Seeing these full-color photos from Mars as we officially clear 500,000 US COVID fatalities is a lot to process. We can do things sooooo well, but also sooooooo badly.
Look, this isn't an argument to cut NASA's budget. Relative to the cost of COVID, you could zero out NASA and not save any lives. And nothing prevents the government from just spending more in a crisis.
With NASA, Trump appointed relatively competent and nonpartisan folks, and while they made some bad calls for the long term plans of NASA, the project lifecycle spans multiple presidents. So long as the politicians don't try to interfere, things work out well.
The federal government also has public health people who are as competent and skilled as NASA folks are in their domain. But instead of staying out of the way, shoveling money and resources at them, and letting them work, Trump decided to run everything from the White House.
The difference in approach and in outcomes couldn't be more stark. It's still taking time to turn that course, and congressional Republicans are slowing down the whole "shovel money at the experts" part of the plan. But we're already seeing a change for the better.

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More from @JoshRosenau

12 Feb
This is exactly why social sanction is so important. The government can’t make a rule that you aren’t allowed to be an antisemite, but if we all agree it ostracize antisemites, maybe that makes it harder for the GOP to become a party of antisemites!
I mean Disney is not the same as general social sanction. But they’re acting in part on the basis of social sanction. They know that I’m less likely to watch a show where every time I see a hero it reminds me she believes and spreads conspiracies about (((people like me))).
And knowing that, I’m less likely to take my kids to Disney movies, show them The Mandalorian, but Mandalorian merch, etc. The GOP doesn’t care that it’s hard to draw a line separating them from the antisemitic brew of nonsense at the heart of Q.
Read 4 tweets
10 Feb
What is the goal of journalists and home viewers just announcing that GOP Senators will vote to acquit? It reads like they are excusing that future outcome. We don’t know how they’ll vote yet, and how they vote hinges on how it’s reported and discussed.
I am deeply averse to this air of cleverer-than-thou or cynicism that just serves to justify the cynical acts of Senate Republicans. Your job in this moment, as a citizen or a pundit or reporter, is not to prognosticate but to describe what you feel as the case is laid out.
Not picking on @fmanjoo here, but this is a prototypically bad tweet. Bad for America, justice, democracy. At most, a self-fulfilling prophecy. But also offers a pre-emotive excuse to those Senate GOPers who want to act cynically. Don’t make it easy! Image
Read 4 tweets
1 Feb
Reflecting on Richard Epstein’s absurd predictions last year, which have been echoed in various ways by Berenson, Atlas, and other COVID-deniers. Some at least were born after smallpox, polio, measles, diphtheria, etc. we’re controlled by vaccines. But how short our memory is!
Epstein’s thin argument was. And it’s true that there is a point at which virulence can be so high as to be maladaptive. But so is zero virulence!… Image
And as Epstein knew from having been alive for more than half of the 20th century, diseases do not naturally evolve zero mortality and zero virulence in less than a year. He was alive to see smallpox and polio make repeated sweeps through his own community.
Read 5 tweets
1 Feb
It’s important to note that the rise of increased virulence runs exactly counter to the bogus claims by Hoover’s Richard Epstein and others (…) that the virus would rapidly evolve less virulence. Evolutionary biologists knew better.
Then as now, the best way to prevent the spread of more deadly or more virulent strains is to mask up, maintain social distance, and vaccinate. Keep restaurants closed, keep schools closed, pay people to stay home.
Herd immunity and vaccines can be evolved around in ways that masks and quarantine can’t. We can deploy better vaccines as new strains dominate. But most of the US has massive community transmission. It’s a breeding ground for new strains.
Read 6 tweets
21 Nov 20
My friends, do not piss of federal judges. This, from a ruling dismissing Trump’s lawsuit with prejudice is brutal.…
Oh dang
Read 8 tweets
21 Nov 20
Insane that the day after GA’s presidential election results were certified, @PredictIt markets still have a 10% chance that Trump will win, and 16-19% chance that he’ll win GA, AZ, or PA. I mean, actual certification of the results changed MAGA fools’ posteriors not one bit.
Yes, their posteriors are taking a beating.
MAGA loons will give you a dollar for 80-90¢ until @PredictIt closes the markets. It’s insane.
Read 4 tweets

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