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Everything posted by CharonY

  1. I missed the comment, but I have read that the charges laid (third degree murder and second degree manslaughter) may actually have made the situation worse. Many black folks feel that the strategy behind those charges (finding the safest charges that may stick) is in crass contrast to what is often the strategy leveraged against poor and black folks (throwing the book at them to see what sticks, then force them to plead out).
  2. Well, he flip flopped on China quite a bit, praising their strongarm responses (including some favourable views on the Tiananmen massacre), Now he is strongly against China because of his own mishandling of the COVID-19 situation. And I will re-iterate, folks had much more munition to blame China if they had actually had started implementing measures to stop it once it was out of the bag. But only a handful of countries actually did. Don't get me wrong, the information policy in China is abhorrent and it is clear that autocratic regimes are not good partners to combat such international crises. However, their failures should not be used to detract from own failures. It means that one needs to up ones own pandemic game and that the role of international agencies have to be strengthened and not diminished.
  3. I may be going slightly off-topic here, but I like to chime in that while the historic elements are clearly directed against black folks in the US system, the undercurrent is not too different how most countries deal with immigrants. I have always been annoyed how folks, say in Germany, claim to have no systemic racism (or bigotry or whatever floats your boat) problem. But the the truth is that different folks experience the same society in different ways almost everywhere. This is obviously not only along racial lines, gender socioeconomic status etc. are also such elements. However, race (and gender) has always been a visible element at the intersection of these issues. Immigrants always had to work harder and make less mistakes and maybe (but only maybe) they might be seen as something approaching equals. This is something that many folks learn, and it makes sense when they arrive in a new country, but kids in the third or fourth generation get fed up with it. African Americans (and obviously indigenous folks) have been there since the beginning. And it must be way more frustrating to be part of the country for so long and still held at arms-length and still being being scrutinized and blamed for each misstep (which others are allowed to make). Some folks essentially summarized it as a breach of the social contract and ask the question why folks should adhere to it, if they are not accepted to be a full part of it. Edit: I should add that in the US the overall much higher lethality of the police force exacerbates all the underlying issues, whereas a more peaceful society would continue to simmer at a less dramatic level. Edit2: Another thing to add is that especially black communities are hit way harder by COVID-19 than white communities. Economically, health-wise and educationally. The whole situation has highlighted massive disparities.
  4. The study exists it is a pre-print by Qian et al and it was actually one outdoor outbreak involving two cases. The study looked at 1245 confirmed cases and 318 outbreaks overall (the main list was over 7k but some where excluded from the final list) . One of the reason is also because outdoors folks have typically less prolonged contact. One known outdoor outbreak involves a person talking to an infected person, highlighting that prolonged contact can also lead to infection outdoors. However, the majority of outbreaks (~80%) occurred at home.
  5. I may have missed it somewhere but I think it is worthwhile to re-iterate that current data suggest that COVID-19 spreads via droplets rather than aerosols. I.e. most models use a parabolic ejection. There are a few suggestions that it may exist as an aerosol, but most data is not terribly compelling at this point. As such, assuming droplet as the major source of non-contact infection, there are only limited options for ventilation to assist in that regard. Bottom up flow would likely increase the range where the droplets spread and the same goes for lateral flow. It has been discussed earlier that removing droplets before hitting someone is probably technically not feasible, which leaves downward flow. But that has to be mostly laminar otherwise we might get into turbulent mixing which would could keep particles longer afloat rather than dropping down.
  6. The issue here is a lack of direct evidence (e.g. identification of a related coronoavirus in goats). It is a fairly reductionist approach as the total case number is not merely a function of population, but is dependent on a variety of factors such as: a) number of travel-related cases and when they arrived b) measures (or lack thereof) implemented by the government c) infection clusters-evidence suggest that cases cluster together and only spread somewhat slower outside these clusters so travel within a country is also relevant and perhaps the most important factor: d) testing rate, Indonesia has very low test rates (as mentioned above) and also a relative high positive return on tests, further indicating undertesting.
  7. Now contrast that with someone else: https://medium.com/@BarackObama/how-to-make-this-moment-the-turning-point-for-real-change-9fa209806067
  8. ! Moderator Note Kindly lay off the ad hominems. Note that Ken Fabian did not downvote your posts; other folks did it (not that it matters).
  9. There have been so many "last" straws, I have lost count. Just a few months earlier, a black jogger was murdered by gun-toting folks but that was not all, while he was jogging he accrued at least two 911 calls, one of them calling because a black guy was running down the street. I am not sure whether this incident will be remembered as extraordinary either. There have been so many mind blowing incidences. Remember John Crawford III? He was killed in a walmart after handling a BB gun in the toy aisle while on the phone. You know, in a store where they also sell real weapons in an open carry state. Police came in after an idiot made a 911 call about a black man brandishing a gun. He was killed before he could he could even react. No charges were laid. Philando Castille is another prominent incident. I submit that these incidences will imprint folks very differently. Even if it ends up non-violent, there have been a string of 911 calls on black folks who did nothing out of the ordinary. Sure, this case seems to be more gruesome than some of the others. And perhaps more importantly, it has been captured on video but many folks do see it as part of larger system of disenfranchisement. The police is not felt as protective agency, at best it is seen adversarial. A common interaction can turn lethal, with higher frequency for some folks (yes, not exclusively, but if embedded in historic experience it sure is heavily slanted). The measures of securing wealth have been systematically moved out of reach. Political powers have been and are continued to be minimized. And to add insult to injury, folks in power deny the experience of minorities, especially of black folks.
  10. So apparently they are trying to remove liability protection. Which in the end could backfire- after all it would mean that the companies would then have an incentive to remove posts that may be construed as, say, call to violence. But it is interesting to see what the US government is focusing on- twitter wars and keeping folks out of the country.
  11. I think it would work best if you could give a specific example of the type and complexity of things you are able to work on. Let's take one example (where I am interested in) which is quite amenable to tinkering: microfluidics. There is a whole range of applications including MEMS, lab-on-a-chip, biosensors and so on. You could take a look at those systems and maybe think a bit a) whether that is something you would be interested to learn about and b) what level of tinkering you would be able to do (e.g. reproducing a particular design in a different system or designing new systems, etc.). The field is quite a bit more established than it used to be, so there are already tons of designs and ideas out there so making something novel slowly becomes more difficult. Conversely, it means there is a lot to read up and get inspired in.
  12. I cannot see a way where he can directly do that, I would think that it is in direct conflict with the first Amendment. That being said, there indirect ways which could achieve similar goals, such as de-legitimization of outlets, creating news monopolies and so on. Another route specifically for social media could make unattainable demands or to remove means of monetization.
  13. In water sciences alkalinity typically refers to overall buffer capacity rather than pH itself, which is a measure of proton concentration. So if you have low alkalinity, small addition of acid would rapidly decrease pH for example. The main buffer in most environmental systems (and our body) is bicarbonate but other dissolved species can also contribute.
  14. There is a lot being said here regarding getting to know a prof, but I think that this is not the key issue here. The main challenge is that the pitch it unclear and as a researcher I would not see an immediate actionable beneficial path. Ultimately, academics are busy and I would need to know why I should invest time into something incredibly vague. Considering that the pitch is very broad it is not clear what precisely the provided expertise is, who is going to pay for materials and so on. Basically OP is proposing a rough idea and hopes that folks buy into it. But that is generally not going to happen. One will need to make at least some headway into demonstrating that whatever one provides has the potential to be useful and make the investment from the researcher worthwhile. Ultimately, commitment to a collaboration is an investment of time and time is the most limited resource we have. It would help immensely if OP could outline specifics so that folks can look at it and see whether there is potential for them or not. It would also help to inform oneself on already commercialized automations. For example, pipetting robots are very helpful for high-throughput analyses. But they require high precision and are therefore very expensive. Other folks (myself included) also occasionally develop new analytical schemes. We often buy, say pumps, PMTs and so on and try to make them play nice via labview or similar. What new would OP bring to the table in that area, for example? A cold call is in its essence a sales pitch. You are trying to get folks interested in something and considering the time constraints you always need to make it pretty clear what is in for them and what is the expected investment. If you want skills you need be specific in what they are and what you can deliver, for example. The way OP is phrased it basically reads like "I have certain skills, please outline a project to which I could apply them for- I will work on it and at some point (?) we might commercialize it". This is not a very attractive pitch as it does not have a scope or even an outline how one might imagine a collaboration to work. There are various ways to create interest, and I usually only respond when I see at least some way forward. The same will be for most other folks, our inboxes are overflowing and we literally only have a few seconds to deal with such requests otherwise we will never get to the end of the list (and honestly more than a few get lost in the process).
  15. I wished that was true, but there are other groups (typically, but not exclusively on the right fringe) that share rather weird ideas and conspiracy theories regarding the pandemic.
  16. There are different measures of death rates that are often used interchangeably in the press. However, the calculations are different (and it does not help that the lingo is often mixed in different disciplines). But first with regard to the last flu season, the numbers are not fully in it and the 0.1% are "typical" values. However, estimates are not even fully done for the season before last and this season there are still only estimates, which will be heavily confounded by the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g. due to stress on the health system in many countries). The 0.1% you have seen are based on overall estimates, not specific seasons, there are some which are worse, others which are better. Going back to the estimates. What is often mixed up are the following terms: Infection fatality rate. This is what you probably think about and which is ratio of death based on total infected folks. The problem is that these values are only ever estimated as infections are missed or not systematically tracked. The other more commonly used one is the case-fatality rate which is based on diagnosed cases only. The latter will have a higher fatality rate than the former. Making it more complicated, flu is often not verified by laboratory testing but based on symptoms. This skews that data further and we get what is often called the symptomatic case-fatality rate. I.e. the proportion of symptomatic patients that eventually die. I.e. non-symptomatic patients would not be counted here. Based on the estimates of asymptomatic influenza carrier the infection fatality rate is estimated to be half to down to a quarter of the case-fatality (i.e. 0.025-0.05%). Then we also have the crude fatality count, which dominated much of the press reporting, which is just taking what actually have been measured so far. But as we know, there is a lot of undertesting which results in yet higher fatality rates (i.e. the 2% and higher you might have seen). There are different papers out there modeling the infection fatality rate for COVID-19 and I have seen values ranging from 0.3-1.6%. Now what is only half of the story when we talk about disease burden. The other half is understanding how many folks are actually at risk getting sick. Due to immunity within the population and availability of vaccines as well as properties of the virus itself about 3-11% of the population (using US-estimates) each year are usually sickened by influenza. Due to lack of immunity the number folks that may get COVID-19 (without barriers in place) is estimated to be between 50-80% (assuming folks that get sick develop immunity and do not get sick again). So taking together based on current estimates (which by no means are final) the difference is at least sixfold if we only consider infection fatalities rather than mixing) and we have got an about 10-fold higher pool of susceptible folks. I.e. serious as the flu is, COVID-19 has clearly the potential to become worse without protective measures as countries, including the US are finding out.
  17. The paper is out now (well yesterday): https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31208-3/fulltext
  18. How US-centric can one get? Jeez.
  19. This question is actually quite tricky when it comes to humans. The reason being that it is difficult to associated specific bacteria (or even communities) with overall better outcomes. There are often so many confounding factors that makes it difficult to pinpoint benefits of particular bacteria. In addition, it is possible that much of the benefits is based on community actions, which might further be influenced by interactions with the host and diet. To the best of my knowledge we basically have a set of bacteria that we know to be common gut bacteria with little pathogenic potential and there is the assumption that that they at least confer passive benefits (e.g. inhibiting pathogenic bacteria). There are some suggestions based on a specific conditions (e.g. looking at the gut community of folks with certain health issues or by extrapolating known metabolic activities that could be beneficial). However, so far we do not actually have a good grip in understanding what gut flora is actually really healthy and how to get it. The effects of pre- and probiotics are not very reproducible, for example.
  20. In the early days (i.e. a few months ago) antibiotics were commonly administered as the damages in the lungs seemed to favour bacterial infections. Now, recommendation seem to be monitoring for co-infections and administer as needed. There is indeed no special consideration regarding viral co-infections that I am aware of (which does not mean much).
  21. I took your comment as the assumption that folks in those times died well before they reached 60 years of age. However, after childhood, folks actually did get older. However, it would be true that there would be fewer persons of higher age (but it is just not true that folks barely reached 60). So that is another possible misconception. The health effects are not entirely age based, and certainly not "not a huge deal" for younger folks. Even among below 60 years old plenty of folks required modern treatment, ranging from antibiotics to ventilators. Without those, the fatality rate would go up significantly. But then there are other factors that appear to influence susceptibility. Lung and cardiovascular health seems to be a big one, and theoretically folks could be healthier in that regard. But that would be difficult to tell. And on the not a huge deal part, I should add that there is now significant evidence that even folks that recover from COVID-19 often show evidence of lung tissue scarring. There were expected reductions in lung performance, but so far it is not clear how much folks will recover. Also, it is not what precisely impacts the pathophysiology of the disease. But so far there are no strong indications of host factors that would help. In contrast, much evidence points to access to healthcare as a bigger determinant.
  22. CharonY

    Today I Learned

    I think that goes a bit far. Horizontal gene transfer does indeed make certain things complicated, but there are conserved elements that can be used to re-create relationships somewhat reliably, even among prokaryotes. The issue is only there if you want to figure the history of a specific locus, rather than that of the whole organism. I.e. you can still construct neat (i.e. reconstruct relationship) if you want. The part that is probably the most problematic ones are likely the transition to eukaryotes. The high likelihood of endosymptiotic events makes their history quite messy at that point.
  23. 1) is a misunderstanding. Prior to the the bubonic plague folks that reached adulthood were expected to live well above 60 years. 2) yes that is a big one. But note that even if take a disease from modern times, such as the Hong Kong flu- in the US an estimated 100,000 folks died. For COVID-19 the US is at over 93k now. So responses are also a factor (I think some would also argue for population size, but in case of disease spread it is less of an issue, as folks do not stochastically become sick, they need to be in contact, which goes back to isolation measures). When it comes to the value of the graph, to me it says that despite all the tools of modernity at hand, we are still struggling with disease outbreaks. Not sure what else one could read from that, considering the pandemic is not even over yet.
  24. Well they found a few more clusters in Wuhan, but in response they want to test everyone. If they do, there is good chance for further containment.
  25. Pretty much. As the lockdown has reduced the number of active cases, an increase will be slower than before. Especially with heightened awareness. There are isolated reports of some local increase in cases, though. But if contact tracing can be maintained, it might be controlled.
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