Saturday night.

I just got eaten by zombies. To be more specific, my avatar in the 7 Days to Die game took one wrong step, fell off the roof during the seventh-day feeding frenzy, and got devoured by zombies after the famous last stand. (Alas, zombies respawn faster than I can reload.) I play the game by my own rules, and even though the main character gets resurrected, for me one death is final and the game is effectively over. (Can you tell that I’m training for a real-world zombocalypse? Heh.) That was 31.5 hours well spent, eh.

I’m going to try something new tomorrow: zero social media and zero gaming. Those are fine ways to waste time, but they’re like fast-food: technically food, but the least nutritious kind. I feel like after discovering a low-key announcement about a vaccine trial on Reddit (it doesn’t seem to be advertised elsewhere online), I’ve officially reached the highest level of social media addiction. Who knows, I might finally catch up on my reading or other stuff.

Lessons in laziness: I found out the hard way that doing a dumbbell chest press while lying down on a very soft mattress will just make sink deeper into the mattress, and won’t result in a very efficient workout. (It must have looked hilarious, though.) Or, to spin this the other way, I’ve conducted a brilliantly simple science experiment that showed how the fabric of time and space (and/or my mattress) gets affected by increased gravity. Yeah. It was definitely a science experiment and not a case of laziness gone hilariously wrong.

In covid news, after a great deal of confusion about Canada’s unilateral and unique decision to extend the gap between two vaccine shots to four months, there’s a PR piece in the news. To summarize, a maverick scientist (Dr. Danuta Skowronski) claims that she could “correct” Pfizer’s raw data where no one else in the world could. She claims she deduced the effectiveness of just a single dose (92%, not 52% as Pfizer claims), and that’s now being touted as the newest explanation for this weird, weird decision. I would’ve been a lot more comfortable with (and accepting of) this explanation had Dr. Skowronski not used the word “art” when describing her allegedly scientific approach. In her response to Dr. Mona Nemer (who called this a “population level experiment”), Skowronski said “The comment from the chief science adviser was most unfortunate,” said Skowronski. “It did not reflect the careful risk-benefit analysis that went into this decision, and frankly, that is a science and an art to be able to do that.” 

Call me old-fashioned, or cynical, or too bitter to live, but when you a) claim that you alone saw something that literally every other scientist in the world missed, and b) say there’s “a science and an art” to your methodology, that seems like a bit of a red flag. It’s entirely possible that I’m completely wrong and Dr. Skowronski is completely right – but when the entire country’s vaccination strategy hinges on this… It’s a bit lie the uncomfortable sensation you might get if your pilot starts saying flat-earth gibberish over the intercom in the middle of a flight: maybe it’ll have zero effect on his plane-flying (and more importantly, landing) expertise, or maybe that’s a sign of something pretty damn bad.

In other Canadian news, this article explains why Toronto still hasn’t vaccinated everyone over the age of 80. (If you recall, my mom, who is 67 years old and lives near Seattle, got her first shot a couple of weeks ago.) In a nutshell, there was some really bad distribution modeling: vaccines got spread evenly across the province, even though some regions had far lower covid cases, and some places (such as Toronto) have a much higher concentration of elderly and other high-risk groups. That attempt at perfectly fair distribution may have made sense on paper but it didn’t account for reality. (See also: Robert McNamara and his disastrous planning during the Vietnam War.) Toronto has over 120,000 folks who are over 80: we’re six days into March, and that cohort is still not fully vaccinated… I really, really want to believe that this is a small hiccup, an exception in the long series of other, completely unrelated exceptions, and that the rest of the vaccine rollout will go without a hitch. Time will tell.

Have a good second half of your weekend, y’all.