Notes for the week of July 19, 2021

This week in The Dragon of DC

I made a tweak to the end of episode 3 (“Arcmagius”), changing the speaking style of the mysterious dragon. This came as a result of being unhappy with how she sounded in episode 5.

Speaking of episode 5: It went live on July 23rd! “Sthynzovas” is the name of the episode that wraps up the series premiere arc of five episodes. After this, I’ll be getting more into the groove of the series.

Some thoughts on improving Kindle Vella

I recognize that Vella is brand new (not even two weeks old!). There are definitely things that I hope will be improved to help make the platform successful:

  1. Send email for new episodes of followed Vellas. Maybe this happens, but I haven’t seen it yet. This is absolutely crucial, because not many people will notice the little bell icon in the Kindle app, and the Kindle app doesn’t even seem to have push notifications.
  2. Android support, which is so obvious I’m sure it’s on the roadmap
  3. The “popularity” sort on the top lists makes no sense at all.
  4. Publish to beta readers before publishing to everyone. This would be a delightful enhancement down the line, especially since I’ve heard that there are some people putting first draft quality material up and then revising after feedback. Vella is a paid serial format, so I would expect the quality of episodes to be much closer to the quality of a fully edited novel.

Risk of delta variant to vaccinated folks

An article in Slate about COVID-19 digs into the risk to vaccinated people, highlighting the difference between “mild” case as defined by doctors and by laypeople. Essentially, a mild case according to doctors is one that doesn’t require a trip to the hospital or low blood oxygen levels, but it can still feel really terrible for a few days.

Virginia shares COVID stats by vaccination

Virginia Department of Health has a page detailing the vaccination status of their COVID-19 cases. Over the past month, 97.7% of their cases have been among the unvaccinated, 93.22% of the hospitalizations, and 83.33% of the deaths. Part of the reason the deaths percentage is so low is that there have only been 6 in total during that time frame.

Statistics show the risk of not getting vaccinated

ABC News has a round up of stats showing just how dangerous it is to not get the COVID-19 vaccine.

More evidence of outdoor and “fleeting” delta spread

Eric Feigl-Ding tweeted a bunch of articles with increased outdoor and fleeting contact spread of COVID-19. It’s scary how much more transmissible delta is, but the vaccines are still holding up.

Your idea is brilliant, your idea is worthless

From Stonemaier Games' blog: Your idea is brilliant, your idea is worthless is a perfect expression of how execution really is everything when it comes to ideas.

Tom Russell on estimating large projects

Planning and Estimating Large-Scale Software Projects is a very nice introduction to the topic. There are certainly other ways to approach it, but I like the description of finding the critical path and estimating the earliest time.

Three cheers for socialism

David Bentley Hart wrote Three cheers for socialism, which I discovered on Twitter with a share of this paragraph:

Americans are, of course, the most thoroughly and passively indoctrinated people on earth. They know next to nothing as a rule about their own history, or the histories of other nations, or the histories of the various social movements that have risen and fallen in the past, and they certainly know little or nothing of the complexities and contradictions comprised within words like “socialism” and “capitalism.” Chiefly, what they have been trained not to know or even suspect is that, in many ways, they enjoy far fewer freedoms, and suffer under a more intrusive centralized state, than do the citizens of countries with more vigorous social-democratic institutions. This is at once the most comic and most tragic aspect of the excitable alarm that talk of social democracy or democratic socialism can elicit on these shores. An enormous number of Americans have been persuaded to believe that they are freer in the abstract than, say, Germans or Danes precisely because they possess far fewer freedoms in the concrete. They are far more vulnerable to medical and financial crisis, far more likely to receive inadequate health coverage, far more prone to irreparable insolvency, far more unprotected against predatory creditors, far more subject to income inequality, and so forth, while effectively paying more in tax (when one figures in federal, state, local, and sales taxes, and then compounds those by all the expenditures that in this country, as almost nowhere else, their taxes do not cover). One might think that a people who once rebelled against the mightiest empire on earth on the principle of no taxation without representation would not meekly accept taxation without adequate government services. But we accept what we have become used to, I suppose. Even so, one has to ask, what state apparatus in the “free” world could be more powerful and tyrannical than the one that taxes its citizens while providing no substantial civic benefits in return, solely in order to enrich a piratically overinflated military-industrial complex and to ease the tax burdens of the immensely wealthy?