TRC #591: COVID-19 Temperature Checks? + Evidence & Context + Mayans Doomsday Prediction 2020 Edition

As pandemic restrictions begin to ease around the world, Cristina investigates whether taking temperature checks at retail stores or workplaces gives us a false sense of security or if monitoring temperatures actually helps curb the spread of COVID-19. Darren builds on his segment from last week’s show on how to talk about talking about difficult topics, with a look at complications with concepts of evidence and context. Adam revisits Mayan doomsday prophecies after a few articles circulating the internet suggest the ‘math was wrong’ and the end of the world is really today, June 21, 2020.

Download direct: mp3 file

COVID-19 Temperature Checks?

JAMA: Presenting Characteristics, Comorbidities, and Outcomes Among 5700 Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19 in the New York City Area

Bloomberg: Are Temperature Checks Just Covid-Prevention Theater?

AP: Will temperature checks of employees make workplaces safe?

Mother Jones: Temperature Checks Are Becoming The New Normal

Slate: What Is the Point of Temperature Checks?

Consumer Reports: Fever and COVID-19

Wikipedia: Dave Chapelle

Evidence & Context

NY Magazine – Intelligencer

Wikipedia Omar Wasow

Matt Taibbi blogi

Current Affairs critique of Taibbi

Mayans Doomsday Prediction 2020 Edition

Mesoamerican Long Count calendar – Wikipedia

NO, THE MAYA DID NOT PREDICT THE END OF THE WORLD ON 21 JUNE 2020 – Bad Astronomy

Steven Hawking: Mayans miscalculated by 8 years, 2020 is actual end of civilisation – That Cricket Blog

Conspiracy theorists claim Mayan calendar was wrong and ‘world will end on June 21’ – Mirror – The Wayback Machine

Change From Julian to Gregorian Calendar – Time and Date

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3 Responses to TRC #591: COVID-19 Temperature Checks? + Evidence & Context + Mayans Doomsday Prediction 2020 Edition

  1. Marla says:

    Darren, I really enjoyed your segment today, about the gentleman who was fired from his job for commenting on a piece of research that somebody else didn’t like. Your analysis was very thorough and objective…which is why I listen to this podcast.

    But I do wish you had focused in on the unconscionable fact that this man was FIRED FROM HIS JOB for that most heinous of crimes, i.e., sharing information with the best of intentions and in 100% good faith that somebody else in the office didn’t like and decided was racist. Your analysis of the research came to a far more nuanced conclusion. Would that everyone involved had taken the time to think instead of immediately going down the road to Virtue Signaling Land and canceling an employee who had found some information he believed might be helpful in making protests more effective.

    The worst part is that instead of having a spine, the management of the company succumbed to group think and fired a perfectly fine employee…Unless the employee was fired because he was a loser and they were looking for an excuse to get rid of him…could that have been it? We’ll never know. This story put terror and rage in my heart.

    Here’s a short clip of Van Jones speaking at the U. of Chicago about free speech and safe spaces. I think of it often, because it has such resonance. He’s talking about college campuses but the same thing applies to businesses. Unfortunately, most of the time the point of view he expresses in this video does not prevail. I worry, I really do.

  2. Darren says:

    Hi Marla,

    Thank you for writing in, your kind words, and listening to our show.

    I had a similar concern that you had about Shor’s firing but then you later wrote the other side of the issue saying “Unless the employee was fired because he was a loser and they were looking for an excuse to get rid of him…could that have been it? We’ll never know.”
    It is precisely because of the uncertainty regarding his firing that (being thorough and objective) I didn’t want to focus on it. While terrible if true, the problematic reaction to the research or tweeting of research is a valid concern regardless of whether he was fired. If it turned out he was fired for just cause (for something else), I wouldn’t want that to compromise or distract from the main point of my segment.

    That said, as I stated in my segment, it is the most likely reason. My guess is that once people on social media reacted that way, then clients started to complain, and once that happens, the company is almost forced to do something like fire someone, even if they think it isn’t valid.

    Think Better to Act Better 🙂

    • Marla says:

      Hi Darren,

      Thank you. I understand. Clients might have started to complain, it’s true. But it’s still worth pointing out that today companies will fire someone just because, as a pre-emptive strike in order to avoid even a potential whiff of controversy. All it takes is one grumble from a student, parent, or employee. The firing of James Damore from Google in 2017 comes to mind. In the case of both Shor and Damore, assuming there were no extenuating circumstances, it would have been so much better if their companies had affirmed the bedrock values of free speech and civil discourse, and let these guys get back to work.

      By comparison, this week the Blair Partnership, J.K. Rowling’s literary agency, refused to bow to staff who refused to work on Rowling’s new children’s book because they disagreed with her views on transgenderism, demanded that the Blaire Partnership hold trans ideology re-education classes and issue a statement in support of transgender rights and pledge action. Instead, the Blaire Partnership affirmed the importance of free speech for authors and employees and accepted the resignations of the aggrieved staff members. This was the proper response, and should be a role model for others.

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