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Friday, August 7, 2020

Vintage Photos - Oestreicher (761-764)


See the previous post in this series here.

I had the opportunity to pick up a huge batch of slides a while back. These are pictures span from as early as the late 1940s to as late as the early 1990s. These came to me second hand but the original source was a combination of estate sales and Goodwill. There are several thousand...maybe as many as 10,000. I will be scanning some from time to time and posting them here for posterity.

Getting your pictures processed as slides used to be a fairly common thing but it was a phenomenon I missed out on. However, my Grandfather had a few dozen slides (circa late 1950s) that we found after he died. That along with having some negatives I wanted to scan is what prompted me to buy a somewhat decent flatbed scanner that could handle slides and negatives, an Epson V600. It can scan up to four slides at a time with various post-processing options and does a decent enough job.

This set continues a rather large batch of slides that originally came from an estate sale and appear to have belonged to a locally well known photographer (or perhaps a close family member) from the Spokane Washington area and later Northern Idaho named Leo Oestreicher. He was known for his portrait and landscape photography and especially for post cards. His career started in the 1930s and he died in 1990. These slides contain a lot of landscape and portrait photos but also a lot of photos from day to day life and various vacations around the world. Here's an article on him from 1997 which is the only info I have found on him: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/1997/jan/04/photos-of-a-lifetime-museum-acquisition-of-leo/

Many of these slides had the date they were processed (presumably) stamped or printed on them. I've found that in cases where I could verify the date, either because a more specific date was hand written or there was something to specifically date the photo in the photo itself, that this date has typically been the same month the photos were taken. In other words, I expect that in MOST cases these photos were taken relatively near the processing date.

The first photo in this set was taken in the woods, probably in the early 1960s somewhere in Oregon. The next two photos were taken at a lake or other large body of water and were processed in September 1964. The final photo once again proves that cat pics didn't start with the internet. Here is a cat, apparently named George XIII according the the handwritten label, carefully studying a photograph.








Processed September 1964



Processed September 1964



George XIII




The entire collection that has been scanned and uploaded so far can be found here.

John Ioannidis Warned COVID-19 Could Be a “Once-In-A-Century” Data Fiasco. He Was Right

On Thursday, a Florida health official told a local news station that a young man who was listed as a COVID-19 victim had no underlying conditions.

The answer surprised reporters, who probed for additional information.

“He died in a motorcycle accident,” Dr. Raul Pino clarified. “You could actually argue that it could have been the COVID-19 that caused him to crash. I don’t know the conclusion of that one.”

The anecdote is a ridiculous example of a real controversy that has inspired some colorful memes: what should define a COVID-19 death?

While the question is important, such incidents may be just the tip of the proverbial iceberg regarding the unreliability of COVID-19 data.

In May, a public radio station in Miami broke what soon became a national story. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had been conflating antibody and viral testing, obscuring key metrics lawmakers use to determine if they should reopen their respective economies.

The story was soon picked up by NPR, who spoke to an epidemiologist who condemned the practice.

"Reporting both serology and viral tests under the same category is not appropriate, as these two types of tests are very different and tell us different things," Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security told NPR.

The Atlantic soon followed with an article that explained the agency was painting an inaccurate picture of the state of the pandemic. The practice, the writers said, was making it difficult to tell if more people were actually sick or had merely acquired antibodies from fighting off the virus.

Public health experts were not impressed.

“How could the CDC make that mistake? This is a mess,” said Ashish Jha, the K. T. Li Professor of Global Health at Harvard and director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

In some ways the “mess” was no surprise. Two weeks earlier, Dr. Deborah Leah Birx, the White House's coronavirus task force response coordinator, reportedly ripped the agency in a meeting, saying "there is nothing from the CDC that I can trust."

Birx’s concerns about the CDC’s data did not alleviate concerns of data manipulation. The New York Times speculated that perhaps the agency had sought to “bolster the testing numbers for political purposes.” The Texas Observer wondered if the state was “inflating its COVID testing numbers by including antibody tests.”

Considering President Trump’s sometimes comically inaccurate boasts about America’s testing prowess, perhaps such questions were not unjustified. The many people who spoke to the Times said the answer was simpler, attributing the flawed system to “confusion and fatigue in overworked state and local health departments.”

If data manipulation had been the motive, the architects of the ploy were in for a rude awakening. Testing numbers did soar, but so did case numbers; the surge in late June and throughout July spawned new fears of a second wave and more lockdowns and more charges that America was botching the pandemic. (The surge was the result of both increased testing, including antibody testing, as well as a resurgence of the virus.)

Tensions between the White House and its own agency boiled over last week when the Trump Administration stripped the CDC of its role in collecting data on COVID-19 hospitalizations.

It’s hard to read the drama, incompetence, and confusion without thinking about Dr. John Ioannidis, the C.F. Rehnborg Chair in Disease Prevention at Stanford University.

In a March 17 STAT article, Ioannidis warned the world was looking at what could turn out to be a “once-in-a-century evidence fiasco.” He worried central planners were making sweeping and reflexive changes without sufficient data.

Locking people up without knowing the fatality risk of COVID-19 could have severe social and financial consequences that could be totally irrational, Ioannidis warned.

“It’s like an elephant being attacked by a house cat. Frustrated and trying to avoid the cat, the elephant accidentally jumps off a cliff and dies,” said Ioannidis, one of the most-cited scientists in the world.

In one sense, Ioannidis has already been proven right. The models on which lockdowns were initiated have already proven astronomically wrong. But that was hardly the only example.

Every day it seems there’s another story about reporting flaws or mixups.

Tuesday it was a lab in Connecticut where researchers said they discovered a flaw in a testing system for the virus. The flaw resulted in 90 people receiving false positives. That may not sound like many, but researchers said the test is used by labs across America.

A few days earlier, it was announced that Texas had removed 3,484 cases from its positive Covid-19 case count because the San Antonio Health Department was reporting “probable” cases. None of the people had actually tested positive for COVID-19.

We don’t know how many new cases are probable cases and not positive cases, but we know it’s a lot. That’s because in April, the CDC changed its reporting to include people who had not tested positive for the virus but might have it. (The CDC’s criteria for what qualifies as a probable case are more than a little confusing.)

As the Associated Press noted, the change was made with the understanding that “deaths could soon jump because federal health officials will now count illnesses that are not confirmed by lab testing.”

COVID-19 has been far from the deadliest virus in modern history, but it has been the most divisive. The public, politicians, policy experts, and public health officials have disagreed on how deadly it is and how best to contain it.

But the one thing everyone seems to agree on is the numbers we have—fatalities and cases—are way wrong. A new CDC report estimates COVID-19 rates about 10 times higher than reported. Ioannidis put the figure even higher, estimating weeks ago that as many 300 million people had already been infected globally.

Deaths are more complicated.

The New York Times says COVID-19 deaths have been massively undercounted. Dr. Ashish Jha, speaking to Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC, agreed, saying most experts agreed there is a “substantial undercount.”

Others, including nearly one-third of Americans according to a recent survey, believe that the COVID-19 death toll is inflated. This includes physicians who say medical professionals are being pressured by hospital administrators to add coronavirus to death sheets.

Writing at the American Mind, Angelo Codevilla recently argued if the CDC had used the same criterion for the SARS virus as COVID-19—primarily “severe acute respiratory distress syndrome”—total COVID fatalities in the US would have been 16,000 through June.

Nobody knows the true count, of course. But the one thing left and right seem to agree on is the data we have are junk. And yet the lesson we keep hearing is “trust the experts.”

"Follow the science. Listen to the experts. Do what they tell you," Joe Biden said in April.

But thinkers as diverse as Matthew Yglesias at Vox to author Matt Ridley have pointed out the dangers of blindly following “the experts,” especially when they’ve shown themselves to be spectacularly wrong from the very beginning on the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's dangerous to rely too much on models (which lead politicians to) lock down society and destroy people's livelihood,” Ridley recently told John Stossel. “Danger lies both ways."

Ridley has a point. The experts can’t agree on their own numbers or even clearly answer if a man who died in a motorcycle accident while infected should be labeled as a COVID-19 death.

In light of this, perhaps it’s time for the experts to exercise some humility and begin offering guidance to individuals instead of advocating collective blunt force.

Jon Miltimore
Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune.

Bylines: The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times. 

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Monday, August 3, 2020

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