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Personal Science Week - 22 Dec 2022
When professionals get COVID, SiPhox blood test update, and links you haven't seen
This is your weekly summary, published each Thursday, of ideas and techniques that we think are helpful for anyone interested in adopting science for personal reasons. Don’t leave it all to the professionals!
We first mentioned SiPhox in Personal Science Week - 17 Nov 2022, with a sneak peek at our initial head-to-head test of a home-based test from SiPhox versus the more cumbersome LabCorp, which requires a special appointment and visit with a phlebotomist. Now you can read our full review in NEO.LIFE “At-home blood testing just got a whole lot better”, where we conclude:
Overall, despite a few biomarker inconsistencies compared to Labcorp, I’m impressed enough with SiPhox that I’ll continue my testing. Now that the technology for lower-cost and ultimately continuous testing is on the way, the once-a-year blood test at my annual physical exam seems about as useful as having a once-a-year heart rate test.
Look for the full side-by-side comparison of results in the NEO.LIFE review.
When doing our initial testing, we had been under the impression that SiPhox uses a new technology — silicon photonics — for this test. But the company alerted us afterwards that in fact their tests are currently being done on conventional equipment. The new technology will allow full at-home, near-instant testing using a low-cost hardware device, but that won’t be available until late in 2023. Meanwhile, take a five-minute YouTube tour of the SiPhox headquarters.
When Professional Scientists get COVID
Tanya Lewis is the Senior Health and Medicine Editor at Scientific American, where for the past three years she has led the magazine’s COVID coverage. When like 95%+ of the US population, she herself recently became infected by SARS-CoV-2, she wrote a lengthy Twitter thread summarizing her advice for how not to get COVID.
It’s filled with the usual suggestions, quoting various “scientific” studies that show this or that about mask-wearing, social distancing, air filtering, etc. and adds this:
As soon as vaccines became available, I got mine. I’ve gotten every booster I could since then, including the new bivalent booster that targets Omicron. (Despite its effectiveness, only 14 percent of people in the U.S. have gotten one!)
“Despite its effectiveness”, she says, apparently without irony. Obviously it wasn’t very effective for her. What makes her think it will be effective for the rest of us?
Meanwhile, we all know people who haven’t had the boosters, never wear masks, spend uninhibited time traveling and interacting with friends and relatives, and even (horrors!) hug their sick children — enjoying life for the past two years like non-scientists have for thousands of generations. Maybe they got COVID, maybe they didn’t, and of course we shouldn’t discount the many serious cases, but was it worth the herculean level of precautions that Scientific American insisted?
Personal Science doesn’t ask you to learn fancy equations or read arcane technical jargon (of course you should feel free to do so if you wish), but you are required to think for yourself and treat all suggestions with both an open mind and appropriate skepticism.
Don’t assume that, just because you are well-read, you know the full scope of COVID information. Here is a nice summary of how much COVID science has been suppressed and by whom:
Shir-Raz, Y., Elisha, E., Martin, B. et al. Censorship and Suppression of Covid-19 Heterodoxy: Tactics and Counter-Tactics. Minerva (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11024-022-09479-4
Art Chaidurun describes Ten Years of Logging My Life. “Is this chart mostly just noise? Maybe any underlying causes here will become more apparent as time goes on.”
“The Rise of Archeologists Anonymous”, what happens when smart people work on ideas that are considered out-of-bounds by academics.
About Personal Science
Personal Scientists are skeptical about everything. It's in our motto: Nullius in verba, the watchword of the Royal Society, founded in 1660: "take nobody’s word for it".
But you don’t practice science by watching, no matter how wonderful you find nature or technology. For Personal Scientists, science is a verb: something you do, not something you read about. What kind of Personal Science interests you? Let us know in the comments.
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