Is This a Prank?

Here’s an NPR article on how schools should look after they reopen. Which should be never, according to the article.

Now observe the author’s name. And the name of the “Italian” researcher she cites.

Is this a typically dark Slavic prank?

15 thoughts on “Is This a Prank?”

  1. come on… You of all people…
    Should you not be taken seriously because of your Slavic name? Or should calling you “an American researcher” be somehow funny?

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      1. Is it hard to imagine such thing published by a non-Slavic person and mentioning similar research by some non-Slavic person?

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        1. I don’t want to offend anybody but what are the chances that a Slavic person would be as incredibly stupid as one needs to be to write all this stuff seriously? I mean, every culture has its village idiots but several at once? In the same article?

          If they were called Michelle and Jackie, I’d totally believe they were sincere.

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          1. I see… Sorry, I misunderstood you. So it was superiority speaking, not inferiority… πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

            But jokes aside – I do not know what is the best strategy with respect to schools. Current solution is of course ridiculous, but I fail to see how business as usual is an option.
            I am assuming that the following is true: the bad outbreaks, when they happen, actually do happen, and are not a fantasy being fed to us by evil somebody, “Matrix”-style.
            What all those bad outbreaks have in common?
            Some are in big cities or areas with high population density.
            In the early stages in Italy (and likely elsewhere too) – also hospitals
            Very significant fraction is in elderly care facilities (I am not talking about mortality here, but about percentage of infected)
            An aircraft carrier (or actually at least two, the French seem to have the same problem)
            Meat processing plants in both Canada and the US where workers stand shoulder to shoulder.

            The common denominator is clearly lack of distance. It is hard to see how an auditorium packed with several hundred students is significantly different from an aircraft carrier scenario from the standpoint of probability of contagion. Yes, very few kids or young people will experience serious symptoms or die. But school/university students are less isolated from the rest of the population than the crew of an aircraft carrier. They are more similar to meat processing plant workers, who go back into community…

            Another factor contributing to the current situation is likely the unwillingness of anyone with some degree of authority to take any action for which they could be sued… Perhaps the legal system (especially in the US) is too trigger-happy. But this is a different long topic…

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            1. Hey, have we met? :-)))

              Look, we had a very bad flu season last year. We had cases on campus, cases at Klara’s daycare. There was a week when every day we had a case or two at her daycare. And somehow we all managed to deal with the anxiety even though it hurts and even kills kids.

              This was a serious concern back in March. But since then there’s been a mountain of data about how this virus works. The fact that this data doesn’t get reported anywhere except in scholarly journals shows me that this is no longer a public health event. It’s a media event and a political event. People are whipping themselves into a frenzy of fear based on the articles like the one I linked here, and it’s not only unjustified but kind of really spooky.

              The only thing we should all rethink is elderly care facilities. Evidence shows that elderly people die in those facilities and not at home with small grandkids. I think those facilities should fade into non-existence and elderly people should live with their families. And obviously have nursing help provided constantly and paid for by the government.

              If we really care about those who are over 90 so much (and that’s the real high-risk group here), this is a way to show it.

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              1. ” this is no longer a public health event. It’s a media event and a political event”

                Yes, it’s being instrumentalized by governments in various ways… I have the idea that the same… interests who profited from the crash of 2008 will be back for more and more and more and more…

                In Poland it’s being used as a front for what would be a sham election…

                Euroskeptics will use it to ramp up their cause (due to pathetic paralysis of EU institutions)

                What’s going on in Russia and Ukraine?

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              2. You know Russians. They are using this to extend their Victory Day celebrations until September 3 (that’s when the parade will now take place) and ramp up the militaristic rhetoric. It’s “wartime” in Russia (that’s the official rhetoric), so a lot more government surveillance is justified.

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              3. ….The only thing we should all rethink is elderly care facilities. …..I think those facilities should fade into non-existence and elderly people should live with their families. And obviously have nursing help provided constantly and paid for by the government.

                I disagree about the only thing but I agree that the elderly care should be reorganized. I am afraid that it is not as easy as you imagine. It is something like a cultural tradition in the West. I envision some protests against increasing the role of the government. I can even suspect that these are going to be the same people protesting that are protesting now. (I mean public protests, not you questioning the wisdom of this or that measure on your own blog.)
                But, in the ideal world throwing a lot of money at elderly care (so the people working there should not work two jobs) would be infinitely cheaper than what we are doing now. The catch is – we had to be doing that for many years before – build better infrastructure, develop workforce that is motivated enough to stay there long-term, etc.

                ….Evidence shows that elderly people die in those facilities and not at home with small grandkids.

                I hope we are not assuming that the virus spontaneously emerges in the elderly care facilities out of nothing. It is brought there by either personnel or (until a month ago) by relatives. Is there any scientific evidence that young people do not carry the virus?

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              4. There’s very little evidence right now but earlier in the week I did link a study that demonstrates that kids might not carry the virus because of their small viral loads. At least smaller kids. Teenagers are still a mystery.

                Still, though, if the elderly are not congregated in one cramped space, there won’t be anything like this mortality. We had 16 deaths in a facility next door to where I live. And not a single other deaths for miles and miles around.

                I’ve been to that facility many times giving talks (not during the quarantine, obviously). It absolutely breaks my heart to hear about these deaths.

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  2. “how schools should look after they reopen. Which should be never”

    Do you think they’re going to use this to just shut down universities (like yours) in order to turn it into a glorified youtube channel? Wasn’t that a plan some years ago?

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    1. Of course. But here’s the thing. Who’s “they”? My union conducted a poll, and 89% of faculty members insist that we stay online until January at least. So the union is now advocating for that because that’s what people want. Among the colleagues I personally know, I have found one who thinks this is a bad idea. The rest are loving it.

      So “they” are actually “we.”

      As I keep saying, I can fight the administration. But I don’t know how to fight such a massive consensus among my colleagues. Every time I say anything, I’m a racist murderer who wants people to die.

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      1. My union has pissed me off lately too. But for a different reason. They decided that now it is a good time to demand that the administration should pay for our internet connection at home. I hate it when a bunch of people with average salaries in excess of 100K, with defined benefits pension plan and a bunch of other perks and the jobs they allegedly love are cosplaying disenfranchised exploited proletarians… Things like that contribute to scientists / professors not being taken seriously by general public.

        But I am too busy with other things to attend their virtual meetings to express dissenting opinion…

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