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Deleted by topic administrator 01-24-2006 03:12 PM
Charlie StrossPerson was signed in when posted
11:42 AM ET (US)
It's still surprisingly fast to someone who's not in the loop. And for a virus which wasn't isolated 31 days ago -- that's the time when SARS was first identified as an infection of unknown aetiology.
Emmet O'Brien
04:33 PM ET (US)
Charlie, 31 days for a virus is slow. I watched whole genomes for anthrax samples from every one of the postal attacks in the autumn of 2001 turn up in GenBank - the lead time was of the order of a month in every case, for a damn sight more sequencing than a virus takes.
Neel Krishnaswami
01:44 PM ET (US)
Is this really true?

The predicted bankruptcy for Social Security is around 2038. That's *36* years in the future! Flatly, I think that just means that the program is solvent, since 36 years is well beyond the horizon of any meaningful prediction. (I hate the program with a fierce passion, but scaremongering is a losing tactic because if you blow smoke about anything people will stop believing you about anything everything.)

Even leaving that aside, in the US the debate has been affected by confusion about what the real rate of inflation is. In 1996, the Boskin Commission produced a report that the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) estimates of inflation were systematically biased upwards between 1 and 2 percentage points per year. In response to this criticism, the BLS changed it's methods, and now estimates of the bias run in the 0.65-1.0 point range. (http://www.nber.org/digest/oct00/w7759.html) This had a giant impact on the social insurance debate in the US, because all of the cost-of-living adjustments were tied to the inflation rate. Change the inflation rate slightly and the fiscal safety horizon changes like mad. Likewise with slight changes to productivity and GDP growth (both of which may have been systematically underestimated).

Is anything like that true in the UK?