Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for October 6th, 2020

The Positive Share of COVID-19 Tests Has Passed 5 Percent in the United States

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The chart above is from a post by Kevin Drum that’s definitely worth reading.

Written by Leisureguy

6 October 2020 at 4:48 pm

A Holocaust survivor’s mission to train ‘heroic bystanders’

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Daniel Gordon and Joshua Nevett report in BBC News:

A training programme designed to discourage police misconduct is being adopted across the US after months of protests over the use of excessive force. The Holocaust survivor behind the training believes that, after initial success in one city, it can change police culture nationwide.

As World War Two reached its crescendo, the actions of two people left an indelible mark on Dr Ervin Staub’s life.

Born in Hungary to a Jewish family, he was a six-year-old child when Nazi German forces occupied Hungary in 1944. At the behest of the Nazis, hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews were rounded up and deported to extermination camps.

Two decisive interventions ensured Dr Staub and his family did not meet the same fate.

A woman named Maria Gogan hid him and his one-year-old sister with a Christian family.

“She looked after us kids,” Dr Staub told the BBC. “I was walking with her and my sister in Budapest when the German tanks rolled in.”

For a while, Dr Staub and his sister posed as Ms Gogan’s relatives from the countryside. Then, when Dr Staub’s mother obtained protective identity papers for his family from Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, they moved into a safe house nearby.

To Dr Staub, Ms Gogan was a second mother. She continued to live with the family at the safe house, risking her life to bring them food and pass another letter of protection to Dr Staub’s father through the barbed wire of a forced-labour camp.

One time, as Ms Gogan returned home, she was held up at knifepoint by Hungarian Nazis. They threatened to kill her for helping Jews.

“A man who knew her came in and said, ‘let her go, she’s a good person’. So they let her go,” Dr Staub said.

Thanks to these acts of kindness, Dr Staub and his family lived to see the end of Nazi tyranny in Hungary.

After enduring the war, and a decade of communism in Hungary, Dr Staub fled via Vienna to the US, where he studied the psychology of violence, genocide and morality. He did a PhD on the topic at Stanford University and taught at Harvard University, before applying his theories on harm prevention to experiments and field research.

For a project in Rwanda, for example, he tried to promote reconciliation after the country’s genocide of 1994. Fittingly enough, his most recent book was titled “The Roots of Goodness and Resistance to Evil”.

Nowadays, it’s not genocide that worries Dr Staub. It’s the excessive use of force by police officers in the US.

To quell this violence, Dr Staub had a simple idea, one that hinges on the role of active bystanders like Ms Gogan and the diplomat who saved his life.

“These people were heroic active bystanders who put themselves into great danger,” Dr Staub said. “They had a huge influence on my motivation to study what leads people to help others.”

At 82, Dr Staub is enjoying a renaissance of his school of thought. His active-bystander concept has started to gain traction in 2020, a year of reckoning for police forces in the US.

The case of George Floyd, a black man who died in custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota in May, reignited a long-running debate about racial injustice and policing in the US.

Widespread calls for police reform have sprung from the killing of Mr Floyd, and that of other black Americans.

At more than 30 police departments across the US, a training programme based on Dr Staub’s ideas has been included in that push for reform.

Dr Staub has long stepped back from teaching at the University of Massachusetts, where he founded a PhD course on the psychology of violence. He was thinking about retiring for good this year, but demand for this training has thrust him back into the fray of the police-reform movement in the middle of a pandemic.

With a youthful inquisitiveness that belies his age, Dr Staub has acquainted himself with the trappings of 2020, from video conferences on Zoom to the demands of Black Lives Matter protests. Times have changed yet for Dr Staub, the principles of ethical policing training finally appear to be coming of age.

“Some people want to defund police departments,” Dr Staub said. “We do need police, but we also need a transformation in police departments.”

The training, called Ethical Policing Is Courageous (EPIC), encourages officers to intervene if they see misconduct within their ranks. It was first introduced by the police force in the Louisiana city of New Orleans in 2014.

Crucially, it emphasises the responsibility, not of the perpetrator, but of bystanders. Every officer is reminded of their duty to act if they see bad behaviour, repudiating the so-called blue wall of silence. This ethos upends the way officers traditionally think about loyalty to their partners.

“Loyalty isn’t saying, ‘well, you’ve done something wrong, I’m going to protect you’,” Lisa Kurtz, an innovation manager at the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), told the BBC. “Loyalty is me saying, ‘you’re about to do something wrong, and I’m going to stop you’.” . . .

Continue reading. There’s quite a bit more, and it’s interesting.

Written by Leisureguy

6 October 2020 at 4:11 pm

Facebook gives Breitbart a pass for COVID misinformation

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More and more Facebook seems to favor Right-wing sources. Judd Legum has a good example in a Popular Information column:

Breitbart, the far-right website, published a story over the weekend claiming Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) contracted COVID-19 at a White House event even though he was wearing a mask. The story relies on a tweet from Heather Childers, a former Fox & Friends anchor, and one photo.

“Thom Tillis wore a mask at the event in the Rose Garden — he has tested positive,” journalist Heather Childers reported on Saturday. A photo also shows Tillis wearing a mask at the event. Despite that, he has since contracted the virus.

The story was posted to Facebook at 12:59 AM Monday with the following caption: “Sen. Thom Tillis contracted the Chinese coronavirus following last week’s Rose Garden event despite wearing a mask at the gathering.”

The story, if it were true, would be silly. No one claims wearing a mask provides 100% protection against the virus. The primary benefit of wearing a mask is to protect other people if you have the virus and don’t know it. But masks also reduce the risk somewhat for the wearer. Even if Tillis wore a mask during the entire event, many people were not, and could have infected Tillis. And, of course, Tillis could have contracted COVID-19 away from the White House.

Breitbart, however, uses Tillis’ infection to push the narrative that masks are ineffective. The piece claims that there is a “lack of consensus on the controversial subject” of mask-wearing. This is false. There is virtual unanimity in the scientific community that wearing a mask can significantly reduce the risk of transmission.

In any event, Breitbart’s story is completely false. Tillis did not wear a mask for the entire event, including a portion that took place indoors. Photos of a maskless Tillis were captured by the New York Times. [Photo in column at the link. – LG]

This false story that misleads people into thinking that wearing a mask is ineffective and controversial was shared widely on Facebook. According to Crowdtangle, a social analytics service owned by Facebook, the story was shared nearly 3,000 times by Monday afternoon.

Facebook has a policy, however, to “remove COVID-19 related misinformation that could contribute to imminent physical harm.” The misinformation in the Breitbart article appears to fit that definition. The misinformation in the article is used to cast doubt on the efficacy of mask-wearing. If people who read this article decide not to wear a mask, they are more likely to catch a deadly virus and spread it to others.

Facebook told Popular Information that . . .

Continue reading. There’s more and it’s worth reading.

Written by Leisureguy

6 October 2020 at 10:24 am

Van Yulay’s After Dark and the head-heavy Gillette Heritage

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After Dark is a Van Yulay soap that I bought after trying a sample. This morning it seemed pretty thirsty, but the lather was excellent — and of course that Rooney Emilion helped considerably. It has a wonderful knot, firm but yielding and the tips of the bristles are extremely soft. This brush benefits from hooked bristles.

The Edwin-Jagger-clone head of the Gillette Heritage is nice, but I noticed today and the lightweight hollow handle makes the razor head-heavy. I think this head would feel better on a heavier handle, and of course handles can readily be purchased separately. A new handle would probably also include some sort of knob at the base to assist with the pass against the grain.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed a fine shave and with a splash of After Dark aftershave, I started the day.

Written by Leisureguy

6 October 2020 at 9:01 am

Posted in Shaving

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