A Blog by Jonathan Low


Sep 25, 2021

Herman Cain Award: The Site That Keeps Track Of Anti-Vaxxers' Covid Deaths

It's been an especially tough summer for anti-vax radio and podcast celebrities, a number of whom have died of Covid. 

Public mocking of these deaths may be a sign of growing public anger at anti-mask, anti-vax extremists. JL 

Lili Loofbourow reports in Slate:

HermanCainAward, one of the fastest-growing subreddits on Reddit.com, is an archive of those who have been hospitalized and/or killed by COVID and didn’t believe the disease could harm them. It is named after Republican Herman Cain who succumbed to COVID some weeks after attending a Trump rally in Oklahoma, at which he was photographed maskless. Subscriptions to the subreddit are increasing exponentially, from 2,000 subscribers on July 4 to 276,000 today. If that rate is any indication, rage is growing toward anti-vaxxers

Subscription Tacos: Even Taco Bell Is A Tech Company Now

Anyone signing up on an app to buy Taco Bell tacos every day for 30 days should be required to provide proof of health insurance. JL 

Saahil Desai reports in The Atlantic:

The brand announced the “Taco Lover’s Pass,” which lets you get exactly one taco every single day for 30 days with a subscription that costs $5 to $10, depending on the store. The only way to become a certified Taco Lover is by buying the pass through the Taco Bell app. A company spokesperson said "when it comes to Taco Bell innovation, we never say never." Taco Bell is copying the Netflix playbook because the way to survive in business is to copy the trends and practices of Silicon Valley. Someone please let me know when we get Chipotle+.

The Secret Weakness of Cyber-Criminals: They Burn Out

Like many other gig-work occupations, much of the work done by cyber-criminals is routine, boring, poorly paid and requires little technological skill. As a result, those who do it burn out because there is no future in it. 

That is why counter-cyber efforts are increasingly focused on discouraging that workforce. JL

Ben Collier reports in the Wall Street Journal:

Cybercrime isn’t the province of individual renegades. It’s big business. And for most of the people involved, it’s often a boring, low-paid, dead-end job full of frustration that ultimately leads to burnout. Most earn pocket change, and weren’t developing hacking skills or building any reputation in the hacking community. And many complained about the hassles of the business; work-life balance isn’t one of the perks. Most cybercriminals are simply cogs in a sprawling network of services that support those who launch attacks.

How Masks Still Protect Even If No One Around You Is Wearing One

There are a variety of variables that influence the degree of protection, but all of the data essentially supports the thesis that mask wearing reduces risk of infection for the wearer. JL 

Tara Parker-Pope reports in the New York Times:

While lab studies all show a mask can protect the wearer, how well the masks perform in the real world depends on a number of variables, including how consistently people use them, whether a person is in high-risk situations and the rate of infection in the community. There is plenty of evidence showing that masks protect the wearer even when others around them are mask-free. The amount of protection depends on the quality of the mask and how well it fits. Communities with mask mandates had lower hospitalization rates than areas where masks weren’t required.

FedEx Is Rerouting 600,000 Packages A Day Due To Staffing Shortages

And it's not even the holiday season yet. JL

Grace Dean reports in Business Insider:

FedEx is rerouting 600,000 business packages each day because it doesn't have enough staff to process them. The labor shortage cost FedEx an estimated $450 million in the quarter ended August 31 because of wage rises and inefficiencies. Most of this came from FedEx Ground. "The competition for talent particularly, frontline workers, have driven wage rates higher." The company spent $7.8 billion on employee salaries and benefits in the quarter, up 13% from the same period last year. Rerouting packages made delivery routes longer and forced FedEx to pay more to third-party delivery companies.

The Reason Many Vaccinated Parents Won't Vaccinate Their Children

Parents who are resisting vaccination themselves - @ 25-30% of US adult population - are almost certain not to approve it for their children. Even parents who are vaccinated may be hesitant to have their children, especially younger children, be vaccinated. 

The hesitancy appears to stem primarily from fear that as-yet undiscovered side effects might be manageable for adults but could harm their children. JL

Aaron Carroll reports in The Atlantic:

Most American parents of small children are between the ages of 25 and 39. Only 55% of them are fully vaccinated. We can expect parents who have chosen not to vaccinate themselves are not likely to vaccinate their children. We can even expect that some who did get vaccinated themselves will be reluctant. Although two-thirds of adult Americans are fully vaccinated, only half of kids ages 16 and 17 are fully vaccinated. Only 42% of those ages 12 to 15 are. Even parents enthusiastic about the vaccines may not want their children to be first in line.

Sep 24, 2021

Mathematical Models Predict Steady Decline In Covid Cases Through Spring 2022

The reason is rising immunity from both vaccination and exposure to the virus. 

As the Beach Boys once sang, "Wouldn't it be nice..." JL 

Rob Stein and Carmel Wroth report in NPR:

The COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub combined nine different mathematical models from different research groups to get an outlook for the pandemic for the next six months.The most likely scenario is that children get vaccinated and no super-spreading variant emerges. In that case, the combo model forecasts that new infections would slowly, but continuously, drop from about 140,000 today now to 9,000 a day by March. Deaths from COVID-19 would fall from about 1,500 a day now to fewer than 100 a day by March. Even in this optimistic scenario, the U.S. is projected to reach 780,000 deaths by March.