(Clinical) Trial of the Century

The World Health Organization steps up to the coronavirus plate with what appears to be history’s most ambitious screening experiment. On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a large global trial, called SOLIDARITY, to find out whether any can treat infections with the new coronavirus for the dangerous respiratory disease. It’s an unprecedented effort—an all-out, coordinated push to collect robust scientific data rapidly during a pandemic. The study, which could include many thousands of patients in dozens of countries, has been designed to be as simple as possible so that even hospitals overwhelmed by an onslaught of COVID-19 patients … Continue reading (Clinical) Trial of the Century

The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

Many of us university instructors are scrambling to adapt our formerly face-to-face courses into online courses. This, to allow “social distancing” in response to the Wuhan Flu pandemic. Rebecca Barrett-Fox urges us “Please do a bad job of putting your courses online.” I’m absolutely serious. For my colleagues who are now being instructed to put some or all of the remainder of their semester online, now is a time to do a poor job of it. You are NOT building an online class. You are NOT teaching students who can be expected to be ready to learn online. And, most … Continue reading The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

Tsoo Tsoon to be a Tsunami

Andrew Gillen at the Texas Public Policy Foundation says “Two Tsunamis are About to Hit Higher Education,” when :..the Department of Education released post graduate earnings and debt data broken down by college program — which will have a revolutionary impact on higher education.” A bit of poking around on the web gets you to the TPPF webpage College Earnings and Debt, which ranks hundreds of degree programs by median student debt and after-graduation income.  It’s a nice interactive database, where you can compare programs among multiple colleges, or for a single college. GIllen touts this information (he calls it the … Continue reading Tsoo Tsoon to be a Tsunami

Fresh-O-Matic!

Just read this delightful article about steamed hoagies, and recalled using a Fresh-O-Matic steamer.  Right out of high school, starting in University, I started a  weekend gig as a prep guy in a Mom and Pop hamburger stand in Big Bear, California.  The owners patiently showed me the ropes, and over two years built me up into a virtuoso burger flipping short-order cook. One of our go-to gadgets was the Fresh-O-Matic steamer, good for frozen buns, a quick order of hot dogs, and the occasional pastrami on white.  In retrospect, I’m baffled at the banality of 60s and 70s California … Continue reading Fresh-O-Matic!

Spicing Up the Kitchen

Ellen Bennett is the Marie Kondo of kitchen organization.  She has lots of clever ideas, my favorite one is this: I found a good quick-drying paint marker at my favorite art supply store yesterday, and started labeling.  It works! Update (30 July 2019):  Two caveats: (1) them little bottles ain’t cheap, so it’ll take a while to put together a nice set like those in the picture, and (2) if you’re labeling a glass container destined for the refrigerator, make the label long enough to completely wrap around and stick to itself, else condensation will eventually slide the label right … Continue reading Spicing Up the Kitchen

Caught in the Draft

In December of 1969, the Selective Service held a lottery to determine the order in which young men would be called up for the Draft.  My number was a low 53, and that set the course for much of my adult life.  Turns out, the odds were against me. A nice description of what happened. More details available on Wikipedia. More details that you ever wanted to know. Was the 1970 lottery truly random? Some clever statistician at the College of the Redwoods shows a simple analysis with R that suggests men born in December (like me) got shafted. Want … Continue reading Caught in the Draft

Paper or Plastic?

The Governor of Tennessee is fixin’ to stop the ban-plastic-shopping-bags nonsense in his state.  I’ve see this no-plastic crapola in several visits to Colorado, and it’s just a greenie smokescreen that allows grocery chains to charge an extra dime (per bag!) to squeeze the poor and sandbag out-of-towners.  No penguins, polar bears, or fuzzy bunnies are saved. I visited a local Sprouts yesterday, where they showed how reasonable folks steer their customers away from plastic.  They offer the alternative of sturdy brown paper bags with attached handles, which make them much more useful at home.  And, when they do go … Continue reading Paper or Plastic?