PoliMath Profile picture
Only marginally compelling and occasionally accurate, sometime writer, engineer, cake-baker. Writes Marginally Compelling newsletter https://t.co/EirDAwCmFT
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22 Jun
I invite Charlie Sykes (as I've invited David French) to this:

Do they think children should be taught that "white, middle class, cisgender, educated, able-bodied, Christian, English speaker create this culture in order to hold power and stay in power"?
If the answer is "yes, we should teach that" then we know where they stand

If the answer is "no, we should not teach that" then tell us how parents can protect their children from this.

Don't play the sneering boor, enlighten the class with your counter-proposal.
I genuinely do want to find the appropriate synthesis

But what I'm finding is that much of the intellectual right has abandoned even the pretense of positive law-making, preferring to snipe uselessly from the sidelines
Read 9 tweets
21 Jun
State-by-state COVID rates are not (at the moment) tracking particularly well to vaccination rates, which should, but won't, cause us to engage in a moment of self-critical humility
Most news is about what is happening RIGHT NOW but only if what is happening RIGHT NOW conforms with the newsmaker's existing biases

If what is happening contradicts those biases, they simply don't talk about it
The end result is that we perceive a stream of news in which the data seems to endlessly reinforce a certain worldview b/c they don't write headlines or news articles when the data contradicts that worldview
Read 4 tweets
17 Jun
The two genders of Critical Race Theory
Here is the thread for the guy who claims that his grad students are worried they can't talk about race in class

Here is the message from an actual student being taught this stuff

Read 6 tweets
16 Jun
honestly, these jokes are particularly insulting b/c the exact rationale Jon Stewart is making jokes about was, in part, the rationale that liberals used to call Tom Cotton racist

The only way this is ok is if Stewart says "and you know who fucked this story up? We did."
This is the thing I've been going on about for months now

They are *frequently* this wrong about stuff. Their default mode, regardless of if they are right or wrong, is to call their opponents racists and bigots.

If it shows up that they were wrong, they never apologize.
The reason they don't apologize is b/c they got what they wanted. They wanted their constituents to look at their opponents with disdain. They wanted their team to feel smug.

The "yell and scream at the truth but issue a quiet correction" is not an accident. It's a strategy.
Read 5 tweets
15 Jun
Mr Saletan's "only 42% of Americans are fully vaccinated" is not technically a lie, it's just based on so much ignorance that you can rest assured that he has no idea how any of this works

A bit of a terminology lesson around vaccine administration /1
The CDC publishes a lot of metrics on vaccinations.

I end up looking at this data source b/c it gives me ALL THE DATA /2

What Saletan is looking at is "Series_Complete_Pop_Pct", which is "What percentage of the population has completed their vaccination series"

J&J is complete after 1 shot, Moderna & Pfizer are complete after 2

Read 8 tweets
15 Jun
I love writing about not-pandemic and not-politics

Today's newsletter was a loving tribute to @cinefexNOW, a journal of visual effects and the greatest magazine of all time

The very first issue of Cinefex covered the turbulent and astounding creating of Ridley Scott's Alien, which was a miracle of production design and practical effects

Enormous credit goes to HR Giger, the surrealist artist who designed nearly all the major visuals for the film Image
(side note: I wish more filmmakers would pull out-of-the-mainstream artists to do production design. The Alien aesthetic was so unique and worked so well, it's part of what made the film such a masterpiece)
Read 7 tweets
12 Jun
Man, the "actually, there is no such thing as a banned book since no book is illegal to own" people are tedious

Bans are about freedom of access. Refusing to teach something in a public school is not a "ban" but removing a book from a public library is
"removing a book from a library isn't a ban!"

That is a tighter definition than the ALA uses when they publish their banned books list. Their definition is when someone says "I don't want you to carry this book" even if the library laughs them off

"It's only a ban if it's illegal to own the book"

James Joyce's Ulysses was considered "banned" b/c a journal published it in episodes & sent it through the mail.

Owning it was legal, publishing it was legal, sending it through the mail was illegal
Read 6 tweets
9 Jun
Jones claims that one third of DoH employees have read/write access to the raw FL COVID data (the Merlin system) (at about 29 minutes)

This is blatantly untrue. It is a flat-out lie and everyone with even passing knowledge of the data workflow knows this is false.
oh my god

@MaxNordau pointed this out...

It sounds like Rebekah Jones thinks that the csv files that are being exporting out of Merlin *are* the core data and that editing the exported files them means editing the actual Merlin database

my god, if this were true, everything would make sense

When she claimed she was changing the data, she meant editing the exported files.

When she says that they were hiding data, she means the exported files were changed

I think she thinks Merlin *IS* those files
Read 4 tweets
9 Jun
I wasn't a fan of the J&J pause at the time, but the ramifications of it have been insane
There is a case to be made that the J&J pause just coincidentally happened at about the same time that most people who wanted a vaccine had gotten one. However, I'm skeptical of that narrative.
If you follow the vaccine numbers state-by-state, you see a lot of variation in vaccine velocity. Some states (West Virginia) sped right out of the gate, some took longer to get going, but every state that I've look at saw a drop in vaccination velocity at exactly the same time.
Read 4 tweets
9 Jun
Remember when Ron DeSantis said he was opening beaches and people accused him of murder?

Good times
Remember when Ron DeSantis said there would be no new state lockdowns but still let counties issue their own lockdowns and people accused him of murder?

Good times
Remember when Ron DeSantis said that counties could have their own mask mandates but they couldn't issue fines (which naturally were falling most heavily on the poor and minority communities) and people accused him of murder?

Good times
Read 4 tweets
2 Jun
As someone who has the utmost respect for Dr Collins (go ahead, search him in my timeline), this makes me think that even the most brilliant minds can only digest so much info at one time & 90% of all things end up in a "everyone I know says this, therefore it is true" bucket
Now, this sounds like excuse making... and it would be if I were then disinclined to extend this kind of grace to people who aren't the director of the NIH

What I see among my social ingroup is a tendency to hold the average voter to a higher standard than Dr Collins
This should cause a pang of humility to run through any science writer who ever wrote a "All experts say X, therefore only idiots believe Y" article

Even the most honest, decent, careful experts don't know everything. Everyone has to focus their intellectual energy.
Read 6 tweets
28 May
so it's come to this
Some people feel genuine outrage over Jan 6th but, tellingly, none of them ever give a shit about Wisconsin 2011

They've never heard of it and, once informed, none of them ever say "holy shit! That's *was* bad! Why didn't I hear about this!?!"

That's how I know this is fake
Are you upset that a mob, aided by Democratic legislators who fled the state, paralyzed an entire state government for weeks?

"but but but those were republicans and they were BAD!"

ok bro
Read 5 tweets
28 May
I've been thinking about some recent polls about "what Republicans believe" and have come to the conclusion that is anyone actually believed those polls, they would be demanding a national divorce to remove these crazy people from having a vote to influence national policy
Of course, they are not doing this b/c no one actually believes that Republicans believe what the polls say or else no one believes they would ever act on it

They only like these polls b/c they think the polls dissuade the moderate voter from voting for the GOP
No one genuinely believes that the GOP "believes the election was stolen" in anything more than the metaphorical sense that Hillary told Democrats the election was stolen

Read 5 tweets
27 May
Ok, here's a good example against which I can demonstrate how my mind works when I hear new COVID news

Step 1) How could we possibly know that the vaccine provides years of protection? I mean, I'd like that to be true, but how could we know it?
(btw, as of right this minute, I have looked nothing up. I'm doing this in real-time with absolutely zero presuppositions) /2
So searching for "COVID Vaccine" and "years of protection" takes me to this Reuters piece on how the CEO of Moderna says there is "potential protection for a couple of years" based on antibody decay

Read 11 tweets
27 May
This is particularly interesting since the question of "how did this happen" is

(gets out megaphone)


(resumes composure)

to how we protect ourselves from the next pandemic
If this pandemic was started through lab escape, that means our best protection is to demand China allow embedded outside observers with independent access an unfiltered communication to the outside world into their virology labs
If this pandemic started through zoonotic spillover, then we should spend a LOT more time not only collecting and studying these viruses, but pro-actively creating potential vaccine candidates for them
Read 5 tweets
26 May
With no offense intended toward @TPCarney, we're well past the "they owe so-and-so an apology"

Even if they gave the apology, it would be meaningless b/c they are, even now, still engaged in a pattern of smug self-congratulation even while they are constantly wrong
If the media has learned anything in this crisis, it is not "we should be less wrong"

It is "We can still control the official narrative through lies and, in fact, we can pressure the entire digital apparatus of modern communication to reinforce those lies. Hooray for us!"
The media does not give a shit about being right about anything. They care about influencing people at specific times for specific reasons.

They are *even now* engaged in deception, trying to establish a narrative in that will take years to dislodge

Read 5 tweets
25 May
I've just posted my very last monthly summary of COVID numbers by state

The most wonderful thing about the data this month is that we can see these mini-surges across the northeast, the midwest, in Colorado and Florida

With the exception of Michigan, none of them resulted in identifiable increases in deaths
I did make one note of pessimism, which is that I do expect to see a surge in cases in the next month or so as the summer seasonality swings back around to the southern states

But that just means it's time to see how well different rates of vaccination protect us
Read 4 tweets
25 May
What is so insulting is that this is not the first or only time they have done this

People who are smart enough to know better and whose job it is to know better cannot figure out how to know better

So they regurgitate what they've been told and then act smug about it
I have never written a more apt phrase (and so I will keep flogging it as long as I live)

Most journalists are merely florid stenographers for the elite position

They are told what to say and when to say it and then they act smug about that

The important thing to realize is that they've always been doing this and will always do this. They have no actual expertise, they are merely told what to think... on every topic!

Their smugness comes not from knowledge but from being in the elite club.
Read 6 tweets
19 May
I'm noticing an emerging pattern:

Pundits looking at the data and saying "Huh, looks like people under state-enforced lockdown acted a lot like people who weren't under state-enforced lockdown, therefore lockdowns had no effect on the economy and we should have more of them!" /1
This is, in my opinion, an absolutely repulsive intellectual slight of hand

B/c this means people will independently judge their own risk and act accordingly even if the gov't doesn't force them to but these pundits *prefer* the state-sanctioned action over volunteerism /2
I look at this data and say "lockdowns don't seem to make a difference, so why have them?"

They look at it and say "lockdowns don't seem to make a difference, so why not have them?"
Read 5 tweets
19 May
One of the awful things about most punditry is how divorced it is from reality

To read this article, you'd think that all Republicans have been running around mask-less, ripping masks off faces and spitting at people this whole time

The guy writing that piece has constructed his reality from online articles he's read sitting inside his DC apartment... and nothing else

He actually talked to a single human outside his Ingroup.

People should do that more

Finally, pro-mask-after-vaccination people:

Please stop acting like someone rolling their eyes at you is an unbearable persecution.

You've had the state enforce your position for almost a year on children as young as 3. Stop acting like downtrodden martyrs. Grow up.
Read 6 tweets
18 May
Finally, finally finished my piece on how the narrative COVID data manipulation in Florida can only survive if one is unaware of the state's epidemiological data pipeline

I think this is more interesting than I just made it sound

If you're really interested in the nitty-gritty details, you should read the piece. The summary is:
The only scenario remaining for "manipulated" COVID data would be through death reports

However, as @NateSilver538 has noted repeatedly, they wouldn't be able to hide that data from the "excess deaths" report, in which FL is below the national average
Read 4 tweets