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About Ran

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    King o' the Board
  • Birthday 05/06/1978

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  • Blood of Dragons
    Balerion (Admin), Aidan Dayne, Rhodry Martell

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    Westeros! History (ancient and medieval), SF/F, adventure and strategy gaming, MUSHes and MUXes (but not MUDs), Linda.

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  1. Ran

    Corona Horse, Corona Rider - Covid #9

    This is a thread about COVID-19. Take German politics elsewhere.
  2. Ran

    Must do emergency travel

    Glad the journey went well, Ormond. Take care of yourself.
  3. Ran

    Better Call Saul -- Season 4 Better Get Emmy

    In Better Call Saul world, there is zero chance that bird was sliding down prematurely.
  4. Blade Runner is so good. But as they say, pearls before swine... Blade Runner 2049 is a very bloated film and one of its pillars (Leto's character) is distractingly awful. Is it beautiful? Yes. Is it too fucking long? Hell yes.
  5. Ran

    Corona Horse, Corona Rider - Covid #9

    Interesting paper out of Harvard modelling different types of social distancing strategies (PDF link) which finds long periods of very high R>0 reduction (60% effectiveness) merely punts the peak down to later in the year unless you resume some level of social distancing at that time. Their model suggests reducing R>0 by 20-40% using more modest efforts (not full lock downs) leads to lower overall peaks. I'm guessing this is the Swedish thinking, and the thinking that other Nordics are starting to consider (Finland apparently already reversed some of their emergency declarations from the other day, Denmark is talking about easing up after Easter, Norway has partially re-opened its borders).
  6. Ran

    US Politics: Get Tested or Get Bested

    To be fair, polling on voting intentions basically didn't budge. Being favorable of Trump's performance seems to be a proxy for being optimistic about the outcome of the crisis, but it doesn't mean people were any more or less likely to vote for him than they already were.
  7. Ran

    US Politics: Get Tested or Get Bested

    M4A is a loser in polling. It's not a shock that Elizabeth Warren's faltering in polls exactly happened when she presented her M4A plan. It's not a surprise that Biden is opposed. A public option, as in Biden's proposal, is a more popular measure. Let insurers compete against a robust government plan. If they can manage, great, the market works. If they can't, the popularity of M4A will increase with time until it is inevitable.
  8. Ran

    Who Pays the Coronaman? - Covid #8

    An interesting podcast from Lawfare, talking to nine people in various parts of the world discussing their experiences with what's going on in their countries in relation to coronavirus. A rather droll MEP from Poland, Radek Sikorski, mentioned how his son had to cross the German-Polish border on foot and the apparent consequent quarantine order he received... and then notes that while there's an app you can voluntarily download that tell the police where you are at all times (rather than having them come round and visit on a dialy basis), he himself doesn't use it because he believes the ruling Law and Justice party bought the Pegasus spyware system and he suspects he's a subject of interest, thereby making him suspect they already have his location data anyway. Obviously, he himself is not a member of the Law and Justice party, so... take that with a grain of salt. But it was amusingly put.
  9. Ran

    Who Pays the Coronaman? - Covid #8

    https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/wuhan-deaths-03272020182846.html Speculative, but a number of Chinese citizens have their names on record sharing information, and there are quotes from (nameless) Wuhan officials. Foreign Policy in early February also seems to mention many local reports about cremations having been ramping up, which doesn't suggest to me the crematoriums were shut down. I considered this stuff a conspiracy theory as well back in February, but it's getting hard to believe that the numbers in China, at least in Wuhan, are correct seeing the development of this in other countries. ETA: Have no problem believing that in Italy and France there are excess deaths not being counted as covid because of lack of testing and other factors. Retrospective analysis will clarify this. I don't believe there is any widespread governmental effort at a national evel in those countries to deliberately downplay numbers... well, not in France anyways. Regionally, I couldn't say. The US will also end up like this, by the by. It will take a year or two for the dust to clear and people to really get a sense of the scale of this.
  10. Ran

    Who Pays the Coronaman? - Covid #8

    Yeah. Chinese natives are making calculations based on the reports of the crematoriums running 24/7 and have estimated around 45000 dead in Wuhan city. Taking into account a normal death rate if 15000 at the time, that's an excess of 30000 deaths. Maybe.
  11. Ran

    Who Pays the Coronaman? - Covid #8

    I admit I don't have a full track of what every European country has said about its decisions. All I know for sure is that the health authorities of Denmark and Norway have indicated that some of the decisions made by their respective governments were made by the politicians and not by them. Even now the Norwegian health authorities wanted to start reopening schools and were again overriden by the political side of the government. I do see that Foreign Policy magazine's reporting kind of strongly implies that Italy's problems are caused by a political failure rather than a governmental failure, per se. The New York Times, as well. I haven't read these in detail and don't know how well they match up to reporting in Italy.
  12. Ran

    Who Pays the Coronaman? - Covid #8

    Very probably true. But it makes it hard to make too much of New Zealand only just having its first death when it has been relatively sheltered for weeks compared to other nations. This is also why a lot of the charts out there, like FT's, try to even up benchmarks by starting from "10th death" or "100th" case to give at least some sense of similarity.
  13. Ran

    R+L=J v.166

    I mean, @JEORDHl is still an active member of the forum... It's so long ago that I wouldn't expect him to be able to remember whether "central mystery" was his editoralizing or not, but the fact that George has used the question of Jon's parentage as a litmus test for both his editor (whom he asked after she read the submitted draft of AGoT) and D&D (in their meeting when they pitched developing it) rather than "Who do you think tried to kill Bran?" is probably telling about the relative importance of the questions to understanding what he considers central to A Song of Ice and Fire. FWIW, both of those events happened long after the report in question (or rather, Anne Groell was asked before, but didn't mention it in public until a decade ago or so)
  14. Ran

    Who Pays the Coronaman? - Covid #8

    Absolutely. I think Sweden is not saying everyone should act exactly the same. The health authorities are saying that they think some countries took political decisions not supported by science. A major point that has been emphasized of late is that Sweden are not the ones being experimental -- these nationwide lock downs have never been before, and indeed were probably not considered feasible until China shut down a province with 115 million inhabitants and showed that, well, it is (if you're an authoritarian state capable of enforcing draconian protocols, anyways). In Italy, the mayor of Palermo cites increasing unrest over the effects of their lockdown, claiming (perhaps hyperbolically) that a Mafia-led revolt could take place against the strictures that have been imposed. You're going to be hearing a lot more of this stuff as countries go on complete lockdown for many weeks more. I will say that New Zealand seems an ideal place to try an approach targeted to letting the disease run its course in a managed way that does not overload the health care system because of how low your country's density is. But perhaps culturally-speaking it is not feasible. And the fact is that so long as you do not have much community transmission, the challenge of contact tracing and quaranting is easier. Again, New Zealand's an island, international travel is way down, screening can be done... though I guess that'll hurt the tourism industry, but eh, this year's a lost cause anyways. Well, it is largely without question that at least some countries in Europe really have been making decisions based on political determinations rather than scientific ones. Both the Danish and Norwegian health authorities, the actual civil servants with all their relevant experience, were opposed to the border and school closures that their governments imposed, and have indicated as much (basically saying it wasn't their decision). I can't speak for Germany or some of the other countries, and certainly not New Zealand... but again, complete national lockdown is the historical outlier, not the norm.
  15. Ran

    Who Pays the Coronaman? - Covid #8

    The vagaries of different standards and capacity for testing of cases makes this not very useful. Better statistics would be how many people require intensive care per capita and how many people die per capita, and the growth rates of same. Again, not too useful. Sweden had its first case registered on January 31st, New Zealand had its first on February 28th. There's also the fact that we had hundreds of cases come in from people who had vacationed in Italy and people who were visiting Iran -- it was only a week ago that more than half of cases were from local transmission rather than foreign sourced. New Zealand, being a remote island, seems to have had only a relative trickle of these if the Wikipedia entry for the pandemic is correct, and making contract tracing much easier. I can't quite tell if you've reached the 50/50 point on community transmission or not. Denmark went full lock down more than two weeks ago, and the effect of the lockdown has so far been nil compared to Sweden's more modest changes when comparing deaths per capita. Norway has done better on that score, but is smaller and even less population dense than Sweden (about comparable with New Zealand, in fact, although Oslo is far more dense than Auckland, and Stockholm even more dense than that). A lot of people don't believe that, no. Even so, there's also the question of the long term impact of periodic shutdowns of industry going forward -- which is what's happening in parts of China right now, because new outbreaks keep happening. Japan is seeing more and more cases. South Korea keeps getting outbreaks. The success of the Swedish strategy can only be determined a year or two from now when we see how its overall health outcomes, including yearly deaths, compares to the outcomes in other countries which used different methods. The failure of it will not need that much time to determine, however, as the failure will be seen if serious cases overwhelm the healthcare resources and Sweden becomes the Nordic Spain or Italy. So far, Sweden has a lot of capacity, and in fact its rate of new ICU admissions and deaths has been down the last few days, when presumably our policy of social distancing, work for home, etc. kicked in.