July 31st, 2021

(no subject)

Two clips left a particularly deep impression on me over the last couple of days.

One is Pelosi's reply to a journalist:

Not the first of her such performances, of course; but nevertheless, as bad, if not worse, as Steve Ballmer on a stage screaming "developers" over and over at the top of his voice. Worse, because this hag holds a position of state power, and makes a statement that is not celebratory, as with Ballmer, but of epistemological nature, and so incredibly shallow and deeply religious at that, appealing to nothing but faith.

The other is a clip from CNN, where the host asks his guest, "do you believe [believe! what a word!] that masks work to stop the spread of the virus", and almost stops the interview when the guest gives a nuanced answer to the effect that, not necessarily:

"If we are having a conversation about whether masks work or not, I really believe the rest of this is futile," the host says, appalled. "Because we know that the science shows that masks work."

Do we? Do we know that cloth masks or regular surgical masks work? Didn't Fauci himself several months ago attempt to start the fashion of wearing two masks (the implication being that a single mask is insufficient)? Do masks worn with the nose hanging out, as is so often the case, work? Does the admission by the WHO, half a year or so ago, that the primary mode of transmission of the virus is through aerosols rather than with droplets, make any impact on the estimates of masks’ effectiveness, especially given that prior to 2020, the guidelines from "the science" were that surgical masks do not offer protection against aerosolized infections?

What is that anchor's epistemology? What is the source of his knowledge?


(no subject)

Another interesting example of a gap in sense-making.

"How do you test that this is the delta variant," asks a journalist the deputy White House press secretary. "How do you test that this is a dominant strain in the area when people just test covid-positive?"

"We [meaning the government] don't test it; we listen that scientists tell us that it is the delta variant".

Journalist: "What is [barely audible] the process for that?"

Deputy press secretary: "I don't even understand the question."

Is it reasonable to outsource the complicated cognitive functions to scientists and then to only listen to easily-digestible output from them? I guess so, although it makes mockery of the idea of informed electorate in a democracy.

Is it reasonable to expect a press secretary to understand, at a deep level, of how the knowledge behind what is coming out of her mouth is generated? I am not sure. Probably not, but would sure be nice.

Is it reasonable to wonder how the conclusion about the role of a variant in an outbreak is reached, given that the information about the infection status of a person is produced using either PCR or antigen tests, and none of them have sufficient power to identify a variant? Hell yeah.

Does the journalist know about genomic sequencing? If yes, then her question effectively is, what's the relationship between diagnostic tests for individual patients and genomic sequencing tests, i.e. whether all positive samples are then sequenced, or is there some random sampling going on, or is it something else? If not, she is just as clueless as the press secretary.

Is the question about the relationship between diagnostic testing and genomic sequencing (assuming that this is what she is asking) a valid one? Of course it is. Should the information about the process be easily available to anyone who happens to wonder? Of course it should.

(no subject)

A good episode of the Rebel Wisdom podcast where they invited Yuri Deigin to present an argument against Bret's ideas on vaccines and ivermectin. I've only watched the first half an hour of preliminaries, but I love (love!) Yuri's attitude, with his utter disregard to the size of his audience, the opinions of his tribe, or the credentials of a messenger. I don't know if it's a Russian thing — it certainly catches the British interviewer off guard — but I would love to see more of such attitude.

There is a moment (at 34-minute mark) where he makes fun of Bret saying, "what, you [Bret] haven't seen a fake study before? dude, just in your five minutes of analyzing studies, two or three were retracted". This "in your five minutes of analyzing studies" sounds spot-on. Whatever endearing qualities Bret has, he does not have the chops or the rigor of a practicing clinical epidemiologist or a data analyst from an adjacent field.

(no subject)

Cute; but as far as I understand, it is React that innovates on the apis and Preact (and others) that follows to maintain compatibility or familiarity. Take hooks for example. Or suspense. And now there are server components on the horizon...

(no subject)

Today I learned that "open-source" does not mean just having the source code in the open. I thought the legalities were only around the term "free software" which had to meet Stallman's four freedoms; but apparently "open-source" means also having some kind of license. What's the name for the code that is just open for anyone to see as opposed to hidden under seven seals in a person's or company's private repos? Publicly available?

(no subject)

Someone who self-identifies as a technical writer, among other things, begins her article How To Build An E-Commerce Site With Angular 11, Commerce Layer And Paypal in Smashing Magazine thus:

Why has any of these sentences been written, and for whom?