So, the latest CDC recommendation is that vaccinated people don't need to wear masks indoors in quite a lot of settings? (But yes to public transportation, medical settings, and group living situations.)
I don't totally know how I feel about this. I did not like it when the CDC was pretending that vaccinated people needed to wear masks for their own safety, but I also don't think "promoting a culture of mask-wearing" is worthless.
I've learned two neat concepts from the parenting podcast Nurture vs Nurture lately:
The person who used the term was a behaviorist who worked with autistic children, and my cursory google search suggests that it's mostly used in that context still.
What is prompt dependence? Prompt dependence is when a student needs a prompt in order to initiate a skill or activity that they have already mastered.
But omg, this is such a useful context for math classes. There are so many B and C level students who mostly can carry out each step of a problem, but can't navigate the problem as a whole. Some students need explicit directions, but many get unstuck if I ask them a question about the situation, like, "So what are we trying to do now?" or "What information are you going to need next to figure out next?" They just don't yet have the habit of internally prompting themselves to investigate or ask themselves questions, or they're not holding themselves accountable, or they've got some learned helplessness or something.
I'm picturing getting students to go from lab techniques to think about experiment design, or getting students to think about what makes their paper structurally confusing beyond just the sentence level, or learning to think about relative positions and coordinated action of the entire team on the field with you. Just a kind of levelling-up in how abstract your thinking is. There's a stage where you can do it on demand, and then there's a stage where you need to wean off that.
2. Butler lies.
In other words, we teach kids that it's wrong to lie, and yet we actually lie constantly, and what we mean is that it's wrong to lie for unethical reasons. So the host of the podcast gave Butler Lies as an example. These are lies that serve to head off social interaction, like a butler politely telling a drop-in guest that you're not home. From 2009:
Instant messaging (IM) is a common and popular way for co-workers, friends, and family to stay in touch, but its "always-on" properties can sometimes lead people to feel overexposed or too readily available to others for conversation. This, in turn, may lead people to deceive others about their actual status or availability. In this paper, we introduce the notion of the "butler lie" to describe lies that allow for polite initiation and termination of conversations. We present results from a field study of 50 IM users, in which participants rated each of their messages at the time of sending to indicate whether or not it was deceptive. About one tenth of all IM messages were rated as lies and, of these, about one fifth were butler lies. These results suggest that butler lies are an important social practice in IM, and that existing approaches to interpersonal awareness, which focus on accurate assessment of availability, may need to take deception and other social practices into account.
In other words, "sorry, stuck in traffic" or canonically, "off to swim!"
3. VTSOOBC, Stormcrow innocently asked me recently if the "under the cut" feature was still available on the blog. I JUST THINK EVERY WORD IS SACRED, OKAY?
Mossy Character writes: Would it be selfish of me to hope for a year without summer? Of course it would. And yet.
Heebie's take: That's wild and I had no idea.
Volcanic plumes that reach and linger in the stratosphere can start to exert a cooling influence on global temperatures. "The current thinking is that a volcano needs to inject at least 5 teragrams of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere to have measurable climate impacts," explained Michigan Tech volcanologist Simon Carn.
After about a week of explosive eruptions, satellite measurements show La Soufriere has delivered about 0.4 - 0.6 teragrams of sulfur dioxide to the upper atmosphere. That is already more than any other Caribbean volcano has produced during the satellite era. Those numbers could increase if the eruption continues.
I also would have a private bit of gladness for a cooler summer. I bet there's some drawbacks, though.
Maybe a thread on her pending eviction? It's pretty surreal that The Don's grasp over the Republican party has become this all-consuming.
Is it harder to relate to:
1. The Republican who has become genuinely poisoned by Fox News and is living in a delusional world?
2. The Republican who has one foot in reality, and knows Biden won the election, but is operating in the delusional world in order to further their ambitions?
The answer is:
3. Run away.
This is intended to be our system for checking in on imaginary friends, so that we know whether or not to be concerned if you go offline for a while. There is no way it could function as that sentence implies, but it's still nice to have a thread.
Mossy Character writes: 1. SARS-CoV-2 has a huge and growing human (and possibly animal) reservoir (and that reservoir may over time be increasingly concentrated in poorer countries).
2. SARS-CoV-2 mutates rapidly, and at least some variants reduce the efficacy of at least some vaccines.
3. Can we get to global herd immunity before a vaccine-resistant outbreak?
3.1 How much is global immunity compromised by subpar Chinese vaccines?
4. What countermeasures are possible? Inoculation with multiple differently acting vaccines?
5. Can variants be distinguished by tests alone, without full sequencing?
6. How rapidly can vaccines be adapted? Might they have to be developed from scratch, with the same 12-18 month lag?
7. We have animal reservoirs in the original bats, pangolins/civets, mink, cats, dogs, and what else? In theory, what are the risks of jumps into livestock, poultry, rodents? What surveillance countermeasures are possible?
3. I don't think we'll ever get to global herd immunity. I think we're in yearly booster shot territory, possibly updated as it mutates.
I don't know the timeline for how long it takes a coronovirus to become less lethal - 5-10 years? - and if there's any selectivity going on for that. Maybe not - if you're most contagious before you feel your worse, then I don't see how you'd have a mechanism for the virus to become less deadly.
8. Here's a NYT article on how the history of germ theory made the CDC and WHO slower to admit that Covid was transmissible through the air. In particular, this was very validating to read:
Linsey Marr, a professor of engineering at Virginia Tech who made important contributions to our understanding of airborne virus transmission before the pandemic, pointed to two key scientific errors -- rooted in a lot of history -- that explain the resistance, and also opened a fascinating sociological window into how science can get it wrong and why.
First, Dr. Marr said, the upper limit for particles to be able to float is actually 100 microns, not five microns, as generally thought. The incorrect five-micron claim may have come about because earlier scientists conflated the size at which respiratory particles could reach the lower respiratory tract (important for studying tuberculosis) with the size at which they remain suspended in the air.
Second, she said, proximity is conducive to transmission of aerosols as well [as droplets] because aerosols are more concentrated near the person emitting them. In a twist of history, modern scientists have been acting like those who equated stinky air with disease, by equating close contact, a measure of distance, only with the larger droplets, a mechanism of transmission, without examination.
Since aerosols also infect at close range, measures to prevent droplet transmission -- masks and distancing -- can help dampen transmission for airborne diseases as well. However, this oversight led medical people to circularly assume that if such measures worked at all, droplets must have played a big role in their transmission.
That second point has been driving me crazy all year. If you sit closer to the source of an aerosol, you get more of it in your face! Having frequent transmission from close contact is not an argument against Covid being airborne.
The article is very high-level about why the WHO and CDC were so slow on the draw. I think there's a very important ground-level reason, as well: Ventilation is much more expensive and controversial to address than hand sanitizer. Your choices are to either forgo climate control, or undertake a huge expense.
Take a place like Heebieville. Could k-12 have held classes outdoors all year? Abso-fucking-lutely. But there was zero buy-in. Anyone proposing that people open windows or head outside was seen as a fringe hippie woo-woo type. (And a lot classroom windows don't even open.) Any solution that allowed for air conditioning or heating on demand was prohibitively expensive.
So instead, we doused everyone with hand sanitizer and tripled the workload of the custodial staff, and increased the theater of the operation, and most definitely based this on the CDC guidelines as CYA.