2022 Index

Conversation #65: Joshua on the Pandemic (June 12, 2022)

I (Paul) sat down for a free-ranging conversation with my son Joshua, age 13. I prompted him with a few questions:

Has this time made your relationships with family members better, or worse? And in what ways?

Joshua has a YouTube channel you can find here. He is also on Discord and Twitter.

Other Ways to Listen

Download the MP3

Here is a direct link to download the MP3 file, which should work with most browsers. When the download is complete, the file will probably wind up in your Downloads folder, and on most systems, double-clicking the file should open a suitable player.

Subscribe to the Podcast Feed

The Podcast feed is here. You should be able to use that link to subscribe to the podcast. Copy (write down, or otherwise make note of) the link. On iOS (iPhone or iPad), open the Podcasts app. Tap “Library.” Tap the “…” button in the upper right corner, and then tap “Add a Show by URL…” Paste in, or type in, that URL and tap “Follow.” If you are using a different platform, you might be able to find instructions in this blog post by Josh Muccio.

Play it on YouTube

This episode is also on YouTube here. It is audio-only. Note that because I often use brief clips of copyrighted music, YouTube may insert ads or block viewing in some locations (for example, some episodes can’t be viewed in Cuba). Even if a video can be played now, there is no guarantee YouTube won’t change these permissions in the future.

The Podcast channel on YouTube, which should show all available episodes, is here.


Conversation #63, Part 10: Bringing it Home (May 30, 2022)

This is the conclusion to our multi-part Conversation 63, which started with part 1 in early August, 2021. Grace leads this discussion with three main points, which she has summarized as follows:

First of all, this is not a matter of personal responsibility, but a matter of sound governance and leadership.

The second point carries some subtleties, but is basically that there are three ways (four, if you count doing nothing) to respond to a novel viral public health threat: Eradication, Elimination (nearly the same as eradication), and Mitigation. Absent context, these stratagems are morally neutral. But in this context, ideally Eradication, but at least Elimination is, and was, the only moral course.

Third, your virtue isn’t going to save you, or us. Terrible things befall virtuous people. Terrible people escape earthly justice all the time. This is not a matter of religious faith, or sympathetic magic, but of knowledge and trust.

How to Listen

You can find the MP3 file here.

The Podcast feed is here.

Note that I recently changed our server to support HTTPS. All future podcast links will use HTTPS, and HTTP requests to our server should be automatically redirected to use HTTPS.

This episode is also on YouTube here. It is audio-only. Note that because I often use brief clips of copyrighted music, YouTube may insert ads or block viewing in some locations (for example, some episodes can’t be viewed in Cuba). Even if a video can be played now, there is no guarantee YouTube won’t change these permissions in the future.

The Podcast channel on YouTube is here.


Conversation #64: Five COVID-19 Myths (April 17, 2022)

On a beautifully cool spring day, Grace and I went for a walk and talked about the plants coming back to life in our garden, the black-capped chickadees, and five widely-believed but false myths about COVID-19, which are based in part on wishful thinking, in part on anti-vax and pro-vax talking points, and in part on our understanding of other diseases. These myths are:

  1. COVID-19 is best countered by sanitizing surfaces.

  2. We can achieve herd immunity.

  3. COVID-19 will become endemic like the common cold.

  4. Long COVID is not a big deal.

  5. The after-effects of COVID-19 are mild so re-infection is not a big deal.

The hard truths we must accept instead are:

  1. COVID-19 is not typically transmitted by contact with surfaces.

  2. We will not be able to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, either through vaccination or infection.

  3. COVID-19 will not shift to an acceptable endemic state.

  4. So-called long COVID is not rare, not mild, happens to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, and is not a product of hypochondria.

  5. The after-effects of COVID-19 infection are not yet fully understood, but evidence suggests they are very dangerous and may be cumulative, leading to hepatitis, diabetes, cardiac problems, severe vascular damage, and damage to the immune system allowing opportunistic infections.

So, what do we do next? Grace has realistic but unpopular policy proposals: ongoing masking, improved ventilation, and filtration. It starts with risk mitigation, and identifying and resisting the gaslighting going on all around us, including workplaces, institutions, and government.

The music clips are from Thomas Dolby’s song “Radio Silence,” originally released in 1982. This is the original version of the song. A re-recorded version called the “guitar version” was included in the US vinyl releases. The 1984 US CD release restores the original version.

How to Listen

You can find the MP3 file here.

The Podcast feed is here.

Note that I recently changed our server to support HTTPS. All future podcast links will use HTTPS, and HTTP requests to our server should be automatically redirected to use HTTPS.

This episode is also on YouTube here. It is audio-only. Note that because I often use brief clips of copyrighted music, YouTube may insert ads or block viewing in some locations (for example, some episodes can’t be viewed in Cuba). Even if a video can be played now, there is no guarantee YouTube won’t change these permissions in the future.

The Podcast channel on YouTube is here.