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The Monday 6 − December 6, 2021

The Monday 6
The Monday 6 − December 6, 2021
By Kyle Petzinger • Issue #38 • View online
Hi there, friend.
Apologies for missing last week. Caught some bug that really knocked me out for ~24 hours. No, it wasn’t COVID. 😊
Here are this week’s 6:

1. Alex Smith's Comeback Story TED Talk
Alex Smith (a quarterback) was drafted #1 overall by the San Francisco 49ers in 2005. While he was never quite the star the #1 draft pick is “supposed” to be, he was always a steady game manager, doing what was needed to help his team win.
In November 2018, Alex, now the quarterback for the (then-called) Washington Redskins suffered a gruesome compound fracture of both bones in his lower leg. It’s brutal to watch.
As an aside, check out all the bizarre coincidences between Joe Theismann (a Redskins QB who also broke his leg) and Alex Smith’s injuries here.
Alex nearly lost his leg from the injury and was at risk of dying at one point. Long story short, Alex made an incredible recovery & comeback, managing to return to the football field last year.
Alex recently gave a TED talk, diving deep into his injury, recovery, and how he dealt with the fear the injury brought. It’s a great talk with a universal message of overcoming self-doubt and fear.
Fair warning (he warns of this in the video): he shares some gruesome pictures.
Alex Smith: An NFL quarterback on overcoming setbacks and self-doubt | TED
Alex Smith: An NFL quarterback on overcoming setbacks and self-doubt | TED
2. Make Tweets Look Beautiful takes any tweet and makes it look beautiful, allowing you to customize and download it as an image. It’s totally free, unlike every other tool like this I’ve come across.
Here’s an example:
John Wooden was just the best human to ever live.
John Wooden was just the best human to ever live. | Create Beautiful Images of Twitter Posts
3. How To Bump An Asteroid
SpaceX and NASA teamed up to launch a spacecraft at an asteroid with the expressed purpose of crashing into it to knock it off its trajectory. Don’t worry: this asteroid isn’t on the path to hit earth; it’s just a test mission.
The spacecraft won’t reach the asteroid for almost a year, and scientists should ascertain shortly after that if the plans were successful.
If that doesn’t work, we’ll probably have to hire oil drillers to help us out whenever the real one comes along.
NASA will launch mission to crash into a near-Earth asteroid to try to change its motion in space
4. Tweet Thread On Film Color In Bond Films
This tweet thread on the color techniques was the deep dive I didn’t know I needed.
Read if you love Bond or the subtlety of colors in film. Fascinating.
Devan Scott
SKYFALL and SPECTRE sure are an interesting contrast in colour direction techniques!
5. Why Can't We Take The Pfizer Covid Pill Yet?
On November 5th of this year, Pfizer (via an independent board) decided to end the trials for its antiviral pill Paxlovid prematurely out of ethical concerns. Paxlovid was expressly designed to combat an active COVID-19 infection and showed a reduction in hospitalization & death of 89%.
The aforementioned ethical concerns were triggered because the drug was so amazingly effective and should move forward with approval for public use ASAP.
This post lays out the ridiculous paradox we find ourselves in right now. Here’s an extended quote, but I encourage you to read the whole piece.
“The trial was stopped due to ‘ethical considerations’ for being too effective. You see, we live in a world in which:
  1. It is illegal to give this drug to any patients, because it hasn’t been proven safe and effective.
  2. It is illegal to continue a trial to study the drug, because it has been proven so safe and effective that it isn’t ethical to not give the drug to half the patients.
  3. Who, if they weren’t in the study, couldn’t get the drug at all, because it is illegal due to not being proven safe and effective yet. 
  4. So now no one gets added to the trial so those who would have been definitely don’t get Paxlovid, and are several times more likely to die.
  5. But our treatment of them is now ‘ethical.’
  6. For the rest of time we will now hear about how it was only seven deaths and we can’t be sure Paxlovid works or how well it works, and I expect to spend hours arguing over exactly how much it works.
  7. For the rest of time people will argue the study wasn’t big enough so we don’t know the Paxlovid is safe.
  8. Those arguments will then be used both by people arguing to not take Paxlovid, and people who want to require other interventions because of these concerns.
  9. FDA Delenda Est.”
We are now >1 month since this trial was cut short. A new variant is causing significant worldwide concern, and a considerable winter wave of cases is beginning. Do you know what might be nice to have right now? THE SUPER-EFFECTIVE PILL SITTING ON SHELVES.
What’s maybe even more frustrating to me: this is just okay with us. There is open disdain for individuals who choose not to be vaccinated, but this is orders of magnitude more impactful, yet we…just don’t care.
What if you or someone you loved contracted COVID and died in the next few weeks, despite an effective treatment sitting on shelves waiting for bureaucrats to approve it?
Our institutions are still failing us.
As suggested in the piece above:
I propose the Law of Efficacy, which states that the requirement to halt a trial due to a drug being ‘too effective’ is that the drug has been approved for public use by the regulatory authorities. 
If it’s so damn obvious that the drug is safe and effective that we don’t need more data, then the authorities can make that determination. Until then, no halting trials.
This piece from Astral Star Codex (aka Scott Alexander) also wades through the paradox of this indecision. Absolutely worth a read.
When Will The FDA Approve Paxlovid? - Astral Codex Ten
6. High Crimes And Pop Tarts
From the Very Important News™ filings, pressure is mounting for Kellog’s to either clear the air or pay up about what’s in frosted strawberry Pop-Tarts.
Over the past year, at least three lawsuits have been filed claiming the brand’s strawberry-flavored varieties don’t contain enough actual strawberries relative to other, lesser-known fruit ingredients.
The latest suit, filed in the Southern District of New York last week and focused on Pop-Tart’s “Whole Grain Frosted Strawberry” flavor, alleges that the products contain more pears and apples than strawberries. The case asks for $5 million in relief.
I hope if successful, it will be possible to claim damages in the form of free Pop-Tarts.
Are There Enough Strawberries in a Kellogg’s Strawberry Pop-Tart? A Court Might Decide
That’s it for this week. If you found anything useful or fun, let me know! And if you have any suggestions, shoot them my way. 😊 See you next week!
Did you enjoy this issue?
Kyle Petzinger

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