Ebola and fragility

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Re: Ebola and fragility

Post by jacob »

Ego wrote:When they start feeding the fear cycle we are all doomed.
OTOH, climate science is a great example of scientists trying their damnedest to be conservative and euphemistic in their statements, e.g. "Future temperature in southwest Asia projected to exceed a threshold for human adaptability"(*), resulting in doing too-little/too-late and continuously having to revise upwards because things "surprisingly" always seem to proceed faster and be worse than initially reported.

(*) Military planners would phrase that somewhat differently. (Count how many times nuclear war is mentioned in this report.)

Both are examples of in/advertently trying to skew the risk-response. The best(**) strategy is to report expectation values (in the mathematical sense) rather than lower or upper p-levels. That is, for accurate policy responses, scientists should be reporting at the 50% level, e.g. we're predicting a 50% that the correct value is higher than X and also 50% that it's lower than X. Whereas the conservative approach is to say, there's less than 5% chance that it will be worse than X.

(**) Of course "best" is a matter of perspective. Best as in best for what/whom?

The problem is that the public and policy planners (most of whom don't have a scientific background) don't pay attention to the p-levels which gives much more weight to the wording and the timing of the wording than scientists, who intuitively look at the p-levels, would do.

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Re: Ebola and fragility

Post by Ego »

@jacob. Good point. I hadn't thought of global warming as the opposite example. I'd like to be told that the sky is falling when it is actually falling.

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Re: Ebola and fragility

Post by Riggerjack »


Your link isn't to the work of military planners. It's a report from a bunch of leftist political hacks.
Kurt M. Campbell is CEO and co-founder of the Center for a New American Security and former
deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asia and the Pacific.
Leon Fuerth is a research professor of international affairs at The George Washington University,
and former national security advisor to Vice President Al Gore.
Jay Gulledge, Ph.D., is the senior scientist and program manager for science and impacts at the
Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
Alexander T. J. Lennon is the editor-in-chief of CSIS’s flagship journal, The Washington Quarterly.
J.R. McNeill is a professor of history at Georgetown University.
Derek Mix is a research associate in the CSIS Europe Program.
Peter Ogden is senior national security analyst at the Center for American Progress.
John Podesta is president and CEO of the Center for American Progress and former chief of staff
for President Bill Clinton.
Julianne Smith is the director of the CSIS Europe Program and the Initiative for a Renewed
Transatlantic Partnership.
Richard Weitz is a senior fellow and director of program management at Hudson Institute.
R. James Woolsey is a vice president for Booz Allen Hamilton and former director of the CIA.
Every single author is linked to either a progressive think tank, or a former polical appointee. (I admit to guessing with the professors, but there is clear selection bias here)

That doesn't make what they say untrue, but I see no evidence of military planning, or objectivity here. This is speculative fiction with an agenda.

Of course, I live in the PNW, am middle aged, without children, with a certain amount of prep, so I can absorb more effects than most without too much of a hiccup. That may have some influence on my sense of confidence...

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Re: Ebola and fragility

Post by Ego »

An interesting take on why we get so much hype of viruses and pathogens in the media.

https://aeon.co/essays/how-disgust-made ... ilisations

People who are reminded of the threat of infectious disease are more inclined to espouse conventional values and express greater disdain for anyone who violates societal norms.

When we’re worried about disease, it appears, we’re drawn not just to Mama’s cooking but also to her beliefs about the proper way to conduct ourselves – especially in the social arena. We place our faith in time-honoured practices probably because they seem like a safer bet when our survival is in jeopardy. Now’s not the time to be embracing a new, untested philosophy of life, whispers a voice in the back of your mind.

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Re: Ebola and fragility

Post by black_son_of_gray »

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/06 ... ebola.html

Hint: When you declare the Ebola outbreak "now over" four different times in one year... it probably isn't.

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Re: Ebola and fragility

Post by Bankai »

New Ebola outbreak in DRC is 'truly frightening', says Wellcome Trust director


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