The past few weeks have seen a surge of fevered rhetoric in the media. Here are a few examples:
Senator Warns of a Republican Blood Bath
Lawmakers gloomy, back on defense after debate fiasco
Election Experts Warn of November Disaster
[One Party] warns of chaos if [Other Party] wins
Senators warn of ‘catastrophe’ if eviction protections expire
Critics say he cannot be absolved of responsibility for the election-day carnage.
5 ways the Russians could wreak havoc on the 2020 election
We’re about to watch the biggest debacle in history and we have front row seats.
Let’s have a look at these scary words: bloodbath, fiasco, disaster, chaos, catastrophe, carnage, havoc, debacle. When are they appropriate to the context, and when are they overkill?
bloodbath (noun): a battle or fight at which much blood is spilt; a wholesale slaughter, a massacre.
Blood is one of the most evocative words in English. It seems overkill to use the word bloodbath for anything less serious than literal bloodshed.
fiasco (noun): a failure or break-down in a dramatic or musical performance. In a general sense, an ignominious failure.
Fiasco comes from an Italian word meaning “flask or bottle.” No one quite knows how it came to mean a failure, but it apparently originated as theater slang. It has a connotation of humiliation, so it seems an appropriate choice for a political failure.
disaster (noun): An event or occurrence of a ruinous or very distressing nature; a calamity; especially a sudden accident or natural catastrophe that causes great damage or loss of life. The word entered English from Middle French desastre, “catastrophe, calamity, misfortune.”
chaos (noun): the formless void believed to have existed before the creation of the universe; primordial matter. In current usage, chaos is used to describe any confused, disordered state.
catastrophe (noun): a final event; a conclusion generally unhappy; a sudden disaster, wide-spread, very fatal.
carnage (noun): the slaughter of a great number.
Like blood, carnage is a word to evoke a visceral reaction. One visualizes heaps of bloody bodies.
havoc (noun): devastation, destruction.
The word comes from a phrase, perhaps originally Germanic, that was used as the signal for the seizure of spoil, and so of general spoliation or pillage.
English speakers are familiar with the line in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, spoken by Marc Antony as he imagines the slain Caesar’s spirit in search of revenge, “cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war.”
The verbs most commonly used with havoc are wreak and play.
A snowstorm wreaked havoc in Washington, nearly cancelling the inaugural parade.
The winds played havoc with any ball in the air, and also helped skew the score.
wreak and play.
debacle (noun): a sudden breaking up or downfall; a confused rush or rout, a stampede.
Merriam-Webster defines debacle as “a great disaster, a complete failure” and gives fiasco as a synonym. It seems that a debacle would be much worse than a fiasco. Consider its original meaning as given in the OED:
debacle: A breaking up of ice in a river; in geology, a sudden deluge or violent rush of water, which breaks down opposing barriers, and carries before it blocks of stone and other debris.
There are degrees of failure, humiliation, and calamity. Context should influence word-choice.
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Earlier this week I ran into a fun quick blog post named Beating C with 70 lines of Go,
which reimplements the basic functionality of wc in Go using various
approaches and compares their performance. Apparently it’s inspired by an
earlier Haskell-based post and several
The optimized approach taken in the Go implementation is very similar to what I
did in assembly, so it seemed like an interesting comparison. I started by
generating a ~580 MiB file using xmlgen
and ran the various versions against each other:
LC_TYPE=POSIX wc: 2.13 sec
wc-naive.go: 3.53 sec
wc-chunks.go: 1.37 sec
wcx64: 1.2 sec
Note the LC_TYPE setting for the system’s wc. This is important for a
fair comparison, because without this wc will attempt to do utf-8
decoding on all bytes in the file, which results in significant slowdowns. Since
the Go versions use byte-counts and so does my wcx64, I force the comparison
to be fair. In fact, this isn’t a bad result for Go – the straightforward
solution is almost as fast as the same approach direct-coded in assembly!
The Go blog post follows with parallelized versions which are much faster than
the serial one, but I’m excluding it here because all the other competitors are
single-threaded. This is not a serious benchmark anyway. If you prefer to
be serious, this response using SIMD-optimized C blows everything out of the water:
fastlwc: 0.11 sec
The conclusion? Well, there’s no real conclusion here, beyond that coding
exercises like this are fun in any language 🙂
Among them are county councils in San Bernardino, California, and Montgomery, Maryland, as well as authorities in Michigan, Nevada, Cleveland, Denver, and Indianapolis.
“The AMA recognizes that racism negatively impacts and exacerbates health inequities among historically marginalized communities,” Willarda Edwards, an AMA board member, said in a statement published Monday.
“Without systemic and structural-level change, health inequities will continue to exist, and the overall health of the nation will suffer.”
Dr. Jessica Shepherd, a Black OG-GYN in Dallas, told Business Insider AMA’s move is critical to address racial disparities in healthcare from the top down.
“We fail to realize that there are so many things that occur at the systemic part of healthcare that if we don’t make changes such as the one we’re discussing now, then we’ll never really get to the heart of the problem,” Shepherd said.
Still, there’s a lot more work to be done. “Meaningful impact happens when words become action,” Dr. Jose Torradas, an emergency medicine physician who’s worked extensively with Spanish-speaking and low-income populations, told Insider.
“Our asymmetric approach to public health and the distribution of resources has taken form over decades, and change won’t happen overnight.”
COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people of color
The disparity has been extremely apparent during the coronavirus crisis, in which Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) have been disproportionately affected.
Pregnant women of color also seem to be at higher risk for severe COVID-19 cases, with one study in the UK finding that more than half of hospitalized pregnant COVID-19 patients were from ethnic minority groups.
Why racism, not biology, drives up rates of preexisting conditions among POC
BIPOC tend to have health conditions that make them statistically more susceptible to infectious diseases. But that’s not simply genetics; it’s access to care, fresh food, and exposure to dangerous environments.
Reluctance to seek medical care is also influenced by the fact that people of color are underrepresented in the medical community, which affects patient care, Shepherd said.
“Many times we have seen that communication can differ, and placing people in the community who look like them can have great impact on outcomes,” she said. One study found that Black babies are three times as likely to die as white babies when cared for by white doctors. Another found Black men who had a Black doctor received more effective care.
Torrades said that rather than overt racism, racial disparities in access to care is the threat to public health. When he worked in a low-income California county, for example, there were far fewer clinics and much longer waits than his training location in an affluent corner of New York.
“Even with insurance many people in the US have to wait weeks or months to get care,” he said, “but it’s even more pronounced in poorer areas.”
Studies have found Black people receive different treatment
Systemic racism plays out in other ways, too.
“To this day, Black people are less likely to get the same treatment in terms of pain medication, they’re more likely to wait longer in the ER, they’re less likely to be taken seriously — it’s a holdover from the days of slavery,” Dr. Jennifer Lincoln, an OB-GYN, said on TikTok in response to the death of Nicole Thea, a London-based social media star, who died July 11 along with her unborn child at 8 months pregnant.
The AMA apologized “for its past history of racial inequality toward African-American physicians, and shares its current efforts to increase the ranks of minority physicians and their participation.”
On Monday, the association said it would enact several new policies, including:
To “encourage governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations to increase funding for research into the epidemiology of risks and damages related to racism and how to prevent or repair them.”
To “encourage the development, implementation and evaluation of undergraduate, graduate and continuing medical education programs and curricula that engender greater understanding of the causes, influences, and effects of systemic, cultural, institutional and interpersonal racism.”
Torrades told Insider he’d like to see racial disparities addressed by moving away from for-profit health systems and a fee-for-service payment model, incentivizing medical providers to practice in poorer neighborhoods.
“If someone has to choose between their medicine and keeping the lights on or feeding their family, they will most certainly forego the medication all together or start rationing their pills,” Torrades said.
‘It is not sufficient for medicine to be nonracist’
Michael Suk, an AMA board member, said Monday: “AMA is dedicated to dismantling racist and discriminatory policies and practices across all of health care, and that includes the way we define race in medicine.”
“We believe it is not sufficient for medicine to be nonracist, which is why the AMA is committed to pushing for a shift in thinking from race as a biological risk factor to a deeper understanding of racism as a determinant of health.”
Shepherd told Business Insider that it’s important for organizations that take responsiblity for making changes like these, rather than leaving the onus on individuals.
“I’ve been pleasantly and unpleasantly surprised with how far we’ve gotten, and I can only imagine how far we can get if we continue to have these conversations,” she said. “This is not going to happen overnight. This is something that’s going to a while to get to some feeling of resolution.”
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More Great WPBakery Resources on Envato Tuts+
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said there should be liability for “some content” on its site, but that it still shouldn’t be regulated as news publishers are, a move that has emerged amid the ongoing discussion around Section 230 revisions.
Section 230 is an internet law that shields online platforms from being liable for content that people post, a liability that applies to news publishers.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers have been advocating for Section 230 reform to combat alleged anti-conservative bias and the spread of misinformation, respectively — a reform that could majorly impact these companies’ businesses.
But Zuckerberg argued that Facebook isn’t a publisher since it doesn’t create content and that it isn’t a telecom company either and should therefore be upheld by a distinct regulatory model.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it “makes sense” for there to be some liability for some content on its site in a Tuesday Senate hearing. However, he said he doesn’t think that means tech companies should be regulated as news publishers, a possibility that has been floated as the discussion continues around revisions to Section 230.
The topic was broached during Tuesday’s virtual hearing when Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) asked Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for their take on how revisions of the internet law could apply to them. Since the 1990s, Section 230 has been protecting internet companies from being liable for content that people post on their sites, a liability that applies to news publishers. Lawmakers are now stressing for Section 230 to be revised and for tech to be regulated as publishers or telecommunications companies.
But the CEO said Facebook isn’t like a phone company or a news publisher since Facebook doesn’t create content but rather gives a platform for people to voice their opinions.
“I do think we have responsibilities, and it may make sense for there to be liability for some of the content that is on the platform,” Zuckerberg said. “But I don’t think the analogies to these other industries that were created previously will ever be fully the right way to look at this.”
Zuckerberg proposed that there should instead be a separate regulatory system for internet platforms that have emerged in the last couple of decades.
“People ask if the regulatory model should be more like the news industry or more like telcos, but from my perspective, these platforms are a new industry and should have a different regulatory model that is distinct from either of those other two,” Zuckerberg said.
Section 230 has gone from a somewhat stodgy internet law to a hot-button topic in recent years as many on both sides of the aisle have called for greater regulation in the tech industry. The law has become politicized despite revisions of some sort having largely been a bipartisan issue — Democrats have been pushing for Section 230 to be tweaked to hold tech firms more accountable when policing the spread of misinformation and hate speech online. Republicans are pushing for Section 230 reform because of what they say is rampant discrimination of conservative content on tech platforms.
Tuesday’s hearing was scheduled to discuss how Twitter and Facebook moderate content on their site, specifically how they have done so around the 2020 presidential election and how they handled a New York Post story about Joe Biden’s son. Conservative lawmakers during the hearing have in part questioned Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey over what they say is anti-conservative bias on their platforms.