[Eugene Volokh] A Perspective on the EU

I thought I’d pass along this item from Claire Berlinski ‘s newsletter ( subscribe here ), written by a pseudonymous friend of hers: The project of a united Europe has never been objectionable to me, despite its status as an object of reflexive loathing on the American right.

The European Union is dead. Something will arise in its place. But this is Europe: we should be prepared for the possibility it will be something worse.

Source: [Eugene Volokh] A Perspective on the EU

Notable Mistakes and Missteps in Major Media Reporting on Donald Trump

Sharyl Attkisson compiles a list of 129 news media failures.

129. April 25, 2020

In a widely distributed report, Politico reports that President Trump owes the Bank of China tens of millions of dollars in a loan coming due in 2022, as he deals with China on coronavirus. However, the Bank of China issued a statement saying it only held the loan for 22 days and sold it to a U.S. real estate firm in 2012.


ROBIN HANSON: 2 Lockdown Cost-Benefit Analyses….

ROBIN HANSON: 2 Lockdown Cost-Benefit Analyses.

ANALYSIS #1: One the one side are costs of economic disruption. I estimate that a typical strong lockdown cuts 27% of econ/social value gained per unit time, relative to income. (Though some double this estimate when accounting for stress and mental health harms.) If lockdown last 4 months, perhaps on and off spread out over a longer period, that’s a total of 9% of a year’s income lost.

On the other side are losses due to infection. I estimate an average infection fatality rate (IFR) of 0.5%, and half as much additional harm to those who don’t die, due to other infection harms. I estimate that eventually half would get infected, and assume the recovered are immune. Because most victims are old, the average number of life years lost seems to be about 12. (Though time discounting and quality adjustment arguably cut that figure in half.) And a standard health-econ estimate is that a life-year is worth about twice annual income. Multiply these together and you get an expected loss of 9% of a year’s income..


Source: ROBIN HANSON: 2 Lockdown Cost-Benefit Analyses….

How long can the media and Democrat politicians continue to fool the American people?

The saying about fooling people worries me. The media and Democrat leaders can’t fool all of us forever, but can they fool enough of us through November 3?

Source: How long can the media and Democrat politicians continue to fool the American people?

Part of the problem is that a lot of the people who have been fooled for some of the time have paid enough in time, energy, lost wages, and so on, that they are emotionally unable to treat these as sunk costs. So they will elect to stay fooled.

Homemade filters

In college, I encountered a list of improvised filters that could be used to guard against inhaling radioactive contamination. I haven’t been able to find that list, but here’s something from the Wall Street Journal: Will homemade filters protect against the coronavirus?

A coronavirus particle is about 0.12 microns, or an eight millionth of a meter. Different materials have been tested for their ability to screen out virus particles.

  • Furnace filters — 98%
  • Automotive filter — 95%
  • Vacuum bag — 90%
  • Swiffer dry sweeping cloth (five layers) 60%
  • T-shirt fabric (five layers) 60%
  • Bed sheets (five layers) 50%
  • Paper towels (five layers) 40%
  • Coffee filters (two layers) 10%

Source: Do DIY Masks Help Stop Coronavirus?

Harvard vs. the Family

This June, pandemic conditions permitting, Harvard University will host a conference—not open to the public—to discuss the purported dangers of homeschooling and strategies for legal reform. The co-organizer, Harvard law professor Elizabeth Bartholet, believes that homeschooling should be banned, as it is “a realm of near-absolute parental power. . . . inconsistent with a proper understanding of the human rights of children.” The conference has caused a stir on social media, owing to a profile of Bartholet in Harvard magazine, accompanied by a cartoon of a forlorn-looking girl behind the barred windows of a house made out of books titled, “Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Bible.”

City Journal

She presents one study to support her concern about academic outcomes, noting that “methodologically sound studies of the more successful subsets of homeschoolers also reveal problems. One found that while overall the homeschoolers who took standardized tests did slightly better than public schoolers, there was a huge divergence between homeschoolers receiving structured as versus unstructured home education. Those receiving unstructured education, as many homeschoolers do, scored significantly lower than public schoolers.”

Bartholet is distorting the study’s conclusions, to put it politely. The researchers found that the two-thirds of homeschooled students in their sample who received a structured curriculum did dramatically better than public school students. Unstructured homeschool student performance was either slightly below or statistically indistinguishable from that of public school students, depending on the analytic methodology employed. Most policy analysts would see these findings as demonstrating the remarkable success of homeschooling. It would require extraordinary confirmation bias to read these findings as evidence that homeschooling should be banned.


BAD SCIENCE: Five Problems With the Study That Claims ‘More Deaths’ From Treating Coronavirus With H…

BAD SCIENCE: Five Problems With the Study That Claims ‘More Deaths’ From Treating Coronavirus With Hydroxychloroquine.

5. It was a small, non-peer-reviewed study, not a clinical trial

4. The patients were not representative of the entire population

3. The most severe cases disproportionately received the drug

2. Other studies and anecdotal reports suggest it helps

1. The study concluded that controlled trials are still needed

Source: BAD SCIENCE: Five Problems With the Study That Claims ‘More Deaths’ From Treating Coronavirus With H…