August 22nd, 2020

(no subject)

On the unreliability of Google and of Google-based archeology: here it's dating pages containing covid-related words with pre-covid dates:

(no subject)

These are troll tactics of present-day twitter wars.

A tweet by a vigilant leftie:

the screenshot of a line (looks like a bit of json; don't know whether it was just lying around in the html or what she meant by the source code):

If I'd have seen an html page with what looks like bits of overlooked incriminating evidence lurking in the html, I too would have probably believed that Shapiro had had something to do with the site, e.g. created it to highlight it in his media. But the reality has a better lesson to teach, and this lesson is, you can't fully trust what you see on the internet. The real creator of the site turned up, and confessed that the site was intended as a joke, and that:

as an aside joke, i thought it’d be funny to drop ben shapiro’s name and public email into the source code. i figured that in a few weeks someone would see it and maybe people would annoy ben. what happened is that someone thought that ben started the site and rumors went wild. the daily dot asked for a quick interview and i gave one in order to stoke the flames because… well… fuck ben shapiro.


(no subject)

A bizarre fragment from Tucker. He shows a clip of Ana Navarro (I've heard the name a couple of times, but it's the first time I saw her on the screen) talking about (as far as I could understand from the clip) how happy she was with the non-whiteness of the DNC convention.

"It was all about representation. My little melanated cynical heart, my immigrant melanated woman heart felt so full last night".

That's when I learnt the word melanated :-) And was amazed to see that this woman, whom I'd have taken for white if I'd seen her on the street, thinks of herself as not being one. So weird.

(no subject)

I don't normally read Meduza, but I opened it today, got lured by a catchy headline, and ended up comparing a short Russian article with its English translation.

It was an amusing exercise. Although quite decent, and clearly done or edited by an English-speaker; the translation still bears the characteristic signs (some of them defects) of a translated text. In some places, even when there is nothing Russia-specific in the original, the translator feels the need to add clarifications. And in one place, the translator tried and failed to build a mental model of what's described in the original. All of that, I repeat, in an overall very decent translation.



Что случилось?

Алексей Навальный находится в коме с подозрением на отравление. Что конкретно с ним произошло, насколько можно судить по открытым источникам, до сих пор не установлено. Главный врач больницы скорой помощи № 1 города Омска Александр Мураховский сегодня рассказал о «рабочих диагнозах» Навального. «Основной из этих рабочих диагнозов, к которому мы больше всего склоняемся, — это нарушение углеводного баланса, то бишь нарушение обмена веществ. Вызвано это может быть резким понижением сахара в крови в самолете, что вызвало потерю сознания», — сказал Мураховский.

What happened?

Prominent opposition politician Alexey Navalny is currently in a coma; the result of suspected poisoning. Judging by information from open sources, what exactly happened to him remains unclear. Earlier today, the head doctor at Emergency Hospital Number One in the Siberian city of Omsk explained that the team treating Navalny had established a “working diagnosis.” “Among [our] working diagnoses, the main one that we are most inclined towards is a carbohydrate deficiency, that is, a metabolic disease. This could have been caused by a sharp drop in blood sugar on the plane, which caused a loss of consciousness,” said chief physician Alexander Murakhovsky.

  • "Prominent opposition leader" is a useful kind of inline comment to provide non-Russian readers with the context that's implicit for the Russian readers.

  • The original нарушение углеводного баланса (carbohydrate imbalance) is vaguer, because it does not say anything about the direction in which carbohydrates got out of balance. The translation, with its "deficiency", clarifies the original. This will come back to haunt the translation later.

  • The original does not use the word disease. Indeed, the next paragraph will emphasize that the suggested "imbalance" is not a specific known nosology, but rather a syndrome. The translation, again, avoids this vagueness by offering the "metabolic disease" instead of something more amorphous, like metabolic dysfunction

Что это за болезнь такая — «нарушение углеводного баланса»?

Это не какая-то конкретная болезнь, а состояние, которое может быть связано с самыми разными причинами: от недоедания до редкой наследственной нехватки некоторых ферментов. В Международной классификации болезней (МКБ-10) есть отдельная глава, посвященная такого рода заболеваниям. Слова Мураховского о понижении сахара в крови заставляют предположить, что в качестве диагноза среди нарушений обмена углеводов рассматривается один из вариантов потери сознания, связанный именно с уровнем глюкозы в крови.

What does he mean by a ‘carbohydrate deficiency’? Is it a disease?

It’s not exactly a specific disease, but rather a condition that can be linked to a variety of causes, including things like malnutrition or rare, hereditary deficiencies of certain enzymes. The International Classification of Diseases (a diagnostic tool maintained by the World Health Organization) includes a separate chapter dedicated to these types of illnesses. Murakhovsky’s claims lead to the assumption that loss of consciousness — due in particular to a decrease in blood sugar — is one of the symptoms that led to the diagnosis of a metabolic disease (specifically, a disorder that affects the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates).

  • What's absolutely hilarious about this paragraph is that the translator is adding a comment to a term she sees in the Russian original. We use to say, so often that it’s almost become a running joke, that English-speaking authors have higher expectations of their readers and so are not particularly worried about using high-brow words or specialized vocabulary, while Russian translators and editors have a much lower opinion about the readers and pepper the translation with comments. Well, as this paragraph demonstrates, it works both ways. The original is perfectly happy with just mentioning the ICD, while the translation adds a footnote about it.

  • The last sentence is translated very loosely.

От этого действительно можно потерять сознание?

Да, можно. Мозг потребляет значительную долю глюкозы, которая поступает с пищей или вырабатывается в организме, поэтому при резком снижении ее уровня в крови мозгу может перестать хватать энергии для работы. Но у людей, не больных сахарным диабетом, уровень глюкозы в крови постоянно регулируется прежде всего инсулином и глюкагоном, и при необходимости недостаток глюкозы восполняется из запасов, хранящихся в печени и других органах. Потеря сознания случается редко, врачи называют ее «гипогликемической комой», а в просторечии — «голодным обмороком». Обычно это явление кратковременное и купируется оно тоже просто — назначением глюкозы внутрь или в виде инъекции.

«В большинстве случаев такое состояние вовсе не требует медицинского вмешательства, чтобы завершиться благополучно, — говорит эндокринолог Ольга Демичева. — Если же человек поступает в клинику, тем более с потерей сознания, то среди тех исследований, которые в обязательном порядке проводятся, одно из первых — это определение уровня глюкозы в крови. Другими словами, диагностируется это состояние очень быстро. Насколько я знаю из средств массовой информации, Алексей Навальный уже вторые сутки находится в больнице — поэтому предполагать, что только сейчас, вдруг, было обнаружено снижение глюкозы в крови, по меньшей мере странно. По клиническим признакам гипогликемия в такую картину развития событий не укладывается».

С ней согласна Евдокия Цветкова, врач-эндокринолог, медицинская журналистка, ведущая научно-медицинского канала «Эндоновости»: «Стремительно, с резкой потерей сознания, в условиях относительного здоровья, то есть когда не было предшествующих жалоб, может развиваться именно гипогликемическая кома. Диагностируется такое состояние почти мгновенно — это можно сделать прямо в автомобиле скорой помощи. При должном лечении длительная потеря сознания для нее не характерна, а вернуть человека в сознание можно буквально на кончике иглы — путем внутривенной инфузии раствора глюкозы. Можно было бы предположить, что случилась задержка с купированием гипогликемической комы, вследствие чего развился инсульт головного мозга, — но заключение МРТ, которое было уже опубликовано, такое развитие событий не подтверждает. Другими словами, на гипогликемию эта ситуация не похожа».

Can you really lose consciousness because of this?

Yes, you can. The brain consumes a significant amount of the glucose that comes from food or is produced in the body, so a sharp decrease in the amount of glucose in the bloodstream can result in the brain no longer having enough energy to function. But unless you have diabetes, the glucose levels in your blood are constantly regulated, primarily with insulin, and any lack of glucose is replenished from reserves stored in the liver and other organs. Loss of consciousness rarely happens — the technical term is a “hypoglycemic coma,” commonly known as fainting from hunger. This loss of consciousness is typically short lived and can be easily corrected by eating or injecting glucose.

“In most cases, this condition doesn’t require medical intervention in order to safely [stop it],” says endocrinologist Olga Demicheva. “If a person is admitted to a clinic, especially with loss of consciousness, determining their blood glucose levels is among the first mandatory tests. In other words, this condition is diagnosed very quickly. As far as I know from the media, Alexey Navalny has been in the hospital for two days already — therefore, it’s strange to suggest that they’ve only just now suddenly discovered a decrease in [the level] of glucose in his blood. Based on the clinical symptoms, hypoglycemia doesn’t fit into the picture of the course of events.”

Dr. Evdokia Tsvetkova, the endocrinologist and medical journalist who hosts the scientific medicine channel Endonovosti, agrees. “A hypoglycemic coma can develop rapidly, and with severe loss of consciousness, in a relatively healthy [person], that is, [someone] without any prior complaints. This condition can be diagnosed almost instantly — it can be done right in the ambulance. With proper treatment, long-term loss of consciousness isn’t characteristic, and you can literally render a person conscious with the tip of a needle — through a glucose solution IV. One might think that there was a delay in treating the hypoglycemic coma, resulting in the development of a stroke, — but the results of the MRI, which have already been published, don’t point to this turn of events. In other words, his situation doesn’t resemble hypoglycemia.”

  • It's funny how the first paragraph has lost glucagon and has only kept insulin, the hormone the readers are most likely to be familiar with.

  • "Admitted with loss of consciousness" or "determining blood glucose levels" are probably not very idiomatic

  • The beginning of the last paragraph does not emphasize the diagnostic logic that is present in the original (out of various comas, it is the hypoglycemic coma that develops so suddenly).

  • Severe loss of consciousness -> sudden?

  • "Render a person conscious with the tip of a needle" — can't remember whether I've seen this expression in English-language texts, but I doubt that with is the preposition they want. It's the "recovery at the prick of a needle" sort of metaphor.

Так может быть, у Навального диабет?

В таком случае об этом должны были быстро сообщить, а кома все равно не была бы такой длительной.

У больных диабетом может развиться более серьезное состояние. У них из-за нарушений выработки инсулина возможно повышение уровня глюкозы выше нормы, которое не компенсируется поступлением глюкозы в клетки. Из-за этого может развиваться состояние, которое называется кетоацидоз, которое сопровождается сильным обезвоживанием, и человек может впасть в диабетическую кому.

«Даже если предположить, что у пациента был диабет (о чем нет никаких свидетельств), такие состояния легко диагностируются, — объясняет Евдокия Цветкова, врач-эндокринолог, специалистка по медицинской информации, медицинская журналистка, ведущая научно-медицинского канала „Эндоновости“. — Для этого даже не нужен простой глюкометр — есть хорошо известные врачам характерные признаки, запах ацетона изо рта и т. д. И потеря сознания при таких состояниях тоже достаточно быстро купируется при лечении».

Is it possible that Navalny has diabetes?

If that were the case, the doctors ought to have reported it very quickly, and he wouldn’t have been in a coma for so long.

People with diabetes can wind up in very serious condition. Even with a high level of glucose in their blood, it’s possible that it won’t enter their brain cells. This is due to an insulin malfunction, which prevents the absorption of glucose from the blood. This can cause the brain to lack energy and provoke loss of consciousness.

“Even if we assume that the patient had it [diabetes] (there’s no evidence of this), such conditions are easily diagnosed,” Dr. Evdokia Tsvetkova explains. “You don’t even need a simple glucose meter for this — there are characteristic signs well known to doctors, the smell of acetone from the mouth, etc. And, in these [cases], the loss of consciousness is quickly corrected once treated.”

  • Again, it's funny how the translation adds a clarification (brain cells), where the original doesn't. Funnier still is that it's the result of a wrong translator's hypothesis about the pathophysiology of the coma in diabetic ketoacidosis, which she must have mistakenly formed while trying to make sense of the condensed Russian original. She must have assumed, incorrectly, that in this case, as in hypoglycemia, the cause of the coma is brain cells starvation due to the lack of insulin; but in ketoacidosis, the problem is not the starvation (there's plenty of glucose, and it freely crosses the blood-brain barrier), but the change in the pH and osmolarity of interstitial fluids that affects the brain cells.

  • Нарушения выработки инсулина is insulin deficiency rather than malfunction.