09/09 OT: Wednesday Whatchamacallit
How about covid-19, for a change. It has been alleged that Russia, Russia, Russia has already developed a vaccine. Thee must be some truth to that because Trump imposed sanctions on them, presumably out of fear that they might undercut our prices for ours, whenever it comes out.
Some have expressed concern abut the RussiaVaccine(tn) because it appears to be a rush job and they might not have tested it enough. Meanwhile, the good old USofA is rushing out several without doing enough testing. Any takers?
This is a very serious question. We need abut an 80% vaccination rate to reach herd immunity. Right now that doesn't look all that likely. We have run of the mill anti-vaxxers, those still spewing the "Covid-19 is a hoax" delusion, those who won't be able to afford it and others. According to UCSF researchers only 33% of the surveyed populace got flu shots in 2018, which is a bit short of the target. And, those don't include the merely cautious, as near as I can tell.
There is a good, and short article on the matter which disclosed some of the important demographics as to flu shots. https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/covid-19-vaccines-are-moving...
I recommend reading it. Of course, some people who passed on flu shots might go for covid-19 shots, it is reportedly much more severe. But, at least with flu shots you know more or less what you are getting - a best guess crap shoot cocktail that might or might not work on this year's variant, but probably won't harm you any. Not so the anticipated US covidshots. They are being rushed out as part of some political theater move by the US medical industry under special conditions.
The other option: Some have been saying all along just to let the virus run free and Herd Immunity will save us. It seems that the latest is rumored to be some guy named Scott Atlas. He is a White House advisor and an a neuroradiologist at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. really. We're supposed to be listening to a jumped up x-ray tech who works for a (non-medical) notorious public policy think tank attached to Privilege U? Ya gotta be kidding me. Sweden tried that and it was a miserable failure.
Popular Science has an article on this specific silliness, Herd immunity alone won’t stop COVID-19. Here’s why. (https://www.popsci.com/story/health/herd-immunity-covid-19-vaccine/ ) Among other things, it points out that
There’s also no evidence that a single sweep of the virus through the population would lead to herd immunity, says Sten Vermund, dean of the Yale School of Public Health.
They also bring in a real epidemiologist to weigh in on the matter.
“We’re talking about something that...basically would be relying upon an outbreak that would lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans,” says William Hanage, an epidemiologist in the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “The numbers of people who would be rendered vulnerable to this are surely larger than anybody should be prepared to accept.”
Sadly, he quite tellingly says larger than anybody should be prepared to accept, which, though true, is possibly irrelevant. Huge numbers of US citizens, conservatives, libertarians, neoconservatives, even a very great many neo-liberals, have no problem with obscene numbers of dead and permanently damaged if it would quickly restore a semblance of "normalcy" given only that they and theirs would be kept safe. Luckily for the rest of us, there is no magic shield they can use, so seeming sanity might prevail.
It's a pretty good article with facts, data, graphs and all but does either accidentally or intentionally slip into mainstream narrative manipulation in at least one point. Beneath a graph showing the US rapidly catching up to Sweden, which is very high, in confirmed deaths per million, they state:
“Sweden is one of the most medically privileged and healthcare privileged nations on the planet,” Vermund says. The United States has high rates of heart disease and other conditions that put people at higher risk of becoming seriously ill should they catch COVID-19. Many people in the U.S. face other inequities, including lack of access to health insurance and living in areas high in air pollution, that compound their risks. In Sweden, Vermund says, “You don’t have the profound subpopulation of vulnerable individuals that we do in the U.S., so it would have been even worse in the U.S. if we had simply let the epidemic rage.”
Note the risable substitution of health insurance for health care, even though the two are, at best, distantly related. Between deductibles and co-pays, a great number of those not well off cannot afford to use whatever medical insurance they have and thus have insurance but cannot access care. Meanwhile, if you have enough money and can travel, you can get care without insurance, and, with enough money, quicker and easier too.
According to WIRED, the cops want your smart speaker and all of your other gadgets. Of course, they'd like to have all of them and their data and your internet searches and phone calls 24-7, but they can't legally get all that yet. They will, however, try to get ll they can. Meet the Star Witness: Your Smart Speaker ( https://www.wired.com/story/star-witness-your-smart-speaker/) Requests from law enforcement for the devices, data on the devices or date stored else where relating to actions and activities involving the devices are growing. The article has examples and data regrding how the information is used in investigations and prosecutions. Also other information such as the fact that subpoenas, warrants and other court orders for such information went from under 2,000 in the first half of 2016 to 3,000 in the first half of 2020 just from Amazon. It is a quick read and worth the time.
WIRED also tells us of another more blatant fishing expedition using our phones here: Creepy ‘Geofence’ Finds Anyone Who Went Near a Crime Scene ( https://www.wired.com/story/creepy-geofence-finds-anyone-near-crime-scen... ) Case in point
In 2018, 23-year-old Jorge Molina was arrested and jailed for six days on suspicion of killing another man. Police in Avondale, Arizona, about 20 miles from Phoenix, held Molina for questioning. According to a police report, officers told him they knew “one hundred percent, without a doubt” his phone was at the scene of the crime, based on data from Google. In fact, Molina wasn’t there. He’d simply lent an old phone to the man police later arrested. The phone was still signed into his Google account.
These outrageous fishing expedition warrants are basically a request for the identification of any and all devices near a crime scene during a period of time in which a crime occurred. The cops then work from there, pinning down ownerd and investigating them.
A recent attemtp at getting such a warrant was denied by the courts, but in somewhat special circumstances which will probably seriously limit the precedential value of that case. The number of these requests is huge and skyrocketing (allegedly as many as 180 requests per week last year.for google alone) and it isn't just Google. Apple, Uber and Snapchat are given as examples of other targets for such requests. What's worse is tht the cops can simply buy this type of data from the myriad data brokers who gather such info via assorted apps and then market it. The only real solution is to get legislation passed prohibiting cops from obtaining it from any source, otherwise they'll be knocking on everybody's door day and night 365 days a year, time and time again. If you take a bus to work that goes through an area where there is a lot of drug dealing, you'd better keep your phone in a farady cage until you get off that bus.
EFF, the Electronic Frontier Foundation published an article concerning mass, unwarranted, indiscriminate surveillance of protesters and others. San Francisco Police Accessed Business District Camera Network to Spy on Protestors ( ttps://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/07/san-francisco-police-accessed-business-dis... ) This is important because it isn't just San Francisco, of if it is now, it won't be for long, you can be sure of that.Worse yet, these 24-7 live feed surveillance networks (yes, plural) aren't regulated in any way, even though theyare partially government funded, and can share any and all tof the information they collect with anybody they wish to. I think this is really a must read article, because you can be sure that this shit is coming to a sidewalk near you any day now. and the push-back and legislative efforts need to be started now.
The Tampa Bay Times published an expose of abusive policing writ large as Pasco’s sheriff created a futuristic program to stop crime before it happens. -- It monitors and harasses families across the county.
( https://projects.tampabay.com/projects/2020/investigations/police-pasco-... )
Its a relatively lengthy piece and documents an example of what one might call preventative predictive policing which is nothing short of targeted harassment of people who ae, in the end, totally victimized by the program, regardless of why. It is also an expose of the shit that comes from so called predictive policing and a scary omen for the future if this type of technically legal uber-malfeasance catches on further.
Man Bites Dog (laughter and glee are expressly permitted)
NSA warns of security threats from mobile location data ( https://app.getpocket.com/read/3069959446 )
The National Security Agency (NSA) on Tuesday rolled out guidance warning that location data from mobile and other internet-connected devices could pose a security threat for users if it were accessed by adversaries.
The guidance was rolled out as a warning for Defense Department personnel and others with access to sensitive federal systems, but the NSA noted that it could be used “useful to a wide range of users.”
The NSA wants all of its people to do everything in their power to keep their devices from knowing, collecting or transmitting location data, and gives some suggestions as to how. How, in reality, is just to live that shit home or put it in Farady bags.
The guidance comes two years after the Defense Department banned the use of fitness trackers, smart phones, and other devices with geolocation services for all deployed personnel, according to CNN.
Sooo glad they're looking out for our safety on all fronts. Any day now they'll recommend seat belts and child safety seats.
be well and have a good one.
It's an open thread, so have at it. The floor is yours