28 July, 2021

PigfartsOnMars on working in a COVID ICU


Been working the covid ICU for over a year now, and I'm so sick to death of all the antivaxxers arguing while sick in bed with covid that they don't have covid. I'm sick to death of being run into the ground every shift because so many nurses have quit for how horrendously we've been treated plus the rising surge of the unvaccinated coming in with covid. I'm angry for the immunocompromised who come into my unit with covid because these ignorant assholes won't step up to help protect them. I'm tired of being screamed at by countless family members about how useless masks are and no they won't wear one and I can't make them. I'm done with the constant yell-in-my-face attitude these family members have about every single intervention I try to do in order to save their loved one. I'm tired of the burnt out doctors taking their rage out on me because they've had it and their compassion for their patients is being scrounged from the bottom of an empty barrel. I'm sick of every preventable death that occurs and the mental toll it takes to pick myself back up and fight for the next patient. If healthcare workers had a dollar for every time we've had to say "I'm so sorry for your loss", we could fund a cash incentive for the antivaxxers to get the damn shot already.

I'm so tired.

22 July, 2021

Focus Group: Vaccine-Hesitant Republicans Want Facts, Not Emotion


Key takeaways included:

  • Politicians are ineffective messengers — the mistrust of government and political leaders is significant, so it’s important to decouple science and politics.
  • Unknown side effects are a major concern.
  • Good stories help.
  • The ability to travel is a strong motivator for getting a vaccine.
  • These participants were more interested in facts and data than emotional arguments — and they don’t want to be told what to do. As one of them said, “We want to be educated, not indoctrinated.”

Hearing simple facts from Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the CDC. Here are his five facts:

  1. If you get infected with the virus, it will go all over your body and stay there for at least a week and be much more likely to cause you long-term problems than the vaccine.
  2. If you get the vaccine, it will prime your immune system, but then the vaccine is gone. It will not be with you anymore.
  3. More than 90% of the doctors who have been offered this vaccine have chosen to get it.
  4. The more we vaccinate, the faster we can get back to growing our economy and doing the things we want to do.
  5. If people get vaccinated, we’re going to save at least 100,000 lives of Americans who would otherwise be killed by COVID.

we'll explore why our eyes are unable to focus on the color blue, and how we see with our brain as much as with our eyes


I think this concept is amazing. Our brain extracts some color information from the blue channel, but delegates sharpness to the red and green channels which are in focus. The result is so astonishing, that I have to wonder if there is something that may go awry from modifying and displaying these images on a computer. If you have any theories beyond chromatic aberration and focusing of the eye, let me know.

u/xain_the_idiot on life post-transition


A lot of people have mentioned things like safety, and yes that is a big difference. But it's really the implications behind it. People do still stare at my body and sometimes objectify me, but they tend to do it in a way where I still feel like I have autonomy. I can make the choice to walk away, say no, etc. Before, I used to struggle to get rid of creepy men even when I called the police on them or threatened them with physical violence. I'm the same size roughly as I was before. So why do people suddenly see me as capable and autonomous? Why don't they still threaten and bully me to try to get their way? It's because women aren't seen as people by many men. They're seen as property, prizes to be won, or basically slaves who owe everything to men. I never have to feel that way when I'm passing as male. Nobody will ever make me feel like I'm worthless, subservient and inhuman just for being a man. That feeling of self ownership is so valuable to a human being. It's detrimental to the world, that so many women go about their daily lives being made to feel less than human.

10 July, 2021

All pandemic long, scientists brawled over how the virus spreads. Droplets! No, aerosols! At the heart of the fight was a teensy error with huge consequences.


Morawska had spent more than two decades advising a different branch of the WHO on the impacts of air pollution. When it came to flecks of soot and ash belched out by smokestacks and tailpipes, the organization readily accepted the physics she was describing—that particles of many sizes can hang aloft, travel far, and be inhaled. Now, though, the WHO’s advisers seemed to be saying those same laws didn’t apply to virus-laced respiratory particles. To them, the word 
airborne only applied to particles smaller than 5 microns. Trapped in their group-specific jargon, the two camps on Zoom literally couldn’t understand one another.

When the call ended, Marr sat back heavily, feeling an old frustration coiling tighter in her body. She itched to go for a run, to pound it out footfall by footfall into the pavement. “It felt like they had already made up their minds and they were just entertaining us,” she recalls. Marr was no stranger to being ignored by members of the medical establishment. Often seen as an epistemic trespasser, she was used to persevering through skepticism and outright rejection. This time, however, so much more than her ego was at stake. The beginning of a global pandemic was a terrible time to get into a fight over words. But she had an inkling that the verbal sparring was a symptom of a bigger problem—that outdated science was underpinning public health policy. She had to get through to them. But first, she had to crack the mystery of why their communication was failing so badly.

The climate crisis is a political economy problem.


The result is striking: Of the increase in global emissions between 1990 and 2015 half is accounted for by China. Two thirds of that is due to the Chinese middle class. One third down to the Chinese top 10 percent. Those are by far the most dynamic elements in the global emissions map. Other hot spots include the top 10 percent of the population in the Middle East and North Africa and the same group in North America. Rising emissions in India and the rest of Asia contribute almost a quarter of the overall growth but growth is spread across the income distribution.

Punitive Intolerance Is No Way to Preserve Pluralism


 The actual facts of the case cry out for patience and tolerance. Barronelle had long served a gay customer named Rob Ingersoll. Their relationship spanned almost 10 years, and she’d designed a number of custom-designed floral arrangements to commemorate milestones in his life. Then, in March 2013, Ingersoll asked Barronelle to “do the flowers” for his wedding to his fiancé.

Barronelle, a Christian who believes God ordained marriage as the union of a man and a woman, had never been asked to design floral arrangements for a gay wedding. After thinking through the matter and praying with her husband, she decided that couldn’t in good conscience use her artistic gifts to celebrate a union that she believed to be scripturally wrong. 

Here’s what happened next, according to Barronelle’s petition to the Supreme Court:

When Robert returned to the shop, Barronelle walked with him to a quiet corner, “gently took his hand, looked him in the eye, and told him that [she] could not do his wedding”—or “be a part of his event”—because of her “relationship with Jesus Christ.” Robert testified that she took no “joy or satisfaction” in having to tell him that. Robert said he understood, and they discussed his engagement and wedding plans. Barronelle gave him the names of three nearby floral artists she knew would do a good job. They hugged, and Barronelle expected they would remain friends with a disagreement about marriage. 

After Ingersoll’s fiancé posted about the matter on Facebook, Barronelle’s decision not only gained media attention, it resulted in an outpouring of support for Ingersoll and his fiancé. They received enough offers of free floral services that they “could get married about 20 times.”

Let’s pause here for a moment. In a tolerant and decent pluralistic society, this is where the matter should have ended. Barronelle acted in accordance with the dictates of her conscience, she helped Ingersoll obtain all the floral services he needed, and he was flooded with public support. There was no real harm. 

But no: The attorney general of Washington on his own filed suit against Barronelle, and did so in a particularly pernicious way—seeking damages and attorneys fees from Barronelle’s business and from Barronelle personally.

Even the Defenses of Anti-CRT Speech Codes Show the Problems With Anti-CRT Speech Codes


I can’t say that I know Cameron Hilditch, but he penned a lengthy endorsement of anti-CRT laws that nonetheless contained this rather amusing line: “It’s true that the laws in question could have been drafted better, but it is better to have them on the statute book than to have none whatsoever.”

Finally, Dan McLaughlin weighed in again, this time pointing readers to my friend Greg Lukianoff’s outstanding, extended discussion of the topic. Dan repeats Greg’s warning “that poorly-drafted laws can end up banning the teaching of things that the legislators never intended to ban, and can lead to confusion and discord at the school level.”

I think my point is clear at this point. The defenses of anti-CRT laws are time and again running aground on the rocky shoals of ... the actual anti-CRT laws.

How Both Sides Distort the Debate Over Critical Race Theory


After the civil rights movement achieved its legislative goals in the 1960s, formal, legal racism was largely abolished. Yes, there was cleanup work to do in various states. But broadly speaking, deliberate discrimination was no longer protected by the law. There was still cultural racism, of course—and there still is. But looking at the big picture, the tumor of deliberate racism has shrunk on a staggering scale. 

This was the result of a massive legal, social, and educational effort. And it was a huge success that all Americans should take pride in. Racism isn’t an American phenomenon; it’s a human one that exists everywhere. But few societies have worked as hard to battle it as the United States has over the last half-century. 

And yet, disparities persist. Black Americans comprise 13 percent of the population but fall short of that percentage in a number of important areas—the ranks of affluent, the college educated, and a large number of professions we normally associate with affluence and education. 

CRT, structural racism, institutional racism, etc., represent efforts to explain why. 

It’s no accident that law schools and lawyers were at the vanguard. If you wanted to sue a business or agency for “disparate impacts”—e.g., the underrepresentation of minorities in certain jobs or unequal lending by banks—you needed to show that these disparities were the result of deliberately bigoted policies. The problem: Evidence of the disparities remained abundant while evidence of racist intent largely vanished. 

How Desi Invented Television


GLINTON: OK, so the first brilliant idea that Lucy and Desi came up with involved the technology of television. They had learned on tour that comedy, if it's going to be done well, had to be captured live in the moment in front of an audience.

SMITH: Desi says, we want three cameras, which was unheard of at the time. We want three cameras to be rolling to capture all of the reactions and the ad libs and the hat flying off the top of my head, just like they had done on tour.

GLINTON: And those cameras with the three operators, they said, we don't want that grainy kinescope stuff. We want luxurious, beautiful 35 mm film like they use in motion pictures.

SMITH: The three-camera sitcom shot on film is a standard today. Think of it. In the early 1950s, in one big leap, "I Love Lucy" suddenly looked and felt modern.

GLINTON: But it was not cheap. Desi and the studio got into this huge fight over who was going to pay for those three cameras, three cameramen and all that rolling film. Eventually, Desi made an offer. He'll pay for the filming, but he and Lucy will own the film reel, the actual shows themselves. 

05 July, 2021

A Michigan Republican spent eight months searching for evidence of election fraud, but all he found was lies.


“It’s easy to look at the current status of American culture, American politics, the American church, and be really apoplectic right now. It’s very easy to give in to that sense of panic,” McBroom told me. “But we go through different cycles in this country. I’m hoping we’re in a cycle of riots and demonstrations on and off, [and not] the cycle where we end up in civil war. I’ve encountered some folks who are like, ‘Maybe it’s time to rise up’—you know, ‘refreshing the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots,’ that stuff. And I say to them, ‘Are you seriously going to go looking for people with biden signs in their yards? I mean, is that what you’re going to do? Make a list? Is this what this is coming to? You’re ready to go out and fight your neighbors? Because I don’t think you really are. I think you’re talking stupid.’”

McBroom closed his eyes and took a heavy breath. “These are good people, and they’re being lied to, and they’re believing the lies,” he said. “And it’s really dangerous.”

04 July, 2021

Biden Gained With Moderate and Conservative Voting Groups, New Data Shows


The Pew data, released on Wednesday, is the latest and perhaps the last major tranche of high-quality data on voter preference and turnout in the 2020 election, bringing analysts close to a final, if still imperfect, account of the outcome.

The data suggests that the progressive vision of winning a presidential election simply by mobilizing strong support from Democratic constituencies simply did not materialize for Mr. Biden. While many Democrats had hoped to overwhelm Mr. Trump with a surge in turnout among young and nonwhite voters, the new data confirms that neither candidate claimed a decisive advantage in the highest turnout election since 1900.

Instead, Mr. Trump enjoyed a turnout advantage fairly similar to his edge in 2016, when many Democrats blamed Hillary Clinton’s defeat on a failure to mobilize young and nonwhite voters. If anything, Mr. Trump enjoyed an even larger turnout edge while Mr. Biden lost ground among nearly every Democratic base constituency. Only his gains among moderate to conservative voting groups allowed him to prevail.