Dr. Deborah Birx is making quite a name for herself at the Daily Coronavirus Briefings.  She is poised, knowledgeable and professional.  No wonder; she is a former Army Colonel who studied HIV/Aids for the Dept. of Defense at Walter Reed.   She is winning many fans.

Mass media, you know, the Enemy of the People, aka Talking Snake Media, all seemed to notice her today.... [Read More]


Bankruptcy Socialism: A Dystopian Tale

Bankruptcy SocialismIn September, 2008, with the financial crisis of that year triggered by the collapse of the mortgage-backed securities bubble shaking the foundations of financial institutions world-wide and an election in the U.S. looming which had the prospect of electing the most explicitly left-wing president in the country’s history, I wrote a Gnome-o-Gram titled “The AIG Takeover and Bankruptcy Socialism”, in which I introduced the term “bankruptcy socialism”.  I have appended that original article, unmodified, to this post so you can see what I was thinking at the time and how things evolved subsequently compared to what I envisioned.

Although I wish for nothing more earnestly than the kind of optimistic outcome from the present disruption due to the coronavirus pandemic and the measures taken to deal with it, such as those sketched by TKC 1101 in his post “So What Is the POTUS Strategy?”, I also believe it is wise to look at other, darker strategies which may be put into place by those with agendas very different from the swift and complete recovery from the present troubles for which I, and most people, hope.... [Read More]


Covid-19 ‘Stealth’ Spread. Some Implications

“Stealth”spread is one of today’s headlines. It means that most who become ill are contaminated by carriers of the virus who manifest minimal or no symptoms. This is hardly an unknown medical circumstance. It has been long known about tuberculosis. As to TB, the carrier state is fairly easily recognized using routine chest X-ray and/or Tine test; not so easy for coronavirus, so far.  This state of affairs is thus hardly surprising and it is important to know. It ought to inform some particular behaviors going forward. Several epidemiologists are saying what I have been suggesting to my family for some time now – that for every confirmed case, there are at least six others. I have been saying there are ten carriers for every confirmed case of illness. I still suspect my guess is closer to reality.

Be that as it may, I will share with you what I am doing to protect my family in light of these facts. Today, Amazon announced it was prioritizing deliveries. It will, prudently, first deliver medical products and staples. As with mail, it is important to remember that coronavirus, it is believed, persists on fomites for anywhere from minutes to hours to days. Now, mail and packages are not sterile – far from it. Thus if any individual who handles the product is a carrier, your deliveries may be contaminated with virus and you may become infected by merely handling them!... [Read More]


Robin Hanson: Manage a Pandemic by Controlled Infection?

Coronavirus particleRobin Hanson is a an economics professor at George Mason University who is known for thinking way outside the box.  His 2016 book, The Age of Em, which was my nonfiction book of the year for 2016, envisioned a future where the overwhelming majority of sentient beings were emulations (“ems”) of human brains running on digital hardware up to a million times faster than our current biochemical substrate.  He coined the term “Great Filter” to explain why we do not observe the universe to be teeming with advanced civilisations, and explored the implications of whether the filter is an event in the past or future of our own species’ history.

Yesterday, on his Overcoming Bias blog, he posted a provocative article titled “Consider Controlled Infection”.  Noting that if the present coronavirus outbreak (or some other in the future) spreads and becomes a global pandemic, so many people may be infected at once that social support and medical infrastructure (for example, intensive care facilities and support equipment such as ventilators) could be overwhelmed.... [Read More]


Pandemic the game

Pandemic is a board game. One of our sons gave this to his brother for Christmas in 2018. I have played this game about ten times since then. It was timely that older son came over and played it with Snooks and me this past weekend. This is the best new game we have learned in many years. With current events to chew on, the discussion over the game was particularly lively.

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