Posted tagged ‘COVID-19’

Oh My, Omicron

December 28, 2021

covidIs anyone else tired of reading about Covid-19 and its variants?   How about reading different and conflicting accounts of how dangerous the new and improved (from the virus’ point of view) omicron variant will turn out to be?  After all, in South Africa, the onslaught seems to have petered out but reliable sources tell me that won’t necessarily be the case here.  So, here I am again, trying to decide whether I should attend activities in our over 55 community or be one of the small percentage of (mostly) seniors wearing masks in the market.  With two vaccinations and a booster for both my wife and I, life seemed to be returning to a semblance of normalcy and, sure, I’m glad to hear that this provides some protection against omicron … but how much some is enough?  Sometimes, I wish I was brain-dead enough to follow the Q-Anons down the conspiracy theory rat hole and dismiss the entire thing as a hoax.  But seventy-seven years have left my brain still functioning, at least enough to dismiss idiotic theories. (more…)

COVID Roulette

August 5, 2021

covidEverybody, I assume, has heard of Russian Roulette , the game you play with a revolver pistol for thrills (in this case the thrill of risking your life).   You need a revolver, a bullet and at least two players (I suppose you can play with one but in that case you might as well load six bullets and get it over with).   You put the bullet in one chamber, spin the cylinder, then the first player puts the barrel to his head and pulls the trigger.  The odds are 1 in 6 that the gun will fire and end his life.  At this point there are two variants of the game … the gun can be passed to the the next player without re-spinning the cylinder, in which case his chances of blowing his head off is 1 in 5.   You can see where this goes … on each turn that the gun doesn’t fire, the odds of the next player dying increases.   OR, the players can spin the cylinder before each turn, in which their odds of dying are the same each time.

I bring this up because it seems to me that many people in this beautiful country of ours are playing COVID Roulette, a game in which you choose not to not be vaccinated, risking illness or death for no good reason at all.   Yes, I know the odds of dying are much smaller than with a bullet and I know that it is your fundamental right as an American to risk your life if you want.   But here’s the thing … unlike Russian Roulette, COVID Roulette risks the lives of others.   What?  You say they can get vaccinated if they want to reduce the risk.   That might be a pretty good argument if it weren’t for the COVID variants you’ve probably been reading about.   Let me talk to you about variants for a moment**. (more…)

Really? Really.

June 8, 2021

coronaFor years, I started the day reading the online news.  Yes, I was interested in what was going on in the world.  But the fun part was looking for blog-post material, things that my inner curmudgeon could sink his literary teeth into.   People found his satirical takes on the news funny and so did I.   Ah, but that was before The Donald and The Coronavirus.  There is still plenty of news to write about but I find it scary.   The headline that caught our eye this morning was Joints for Jab?  Washington OKs free pot as vaccine incentive.   Yes, folks, licensed marijuana stores in the State of Washington are also giving COVID-19 shots, and yes folks, the state has authorized them to give away one free joint for using their service. (more…)

One Hundred Percent

April 17, 2021

coronaThere is a scene in Zero Dark Thirty, the film about the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, in which a group of CIA agents is pondering whether Osama is  hiding in a certain house in Islamabad.   The CIA Director asks around the table for opinions about how certain each of the senior agents (all men) are that it is indeed Osama.   Each of them offers a cautious estimate of the likelihood on the order of 60%.  Maya, the agent who gathered all the intelligence, becomes increasingly agitated with each estimate.   Finally, the director turns to her and says, And what do you think?  Without hesitation, she says, One hundred percent.  Then, gauging their reaction, she says, OK.  Ninety-five percent.  I know certainty freaks you guys out.  But it’s him.   In my line of business, we are often trying to find a very weak signal (say, an object of interest to a radar) surrounded by other objects we don’t care about.   The likelihood that we detect the target is known as the probability of detection and our customers would love that to be 100%.   Many times we are lucky to give them 50%. (more…)

Health Care Quiz

March 8, 2021

I am concerned about the health care decision making of our populace these days, so I am offering as a FREE Public Service this health care questionnaire.   By answering the questions then checking your answers against the answers at the bottom of the page, you can assess your own decision process.

  1. Your doctor finds an odd lump on your neck which be suspects might ne cancerous and wants you to see a specialist.  Which of these should he call?   (a) a lawyer;  (b) the governor of your home state; (c) an electrician; or (d) an oncologist.
  2.  You are in a bad traffic accident and have lost a lot of blood.   What is most critical to a successful transfusion?   (a) your blood type;   (b) who you voted for in the last presidential election;  (c)  what your friends say on Facebook; or (d) what your Uncle John, the shoe salesman says.
  3. A new virus is sweeping the nation.  As the death toll rises, who do should you listen to for advice about how to avoid being infected?  (a) Your congressman;  (b) Fox news;  (c) CNN;  or (d)  the Center for Disease Control
  4. Your toilet is backing up into your guest bathroom, flooding the floor with odorous waste.  Who should you call?   (a) a surgeon;   (b) a gastroenterologist;  (c) a lawyer;   or (d) a plumber.
  5. You have a severe case of the flu and want to avoid hospitalization.  Whose advice should you follow?  (a) Sean Hannity;  (b) Dr. Jill Biden;  (c)  Senator Rand Paul;  or (d) None of the Above.
  6. Who should you trust your life to when it comes to COVID-19?   (a) Greg Abbot, the governor of Texas;  (b) the United States Senate;   (c) Dr. Fauci;   (d) what “they” say on the internet.
  7. Your brother-in-law. Bill, who works as a tech at the local hospital says COVID is a hoax.   Who should you used to fact check his assertion?   (a) Dr. Phil;    (b)  Dr. Oldereyes (I am a Doctor of Engineering); (c) Dr. Golden, your orthopedist;  or (d) none of the above.
  8.  The CDC recommends that we wear masks while the COVID vaccinations continue.  They recommend this because;   (a) they are all Democrats;  (b) doing so helps prevent the spread of the disease;   (c) they are trying to take away your rights;  (d) the virus is a hoax promoted to make money for the medical profession.

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Getting the Shot

February 3, 2021

I started out the Year of the Virus as a doubter, dismissing the clarion cries of the various health organizations and the media as another over-reaction.   You know … like the panic over anthrax after 9-11 or over a looming radioactive cloud after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Japan.   I even asked my doctor what he thought.   Just another flu, he said.  I wasn’t an anti-masker but I was a no-masker, and I laughed at people debating how best to clean off groceries before bringing them into the house.   But I also kept a wary eye on the news and as the case count … and death count … grew, I swallowed my pride and admitted I’d been wrong (for the second time in 76 years).   So, my wife Muri and I began to take what we felt were reasonable precautions … masks in public, social distancing and, to some degree, social isolation.    And I followed the often contradictory news about the development of vaccines hopefully, wondering how my new home state of Utah would step up to the challenge of distribution. (more…)

Two Stories

November 16, 2020

I rarely watch the evening local news.  I prefer to read my news online where I can search other sources to be sure of the integrity of what I’m reading.   But tonight, after the Ravens-Patriots game, I was busy so I left the Salt Lake City news station on.  Two stories, one right after the other, caught my attention.   The first was about protesters at the governor’s house, demonstrating against the new statewide COVID mandate here in Utah, which includes a mandate to wear masks.   The protesters, which included families with young children, held signs with messages like Mandates are tyranny, End the Mask Myth, and Just say no 2 masks.  You can read about it here.   The second piece was about a four year old  boy in San Antonio who lost both parents to COVID, here.   His Dad and Mom were 33 and 29, respectively.  His grandmother has arrange a big drive-by birthday celebration but, of course, that won’t make up for the loss of his parents.  Unfortunately, if you do some internet searching, you’ll find this is all to common.

Two news stories, which when told side-by-side tell a larger story about us as a nation.  Very depressing.   How many of us have to die before people take this seriously?

The Grey-Ghost

September 23, 2020

This is a post from my art blog, Artsy. about depression. It is bit different than what I usually post here but given the effect of the the COVID-19 pandemic on our country, I think that it is pertinent.

stormyA few weeks ago, I was Rambling on Older Eyes, about fighting depression as I deal with the shit-storm that life seems to have dealt me in 2020.   I’m certainly not alone.   Time magazine reports that since COVID infected its way into our lives, about twice as many Americans are reporting moderate depression and about six times as many severe.  My wife and I were still adjusting a move into our new home in Utah after living in California for 50 years when the pandemic hit.  Like many people we are dismayed by the political rancor in our country and the way it is making the pandemic worse.  Add my daughter and wife dealing with breast cancer and you have the kind of environment that drives me from mild to moderate on the depression scale in spite of a daily anti-depressant. (more…)

The Great (Gasp) Google Conspiracy

July 25, 2020

If you come around here very often, you know I am a scientist. A scientist with an Inner Curmudgeon who is totally exasperated by conspiracy theories, especially those that can be dispelled by simple reason. Personally, I am sometimes amused by the more ridiculous claims. Consider what I will call The Great Google Conspiracy about COVID-19. For some weeks, this has been circulating on Facebook and Twitter. It goes like this. Open your device or computer and Google any three digit number, followed by the words new cases. Up will pop multiple news pages showing exactly that number of new cases, proof positive that Google is faking articles to match any number of cases for some nefarious purpose. A few days ago, someone posted this YouTube video of an unknown woman demonstrating this in order to blow your mind. The truth is she ought to use hers instead of trying to blow yours.

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What Now?

March 15, 2020

If you are anything like Oldereyes, you watched the coronavirus lockdown roll over us in amazement. I had already posted WHO Says, commenting on how we ALWAYS overreact to health threats in a predictable way. The first thing that made me realize that this wasn’t going to be predictable was when the NBA shut down the season … and cancelled one game about to get underway (sending home the booing spectators). The news quickly reported the cancellation of numerous other staples of American life. Reports began to circulate about people hoarding toilet paper and beans, which I thought was hysterical. I began work on a second snarky post about our collective reaction to the virus to be titled either Hyperbolic Hysteria or Et Tu CDC (two great titles that will probably never be used). That unfinished post included the observation that a good thing about the virus is it pushed climate change and the ubiquitous Greta Thunberg off the news. I thought that was funny, too.

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