COVID

Always Check Your Sources

EDITORIAL – ANALYSIS

Recently, The Not Fake News reached out to Prof. James Naismith concerning what we believed to be deliberate misrepresentations of his work in alternative media. You may recall the story, or wish to revisit it; the short version is, they reported him as being anti-mask when in reality he’s strongly in favor.

We’ve spent some little time tracking down the origin of the deliberate lie, and were intrigued at the source.

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Is It Safe To Travel 2: COVID and Air Filtration

OPINION — ANALYSIS

by John Simpson, Editor In Chief

It’s been a month since I posed the question: “Is it safe to fly to Florida?

It was a few days later that I did the math — very rough math, mind you; I’m no statistician, and The Not Fake News is a long long ways from The New England Journal of Medicine. (On the other hand, toss dice against me at your peril. Wargamers take note.) And, in the intervening weeks, the answer has changed a bit.

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Debunking Bad Science: Masks?

HEADLINE: Official Data Shows Face Masks “Made No Difference”, Says Oxford Professor

Yes, he actually said this, and yes he’s a real Oxford professor, and yes the data is real. The story still isn’t what you probably are starting to think it is.

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COVID: Two False Narratives

It’s not farfetched, if you stop to consider it. CNN’s viewers expect them to… how to put this diplomatically?… to err on the side of safety (and if at all possible, the Democratic Party). And Fox’s audience is used to them opposing CNN as much as is possible. So it’s not at all unreasonable to expect that both narratives are, as AOC famously put it, factually incorrect but morally right.

In this particular example, the narratives are driven by different ways to measure the danger of COVID. Fox uses the population mortality rate (PMR) because it’s low; CNN uses the case mortality rate (CMR) because it’s high enough to be alarming. And both numbers by themselves are completely meaningless. Here’s why.

Let’s say you’re trying to figure out the answer to a simple question: How safe is it for me to fly to Florida over Thanksgiving?

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Whose Fault Is The Debt Limit?

At 2 p.m. today, the NBER will release the monthly Treasury update of debt relative to credit. (Here’s a spoiler: It won’t be anything we didn’t see a month ago. We’re up to our ears in debt.) Meanwhile, Congress is rushing back into emergency session for a quick fix to stave off default as our spending continues to increasingly exceed our income. At a time when every politician is casting blame about the rapidly ballooning national debt and the continual political struggle surrounding raising the debt limit, it’s worth our while to examine the larger picture: Whose fault, really, is the precarious condition of our national finances?

It’s tempting for partisans to each blame the other party; it’s easily done, too, as government waste has become proverbial and inefficiency is automatically assumed without the bother of proving it. It’s equally simple for a certain class of people to throw up their hands and blame all politicians, as though they themselves would do better if they were in charge. But even a little brief reflection will show that, while these are satisfying accusations, they can’t possibly have much merit.

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Masks Don’t Help You Much.

Masks don’t help you much. They help other people, but not you.

The numbers on wearing a mask to protect yourself aren’t very good, unless it’s a fitted N95 surgical ventilator. Plain cotton or paper? Maybe 10%. What protects you is goggles (30%), and washing your hands (25%), and not touching your face (20%). Notice how people aren’t wearing goggles? Strange, isn’t it?

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