Monthly Archives: February 2024

I Know Who Won’t Be A Vice Presidential Candidate

Although in past years handicapping the Veepstakes has been one of my favorite pastimes, I find that this year I don’t much care who Trump’s running mate might turn out to be. I suppose it’s because they vary from quite bad to horrible, or because I think that, barring one of the candidates having a medical crisis, the election will be decided either in court or via Trump’s self-destruction as he says increasingly bizarre things and people start to focus on them.

But that doesn’t stop other people, and Trump added fuel to the flames today by naming six people he thought might be potential running mates. The list included Sen. Tim Scott, who seems like the obvious choice to me, as it offers the tantalizing prospect of peeling off just enough Black votes to move a few swing states.

More bizarrely the list also included Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. That’s bizarre not only because Trump spent so much time belittling him, but because they’re both residents of the State of Florida, and the US Constitution prohibits electors from a state from choosing both a president and a vice president from that same state. (Art II, Cl. 3: “The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves”.) Weirdly, nobody writing about Trump’s statement seems to be mentioning this. But then I think the entire press has pretty much given up on fact checking him anyway.

DeSantis, who attended Harvard Law School and presumably knows much more about the Constitution than Trump does — although probably that’s true of almost everyone — was quick to say he would never be Trump’s Vice President. He made it sound as if this was something of a principled choice, but I think he just knows it could never be, as the risk of a squeaker in which Vice President Harris is reelected when you don’t count Florida’s electoral votes is just too great.

Posted in 2024 Election | 4 Comments

Actual Number of Immunocompromised Americans May be Almost Triple What We Thought

As an immunocompromised person, I thought that this was interesting: The standard line is that under 3% of the U.S. population is immunocompromised either due to disease, to antirejection drugs associated with transplants, or to (frequently cancer) medical treatment.  But Melissa L. Martinson, Jessica Lapham, Prevalence of Immunosuppression Among US Adults (Feb. 15, 2024) suggests that the real number today — due to more immunosuppresive medical treatments? — actually may be over 6.6%:

Of the 29 164 (unweighted) eligible adults, 6.6% (95% CI, 6.2%-6.9%) (weighted) had current immunosuppression based on their reported health conditions, prescriptions, and medical treatments. The weighted prevalence was 4.4% for having an immunosuppressive condition, 3.9% for taking an immunosuppressive medication, and 1.8% for both; the weighted prevalence of having hematological cancer was 0.1%. These categories were not mutually exclusive.

[…]

[U]sing the 2021 NHIS, an estimated 6.6% of US adults had immunosuppression. This rate of immunosuppression was higher than the previous national estimate of 2.7% using the 2013 NHIS,1 yet the patterns in the distribution of immunosuppression by sex, race, and age were similar

It’s still a small minority, but it seems it’s a lot bigger than we thought.

Posted in Science/Medicine | 1 Comment

Proof that I Exist?

Thanks to the kindness of others, I now have my own Wiki page. (Strangely, MiamiLaw doesn’t routinely make them for any of its faculty, which I suppose is consistent with our  ahem, rather quiet media strategy.)

It feels quite petty of me, but I’ve actually been bothered for some time that nothing I did ever prompted anyone to make one; the norm is that you don’t make them for yourself. So I am chuffed about this.

Thank you to the authors!

Posted in Internet, Personal | Leave a comment

It’s Enough to Keep You Awake

Sleeping too little — or too much — associated with poor brain health:

Sleeping too much or too little is associated with changes in the brain that are known to precede and increase the risk of stroke and dementia later in life, a new study suggests.

In one of the largest neuroimaging studies of its kind, researchers at Yale School of Medicine (YSM) examined the brain images of nearly 40,000 asymptomatic middle-aged adults to understand how their sleep habits may impact their brain health.

I’m sure I should sleep more. But I don’t need more to worry about.

Posted in Science/Medicine | Leave a comment

“I’m Voting for Grandpa”

Inspired by the silly kerfuffle about President Biden’s supposed memory issues in his five-hour interview with a partisan special prosecutor, conducted while Biden also was involved in issues about the Middle East, and perhaps also inspired by the death of Toby Keith, I asked GPT-4 to take on the persona of an experienced writer of hit songs and write me a country music song on the theme “I’m voting for Grandpa (because the alternative is so much worse)”. The results were not half bad:

“I’m Voting for Grandpa”

(Verse 1)
Out here where the wheat fields meet the sky,
I’ve been watching the days and years go by.
I’ve seen leaders come and go, it’s true,
But this time around, I know what I gotta do.

I hear the talk in the diners and the bars,
About how we’ve got dreams bigger than the stars.
But dreams need hands to guide them right,
To turn our darkest hours into daylight.

(Chorus)
I’m voting for Grandpa, ’cause the alternative’s so much worse,
In a world of chaos, he might just be our cure.
With a steady hand and a heart that’s tried and true,
I’m voting for Grandpa, to lead us through.

(Verse 2)
I’ve listened to the promises, the plans, and the pleas,
Sifted through the noise to find what I believe.
It’s not about the left or right, but finding middle ground,
Where the lost can be found, and the silent have a sound.

In the fields where my father worked, under the same sun,
I learned that before the harvest comes, there’s work to be done.
Grandpa’s got a vision, not just for the few,
But for every hardworking soul, through and through.

(Chorus)
I’m voting for Grandpa, ’cause the alternative’s so much worse,
In a world of division, he speaks to our better verse.
With wisdom gleaned from years and a spirit tough and true,
I’m voting for Grandpa, to see us through.

(Bridge)
It’s more than politics, it’s about who we want to be,
A nation of the free, living in harmony.
So I’ll cast my vote with hope, for a brighter day,
For Grandpa’s guiding light to lead the way.

(Chorus)
I’m voting for Grandpa, ’cause the alternative’s just too grim,
In the fight for our future, I’m putting my faith in him.
With a lifetime of service and a belief in the common good,
I’m voting for Grandpa, like I believe we all should.

(Outro)
So when the day comes, and it’s our time to choose,
I hope you’ll join me, we’ve got so much to lose.
In the heart of this country, let’s make our stand,
I’m voting for Grandpa, to heal this land.

Unfortunately, I don’t know how to write music, much less country music, and the online tools for doing it with AI assistance look like they have a steep learning curve.

If anyone knows of an easy tool, or feels like pitching in, get in touch.

(My efforts to elicit an urban country version and a crossover version were not as good…)

Posted in 2024 Election, AI | 1 Comment