A Pretty Good Cat

My siblings are bonkers about cats. I’m used to that. I’ve borne years of anthropomorphic fantasies about a line of household pets that included a sensitive and gorgeous special breed, country cross-varieties vaguely named after T.S. Eliot characters, and a few city “patio cats.” I’ve witnessed naming deliberations for new kitties that drag on for weeks, with “Pockets” being a near winner and a friend begging them not to saddle it with a noun handle for life. They eventually settled on human names for their animals, which pleased everyone: Eleanor, Titus. Titus, nearly two decades old, is still with us, and shows up occasionally in pictures, like the time he was sporting a small wide tie that my brother said made him think of “a night manager at Denny’s.”

What has just dawned on me, however, is that another family member has been something of a dark horse when it comes to passion for felines. I mean, I knew my dad liked cats, but I finally realized the degree of this affinity today when my mom texted us with a charming innovation my dad used to solve a problem with their old cat.... [Read More]


Book Review: Collapse

“Collapse” by Kurt SchlichterIn his 2016 novel People’s Republic, the author describes North America in the early 2030s, a decade after the present Cold Civil War turned hot and the United States split into the People’s Republic of North America (PRNA) on the coasts and the upper Midwest, with the rest continuing to call itself the United States, its capital now in Dallas, purging itself of the “progressive” corruption which was now unleashed without limits in the PRNA. In that book we met Kelly Turnbull, retired from the military and veteran of the border conflicts at the time of the Split, who made his living performing perilous missions in the PRNA to rescue those trapped inside its borders.

In this, the fourth Kelly Turnbull novel (I have not yet read the second, Indian Country, nor the third, Wildfire), the situation in the PRNA has, as inevitably happens in socialist paradises, continued to deteriorate, and by 2035 its sullen population is growing increasingly restive and willing to go to extremes to escape to Mexico, which has built a big, beautiful wall to keep the starving hordes from El Norte overrunning their country. Cartels smuggle refugees from the PRNA into Mexico where they are exploited in factories where they work for peanuts but where, unlike in the PRNA, you could at least buy peanuts.... [Read More]


TOTD 2020-3-27: Taking the Temperature

This will be a short post. I have a couple of appointments this weekend. To calm fears they want to know my temperature for a few days.

I grew up in the States and the old thermometers had mercury in them and you stuck them under your tongue. In Japan they use digital thermometers but you don’t stick it under your tongue. It is placed in another warm place but(I spelled that right) not where you think. It is placed under your arm. The temperature is lower by a degree or so. ... [Read More]


TOTD 2020-3-25: Who Decides Who Dies?

We have no idea how well things will go. There is hope and facts that it looks like things will be okay but there is also facts that things could turn bad. If the hospitals are overrun with people who need critical care. At that time someone will have to decide who gets that help and who doesn’t.  I have some questions to get at some rational for those decisions.

What is the main criteria for giving the rationed resources? Need? Money? Prospects for recovery?... [Read More]


“COVID-19 — Evidence Over Hysteria”

CensorshipAaron Ginn, a Silicon Valley technologist who worked on the digital team for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and subsequently co-founded Lincoln Network, a conservative group of technologists, posted a long (≈ 7000 word) think piece on Medium.com titled “COVID-19 — Evidence Over Hysteria”.  This is a fact-based exploration of what we know and what we don’t know about this disease and its progression so far, the steps taken to deal with it and their potential economic consequences, and recommendations for course changes.  He concludes:

These days are precarious as Governors float the idea of martial law for not following “social distancing”, as well as they liked while they violate those same rules on national TV. Remember this tone is for a virus that has impacted 0.004% of our population. Imagine if this was a truly existential threat to our Republic.... [Read More]


Information Please: Why does the Covid-19 cause shortness of breath?

I know some symptoms are mild but I keep on seeing people having severe breathing difficulties. I don’t think I have ever had that with a disease. I have felt nausea and had a sore throat that was painful with each swallow but not this. Is this pneumonia from the disease? What makes this different from the an ordinary flu?

Thanks in advance.


TOTD 2020-3-18: Two Seconds Four Tires

I will warn you that this twenty minutes video to cover two seconds of time will be hard to stop watching. I saw the four tires changed in two seconds  happen before my eyes but it looked like magic. Everything has to happen pretty neat perfectly and it does. On average this is 0.5 seconds per tire. Wow!

... [Read More]


Discordant Data from the Diamond Princess

Diamond Princess (ship)One of the first concentrated outbreaks of COVID-19 was on board the cruise ship Diamond Princess, one of whose passengers tested positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong on 2020-02-01.  The patient had onset of symptoms on 2020-01-19, one day before boarding the ship and disembarked at Hong Kong on 2020-01-25.  When the ship returned to Yokohama, Japan on 2020-02-03, it was held in quarantine, during which time a total of 3,063 PCR tests were performed on the 3,711 passengers and crew.  By 2020-02-20, there were 634 confirmed cases on-board, of which 328 were asymptomatic (positive on the PCR test, but with no self-reported symptoms as of that date, although symptoms may have developed subsequently).

A detailed analysis of this outbreak by eleven authors from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, “Estimating the infection and case fatality ratio for COVID-19 using age-adjusted data from the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship” [PDF] has been posted on the medRxiv preprint server.  The paper has not been peer-reviewed.... [Read More]


Bluer Than Usual

The Pacific is bluer than usual this morning. People are out and about; no one seems to be panicking. I saw a lady with a cane who must have been in her 80s walking along the Esplanade. I broke my ten-day-long restaurant fast today and had breakfast at a small place by the beach. I know the owner and most of his staff. He’s taking a bit of a hit but has his chin up.

... [Read More]


TOTD 2020-3-16: Minimizing Risks

Life always has risks. You can’t get up in the morning without facing some type of danger. All one can do is minimize the risks one faces. Some things are safer than others. There are two main ways to handle the risks. First is to not get close to the danger. No one dies from an airplane crash unless they board the aircraft. (I am leaving out the plane falling on you because the chances are so low.) Second, one limits the risk by being prepared for them. Once the problem happens you have the “medicine”, “helmet”, and the “parachute”. One not only has a backup system one runs “fire drills” to be able to use them. I was impressed on how prepared civil westman is by making a ventilator. John Walker is prepared for systems to go down.

How do you mitigate the risks in your life?
What “backup systems” do you have?
Are you more of a keep away from risk or a I can handle the risk person?


What Are Your Quarantine Plans?

Isaac Newton quarantined himself at his childhood home in 1665 when Cambridge University closed because to the plague.

It was the most productive time of his life. He discovered calculus and the laws of motion.

What are YOUR plans? Continue reading “What Are Your Quarantine Plans?”


TOTD 2020-3-15: Boredom

I don’t understand how anyone can be bored now. We have a million things to read and see. Information is at our finger tips. Even when we are alone we can be in constant contact with people. It is like people dying from starvation because it is too hard to prepare a meal or can’t be bother to raise a spoon to their mouths.

I am thinking this is a great time of the year to have off. The weather has turned warmer and everything has started to bloom. From the statistics I have seen the vast majority will not be affected adversely even if they test positive. Embrace the moment. It sure beats a massive earthquake that shuts off the power and the water. ... [Read More]


TOTD 2020-3-14: State of Emergency

One can never be too cautious so please make sure and wash your hands after reading posts especially by some members. (There is no need to state the obvious and mention the names.) Also please keep a good distance when making comments. Try to leave enough blank comments as not to catch the virus. Social distance on social media is important at this time. I will be coming around in a HazMat Sock to take some culture samples for testing and just good old fun. If I like you, you will test negative. If not, it will be three weeks on the Ratburger Cruise. So you won’t be bored we lined up some of your favorite speakers from 2016. Hillary Clinton will even sign books.