I haven’t used this site in a while, mostly because I got out of the habit, and also because I got a little sick of thinking about the kinds of things that I tend to write about here. It’s also probably because a lot of what I did here served as an outlet to dive deeper into conversations I was having on Facebook, and those conversations haven’t been as interesting lately, probably because people who disagreed with me seem less likely to jump in in the post-Trump era. But today I found myself thinking about COVID and omicron and I did a bit of graph comparing that fits pretty well here, so I’m back at it.Continue reading “COVID cases and deaths: maybe some good news”
There’s a large disconnect between the world of science and the world outside of science. We’ve known this for a long time, and there’s polling to support it (more details about that later), but it’s become incredibly clear in the COVID pandemic. I’ve used this blog as a way to talk about things that aren’t related to my professional life, but as my hobby of being a political junkie mixes with the world of science, it’s sometimes hard to take off that hat that I wear while I’m working. And thinking about things as a scientist and as a non-scientist makes us see things differently, and makes us talk about things differently.Continue reading “Reading between science lines”
I’m feeling more and more like we’re leaving Trump behind and I think that’s a good thing. Without him on social media, his voice is much quieter than before. The onslaught of social media posts supporting him and his crazy ideas seem to have faded somewhat. I don’t know if they’re lurking in the shadows or if they’re really fading away. I’ve posted several times on Facebook that years from now I expect to hear plenty of “I never really liked him” or “he wasn’t even close to my favorite” from folks who were the most vocal in their support of him over the past few years. And while I’m ready to move on, I still can’t help being puzzled at support for him and, more broadly, the kind of thinking that goes on in the heads of those who do support him. Lately, it’s the vaccines that have me puzzled the most.Continue reading “The enduring oddness of Trump supporter”
That sure feels like the title of an academic paper. Not unexpected from an academic, but also nothing close to the truth. More the ramblings of a non-expert who does this as a hobby, and has some thoughts to get off my chest. Normal stuff. But here’s what triggered me: A discussion of the news that Pfizer’s COVID vaccine exceeded expectations in the early analyses of efficacy and how it was handled in the bit I heard at FoxNews (and “heard” is accurate, because I was in my car, listening to FoxNews on the radio). It got me thinking about how often the criticisms of other media outlets by folks at FoxNews really feel more appropriately directed at themselves.Continue reading “The role of psychological projection in the “mainstream media” hatred at FoxNews”
The partisan divide in attitudes about COVID makes me very sad. It didn’t need to be this way, and it seems like it never would have been this way if not for the self-centeredness of the president. But maybe that’s not true. Maybe it would have been that way regardless of who is in office. Maybe it’s revealing some fundamental differences in how folks on the left and folks on the right see the world. It seems like it comes down to what I think of as a first person vs a third person perspective of the world. Let’s parse that first and then see how it applies to COVID.Continue reading “First- vs third-person view of the world and how COVID fits in”
Florida has announced that all efforts to prevent the spread of COVID are over. Mask mandates cannot be enforced statewide, and restrictions are being lifted. This is so unfortunate. Again, as I’ve been saying, let’s compare this to Israel, then let’s think about how hard we work to stop people from dying from car accidents.
The COVID pandemic is causing pain all over. There’s no question about that. The United States and many other countries have been responding with orders to shut down non-essential businesses, and this has put many people out of work. But the efforts to flatten the curve seem to be working, and the projections for the total number of people expected to die are looking much better than before. They’re still projecting a tragic number of deaths, but not nearly as many as we could have. That’s good. At least I think it’s good. In several states, however, there are protests springing up about efforts to keep us safe.
There are now more than a million confirmed cases of infection by the virus that causes COVID-19. Worldwide, the mortality rate is 5.3%. Of course, there’s plenty or reason to believe that it’s less fatal, and that 5.3% ignores the many people around the world who likely have been infected but have not been confirmed (either because of false negative results or because of lack of testing). I spent some time crunching numbers this morning. Not because I think there’s anything that I can learn that others don’t know already, but because it keeps my mind from wandering and I like crunching numbers. In the same way, I’m sharing this number crunching here, not because I think anybody should read it, or take it as some real source of information, but because this site has been a faithful outlet for me to put my thoughts on paper. So here’s what I found.
My family has been voluntarily quarantined for six days. My wife was frightened by the novel coronavirus first. We thought she was crazy, and made fun of her, but I soon was infected by her fear. At first I was just trying to be a good husband, and help present a united front for our kids, so they’d fall in line, but after some easy math, I got worried also. I hope I’m wrong. I hope this ends faster than we fear. I hope it takes fewer lives than I fear. I hope for all those things. I am, to a fault sometimes, a man of hope. But I’m afraid.