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Everything posted by billvon

  1. billvon


    Two notes from the article: "We don't know yet anywhere near enough" to make decisions about closing borders. Well, that's the problem, isn't it? We don't know. If we close the borders and it turns out to be (say) less dangerous than Delta, we've created some economic and personal misery for minimal additional protection. If we leave the borders open and it turns out to be significantly MORE dangerous, tens of thousands of people might die. Which option there is preferable? "If Omicron turns out to be a fast spreading virus with mostly mild symptoms for the majority of people who catch it" then it could get us to herd immunity. Yes, that would be great. But there's that very important word "if" in there. It would be just as valid to say "if Omicron turns out to be a fast spreading virus that's more deadly than Delta, then opening borders prematurely could result in tens of thousands of deaths." Again, we don't know yet. She also says that in two weeks we will know more. THAT would be a good time to open up borders again if it turns out to be less deadly than COVID. But let's say it's about as deadly as the original strain and it also evades vaccine-based immunity. Wouldn't it make sense to use the same precautions we used back then to reduce serious illness and death? I would also note that she is basing her opinion that it's not dangerous on a total of about ten patients. (She doesn't mention the number, but she mentions that she just started to see them in ones and twos, and on one day saw five patients with it.) Keep in mind that the original strain was about 1% fatal and 5% hospitalization - so if she saw 10 patients (and all were healthy) she wouldn't be able to tell if it were any more or less dangerous than the original strain. You'd expect them to all have non-serious disease. Once she sees (say) 100 patients with it, we might get better data. Also keep in mind that even if it is exactly as dangerous as the original strain, we have better drugs/procedures/ventilator best practices/data from ECMO support, so that they are more likely to survive even if omicron is just as virulent as the original strain. That's a good thing - but it also means that if we see 1% death/5% hospitalizations from this variant, it's considerably worse than the original variant was. It sort of "resets" the advances we've made in treating it. But again we just don't know yet. It's likely that at some point most people will get a variant of this. If they get it after vaccinations, and after drugs like Paxlovid and molnupiravir are approved, then the death toll will be greatly reduced. Delaying pandemic waves until after that happens (i.e. most people are vaccinated and new drugs are available) the death toll will be greatly reduced. That seems like a worthwhile goal.
  2. Understanding such things apparently makes one a "joke" and is to be avoided at all costs. Ignorance is in.
  3. I'm not sure (I didn't move it) but I suspect it's due to the "It's really no wonder why has become more stagnant over time" content.
  4. Agreed. If there's one constant out there, it's that people misjudge landings - specifically vertical rate when you get to zero altitude. And when that happens, you are better off absorbing the impact with your legs than with your spine. "But my ankle is weak and I might break it!" - Yep. But better a broken ankle than paralysis.
  5. Have you (or the loft) inspected all those recent pack jobs to see if other tools/papers/items have been left in reserve pack jobs accidentally? Have they notified people jumping their pack jobs that they may be unsafe until inspected? Is there a plan to do so? A loft that accidentally leaves items like that in a pack job may have other problems (like getting the closing loop length right) that could lead to reserve hesitations. Inspecting other reserve pack jobs may reveal such an issue before it becomes a problem for someone. (And they may find other items left behind.)
  6. New slogan for the right - "Woke is a Joke and Hate is Great!"
  7. billvon


    Interesting! I knew it wasn't from Fauci but I had seen it recently enough that I thought it was specific to COVID.
  8. billvon


    I forget which science-minded person this was, but someone was talking to an anti-masker/anti-vaxxer about why both are important, and he said he got to a point where he didn't know how to explain to the anti-vaxxer that they should care about other people.
  9. Tell me about it! I know several women who bitch about rape all the time, even though it's illegal. I mean, isn't that enough for them? Heck, people even bitch about illegal immigration; you don't even have to look that up to know it's illegal. The word is right there. What more do people want?
  10. billvon


    Yep. At most it gives us a little more time. I'd be willing to bet, though, that there are dozens of omicron cases in the US right now.
  11. billvon


    But the UK has two cases of this variant; South Africa has 3000. So I can see a difference in response. Travel bans do very little to stop spread; there are just too many other ways for the virus to get anywhere. I would hope this round of bans expires when omicron shows up in the US.
  12. Lift is the net force acting on an aircraft to oppose gravity; it always acts perpendicular to the oncoming flow. In stabilized and fixed-altitude flight, lift exactly cancels weight (mass times gravity.) However, if you're in a turn, the lift vector is no longer vertical; it now points a little in the direction of the turn, and is the force that causes the aircraft to change its momentum vector. Also if you are descending it tilts forward a bit. That's why ram-air parachutes glide, because the lift vector provides you with some forward force to maintain your speed (against your drag.) The term "speed" is fraught with peril when talking about airspeed. Indicated (IAS) airspeed is basically how much air you are passing through per second. The higher you are, the less air there is, so the same speed gives you a lower IAS. It also determines things like lift and drag. Ground speed is how much ground you are covering, and can be different from IAS both due to altitude and descent angle. The true airspeed (TAS) is how fast the aircraft is moving relative to the air around it; it is the closest to what you are talking about above. But that only matters with respect to the air you are in. If you're about to hit the ground, what you care about is your velocity vector relative to the ground, and like you mention the energy goes up as the square of (relative) speed. And even then you probably care more about the vertical component of that velocity vector rather than the horizontal component (or even total magnitude.)
  13. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope everyone gets a chance to relax with family and friends before plunging back into the malestrom of Black Friday/Christmas preparation.
  14. Yep. And back then, the hue and cry about transgender people being in the "wrong" prison came to very little as well.
  15. Last generation telling the next generation "you're all a bunch of pussies! You're not tough and cool like we were! Now get off my lawn" is a timeless tradition in conservative circles.
  16. In 1980, the norm in California was to place transgender women in women's prisons, and transgender men in men's prisons. They based it on genitals, not biology. So yes, this has been going on for decades (and we've been dealing with it for decades.)
  17. billvon


    It does significantly reduce infection rates, though, and people who are vaccinated are less likely to transmit the disease if they catch it due to less serious symptoms. That's the good news. The bad news is that the vaccines do not confer as long-lasting a protection against infection as hoped for - and all three vaccines are less effective against Delta than against the original strain. (They DO confer long lasting protection against serious illness or death, however, due to the immunologic memory they create.) In a recent Oxford study, patients who got the Astra-Zeneca vaccine were just as likely to become infected as the unvaccinated three months after vaccination. Pfizer vaccines still maintained significant protection against infection three months later, although that protection had declined by about 50% from its peak, which occurred a few weeks after the second vaccination. What that means is that if you look at a population that's been vaccinated nine months ago with Astra-Zeneca their odds of infection are going to be about the same as the unvaccinated. And if their behavior becomes more risky as a result (i.e. "I'm vaccinated! Let's party!") then you could even see more infections in that group.
  18. billvon


    I'm waiting for "yeah - but look at Slovakia! Fauci can't explain THAT with his vaccine insanity!"
  19. Due to their gender identity? Or due to the fact that they are criminals? I mean, if someone associated you with the Nazi demonstrators at the Charlottesville Rally I assume you would take offense, and point out that just because you were on the same side of the aisle as those people, it did not mean you actually had anything else in common with them.
  20. You mean - like trying to trash an entire field of study (or even an entire religion) due to their outrage and moral indignation? I never knew you considered yourself so woke!
  21. Of course. Music does not drive culture; music is, however, a product of culture. And the culture that produced that music included quite a lot of transgenderism. (Even if people ignore the words, few people of that era have not seen Boy George.) Many people were no doubt ignoring it and hoping it would go away. But the idea that this "gender identity" issue is a new phenomenon that will wreak havoc with our society is, like I said, pretty funny. Again, no - see above. Also note that all the transgender people who we are seeing now who have transitioned did so years, often decades, ago. It IS likely that, like Pride parades, conservatives have simply been able to ignore it until now. Now that it is more difficult to ignore, they have gone from ignoring it to the same "Stop shoving it down my throat!" cry that they used while gay marriage legalization was in process.
  22. Except for Lola. One thing I find funny is that changing gender identity is seen as a new, hazardous, confusing and ultimately dangerous fad by a lot of conservative people. To which I think - have you not been paying any attention? That song was from 1970. Some others: "Got your mother in a whirl, she's not sure if you're a boy or a girl" - David Bowie 1974 "shaved her legs and then he was a she" - Lou Reed 1972 "who's got the new boy's gender" - Boy George 1982 "Here come Dick, he’s wearing a skirt" - Replacements 1984 "A girl called Johnny" - Waterboys 1983 "You make a really good girl /As girls go/Still kind of look like a guy" - Suzanne Vega 1992
  23. Exactly. Every resume is treated the same by all those white men who are 100% colorblind. And if a study shows that common black names get interviews less often, why - that's CRT or woke madness or a joke or something. Cancel it! Get back to ignoring the problem because we're all completely colorblind.
  24. And none other than Ronald Reagan signed that anti-gun legislation just as fast as his shaking hand could move the pen. You see - BLACK people were carrying guns! On the State Capitol grounds! While Reagan was there! Clearly emergency action was called for. The Mulford Act was written and passed under the Urgency Statute, a provision that allowed for very rapid passage of new laws to meet an urgent threat - in this case, armed black men.
  25. I would also suggest that this is nothing new. The KKK was largely a reaction to blacks challenging the position of whites - sitting at their lunch counters, defiling their women and "taking over" their businesses. They felt that if they could nip this in the bud, they could preserve their position in society. The conservative right's attacks on gay rights came from a similar place, fortunately with less lynching and terrorist activity. Here in CA the Mormon Church bankrolled the effort behind Prop 8, for example - they felt that if they could ban gay marriage in California, they could establish a "kind of firewall" that would save marriage from the onslaught of the immoral, godless gays. They pulled off a lot of tricks to make it look like they were not actually supporting a political measure, including sending out a memo saying “no work will take place at the church, including no meeting there to hand out precinct walking assignments so as to not even give the appearance of politicking at the church." (It's illegal for a church to do so.) This is merely the latest instantiation of that position - people afraid of losing privileges they once held.