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Padraig

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  1. It is too early to be worried about vaccine uptake. Most people are still months away (if not longer) from having the choice. When people see that 100s of millions of people have had the vaccine, their willingness to participate will increase. When they can see that their cousin, friend etc. have had the vaccine, people's attitudes will change. There will always be some people that wouldn't vaccinate but these kind of survey's are misleading at this time. But still useful, in so far as some countries are warned that they may need to work a little harder selling the vaccines. Yes. Unfortunate news. At least Astrazeneca seems to have sorted their EU application out, so that option may be approved by the end of the month.
  2. For Trump to read a speech that so pointedly calls for no more violence, I wonder are the apparent threats of violence really really bad. Maybe law enforcement got through to him.
  3. Has he cited evidence for that? Pfizer never tested a 1 dose strategy. https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n18
  4. I agree that tWoW will shine a new light on events in aFfC/aDwD (and how we judge those books). But i've always found the "summary" argument to be very subjective. I don't judge a book based on how I can summarise it. Unfortunately, I don't think it works that way. GRRM has never really seriously lacked for time (I know people complain all the time about this but I never really bought it). It is creativity, inspiration etc that he needs. The muse! To wake up in the morning and feel you can write a few chapters that will tie excellently with all that has gone before! The pandemic may actually be anti-creative. You are worried about friends and family getting ill (and maybe some actually do get seriously ill). You miss meeting your close friends and family. You feel stifled by having nothing to do except stare at a computer screen all day Creativity often breeds more creativity. You do great with Job X, which inspires you to do Job Y. Or you are struggling with job Z, so you take a break with Job W instead, and return to job Z refreshed. It does sound like GRRM did some good writing during the pandemic (the 2020 version) but it doesn't sound like that lasted for close to 8 or 9 months. I'm assuming he didn't have a lot of those chapters written when aFfC was published. But yes, I think GRRM would do things differently if he had a chance again.
  5. Like everything, its a matter of finding the right balance. Currently, the issue isn't how certain countries are getting all the vaccines available. The issue is that there is not enough vaccines available. If more get approved in January (I'm looking at you J&J) and other companies actually ramp up production, then the current panic should begin to dissipate. Once countries are reasonably sure that there are reliable scaled up production lines in place, that will change the storyline. At the same time, it is fair to raise concerns about how the vaccine will be distributed when supply is available. I would hope most people can see the truth in the below quote from the NY Times article. Its that balance.
  6. Expecting an update at the beginning of January was optimistic. I would have thought by now that we would have learned not to expect something at a given time. But sure, I can definitely understand how people wouldn't be as happy with aFfC/aDwD as the first 3 book. They were different. Different doesn't make them bad but it means that some people will find them inferior. As for Brienne. I'm sure people have written about the purpose of Brienne much better than I. Arya showed us what happened during the war, Brienne showed us the aftermath. But also GRRM is a little fascinated by the knights journey (and honor, duty etc). He didn't come up with Dunk and Egg by coincidence. Or Jaime for that matter. So yes, it wasn't a story that some people felt they wanted more of but it was a story that GRRM felt he needed to tell. And I'm sure GRRM would agree that there were negatives about giving up on the gap. But he would feel that they are outweighed by the negatives of keeping the gap. Its one of those great "what-ifs". So yes, I did like Sam's journey, Arya, Sansa, Brienne, Jaime, Cersei. The conclusion of the Dornish story was spine-chilling.
  7. The EU has ordered 160m doses. https://www.ft.com/content/9a3af55e-c66c-4451-a34e-7110ce005cd The problem is more with the production capability. No point ordering 0.5bn doses if you can't expect to get most of the doses for a year. But as things develop, and other vaccines come on stream (or not), there will be top up orders. Why is it unlikely to happen? Not that I'm convinced its the best policy. There has been dissent in the UK. But if the medical scientists say its the right thing to do, I can't see EU countries ignoring it. Anyhow, i'm pretty sure it is up to each country to make up its own mind about how it distributes the drug. Not the EU. Yes. That was one of the articles I was reading. The different approach taken by the US/EU versus the UK is striking. It is not the efficacy that is delaying approval. Its the underlying data.
  8. This is an interesting thread but the above is complete speculation. "GRRM loved the adulation". Sure, don't we all? But that's hardly his primary motivation? GRRM has talked about a similar idea before. Would he change his story because people "guessed" the answer to a mystery. Trying to re-write the series because people know what is to come would be a certain road to disaster. Now, that doesn't mean he wouldn't change a few things. But those changes weren't because of the TV show. Authors find things that don't work all the time. I really liked AFfC and 95% of ADwD. GRRM felt he needed to show what came after the wars (and yes, that includes Brienne but more than that). A feast for crows as it were. But it isn't a surprise that more people were unhappy with those books. After we had built up to such a big climax in aSoS, they were tricky stories to tell. He knew that himself because he initially wanted to jump over that time (with some flashbacks). He'd possibly have left a few things from aSoS for aFfC if he knew what was to come. But he felt that the 5 year gap didn't work either. Its easy for people to say that his original approach was the correct one. We'll never know. Ultimately, an author can't please all his readers all the time. We read the stories the author wants to tell, until we move onto a different author. I'm glad they worked for me.
  9. The EU approval of the Moderna vaccine will be next week. That was announced a couple weeks ago. https://www.euronews.com/2020/12/17/eu-countries-planning-to-begin-covid-19-vaccinations-on-december-27 There are a lot of vaccines that are being developed, so it was a reasonable plan to put your eggs in a lot of baskets. But yes, I imagine there will now be a lot of passionate views based on hindsight. https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-eu-pfizer-idUSKBN28R19D Furthermore, the Moderna and Pfizer options were unproven technology, so you wouldn't want to have over relied on them 6 months ago when you started to order them. Regarding speed, generally, a vaccine is too important to be focused on who is first or second (or third) to approve it. Being appropriately confident that the vaccine works is the main thing. The process is the process and I'd be a lot more worried if I was reading that the EU threw its process out the window over the last couple of months, because it was in a panic to approve the drug first. Rolling out the vaccine is the far bigger challenge anyhow. I hope countries get that right. I don't quite understand what is going on with the AstraZenaca vaccine though. I've seen articles saying that the US doesn't expect to approve it until April. And it hasn't even applied for approval to the EU. Most governments in Europe are adding a lot more measures now. No choice given how badly things have gotten. Anyhow, the "less measures" side is definitely losing currently.
  10. Yes, all leaders do that. To be clear, Macron was trying to look after current fishing jobs in France, Johnson was looking at potential jobs in Britain. Sure, you can compare them if you wish but they aren't particularly comparable. You can given Johnson credit but everyone that counted wanted a deal, so I wouldn't go overboard. There were many myths flying around about Brexit but a lot of them weren't viewed as (in any way) credible. So blowing those myths up doesn't mean much either. Great that it is over with anyhow.
  11. In fairness, Macron is thinking of the current French jobs in fishing. Not the potential new jobs.
  12. I think it is clear that some countries in Europe have done much better than others. Northern periphery countries mainly (e.g. Norway, Iceland and Finland). No country has controlled it but countries like the above had consistently done much better than others. We often end up with 2 arguments. The world will fall apart argument (but nothing actually happens) and the "don't worry" argument (but we actually should be worried). Y2K is a good example of the former. COVID-19 is a good example of the latter. Few people in February would have suggested things would be this bad this year. Brexit. If there is some sort of deal, sure. It might be ok (not great, but ok). But I'm pretty confident that all the angst about a no-deal situation is justified. That's the ironic thing about Y2K. If people had done nothing, it wouldn't have been a storm in a teacup.
  13. There has been talk of an "implementation phase" to try to get around the ending of the transition phase. But any solution is not particularly simple. Transition period Really? I find that hard to believe (although I hope it is true). One of the main reasons for Brexit was the regulatory argument.
  14. There can't be an extension, as far as I know. It causes too many other complications. The issue right now is that it is better to have a Deal than No Deal but it is also better to have a "No Deal for 1 month" than "No Deal for 1 Year". Or (more worryingly) "No Deal for 1 Year" is better than "No Deal For Ever". That's why a deadline is meaningless. Even if they stop talking now, I'm sure they will resume talking in a few weeks again. It is all about minimising the "No Deal" time now.
  15. This was the issue identified at the very beginning. "Sovereignty" v access to the EU market. It became clearer when the UK rejected a soft Brexit (e.g. staying in EFTA). The more access the UK wants, the bigger the hurdles. They've spent all this time trying to square that giraffe.
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