Much has changed since the start of the pandemic. But the nation’s public health system remains fractured. - The Washington Post

with little more than 60 percent of the U.S. population fully immunized with two mRNA shots or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson product, the vaccines are providing huge benefits to individuals while failing to fulfill their public health potential of protecting the entire population.

For anybody who trusts science, this is “vastly different than March 2020,” said Francis S. Collins, who in December stepped down as director of the National Institutes of Health, the nation’s medical research agency. But those who don’t trust science and haven’t been vaccinated are in a vulnerable place, he said, endangering everyone around them.

“People should ask themselves which group they want to be in,” Collins said.


Twitter permanently suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene’s personal account over COVID-19 misinformation

In a statement to The Verge, Twitter spokesperson Katie Rosborough explains that the platform “permanently suspended” Greene’s account “for repeated violations” of the platform’s COVID-19 policies.

I don’t have a solution to the avalanche of misinformation, but this seems like a small win. 😑

CDC draws criticism for shorter COVID quarantine, isolation as omicron bears down | Ars Technica

But, while other public health experts generally agreed with Ting’s point, they were frustrated that the CDC’s new guidance did not also require negative test results. Dr. Michael Mina, a Harvard epidemiologist and long-time advocate of rapid testing, called the new guidance “reckless.”

He noted that while some people may be infectious for only three days, some may be infectious for longer periods, even up to 12 days. “I absolutely don’t want to sit next to someone who turned [positive] five days ago and hasn’t tested [negative],” Mina wrote on Twitter. Requiring a negative test result to leave isolation early is “just smart,” he concluded.

I wonder why the CDC did not also require a negative test?

Gounder and others pointed out that the CDC may not have included testing requirements in their update because the country is currently seeing shortages of rapid tests and long lines at testing centers. “CDC’s isolation policy is being driven by a scarcity of rapid antigen tests,” she concluded. But, Mina pushed back on this excuse, calling it an “artificial” problem stemming from a failure to fortify testing capacity earlier in the pandemic.

Oh, that’s right. Because testing in America is an absolute disaster at every level.

Judge Overturns Purdue Pharma’s Opioid Settlement - The New York Times

The ruling said the company’s owners, members of the Sackler family, could not receive protection from civil lawsuits in return for a $4.5 billion contribution.

The Sacklers did not file for personal bankruptcy protection, but they had made the condition an absolute requirement in exchange for contributing $4.5 billion to the settlement agreement.

🤔 I absolutely agree with this ruling.

No jab, no job: Google will fire unvaccinated employees | Ars Technica

Google’s memo came three weeks after a federal court declined to lift a stay on President Joe Biden’s executive order that directed large companies to require vaccination for their employees. The Supreme Court is expected to take up the matter, but Google’s recent memo suggests that the company will proceed with its requirement regardless of the outcome of any future rulings.

“As we’ve stated before, our vaccination requirements are one of the most important ways we can keep our workforce safe and keep our services running,” a Google spokesperson told Ars. “We’re committed to doing everything possible to help our employees who can get vaccinated do so, and firmly stand behind our vaccination policy.”

More like this please.

GitHub - nektos/act: Run your GitHub Actions locally 🚀

Running GitHub Actions locally ?!? Awesome. I can not tell you hake often I’ve wanted this. The biggest lift to creating runnable actions is the super long feedback cycle just to find out that your yaml is not formatted correctly. 🤦‍♂️

California wants to copy Texas abortion tactics for gun control - Vox

The proposed California legislation, however, would be the first measure to use a SB 8-style enforcement mechanism for a different goal. Newsom’s proposal would empower private citizens to sue the manufacturers of assault rifles and so-called ghost guns — firearms made from kits, which are difficult to track because they don’t have serial numbers like those that come from licensed companies and are sold by licensed dealers. Ghost gun kits are sold online, are easy to assemble, require no background check to buy, and are impossible for authorities to trace, as the New York Times’s Annie Karni explained in April.

I mean, turnabout is fair play, no? 🤷‍♂️

Stripped of power, Missouri health depts abandon COVID health measures | Ars Technica

One local agency, the Laclede County Health Department, northeast of Springfield, announced that it has ceased all COVID-19-related work, including case investigations, contact tracing, quarantine orders, and public announcements of current cases and deaths.

“While this is a huge concern for our agency, we have no other options but to follow the orders of the Missouri Attorney General at this time,” the department wrote in a Facebook post on December 9.


Schools Confront a Wave of Student Misbehavior, Driven by Months of Remote Learning - WSJ

Schools have seen an increase in both minor incidents, like students talking in class, and more serious issues, such as fights and gun possession. In Dallas, disruptive classroom incidents have tripled this year compared with pre-pandemic levels, school officials said. The Albuquerque, N.M., superintendent sent a letter to parents warning of a “rise in violence and unacceptable behaviors posted to social media” that have disrupted classes. The National Association of School Resource Officers said it has seen a rise in gun-related incidents in schools.

Some schools are responding to the disciplinary problems by dispatching more staffers to patrol school grounds or by hiring more counselors. Others are reducing student suspensions, or in Dallas, eliminating them altogether in favor of counseling. Some districts have enacted what they call mental-health days, closing schools around holidays to give students and administrators a break. Peoria, Ill., is planning a special school that would be dedicated to students with issues caused by the pandemic.

I don’t think any of us really understand just how these last few years will resonate with kids as they grow up, and for a lot, the rest of their lives. 🥺

Epic v. Apple ruling put on hold after appeals court grants a stay - The Verge

An appeals court has paused one of the most consequential parts of the Epic v. Apple ruling, placing a stay on the enforcement of the injunction issued by the lower court. As a result of the stay, Apple can maintain its IAP system as the sole source of in-app payments on iOS, despite the district court’s earlier ruling that the exclusive arrangement is illegal.

The stay, issued Wednesday afternoon, does not reverse the earlier ruling but puts enforcement on hold until the appeals court can fully hear the case, a process that will likely take months.

Months? 🤨 Likely years if ever. This is the type of thing that just gets buried in litigation for eternity.

Sony drops first look teaser trailer for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One) | Ars Technica

The teaser trailer is light on plot specifics, but has some amazing visuals. We open with Miles (Shameik Moore) chillaxing at home—actually, he’s grounded—after successfully saving the multiverse and becoming his world’s Spider-Man. Then Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) unexpectedly opens a portal to pop by, having figured out how to communicate with Miles across dimensions at the end of the first film. I mean, she could have called first so he could clean up his room a bit. But Gwen only teases him a little when she sees Miles' drawing of her. (“I missed you too.")

Absolutely love this series.

WTA Suspends Tournaments in China Over Treatment of Peng Shuai - The New York Times

The suspension comes just two months before the start of an Olympics that makes Beijing the first city to host both the summer and winter Games. The I.O.C. has not indicated that the Peng controversy would affect the Games, with Richard W. Pound, a Canadian lawyer and the organization’s longest-serving member, saying that the committee prefers “quiet and discreet diplomacy.”

No other sports organization has followed the WTA’s lead.

Everyone should follow their lead.

Big Tech firms should pay ISPs to upgrade networks, telcos in Europe claim | Ars Technica

“Big Tech has been enjoying a free ride on our Internet infrastructure while skipping out on the billions of dollars in costs needed to maintain and build that network,” Carr wrote. Carr made his claim that Big Tech gets a “free ride” without mentioning any of the large network projects that Big Tech companies have undertaken themselves, such as Google building data centers and direct connections to ISP networks around the world. Carr urged Congress to “enact legislation that ensures Big Tech contributes an equitable amount” toward federal broadband-deployment grants that will pay ISPs to expand networks in unserved and underserved areas. Carr also urged the FCC to raise money for the Universal Service Fund by “shifting a fair amount over to Big Tech.”

Absolute garbage.

Helping developers build powerful, installable web apps - Chrome Developers

Earlier this year, we launched Richer Install, an extended install UI on Chrome on Android that allows developers to add screenshots to their manifest. Developers can also add a description, which is recommended but not necessary. Due to this newer UI, we saw an install rate for some PWAs double, showing that users have greater confidence in installing web apps when we give more context and richer experiences.. The desktop version of this UI is currently a work in progress.

It would be really great to see something akin to Richer Install for iOS. But unless regulated to do so. I have no hope that Apple would ever give the web the standards it deserves.

Google employees sign manifesto against widened Covid vaccine mandate

The manifesto within Google, which has been signed by at least 600 Google employees, asks company leaders to retract the vaccine mandate and create a new one that is “inclusive of all Googlers,” arguing leadership’s decision will have outsize influence in corporate America. It also calls on employees to “oppose the mandate as a matter of principle” and tells employees to not let the policy alter their decision if they’ve already chosen not to get the Covid vaccine.

Their “personal choice” is easy. Start looking for new work. 👋

Child COVID cases are on the rise, jumping 32% in latest surge | Ars Technica

Children accounted for just over 25 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the week ending on November 18. However, children make up only about 22 percent of the US population. As more adults have gotten vaccinated, children have made up larger shares of infections.Throughout the whole pandemic, children have made up nearly 17 percent of all cases. Almost 6.8 million children are known to have been infected since the pandemic began.

If you’re physically able, it is your responsibility to get vaccinated. Period.

Samsung to Choose Taylor, Texas, for $17 Billion Chip-Making Factory - WSJ

The Taylor factory is expected to serve as an advanced chip-making facility for Samsung’s contract-manufacturing operations that make semiconductors designed by other firms. Such high-end manufacturing is attracting the bulk of semiconductor industry investment. The types of chips with the longest backlogs tend to be lower-priced and haven’t been the focus for massive expansion.

I don’t foresee any real relief to the massive chip shortage we are currently facing. As the article notes, the chips with the longest backlog are not the focus of expansion. And rightly so, building a new factory to produce legacy chips is not a sound investment. The need for legacy chips for everything from automobiles to general consumer products will likely have to simply level out over time as demand and supply comes back into alignment. What do they call it? “Market Correction” 🤷‍♂️

Improving public infrastructure helps people keep doctor appointments - Vox

They found a meaningful reduction in the number of no-show appointments among patients who lived near the Green Line, with the no-show rate dropping by 4.5 percent compared to the baseline. The effect was particularly profound for Medicaid patients, who saw their no-show rate decline by 9.5 percent compared to the baseline.

Improving public infrastructure helps with ALL aspects of life for the general public. The examples continue to pour in.

Why Netflix never goes down - The Verge

“The reason that Netflix had to build a CDN is because America’s ISPs are garbage,” Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Katharine Trendacosta tells The Verge. “And what they knew was that their customers don’t want an endlessly buffering screen or degraded quality.”

Pretty much sums it up right there.

The secret of the macOS Monterey network quality tool | DanPetrov

➜ networkQuality -s
==== SUMMARY ====                                                                                         
Upload capacity: 174.183 Mbps
Download capacity: 143.084 Mbps
Upload flows: 20
Download flows: 20
Upload Responsiveness: Medium (940 RPM)
Download Responsiveness: High (2981 RPM)

Nice to get a quick speed check from the command line. networkQuality -s

Apple is reportedly relying on states to pay for digital ID rollouts - The Verge

Despite being an Apple-led program, taxpayers are footing the bill to roll out this single-platform digital ID program in their states — even if they don’t have an iPhone. The contract clearly says “except as otherwise agreed upon between the Parties, neither Party shall owe the other Party any fees under this Agreement,” meaning that the participating states will be funding its promotion and adoption using taxpayer’s tender.

Seriously. An Apple only feature and we’re expected to basically run, promote, and pay for a program with no accountability from Apple? 🤨

Facebook is spending billions to buy up the metaverse - Vox

In the past couple years, Facebook’s appetite for deals has run the gamut from Giphy, which lets you place funny GIFs in your social media posts, to Kustomer, a business software company for Facebook’s corporate clients. Most of them, though, have been concentrated in one area: gaming and virtual reality. Which makes sense, since Zuckerberg has formally announced that gaming and virtual reality, bundled up in the expansive and hard-to-define rubric of “the metaverse,” are the future of Facebook.

Have we learned nothing?? 🙄

Apple should take a break from annual iOS and macOS updates - The Verge

Apple’s system of annual releases leaves it with the worst of both worlds: siloed updates that come too infrequently for minor features while still not having enough major features to be worth the hype. If Apple can’t make macOS and iOS updates more substantial, it might be time to leave the annual release cycle behind.

I would go even further. Annual releases are just not what they once were. We used to pay $129 for the newest OS to run with 100’s of new features. 10.4 “Tiger” was out up to 10.4.11, almost 3 full years, and was the OS version in the PowerPC to Intel transition. These OS’s made a lot of progress over the years, including drastic changes, and sweeping update.

But no more. I propose MacOS and iOS go to rolling releases. What’s that? Do you know what version of Chrome you’re on? Do you know the most recent version? I doubt you even care. Chrome, Firefox, and a lot of other software do small constant releases. That is was Apple should transition to. They straddle that line now. Lots of the new iOS “features” are released in a point update rather than first x.0.

On top of that untether the default apps from the OS. There is no reason why Safari, Mail, and others have to wait around for a full OS release to be updated. It makes absolutely zero sense today.

Drugstore deserts: Over 40 million Americans lack easy access to pharmacies because of market consolidation - The Washington Post

“The system might work well for health plans and these middlemen, but it creates difficult access barriers for vulnerable patients,” Koziara said. “We’re concerned about the emerging issue of ‘pharmacy deserts’ where patients, particularly among communities of color, cannot readily access a community pharmacy for their medications.”

The healthcare system is broke, broke, broke.

Rodgers is wrong—NFL says league docs never talked to him about vaccine | Ars Technica

Amid touting unproven and experimental treatments, Rodgers cast aspersions and spread misinformation on highly effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines. He repeated the falsehood that the vaccines can affect fertility—there’s no evidence of that. Regardless, he also claimed he simply couldn’t take the vaccines even if he wanted to. He says he is allergic to ingredients in the mRNA vaccines, though he didn’t identify those ingredients. He also declined the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, citing concerns about blood clots—even though clots are extremely rare and mainly affect women.

I say suspend Rodgers for the season. Purposely misleading his team and league about is vaccination status puts others at rise. And deserves equally serious consequences.