May 21, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Politics, Science of COVID-19|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

If you look at the B.C. chart below, you’ll notice that the black 7-day moving average of cases is remarkably consistent. You could put a ruler to it and not be far off. Someone asked, given that slope, when would we see zero cases?

Extrapolating it, if it stays that consistent, we’d hit zero on June 16th. There’s a picture of it in yesterday’s comment section. Is that actually possible?

Above and beyond the restaurant closures and social restrictions and masks and all the rest of it, is the very real and excellent fact that lots and lots of us are getting vaccinated. Let’s remember… this is a virus, not a live bug. It needs a host. If the virus has exhausted its time on a particular host and wants to go elsewhere, it needs to find a viable destination. A host that’s not immune… and that’s, fortunately, becoming more and more rare.

So… what does that mean for a return to normality?

We’ve been told we need to exceed 75% / 20%… meaning 75% of people with at least one jab and 20% fully immune with two.

If 50% of the population has one jab and 3% of the population has two jabs, what’s the shortest period of time it could take to get to 75% / 20%?

OMG, it’s your worst nightmare coming to life – an actual real-world application of a math *word problem* – the sort your prof promised you’d never have to deal with if you study really hard and just pass this one last final math exam. Wait, come back! – sit down… I’ll do it for you.

We’ll make the math conveniently easy, because it’s very close to this; we are 38,000,000 people and we are vaccinating 380,000 people a day. Exactly 1%. And note that not all 38M can get vaccinated, and that 380,000 number could go up… so these numbers are conservative.

If the intent were to get to 75 / 20 as fast as possible, we’d have to allocate vaccine so that, on a daily basis, we’re incrementing both of those numbers in such a way that we hit 75 / 20 simultaneously… but a simple way to look at it is to get to 75 right away, and given the present strategy, it’s almost what’s happening… all first jabs. In 25 days, well before the end of June, , we’ll be there. And then, there are only 17 days needed for second jabs… if you stop giving people the first ones entirely for 2.5 weeks.

So… might I suggest this strategy… keep red-lining first jabs for another three weeks… that’ll get us to 71% by June 11th, and then, start splitting doses 50/50 till Canada Day… at which point we’ll be at 81% / 14%… and then, spend a week primarily on second doses. Then, another couple of weeks for all of that to kick in. If we do that, by the fourth week of July, we’d theoretically be ready to throw open the border.

We were far behind with our vaccine rollout, but we’re catching up. Perhaps we’re a bit behind with our “back to normal” rollout too, though I still believe in “better safe than sorry.”

But… around here, restaurants are opening up on Tuesday… and given everything I know now, and given that I’d be surrounded by people who already have one or two doses in them… yeah, why not… you might find me in one of them sooner than later.

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May 20, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report|Tags: , , , , , , |

Not much going on today, so let’s set aside the pandemic for a day… and here’s a PSA of sorts… something to keep in mind.

There are always lots of fun little games floating around on social media… especially on Facebook… where it’ll ask you to figure out your stripper name or thug name or porn-star name… by combining something like your first pet’s name with the street you grew up on. Or maybe your middle name and the first car you owned.

I don’t mind revealing that my stripper name may be Tippy Cypress or my porn name may be Claudio Mustang… but the reason I don’t care is that none of those things are passwords I use anywhere, nor are they answers to security questions….

… and that’s the thing. Many people use exactly those sorts of words for passwords and security questions. Like when you lose your password, it’ll try to verify who you are by asking things like that… most commonly used to be “mother’s maiden name”, but most places now let you choose the questions and supply the answers. People will typically choose the questions with answers they’ll never forget… like the street you grew up on. Like your first car.

And somewhere… some bad guy… intent on stealing identities… now has a bit more to work with. If he already knows your name and email address and home address and phone number… there’s a lot he can do. People who wonder how it’s possible their online accounts were compromised… this is one way. And for bots who hammer away relentlessly trying to crack into accounts, throwing these few words into their mix of “things to try” can be very helpful.

Some suggestions… don’t use obvious answers to security questions. Don’t post your stripper name if it contains information that you’re suddenly realizing may be sensitive. Another strategy for security questions is use wrong answers you’ll never forget.

I was amused to hear of one guy who uses the word Buffalo for everything. Favourite city? Buffalo. Nickname you grew up with? Buffalo. Favourite animal? Buffalo.
Last aircraft you flew? Street you grew up on? Favourite style of chicken wings? Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo.

Some of you are now thinking, “Oh shit” and are running off to change some passwords and security questions and answers. Good call… go for it.

And for the rest of you, ok… one bit of pandemic news… I’ll share it because it’s good… today’s number of new cases in B.C (357) is the lowest since mid-February. That’s really good… no question about that.

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May 19, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

I am one of those Gen-Xers who jumped at the opportunity to get vaccinated ASAP, and got jabbed with the AstraZeneca 29 days ago. A lot of my peers have been asking me… do you regret it? And what are you going to do for your second dose?

To take a step back… at the time, a month ago, when the opportunity presented itself… knowing what I know today, would I have done it? I rhetorically ask this on behalf of the many people I’ve heard from, some with “vaccine regret”… who sadly say they’d have waited a few weeks if they’d known a Pfizer/Moderna possibility was on the near horizon… not sometime in August.

Given the misunderstanding with respect to what efficacy actually means, people have attached a 95 to Pfizer/Moderna and a 70 to AZ. They’ve also attached “blood clots / no blood clots” labels.

The PR mismanagement of AZ has been nothing short of spectacular, and I’ve written about it before. Without rehashing the awful messaging, I will summarize my thinking of it like this:

If AZ causes blood clots in exceedingly rare cases (and it might – but it might with the same frequency the other vaccines do too) – anyway, *if* they do (and notwithstanding catching Covid-19 elevates your risk of blood clots by 1000x), what are the chances?

Take 10 dice… throw them hard onto the floor and watch them bounce around. Now go look at them. Are they all the same? Bad luck if they are; you’re dead of blood clot. Otherwise, no worries. If you were to do nothing but throw dice for 10 hours a day, taking 10 seconds to pick them up and throw them again… after 20 years, you’d be at a 50/50 chance of having rolled that bad luck. At those odds, I’ll take a chance. For me, the blood clot thing didn’t enter the picture. What did… was the simple knowledge that armed with nothing but AZ vaccine, the U.K. has pretty-much beaten this thing; good enough for me.

Would I have waited a month for Pfizer/Moderna? No. Two weeks? No. A week? A day? Yeah… sure. Perhaps somewhere in there is a tipping point… but it wasn’t an option… and knowing what I know today, I’m happy that turned out to be the case; I’m exactly where I’d want to be.

Here in B.C., we’re being offered an option… get the second AZ jab, as per the successful U.K. model… or get a Pfizer for round two. For those who want that second AZ jab, it’ll be available a lot sooner than later, especially as the doses we have all dry up by the end of June, and there won’t be any more coming. If you want to be certain you’re fully vaccinated sooner than later, there’s your ticket, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Further to that, however… has been my personal intention to wait for the results of a U.K. study that’s following the AZ/Pfizer people… results coming soon, and before I’m due for any second jab. Similar studies are also ongoing in France and Germany.

But, in the meantime, a Spanish study following 600 people who did the AZ/Pfizer combo has come out, and here’s what it says:

The people who got AZ/Pfizer combo, compared to the double-dose AZ/AZ people, had IgG antibody levels 30 to 40 times higher. Also, the presence of neutralizing antibodies was 7 times higher. This is consistent with the anecdotal evidence so far; it’s what’s led to the studies, that this particular combination packs a particularly powerful punch. Also being investigated is what the ideal gap between jabs may be; and it’s looking like the answer is to be measured in months, not weeks. Also, in the study, less than 2% reported severe side-effects… and they were limited to headaches, muscle pain and general malaise. These are not symptoms one should consider serious. These are, in fact, the very reactions many of us got in the first place.

So, if you ask me what I’m going to do… I’m going to wait.

If there was no alternative, I wouldn’t hesitate in getting that second AZ jab… and I’d push it back to late June if possible. But a July or August Pfizer jab sounds even better… so that’ll be me.

Needless to say, I’m not a doctor… and any of the above shouldn’t be viewed as medical advice. And, given the results of the studies underway, this might change. But this is my opinion and my answer for today, to all of my fellow AstraZeneca’d Gen-Xers… wait a bit longer and Pfizer it up.

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May 18, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

There are plenty of different racing styles when it comes to horses, but as the far extremes go, it’s like this:

On one ends of the spectrum are horses that have only one gear… the “GO” gear. Most jockeys are unable to control these horses’ pace, so there’s no sense in trying; it only frustrates the horse… and uses up their energy anyway. So… they let the horse floor it, and the horse sprints to the front… and you hope there’s enough gas in the tank (ie. stamina) to hold that lead to the end.

On the far other end of the spectrum are horses who are in no hurry. They’ll start slow, sit dead last, and at some point, hopefully, find another gear or three to make a late run for it.

The latter ones are the most nerve-wracking… whether you own/train/groom the horse… or just bet a few bucks on it, seeing it dead last by half a mile is never a relaxing experience. I can think of many examples of horses coming from out of nowhere, but perhaps the best example is the 2009 Kentucky Derby; that’s worth a look on YouTube if you’ve never seen it. The winner, Mine That Bird, a 50-1 longshot, was so far out of it, you can barely see him in most of the video. At one point, the announcer loses track of the fact that there’s yet another horse behind the one he thought was last. What happens next is quite remarkable. Look for the #8 horse with the pink saddle cloth.

Similarly, Canada, in the horse race of vaccination, was a good 40 lengths behind the leaders, taking its time while everyone sprinted off towards the finish line. But recently, Canada, like Mine That Bird at the quarter pole, managed to find a gear nobody was expecting.

In the next day or two, as per the numbers and pictures below, Canada will have, per capita, more first injections into people than the U.S… and we’re blowing by other countries at the same pace Mine That Bird reeled-in his competition.

Recently, Canada, on a daily basis, is averaging vaccinating around 0.9% of its population. The U.S. never really got above 0.7%, and now they’re averaging around 0.2%… and today, they barely managed 0.1%. It’s like one horse, in top gear, screaming down the lane… and the other one, out of gas, easing back… out of contention. Up ahead, the jockey on Canada (I guess that’s all of us, collectively) can see some other front-runners starting to tire… Chile, Hungary, the U.K. We’re going to pass them all.

That being said, a win here is not finishing ahead of anyone; a win here is everyone hitting the line together, sooner than later… and there are two issues that conspire to prevent that: supply and demand, often at odds with each other.

In Canada, we have lots of both, and the politicians weren’t lying; the infrastructure to deliver everything we can get our hands on is in place, and it’s working very well. We’re taking full advantage of it. Until recently, I thought my 17-year-old daughter wouldn’t be vaccinated for another few months. It’ll actually be in another few… hours.

How long will this momentum last? When you assume infinite supply, it all comes down to demand… and that’s the wall the U.S. has hit. Everyone who wants a vaccine has had every opportunity to get one, so now it’s a trickle of people, not the full-on stampede we’re experiencing here.

The real win, for any particular country, province, state, region, whatever… is to surpass the threshold of herd immunity. The U.S., by virtue of vaccinations alone, will not get there. At least 25% of Americans have flatly stated they refuse to be vaccinated. Unless they change their mind, their theoretical best-case scenario is 75%.

Will Canada? It remains to be seen. Our “No way I’m getting vaccinated!!” number is 9%… while 88% of Canadians have said they will or already have. If we don’t “run out of horse”, at the current pace, we’ll be hitting that threshold by mid-June. In fact, at the current pace, we’d theoretically hit 100% by mid-July.

It’ll be interesting to see at what point that line flattens out. Anything north of 80% would be huge… and I wouldn’t bet on it exceeding 85%… but then again, I didn’t bet on Mine That Bird either, so who knows; once in a while, those long-shots pay off… and if this particular horse comes in, it doesn’t matter who you bet on… we all win.

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May 17, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Encouraging local numbers today… and if you don’t like analyzing numbers, just look at the pretty pictures… specifically the B.C. one… which, in a nutshell, shows the rise and fall of the 3rd wave. Our numbers these days are exactly where they were at in early March, when things started to go sideways.

And, actually, not sideways… just up… sharply. But as you can see, as quickly as they went up, they’ve come down. That little plateau was in the second week of April, and it’s been downhill (in the good sense) ever since then. What’s going up sharply these days is the temperature… and vaccinations.

Looking across the country, as it turns out, nobody has managed this third wave as well as B.C. Quebec would be a close second though; their worst is over and they’ve slid down to the bottom of their own hill.

Alberta has turned the corner, but has a ways to go. Saskatchewan as well, though slower… but Manitoba is still arguably headed in the wrong direction; really not sure what happened there, but this week will tell a lot.

And Ontario… certainly headed in the right direction… their daily numbers and their average is lower… but it’s still wildly volatile and it always feels like they’re near a tipping point. Aided by warmer weather and lots of upcoming vaccinations, their worst is also likely over.

I don’t want the maritimes and the northern territories to feel left out… all looking good.

Locally, nothing will change before the May long weekend… but, by then, we may be poised to see some significant relaxations. Don’t hold me to it; I don’t make the rules… but given all of the above, given what we’ve learned in a year, given where we are with vaccinations, given what we now know about the colossal difference in risk between indoor and outdoor gatherings, given that we know it’s a tiny number of people who infect lots of others.. not everyone infecting one or two others… given all that, it wouldn’t be difficult to put some rules in place that really open things up in an effective way.

To be honest, they would’ve done it already if they could count on people sticking to the important parts. Like, golf? Out golfing with friends? Risk of transmission on the golf course… near zero. Risk of transmission on the 19th hole, downing a pitcher of beer? Much higher. Can we count on people to play a round of golf, but then not spend three hours in a crowded, poorly-ventilated pub? This is where the give an inch/take a mile issues come into it, and managing that, going forward, will be the bigger challenge.

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May 16, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|Tags: , , , , , |

Today’s update is being posted an hour earlier than usual; the numbers aren’t going to change much in the next hour, and this timing works better for me today.

Speaking of timing…

The smallest increment of time people generally use is one second. Or, perhaps half a second… as in, “Hey, gimme half a sec…”

Funny to note that if you’ve ever said, “I’ll be there in a jiffy”, it actually means something. A “jiffy”, for computer/electronics people, is the measure of time between alternating power cycles. In North America, that’s 1/60th of a second… to correspond to our 60Hz convention, the rate at which our alternating current flips back and forth from positive to negative.

As technology has evolved, the ability to time things more accurately has greatly improved. Some sports now time things down to the thousandth of a second… but beyond that, unless you’re delving deeply down into science and technology, you won’t be using anything smaller than that. I’ve never seen any handheld timing device that goes beyond milliseconds.

A million times smaller than a millsecond is a nanosecond, something entirely irrelevant for most of us… though it’s also interesting to note that the word “shake” means 10 nanoseconds. If you’ve ever said “I’ll be there in a shake”, it’s probably not what you literally meant… I’m going to guess it took you a bit longer than that.

A trillion times smaller than a nanosecond is a zeptosecond… and, at present, the smallest fragment of time we’re able to actually measure is 247 zeptoseconds… and you’d need the world’s most accurate atomic clock to do so.

Eventually, you reach the bottom… where the smallest fragment of time conceivable can be found. The smallest length we can measure is a Planck length, which is 100 quintillion times smaller than the diameter of a proton. The fastest speed that exists is the speed of light… so, how long does it take light to travel the distance of a Planck length? Not long. The Planck time unit, measured in seconds, has 44 zeroes after the decimal point. That’s the limit of physics, so there can’t be any smaller measure of time.

Except yesterday, I actually discovered a unit of time that’s a bit smaller than that; it’s the unit of time you’d use to measure the time between the moment I hit [Post]… and the moment my mom called to check in on my damaged leg.

On that note, thank you all for your concern. At the end of the day, I didn’t go to the ER… because having had a number of doctors remotely evaluate and discuss, figured the course of action I was taking at home would be exactly what the hospital would do… and given how long it’d been and how it was healing… ok, just leave it. I’m up to date on tetanus vaccinations and I have everything I need to irrigate, disinfect and dress it here… and it’s looking a lot better today. And yes mom, if it shows the slightest hint of infection, I’ll be head straight to the hospital…

And actually, on this beautiful day and with no local C19 update, that’s all I have time for… but I’ll be back in a jiffy with all of the updated numbers… give or take 25 hours.

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May 15, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report|Tags: , , , , , , |

Let’s do some good news bad news…

The good news is that numbers all across the country are down. The bad news is that here in B.C., we don’t actually know… until Monday.

The good news is that today was spectacularly beautiful. I hope you took advantage of it. The bad news is I did… and went for a wonderful, long bike-ride… and right at the end of it, managed to gash my leg open. I’m now looking at it wondering if I should be headed to the ER for stiches instead of sitting here writing this. Ask me in a few hours…

The good news is that you’re exceedingly unlikely, given everything that’s happened and is now going on…. to die from Covid-19. The bad news is that, unfortunately, for a lot of people, it’s a little too late.

How many people? We’ve talked about it before, but let’s distill it down to the inarguable number: Excess deaths. Neither the concept nor the numbers are hard to grasp; if every year, x% of people typically die, and in one particular year it’s (x+y)%, you need to be able to assign a cause to y. A tsunami that kills 250,000 people is a good example. So is a war. And, of course, if there’s a global pandemic going on and you can’t find any other reasons, it’s a reasonable logical leap to assign y to the pandemic, even if it wasn’t explicitly stated.

How are global deaths looking with respect to excess deaths?

The official death toll of C19 is 3.4 million… but the vast majority of those explicitly documented stats come from first-world countries. We know that unfortunately, 4,000+ people a day are dying in India. But without a doubt, that’s an undercount. Russia’s C19 death count is officially less than 100,000… but for some reason, over 500,000 people have “inexplicably” died. With few exceptions, every country is in a “deficit” – and when you add it all up, the world needs to find a reason to explain somewhere between 7.1 and 12.7 million excess deaths.

That’s bad news, no matter how you look at it.

The good news is, as we can all hope and expect… is that that’s in the past… and that the future looks a lot better.

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May 14, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

After so much abundance of caution, the CDC has finally realized that there simply may no longer be cause for alarm… a conclusion reached after analyzing actual data that confirms what’s been evident for a while now.

The CDC has simply said… if you’re fully vaccinated, you have nothing to worry about. Masks off, forget social distancing… you’re good. Go live your life.

The blanket assumption, borne out by the data, simply suggests that if you’re fully vaccinated, your risk of illness is now at the same level of other things we hardly pay attention to. To be clear, we fasten our seatbelts and we wear bike helmets… but we drive and we cycle.

Vaccines are not 100%. Some fully vaccinated people will get infected… but… will they get really sick? Will they wind up in the hospital? Will they die? Exceedingly unlikely, to the point of not needing to worry about it.

There are numbers out with respect to “breakthrough infections” – people who’ve tested positive after vaccination. Here in B.C., breaking down the ~79,000 positive tests between Dec 7th and May 1st, ~78,000 (98.1%) were people who were unvaccinated. ~1,000 (1.7%) had one vaccine. ~100 (0.2%) were 7 days past their second vaccination.

How many of those test-positives wound up in hospital or worse? It’s not broken down with respect to one dose or two doses, but 141 required hospitalization and 30 died. The average age of those who required hospitalization was 81, and the average age of those who died was 87.

It’s important to note that vaccines simply don’t work for everyone, and one of the reasons is that our immune systems deteriorate as we get older. For some people, there is no immunity response to the vaccine; and overwhelmingly, those are the ones who show up in the stats.

Summary – for the majority, vaccines work, and they work very well. They’re the quick path out of this… and, here in Canada, “out if this” means 75% of us fully vaccinated. At present, while our partially-vaccinated number is around 43%, our fully-vaccinated number is just 3.4%.

Restrictions may come and go until we get to partially-75% / fully-20% — sometime this summer – but when we get to that point, we’ll be gliding down towards the finish… and assuming enough of us are fully vaccinated, by fall… we should be arriving where others have already landed.

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May 30, 2021

By |May 30th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report|45 Comments

The last little contest that I held was to guess where on earth, literally, that remnant Chinese rocket was going to hit. The result of that was no human deaths, but a $100 donation to a Search & Rescue team on the island.

Let’s do this again… with, this time, little chance of anyone getting clobbered by space junk.

You’ve heard me say for more than who-knows-how-many consecutive weekends… “No B.C. numbers to report, so we’ll wait for tomorrow…”

So… let’s make some good of it… here’s the contest:

Give me your best guess as to the total weekend numbers… new daily case counts for Saturday, Sunday and Monday combined… and, whoever is closest will win $100… donated, in their name, to their charity of choice.

To help you guess a little, here are the last several Sat-Sun-Mon totals:

May 22,23,24: 974
May 15,16,17: 1,360
May 8,9,10: 1,759
May 1,2,3: 2,174
Before that: 2,729

That’s a good-looking trend; may it continue.

Fire off your guesses and good luck – contest entries will be accepted till noon tomorrow.

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May 29, 2021

By |May 29th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|2 Comments

OK… the bad news is we didn’t win 65 million dollars. The good news is that nobody else did either, so we get to take another crack at it… this time, with a few more days to grind through the numbers and some new ideas… which might lower the chances from one in 33 million to something a little more reasonable. To put that in context, your chances of getting a blood clot from a C19 vaccine are about 100x greater… and those chances are exceedingly remote already… to the extent that your chances of getting hit by lightning in your lifetime are 200x greater than a C19-vaccine blood clot. Yeah, you read that right. Still worried?

For those assuring me there’s no rational way to predict the lottery, you’re almost certainly right, but I don’t mind telling you what I’m trying to do here… which is to find some tangible edge, if it exists.

For example… let’s briefly talk about Roulette; the casino game where there’s a wheel, with the numbers 1 to 36 on it, as well as a zero, and often (in the American version), a double-zero. Except for the zeroes, half the numbers are red, the other half black. Half are even, half are odd. Half are 1-18, half are 19-36. If you bet a dollar on any of those, you’ll double your money if you’re right. But if you want to win the real money, you have to bet on numbers straight up… where a 37-1 chance pays 35-1.

Here’s an unusual talent of mine; if you give me any number on an American roulette wheel, I can instantly give you the three numbers to either side of it. Like, 32…? 5 7 11 17 20 22 32… and I can bet them all straight-up in about two seconds. I realize this is less impressive in writing; when this is all over, let’s head to the casino and I’ll show you how to win at roulette… maybe.

The maybe has to do with whether the wheel, at that moment, is truly random or not… and usually it is. But, once in a while, especially near the end of a long day, it may be a bit off. A bit of humidity is slowing down part of it, or … [Continue Reading]

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May 28, 2021

By |May 28th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|26 Comments

What you read here is often thought up while I’m lost in thought, riding my bike… and today, I started by thinking about this crazy anti-vaxxer who decided to drive her car through a vaccination tent set-up in a parking lot in Tennessee. Fortunately, nobody was hurt… but there were plenty of near-misses. I was pondering from which angle to approach that – and there are many – and was specifically thinking about how some people are just assholes, plain and simple… and while having that illuminating thought, the following happened…

I was cycling on the seawall, near English Bay, heading west… somewhere between the Burrard Bridge and Cactus Club… it’s a nice stretch of road between BB and CC these days – a whole street lane dedicated for bikes. As such, there is plenty of room for two-way bike traffic… and what I saw was a guy on a bike, coming towards me. There was also a Canada Goose sitting on the street, right next to the curb. This guy had plenty of room to go by… enough room that he had to make an extra effort to stick out his right leg and kick the bird as he went by. This happened about 20 feet in front of me. The goose wasn’t seriously hurt… it just squawked and fluttered a bit. But I slammed on the brakes and yelled after him… I guess what one would call a declarative sentence – like “Have a nice day!” – except that’s not what I said. He barely slowed down and didn’t look back; just held up one solitary finger as he rode off into the distance. Seriously, what an asshole.

I resumed my ride now trying to figure out where the overlap of assholes might fit into what I have to say; what does a psycho-anti-vaxxer have in common with a guy who kicks an innocent bird for no reason?

The quick conclusion I came to is that I’ve already wasted enough time thinking about these pieces of crap… so we’ll leave it at that.

Moments later, I saw a sign that announced that tonight’s Lotto Max is up to $65 million… so I started thinking about how I might analyze previous draws, and try to use that to predict future ones. Turns … [Continue Reading]

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May 27, 2021

By |May 27th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|4 Comments

You’ve heard me say, “Start at the finish line and work backwards from there.” It’s a strategy that’s served me well in life, and looking at today’s B.C. graph reminded me of something.

Back in high school, grade 12 — our science teacher wanted us to figure out absolute zero experimentally. This isn’t a complicated experiment; it’s simply based on the assumption that the volume of a gas changes with temperature. The hotter the gas, the more space it wants to occupy… so if you’ve got the gas locked into a fixed-volume chamber, by measuring the pressure at different temperatures, you can learn a lot.

Side-note… I got into an argument once with someone who insisted that it’s possible to have a temperature colder than absolute zero. Given that temperature is really just measuring the speed of molecules, and that absolute zero is the speed at which they stop, I think it’s impossible for anything to be colder that that… in much the same way it’s impossible for your car to be going any slower than “stopped”. If any experts want to tell me how it might be possible, I’m listening. In fact, like the speed of light, I believe you can’t even get to it… you can just get really close… but if you reach it, all sorts of universal rules break down.

Anyway, with this experiment, you measure the pressure of the gas at different temperatures… and then you graph it. You plot the points on a graph; pressure vs. temperature. And since this is a linear relationship, you should be able to find the temperature by finding the line that cuts through all the data points and then eventually hits the graph at zero. This process is called extrapolation… where you take certain data, figure out the rules that apply to it, and make intelligent guesses with data points you haven’t actually measured experimentally. If your car passes a fence post every 10 seconds at 50km/h, can you figure out how fast you’d need to be going if you wanted to pass a fence post every one second? You can measure and graph it at 50, 100 and maybe even 150km/h… and if you plot that, there’s a perfect straight line to show you you’d need to be going 500km/h. … [Continue Reading]

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May 26, 2021

By |May 26th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|1 Comment

Just to briefly touch upon a big question mark… that’s slowly being answered as research emerges… what’s the deal with the delayed second doses? Why are we playing with the science, etc…

To rewind a bit, let’s remember that the timeline for these vaccines to be released into the wild was compressed – things happened much faster than usual. This doesn’t mean the science was skipped or compromised; it was the bureaucracy around it.

That being said, in an effort to get the thing out the door as quickly as possible, a different sort of question was asked; not one that’s typically asked of vaccines.

The question was: What’s the shortest period of time where a two-shot regimen would be effective? It was known that one dose of an mRNA vaccine wouldn’t generate enough of a response… and the answer to the question of spacing doses has two answers, because there are two different questions. One is how soon can it be to be effective? And two is… what’s ideal?

The former question was chosen to be answered in the same way that many of life’s problems get solved – decide what’s most important. “Good enough” far outweighs “Ideal” in this case, and that’s what we got. This is not to say that people who got the shots 3 weeks apart got anything bad; on the contrary… that’s what was tested, verified safe, and verified effective with a 95% efficacy.

So, what’s the problem? There is no problem… but now we have enough time and data to answer question two, and it’s what most experts expected… because it’s what’s typically seen with these sorts of vaccines.

Anyone who’s ever had a vaccine booster barely remembers the timing of what’s being boosted. It’s often measured in years… or, at best, months. Never weeks. My recent Shingrix vaccine against Shingles had a follow-up booster that was to be taken within two to six months after the first dose. But what’s optimal? 2? 4? 6? I couldn’t find anything to support a more specific number, but the answer to all of them was “good enough”.

The answer to the optimal spacing of C19 mRNA vaccines… as it turns out, while 3 weeks is certainly good enough, it seems waiting a little longer is “better”. It should be noted that … [Continue Reading]

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