Thursday assorted links

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"With conservatives therefore less excluded than irrelevant." - Ross

Like #metoo, the left is eating the left, so NOW it's a problem.

Left eats left
Trump eats right
No stomachs go hungry in America
Ideology can be rather filling
But not satisfying.

Burma shave

+1

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#2 Come on, it's not a mystery! Ok, we don't know for sure, but it's not as if we don't have plausible hypotheses. This summary of analysis mostly by Michael Levitt gives a good overview:

https://twitter.com/gummibear737/status/1280547634382606339

Fires burn out when they don't have enough fuel to sustain themselves, and antibody tests seriously underestimate the non-susceptible population. Social distancing and cultural, climatic and demographic factors can tip this a bit one way or another at the margin.

We'll know the full story a bit better as winter passes through the southern hemisphere and then Europe again.

You had a link a few days ago to a study that claimed 43/44 mild cases showed antibodies. I read the paper and those 44 cases were outpatients: they obviously had bad enough symptoms to seek treatment. With various estimates of 40-80% completely asymptomatic or non-susceptible, we just don't have a random sample of the exposed population. We don't know what proportion are innately non-susceptible, or what proportion have become immune without developing detectable antibodies. There are very reasonable estimates of these figures that can go into models that fit the current data, just like Friston did three months ago.

I think they have reached herd immunity in the major population centers ( Stockholm/, Gothenburg) given their level of past exposure and their current social distancing. ~ 20 % infected seems to be enough given, a background level of effectively immune ( who just mount a quick T cell response) and some social distancing.
They're probably also better at taking care of their elderly. Their nursing home population comprised 1/2 of the fatalities and often they were given palliative care ( morphine) and no attempt was made to save them. Perhaps ½ of the nursing home population could have been saved with better measures. It’s not the only country however to mess up the nursing home situation.

Nah, it's much more prosaic - just ask a Scandinavian. Late June and especially July, the society basically stops there - nearly everyone takes multiple weeks off, sometimes as many as 6 weeks in a row; often padded with surplus overtime hours. The stereotypical holiday is filled with outdoor activities, like BBQ, hiking, long stays at isolated summer cottages, etc. - all within a relatively closed circle of acquaintances. Schools, daycares, cultural facilities and even many offices are closed. Basically a perfect unforced incarnation of social distancing.

Sweden is 5th worst country in the world for deaths vs population. Hardly a success story. It is far more likely that the virus is close to running it's course in Sweden than it is that changing the social distancing made a dramatic change.

"t is far more likely that the virus is close to running it's course in Sweden "

+1, I think it's a bit of both, but Sweden leans further to that side than most nations.

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Sweden's COVID-19 deaths started falling long before late June --> https://adamaltmejd.se/covid/.

I think we can only reasonably interpret Maros comments as referring to very recent deaths being below their general curve. Not that recent events drive a decking number of deaths which well predates those events.

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What is the best population-level study of antibody prevalence? Preferably something recent.

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#1 - Haven’t the Mormons been saying this for 100 years?

The cosmology of Mormon DNA is secondary to the mundane issue of trans-Pacific DNA.

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#1 - I'm pretty sure these two fellows (literally) below at Stanford are related, as in father and son. The father is a pioneer in p-hacking and published the study in April showing possibly much wider Covid-19 immune responses in the Santa Clara county, while his son is the co-author of this Easter Island study. Apparently the son used DNA drift (an inexact science to be sure) to distinguish between recent South American Easter Island residents and more ancient ones. Interesting stuff. The son claims to be a Cappadocian Greek (central Turkey city, they do balloon tourism) who's family apparently was exchanged with Turkish Greeks during the population exchanges in the 1920s.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ioannidis
https://profiles.stanford.edu/alexander-ioannidis

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#5: A different issue, though, confronts conservatives. Obviously left-versus-liberal battles like this one have historically created neoconservatives. But is there any possibility that the right is prepared to receive such converts?

I think the popularity on the right of people like Jordan Peterson, the Weinstein brothers, Dave Rubin, etc., tells us the answer. And these people aren't even really conservatives, or at least they don't identify as such. The questions in my mind are will there really be a lot of these people, will they establish their own sort of intellectual clique like the original neoconservatives did, and if so, what will it look like?

Jordan Peterson is a conservative in the original sense, but not very close to anything the Republican party runs on.

The Weinsteins are liberals who are suspicious of liberal-dominated institutions.

Rubin is, as best I can tell, a moderate who is bitter at much of the left for saying mean things about him when he started hanging out with the right more often.

Rubin is a dishonest hack who promised "to hold Trump's feet to the fire" and then later said he can't think of a single Reoublican position he disagrees with.

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#2. Doubtless this won't find its way to the NYT. It seems Sweden only resumed contract tracing at the beginning of June. I wonder whether this might have had an effect. Given their austere approach to testing, I'm personally doubtful.

https://www.thelocal.se/20200604/sweden-announces-major-overhaul-of-coronavirus-testing-strategy

So the Swedes really are becoming more like other Western European countries. Contract tracing is precisely the tool being used to keep new infections to a minimum, by identifying those who need to isolate/be tested.

Ironic that the article is from June 4th - "In a pandemic phase, which Stockholm reached in March, this type of testing wouldn't work. It's not possible to test millions of people, so instead it was important that those with symptoms isolated themselves. As more and more regions go into a phase where the rate of illness reduces, it's important to return to stopping the spread of infection and carrying out contact tracing," Tegmark Wisell explained.

Sweden's case number, quite possibly due to increased testing (a positivity number is not worth searching for right now, but is likely low), peaked between June 10th and June 24th.

Well, contact tracing.

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#5 Solving for the equilibrium means policing of the future will be a 6 figure job, accompanied by as yet un-invented types of liability insurance, topped off with a reinforcement of case law establishing no duty to protect and serve.

I can't for the life of me see how else you're going to get anyone to consider that profession/career short of the above coupled with the equivalent of a government commission (similar to the Royal Commissions of old). There is no way you could get me to do that job short of assigning before, during and after all liabilities to the state.

That's where it's heading. Everything short of that will be 'private' security. That's the equilibrium.

Totally agree. I wonder if this on net will be good or bad for police officers? Genuine question, as a very substantial pay raise is nothing to sneer at. I would suspect that with those kinds of pay raises, there will be big pushes to hire as few white men as police officers as possible.

I don't know. What I do know is the world of private security and private military contractors. From that world I can deduce that significantly higher pay + well-delineated objectives will lead to singular ruthlessness, anonymity (yes...it will become very much harder to actually determine who is who and who is law enforcement), and an extremely high bar for entry. Keep in mind a 'high bar' for entry doesn't mean high levels of professionalism, it simply means a focus on individuals who can get missions A, D, and R accomplished.

The anonymity aspect is another thing that's important here. If - as we've seen so often - one of the major threats to you 'as an officer' doing your job is the potential to be identified and your life destroyed then I think it's logical to infer that policing of the future will increasingly deploy technology and methodology to keep enforcement of the law as clandestine as possible. This would be both to the advantage of 'the officer' and the state as well, specifically considering the state is the one providing 'the commission'. The state - being the public party paying the commission - would naturally also want to defer liability for the laws it enacts requiring the enforcement by the officer.

I could go on, but the ultimate point I'm trying to make with the above system is that it is not good. The police in such an environment would literally become the secret police, not out of choice but by necessity, which is much worse.

#5 i would not call solving for anything, but typical knee jerk reaction and not understanding why it all happening and consequences of greater retirements and stopping those who want out to have to stay in...

One advantage of having more private security and fewer policemen would be that it would let us do an end-run around legal precedents like qualified immunity. If we could get to the point of treating policemen / private security like ordinary citizens when they use force, we'd probably get more reasonable behavior from the police.

Incentives matter. If the police/private security company know that bashing heads unnecessarily leads to a multimillion dollar payout on the lawsuit, they will be very interested in finding ways not to have the unnecessary head-bashing going on.

Precisely. You'll get much more diversity and technological application in choices of non-lethal weapons. I welcome this by the way. No hands on needed anymore.

Phasers on stun.

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Qualified immunity will apply to both private and public, they cannot be separated.
It is in the Second, support a regulated militia is a right. That means the government cannot assign qualified immunity to the public cops without the private cops. The right to a regulated militia cross that bounds and is universal, the second right granted in our list of rights.

Have courts ruled that private security guards also had qualified immunity?

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Qualified immunity is not invoked in the vast majority of cases. It's like the people who think that the gun show "loophole" enables mass shootings.

https://www.yalelawjournal.org/article/how-qualified-immunity-fails

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Officers in Camden, NJ were pulling down $187k/year in salary + benefits. They were mostly black. They did such a bad job that the great success story everyone points to is when they broke up the union, lowered salary + benefits to 100k, and hired a bunch of white cops from the county to do their jobs.

Look, I have no doubt you can put butts in seats by paying cops 100k with early retirement. But you can't get them to go into the ghetto and put themselves at risk from both the criminals and the protestors. They will take that paycheck and sit in the squad car.

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Let’s do some reality checking:

With overtime it’s already a six figure job in NYC.

There are over 38,000 police officers. There are over 50,000 on the waiting list who passed the exam.

179 officers in a one week period retiring is the “surge”

Innumeracy is bad

Five and half years in the NYPD tops you out at around $85,500 without all the above you mention. New NYPD make $43-43,000 and change.

You're right. Innumeracy bad, very bad.

Average total pay ( base plus overtime) for NYPD officer in 2019:

$113,240

Cbcny.org/research

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THIS. And let's not forget the sweet union bennies, immunity from traffic tickets and ability to retire extremely young with a huge pension, none of which appear to be going away anytime soon.

We got a pool of applicants miles deep ready to take those jobs, even if a not insignificant share of them are predisposed to violence and racism.

Also, don't forget that cops get lots of free sex with hot girls.

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When solving for the equilibrium it seems worth mentioning this year has had more overtime than any other recent year and pension benefits include half the final-year salary including overtime. They might be taking a cut to their cumulative lifetime earnings for working a small number of years with lower expected future overtime.

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4. I see free speech as orthogonal to left-right and so disagree with statements like “setting up an grand-coalition-for-liberalism that runs from Noam Chomsky to David Brooks means you're setting the center on ground that fundamentally favors your opponents.”

There are people left, right, and center who are good on free speech, and other people left, right, and center who are not. In the 90s, most censorship was about community standards/moral standards, and it was the people from the left who advocated for drug legalization, sexual liberation, or gay marriage who likely felt most censored. In the 2000s, it was all about patriotic correctness the people facing the most censorship were the anti-war crowd (perhaps the Dixie Chicks were the first prominent example of someone being cancelled for holding a now-accepted opinion in opposing the Iraq War?). Now perhaps the focus of censorship has shifted towards hate speech and so for the first time it is being led by more lefty elements. But I don’t think censoriousness is limited to or even more prevalent on the left, and some people who treat it as an only-lefty problem have ironically been caught trying to cancel their own critics (like Bret Stephens trying to get someone fired for criticizing him on Twitter or Bari Weiss, one of the signatories of the Harper’s letter, having a long history of lobbying to deny tenure to professors critical of Israel).

Conservatives who are free speech absolutists should absolutely be welcomed into a pro-free speech coalition. Conservatives who complain about left cancel culture but at the same time support denying visas to critics of US foreign policy, try to get their own critics cancelled, defend what happened to Steven Salaita or the Dixie Chicks, support enforcement of laws against speech advocating on behalf of a terrorist group or against obscenity, etc. should not be.

There has always been a censorious aspect to political correctness (not mere anti-hate speech) but I think things went into high gear in popular culture around six years ago. 2014 seems to have been the year when it became trendy to try to pull invitations for graduation speakers because of controversial opinions they may have expressed at one point. It was also the year of a relatively early Twitter campaign to try to get the Comedy Central-era Stephen Colbert fired from his show for a misunderstanding over a sarcastic joke. The clip is prescient: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBPgXjkfBXM

Perhaps the change is due to it being easy now to get a huge army of bored, not-very-informed, not-super-involved people to join in on a cancellation effort. What fraction of members of the average Twitter mob would have sent a letter, if that required 55 cents and a trip to the post office? Maybe a tenth of a percent?

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The right has been warning against speech restrictions for a long time, under the rubrics of political correctness and campus culture. To a man, the left has consistently derided these concerns. Once Obama switched his position on same-sex marriage, the left became united in the conviction that everyone holding the views that Obama professed when he was elected was now a monster of hate and could be hounded from public life. No one in the left was troubled when a gay-rights volunteer shot up the Family Research Center.

As I've said before, the only reason this letter came about is because people on the center-left are also now being targeted for social sanction, and when it happens to them, they're realizing that it's no fun at all. Free speech for all provides convenient cover.

As Zaua points out, many of these center-leftys have their own history of trying to cancel others. The idea that the left somehow owns a free-speech coalition and can deign to pick and choose who on the right is worthy of joining is just silly.

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#1: I don't see how he's vindicated by the discovery that Polynesians staged slave raids on South America. Cancel all Polynesians!

Anyway, the rascal didn't sail from South America into the Pacific: he found it impossible to get offshore and was towed for the first part of his voyage.

Con Tiki?

the dixie chicks have been canceled by both the right and the left
its time to have the difficult conversation
about canceling all masters degrees

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He didn't find it impossible to get offshore. The Peruvian Navy let them build the raft on a naval base, then gave them a short tow so that they wouldn't inconvenience shipping near the base.

Many other people have experimented with balsa wood rafts, and native South Americans were sailing on the open sea for hundreds of years. The ability to get a raft into the water has never been a serious concern.

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#2: Exponential functions are not intuitive.

R1.2 = exponential growth
R0.9 = exponential decline

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Is it just me or does anyone else sense that Tyler is hoping that Sweden's approach works out..only for the sake of being a contrarian?

If so, is it particularly less defensible than the rest of the media braying for Swedes all to die so that the left's hubris about the amount of control one has over a virus taking the sick, frail, and elderly is rewarded?

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I would think there are plenty of reasons to root for Sweden that don't involve being contrarian.

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Sweden’s approach consisted of waiting some extra time to adopt the same social distancing measures as its neighbors. So I am not certain what is meant by “...hope it works out.”

Indeed, unless we live in the fever dream of Imperial College where for some reason adding a small element of coercive stay at home orders and business shutdowns and largely unnecessary restrictions on schooling and personal outdoor travel is over 7x as effective as mostly just advising people to stay home and avoid unnecessary contact, it was always gonna be like this.

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1. I've always been sympathetic to the amateurs who thought there must have been voyages. I'm not sure how committed the archaeologists were who argued against it. But I laughed when I heard the news, intuition confirmed.

#1 is completely wrong -- Heyerdahl's theory was that Polynesia was peopled first from the east to west on giant rafts, something that has long been disproven by genetic, linguistic, and archeological evidence. There has long been some, albeit non-conclusive, evidence of Polynesian visits to South America from food crops on Polynesian islands. What there hasn't been, until now, is evidence of inter-breeding after the Polynesians reached South America.

I think Tyler is joking about Heyerdahl. I'm less interested in that bit.

(I think I remember something called the Ancient Watercraft Society, which had t-shirts with the slogan "building boats for 50,000 years." So sure, people got around. But probably fewer and rarer than mass migrations.)

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Why would the South Americans want to leave? It was a sparsely populated area with plenty to eat and spread out. The polynesians lived on small islands where in a relatively short time there would be population pressure. They had to be great seamen because the alternative was ongoing wars.

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4. To make this work Ross necessarily turns a blind eye to the basic incompatibility of liberalism (formal definition) and anti-intellectualism (popular reality).

It isn't just that reasonable right of center signatures would be out of place on this letter.

They are out of place on the right. Sorry.

And what are you going to do, have Tucker Carlson sign instead?

-5

Outgroup homogeneity fallacy strikes again

Feel free to name prominent and mainstream conservatives, with a strong moral and rational following, who would be suitable to sign such a letter.

Lindsey Graham?

You leave Lady G out of this!

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Richard Posner, Greg Mankiw, Heather MacDonald. It's pretty easy.

Thank you. I actually was looking forward to someone giving me names.

I think I admire those people.

But would you agree that they are not actually leading popular conservatism these days?

I'm not sure what "popular conservatism" means, but the people I name have at least as much of a popular following as Noam Chomsky or John McWhorter.

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Maybe Mitt Romney, but he's the kind of exception that proves the rule.

The people who are actually suitable for this role are outcasts.

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Medal of Freedom winner Rush Limbaugh?

"Boo Outgroup!"

What, are you telling us that you admire Rush now? And any opposition to his moral or rational leadership is simply theatrics?

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Since the list has plenty of Ivy League professors, I'd suggest Harvey Mansfield, who, unlike you, knows about conservative thought. (Of course, manliness has been branded as "toxic" by the effete chattering classes who tie themselves in intersectional knots trying to reconcile feminism with Black [Men's] Lives Matter).

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#3 appears to be what you get from the intersection of medicine and intersectionality or critical race theory.

"Some experts pointed out flaws in the researchers’ methodology that made it difficult to quantify the exact risks faced by members of the vulnerable groups identified in the study. For instance, certain medical conditions that can exacerbate Covid-19, like chronic heart disease, are more prevalent among Black people than white people."

As noted in the above quote, when adjusted for co-morbidities, there isn't much difference between blacks and NON-HISPANIC whites. Blacks have very high rates of hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease, and obesity. The obesity numbers are staggering.

Eating less, eating healthy, and exercising takes self-discipline.

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I think there are at least two debates w.r.t. cancel culture:

The first is about mob cancellations, where some out-of-context video or quote or even made-up quote is widely spread on Twitter, and lots of people jump on the bandwagon to hammer the alleged miscreant. These are usually horrible and unjust, and most people can see that. However, there's a vocal set of sociopaths who are empowered by being able to lead social media mobbings, and various organizations/employers/etc. just go along with the social media mobbings and fire the person who has a thousand Twitter accounts calling for their firing and a couple randos calling in anonymous complaints. And some social movements, notably including trans rights and BLM, includes a lot of Twitter mobbings. For someone like Carlos Maza, this is a major source of their power, and of course they'll fight to keep it.

The second issue is about major institutions which are dominated by the left--liberal, progressive, Marxist, SJW, etc. These include a large chunk of media, show business, and academia. The question there is, how should these left-dominated institutions exercise their power?.

The letter was largely an argument within those left-dominated institutions about how their power should be used, and how they should police themselves. Should academics try to get other academics fired or demoted for expressing the wrong views? Should journalists try to get other journalists fired or demoted for expressing the wrong views? And should journalists try to get other people fired or demoted for expressing the wrong views. (For example, if someone shows up at a right-wing rally, is it good to publish their picture and name and see that their employer knows about it? How is that different from doing the same for a left-wing rally?)

The biggest issue w.r.t. these institutions policing themselves is that getting people fired for having the wrong beliefs or insufficient zeal for the right beliefs will make it a lot harder for those institutions to do what they're theoretically supposed to do. We pay journalists and scientists to stand between us and reality, and tell us what's going on. You simply can't do that well if you're constantly trying to navigate between telling the truth and avoiding saying anything that might be taken as supporting the wrong side. A journalist who will never report a fact that looks bad for his political side isn't really a journalist, he's a propagandist. A scientist who will never report such a fact is just a fraud--a propagandist with a PhD and an impressive list of publications that all very carefully never say anything that challenges anyone important.

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2. Warmer weather, longer days, more solar irradiation. Windows opened. Fans on. More time outside, less time inside. Let's see what cold weather brings.

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They are solving for the equilibrium: “NYPD limits retirement applications amid 400 percent surge this week.“
-----
The trend will continue. It is about boomers getting out now rather than suffer the ten year pension battles looming. Watch what teachers do when forced back into the classroom with pensions at risk. Boomer teachers all have retirement options and will retire en mass since the pension problem has been elevated to a national level. It is called the generational overlap, a long, difficult negotiations between the generations.

So much hate for boomers ...

Regarding teachers, I hope education gets the wholesale remodelling it so desperately needs. I have seen my children pass through the preschool and k-12 years at close range. I volunteered in all their classes where it was allowed or encouraged, up until HS where the resistance is particularly intense, though I have a deeper STEM background than all of the teachers I ever encountered. It was PC, intersectionality, and critical theory all the way down. Fortunately, one of my kids dropped out in the 9th grade and will likely end up the most educated. None of my kids buy into the PC nonsense.

We may see a transformation of education. Any academic subject can be learned online via a staggering number of sources, from Harvard and MIT to unknown instructors. I personally took a "course" PDEs from an unknown via YouTube that was outstanding.

The main value add of the physical school is the opportunity to socialize while engaging in sports, music, theater, arts, clubs, events, and just working out and hanging out around the fitness center. One of my adult sons still regularly goes with his adult pals to the local HS to work out, run, and volunteer as assistant athletic coaches. I hope this is the future of HS at least.

Once this transformation takes place we can send all those teachers off with their pensions and fire the millennial PC zombies. Then, hopefully, the school as indoctrination camp will end.

I think I was in the last generation of students to be taught by brilliant women teachers who had been unjustly denied entrance into other professions. The unintended side effect of which was a cadre of exceptional women preparing students for the rest of their lives. I remember my 9th grade political science teacher refusing to reveal her political affiliation despite the fact we were in the midst of a very contentious 1968 Presidential election. That would never happen today.

The murders, arson, and looting committed by useful idiots on behalf of the cynical critical race theory Marxists in BLT is a direct result of the indoctrination of our kids by that generation of weak minded PC teachers.

Gawd help us all, we're going to need it.

What's "PDEs" and is the YouTube link worth sharing? I'm curious.

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#5 They are buried the lede. There are 36,000ish officers. The year over year jump was 0.09% to 0.49%. Not too much. The key quote in the article:

"Sources also said the flood of overtime tied to last month’s protests — which will boost pension payouts for eligible retirees — and the expected loss of overtime due to the recent $1 billion cut to the NYPD’s budget were also factors"

Financial incentives work.

Precisely. They'll whine about "loss of respect," my arse. Buncha snowflakes are they now?

They're upset about loss of overtime. Entitled union gits at the public tit. So they'll lock in their fat public pensions and buy a fishing boat. Good riddance.

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wonder how many noticed that this is the same study mentioned in the e-mail?

anyways, hazard ratios are most extreme for the elderly. for those 70-79: 8.2x. for those 80+: 38x. when adjusting for age and sex, the worst morbidities are organ transplant (6x) and reduced kidney function (3.5). paper definitely worth a few minutes of inspection and thought.

i'll say it again since i am here: the reason why the heterogeneity is so extreme, conditional on an outbreak (asia is separate - masks, proper lockdowns, border screening, etc.) , is because those most likely to die are clustered together in "pockets". you can have very few deaths until covid spreads in nursing homes and hospitals and then, kaboom, you'll have lots.

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4. Douthat correctly recognizes that what the letter is actually about is an anti-right polemic.

He interprets this as a move that will drive center-right "moderates" into the arms of the neolibs and the neocons. We'll see. Those -isms have taken a beating lately. But what the heck, short memories wot wot.

Frankly, I am surprised that anything with Chomsky on it has not already driven the center-right into fits of vapours.

-5

Another outgroup homogeneity fallacy

Yup, Douthat went all in with it. Wrote an entire collum with the fallacious premise that there's such a thing as left and right w/r/t the Harper's letter. Poor guy.

And poor you, with only me to complain to about it.

yip yip yip

George, you are so uncool.

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Uh Oh! Better give the land back. Somebody always came first. Do Adam and Eve's heirs get anything? Oh, that's us!!!

1. that is

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2. Do they manipulate their death certificates in Sweden for political purposes like in the US?

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#2 “Our World in Data” says that there were 35 deaths on July 9 and about 140 deaths since July 2, but the twitter from Paul Yowell says that there were only 7 deaths in the past week in Sweden. These numbers are quite different. Can any one explain the different numbers? In general, the country per-capita death rates change relative to other countries weekly. Do any of those who make strong statements about the efficacy of various strategies state they were wrong four weeks earlier when the results no longer support their case? To quote Yogi Berra: It is not over until it is over. A little more humility from the “know it all” commentators on this website would be nice.

The following sentence is less ambiguous if the capitalized word is inserted. In general, the WEEKLY country per-capita death rates change relative to other countries weekly.

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"The study was also not set up to conclusively show cause-and-effect relationships between risk factors and Covid-19 deaths."

Then what the Heck is the point of the study?

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# 5 Is the reaction to policing reform or to its misconceptions? If the former, subject to questions of pacing, it's a good thing. If the latter NYPD will loose good men whose replacements will be more costly.

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#1. No. Buried in the article was speculation that an alternative explanation to the two-way voyage hypothesis is TH's on way voyage hypothesis. Tyler's item is click bait.

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#2 Looking at fitted curves, Sweden and the US have almost identical trajectories. Sweden has reporting issues that make "sudden" anything suspect.

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#5. - They're not solving for the equilibrium; they're preventing the equilibrium.

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