Annual reminder: Advent of Code starts tomorrow!

25 days of programming problems. They start out easy (e.g. "add these hundred numbers") and get increasingly difficult (e.g. "implement a non-Euclidean version of Conway's Game of Life").

So excited!

Phil! Gold :qubes: :debian: boosted

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Certainly there's the possibility of one of these being the first in the history of vaccines to have latent long-term side effects, but the odds of that seem quite minuscule. There's also the possibility a meteorite will fall out of the sky and kill you by hitting you in the head. It seems to me the evidence favors not worrying about the first possibility any more than you would the second.

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We're well past the two month mark for public use of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in the US, and we've just hit two months for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. As far as I can tell, there don't seem to be any significant long-term negative side effects reported for any of them. The most serious side effect is probably the rare risk of a particular type of blood clot associated with the J&J vaccine, which is treatable and not long-term.

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One of the foremost vaccine researchers in the world has this to say about COVID-19 vaccine side effects: Historically, some vaccines have had rare but serious long-term health effects. "The good news about these terrible side effects is that they all occur within six weeks of a dose."

Every other time we've had a vaccine that turned out to have the potential for long-term serious side effects, we've learned of those side effects within a couple of months.

Interesting paper: Chinese and Indian mathematicians were more receptive to negative numbers than their European counterparts. In the case of the Indians, that may be in part because of Indian accounting practices.

(In contrast, European accounting is filled with all sorts of hoop-jumping designed to avoid negative numbers entirely.)

Paraphrased from a video I watched today: Facts can't be biased, but facts don't stand by themselves. We use facts to tell stories, and stories *can* be biased. If someone claims they're "just stating facts", ask what narrative they're trying to support.

This is amazing. The Smithsonian Institutions are releasing millions of digital resources, including 2D and 3D scans of many of the items in their collections, under a Creative Commons Zero license.


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