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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#17321 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-December-29, 16:59

TBH I would actually prefer STEM people to be doing STEM and leave politics and other humanities related stuff to those skilled at that
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#17322 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-December-29, 18:52

View Postthepossum, on 2020-December-29, 16:59, said:

TBH I would actually prefer STEM people to be doing STEM and leave politics and other humanities related stuff to those skilled at that


Angela Merkel seems to know what she's doing. Boris Johnson doesn't.
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#17323 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2020-December-29, 19:04

View Posthrothgar, on 2020-December-27, 06:24, said:

Last and not least, an awful lot of what happen's is going to depend on the Georgia elections in a week and a half. If the Democratic Party loses then Biden's ability to effect change in general is going to be incredibly limited.

Well the TV commercials here are nauseating. I'm glad you don't have to suffer through them in Massachusetts. Warnock's, primarily, are "Kelly Loeffler made money in the stock market." Loeffler's, primarily, are "Warnock ran over his wife's foot in a domestic dispute." Ossoff's, primarily, are "Perdue made money in the stock market." Perdue's, primarily, are "Ossof's a communist." Sadly, the useful idiots on both sides of the spectrum buy into this kind of bullshit. It's very depressing. I may start drinking.
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#17324 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-December-29, 19:07

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-December-29, 18:52, said:

Angela Merkel seems to know what she's doing. Boris Johnson doesn't.


Maybe there some different cases and different cultures. Angela Merkel seems to deal with the politics in that context - its very different

I have serious concerns about many STEM people and their perspective on things outside of nice academic models

I think 2020 has highlighted many of the potential dangers of too much power in one particular small group - a group, sadly some of whom do not really care about anything or anyone much outside their models

If we don't have the full breadth of everything understood and represented, and have those with the capability to understand the full breadth of everything and its complexities the world is headed down a very dark and dangerous path

But to put it scientifically, everything is extremely multivariate (and I mean in the sense that most people wouldnt even understand). And many of those with huge power and influence are very univariate in outlook. Sadly also I imagine (without proof) that any multivariate model to model all the considerations is actually infeasible/impossible - therefore it requires complex democratic processes with people who understand that

EDIT PS I think I've said elsewhere that I am rather unhappy at whoever put S, T, E, and M together in the first place. They lost something important when doing it
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#17325 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-December-29, 20:43

View Postthepossum, on 2020-December-29, 19:07, said:

Maybe there some different cases and different cultures. Angela Merkel seems to deal with the politics in that context - its very different

I have serious concerns about many STEM people and their perspective on things outside of nice academic models

I think 2020 has highlighted many of the potential dangers of too much power in one particular small group - a group, sadly some of whom do not really care about anything or anyone much outside their models

If we don't have the full breadth of everything understood and represented, and have those with the capability to understand the full breadth of everything and its complexities the world is headed down a very dark and dangerous path

But to put it scientifically, everything is extremely multivariate (and I mean in the sense that most people wouldnt even understand). And many of those with huge power and influence are very univariate in outlook. Sadly also I imagine (without proof) that any multivariate model to model all the considerations is actually infeasible/impossible - therefore it requires complex democratic processes with people who understand that

EDIT PS I think I've said elsewhere that I am rather unhappy at whoever put S, T, E, and M together in the first place. They lost something important when doing it


Note by the way that I did not say that I necessarily wanted STEM as a prerequisite for being President/PM or Chancellor. What I said was 'running the show'. The reasonable meaning of that is "let the people that are experts do the things they are expert at without interference" - the opposite of which is happening in the United States of let's grab as much money from everyone else and the others can starve. Hopefully, that culture will improve on Jan. 20 2021.

Apart from that little clarification, your concerns are, of course, yours.
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#17326 User is online   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-December-29, 20:57

View PostChas_P, on 2020-December-29, 19:04, said:

Well the TV commercials here are nauseating. I'm glad you don't have to suffer through them in Massachusetts. Warnock's, primarily, are "Kelly Loeffler made money in the stock market." Loeffler's, primarily, are "Warnock ran over his wife's foot in a domestic dispute." Ossoff's, primarily, are "Perdue made money in the stock market." Perdue's, primarily, are "Ossof's a communist." Sadly, the useful idiots on both sides of the spectrum buy into this kind of bullshit. It's very depressing. I may start drinking.


There is a big difference between "Made money in the stock market" and "Used their position in congress to facilitate insider trading"
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#17327 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-December-29, 21:15

View Posthrothgar, on 2020-December-29, 20:57, said:

There is a big difference between "Made money in the stock market" and "Used their position in congress to facilitate insider trading"

You still think you can have some sort of reasonable debate with the BBF racist-in-chief, Richard?
(-: Zel :-)
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#17328 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-December-29, 21:25

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-December-29, 18:52, said:

Angela Merkel seems to know what she's doing. Boris Johnson doesn't.

Merkel is not standing for re-election and has the authority to follow the science. There was some resistance at first from state level but she was able to force it through and that coordinated response has proven to be very effective.

Johnson is in quite a different position, with a very strong right wing pushing him towards premature re-opening and business-friendly policies, with potential serious leadership challengers waiting in the wings. He has therefore not been able to follow the science and has had to try to balance the two. This has meant that the UK has consistently had a higher transmission factor than Germany. In addition, local challenges have been greater and any national coordination has been cloaked in heavy politics rather than showing any overarching strategy. All I can say is that I am thankful for dodgy Donald in this regard, since America's response has been so bad it stops Britain being the laughing stock of the world. On this topic at least - Brexit is obviously a different matter entirely.
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#17329 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-December-29, 22:52

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-December-29, 21:25, said:

Merkel is not standing for re-election and has the authority to follow the science. There was some resistance at first from state level but she was able to force it through and that coordinated response has proven to be very effective.

Johnson is in quite a different position, with a very strong right wing pushing him towards premature re-opening and business-friendly policies, with potential serious leadership challengers waiting in the wings. He has therefore not been able to follow the science and has had to try to balance the two. This has meant that the UK has consistently had a higher transmission factor than Germany. In addition, local challenges have been greater and any national coordination has been cloaked in heavy politics rather than showing any overarching strategy. All I can say is that I am thankful for dodgy Donald in this regard, since America's response has been so bad it stops Britain being the laughing stock of the world. On this topic at least - Brexit is obviously a different matter entirely.


Do you read the threads before you comment or do you just like to flame and troll people? I'm finding it hard to tell.
You do understand that Merkel has a PhD in science (Chemistry/Physics) right. Please explain what your comment has to do with the original point.
Clearly, the German experience of having a person that understands rational thinking during the COVID crisis has proven useful. Don't forget that the first vaccine was invented because of the work of Turkish immigrants to Germany.
In complete contrast to "Operation warp whatever" where they are happy about lorry's and can't even get that right.
In WW2 when Florey and Chain discovered and produced penicillin (I knew one of the people through whose urine the first batch was purified), the Americans stole the IP. Florey then had to make sure that Oxford patented the next -cillin. Yet another example of useless British governance.
The number of British comedies based on the incompetence of the British civil service and government is legendary.
Parkinson's law, Yes minister, etc etc.
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#17330 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-December-30, 01:19

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-December-29, 21:25, said:

All I can say is that I am thankful for dodgy Donald in this regard, since America's response has been so bad it stops Britain being the laughing stock of the world.

I would come up with a snappy comeback, but the best I can do is say "You are welcome!". Things in the US will change for the better at 12:00:00 January 20, 2021, but it will take many months to turn things around. The US vaccine program is already in serious trouble. 10+ million doses have been shipped out but only about 2+ million people have been vaccinated so far. At that rate, it could take years, not months to vaccinate everybody who wants to be vaccinated.
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#17331 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-December-30, 01:25

View Postjohnu, on 2020-December-30, 01:19, said:

I would come up with a snappy comeback, but the best I can do is say "You are welcome!". Things in the US will change for the better at 12:00:00 January 20, 2021, but it will take many months to turn things around. The US vaccine program is already in serious trouble. 10+ million doses have been shipped out but only about 2+ million people have been vaccinated so far. At that rate, it could take years, not months to vaccinate everybody who wants to be vaccinated.


My point exactly. Apparently - according to the other Cohen (not Larry) - Trump could have invoked the defence production act and had much more vaccine made available - but oh no, don't want to interfere with the invisible hand.
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#17332 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-December-30, 01:56

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-December-30, 01:25, said:

My point exactly. Apparently - according to the other Cohen (not Larry) - Trump could have invoked the defence production act and had much more vaccine made available - but oh no, don't want to interfere with the invisible hand.

One legitimate problem Operation Warp Speed had was they didn't know which vaccines were going to be successful, and which would complete phase 3 trials first. So they placed orders with around 6 or 7 vaccine makers for 100-200 million doses each. So, if all the vaccine makers are successful, the US would have more than enough doses to vaccinate everybody in the country by mid year or thereabouts. So far, only Pfizer and Moderna are approved for emergency use, and AstraZeneca isn't ready but apparently doesn't have the same effectiveness as the first 2 according to preliminary press releases. Based on polling, the US may only need around 400 million doses or so (200 million vaccinated if 2 shots are needed).
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#17333 User is online   awm 

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Posted 2020-December-30, 03:52

When there's a crisis, we'd like our leaders to think "how can I help the people of my country get through this?" (or maybe more broadly, "how can I help the world get through this?") Obviously not all leaders will (or should) have a lifetime of experience dealing with each specific crisis that comes up, but they should be well-meaning and willing to listen to people with more expertise (in the case of Covid, doctors and public health experts and biologists). Angela Merkel's PhD in quantum chemistry is interesting, but she's not a medical doctor. She just has the health of the German (and to a lesser extent, EU) people at heart and willingness to do what the experts recommend. Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand has no significant science background but has done as well or better in listening to the experts and trying to keep her people safe.

The problem is that an awful lot of US leaders look at a crisis and think "how can this benefit me personally?" This is what we see with Jared Kushner deciding not to implement the plan his own working group came up with to ramp up testing because "people in blue states will be hit harder by this." This is what we see with Loeffler and Purdue prioritizing stock trades to make money off the crisis rather than working to get more money for people who have lost their jobs. The amount of graft in the current administration is very high, and even when they are not thinking about their personal benefit they are usually working to help wealthy donors and not the country as a whole. Of course, Donald Trump was basically elected to "stick it to the liberals, the city-dwellers, and the non-white minorities" (and not to actually help anyone) so perhaps he's doing what his voters wanted.
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#17334 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-December-30, 04:27

View Postjohnu, on 2020-December-30, 01:56, said:

One legitimate problem Operation Warp Speed had was they didn't know which vaccines were going to be successful, and which would complete phase 3 trials first. So they placed orders with around 6 or 7 vaccine makers for 100-200 million doses each. So, if all the vaccine makers are successful, the US would have more than enough doses to vaccinate everybody in the country by mid year or thereabouts. So far, only Pfizer and Moderna are approved for emergency use, and AstraZeneca isn't ready but apparently doesn't have the same effectiveness as the first 2 according to preliminary press releases. Based on polling, the US may only need around 400 million doses or so (200 million vaccinated if 2 shots are needed).


I agree, on the other hand, Biden complained today that the rollout was too slow because of insufficient vaccine availability.
An important distinction to understand regarding the Moderna vaccine is that it is not a 'vaccine' in the usual sense. I suppose the name is a giveaway - it's a portmanteau of 'mode' and 'rna' - works by using RNA - nothing to do with being modern.

Instead, a small piece of viral genetic code (mRNA) is injected. This code is then taken up by host cells which start producing the small bit of viral protein (from the binding region of the virus that enables the virus to get into the cell). The host cells excrete the foreign protein creating a pseudo-autoimmune response. Our cells making a bit of foreign protein provokes an immune response.
This brilliant idea is completely new - thanks to two Turkish (Moslem) immigrants working in Germany. It had never been used in humans which is why the infrastructure was so deficient.
The big advantage is that the whole process occurs 'in silico'. What is needed until the moment of injection is chemistry not biology (we do that part).
The big negative is that the product must be kept at temperatures that render the approach useless for the rest of the world. Obviously, this is not good since infected individuals elsewhere continue to get infected. The virus is a world problem (like the climate) - saving America doesn't help in the long term and its incredibly expensive.
The other - more usual - vaccine presents the body with the actual antigen(that's the name of the bit of virus protein that antibodies detect) and we then make the antibodies from that Australia is famous for its work on vaccines and blood products amongst other things.
Anyway, the great thing about the usual vaccine is that it can be kept at normal freezer temperature in the doctor's office.

The Regeneron antibodies are completely different. What makes them so clever is that first, they get a mouse to make antibodies then they take the mouse spleen and isolate the antibody making cells which they fuse to a cancer cell line and voila an immortal cell line that produces vast amounts of antibody to give to Donald and Rudy and anyone else that can afford them. The real breakthrough that made Regeneron successful is that they found a way to make the mice produce antibodies that look exactly like human antibody protein. If you just gave someone regular monoclonal antibodies really bad things would happen.

And then along came the third (after SARS and MERS) virus - actually called SARS-Cov-2. When I went to get a test back in April (I had a regular sort of cold as it turned out) the report came back negative for sars-cov-2 making wonder if they had done a coronavirus test! At that time there were only 2 places to get tested in Sydney and no queues. I warned the Bridge clubs to shut but was ignored because "what would I know" and some of them just wanted to stay in business. Some of them were/are managed by self-confessed Trump supporters. I will not name names.

In summary, the RNA vaccine is a great stop-gap, but the population will not become immune at a level that will achieve population immunity until the regular vaccine is rolled out in large amounts.

This is a very low-key explanation of how the different methods work. I can go into a lot more detail, but it is a Bridge forum. For example, the virus gains entry by binding to a protein involved in the renin-angiotensin system - something that I have worked on and published extensively about.

That's why I had to give up on Bridge and chess when I was 17 - my mother said "Paul, you can do anything you want as soon as you finish medicine." - I actually wanted to be a film director. That's what my younger sister does.
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#17335 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-December-30, 11:20

1. Biden's primary complaints were about the distribution and implementation of the vaccination program, not about the source availability. What you have sourced matters little if you are not getting it to the people that need it.

2. ModeRNA was founded in 2010 by a Canadian stem cell biologist called Derrick Rossi (plus partners). His research had made a breakthrough that was inter alia described by Time magazine as one of the Top 10 medical breakthroughs of the year. AstraZeneca come into the story because they paid an exorbitant amount of money (~$240 million) for limited rights to the technology.

3. Time will tell how critical the required freezing is in distribution of the mRNA vaccines. It should probably not be a fatal flaw for Western Europe or most, perhaps all, of the USA. It may well be impractical for much of Africa, Asia and parts of South America.

4. Not every disagreement is a flame. The increasingly personal comments that I have received in the last year on BBF certainly count as flames in the normal sense, and would probably erupt that way if I chose to respond in kind. I trust that Barry has been monitoring the situation and will step in before it comes to such a point.
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#17336 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-December-30, 14:15

1. Biden's point is one that I also made in an earlier discussion when I pointed out that statistics don't cure people. Although the two RNA products are packaged differently, cold chain logistics is still a problem. Antibodies will survive for days at room temperature - proteins are very hardy. DNA is also pretty tough as any follower of crime drams knows. RNA is a different ball of fish. Leave it out of the fridge and the magic disappears. The stuff can get all the way from source to sink but if the people at the other end leave it out for very long then it will not work. Not all medical practitioners are careful or have a solid grounding in how this completely new technology works.
2. I stand corrected re modeRNA - I meant the original creators of the method e.g. BBC, NYT - it is this couple that actually came up with the idea. Time magazine put all sorts of people on their front page. Famously Hitler and Stalin, and modally Nixon (55 times) - source Wikipedia - Time doesn't award prizes in science, it sells magazines. Let's wait and see who gets acknowledged for the work. My bet is that history will thank Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeciand not the manufacturers and distributors.
3. It will not be time that tells. The stability of mRNA is a matter of scientific knowledge. I have worked inter alia with both phosphorothioate DNA and mRNA silencing techniques and published reviews on the topic.
4. True - I have known other people that disagree with and comment on absolutely everything even when they are not experts on the topic. The right to comment is not an obligation - even in the Water Cooler but I suppose it is fun for some.

Sometimes ill-informed comments or poorly chosen words have serious real-world consequences and lead to bad outcomes - people have died from consuming bleach. In the peer-reviewed world (mentioned elsewhere) scientists - presumably in order to gain more 'likes' (or citations as they call them - preface their work with phrases along the lines of "the novel coronavirus accesses the cell via the angiotensin receptor, this may mean that taking ARB's could worsen COVID19...etc". I personally have had to prevent this happening twice this last year. Ill-informed people might stop taking their ARB's and other effective anti-hypertensive medication. Imagine what would happen if a really influential person such as Trump were to 'retweet' (cite) stuff like this. I'm sure Barry is busy with other things like making sure that BBO works well and the robots become more (or less) devious.
But, of course, people sometimes just say what they like - not much anyone else can do about it except call it out when it's a danger to themselves or others.

I try not to disagree - just learn. When you work in science you learn that anything that you say or think will turn out to be wrong tomorrow. People that fall in love with their ideas and promote them even when new knowledge contradicts them are on a hiding to nothing.
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#17337 User is offline   PeterAlan 

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Posted 2020-December-30, 15:36

I remember reading this article at the time: it would appear that the work of Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman was fundamental to all that followed.
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#17338 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-December-30, 17:53

Matt Yglesias said:

Free idea for ambitious Republicans:

Make the case that Trump lost the election and in the future core conservative values would be better served in 2024 by nominating someone who is *different* from Trump in one or more key respects and explain what those are.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#17339 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2020-December-30, 18:54

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-December-29, 21:15, said:

You still think you can have some sort of reasonable debate with the BBF racist-in-chief, Richard?


Fare thee well pilgrim.
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#17340 User is online   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-December-30, 20:47

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-December-29, 21:15, said:

You still think you can have some sort of reasonable debate with the BBF racist-in-chief, Richard?


I think Al-U-Card is worse
Its close though
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