical errors, normally a polling clerk ticking off the wrong voter ("Hubert J Smith" instead of "Hubert K Smith" on the line below). Once those are removed it drops from hundred (out of ~10M) to ones or tens of cases.

https://johnquiggin.com/2021/12/07/good-riddance-the-costs-of-morrisons-voter-id-plan-outweighed-any-benefit/

472:

David L @ 428:

It's the gratuitous obfuscation that annoys me - there USED to be some reason for that for some of the things said, but I gave up when I found that almost none could not have been said openly and safely and the obscurity level ramped up.

I know multiple very high IQ people in real life who do this. And others very high IQ people who do not. I came to the conclusion that this was being done to PROVE their superiority. If you didn't get the point, and quickly, then you were just not as smart as they are. In their opinion.

Those that don't do this tend to be very nice people to be around and don't make it obvious that they ARE high IQ people.

Having a high IQ ain't all it's cracked up to be. It confers no benefit whatsoever in 90% or more of life that requires more mundane experience.

Plus, if you never get to use it it just fades away.

473:

There's much discussion of the new "no phone" policy, so I'm assuming that either the policy wasn't in place, or he ignored the policy. But I'm just reading the same articles you did, so I don't know any more than you do.

474:

skulgun @ 433: The absence of a smallpox scar is a good way to identify chickenhawks.

I dunno. Most of the more notorious chickenhawks I know about are old enough to have been vaccinated as children before the WHO/CDC decided smallpox had been eradicated and the vaccination was no longer required before you could enter the first grade.

475:

455 - They do, but there are bits that aren't joined up, for instance I am on one system that allows me to see what my renal unit has prescribed for/used on me, and what my PHP has prescribed. One thing is not exactly like the other and they actually should be.
Also, the renal unit staff have a quite touching faith that if the computer says $thing then that must be correct even if my memory says differently.

466 - I gave up identifying post numbers with a hash sign because Markdown treats those as "special characters". More to the point with addressing your complaint about threading would be if we could make multiple comments without browsing away and back.

476:

"All I'm saying is the Bush/Cheney administration's claims about Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction were BOGUS, all lies. But we had no way of knowing that for sure back then. I suspected it then because I already knew Colon Powell was a lying asshole."

I suspected it because they were too silly and stank of made up propaganda bollocks.

I wrote to Blair in opposition to the involvement with Iraq. In reply I got only a copy of that bloody dossier which (apart from not being a relevant reply to anything I'd said in any case) contained next to nothing that actually gave reason to believe there was a problem but an awful lot of wild tabloidesque extrapolation, degenerating in places into "...and he smells!"-level silliness. The thing I most particularly remember from it is the little diagram comparing the area (in square metres) of Saddam's palace with the area of Buck House and citing this as evidence of what a nasty man he was.

477:

Some years ago I wrote an article for a local rag that talked about the hazard inherent in being a country next to an 'ally' with the largest and most powerful military in human history.

It's all well and good when they are at least somewhat democratic and a society of laws. If that goes out the window then anything goes. For the US military to conquer Canada really would be 'a matter of marching' at this point. Holding it would be another question of course.

The Authoritarian decline process goes something like as follows:

  • Country becomes vulnerable to takeover by authoritarians. Some combination of degraded social cohesion and disruption makes it possible for an aspiring tyrant to take over. This can happen in the form of a coup or through a collapse of functioning democracy.

  • At first things go well for those who supported them - and very badly for everyone else. Those close to the top are greatly enriched, the foot soldiers and brownshirts feel powerful. The great project or whatever is begun.

  • Decisions are made based on loyalty and affiliation rather than merit or facts. As this spreads through the system it starts to fail in small and large ways. The people at the center are still benefiting greatly though. Those who are loyal but starting to feel pain are further motivated blame the enemies within and without.

  • Eventually reality asserts itself. The economy is in trouble, things are starting to fail. Time for a short victorious war.

  • War begins, ideally against a weak neighbour on a bogus pretext. (See: Italy into Ethiopia). Maybe they even win, at least for awhile. Everyone rallies to the flag.

  • Inevitably, the cronyist rot will or has infected the military as much as anyone else. Leadership has been chosen based on loyalty or connections, supplies purchased from profiteers with connections.

  • Much suffering ensues.