Cool Links

Dr. Scott Balsitis knows vaccines work, which is not a rarity in the San Francisco Bay area, but since they have long been a hotbed of anti-vaccine sentiment, leading the state that leads the U.S. in vaccine denial, it at least makes him a little contrarian.

He knows vaccinated people are safe, and making everyone safer, because he knows science in a way that Frisco people only pretend to believe if they think Republicans are opposed. They still don't trust science or pharmaceutical companies or the FDA, but love organic food, solar panels, and think endangered animals ground into powder by Asians is superior to medicine.
New York is a state, county, and city, but the money comes from the city. Not much of why it works makes logical sense. Manhattan is small, crowded, expensive, and stuffed with rats, cockroaches, and weirdos. There is rent control, which no one seems to mind, and then people exploiting loopholes in rent control, which no one minds except property owners, but since they are corporations everyone hates them even though nearly everyone in the city works for a corporation.
A few months ago, Derek Muller, creator of the Veritasium YouTube channel, posted a video of a wind-powered vehicle. Nothing special about that, ancient sailors knew the wind could make you go faster.

But he showed it went faster than the wind that powered it. Ancient sailors gamed nature to accomplish that also, it is the essence of tacking, but this was a straight course. 
Getting a Nobel Prize in science can be tough.(1) You have to do good work and be a little lucky, but here is a way to win one guaranteed.

You just need to go to Nate D. Sanders Auctions on July 29, 2021 and be the high bidder for the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded to George D. Snell.

Organ transplants began in 1954 with a kidney and by 1968 doctors could do hearts, but there was a high compatibility risk - a strong genetic match was needed. Dr. Snell's work on Human Leukocyte Antigen, the genetic foundation of a body's immunological response to tissue and organ transplants which determines whether it accepts an organ or rejects it, became foundational in transplantation immunology.
If your checklist for quality cinema contains:

(1) The Pope having his own black ops team that hunts demons and

(2) Scientists who study demonic possession and

(3) VR that becomes R

you are in luck, because the trailer for "Demonic," directed by Neill Blomkamp, just dropped.

So that girl from "Perfect" is all grown up and has a mom who went on a homicidal rampage and for no reasons that really matter, scientists have spent a fortune to send Carly Pope in VR form to ask her mom's brain why she went on a homicidal rampage. 
Ivermectin, effective against pests like worms and headlice, has been promoted by some as a COVID-19 therapy after a preprint showing its effectiveness was published in November on the Research Square website.

We were certainly not immune to the public relations full-court press. Until last month a week didn't go by when someone was demanding the regulatory equivalent of 'teach the controversy' no differently than activists opposed to GMOs, nuclear energy, and vaccines do. 
It is no secret in science media that The Conversation is overtly political, any more than it's a shock that ProPublica or Mother Jones is. If you are going to get hired in most corporate media - and there are all corporations even if they are Non-Profit Corporations - in 2021 you are first going to have liberal credibility.

An acquaintance of mine even had a job offer as an editor at The Conversation pulled a few years ago because another staffer sounded the alarm that he might be *gasp* a fiscal conservative.

When you make hiring decisions based on whether or not someone thinks poor people should pay lower taxes, you are really, really political.
Testing kids for COVID-19 is the kind of hygiene theater that has the FAA telling air travelers to take their masks up and down each time they take a sip of coffee. There is evidence testing for COVID-19 in schools is minimizing the impact on education while not much it is minimizing the spread of the virus. Nearly everyone over the age of 50 who intends to get a vaccine has gotten one and most kids are at low risk of having COVID-19 be anything more than a cold.

Teens may be providing another reason it's unnecessary; they are using Coca-Cola and lemon juice to fake positive tests to get out of attending school, a Ferris Buehler's 10 Days Off strategy.
In 2015 we predicted that if New York closed Indian Point nuclear and banned fracking, "air conditioners would stop working, but only for poor people."

And it happened. Poor residents are being told that the heat is ruining distribution equipment when in reality it's rationing and they are on the losing end - 6 weeks after elites won their victory and closed Indian Point and while the Governor tries to make the natural gas ban permanent:
If you have been to Japan or Europe, you may have seen moss balls - Aegagropila linnaei algae that grow into green velvety balls - and thought it would be nice to have. 

Don't do it. By caring about the environment and believing natural-is-always-better hype and thinking if Europe or Asia does it, it must be good, you could be releasing a devastating plague. Marimo balls purchased after February have been found to have Zebra mussels, one of the most destructive invasive species in North America - and I am a guy who had to try and kill Bradford Pear trees in my yard after hippy-dippy California environmentalists got government to mandate them because Asia, so if I am more worried about these, you should be too. 
I can know when I played a game based on whether or not I had time to play the game. Right now, for example, I have time, my kids are older, so "Frostpunk" and "The Division" will be locked into their high school years. Before they were born I had time because my wife and I would devote whole weekends to binge-watching "24" (before streaming services, there was the outstanding Replay DVR, and it even let you skip commercials) or playing a game together.

Remember when people played games together? On a couch?

It still happens but both "Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance" (2001) and "Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II" (2004), while indifferent when it came to the actual story, were a blast playing with other people in the room on the same Playstation. 
If you are one of the many who no longer subscribe to Scientific American, few are surprised. There is a reason they got sold for a dollar, and that reason is that they lost the trust of science readers when they became not only political, but overwhelmingly partisan. Being covertly partisan means you can even be bigoted, if the demographic you are prejudiced against is acceptable to the base.
How hard is it to get "organic" certified?

About as hard as you think it would be when the companies that do the "certification" only make their money certifying organic farms and collecting the fees. It has about as much legitimacy as buying a Ph.D. in Theoretical Phys Ed in the mail.

There is a good reason that about 25 percent of organic food is just overpriced regular food and that reason is - there are no surprise spot checks on farms in America and if you believe Russia or China are telling the truth about their organic process, they have a bat from Wuhan wet market they'd like to sell you.
"Hygiene theater", the kind of symbolism that makes people feel like they are caring about their fellow humans, isn't going away, so get used to having someone unqualified stick a thermometer up to your forehead and we'll all pretend your grandmother will die if they don't.

The reason is the CDC, and then ridiculously hyperactive states like California, who still haven't even adopted the overly conservative stance of the CDC. Vaccinated or not, you have to wear a mask unless you are drinking coffee - and they weirdly tried to tell people to mask up between sips, the opposite of what every expert says.
If you are old enough to remember Baghdad Bob, Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf was the spokesperson for Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein who, no matter how bad things were, insisted they were on the verge of winning against a United Nations that was going to dethrone him.

He's been dead for years but if he were still around, it's easy to imagine China would want to use him.

The biggest mistake a company can make is treating its customers like they are criminals. While "The Soup Nazi" was a fun bit on "Seinfeld", and there are some instances where you can adapt a 'take it or leave it' approach to how you treat people, that is not where the IPOs are.
Environmentalists believe the Pacific Ocean needs more water, and also that no new water infrastructure can be built, which leads to one of the bizarrely counter-intuitive events that have made California famous across America.

Despite a drought, laws that environmental lawyers lobbied to get in place during politically sympathetic administrations mean that 1,500 cubic feet per second of water must be dumped by law from the New Melones Reservoir one knows when. 

In Switzerland, it is easy to oppose science. The country is wealthy, with a minimum wage 3X that of most US states, because other countries pay the bills.  Even anti-science activists like Swiss Public Eye are funded by the government rather than consumers.

When you are rich, food is no longer on the hierarchy of needs, it becomes part of the hierarchy of 'values' and values are easy when you have money. You can advocate for expensive food for poor people in other countries because you will never see them. You don't know their struggle to feed their families when UN members walk down the street daily.
In March of 2020 The Lancet published an article claiming that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus variation that erupted in Wuhan in 2019 and set off the COVID-19 pandemic, could not have come from the world's largest coronavirus lab. In Wuhan. Where scientists had been working on "gain of function" experiments to create stronger coronaviruses.

Suggesting it might have come from one of only three labs in the world doing this research, near the Wuhan market, was the same as being a global warming denier, they said, which was codespeak for 'only Republicans who are racist will ask that question.'
Marvel is a big name now, so big that even an obscure property like Shang-Chi can get a film and people just assume it will be good.

That wasn't always the case. Marvel had instead been known for taking any sketchy deal where the check would clear. 

So when they decided they wanted to make their own films, and capitalize on the success of The X-Men (sold to Fox) and Spider-Man (sold to Sony), no one was really interested. The reasons were obvious; they had baggage and no good characters left. There were only B (Captain America) and C (Iron Man, Thor) level characters left.