The parents who refuse to vaccinate their children are taking a calculated risk; they're weighting whatever doubts they have about the efficacy of vacItcines against their doubts about vaccine safety and their doubts about the seriousness of infectious diseases, basically betting that either vaccines don't work and/or vaccines aren't safe and/or the diseases just aren't that big a deal.
A key part of this calculus is a kind of folk understanding of "herd immunity," the process by which immunity among a critical mass of members of a population bestows a kind of immunity on the whole group because the population-scale immunity levels make it much harder for the disease to spread.
In an outstanding video, the physicist Robert Rohde models the incredible power of herd immunity, as well as its dreadful fragility.
It's a short, sharp lesson in the game-theoretical limits of counting on other peoples' kids to keep your kid safe -- and on the risk that your choice about your kid's vaccination imposes on everyone else.
Macarthur "Genius" Kelly Link and her husband Gavin Grant are the forces-of-nature behind the amazing Small Beer Press (previously).
Last week, the Escape Pod podcast published part one of a reading of my YA novella "Martian Chronicles," which I wrote for Jonathan Strahan's Life on Mars anthology: it's a story about libertarian spacesteaders who move to Mars to escape "whiners" and other undesirables, only to discover that the colonists that preceded them expect them […]
Greta Thunberg's Joan of Arc-grade tongue-lashing to the world's leaders at the UN makes for some incredible mashup possibilities: it's not merely that her excellent delivery lent itself to death metal, but also her use of the phrase "right here, right now," was tailor-made for insertion into Fatboy Slim's track of the same name -- […]
There are a lot of different language apps out there because nobody learns anything the same exact way – especially not something as complex as a new language. For some people, the best way is to dive in and start talking, but that’s easier said than done if you’re not around those natives you aspire […]
There’s movie merch and then there are artifacts – one-of-a-kind items for the true fans only. These 11 items definitely fall into the latter category. We’ve unearthed movie art, props and other fan touchstones from the major nerd franchises of the last 50 years. Gaze upon these Star Wars and Marvel collectibles and don’t worry. […]
No matter what kind of office you work at, there’s probably an Excel expert in it. And no wonder: Businesses are still discovering uses for one of Microsoft’s flagship software suites beyond just bare-bones spreadsheets. Make October the month you become invaluable at work by taking one of these boot camps in Excel and its […]