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Firstenberg’s Covid Message

In a widely circulated essay from Arthur Firstenberg there were some things I felt compelled to comment on. First of all, it the whole article is a wonderful compendium of every single reflexive “the opposite of what the authorities are telling us” idea that has been circulated lately. Of course really penetrating every single point would be the work of a lifetime. There are a few suspicious claims that pure...

SARS-Cov-2 and Conspiracy Theories

SARS-Cov-2 is a novel virus, meaning that humans have never before encountered it. But it is also just one more in a pattern of pathogens that have, at a particular time, moved from the animal kingdom and spread widely among the human population, striking down some and passing over others. Given these facts—that it is new, and it is deadly—it is little wonder that all sorts of explanations are proffered. People do what...

Thoughts on Grading

A former student asked how she should grade a course she was asked to teach. My reply: The wrong way: throw out a grade at the end based loosely on what you feel about the student. The right way: a rubric. A rubric is a list of what will be scored and how it will be evaluated. The rubric can be tuned to support the learning goal of the class and assignment. Not every paper needs a heavy emphasis on spelling, for example....

Will a Covid Vaccine be Found?

A vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 is the type of logical thing we can all write into plans for how to restore society and the economy back to “normal”. Except there is no reason to believe that a vaccine will ever be found. As of right now there are no vaccines for this type of virus. Some viruses have traits that allow for easy vaccines (polio) some kind of work (flu) and some have eluded us to date (the common cold)....

The Difference Between Lifespan and Life Expectanc...

Did people in the ancient world ever live past 30? Actually, people in the ancient world could live as long as people today. Only, in the ancient world only a handful of people got to old age, whereas today most people expect to. It is the difference between lifespan and life expectancy. Life expectancy is the average expected of a child at birth, and is heavily influenced by things like infant mortality. If 50 out of every...

Does Rudolf Steiner Believe in Viruses?

Here is a great example of why we have to be careful with Steiner quotes. This one is from GA 185, 3rd lecture (From Symptom to Reality in Modern History). “But bacilli, as such, are of course in no way connected with disease. In phenomena of this kind we must realize that just as behind the symptoms of history we are dealing with psychic and spiritual experiences, so too behind somatic symptoms we are dealing with...

Alarming Nonsense about Covid by People Who Should...

Is Coronavirus Contagious? – Nourishing Traditions Sorry, but I find this thoroughly unconvincing. For one, there have been plagues about every decade in European history back into the Middle Ages. No need to stop at 1918. The Roman era was ended by plagues and climate change in the early 600s (cooling in that case, leading to malnutrition and then disease). Plagues wiped out the Native Americans over three centuries....

Another Suspicious Covid Article

Here is another article that is briefly popular on social media. It seems people are greatly attracted to ideas that reflexively propose that experts are all wrong and the heroic lone thinker has figured out what has baffled the best minds to date. Even if multiple indicators signal that the writer’s claims should be taken very cautiously. Covid-19 ~ Hypoxia – holistiq.com I ran the article by an experienced...

Health Care Costs and Covid

Biden says coronavirus’ impact on health system hasn’t changed his mind on single-payer What will change a lot of minds: the 40% increase in premiums projected for next year as the insurance companies recapitalize to pay for everything the providers bill for keeping up with the virus (Aetna CEO’s comments during a conference call with investors). Think $25,000/year for a family plan is bad? Next year it...

The numbers behind the lockdown

The statistics I’ve seen have the Covid-19 death rate for people under 55 at about 0.8%, or about 4x higher than the seasonal flu. Not so bad. Except that 75% of the US population is under 55. That’s 245 million people. If they all got the virus in a two-month period that is 1,960,000 deaths. Divide that number in half if you think only half the population gets it. Divide it in half again. And again, just...

The Problem Considering 5G Claims

The real problem is that human physiology is the most complicated thing in the known universe. Multiply that times 9 billion variants and it gets really hard to prove anything. So people make hypotheses, test ideas, and create conceptual frameworks for approaching the overwhelming complexity (ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, homeopathy, western materialistic medicine, anthroposophic medicine, shamanism, etc.). They run...

Common Sense on Covid and the Death Rate

There are many facts and opinions swirling around about the virus, the response, and everything in between. There is a lot of virus-denialism that appears more rooted in wishful thinking than a considerations of the facts. The wisdom of shutting down the economy is questioned; a quite legitimate issue in a democracy. And the very nature of the virus is up for grabs. Unfortunately so much of the commentary and quick-takes...