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What A Year, Huh?

Posted by Gimmick - December 31st, 2020

I haven't got enough clout to be listed on the Community tab, but I figure since everyone's doing one of these things, why not join in?

I started the year off with "Happy New Year!, or why you should watch the Joker movie". Back when movies in the theater were still a thing, haha. It's aged well, I suppose.

The pandemic seemed like such an outlandish prospect back in January and February. Despite having heard of it through friends with family in China, it seemed like it was one of the regular articles that would pop up every 4-5 years and fizzle off after a period of time. Classes were being held in person, and it wasn't unheard of to see thousands of people milling about every day. Back when it was still colloquially referred to as the wuhan coronavirus.

I guess Ebola made me too optimistic. Or maybe I had been desensitized because of it and wasn't paying attention. Or both. In the meantime, other things kept stealing the show. The incidents involving Iran. The australian bushfires. And some more I don't recall.

I took part in a hackathon, and submitted a game to NG that I made during that time.

Cyberpunk got delayed.

I took up swimming. (I'd long been meaning to do it, and with the weather getting warmer I could go in the morning a little easier. And it seemed like a good enough physical activity to take up.)

It's crazy to think about how lax we were back then. It almost feels like a different universe altogether.

I started watching anime again around this time. I'd briefly stopped watching anime from August to December, because I always used to watch it with my brother - it's better enjoyed with an audience. Oh well, I suppose talking about it is good enough.

Then came the alerts. News of cases popping up in Iran, Italy, and other countries. It still seemed like a faraway fantasy, even though it was all but knocking on the door.

It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle—it will disappear.

I still remember joking about it, although it became less funny as time passed. I remember attending Kent Beck's talk back on the 4th of march. Packed rooms, small spaces, a buffet.

What was I thinking!? What were they thinking!? What was anyone thinking?!

I like the numbers being where they are. I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault.

Less than a week later, Italy would lock down. Things had reached a boiling point there.

Then came the deaths. Oh, the deaths. It was gruesome. Even without being in Italy, it felt chilling to witness.

(On a lighter note, cue the coffin dancers! It's hard to believe that was this year.)

Classes had, of course, shifted online at this point.

I consider myself fortunate enough to not experience the brunt of the pandemic and its knock-on effects. I tried picking up some new languages (Rust, JS, again). I tried learning how to draw; after all, I had a graphics tablet, and what better way to make use of it? Hell, while I was at it, why not try continuing to learn french - surely a B1/B2 course would be good to take, right?

I dropped them all like deadweight when other things took priority. I had spread myself too thin, again. I guess the only mainstay of the lockdown was the fact that I took up cooking more often during this period, as a matter of necessity. That was a nice benefit I suppose, because my diet before that was rather unsustainable.

Went to the ER for gastrointestinal trouble not a week after the lockdowns. Thankfully it wasn't anything serious. Although it did feel like there was an air of tension around the city as a whole (and for good reason), and I'd get that same feeling whenever the bus stopped at the hospital en route.

A month or so after the lockdowns, things seemed to be improving, well in some countries moreso than others at least.

My research started in summer. Lotsa reading.

Found out about syncplay and other video synchronization services and this really helped me watch anime regularly again.

Resumed work on ASBoxer and the AIRDock and Syncomps libraries - it'd been a long time since I'd touched them, and it felt good to be back.

The months after that, well...I suppose it all went by in a haze. I'm leaving out the George Floyd incident, the protests, and the other bits of news that happened around that time because it just sort of blurred together. All I remember feeling was this vague notion of "how is it gonna get worse next?" when it came to any sort of US news. I can't think of many things of note in the months of June, July, August and September, except for maybe my birthday, and the fact that research progressed from "reading" to "experimenting".

Then came October, the debates, then November, the election, and fun was had at each step of the way. Mostly at the clownshow's expense, sorry not sorry.

Cyberpunk got delayed again.

Fast forward to December. Cyberpunk's finally out. It's meh. Better luck next time.

Year's over in a flash. Scene. Roll curtains.


The biggest personal achievements I suppose I can claim are learning something about neural networks and machine learning. Prior to this year, I didn't know all but the vaguest stuff about it.

There's a lot more that I've probably forgotten to include here. A year IS a long time, after all, and this was one of the longer (and somehow shorter) ones.

What's 2021 gonna be like?

We'll see.

The temptation to take on too much and spread oneself thin is too easy at times. That just ends in failure, though.

I'm inclined to continue learning french, but I'm unsure as to the rate. I'm eyeing online classes, but that is also TBD.

I may pick up drawing again. I'll have to see how to balance this so that it doesn't end up being tossed to the wayside.

I have no idea when ASBoxer will be completed, nor do I think anyone cares. Even though it runs on AIR and so will continue to exist even after Flash is discontinued as of today, I think the landscape of tools has changed so much over the past years that ASBoxer's raison d'être is possibly moot at this point. Even so, I suppose I'll finish it for posterity's sake.

AIRDock got an update! It's finally got one feature I'd been working on for quite a while - remembering the locations of panels in their rooted positions.

And take all the plans with a grain of salt - they don't always turn out as expected :)


Comments (12)

It really was!!!

Saw my last movie on the big screen in February, right before everything start turning around. :) Was an interesting atmosphere since the place was backed, yet Corona numbers were starting to rise and that was pretty much what everyone in the theatre was talking about before the movie started. Didn't feel all that depressing then though, more so exciting. Things were happening in the world! Alas, what a naive initial outlook...

Good movie though. The Gentleman. Two days prior to the premiere. :P

Haven't seen The Joker yet actually, but it's on my watchlist. I probably would if I'd caught it at the cinema too before they locked down...

Regarding that turn: at this point I wonder if maybe it's not about time we start joking about it a bit more though. Sure it's a serious thing, but the tension and uncertainty seems like the big killer. People staying isolated; slowly wearing down both their psyche and their body; not interacting at all; not getting any fresh air; sanitizing to the point their immune system maybe gets weaker than it would have if at least they just ate a little dirt occasionally (must be clean dirt though - avoid pesticides and fecal matter and similar shit if you try this). It all seems to be going overboard in regards to panic and despair sometimes, though then you hear about someone losing a loved one and attempts to circumvent this psychological strain somehow seem shameful...

Anyway, regarding the year: good to hear you did get some stuff done too! And hope the New year comes with some new opportunities.

If this taught us anything maybe it's not to take anything for granted.

Happy 2021 Gimmick!

Yeah I get that feel all too well lol. "Stay home for 3 weeks, then it'll be all over and back to normal". Then that became 6. Then 12. Then 24. We'll be coming on in some time...and it's projected to last up to 80 if things go quickly. And that's given that we were quite lucky with vaccine rollouts being as quick as they were.

I miss the Tiger King days, lol.

At this point I doubt it'd be in the cinemas. Might as well try one of the various streaming services that offer it...or go the *ahem* alternate route if I may say so...

I get that we have to blow off a little steam, but there oughtn't be too much leeway in what can be considered 'joking around'. It's all too easy to cross the event horizon of "joking around" into full blown COVID denier territory these days.

Just start off with memes about plague inc, or about stimulus money, and before you know it you're seeing someone peddle nonsense about how it was a biological weapon released by china that doesn't exist because it's a hoax to have the masses wear masks that don't work because they want to make it easier to implant chips in the populace so that they can be tracked by 5g to the nearest microsoft store because bill gates wants his money or some nonsense. To invoke Godwin's law, it's disconcerting that the number 99.7% has meaning to these people much like 88 and 6 million does to nazis.

Yeah. I know it's a tad late, but here's to hoping the new year brings in a new tide. Although things seem to be a bit turbulent at the moment.

Happy 2021 Cyberdevil!

Yup, big year... so you went to a Kent Beck conference, what was that like? Had to look him up to remember his creds, gain any insight?

Didn't see the 'insurrection', only heard a few plastic newsreaders on the radio before I walked to work, all seems a bit sus tbh

It was fun, I guess. Dude gave a pretty insightful talk peppered with humour throughout. And the snacks there were pretty good too :P

I had to look him up too before I went, but google might've told you he's one of the guys involved in Extreme Programming (a software development method not unlike Agile). Not that that means much these days; personally I'm of the opinion it's just stuff that's dictated by consultants to make things sound better than they really are.

Cynicism aside, the talk he gave was about one of his newer (?) principles of "3X", basically a way to divvy up work while at a startup, or when starting a project, or starting anything really.
Truth be told, there's not really much more that was covered in the talk than what was in, say, his medium post here: https://medium.com/@kentbeck_7670/fast-slow-in-3x-explore-expand-extract-6d4c94a7539 as most of talk was anecdotes and examples of 3X.

That said, I had no idea what the talk would've been about - I was tagging along with one of my friends who was interested in going, and decided to see what it was like.

I don't remember much else about the talk (I had to look up 3X as I forgot its name) but I do remember telling my other friends (who chose not to attend) that the talk was good, but at least they could attend another one in July so it wasn't a lost opportunity.

...and then just a week later the lockdowns happen.

The 'insurrection' today? Yeah it seemed real wack, I personally didn't know anything about it until the evening. Not sure why it took that long, given I'm usually bombarded with US news not 5 minutes before having breakfast.

Yupp. :) Even if we didn't necessarily have to stay home over here... somehow that initial exhilaration over something new turned into a real monotony though. Tension/uncertainty over excitement and curiosity; a feeling that maybe this would all bring out the good in us too. As for those vaccines: I'm not so hopeful about those vaccines. To me it feels like best case they're made with good intentions yet give the virus a certain boost as people start getting vaccinated, they don't work as well as they're supposed to (usually the case) and may give certain unexpected health detriments to certain groups down the line. Worst case: that's why we have this pandemic in the first place

Tiger King hmm? Joe exotic? Missing reference?

Yeaah I don't think I'll be seeing Joker on the big screen either unfortunately, just meant that: somehow when those cinema days seized I didn't get to seeing it as I assumably otherwise would. You'd think lockdown time would make for more movie time but I think I've been writing and sleeping away most of that extra time now... barely watch any movies lately at all.

Right right, don't mean to imply joke as in: deny covid. It's true, the unfortunate side-effect of not taking this so seriously is unfortunately getting careless; making things worse. Wish we could find a balance though. Stay indoors yet have a good ol' time here!

It's a shame all these conspiracy theories somehow seem to get merged and grouped into an all-or-nothing mode. :) I do believe this was initially a biological weapon, read some compelling RNA strain research earlier on that convinced me as much, but if this whole outbreak really is intentional... that'd be a bit more difficult to prove. So much speculation. Bill Gates may have funded vaccines in the past that killed a ton of Africans, but was that his intention? Is it now? Is the PCR test founder's recent murder a coincidence or no? Are the supposed unreasonably early covid test shipping manifests legit or no? I wish we actually had a level of journalism that tried to dig up the truth behind such things; not continually reproach conspiracy theorists for their crazy claims. Don't think it makes it better. There's certainly a lot of shady stuff going on in the world, but if we could all approach any theoretical scenario with an open mind, not either bash it as it as conspiratorical or jump on it with no hesitation because: it's all one big conspiracy. Then I feel the world would be in so much better shape than it is now.

Communication's the foundation for understanding IMO. Real journalism should have no bias. We really need more transparency to get a better grip on the world, of what's right and wrong or true or false, these days everything feels all too angled. Also feels like the overload of information we get these days is the problem; people either take in too much or instead stop taking in things that might not benefit their current views; would be too big a commitment to get into.

But hmm, 99.7%? What's that number all about?

Hope so Gimmick! And never too late! Happy 2021!

Yeah, those initial days was what I was referring to by the "tiger king" days. I haven't watched it, but there was something fascinating about seeing what seemed to be the whole internet (really, most of it was the US as us-ual haha) flocking to very specific trends like seeing the impacts of reduced pollution, "nature taking back the land", tiger king, fall guys, animal crossing, etc etc etc. Then things became more turbulent over time as people started to see things for what they really were...

Re: the vaccines, careful going down that line of thinking - it's about straddling the line with covid deniers. Not calling you a conspiracy theorist, but it's easy to fall down their slippery slope, as has happened to far too many. The vaccines are surprisingly more effective than I thought they would be - most vaccines have an effectiveness of around 70%, which is in line with the Oxford vaccine data. mRNA vaccines are a gamechanger - even so, I didn't think they'd be _so_ effective! Maybe I'm being optimistic, but the way these vaccines are made, it's possible we'll be seeing the end of pandemics in the future...maybe even get vaccines for diseases like HIV!

Meh, lockdown time was overrated :p Never watched a single movie all year last year, and most of the time was spent trying out new things and dropping them as quickly. Oh well, never hurts to try I suppose.

The deniers and Qultists really ruined it for everyone. Poe's law always applies: there was once a time the The_Donald subreddit was making jokes about his presidential run in 2016...4 years later and nobody's laughing anymore. And it isn't quite the same having to spell out that you're not being serious, it takes a bit away from it.

It's good to take things with a grain of salt, as long as you stick to the same guiding principles throughout: establishing a scientific mindset can go a long way in educating someone about a topic in a neutral manner. Unfortunately, the very nature of conspiracies requires an anti-scientific mindset: there is no way to prove anything, there are no reputable sources because such sources by definition are deemed to be "in on it all", and worse, there's no way for _you_ to experiment either.
As a result, the only things that _can_ be done are to look for patterns in the data - something we're very good at due to millions of years of evolution - but it's probably easier to just consult a fortune teller, because you can get a LOT of spurious correlations (e.g. https://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations - it's rather hilarious.)
This more or less means that conspiracies are things that shouldn't be believed in more than you believe in the Tooth Fairy. It's fun to look at, but to take it at face value opens the door to engendering a superiority complex - and there's nothing worse than a scientist on a power trip. Well, maybe an anti-scientist on a power trip. Or multiple of them. But you get the point ;)

Unfortunately, real journalism is becoming increasingly scarce these days, due to it being more profitable to not do it and just pander. Add in politically vested interests meddling in journalism, and you've got a real stinker. And when there's hundreds of news outlets, what's one's claim of being neutral worth? There's no easy answer to this. You can bring a horse to water but you can't make it drink...well, you do have re-education camps but those are bad for a whole host of reasons...

99.7% refers to the overall death rate due to COVID. That it's somehow mild just because it kills .3% of the population. It's a loaded number. It presupposes that 1) death is cheap, and 2) it's less deadly than other things (when COVID is already geared to becoming the #1 killer in the US...)

I get the feeling that anyone who throws around the 99.7% number won't care about the fatality of any disease, unless it's 100%. I'm not fully convinced they won't say that ebola "only" has a 90% killrate.

Yep! Happy 2021!

Yea, same here, couldn't even have coffee before the talkin heads were spinning things.

Ah, at least you got out and got a perspective. The macro of software dev is good, but the bits and bytes, well, it takes logic that has to be at the behest of computers. My old man couldn't accept that computers 'were', and silly me told him it would take humanity a millennium to figure it all out. 'All' does cover a lot of ground, for those in the know.

I got outta programming too early, but have been pleasantly surprised at your determination to make it work, and all I can do is wish you the best :)

I guess that's the price to pay for cultural domination :p

Yeah. My old man recognized the importance of computers and tried to get me and my brother invested in them from a young age. Video games helped a LOT in that respect :P And he tried to get both of us to start programming. As a dumb kid a lot of it never stuck, but I have Newgrounds and Flash to thank for getting me hooked on coding dumb shit, because that was the first time I got a taste of the possibilities of programming. Never mind all the other "educational" programming "games" like Alice, CeeBot, Phrogram, etc. that my dad tried to get us to use, I'd just play around with the examples and not code worth a damn until I saw Flash. Maybe it was because I was older, or maybe it was because of a class I took on it...can't exactly say why, but I'm certainly grateful for it.

I'm keeping my eyes peeled for what's going to come in the future. I suspect languages will come and go, but project management will be by and large the same, if only for the fact that computers change a lot faster than humans because it's easier to change the world than to try and change society. Currently in is deep learning, who knows what'll be next...

Thanks :) What contributed to you getting out of it, if I may ask?

Computers are empty vessels, awaiting human instructions, but as always, you gotta be as fucked up as the guys/gals that programmed before you.. we're all building on the ruins/foundations of the past anyway.

Hm there was a quiet time in computers, application and brute strength of the hardware mainly. What they taught in school wasn't enough for innovation or entry level stuff, even my jr high 'degree' was based more on my interest (and reverse engineering) than innovation w/ crap code, but no decompliers or pratical digital-to-machine stuff to fuck around with, so... Odd that my brother got into pre-built assembly line stuff, rs-232 to rom units, guess he had to, being a high profile maintenance mehanic. Jerk went into the 21st thinking audio would never surpass analog, guess he inherited my pop's idiocy or denial of the teh tru powa of the digiside >:)

Programming certainly at times feels like a house of cards based on how...imaginary it all seems. Well, that and how software engineering seems to be so hit-or-miss that spaghetti's the natural progression of codebases.

Yeah, sparse a field as it was back in the days, I'm not sure how things would've turned out were I a tad older. The earliest memories I have involving computers were playing Road Rash on a tower running Windows 98 or somesuch, with a thick af CRT...perhaps I'd've gone into another field because of the lack of graphical interactivity (text just doesn't quite cut it for me, let alone punch cards) or I might've stuck with it and become a much more skilled programmer for it. Then again, I think we're gonna see something similar with VR and other upcoming tech, and given how I haven't jumped on that bandwagon yet tells me the former case seems it'd be more likely.

And as for these days, do you return to it? Or is it something you prefer to leave in the past?

Lol is this your alt account

Nope. I'm all about that sign up date, if i had an 07 account THIS would be the alt account.

Ah right. Us-ual lol. XD I get the nature taking back land and pollution trends but tiger king, fall guys, animal crossing hmm... totally missed those! Yeah, not to mention the whole toilet paper pandemic - almost made its way here too, and the thing about face masks getting deemed not functional just to (supposedly, IMO probably) keep people from just stocking up on those when doctors/nurses/hospital folk needed 'em most...

Indeed, and my point on: I wish we didn't see alternative theorizing as such a polarizing thing these days. Need more open debate. Need less pushing people down slopes for fear of dangerous opinions... hmm, are you still as positive about these vaccines? Those numbers sound nice, but so far the fatality statistics seem somewhat disturbing. That's why I'm skeptic of vaccines. Untested ones no less. Meddling with RNA can have dangerous side-effects too. As far as I know there haven't been any successful animal studies prior to this at all, all animals died, but maybe you know more than I do there?

Learning new things ain't bad indeed. :) But not a single movie for you either huh! Well I guess I watched a few but: not a single one for a few months leading up to this year at least. usually I watch at least one a week. How did the passage of time suddenly perceptionally speed up so much!!!

Saw some SNL skit from before Trump became president that was pretty prophetical too. :) Should've saved the link. Yeaaah things really got unexpectedly serious there.

I do get the point, but that superiority complex can definitely go both ways. :) Can't rely on science to have proven everything either. Established theories are constantly being re-evaluated. For a while we believed in Newton. For a while we believed that a void was entirely empty. New revelations keep popping up and challenging our view. IMO 'conspiracy theorist' is a more derogatory way of labeling someone who really seeks the answers, no matter how uncomfortable. These days I really feel like the mainstream media doesn't question enough. It's like everybody's scared of being called conspiratorial if they devise any theories that don't adhere to current norms or conventions.

It seems we probably have a bit opposing views on this hmm. :) I feel like it's a bigger danger to question too little than to question too much.

Or wait maybe we do think the same after all? XD Too true there.

99.7% can't possible be the death rate can it? More so the recovery rate? With deaths to that extent it'd be decimating the population...

What a way to end that message! XD Happy 2021 again! TY!

Yeah. In the midst of all the stuff that occurred it's difficult to keep track of what happened when; like the saying goes, there's decades where weeks pass and then there's weeks where decades pass, and I certainly think the majority of the 2010s where like the former, with the last two years or so being like the latter.

I'm not sure, what fatality statistics vis-à-vis the vaccine did you hear about? I didn't hear much about it - and from what I know, the Moderna, Pfizer, Oxford and CanSino/SinoVac vaccines prevent severe COVID in all the people who were vaccinated. Even if it doesn't prevent infection (the jury's still out on that) it seems to prevent death in the age range most affected by the virus, and I think that's the more important thing here, even if it'd be better to any and all infection.

Yep. I probably watched 1 movie if you count a documentary on youtube, but I watched it at 2x so it didn't "feel" like the typical movie experience, at least. And it feels wacky to think of, I remember telling you in the first week or so of lockdown about how time seemed to be going so slowly...I think in retrospect that was just because it was something a lot of us were wrapping our heads around for the first time ever, and then after we got used to it, time rubberbanded back to its normal (and even accelerated) pace...especially since there's not a lot to do inside your home so it feels like there's not much to recall, which makes time feel like it's gone by faster as one day merges into the next...

It's always the case with these demagogues; you'll have a subset of the population screaming about how many red flags they toss up, and the rest of the population going "How bad could it be?"...I guess after this administration people would have an idea of exactly HOW bad it could be the next time, but I'm not so sure. Especially since you have people still in denial about it.

True, there's always going to be people who use a false understanding of science to further their own agenda and superiority; crazy comes in all shapes. While theories like Newton's laws may be constantly re-evaluated, I don't think it's to be taken as "Newton was wrong about it"; it might just be going from "1 + 2 = 2.5" to "1 + 2 = 2.9", limit 3. It's not like we're going to wake up one day and discover that gravity is a hoax and things accelerate to the sky just because he was wrong about his theory; it'd be more subtle like specific interactions, which wouldn't matter to the public at large. And that's another reason where I think communication plays a role in this; if it's labeled as "was Einstein wrong about the speed limit of the universe"? It seems to plant the seed in people's minds that science is wrong as well by association, rather than something that's supposed to happen.

The main difference that I find between science and conspiracy is that conspiracy aims to be an alternative route to science, which is why the fear of being labelled a conspiracy theorist is as unfounded as the fear of getting cancelled because you're a comedian - i.e. if it does happen, chances are you fucked up somewhere.
The reason I say that is because conspiracy theories explicitly rely on people not attempting to verify the veracity of your claims - whether it be through discrediting "The Establishment" by saying "they don't want you to know this" or the like - or by enforcing an echo chamber where all dissenting opinions are suppressed, or both.
On the other hand, science explicitly relies on reproduction and proofing, and necessitates that people agree to it; it's why Newton's laws have held up for so long, because it was being examined for so long that any kinks in it have been ironed out. If his laws of gravity really WERE a conspiracy, why would they withstand the test of time for so long, especially while being a mainstream in high school curricula?

No doubt that we should question more than little - but the problem is if our questioning is selective and based on our biases, both good and bad alike:
- Yes, we should question science - not all science out there is perfect; a good search is for "replication crisis".
- Yes, we should question conspiracies as well.
The reason why more people should accept things based on the scientific method is because the vetting has already been done, so to say - all the steps that need to be taken to ensure that it's not just an artefact of whatever methods were used, were already done.
At the end of the day, you could come to the exact same conclusions that the scientists did, if you had enough time. That can't be said for conspiracy theories, because you could arrive at a completely different conclusion than their authors, if you are even able to replicate their experiments in the first place (I'm reminded of the flat earthers who "accidentally" proved the earth was round...and then went on to blame their equipment and ignore the evidence staring them in the face.)

It's not a coincidence that conspiracies are more riddled with the our biases (survivorship, selection, confirmation bias, etc..) because it's more convenient to have it that way, for its authors - because the average person who falls for conspiracies is not going to examine and perform analyses and meta-analyses to control for these confounding factors. It's also why goalposts frequently end up being moved in these cases (I'm thinking of the Q "storm" that aaallllwaays seems to be delayed...yep, any day now, just like the second coming of Christ, the rapture, etc...)

You guessed right, it WOULD be decimating the population were it allowed to run free. There's been 100 million cases and 2 million dead worldwide. Were it allowed to infect the entire population, I can put my life savings on the death count being 140 million easily. Not to mention the *at least* 200 million more that would occur due to overrun hospitals, something that people quickly forgot all about...

Even though you and I aren't residents of the US, it feels like an invisible weight has been lifted off our chests now that Biden's in. He's no miracle worker, but at least he's no Trump and won't make things worse on purpose...

Happy 2021! XD

@Cyberdevil: I misspoke - 99.7% is the survival rate as you said, not the death rate. I took the "decimating" part to mean "reduction by 10%" which is why my response seems incongruent with my claim, haha. I can't edit my reply as it seems I've run out of characters too, so I'm just putting it as an extra comment.

With the world's attention turned to diseases now, maybe we'll be in the clear for another 10 years or so...until the next Trump comes in, until the scientists across the world start getting ignored again, and then the next disease sweeps the place. But Nipah virus has a death rate - that's right, death rate, not survival - of 40% to 75%. A little below Ebola in terms of severity, and about as infectious (i.e. not very likely) so there's little to worry about for the world at large, except for people who are in the midst of its outbreaks, and the possibilities of mutations occurring that make it easier to transmit. (I'm reminded of a comment by someone who mentioned that the Ebola scare in 2015 was because of it becoming less deadly...)

I just randomly read a comment of yours on reddit lulz. Or I'm assuming it's you.

I've finally been noticed! lol

I saw "NG" and was alllll leo dicaprio pointy meme lulz.

Hell yeah!

Wouldn't maybe say a full decade ever seems to pass all THAT quickly though. :)

Regarding the fatality stuff, a relative had a stroke (blood clot) after taking the AstraZeneca vaccine, a 90 y/o relative died, not sure if that was the verified cause though. We had some news reports (still do) or larger groups at retirement homes dying, but of course that doesn't say much either way. They might've been on the verge of death already. Hmm, I gotta fetch some better stats to counterargument here/provide a proper opposing view. Haven't had time to read up as much as I'd want to yet, but I'm still skeptic. If they do work that well then yes, that'd be ideal. Just find it hard to trust anything this rushed. Potential long-term side-effects unknown. It seems the best way would be to get the virus naturally yet avoid getting a serious case of it. Risky though. Even if you know how to ease symptoms you never know what strain you might get; how severe it might be for you; at what state your immune-system is in at the point of contact...

Sure, YT movies should count too. :) Interesting, I've played at 2x or more with walkthroughs and similar but never documentaries, could maybe try that with podcasts and similar too sometimes, efficient method if you can really keep up with the content that way too... mmm, that makes sense. I've definitely felt that way since. And we didn't get that initial lockdown over here, so probably a lot less time spent wrapping head around current scenario. Actually I'm not sure I still have. Have had waves of feeling stuck and stagnant and broodingly uncertain about the future, but in a way it still feels unreal. It's definitely happening but days aren't so different, same plane of existence, strange vibes when you're away from the media/crowds and mask-wielding people at times and everything seems just like normal...

Yeah there's always bound to be some of that. It's really not strange. You don't know how bad it could really be unless it was, and it never will be THAT bad if you take any kind of countermeasures, which of course we do. Uncertainty and potential abuse and misinformation. Dangerous combination.

False or current IMO, whatever our understanding within a field is right now. Feels sometimes like we've built a religion around science to the point we believe scientific advances to the point we at serve as irrefutable evidence as to how everything really is. Seems like a stagnant mindset to not question. Indeed, the implications as to how we function probably won't change so drastically even if we realize we were wrong about why we did, I'm just seeing this the other way entirely, I don't see anyone saying anyone was wrong about anything when it comes to the science of all. That's more so me hoping to get people to open their minds by implying that even these geniuses didn't get things right the first time; so hopefully we keep improving and searching for better ways and answers to everything. Keep reevaluating the premise for our existence, for what's best for us and who we are. Just like you need to constantly reevaluate (or at least affirm) what you want in life to stay happy. That changes too. I don't feel I'm really the same person from one year to the next, so it seems wrong to uphold a particular worldview to be all the more constant when we are infact the ones that shape it based upon our expectations thereof. Nothing's static in the real world.

I don't think you can draw a parallel between science and conspiracy though. There may be a conspiracy on the science of something, but conspiracy is no science. That definition's been so skewed... paradoxically though, comedians might be the only ones who can really talk on conspiracies at least somewhat freely without facing those repercussions. :)

Conspiracy theories are just that though. Theories. You can't always verify a theory, yet that doesn't mean that it's inherently false. We just don't always have the necessary tools or information at our disposal to do so. Does that make it wrong? IMO the danger comes with taking theory for truth. Like indeed, with echo chambers. But I'd argue that's not the fault of the theories, but in how people regard them. And these same groups might as well lean on alternative paradigms. Gather up in religious cults instead. Whatever those echoes lead them to do. I don't like how you're instantly thrown into said group if you declare that you question the established norm or authority (science, in many cases); seek to be flexible and open minded about who you trust and what you believe. Skepticism's healthy I think. Peer pressure's the dangerous thing. Plenty of easily influenced people out there too who don't really give a good rep to the implications of alternative view, but with the backlash they're getting it's not odd they get defensive.

The vetting that is currently done in all fields is only currently done by our current means of understanding and methods of measurement though, and always with potential bias as per current authority, worldview or ideal. Of course that's all we have to go by either way...

Oh my. Condolences.

Part of the problem with AZ is that the clotting problem is so rare that it's hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Anything could be a cause, be it genetics, a bad batch, etc...as I understand it, IF the vaccine is indeed responsible for clotting (which is in itself suspect since it hadn't appeared in clinical trials at all), then it seems that the risk decreases with age. And beyond a certain age it's hard to tell whether it's because of a natural cause (i.e. time) or because of the vaccine. In any case, the risks seem to be outweighed by the benefits - in the worst case, it's a risk between an 80+% chance of dying from covid or a .000001% chance of dying from a vaccine induced clot, which seems like an obvious choice. As for the variants, yes it offers less protection but fwiw it still seems to prevent death which is at least a good enough metric, although anecdotally I've heard of a few people getting sick enough to be hospitalized even after their second dose of AZ. Wonder if the calculus was such that their immune system wasn't good enough or if they would've died were it not for the vaccine or what else.

If you REALLY want to speedrun a movie then you should play it at 2x and skip forward every other few seconds, haha. I did that with one film and the runtime decreased from 2 hours to 30 minutes lol. Of course, you shouldn't do this if it's not a movie you don't really care about, but the option's always there.

Speaking of potential abuse and misinformation, QAnon is remarkably effective at dragging people from all walks of life into its vortex of unhinged madness. It's basically an entirely online cult at this point: you've got people who are encouraged to 'do their own research' (read: apply their own biases) who have been lured in by claiming possession of answers to any and all questions they have (which, spoiler alert, always end in thinly veiled anti-semitic, neo-nazi crap). It's like freebasing flat earther conspiracies.

There's nothing wrong in questioning science if it's done properly, the problem is that the same people who question the science are least likely to use the scientific method themselves. I.e. reading too much into statistical noise, misunderstanding statistical significance, not having any semblance of controlled experiments, etc. If people questioned whether the science was correct while employing those principles, they'd be... a scientist! Heh.

Poe's law on all counts. Comedians are the only ones who can approach it sans repercussions because they make their expectations clear going in.

Were I to be pedantic, we shouldn't give conspiracy 'theorists' that credibility: at most they're conspiracy 'hypothesists' instead, because there's nothing substantial to back their evidence up. By calling them 'theorists' it gives them a false sense of credence where there is none. Anyone can make a hypothesis. Few can make a theory.

...That's where we are right now. If you're selective about what particular research you believe in you're more likely to form a reliable opinion, but doing all that digging yourself's easily a full-time occupation. So we (I, at least) tend to rely more so on the views provided to me by those who seem to have done their research in a way I would've wanted to myself, and oftentimes that leads me to question the mainstream view, as the results I'm provided with do not always match. Conspiracy theories sometimes really do become more than just theories, and turn out to have been falsely labeled conspiracies all along, but that's something we just see in the rearview looking back. Established opinions/research/everything, and conspiracy theories that currently challenge them: who knows. I can't believe indiscriminately in either, only act on the basis that either one or the other may be false; whichever's most believable to me. And of course, some conspiracy theories ARE easy to disprove. Flat Earth. I don't get how anyone can believe in that if they do their research.

My point here though is that everything's riddled by bias, true or no, conspiracy or no, and that the term 'conspiracy' unfortunately seems to be thrown around for anything that challenges a largely established view, when really we'd be better off entertaining these theories as just that. Disprove them if you can. Consider them a possibility if you can't. Shunning or ridiculing groups that don't believe in established views won't actually get them to conform, it'll just give them incentive for further distrust. It'll just cause even more polarization and conflict, when we could all be heaving a mutual dialog instead; respecting each other for whatever we believe in. No conspiracies. We have religious freedom to, no? Whatever happened to the age if philosophers? Of finding enlightenment in foreign concepts or even in potentially fictional entities and realms of existence entirely? I don't think we're doing anyone a service by trying to flatten all extraneous views with the same fine tooth comb. That's the role of the captor, not the captive.

Anyway, getting off topic, in regards the potential spread we may have avoided: that's true. Overrun hospital potential's definitely a threat too. I don't know if it really would have, but I don't disagree with preventive countermeasures either way. IMO a way harsher initial lockdown would've been ideal whether it would've been all that serious or no, unfortunately seems we're way past the stage of simple solutions now. As for those numbers though hmm... sure you'd still put your life savings on 'em? ;) Compared to flu stats and all... I really don't know what to believe. How high could they get. How many of the casualties claimed to be related are in fact related to covid. Is our treatment of patients in critical condition really as good as it could be. Is it possible this wouldn't be as severe if only we had a social structure geared less on profit; more on well-being. Is it more so a tell that we need to rethink our priorities - as it seemed maybe we would when it all started - than to rely on short-term countermeasures as to halt the spread this one time, and get ready to repeat those any time something (potentially way more dangerous) comes around. That Nipah thing for example does sound pretty crazy. :| don't mean to downplay the seriousness of the pandemic we have, but no matter how severe it is I do feel like mainstream media is making it seem even more so; that is having an even more detrimental effect on us. What if the next pandemic really is that level of severe... we need a more long-term solution. We need a better world. Where pandemics like this don't happen, but where we can handle them if they do. Civilization as we know it just doesn't seem possible long-term.

Eyy you know though I am not a Biden fan either. XD Was a depressing election to me personally. No candidates I trust. If only Bernie, Gabbard or Yang could've been on that roster instead! Not sure Biden's any better than Hillary, but I guess time will tell...

Were conspiracies actually discussed in the open and people engaging in good faith, they wouldn't exist, since they've been debunked numerous times over. In the case of science, if something is disproved or debunked then it is buried into the ground and never spoken of/cited again unless there was significantly compelling evidence to the contrary. On the other hand, conspiracies seem to enjoy being reviled, debunked and incorrect, because it just solidifies their adherents' belief that they are right. It's oppression porn. Like the saying goes, you can't logic someone out of a position they didn't logic their way into.

As for the death counts, yeah the CFR is 'only' 3% but were it allowed to continue unchecked, the non-covid fatalities would've quickly surpassed the covid fatalities. Like that bridge game where you have to cart 4 people in 17 minutes and only two can cross the bridge at a time, except instead of 1 person taking 10 minutes, they ALL take 10 minutes each because the 1 guy insists on crossing the bridge both times and he keeps blocking the way for the others to overtake him...

I don't think a society where well being is focused on more would've avoided the virus; sure, it would've reduced the need for lockdowns per se, but the virus would've still been rampant without large scale intervention. Part of the reason being that a lot of people feel just fine and won't even know they're sick, whereas others keel over because of it. One of the common scenarios that was brought up in the past was kids getting sick at school and infecting their grandparents, or their parents, who would go on to infect others, etc. Sure, staying at home helps reduce the infection rate, but if 'stay at home if you are feeling unwell' was all that was needed, then we wouldn't have had a pandemic in the first place as that's what happened with SARS.

Habitat encroachment and destruction is one of the leading ways in which potential pandemics start. Things like palm oil have been nasty for that in the past. In any case, it seems that the answer that people would rather have is a quick vaccine rollout (in the future, we might have mRNA vaccines that can be deployed to the entire population within 1-2 months of a pandemic) rather than prevention. Like one comment on reddit put it - the firefighter is celebrated but the inspector is reviled.

Me either. Biden is like the potato salad of politics. Steadies the boat all right, but leaves a lot to be desired. In any case, it's better than a dumpster fire.