Notes for Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The 2022 Hobonichi orders opened last month and for the first time in a few years I didn’t immediately place an order. The Hobonichi has been my daily morning diary for organizing the coming day and I can’t see moving away from it. I just realized that shipping was was equal to the price of of the book itself and it would be better to patronize one of the US shops selling it. So far, only the English version is available and I really prefer the Japanese layout even though the quotes that decorate the bottom of the page are meaningless to me. I’m hoping that Jet Pens or someone else has it soon, but ordering from Japan remains an option.

I logged into Dave Winer’s Drummer Blogging tool and I’m envious of the environment. It’s the equivalent of my casual photography approach. It’s outline based and focused purely on daily posts. I’m reminded of the Bullet Journal approach of simple lines that are todo’s, recording of events, thoughts or lists. I don’t think I want to leave my WordPress setup here, but will take the inspiration to see if I can start casual blogging like my casual photography.

The blogging workflow today is capturing links and thoughts in Drafts using Markdown which will get tidied and uploaded with MarsEdit or the WordPress app if the Markdown works. It’s a little variation from the usual flow aimed at creating a collection of notes that can be quickly edited and posted. Not quite Drummer’s direct writing to the web with paragraph by paragraph permanent links and generation of an RSS feed. This is a bit more like the newsletter approach that so many are using as a substitute or supplement to blogging.

John Scalzi, like me, appreciates how WordPress enables website ownership without technical hassle. While I’d love a blog that lived as an OPML outline like my old Bloxsom site lived in text files, I’ve come to appreciate that these blogs are transient entities. After all, this is ODB 3.0 as the old EditThisPage site hosting was abandoned and the text file system was too simple for the modern web world.

I’m looking at the surviving Link Blogs for inspiration, realizing only now that on a phone, any one of these paragraphs is a screen or two or three of text. And that’s where we read now.

Yes, I did buy a Mac Mini. As a small consumption device for reading and serving streaming music.

COVID-19: Science working in real time.

My real job is Drug Development, so I design and run clinical trials for a living. The mRNA vaccines are a triumph of molecular biology that owe their origins to the Human Genome Project and people like Francis Collins and Craig Venter. People forget or have never learned this history. I was there and have experienced the revolution in medicine we’re currently living through. But a discussion of the vaccine development is for another time.

Today I heard this report on NPR which was a bit different from my understanding regarding spreading of infection by vaccinated individuals. Breakthrough COVID may not be as threatening as scientists thought : NPR. Just like those recently infected may have virus mRNA detectable by nasal swab but be no longer capable of infecting others, vaccination may do this as well, maybe even better. Directly contradicts this from NPR just a few months ago. CDC: Data Shows Vaccinated People Can Spread The Delta Variant : Coronavirus Updates : NPR. Or maybe the truth is that COVID vaccines cut the risk of transmitting Delta — but not for long

This is science. This is where I live day to day. Conflicted evidence and uncertainty. Really tough on the public health authorities asked to provide policy and guidance to the public, to businesses and to government. It’s true we tend to be conservative under conditions of uncertainty like this. But there’s no question that any risk of vaccination is clearly outweighed by the benefit to oneself and to others in your community. And where there’s spread, masking and social distancing are the only tools we have to flatten the curve of exponential spread of infection. Those facts are clear.

We’re learning huge amounts about viral pandemics from these events. Learning about viral mutation through the course of a pandemic. Learning about how this new vaccine technology works in the real world- the right dose, the right schedule and how to monitor for adverse events when a complete new medical treatment is rolled out to hundreds of millions of people in the course of 6 months. Just amazing science and medicine.

Believe me, we’ll not only get through this and the pandemic will end over the next year or so. But our understanding of the events is only just starting. And that’s how science has always worked.

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