Monday, August 30, 2021

Monday Night Links

  • Covid was much worse than I expected for someone of my age and fitness level. That statement may surprise some people who have known me in the past, but I spent a significant part of my late 20’s and 30’s fixing bad habits and building a base of fitness. I have a BMI of 23.7, exercise strenuously with both resistance and aerobic activities, and take a fistful of supplements every day (zinc, Vitamin D, you name it) and I increased my supplements during infection. I even took ivermectin (human pills, not horse paste) towards the middle of my infection when it got worse. None of that helped my mild case actually feel mild. Someone close to me asked if I felt foolish for not vaccinating before this. I said I don’t think so because I was one of the first people I knew who was infected during the Delta wave. My original analysis based on the original Covid data indicated the vaccine was a toss-up for me; I have consistently recommended vaccination for people over 60 or with comorbidities. Something big has changed with the Delta variant (see details below). Unlike in previous waves, there are many more middle-aged people adjacent to my social circles dying and many more young people needing hospitalization. [The Tom File]
  • Our data strongly suggest that zinc supplementation in the daily range of 25 mg together with zinc ionophores quina tree bark extract and quercetin, as well as vitamins C, D3 and E, and l-lysine, as administered according to study protocols, evidenced the most protective prophylactic effect against COVID-19 and other viral illnesses, while supplementation with vitamin C or vitamin D alone without zinc plus ionophore(s), may not evince any noticeable prophylactic effect. While we assumed a significant effect contributed by each of the formulations’ components and substances described herein, maintaining long-term use of those components and substances was challenging to subjects. [link]
  • In this controlled in vitro laboratory research study, test media infected with SARS-CoV-2 demonstrated complete inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 by concentrations of PVP-I nasal antiseptic as low as 0.5% after 15 seconds of contact. [JAMA]
  • By this time, the global pandemic had a face – or rather the fight against it had a face. It wasn’t the face of Dr. Fauci, the bureaucrat, but that of Bill Gates, the conscience of the planet. Why he holds this position is unclear to me, but I suppose his fortune is involved. Perhaps it’s because he has more to lose than most do if civilization is wiped out by a plague. Or maybe it’s his guilt over the likelihood that he will survive, in style, if we all die. Most likely, he simply bought his office, bestowing so much money on public health groups that they honored him with a title: Prince-Physician, Exalted Lord-Hygienist of the Realm. [Walter Kirn]
  • I went to college, to Princeton, a big-deal place. A lot of my classmates were rich, from leading families that knew one another through business, politics, marriage, clubs, and life in certain leisure spots such as “the Hamptons” and “the Vineyard.” I moved among them like a spy, figuring out their angles, their connections. I detected no room for my type in their world, but I knew I might have to compete with them someday, or impress them as bosses, so I paid attention. What they seemed to care most about was appearing relaxed in situations that made others tense such as paying the bill in a restaurant or flunking a test. [Walter Kirn]
  • I analyze the effect of venture capitalist’s exit performance for investments made outside of a venture capitalist’s narrowly defined preferred investment industry. I find that these venture backed investments are significantly more likely to have successful exits when the backing venture capitalists makes an investment in a firm within their preferred investment industry. Co-investing with another venture capitalist that has the same investment focus as the investment firm partially mitigates this effect. Furthermore, the negative effect is shown to be more pronounced the greater the degree of difference between the venture capital’s preferred investment industry and the investment industry. [pdf]
  • The remarkably growing dominance of Asian-Americans at the right edge of the bell curve of test scores is one of the least publicized major trends of the new century. It's hard to reconcile this Asian tidal wave of high test scores with conventional narratives about White Privilege, White Supremacy, and Systemic Racism so almost nobody other than a few free-thinking data nerds talk about it. [Sailer]
  • FDR deliberately provoked the Japanese, had actual warning of the attack on PH, and evacuated the valuable carriers while leaving obsolete battleships to be attacked so as to gull the American rubes out of isolationism and into war. [CBS]
  • This lead me to make a conjecture that there is a fairly strong correlation between mathematical aptitude and being a smoker. This was recently confirmed by an extensive study "Mathematics and Smoking" that evaluated 1000 randomly chosen mathematical smokers and 1000 non-smokers, and concluded, that the correlation between smoking and mathematical ability is 0.765 (plus-and-minus 0.003). This interesting study was rejected by the Notices of the American Mathematical Society, not because they found anything wrong with it, but because of the PC mafia that was worried that this study would encourage young graduate students to take up smoking in order to improve their math. Please give me a break! Graduate students are smart enough to know that correlation is not causation, and just if they did not smoke until now, adopting this bad habit would not increase, by epsilon, their chance of proving RH. Unfortunately, the authors of this interesting study succumbed to pressure, and agreed not to make it public. This is a shame. Of course, physical health is very important, but the truth is even more so, and the "inconvenient truth" that smokers make better mathematicians should not be censored. [Doron Zeilberger]
  • Just look at the gigantic revenue and volume increases in the reduced-risk products. What is particularly striking is that the further you get from burning tobacco, and the closer you get to pure nicotine (the pouches), the faster revenue is growing. These reduced risk products also demonstrate a thesis I have that millenials and yuppies don't know what anything should cost. That is, you can get away with gouging them a lot more (higher margins) than you can salt-of-the-earth cigarette smoking proles. I think it is actually partly ignorance, and partly status anxiety making them not question prices. Also, yuppies operate in segments of the economy where people don't negotiate as much. Anyway, whatever the reason, Philip Morris' safer heated tobacco product is growing more quickly and has higher profit margin and selling price than its cigarette product. And the same seems to be broadly true of all the reduced risk products. There's a reason that everybody at Apollo mission control, everybody at every coffee shop, everybody at every bar and at every dinner, and everybody in every classroom was smoking cigarettes back before they were acknowledged to be harmful (and more importantly, déclassé): nicotine is an enjoyable nootropic. [CBS]

1 comment:

CP said...

Key part of Tom File essay:

I think one error I was making in my previous thinking about the vaccine was assuming that the risk of the vaccine and the risk of Covid infection were completely independent, like the odds of winning the lottery versus getting hit by lightning: one has nothing to do with the other. This doesn’t make sense, though, when we consider that the active ingredient of the vaccine is the spike protein. Pro and anti vax people agree that the spike protein induced by the vaccine is likely the cause of any legitimate post-vaccine side effects. So here’s a rather obvious consequence of that: if most Covid deaths are due to cytokine storms overreacting to the spike protein, wouldn’t we expect someone who has a really bad reaction to the relatively low levels of spike protein in the vaccine to also have a massive and dangerous reaction to the much higher levels of spike protein experienced during Covid infection? And since vaccine side effects are more manageable and predictable than Covid infection, wouldn’t it make sense, if someone had the bad luck to be overly sensitive to the spike protein, to prefer to have this reaction to the controlled, dosed spike protein in the vaccine rather than the uncontrollable levels induced by the virus? Especially since avoiding infection entirely is now almost impossible with the Delta variant?