“the same team found that 33% fewer babies with Down Syndrome per year were born in the United States as a result of pregnancy terminations”

Massachusetts General Hospital:

The researchers spent three years collecting data from multiple registries and databases in every country in Europe to estimate the number of babies being born with DS and the overall number of people with DS in the population. “People with DS were being counted sporadically, inconsistently, or not at all, depending on the country,” says Brian G. Skotko, MD, MPP, a medical geneticist at MGH and senior author. “But without an accurate estimate, it’s impossible for policymakers and advocacy organizations to determine how many resources and support services are needed for its Down syndrome population.” The researchers applied statistical modeling to create estimates in countries where there were gaps in data. “These data are as close to accurate as possible,” says Skotko. The data are laid out in both the study and an associated fact sheet.

Equally important, however, was for the study to establish a baseline of DS birth rates and pregnancy termination rates ahead of widespread adoption of new noninvasive prenatal screenings (NIPS). The new screening tests can detect the likelihood of a chromosomal condition in a fetus as early as nine weeks of gestation, after which an expectant couple can elect to pursue definitive genetic testing. As NIPS becomes widely available, fewer babies with DS are expected to be born.

The Great American Rail-Trail is the most ambitious biking initiative the country has ever seen

Stephen Starr:

The Great American Rail-Trail is the most ambitious biking initiative the country has ever seen. Stretching an extraordinary 3,700 miles from the nation’s capital across 12 states to the Pacific Ocean, west of Seattle, it’s an idea that’s been ruminating for 50 years. The Rail-Trail will connect more than 125 existing multi-use paths, greenways, trails and towpaths. An official route was announced to the public in May 2019 by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), the Washington DC-based non-profit leading the effort, when the trail was already more than half completed.

A vision for Dane County?

Flying and photographing above a fanless Camp Randall recently [1], I pondered a conversation with friends on a vision for Dane County (the area surrounding and including Madison).

Perhaps the choice is between caretakers, that is, largely more of the same, or a go big vision. What might a go big vision include?

I have a few thoughts:

1. 20mbps per second (bi-directional) wireless internet available to every Dane County resident by 2023, for no more than $15.00 per month.

2. Reverse Mentoring. All elected officials and public managers meet with diverse mentors monthly. The reverse mentors include;

a. High school and college students

b. Small business entrepreneurs, who discuss the reporting, licensing, tax and benefit obligations they navigate

c. Homeowners

3. Improved quality of life

a. 80% of Dane County students exhibit reading skills among the top 10% world wide by 2025. 90% by 2027.

b. Hospitals and clinics should publish medical fees monthly, starting in 2021, along with annualized outcome data.

c. Meaningful crime reductions.

4. Reduced cost of living

a. Benchmark healthcare, tax and education staffing, costs and outcomes in Austin, Minneapolis, Nashville, Denver, Birmingham, Shanghai, Charlotte, Berlin, Cape Town, Taipei and Osaka.

b. Compare housing costs and regulation in those same communities.

c. Compare job opportunities, requirements and compensation among those cities.

5. Accountable interactions

a. Every public sector document and digital publication shall include a link or QR code to the publishing agency’s most recent 10 year budget and staffing data.

b. The county shall publish an annual guide to staffing costs, including number of employees, pay range (with median and averages) along with benefit descriptions and costs.

c. Parcel data shall include links to public sector budgets for the past 10 years along with staffing and benchmark data.

d. A group of citizens, professors and business people shall review Taiwan’s digital democracy tools and determine which experiences might be implemented here, in 2022.

e. Voter data shall be freely available online, updated daily.

Why don’t we enjoy some or all of these things, today? The answers may be illuminating.

1. Fanless football.

Posted in Uncategorized.


The Fraying of the US Global Currency Reserve System

Why the US Dollar Could Outlast the American Empire

Why software ends up complex

Undocumented immigrants far less likely to commit crimes in U.S. than citizens

Apple TV Was Making a Show About Gawker. Then Tim Cook Found Out.

Chrome is Bad

Americans’ Mental Health Ratings Sink to New Low

Challenging the ‘Great Reset’ theory of pandemics

I assume I’m below average

Someone I know has had some quite useful COVID-related posts removed from Medium, LinkedIn, and Nextdoor—they’ve been deemed “COVID misinformation”. (It’s not what the WHO endorses!)

Where Did the New Mad Left Come From?

Can you hear me now? No.

Our history is a battle against the microbes: we lost terribly before science, public health, and vaccines allowed us to protect ourselves

ESRI can’t be stopped.

The New Yorker publishes editor’s note invalidating award-winning feature on Japan

“It will take months for us to get through all of our health care workers.” 

Wisconsin will receive 49,725 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of this week, officials said. 

1,010 WI healthcare workers had gotten their first shots Wednesday.

As some are reporting, it was an overnight success story 15 years in the making.

Rather, only people with covid-19 symptoms should get tested.”

“The phrase “following the science” would perhaps be better expressed as “following the scientists”. Or, maybe “following some scientists — particularly the ones whose views align with my own”.

The mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are kind of brilliant at a science level. I’ve had a few people in my real non-Twitter life ask me to explain how it works so I’m going to try my best here in this thread while I’m waiting for a patient to show.s=12

A new way to travel across the US.

Your Credit Score Should Be Based on Your Web History, IMF Says

Information Management in Times of Crisis

Nicole Krauss’s Beautiful Letter to Van Gogh on Fear, Bravery, and How to Break the Loop of Our Destructive Patterns


New CRISPR-based COVID-19 test uses smartphone cameras to spot virus RNA

Per its FEC report yesterday, Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the election have cost his campaign about $8.8 million so far, including about $2.3 million on lawyers.

But they’ve helped him raise $207 million.

The Peak Oil Era Is Suddenly Upon Us

The economics of Christmas trees

You’re Only As Good As Your Worst Day (“Anyone can steer the ship when the sea is calm. ”—Publilius Syrus)

A cargo ship lost 1,816 containers during a November 30, 2020 Pacific storm.

The world’s first DNA ‘tricorder’ in your pocket

IKEA kills print catalog.

About 150 U.S. Cadillac Dealers to Exit Brand, Rather Than Sell Electric Cars

But what we have before us is a symbolic gesture, it appears to be style over substance, without any hint of enforcement, and I simply don’t believe it will do much good.

Jupiter and Saturn Will Soon Align in a Rare Astronomical Marvel, and You Can Start Watching Now

Your Old Radiator Is a Pandemic-Fighting Weapon

My Son Was Killed Because I’m a Federal Judge

Bathroom Reading: Too many still aren’t sitting comfortably

The Games People Play With Cash Flow

Toyota’s game-changing solid-state battery en route for 2021 debut

Declining business dynamism among our best opportunities: the role of the burden of knowledge

Thomas Astebro, Serguey Braguinsky and Yuheng Ding:

We document that since 1997, the rate of startup formation has precipitously declined for firms operated by U.S. PhD recipients in science and engineering. These are supposedly the source of some of our best new technological and business opportunities. We link this to an increasing burden of knowledge by documenting a long-term earnings decline by founders, especially less experienced founders, greater work complexity in R&D, and more administrative work. The results suggest that established firms are better positioned to cope with the increasingburden of knowledge, in particular through the design of knowledge hierarchies, explaining why new firm entry has declined for high-tech, high-opportunity startups.

Posted in Uncategorized.

12.6 Links

Cracks in the Great stagnation.

Amity Shlaes’ ‘Great Society:’ How Poverty Won America’s War on Poverty

My Phone Was Spying on Me, so I Tracked Down the Surveillants

Covid-19 as a Ramsey tax problem

23.6% of All US Dollars Were Created in the Last Year

CBP’s warrantless use of cell phone location data is under investigation

Pakistan being subjected to 5th-generation warfare in ‘massive way’ but we are aware of threats: DG ISPR

The humble, plastic Soviet-era cameras that summited Mount Everest.

Section 230 is good, actually

I saw this article when using the Financial Times app and thought you might be interested:

Ahdaf Soueif: ‘I have a lot of friends in prison’

Peter Thiel Says Covid Marks 21st Century’s True Start. SPAC Boom, Surging EV Stocks Are A Sign

Why Is Apple’s M1 Chip So Fast?

Report Points to Microwave ‘Attack’ as Likely Source of Mystery Illnesses That Hit Diplomats and Spies

Don’t Delay a Vaccine to Allay Fear

This Week

Things that caught my attention, this week.

How Trump’s vaccine effort produced results at ‘warp speed’
Hannah Kuchler in New York and Kiran Stacey:

Sitting in the shadow of the brutalist health department building in Washington, with only a leather jacket for protection against an autumnal breeze, Moncef Slaoui cuts a defiant figure.

Six months after the former GlaxoSmithKline executive left the private sector to become President Donald Trump’s coronavirus vaccine tsar, Mr Slaoui feels his decision has been vindicated, and critics of the ability of Operation Warp Speed to develop a vaccine in record time having been proved wrong.

“The easy answer for experts was to say it was impossible and find reasons why the operation would never work,” he told the Financial Times.

But the vaccine push is now hailed as the bright spot in the Trump administration’s Covid-19 response, as products from Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca and Oxford university move closer to approval.

Operation Warp Speed is a more than $10bn investment programme with a remit to fund vaccines, therapeutics — such as two recently approved antibody treatments — and diagnostics.

The entire planet is going to benefit from it. We’re going to?.?.?.?hopefully have a vaccine available in France and Spain and Italy, all paid for by the US government
Stéphane Bancel, Moderna chief executive
So far it has spent the vast majority of its money on Covid-19 vaccines.

As well as funding some vaccine developers directly, it has also signed pre-orders for the products others are working on, guaranteeing them an income from an approved vaccine when the normal commercial decision might be to not take the risk.

Mr Slaoui’s team also helped manufacturers secure supplies and sped up responses to usually laborious regulatory queries.

Scientists had warned that, with much still to learn about Covid-19, a vaccine might take longer to develop, manufacture and distribute than Mr Slaoui — and his boss, the president — might have hoped.

The central achievement of Operation Warp Speed had been accelerating investment in manufacturing, said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Columbia University School of Public Health.

How Big Government Stacked the Deck Against Small Business.

Gap misses profit estimates on higher costs from online shift

McDonald’s Chris Kempczinski: ‘Our menu is very Darwinian’.

Supporting Julian Assange, fighting for a free press
Alan Rusbridger:

Journalists are supposed to believe in transparency – and I think most colleagues around the world welcomed the example we collectively set 10 years ago, pioneering the ability of multiple news organisations to work collaboratively on huge data sets. Journalists are bred to compete: in the 21st century we are learning to share.

But the past 10 years have also had a darker side. It was perhaps inevitable that a backlash would follow – and it has, with several countries moving to propose tougher laws that would all but make national security reporting, in particular, almost impossible.

Good leadership, after all, is defined by its absence.

Open Street Map is having a moment

Why the data wobbles.

Facebook’s Latest Error Shakes Advertisers’ Confidence.

The Elan Vital of Jean Mayer: (1935-2020)
Bill Whaley:

I had skied Taos on a day during spring break the previous March, 1965, when Jean set the marathon record, 60 runs, top to bottom, while riding up the four-minute Poma Lift on Al’s. He flew down Al’s or cut into Rhoda’s and Upper Inferno, down Showdown, curving over Snakedance like a mythical half-bird half-man. “Who is that man,” I wondered. Years later Paco came close to the record at 58 runs.

In January of 1967, at the St. Bernard Jean asked me, “Do you have fun the way you ski?” Humbled, I hastened to attend ski school, a privilege accorded ski bums. During the three years I worked at the St. Bernard, I took countless classes with Dadou or Jean among the top guests and the occasional drop-in instructor or ski patrolman from other ski areas.

When we arrived at a slope with uncut powder, Jean would say in an exaggerated Gallic accent, “I want you to get an idea, an image of how I ski, so that you can feel what I do, how I seduce the mountain.” Then he would turn to me. “Bill, on me. Allez, à l’attaque.”

“a new, “science-based” Covid-19 measure is prescribed, but the science in support of it is either vague or missing altogether“.

Mike McCarthy’s worst decision-making day buries the Cowboys in last place.

Amazon versus Alex Berenson (& me)

Politics and Policy with Maggie Haberman

China’s Surveillance State Sucks Up Data. U.S. Tech Is Key to Sorting It.

Supporting Julian Assange, fighting for a free press

Alan Rusbridger:

Journalists are supposed to believe in transparency – and I think most colleagues around the world welcomed the example we collectively set 10 years ago, pioneering the ability of multiple news organisations to work collaboratively on huge data sets. Journalists are bred to compete: in the 21st century we are learning to share.

But the past 10 years have also had a darker side. It was perhaps inevitable that a backlash would follow – and it has, with several countries moving to propose tougher laws that would all but make national security reporting, in particular, almost impossible.