From the NYT: “But America’s experience with polio should give us pause, not hope. The first effective polio vaccine followed decades of research and testing. Once fully tested, it was approved with record speed. Then there were life-threatening manufacturing problems. Distribution problems followed. Political fights broke out. After several years, enough Americans were vaccinated that cases plummeted — but they persisted in poor communities for over a decade. Polio’s full story should make us wary of promises that we will soon have the coronavirus under control with a vaccine. …
“Granted, there are countless differences between the fight against the coronavirus and the long-ago fight against polio. The global capacity for vaccine research and development is far greater than it was in the 1950s. Drug approval and manufacturing safety protocols have been refined since then, too. Already, just months into the current pandemic, there are far more vaccines in development against the coronavirus than there ever were against polio.”
Sobering lessons from the history of the polio vaccine.
“Fauci’s transgression is to base his evaluations — after decades of public service and expertise fighting HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Zika and anthrax — on facts and logic that conflict with Trump’s chosen version of reality. Fauci has long said that only the virus can decide when normal life — things such as NFL games and schools reopening, for instance — will be safe again.
“Trump has always been battling the pandemic he wants to fight, rather than the one that actually exists, with a strategy shaped mostly by his political requirements as he seeks a second term. The pandemic arrived in the US despite his insistence that it would not be a problem. Now, with 84,000 Americans dead and 1.3 million infected, Trump argues that the country has prevailed over the virus and it’s time to get back to work.”
President Donald Trump's repudiation of Dr. Anthony Fauci has long been probable. Once the trusted doctor warned of the human cost of Trump's push to quickly reopen the country, it became inevitable.
Developing a defense against the virus will depend on how it behaves.
The pathogen that causes covid-19 is genetically fairly stable: “Just one ‘pretty bad’ strain for everybody so far.”
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy's science division is now unstaffed, sources told CBS News
In experiments on pig organs, scientists at Yale made a discovery that could someday challenge our understanding of what it means to die.
By the way, I had always assumed that “brain banks” were a comic invention of Mel Brooks. Apparently, they’re real.
Religious beliefs differ from empirical beliefs, which are based on how the world appears to be
Two hundred years ago, the Luddites smashed the machines that threatened their livelihood. Twenty years ago, the machines that their revenge by crushing human opponents, up to and including world champion Garry Kasparov. Now a new machine has arisen that crushes such mere calculators. Be afraid, be very afraid.
The stunning success of AlphaZero, a deep-learning algorithm, heralds a new age of insight ? one that, for humans, may not last long.
But at least Stockfish isn’t capable of feeling dejected and forlorn (and the paparazzi weren’t swarming over it) as in these pictures of Kasparov immediately following his 1997 loss to Deep Blue: