jaysus, I’ve had Game Pass for ages and hadn’t noticed half of these!
Justin Mason's Weblog Posts
Eric Topol on some recent research publications regarding Long Covid:
I’m going to briefly review here the new reports on (1) prevalence; (2) mechanisms and biomarkers; and (3) potential treatments […] Much new information for Long Covid was reported in a matter of days. It would be great to keep up this momentum, now that we are pushing onto 3 years of the pandemic. I have many colleagues who have been severely affected, and have seen multiple patients in my clinic in recent weeks who are debilitated. I wish I had something to offer them, but hopefully over time we’ll build on this recent spurt of knowledge. While we have no treatment or biomarker, the CDC relaxation of Covid guidelines is totally unhelpful— staying Covid cautious is the right move, and we desperately need better tools to block infections and transmission. There’s some hope that the first completed 4,000 participant nasal vaccine randomized trial could be the start of patching up the leak of vaccines against the Omicron subvariants (currently BA.5). Prof Iwasaki and I have called for an urgent Operation Nasal Vaccine initiative. There’s only one surefire way to prevent Long Covid: not to get Covid.
I love this idea — repurpose ancient phones as a DC for energy efficiency:
It requires significant energy to manufacture and deploy computational devices. Traditional discussions of the energy-efficiency of compute measure operational energy, i.e. how many FLOPS in a 50MW datacenter. However, if we consider the true lifetime energy use of modern devices, the majority actually comes not from runtime use but from manufacture and deployment. In this paper, then, we suggest that perhaps the most climate-impactful action we can take is to extend the service lifetime of existing compute. We design two new metrics to measure how to balance continued service of older devices with the superlinear runtime improvements of newer machines. The first looks at carbon per raw compute, amortized across the operation and manufacture of devices. The second considers use of components beyond compute, such as batteries or radios in smartphone platforms. We use these metrics to redefine device service lifetime in terms of carbon efficiency. We then realize a real-world “junkyard datacenter” made up of Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 phones, which are nearly a decade past their official end-of-life dates. This new-old datacenter is able to nearly match and occasionally exceed modern cloud compute offerings.(via the Environment Variables podcast)
A few good suggestions here. Absolutely to nobody’s surprise, it turns out systemd quietly sets up swapping to /var/swap, so that’s a good one to turn off if your RPIs are not RAM-bound
A HomeAssistant integration to enable automations based on room occupancy (“is X in the front room? turn on the lights” etc)
This is way more complicated than it should be, compared to the easy option of a quick flight :(
Thinking hard for several hours can leave us feeling mentally tired – and now we may know why. Prolonged concentration leads to the build-up of a compound called glutamate in regions at the front of the brain. This may provide an explanation as to why we avoid difficult tasks when mentally fatigued: the glutamate overload makes further mental work difficult. Too much glutamate is potentially harmful, says Antonius Wiehler at the Paris Brain Institute in France, who led the research. “The brain wants to avoid this, so it is trying to reduce activity.” Many of us have experienced mental weariness after a hard day of thinking, but until now, we didn’t know why. The brain doesn’t seem to run out of energy after working hard and even when we aren’t deliberately thinking about anything specific, some brain regions, called the “default mode network”, are as active as ever. To learn more, Wiehler and his team used a technique called magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), which measures levels of various chemicals in living tissue harmlessly. They focused on a region towards the front and sides of the brain called the lateral prefrontal cortex […] Levels of eight different brain chemicals were measured, including glutamate, which is the main signalling chemical between neurons. After completing the memory tasks for 6 hours, those doing the harder version had raised levels of glutamate in their lateral prefrontal cortex compared with the start of the experiment. In those doing the easier task, levels stayed about the same. Across all participants, there was no rise in the other seven brain chemicals that were measured. Among the participants doing the harder tasks, their glutamate level rise tallied with dilation of the pupils in their eyes, another broad measure of fatigue. Those doing the simpler task reported feeling tired, but had no glutamate rise or pupil dilation.
Data from more than a dozen studies of more than 30,000 transgender and gender-diverse young people consistently show that access to gender-affirming care is associated with better mental health outcomes—and that lack of access to such care is associated with higher rates of suicidality, depression and self-harming behavior. (Gender diversity refers to the extent to which a person’s gendered behaviors, appearance and identities are culturally incongruent with the sex they were assigned at birth. Gender-diverse people can identify along the transgender spectrum, but not all do.) Major medical organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Endocrine Society, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association, have published policy statements and guidelines on how to provide age-appropriate gender-affirming care. All of those medical societies find such care to be evidence-based and medically necessary.
This is a crazy story. The allegation is that OnlyFans used a secret Hong Kong subsidiary company to funnel bribes to crooked Meta employees in order to get competitors’ social media content blocked by the GIFCT blocklist, ‘a watch list managed by the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, a non-profit intended to “stop the spread of mass shooting videos and other terrorist content across social media sites” that was co-founded by Meta, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube.’
official EU estimates for home solar PV output
“Scrape and Monitor Data from Any Website with No Code” — looks like an interesting approach to web scraping, with a free plan
Interesting HN thread with a few suggestions — replacing the battery with a direct soldered PSU connection is interesting, if a little scary
Electrically-powered, wall-mounted heating panels which provide heat through direct emission of infrared radiation. Tuya-based, so compatible with Home Assistant and various other gadgets. Intriguing as a super-cheap way to exploit solar PV power and avoid fossil fuels
Alex DeBrie’s commentary on the “10 years of DynamoDB” paper published recently by AWS. Together with Marc Brooker’s commentary (at https://brooker.co.za/blog/2022/07/12/dynamodb.html), this is a good review.
A survey of the current state of SWE on-call activities and cultures across the industry. Pretty good, except the first part of this series is still unreadable as it’s subscriber-only, and I am irrationally peeved by the Irish companies tagged as “Global” whereas companies in other EU countries are named as such. Give us the credit when due :)
But every bezzle ends. The Saudi royals – who provided much of the billions used to prop up the Uber bezzle in its first decades – cashed out with the company’s IPO. The company may lure in some new suckers and delay the exodus of current bag-holders with its current fantasy of infinite price-hikes and wage theft, but that’s a fantasy, too.
Good data on past COVID-19 infections in Ireland, derived from blood analysis at the Blood Transfusion Service; charts over time are broken down by age group, past vaccination status and infection status. As of this week, it seems 72.8% of the Irish population have had COVID so far….
It’s the sebum!
The researcher found that mosquitoes that smelled a blend of decanal, which activates the human-specific glomerulus, and 1-hexanol, which activates the human-and-animals glomerulus, would fly upwind in search of the source. “Importantly, they also show that these components are behaviorally relevant to the mosquitoes—mosquitoes will track the binary blend of synthetic odorants in the same way that they respond to whole human odor,” notes Duvall. The decanal and undecanal are probably derived from sebum, an oily substance that—unlike sweat—is secreted from hair follicles regardless of physical activity. Finding a role for sebum in mosquito attraction is novel, Matthew DeGennaro, a researcher in vector-borne diseases at Florida International University who was not involved in the study, writes in an email. “Previously, most the of the focus has been on human sweat components such as lactic acid or on how the human skin microbiome processes sweat and sebum into our distinct odor.”
William Gibson’s “Jackpot” would like a word:
A thorough risk assessment would consider how risks spread, interacted and amplified, but had not been attempted, the scientists said. “Yet this is how risk unfolds in the real world,” they said. “For example, a cyclone destroys electrical infrastructure, leaving a population vulnerable to an ensuing deadly heatwave.” The Covid pandemic underlined the need to examine rare but high-impact global risks, they added.
Another problem is what the study identifies as “the social proof lever.” […] Anti-piracy campaigns make piracy seem like the social norm. If everyone is doing it, the logic goes, it probably isn’t that bad. “Informing directly or indirectly individuals that many people pirate is counterproductive and encourages piracy by driving the targeted individuals to behave similarly,” the study said. “These messages provide to the would-be pirates the needed rationalization by emphasizing that ‘everyone is doing it.” The study had one last piece of advice for movie studios: stop airing anti-piracy ads in the theater. “These messages are frequently edited out by pirates before being redistributed through the internet, the study said. “Consequently, individuals who see the message are paying users […] displaying descriptive information about how widespread piracy is to paying users is ill-advised.”
An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland, responds to the government’s new sectoral ceilings for carbon emissions:
“By agreeing to these sectoral ceilings the Government is potentially signing up to something which is not aligned with the Climate Act from the very get go. Where has the 2025 budget gone? Why does it only add up to 43% when the law itself requires 51%? It seems like they’re making it up as they go along, but this whole process has to be aligned to the legal requirements of the Climate Act, you can’t simply fudge it. This is a truly chaotic way to budget for the future”Well said.
Profile of Frank Mitloehner, the Irish beef and dairy industry’s favourite scientist where climate change is concerned. An Taisce have noted: “Scientists from Johns Hopkins University took the highly unusual step of issuing a public rebuttal to Dr. Mitloenher’s mis-statements, particularly in noting that cutting total emissions is the only meaningful measure of climate action and that animal agriculture has an enormous environmental impact, therefore focusing on product efficiency as Mitloehner does is a misdirection.” — https://clf.jhsph.edu/sites/default/files/2019-04/frank-mitloehner-white-paper-letter.pdf
Good review for the ZimaBoard, a pretty hefty looking SBC microserver platform with a real x86_64 CPU
Installing Muxsan power pack extension kits in Ireland, to add 11kWh, 22kWh and 33kWh extensions giving an additional range of +75km, +140km and +210km on top of the basic 24/30/40kWh Leaf battery packs. Very tempted!
“Darren: I thought it was a joke that they were pushing for the [poop emoji] to be in the first cut, but I quickly learned that it was not a joke at all. It’s basically like having all of the letters in the English alphabet, but getting rid of random ones. Like, “Let’s take out ‘B’ because ‘B’ kind of offends me.” In Japanese, emoji are more like characters than random animated emoticons, so we pushed back really hard. We said, “We can’t launch emoji without the poop.” Not only is it extremely popular in Japan—like extremely popular—you can’t just arbitrarily take letters out of the alphabet.”
Marc Brooker on the latest DynamoDB USENIX paper — good paper and commentary. He picks out this very interesting tidbit:
‘When a router received a request for a table it had not seen before, it downloaded the routing information for the entire table and cached it locally. Since the configuration information about partition replicas rarely changes, the cache hit rate was approximately 99.75 percent.’ What’s not to love about a 99.75% cache hit rate? The failure modes! ‘The downside is that caching introduces bimodal behavior. In the case of a cold start where request routers have empty caches, every DynamoDB request would result in a metadata lookup, and so the service had to scale to serve requests at the same rate as DynamoDB’ So this metadata table needs to scale from handling 0.25% of requests, to handling 100% of requests. A 400x potential increase in traffic! Designing and maintaining something that can handle rare 400x increases in traffic is super hard. To address this, the DynamoDB team introduced a distributed cache called MemDS. ‘A new partition map cache was deployed on each request router host to avoid the bi-modality of the original request router caches.’ Which leads to more background work, but less amplification in the failure cases. The constant traffic to the MemDS fleet increases the load on the metadata fleet compared to the conventional caches where the traffic to the backend is determined by cache hit ratio, but prevents cascading failures to other parts of the system when the caches become ineffective.
Very impressed by Fairphone, the greener mobile option. Here’s more info on their open source commitments — “On every smartphone we produce and sell – we publish as much source code as we legally can. And we share all of this information publicly with our users and community on our Fairphone Code website.”
Via Nelson; webapp to analyze CPAP machine data logs
“argumentation theory” is an interesting idea in the age of weaponised memes:
The Covid-19 pandemic has offered some notable examples of how public communication may backfire, in spite of the best intentions of the actors involved, and what role poor argumentative design plays in such failures, in the context of the current digital media ecology. In this chapter, I offer some preliminary considerations on the ongoing struggle to make sense of the new communication technologies in our media reality, analyze a concrete example of argumentative failure in anti-Covid vaccine communication in the European Union, and leverage this case study to issue a call to arms to argumentation scholars: argumentative competence is sorely needed for an effective response to the pandemic, yet argumentation theory will need to join forces with other areas of expertise to realize its societal impact. When it comes to arguments, self-isolation is not a viable strategy to fight Covid-19.
In 2018, while reporting on pandemic preparedness in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I heard many people joking about the fictional 15th article of the country’s constitution: Débrouillez-vous, or “Figure it out yourself.” It was a droll and weary acknowledgment that the government won’t save you, and you must make do with the resources you’ve got. The United States is now firmly in the débrouillez-vous era of the COVID-19 pandemic.… same here, unfortunately.
“What we might be seeing is a weird side effect of […] filtering or pre-processing, where images of Indian women, for example, are less likely to get filtered by the ban list, or the text describing the images is removed and they’re added to the dataset with no labels attached.” For instance, if the captions were in Hindi or another language, it’s possible that text might get muddled in processing the data, resulting in the image having no caption.
_The Importance of Understanding the Stages of COVID-19 In Treatment And Trials_, as covered regularly by Dr. Daniel Griffin on TWiV — COVID-19 infection can progress through several defined phases; “three periods: pre-exposure, incubation, and detectable viral replication; and five phases: the viral symptom phase, the early inflammatory phase, the secondary infection phase, the multi-system inflammatory phase, and the tail phase.”
By talking about Agile Marketing, and Agile in general, with a foreign friend, I figured out that people outside Brazil are not familiar with the eXtreme Go Horse Methodology. Even though we’ve seen it applied to many companies (like Tesla), apparently this widely used global methodology was only formally detailed by Brazilian Devs.Example XGH methodology: “In XGH you don’t think, you do the first thing that comes to your mind. There’s not a second option as the first one is faster.”
‘Sufficient similarities exist between Long SARS and Long Covid (PASC) in symptoms, findings and course over time (so far) that one can predict that it is very highly likely that some Long Covid disability will persist permanently.’
‘The Cycle of Dispossession describes an anti-democratic pattern, which [Shoshana] Zuboff [in _The Age Of Surveillance Capitalism_, 2019] lays out as a four-stage process: incursion, habituation, adaptation, and redirection.’
ooh, kinda cool (though very geeky) — trigger NFC activity using a ring on your hand, including POS terminals, activating doors, and public transport
Good state-of-the-art writeup on where science is with Long Covid at the moment.
Increasingly, researchers want to fine-tune how they classify people with Long Covid, differentiating subsets based on symptoms, biology, or both. In a way, “the biggest obstacle that we are facing is we gave it one name, we gave it the name of Long Covid, which implies that it is one disease,” says Chahinda Ghossein, a physician and heart disease researcher at Maastricht University and co-leader of a 15,000-patient Long Covid study in the Netherlands. “All the studies being performed show us that it is not.”
A nice compact, readable, sortable unique ID string algorithm, eg. “01BX5ZZKBKACTAV9WEVGEMMVRZ” — 128 bits, 1.21e+24 unique ULIDs per millisecond, case insensitive, with a URL safe character set. Very nice. (via Nelson) There’s a java implementation here: https://github.com/huxi/sulky/tree/master/sulky-ulid
a fascinating alternative numeric representation used during the European Middle Ages
Here’s why the US government have decided that “Covid is over” — a PR firm did some market research and decided that the public were bored of it:
Recognize that people are “worn out” and feeling real harm from the years- long restrictions and take their side. Most Americans have personally moved out of crisis mode. Twice as many voters are now more concerned about COVID’s effect on the economy (49%) than about someone in their family or someone they know becoming infected with the coronavirus (24%). […] Don’t set “COVID zero” as the victory condition. Americans also don’t think victory is COVID Zero. They think the virus is here to stay, and 83% say the pandemic will be over when it’s a mild illness like the flu rather than COVID being completely gone, and 55% prefer that COVID should be treated as an endemic disease. […] Americans also assume they will get COVID: 77% agree that “it is inevitable that most people in the US will eventually get COVID-19”, and 61% of Americans who have never tested positive think they are likely to be infected over the next year. […]As jwz says — “In other words: facts don’t matter, only feelings matter, and what’s the point in saving lives if you’re just going to lose the midterms anyway?”
It’s not just a flu (in hamsters):
The host response to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection can result in prolonged pathologies collectively referred to as post-acute sequalae of COVID-19 (PASC) or long COVID. To better understand the mechanism underlying long COVID biology, we compared the short- and long-term systemic responses in the golden hamster following either SARS-CoV-2 or influenza A virus (IAV) infection. Results demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 exceeded IAV in its capacity to cause permanent injury to the lung and kidney and uniquely impacted the olfactory bulb (OB) and epithelium (OE). Despite a lack of detectable infectious virus, the OB and OE demonstrated myeloid and T cell activation, proinflammatory cytokine production, and an interferon response that correlated with behavioral changes extending a month post viral clearance. These sustained transcriptional changes could also be corroborated from tissue isolated from individuals who recovered from COVID-19. These data highlight a molecular mechanism for persistent COVID-19 symptomology and provide a small animal model to explore future therapeutics.
SSL cert expiration dates strike again:
“Megaphone experienced a platform outage due to an issue related to our SSL certificate. During the outage, clients were unable to access the Megaphone CMS and podcast listeners were unable to download podcast episodes from Megaphone-hosted publishers. Megaphone service has since been restored.”
Great Twitter thread from Colm MacCarthaigh about security credentials, keeping them safe, and why time-based key expiry sucks: “When security auditors just say things like “Critical credentials need to be rotated every 90 days” you need to fire them into the sun with urgency. Here’s what you actually need … First rule of credential management: Rotation does nothing. It’s revocation that matters. You always need a well-tested mechanism to make sure that you can remove or invalidate a credential that has been compromised. Second rule of credential management: Have closed loops. Deactivated credentials are a common source of outages. When introducing a new credential you see it everywhere it needs to be before using it. When you remove one, you need to see it gone from use before deactivating. Though you can’t make that last part impossible to over-ride, because you do need to be able to lock out an attacker. Which brings up the next rule … Third rule of credential management: logging and detective controls are key. You need to be able to see when and where a credential is being used. This is important for operational safety and security. How would you even detect a stolen credential without this? Fourth rule of credential management: be INCREDIBLY wary of time-based expiry. Use only when there is no other option (e.g. public SSL certificates). There’s really no way to win with time-based expiry. If your expiry time is something like a year, you don’t get much security. Are you ok with an attacker using that cred for a year? So you still need revocation. If your expiry time is very short, like hours, are you *always* going to beat that renewal deadline? got good clocks? Super short ephemeral credentials can be done, we do it at AWS, but it takes a *lot* of resources and diligence that most organizations don’t have. Even we prefer to use real closed loops where we can. Fifth rule about credentials: Store credentials only where they are needed. This seems obvious but is rarely done. In particular it’s common to see “treasure trove” secret-distribution control-planes that know all of the credentials. Distribution planes for secrets could use one or more of end-to-end, multi-party, or threshold encryption, so that those systems themselves don’t know the secrets. We do this in places, but it’s not a common pattern in industry that I’ve seen. Sixth rule of credentials: if there is no reason to suspect credential disclosure or mis-use, leave it alone. Replacing credentials usually exposes them to more systems, at least temporarily. How do you know that’s not more risky? Seventh rule of credentials: asymmetric cryptography when you can, if not then choose between either memory-hard compute-hard hashing or derived-key symmetric auth depending on what fits your use-case. Avoid storing valuable secrets server side. Eight rule of credentials: keep credentials inside one-way enclaves like TPMs, TEEs, HSMs, when you can. Best line of defense is to keep credentials inaccessible. Ninth rule of credentials: If you can’t write down a common password comparison side-channel from memory, do not implement your own authentication. Yes this is gatekeeping. Sorry, but no. Tenth rule of credentials: Check for all-zeroes creds, and repeated values. You can do this with hashing, you don’t need to record the secrets. Coding errors, failures of entropy systems, and erasure mistakes are common enough to make this check worth doing. I’ll stop there for now, maybe add more later. These are just some of the points I go through in reviews. Would love to hear from others about their own lessons and learnings. CYA-culture shallow audits drive my crazy, I hate to see customers trapped by them.”
Very enjoyable Linux hyper-optimization through splice and huge pages
This is a super-cool building block from Google Open Source: “We’ve created the first vectorized Quicksort: – Sorts arrays of numbers ~10x as fast as C++ std:sort – Outperforms state-of-the-art specific algorithms – Is portable across all modern CPU architectures We are interested to see what new applications and capabilities will be unlocked by being able to sort at 1 GB/s on a single CPU core.” Part of their Highway library of vectorized code, https://github.com/google/highway , “a C++ library that provides portable SIMD/vector intrinsics.” Low-level, hyperoptimized libs like this will be very important to ameliorate climate change impact of datacenter usage, so it’s a great idea.
Prof Danny Altmann, an immunologist and expert on long Covid at Imperial College London, described the latest figures as alarming:
“They put to rest any vestige of hope that long Covid would somehow be just a thing of the early waves, would diminish in times of vaccination or ‘milder’ variants, or would just trail off. We’ve now created a far larger cohort of the chronically unwell and disabled than we previously had, say, within the entire national burden of rheumatoid arthritis, its healthcare costs, associated loss to quality of life and to the workplace. This couldn’t be further from ‘living with Covid’. It does necessitate some policy discussions, nationally and internationally.”Sadly, I think the same applies here in Ireland too.
This is an incredible pre-print — “We describe a persistent SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 infection in an immuno-compromised individual during a 12-week period, and document the accumulation of eight additional amino acid substitutions in the already antigenically-distinct Omicron BA.1 spike protein.” A SARS-CoV-2 variant evolving in a single person in real time!
Persistent SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported in immune-compromised individuals and people undergoing immune-modulatory treatments. It has been speculated that the emergence of antigenically diverse SARS-CoV-2 variants such as the Omicron variant may be the result of intra-host viral evolution driven by suboptimal immune responses, which must be followed by forward transmission. However, while intrahost evolution has been documented, to our knowledge no direct evidence of subsequent forward transmission is available to date. Here we describe the emergence of an Omicron BA.1 sub-lineage with 8 additional amino acid substitutions within the spike (E96D, L167T, R346T, L455W, K458M, A484V, H681R, A688V) in an immune-compromised host along with evidence of 5 forward transmission cases. Our findings show that the Omicron BA.1 lineage can further diverge from its exceptionally mutated genome during prolonged SARS-CoV-2 infection; highlighting an urgent need to employ therapeutic strategies to limit duration of infection and spread in vulnerable patients.
decent speed improvements by sharing a layer cache between hosts
‘We have demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 wastewater monitoring data from a single large WWTP in Dublin reflected case data in the greater Dublin area. Moreover, the surveillance of VOCs in this WWTP reflected the results of clinical sample sequencing and also preceded, further demonstrating the potential utility of this approach to SARS-CoV-2 surveillance.’
‘Scandal, conspiracy, and cover-ups in the theft of the “Irish Crown Jewels” from Dublin Castle’ — a fantastic historical whodunnit, even featuring a Shackleton
Well, this is some worrying news: based on this study of 13 million people in Nature Medicine, COVID-19 vaccines only reduce Long Covid risk by 15%, with the largest risk reduction in blood clots and pulmonary sequelae, but less protection of other organ systems. Also, post-vaccination, immunocompromised people have a higher risk of Long Covid than others. As the author says: “Now that we know that vaccines are not sufficient as a sole line of defense, we need to urgently develop and deploy additional layers of protection to reduce risk of Long Covid. These may include vaccines specifically designed to reduce risk of Long Covid, and therapeutics that could be taken in the acute phase to reduce risk. Paxlovid and other antivirals must be urgently tested in trials for Long Covid.” (via Akiko Iwasaki)
New PNAS paper, discussed in this week’s TWiV episode — _The risk of COVID-19 death is much greater and age dependent with type I IFN autoantibodies_:
There is growing evidence that pre-existing autoantibodies neutralizing type I interferons (IFNs) are strong determinants of life-threatening COVID-19 pneumonia. It is important to estimate their quantitative impact on COVID-19 mortality upon SARS-CoV-2 infection, by age and sex, as both the prevalence of these autoantibodies and the risk of COVID-19 death increase with age and are higher in men. Using an unvaccinated sample of 1,261 deceased patients and 34,159 individuals from the general population, we found that autoantibodies against type I IFNs strongly increased the SARS-CoV-2 infection fatality rate at all ages, in both men and women. Autoantibodies against type I IFNs are strong and common predictors of life-threatening COVID-19. Testing for these autoantibodies should be considered in the general population.I would have thought that type I interferons are a fairly critical part of the immune system, and the idea that people are happily walking about with autoantibodies to them is pretty crazy, but that seems to be the implication here.
Groups that operate under the guise of inclusion, regardless of their intentions, are serving the greater goal of crypto that keeps the whole thing afloat: finding ever more fools to buy in so that the early investors can take their profits. And it is those latecomers who are left holding the bag in the end. With projects that seek to provide services and opportunities to members of marginalized groups who have previously not had access, but on bad terms that ultimately disadvantaged them, we see predatory inclusion. With projects that seek to create new communities of marginalized people to draw them in to risky speculative markets rife with scams and fraud, we are now seeing predatory community.
brilliant single-page website, scraping the “current wait time for security queues” data from Dublin Airport’s own official site, and logging historical data in a graph.
TIL: smallpox “is thought to have been a mild disease before the 17th century, and gradually evolved to become more lethal, before being eradicated by vaccines in 1980”. This is a refutation of the common preconception that viruses “naturally” evolve to become less virulent (via Tom Wenseleers – https://twitter.com/TWenseleers/status/1527695140265000960)
‘4% of [N=113] COVID19 patients shed viral RNA in their faeces 7 months after diagnosis and that the presence of faecal viral RNA is associated with gastrointestinal symptoms’
“For people with a positive PCR test or a diagnosis of COVID-19, 90-day cumulative incidence ranged from 0.2% to 0.8% for venous thromboembolism and 0.1% to 0.8% for arterial thromboembolism”. Those are _very_ high incidences for these rare and very risky conditions.
This is a great breakthrough for such a tragic disease, and one which has led to terrible miscarriages of justice.
SIDS refers to the unexplained deaths of infants under a year old, and it usually occurs while the child is sleeping. According to Mayo Clinic, many in the medical community suspected this phenomenon could be caused by a defect in the part of the brain that controls arousal from sleep and breathing. The theory was that if the infant stopped breathing during sleep, the defect would keep the child from startling or waking up. The Sydney researchers were able to confirm this theory by analyzing dried blood samples taken from newborns who died from SIDS and other unknown causes. Each SIDS sample was then compared with blood taken from healthy babies. They found the activity of the enzyme butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) was significantly lower in babies who died of SIDS compared to living infants and other non-SIDS infant deaths. BChE plays a major role in the brain’s arousal pathway, explaining why SIDS typically occurs during sleep. Previously, parents were told SIDS could be prevented if they took proper precautions: laying babies on their backs, not letting them overheat and keeping all toys and blankets out of the crib were a few of the most important preventative steps. While safe sleep practices are still important for protecting infants, many children whose parents took every precaution still died from SIDS. These parents were left with immense guilt, wondering if they could have prevented their baby’s death. Dr. Carmel Harrington, the lead researcher for the study, was one of these parents. Her son unexpectedly and suddenly died as an infant 29 years ago. In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Harrington explained what she was told about the cause of her child’s death. “Nobody could tell me. They just said it’s a tragedy. But it was a tragedy that didn’t sit well with my scientific brain.” Since then, she’s worked to find the cause of SIDS, both for herself and for the medical community as a whole. She went on to explain why this discovery is so important for parents whose babies suffered from SIDS. “These families can now live with the knowledge that this was not their fault,” she said.(via Damien)
Interesting green retrofitting product — it’s a large, wall-sized electric heating panel that mounts seamlessly in plasterboard and can be painted — so like a large, invisible radiator which can run off solar PV.
“The End of the Privacy of Digital Correspondence”:
The EU wants to oblige providers to search all private chats, messages, and emails automatically for suspicious content – generally and indiscriminately. The stated aim: To prosecute child pornography. The result: Mass surveillance by means of fully automated real-time messaging and chat control and the end of secrecy of digital correspondence. Other consequences of the proposal are ineffective network blocking, screening of person cloud storage including private photos, mandatory age verification leading to the end of anonymous communication, censorship in Appstores and the paternalism and exclusion of minors in the digital world.
A thought-terminating cliché (also known as a semantic stop-sign, a thought-stopper, bumper sticker logic, or cliché thinking) is a form of loaded language, often passing as folk wisdom, intended to end an argument and quell cognitive dissonance. Its function is to stop an argument from proceeding further, ending the debate with a cliché rather than a point.Examples: “it is what it is”, “it’s in God’s hands”, “YOLO”, or the Irish favourite: “we all partied”
the un-skinned booking site for car hire
Interesting Twitter thread discussing a potential treatment for long COVID — no interest in providing even the relevant _tests_ in the UK, so a British kid was brought to Germany to receive the treatment, and is now responding well. Here’s details on the specific biosigns:
Her fluorescent microscopy showed very hyperactivated sticky platelets. Mine are on the right for comparison. She also had microclots and evidence of endothelial damage (but latter not severe). I believe she was the first UK child under 12 to have these tests done. The platelets and microclots show that her blood is ‘hypercoaguable’ – too sticky. These may be blocking up the very small blood vessels that allow oxygen into muscles and nerves, which could explain some of her symptoms.
Very interesting thread from Trent Telenko on how a Ukrainian GIS app, combined with Starlink internet access, has created 21st century artillery warfare and outflanked the Russia military:
Ukraine’s ‘GIS Art for Artillery’ app combined with Starlink actually gives the Ukrainian military measurably better than US Military standard artillery command and control. The Ukraine War is the first Starlink War & the side with Starlink is beating the side without.This is pretty nuts. On the other hand, though, Starlink’s operational security is now critically important, and doubtless being heavily targeted by Russian hackers, and Ukraine’s tactics are reliant on the vagaries of Elon Musk… Source twitter thread: https://twitter.com/TrentTelenko/status/1523791050313433088
This looks fantastic — Trino (nee Presto) adds some significant improvements for long-running and heavyweight query support.
When your long-running queries experience a failure, they don’t have to start from scratch. When queries require more memory than currently available in the cluster they are still able to succeed. When multiple queries are submitted concurrently they are able to share resources in a fair way, and make steady progress.
Interesting thread from a Mount Sinai-based lab discussing the side effects of possible mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress:
Our cells use a very specific fuel source called ATP that is produced in a part of the cell called the mitochondria. Unfortunately, ATP also fuels the cellular activities of viruses. As such, when a virus enters our cells it quickly hijacks our mitochondria to fuel viral replication and other viral activities. In other words when you are infected by a virus like #COVID19, you are infected by a little energy thief: taking your hard-earned ATP and using it for its own purposes. Not only does this mean that the virus is proliferating on stolen energy (rude!) but it also means that your cells must perform their regular functions with far less energy. So this is where things get cyclical: we have hijacked mitochondria resulting in inefficient, “stressed“ cells. Our cells are producing energy “for two” now, but barely managing to function, leading to the overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which we can think of as the “exhaust fumes” of our mitochondria. ROS are bad characters – systemically, they can trigger inflammation and hypocapnia. Unfortunately, once the body is experiencing oxidative stress, the mere act of producing more energy starts to damage the mitochondria.
The numbers are in; omicron was as severe as previous variants, it was just that people had been vaccinated. (preprint)