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Links for 2021-10-04

  • Wanghong

    At the simplest level, [wanghong] means “internet famous,” referring in its earliest iterations to viral personalities or social media influencers. The word has since mutated, expanding and venn-diagramming with a particular hipster aesthetic, strands of urban design and kinds of tech platform architecture.

    (tags: celebrity china photography internet neologisms wanghong instagram fame viral internet-famous)

  • The Three DynamoDB Limits You Need to Know

    tl;dr: the item size limit, the pagination page size limit for query and scans; and the partition throughput limits (which bit me earlier this year).

    (tags: dynamodb limits aws coding ops)

  • Orthodoxy, illusio, and playing the scientific game: a Bourdieusian analysis of infection control science in the COVID-19 pandemic

    I remember seeing discussion of aerosol and airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 observed in Asia, right back at the start of 2020. This paper is right; the WHO in particular were careful to write this off as incorrect, and tell people that it was transmitted mainly via droplets, which we now know was a massive failure.

    Scientific and policy bodies’ failure to acknowledge and act on the evidence base for airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in a timely way is both a mystery and a scandal. In this study, we applied theories from Bourdieu to address the question, “How was a partial and partisan scientific account of SARS-CoV-2 transmission constructed and maintained, leading to widespread imposition of infection control policies which de-emphasised airborne transmission?”. […] Results: Political and policy actors at international, national, and regional level aligned — predominantly though not invariably — with medical scientific orthodoxy which promoted the droplet theory of transmission and considered aerosol transmission unproven or of doubtful relevance. This dominant scientific sub-field centred around the clinical discipline of infectious disease control, in which leading actors were hospital clinicians aligned with the evidence-based medicine movement. Aerosol scientists — typically, chemists, and engineers — representing the heterodoxy were systematically excluded from key decision-making networks and committees. Dominant discourses defined these scientists’ ideas and methodologies as weak, their empirical findings as untrustworthy or insignificant, and their contributions to debate as unhelpful.

    (tags: via:naomi-wu covid-19 discourse infection bourdieu transmission aerosols droplets)

  • Microsoft’s million-tonne CO2-removal purchase — lessons for net zero

    Via David Roberts: “Microsoft is trying to go carbon-negative. Its recent RFP solicited bids for 154 million tonnes of negative emissions; of those, only *2 million tonnes* met its criteria for real, permanent CO2 removal. It has written up its challenges in Nature.” “We write as a team composed of Microsoft staff working on the company’s carbon-negative programme, and research scientists who analyse carbon reduction and removal strategies. We highlight three ‘bugs’ in the current system: inconsistent definitions of net zero, poor measurement and accounting of carbon, and an immature market in CO2 removal and offsets. These challenges need to be overcome if the world is to reach net zero by mid-century.”

    (tags: earth co2 microsoft stripe carbon carbon-capture climate-change net-zero)