A Boy Went to a COVID-Swamped ER. He Waited for Hours. Then His Appendix Burst.

Jenny Deam, for ProPublica:

Before, localized COVID-19 hot spots led to bed shortages, but there were usually hospitals in the region not as affected that could accept a transfer. Now, as the highly contagious delta variant envelops swaths of low-vaccination states all at once, it becomes harder to find nearby hospitals that are not slammed.

“Wait times can now be measured in days,” said Darrell Pile, CEO of the SouthEast Texas Regional Advisory Council, which helps coordinate patient transfers across a 25-county region.

Recently, Dr. Cedric Dark, a Houston emergency physician and assistant professor of emergency medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said he saw a critically ill COVID-19 patient waiting in the emergency room for an ICU bed to open. The doctor worked eight hours, went home and came in the next day. The patient was still waiting.

Holding a seriously ill patient in an emergency room while waiting for an in-patient bed to open is known as boarding. The longer the wait, the more dangerous it can be for the patient, studies have found. Not only do patients ultimately end up staying in the hospital or the ICU longer, some research suggests that long waits for a bed will worsen their condition and may increase the risk of in-hospital death.

That’s what happened last month in Texas.

Even if you are vaccinated, any other kind of medical emergency will now be impacted by an unvaccinated COVID-19 patient occupying the hospital bed you needed. Theses difference in outcomes are the direct costs, both in lives and dollars, willfully and narcissistically incurred on our society by those who choose to remain unvaccinated.

Comedian Norm Macdonald Dies

Jordan Moreau, writing for Variety:

Norm Macdonald, the deadpan comedian, actor, writer and “Saturday Night Live” star, has died after a battle with cancer, Variety has confirmed. He was 61.

One of my favorite jokes of all time is Norm’s moth joke. Norm knew delivery, and delivery is everything.

‘I’m sorry, but it’s too late’

Dennis Pillion, writing for AL.com:

“One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late… A few days later when I call time of death,” continued Cobia on Facebook, “I hug their family members and I tell them the best way to honor their loved one is to go get vaccinated and encourage everyone they know to do the same.”

“They cry. And they tell me they didn’t know. They thought it was a hoax. They thought it was political. They thought because they had a certain blood type or a certain skin color they wouldn’t get as sick. They thought it was ‘just the flu’. But they were wrong. And they wish they could go back. But they can’t. So they thank me and they go get the vaccine. And I go back to my office, write their death note, and say a small prayer that this loss will save more lives.”

“I try to be very non-judgmental when I’m getting a new COVID patient that’s unvaccinated, but I really just started asking them, ‘Why haven’t you gotten the vaccine?’ And I’ll just ask it point blank, in the least judgmental way possible,” she said. “And most of them, they’re very honest, they give me answers. ‘I talked to this person, I saw this thing on Facebook, I got this email, I saw this on the news,’ you know, these are all the reasons that I didn’t get vaccinated.”

“And the one question that I always ask them is, did you make an appointment with your primary care doctor and ask them for their opinion on whether or not you should receive the vaccine? And so far, nobody has answered yes to that question.”

Enough is enough. Get vaccinated.

Cookie Monster Mural Puzzles Artist and Enrages Property Owner

Maria Cramer, in the New York Times:

Joshua Hawkins said the request seemed “pretty weird,” but the dark-haired man who made it was offering cash, and a lot of it.

The man said his name was Nate and he wanted Mr. Hawkins, a local artist, to paint an enormous Soviet-style mural of Cookie Monster — the voracious, pastry-loving “Sesame Street” creature — and three Russian words on a commercial building in Peoria, Ill.

When the job was done over Thanksgiving weekend, the man paid in full and Mr. Hawkins, 33, proudly displayed the mural on his Facebook page.

But Mr. Hawkins learned C can also be for Caper.

Less than a week after the mural went up, Mr. Hawkins said he received a call from the real Nate Comte, who said he had never commissioned the Cookie Monster mural.

The mural was short lived, but as Cookie Monster likes to say, “No cry because cookie is finished. Smile because cookie happened.”

Coleman Sweeney, World’s Biggest Asshole

A definite must-watch.

How Many Decimals of Pi Do We Really Need?

Published by NASA JPL by Marc Rayman:

In other words, by cutting pi off at the 15th decimal point, we would calculate a circumference for that circle that is very slightly off. It turns out that our calculated circumference of the 25 billion mile diameter circle would be wrong by 1.5 inches. Think about that. We have a circle more than 78 billion miles around, and our calculation of that distance would be off by perhaps less than the length of your little finger.

That’s a pretty small margin of error I’d say.

‘Us’ vs. ‘Them:’ Twitter labels new Amazon series a Jordan Peele rip-off

Nadine DeNinno, reporting for the New York Post:

The show, which is also executive produced by Little Marvin, has fans labeling it a “knockoff” and “copycat” of Peele’s past work while another pointed out it’s “both Jordan Peele movies combined.”

“This feels like someone whos never seen a Jordan Peele movie describing what a Jordan Peele movie is like,” one commenter wrote.

“Jordan Peele has given us two black horror movies and now they’re copying him already,” added another.

One Twitter user even poked fun at the series’ title, “they even ripped off the ‘Us’ title and called it ‘THEM,'”

Amazon has been embracing knock-off practices across the board, I’m surprised it took this long for their foray into original streaming content to do so as well.

How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled

Laura Sullivan, for NPR:

“I remember the first meeting where I actually told a city council that it was costing more to recycle than it was to dispose of the same material as garbage,” she says, “and it was like heresy had been spoken in the room: You’re lying. This is gold. We take the time to clean it, take the labels off, separate it and put it here. It’s gold. This is valuable.”

But it’s not valuable, and it never has been. And what’s more, the makers of plastic — the nation’s largest oil and gas companies — have known this all along, even as they spent millions of dollars telling the American public the opposite…

Larry Thomas, Lew Freeman and Ron Liesemer, former industry executives, helped oil companies out of the first plastic crisis by getting people to believe something the industry knew then wasn’t true: That most plastic could be and would be recycled…

“I don’t think anything has changed,” Thomas says. “Sounds exactly the same.”

Everything to Know About Nike’s “You Can’t Stop Us” Film

From News.Nike.com:

Its action shares a dynamic split screen series detailing 36 pairings of athletes and relating the kinetic movement of one sport to another. Developed through research of more than 4,000 pieces of footage, the resulting montage underscores commonalities shared by athletes around the world.

This is jaw-dropping video editing. Truly remarkable. I would expect nothing less from a company that has a long history of making a statement with its advertising.

Let’s Check In on the State of iPhone and Android CPU Performance

John Gruber at Daring Fireball:

Because it’s not just that Apple’s new $400 iPhone SE offers faster performance than any Android phone money can buy, but that the two-and-a-half-year-old iPhone 8 has better single-threaded performance than any Android phone today — and the iPhone 8 was the phone Apple discontinued for the new $400 iPhone SE. Apple discontinued an iPhone that, if it were an Android phone, would be the fastest in single-threaded performance on the market today.

And on the flip side, what do you get for $400 in Androidtown? Amazon sells the Motorola Moto Z4 for $500. Let’s just spot the Android side $100. The Moto Z4’s single-threaded Geekbench 5 score is about 500. That falls short of an iPhone 6S, a phone from 2015…

What makes our actual situation unprecedented in personal computing history isn’t that one company has maintained a decade-long CPU performance edge over the rest of the industry, but that that one company is keeping those chips exclusively for its own devices.

Seems like The Cook Doctrine is continuing to pay off.