Loose Ends (123)

First of all, happy Groundhog Day:

Second of all, happy Groundhog Day.

Okay, enough with the jokes. Serious question: Who shot Ashli Babbitt?

Usually after a law enforcement involved fatal shooting, we know the name of the officer within a day or two. But the officer who fired the fatal shot at Ashli Babbitt on January 6 has still not been publicly identified, even though news is out that the officer will likely not face any charges in the matter. Seems rather fast to have reached this conclusion before a full investigation of the confusing scene of January 6 is complete.

This little detail jumps out: “The officer, who has not been named, had been placed on leave after the Jan. 6 riot while an investigation took place.” I don’t think we’ve even been told exactly which branch of law enforcement this officer serves. I noticed when watching the video that the officer appears to be wearing cuff links, which is likely not usual apparel even for plain clothes Capitol Police. There have been some rumors that the officer is a member of the personal protection detail for congressional leadership. Finally, usually intrepid reporters figure out the identity of people involved in something like this. Where are the investigative reporters, the leakers, and the demand that “the public has a right to know”?

Headline of the day:


This is actually an improvement. Once upon a time news like this would have meant a new member state in the United Nations General Assembly.

Just when you think Critical Race Theory can’t get any crazier, along comes its application to . . . animal shelters. From Areo magazine:

In her recent book The Lives and Deaths of Shelter Animals, Katja Guenther claims that dogs are being killed because of “capitalism, anthroparchy, white supremacy and patriarchy.” She argues that allowing dogs to sleep inside is a privilege reserved for the white and wealthy and that policies against keeping dogs chained up in backyards are intended to oppress people of color by imposing “middle-class norms of animal keeping in which companion animals are considered family and treated accordingly,” which ignore the fact that people of color “are themselves trapped in poverty, may have few options for legitimate income generation and possibly rely on their dogs for … status.”

There are some real Tom Wolfe-worthy gems in this story, such as:

When a Latino man on a bicycle drops a dog “while escaping from mall security officers … after stealing a pair of Wrangler jeans,” she explains this away as the result of his “status as marginalized.”

There’s more, but after a while the article has more than a bit of a Groundhog Day feel to it. (Heh.)

Maybe the best parody of academic social science I’ve ever seen:

Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma when jumping from aircraft: randomized controlled trial


Objective To determine if using a parachute prevents death or major traumatic injury when jumping from an aircraft.

Design Randomized controlled trial.

Setting Private or commercial aircraft between September 2017 and August 2018.

Participants 92 aircraft passengers aged 18 and over were screened for participation. 23 agreed to be enrolled and were randomized.

Intervention Jumping from an aircraft (airplane or helicopter) with a parachute versus an empty backpack (unblinded).

Main outcome measures Composite of death or major traumatic injury (defined by an Injury Severity Score over 15) upon impact with the ground measured immediately after landing.

Results Parachute use did not significantly reduce death or major injury (0% for parachute v 0% for control; P>0.9). This finding was consistent across multiple subgroups. Compared with individuals screened but not enrolled, participants included in the study were on aircraft at significantly lower altitude (mean of 0.6 m for participants v mean of 9146 m for non-participants; P<0.001) and lower velocity (mean of 0 km/h v mean of 800 km/h; P<0.001).

Conclusions Parachute use did not reduce death or major traumatic injury when jumping from aircraft in the first randomized evaluation of this intervention. However, the trial was only able to enroll participants on small stationary aircraft on the ground, suggesting cautious extrapolation to high altitude jumps. When beliefs regarding the effectiveness of an intervention exist in the community, randomized trials might selectively enroll individuals with a lower perceived likelihood of benefit, thus diminishing the applicability of the results to clinical practice.

Finally, happy Groundhog Day.

Annnnddd still more happy Groundhog Day:

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