Archive for COVID-19

Berliner Schnauze

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , on October 15, 2020 by xi'an

wrong timing for lowering ERC budget

Posted in pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , on October 8, 2020 by xi'an

As posted in the recent issue of Nature, a pandemic is not the best time to lower the European Research Council budget! And to quote

Jean-Pierre Bourguignon is furious. The mathematician is interim president of the European Research Council (ERC), and is outraged by proposals that the agency’s budget for 2021–27 is to be cut by €1.3 billion, a reduction of almost 10% from the €14.7 billion that had been proposed by the European Commission in 2018. “I don’t understand it,” he told Nature. He wants the decision reversed. So do we.

This is especially damaging when considering the controversy surrounding the “resignation” of the previous ERC president, Mauro Ferrari, who claimed he left because the ERC refused to allocate special funds to fighting the pandemics (while the ERC scientific council pointed out his lack of investment and multiple external positions, esp. in the US). The ERC scientific council also expressed at the time how much funding fundamental research has benefited the European contribution to fighting COVID. (The forced resignation of Mauro Ferrari was the reason for Jean-Pierre Bourguignon returning as an interim president, until a new president is designated by an ERC search committee.)

Beyond the tremendous contraction of the European economy due to the pandemic and the Keynesian allocation of supporting resources to desperate companies, another reason for the reduction of the ERC budget is the UK leaving the EU and hence no longer participating to its budget. However, further funds have been allocated to medical research, as well as to defence projects, thus to the detriment of fundamental research. A classical political move, seeking short term gains over long time prospects…

and it only gets worse [verbatim]

Posted in Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2020 by xi'an

“A basic principle of the law — and of everyday fairness — is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment. The rule of law, the legitimacy of our courts, the fundamental workings of our democracy all depend on that basic principle.” Barack Obama [on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement], 18 September

“I don’t know that [Ruth Bader Ginsberg] said that, or if that was written out by Adam Schiff, and Schumer and Pelosi,” DT, 21 September

“I don’t wear a mask like [Joe Biden]. Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from them and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.” DT, 29 September

“With time it goes away. And you’ll develop like a herd mentality [sic]. It’s going to be herd developed, and that’s going to happen. That will all happen.” DT, 16 September

“If you take the blue states out, we’re at a level that I don’t think anyone in the world would be at,” DT, 17 September

“It will start getting cooler, just you watch.” DT, 14 September

“I don’t think science knows, actually.” DT, 14 September

“Because of the new and unprecedented massive amount of unsolicited ballots which will be sent to ‘voters,’ or wherever, this year, the Nov 3rd Election result may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED, which is what some want.” DT, 17 September

“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent.” “DT, 26 May

“I can tell you there’s [no race problem] with me. Because I have great respect for all races, everybody.” DT, 15 September

“America is fundamentally good, and has much to offer the world, because our founders recognized the existence of God-given unalienable rights and designed a durable system to protect them” M. Pompeo, July 2020

scientific Americans abide by Joe

Posted in Books, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2020 by xi'an

pooling or not pooling

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2020 by xi'an

A pro-pooling opinion tribune, followed a few days later, by a collection of opinions on pooling PCR samples to absorb the overload in testing laboratories and produce results in a delay that is short enough for public health impacts.  Le Monde is taking sample pooling most seriously! This includes a link to an April article by Christian Grollier and Olivier Gossner (CREST) published in COVID economics (!), recalling the basics of sample pooling and citing a Technion experiment to show the approach is feasible in practice. With a recommended pool of 80 patients if the prevalence is 2%. And of 30 for a prevalence of 5%. Despite the approach being implemented in other countries, and considerable delays in analysing the PCR samples, the conclusion of the French public health authorities is that it is urgent to wait..!