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Everything posted by CharonY

  1. That is a salient question. Too often it is pointed out that someone did something that prompted to police to a presumably justified shooting. However, especially as someone who grew up with a different type police, I have to wonder what are the steps leading up to the fatal interaction, and why does it not happen that often in most European countries? Why is an interaction with a drunk and belligerent more likely to end in death in the US (or Canada, for that matter). One part could be police training, but is it really all? I found it befuddling when talking to my US colleagues and friends that they think that if you do not immediately follow police orders or if you startle them somehow, you risk being shot. And again, for someone growing up elsewhere this is just mind boggling.
  2. I am not entirely sure if it is really helpful, as most biological materials stored in a solvent will basically just look like the solvent (with a number of exceptions, I am sure, especially if they can be dyed). However, most are not stable for very long at room temperature and especially if some follow-up is intended they generally need to be froze. Some are amenable to freeze drying, but phospholipids tend to degrade during that process. But then it is not that you would be able to tell by looking at the sample.
  3. It think the basic issue for the lengthy argument that leads nowhere is that the assumption being made (more police interactions automatically lead to more negative interactions) fails to address the second dimension of the quality of interactions. If you reduce the likelihood of a negative outcome per interaction, you can obviously increase the number of interactions without also increasing the number of negative interactions. A simple example is looking at other countries where police shootings are extraordinary rare events. They reduce their issues not by having a smaller police force (in fact in many cases they are on average larger than the US) but by having a different system of policing. I suspect if that is not being acknowledged, we will go another round of identical arguments for a couple more pages.
  4. This is not exclusively matter of number of police, but type of policing. What you describe is typically known community policing. Unfortunately especially large police forces tend to forego it in favour of hard responses (certain narcotics and anti-gang groups are notorious for that). That being said, it is true that effective community policing often requires more manpower. But again, the important bit is to change the approach. In fact, studies have shown that increase in police force has to be balanced with policies. In areas where e.g. things like stop and frisk events increased due to increased police presence, there was no benefit in terms of crime reduction, but there was an increase in complaints and violent incidents. So having more force on the beat and building community connections is indeed a good way to reduce crime as well as complaints, but it has to be part of a larger package. In other words, it would make sense to defund the areas dedicated to the most aggressive measures (say, military equipment, heavily armed plainsclothes units and so on) in favour of hiring folks that get to know the folks that they are policing.
  5. CharonY

    Voting By Mail

    One of the rhymes I see is what is nowadays sometimes called "Identity politics". It builds a view of a us versus them and it is astonishingly successful in pushing otherwise unsavory folks to power. What has changed are the tactics and delivery methods (especially with the internet). But we still see very similar slogans used by those autocrats. It is always simple answers to big questions and almost quick to find someone to blame. In the Weimar Republic it was the communists and globalists (i.e. Jews) that threatened somehow the better days of Germany (which did not really existed for that long in the first place). Goebbels drew a picture of a country in peril from the inside and the outside and emphasized autarky and disconnection with the rest of the world. "Certainly we want to build a wall, a protective wall", he said. Within these walls there then will be a distinction between those that are loyal and thus worthy and the others. By making folks fighting them, they galvanize their base against a common enemy and obfuscate their own actions. At some point, it will become "the will of the people", which includes erosion of rights and descent into authoritarianism. It worked then, it works now.
  6. That is silly. Everyone knows that once the drawer is full, something inside will just jam it shut forever. I had to move twice to regain drawer space. With regard to OP, am not a medical doctor, but you might want to search the literature for congenital thumb anomalies and check if something fits the bill (or bring it up with your medical provider).
  7. There are a range of jobs that are often posted under titles such as data analyst, data scientist, data engineer and so on. They tend to represent different stages of the analysis process or different types of data and may require different levels of qualifications. Currently, data scientist is the top flavour in the realm of big data. Learning demonstrable skills such as R and python as well as some machine or deep learning methodologies can be a big advantage. In many cases the private sector wants to see a graduate level education but it depends on the level of the job. They often are fine with either statistics or computer science backgrounds, as long as you can demonstrate e.g. experience in the models they are interested in. With regard to job search, a big asset is demonstrating experience outside the class-room. So summer internship could be useful, but assisting in a research project (under a prof) using such skills would also work. The latter has the advantage that it might also help in finding a graduate position, if that is the desired path.
  8. The reporting system is to me a stronger indicator of organized central responses are going to be. There are countries with similar challenges (though being way smaller) which have been more successful than others. In most cases a strong coordinated response was the reason. Case in point, we got a rich, well-educated country high standard of living and much fewer issues with sanitation. But the response was half-hearted, to say the least.
  9. Most likely. In a country of that size implementing effective containment is difficult. However, surprisingly China had a decent success to keep it contained, (even if they do underreport). But I do not understand the Indian system well enough to comment. The little what I heard is that their reporting system is mostly inadequate, which does not bode well.
  10. Here is an interesting paper examining responses to COVId-19. It focuses on Europe but it highlights how important coordinated efforts are:
  11. Just a guess, but maybe you cannot drive to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam and/or Alaska? The latter being loophole that Canada tries to patch as folks do not want diseased folks from the South. Which, btw., is fricken ironic.
  12. That's fine, the issue is that one has to be very careful with extrapolating things, especially if the basic assumption is flawed. Such as that evolution only happens under certain challenges. The reason for being careful is of course that there are certain folks that weaponize such misunderstandings or flawed premises to create narratives that imply inferiority of certain groups.
  13. Do you mean in direct competition or overall efficiencies when comparing to a large state? What Canada has also done is trying to create a better supply chain for PPEs but also chemicals for required for testing. While Canada tried to help provincial labs and other test labs to get needed stocks (including asking research labs for unused chemicals at the beginning of the pandemic) in the US each state needed to secure their own supply and outbid each other, as well as the feds, which also outbid several states in the process. So even with California's buying power it meant that prices went up and on top, the fact that it is harder to secure a supply chain, it also meant that they needed to stockpile more, and thereby creating more scarcity.
  14. And it should be added that in Canada feds heavily supported provincial responses, e.g. by negotiating and buying PPE in bulk on their behalf. Meanwhile, in the US the feds made the states outbid each other for PPE access and helped private contractors to enrich themselves in the process.
  15. According to an article (in Vanity Fair of all places), the bumbling response in the US was not only sheer incompetence on the top, but also strategic: So far COVID-19 has killed over 155,000 people. In comparison, flu killed an estimated 24-62k throughout the 19/20 season (in addition, of course). And the deaths are trending upwards. Edit: and on top the WH decided not to have the CDC collect and publish COVID-19 data but rather now want to do it themselves. Certainly nothing shady going on here.
  16. Actually, the issue is that he says that he wants to solve the problem.. but he is not qualified to do so. What I prefer is a politician who a) surrounds her/himself with competence and b) has the political acumen to implement the suggestion they receive. Trump currently does neither. And Yang is not selling me on that part, either. If he learns how to navigate politics and at least organizes his ideas so that it becomes clear what he intends to do politically. That being said, it is of course difficult to convey that in a typical primary- there sky high promises are being made and with no track record it is difficult to assess what happens.
  17. Well, the issue is that the anti gun control lobby has opposed safety regulations that would require guns stored safely. Accordingly, accidental gun deaths relative to population size in the USA are about 5 times as high as in countries such as Canada. There is also the weird mindset (mostly in the USA) that you need your gun locked and loaded as quite a few folks think that they need to defend themselves in a moment's notice. This, of course, increase accident risks.
  18. Dopamine receptor levels can decline during exposure to prolonged stress, IIRC, which has been found to be associated with changes in cognitive function and motivation. However, while dopamine is involved in the pleasure pathways, it acts more as a motivator by seemingly linking pleasurable feelings (such as elicited by endorphins) with the motivation to feel them again (I imagine it as a pathway reinforcer, but am not sure how accurate that would be).
  19. Evolution is never a need. It is just something that happens if the genetic composition of a group starts changing. This can be due to random events, but also due to selective pressures (i.e. there is different reproductive success). With regard to human origins, DNA evidence strongly support divergence from a central group originating in Africa. From there we have multiple waves of migration. Also note that skin colour as a whole is only a tiny part of our genetic history, it is mostly historical baggage that emphasizes it so much.
  20. No, it their vitamin D levels are, on average, lower. While this increases risk somewhat, only a small subset actually develop a disease.
  21. I think that is a very "tech" way of thinking and perhaps paradoxically what I did not like him as a candidate. Many folks like him think that that all problems are just like a difficult equation and thinking very hard about it will solve them. Moreover, they think that they are qualified to do so, even if it is way outside of their expertise. A professional politician on the other hand is not an expert except in the political arena (which includes governing and/or lawmaking), which are the important skills (and ideally backed up by experts to figure the right policies out). The issue is that many problems we have is because things are stuck in politics, not because we do not know the solutions. The war on drugs, for example is a massive failure on almost all metrics. Yet there is political unwillingness to move from there. Likewise, the health system and so on.
  22. CharonY

    Biden’s VP Choice

    My gut says Rice with absolutely nothing to back it up. I have zero insights into what the Biden campaign is gunning for or what their strategy is (other than let Trump do the talking). Most likely because I am buried in COVID-19 literature, ugh.
  23. alfa05 has been banned due to continuous spamming and failure to engage with the community after several warnings.
  24. Nope that is not how it would work. For the most part organisms do not know what adaptations are going to work (and even with extensive research it can be difficult to tell). Rather what happens is that the conditions the organisms live in create so-called selective pressures. What it basically means is that certain genetic traits are more likely to reproduce than others. But different pressures can have different strengths. So let's say lack of sunlight is a strong pressure. Also assume that folks with more melanin (i.e. who are darker) produce less vitamin D are are prone to vitamin D deficiency. What fist needs to happen is that there are either already folks with lighter skin in the population or that at some point mutants arise with lighter skin. Let's further assume that this make folks less likely to reproduce so mutants with less melanin may be more successful in reproduction and over many generations the pool will be dominated by them. However, unless the selection is super strong, there is likely always going to be a mix. If a population is relatively homogeneous, more often than not another aspect is important, the so-called bottleneck effect. This is when there is a small starting population where drift can play a large effect, resulting in small population with low genetic diversity. This is one of the reasons why in Africa we have a large genetic variability compared to Europeans. On top of it there are other random effects which have nothing to do with geography. For example if a in a population no mutations for blue eyes occur (which is basically traced to a mutation in a single gene), there will never be blue-eyed folks.
  25. Actually the most likely scenario are neutral mutations. In most species there is a large space where mutations happen, but nothing changes on the physiological level. In viruses and other condensed genomes mutations are more likely to have an effect. But due to the high production rates many deleterious mutations are not observed as they do not get transmitted or even out of host cells in the first place (e.g. if the particle is not fully formed). Those that have been monitored so far are, again, mostly neutral, though the latest research indicate a potential new mutation that could be more effective in transmission (though not validated yet). While this often happens, it is over a longer time. What basically happens is that if a less harmful strain emerges in parallel with a deadlier one, over time there is a certain likelihood that the deadlier version spreads slower (as its host keeps dying). After a certain while, the less harmful one may become dominant. However, especially in this case it may take much longer, as the death rate is not terribly high and especially among folks that are very good at spreading (i.e. younger folks) the symptoms are relatively mild. There is evidence that there are long-term damages to the lung, even among those that recover, but that is unlikely to be detrimental to its spread. Wait what? First time I have seen that. Is there an article about that that you could share? Edit: Looks like one of those viral social media thingies. I.e. more rumors than anything https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/people-collapsing-coronavirus/ Those things add confusion to the current situation which is not really ideal.
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