Link blog: covid19, mathematics, model, nhsx

Expert reaction to unpublished paper modelling what percentage of the UK population may have been exposed to COVID-19 | Science Media Centre
It’s an interesting paper but consensus seems to be that it’s not a good reason to give up lockdown (it’s ancient history from back in March now, but some discussion going on on UnHerd after they interviewed one of the researchers).
(tags: covid19 model mathematics)
James Hay on Twitter: “A recent analysis from Oxford presented a range of model scenarios consistent with observed COVID death counts. I’m going to reproduce their analysis here and then present some slight modifications to provide a conservative (if te
A good thread on what that Oxford team did.
(tags: covid19 model mathematics bayesian)
Staying alive: background tracing the NHS COVID-19 app – Reincubate
How’s the NHSX contact tracing app going to stay alive in the background on IOS? How does it work?
(tags: nhs health covid19 app nhsx android ios Bluetooth)
Knight Rider for 8 cellos – YouTube
Yay!
(tags: tv music knight-rider)
Do any Covid-19 ‘cures’ actually work? – UnHerd
All studies so far flawed, including the flaw of eliminating dead people from the stufy. Tom Chivers continues to be one of the few worthwhile things on UnHinged.
(tags: covid19 science drugs tom-chivers)

Link blog: covid19, uk, politics, influenza

Here’s What The UK Government Was Told By Scientists, Said In Public, And Did On The Big Coronavirus Issues
“Much of the evidence to the government has been made public, and it means we have a level of insight into where the government’s words and decisions, and the advice from the experts, come together — and diverge.These timelines explore five of the biggest issues: mass events, social distancing, school closures, isolation, and testing.”

Via the ever-interesting @TomChivers
(tags: pandemic uk sage government covid19 science)

The problem with our response to Covid-19 wasn’t that we didn’t have a plan – it was the opposite
“People make plans, but plans exert power over people. Covid-19 is not a flu virus but something new for which we don’t yet have effective medications, and it is more infectious than Sars and Mers, the other two coronaviruses to have emerged since the turn of the century. Faced with the novel problem of an untreatable, highly transmissible virus, the government’s current advisers seem to have found it hard to break with the plan they had – now unfit for purpose – and think anew.”
(tags: covid19 uk politics influenza flu)
Fatal exceptionalism and lack of humility to learn from the Asian example
“Covid-19, or how the West was undone by its assertion of civilizational difference bordering on provincial narcissism”
(tags: covid19 korea china politics epidemic)

Link blog: covid19, medicine, epidemic, seir

What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine | Bill Gates
Bill tells us what to expect.
(tags: covid19 bill-gates medicine pandemic)
What Happens Next? COVID-19 Futures, Explained With Playable Simulations
Really cool playable simulations of the pandemic, looking at the effects of various strategies. A collaboration between an epidemiologist and a make of cool web pages.
(tags: covid19 infection simulation medicine seir model)
COVID-19 with Chris Whitty – YouTube
The UK’s Chief Medical Officer gives an excellent talk on Covid-19.
(tags: medicine chris-whitty science covid19 epidemic virus)
Where did it go wrong for the UK on coronavirus? – CNN
CNN looks at the Government’s mis-steps.
(tags: covid19 politics uk epidemic)

Link blog: epistemology, brexit, parliament, constitution

Quine’s Naturalism – 3:AM Magazine
“Sense data, Quine came to realize, are just as much theoretical posits as the electrons, bacteria, and chromosomes we supposedly construct from them. We do not see ‘patches of green, brown, and grey’ when we are walking through a forest; we see trees, logs, and squirrels. This is why it requires severe training to teach amateur painters to reproduce their everyday three-dimensional view of the world on a two-dimensional canvas.”
(tags: quine philosophy naturalism science epistemology)
Parliament is now at war with government – and it’s winning
“The content of Theresa May’s defeats over the last couple of days isn’t particularly meaningful, but the fact they happened at all suggests that parliament’s guerrilla war against the government has started. And it seems to be winning.”
(tags: constitution brexit politics parliament)

Link blog: google, diversity, psychology, gender

The Most Common Error in Coverage of the Google Memo – The Atlantic
TL;DR: it wasn’t anti-diversity. Via @sonyaellenmann.
(tags: google sexism politics social-justice diversity)
The Google Memo: What Does the Research Say About Gender Differences? | HeterodoxAcademy.org
“1. Gender differences in math/science ability, achievement, and performance are small or nil…
2. Gender differences in interest and enjoyment of math, coding, and highly “systemizing” activities are large. …
3. Culture and context matter, in complicated ways. Some gender differences have decreased over time as women have achieved greater equality, showing that these differences are responsive to changes in culture and environment. But the cross-national findings sometimes show “paradoxical” effects: progress toward gender equality in rights and opportunities sometimes leads to larger gender differences in some traits and career choices. Nonetheless, it seems that actions taken today by parents, teachers, politicians, and designers of tech products may increase the likelihood that girls will grow up to pursue careers in tech, and this is true whether or not biology plays a role in producing any particular population difference.”
(tags: feminism google diversity psychology gender politics)
Suzanne Sadedin’s answer to What do scientists think about the biological claims made in the anti-diversity document written by a Google employee in August 2017? – Quora
Dr Sadedin’s is the best rebuttal to the Google memo that I’ve seen (as the rest just call it bad without rebutting it).
(tags: science google gender sexism psychology)
How To Add A Security Key To Your Gmail (Tech Solidarity)
2FA without the SMS/phone number backup (which can be hacked by social engineering your mobile phone network provider).
(tags: email google 2fa authentication security)

Link blog: science-fiction, the-expanse, television, sci-fi

The Science Behind “The Expanse” – 1/25/17 – YouTube
A panel with Caltech scientists and people from the show.
(tags: tv the-expanse science science-fiction sci-fi physics astronomy)
Abigail Nussbaum — Person of Interest – The Good Bits Version
If you want just the SF bits of Person of Interest (which are great, see Peter Watts’s review) without the police procedural/victim of the week stuff, Abigail Nussbaum has a useful list of episodes to watch.
(tags: person-of-interest artificial-intelligence science-fiction television)

Link blog: science, pseudoscience, physics, culture

What I learned as a hired consultant to autodidact physicists | Aeon Ideas
“A typical problem is that, in the absence of equations, they project literal meanings onto words such as ‘grains’ of space-time or particles ‘popping’ in and out of existence. Science writers should be more careful to point out when we are using metaphors. My clients read way too much into pictures, measuring every angle, scrutinising every colour, counting every dash. Illustrators should be more careful to point out what is relevant information and what is artistic freedom. But the most important lesson I’ve learned is that journalists are so successful at making physics seem not so complicated that many readers come away with the impression that they can easily do it themselves. How can we blame them for not knowing what it takes if we never tell them?”
(tags: science physics culture pseudoscience)