Sunday, June 27, 2021

G Gladys Outbreak Google's Lawn Mowing Goats

 WELL, NO VACCINE IS PERFECT: Israel says the Delta variant is infecting vaccinated people – as many as 50% of cases. But they are less severe.

Note, that’s 50% of cases are in vaccinated people, not that 50% of vaccinated people are getting it. Part of that may just reflect Israel’s high number of vaccinated. And Covid isn’t very severe in most people anyway, so if it’s less severe after vaccinaton. . . . Also, some of these people are only partly vaccinated.

Fight over hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate ends with 153 workers out of a job Ars Technica

Here’s all the data on myocarditis cases linked to COVID-19 vaccines Ars Technica

Ivermectin: Can a Drug Be “Right-Wing”? TK News. Matt Taibbi.

Covid-19 updates: Merkel warns Europe is ‘on thin ice’ as concerns about delta variant growWaPo

Sewage sleuths helped an Arizona town beat back Covid-19. For wastewater epidemiology, that’s just the start Stat

The WHO Didn’t Reverse Its Position on Kids and Covid Vaccines Kaiser Health News


As Delta variant sweeps the West, Asia faces a choice: stick to ‘zero-Covid’ approach or learn to live with it South China Morning Post

Indonesia’s Doctors Got Vaccinated With Sinovac, and Got Sick NYT

‘Health system close to collapse’: Indonesia battling COVID surge Al Jazeera

Delta variant wreaking havoc on viral IndonesiaAsia Times

The G7 Vaccine Charade Project Syndicate. James Galbraith.

Pfizer says COVID vaccine is highly effective against Delta variant Reuters. But see next link. Hard to see how both could be true.

Vaccinated Israelis may need to quarantine because of Delta variant Reuters

Delta Plus Variant: Eight States, UTs Asked to Take Up Immediate Containment Measures The Wire

Covid 19 coronavirus: Singapore’s surprising new plan to ‘live with’ virus NZ Herald: mgl: “no one has a crystal ball…maybe this experiment is some of the way we move forward…”

Brazil’s ‘Covaxingate’ Investigation Closes in on Bolsonaro and Bharat Biotech The Wire

Massive Fires and COVID Have Battered California’s Wineries Capital & Main

ADIOS, GRINGO: a tribute to John McAfee.

John possessed an extraordinary emotional intelligence behind the leathery exterior. He had the soul of a poet and composer. In interviews about his latest crypto or blockchain scheme, he would veer off-topic and talk about, say, the genius of John Lennon. That was ultimately the most fascinating thing about him. It made him truly accessible in the social media age. He regularly conversed with his social media followers and responded to unsolicited podcast appearance requests, genuinely because it seemed he loved putting on a show. He had real charisma. John McAfee also built up an entire myth of himself. What was real? What wasn’t? This made him even more absurdly well-suited to the social media age. He understood the media enough to manipulate it. He once mused on Twitter that ‘A world in which dogs write poetry is more believable than the world as seen through the eyes of the media.’ That’s a great line. As old world media collides and colludes with new tech oligarchs, it has become more and more true.

Science writer Mick West is generally considered the leading voice of the group asserting that the UFOs spotted by the military are likely technology we already understand. In an appearance on CNN last month, he summarized his argument: The images we see in the military UAP videos could easily be the result of mis-calibrated instruments or various camera distortions. While West thinks the videos released so far “can all be explained,” he does support further research on the subject.

“If pilots are reporting things that they can’t identify, then yes we need to figure out what’s going wrong there,” he said. “Is it something new or is it some failure of the system? Is it a failure of personnel or technology? Let’s figure that out.”

What’s Inside the Pentagon’s Long-Awaited UFO Report

Greyed by Nail - Researchers find evidence that stress does turn your hair grey, and it can be reversed – you just need a holiday

But the hair dye market isn't about to implode, there are limits


  1. The rewards and risks of philosophical tourism — Eric Schliesser (Amsterdam) comments on Julian Baggini’s “How the World Thinks: A Global History of Philosophy”
  2. The ethics of aesthetics and the problem of global warming — Michael Spicher (Aesthetics Research Lab) on how beauty, ugliness, and environmental technology
  3. 10 new conversations with 10 philosophers — the new season of the UnMute Podcast from Myisha Cherry (UC Riverside) was recently released
  4. “Bearing the facts about publishing in mind helps to rebut one common argument against cancellation: it doesn’t suppress ideas” — and besides, says Neil Levy (Oxford) “if cancelling a book by some right-wing provocateur opens up space for a different book that is just or more as valuable, then it’s hard to see how the world has suffered a net loss”
  5. A look at six definitions of “gender identity” leads a philosopher to suggest eliminating the concept — still, argues Anca Gheaus (CEU) “a feminism without gender identity does not exclude trans people”
  6. “We normally think of grit as opposed to being a quitter, but quitting in order to move on to a different approach to a higher level goal can be an exhibition of grit” — thoughts from Alexander Pruss (Baylor)
  7. The value of being able to “practise in all things a certain nonchalance which conceals all artistry and makes whatever one says or does seem uncontrived and effortless” — Helen De Cruz (SLU) on “sprezzatura” in academia


Getting the Horse's Goat


The Kentucky Derby -- the world-famous horse race each spring -- is often called "the fastest two minutes in sports." Each spring, a field of typically 20 horses takes to the track at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, with each thoroughbred and jockey pair aiming to finish the 10 furlongs (2 kilometers) race before the rest of the pack. Despite the days of fanfare before the main event, the race itself is very short; the winner crosses the line about two minutes after the starting gate opens.

But horses aren't the only animals involved in the race. Another creature -- the humans riding the horses notwithstanding -- can be a critical member of a successful horse's team. These guys:



Yeah, the guy on the left. That's a goat.

Like humans, horses can get nervous. And if you're looking to turn an expensive thoroughbred into a prizewinner, that's bad; it's difficult at best to train a skittish horse -- and dangerous for jockey and trainer alike. There are probably pharmacological solutions to that problem, but those come with all sorts of side effects. And, it turns out, a little bit of companionship tends to do the trick.

Just like people tend to soften a bit when playing with dogs, horses calm down nicely when paired with others. Miniature donkeys, ponies, and even pigs are common, but it is goats that really help horses the most. And it's been like that for ages. Bette Gabriel, a trainer at a central Illinois racecourse, told the Chicago Tribune that "the practice of keeping a goat in the stall with a nervous horse has been around for a long time, probably as long as there have been racehorses." And per Gabriel, there were some cases " where a horse would become so attached that its goat would have to be brought along to the paddock every time the horse raced."

But unlike our relationships with our dogs and cats, this isn't a situation where the goat is the horse's pet. More accurately, the goats act as nannies for the nervous Nellies. "Most of the track goats and horses develop a lifelong friendship," per the Tribune, with the goat acting as a caretaker of sorts, attending to their horse-partner whenever the latter seems out of sorts. There are even some goats that don't wed themselves to a single horse, but rather roam around looking for one in need. At Churchill Downs, according to the Courier-Journal, there's a goat named Roxanne that does exactly that: "Roxanne is good at sniffing out horses that are set to race that day, almost rotating her calming services around the barn."

But while the longstanding history of horse-goat pairs is well-known in racing circles, the reason for the match is something we can only guess at.  According to the New York Times (where the above photo comes from), "it is unclear why so many horses have particular goat friends," which no meaningful efforts underway to better understand their unique relationship.





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Bonus fact: Goats also like people (although not to the same degree), and particularly, they like happy people. According to a 2018 study, goats can likely differentiate between happy human faces and not-so happy human faces, and are more likely to approach those with the former. explains: "images of happy faces elicited greater interaction in the goats who looked at the images, approached them and explored them with their snouts. This was particularly the case when the happy faces were positioned on the right of the test arena suggesting that goats use the left hemisphere of their brains to process positive emotion."

From the Archives: Google's Lawn Mowing Goats: Who needs lawnmowers when you have horse-friends?