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Flu shot effectiveness Fri, Jan 24, 2020
The second most common excuse people use for not getting a flu shot, after "I didn't get one last year and I didn't get the flu", is that it's not even 100% effective.  It's true; the CDC says, "recent studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60%", which is indeed less than 100%.  But here's another way to look at it:  A flu shot is 50% effective, while not getting a flu shot is 0% effective. #science

The number line Thu, Jan 23, 2020
I hate when people say, "I'm 45, turning 46 in 3 months" or "He's 3 going on 4".  I know how the numbering system works.  I know which one comes next.

Dismantling the healthcare industry Tue, Jan 07, 2020
There's a lot of talk about changing how healthcare works in America, and that's good.  Things are too expensive; everyone agrees on that.  But none of the solutions I've heard so far mention anything about what happens to the industries and corporations, which profit from human sickness and death, if we go a different route.  Sure, I guess you could go in with a big powerful government and say, "You can't charge more than [x] for that," or "The government is now the sole insurer; your business is done."  As much as we'd like, we can't just demolish an entire industry, even though it's nothing but life-leechers and bottom-feeders.  This industry is full of publicly-traded companies which are full of people who earn a salary and pay taxes.  If you press [delete] on a company, it doesn't magically solve the problem, even though it certainly is a problem.  I don't know what the solution is, but it's probably not as simple as that. #politics

Philly Seans Mon, Oct 21, 2019
The Philadelphia Eagles have a player named Alshon Jeffery (rhymes with "Sean").  This year they re-signed a former player named DeSean Jackson, and I think they really missed out on also re-signing their former player LeSean McCoy.  If they did, they would've have three different "Sean" variants on their team at the same time. #sports

Double Heisman Mon, Oct 21, 2019
For the first few weeks of the 2019 NFL season, there were two teams each with two Heisman Trophy winners in their backfields:  the Tennessee Titans with Marcus Mariota (2014) and Derrick Henry (2015), and the Baltimore Ravens with Lamar Jackson (2016) and Mark Ingram (2009). #sports

Surgery ad Mon, Sep 09, 2019
There's a spinal surgery billboard on a major road near my house, and I have a few thoughts: 
  1. I don't live in or near a population center, and spinal surgery is pretty damn specific, so how many people who are in the market for spinal surgery are really seeing this?
  2. Who is the target audience here?  It's not like people see this on their commute and think "ya know what, I could use some spinal surgery".  Non-experts don't typically provide advice or recommendations on surgery, especially SPINAL surgery.
  3. Even if a person had a back problem and went to a doctor who recommended spinal surgery, we live in the United States healthcare system, which means there's a whole mess of complications regarding where you can get care and who can provide it.  There's almost zero chance a prospective patient will be able to choose to go to this spinal surgery center.
In conclusion, I'd prefer to get my spinal surgery from someone who spends their advertising dollars a little less frivolously. #health

Rehash Mon, Aug 05, 2019
My brain likes to do this annoying thing, usually when I'm trying to sleep, where it replays every social interaction I've had throughout the day, allowing me more time to think of something stupid I said. 

This process gets amplified when I drink, both because alcohol makes me more talkative, thereby increasing the likelihood I'll say something stupid, but also because it turns off my filter, thus all but ensuring I'll say something stupid. 

So nearly every time I drink alcohol with people in a social setting, I lay awake at night, not only because alcohol disrupts my sleep, but also so my brain can do its due diligence in criticizing me.  Thanks, brain. #psychology

On Joshua Harris Thu, Aug 01, 2019
I sort of came of age in the late 90s and early 00s, when Joshua Harris's book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" was all the rage.  He recently came out as an atheist and he's getting a divorce, which I schadenfreuded.  It's fun to watch popular people fall, especially when they become the very thing they railed against. 

But on closer inspection, he's not all bad.  A lot of people felt duped or damaged by his relationship advice, and that's fair.  But my takeaway from his book was that dating is kind of stupid when there's no goal involved.  It's kind of like just spending your feelings on someone and eventually getting your heart broken.  His whole philosophy as I understood it was to date with purpose, that purpose being marriage.  It made sense to younger Christian me, and it still makes sense to older atheist me.  I'm no longer as big a fan of the purity culture crap -- abstinence and promise rings and the like.  And maybe I'm just too practical to be a casual dater (also I'm an antisocial dork).  But I latched onto the idea of dating with the intent to get married.  It worked out for me. #religion

3038 Wed, Jul 31, 2019
I spend an inordinate amount of time and energy fixing things I've already fixed.

Second chance Mon, Jul 29, 2019
I was watching a documentary about Michael Vick, the former football player who was convicted of running a dog fighting ring, and on the one hand I think truly remorseful people should get second chances.  This guy did a bad thing, he went to prison, he's made some positive moves since then.  So in that sense, I wasn't mad that he got a second chance in the NFL.  I understand why some people were upset about it, but I feel like his recognition of his bad actions made a second chance at least permissible. 

However, having a second chance doesn't mean you automatically get your former status back.  You don't necessarily get the same influence you used to have, or a platform, or sponsorship deals.  You get a second chance at freedom from jail, to operate in a society with laws.  Maybe you get some of your old life back.  But you don't necessarily get all of it back, no questions asked.  People still remember the terrible things you did, and being remorseful about it is good and all, but it doesn't erase the past. 

There's this weird underlying belief system, taught by Disney movies or something, where if a person does a horrendous thing but apologizes for it, it's all good.  This is patently false.  Apologies don't need to be accepted.  Also, people generally don't "deserve" a second chance.  They might be given one, but it's not a right. #psychology

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