Australia Day and the “Too Difficult Basket” — A Proposal

For too long, we Australians have allowed an unsightly festering sore to blight the celebration of our nationhood. The day we Australians currently choose to celebrate as Australia Day has become known as “Invasion Day”. With good reason as well since the first settlers dispossessed the indigenous peoples of their land. Then disease carried by those settlers virtually wiped out the Gadigul people that lived there.

Skin in Both Sides of the Game

I believed myself a multi-generational, middle class, white Australian of British roots. Much like many of my fellow Australians when I was growing up in the Sutherland Shire in the ’60s and ’70s. I accepted and welcomed Australia Day on the 26th of January because it was the last holiday before the start of school or university.

Based upon a family history completed by my late Aunt I had believed that I had an indigenous great grandfather. Based upon this information, and because my Aunt’s family research had been reliable in every other way, I started identifying myself as being of indigenous heritage.

But this not true as I found out when I received the results of an AncestryDNA(R) on 25th Feb. 2022 as shown below. Turns out my original assumption that I was white European was true as evidenced by the DNA, However, the experience of identifying as indigenous has been valuable in seeing the world in a very different way – at least for a while.

My AncestryDNA estimate of heritage.
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My Experience with Responsive Graphics for Science Articles

In this article, I ask the question.

What if you wanted to be a modern day Don Quixote and self-publish research direct to the internet with WordPress rather than through a science journal?

I’ll attempt an answer based upon my own journey in section 2 of this article. First of all, you need some basic infrastructure for publishing suitable figures within WordPress. So I’ll spend some time addressing that issue. For publishing on the internet, you need responsive graphics. There is an overlap between interactive graphics (as discussed below)) and responsive graphics.

But the important difference, as I see it, is that responsive graphics should invite the reader to respond to and participate in the story that you’re trying to tell with the graphic element As described later in this article, the scientific literature is often author-centric. Most researchers would be blithely unaware of the importance of responsive web graphics because they publish their most important work in journals.

The charting plugin that I have been using is wpDataTables from TMS plugins provides for publishing data tables and charts from data sources including databases and Excel spreadsheets. In all 31 different types of charts are offered, though many charts have a business focus. Responsive charts for self-published science remains an immature area of focus for technology providers. This is why the review that follows is important.

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Covid-19 Data: Exponential Growth Confirmed

global coronavirus map with country statistics

If you’ve been following The Dossier you’ll know that I’ve been collecting data on the Covid-19 omicron outbreak that we are in the midst of. I’ve made observations that confirm that omicron causes milder symptoms than other forms of Covid-19. But the less severe nature of omicron is offset, at least in part, by omicron being highly transmissible. Even though on average omicron causes less severe symptoms, there is always a percentage of individuals that show more severe symptoms than the average.

This percentage, though small, can easily represent a large number of people presenting to hospitals and requiring treatment in ICU’s across the country.

Indeed, I’ve shown in my article: Further Steep Increases in Covid-19 Cases, observations that there are increased hospitalisations already occurring in NSW as well as a worrying uptick in hospitalisations and deaths in other States and Territories. Given these factors, quantitatively determining the transmissibility of the omicron variant is critical to the management of the current outbreak.

In this article, we’ll attempt to do just that using the Covid-19 data presented in the chart below which shows case numbers for Australian States and Territories over the month ending Friday 7th January. As you can see from this chart, case numbers are showing rapid growth but is that growth exponential?

Source: https://www.covid19data.com.au/cases-last-28-days

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Meanwhile Over in New Zealand …

white furred animals on green grass field

Australia is now firmly in the grip of the omicron outbreak with accelerating cases in all states and territories except WA as shown in the chart below. The evidence of omicron‘s impact on people’s lives is being seen in the long lines for testing, people becoming frustrated at waiting or being turned away because of early closures of centres over the holidays. People that have been able to get tested have had to wait days for their results to be processed. Others have thought to find rapid antigen testing (RAT) kits only to find that they are difficult or impossible to procure. Many, especially families, are finding that the cost of RAT kits are prohibitive (at $150 plus each). In summary, omicron has become highly disruptive given Government demands for testing compliance but fortunately, the illness itself isn’t as severe as the delta variant from reports so far.

It’s hard to estimate the true number of omicron cases versus delta because the distinction requires genomic sequencing which takes a week or two for results to become known. However, it’s thought that around 80% of cases are omicron in Australia at the moment, with omicron becoming the dominant variant within another week or so..

Source: https://www.covid19data.com.au/cases-last-28-days

Meanwhile, over in New Zealand …

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