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News roundup for Tue, Jun 15, 2021

The US and France say China is having some sort of low-level but potentially serious radiation leak out of a nuclear plant in heavily populated Guangdong province. China completely denies there’s a problem. In any case, Hong Kong is not picking up any increase in ambient radiation, and this is what I’ll keep my eyes on: [embed]https://twitter.com/Suleman77W/status/1404306977409306626?s=20[/embed] People are having trouble finding propane tanks—orders may take six to eight weeks or mo

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News roundup for Fri, Jun 11, 2021

Ford’s all-electric F150 was certainly newsworthy, but this Ford is also rocking my world—a $20K hybrid truck! Number one, any hybrid that’s under $30k is exciting. But $20K? That’s outrageous. 40 miles to the gallon city, in a truck? It’s a very busy year—for ticks. There’s been a tick explosion in the Northeast since spring, and dog tick submissions are up 15% or more all over the country where ticks are found. Unusually warm weather in the spring and fall can drive tick booms

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News roundup for Tue, Jun 8, 2021

US traffic deaths are soaring. There were over 38,000 motor-vehicle-related fatalities in 2020, and the trend is still going. The rise in these deaths occurred in the context of the lifting of social distancing mandates. Speeding is up, folks not wearing seat belts is up, and fatalities rose even as the number of crashes declined: [embed]https://twitter.com/NatBullard/status/1400564654208860162?s=20[/embed] California’s ban on assault weapons has been found to be unconstitutional. The ju

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News roundup for Fri, Jun 4, 2021

I don’t understand the need to suppress communication regarding damage done by earthquakes, but apparently this kind of information suppression is  happening in some parts of the globe: [embed]https://twitter.com/RadioFreeAsia/status/1399878686590091264?s=20[/embed] Shell faced the Hague and the Hague proverbially smacked the company down. Shell has been ordered to reduce carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. New York City’s MTA was hacked in April. Data was not stolen, but multiple sys

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News roundup for Tue, Jun 1, 2021

Russian hackers exploited the USAID Microsoft email system—the same folks behind the recent SolarWinds hack. Welcome to the new world of near constant hacking exploits. Speaking of… a major global meat supplier has been hacked.  Factories have been shuttered in multiple locations around the globe, and some facilities and worker shifts in US plants may be impacted as well. 20% or more of the beef supply could be hit. Interestingly, the company’s stock price hasn’t (yet) plummeted:

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Discussions

I was really surprised, too. Especially since the confirmation that this thing is airborne and we’ve been seeing so much more in the news cycle about that. I think the Administration is taking a calculated risk here. They’re basing their statement on the data from Israel–when vaccination is ubiquitous, the numbers plummet and people can take off the mask. But the US is not Israel. Only 1/3 of Americans are currently fully vaccinated. I think the Administration is also hedging its bets that we’re nearing saturation of folks who actually want the vaccine. Most of the folks who don’t wear a mask to begin with also don’t want the vaccine, so this proclamation has little impact on them. It will impact fence-sitters most, especially those who are tired of wearing masks. I think they also know that people will get exasperated and say, “What good is a vaccine if we can never take off the mask?” But the most important question is if it is indeed safe for vaccinated people to take off masks when the population hasn’t hit herd immunity yet and there are a number of serious variants blooming all over. I don’t have the answer. My personal choice is to wait until we officially reach herd immunity before removing the mask in public, with the exception of the occasional visit to a sparsely-populated restaurant. And I will always keep my eyes on the variants. This probably deserves more analysis and data, but I’m not sure we have all the data we need yet. 

News roundup for Fri, Apr 23, 2021
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News roundup for Tue, Apr 20, 2021
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News roundup for Fri, Apr 16, 2021
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News roundup for Tue, Apr 13, 2021
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News roundup for Fri, Apr 9, 2021
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I was really surprised, too. Especially since the confirmation that this thing is airborne and we’ve been seeing so much more in the news cycle about that. I think the Administration is taking a calculated risk here. They’re basing their statement on the data from Israel–when vaccination is ubiquitous, the numbers plummet and people can take off the mask. But the US is not Israel. Only 1/3 of Americans are currently fully vaccinated. I think the Administration is also hedging its bets that we’re nearing saturation of folks who actually want the vaccine. Most of the folks who don’t wear a mask to begin with also don’t want the vaccine, so this proclamation has little impact on them. It will impact fence-sitters most, especially those who are tired of wearing masks. I think they also know that people will get exasperated and say, “What good is a vaccine if we can never take off the mask?” But the most important question is if it is indeed safe for vaccinated people to take off masks when the population hasn’t hit herd immunity yet and there are a number of serious variants blooming all over. I don’t have the answer. My personal choice is to wait until we officially reach herd immunity before removing the mask in public, with the exception of the occasional visit to a sparsely-populated restaurant. And I will always keep my eyes on the variants. This probably deserves more analysis and data, but I’m not sure we have all the data we need yet. 


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