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Everything posted by CharonY

  1. My point is that actually that your comment misses the thrust of the issue. I think Arete gave a good example of context. I agree that the abstract in OP is poorly written and reeks of expertise overreach, but the idea behind is all about the scientific system not science or even nature in itself. Let's say you let a person conduct the experiment you mentioned, but is unable to write or speak English. They also do not know the Latin names of the chemicals. Will they pass the exam?
  2. It is partially true, but perhaps not universally so. A few key points, the dying from and with COVID-19 can bit a bit muddled, depending on whether a give jurisdiction separates that data. Looking back at 2022, the omicron waves have hit countries quite differently and I think what we start to see is a change in the immunity status of the population. For example, for Canada 2022 was the deadliest year yet, as Omicron has swept the country and reached vulnerable populations that were not exposed during the less contagious waves (in conjunction with public health measures). Now that Omicron has infected the majority of the population basically everywhere, the hope was/is that they may be more resilient when it comes to severe disease. Some data seems to show that with some areas having relative constant, COVID-19 specific hospitalizations, despite having increasing infections when new variants arrived at some of the areas I have looked at. In However, there are several issues with that. The biggest in my mind is that national data is at this point not terribly useful if you want to understand public health impact. In my mind, at the latest since Omicron the risk has shifted from individual risk, to population risk. Due to the massive and still not abating spread of Omicron lineages, our health care system is now systemically impacted. This includes obvious parameters such as hospitalization and death, but also increased risk of infection in vulnerable folks (e.g. cancer patients, immunosuppressed individuals, diabetic folks or otherwise vulnerable to inflammation). Whether you are hospitalized with or because of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 can cause complications. On top, we have lingering effects of sever inflammation and other issues, which ultimately put an almost constant pressure on virtually every health care system in the world. This has a ripple effect, resulting in excess health burden that simply would not exist without COVID-19. Especially in low population density countries, outbreaks have vastly different impact on the health care system, too. I.e. if the next hospitals is hours (or days!) away a few missing beds due to COVID-19 hospitalizations can have vastly more impact than in area where folks can be shuffled between hospitals, for example. So in aggregate I would agree that the COVID-19 situations is, as a whole, in a different situation than at the beginning of the pandemic, with rapid mass deaths being less likely (at least so far). On the other hand it is still a bit of a semantic trick. Even if we do not think of it as an emergency, folks will die on a daily basis, we will have continued pressure on our health care system and our overall health is still going to be impacted. Perhaps one can think of it as the aftermath of a Tsunami, folks are less likely to be swept into the ocean now, but if thinks are not fixed, risk of cholera and other issues will increase. There are also a couple of rather bad takes from the author of the article that I do not agree with. For example the assertion that the daily deaths in the US are comparable to a bad flu season does not take into account that those numbers would represent about 3-4 months of flu. In contrast in the post-emergency situation of COVID-19 that is rate that is mostly non-seasonal (i.e. continues throughout the year). I am also slightly perplexed why he picks out Denmark, when I believe the UK actually has actually segregated data. A quick check shows me that pre-COVID-19 England had somewhere between 1-2k deaths per year. In 2022 about 18k cases had COVID-19 as cause. Even if that was not stringent enough, and we cut it by half, at least for the whole year the situation does not seem that great. And I would also add that flu is not harmless. There is a reason why health authorities beg us to get vaccinated every year. And having two serious diseases circulating is going to put further strain on our health care systems. The tragedy is that once we move off the ledge, many think that the thing is over and it is time to have a picnic. In truth, the cliff is crumbling, and has for a long time, regardless whether we call it an emergency or not. Edit: I clicked through some of the links in the article and my assessment on the article is not improving. Some might be just mislinked, as they do not seem to show the data the author was citing. But perhaps worse, he is citing an author who publicly made false statements on COVID-19 and vaccines. I am not saying that the overall thrust of the article is inherently wrong, but the way it is built looks too much like cherry-picking to me. And if I were to write an opinion piece, I would stay the heck away from folks who have promoted falsehoods. Edit 2: One of the things I feel that is missing is an honest discussion of what kind of disease burden we, as a community, feel acceptable. This includes direct damages due to the disease, but also disruptions in our health care and related factors. Howe much are we willing to spend vs what kind of damages (including deaths) do we feel is justifiable for a given price? Edit 3: I should add the disclaimer that I am not an epidemiologist nor do I work on public health systems. As such this is really just my opinion based on my work and interactions with local health authorities as part of related projects.
  3. The reactions are obviously independent of the operator. However, the interpretation depends on the whole system that has been built around chemistry. The notations we use for example are the one that we found useful and therefore we teach it. Yet it does not mean that the ways we describe the reactions are objectively the only way to do it. In other words nature, is truly objective and independent of people. However, the way we investigate and interpret nature is not.
  4. Actually it is also based on a specific group of folks that have been trained a specific way. Reproducibility is important, but to various degree we establish threshold in which we accept variability for a given methodology. Threshold and methodology again are established by a specific group of people. Some things work out to be extremely robust and it gives a semblance of objectivity. Other concepts are or remain a less bound by nature and are part of what a group of folks have established to be useful in for their work. Species are such a concept, for example.
  5. Short answer is that it is not know specifically. Longer answer is a bit generic and encompasses arguments of weak natural selection, bottleneck in ancestral populations and sexual selection as Moon mentioned. There are a handful of more specific speculations but the genetics of pigmentation is somewhat complex. Some genetic variants influence pigmentation on different parts (i.e. not only the iris) and could for example be co-selected.
  6. Folks, you have not followed OPs logic properly. Remember things in the past are old, and old things don't work. Which is why everything older than 30 years ago is just garbage, everything 20 years ago is suspect, everything 10 years ago barely acceptable and everything we do now is new and exciting until 5 minutes ago. You clearly are not going with the times of disruptive technology, where nothing really exists or persists and where we re-invent a new wheel every time someone gets high.
  7. So there are quite a few studies in that area. In fact, there are studies trying to define and quantify homophobia (there quire a few papers on it from Hudson and Ricketts dating back to the 80s). These questionnaires try to build scores from questions including the level of comfort with getting sexual advances from a person of the same sex. An interesting finding from some of the earlier studies is that the level of discomfort is highly malleable. For example after actual interaction with homosexuals, the level of discomfort drops substantially. For example, from a small study on students in the 80s 61% of students were very uncomfortable but this drops to 18% in a group that had interaction with gay persons. Other studies show similar tendencies and generally speaking lack of familiarity seems to correlate with discomfort (and prejudices also play into it). As a whole I think it makes much more sense to think about this issue in terms of learned behaviour and specifically the level of discomfort is likely inversely correlated with how much you like or dislike a particular person, rather than the sexual orientation (assuming the absence of specific prejudices, which would influence the like/dislike in the first place). I am fairly certain that getting aggressive, unwanted attention from a person one thoroughly dislikes, even if they are of the opposite sex is more repulsive than a friendly flirtation from someone, who one is comfortable around, but just not sexually attracted to. I also think that goes doubly for women, as there is also a different level of higher (implicit or potential) physical threat, when the unwanted advances come from a man. That being said, I have zero inklings how one could make an evolutionary argument out of it.
  8. They could do it, if they so choose. They just should be aware that this is not an indicator of where they are intellectually. I.e. one should not misinform folks on the meaning of such measures. If you are doing well in something, you are doing well regardless of what your score might be, and vice versa.
  9. No, as John pointed out earlier, they were designed to figure out learning deficits. It is more about the IQ 90 rather than the 180 folks. And this is an awful way to decide a And this is an awful way to start an education. If there is no interest in the topic, the whatever the IQ is measuring is doing nothing. Universities are full of bright, bored and struggling students.
  10. Fair enough. I think the main magic component for the plot here is really the "not aging" aspect of it. That being said, I faintly recall sci-fi short stories in which artificial comas were used to save resources (e.g. in emergencies), though of course the reasoning remains dubious. Edit: In a way I think OP is seeking a solution to a problem that is a solution in search of a problem.
  11. But wouldn't that fall under suspended animation magic?
  12. What benefit would that have over having people living normally?
  13. There is some truth to that, and I really think in this context we need to distinguish between the aspirational goals of science, the science system in which it is taught and executed and finally the scientists themselves. Yes, leaving out identities is the ideal, yet it is not something that can realistically happen as research, teaching and learning cannot be done without context. To provide some random, not very thought out examples. For quite a while now, English is the de facto language of science. This has broad impact that native English speakers often do not consider. For example, it can be exclusionary for folks who might be great in science disciplines, but suck at learning a second language. It has an impact on high science is taught at the upper level and English-speaking institutions have a much easier time recruiting talent. There is also to some degree a rather (vague) philosophical line of thought (e.g. explored to some degree in Orwell's 1984) that language might shape our thinking and by extension could influence how we build scientific models and arguments. There is also the the argument to be made that the current science system, which includes the way we publish our results, how papers are structured how arguments are made, how evidence is provided and how we evaluate the qualities of scientific research, is born from an European traditions. While it does has the qualities we need in science (e.g. ability to self-correct), it is unclear whether alternative models might be preferred. Different research disciplines developed their own methodologies, but it still reminds me of phylogenetic trees, where adaptations are made to tackle specific challenges. However, as a whole the historic development has created a specific system with its own constrains that would make it very difficult to create a parallel system that could actually challenge it (even if it as a whole it might eventually work even better). I.e. the system has so much inertia that a complete revamping is almost impossible to do at this point. And I think the current science system shapes our thinking so much that quite a few folks use it synonymous with science as an ideal. Leaving your identity at the door seems a bit like such a case, where we have clear historic examples where identity not only guided what we learned (or did not learn) but also how we think about historic achievements. Watson/Crick and Franklin is an example that comes to mind. Watson and Crick were credited with figuring out the structure of the DNA, yet if we actually did pure data-driven sciences (and read Franklin's paper) it was clear that they just happened to be right. The actual data, on the other hand, was of insufficient resolution to unequivocally support their model (and Franklin's paper actually discusses that). So from a data perspective the structure of DNA was not clearly resolved. Yet, Watson/Cricks proposal, which ultimately turned to be right, was in a way folks jumping the ship and using their station to elevate their idea above the actual data. I.e. we see here two types of personalities or identities at play. One, that in my mind comes closest to the ideal of science, data-driven painstakingly doing the experiments and carefully interpreting based on the available data. Then on the other hand heavy propagation of an idea which was but one of several potential valid interpretations of available data. So even internally the science system simply does not work identity-free. That all being said, while I do the idea of recasting science attractive from a pure science perspective, as it is always good to figure out things that might potentially bias or limit science progression, there is the issue of inertia (i.e. changing things might make things worse, not better, at least in the short to mid-term) but also the fact that there is a risk of over-extrapolating social science models and approaches, which generally are on somewhat shaky grounds. On the other hand, I am in favour at least exploring ideas and figuring out why they might not work. In the long-term this might give as at least a rough idea what we can do improve.
  14. There is a bit of an argument to be made in the area of medical sciences, but chemistry (outside of historic contexts, perhaps) seems a very odd one.
  15. There is a good discussion to be had how this will affect teaching and especially academia, but that may be off-topic.
  16. Well, the US has supported the UK (and the Soviet Union) with materiel vial the Lend-Lease act a fair bit before that. But yes, the impact on WW2 should not be simplified as outlined by OP. A famous phrase was that WW2 was won with British intelligence, American steel and Russian blood. Since Brexit there are talks between UK and US regarding trade agreements, but the negotiations started 2018 and there is still ground to cover (though a range of products have been entered now). Ironically a lot of these negotiations are based on agreements the US had with the EU, which at that point also covered the UK. Now the wheel has to be reinvented because of Brexit.
  17. I do think that the issue is largely structural due ongoing trends in the university and granting system, which is increasingly streamlined across countries, rather than one of science per se, as already mentioned. Sometimes more make things less focused and harder, rather than easier. I also see more papers that try to reinvent the wheel, which in some cases is down to limited knowledge of older lit (and connected quality drop in reviews).
  18. There is also a massive expansion of literature, which in itself creates a problem of curation. You sometimes observe a divergence in lit on the same topic, e.g. because someone introduces a new term and younger scientists/students pick up on it, and miss lit that is older or lit that uses the original terminology. The fact that some discussion have moved to social networks such as twitter might have have accelerated this effect.
  19. Science as such won't stop as long as people remain curious. However, it might make sense to think a bit about science funding. In most systems, tenure and grants are given fairly conservative. At the same time, things need to be sold as groundbreaking all the time. As such, funding is more likely to be granted to something that seems to be just at the cutting edge of whatever current trend there is. Fundamental research is harder to get funded, as are thing that appear to far ahead. The only folks that tend to be successful with the latter are well-known researchers with a proven track record, a folks tend to assume that they are more likely to produce something groundbreaking. The issue with that is that really novel research is often serendipitous, but if you have to hunt for the latest trend all the time to feed your lab, you might not have the time and money to stop and follow up on surprising things. I have been wondering for a long time whether a more "random" approach to funding would be better. I.e. just cut off the really bad proposals and then randomize funds among those that pass. Big names would not get all the money and there might be a bigger diversity of ideas getting funded.
  20. Rather than using vulcanoes, there have been discussions about using sulphate aerosols directly (folks called it geoengineering). The big issue with these large-scale approaches are the uncertainties regarding the effects on various scales (local to global). A somewhat older review is here, but there will be newer material out there (https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2008.0131).
  21. If you are talking about a whole human chromosome, you can forget about it. Longest PCR products in one go using long range polymerase will get you maybe up to 40ish kb. What is wrong with amplifying a smaller (more realistic) target? Or are you thinking in terms of whole genome amplification? This is not standard pcr method and does not yield a singular product. It is more of a preamplification method to give more substrate for subsequent analyses.
  22. In addition, science is built on learning and understanding, which are active, time-consuming processes for all participants. Many are not that interested in science not because they are not exposed to it, but because they do not want or can't invest the time into it. Podcasts are a great way to make you overestimate that you have learned something.
  23. Another thing to keep in mind is that evolution is not purpose-driven. I.e. things do not start to develop because they might be beneficial. Mutations are random and depending on the starting point, there are certain constraints to how much and in which direction a body plan can change without causing problems.
  24. ! Moderator Note I think it is time for everyone to step back and take a breath. From skimming the topic it seems to me that a lot of the back and forth can be rather easily addressed. Since OP has a functional system, how about a short summary on its setup and function, including critical parameters (such as overall setup with details on filtration system, regular maintenance and so on) on this site would be beneficial, as opposed to referring to another forum. This would ground the discussion on something more concrete and would reduce the likelihood of getting personal.
  25. Mutations in early development could do that. But in early development tissues are not that clearly separated, either. I.e. we have a lot pluri-and totipotent cells doing the heavy lifting so, I do not think that mutations would necessarily be neatly contained (though it is not impossible, either).
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