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Odd Lots


  1. Alex Dillard says:

    I mean, conventional gasoline cars will also catch on fire after hitting buildings:

    There were admittedly some extenuating circumstances in the case linked above…. and the usual laws of physics don’t apply in Florida….

    1. Keith says:

      There are (at least) two things that lead to sensationalization of / overreaction to fires in electric vehicles.

      One is that when the battery in an EV catches fire, it is very difficult to put out because the battery contains both the fuel and oxidizer that feed the fire, so just smothering it with foam does not stop the fire. Many (most?) police and fire personnel do not yet understand this, and so have developed fear of what they do not understand, or perhaps not fear but superstition.

      I don’t know what led the authorities in Scottsdale to shut down the town because of that EV fire, but I would not be a bit surprised if it were this fear of the unknown, or superstition about it.

      The other thing that mostly leads to sensationalizing EV fires is that, because the authorities often don’t know how to handle an EV fire, they mishandle one, leading to reignition of the fire after they think it has been put out, or they overreact to one, and that apparently odd occurrence allows newspapers, TV, and others to attract readers/viewers by creating a lurid story from the incident (even if they understand why it happened, they still capitalize on it to attract an audience).

      There might be a third factor coming from the traditional auto industry (or maybe just local dealers of traditional cars) capitalizing on the above to try to undermine public feelings about EVs, but that’s a little too much of a conspiracy theory for me to take very seriously. There are ways that the traditional auto industry is fighting against the popularity of EVs, but I doubt this is one of them.

      If police and fire personnel were trained to understand the characteristics of fires in EV batteries and knew the proper tools and techniques to deal with them, that would go a long way to stopping the crazy stories that arise about them. I don’t know who is responsible for such training, but it seems like it isn’t happening.

  2. Rick H says:

    Re Chat/AI – I’ve been playing with ChatGPT for scene ideas and research in my current work in progress. Interesting results, but I don’t use them verbatim. I use them as ‘idea generators’.

    I’ve also used it to research things. It gives me a summary of what I would have found via the googles/bings/ducks, but in less time. I could get the same research info via searching, but would have to wade through several results at the cost of extra time involved.

    So, perhaps useful for research and idea generation. But I don’t copy/paste into the story.

    If I was a ‘blog generator’ trying to monetize blog and provide affiliate links, maybe I’d use AI to generate the blog text. But don’t think that is a responsible use of my time. There are others that don’t take that viewpoint.

  3. Eric Brombaugh says:

    Interesting Nature article on cholesterol, particularly for me as I have a family history of heart disease and have been on statins for decades (over 300mg/dl without them). Big takeaways for me were:
    1) The cohort they studied appears to be Korean and Japanese-American. I wonder if ethnicity / locality has any effect?
    2) They’re looking at all-cause mortality and do note that lower cholesterol is better when there is specific risk for heart disease.

    So this suggests that trying to drive TC down below 200mg/dl for individuals in this cohort without known risks of heart disease may be hurting them. Probably worth more study across a broader base in other countries.

    1. Keith says:

      Yes, a small percentage of the population, such as you, do have unfortunate genetics that produce way too much cholesterol and benefit from statins. However, once the sugar and high carb processed food producers bought off the Harvard researchers and got them to blame heart disease on dietary fat instead of on sugar and high carbs, an unholy alliance of pharma, USDA, and a lot of the medical establishment built up a crusade against dietary fat and cholesterol that, although it has been shown to be baseless numerous times over the decades, still holds sway over a lot of the medical and nutritional advice offered to the public.

      The situation is slowly improving, but I believe it will take many more decades before that crusade is finally stamped out.

      1. TRX says:

        Gary Taubes’ “Good Calories, Bad Calories” extensively documents that the skew was applied decades before the “food pyramid” study.

  4. James R. Strickland says:

    In regards to the article in Cell about vaccines, the article says over and over again that such vaccines appear to reduce severe cases of influenza (and covid). They’re not perfect, and they don’t elicit a strong immune response in the upper respiratory or pulmonary mucosa (which surprised me), and they don’t last particularly well. All true.

    On balance, I think we come back to Faucci’s greatest sin is still not being honest with the public about the unknowns and the best-effort science that was going on,
    IMHO. For that, yes, he needs to go. As with the NTSB, a government science organization that can’t be trusted to tell the truth, even if it’s less than helpful, is less than useless.

    The conservative news site the Cell article was sited on is at best spinning this information badly. IMHO this kind of spinning makes a *news* organization worse than useless also. And sadly, most of them are.

    1. James R. Strickland says:

      Most news organizations in general are worse than useless, I meant to say, not just conservative ones.

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