January 8th, 2022|

Congratulations to NASA, the ESA, and the CSA today as the Webb Space Telescope hit a major milestone – the 5 solar shields had previously unfolded and positioned, and today the 18 hexagonal segments comprising the primary mirror completed a successful deployment and locked into place.  One more burn before it gets to L2!

January 7th, 2022|

From Paul Sax’s HIV and ID Observations blog:

“What I’m about to write does not in any way to diminish how awful the pandemic is right now for just about everyone. But looking at the evidence and clinical experience on severity, I’m going to poke the beast and conclude that Omicron does appear milder.”

His post and corroborating data here.

Fingers crossed it really is the case, and that Omicron can outcompete any new more virulent variants that might appear.


• Heather Cox Richardson discusses elements of the proposed Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. It’s worthwhile reading.

From the January 11 2022 Annals of Internal Medicine. An all too familiar reminder:

Osita Nwanevu has an excellent opinion essay in the New York Times discussing the unfortunate systemic representational inequities in the United States: Trump Isn’t the Only One to Blame for the Capitol Riot.  An excerpt:

“At no point in his political career — not a single day — has Mr. Trump enjoyed the support of the majority of the country he governed for four years. And whatever else Jan. 6 might have been, it should be understood first and foremost as an expression of disbelief in — or at least a rejection of — that reality. Rather than accepting, in defeat, that much more of their country lay outside their ken than they’d known, his supporters proclaimed themselves victors and threw a deadly and historic tantrum.”

The silos social media and the internet have made possible have enabled the creation and reinforcement of this alternative reality; it’s all too easy to avoid evidence to the contrary.

Kim Stanley Robinson does a superb job of rendering climate change’s near future earth in The Ministry for the Future.  Warning – the book’s first chapter is one of the most harrowing I have ever read. The author says “the situation we’re in is radically dangerous” and thoroughly convinces you that it is so. Interwoven throughout are some possible social, scientific, and economic interventions that may be of value – or ultimately necessary, solutions that may result in a reduction in global inequality. Ezra Klein’s most important book of 2020, one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of the year.   Bill McKibben writes in the NY Review: “Kim Stanley Robinson’s new book is a gift to the world–a novel pitched perfectly to this precise moment in the climate crisis.” and “The New Yorker once asked if Robinson was “our greatest political novelist,” and I think the answer may well be yes.”  Hopefully reading this work will inspire many to work for change. Read it.