I believe that mentioning #SamHarris's name in mixed company can push #emotional #buttons on almost all people who have heard of him, or heard some of him, and even so for some people who have heard most of him. I think I know why that happens, but it's not why I am writing this. I have heard so much from him directly that I earnestly believe he is always ready to be wrong and change based on new evidence. However, he makes really strong cases for what he thinks, so if you disagree with what he is saying while he is saying it, you get the feeling that you are in a philosophical life or death struggle. I don't anymore because I have heard a sufficient amount of his spoken thoughts. I respect him a lot.
In his recent episode of #MakingSense "Can We Pull Back From The Brink?" (which seems to be a hot-take), he dispassionately discusses scale & judgment relative to the latest #uprisings and #police work—in earnest—hoping to find a way to make things better in a rational way. Give it a listen, please, maybe jot down notes so you don't let the good be the enemy of the bad.
What follows below is my reaction to his podcast above.
Regarding his "proximate cause" for the civil & uncivil unrest, I'd like to argue this is more accurate than Sam's claim.
#GeorgeFloyd, #Minneapolis #Protests, #AhmaudArbery & #AmyCooper | The Daily Social Distancing Show
Regarding his "if you think a society without cops is a society you would want to live in, you have lost your mind" part, I'm feeling a false dichotomy happening there. I'm no fan of #Anarchists ideals because they like #Libertarians don't present ideas that I can see as #sustainable or ideally doing the most good for the most people, but I agree with them in that what we are doing now isn't convincingly better.
Sam poses a world without cops vs. a world as it is. What about a world with different cops whos publicized mission matches their hidden agendas, and that type of police force is agreeable to the local public in a very democratic and constitutional-rights respecting way with real accountability for their actions?
Sam idealized "giving a #monopoly on #violence to the state" which if things weren't as they really are I could understand, but the reality is from the start we gave a monopoly on violence to a #mindfully chosen type of like-minded individuals who's direction came from only the #wealthy of #society. #Policemen and #prison #guards are far more like the depiction in A Clockwork Orange than they are in Blue Bloods. Sure, #NotAllCops, but it's supposed to be an ideal, a higher standard, and that is definitely not met.
It's also hard to know if my own #bias makes me feel the need to post this because Sam can say something in one in a sentence that makes me think of a rebuttal, and in the next sentence he will vindicate my thoughts, although I didn't hear it because of the distraction caused by the first sentence. Sam oddly uses some extreme examples of things that happened like firings from "woke-culture" for non-incidents to make his points—granted they were on the mass media so they have the power to cause #conventional #wisdom to be produced from thin air—but later in the podcast, he decided to claim the extremes causing the uprising were too #statistically #insignificant to justify the results on the ground. Not cool. Firings of well-to-do people for lousy reasons, bad, the #murder of black people for lousy reasons, not a significant thing statistically.
Sam, relative to #Democrats, reminds me of the dad-type who is harder on his own child than the rest of the world because he cares more about his own kid.
I'm not sure who Sam was listening to in general on the topic linked to #DefundThePolice to form his positions, but I think #TheDailyShow with #TrevorNoah does a far better job covering the concept than Sam did in his #podcast.
What Does It Mean to Defund or Abolish the Police?
Around 37 minutes in Sam starts to talk about the progress we have made with #RaceRelations in the #USA, and his points are valid, but I feel like the bright picture he presented was a sentence fragment that begged to be completed. A two-term black #POTUS (which Sam mentions), with the backlash of a #Trump (which he failed to juxtapose), and all that it has wrought since is not what I would consider a net gain in #Race #Relations.
Somebody who recently made this point, and is of better of recent notoriety than I, is Kimberly Jones. She eloquently states my position.
How Can We Win?
Sam goes on to justifiably suss out the difference between real and perceived patterns; the plural of anecdotal evidence is not data. A recent episode of Invisibilia agrees with him to some degree about how we can see a pattern where there isn't one because we have become #embattled by #acts of #aggression.
He makes a lot of good points to shore up the mental space a #Cop might be stuck with based on what they experienced or were told by their superiors in the routine precinct meetings, but he didn't—to my liking—shore up the reasons why people economically below the middle-class citizen are also stuck in a mental space determining their actions based on their personal experience and that of their community. Change both their environments and cultures, and you'll change their actions. I'll offer a few places to find reasons to see things through the eyes of others if you haven't been out of your suburban cul-de-sac to find it out for yourself.
- Running From Cops That’s The Story
- Planet Money Patent Racism
- This American Life Here, Again
- The Intercept_ | Somebody Episode 6: The Tipster
- The New York Times |
1619 Episode 1: The Fight for a True Democracy
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/23/podcasts/1619-slavery-anniversary.html (no embeddable audio link)
Later on, around 1:15:10 time mark, Sam starts to do a thing where he sees a statistical anomaly and without a good-enough theory of why there is an anomaly, he assumes things that I perceive as assumptions that are culturally forced on him based on his likely experiences to date.
His statement of, "we're talking about career criminals", to categorize police shootings as justifiable is a tip-off that the data is trusted on its face, and it bothers me that there is no acknowledgment that the path of a person who was cultured into being a "career criminal" could have started with a bogus arrest for marijuana consumption. People who haven't been flushed by the system think merits can save you. I, a white person from the middle-class, had many run-ins with the police where I undeservedly was let off the hook with a warning, and no records of mine were permanently kept in the system.
America Loves to Jail | I Love You, America on Hulu
Sarah on Her Criminal Past | I Love You, America on Hulu
Also, also, people without stuff may crime to survive, where people with means most likely crime to entertain themselves.
He mentions how Officer to Suspect interactions of the same race are more likely to be #violent. Like what if a like-race-category on the PD has more to prove to their coworkers when confronting a like-race-category "suspect". Since the incident of how PD's retaliate on anybody that crosses them in a cult-like way, e.g. the dismissal of LAPD's Chris Dorner the recently uncovered Buffalo PD case of Cariol Horne, it is very plausible that race discrimination or tacit racism pervasive in the PD's causes it the way a sidewalk in disrepair causes a bone injury. Did we even check to see if there's a bias in reporting where non-white officers are more likely to report things #truthfully? #Institutional #racism would come down hard on non-white employees and be forgiving of white employees.
8:46 - Dave Chappelle
He then jumps to a hypothesis that because blacks are more likely to #resist an #arrest because of real
or perceivedsystematic racism problem, "the only response is for the police to increase their use of force". Damn Sam. That's the only choice they have? Like de-escalation techniques never worked? Like the way patrolling went in the months and years before the incident has nothing to do with how things go down? The cop's only choice was that. Sorry Sam, I reject your null hypothesis.
Maybe black on black violence outside police to non-police interactions wouldn't be so high if there wasn't a clear signal from the system that blacks don't matter to the police, and their bullshit arrests or stops & frisks are randomly distributed to make tally sheets on clipboards look right for municipal reporting. If an innocent black person was shaken down without #probable #cause and no tangible #justification, will they later call the cops when a local criminal act by a black person is being committed? If you are a skilled black criminal, will you cut in some of the local police on the action you are running? Any cop that don't give a fuck about black people would give a fuck more about a black person helping his kid get through college with side money. In the #Somebody Podcast linked above the Chicago PD's local precinct office couldn't find Courtney Copeland's killer with the evidence handed to them on a silver platter, I—personally—can only assume the cops are the mob.
Somewhere around 1:30:00 we hit a concept of what kind of people would want to be cops in such a #hostile #work #environment. "Who's gonna want to be a cop now?" Ugh! This smacks of, the only people that care about privacy are people doing something wrong, I ain't got nothing to hide. He further postulates that only prison guard type people will want to be cops. #WTF. Maybe if good people didn't think they were going to be gang-land retaliated against for doing the #morally #altruistic thing, they might take a chance on being a cop. If whistle-blowers didn't know by past examples that it would end all their #future #careers in one fell swoop, there might be more people doing good things for the world. Where's Reality Winner now? Our #dominating #culture propagated by those in power is #cancerous, and to extend the metaphor, many of us still think #smoking is good for their health. I would definitely want to go for it and become a cop if I didn't personally have reasons to see the PD's near me as corrupt from first and credible second-hand experiences.
Near the end, about 1:34:00, he's claiming the videos are warping our perception of the problem. I think in that he is putting the wrong weight on the value of loss and cascading ill-effects one police act of murder of a minority has on our country. We are supposed to be founded on all people are created equal, innocent until proven guilty, and so on.
What the Hell Happened This Week? | The Daily Social Distancing Show
Bear in mind, if I didn't mention something Sam said in his #podcast, it's about a 99% chance I agreed with him.
@Atheists in the open
WHY IS SMOKING THOUGHT TO PROTECT AGAINST THE CORONAVIRUS?
Scientists discover adults who are hooked on cigarettes are 50% less likely to test positive for the illness
By Vanessa Chalmers Health Reporter For Mailonline
Published: 16:43 BST, 2 June 2020 | Updated: 18:09 BST, 2 June 2020
Smokers are less likely to test positive for the coronavirus, according to research that offers yet more evidence that the habit may be protective.
Since the crisis spiralled out of control, researchers have seen unusually low rates of smokers with Covid-19 in hospitals - suggesting they rarely get severely ill.
Now, for what is believed to be the first time, experts in Israel have found adults who smoke cigarettes are less likely to pick up the virus in the first place.
Researchers analysed data from 3million people, including 115,000 swabbed for the virus. They discovered a 'genuine' protective effect of smoking.
Ten per cent of patients who tested positive for Covid-19 were smokers, compared to 19 per cent in the general population, according to the study.
Experts believe nicotine, the chemical that makes tobacco addictive, competes with the virus to binds with cells in the body, therefore blocking it from entering.
Scientists claim nicotine offers a legitimate avenue for both preventing and treating Covid-19, as the global race to find a cure to halt the pandemic continues.
Studies show nicotine may stop a dangerous immune system over-reaction called a cytokine storm - a phenomenon found to be killing many Covid-19 patients.
The Israeli study, yet to be scrutinised by fellow scientists, comes after UK scientists last week rubbished the theory that smoking protects against the coronavirus.
Israeli researchers found 9.8 per cent of patients who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 were smokers compared to 18.5 per cent of people who had tested negative and 19 per cent in the general population. The findings were similar for past smokers but not as strong
The latest study pooled data from more than three million people who were part of Clalit Health Services, the largest health provider in Israel.
CHS collected data on the age, gender, ethnicity, pre-existing medical conditions and smoking status of all the participants.
Some 114,500 people in the data had been given a test for Covid-19, of which 4,537 had received a positive result.
The researchers, led by Dr Ariel Israel, matched each Covid-19 patient to five people who had tested negative who were of the same age, gender and ethnicity.
They found the rate of current smokers among the coronavirus patients was significantly less than in the matched participants - 9.8 per cent compared to 18.5 per cent of people who tested negative, and 19.4 per cent in the general CHS cohort.
Current smoking was found to reduce the risk of testing positive by almost half (54 per cent), statistical analysis showed.
And 11.7 per cent of those who tested positive were past smokers, compared with 13.3 per cent in matched controls and 13.9 per cent in the total CHS population.
Those who had previously smoked had a slightly lower (19 per cent) risk of catching the coronavirus, the results suggested.
Using hospital records, the team also found there was 'no evidence' that those who had the coronavirus were any more at risk of severe disease needing mechanical ventilation, or dying.
The results appeared to stay true even when the researchers took into account underlying health conditions, which are known to play a role in disease severity.
The team wrote: 'The risk of infection by COVID-19 appears to be reduced by half among current smokers.
'This intriguing finding may reveal unique infection mechanisms present for COVID-19 which may be targeted to combat the disease and reduce its infection rate.'
Dr Israel and colleagues said their findings are unique to the coronavirus - normally smoking would increase the risk of an infection.
This is because they touch their mouth more often and one of they routes of transmission is by touching a contaminated surface and then the nose and mouth. Studies have also shown the potent chemicals in smoke can also damage the airways.
The team wrote: 'The magnitude of association observed for current smoking, with odds of infection reduced by about a half in smokers, suggests a genuine protective effect of smoking on the risk of Covid-19.'
Those who have come across similar patterns propose nicotine is the key component for protecting smokers.
It is broadly understood that SARS-CoV-2 - the virus that causes the disease - enters the body by binding to receptors in the body called ACE-2, which are found along the respiratory tract.
Nicotine has been found to reduce the expression of ACE-2, which would suggest smokers have less entry points for the virus.
The evidence for this theory is murky, however, because there is also some evidence that nicotine actually boosts ACE-2 expression.
Another theory is that the virus first enters via the the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR), which is present around the nose and mouth.
This would explain why the virus causes a loss of taste and smell and in some cases, headaches, dizziness and intense fatigue.
Researchers from Paris wrote in a paper published on Qeios that nicotine would compete with the virus to bind to nAChR, and therefore may prevent the virus from latching on.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on May 26 there is a lack of knowledge about whether smoking alters the risk of catching the coronavirus or being hospitalised.
There are currently no peer-reviewed papers on the matter published in medical journals, meaning none have been looked over and critiqued by other scientists.
The recent Israeli research, among many other papers that have found few smokers on Covid-19 wards, has been published on the pre-print site MedRxiv or similar.
Researchers across the world have discovered very low numbers of smokers among hospitalised Covid-19 patients, suggesting they are somewhat protected against severe symptoms of the disease, at least.
For example, University College London academics looked at 28 papers and found the proportions of smokers among hospital patients were 'lower than expected'.
One of the studies showed that in the UK the proportion of smokers among Covid-19 patients was just five per cent, a third of the national rate of 14.4 per cent.
Another found in France the rate was four times lower. In China, a study noted 3.8 per cent of patients were smokers - despite more than half of the population regularly smoking cigarettes.
Similarly a review of 13 Chinese studies, published on Qeios in April, found only 6.5 per cent of 5,300 hospitalised patients.
Another study, by America's Centers for Disease Control of over 7,000 people who tested positive for coronavirus, found that just 1.3 per cent of them were smokers - against the 14 per cent of all Americans that the CDC says smoke.
The study also claimed smokers stood no greater chance of ending up in hospital or an ICU.
The data up until this point has been full of holes - which could skew findings - because doctors are not always able to find out if someone severely sick is a smoker, either because they are too busy or the patient is so unwell they cannot speak.
Low smoking rates may be explained by differences in smoking rates between age groups, with middle-aged people more likely to have the habit, but elderly people more likely to be hospitalised with COVID-19.
They found the rate of current smokers among the coronavirus patients was significantly less than in the matched participants - 9.8 per cent compared to 18.5 per cent of people who tested negative, and 19.4 per cent in the general CHS cohort
University of College London reviewed 28 studies and found smoking rates were lower than expected among COVID-19 patients. The graph shows the smoking rate of each country against the percentage of smokers among COVID-19 patients. The lowest figure has been chosen for each country to show the stark comparison discovered by some studies
Swathes of studies have shown a low prevalence of smokers in hospitals with COVID-19.MORE:
When smokers do get diagnosed with the virus, however, they appear to be more likely to get so sick that they need ventilation, two studies in the review showed.
If the findings are proven, scientists say it's likely that it is not cigarettes - filled with thousands of harmful chemicals - that would offer a potential protection, but the nicotine that is beneficial.
A theory flouted by scientists is that nicotine reduces ACE-2 receptors, which are proteins in the body the virus binds to in order to infect cells.
The coronavirus enters cells inside the body via the structures, which coat the surface of some cells, including in the airways and lungs.
If nicotine does lowers ACE-2 expression, it makes it harder for viral particles to gain entry into cells and therefore cause an infection.
On the other hand, other studies show that nicotine enhances the action of the ACE-2 receptor, which in theory, puts smokers at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Other scientists say low levels of ACE-2 expression as a result of nicotine may prevent worse damage from viral infection, and there is no evidence that says higher quantities of ACE-2 receptors increases the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the first place.
Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos, from the University of West Attica, Greece, who queried whether nicotine could be a cure for COVID-19 in a paper published on May 9, said: 'Up-regulation of ACE2, though seemingly paradoxical, may in fact protect patients from severe disease and lung injury.'
A 2008 study in mice found that getting rid of ACE-2 made the animals more likely to suffer severe breathing difficulties when infected with the SARS virus, which is almost identical to COVID-19.
Other scientists have turned their head towards nicotine's ability to prevent inflammation, where evidence is more robust.
Nicotine has been shown inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF, IL-1 and IL-6, which are involved in promoting an inflammatory response.
A 'cytokine storm' is a phenomenon in which an abundance of cytokines are released in response to infection.
Doctors have previously said that it's often the body's response to the virus, rather than the virus itself, that plays a major role in how sick a person gets.
A cytokine storm can lead to respiratory failure and the attack of healthy tissues, causing multi-organ failure.
Therefore, the cytokine storm is being looked at as a target for COVID-19 treatment.
'Nicotine has effects on the immune system that could be beneficial in reducing the intensity of the cytokine storm,' Dr Farsalinos wrote in Internal and Emergency Medicine.
'The potential benefits of nicotine.... could explain, at least in part, the increased severity or adverse outcome among smokers hospitalized for COVID-19 since these patients inevitably experience abrupt cessation of nicotine intake during hospitalization.
'This may be feasible through repurposing already approved pharmaceutical nicotine products such as nicotine patches.'
Dr Nicola Gaibazzi, who recently published findings on MedRxiv of 'very low' numbers of smokers in Italian COVID-19 patients, speculates smoke exposure may bolster the immune system.
He said exposure to cigarette smoke reduces the body's immune system over time, measured by lower inflammatory markers.
Therefore, when smokers are infected with a virus like SARS-CoV-2, their immune system is more 'tolerant' and does not overreact.
On the other hand, non-smokers may be more prone to having the sudden and deadly cytokine storm when they are infected with the virus.
Scientists have stressed that the evidence supporting nicotine as a medicine does not mean everyone should take up smoking.
You might not think cigarette butts could be that bad for plants. Cigarette butts are the world’s most commonly littered item. Around the world, cigarette butts are tossed. After all, what is a cigarette, really? It’s tobacco, which is a plant. It’s paper, which biodegrades. So what could be so harmful? Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University, in the UK, sought to find out what effects discarded cigarette butts have on plant life. Cigarette butts are tossed even by people who would never normally litter. It’s assumed street cleaners will get them, or that, at worst, they’re just harmless pieces of
\* Fitness leads to longer life, researchers found, with no limit to the benefit of aerobic exercise
\* Comparing those with a sedentary lifestyle to the top exercise performers, the risk of premature death was 500% higher.