Collective vs Individual Decisions

05 May 2021: A topic that seems to be popping up more and more in the MainStream Media is that COVID is no longer just a threat to the elderly; it is now affecting young people:

Fortunately for young people there is almost no evidence in those articles (or elsewhere) that support the luridity of those headlines. A quote that pretty much says it all:“As of April 23, eight people under 19 had died of COVID-19 in Canada”. It’s just another example of the MainStream Media getting it wrong.

But then I asked myself “Why do I care that some nameless editors and reporters are getting something else wrong? Again. Why don’t I just consider the MainStream Media a National Enquirer wannabes and write about something more important?

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Covid-19 and Ontario’s ICUs

26 April 2021: The impact of Covid-19 on the province’s ICUs has been in the news in Ontario recently: COVID-19: Ontario reports 3,510 new cases as record 877 patients in hospital ICUs, Ontario requests help from Canadian Armed Forces as critical care COVID-19 cases surge, Third COVID-19 wave overwhelms Ontario ICUs. So I thought that I would took a look to see if they got anything wrong this time 😦 .

Spoiler: It’s probably worse than the MainStream Media is reporting! And that’s not clickbait!

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Is Ontario a Police State?

18 April 2021: The Doug Ford government in Ontario (attribution is important 😐 ) just did something really stupid.

Effective Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., police officers and other provincial offences officers will have the authority to require any individual to provide their home address and purpose for not being at their residence. In addition, police officers, special constables and First Nation Constables will have the authority to stop vehicles to inquire about an individual’s reasons for leaving their home. (link).

If your reasons aren’t deemed good enough you will have just committed the crime of not being at home and there could be legal consequences. In any other part of the world this would be prima facie evidence that you were in a police state . . . .

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Vaccine Side Effects

12 April 2021: I was talking to my sister the other day about Covid-19 vaccine side effects. Both of us had heard that the AstraZeneca vaccine was bad. She had heard that the Pfizer vaccine was the most effective (Aside: My first reaction was that maybe Pfizer just has a better marketing department 🙂 ). The actual information transferred was pretty much zero; if the topic had been the Kardashians we would have been gossiping.

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The Trolley Problem

04 April 2021: I read recently about one of the side-effects of the Covid-19 AstraZeneca vaccine; there is a very small chance that it may cause fatal blood clots. Like most real-world issues, there seem to be more unknowns than knowns (e.g. does it actually cause blood clots? what is the fatality rate? is it dependent on demographics? etc.) but it is reasonably certain that the benefit of being vaccinated with AstraZeneca far outweighs the risk of it causing a fatal blood clot (link). Yet on March 29 2021, the Government of Canada recommended “that AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine should not be used in adults under 55 years of age at this time” (link).

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Time Series . . .

30 March 2021: . . . have always interested me. In fact, my Master’s Thesis, “Median Filtering of the Complex Cepstra” summarized my investigation into one way to remove echoes from time series (sadly, it’s out of print 😦 ). They probably interest you as well because many of the burning issues of the day (e.g. climate change, the pandemic, the price of gas, etc.) all have a time series that summarizes the issue. For example, here is an iconic time series for the progress of the pandemic in Canada.

Continue reading Time Series . . .

Best Before Dates

15 March 2021: A couple of years ago my sister and I went through my mother’s kitchen cupboards looking to throw stuff out; she had lots of stuff that was well past their Best Before Dates, sometimes by years! I remember wondering exactly what that Date meant; I was reasonably certain that the food was still safe to eat, but that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge. In any case I was interrupted and life moved on. But a couple of days ago I noticed that my box of Windsor Salt was stamped with the code WN20121015. That looks like a Best Before Date of 15 October 2012! WTF!? I just bought that box last year!

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The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

05 March 2021: A country’s Constitution is by definition the “supreme law of the land“. In Canada it’s called the Canada Act, 1982 and subsection 52(1) explicitly states that it “is the supreme law of Canada“! Part I is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and contains phrases like “…guarantees the rights and freedoms … “, and “Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms … “.

It certainly has the trappings of a Constitution. But is it the real deal? In particular, is its Charter a strong protector of our rights and freedoms? Or is it an animal that doesn’t quack or waddle, but the government insists that we all call it a duck?

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Average :-(

01 March 2021: In a previous post I wrote about Covid-19 in Ottawa and asked why the provincial government was handling the crisis so poorly. In a digression in that post I wrote that I suspected it was “… a combination of blind spots, ideology, inexperience, and lousy advisors. But that’s a subject for a rant in an upcoming blog post.” And here it is.

Continue reading Average 😦