Author Archives: Michael Froomkin

Before and After (Sort of)

According to the “AI-generated” photos provided by ThisClimateDoesNotExist, flooding caused by global warming could turn this part of the UMiami School of Law …

into this:

Alas, it doesn’t give the assumptions, nor how many degrees of warming or feet of sea level rise it would take, so I find it more a scare story than a meaningful warning.

Indeed, the fine print reveals that “This experiment is not an exercise in climate prediction. There is no correlation between the consequence chosen and the address entered. Our algorithm applies a systematic transformation regardless of the address.” So, yes, just a scare story. Technologically, the flood equivalent of putting a mask on a person’s photo.

Even so, we still have something real to worry about.

Posted in Global Warming | Leave a comment

‘Fusion is Only 10 Years Away!’–Nature

According to Nature, there’s a decent chance that commercial fusion reactors will be on sale in 2030, or thereabouts.

Previously:

Anyway, given that we had thirty-some years of fusion being 30 years away, this does sound like progress, and it’s fueled (ahem) by some significant private-sector money, which may signify something.  Or Theranos.

Posted in Science/Medicine | 1 Comment

Big Fine for Drone Delivery of Cigarettes

A woman in Australia got fined AU$1334 (just under US$1000) for breaking COVID quarantine by having a drone deliver cigarettes to her hotel balcony.

I guess it’s important to enforce COVID quarantine rules vigilantly. But I’ve never heard of COVID being transmitted by a delivery drone, and indeed airborne transmission is apparently much more likely than surface contamination. And having stuff delivered must make it much less likely that people will sneak out to break quarantine.

Given all that, I wonder if drone delivery isn’t something Australia should encourage rather than fine?

Posted in COVID-19, Law: Criminal Law | 1 Comment

Don’t Be a Dinosaur

(Click the arrow to play the actual video.)

Posted in Global Warming, Politics: International | 3 Comments

Latest Wrinkle in DeSantis Plot to Kill More Floridians

DeSantis COVID PolicyI so wish I were making this up. Our glorious Governor, Ron DeSantis (R-Covid), has hatched a new plot to spread the pandemic in Florida: he’s inviting all the law enforcement officers from other states who got fired for not getting a COVID vaccine to come on down and infect us here.

The reasons why cops and other first responders need to be vaccinated are obvious: they come into contact with a lot of people, which makes them higher risk to contract and then spread the virus. Plus many of the people police come into contact with have no choice about the contact, be a stop for questioning, a stop-and-frisk, or an arrest. Vaccinating police officers vastly reduces the chance they will become both ill and if ill, seriously ill, which is good for public safety because it means they are far less likely to be infectious and because it means they are available for duty.

In hopes of attracting these viral vectors to Florida DeSantis stated that he’ll ask his the state legislature to pass a law giving a $5000 bonus to any out-of-state police officers who relocate to Florida.

As to the argument that vaccinated police officers might be dangerous to our lives, DeSantis has an answer, albeit one utterly detached from reality:

“On a scientific basis, most of those first responders have had Covid and have recovered,” DeSantis claimed without evidence. “So they have strong protection and so I think that influences their decision on a lot of this that they have already had it and recovered.”

DeSantis delivered this fantasy on Fox News of course.

(It’s true that five times as many police officers have died of COVID as have been killed in the line of duty, but that’s a far cry from saying they all have natural immunities. It is also true that the evidence of the relative merits of natural immunity and vaccination immunity levels and reinfection rates are confusing and even contradictory.  But where the idea that cops have all had COVID comes from, I have no idea.)

Posted in 2022 Election, COVID-19, Florida | 2 Comments

DeSantis Urgently Seeks More COVID Deaths in Florida

DeSantis COVID PolicyImagine you are the Governor of the great state of Florida. You look out at the state from your perch in Tallahassee, and consider how to make best use of your control of gerrymandered majorities in both houses of the state legislature. What problem in the State might catch your eye, one so serious and immediate that it requires a special session of the legislature in November — rather than waiting until the regular session two months later?

If you are Governor DeSantis, it seems you decide that Florida’s #1 urgent problem is that not enough people have died from COVID-19. And, having made this observation, you set right out to solve the problem.

This is, most horribly, neither a joke nor an exaggeration: Governor DeSantis announced today that he plans to call a special session of the Florida legislature in order to pass laws that would ban any local government from imposing a vaccination mandate, and create incentives designed to discourage businesses from doing so.

The original trial balloon suggested a ban on private businesses demanding that workers get vaccinated, but perhaps claims that this was dictatorial socialism caused a mild retreat: now we’ll just have a law that makes businesses liable for any medical harm that results from a mandatory vaccination, and a removal of existing protections for businesses from coronavirus-related liability if the businesses mandates vaccination for their employees.

You may think I’m being over the top here, in saying that DeSantis wants more people to die, presumably to allow more posturing to further his Presidential ambitions.  But don’t take it from me.  Take it from State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando), whom the Sun-Sentinel quoted as saying DeSantis’ plan is “disgusting”:

“It’s so nakedly political,” Smith said. “And Floridians will die because of DeSantis’s political ambitions. Gov. DeSantis is more than happy to trade the lives of Floridians for GOP votes in Iowa and campaign contributions in Utah. In 2021, being a Florida Republican is more about being anti-vax and pro-COVID-19 than anything else. … Welcome to Florida, where politics have become deadly.”

In any functioning polity we would impeach DeSantis; in Brazil they might indict him for mass murder. Instead, here, we take him seriously as a candidate first for re-election, then perhaps for President or Vice-President. That is our #1 urgent problem.

Posted in COVID-19, Florida | Leave a comment