Linus Torvalds tells anti vaxxers what for…

•Linus Torvalds, responding to an anti-coronavirus vaccine post on the Linux Kernel mailing list:

“Please keep your insane and technically incorrect anti-vax comments to yourself.

You don’t know what you are talking about, you don’t know what mRNA is, and you’re spreading idiotic lies. Maybe you do so unwittingly, because of bad education. Maybe you do so because you’ve talked to “experts” or watched youtube videos by charlatans that don’t know what they are talking about.

But dammit, regardless of where you have gotten your mis-information from, any Linux kernel discussion list isn’t going to have your idiotic drivel pass uncontested from me.”


"Get vaccinated. Stop believing the anti-vax lies.

And if you insist on believing in the crazy conspiracy theories, at
least SHUT THE HELL UP about it on Linux kernel discussion lists."

Go get em, Linus.
2021-06-13T19:58:08-05:00June 13th, 2021|HomeRecommended|

Democracy under siege, reported by those who actually study it

•The Statement of Concern regarding the current threats to American democracy, now signed by 120 (and counting) professors of public policy, political science, government, public policy, etc., tries to send a clarion call of alarm regarding the current actions of Republican politicians and legislatures. These actions will erode the will of the majority in an attempt to enshrine power in a minority that is increasingly out of touch with the electorate (and in some cases, reality).   An excerpt:

“We, the undersigned, are scholars of democracy who have watched the recent deterioration of U.S. elections and liberal democracy with growing alarm. Specifically, we have watched with deep concern as Republican-led state legislatures across the country have in recent months proposed or implemented what we consider radical changes to core electoral procedures in response to unproven and intentionally destructive allegations of a stolen election. Collectively, these initiatives are transforming several states into political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections. Hence, our entire democracy is now at risk.

When democracy breaks down, it typically takes many years, often decades, to reverse the downward spiral. In the process, violence and corruption typically flourish, and talent and wealth flee to more stable countries, undermining national prosperity. It is not just our venerated institutions and norms that are at risk—it is our future national standing, strength, and ability to compete globally.”


2021-06-13T19:58:28-05:00June 1st, 2021|HomeRecommended|

Shame on them

•More excellent work from Heather Cox Richardson in her 5/21 Letters from an American.  It concludes:

“Six months after the 2020 election, supporters of the former president are challenging vote counts all over the country as he continues to insist he won. His supporters stormed the Capitol to overturn our electoral process. And now our Republican lawmakers, who have taken an oath to defend the Constitution, are trying to protect their leader from accountability for inciting that insurrection.”

2021-06-13T19:58:56-05:00May 23rd, 2021|HomeRecommended|

Be afraid…

•Pay attention to what Tom Friedman says in his NYT opinion piece, “The Trump G.O.P.’s Plot Against Liz Cheney — and Our Democracy.” An excerpt:

“In effect, the Trump G.O.P. has declared that winning the next elections for the House, Senate and presidency is so crucial — and Trump’s ability to energize its base so irreplaceable — that it justifies both accepting his Big Lie about the 2020 election and leveraging that lie to impose new voter-suppression laws and changes in the rules of who can certify elections in order to lock in minority rule for Republicans if need be. It is hard to accept that this is happening in today’s America, but it is.”

And be very afraid.

2021-06-13T19:59:53-05:00May 11th, 2021|Home, Musings|

Perhaps a method to greatly reduce post wound scarring?

Gina Kolata has an interesting story in the Times – Imagine, Surgery Without a Scar.  The researchers, in an article published in the April 23 Science, found that inhibiting Engrailed-1 activation in fibroblasts remarkably inhibits scarring after wounding in mice.  If similar results are found in humans, this would be a great boon for many patients.

From the paper:

Wounds in adult mammals typically heal by forming fibrotic scars. Mascharak et al. found that a specific population of skin fibroblasts (Engrailed-1 lineage–negative fibroblasts) activate expression of Engrailed-1 and turn on profibrotic cellular programs in response to local tissue mechanics in wounds (see the Perspective by Konieczny and Naik). When mechanical signaling was inhibited in these cells (using either genetic deletion or small-molecule inhibition), skin wounds in mice no longer formed scars but instead healed by regeneration, restoring skin with normal hair follicles and glands, extracellular matrix, and mechanical strength.

2021-04-23T16:03:02-05:00April 23rd, 2021|Home, Musings|

An important verdict

•George Floyd mattered.   Let’s hope the long awaited accountability provided by this verdict is a first of many steps toward restorative justice for all Americans.

2021-06-13T20:00:14-05:00April 20th, 2021|Home, Musings|

What guns mean to Americans

Elizabeth Rosenthal has it right in her Washington Post commentary, I was a teenage gun owner, then an ER doctor. Assault-style weapons make me sick.:

“…the United States has undergone a cultural, definitional, practical shift on guns and what they are for.

Once mostly associated in the public mind with sport, guns in the United States are now widely regarded more as weapons to maim or kill — or to protect from the same. Guns used to be on a continuum with bows and arrows; now they seem better lumped in with grenades, mortars and bombs.”

4/8/21 AMA statement on curbing gun violence

2021-04-12T08:33:33-05:00April 11th, 2021|Home, Musings|

Some Perspective on COVID 19’s Impact

Embedded in out historical mindset was the toll taken by the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. Estimates of the deaths caused by that pandemic hover around 50 million worldwide, and 675,00 in the US; it’s too early to have really accurate data, but there are currently estimated to be about 3 million confirmed COVID deaths worldwide and some 560,000 in the U.S.  The American population was lower in the 1918 pandemic, and there was a much higher mortality among infants and young adults than that seen with SARS-CoV-2. Fortunately, we have much better medical care today with the widespread availability of supplemental oxygen, therapeutic intubation, ventilators, ECMO, pressors, etc., not to mention the incredibly rapid development and manufacture of highly effective vaccines. One can only speculate what the mortality rate for COVID might be if supportive medical care had remained in its early 20th century state.  Of course, the national approach to public health measures also matters a great deal, and it’s evident that the U.S. could have done better.

Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 deaths

Cumulative COVID deaths per million

2021-04-11T08:39:51-05:00April 11th, 2021|Home, Musings|
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