Tech Tuesday – 9/17 – Asymptomatic Sick Kids Are A Nightmare Edition

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Oscar Gordon

A Navy Turbine Tech who learned to spin wrenches on old cars, Oscar has since been trained as an Engineer & Software Developer & now writes tools for other engineers. When not in his shop or at work, he can be found spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, kayaking, gaming, or whatever strikes his fancy & fits in the budget.

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23 Responses

  1. fillyjonk fillyjonk
    Ignored
    says:

    In re: Bug.

    I had scarlet fever as a kid. I think my mom diagnosed me first – I woke up sick (vomiting, fever) one morning, and in the course of helping me clean myself up (I was 8), she noticed the tell-tale rash. My mom is not a nurse or anything but she’s an older mom (born 1936) who had just-slightly-younger nephews (my family is demographically weird) and she did a lot of babysitting and saw lots of stuff.

    The funny (well, funny now, wasn’t funny then) thing? I had read a book about a girl – not Helen Keller but, I think her name was Bridgman? Laura Bridgman, maybe? who had had scarlet fever in the 1800s and went blind and deaf as sequelae. And because I was an anxious child (but also not into upsetting my parents), I very quietly freaked out all the way to the doctor’s. After examining me, he said “Yeah, she has scarlet fever, here’s a prescription for an antibiotic, wait three days before sending her back to school even if she feels better” and I was like “AND? AND? WHEN DO I EXPECT THE BLINDNESS?” but I didn’t say anything. He picked up on that I was worried (he was a good doctor) and it all came out and he was able to reassure me that that almost never happened back then, and because of antibiotics, it REALLY almost never happens now and it won’t if you take the medicine and rest…

    And of course, I was fine. But yeah.

    A few years ago there was an outbreak of scarlet fever in one of the north Texas school districts and a big deal was made about it, I’m not sure why other than maybe freaking out parents. It doesn’t seem to be one of the things that’s become antibiotic resistant (yet)

    I will say as an adult I have chronic hives, probably of allergic origin but also perhaps exacerbated by stress and it SUCKS. One doctor I saw suggested prednisone but with the warning that he sometimes saw the hives come back worse afterward (it’s not always the hard-reset of the immune system it’s intended to be), so I was unwilling to risk it and put up with the prednisone shakiness and grumpiness, so I’m on an OTC antihistamine (loratidine) and an asthma drug (monteleukast) every day of my life, and I still sometimes have hives when the pollen is bad or it’s very humid. I mostly live with it but it sucks and if there were a 100% cure with few potential side effects I’d jump at it.Report

  2. Avatar Pinky
    Ignored
    says:

    Glad to hear Bug’s ok. Although I question your taking of drug advice from someone only identified as PCP.Report

  3. Avatar DavidTC
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    says:

    TT18 – I started reading that paper with the assumption that it was dumbass evo pysch because that’s what the author described it as.

    But it’s just a) a mathematical model to explain how different variability in traits from gender shows up in species where one gender is more selective with mates than the other, and b) points out that biology has already noticed that when one gender spends more time parenting, it becomes more selective with mates.

    However, I then noticed something very very odd. I quote the article: ‘Professor Senechal suggested that we might enliven our paper by mentioning Harvard President Larry Summers, who was swiftly defenestrated in 2005 for saying that the GMVH might be a contributing factor to the dearth of women in physics and mathematics departments at top universities.

    The name ‘Larry Summers’ does not, in fact, appear in what he linked to. At all.

    In other words, he’s trying to give the perception that what was blocked was this completely reasonable paper that postulates that when one gender is more selective in mates than the other, the other gender will develop larger variations in traits which…is something that I’m not actually competent to judge if it makes sense scientifically or mathematically, but it’s not inherently absurd or sexist or anything objectionable. There are gender differences in variation levels in traits in all sorts of animals, including humans, and _something_ has to explain that.

    But what was _actually_ taken down is something else entirely that went into a bunch of op-ed stuff. I have a feeling there was something very specific that was objectionable and he’s simply refusing to acknowledge is, and is instead pretending the objection was to the dry mathmatics.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC
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      says:

      Perhaps, but we don’t know what, if anything, was objectionable, and can’t know it, unless the publisher releases the rights so he can republish elsewhere.

      Which is the larger problem.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        Actually, we can. He is being rather disingenuously in pretending that his paper is somehow erased from existence. He’s put every version on arXiv. He merely is not allowed to publish it in a scientific journal.

        Here’s the version that was published then unpublished: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1703.04184v2.pdf

        It…started with a rather strong opt-ed and _really_ shouldn’t have been allowed in any sort of scientific journal. People don’t get to tack opt-eds to scientific papers and then complain about scientific censorship when people object to the content of the opt-ed.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
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          says:

          Incidentally, that op-ed focuses on _intelligence_, which is a strange focus on.

          There places that science are pretty certain the variability hypothesis is true. Height, for example…not only do men tend to average taller, they tend to have a wider variation in height. And there are other things.

          _Intelligence_ being one of those things is dubious at this point. I’m not saying it’s _not_ more variable in men, but there have actually been studies that shown the opposite, and other studies that shown it existed more in the past but women have become more variable since the 1960s (Which is an impossible timescale if it’s genetic.), and other studies showing wider variations in differing parts of intelligence, sometime directly conflicting with each other, and generally the entire thing is somewhat disputed, not for ‘PC’ reasons but because it is _really damn hard_ to measure intelligence, and utterly impossible to disconnect it from social expectations.

          Whereas measuring, uh, the height of people is pretty easy.

          Thus intelligence is a really strange thing to instantly drill to when trying to figure out variations in intelligence…unless someone was trying to make some sort of sexist argument, or make an argument that sounded sexist so the paper is ‘controversial’.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC
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            says:

            I do agree that I don’t think we know enough regarding the inheritablity of intelligence to know if that can be ‘selected’ for. If we are going for vague traits that we have no solid genetic markers for, we could talk about curiosity, or obedience just as well.

            Hell, it might not be genetic at all, but as you suggest, completely social. Does the model only work for genetic variability?

            Those would be interesting concepts to have a discussion around. Too bad some people decided to make threats to prevent such a discussion from happening.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC
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          says:

          People don’t get to tack opt-eds to scientific papers and then complain about scientific censorship when people object to the content of the opt-ed.

          Actually, you do get to tack on some Op-Ed, as long as you publish it specifically as an Op-Ed (he mentions this in the 5th paragraph, that this was going in the Viewpoint section). Most journals have some kind of ‘Op-Ed’, where scientists can present evidence/models/findings and then engage in some controversial thoughts about it.

          The problem is not that it was an opinion piece disguised as research findings (it was clearly labeled as opinion). It’s not even that the paper was not accepted for publication (that happens all the time), the problem is that it was accepted, and then pulled without a retraction or a release of rights. And it was pulled because outside agitators effectively engaged in a heckler’s veto and threatened the publication itself if it didn’t violate standards and norms and pull the paper.

          I mean, what if the NRA decided that blocking the CDC wasn’t enough, and started throwing it’s weight around to silence Dr. Wintermute by threatening campaigns against any journal that dared publish his findings, or any findings that ran counter to what the NRA wants to hear?Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            says:

            Actually, you do get to tack on some Op-Ed, as long as you publish it specifically as an Op-Ed (he mentions this in the 5th paragraph, that this was going in the Viewpoint section). Most journals have some kind of ‘Op-Ed’, where scientists can present evidence/models/findings and then engage in some controversial thoughts about it.

            Except he’s pretending they’re blocking the ‘evidence/models/findings’, and not the ‘controversial thoughts’.

            He might call it an article _there_, but he also repeatedly calls it a ‘paper’, and, as I said, he literally links to a version of it _without_ the controversial thoughts in the article itself.

            He is, very clearly, misrepresenting what exactly is going with the Mathematical Intelligencer, which rather idiotically had an editor, Marjorie Senechal, who had him pump up his paper with controversy, accept it, and then get slapped down by her colleagues, so rescinded the acceptance.

            This is extremely dumb, but perfectly within MI’s right. And I have no idea what sort of professional mathematician would go along with this, but it’s really dumb, and almost to be expected.

            What happened with NYJM is something else.

            It’s not even that the paper was not accepted for publication (that happens all the time), the problem is that it was accepted, and then pulled without a retraction or a release of rights.

            The NYJM clearly should have issued an explanation in the journal of why they did what they did.

            And the ‘release of rights’ thing is nonsense. He still owns the copyright, as is clearly explained in their submission form: http://nyjm.albany.edu/cpyrt.htm

            The NYJM has _absolutely_ no ability to stop him from publishing it elsewhere. They merely have the rights to publish it.

            They also, in theory, have the right to demand that, if he does publish it elsewhere, that he references and link to them…except they’re currently in breach of contract (Item #6) due to not publishing it, so the demand he references them is probably moot, but they probably don’t want that anyway. And they don’t have anywhere for him to link!

            If other publications require him to check a box stating it’s never been published before, and he can’t honestly do that, he needs to talk to _the other publications_ about that. It is literally impossible for the NYJM to fix that problem. They can’t retroactively make themselves never have published it. If he considers what happens in the past them ‘publishing’ it, then they will have always done so, because the past cannot be changed.

            If he thinks them formally disclaiming the (breached) contract will help there (Not really sure how, it’s still technically been ‘published’.), he needs to ask for that. As far as I can tell, he hasn’t. Nor does he appear to have filed any sort of legal complaint…honestly, this looks like it could be solved in small claims court, they’re clearly in breach, but, again, that assumes they wouldn’t just agree if he asked.

            …probably because, and this is just a guess, he like complaining about censorship and how he ‘isn’t allowed’ to publish his paper.

            And it was pulled because outside agitators effectively engaged in a heckler’s veto and threatened the publication itself if it didn’t violate standards and norms and pull the paper.

            No, he claims _the board_ of the NYJM threatened to do that. (Or, rather, he claims someone told him that.)

            This is some really amazing ‘outside agitators’ that can convince half an organization to quit the organization they’re in charge of and work to destroy it if it does something!

            In reality, of course, as they will tell people, what actually happened is the board found it hadn’t undergone a good review, and it was extremely off topic for a theoretical math journal, as it didn’t really have any novel math in it at all. The editor who had handled the thing did not respond for quite some time, and didn’t address their concerns. They voted by a 2/3 margin to rescind it. This actually looks like a rogue editor accepted a political paper on purpose, and they didn’t notice until publication, at which point they temporarily withheld it for months, and then completely withdrew it when the concerns could not be addressed.

            https://www.math.uchicago.edu/~farb/statement

            The only actual problems is that they appeared to do with without explaining why officially, which is not good. That is indeed a mistep on their part, and they need to explain that openly.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC
              Ignored
              says:

              Honestly, I wouldn’t credit Farb with anymore veracity than I would Hill. Especially if there is any truth to what Steinberger said.

              That is indeed a mistep on their part, and they need to explain that openly.

              Which is what I said initially in the OP, along with a copyright release (or whatever the legal term is) so he doesn’t have to bother going to small claims or other court. He can just offer his paper and the legal document saying that the other Journal waives all claims to the work (if you don’t want to publish the work, fine, but don’t be an ass and make the author get lawyers involved if he wants to republish elsewhere).

              Retraction Watch has more.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Which is what I said initially in the OP, along with a copyright release (or whatever the legal term is) so he doesn’t have to bother going to small claims or other court. He can just offer his paper and the legal document saying that the other Journal waives all claims to the work (if you don’t want to publish the work, fine, but don’t be an ass and make the author get lawyers involved if he wants to republish elsewhere).

                Uh, no. The NYJM does not _have_ any claims over the paper. It doesn’t make any copyright claims over papers it publishes. It merely has a _license to publish the paper_. Please read: http://nyjm.albany.edu/cpyrt.htm

                The sole demand they make is, if the paper is later published elsewhere, it must include the fact it was first published by the NYJM, and link to it on their site, so absolute worse case scenario is that he has to put their name (He can’t link, there’s nowhere to link.) in his published-somewhere-else paper. He has to put the link ‘Originally published in whatever edition NYJM’ in his paper.

                That is the entire thing that the NYJM could, hypothetically, demand, and that is literally the only thing they could release him from.

                In fact, let’s just pause here and pretend that we’re not talking about this specific instance. Let’s say I published a paper in the NYJM, and it’s still there. And let’s say I have it published elsewhere without giving them credit as stated in the contract.

                What’s the worse they could do to me? *quickly checks the contract*

                Huh. They don’t seem to have any recourse specified. There aren’t any damages laid out, and copyright law is completely irrelevant here because I still own the copyright, so…unless they can make a really absurd lawsuit that my breach has caused them actual material harm, the absolute worst case scenario for me seems to be…they stop honoring the contract also and unpublish my paper.

                This is why he’s carefully phrasing it as ‘I cannot claim that the paper was not previously published’ when submitting it elsewhere. Not that he doesn’t have the rights, but that he cannot claim ‘lack of prior publication’.

                If other journals require him to click a checkbox saying ‘This paper has not been previously published’, and he feels he cannot do that because he thinks what happens means it was (Which is a pretty subjective thing to think) has been, there is nothing the NYJM can do about that without access to a time machine. The NYJM writing him a piece of a paper will not change the (apparently as he interpets it) fact it was previously published, and if that box is actually a problem, will still not allow him to check it.

                In fact, I’m not even sure he is claiming the NYJM can do anything. He literally says it puts him in an ‘impossible’ position if they don’t keep his paper published. He doesn’t saying ‘Unless you then release the rights’, because, again, the NYJM isn’t holding the rights. He doesn’t even _ask them_ to release the rights…because, again, they are not holding any rights.

                It’s other people who are running around claiming that the NYJM is somehow keeping the paper from being published. No. They are not. What is (supposedly) keeping the paper from being published is other journals who have specific wording in their submission process that doesn’t deal well with this situation, and a man who isn’t even bothering to try to contact those journals and explain the situation to them and submit his paper anyway.

                Or just…interpet what happened as being ‘not being published’, and click the box, which is perfectly reasonable.

                But he’s not.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Or the NYJM could just send him a letter saying it is in breach of contract and will not pursue and kind of claim against another publication should it choose to publish the work.

                They are the ones who are knowingly in breach, why should it be on the author to take the risk that the NYJM will try to enforce it’s (unenforceable) contract? Companies and private actors do all sorts of stupid legal crap (that makes no damn sense at all) just to mess with other people. Sure, it won’t get far, but it’ll force the author to spend money to get a court to agree.

                I mean, if I was in his shoes, that’s what I’d want.

                Or perhaps you are right, and he’s just ramping up the controversy because he’s pissed about the fact that he got pulled without so much as form letter saying it was going to happen.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC
      Ignored
      says:

      Related to this discussion[1], the effects of comparative advantage.

      [1] The variability part of it, not the norms and standards of academic publishing part.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to DavidTC
      Ignored
      says:

      Hating on evo-psych is the liberal equivalent to AGW denialism on the right.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Road Scholar
        Ignored
        says:

        The problem is that people who argue that there are bimodal distributions of traits never ever acknowledge that there are outliers where people in the lower distribution have more (whatever) than the people in the higher distribution!

        It’s the gross dishonesty and the twisting of the positions of the people who oppose this dishonesty that is disgusting to the point where we need to shut down discussions of this sort of thing.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Road Scholar
        Ignored
        says:

        For both, often enough the claims get ahead of the evidence (although more so for evo-psych that for AGW, IMHO).Report

  4. Avatar Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    TT09: Okay, how long until someone hacks it to do a wolf whistle?

    TT11: The article suggests runoff could be captured and used for drinking water. Which is a fine suggestion, except for those of us who live in states where once the water hits the gutter, it’s runoff that belongs to somebody downstream. Yay, western water law :^)

    TT16: Yes, as soon as they overcome the facts that (a) nuclear is currently the most expensive source of electricity in the US, (b) it is politically immensely unpopular, and (c) no one knows what to do with spent fuel except bury it in places where the locals are strongly opposed.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain
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      says:

      A & C are engineering issues that can be overcome, and which people are attempting to overcome. B is the real sticking point and makes A & C a lot more challenging.

      ETA: Part of the reason for articles like this is to try and overcome B.Report

  5. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    Tt4 – sounds like the Dune personal shields.Report

  6. Avatar FortyTwo
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    says:

    The quillette and azcentral stories have to be a joke, right?Report

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