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Trust Randall To Find A Simple Way To Explain It

I speak, needless to say of the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna which are helping the fight against the novel coronavirus.

The idea of vaccines has always been simple — we’ll give you a tiny bit of what causes the disease, not enough to make you sick, but enough to teach your body how to fight it — even if we’ve sacrificed accuracy for comprehension. But how to discuss this new generation of vaccines, where we convince your body to make that
tiny bit? What analogy could possibly serve?

Death Stars, naturally. I do feel bad for that one guy from Construction Crew B in panel 17. I don’t feel bad at all for befuddled Darth Vader in panel 29.

In other news:

  • Ever since David Morgan-Mar (PhD, LEGO®©™etc) got de-jobbed ’bout two years back, he’s been trying his hand¹ at a number of things; kudos to Australia for having the kind of social safety net that he has the opportunity to do this without worrying about dying from some hideous disease for the crime of being unemployed. Today, he announced another endeavour, one that you might want to take advantage of in these days of kids being thrown into a situation where the education is largely ad-hoc:

    I’ve signed up as a teacher on Outschool, an online teaching platform, and today I listed my first class. It’s a one-off class on Human Vision and Colour Perception, for students aged 12-14 years. If you have (or know) children of this age who might like to learn this stuff, please feel free to sign up for a class! It’s taught via Zoom and is available to students all around the world. Here’s a link to the class. I’m currently offering two time slots in a couple of weeks, but will open up more slots as demand allows. I’m also planning to add other classes on different topics, so you could follow my teacher profile too, if you like.

    Impressively, given that Morgan-Mar is in the Far Antipodes, he found a daylight time for himself (9:00am in Sydney) that will work well for many folks around the world: 5:00pm EST translates to times between 1:00pm and 6:30pm in the Western Hemisphere, and pretty reasonable through the Pacific coast of Asia (7:00am in Tokyo and Seoul, 6:00am as far west as Kuala Lumpur or Singapore; 11:00am in New Zealand). 10:00pm in London or 11:00pm in the western half of Europe might be acceptable, but probably anybody between Athens and Jakarta will probably have to wait to see if he’s willing to do a class at 5:00pm Sydney time.

  • We at Fleen have discussed the ability of comics to provide scientific literacy in the past, pointing to the likes of Lucas Landherr/Dante Shepherd, Maki Naro, Darryl Cunningham, Cathy Leamy, and more². To that, we can add a collective effort from some former grad students at University of Wisconsin-Madison (together known as JKX Comics), who are Kickstarting an anthology about STEAM research. Here’s where I have to throw in a disclaimer: the named creator of this campaign and the J in JKX Comics is Dr Jaye Gardiner, who is a friend of mine from Comics Camp; she’s also figuring out how to cure cancer, which is just the baseline level of awesome you tend to get from Camp folks.

    Gaining STEAM!: Illuminating Research Through Art will be seven comic books in color, adding up to about 200 pages, spanning the full range of STEAM fields: microbes! DNA! squirrels! and more! It funded in about five hours yesterday, is currently over 200% funded, and according to the ol’ FFF mk2, is on track to US$22K to 33K (or about 6x to 9x goal) by the time it’s done in a month. Give this one a good look, and point the science-intrigued in your life to JKX Comics for more.

  • Finally, it’s cold through much of the country, particularly in places that aren’t used to extreme cold. Spare a good thought or two for the folks in Texas who’ve lost power because deregulation is now allowing price-gouging at the utility level, and if you’re hunkered down right about now: stay warm, stay dry, do not bring grills, heaters driven by combustion, or generators indoors, and keep your faucets at a trickle so your pipes don’t freeze. And whatever willfully truthless shitbags might try to tell you this disproves global warming, Randall would like you to know better.

Spam of the day:

Best Hair Loss Treatment | Worldwide Delivery

Since I’m now double-vaccinated (woo hoo! Dolly shot!), I’m getting stuff done that I’ve put off. We mentioned the dentist and I went to the doctor yesterday, and tomorrow I get a haircut because right now my hair is long enough to get tangled in my moustache. But do tell me about your hair-loss scam, I’m fascinated.

¹ Just a little hand joke. Keep moving, folks.

² I seem to recall a pair of guys named Randall and David, for example.

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