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Everything posted by CharonY

  1. It is weird that you need to go back to a time before any of the modern countries or even their predecessor existed (or even the concept of nation states). And even then of course Pax Romana was not a peace in the modern sense but rather has to be seen in contrast to the concept of ongoing conquest that predated it. There were plenty of border skirmishes, rebellions and short bouts of civil wars. I do not think that this in any way invalidates the idea that forming an Union has prevented conflicts. Quite the opposite, actually.
  2. It is a bit sad that "never again" was just a pretty lie. I understand what you are saying and just focusing on the major member states is a rather narrow view. However, I think it is quite clear that the overall point was that the EU was instrumental in avoiding a continuous conflict between these member states, resulting in the longest peace period between those nations.
  3. There are a lot of different approaches and quite a few resources tracking current developments (e.g. here). If not provided, you can then google the respective type of vaccines to get more info on the type. Due to urgency there are many more types in development than you would normally see. Folks have a good idea about the structure of SARS-CoV-2. I am not sure why you would want to compare it to influenza, though. It is a coronavirus and there is quite a bit info about coronaviruses available. I am not sure why a comparison specifically to influenza is relevant. Steroids are (regardless of origin) are not antivirals as such. Their main role in treating infections is that they modulate inflammatory and immune responses. In COVID-19 these inflammations cause severe damages and treatment with steroids have shown to mitigate effects. There are other components that are suspected or shown in vitro to have antiviral properties but I suspect most are a couple of steps away before they can be demonstrated to be viable treatment options (but I have not really followed the lit, so there may be developments that I am not aware of).
  4. He actually did a splendid job, if you have not heard of him. I have to apologize, I think I was too unclear. What I meant was in relation to OP that the leave campaign was influenced by outside forces, just on the sly and it is a a bit funny complaining in a thread complaining about undue influence. One part of interaction was via Cambridge Analytica, which is part of a targeted advertising campaign. Now, the company is British, but had Bannon as the vice president and he used harvested data for targeted radicalization and distribution and mobilization of right-wing group throughout Europe. It could be said that his efforts have been faltering, in part because some right wing groups, including the German AfD, as support for the US has been wavering. At the same time, reports indicate some sketchy money flows from Russia. While it is unclear how much influence that guy ultimately had, it is clear that nowadays national campaigns are not national anymore. Everyone with stakes in media, think tanks, advertising groups, consulting groups and so on, is basically playing an international game. As nice as these sentiments are (and I do agree that the Remain campaign did a poor job), the only thing the Leavers have to do (and they did) is to put up images (straight from the third reich, I might add) of hordes of foreign folks crossing the borders and suddenly folks want Islands all over again.
  5. Steve Bannon is one of the many folks who started to weaponize social media in order to influence politics throughout the world. One of the interesting bits is that he himself is not a state actor (such as Russia, who also interfered in various political campaigns in an effort to destabilize European countries). It can also be said that after initial success following the refugee crisis, many of the other campaigns kind of faltered (not least due to the ineptitude of many of the far-right political groups). Nonetheless, Europe has seen a stronger polarization and an overall move to the right over the last couple of years. You could say that. After all, xenophobia is a powerful tool that is associated with the rise of numerous populist movements. It is easier to paint a picture of roses by changing things. Remainers, especially if being honest realistically could only offer business as usual and indicate the economic harm of leaving. So on the hand you have folks stating that if you leave you get all the benefits, none of disadvantages, somehow have simultaneous access to all markets but not following any of the requirements and you get to get to keep the pesky Polish plumbers (who are the only ones offering to show up in the first place) away. The only potentially real benefits in the long term depend quite a bit on rather difficult to assess (such as driving policies that are separate from the EU market), but most I have seen so far are very speculative, whereas most studies do show a clear net negative. It can be said that some of the losses are lower than projected initially. However, the UK did not actually properly leave yet, either.
  6. I was talking about the fear about scientist in the field. I do work with folks on projects related to food-borne pathogens and while none of us are policy-makers, there is at least some basic expertise related to the mechanism of disease prevention. Well, taking your example it was fairly easy to dig out information on Galileo usage, funding and research (and if the article is wrong, kindly point out the inaccuracies, please) . I am not sure what you are going about. Essentially you are saying that there is mischief but fail to provide examples (or claiming that they war are there, but somehow invisible?). And the example you decide to provide was easily refuted. From that viewpoint I do not see that my lack of expertise matters. I am not so sure about that one. There is ample evidence that broad support for Brexit was intrinsically linked to xenophobia. Essentially they gave up a stake at a high-end casino and decided to have their own hookers and blackjack because they wanted to prevent Polish folks (and refugees) to get in. The control over other issues was mostly just a handwavy thing about sovereignty and as you noted much of it originated from the UK anyway. Several studies since then have identified a perceived immigration threat (together with related indices) as the strongest predictors for Brexiteers. Of course that does not meant that it applies to every single person but it is what consolidated the masses and the rest was just glued together by a tried-and-true method called "lying". Lying about the cost of the EU, lying about the benefits, lying about the implications of an exit and so on. As long as most folks "feel" that a perceived was addressed, they are fine with it. It is literally the same thing right-wing playbook happening across Europe and in many ways supported by foreign elements folks such as Bannon. It is just said that these strategies are so successful. But I guess that is what happens going forward in a fact-free era.
  7. Well, this is just blatantly wrong. As a whole the European standards have raised the norms in the UK. Despite all the shortfalls, the EU norms as a whole are some (if not the) most developed in the world (and incidentally, the UK was heavily involved in developing these standards). The overall fear is that after Brexit the UK may result in less safe food. The issue is that as I mentioned, there are no fixed regulatory measures to create safe food pipelines. Rather they have been developed following EU directives in what is considered safe food. If now other pipelines are admitted, it may create a mix of procedures that as a whole become less safe. Another issue is that now UK has to develop new internal regulatory structures, for which it used to rely on EU systems. Likely it will stabilize at some point. But there is likely to be a state of uncertainty for some length of time at which issues such as food safety will remain unresolved. With regard to chlorination, I should add that I think I saw a paper somewhere indicating that chlorination is actually not a great measure as it does not sufficiently reduce the pathogen load, rather it seems that it just makes it harder to detect them. I feel that you are quite misinformed when it comes to UK EU relations. First, the Galileo signal services are free for everyone to use (outside the specialized defence applications). However, what has been said is that UK-based companies will not be able to tender for the production of new satellite components (and also are not allowed to participate in the development of the secure services). This is because the project is and remains an EU initiative. Also when it comes to the budget, the UK has invested about 12% of the budget but won about 17-19% of the budget back for industrial and research contracts. I.e. the UK was a net beneficiary of the project (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07734-x). I mean, we could go through each of these claims, but I think at some point it is time to step back and revisit some basic assumption regarding the benefit-cost situation between EU and UK.
  8. I think it is worthwhile to add that much of the regulations in the US, but also EU are on the the food producers. Compliance (and therefore safety) could be enforced unevenly in either system. One interesting approach in the EU was to extend legal liability to food retailers all the way up to the source (implemented sometime in the 80s-90s). I.e. if the retailer could not demonstrate due diligence, they are held accountable. As a reaction retailers in the UK for example developed their own auditing schemes. This resulted in the formation of a variety of private standards. I.e. as far as I understand it, the EU's general food laws do not have specific mandates or policies to ensure food safety. Rather, the EU has good practice guides, but the companies develop their own food safety plans. The control essentially is on the due diligence level. In some ways this is echoed in the US, but it can be seen as even more voluntarily. The FDA has more a guidance and education system, and is not really developing or enforcing regulations. Similar to the EU, especially large retailers and producers have developed their own audit system, partially driven by a number of outbreaks of E. coli and Salmonella (though similar outbreaks also happened in the EU). So in the US, market pressures were key elements in developing counterstrategies. Under Obama the US finally started to introduce legislation addressing food safety, increasing the power of the FDA to allow more inspections, for example and focuses more on prevention which now become enforceable by Fed and State authorities. So the logic put in place is now at least theoretically more in line with EU directives. However, I think it is worth mentioning that in either system the actual implementation and measures are still primarily developed by the producers and the subsequent food chain. The main regulatory bodies basically just check whether the product is good enough and may penalize if it is not. But what has been brought up in this thread already is the heavy industrialization of animal farming in the US. While these also exist in Europe, there are more smaller farms still competing in the market (though I do think that they have lost ground, too). In the US they tend to be more marginalized and that in itself can be an issue. The subsequent supply chain makes sure that the end product is safe but it can have other issues along the way. Factory farming is a breeding ground for zoonotic diseases, for example.
  9. Basically yes. In addition, outdoors whatever lingers in the air dissipates over a larger volume so unless you just breathe in the droplet shortly after ejection, your exposure is fairly low. There is some disagreement about the infectivity of small aerosols. There is data suggesting that Sars-CoV-2 may still be infectious in these tiny droplets, but it is not quite clear as the rate of infections seems lower than other diseases that are transmitted via these aerosols. It should probably be added that the distinction between droplets and aerosols (and airborne) is also slightly a artificial distinction, though in practice they call for different countermeasures.
  10. That is roughly what I think, too. My biggest worry is if folks try to use the lowest common denominator.
  11. I think it should be noted that the vast majority of antibiotics use is in agriculture (vs clinical use),
  12. Yes, there is a difference between shed time and infectious time. For the first we got a range of data, but it is difficult to actually determine when someone is absolutely not infectious anymore. It also depends on the individual how many particles they have to be exposed to in order to become sick. That being said as already mentioned incubation period is somewhere in the area of 1-14 days, and first symptoms appear with a median of around 5 days. Evidence suggest that folks have the highest titer shortly before symptom onset, but infections can start up to 3 days before that. It is actually not quite clear when folks are entirely non-infectious but a general guideline is being symptoms free for 72 days or the aforementioned 14 days if symptoms are gone sooner. It seems to be reasonable but not entirely certain, of course. It should also be noted that the detection is mostly done in nasopharyngeal samples, but for example fecal shedding occurs for a fair time longer (more than 20 days). It is generally assumed not to be a common route of infection.
  13. I have to advise caution in the interpretation of food-borne disease illnesses. Countries have different ways to identify and quantify outbreaks and one cannot easily just look at the raw data. There is also a difference between severity which makes it even trickier. One way to normalize the data is to calculate disability adjusted life years (DALY), which basically is an estimate of years lost to ill-health or death. From there and using WHO data there is not a vast difference between the North American region (USA, Canada, Cuba, 35 DALY per 100,000 ) vs Western Europe (40-50 DALY per 100,000; I do not have finer grained data on hand). While there are significant differences in the type of diseases. there is not a huge difference when it comes to Salmonella infections. In fact, it is slightly lower in the NA region (9 vs 12), though it is difficult to disentangle the effects of animal handling, food production, impact of chlorination and the health care system. However, the point is that it the calculated health burden are the totality of all these measures. I.e. it is possible that without chlorination the DALY might increase in the US, which would indicate that Europe is doing something better without the need for it. Or it may not make a difference, indicating that the practice is useless. But the tricky bit is really finding which elements in the whole chain are really protective, especially as certain elements may rely on other part of the whole thing. So as a whole it is not trivial to state whether the whole food chain is safer in Europe vs North America (or even US specifically). Each regulations seem to keep the burden of food-borne diseases somewhat similarly in check, but there are also other benefits when it comes to different approaches in regulating the food chain. But again, I think direct comparisons are difficult, not least because rules and regulations in each region are not necessarily based on best science, but rather a quagmire of heavily politicized historic rules, regulation and practices. With increasing globalization the food supply chain has become even more complex and I have severe doubt that regulations are keeping up.
  14. I think laws only apply in somewhat narrow range and of course only if it can be demonstrated to be a patterns of sorts. Individual actions based on dislikes are quite difficult to address in a legal sense.
  15. I have to wonder, what benefit do you get from perpetrating falsehoods? Why do folks do waste their time making up stuff on social media? At best no one is listening, at worse, people believe it and do something that increases their risk. What is the possible scenario in which the person disseminating these falsehood is not the bad guy? A disease outbreak involves everyone who does not happen to live alone on a deserted island. And thinking otherwise is the main reason why we are unable to quickly contain them. It is the reason why we have close to one million confirmed deaths from this one disease alone.
  16. I think it is not quite easy to make a blanket statement regarding the effectiveness of regulations in either area. The overall safety standards are similar but there are differences in certain details such as the mentioned chloriniation, use of growth hormones, allowed additives some of the labelling and processing standards and so on. A general issue with some of these agreements is that there is the worry that in order to allow bilateral trade the lowest common denominator might be used, which affect food safety but also has environmental and animal welfare concerns.
  17. Well as iNow said, the Republicans blocked a nomination by Obama arguing that a seat should only filled by the incoming president. As we all know, it is unlikely that the GOP will remember what they themselves claimed. But there was no real rule that they could claim other than having control of the senate. Edit: Well it is clear that they do not care about being hypocrites, McConnell already announced that “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
  18. The first requirement is a robust and unbiased means of data collection. Just observing and noting features inevitably results in a biased data set. Say, I for some reason hate country, I am more likely to find folks blaring country more annoying, for example.I might also in my mind memorize features I associate with country music listeners more strongly than other features. The result is that I then have, in my mind, evidence that country-related features are clearly associated with rudeness. It is in fact very difficult to develop an unbiased method for recording observations even before one can do any analyses on the data set. Garbage in garbage out, so to say.
  19. It depends how you segment the data and the Michigan study was aimed at specific scenarios which is not well-suited for broader interpretation of road safety. But take a look at this finer-grained study looking at per km-driven fatality rates . If accounting for actual distance traveled, men had roughly 2-4 times the fatalities compared to women for most driving modes. The main exception were motorcycles (about 12 times higher) and buses (~1.3 times higher). I am not sure whether there are similar studies of that level in the US, but this study suggest rather clearly that regardless of type of vehicle, men are on average at higher risk after accounting for distance driven.
  20. While I think there is a moral argument to made, the loss of life is perhaps not even a good indicator. Obviously we as a society accept loss of life to a certain degree. For example mild flu season roughly kill a similar number of people, and bad ones close to double of that. Still we do not make flu vaccinations mandatory, for example. I think a broader argument could be made for the overall impact of private vehicles (such as environmental impact) and balance them with need. One issue that the US has is that in most areas public transportation is really bad and the cities are built around car ownership. So to address the issue it requires a broader discussion on how to revamp cities and how to properly implement public transportation with reduced environmental impact. As a sidenote, the highest fatalities (and again, I do not think that this is really that important) are found a) among men in each age group (difference range from 57-75% of all fatalities per age group) and while the group of over 65 year old males are overrepresented, it is even worse for age groups 16-25. Using that logic we basically should only let women between 31 and 60 drive cars.
  21. That is weird, considering that almost all sources say that they are clearly a breach of existing agreements (in fact, some articles imply that Johnson in fact acknowledged the breach but claims that they are vital). Perhaps you can provide a source outlining how it is not a breach of agreements. Because at this point it seems to me a rather extraordinary claim. Edit: crossposted.
  22. We have and had a number of outreach programs and those are generally well-liked. One popular format was essentially renting a pub and have a member of faculty just talking about something within their realm of expertise (think Ted talks with less polish and much less sales). It is also something that especially younger faculty eagerly pick up, which is quite a bit different to the professors I had when I was a student a long time ago. However, obviously there is some self-selection going on. Most folks going to those events are those that are already interested in science or at least are not active science deniers. In many cases I feel it is not due to lack of engagement, rather by growing up in an environment that has a strong anti-science identity. These most prominently (and traditionally) include religious groups, which, ironically, see discussions about evolution as a form of indoctrination (and in fact, there are students who are utterly surprised how much sense it makes once they get out of their household, so it is not entirely impossible). More recently climate change has become trigger word or even "equity". In other words, I do not think it is the message itself or even the delivery, but rather the fact that there are groups that strongly identify with an issue to such a degree that they block off any form of discussion. The related issue is that those group also see education as indoctrination, which is a key element of the anti-science movement. In other words, if folks manage to make sure that at least part of their identity is tied to a specific issues and then on top make the reject any different information, you have the recipe for outright science denial. This is one of the reasons why in recent times media as well as academia were called liberal bastions, in an effort to make people cut themselves off from information.
  23. I think there is no clear answer to that. Studies basically are looking it from two perspectives. One mechanistically, which looks at virus survival in droplets and ejection and the other is epidemiological where folks look at likelihood at being infected outside. From the latter viewpoint, it appears that casual outdoor infections are very rare and mostly connected with folks being close to each other. Mechanistically, evidence suggests that e.g. in saliva it would take minutes for sun-inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 (~6 minutes for 90% inactivation), so at least theoretically if someone sneezes in the air and you run straight through it, you might get exposed to active particles (sneezing on the ground would arguably be safer). But again, most evidence suggests that overall infection chances are low under these conditions.
  24. I will say that it depends on the extent of exaggeration and whether it is based on misuse of science or just taking the worst (but still realistic) prediction. It is quite a bit of a difference compared to, say, a multi-billion dollar campaign to downplay it.
  25. I think that was always a bit the case. Scientists were perhaps respected, but also considered aloof, ivory tower elites. In my experience there have been a lot of measures aimed at making science more accessible. For example, we often have to put in news reports about our research that is for public consumption and almost all grants require to have a layman summary. But as a whole I do not think that it has moved public perception much. But I think that the process of actively disbelieving science has started from the top. Now, social media are instrumental in drowning out information, further accelerating the process and so far we do not have any real means to slow it down.
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