Assume a Spherical Cow of Uniform Density in a Frictionless Vacuum

sphericalcow

I’m not a physicist, nor do I play one on TV.  And I did not sleep at Holiday Inn last night. But my kids took way more physics than needed for either of their degrees, and despite being 3 years apart in schooling took those classes together in college.

(Which was great. They can’t stand for one to outdo the other so not only were they top of the class, but had improbably great grades. Because younger one might otherwise slacken but not when there was a chance of older one doing better.  And older one, who always tried for perfect invented plus que perfect for the occasion. Had I known it, I’d have fought the state of CO to advance younger three years starting in elementary (he could take it) and they’d have been LEGENDARY.)

Since they were both living at home to save money, this meant that I was often standing in the kitchen minding my own business cooking, and they’d be telling what they thought were hilarious jokes, or trying to figure out that day’s problem and turning it into a joke.

Which is why I learned that there are physics assumptions that only work for ideal objects.  Or, as my kids put it (and perhaps it’s a joke from a show? I can be daft) “Imagine a spherical cow, of uniform density in friction-less vacuum.”

This came to mind about a week ago as I was stomping around the house saying that anyone who relied on computer models for anything should be shot.  My husband was duly alarmed, because as he pointed out, he has designed computer models.

At which point I told him that’s okay because his models do not involve people.  Which is part of it.  Throw one person into a model, and you’ll wish the person were a spherical cow of uniform density in friction-less vacuum.

But the reason the cow story is funny, of course, is that you don’t even need a person to upset that kind of very exact calculation, because cows are not in fact spherical or of uniform density, and would fare rather poorly in friction-less vacuum.

However, much worse than a person is a group of people. Particularly when the group has its own culture, its own geographical “plant” and its own way of being in the world. Throw those into any model, and even if what you’re trying to model is a single, small, fairly well known group, the model will have a leak.

You see, people don’t always behave the way you expect. And frankly, they find ways to get around things they don’t like.  Or they just  do unimaginably stupid and crazy things.

To be fair to the left they never have — and possibly never will — understand that.  Their whole program is the idea that human beings are fungible.  Having glomed on the idea some humans are not like the others, they of course decided to sort humans by external or largely irrelevant characteristics.

No, I DO NOT in fact understand why the collectivists, the people who keep wanting to do what the group is doing, and who are more socially oriented than any of us fail to get people.  Except perhaps that G-d has a sense of humor. (Low one, puts itch powder in your pressure suit.)

What I do know is that — are you ready? — human societies, involving multiple nations or even our own culturally diverse, geographically spread out nation, are not now nor will they ever be a spherical cow of uniform density in friction-less vacuum.

So…. why is it that even now that they admit the scary Imperial model is insane, our authorities, from federal on down are treating the US as though it were just that mythical cow, and on top of that exactly the same as the cow in Italy, Spain or France.

This is a stupid thing. What’s more important, it’s a stupid thing that’s not only killing the economy, it’s getting in the way of us figuring out what the Winnie-flu is, how bad it is, and what causes high-lethality clusters.

Let’s leave side for the moment the fact that the books are being cooked, okay. They are. this is undeniable. As is undeniable they’re cooking them the most in places like Louisiana and NYC, and we probably know why.

It’s hard to deny the disease presents in weird clusters.  I have a friend whose Georgia County is about the same level of bad as Italy.  Which makes no sense whatsoever, as they have no high Chinese population.  And while the  cases might be guess work (with tests only accurate AT MOST 70% of the time, it’s guesswork all the way down) the deaths aren’t. The community is small enough they all know each other. And they’re losing relatively young (still working) and relatively healthy (no known big issues) people.

The question is WHY?

In the same way, when I go to FB and I say “Is this really as bad as people claim,” people from NYC who have relatives in the hospital get very upset.

But instead, what we should be doing is applying the severe restrictions to places with these clusters, and figuring out why the clusters develop. (Instead of shutting down the economy of a nation of 320 million, and making people in Lone Cow Nevada follow the same restrictions as New Yorkers.)

Look, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Sure, quarantines are justified. But that word doesn’t mean what we’re doing. Quarantines is when you isolate the sick. What we’re doing is mass house-arrest.

Which brings us into why this is crazy.

I can GUESS at some reasons why NYC has a lot more cases than anywhere else in the country. They are the closest thing to an European country in our midst, relying mostly on public transportation (or truly unsanitary taxis), living in apartment buildings with shared air circulation, keeping minimal personal distance in the street.

To all that add that there are problems with their health workers being third-world hires and as cheap as humanly possible. (I suspect Seattle has the same issue. In fact, other states do. Having heard stories, particularly of long term care homes, I’ve told my sons that if I ever need that (Please, no. Mom and Dad haven’t) and they can’t afford to send me to one of the best, just put rat poison in my tea.)  And OF COURSE there are problems with culture in that too.

So, I’ve covered this before, but here’s the thing: Italy has a completely different culture. Yes, it also has a sclerotic, understaffed and just impoverished healthcare system. (Yes, every time I post that I have to spam a million comments telling me how well the WHO ranked Italy — which is great, except the WHO ranks a single payer system above everything else, including outcomes — and how Lombardy is the envy of Italy or something, which leads me to say “Sucks to be you.”)

However, that’s just a factor in the debacle. The other factor is culture and no one is taking it into account.  Multi-generational families live together (I should throw stones, yes) or in the same house which becomes a sort of compound. (This is common to all Mediterranean cultures. I grew up in such a compound until the age of six.) which means that while Grandma isn’t abandoned to the tender mercies of Haitian health workers, it’s also really hard to isolate her when little Guido gets the never-get-well at school and cheerfully brings it home.  Even when they don’t live together, extended families have a level of closeness that freaks out even the closest American families.  If you and your relatives live within driving distance of each other and don’t see each other every other day, there’s something wrong.

Every house is a continuous cacophony of visiting relatives and friends.  In safer times, we just left the back door unlocked because it was easier than answering the doorbell every five minutes.  When I first got married, I had the TV on all day, because otherwise the house was so silent, it freaked me out. (I left Disney channel on all day, because it was less likely to startle me with explosions or evil laughter. This led my inlaws to believe I only understood “English for children” (rolls eyes.) I wasn’t even in the room with it. I just needed that noise, or I freaked out, because of the habit of a lifetime.

The freakiest thing in my exchange student years was that my family never had people drop by, several times a week, just because.

On top of that, of course, a lot of the younger people live in stack-a-prol apartments with shared air, and most people commute by train or bus or something.

Now, in Portugal at least most trains and buses aren’t as full as they were in my youth. You are rarely packed in like sardines.  But it’s still public transport, and at rush hour every seat is taken and there are people standing.

As much as I get sick here, I got sick way more often there, and had a few really close calls, starting at about thirteen. Because you live in each other’s pockets.

And I understand that in Italy, as in Portugal, as in, for instance, France, people kiss a lot more.  Adult men might not, unless they’re close(ish) relatives, but women and children get kissed by everyone from close kin to total strangers.

All of those create conditions for the virus to explode. In Italy, in France, in Spain.  I understand it’s not exploded nearly as much in Portugal, but I also wonder how much of that is Portuguese reluctance to go to the doctor or the hospital. Because “the hospital is where you die.” (Yes, sue me. Some cultural assumptions remain. Which is why my husband is the one who normally drags me to the hospital.)  Because, you see, we DO know for at least one of the clusters, the hospital was making it worse. Go to the hospital for any other reason, catch Winnie the Flu.

All of these uncertainties are even more uncertain with China, which is a culture that is, by itself and by design fairly opaque to us, round eyed devils. BUT because they are on top of that also totalitarians, the culture becomes double opaque.  As Writer in Black put it in the comments, paraphrasing:They lie because they lie, they lie when the truth will serve, they lie because they can get away with it, they lie when they can’t.

And we simply don’t know the conditions on the ground. Most Americans don’t know, and most “progressives” refuse to admit that China has air quality not seen in this world since London ran on coal and its air resembled pea soup.  I heard that their air pollution makes everyone, man, woman, preschooler and infant inhale the same amount of particulates and pollutants as a three-pack a day smoker. Or that China’s prosperity is mostly for show/limited to a certain class (as we said in Portugal “for Englishmen to see”) and in the countryside, and the lower classes, life is more or less medieval and very close to the bone.  So close it might have tipped into actual famine, once we engaged in curtailing China’s exploitative trade practices.  On top of which, the mode of life being medieval and the government unpredictable, most people live in close proximity to a food animal or two. Which–   Which has given us all the bird flus, the swine flu, and soon to come and excitingly another bird flu.

So, do we even know that China is locking up again because of Winnie the Flu? or because of the new bird flu?

We don’t and neither do they. Their diagnosis was by “has pneumonia” since their tests are THIRTY PERCENT accurate (a coin is more accurate) and honestly, they don’t care for the lives of individual citizens. They care to hide a debacle from the world.

So trying to understand why the Wuhan cluster happened and how bad it really happened might be beyond us.  As I write this China has gone into lockdown again, which will send the Western hysterics into convulsions and give those like my governor who hanker for well polished boots and a Hugo Boss uniform in red and black another excuse to stomp on our inalienable liberties.  (And if at the end of this there aren’t a thousand civil rights law suits, I’ll be seriously disappointed.)

Because in his mind, Colorado and China are spherical cows of uniform density in friction-less vaccum.  (Stupid or malicious? Well, in Polis’s case? BOTH.)

And dear BOB, guys. Colorado and New York City (or state) are not the same culture.  Heck, North Carolina and Colorado are not the same culture. I know, because I transitioned from North Carolina to Colorado.

Let’s put it this way, if you stand as close to people in Colorado as you do in North Carolina, we’re going to freak out. Give it another foot (and that’s a foot more than NYC.) Unless you’re obviously a tourist. In which case we’ll send you to the next city to look for something improbable.  And while we’re not an unfriendly bunch (truly) we are not precisely the kind that gets together in a big bunch for no reason whatsoever.  (Unless they’re recent transplants.)

When we moved to Colorado we belonged to a national social club. We tried to continue our involvement here, but eventually gave up, because though the group was larger, the meetings were small, odd, and kind of lackluster.  The explanation? Coloradans are OUTDOORS people. They’re out hiking trails, or, when urban, walking around.  Sure, they might eat at restaurants, or go to museums, but the natural group size for Colorado is one or two.

You observe this in our parks, during summer, when you stare at groups of more than about four, because they’re so rare.  And in museums, even when going through as a family, our family of five tends to go through really individually, just keeping the others in sight most of the time.  And we’ve been doing that since the kids were about five. And this is normal.

Yes, there are subcultures. But even our college students don’t really clump as I see in other cities/states/on TV.

Our NORMAL mode, with very few exceptions, is social distancing.  You see this better perhaps in church. Whenever I go to church out of state/country, I’m puzzled at people crowding towards the front, in big masses.  In Colorado it often seems like the law is “let me find a space no one can touch me.”

I understand — Colorado is the only Western state I’ve LIVED in — that in the west that’s more or less the norm.  That our normal standing-apart is about two and a half to three feet. (And though yeah, there’s outliers like someone sneezing, the normal spacing for virus transmission, is one and a half feet.)

This alone, not accounting for the fact that trying to get Coloradans together is like herding cats, makes us completely different from NYC.

Heck, we do have the train that was supposed to go between Denver and Colorado Springs (WHAT IS with socialists and trains?) but it is about halfway there, and frankly when we drive alongside it, it seems to be empty.  The use is probably not helped by the fact our state made it free for homeless (ride the murder and assault carriages!) But even the homeless aren’t at great risk, since they’re like one per carriage. Buses… about the same. Though there is one route where I’m surprised people aren’t dropping like flies, but then, really, no one seems to be except in clusters.

Frankly without the clusters, I WOULD actually think this was just the common cold or the greatest hoax since the Trojan horse.

So, why are the same rules being applied to both places? AND why are both places treated exactly alike? And why are both places assumed to be on the same curve as Italy or Spain or Wuhan, places and cultures, and ways of living that have absolutely nothing to do with how we live or who we are?

And here’s the kicker: if you allow states like Colorado and others that naturally self-distance to go about their lawful business, not only time but more money will be available to study the problem clusters.

What is actually going on is the entire world being punished because SOMEONE spit on the teacher’s desk and China won’t fess up it was them.

Which means this is what our “betters” in charge think they are. The teachers, the important people in charge, who must make sure all of us spherical cows of uniform density in frictionless vacuum do as told.

That’s all this is about: a fundamental misunderstanding of humans and cultures, and that individuals and individual cultures exist.

And these are the people who “believe in science.”  (A statement that by itself tells you they have no clue what science is nor how to learn it.)  And who presume to tell us how things will go.

Which is why we’re in the middle of killing our economy and destroying the wealth of generations, because we’re always — always — two weeks behind the peak.  Or, as one particularly mentally handicapped governor put it “We just have to keep pushing the peak off for the next year or two.”…. does he mean through non-flu season, and into flu season, and out of it again, till everyone who would have died of flu dies of famine, with a bunch more beside?

And again I ask all you, my fellow spherical cows of uniform density in frictionless vacuum: How long will you tolerate this?

 

Deaths, Lies And Statistics

bald-eagles-341898_1920

So, to begin with, I am not dead. And I probably do not have the dread Winnie the Flu.  Why not? Well, I do not have a fever and some sense of smell has returned.  No, not all of it, but I can now smell the catbox when Euclid forgets to/refuses to cover (it’s hard to know with old codgers. It COULD be his protest against getting old, who knows?)  Taste is probably back at 1/2 percent. I can tell I’m drinking tea, not just sweet water.  From what I understand, the taste would not come back this quickly if it were Winnie.

I have since found that a lot of Corona Viruses — one of the normal causes of the common cold — and Rhino Viruses cause this symptom.  I have vague memories of losing taste and smell when I was very young and had some colds, but it’s been some time. Or it’s been some time since I noticed.  Look, over the last ten years I had symptoms far more worrisome than that.  Also, though my memory has recovered if not to the level it was at 30, there are some things that are forever lost in a fog of hypothyroidism and sleep apnea [(probably NOT brought on by the weight gain after the hypothyroidism got really bad, (which was since I was about 40, judging by the lack-of-potassium issues and others) but definitely exacerbated by it.  However, I’m one of the lucky, lucky people whose mouth conformation means I probably had sleep apnea since about 35 when ah…. tissues aren’t as youthful. I am now ALMOST the size I was at 35, if a little lighter, and I definitely still suffer from sleep apnea.]  I know because I have almost-finished novels I don’t remember writing, and sometimes I start reading a book and remember bits and pieces of it, but not the whole.

One of the downsides of it is that you forget bits of your lived experience. Like, you know, did I ever lose taste and smell with colds before? As I said, I remember it when very young, but not recently.

OTOH it’s not an unusual side effect of colds and allergies, apparently.  (It’s annoying, since tea with two drops of sweetener per pot is one of my joys in life. Apparently I’m not Connan.)

But this brings it to COVID-19. And how it’s being diagnosed. And how it behaves.

Yesterday a young acquaintance of ours got diagnosed with COVID-19 on SYMPTOMS.  This is what is technically known in Britain as “Bullocks.” Or perhaps “Bloody Bullocks.”

Why? Because there is no specific set of symptoms to Winnie the flu that aren’t partaken (Partoken?) of by other URIs.

The unique symptoms get bandied about, then contradicted by the next report.  “With Winnie the Flu you don’t sneeze” “You definitely sneeze with Winnie the Flu” “Winnie the flu has no body aches.” “Winnie the flu definitely has body aches.”  “Winnie the flu strikes only the old” “We’re mostly intubating your men between twenty and thirty” “Winnie the flu is a DRY cough” “The cough with Winnie the flu can be productive.”  “Winnie the flu shreds your lungs.” “So does any interstitial pneumonia.”

Honestly, the only thing you can say FOR SURE for Winnie the flu is that it takes longer (or its pneumonia) takes longer to recover from.  Ten days in ventilators are talked of, as opposed to three. Oh, and that your white cells don’t …. rise to the occasion as they usually do, almost as if you were immune suppressed.

Only, of course, some people are immune suppressed.  And though I no longer remember the exact explanation, when I had pneumonia but my blood cell count/immune system was also somehow suppressed, which they explained by my having had that same issue more than once and my body being “I can’t even!”  (Which btw is my highly scientific recollection.  Though you should perhaps remember I was oxygen deprived at the time.) So it’s not a unique thing with Winnie.

On “Who does Winnie the Flu kill, and how bad is it” we are about as confused as on symptoms, because apparently you know the US is not any more reliable on data than anyone else.

Why not?  Well, as I said, people are diagnosing Winnie the Flu IN A VIRTUAL APPOINTMENT without tests, and that is influencing our “infected” numbers.  At the same time, there are rumors that a slug to the chest, if you’re infected with Covid-19 makes you a death OF Covid-19 in certain populous districts of — oh, hell, in NYC.

And I do understand it is possible for doctors to say “yeah, he’d have survived if he weren’t ALSO suffering from Winnie the Flu” but–

BUT our numbers are in no way reliable. No one’s numbers are reliable.

Guys, I did tell you that unless we learned to do science properly again, and took the government funding out of it as the ONLY source for big projects (which means you find what the administration wants you to find — coff, climate science) we could no longer be an industrial/technological society.

What I didn’t know is that we could die from it. Or that that kind of uncertainty could be used to stoke panic.  I mean, not panic that would work.  They’d been trying to do this with Global cooling warming climate change.  But now they found a way of scaring us with as imprecise a set of statistics, as crazy a graph bar as any climatologist ever tried.

And it’s WORKING.

The effect and the insanity of the symptoms/age of death/etc being all over the place is exactly the same as playing telephone with a psychopath in the chain.  Which we might very well have, if the psychopath is China-fueled-media.

Which means it’s yet another situation of nobody knows anything.  Sure, Covid-19 EXISTS.  But is it any more lethal than the common cold?  We don’t know.  Is it really new? I honestly don’t know if there’s any way to even determine this, so I appreciate commenters telling me.  Or is it one of those many many coronaviruses that’s been circulating, which got blamed for the deaths in China (I’d guess famine and a bunch of other things. Up to and including, perhaps something chemical that got released during the military games.  Or perhaps, who knows, a mutation on a virus that made it slightly more lethal, or–.) Is it hitting some regions harder because somehow the percursor virus (if it’s a mutation) had avoided it?

Is it real, or is it memorex? will it float, or will it sink?

With our data collection corrupted, our information channels infused with the motives of a deranged, politically-motivated media, nobody knows anything.

All we know– foams at the mouth in civil liberties — is that our local governments who, out of an excess of respect for individual freedom claimed they could do nothing to control the deranged, dangerous and largely voluntary homeless, can now lock their entire population in their own houses “to protect us.”

All I know is that even if we come out of this at some point — I don’t know about y’all, but my governor is now talking July. He likes playing bondage games with the entire population. He likes it, my precious. — this will be tried again, and again and again.

PJ O’Rourke at some point said that (from memory) giving politicians power is like giving teen boys a bottle of whiskey and the car keys. I think he owes an apology to every single teenage boy out there. I think they’d do a lot less damage.

So, considering that nobody knows anything, when do we start demanding not just the numbers but what goes into the numbers? How tight they are? Who are they testing? Are they even testing? How is cause of death determined? etc.

How long till we make the decision that science must be scientific and that people with political motives should shut the hell up? How long till we name and shame the Chinese agents in the press and tell people “Yeah, but he’s infected with sino-propaganda/money virus.”

It was bad enough when all they were doing was wasting our money and squandering our kids’ future. But now they’re using lies to keeps us under house arrest. BTW the criminals and homeless are still — of course — allowed to roam free. Because apparently the civil liberties of the crazy, law breakers and interlopers are more important than those of citizens.

The media and the left have fully declared themselves as enemies of the Republic by any other words.  For our own good they want us to live in a socialist hell hole.

For their own good, I think we should deport them en masse to one. We’ll even let them choose.

Ultimately the Republic is OURS, not theirs.

How long will we the people TOLERATE this?

 

Destroyed Lives

woman-2924698_1920

*Note I’m not doing an April Fool’s Post this year, because I think as a society we’ve had it up to HERE with pranks, right about now.
Note also that I woke up sans sense of smell or taste (when you have a 21 year old incontinent cat, you can tell when you lost your smell, and Russian Caravan, the tea you drink with a forkTM tastes of nothing. Even with sweetener and lemon it tastes only like vaguely sweet water.
This is universally reported as the first symptom of Wu-flu.  (I have a runny nose and a sore throat.) No, I don’t expect to die — not out of the question, with asthma, compromised lung function, etc — but I’m pissed at the prospect that I’m coming down with it, because I already lost two months this year to “mysterious, flu like illness.”
Even if I get very very ill, though, my opinion is the same. Short of actual black death numbers, what we’re doing to the economy is more dangerous than the disease. And will ultimately cost more in lives blighted and ended- SAH*

I think it’s very important to talk of the lives that will be destroyed or lost to this insanity of locking ourselves in our houses for fear of a virus. (Let me explain again, in quarantine, you lock up the sick. When you lock up the healthy it’s called house arrest. Yes, I am aware that there have been quarantines in the past. This is NOT — repeat not — a quarantine. Economic suicide. Collective insanity. Unprecedented violation of civil rights in peace time. It is all of that and more. It is not a quarantine.)

We’ll point out the obvious: there are people losing businesses they spent their lives building. There are people — I know some — who had just got a job which is now revoked. There are students who have just finished/are about to finish training, and who will be unemployed and crushed under student debt, no matter how sensible their training.

There is a risk of some number of these people committing suicide.  That will be “visible deaths” coming from this particular insanity.

But there will be also any number of hidden deaths.  Like the squid farms on Mars, which we hypothetically don’t have because we chose to fund the “Great Society” instead, these losses are invisible because they were never actually actualized. They were merely things that might be, and were in fact likely until governments (mostly state and local) decided it was a great idea to take the wheels off the economy, possibly because they were suffering from a terrible case of Orange Man Bad and knew they couldn’t elect their spokeszombie in the face of a thriving economy.  You know, things like people getting jobs, with good training, in a thriving economy.  People making enough money to marry, afford a house and kids.  People getting that first job, that eventually leads to other, better jobs.

But Sarah, you say, if this never happens, how can it cost us anything, much less lives?

It can cost a lot of things and yeah, lives. Perhaps not in the sense that people die, but in the sense that lives are not what they should be or even are wasted

As the mother of an unmarried young man about to finish his training with two engineering degrees and minors in another form of engineering, plus math and physics, yes, I am concerned that he’ll stay in the basement and never marry. While I come from a culture in which the younger child is often expected to stay home and look after the parents, that is not what I want or expect of my sons.

But it could be less dire than that and still bad: he is a jack leg programmer, and he might be able to make a living coding on a gig basis, and make do, more or less. But he’ll never do what he loves and spent 7 years training for. Whatever contributions he might eventually have made to aerospace engineering will be lost.

And I hear you say that all of us took paths we didn’t expect and many of us — or the most interesting ones of us — are doing things we didn’t train for and which would shock our younger selves. And I’m going to say “granted.”  And in most cases, those youthful dreams were misguided or not realistic. (Do you see me ruling the world and leaving it strictly alone?)

And I’ll grant you that too. But most of us are at least doing something adjacent to what we thought we would be doing (Journalist/novelist. Though I trained for translator and — rolls on floor laughing — diplomatic service.)

When this type of destruction hits an economy at the level we’ve inflicted in March 2020, what you see is a lot of diminished lives. Which in turn causes a lot of loss of interest/hope/etc.

Alvin Toffler might or might not be right about future shock. He was, however, absolutely right about cultural trauma caused by sudden and unexpected/unforeseen change, particularly when that change was negative.

Note there is credible reason to say Europe is dying from WWI.

On top of that, we were already dealing with extreme technological change, at a pace that was causing psychological problems.  Weirdly — this isn’t unusual when the wheels come off, so it shouldn’t be “weirdly” but most people think of a society being ruined as stepping back to an earlier level of technology. Unless the ruin continues to be enforced by government — Venezuelization or Cubanization — in fact ruin tends to accelerate technological driven societal change — this will only make the changes we were experiencing faster, because a lot of the digital revolution makes things cheaper/more streamlined.  Which means we’re more likely to go in that direction in hard economic times.

And a lot of us are over fifty. Not as many as in Europe, but still a lot of us.  Which means these changes will be hitting at just the right time to give a lot of people Unemployed Middle Aged Man Syndrome. (Note “man” because most women have other sources of “self” than job.  But not all. And my generation of women is more like men on that.) What this means is that some number of people will simply be unable to cope with changed work/life circumstances brought on by this insanity.

Yes, some will perhaps kill themselves, and those are visible. The invisible ones are the ones who go pottering into the sunset, alive but no longer able to contribute anything to society.

In that group, stress will also cause new and interesting forms of disease, including cancer, which a broke society might or might not be able to treat.

When people say we should stay “quarantined” (It’s not) till July, or for a year, or till the cows come home, “if it saves even one life.” this is what they and we must weight it against.

It’s all very well to say you won’t die FOR Wall Street. But will you die of the economy?

Because Wall Street is retirement plans. It is investment and innovation funds. It is rainy day funds.  All of these for middle America.  More than that, the economy and its ability to allow people to work for pay or find the food they need, or whatever IS lives.

Money is lives. All of us trade away some portion of our lives to produce goods and services which in turn get paid for and allow us to continue living.  It has always been so.  Since we’ve had money, money is simply a symbol, a way to keep track.

Money, and food and goods and services, and “simple” things like stores being open and stocked are LIVES. They’re hours and investments of people’s time and creativity.

How much of that do we burn to save lives. Where is the balance?
I don’t know. I know it’s possible to lose 1/3 of the population, particularly when that population is very old and forge on.  Sure, we’ll lose institutional memory, but we’ve already lost that, having decided to indoctrinate the last three generations in an utter vacuum of history or hard facts. (Sorry, but you know it’s true.)

Look, I don’t want to die more than the next person, and the next person is playing with the peaches of immortality.  It’s not that I want to live forever, or live for its own sake. But I want to live long enough to write 100 novels, cuddle four grandchildren, and … well, I want to live while I have things to do.

On the other hand, I know I’m 57 and not in perfect health. And I’ve survived expectations at birth for 57 years. So far so good. (Said the man as he fell past the 20th floor.)

I think a lot of our response to this is our fear of disease and death writ in sky high letters.

None of us is going to live forever. We’ve been dying since the day we’ve been born.

Sure, we have things to do and places to go. BUT it does no good to pay for our diminished future with the future of the entire society.

This fake quarantine isn’t free.  Life isn’t free. Nothing is free.

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, in anything.  And the smart person asks the price before dipping a hand in the supposed freebies.

Caveat Emptor.

 

 

Does It Flush? A Primer by Bill (and Caitlin) Walsh

plumbingproblem

*I asked for this post after venturing from the house twice and finding water bubbling up from two intersections, then reading in the paper that people are flushing shredded t-shirts.  What the heck, even people?  So I thank the Walshs for providing their expertise- SAH*

Does It Flush? A Primer by Bill (and Caitlin) Walsh-

In these perilous days of calamity and toilet paper shortage, many of us face a question that we, in our nation of prosperity and plenty, have never faced before:

What can I flush down the toilet?

A number of us have faced it anyway–as landlords, the number of things we’ve pulled out of various pipes and septic systems is nothing short of amazing. The power of human ingenuity pales next to the power of human wishful thinking. But it’s spread like never before. The toilet paper-starved masses are looking to their commodes with a look of consternation and hope: Paper towels, newspaper, magazines… these will work as toilet paper, in a pinch. Can’t I flush them, too?

…yeah. No.

So let’s start with the Comprehensive List Of What You Should Flush Down the Toilet:

  • Human Bodily Waste
  • Toilet paper
  • Soup

End, done, finito. If it’s not on the list, you should not be flushing it.

That said, because of certain… Common Habits and Dishonest Advertisements, shall we say, perhaps we should make a non-comprehensive list of things that definitely should not go down the drain:

  • Tampons
  • Condoms
  • Baby Wipes
  • Menstrual Pads
  • Paper Towels
  • Little Green Army Men
  • Newspaper

Tampons are a really really big one. To the point that Dad always has a question to ask when a drain’s been snaked: “Did you find the mouse?” (Between the long squiggly “tail” (made of non-biodegradable nylon) and a week’s worth of sewage treatment, that’s what they look like.) If the answer’s no, you’re probably going back. Tampons do not flush. Do not flush tampons. Throw them in the trash.

But what about baby wipes? No. If they say they’re flushable: no. If it’s really covered in baby poop and you don’t want to see it again: no. Flush it and you will be calling us.

Now, both of these are at least of a material theoretically capable of degrading eventually (strings notwithstanding). Condoms? Forget about it. You will definitely be cleaning those out of your system sooner or later.

But that leaves a question: Why? What happens to your waste after we flush it? Let’s look into that.

First, it passes the trap in the toilet. This is a curvy piece just below the toilet, deliberately smaller than the pipe, designed to make sure anything that gets through can get through the pipes. When your toddler flushes a pencil, it gets stuck here.

This curvy piece also causes an air seal that prevents your toilet from stinking.

After that, it’s a three- or four-inch drain line, which is mostly smooth but (since nothing is perfect) has burrs inside that can snag things that shouldn’t have been flushed. (Like the tail on a tampon.)

Finally, it goes to the main, which is Not My Problem. But that doesn’t mean it’s nobody’s problem. Here’s an article on fatbergs I found: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-46836867

Moving past that: Say the Bad Thing has happened. And maybe you don’t want to call us. (I mean, if you’re calling me as a handyman, let’s say it’s midnight on a Sunday… well. The bill won’t be small.)

What to do?

First, you have to figure out where the problem is. If it’s the sink trap, then it’s pretty easy. And it pretty often is! Except… we’ve already said we caused this problem by flushing. So let’s go to Part Two, when the problem is the toilet.

We’ll try a closet auger first. This is is a small metal snake, sort of like a really long spring. If the clog is still in the toilet unit itself, this’ll do it, and it’ll do it in a few minutes. Which is fantastic! Only… if the clog was in the toilet itself, you probably could have gotten it out with a plunger. So it’s pretty much never this easy.

So we go into the basement and look, with a thousand-yard stare, at the drain system. (Don’t have have a thousand yard stare yet? Don’t worry, it’s coming!) What you’re looking for is places where you can get in, places where the system can be opened. This is called the clean-out–a threaded cap placed in some parts of your wastewater pipes to allow them to be cleaned.

I want you to understand at this point that if the toilet hasn’t been flushing–and, regardless of when you noticed the problem, it’s probably been stopped up for a week–then everything you’ve been failing to flush… is in this pipe you’re about to open. Every. Single. Thing. I’d love to give you tips on how to avoid bathing in it once you get the pipe open (I can pretty much guarantee it’s over your head.) If you find out, let me know; “get a raincoat” is as good as I’ve come up with. If it isn’t midnight on a Sunday, maybe you can get a full-body suit to shield yourself. They’re called Tyvek Jump Suits and sold at Northern Safety, or possibly Lowe’s. They’re not your size, they’re the least stretchy things known to humankind, and they’re hot. Honestly, I’d just bank on taking a shower after. Multiple showers.

Also… the cleanout may or may not come off. That’s right, a poop shower is literally the good option. The bad option… is that the pipe breaks. Off. And falls on the floor. With a resounding crash. Because a lot of old-house sewer pipes? They’re cast iron. They weigh ten pounds a foot when they’re not full of effluvium.

(Don’t be standing under it.)

So let’s say you got lucky. The clean-out opened up, you accepted your excrement spa day with grace and aplomb.

You still have to unclog the pipe. But how?

The first thing is what we call “bagging it.” There’s a rubber garden hose attachment that, when attached to a garden hose and stuffed into the pipe, pressurizes the pipe and (hopefully!) forces the clog to break apart. It works! Sometimes! But a lot of times, the clog develops a hole rather than going downstream. The pipe won’t pressurize, and you’re up shit creek. Or, you know, not.

The next thing is Mr. Rooter, first name Roto. This is a minimum of a 150 pounds of angry, manure-encrusted machinery that wants to hurt you. Badly. And then get the cut infected with everything that’s grown in sewers within the rental area through the last year. This is a machine that, when you rent one, they give you a pair of heavy-duty gloves to go along with it. And won’t accept them back when you’re done. This is a clue: Wear them.

Then we get to using it. My grandfather used to have a saying when something was visibly being difficult. That saying was “Trying to stuff spaghetti up a wild cat’s ass.” This is trying to stuff wild spaghetti up a dead cat’s ass. The machine is stronger than you. The snake that goes in the pipe is a tightly-coiled spring. The tip binds against every protuberance inside the pipe. And coils up the spring. And makes it pop in random directions. And spring back out of the pipe. The outside of the spring occasionally gets snagged and creates a razor sharp burr. A burr you need to grab a hold of. While it’s spinning. (That’s a big part of why you need gloves.) It may have to go in there a hundred feet, one painful, manual inch at a time. It may have to go in there that far ten times, with different tips on it.

Oh, I guess I should explain tips.

There’s The Penetrator (which looks like the spade from a deck of cards), The Extractor (an open spring that will pull things back out), The Root-Cutter (a round sawblade. Those rusty cast-iron pipes will frequently admit tree-roots at the seams), and The Chopper (a pair of tines that poke forward for shredding toilet paper and such.) Congratulations, you’ve just gotten acquainted with the crappiest superhero team ever.)

And that’s it! In all my years of landlording, I’ve only ever had one clog that didn’t respond to some combination of these methods. (That one was in the sewer main, and officially Not My Problem.) But don’t give yourself a pat on the back yet: We still have one more thing to deal with.

Cleanup.

Well, no. I misspoke. You have to deal with cleanup. I’m going to go grab a beer and my decades of unresolved sewage-related trauma and go over there. Enjoy!

Screaming In The Forest

composing-2391033_1920

If a sane person screams in the forest of madness, but the circus goes on, did it really happen?  Asking for a friend.

Look, guys, I know I’m not exactly “sane,” since sanity consists of fitting really well with the herd. I remember being called crazy in the seventies in Europe, when I said that “hey, how come if Russia is so wonderful people risk death to get out of it?” “How come if Cuba is a paradise no Americans are floating in an inner tube to Cuba, instead of the other way around?”

I am, as you guys know, suspicious by nature, but I’m not BY NATURE a conspiracy theorist.  Even after things lie Journolist, I refuse to believe that most human beings can either create a conspiracy or keep it secret, in the face of being human and the temptations thereof.

But you know what? I don’t blame the conspiracy theorists this time. Believing that there’s something massive afoot beats believing everyone has gone howling mad.

I don’t in any way believe any of the fringe lunatic conspiracies going around from “this all to arrest pedophiles” (Oh, for f*ck’s sake people. Even if Trump COULD orchestrate that kind of operation, I wouldn’t want him to. Talk about abuse of executive power and cutting off your head to cure a headache. Also seeing pedophiles under every bed is kind of an American thing. You have to be born and raised here to believe it. Yes, like the Wu-flu pedophilia is really bad in certain sub-cultures and clusters, but probably not above normal human depravity.  And most of it is probably ephebophilia and a love for “almost legal” girls.  There is a baseline for this stuff across human history, and no I don’t think we’re any worse. Yes, a lot of them will be very powerful. That’s the nature of the game. BUT you don’t need a big secret operation to “get rid” of them, nor would that be the way to do it) or  linked to but divergent “this is when the democrats get arrested” (really, like all the prominent people in the administration who were also in Obama’s? Or do you have others in mind? Last I checked Hillary was still running her mouth.  Seriously. If you buy any theory that requires CHINA and IRAN to cooperate with the US government on a massive lie and you think that lie would be to our benefit, you aren’t naive. Naive is too mild a word for this.  I think you’ve gone crazy, just in a different way from the majority.)  And holy hell and all the furies, no, I don’t believe G5 is causing this. There is a danger of G5 being basically wholly owned by China and therefore vulnerable, but it’s not MAGICAL. I’m more likely to believe that G5 gives little girls the power to turn people into frogs.

Which leaves me with “What is going on?” And “How many of us are seeing it makes no sense and think we’re all alone?”

As I’ve said, I’ve taken contra-popular positions before, but never this much. I’ve never seen people go this crazy in my life time and believe obvious deception, including very smart people who’ve never fallen for this sh*t before.

I like to say this is because people who love this country would rather believe that we’re facing the black death than that we’re being systematically destroyed by an enemy, domestic.

This is not only not the black death, this is very far from the black death. 

And this is only in the US. The “Disaster” that’s Italy has killed ten thousand people, mostly very old.  The normal flu in Italy normally kills four or five times that.

Honestly, the only two conspiracy theories that make sense is that this is a psy-ops from deeply embedded greenies seeking to reduce the numbers of humanity, or that China is coordinating this with everyone in the US who works for China and is in their pay and is afraid of getting discovered. And I don’t even believe THAT because someone would break ranks/get scared/realize that they too are made of flesh and will die in this.

Because guys, the situation is dire. Yes, farmers are still planting. BUT THERE IS NO WAY WE CAN DISTRIBUTE FOOD EFFICIENTLY OTHER THAN THE FREE MARKET and we’re taking the mother of all hammers to the free market.

And trust me, trust me, please trust me on this: IF the wheels come off in the US the rest of the world is going to die screaming this winter.  And I don’t know if this bullshit of what amounts to five months in lock down hasn’t already done all the damage that guarantees that.

So…. What is going on, precisely?

At this point I feel like I’m living in 1984.  Is it really bad in NYC? Has to be, in spots, at least, because otherwise they’d fake bigger numbers, right? But then again, who the hell knows?

Here’s what I know: almost everyone I know in the medical profession is getting half-time work. Why? Well, because hospitals are empty having kicked out/postponed everything and everyone but the most dire cases. Most people I know in the medical profession is staring at empty hospitals and being told the onslaught is coming “soon.” And if you post about it on twitter — I read a thread where someone did, yesterday — you get screamed at that they hope you get intubated.

People are going out of their minds. I’m an introvert, and most of what’s driving me bonkers is seeing the powers casually assumed — and not challenged — by mayors and governors.  You know, I’m starting to wonder if an order went out to wear a tutu, would people do it?  BUT most human beings need some contact, and those people are TRULY losing their sh*t.  I saw a woman in vinyl gloves (the crazier ones are always in vinyl gloves. And do they realize that if they then touch things and their face, it’s just like their own skin, right?) go crazy in a Walmart parking lot because she dropped a bag of groceries. We’re talking epic toddler fit.  And she wasn’t alone.

And then there’s the even crazier compliance.  Yesterday I stepped back to get something from my cart at the grocery store, and the gentleman in line behind me stepped hastily back.  Because six feet. Even though the six feet make absolutely no sense, and only applies to AEROSOLIZED virus.  You don’t breathe aerosol. You don’t now, you never did.  Sure, if you’re coughing violently some particles in your breath might be NEAR aerosolized. But no, not really. Some people think there’s an aerosol effect from the force of flushing a toilet but even that is not quite it. THIS IS NOT HOW ANY OF THIS WORKS.

From that paper, and yes, it’s Zero Hedge, but the paper is sane, except for believing China:

An author of a working paper from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University said, “The current scientific consensus is that most transmission via respiratory secretions happens in the form of large respiratory droplets … rather than small aerosols. Droplets, fortunately, are heavy enough that they don’t travel very far and instead fall from the air after traveling only a few feet.”

The media was put into a frenzy when the above authors released their study on COVID-19’s ability to survive in the air. The study did find the virus could survive in the air for a couple of hours; however, this study was designed as academic exercise rather than a real-world test. This study put COVID-19 into a spray bottle to “mist” it into the air. I don’t know anyone who coughs in mist form and it is unclear if the viral load was large enough to infect another individual As one doctor, who wants to remain anonymous, told me, “Corona doesn’t have wings”.

To summarize, China, Singapore, and South Korea’s containment efforts worked because community-based and airborne transmission aren’t common. The most common form of transmission is person-to-person or surface-based.

So, don’t kiss strangers and don’t lick public toilets, wash your hands and don’t touch your face until you have WORK.

What we’re doing? Yeah, what we’re doing is straight up crazy.

Has anyone else noticed that for a month now “next week it’s going to get bad?” and “The peak is two weeks away?”  DOES ANYONE ELSE REMEMBER or is everyone else getting memory wiped every day?

Has anyone else noticed that the homeless aren’t dying or even getting sick — as a bunch of us started pointing this out a bunch of stories started circulating about “This sick homeless man approached me and–”  But those are exactly like the stories of Woke Eight Year Olds who are so scared of Trump they threaten suicide. They’re not credible. Also see thing above about empty hospitals. Yes, the homeless DO use the ED. They’re frequent flyers. They’re not using it any more than normal, or credibly sick more than normal from everything I’ve seen.

In our empty cities, they congregate in job lots, visibly not getting any unhealthier than they already were.

And the excuses I get for this?  “Oh, they’re outside, the air takes the virus way.”
Uh uh. so why are deranged local governments closing public parks? And beaches?  On the excuse that people WHO DON’T BREATHE IN AEROSOL weren’t respecting the six foot distance rule.

It’s like “Brazil, and the other places in the world where people can’t self-isolate (they can’t. Have you looked at housing/densitity/etc.) they don’t seem to be dying in massive batch lots. How come?”  “Oh, the virus can’t survive in warm and humid environments.”  I’ve actually seen this in serious articles.

AND YET they’re quarantining putting Florida under house arrest. (Quarantine is when you isolate the sick. — and btw, WHY not do that instead? Or even the vulnerable, if we can’t test for all the sick? — When you put the healthy under house arrest, it’s called tyranny.)  Hot, humid. And Louisiana has a bad outbreak…. Does anyone know the climate in Louisiana?  Gee, it must be as cold and dry as Colorado.

AM I THE ONLY PERSON SEEING THE OBVIOUS IN YOUR FACE DANCING CONTRADICTIONS?  Sometimes in the same article.

And why are very few people tallying the COST in lives of what we’re doing? Do most people think money rains from heaven or something?

Because just chronic stress, either from fear of the virus or fear that we’re now living in 1984 and will never be let out is going to result in deaths: suicides, autoimmune episodes (YOU don’t want to know) heart disease and cancer are all going to take their toll.

So is hunger (if you think we can stay on lock down five months and distribution will be fine, you must be a Marxist. They never understand distribution. Which is fine because the father of lies Marxism also didn’t.)  Maybe famine won’t kill people in the US (I wouldn’t bet) but in the rest of the world, there will be massive deaths from famine.

And that’s without counting all the “minor” ailments that aren’t being seen or treated and which will turn out not to be minor.

Usually in this type of situation you can look at who benefits and figure out what is driving it.

Sure, the media benefits from captive audiences, which they haven’t enjoyed in a decade.  Greens are all happy because we’re “reducing carbon.” And local politicians are getting their fascist boots on and strutting around enjoying their power. Oh, and Nancy Pelosi got to gloat early on that this was the end of Western civilization

Is that it? Is this what it takes for our nation and culture to commit suicide? Gleefully? Is this all?

And again, do none of the people driving this realize that they too are human, and the destruction they’re wreaking will engulf them and destroy them and their lives as much as the rest of us?

How many more extensions of house arrest are we getting? At this point I’m not sure this makes any sense EVEN IF HIS WERE THE BLACK PLAGUE. The continued “fake quarantine” will destroy more than death on a massive scale. Because TANSTAAFL and people will die from this in droves within a year.  (Sure the deaths will be less visible. But hell, the deaths from Wu-Flu are practically nonexistent on a scale of “what the flu does every year”.)

So, what is going on here? Am I the only one screaming in the forest of fear?
WHO ARE ALL YOU ZOMBIES?

Vignettes and Book Promo

*Okay, late again, and I should explain: When Dan and I were very young, sometimes he got to work from home. It was really really rare, but his company had this “portable computer” that weighed maybe 50 lbs and was the size of a large suitcase.
When for some reason everyone else was on vacation (it was a very small company) and they didn’t want to keep the lights on in the office, they would let him bring the computer home.
What we found is that after 3 day of both of us working from home, we slowly rotated to an almost exclusively nocturnal schedule. We’d be up till 3 or 4 in the morning, then wake up closer to noon than dawn.  At the time — we were in our early twenties and childless — this annoyed us, as it was too late to grab fast food breakfast.
I thought that our bodies had just changed, and with the time with kids, when I used to get up sometimes before 5 to get some writing in before taking them to school, we were now conditioned so we were up at six, rain or shine.
I mean, most days we work from home, and 7 am we’re at our computers, doing our various duties.
Apparently though, this is while the rest of the world is also functioning and we might be called upon to meet the away-kid at lunch, and/or do our shopping early before the crowds, or whatever.  When the world loses its time-moorings, we go back to our preferred schedule. So we’re going to bed at 3 am and get up around 10 or eleven. I’m so sorry.
I’m also sorry I didn’t put up the chapter yesterday.  It was a rough day, but I think I’ve turned the corner on dealing with anger, and hopefully it will get better now. I have so much work to do. As, probably, do we all.  Build over, build under, build around and be not afraid. You got this. We all got this. I don’t know how or when we’ll come out of this, but when we do, come out strong. Do now what you need to do to do so – SAH
PS- For some reason I did not get the vignette challenge word, so. there will be a picture.*

Book Promo

*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. I ALSO WISH TO REMIND OUR READERS THAT IF THEY WANT TO TIP THE BLOGGER WITHOUT SPENDING EXTRA MONEY, CLICKING TO AMAZON THROUGH ONE OF THE BOOK LINKS ON THE RIGHT, WILL GIVE US SOME AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR PURCHASES MADE IN THE NEXT 24HOURS, OR UNTIL YOU CLICK ANOTHER ASSOCIATE’S LINK. PLEASE CONSIDER CLICKING THROUGH ONE OF THOSE LINKS BEFORE SEARCHING FOR THAT SHED, BIG SCREEN TV, GAMING COMPUTER OR CONSERVATORY YOU WISH TO BUY. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM MARY CATELLI:  Mermaids’ Song.

51mmcpxoo7l

Whoever hears the mermaids, singing, will die.

So Nicolas has heard — before, and after, he hears the song.

FROM ROBERT BIDINOTTO, FREE FOR KINDLE:  HUNTER: A Dylan Hunter Justice Thriller (Dylan Hunter Thrillers Book 1).*

51k6cif9jcl

“A masterwork of thrills and suspense.” –Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Assassins

#1 KINDLE BESTSELLER in “MYSTERIES & THRILLERS”

   WHO IS HUNTER? WHO IS PREY? WHO WILL SURVIVE?

Award-winning true-crime author Robert Bidinotto makes his stunning fiction debut with a gripping vigilante-justice thriller that has earned more than 500 “5-star” rave reviews from readers.

   Two people, passionately in love.
But each hides a deadly secret.
He is a crusading vigilante, on a violent quest for justice.
She is tracking this unknown assassin, sworn to stop him.
Neither realizes the truth about the other.
And neither knows that a terrifying predator is hunting them both….

*(Note this book does not have my associate’s link, because I’m not sure of the mechanics of a free book in the associate’s link.)

FROM MY FRIEND NITAY ARBEL, FOUR FREE BOOKS:  Stay-at-home reading promotion: all my ebooks free on Kindle, Wednesday March 25 through Sunday March 29.

A LOT OF MY FRIENDS ALSO HAVE A SALE STILL GOING AND SO DO I:  For your reading pleasure.

VIGNETTES

I didn’t get the word challenge, so look at the picture below and write me something fun.

I’ll have a Witch’s Daughter chapter for you later in the day.  Note the novel to date is now a new tab (I hope.)

photo-manipulation-421405

 

Covid 19 and US Mortality by I. Ratel

Covid 19 and US Mortality by I. Ratel

Let me preface this by saying that I’m not a statistician.  I’m not an epidemiologist, nor am I a medical doctor, or even a schmuck with an undergrad in biology.  My degrees are in Industrial Management and Automotive Technology.  I am a long term organ transplant recipient who has lived with being immunocompromised long enough to take interest in these subjects because disease activity has more potential impact on me than on the average person.
I’ve been watching CDC’s flu surveillance since last fall when there were rumors floating about of a nasty new flu bug in China.  That’s not that unusual, there seems to always be rumors of nasty new bugs in China.  According to the South China Post the first COVID-19 case in Hubei province China was found November 17.  Even that article states that patient zero may have been earlier than that.  This page on FlightRadar24.com shows the Wuhan Tianhe airport serves many domestic and international routes.  I contend that it is reasonable to believe that the SARS-COV-2 virus began circulating around the global population back in November and December, spreading not only across China, but to much of the world.

When considering that possibility patterns in CDC’s regular ILI (Influenza Like Illness) surveillance data become interesting.  I’ve taken their data, and applied my meager Excel skills to chart out some things that surprised me.  Going into this, I expected to see mortality rates somewhere bump.  Prior to January we weren’t looking for this virus.  We’ve only had useful testing capability for a few weeks now.  Given the information we have on disease progression, I assumed that there would be an upward trend in Pneumonia mortality as without looking for and testing for SARS-COV-2, victims should have been classified as deaths due to pneumonia.  So I charted it, with the last 6 years of data published by CDC.

CDC calls week 40 of a year the beginning of the flu season, so all my charts are set to begin in week 40 of one year and end in week 39 of the next, showing years as flu seasons.

chart1

There is the customary increase at week 1, I assume related to holiday festivities and travel.  However the 2019-2020 season shows week by week pneumonia mortality to be low compared to the last few years, which is not what I expected.  What I truly did not expect was the sharp decline over the last few weeks.

I next looked at all-cause mortality.  Perhaps COVID-19 deaths hadn’t been captured in the pneumonia data.  But surely something this virulent would show somewhere.  I was again, surprised.

chart2

We see here that all-cause mortality ran on the high side of normal until it started to drop at the beginning of 2020, and recently dropped significantly.  Again, no indication of this virus killing people beyond seasonal norms.

There is one other salient point that stands out in my sifting of data.  Healthcare visits for ILI. [Influenza Like Illness.]

Chart3

Here we see that people in the US have been seeing their doctors for influenza like illness at higher levels than normal.  The recent upswing can be explained by the current panic, but prior to that?  Most likely it’s more people getting sick enough with respiratory infections to see the doctor.

There is a lot more data available from CDC.  I’ve ignored all the confirmed influenza data, because a lab confirmed influenza case is not a COVID-19 case.  I haven’t seen much else available that should show indicators of COVID-19 beyond what I’ve illustrated here.  These are inelegant numbers, just showing totals, not adjusted to rates per capita or anything else, it was just an attempt to see possible trends from a high level.

As to conclusions, there isn’t enough data for any concrete conclusion.  Looking at this logically, IF there have been COVID-19 cases in the US since December, it doesn’t appear to have been deadly enough to have been very noticeable.  Please note that I am NOT saying “this is just another flu.”  We know that it’s quite virulent in certain populations like me; likely several times more deadly than the “normal” respiratory bugs that circulate every winter.  All that I am stating is that by the data I see right now it is not causing excess mortality beyond seasonal norms when looked at in total with all causes of death.

There are a myriad of possibilities that can be examined over the next few weeks as we get more data, but I will leave the in depth analysis to people better suited to it than I am. As for me, I’m not taking precautions beyond what I already do every flu season.  I have my towel, and intend to follow the advice of the Hitchhiker’s Guide: “Don’t panic.”

[I was trying to add the author’s excel files for download by those who want to examine the data, but it simply will not let me. I will email them to anyone who pings me privately, but I’m going to put images below and hope they work. They MIGHT be too small or unclear to read. BTW the author and I had several “people who know better than us” look at the charts, and it remains a mystery.  No, we don’t know what’s going on. We know it makes no sense. – SAH]
US Flu season mortality 1 2013-2020

US Flu season mortality 3 2013-2020

US Flu season mortality 3 2013-2020

 

 

The Shape Of The Future

fantasy-4520866_1920
Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

Making predictions is hard. Particularly about the future.  And if you just did a double take and said “Uh, Sarah, that’s what you’re supposed to do for a living.”

Well, not actually, no.  We’re not prophets. We might be bards, in that we take some spark of the future and bring it forward.  Just a little bit, just enough to say “The future could be like this.”  But around it we build a plausible world, which, as we all know, could not possibly be true.

So what we do in fact is create possible parallel worlds. Which is why Heinlein’s — and even Simak’s — worlds are still enjoyable to step into.  It is, in other words, a form of fantasy, which is why whenever we get into the argument of how hard sf is, or what the hard line between science fiction and fantasy is, we get lost in the weeds, and the line recedes ever further like the rainbow.

Because intrinsically, fiction must be plausible. Reality hardly ever is. And I swear since about 95 the world has fallen down the weird legs of the pants of time. We have not thought how bizarre it all is because we’re in it, but if you step back, imagine visiting your 1980 self and telling him/her how we got here, and where here is.  Yeah. I wouldn’t believe me either.  Though perhaps the line goes further back. Perhaps I broke the engine of logic and probability when I found what my mom always called “A man stupid enough to marry you.”  I don’t know if you should be grateful to me for doing so or not.

However my subconscious is such that I can often make semi-accurate predictions short-time.  I can sort of “feel” the future, even if I can’t see it clearly or tell you the details.

So. I’m starting to feel where we’re headed, sort of.  This is not an exhaustive list, and it will probably resurface (on the non-pay) side of PJMedia, as a series of posts, in which I go into each of the things I see coming. It is also not perfectly logical, it’s just my sense of how people respond.

First let me tell you that despite climbing American deaths, I stand by my prediction of a maximum # of deaths no more than a mild flu season. I also expect — as I told you in the past — that our large cities will take it in the shorts. I’m surprised that’s only materializing for one large DENSE city so far. I expected Boston and Philadelphia and most dense Eastern cities to be in the same shape as NYC. I also expected San Fran and LA to follow suit.

All I can say as a means to explain the difference (and that post is almost written, also for PJ, but I need to go in and trim it, because even on the paid side 4k words is ridiculous) it comes down to culture, and in NYC its culture is somewhat enforced by its very goofy real-estate restraints and rent control.  In a visit some years ago, son told me that he now understood how people could live in what amounted to modified walk-in closets.  It’s because they don’t.  They mostly eat out. The neighborhood bar or coffee shop is their living room. Home is the place you sleep and keep your clothes.

As such a new form of flu that devolves into pneumonia would go through it, as grandma would say “like a knife through cheese.”

Though I want to point out there might be other things at play. Things we will find out only in retrospect that explain the really, really bad clusters we’re getting.  Perhaps different mutated strains, or… who knows? perhaps certain regions hadn’t got other milder forms that made us semi-immunized.

That we need to isolate those clusters goes without saying. It also goes without saying that the rest of us need to be functioning, our economy recovering and working, so we can lend help and assistance.

It’s bizarre and bordering on the strange that so many governors and mayors and even city councils are going the other way and enforcing strict lock downs NOW, thereby choosing to commit economic suicide and render themselves helpless.  Which is one of the things we’ve learned, that I’m not sure WILL influence the future, because humans are not rational.

  • When given the opportunity to exert power, some people will do it, even when it OBJECTIVELY hurts the polity they swore to protect, even when it’s contra-productive, even when it will destroy them and those they govern.  The power we give people to do so must be limited. It must be limited NOW.  Fortunately we don’t need to go to the moon for the writ on how to do it. We’re supposed to live in a constitutional republic. Let’s get back to that project, shall we? And rest assured that the founding fathers knew of pandemics. Read the history of John Adams.  It doesn’t help that most people won’t go that way, as our government preens on saving us from the evil bad, when in fact they mostly stepped in the way and caused problems particularly on the local level.
    Remember the most egregious abuses, come November. And fight, fight, fight in the culture to bring back the republic we inherited now mostly honored in the breach. Don’t expect to win in your life time. The ruination has been in effect for 100 years.  But maybe, just maybe we can bring it back without the cold civil war going hot. Maybe. Maybe by the time we’re long dead and our great grandchildren can vote.
  • People should distrust the press after this. They didn’t trust them particularly before.  Unfortunately, judging from even people on the right running around with their heads on fire repeating CNN nonsense…  They won’t. What they will is remember who held their hands through the fear. Also, what I expect will be a trend towards working from home will make people see/hear a lot more daytime tv and talk shows and “news” all day long. (Not my house but we’re not normal.)
    Expect a lot more panics and insane reactions stoked over the next few years.  The thing is, and I’m going to quote grandma again “The more the jar goes to the well, the greater of the chance it will lose its handle.”
    They can’t help it. They’re going to stampede and stampede and stampede, until their power is all gone.
    Before they inflict a socialist/socialism on us?  I don’t know. We must trust in G-d to save fools, drunkards and the United States of America. This makes me panicky. While I’m a religious person, I like seeing my path clear to ensuring the results I want. I just don’t.
  • Things that will not come back, not even if you want them to: Comic bookshops, bookstores, recreational conventions and even to some extent business gatherings in other cities.
    There will be some. I would very much like TVIW to survive. I think it does something important. But who knows.
    Anyway, in the secondary effects from that, I think that paper books will basically go by the way side as a separate commodity. Those who want them CAN get them from Amazon. This means that traditional publishers just lost their advantage over indies.
    What can they do to survive? Oh, so many things. The old Baen model — now mostly honored in the breach — of promoting a strong community of readers who have a dedicated site to discuss the books, and also of publishing the type of books that people in that community prefer might work.  After all the problem of indies is promo, and a place where you can be assured you’ll meet authors you’ll probably like helps.  There’s other stuff. They’ll definitely have to think in terms of “What value add do we give writers, so they publish with us.” Mere advances are not enough any more. Not compared to losing a substantial portion of your earnings and control over the books.
    The same goes for most of our creative entertainment from comics to art to movies.  Hollywood is taking it in the shorts too, and I hope you indie movie makers and CGI spinners are warming up your machines. Please.
    This of course might win us the cold civil war. Before or after it turns hot, I don’t know.
  • I think social distancing is here to stay in a way.  IN A WAY.  Whether this entire panic was justified or not, remember that people experience trauma by what they go through. Most people were traumatized by this. Things will change.
    I see a lot of shopping going on line. If anyone reading this knows someone who knows someone who can get hold of the President’s ears, tell him that tax laws must be changed.
    You cannot collect tax for every state you sell things in. You cannot, as a small business.  Free small businesses to sell across state lines, please.
    This is not tremendously difficult. Just say under x revenue (and not the current 4k, maybe more like 500k) you’re exempt from that nonsense.
    If we don’t do this, then Amazon and the other mega corps will continue growing, but the economy will suffer as will small creators and seller.
    America is and should be the land of small businesses. That’s what makes us the engine of the future. Let’s stop shoving them into the arms of mega corps. Because that story doesn’t end well.
    But look for a ton more delivery services for everything, from groceries to craft materials, to pet food.  We’re already seeing some of that — the pet store went curbside pickup — because people will be leery of touching things a lot of people have touched.
  • Weirdly I really don’t think restaurants will be affected IN THE LONG RUN.  Sure, you’re going to see a lot more pick up and delivery.  They were already trending that way. But people eat together with friends and acquaintances. It’s a behavior as old as time. Refusing to break bread with the enemy is also. They’ll come back. We have on our schedule 2 meals a week (I need to write more to afford it) come all-clear.
    What I do see is a lot more CLEANING and visible cleaning in restaurants. This is not a bad thing, though it might bump up the price of your meal a little.
    I do think for a while we’re all going to eat out a lot, and then eating out in person might slip back a bit, to less than normal pre-panic. Because delivery and pick up will take the place of a lot of it.  Eh. Willing to live with it. I’m planning a series of picnics with my sweetie for this summer.  Maybe parks can put in a lot more picnic tables, well distanced, please. (This could be wistful thinking and people might very well, indeed, eat out A LOT less, and cook at home instead. I doubt it though. We’re now up to three generations of people having no clue how to cook from scratch. So I doubt the trend to have someone else make your food will change.)
  • How we work will change. At least for those of us who work in the vineyards of the mind. Again, the experience has impressed itself.
    For everyone who says if they have to spend another day at home with spouse and kids there will be a murder, there is another who loves commuting from bedroom to kitchen, then with a cup of coffee to the office, living room or wherever their work-domain is.
    Some number will gratefully rush back to the office with glad cries. Others will demure, making noise about how they’re afraid to go back because the bug might come back.
    I expect once this is all said and done a good 1/3 of American workforce will move to the home, permanently.
    This will affect EVERYTHING from work-mobility (if all you do is change the system you’re logging into it’s easier to change jobs) to how we raise our kids (what daycare?)  to how we school our kids (Junior just logs into school while mom works next to him. Trust me, it’s doable. I lived like that through a year. It was actually kind of pleasant. I took my office mate for walks at lunch, and rambled on and on about what he’d learned. We’re still close), to where we live (weirdly people in that situation actually prefer smallish city to country. Mostly because you see other people, and most of us need that.) to how houses are built. The Obama years already changed that, somewhat. When we were looking for houses, it was amazing how many had an almost separate apartment, mother in law suite or other arrangements, including newly built ones. You see, it was a selling-thing. The people who boomeranged home, or had to look after parents, preferred houses with it.
    Look for houses with a “work area” in the “desirable” prices that appeal to people working with their minds.  Perhaps a work area, next to a school room.  One of the things this long-time home-worker has learned is that having a dedicated work space works best.
    It will also affect WHOM we marry.  Dan and I have sort of worked out an arrangement, where he can talk to me about programing, and sometimes it helps, but I neither really understand it nor can I really help if he has a snag.
    I think you’re going to see a lot more of people with like specialties marrying. Or at least people with related specialties. To be fair, this was already part of online meeting.
    But maybe not as much. You are however going to see a lot more people marrying people they want to spend a lot of time with, not just in the evenings.
    In the long run this will be good for families. And humans in general, to be fair.
  • While at it, watch what happens to unemployment.  Because this has taught us a bunch of things expect a lot of manufacturing to come back home. (And please, again, anyone with the ear of anyone who can change things, get rid of the stupid Thor Powertools decision that caused Just In Time supplying and also off-shoring.
    Now most Americans will NOT work for Chinese slave labor prices. Which is good.
    But —
    But our machines will. If you have a kid in engineering (hi, son) remind them that robotics will be a major growth field in the future. MAJOR.
    Fortunately it already is fairly advanced, even if we haven’t been using it, likely because of stupid regulations.
    Now it’s a matter of life and death.  America will revive industrially. Probably very, very fast.
    But even robotic factories need workers.
    I suspect in the future there will be a lot of jobs in manufacturing that amount to supervising vast factories and being able to stop them and do limited fix ups when things go wrong.  Eventually some of these will be done remotely, but not right away.
    I think we’ll recover quickly, because we need a lot of workers for this industrial revival, even if the jobs will be different.
    Because the rest of the world will hurt far more than us, we will also enjoy relative advantage, combined with being innovative, as we are and must be allowed to be again.

There will be other things. Some of them trivial. I think wearing masks inn public is going to be as much a thing here as in Japan. Partly because of the remembered shock of this month. Partly because I’ll be honest my kids’ generation always thought they were cool, since they grew up with anime.
And there will be things we can’t even imagine (the bane of SF writers everywhere) which come from this month.
I expect the reverberations of it to work themselves through every aspect of our life, from trivial to profound for the rest of my life, even if we recover enough for me to have another 30 to 40 years ahead of me.
Keep in mind the shape of the future and work towards making it better and more individual.
On the way there, expect us to have serious challenges and an attempt to completely dismantle the republic (like we never had those before. I do however expect this one to come in the next couple of weeks and be in-your-face-blatant. I hope I’m wrong. If I’m right cross my palm with silver. Or send me $5.)

If we survive, though, there is a bright, beckoning future. For us, for America, for all we hold dear.

Go work.

 

Rebel Millennials Without a Cause- by Marshall Hoyt

Rebel Millennials Without a Cause- by Marshall Hoyt

Hey y’all, you probably haven’t seen a post from the youngest Hoyt in a while, I’ve been working tooth and nail. But before I submit a project proposal and prelab tomorrow, I figure it’s time for one of my deep dives into culture… Or at least a nice quick dip.

To those not totally plugged into comics culture, there’s been a bit a crisis going on lately. Now, with all the COVID-19 panic, you might have not even thought about what’s going on with comics. Or, more importantly comic shops.

I’ll be the first to let you know: They’re closing. Forever. These stores rely on new issues and constant input, and all the major publishers have announced a hold on their distribution lines until the virus passes. The comic companies- multi-invested, they’ll live for the most part, digital fronts pick up the slack. Physical comic stores? Well, it’s like a bakery being told they won’t even be offered wheat, or wheat substitute anymore. This is end days for comic stores, so whatever is coming and already on order, has to be knockouts. They have to have Spiderman, or Dark Knight Returns level of sales to survive.

So, like a man on their death bed, the comic stores are begging for a response, for salvation, for a saving grace to be offered by the publishers. The first to respond with announcements is one of the biggest: Marvel. One issue announced earlier this week, and one a couple of days ago. Now these comic stores, they’re looking at these announcements and going: Could it be? Look at engagement! Those views! 650k views on one, and 110k on the other, on comic announcements? That’s huge! So with hopeful eyes they look at the announcements and….

trailblazer

Wait, hold on–

screentime

Wait hold up, experimental what now? You can’t just pretend that makes any sen–

twincest

Okay now you’re just f**king with us. This team can’t seriously be comprised of jokes that 4chan would make about how woke Marvel has become-

b-negative

Ah.

Good.

The blood sucking, flying albino with a bad 90’s Goth outfit is the most believable character in your roster.

Wonderful.

Well at least the other announcement has got to be good. Right?

zoomer x-men

Okay, well, that’s tonal deft to what Zoomers are like and what they like, but, sure, whatever, at least they’re not as bad as that other team.

Although speaking of other team, these characters look sort of familiar…

familiar

You got be f**king kidding me.

Marvel, gender-swapping and race-changing existing characters doesn’t count as doing something new. Granting, seeing what you do with new characters, I guess this is an improvement.

Besides the coming funeral plans for comic shops thanks to the senseless murder by Marvel comics and its weapon of pure woke, this brings into focus the purpose of my post today, because I haven’t given away the dirty little secret about these comics, and I think it’s appropriate to do a short history lesson, and turn back the clock a bit.

Now, a while back, you might recall what used to be the universally acknowledged worst generation of all time: The Boomers. These kids came in droves, rebelled, got high and fucked up, and as a result the majority of them became the divorced parents of my generation. In fact, having parents who were still married was downright rare. Of the 7 different (Official) roommates I’ve had, 4 had divorced parents, 2 had fathers who passed from cancer, and only 1 has two living, married parents. A lot of these kids were being raised by people who never really grew up themselves, and they didn’t know the first things about raising children.

For a long time, Boomers were and still are considered a completely dysfunctional generation. But what became clear about 12 years ago, back in 2008, is that the Boomer’s kids (who ranged from teens entering high school to people in their late 20’s becoming a solid presence in the workforce), well, they had something going on. They had grown up with the transition of technology from bulky CRTV monitors to flat screens, from landlines to smartphones, from notes in class to texts after. These kids were connected, they were with it, they were hip.

They became loud. They were the rebels, the new kids on the block, the “New Generation” that politicians should be appealing to. This new world was their world. The boomers and Gen X might have built the technology they were using, but they weren’t using it like they were. Youtube, Tumblr, Twitter- they weren’t just using these platforms, they began to work at these companies, shape them, mold them to what they wanted the world to be. For a long time, people didn’t take them seriously.

But they got louder, bolder, crazier. And the messaging became clear. Two person relationship? How about a 10 person polyamorous mess? Two Genders? How about 58 and counting? Two equally qualified candidates of different sexes? Have to hire the woman, it’d be sexist otherwise.  Got any Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander leads in your movie? If not, you’re just racist, no other way around it. Do you like road intersections? Well imagine everyone’s identity is a car, and we all just drove at max speed towards that crossroads until our cars mangled up into a pile of metal and bones- That’s Intersectionality, baby. Now get on board, or you’re as bad as a group of people that quite literally killed millions of Jews.

This craziness was seen in Comics- Spiderman is black now, Jane Foster is Thor, Captain America is secretly part of Hydra and “Occupy Avengers” sounds like a good idea. In movies- where the cast of Star Wars needed more diversity, Scarlet Johansson shouldn’t be leading in Ghost of the Shell because she’s white and the Ghostbusters (Or any vaguely nostalgic property) would be better done if it was explicitly redone with an all-female cast. Even in public discourse- think there’s only two genders, babies in the womb are living beings or that people breaking the law by crossing the border are by definition criminals? then expect a ban on every social media platform.

But over the past year, something happened.

This insane generation, raised by an insane generation, they were getting old. Noticeably old.

The oldest Millennials were about to hit 40.

Worse yet, in all their time being the “rebellious young advocates”, in all their complaining about capitalism and demands for abortions on demand, they sort of forgot to have kids. In fact, the people they’ve spent the past 12 years yelling at in their generation? they were the ones having all the kids. Even worse than that, these kids understood technology in a way the Millennials didn’t. That doesn’t make sense, I mean, they only grew up on all the most advanced technology of this era. But wait, what about the world they’ve presented the new generation with, the ideals they’ve thrown on banners and the things they fought for? These “Zoomers” will at least appreciate that, right?

Oh Sh*t, they hate it, they hate all of it.

No, wait, when did the Millennials stop being cool? No, we’re still cool, right? We have to be. Time to course correct.

fellow kids

That there, is Daniel Kibblesmith.

He’s the author of that lovely new Marvel group from the top of the article, The “New” New Warriors, and at age 36 he’s part of the older brand of Millennials that just can’t accept his glory days are past.

That’s the dirty little secret I mentioned earlier, these comics are made by  Millennials pretending they know how Zoomers work. Don’t worry, I saved you from his heavily receding hairline with that hat. Along with his strong belief as a Jewish man that we should teach kids that Santa is black, and white Santa is just his husband (No, I’m not kidding), he’s about as stereotypical Millennial as you get. I mean, I’d say more about him, but other than the fact that he used to write for Stephen Colbert, he’s a noted Bernie supporter (In 2020) and seems to have a puppet fetish, there isn’t much more interesting about him. You can discern the rest of his personality from that information, and I encourage you to find me anything he’s posted or said that doesn’t paint him as a perfect Millennial political wonk.

Unfortunately, like his 35 year old counterpart writing that second title, “Children of the Atom”, he’s not as in tune with the Zoomers as he’d like to think. To be fair, I don’t actually think they’re that dumb. I think they’re well aware they’re not the rebels anymore and they’re trying to influence the younger generations as much as possible. But in equal measure, I’ve seen a LOT of failed Millennial attempts to appeal to Zoomers recently, and the Zoomers treated them no kinder than Millennials treated the Boomers. In fact, more than a fair share of Millennials have been on the receiving end of a slapping “Ok Boomer”, much to their dismay.

Panicked and lost as Millennials are though, I am fairly convinced they’re gunning for influencing the generations under them as much as possible. For Zoomers– they’ve pretty much already lost them. The Millennials have gone so far, so quick, and so incoherently, that Zoomer grew up seeing the millennials try and burn the world down, and they ain’t having that sh*t.

However, there are two points of concern. One: professors across the country are freaking out because they’re afraid their lectures will be leaked to right wing publications. Ignoring the fact that you shouldn’t be teaching *anything* on a college campus if you’re afraid that 50% of the f**king country wouldn’t like it being taught as gospel to students, this does give away the game. They are indoctrinating students. I mean, we knew that, but it’s to the point they’re hiding *what* exactly that indoctrination is. Needless to say, I look forward to seeing exactly what BS these professors are pulling, when their lecture notes do leak. Maybe I’ll make a post about that.

Secondly, I want to share quickly my experience a couple of weeks back, sitting down in the library between classes to get work done. Because as I pulled out my work I realized that the woman speaking loudly on the other side of the barrier wasn’t just having any conversation, they were discussing intersectionality. Not just that, a *children’s book* about intersectionality. In her rambling, she said the exact words “I think it’s important to teach children the importance of intersectionality, to influence their politics” to an unknown amount of crazies. I repeat, she finds it important to *influence the politics of children*.  That is beyond evil. I mean even logically, if we’re not allowed to teach Christianity in school, something that roughly 75% of the US population believes in, I don’t think teaching children something *maybe*, at best, 20% of the US population believes in is appropriate. But of course, being appropriate is never part of the Millennial mindset.

Frankly, I don’t know what Generation Alpha, the children and toddlers of today, will be like. I don’t know their political leanings, or their values or aspirations. I know nobody has the right to try and directly influence what they become, and lord knows, with some of the 7 years old drag queens and trans kids insidiously brought out by the Millennials having children in their 30’s, that generation might be beyond f**ked up. But we certainly shouldn’t be encouraging insanity or influencing political leanings.  They should just be kids. Luckily, I think Zoomers will soon become the roaring voice in the wind, and they’ll say “Enough is enough.”

Only time will tell, and time only proves to be a cruel b*tch to the Millennials. A generation who used to be the rebels, the kings, the movement and the change. Now, they’re just an echo of a time fading away, of a culture increasingly mocked, and an ideology turned away from. Soon, it will become clear that Millennials are no longer in control of the narrative, and that they’re not only losing, but they’re lost. In a lot of ways, Millennials are more than just the generation of rebels without a cause.

They are Generation Lost.

—Original Image Credit for Marvel Characters belongs to Marvel Entertainment LLC, all rights reserved, content created under Fair Use by means of commentary—

—Final Note, I’d like to add levity by sharing this meme my Canadian Friend sent me—

pew

 

Cures and Diseases

watercolor-3461221_1920

I’m sorry I’ve been largely absent from my own blog. The truth is that I’ve been largely absent from my own life.

It is a form of depression, but one I hadn’t wrestled with before. I’ve never before been THIS angry. Angry enough I had to shut my entire ability to work — including non fiction and short pieces down — in order not to live in a state of near-berserking.

And I’ve never before felt so impotent that it feeds into the depression. Of course I’ve never before watched the imposition of Cuba-style socialism on the bastion of free men (yes, women are included in that, and if you think I need to mention this every time you’re part of the people destroying civilization without realizing what you’re doing and one of the people I’m no longer in the mood to give consequence to.)

It doesn’t help that this dropped on top of other worries that were ALREADY consuming my life before: I appreciate the world’s and politicians attempts to distract me from a couple of things I’m waiting to drop to make sure the boys DO graduate this year, and from my fears the boob thing will be cancer by going completely insane. I particularly want to thank my state governor for attempting to crash the state economy in tandem with all the other crazy state governors, in what (if they keep it up) guarantees a famine event by next winter. I think HOWEVER you’re going overboard a little.
Maybe it’s time to back up?

Okay, to be clear, the chances that the Chinese Virus was ever going to wipe out 1/10th of our population, let alone more, were very, very, very low.  HOWEVER when this started out, we didn’t know that. We just didn’t. And the sh*t coming out of China, including the crematoria running day and night were terrifying.

The virus is still horrible in China. PROBABLY. I mean, the Chinese are still dying and a lot are still locked in. But is it the thing that has many names but which started out as COVID-19?

No one knows. No one really knows what is going on in China. Partly because, as a friend of mine who loves the culture and has lived in China put it “It’s not that they lie. It’s that they don’t really have a concept of the truth.” Some Arab cultures have similar issues. You see, truth that can be verified by other people, truth that is “scientifically testable” is not only not a given for humanity, it seems to be a really difficult idea. Judging from oour plague of irreproducible results, it’s really difficult for US too and being lost here. It might be something that came to the west, or solidified in the west with the scientific revolution.

In China “truth is what serves our purposes.” For everyone. Which is why medicines made in China might be full of plaster. If you’re lucky.

Anyway, the point is no one knows what is going on in China, and though we know that people are dying in droves, and that we’re not being told the truth, we don’t know that it’s caused by this virus.

In fact there are tons of reasons to believe it isn’t, including the fact that the virus isn’t that lethal anywhere else.  And before you say “Italy” — Italy is cooking the books, including counting anyone who dies of anything else and had this virus onboard as dying of the virus — besides the fact that Italy has other, systemic problems, just as China does.

There were always those of us who suspected that some purging of political dissidents was going on behind China’s facade of virus attack, and some of it might be true. But there are a lot of other things going one. One of them is that China was hurting — badly — economically.  The 8 years of Obama’s Summer of Recovery had put a dent in how much “cheap crap” Americans were buying. There were already parts of their economy dying. They compensated by stealing patents and frauding more (remember they have no concept of fair dealing, along with no concept of the truth. And no, this is not racist, though it might be “culturalist” but I don’t know how, unless you believe all cultures are exactly the same, in which the technical name for you is “idiot.” And yes, I know there are a ton of you out there who were taught that. You were mis-taught. There is no value judgement involved. Cultures are different. I think ours is more suited to survival and thriving of the human race, but that’s me. However, if you’re going to be dealing with other countries you have to be aware of the differences. This, BTW doesn’t mean diddly about the character of people of Chinese origin. It just means that people who grow up in the Chinese culture might have blind spots which aren’t ours and which make business affairs cross culture difficult.)

But then came Trump’s sanctions and attempts to stop our bleed out of jobs and currency.  And no, he wasn’t wrong. But it put the hurt on China, MAJORLY which is why all our press — who knew they were in the pocket of the Chinese to that extent — squealed like stuck pigs.

The thing is it might have caused FAMINE in China.  China has a veneer of modernity and western civilization, but it is not.  The average peasant in China still lives in conditions our 19th century ancestors would find primitive and stark. They might wear t-shirts, but they’re living in primitive, and close to the bone conditions.

When the sanctions cut into them, crematoria running night and day might be a sign of anything, including widespread famine.  And Wuhan was particularly impoverished due to hosting the Military games, which means the government emptied parts of the city and destroyed people’s livelihoods uncaring of what happened. There were APPARENTLY a lot of people on the edge of starvation.

Which, yes, makes them more susceptible to disease.  Or just dying of hunger.

On top of which, there have been rumors filtering out of a new bird flu, and worse of locusts in unprecedented numbers eating their crops. This comes on top of a swine flu that killed or caused them to kill most of their pigs, to the point rivers ran red.

So, you know, what happened with the virus and China is not a sign of anything.

But when I first became aware of this in January, I was briefly very worried. It looked like it would be bad, very bad indeed. And like everyone else, I kept thinking “Would China react like this if they didn’t have way more deaths/it weren’t way more severe?”

Well, yes, because as I’ve explained there are a ton of other (very bad) things going on in China, and blaming the virus is not as embarrassing.

Since then, despite various attempts to stampede us, from the incredibly stupid computer model, to the numbers in Italy (note that only 12% of death certificates that show Covid-19 as the cause are plausibly even close to true.), to our own authorities doing testing only on people showing severe symptoms, and publishing the number of infected as though it were growing and not more people being tested for it, to as far as I can tell, hospital administrations assuming when we first tested is when people were first infected and having decided (PFA?) that the thing has no asymptomatic infections, but that most infections “take 16 days” which is why the surgeon general (medical degrees apparently don’t mean you can examine assumptions) thinks this week will be “the worst yet,” the truth is that this virus is probably one of the greatest panics incited over absolutely nothing in the history of humanity.

In the magnitude of delusion compared to the actual effects/danger, it is the elephant that birthed a mouse.

I’m not saying people won’t die from the infection. We’re humans. People die from a hangnail. People die from getting too much sun. People can and do die from sinus infections. It’s just not common.  Every year, I guarantee, several people die from the common cold. I once tried to die from a really simple virus my two year old shrugged off in a week.

People will die. But in terms of who dies of Chinese Virus, we’re learning they’re the people who would die of …. well, anything. Most of them will be seniors who would have died in less than year anyway.

And when you type that people call you unfeeling and tell you how would you feel if that were your mother, or your grandmother.

The answer is DEVASTATED. Very very sad. I’ve said in the past, and it’s true, that I’d give years of life for the ability to have tea with grandma once more, in her kitchen.

But my mother is eighty five. My father is eighty nine. Both of them are adults and cognizant that they are MORTAL. They certainly wouldn’t want western civilization destroyed to save them. Particularly because when global economy crashes, they won’t survive, anyway. Nor will anyone their age. Hell, it’s unlikely anyone my age will survive very long, because we get the maladies and the thing that don’t work very well. People are only living to their eighties and nineties because we’re wealthy and stable enough to give them medicine and think nothing of the cost. And because they can be well fed, clean, warm.

The proof that this virus is probably less lethal than the common cold is hard to come by, partly because we’re still only testing people who are showing symptoms. And we haven’t tested that many people, as is.  And as proven we can’t trust numbers from China or Italy, and knowing the games they play with numbers for infant death and murder, I’d be very careful trusting numbers from the EU.

So, we lean heavily on the numbers from the Diamond Princess, because it’s a closed test case. Iceland might also be trustworthy. And South Korea might be more or less straight up.  And there are studies surfacing of what is really going on that confirm THE VIRUS IS NOT A BIG DEAL.

COVID-19: the unwarranted panic

COVID-19: interesting data from Korea and from the Diamond Princess

COVID-19 – Evidence Over Hysteria

Don’t expect the media to tell you this. They benefit from the panic directly. Their almost gone influence has been revived. You see, most people don’t actually read news online. They learned to distrust the media from talking to friends at lunch/diner/office. Those are gone, and bored and scared people have the news on. And they BELIEVE them. So don’t expect the media to EVER give the all clear.

All the more so because they’ve seized on this to create a state of panic that will allow them to push their favorite political prescriptions.  If you think your lefty friends saying that we’re adopting Bernie’s program is hyperbole, it’s not.  The media has stampeded us into an horrendous recession, and the left is taking advantage of it.

The left will also never ever give the all clear. They’re seizing on the panic to create their socialist paradise by fiat.  The fact it looks a lot like Cuba or Venezuela hasn’t hit them yet. And they might not mind, anyway. Most of them would rather reign in hell.

But I still think they have NO clue of the devastation they’re precipitating. Most of them are urbanites, work in offices, and have a degree in the soft sciences. Some are even extremely competent and successful in their own fields, but they are complete idiots when it comes to how the world works or what the economy is.

There are signs they are completely delusional. One of them is the charming illusion they can keep people in lock down for 18 months, and all that will happen is they “save lives” and “socialism.” Another is their uniform support for The Green New Deal, an underwear gnome solution based on wishful thinking and astonishing ignorance.  Yet another is how they think printing money will compensate for everything. Yet another is an article I saw yesterday about how we recovered from the 2008 recession by 2009. Apparently someone REALLY believed those cooked numbers and the headlines on “summer of recovery” and didn’t have highly qualified friends unemployed for half a decade at a time.

And that’s the problem. It’s not so much the “enemies, domestic” though of course, it is a major problem. As is the fact these mal-educated emotional children have political power.  I mean at the level of functionality and divorce from reality they’re the nobility of pre-revolutionary France. (And it would behoove them to remember how that ended.)

But the really, really major problem is that they have NO clue how their actions impact reality, other than what they want to see. It’s entirely possible they don’t believe reality exists. (College-educated people in possession of half-digested philosophy are apparently more dangerous than a buffalo in a china shop.)

What we have grown-size toddlers, walking around a room-sized computer, randomly smashing circuit boards with their hammers and giggling.

You see, they know the more functionality they take down, the more chance that Orange-man-bad who told them they couldn’t have whatever toy they wanted will be taken out.

BUT THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY’RE DOING is causing IRREPARABLE damage, and that it might never be repaired.

If they understood the economy and its complexity they wouldn’t be socialists or communists. Because the reason socialism and communism destroys economies and kills people is that it ignores the complexity of economy and people.

They confuse symbol with reality (In this as in everything else, btw) so they think printing money creates value. They think that they can lock us in the house for eighteen months, and as long as they keep us in money, everything will be fine.

They miss not just that food/other necessities still need to be produced, but that they need to be transported. And that for them to be transported, there needs to be oil (no, please, this is not the time to have dreams of tech we don’t actually have) available to fuel trucks, and truckers willing to take to the road. They miss that just handing people money doesn’t mean they can buy food, even if it is available. They miss the interweb of value and interchange that keeps economy going, from building maintenance to paying your rent, to keeping the lights on.

They fail to understand you can’t stop the complex, chaotic system that is American economy and have it restart again.
They are pampered and confident, and they have no clue there can be a world with lates, let alone a world without beans.

If this goes on, we’re going to have a massive famine sometime next winter. Massive. People will die. Not just the very elderly people that the Chinese Virus targets, but people of all ages all over the world.

Even if we’re still producing enough food — we might be, America is a wonder, but I wouldn’t bet. Farmers needs seeds, fertilizer, maintenance for their machines, replacement parts, etc. — there won’t be a distribution network in place.

The stock market is not the way people who are very rich get money so they can build a money bin and swim in it. It’s the engine of the world. It supplies a way to move value around, so that farmers can borrow to buy seed, so that they can have tractors and other machinery. It is what allows trucking companies to operate. It is what keeps food on your table, clothes on your back, and the heat on.

Every part of the machine is interlocked. And what is happening is taking the wheels off. It’s smashing into the center of the economy with a hammer.

BTW when I say there will be famine and people will die, I mean in the US. PEOPLE WILL DIE.  Of hunger. Of lack of heat. Of lack of medicine. PEOPLE WILL DIE.  And not all of them the insane people who are instigating this.

In fact, most of the power mad governors will be just fine. And one can only hope that the idiots roaming facebook and saying this is their chance to smash capitalism get to FEEL what they’re encouraging. Dying of hunger ain’t pretty.

In the rest of the world? If people starve in the US, the rest of the world will starve worse.  Russia thinks it can be resurgent. So does China. They’re going to find mostly they die. Their despotic systems only work in an hyper abundant world.

But what this whole thing adds to is that the Chinese Virus was not the problem.  The people imposing crazy quarantines and measures are.  The idea that you can shut the country down for two weeks is bad enough. The people trying to stampede us into doing it longer, are ignorant of the realities of economics, or indeed of reality.

Should you wash your hands and not slip tongue to total strangers? Sure, but you always should. Antibiotics have made us cocky and banished a lot of the social distancing and care of the past, but not only do they not work on viruses (viri) but are losing effectiveness.

IF you can work from home, you should work from home. If it’s possible to home school, you should home school. BUT I ALWAYS THOUGHT SO.  And you shouldn’t go and lick doorknobs. Or shrines. BUT again, you never should.

Other than that? We need the restrictions lifted. Yesterday, if not sooner.

Listen to me, and start besieging your idiotic political leaders.  WE MUST LIFT THE STUPID HAMMER FROM THE ECONOMY.

It will still hurt like a mother. Oh, it will hurt. The next two-three years we’re going to get hyper inflation, unemployment and it’s going to be really hard. But I trust you guys. You’re battlers. Build under, build over build around.

However the president is right. The cure is far far worse than the disease. In fact, the “cure” deliberate or not is an attack at the heart of the economic engine of the world. Which is to say it’s an attack on humans’ ability to lie at all.

And before the greens crow about this, oh, please. This type of thing is not GOOD for the environment (whatever that means. You guys are high on semantic stupidity.) The humans who survive are going to give fuck all for your precious “ecology.” They will do what they have to do to stay alive. Which means the end result will be like something of your worst nightmares, with wood fires everywhere, forests burned for the rich soil beneath, animals hunted to extinction.  And yeah, there probably will be enough humans left to do really bad damage. Not that I care, because you see I’m for team human. I want humans to survive. But you idiots, who hate your own species, probably do care. And be aware you lose. In the end, you lose big.

If we continue with this stupid shit, and allowing marginally elected, probably with the help of fraud and disinformation ignoramuses to mandate where we can eat, where and when we can work, where we can walk, and what we can do, will only guarantee that millions die of starvation and disease within the next couple of years. And that’s JUST in the US. World wide hundreds of millions will die.

I beg you, with tears in my eyes, stop being afraid of the virus and start being afraid of the statists destroying our liberties, our economy, our society.

If we can save what remains of western civilization, in the end we win they lose.

They know that. They don’t mean to lose. And they have no idea that they can’t win.

They don’t know what they’re playing with, nor what they’ll unleash.