Open Thread 161


This is the weekly visible open thread. Odd-numbered open threads will be no-politics, even-numbered threads will be politics-allowed. This one is odd-numbered, so be careful. Otherwise, post about anything else you want. Also:

1: On my predictions thread, I included a prediction that expert consensus would be that the US had the highest unofficial coronavirus death toll of any country. I graded it true. Commenters made a strong case that I was wrong, and it should have been India. A couple of studies (see eg here) suggest seropositivity numbers of 20%+. This is pretty similar to the US’ percentage, but India has three times as many people. Among known cases, India’s case fatality rate is half the US’; if the same pattern holds among missed cases, India probably has 1.5x the US’ death toll (it would be better to use excess mortality numbers, but I can’t find this). This would mean the official Johns Hopkins numbers for the India:US case ratio are off by a factor of four, and probably the same is true for lots of other Third World countries. I’m adding this to my Mistakes Page.

2: Comment of the week is TD describing the animal welfare precautions researchers follow when doing mouse research.

3: Some of you are under the impression that I banned Senator Josh Hawley last week. Guys, come on, it was an obvious troll. The real Senator Hawley remains welcome to comment on this blog if he wants, though I warn him that if his comments are anything like his Twitter feed I’ll ban him for real.

4: I tried to bet someone Vitamin D wouldn’t work for COVID, but I don’t think we were able to agree on final terms. I’d be tempted to take Rootclaim’s bet, except $100,000 is too much money. If anyone wants to bet me on the same terms Rootclaim uses (you taking the side that it works, me taking the side that it doesn’t) for less money, I’m all ears.

5: Substack still claims to be working on fixing some of the comment problems on their end, though I don’t have an ETA or progress reports to give you. While you’re waiting, ACX reader Pycea has created a browser extension which fixes some remaining issues with the comments section here, including auto-expanding everything, highlighting new comments, hiding hearts, and several other things. Available for Firefox and Chrome, with some partial fixes for Safari available here. Thanks, Pycea!