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On Childhood Vaccinations

Zeke Emanuel and Matthew Guido write in the NYT about declining childhood vaccination rates in the US, leading to inadequate levels of population “herd immunity” and therefore increasing the risks of outbreaks.  They advocate eliminating nonmedical exemptions for vaccinations and allowing children 14 or over to get immunized without parental permission.   I agree.

2022-12-29T18:13:55-05:00December 29th, 2022|Home, Musings|

Thank you and best wishes, Tony Fauci

• I’ll be sad to see the wonderful Tony Fauci step down from his role at the NIAID.  He’s a wonderful man, and a true icon — especially for physicians like me who practiced through the beginnings of the AIDs epidemic and the subsequent discoveries of effective treatments. We’ll miss his resolute leadership and integrity.  He has a parting message “to the next generation of scientists and health workers” published in the NY Times.

2022-12-15T18:15:08-05:00December 15th, 2022|HomeRecommended|

An American Tragedy, Indeed

German Lopez, writing in the NYT’s “The Morning” newsletter, writes on the toll of firearms on child mortality in the U.S.; an excerpt:

“Guns are now the No. 1 cause of deaths among American children and teens, ahead of car crashes, other injuries and congenital disease.

In other rich countries, gun deaths are not even among the top four causes of death, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report found. The U.S. accounts for 97 percent of gun-related child deaths among similarly large and wealthy countries, despite making up just 46 percent of this group’s overall population.”

The NY Times Magazine has a story on the lives some of the children killed by gun violence lived.

2022-12-15T17:53:50-05:00December 15th, 2022|Home, Musings|

Give DJT his orange jumpsuit already…

• Philip Rotner, writing in The Bulwark, lays out an excellent timeline re. the evidence accumulated against the ex-president in the theft of government documents.   An excerpt:

‘The slow drip of information about Trump’s mishandling of those documents, which has lately become a gusher, seems to have had a hypnotic effect on the public. Each new piece of information is duly reported, but quickly cedes its place in the news cycle to the next one. The collective public reaction has become more “That’s Trump for ya!” than “Why isn’t this man in jail?”

He should be.

Take a step back. Get away from the drips and look at the complete picture revealed by a timeline of the saga of the stolen documents. Ask yourself, “What would the government have done to me if I had done this?”’

2022-12-13T19:26:48-05:00December 13th, 2022|HomeRecommended|

Fusion!

Very cool stuff; about a megajoule’s worth of net positive energy output from a lab fusion experiment at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  We have ignition!  Not ready for steady state energy production (likely not for several decades), since it took 300 megajoules of electricity from the grid to power the relatively inefficient lasers’ delivery of 2.05 MJ to the target —  but a promising demonstration.  Read about it in the NYT here.

2022-12-13T12:38:21-05:00December 13th, 2022|Home, Musings|

Petrocorporate greenwashing

• Some things do stay the same – corporate whitewashing now extends to greenwashing, as petrochemical dollars are spent to slow electrification and obfuscate efforts to do so, all while trumpeting purported efforts to reduce emissions.

• House Oversight Committee Document release

• CNN on Big Oil disinformation

• Reuters on how old lobby teams up with fishing industry to fight offshore wind farms

• And a big culprit – the “Texas Public Policy Foundation

2022-12-13T19:29:02-05:00December 12th, 2022|HomeRecommended|

How have we gotten here?

• Thomas Edsall has a good essay in the NYT, where he wonders what it would take to remove the hold DJT apparently has on so many.   Edsall’s last paragraph sums up my question nicely:

“Which gets to the larger question that supersedes all the ins and outs of the maneuvering over the Republican presidential nomination and the future of the party: How, in a matter of less than a decade, could this once-proud country have evolved to the point at which there is a serious debate over choosing a presidential candidate who is a lifelong opportunist, a pathological and malignant narcissist, a sociopath, a serial liar, a philanderer, a tax cheat who does not pay his bills, a man who socializes with Holocaust deniers, who has pardoned his criminal allies, who encouraged a violent insurrection, who, behind a wall of bodyguards, is a coward and who, without remorse, continuously undermines American democracy?”

2022-12-07T14:30:05-05:00December 7th, 2022|HomeRecommended|

More excellence from Matt Levine on the crypto crisis

Matt Levine delivers another excellent Money Stuff piece on the house of cards known as crypto exchanges; an excerpt, where Matt is comparing this crisis to the 2008 financial crisis:

“A quick summary of 2008 is that there was a lot of demand for safe assets, for bonds with AAA ratings. The financial system obligingly manufactured those assets, taking risky assets — mostly subprime mortgages — and packaging and slicing them to achieve AAA ratings. There was so much demand for safe assets that the manufacturing process got sloppy: The subprime mortgages got ever more subprime, the slicing and repackaging got less effective, and ultimately some of the safe assets turned out not to be safe. 

Something like that seems to have happened in crypto but there is a critical difference. In crypto, there are no mortgages to speak of. You cannot really start by taking some somewhat risky cash flows and tranching them to make some of the cash flows safer. There are no cash flows. The safe assets in crypto — interest-bearing accounts at Voyager or Celsius or BlockFi or Gemini — are created by making unsecured billion-dollar loans, negotiated in a single phone call, to arbitrage trading firms that are actually just making long-term bets on the marketing abilities of blockchain entrepreneurs. Crypto shadow banks did not manufacture safe assets out of risky investments; they just relabeled the risky investments as safe assets. There were people taking wild speculative risks on brand-new, sentiment-driven crypto projects, and there were people who wanted to invest safely and earn 8%, and they were the same people.”

2022-12-05T15:48:58-05:00December 5th, 2022|Home, Musings|
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