Category Archives: Coronavirus

Betting that you are going to die…or not

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Dice

The old joke about life insurance is that the policyholders are betting that they are going to die, while the insurers are betting that they won’t, at least until the premiums and investment income pass break-even. One significant new social change emerging from this coronavirus pandemic is that the most conservative segment of the insurance industry’s base is refusing a… Read more »

“Sucks to Be You” ethics revisited

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Jimmy Swaggart: "I have sinned!"

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds declared the Covid pandemic over in her state yesterday, saying the state’s feeble measures to contain the coronavirus and address hospital needs are “no longer feasible or necessary.” Meanwhile, many Iowa hospitals remained stretched to the max, relying on “traveler” staff and “locums” to maintain services. Reynolds has no apparent plans for preparing for any future… Read more »

The shape-shifting political gospel of conservative Christianity

The Peaceable Kingdom

Here is the curious thing: When it comes to the embrace of modern medical care. including, or especially vaccinations, there has historically been little difference between how members of conservative Christian denominations and their “mainstream” Christian or their secular neighbors choose treatment modalities — until Covid-19. Some conservative religious types have long championed “natural health” methods rather than conventional medicine…. Read more »

Alligators, Florida Man, and Covid revisited

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Alligator

It was just two weeks ago that I posted about the famed “Florida Man” meme, the (almost always) men who are absolutely sure that they are right when they are embarking on some dangerous action that is really wrong. And then, just this past week, we took guests to southwest Florida’s Myakka River State Park, where you can walk through… Read more »

What are the odds that I am dead wrong?

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Dice

Ever since I transitioned from Iowa-based snowbird to full-time Floridian, news accounts of the storied “Florida Man” now show up regularly in my news feed. To find your own “Florida Man doppelganger,” you simply Google “Florida Man” in quotes, followed by your birth month and day, and then see what news headline comes up. My search yielded this: “Florida man,… Read more »

Drinking water, vaccines, and the tragedy of the commons

Home_pond-2

Note: This post was previously published at the Iowa blog Bleeding Heartland. Before a planned international trip for a humanitarian non-governmental organization a few years ago, I received cholera and typhoid vaccinations as part of a set of several jabs administered by Iowa’s Polk County Health Department. Despite some transient ill effects, I survived to tell the tale, one more… Read more »

When good Christians disagree

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The leading Republican Senate candidate in Ohio, Josh Mandel, has already laid down a key marker for the 2022 election, saying on Twitter, “Evangelical Christians, Jewish conservatives and devout Catholics are our army.” I know so many people whom I would consider “good Christians” and they are of all denominational and political stripes. I also have met some really nasty… Read more »

The Ron DeSantis death factor

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Life-expectancy-FL

Fifteen thousand excess deaths from Covid-19 in Florida so far in 2021. That is the “Ron DeSantis death factor” I assert versus what would have happened if he had just been a mediocre governor instead of a dangerous one. The nation’s governors, perhaps more than any other group of influential Americans, currently set the boundaries for most local responses regarding… Read more »

Inoculating your brain against misinformation

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Bayes theorem

If more people had been “mentally inoculated” somewhere during their education with a simple logical “vaccine” called a “Bayesian prior” we perhaps would not be in this current state of political craziness with elections and vaccine hesitancy. Here is an “In the News” example: When thousands of signatures on mail-in ballots appear, to the untrained eye, to be different from… Read more »

Worth a read: Life’s Edge by Carl Zimmer

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An interesting tidbit from a recent DNA study documented by researchers in the Netherlands, translated for a general audience in Science News: Overall, as many as 12% of human pregnancies may start as multiple pregnancies, but under 2% carry to term, resulting in a vanishing twin. To think that a new science book can contribute positively to the hot-again issue… Read more »