skybrian's recent activity

  1. Comment on Virtual reality has real problems. Here’s how game developers seek to delete them. in ~games

    skybrian
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    From the article: [...]

    From the article:

    What players may not know is that teleportation is not a lazy solution to moving about in virtual reality, but a direct response to motion sickness. Floating hands are a design choice, not a shortcut. The games aren’t bad. It’s just that virtual reality often has to reinvent the wheel.

    [...]

    VR games are still testing the best ways to make games fun and players comfortable. While using an odd button to crouch or attack may be cumbersome on consoles, the wrong decision in VR can make players physically ill, resulting in nausea, eyestrain, and other side-effects.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on A Positive ContentID Story in ~tech

    skybrian
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    Some of my accordion covers got claimed and so far they seem to be legit; they are recent songs still under copyright. With only a few hundred plays, I doubt they got even a few cents, but if they...

    Some of my accordion covers got claimed and so far they seem to be legit; they are recent songs still under copyright. With only a few hundred plays, I doubt they got even a few cents, but if they did they're welcome to it.

    2 votes
  3. Comment on Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of January 18 in ~health.coronavirus

    skybrian
    (edited )
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    Why some vaccine sits on shelves while shortages intensify nationwide So it sounds like the failure here is trying to allocate doses "fairly" among the states. A first-come, first serve policy...

    Why some vaccine sits on shelves while shortages intensify nationwide

    That some jurisdictions aren’t ordering all available vaccine while others beg for more goes to the heart of the disjointed immunization effort underway in the United States. It also helps explain why the federal government has liquidated its reserve of second doses at the same time that Pfizer maintains it has millions of doses in reserve — as many as 5 million by the end of last week, or about 25 percent of what had been made available to the United States at that point, according to former federal officials.

    Those are not doses earmarked for booster shots, according to multiple people knowledgeable about the process, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to address it. Rather, those are doses that have accumulated week after week because some states are not ordering up to their limit or are putting aside a set amount of their vaccine supply for purposes including inoculations in nursing homes or mass vaccination clinics.

    Ordering limits are set for states twice a week, on Thursday and Sunday. They reflect updated allocations, so the actual number of unclaimed doses is a moving target. The ordering is spaced out both to ease the burden on distributors and to help states distinguish between first and second doses, with priority given to the latter.

    As of early this week, states not ordering up to their limits included Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas, according to Michael Pratt, a former Health and Human Services spokesman. Data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates the fewest doses per capita have been distributed in Nevada, South Carolina and Texas. By the end of the week, Mississippi had ordered all the vaccine available to the state, officials said.

    The discrepancy is so glaring in South Carolina that the public health director, Brannon Traxler, affirmed Wednesday that the state is receiving its “fair and appropriate allocation.” She was responding to concerns that South Carolinians were being shortchanged in favor of people in other parts of the country.

    The reason so much of South Carolina’s allocation has gone unused, she said, is that the state had set aside the entire amount needed for long-term-care facilities rather than parceling that out in increments, as other states have done. CVS and Walgreens pharmacies are handling immunizations at long-term-care facilities as part of a federal partnership, which has been slow to get off the ground in some places. Maine recently redirected nearly 2,000 doses from Walgreens to two hospitals because the pharmacy had no immediate plans to administer the shots, according to state officials.

    So it sounds like the failure here is trying to allocate doses "fairly" among the states. A first-come, first serve policy would get people vaccinated faster. It sounds like Maine at least did the right thing here?

    I have read elsewhere that another mistake is asking retail pharmacies to help with nursing homes, when the nursing homes have their own pharmacists that already know how things work there.

    2 votes
  4. Comment on Discussion of politics going forward? in ~tildes

    skybrian
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    Maybe when a subject becomes important in real life, it's a topic in itself, not a subsidiary of "politics?" One example: we have a weekly thread devoted to the pandemic, and this includes the...

    Maybe when a subject becomes important in real life, it's a topic in itself, not a subsidiary of "politics?"

    One example: we have a weekly thread devoted to the pandemic, and this includes the politics of the pandemic but goes beyond that.

    Also, I imagine immigration would be discussed differently if we had people discussing what it's like to live in a different country, and the various challenges associated with it, including immigration law but going beyond that.

    It seems like political discussions are more likely to go bad when nobody involved has personal experience. The controversy becomes everything.

    3 votes
  5. Comment on Goodbye, Ajit Pai in ~tech

    skybrian
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    I do agree with net neutrality, but it seems like a YouTube or Zoom competitor would have many other problems and ISP's or phone carriers discriminating against them would be pretty far down the...

    I do agree with net neutrality, but it seems like a YouTube or Zoom competitor would have many other problems and ISP's or phone carriers discriminating against them would be pretty far down the list. Zoom itself seems like a new company that should really care about net neutrality to get quality video, but aren't they doing pretty well? Maybe I'm out of touch.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on Rethinking Votes in ~tildes

    skybrian
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    I like this since it's similar to a proposal I had, but simpler. But might it be a problem that all replies have either zero or one vote? It seems like it's not really a vote anymore. I guess we...

    I like this since it's similar to a proposal I had, but simpler.

    But might it be a problem that all replies have either zero or one vote? It seems like it's not really a vote anymore. I guess we would get used to it.

    Slightly more complicated: replies max out at two votes. One vote can only be made by the parent, and the other vote can come from anyone else.

    1 vote
  7. Comment on Biden's first executive order will require masks on federal property in ~health.coronavirus

    skybrian
    (edited )
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    Well, it's astounding because I read the graph wrong. Sorry about that! Also, it's only a model. But just reading the "herd immunity" graph, by July they are predicting 33% (108M) got vaccinated...

    Well, it's astounding because I read the graph wrong. Sorry about that!

    Also, it's only a model.

    But just reading the "herd immunity" graph, by July they are predicting 33% (108M) got vaccinated and 36% (119M) got infected, for a total of 69% immune. So about half of each.

    So far the US has had about 24 million cases officially and they are estimating 90 million people (27% of country) actually got it at some point and are immune. Justification for that is on the "Estimating True Infections" page.

    4 votes
  8. Comment on Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of January 18 in ~health.coronavirus

    skybrian
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    The duckbill N95 masks arrived today and we like them. I can't speak to effectiveness, but I think this is the first mask I've had that doesn't fog up my glasses.

    The duckbill N95 masks arrived today and we like them. I can't speak to effectiveness, but I think this is the first mask I've had that doesn't fog up my glasses.

    3 votes
  9. Comment on Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of January 18 in ~health.coronavirus

    skybrian
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    Biden signs order requiring masks on planes, buses, trains and at airports

    Biden signs order requiring masks on planes, buses, trains and at airports

    Biden’s move marks a clear break from Trump’s handling of masks, although some specifics, including how it might be enforced, remain unclear pending the release of the order. It will require masks “on certain public modes of transportation and at ports of entry to the United States,” according to a White House strategy document released Thursday.

    4 votes
  10. Comment on What's something you wish people outside of your field knew/understood? in ~talk

    skybrian
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    This is true, but when you get too far away from quantities, maybe they should be called "values" instead, like we do in computer languages?

    This is true, but when you get too far away from quantities, maybe they should be called "values" instead, like we do in computer languages?

  11. Comment on What's something you wish people outside of your field knew/understood? in ~talk

    skybrian
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    I think there are multiple perspectives on what numbers really are. I like David Chapman's parable of the pebbles, which is closer to philosophy than math.

    I think there are multiple perspectives on what numbers really are. I like David Chapman's parable of the pebbles, which is closer to philosophy than math.

    Counting works only because we make it work.

    3 votes
  12. Comment on Biden's first executive order will require masks on federal property in ~health.coronavirus

    skybrian
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    That article is from December 29 and the vaccination rate has tripled since then from about 236k per day to 746k per day (first dose). Straight-line plots assuming vaccinations keep happening at...

    That article is from December 29 and the vaccination rate has tripled since then from about 236k per day to 746k per day (first dose). Straight-line plots assuming vaccinations keep happening at the same rate as today are too pessimistic.

    Incidentally, Biden's goal of 100 million vaccinated in 100 days seems unambitious. The vaccination rate needs to get above 1 million per day and stay there, and that seems likely to happen by the end of the month February 8.

    Looking at the projections on the path to immunity page, we are likely to be at 150 million 69 million vaccinated by April 30. We are already at 15 million.

    This is not fast enough to avoid a lot more deaths, but we're likely to be a herd immunity one way or the other by July.

    3 votes
  13. Comment on Daily thread - United States 2021 transition of power - January 21 in ~news

    skybrian
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    I think this depends on what you mean by "plan" and "distribution." It might help to be more specific about what's missing that should be fixed. Pfizer has a plan on how to distribute vaccines in...

    I think this depends on what you mean by "plan" and "distribution." It might help to be more specific about what's missing that should be fixed.

    Pfizer has a plan on how to distribute vaccines in the US that includes such details as designing custom containers to ship the vaccine in via UPS and FedEx. They are executing on it. Moderna has their own plan which relies on a distributor, McKesson.

    It seems they aren't deciding where the vaccines will go, though? The US government prepaid for the vaccines and they are telling them where to ship it. How that happens is a bit murky, but they're doing it, so someone somewhere must have been telling them what to do?

    There are two vaccines that work, are being shipped, and millions of people are getting vaccinated. It needs to be a lot faster but this is clearly not having to "build everything from scratch." I assume that hyperbolic statement is out of frustration but it's not clear what CNN's source meant by it other than to sound alarming.

    1 vote
  14. Comment on What's something you wish people outside of your field knew/understood? in ~talk

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    It seems like there are two perspectives here and both are equally real, for different people? As an analogy, what a car can do depends on mechanical principles, but the mechanic's view of a car...

    It seems like there are two perspectives here and both are equally real, for different people?

    As an analogy, what a car can do depends on mechanical principles, but the mechanic's view of a car doesn't help when you're designing the UI to be helpful for people who aren't mechanics.

    For many people, if the computer doesn't actively guide them with clear instructions and good error messages, they are stuck. And you can be truly stuck even when a more knowledgeable person who knows the trick wouldn't be stuck. A more knowledgeable person might be able to get them unstuck, so often the key is willingness to ask for help.

    (Also, we should admit that knowing the trick is often a matter of doing Internet research and understanding how to piece together partial solutions, so being able to fix things depends on others too.)

    This is true for other fields as well. Being able to arrange music to your own liking in Musescore apparently looks like wizardry to someone without musical knowledge.

    A good teacher can, with patience, get people to be somewhat more self-reliant, but I think those of us with some talent for learning things in certain fields often underestimate the effort required. There are always new people who don't know stuff so the educational effort is never-ending.

    4 votes
  15. Comment on Goodbye, Ajit Pai in ~tech

    skybrian
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    I find this a little odd because ISP’s don’t come up that much when we talk about what’s wrong with the Internet. There is a lot of discussion about what should be allowed on the Internet but it...

    I find this a little odd because ISP’s don’t come up that much when we talk about what’s wrong with the Internet. There is a lot of discussion about what should be allowed on the Internet but it centers around big tech, app stores, moderation policies, and so on. Net neutrality hardly registers as a problem.

    The Internet has become a worse place but it seems like the FCC has little to do with that?

    6 votes
  16. Comment on Daily thread - United States 2021 transition of power - January 20 in ~news

    skybrian
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    Biden Has Already Fired Three of Trump’s Worst Appointees [...] [...]

    Biden Has Already Fired Three of Trump’s Worst Appointees

    First, Biden terminated Michael Pack, who was confirmed to head the U.S. Agency for Global Media in June. Pack sought to transform the agency, which oversees the international broadcaster Voice of America, into a propaganda outlet for Trump—despite a statutory mandate that prohibits such political interference. He purged the staff of VOA and its sister networks, replaced them with Trump loyalists, demanded pro-Trump coverage, and unconstitutionally punished remaining journalists who did actual reporting on the administration. In a perverse move, he refused to renew visas for foreign reporters who covered their home countries, subjecting them to retribution by authoritarian regimes. Pack also illegally fired the board of the Open Technology Fund, which promotes international internet freedom, and replaced them with Republican activists.

    [...]

    Second, Biden sacked Kathleen Kraninger, who was confirmed as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2018. Kraninger, who had no previous experience in consumer protection, immediately tried to undermine the agency’s role as a watchdog for the financial sector. She scrapped a landmark rule that restricted predatory payday lending, pressuring staff to downplay the resulting harm to consumers. And she refused to enforce a federal law that protected military personnel against a broad range of predatory lending. Her decision yanked federal support from military families who were defrauded by lenders. In the midst of the pandemic, Kraninger also approved a rule that allows debt collectors to harass Americans with limitless texts and emails demanding repayment.

    [...]

    Third, Biden demanded the resignation of Peter Robb, who was confirmed as the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel in 2017. The NLRB was created to enforce federal laws that guarantee workers the right to form a union and bargain collectively. Yet Robb is vehemently anti-union; during his tenure, he tried to limit employees’ free speech, give managers more leeway to engage in wage theft, hobble unions’ ability to collect dues, and prevent employers from helping workers organize. He also tried to seize near-total control of the agency by demoting every regional director and consolidating power in his office. If successful, this gambit would’ve given him unprecedented authority to bust existing unions and prevent new ones from forming.

    8 votes
  17. Comment on What's something you wish people outside of your field knew/understood? in ~talk

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    It seems like this sort of foundations work has little to do with the everyday understanding of numbers, though? It’s my understanding that even mathematicians don’t necessarily deal with foundations.

    It seems like this sort of foundations work has little to do with the everyday understanding of numbers, though? It’s my understanding that even mathematicians don’t necessarily deal with foundations.

    10 votes
  18. Comment on Mike Pompeo declares China's treatment of Uighurs 'genocide' in ~news

    skybrian
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    It’s worth pointing out that if Biden wanted to declare China's treatment of Uighurs 'genocide' or wanted full diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and the previous administration took the blame,...

    It’s worth pointing out that if Biden wanted to declare China's treatment of Uighurs 'genocide' or wanted full diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and the previous administration took the blame, then they would be doing Biden a favor.

    4 votes