Showing posts from May, 2021

Recent Books: Micro Reviews

  The Little Book of Cosmology by Lyman Page A very short, cheap, book on Cosmology.   All the big ideas and none of the big equations.   I thought it was quite good for what it was. Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo by  Sean B. Carroll   Evo-Devo, the science of evolutionary development is a third piece of the evolutionary picture, deserving of equal footing with Darwin, and the modern synthesis with genetics and DNA.   Evo Devo is mostly the story of the master patterning genes that lay out the structure and future development of an organism from its earliest embryological beginnings.   Those genes, the homeobox genes, are extraordinarily conserved to the extent that the same ones that dictate where an arthropod develops the last segments of its legs are involved in wing development in bat and fingers in man. These deep connections were almost totally unsuspected by the authors of the Modern Synthesis. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions

Herd Immunity

 The US is unlikely to reach herd immunity anytime soon, as vaccine demand is dropping with well less than half the population immunized.  The unimmunized are a threat not just to themselves, but to the general public, since no vaccine is perfect and reservoirs of infection spawn dangerous mutants.  Some public health advocates suggest mandates.  I agree.  Who should be mandated? 1)Health care and elder care workers. 2)First responders and the military. 3)School children and teachers. 4)I think that it also makes sense for retail establishments to hire only the immunized and advertise fully immunized status. I think that positive incentives for getting vaccinated should also be encouraged.  $100 per vaccination would be appropriate and might make a difference.

Book Review: How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, by Bill Gates

 Bill Gates made an enormous fortune at a young age, and ever since, he and his wife Melinda have given much of it away.  He has solid credentials as both a Cassandra and a doer of good deeds.  More than six years ago, he was warning the World of the dangers of a major pandemic and urging the world leaders to prepare.  He was ignored, and covid-19 has swept away millions of lives and trillions of dollars in economic output.  His foundation’s global health initiatives are distinguished by careful analysis and scientifically targeted actions. He brings the same analytical mindset to the problem of anthropogenic global warming (AGW), namely by asking the fundamental questions: what is the threat, what can be done, what are the obstacles, and how much would it cost.   His book is not the place to find a careful analysis of the scientific basis and understanding of AGW or the evidence for it.   He accepts the testimony of the experts and looks squarely at the practical problems of effecti

Big Government

When Ronald Reagan first became a movie star and started making big money, he discovered that he had to pay taxes, and a lot of them.  This traumatic experience turned him from a Democrat into a Republican, which made him another type of star on the plutocrat speaking tour and and, later, Governor and President.  He popularized hatred of the government and became its biggest spokesman.  Today, Republicans living on one form or another all over the country think of themselves as anti-government activists. Political theorists have conjured up all matter of reasons why as to why governments were instituted among men, but history suggests that instituting irrigation was a major impetus, and subsequently, protecting crops and people from those who would appropriate them.  For a long time, government was the principal means by which development proceeded.  The development of Capitalism, and its apotheosis at the hands of Adam Smith and others, showed that there was another way.  By establish