Matt could be quoted a bit more (Marginally Compelling is a good name):

"When the winter surge hit every region of the United States, the gap between red and blue counties shrank. David Leonhardt explained this away:

>>The most likely explanation seems to be that the number of Trump voters vulnerable to severe illness — which was still very large earlier last year — has declined, because more of them have built up some immunity to Covid from a previous infection.


I find this explanation opportunistic. He’s looking for a reason to explain why he was wrong and this one seems to fit the bill. He has no data to support it other than the fact that he made a prediction based on his assumptions in September and got it terribly wrong. Rather than admit his prediction failed because his theory was probably wrong, he fishes around for a mentally satisfying explanation that allows him to keep his theory intact."

The NYT is deliberately trying to increase antagonism between Red & Blue, by looking for a data presentation that can support his bias, his narrative.

Ben's discussion of Twitter, plus Ben's link to Jin for a thorough summary of Twitter system architecture, was a pleasure to read for enough but not quite too much details. The details you didn't mention were interesting to this retired geek:

"Step back a moment and think about the fundamental infrastructure of the Internet: we have a media protocol in HTTP/web, and a communications protocol in SMTP/email; what is missing is a notifications protocol. And yet, at the same time, if there is one lesson from mobile, it is just how important notifications are; a secondary consideration is how important identity is. If you can know how to reach someone, ... "

The added explanation of details leads me to give greater credence to his analysis and speculative implications. He's thus more probably right.

Matt also ended his fine note with a 1938 short Disney animation of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod - which I didn't see when my kids were toddlers, but is again relevant for my grandkids.

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Ed West/Tony Parsons is somewhat wrong. The argument is unsophisticated and lazy. I would be the first person to say that the current UK govt has done a dismal job of grabbing Brexit opportunities, but immigration numbers having gone up is not evidence of failing to take control of borders. Very few people voted for Brexit driven by the expectation it would mean less immigration overall, they voted for it because they wanted CONTROL over immigration. Our higher numbers now compared to pre-Brexit are largely because we have liberalised immigration mechanisms for people from the likes of India and Nigeria and torn up all rules to welcome people from Hong Kong.

The covid vaccine is another example of a huge benefit which we would not as achieved anything like as quickly within the EU. We were vaccinating half a million people a day before the French and Germans had vaxxed anybody, them having conducted their development and procurement under the usual EU bureaucratic nightmare. As a direct consequence, we opened up way ahead of any EU nation. We have also been way ahead on Ukraine.

There are sound arguments for Brexit having been an error and opportunities not being seized, but West/Parsons don't make them.

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"vaccine administration for the highest risk group (+65 age group) is up to 80-90% for even the reddest states"

I don't understand how this might not also be consistent with vaccination rates among other cohorts where the benefit to self/benefit to others is lower to be influenced by political views. Maybe it is not and there is no correlation of it is a spurious correlation, but its an empirical question for any age group and could hold for some and not for others.

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and — this is the really funny bit — immigration is now running at near-record levels. This despite the whole thing really being about immigration to start with

Presumably this is explained by the fact that avoiding the negative impact of Brexit on growth through joining the EEA would have been noticed, avoiding some of it by not reducing immigration -- one of the major benefits of the EC -- could go unnoticed. In other words, the Government is cynical but not stupid.

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Facebook did have this kind of content moderation federation. You police your circle of friends. Unfortunately, some people believe that they should police other peoples' friends. Freedom of speech and freedom of association? Not for thee. It wouldn't work better for Twitter apps. You just insert a requirement for Twitter to censor the apps that aren't censoring their communities in a way that pleases the other communities.

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