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October 12th, 2021|

Another valuable NYT The Morning essay by David Leonhardt, this time discussing the relative risks of Covid in the vaccinated elderly virus unvaccinated children.  Fortunately, children seem to be at very low risk themselves – probably the highest attributable risk that can be ascribed to them is inadvertent spread to those adults who are susceptible and at risk for severe disease.

October 5th, 2021|

A report from researchers at HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation found that vaccinations of Medicare beneficiaries were linked to a reduction in about 265,000 new Covid-19 infections, 107,000 hospitalizations, and 39,000 deaths in the U.S. between January and May of this year alone among Medicare beneficiaries (so this likely underestimates benefits to the entire vaccine-eligible population).

Recommended:

A nice video tribute to Steve Jobs posted by Apple: Celebrating Steve.  It includes some heartfelt words from his family, including this wonderful paragraph:

One of our greatest sources of consolation has been our association
of Steve with beauty. The sight of something beautiful — a wooded hillside,
a well‑made object — recalls his spirit to us. Even in his years of suffering,
he never lost his faith in the beauty of existence.

• Farah Stockman, writing in her NYT opinion piece “How Much Can You Trust That Generic Drug You’re Taking?” takes a hard look at how our national drug manufacturing capability has dramatically eroded, and how dependent we now are on offshore manufacturers with sometimes dubious quality controls.  This is an important topic, and definitely worth a read.  An excerpt that should concern you:

“A recent study based on data from Clarivate, an analytics firm cited in the White House report, was even more alarming. It found that, of the top 100 generic medicines that Americans consume, 83 had no U.S. source of active pharmaceutical ingredients. No American source existed for 97 percent of the most commonly prescribed antivirals and 92 percent of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics.”

• I always find anything done by Linda Greenhouse, who writes in the NYT on the Supreme Court and the law, worthwhile reading.  Her latest opinion piece, “God Has No Place in Supreme Court Opinions“, is especially worth reading (unsurprisingly, it reflects my own sentiments on the matter). An excerpt:

“Religion is American society’s last taboo. We can talk about sexual identity, gender nonconformity, all manner of topics once considered too intimate for open discussion. But we have yet to find deft and effective ways to question the role of religion in a public official’s political or judicial agenda without opening ourselves to accusations of being anti-religious.”


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.