Featuring VP Pence’s former homeland security, counterterrorism and coronavirus staffer Olivia Troye, this is a powerful (and eminently believable) indictment of our current president’s character and empathy. Worth watching.
Eric Topol does a wonderful takedown in his Medscape piece Dear Commissioner Hahn: Tell the Truth or Resign, calling out FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn’s derelict behavior re. several of his recent statements and Agency decisions, ones obviously in obeisance to political pressure. Worth a read.
I found Latif Nasser’s exposition on Benford’s (also known as the Newcomb-Benford) Law in the Digits episode of his Connected Netflix series a fascinating exploration of the topic. Yes, it’s about the non-intuitive, nonrandom frequency distribution of leading digits in many real-world numerical datasets, but trust me, Latif makes it kinda fun and interesting.
• Richard North Patterson takes a good look at how Trump has fueled the increasing American tendency (at least in some circles) to disrespect expertise: Trump and the American Idiocracy
• A good opinion piece by Hacker and Pierson in the Times re. the truly confounding notion that Republicans still have a chance in national elections despite the relative unpopularity of their policy choices: Republicans Think They Can Get Away With It. They Might Be Right.
• The Lancet has concluded that President Trump’s administration has had an “inconsistent and incoherent national response” to the pandemic, and accused the administration of relegating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to a “nominal” role.Their editorial concluded that Trump should be replaced in November. “Americans must put a president in the White House come January, 2021, who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics,” said the journal, which was founded in Britain in 1823.
• In Shira Ovide’s excellent On Tech essay of the same name in the NYT, Let’s Clean Up a Toxic Internet disparages the junk being thrown out there (e.g. the crafted misinformation of Pl**dem*c) by dubious actors who often stand to gain despite the secondary injury to the public. This carefully knitted crap, all designed to appeal to people’s paranoia and fears, is an insidious affront to science (and sometimes to democracy itself) and should be condemned. Ovide hopes that the larger social media purveyors will increasingly work together to identify and block this stuff and that we’ll all get better both at recognizing it and understanding how it is promulgated. Let’s work to promote truth over fiction.