Monday, October 27, 2014

It's Opposite Day in DC

It's so odd to see the Administration pressuring NY and NJ to scrap their quarantine plans. Usually the administration is on the side of restricting freedom, not guaranteeing it.

Regarding ebola, Dr Antony Fauci explains their thinking:

  ...Fauci reemphasized that the scientific evidence suggests the disease is simply not that contagious. “The scientific data tells us that people without symptoms, with whom you don’t come into contact with body fluids, are not a threat,” the doctor said.
The scientific data also tells us that Ebola outbreaks never exceed 425 cases. But here we are with well over 10,000 cases and counting. So maybe there's reason to regard the old "scientific data" as subject to revision.  

Should there be enforced quarantine? I would hope we could handle it with voluntary quarantines, but Dr Nancy Snyderman showed us how well they work. Seems even medical professionals are willing to ignore the importance of isolating the virus when it demands they resist the lure of take-out food.

In general, I'd like to see more freedom rather than less, but we routinely restrict the freedom of movement of uncooperative TB patients.

The CDC explains it in a soon to be disappeared web page:

Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.
  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.
In addition to serving as medical functions, isolation and quarantine also are “police power” functions, derived from the right of the state to take action affecting individuals for the benefit of society.

 The Administration argues that mandatory quarantines will stifle the efforts of our brave volunteers in the fight against Ebola. But think about it; you're faced with the prospect of traveling to a hot zone, without the amenities you're used to, at great danger to your own health, working without the equipment you're used to, for no money, with the promise that you'll witness daily tragedies. What are the chances that three weeks off at the end of your tour will convince you it's not worth the effort?

OK, it's not three weeks off. It's probably closer to three weeks in jail. (except your "jailers" appreciate what you've done and will get you anything they can to make your isolation more comfortable) But the quarantine isn't the worst part of the equation, is what I'm saying. If you're motivated to volunteer, you've committed yourself to much harsher things than a 21 day quarantine.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Law and Order: KFC

Silly, well maybe, but fiendishly clever when you realize that the dialog incorporates the complete summary of Obama's ISIS policy.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

No, but then again, Yes

Policy be complicated:

The day after that Frieden was asked during a press conference if you could contract Ebola by sitting next to someone on a bus—a question prompted by a statement from President Obama the week before, when he declared that you can’t get Ebola “through casual contact, like sitting next to someone on a bus.”
Frieden answered: “I think there are two different parts of that equation. The first is, if you’re a member of the traveling public and are healthy, should you be worried that you might have gotten it by sitting next to someone? And the answer is no. Second, if you are sick and you may have Ebola, should you get on a bus? And the answer to that is also no. You might become ill, you might have a problem that exposes someone around you.”
 You've probably got to be a member of the science party to understand.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Greyhounds vs. Mechanical Bunny

So what would happen if the dogs ever caught that mechanical rabbit? I've wondered this since I was little.

 Sooner or later the internet answers everything.

Though my own experience with Jack Russells and house slippers gave me a clue how such a scenario would play out long ago, it's nice to see it documented.


Thursday, October 09, 2014

Ebola Joke

The doctor sat me down and said,

"I'm afraid you've been diagnosed with Alzheimers and Ebola"

After a moment of silence I said,

"Well at least I don't have Ebola."

There aren't many Ebola jokes yet, and I don't expect many. The thing is, the numbers:

Global health officials are looking closely at the “reproduction number,” which estimates how many people, on average, will catch the virus from each person stricken with Ebola. The epidemic will begin to decline when that number falls below one. A recent analysis estimated the number at 1.5 to two.
The number of Ebola cases in West Africa has been doubling about every three weeks. There is little evidence so far that the epidemic is losing momentum.
If you understand exponentials, that number is scary enough. But there are other numbers that concern me more:

The latest World Health Organization statistics, published Wednesday, show 8,033 cases of suspected or confirmed Ebola in the West Africa outbreak, with 3,865 deaths.
OK, that sounds bad, but it's even worse when you consider that the total number of deaths from all previous outbreaks was under two thousand. And the largest prior outbreaks didn't kill more than several hundred per outbreak. And the outbreaks were usually confined to one country.

So what has changed? (get ready for someone to say global warming) Are the treatment and containment efforts less effective than they were in the past? It seems hard to believe that we've gotten worse at responding to the disease.

Or has the virus changed? Could it be more contagious than it was in the past? The fact that aid workers are falling victim to Ebola might be an indication that safety measures that were sufficient to deal with the virus in the past are not up to protecting against this strain. I'm thinking this is not your father's Ebola. This is something else.

Still, smart people trained in the field are working hard on the problem. I wouldn' say it's time to panic; but I also wouldn't blame you if you went for the 50 pound bag of rice next shopping trip. You know the current batch of Government clowns won't impose a travel ban on infected areas until the disease has a solid foothold in the US.

Dear Kitten: Regarding The Dog

is there anything he can't narrate?


Tuesday, October 07, 2014


Bill Maher's experiment was simple: to see how long he could talk frankly about the illiberalism of the Muslim world before actor and director Ben Affleck, also a guest on the show, accused him of racism?

When Maher and Harris pointed out how widespread retrograde attitudes are in the Muslim world, Affleck said they were “stereotyping.” But the data doesn’t stereotype. Especially in less-developed countries, it is appalling.

The percentage of Muslims in Middle Eastern and South Asian countries who say that honor killings are never justified is shockingly low (31 percent in Egypt, 45 percent in Pakistan). Support for the stoning of adulterers is more than 40 percent in Bangladesh and 80 percent in Afghanistan. The death penalty for leaving Islam is almost, although not quite, as popular as stoning.

Affleck simply couldn’t handle the truth. He kept on insisting it is just a few bad apples who think this way....