Articles to 2021-12-12

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First the link to this week’s complete list as HTML and as PDF.


After hearing about it on radio from the last author, I had meant to trash Maier et al. It had sounded like a typical modeling exercise with unproven assumptions – here an overblown efficacy of vaccines against infection and transmission – and treating model outcomes as data forcing a correction of real measurements, i.e. something I encountered all to often before. Not so. What we have here is not an exercise in overfitting but a theory driven model with well established parameters. The vaccination efficiency they use goes as low as 50 % in one model, i.e. just halving the rate. In my own estimates even the lowest efficiency does not go beyond at least one third. So their models are highly conservative and the results have to be taken seriously. This is a rare example of modeling at its best.


The recent massive dying out of languages has also more or less eliminated the formerly highly prevalent multilingualism in earlier societies. As Kwon et al demonstrate, learning and speaking several languages from an early age has large implications for brain organisation and promotes empathy and social abilities.

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