We're a little crazy, about science!

Posts tagged “news

COVID variants and our future

Awhile back I wrote a post on everything you needed to know about the COVID vaccine (here), I talked about the science, my experience with it (as someone who got vaccinated very early on), and more importantly why you should feel safe getting your shots too. Very ominously I mentioned that the target for the vaccine was the spike protein because it would (ideally, but not for sure) be conserved across mutations, well it’s time for an update and the news isn’t great.

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We interrupt your regularly scheduled programing…

This is not the post you are looking for. Error, please try again. Okay, seriously I need to get some work done today and I don’t have time to solve our mysterious mind control device problem that I posed yesterday, so today I’m going to give some quick thoughts on something totally unrelated because there isn’t time for anything else and while trying to figure out a header for this post (where I was originally going to say hey can’t talk today) I was reminded of max headroom. I genuinely don’t know that I’ve ever said that before, but here we are…

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Full speed ahead

Neither rain, nor sleat, nor pandemic, nor freezing to death stop us from moving forward. I think that’s how the PhD motto goes anyway. Since the past week we’ve been struggling to simply live, we’ve had the whole city sort of on pause. That pause has come to an end, there is no recovery period here, it’s straight back to work. That’s a feature of capitalism, not a bug and it isn’t limited to getting a PhD, but we’re definitely included in the back to work group.

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Surviving catastrophe: A how to guide

Well what a crazy time to be alive, a time where everything is trying to kill us. Okay I acknowledge that nature is one ruthless force, but a lot of what has happened in the past few days has been almost completely due to human greed. Between the global warming causing this “once in a lifetime” storm — that is certainly not once in a lifetime — and power companies more concerned about profit than human lives, it’s been a trial. People, real people like you or I, but with far more money, are trying to kill us. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

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I lived!

What a combo breaker, two years of dedication and daily blogging down the toilet because the government was trying extremely hard to kill me. I’m not mad, just disappointed, okay I’m very mad (in the government stuff, not my streak that’s not a big issue). Technically I’m not through the storm quite yet, the power could still go back out, but I have had power longer now than I have in the past few days. Long enough to write a quick update anyway.

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Well… the US is frozen

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… not in the fun way either. Here in the US we’re almost completely blanketed in freezing weather and in most cases, lots of snow. Which of course means power outages, rolling blackouts, and generally trying to prevent the state from letting me freeze to death. It’s a whole lot of fun, I highly recommend it. When the temperature drops like this I’m reminded of times in my life where I couldn’t find a warm place to stay and that makes me nervous for the people stuck outside right now.

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A violent transfer of power

Strap in kids, it’s inauguration day here in the US. Yep, Trump is out and we have a president again. My disdain for Trump is no secret, the amount of suffering and death he’s caused by his dereliction of duties, incompetence, and lack of empathy is incalculable and even with him gone, the damage he’s done will last at least a generation, if not more. Let’s be clear, this wasn’t a peaceful transition, the amount of military at the capitol says as much.

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COVID Vaccine: The second shot update!

Well today is a full day since I had the second dose of my COVID vaccine. I promised honesty and transparency so here it is, the second dose isn’t as smooth as the first. So we’re going to go over why that is, what my issues have been, and why it’s still very much worth it.

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On turning the other cheek

Unity, noun, the state of being united or joined as a whole. Less than a week after a failed attempt at a coup, the GOP is now calling for unity. Like a concerted and years long effort to overtake the government was some accident and we should just forgive and forget. I mean let the person who hasn’t tried to overthrow the government throw the first stone! No? Anybody?

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Not with a bang…

Well yesterday happened and wasn’t some weird fever dream I thought I was having. For those of you who aren’t in the US right now, good. For those of you who are and live in some underground fortified bunker with only internet access to my blog, weird, but we had a coup attempt. As in a literal attempt to overthrow the government. It’s okay though, because they were white supremacists and in the US we give them special treatment.

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Trump is out, but there’s still work.

Well today started off with me thinking it was going to be yet another election day. However, surprise of surprises, they finally called it. Biden will be our 46th president. We will have not only our first Black VP, but a Black Woman! I don’t particularly care for either of there politics, but it’s a baby step from the brink, so let’s take a day to celebrate because there is a lot of work to do.

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Neuralink: Beyond the hype

The sewing machine like robot that is the linchpin for neuralink.
The sewing machine like robot that is the linchpin for neuralink.

Brain machine interfacing, as someone who does research in the field and is getting a PhD in a brain machine interface lab, I think I’m qualified to comment on the progress neuralink. There’s a lot of hype out there, curing disease, ending paralysis, a world where we are part of the machine and the machine is part of us. Is it science fiction, or is there more to it?

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Day 321:Wear the damn mask

Daily Life In Belgium Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Today is just a simple plea to my readers. Wear the damn mask. It’s not that hard. When you go out you put on your clothes, you can put on a mask too. Since people seem to be making this a political statement now, I guess I can explain why it’s not one.

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Day 319: The (dis)information age

misinformation

Look around, we’re drowning in information. It’s an overload, we literally were not made to absorb this much information all at once. News stories bombard us with new bits of it. Social media is full of it. Ads promise you forbidden knowledge with this one weird trick. It’s no surprise it’s hard to tell what’s real.

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Day 309: No tests, no worries

head in sand

If I ignore my bills, I would have very few, if any. If that logic seems, well wrong, then I’m not surprised. Ignoring something doesn’t make it magically go away. Yet, Trump has touted, yet again, that if we slowed or stopped testing, we would have very few, if any cases of COVID19. I mean, with that kind of logic, you could have no more bills with this one weird trick!

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Day 308: Don’t be ableist

trump water

Believe it or not, there are some people who can’t even lift a hand, much less hold a glass of water.

For those of you just tuning into my corner of the internet, I’m a disabled vet. If you looked at me most days you wouldn’t know it, but not all disabilities are visible and my TBI, back issues, shoulder issues, knee issues, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, memory problems, PTSD, aphasia … I could keep going, but you get the idea. My disabilities are (mostly) not visible. So today I have a very simple request, don’t be ableist.

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Day 307: COVID19 and BLM or why you should wear a mask

statue

Despite the media blackout the Black lives matter protests are still going strong. To say I’m proud would be an understatement. Unfortunately with all the protests going on people are claiming that COVID19 isn’t as bad as people said it was, or that the protesters should stop because of the pandemic. The critiques all miss the point, this one simple trick will slow the transmission and it really works.

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Day 305: Trump, Godwin’s law, and history

Screenshot of Mike Godwin's tweet saying, "By all means, compare these shitheads to Nazis. Again and again. I'm with you."

Screenshot of Mike Godwin's tweet saying, "By all means, compare these shitheads to Nazis. Again and again. I'm with you."

Straight from the man himself, this is a very real tweet by Mike Godwin (Here).

Godwin’s law states simply “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” Coined by Mike Godwin, Godwin’s law is often invoked when talking about Trump or the horrid state the so-called US democracy is in. Here’s the catch, the law was suspended by Godwin himself when talking about Trump and company, for very good reasons.

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Day 304: It’s still just the first wave

COVID-19

♫ One of these things is not like the other… ♫

COVID-19 is making headlines again and news reports are claiming the second wave is here. Well, that’s not quite right, we never actually stopped the first. We literally cannot have a second wave of outbreaks if the first wave is still going strong, it’s just a continuation.

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Day 303: Police food fight

steakshack

Well here’s something I never thought I would have to write about, the food is all right. Contrary to reports by police, no one is poisoning their food. In fact, every time a new story comes up regarding tapered food and the police it turns out the officers involved were (surprise!) lying outright. There are strangely so many of these incidents that it’s hard to keep up with, what is it about police that makes them think it’s okay to keep lying?

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Day 287: Racism and our pale blue dot

pale blue dot

If I were to show you a map of the known universe the size of a large building, the spot marking earth and where this photo was taking would be overlapping. Feel small yet?

We don’t learn from our mistakes, the 1918 flu for example. We learned nothing from it and were doomed to repeat history when COVID-19 came around. Look at the news right now, any of this look vaguely familiar? It should, even in my lifetime we’ve seen this happen several times over, but nothing has changed. We refuse to learn.

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Day 286: On the militarization of police

Police violence

Photo from Slate

The US is under attack, not by some foreign power, but by the people tasked to protect us. The police have increasingly become more militarized and as such their power to incite violence has increased exponentially alongside its budget. Notice I said incite violence, not end violence.

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Day 285: Interesting times

twitter

Yet another disgusting and violent tirade from Trump.

My Co-PI lived through the fall of the USSR. I told him that must have been an interesting time to be alive. He responded by telling me that they actually have a curse for others that goes something along the lines of, “I hope you are cursed to live through interesting times.” We are living through interesting times now and I can see why that would be used as a curse.

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Day 283: Lies the police told me

police

Depending on who you are and your experience in life the police are either heroes that are looked up to or they are oppressors that are feared. The truth is that they are all part of the same racist system and that inevitably makes all police bad. You may not agree, that’s fine and I would bet that you are most likely white. To which I would say, it is okay not to notice the systematic racism until it is pointed out. It’s normalized, so why would you notice?

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Day 238: Well spoke too soon…

USS Roosevelt Outbreak Navy Guam

USS Roosevelt Outbreak Navy Guam

Yesterday I gave an update on the USS Roosevelt situation. It was basically an update to the predictions I made about how the military was going to handle it and it turns out I was on point. Today is going to be a short post, but I guess there is more to add to the story so let’s just go ahead and get started.

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Day 231: Coronavirus modeling – Part 4

Deadline

Still working on my model. It’s taking a little bit longer than I wanted it to take, but I’m getting somewhere finally… I think. In any case, I don’t have a lot of time for an update. So for now this is it. I’m making progress, but I still need to get it done before my deadline, which is fast approaching. Hopefully I can manage before then. Back to work I go!


Day 230: Coronavirus modeling – Part 3

Models

Comic by: XKCD

Well today will need to be short. I broke my model… on purpose, but it still broke. That means I need to go back and check my equations, make sure my assumptions are correct, then figure out why the heck I’m getting the results I’m getting. I have a good idea about what the problem is, I’m just not sure how I want to try to fix it.

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Day 229: Coronavirus modeling – Part 2

Here we have my estimated exposed population vs the measured infected population, the exposed population is calculated two ways, the first using our susceptible population dynamics (blue) and the second is using our measured infected rate (orange). This is compared to our measured infected since we would expect to see a much higher exposed (asymptomatic) population than infected (symptomatic) population, which we do.

Here we have my estimated exposed population vs the measured infected population, the exposed population is calculated two ways, the first using our susceptible population dynamics (blue) and the second is using our measured infected rate (orange). This is compared to our measured infected since we would expect to see a much higher exposed (asymptomatic) population than infected (symptomatic) population, which we do.

Here we have my estimated exposed population vs the measured infected population, the exposed population is calculated two ways, the first using our susceptible population dynamics (blue) and the second is using our measured infected rate (orange). This is compared to our measured infected since we would expect to see a much higher exposed (asymptomatic) population than infected (symptomatic) population, which we do.

I’ve made a lot of progress! Unfortunately, my model needs some more work and the code is pretty messy right now. For now, I’ll share some of my outputs and discuss what I need to do to finish my assignment. It turns out I have a few extra days to finish the work, I thought it was due Monday, instead it is due Wednesday. The slides and write up are going to take the longest so I’m still crunched for time even though I am mostly done. Let’s go over it.

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Day 228: Coronavirus modeling – Part 1

Coronavirus modeling

Well the CO of the Roosevelt just got reprimanded just like I predicted. Ever predictable as usual, thanks military. In any case, that isn’t what we are talking about today. Today we are discussing the coronavirus model I’m creating, why it’s important and why no one should believe a model. I’m being slightly facetious, but read on and I’ll explain. I’ll even share some of my model results, it’s not finished, but I thought it would be interesting to share anyway.

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Day 227: Coronavirus and the military response – Part 2

USS Theodore Roosevelt

USS Theodore Roosevelt

Sometimes I hate it when I’m right. The military is as consistent as ever and we have some unfortunate updates today regarding the crew of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. It is about what I expected, even with the public looking in and I think we can break down the response and I’ll go ahead and make my prediction for what’s going to happen next, spoiler, it won’t be pretty.

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Day 226: Coronavirus and the military response

U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt

U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt

Well I got word yesterday that the coronavirus found its way onto an aircraft carrier. For anyone who’s never seen one in person, because the pictures don’t do it justice, these things are huge. Think floating cities with the crew size to match. Inside an aircraft carrier, there are roughly 3,000+ people who work, live, and maintain the ship. The one in question, the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt has over 4,000 crew members and those are just the ones that need to be quarantined. This is bad for a lot of reasons. For those of you who haven’t served in the military, I’ll explain.

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Day 219: The county is on lockdown now

stay home limit travel save lives

stay home limit travel save lives

Finally. The county has asked that everyone shelter in place basically. Only go out if you need to go out. Everything is shut down and people seem to be taking this seriously (somewhat). While I am still pissed off about yesterday’s statements by the GOP, this is a good thing and I’ll take a win when we can get it. Unfortunately, there are some caveats to the lockdown and of course it affects me… (more…)


Day 218: You too are expendable

herd immunity

Well after yesterday’s post there has been a huge shift in rhetoric, so either the GOP reads my blog and thought it would be great to apply the same principle to America in general, or I just happened to guess right. I have to say, being okay with mass murdering a large portion of Americans seems like a bad idea, but clearly we have only the “smartest” people working in our government and not just the wealthiest… right?  For posterity’s sake let me explain since (I hope) 10 years from now someone reading this will have no clue what I’m referring to.

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The power of indifference an open letter to the scientific community

indifference

Suddenly your absent-minded thoughts are shattered by a loud noise. Quickly you look around, to the left of you, you see it, and a child has been shot, you see them bleeding heavily. People are standing around with their phones, some calling emergency services, some filming, but most looking confused and scared. No one is actively trying to help; you hear that they are afraid that the person, or persons, who shot the child is still around. What do you do next, do you choose indifference, or do you help?

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Our pale blue dot in the wake of destruction

The pale blue dot we call home

The pale blue dot we call home

This is our home, that pale blue dot, dwarfed by an arrow that takes up less space on your screen than this sentence. For all our “overwhelming” intelligence, if we flexed our mental might and developed a weapon to destroy this pale blue dot, it would almost certainly go unnoticed in the universe.

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