I used to be young, but now I'm just immature

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Covid 12/2: But Aside From That

I presume that such treatments are a threat to the narrative that people bring Covid-19 upon them by being irresponsible (read: sinful) and thus must make various Sacrifices to the Gods in the hopes of making this stop. Treatments aren’t a sacrifice, and aren’t a morality play. In addition, any mention of them, or any encouragement, would lead people to be less eager to get vaccinated or take other preventative measures, and we can’t have that.

I honestly have no idea what you think people are actually thinking here, except that it seems utterly ridiculous

Why don't our vaccines get updated to the delta spike protein?

It might be useful to draw up the happy pathway to developing mRNA vaccines against spike proteins, and examining all the issues along the way.

My (very limited). understanding:

  • Coronaviruses use spike proteins to enter target cells
  • The immune system can
    • learn to recognise these proteins as foreign, then
    • generate a response when it encounters them
  • mRNA vaccines can
    • cause host tissue to display identified spike proteins
    • initiate the same immune response mechanism above
  • Mutations to spike proteins can
    • occasionally increase/not-decrease virus fitness (transmissibility etc.)
    • evade existing immune responses as they are no longer recognised

So, what are the issues that prevent

  1. strain with distinct spike proteins identified
  2. mRNA vaccine altered to display new spike proteins and initiate immune recognition

Is it

  • identifying the new spike proteins
  • replicating them via mRNA with enough fidelity
  • getting the host cells to display them
  • getting the host immune system to identify them as foreign
  • getting the host immune system to mount a sufficient response
  • preventing false positives from arising, with the immune system targeting incorrect entities

Or other things?

On the face of it, it seems almost like a trivial problem... but this is biology, so of course it isn't.

The Emperor's New Clothes: a story of motivated stupidity

I would expect the situation to be analogous to any situation that requires large socio-economic upheaval but 'punishes' individuals who try to start the ball rolling.

cough Climate Change Crisis cough

Myopic vested interests and inertia will scupper the needed changes, even if almost everyone acknowledges their necessity in principle.

Self-Integrity and the Drowning Child

We don't live in a world of clear perceptions and communications about abstract, many-times-removed ethical trade-offs. 

We're humans, with a tiny little window focused on the trivia of our day-to-day lives, trying to talk to other humans doing the same thing.

Sometimes, we manage to rise a little above that, which is wonderful, and we need to work out how to co-ordinate civilisation better in that direction.

But mostly we are just stumbling about in the mud, and don't pretend that ridiculous sophist exercises in philosophical equivalence have any relation to real people and real experiences.

People don't often get the chance to participate in real, close, and meaningful ethical dilemmas. A quite-possibly-drowning-child that you can save by simply taking obvious physical action would be one of them. And anyone who refuses to take that action is scum.

Do you think you are a Boltzmann brain? If not, why not?

There's probably only one kind of fundamental abstraction: can A represent B if you squint real hard? Can 'nothing' represent 'something'*? If so, perhaps that's all you need to get 'everything'.


* Like how you can build numbers up from the empty set:

Do you think you are a Boltzmann brain? If not, why not?

And strings/digits themselves are just a bunch of bits in fancy clothes.

At some point, years ago, I decided that reality was basically just 'nothing', endlessly abstracted, and what can you do? :_D

Do you think you are a Boltzmann brain? If not, why not?

I'm not sure we're dealing with quantifiable abstractions here

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