Josh Rosenau Profile picture
Science belongs in politics. Nature-poker, mountain lion defender, climate hawk, evolution advocate, cephalopod fan. he/him
Apr 29 17 tweets 3 min read
Twitter’s would-be owner said a dumb thing about political polarization, which was very wrong and widely critiqued. (Claimed Democrats have gone so far left that centrists who remain centrist are now Republicans.) In fact, a decade or so of social science shows the opposite… 1/ Dems and Rs both became more extreme in recent decades For the last 10 years or so, people have known that Republicans went farther right than Dems went left. As @drvolts wrote in 2012(!), “The left’s gone left, the right’s gone nuts.” grist.org/politics/asymm… 2/
Apr 27 4 tweets 2 min read
My dude doesn’t even allow all legally-required speech in his factories, nor does he squelch all illegal hostile speech and discriminatory behavior there. #OnHere he has repeatedly said things that the law doesn’t permit. Image I mean, that is not even the most egregiously wrong misunderstanding this tweet displays about the company he proposes to run, in an industry where he will go from mere participant to one of the biggest players.
Dec 23, 2021 6 tweets 3 min read
One of my metrics for judging how journalists write about "lab leak" claims has been how they discuss Nick Wade's racist book. Here's the paltry mention in Chan and Ridley's Viral. No way to know what his conjectures might have been, or why these scientists didn't care for them! All we can know is that Wade, formerly a feted science writer at the New York Times and elsewhere, is really an edgy outsider who will risk his reputation to tell the truth. About…something. No point in their describing these bold truths.
Dec 18, 2021 10 tweets 2 min read
This thread of Alina’s is weird, and perfectly encapsulates the shifting goalposts that always accompany conspiracy theories. Let’s review: The furin cleavage site (FCS) is a feature of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that makes it more virulent in humans, confers little (if any) benefit in bats, and is not a feature previously seen in the closest relatives of SARS. 2/
Nov 25, 2021 5 tweets 3 min read
No shade on Amazon reviews, but if the only reviewers an author tweets out are Amazon reviews, they’re getting beaten up (or ignored), by the press and expert reviewers. Image I see why the authors didn’t decide to share this with readers. washingtonpost.com/outlook/amid-a… ImageImage
Oct 30, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
This choice adds tremendous confusion, since it represents zoonotic spilllover and the average reader will hear "laboratory-associated" and think the infection was *associated* with a *laboratory*. It only merits celebration if you really want the "lab" conclusion no matter what. Alas, the IC doesn't separate "zoonosis in the field to lab workers who were exposed to what farmers, hunters, miners, hikers, etc. face routinely" from "someone stuck a poop swab in their nose" from "devious experiments created a monster that cinematically escaped the lab."
Oct 29, 2021 6 tweets 3 min read
What?, indeed. An infection by researchers in the field, who are infected doing exactly what farmers, miners, spelunkers, etc. might do, is not a lab escape. cnn.com/2021/10/29/pol… This is all correct, though. Not a comprehensive version of the case for zoonosis, but sensible weighting of available evidence.
Oct 27, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
We as a society, and our political media, have accepted as given that not one Republican should be expected to help pass laws that would do enormous good for families, entrepreneurs, and the collective good of the nation and the world. The cost of childcare prevents people from getting pregnant, and from trying to start a business (ditto with pre-Obamacare health insurance). If you were a natalist party (which the GOP purports to be), you’d sign on with payments to parents, paid leave, and affordable childcare.
Oct 27, 2021 5 tweets 1 min read
Life is rough when you first have a kid. Childcare costs as much as college, but hits before you hit peak earnings and while people are still wrestling with student loans and higher housing costs, plus baby expenses. I don’t know any new parents, including middle class and wealthier ones, who didn’t at least discuss whether it was just as financially wiser for one parent to take a career break rather than devoting one salary entirely to the cost of childcare.
Oct 13, 2021 11 tweets 4 min read
Leakers are very bothered by the @washingtonpost article showing wildlife farms serving Wuhan at the mouths of bat caves. Their response is to dismiss it. washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pac… They want to insist (Alina has done two separate threads on this theme) that the failure of farmers, scientists, or the Chinese government to brick up bat caves and quarantine farmed wildlife is proof that those parties don’t *really* believe SARS-CoV-2 is zoonotic.
Oct 13, 2021 7 tweets 2 min read
I think sometimes about the different way we handle public health and electrical codes. When I bought a house and started futzing with it, I learned how fiddly electrical codes can be. And I that every rule basically comes from investigation of a fire. Not from investigation of some trend in fires, but one fire caused by a wire that wasn’t stapled in enough places, or that got out of control because holes through beams weren’t filled with the right kind of foam. A million rules, each a product of perhaps one investigation.
Oct 12, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
The thing about childcare is that it can basically cost as much as college, making it a financial burden for everyone, regardless of means. It costs as much as a middle class salary, and that’s part of why some may not be rushing back to the workforce. I never met another parent of a toddler with whom there wasn’t some discussion of whether it was wiser to sign up for preschool or just give up a salary and stay home for a few years. The US job market doesn’t reward that choice, so you burn the salary.
Oct 11, 2021 5 tweets 4 min read
Sometimes the #OriginsOfCOVID gang (@Ayjchan etc) decide that the Chinese government’s reticence about sharing information from research centers is evidence for a #LabLeak. By that standard, is this evidence for spillover? washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pac… ImageImageImageImage More. The Chinese government and regional governments have made it extremely hard to get any data on fur farms, exotic meat farms, and wild meat hunters. The *existence* of those products for sale in Wuhan is still being covered up within China. ImageImageImage
Oct 11, 2021 10 tweets 2 min read
1) The thing about “popularism” is that voters respond to authenticity and narrative a lot more than most polls capture. People favor candidates whose policy platforms reflect the authentic concerns of the candidate and the electorate. (Context: nytimes.com/2021/10/08/opi…) 2) Polling is often quite sensitive to question wording and weird context. A question about the age of the Earth preceded by questions about math and gravity will get different result than one preceded by questions about prayer or religious doctrine.
Aug 30, 2021 12 tweets 4 min read
This is an interesting up ultimately misleading analogy by Chan. Misleading, alas, in ways she knows are misleading. A virus is not a butterfly. A virus collection is not a butterfly aviary. Rearing butterflies in a greenhouse is actually quite rare. Some species must undergo long migrations, or have a complex mutualism with one or more host plants, or with other insects (and other critters). Most butterfly houses use the same set of fairly tractable species.
Aug 29, 2021 10 tweets 2 min read
If indeed the FBI is the only agency willing to tote the lab escape line on the origin of COVID, it's worth reviewing all the ways they screwed up the investigation of the post-9/11 anthrax attacks, and misled the public about that investigation. pbs.org/wgbh/frontline… I mean, in the naughties, the FBI realized they lacked expertise in microbiological investigations. They turned to the Army’s biowarfare lab for advice. A while later, the exact expert who they first turned to at USAMRIID, was the guy they fingered as the murderer.
Aug 27, 2021 9 tweets 3 min read
The areas of disagreement in the IC will surely generate more discussion, but important to emphasize the common ground among intelligence agencies’ assessment of #OriginsOfCovid. This should reasonably bracket future discussions. odni.gov/index.php/news… ✅ Emergence no later than November.
✅ First outbreak in December.
❌ Not genetically engineered.
❌ Not a bioweapon.
❌ No prior knowledge by officials of its emergence.

I suppose that doesn’t rule out knowledge between emergence and the first outbreak.
Aug 26, 2021 6 tweets 2 min read
This is why bench biologists should spend some time doing field biology. We’re still discovering new species of bats. Every year. In Southeast Asia. The idea that we could quickly survey THE ENTIRE VIROME OF EVERY SPECIES IN THE REGION is batshit stupid. L O L

They already sampled that cave. If SARS-CoV-2 were there, there’s zero reason not to have said so.

OTOH, there are a *lot* of caves and hollow trees across Southeast Asia. Most never sampled. The closest known relative of SARS-CoV-2 was found in a botanical garden!
Jul 6, 2021 4 tweets 2 min read
If #LabLeak #OriginsOfCovid types were smart, they’d take this as a win. thelancet.com/journals/lance… This is just objectively true. I know the #LabLeakTheorytypes really want the facts to show something else, but right now they’re arguing about what’s possible, not what we know.
Jul 5, 2021 5 tweets 3 min read
Well this is definitely a sign that #LabLeak discourse is healthy and responsible and not an obvious trolling operation with no goal but to interfere with science. It’s just about ethics in science journalism, IYKWIMAITYD.
Jul 5, 2021 5 tweets 1 min read
Come and take a walk with me Through this green and growing land.
Walk through the meadows and the mountains and the sand.
Walk through the valleys and the rivers and the plains.
Walk through the sun and walk through the rain.

1/
Here is a land full of power and glory,
Beauty that words cannot recall.
Oh her power shall rest on the strength of her freedom,
Her glory shall rest on us all, on us all.

2/