The First Epistemological Problem of Long Covid


The question that everyone wants an answer to, "What are the chances that if I get COVID-19 I will also get Long Covid?" isn't one that has an answer. We are not going to get any sort of useful statistics about the prevalence rates of Long Covid, not for a long, long time, and maybe not ever.

Because two years into this thing, we still don't have a working definition of Long Covid. [...]

Second, I keep running into studies that use proxy concepts like, "any PCR-confirmed COVID-positive patient who was still experiencing any COVID symptoms three months after infection," which bears no resemblance to what anybody means by Long Covid. That definition includes, for instance, people who are basically fine except their sense of smell hasn't returned. Now, that's a pretty serious medical problem, and I don't mean to make light of it, but it's very much not the same as a triathlete who can no longer climb stairs. [...]

I'm horrified and fascinated by what's playing out in medical science around Long Covid because, well, because of a lot of things. For one thing, there's what I already, coming into this, knew about the pretty much complete failure of medicine and medical research to treat previous conditions like fibromyalgia and ME/CFS seriously, and even treat conditions like Lyme disease adequately seriously. I feel like these failures of medicine have been viewed, until the Pandemic, by the larger society as trivial edge cases. But now, now that everyone is aware that there is this hideous possibility that if you get COVID you might never get better, there's this dawning realization that post-viral conditions aren't quite so trivial or rare after all, and medical science's failure to address those conditions means we have much less information than we might like to have about this one -- and also less in the way of conceptual tools.

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The Web3 Fraud

Nicholas Weaver:

The technical underpinnings are so terrible that it is clear they exist only to hype the underlying cryptocurrencies. The actual utility of these "decentralized" systems is already available in modern distributed systems in ways that are several orders of magnitude more efficient and more capable. [...]

So what does the supposed "web3" add to this vision? The cryptocurrency web3 starts with all our existing infrastructure. So I still need a DNS name, I still need a server, I still need storage, and I still have a distributed computation occurring between the browser and the server. So already I haven't removed any of the gatekeepers from the conventional distributed system, showing the claims of gatekeeper-free decentralization are false.

Web3 is only about adding an additional layer of complexity in the name of justifying the underlying cryptocurrencies. The web browser is augmented with a cryptocurrency wallet and part of the computation and storage is shifted from my server to the decentralized cryptocurrency infrastructure. [...]

So why this hype? Because the cryptocurrency space, at heart, is simply a giant ponzi scheme where the only way early participants make money is if there are further suckers entering the space. The only "utility" for a cryptocurrency (outside criminal transactions and financial frauds) is what someone else will pay for it and anything to pretend a possible real-word utility exists to help find new suckers.

After all, a programmer doing the most basic test of a web3 prototype is going to need to get the cryptocurrency, spend the cryptocurrency, and any application will require all users to get the cryptocurrency as well. If this gets abandoned quickly due to the inevitable technical failure "web3" still accomplished its goal of getting more suckers in and extracting their money.

So in the end web3 is a con job, a technological edifice that is beyond useless as anyone who attempts to deploy a real application will quickly discover.

Of course, Mozilla says, "Decentralized web technology continues to be an important area for us to explore."

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