Creepy Amazon robot

Amazon unveils Astro, a mobile robot with a 10-inch display, meant to roam around the house; officials say the device combines Amazon’s work in robotics, AI, speech and visual recognition, cloud computing, and more (More) | See the company’s other new offerings revealed at its fall product event (More)

(Via 1440 Daily Digest)

Yikes!!! As if what Amazon is doing with … everything … isn’t creepy enough, they unleash a robotic minder.

I have questions

No more questions: Lakers superstar LeBron James said he got the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think everyone has their own choice to do what they feel is right for themselves and their family, and things of that nature. I know that I was very [skeptical] about it all. But after doing my research, and things of that nature, I felt like it was best suited for not only me but for my family and for my friends, and that’s why I decided to do it.”

(Via SI)

First, I want to know what research and “things of that nature” were included in this celebrity athletic person’s research and how they were different from the “things of that nature” for everyone else and their family.

Second, no. There are choices people can make for themselves and their families that only materially impact them and no one else. COVID-19 vaccinations, or influenza or polio or measles or a host of other entirely manageable conditions are as much about the protection the vaccinated give to those who cannot themselves be protected. It’s not a local-to-me issue and never was.

Stop couching “Look at me! I got the shot!” with personal choice BS.

Or look someone who is immunocompromised in the (virtual) face and explain to them how it is a personal choice.

LeBron James can, for a multitude of sins, go fuck himself. This one can go to the top.

Third, who is writing James’ copy?

The J.&J. conundrum

The Morning: The J.&J. conundrum:

The Morning: The J.&J. conundrum

You can find a longer version of today’s newsletter online, with more detail and explanation. In the email version, we will focus on nine main points.

The key points

1. From the start, J.&J.’s single-shot vaccine has appeared to be less effective than the two-shot vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer. The J.&J. shot still provides good protection against serious illness, but not as much as the others. And the Delta variant may be widening the gap.

2. Federal officials have suggested they are likely to approve a booster shot for J.&.J recipients eventually. But any approval seems to be weeks away, if not months.

3. Regardless, many J.&J. recipients are less interested in receiving a second J.&J. shot than in getting a follow-up shot with either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine — sometimes known as a “mix-and-match” approach.

4. Many experts believe that this approach will be effective, maybe even more effective than two shots of the same vaccine. Britain has used this strategy, giving many people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine (which is similar to J.&J.’s) a second shot with Moderna’s or Pfizer’s.

5. But there is still not much data on the benefits or the risks of combining a J.&J. shot with a different vaccine.

6. Numerous doctors and experts who themselves received the J.&J. vaccine aren’t waiting for the government to act. They have gotten a follow-up Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. “Sometimes public health requires making tough decisions without a complete data set to support it,” Angela Rasmussen, a virologist who received a Pfizer shot after having received the J.&J. vaccine, has written. The city of San Francisco also began offering a Moderna or Pfizer booster shot to J.&J. recipients about a month ago.

7. When Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the C.D.C., was asked whether she considered it a mistake for J.&J. recipients to pursue a Moderna or Pfizer follow-up shot, she said, “Not with what I’ve seen so far.” From the head of a notoriously cautious agency, that was a remarkable and telling statement.

8. Getting a follow-up shot with the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines may not be easy. Because the government has not authorized them, doctors often refuse to give them. Many people are understandably frustrated by the situation: It can feel like there is one set of rules for people with medical connections and another set of rules for everyone else.

9. Still, if you want a shot, you have a few options. You can try different drugstores or clinics, hoping to find one that is willing to give a Pfizer or Moderna shot to a J.&J. recipient — or one that won’t ask about your history. You can also choose to be less than fully honest. You won’t be alone.

The bottom line

Here’s the brief case for getting a Pfizer or Moderna shot as a follow-up to a J.&J. shot: The available evidence suggests you will benefit. There are no signs of worrisome side effects so far. And the Delta variant is an even bigger threat to human life than earlier versions of Covid. By waiting, you may be allowing bureaucratic caution to get in the way of your health.

Here’s the brief case against a follow-up shot: A single shot of the J.&J. vaccine still provides good protection, and the government may soon allow a second J.&J. shot. There is not yet rigorous data on the benefits or risks of the mix-and-match approach with J.&J. And you may need to resort to some deviousness to get another shot.

We understand why so many people are flummoxed.

Illustrative of the vaccine messaging mess in the US, I’m glad the Times put this article together. The CDC and other government agencies would do well to take notice of this and do something similar.

Also, in odd naming the J.&J. Shot is called “Janssen”, which is the name primarily used outside of the US but only commonly seen by me in US government materials.

Documentary reveals Coldplay frontman a COVID-19 putz

Documentary reveals joys, challenges of making BTS-Coldplay collab ‘My Universe’:

The Coldplay vocalist [Chris Martin] flew to Seoul in April despite the restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been very difficult to get here to Korea,” Martin said. “We’ve been very lucky with people allowing us to come in for two days just to record. And it was quite a stressful journey, and I was a little bit nervous. I’ve never met BTS before.” (Yonhap)

Must be nice to drop in for two days to pal around without having my kind of stressful journey, you putz. I went to South Korea for work around the same time. I had 14 days in solitary isolation per the country’s strict, if somewhat ineffective, COVID-19 restrictions.

Go take a long walk off of a short pier, you poor little thing.

Rely little on iOS Shortcuts

Okay, it was a little perilous to get this issue of the Weekly Thing to all of you. You see, I use Shortcuts extensively to generate the newsletter. It has evolved a lot since the I first shared the setup and now relies on about 20 shortcuts that work together. With the upgrade to iOS 15 this week some of my hooks to other apps stopped working. PANIC! ?

One of the nice things about Shortcuts though is you can bang around in them pretty easy. After some workarounds, and then a final swap out of Toolbox Pro for Data Jar I was able to get the thing to generate. It was touch and go, and I’ve got some cleanup to do to fix things, but here it is! Winning! ?

(Via Weekly Thing)

It’s not winning.

I have one Shortcut that is critical to my workflow. It stopped working on my upgrade to iOS 15 on my iPhone. What’s worse, it stopped working with no better information than that the Shortcut stopped working. I do not have time to “bang around in them” to figure out what Apple broke.

If Shortcuts is supposed to augment and/or eventually replace Automator and other MacOS tools, Shortcuts has to be bulletproof through upgrades. If it doesn’t replace those tools, Shortcuts still needs to be bulletproof.

Offered without comment

Police Blotter: Man Who Is “Too High” Aggressively Plays Instruments At Guitar Center; Man And Woman Hit Each Other With Hair Iron:

Police responded to a disorder at the Guitar Center on Hamilton Place Boulevard. The manager told police that a black male, wearing a black baseball hat with an American flag, blue shirt with stars and jeans, came into the business and began aggressively playing the drums and other instruments, causing a scene. She said she asked him if he could continue playing the instruments in a more calm manner. He said he was “too high” and began to argue with her, at which point she asked him to leave. She said she wanted him trespassed from the property, but he was no longer on scene for police to do so.

* * *

A man on Ivy Street told police that a woman had taken his phone and driven away. The man had two cuts on his hand that he said the woman gave him with a hair iron. He said that she was driving him home, and when they arrived at his grandparents’ house, he asked her to take him to another address. He said she refused to take him anywhere else, and when he exited the vehicle and went inside, he realized that his phone was gone. He called police and then began chasing the woman on foot. He said when he caught up with her to retrieve his phone, she got her hair iron from the trunk and struck him with it. He said he then grabbed it from her hand and hit her in the leg. The man said he did not want to press any charges. The woman told police that when they arrived at his grandparents’ house, he refused to get out of the vehicle and requested to be taken to his friend’s house. She said she refused and he took the keys from the ignition and ran out of the car. She said she then chased him around the house to get the keys back and returned to her vehicle, opened the trunk and retrieved her hair iron. She said that at some point he struck her and she retrieved the iron to hit him. She said he then took it from her and hit her on the front of her leg. The woman was unwilling to show police her injury or take a picture of it. She had no other injuries or bruising. She did not want to press any charges against him. She pulled up in her vehicle shortly after police arrived on scene. The man’s phone was in her vehicle and it was returned to him. As there were no witnesses to the event, both of them admitted to striking the other, and neither was willing to press charges in a mutual combative instance, both of them left the area separately and stated they would not be contacting each other.

Johnson & Johnson & Regret

Johnson & Johnson, the one-and-done vaccine, was supposed to be the easy way out of COVID. Instead, it became a kind of purgatory.
— Read on

But after months of confusion, there remains more or less radio silence on the J&J question from those famously effective communicators at the CDC and FDA.


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s popularity is plunging says new poll

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s popularity is plunging says new poll:

And when matched up against Matthew McConaughey, the actor would beat [Texas Governor Greg] Abbott by 9 points, while Beto O’Rourke nips at Abbott’s heels.

From The Hill:

Neither O’Rourke nor McConaughey has officially declared a run for office.

Alright, alright, alright

I don’t think any of the 3 would make a good governor, but 2 of them would do better than the incumbent. 

Watch Martha Wells and Becky Chambers in Conversation |

Watch Martha Wells and Becky Chambers in Conversation |

… Brookline Booksmith hosted Martha Wells (Fugitive Telemetry) and Becky Chambers (A Psalm for the Wild-Built) in conversation—and now, anyone can watch it! The bookstore has posted their hour-long discussion on YouTube for all to see.

Chambers’ new novella, A Psalm for the Wild-Built, is the story of a tea monk who encounters a robot in the woods. The robots of Panga attained sentience ages ago, and no one has seen one since, but this one has come back to the human world to ask a seemingly simple question: What do people need?

Wells’ latest is an entry into her beloved Murderbot series, which began with 2017’s All Systems Red. This time, Murderbot finds a dead body on Preservation Station and reluctantly assists human security in figuring out what happened.

The two discuss outlining (or not); television watching (Wells, like all wise viewers, enjoys Elementary); how much time Chambers thought about tea while writing Psalm; writing with compassion for your characters; and how excellent it is that more voices are telling their stories in SFF.

A fantastic talk with two authors who’s’ works I enjoy for entirely different reasons but read during the pandemic.

Cannot stress enough how great a TV show Elementary is.

※ Links above are ones I inserted.