Book Review: “Earth Abides” by George R Stewart

Somehow I missed this magnificent book until now. I owe its discovery to Covid-19 and Amazon. In consideration of the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon took 75% off the price of this post-apocalyptic book and offered it to me based on its analysis of my metadata, no doubt. The story, written in 1949, yet eternally timely, is by far the most insightful exposition of human ontology I have ever read. It is hard to imagine a clearer disquisition of the topic.

‘Human’, of course, is rooted in the same Latin stem as ‘humus’, the rich, life-supporting, organic component of soil, of Earth. Here is a story which, with abundant pathos, fleshes out the meaning of the ancient wisdom, “Earth to Earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust”, as it traces out about fifty years of life in post-apocalyptic suburban San Francisco. Some modern reviewers cast the book, inevitably and tortiously, as a novel about ecology. It is no such thing. Only those who cannot check their politics at the door would view it from that perspective. To open minds, it is much more important than a tale of quasi-religious, neo-Gaia vogue. Setting forth this review takes on, for me, some urgency, you see. So affected am I by having read it that I need some release, some de-cathexis from a sense of being overwhelmed with fresh and profound knowledge of my own smallness and ineffectuality. My sentiments are running the gamut from creation to eschatology.... [Read More]


WHO did you think

was orchestrating the pandemic?  Tedros?  No; he is Xi’s stooge.   Xi?  Not him, though he did orchestrate the elevation of Tedros, and Tedros has been doing his bidding.

No, follow the money.  WHO is a pet project of Bill Gates.

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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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