Wednesday, March 11, 2020

New in Science & Tech

Before diving in to a science roundup...


Hear (or see) me on BBC!  And yes, I've pundited on this and other topics: BBC World Service uses me pretty often, most recently on a program about moving the Earth.   A light take on a very – um – heavy topic that I explicate further here.

Here are a few more of my posted BBC interviews:


A 2017 post about the future in general but especially transparency’s role in keeping it free.  

And a bunch of other topics! 

== Prophecy! Well, sorta... ==

First a prediction coming true. In my story “NatuLife” ( from my collection Otherness) a character and his wife each have special suits that can stimulate nerve endings and resist pressure in ways that mimic the touch and feel of objects, even the wind. Combine this with futuristic VR and a floor consisting of a million needles that can mimic almost any terrain, and you get an ability to roam ersatz worlds, even run and “throw a spear,” in an Exercise Room the size of a walk-in closet.  Now comes another step toward realization: “Through a fast, programmable array of miniature vibrating disks embedded in a soft, flexible material, this smart skin can contour to the body and deliver sensory input -- what you'd feel when using it.”

Not all of my predictions come true. One fellow commented at Contrary Brin that he had been re-reading Kiln People. “Here's one Brin forecast that fails to make it into the predictions registry:

“It's one thing to see death coming at the hands of your own creation. That's part of the human epic tradition, after all. Oedipus and his father. Baron Frankenstein and his monster. William Henry Gates and Windows '09.”

Okay I was off by a few years. Should have made it Windows ’29…

An important discovery shows that there truly are boundary conditions to the presence of life… of our kind, at least. We have found bacteria in extremely harsh, caustic pools, boiling subsea vents and crevices of rock deep underground – wherever there’s water and an energy source of any kind. But scientists have found hyper-acid, hyper-saline pools in Ethiopia where absolutely nothing lives. The study ”proves that there are several places on earth's surface which are sterile even though they contain liquid water. Researchers also noted that the mere presence of liquid water cannot be considered a habitability criterion, as there are several other factors required for life to evolve and thrive.”

Home Foods (I know the CEO, a sci fi fan) already donates to food banks but a lot of waste is unsuitable, so the company is equipping many stores with grinders that pulp it all into a slurry that’s trucked to dairy farms that have new tanks that feed waste slurry into anaerobic digesters, cooking the organics to capture the methane emissions and make renewable energy. What remains is crop fertilizer. This is one of my top four dozen techs that might help us save the world.

== Space & Tech ==

The system aiming to provide electricity to remote outposts, removing the need for dangerous convoys, would be powered by a satellite with solar panels twice as big as a football field. The satellite would then electronically steer the radio signal, via antennas, to any point on the ground. The effort long a topic in sci fi and among space enthusiasts, is still in the exploratory phase.

Here's a pretty good CBS special report about how accurate the AT&T "You Will" campaign was, 25 years ago... followed up with some fairly tepid/boring (alas) predictions from their new (amateur!) "futurists" for what will change in the next 25!

== Evolution mysteries ==

Why did populations of Neanderthals and modern humans stay separated for so long, then only overlap a short time till Neanderthals went extinct? A group proposes that complex disease transmission patterns can explain both the transition, in just a few thousand years but also, perhaps more puzzling, why the end didn't come sooner. 

Archeological evidence suggests that the initial encounter between Eurasian Neanderthals and an upstart new human species that recently strayed out of Africa—our ancestors—occurred more than 130,000 years ago in the Eastern Mediterranean in a region known as the Levant. Yet tens of thousands of years would pass before Neanderthals began disappearing and modern humans expanded beyond the Levant. But the unique diseases harbored by Neanderthals and modern humans could have created an invisible disease barrier that discouraged forays into enemy territory.”  Hybrids from interbreeding might have let enough mingling to happen that one of the two populations could get heavily infected and culled. And humans had more diseases, coming from the tropics."

In fact, there's huge news about this I'll relate in a later posting!

Well, well. By then humans also had somewhat better tools… and dogs.

And just 5000 years after Neanderthals faded away, humans suddenly  experienced a software revolution of stunning magnitude.

Fascinating: “Scientists in Denmark have squeaked out an entire human genome from a prehistoric piece of “chewing gum.” Made from birch tar, the 5,700-year-old gum also contained evidence of diet and disease and is providing a remarkable snapshot of life during the early Neolithic.” Not only did this chewed piece of birch bark give us a complete DNA view of a young woman of that era but much about her diet – samples of duck and nuts -- and bacteria in her microbiome and even viruses (she’d had mono.) Moreover, it’s not the usual peer into the end of a life. Presumably she spat out her wad and went on (I hope) to being a grandma, perhaps of millions. And more such chew-wads await. This is the best time-viewer sci-fi since Utzi the Iceman!

In  Why Trust Science? Harvard Prof. Naomi Oreskes (co-author of Merchants of Doubt) explains that, “contrary to popular belief, there is no single scientific method. Rather, the trustworthiness of scientific claims derives from the social process by which they are rigorously vetted. This process is not perfect—nothing ever is when humans are involved—but she draws vital lessons from cases where scientists got it wrong. Oreskes shows how consensus is a crucial indicator of when a scientific matter has been settled, and when the knowledge produced is likely to be trustworthy.”

== Technology! ==

My old Caltech housemate, the brilliant physicist Steve Koonin, calculated that solar thermal systems should outpace photovoltaic cells over the long run, as a way to tap the abundant energy of sunlight. Now a Bill Gates-backed venture aimed to bring solar heating to bear in major, polluting industries like cement-making.

Meanwhile, read about 5 Emerging Energy Technologiest to Watch Out For in 2020. Several of them rather amazing. (Via Peter Diamandis’s Abundance site. Get his book ABUNDANCE for your dour, hypocritically cynical doom-gloom cousin, who assumes we’re headed for the apocalypse world portrayed in The Postman/Death-Stranding (same story.)

A fun article on the several major efforts to bring back the era of airships! Of course I've been there. See a complete novella, "The Smartest Mob," that offers a full adventure-in--an excerpt from Existence. A news reporter finds herself aboard a passenger Zeppelin that might — perhaps — have been turned into a weapon of terror. No one will listen — not the government or the Zep company. No one, that is, except a semi-random band of amateurs, scattered around the globe.

Apple plans stand-alone AR and VR gaming headset by 2022 and glasses later.

The Shine Scanner has a patented 'Curve-flatten' Technology that let’s you “Scan A Book In 10 Minutes.” So maybe we won’t have to shred-whirl-scan libraries of books the way Vernor Vinge does in his novel RAINBOW’S END.

While rooftop panels get attention, much of the installed solar energy comes from large collector farms that either gain/lose efficiency across the day or else use expensive machinery to turn, facing the sun’s traverse across the sky. 

== Misc Cool stuff! ==

I’ve noticed some of our bees (we keep hives and I know mine) cluster at a rough patch at the side of the spa to get a drink, teaching the trick to younger bees, so fewer of them have to be fished out, later, with my net. (The number drowned really has gone down, since they found that patch of rough plaster.) Now see some research done by a couple of profs at my alma mater about how bees propel themselves across water. Kinda intriguing.

87 comments:

Smurphs said...

Dear jim,

Please go read this:

http://www.stonekettle.com/2020/03/happy-kittens-fart-sunshine.html#comment-form

David Brin said...

Sorry about that. He's so desperate for attention where he's not wanted, that he's trying every trick. Kind of pathetic and sad, actually, and utter proof that we're right to turn our backs.

Tony Fisk said...

Okay I was off by a few years. Should have made it Windows ’29…

Actually, that might have been a self-preventing prophecy: Windows 9 was never released. Perhaps William Henry Gates read your novel and thought "Hmm!"?

...and did that consign the glitch that might have led to the discovery of dittoing to the dustbin of this history? We shall never know.

Recent studies suggest that bees pack a lot more cognition than seems possible for the few neurones they have. (There is a story about this: Damien Broderick's "Dreaming Dragons", although he was more concerned with small brained cognitive dinosaurs.)

Tim H. said...

Something of interest in a comment on Charlie Stross's COVID-19 page:
https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1236549305189597189.html

Why soap & water are so effective against viruses. Now, you have one more good reason to wash the dishes by hand.

Larry Hart said...

@Smurphs,

That Stonekettle Station post is awesome--one of his best. I can't think of anything in there to disagree with.

jim said...

Wow Smurphs,
I am guessing you thought that pointing me to that screeching a-hole would convince me to vote Biden?

It did the exact opposite. He offered no reasons for actually supporting Biden, he just insulted Sanders supporters. Combining the Orange Man Bad strategy with hippy punching backfires on me.

If you think that yelling at and insulting Sanders supporters will get them to vote Biden, you might want to rethink that approach.

Larry Hart said...

@jim,

We know you're a lost cause because you prefer Trump to Biden. Most Democrats will not fall into that categorization. I agree entierly with Jim Wright--if you don't want to be called on your bullying, don't bully. Whether or not you prefer Sanders, he's really not likely to win at this point, and not because the election is rigged, but because the Democratic voters have spoken.

Larry Hart said...

...oh, and the point of Jim Wright's column wasn't to "get you to vote Biden." It was to get you to stop complaining that the system is obviously rigged against Bernie on the grounds that it is not being rigged for Bernie.

David Brin said...

Smurphs & Larry Hart, I gotta say that this time I kinda... (choke) ... agree with jim! Wright is a Grade A fulminator on the side of good, defending a fact-loving, reasonable nation... but on this occasion he offered no rebuttals, just verbal put-downs.

Sure, splitter-paranoids deserve it, earn it, but we're trying to build a coalition, here. A broad front that can achieve real things in 2021 &22, before the preeners stay home and betray us in 22, as they did in 94 and in 2010.

Yelling "Same back atcha!" - as Wright did - won't accomplish that.
There are three ways to build coalition and Jim Wright did just one of them -
#1 "We have a common and vastly horrible enemy. So ditch the sanctimony and should arms and join us at the front!"

Sure. Okay. Trump. That should be enough. Despite the inevitable Nader or Stein betrayal in swing states, it may be enough to give us a 92 or 2008 And it's NOT the best answer to refute splitters.

Best is answer#2: "List all the stuff that YOU want, that Biden and all those guys want, too! Realize that moderate dems in blue states have already proved they'll do lots of the stuff YOU want, given a chance. And if we get all that stuff, plus some extra for the left, WON'T YOU BE IN BETTER SHAPE TO DEMAND MORE, NEXT ROUND?" If electoral cheating is smashed and money is even HALF taken out of politics, won't you be better positioned?

#2 is devastating logic. And none of our coalition builders and defenders have been using it!

#3 is simple. Negotiate. After we crush the Putinist-Foxite-Confederate treason, ARGUE your points with your allies. Convince us, based on facts, not incantations. (And though I love Bernie, that's all he's given us: armwaved incantations. Any President, including Bernie, will need the out put from boring committees.)





Darrell E said...

Blogger Tony Fisk said...

"Recent studies suggest that bees pack a lot more cognition than seems possible for the few neurones they have."

Very interesting, thanks. The same sort of "Huh? How in the #*%$ can they do that!?" surprise has happened a few times. These cases demonstrate how powerful evolutionary processes can be for arriving at solutions for certain categories of problems. I know there has been some work over the past 20 years or so for using evolutionary methods to solve design problems, but I think this line of inquiry has a lot more room to grow.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Wright is a Grade A fulminator on the side of good, defending a fact-loving, reasonable nation... but on this occasion he offered no rebuttals, just verbal put-downs.


Point taken. But just as you point out to Tim W. that "advancing progressivism" isn't your agenda, I'd say that coalition building wasn't Wright's agenda for this particular post. He was more interested in letting trolls of his site know that they are not doing their cause any good by scolding.

Wright is speaking to people who won't vote for "the lesser of two evils" and therefore allow the greater of two evils to win. Our jim is a separate case, one who thinks Trump is the lesser of two evils if the other is a corporate Democrat. As Dave Sim once put it, "There is no cure for willful stupidity."

Smurphs said...

I agree Stonekettle did not offer anything other than put-downs. Jim Wright does Facebook A LOT and gets dumped on all the time. So I can forgive him for shouting back occasionally.

But my point to jim was this one:

If you can't choose the lesser of two evils, you're just going to get MORE EVIL.

I know, not original, it's been said here and other places many times, but obviously still needs to be said over, and over, and over again.

And I am/was a loud and proud Warren supporter. If the Bernie Bros think they're getting screwed, imagine how I feel.

Larry Hart said...

The bolded part of this piece is what I want the Bernie-or-bust crowd to understand. It's not that we don't understand that Biden is establishment, but that that fact doesn't bother us as much as it does them. We want improvements, but we don't despise the status quo--at least not the pre-Trump status quo.

Also, if by some miracle, Bernie does become the Dem nominee, I will vote for him and encourage others to do so. You don't hear me saying that Bernie isn't my kind of opponent to Trump, so I can't support him. You do hear never-Trump conservatives saying that.

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2020/Pres/Maps/Mar12.html#item-7

...
For the two weeks leading up to Super Tuesday, Republican officials and pundits were mocking the Democrats for being on the threshold of nominating a crazy person. It didn't happen. For decades, the Republicans have been shedding college-educated professionals and replacing them with working-class voters. This left the GOP as a party run by vestigial Washington elites who were despised by their own voters. The new voters were attracted by cultural issues like abortion. Few of them had any interest in the trickle-down Reaganomics and Ryanomics that the GOP has been selling for decades. They were just angry and felt neglected. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) summed it up by saying they just wanted to support "the craziest son-of-a-bitch in the race." In contrast, most Democrats like their leadership, especially Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Consequently, a pitch of "Boy, will I ever stick it to the establishment" just doesn't work with a large swath of Democrats.

jim said...

It does look like the democratic party will choose Biden as the presidential candidate. I think he is a bad candidate and if elected would be a poor president. He is a war monger, a globalist, and a corporate handmaiden, so not someone I can vote for ( I can’t vote for Trump either: corrupt, environment hating, rapey A-hole.) The silver lining to a Biden Candidacy is that there will be many republican attack adds from the left forcing him to make concessions to shore up his left flank.

But I am starting to think it doesn’t matter who the democrats put up. It is looking like the corona virus will determine the outcome of the election.

If it is relatively mild and handled well Trump will likely win in November.

If it is handled poorly (say retirement communities get hit hard and the economic side effects are severe) Trump will get the blame and loose in November.

Darrell E said...

Well, after reading the Jim Wright post, I've got to agree with Larry.

And jim? It's always interesting to me to see responses like yours to any criticism of an extremist's subject of extremism. You've so mis-characterized it that it's as if you read something else. It's indistinguishable from lying, but heck. For all I know perhaps the rage/hate/despair that some of the words evoked in you really did render you incapable of registering what was actually written.

A.F. Rey said...

A quick question, jim.

What aspects of Bernie's campaign appeals to you? What policies or stances that he takes are the reason you support him.

Do any those aspects appear on the Democratic Party platform?

Do they appear in the Republican Party platform?

If you answered "yes" to the second question and "no" to the third, then what makes you think Trump is more sympathetic to your values than the Democrats?

jim said...

It does look like the democratic party will choose Biden as the presidential candidate. I think he is a bad candidate and if elected would be a poor president. He is a war monger, a globalist, and a corporate handmaiden, so not someone I can vote for ( I can’t vote for Trump either: corrupt, environment hating, rapey A-hole.) The silver lining to a Biden Candidacy is that there will be many republican attack adds from the left forcing him to make concessions to shore up his left flank.

But I am starting to think it doesn’t matter who the democrats put up. It is looking like the corona virus will determine the outcome of the election.

If it is relatively mild and handled well Trump will likely win in November.

If it is handled poorly (say retirement communities get hit hard and the economic side effects are severe) Trump will get the blame and loose in November.

locumranch said...


Give Jim a break because his response is fairly reasonable, given this 'Long Emergency' that the west now lives under wherein damn near everything is an 'existential threat' and the only proffered establishmentarian solution is to keep doing the same shite that we've always done over & over while we expect a different outcome, as exemplified by Joe Biden's promise to usher in the Obama Administration's third term.

The best of you refuse to change course because the mutually exclusive concepts of Science+Empathy! Globalism+Democracy! Equality+Diversity! , while the worst of you dismiss your messenger-protectors as "heartless hacks".

And, for all of you who are currently following David's Grade A '100% Guaranteed' polemical plan to "crush the Putinist-Foxite-Confederate treason", how the heck is that working out for you?

So Bugger It All !! I'm going skiing.


Best

Darrell E said...

Larry Hart said...
"Dr Brin said:

"Wright is a Grade A fulminator on the side of good, defending a fact-loving, reasonable nation... but on this occasion he offered no rebuttals, just verbal put-downs."

Point taken. But just as you point out to Tim W. that "advancing progressivism" isn't your agenda, I'd say that coalition building wasn't Wright's agenda for this particular post. He was more interested in letting trolls of his site know that they are not doing their cause any good by scolding.
"

I disagree with Dr. Brin on this. Wright broke down what he was criticizing nearly line by line and rebutted it. He also held out fig leaves left and right. He also acknowledged, several times, the legitimacy of the other persons views, positions and feelings. I think Dr. Brin must have given the post only a cursory skim.

Anonymous said...

"My old Caltech housemate, the brilliant physicist Steve Koonin, calculated that solar thermal systems should outpace photovoltaic cells over the long run, as a way to tap the abundant energy of sunlight." The link doesn't support the claim, which I find implausible on its face.
PV is super-cheap and getting cheaper. Electricity is a growing percentage of world energy use. Still, there may be use-cases for solar thermal process heat, but it may not last, if electric methods are cheaper or more convenient. Without cost data, it's hard to make meaningful comparisons, but heliogens system doesn't sound cheap.

nitpicker357

jim said...

Did the corporate Democrats like Biden, Obama, Clinton fight globalization or help push it along?
The corporate dem approach was work with republicans to screw over the working class men and women in this country by pursuing globalization.

Trump is the first president in my life to fight globalization. I dislike him personally but absolutely love the trade war with china. This is a giant win for me, my community, and the vast majority of americans.

Did Obama and Biden end the war in Afghanistan? Nope they doubled down with the Surge and kept shoveling money into the endless corporate war machine.

Trump has signed an agreement to withdraw American troops over the next 14 months. (Obama could have done this – he chose not to.)

In response to the monumentally crappy health care system – what did the corporate democrats do?
Push an unpopular republican plan for- mandatory – crappy – for profit insurance – with large deductibles and copays. A plan that leaves the bad actors (insurance companies) in control of the system .

In response to the criminals who caused the financial crisis what did the corporate dems do?
Gave them trillions and made sure they were not prosecuted for their crimes.

What is willfully stupid is thinking that corporate democrats have your back.

Larry Hart said...

jim:

But I am starting to think it doesn’t matter who the democrats put up. It is looking like the corona virus will determine the outcome of the election.


Don't you think the corona virus already helped determine who the democrats put up?

It may also make scary-"socialist" Democratic programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps and universal health care suddenly look like reasonable things that only an idiot would oppose, therefore making the Democratic Party more electable or at least less un-electable. Which doesn't contradict what you were saying, but for different reasons.

Larry Hart said...

@jim,

I'm not slandering you here, just pointing out what I think is obvious that you yourself are saying and others aren't hearing. You do think Trump is the lesser of two evils compared to Biden. The point is, I don't think anyone is going to win you over by appealing to "Well, [whoever] is better than Trump."

Most of us don't like anything about Trump, so it's hard to perceive when someone does, especially someone who thinks we're not leftist enough.

David Brin said...

jim is what he is, a cultist-level splitter and since it is a matter of cult-allegiance, all supporting assertions are just incantations.

“War-monger” is an accusation toward Biden that could at least be debated, since he helped keep us in Afghanistan where we’ve ensured a million women and girls got to go to school and have some control over their lives, instead of getting crushed into Taliban burkhas. Under Obama, casualty rates from that conflict plummeted. But if jim thinks they are vastly more important than those women and girls, he can make that point. I’m not sure he is wrong.

“Corporate handmaiden” is a chant-catechism that he should actually, actually provide some evidence for. Let me provide a little FOR jim! Biden was senator from DELAWARE! That, alone, is guilt by association. But still… the dems are across the board determined to reduce money in politics and Joe is on-record on that. So burden of proof? Anyway, it takes a Nixon to go to CHina?

“Globalist?” Damn straight! Your insipid railings of that word have been microcephalic grunts without a scintilla of merit. You would consign a BILLION children to poverty, starvation and death. Especially since globalization has done its work, uplifting most of the world into basic-lower middle class and getting 90% of kids fully fed and into schools, Now globalization is ending of natural causes. Corona and other matters like climate change are already going to push every nation toward more localized production.

What jim MIGHT be moaning and shambling toward is an area where we agree… that there definitely is a world oligarchy of the stupid half of the way-too-rich, who are financing a world putsch to regain feudal control over the globe. I AGREE with that fundamental. And jim’s primitive, misplaced railings are playing right into their hands.

Fact: jim refuses to answer ANY of the five challenges to Splitters that I have offered. In CA, WA, OR and other deep blue states, “DNC Dems” have worked fruitfully with more leftist colleagues. I can show a myriad actions that jim thinks are ONLY property of the far-left. When he says moderate dems aren’t for them — or the 31 other desiderata on a national level — he simply lies.

A.F. Rey said...

Trump has signed an agreement to withdraw American troops over the next 14 months. (Obama could have done this – he chose not to.)

IIRC, Obama had a plan at the end of his term to reduce the forces to 8,400 troops, to be implemented by the next President. The first thing Trump did was nix that plan. Now, Trump's plan is to reduce the forces to 8,600 troop, to be implemented next term. Sound familiar (except for the higher number of troops left)? ;)

In response to the monumentally crappy health care system – what did the corporate democrats do?
Push an unpopular republican plan for- mandatory – crappy – for profit insurance – with large deductibles and copays. A plan that leaves the bad actors (insurance companies) in control of the system .


And how did the Republicans respond to that plan? Did they advocate for a single-payer plan? Or for the monumentally crappy health care system we had before, and call anyone who wanted a better system a communist? And where is the better plan that Trump promised? Heard anything about it (except the sound of crickets)?

As I said, at least the corporate democrats give lip service to a single payer system. Trump and his Republicans will fight tooth and nail against it.

You'll have better luck with the corporate democrats.

duncan cairncross said...

Globalisation
I agree 100% this has been a massive "Good" throughout the world

I also think that it could have been an even GREATER "good" if the thieving 0.01% had not skimmed most of the benefits for themselves and their cronies

The "Brin Ownership" idea is brilliant

Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century does mention an alternative suggestion
He wants a very small tax on wealth
Not to bring in income - just to IDENTIFY the wealth

Jon S. said...

"Best is answer#2: "List all the stuff that YOU want, that Biden and all those guys want, too! Realize that moderate dems in blue states have already proved they'll do lots of the stuff YOU want, given a chance. And if we get all that stuff, plus some extra for the left, WON'T YOU BE IN BETTER SHAPE TO DEMAND MORE, NEXT ROUND?" If electoral cheating is smashed and money is even HALF taken out of politics, won't you be better positioned?"

I've tried that. The dedicated Bernie Cultists deny that Biden wants anything they do - they keep attributing the Republican platform to Biden, as if he were nothing but Trump with a better haircut. You can't convince them otherwise, either, because they refuse to accept the validity of any data sources that disagree with them; it's all part of the Democratic Establishment that somehow manipulated all those black people in SC, don't you know.

It get quite wearying, especially in the face of this new pandemic. I've long since run out of spoons.

locumranch said...


I think I understand what Jim is saying: The US Public wants CHANGE.

By running on CHANGE, Obama captured the US Presidential Election in 2008 and 2012, but delivered more of the same 'business as usual', including more 'W' Bush era policies, more executive signing statements, more bureaucracy, more domestic surveillance, a more militarised domestic police force, more involvement in foreign wars, more drone strikes, more financial chicanery, more outsourcing, more globalism, more corporate medicine.

Come 2016, both Donald Trump (on the right) and Bernie Sanders (on left) captured the US imagination by running on CHANGE. The DNC thought otherwise and offered up the Anti-Change candidate, Hillary Clinton, leading to a defeat for the US Democrat Party & the election of the only remaining CHANGE candidate, Donald Trump.

And, damn it all, President Trump has DELIVERED change !! Unpleasant change, most certainly. Bad change, most likely. Catastrophic change, quite possibly. But, undeniably and without equivocation, President Trump has upset the apple cart, toppled the beehive, poked the bear, disrupted the status quo and delivered palpable & visible CHANGE.

Progressive Establishmentarians like David prefer 'more of the same'.

They love globalism, industrial outsourcing & blatant emotionalism; they care more about 'international consensus' than they do about localised democracy or domestic labour; and they support the status quo because they are terrified of the CHANGE to which they offer lip service.

In short, these establishmentarians are either accomplished liars (at best) or raving loonies (at worst) because they promise CHANGE while they insist on performing the same tired ritualised actions over & over in order to guarantee an immutable & unchanging outcome.


Best

Tim Wolter said...

Well jim, enjoying the heat? We don't align politically too often but your insights are usually valid. Joe Biden is a terrible candidate. He would be, but likely won't be, a terrible President. I allow for the strains of travel and campaigning and such but did any of you watch the full clip of Biden hectoring that hard hat wearing union member? It looked as if Biden were mixing up AR-15's and something called an AR-14, he said the guy was full of shit and threatened to slap him. The union guy said, congently, "You work for me!" and even that was not enough of a warning flag.

Please, please find a way to ease him off the ticket. If the Republicans put up an angry possibly impaired candidate for President with the assurance that his/her Veep is a great guy or gal and that advisors behind the scenes will really be running things anyway you would, even the most partisan man-jack and gal-jane of ya, not be sure whether to roar in outrage or amusement.

I get it that you have a thin bench. And that Bernie and his Bros stand in the way of a ticket adjustment. But you are setting the Dem party up for an epic pasting.

I actually don't want to see that happen.

T. Wolter

Larry Hart said...

Jon S:

they keep attributing the Republican platform to Biden, as if he were nothing but Trump with a better haircut. You can't convince them otherwise, either, because they refuse to accept the validity of any data sources that disagree with them; it's all part of the Democratic Establishment that somehow manipulated all those black people in SC, don't you know.


The Bernie fans seem to echo Trump in considering that if the race isn't rigged in Bernie's favor, that in itself demonstrates that it is rigged against them. The most charitable interpretation of that is that they honestly believe Bernie is so popular that he'd have to win in a fair contest.

And they did paint themselves into a corner by insisting that even without a majority, whoever has the most primary delegates deserves the nomination--when they thought that candidate would be Bernie. Trump was able to get away with bemoaning a travesty were he to lose the electoral vote and win the popular vote, only to go to "Well, them's the rules!" when the opposite was true, but that's because his supporters are morons with the attention span of a flea. Democratic voters aren't going to believe we've always been at war with Eastasia.

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

President Trump has DELIVERED change !! Unpleasant change, most certainly. Bad change, most likely. Catastrophic change, quite possibly. But, undeniably and without equivocation, President Trump has upset the apple cart, toppled the beehive, poked the bear, disrupted the status quo and delivered palpable & visible CHANGE.

Progressive Establishmentarians like David prefer 'more of the same'.

They love globalism, ...


Or we just hate all that bad stuff that you admit comprise the CHANGE that Trump brought,

Just as Hitler made anti-Semitism unfashionable for generations, maybe Trump has done the same for CHANGE. His slogan in 2016 for black voters was "What do you have to lose?" He's shown us exactly what we had to lose, and did lose.

Acacia H. said...

Okay, Jim? I'm curious if you've read what Biden's policies are.

I'm not going to list them here, but I *am* going to post a link to someone who did over on Tumblr, along with a quick summary of Biden's proposed policies.

https://melonishus.tumblr.com/post/612428496686448640/okay-ive-read-joe-bidens-plans

Highlights include resuming the Iran Nuclear Deal, ending anti-LGBTQ+ policies, an increase in capital gains taxes for people making over a million dollars a year, a plan concerning violence against women that specifically identifies violence against black and brown women, and transwomen, a Public Option for anyone wanting it, and more.

If you insist this isn't good enough, then it's obvious you're a Trumpist Troll who just claims to be to the Left to try and convince liberals to listen to you.

Acacia

Acacia H. said...

As an aside, an argument I've been hearing from the Bernie Bros is "it's better to leave Trump in for another four years rather than let Biden get in because then we'll sweep the House and Senate and get everything we want!" Come to think of that... this sounds remarkably similar to the argument given to Libertarians to support Republicans. "Democrats will take everything. Republicans are bad but at least you get some tax breaks with them!"

In short, support Trump because Democrats/Biden is worse. It's pure idiocy.

Acacia

David Brin said...

Okay, what is it doctors take when they are stressed, because this last missive of Tim'e was utter locum stuff, koolaid top-to-bottom.

Larry Hart said...

presented without further comment...

https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2020/03/conversion-therapy-mega-church-cancels-faith-healings-due-coronavirus/

A well-known megachurch that promotes conversion therapy has canceled faith healing hospital visits to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
...

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

Unfortunately, what Tim is trying to tell us is that millions of Wisconsin voters are thinking exactly what he said. It makes me down on the midwest too (and I live here), but don't blame the messenger.

Zepp Jamieson said...

I watched Biden's speech on the pandemic, He was calm, reassuring without being panglosian, seemed reasonably knowledgeable and dwelt on the effect on ordinary people, rather than the oil companies or Wall Street. I feel a bit better about him winning now.
The Republicans are showing what cruel, stupid, ugly and heartless bastards they are. The threatened to block the $8.3 billion response package unless Hyde Amendment language was included (yes, these pro-lifer were willing to cause thousands of extra deaths to get their way). As soon as the story broke, the overwhelming reaction caused them to back off. Trump won't deal with Pelosi because he's all butt-hurt over his previous losses to her. Cotton wants to start a war with China for "inflicting" coronavirus on the US. And a multi-billion aide package for people who lose wages and/or have to care for their kids because the schools are closed, and McConnell said they could deal with it after their recess. At the same time, a $1.5T aid package for billionaires sailed right on through.
I hope every Republican in office catches this disease.

Tim Wolter said...

well, here's the clip. Some parts are a bit hard to make out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTLuFlHm4c8

TW

Acacia H. said...

Okay, I visited Biden's website so you can see for yourself what Biden has to say about these topics. So I'm curious as to what Jim and Tacitus have to say about Biden's suggestions and policy ideas. Mind you, I don't want to hear claims that "this can't be done" because that could be said about ANY politician's views and promises, including Trump.

Acacia

Jon S. said...

"Mind you, I don't want to hear claims that "this can't be done" because that could be said about ANY politician's views and promises, including Trump."

And I don't want to hear, "How will we pay for it?" Not after we somehow managed to pay for a $1.5 trillion injection into bonds in order to rally the Dow Jones average - which helped for all of fifteen minutes. The Dow then proceeded to close down by 9.99%. That's a year's worth of even the worst-case projections I've seen for M4A, only without anyone actually getting anything from it.

Daniel Duffy said...

Meanwhile the economic meltdown continues, this will be at least as bad as 2008.

1929 is very possible.

scidata said...

It's beginning to look a lot like Solaria, the most haunting chapter in "Foundation and Earth". It would be ironic indeed if all this populism and demagoguery ushered in the age of isolated hermaphrodite super-beings.

Tim Wolter said...

Acacia

Fair request and done. Well, I did not read everything, but enough.

My take on the rather numerous Biden Plans was that they were long winded. To be effective they would need to be sharpened up. In instances where you can't do two really good things at the same time, what do you prioritize?

Mind you, I don't have huge expectations for campaign literature. But the sort of thing that would grab my attention and make me think would be "How do you pay for this?" with a discussion of short term and long term debt. When a politician ( of any stripe ) is talking about investments he or she does not mean the same thing we do!

He also needs to, at some point, take on the hard issues. Unless I missed it this wall of topics did not have a policy on gun control. This is a very hot button topic, see above, and can't be handled with bluster and hand waving. I'm not a big 2A guy but this is an issue that matters to many.

Shorter answwer, the talking points were written by a committee. One that could benefit from a rigorous editor. When I'm teaching high school students to "do" business communication I have them do a first draft. Then I tell them to reduce the word count. When I start working with them the reduction ratio is 50%. With hard work I've gotten one or two down to where I usually am when not distracted.....need to edit out 10% for clarity.

Which raises a question for our genial host and others.....how much do you edit out in casual and serious writing?

T.Wolter

Larry Hart said...

No Democrat, even a corporate one would be worse to have in charge at this time. Even most Republicans probably would be a step in the right direction.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/12/opinion/corona-trump-fox.html

...

But we don’t have a real leader. We have Trump.

And we have Fox, whose relentless message is the same as that of Sept. 11: Go about your daily lives or the terrorists win. But pandemics aren’t terrorists. Go about your daily lives and the virus wins. Viruses need crowds. True leadership means telling those crowds to disperse.

We are finally starting to do that. The National Basketball Association has suspended its season; Major League Baseball has delayed its own opening day; St. Patrick’s Day parades are being canceled in cities across the country and Broadway has shut down through April 12.

But these changes are not happening because of Trump. They’re happening in spite of him. He should applaud them from afar — and find someone in his administration to explain why it was, in fact, an act of kindness and solidarity, a sign of strength.

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

The Republicans are showing what cruel, stupid, ugly and heartless bastards they are.


Some of us already knew.


I hope every Republican in office catches this disease.


Maybe that's how The Rapture actually works.

Anonymous said...

Robert here,

Not after we somehow managed to pay for a $1.5 trillion injection into bonds in order to rally the Dow Jones average - which helped for all of fifteen minutes. The Dow then proceeded to close down by 9.99%. That's a year's worth of even the worst-case projections I've seen for M4A, only without anyone actually getting anything from it.

I daresay someone got quite a bit from it. Question is who, and what is their connection to the folks injecting the money…

Larry Hart said...

variations on the same theme...

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/12/opinion/trump-coronavirus-economy.html

...
So what’s going on? What we’re seeing here is a meltdown — not just a meltdown of the markets, but a meltdown of Trump’s mind. When bad things happen, there are only three things he knows how to do: insist that things are great and his policies are perfect, cut taxes, and throw money at his cronies.

Now he’s faced with a crisis where none of these standbys will work, where he actually needs to cooperate with Nancy Pelosi to avoid catastrophe. What we saw in Wednesday’s speech was that he’s completely incapable of rising to the occasion. We needed to see a leader; what we saw was an incompetent, delusional blowhard.

Acacia H. said...

Tacitus, I have a question for you.

What is the line between "too terse" and "long-winded"?

Because if Biden had only a brief paragraph or two on what he planned on doing, then it would be insufficient. There would be no details. It would be a "talking point." So Biden provided details. He explained elements and even went into "tangents" dealing with people traditionally left out of these policy proposals so that people are not being once more left out.

You also asked "what about his views on gun control"?

https://joebiden.com/gunsafety/

Ask and you shall receive. It was the top line of links and to the right of the page.

Finally, you comment that it was "written by committee" as if that is a bad thing. I'm sorry but the days of the uberman who knows everything and needs no one to provide perspective is long gone. Trump thinks of himself in that role and HE FAILS AT IT CONSTANTLY. The very NATURE of Democratic Governance is "rule by committee" because it is groups of people working together who craft laws and the like.

That Joe Biden had a group of people work with him to polish his views and create a "Contract for America" as it were is something that should be praised, not derided. As for it "needing to be edited" you end up with a question: at which point have you eliminated language that describes a key feature that your opponents will jump on? Biden's policies and views here, even if written by committee and being wordy, are designed to take the wind out of Bernie Sanders' sails because it addresses a number of the needs of those at-risk people Sanders is trying to attract... and Biden is saying "I'm not going to abandon you in my Presidency."

The only Democrat I've voted for are Obama in 2008. I didn't vote in 2016 but if I had, I'd have voted Hillary (and my vote didn't matter seeing she massively carried the state I live in). So you know, Tim, that I am no liberal. I am not someone beating the Democrats drum blindly. And I sure as hell see Biden as having faults.

But it is looking like a Biden Presidency would be FAR better than what Trump has given us.

Acacia

David Smelser said...

Acacia summarized the Bernie Bro as "In short, support Trump because Democrats/Biden is worse....."

From the Bernie supporters I've spoken with in the San Diego area, their view isn't that Democrats/Biden is *worse* that Trump, rather it is that the establishment democrats are bad, but not bad enough to make people vote Bernie.

This seems to be based on the belief that people only change when the pain of saying the same is greater than the pain of changing.

So when it comes to healthcare, the pain people suffer from the current system isn't enough motivation to get over their pain of switching to medicare for all. So they would rather have 4 more years of Trump & the GOP who will make the current system worse (by killing coverage for pre-existing conditions, killing insurance subsidies for people who can't afford healthcare, crippling the ACA so it goes into a "death spiral", etc.) so that the pain of changing is less than the fear/pain of staying with a GOP sabotaged system.


David Brin said...

scidata, yes, Asimov’s Solaria comes to mind.

One major effect of all this will be technological.

There will no longer be delays in instituting robust software for (1) telecommuting/work and (2) remote participation in public events/meetings.

Major funding will break bottlenecks in development and mass production of tests and vaccines.

Stockpiling of civil defense materiel will again become a priority, from masks etc to foodstuffs and TP, something I have long urged, as society comes to realize that Demming’s “just-in-time” approach to efficiency is a recipe for disaster. (As Japan discovered, during Fukushima.)

“My take on the rather numerous Biden Plans was that they were long winded. To be effective they would need to be sharpened up.”

So? that’s called governance, in which plans are not hurried declarations but worked out in detailed negotiations by people who know how systems work. I know that no Republican has interacted with that approach for more than a generation, but it happens daily in blue states.

And yes, that is a bit of a criticism of Bernie. He, too, arm waves grand, two sentence ‘plans’.

For a Republican to ask “How do you pay for this” is spectacularly and painfully hilarious. There is no level, not a single example across at least 20- to 30 years, of the GOP earning ANY right to ask that question, without being laughed out of the room. Seriously, it is fantastic hypocrisy.

Yes, dems need clarity on Gun Control. I offered a treaty with my Jefferson Rifle proposal, but it would be too complicated for the merely-beta current dem leaders to grasp. But a clear statement of goals and carve-outs would be useful.

“how much do you edit out in casual and serious writing?”

It is second nature, growing up in a family of editors but also trying desperately (and failing more often than succeeding) to use sharp points to get past dogma.

DS: “This seems to be based on the belief that people only change when the pain of saying the same is greater than the pain of changing.”

I have run into this madness all my life, more often from the left, though it could be related to the right’s apocalyps fixation. It is pure drivel, spewed by imbeciles who cannot cite any historical examples.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

"DS: “This seems to be based on the belief that people only change when the pain of saying the same is greater than the pain of changing.”

I have run into this madness all my life,... It is pure drivel, ...


Really? I would think it is almost self-evident. Why bother doing anything unless there's an affirmative reason to do so? Like, I might benefit from back surgery, but I'm not going near it because no one I know has had a good outcome from back surgery. If "not doing anything" ever becomes painful enough, I might then change my mind.

In context of making it painful enough to get people to vote for Medicare for All, COVID-19 may have taken care of that without enduring four more years of Trump first.

Tim Wolter said...

Acacia

I am enjoying our conversation. First off, thanks, I had missed the rather important link to the gun control topic. It was a busy page of text and I'm a little distracted today.

It held a mixture of decent ideas and some that could be problematic. Worthy of a more extended discussion.

Terse vs long winded....hmmmm. If you are trying to convey a message as to why you should vote for a candidate less is decidedly better. Maybe even more so with this candidate. My initial point was that he struggles, and struggles mightily on the hustings. The huge gap between Biden's Plans and what he can articulate reinforces the notion that he would be a figurehead with others doing all the heavy lifting and thinking.

If you want to write a Party Platform then party on! Big ol' bricks of aspirations are de rigour there.

Why, I've voted for more Democrats than you have!

Tim

jim said...

Locum – Hey that was a pretty good summery of my point of view.

Tim, I don’t mind the heat. I am just so disappointed that the democratic party has chosen Biden, he voted for the Iraq war and that is just unforgivable for me. The only person running that was worse was Bloomberg.

Alicia – I don’t trust what Biden says, I really don’t. I will be watching what he does to try and win over the Sanders people. Will he recognize that the corona virus changes things and guaranteeing medical care for all is a nation security issue. (the virus will likely kill many more Americans than al Qaeda ever did.) Will he change his position on Medicare for all? Or will he just do Orange Man Bad with more exclamation points?

Larry Hart said...

David Smelser:

From the Bernie supporters I've spoken with in the San Diego area, their view isn't that Democrats/Biden is *worse* that Trump, rather it is that the establishment democrats are bad, but not bad enough to make people vote Bernie.


Oh, now I see what Dr Brin was calling "pure drivel". The notion that when things get "bad enough", they'll support the socialist. Whereas in real life, that's when voters seem to turn to a strong fascist daddy instead.

David Brin said...

Yeah yeah jim. Lots of folks gave the president of the US and Colin Powell and the CIA the benefit of the doubt and in the 9/11 aftermath. Not wanting to look soft of a genuine terror threat, they went along with a huge and TOTALLY UNPRECEDENTED level of lying about an imminent Saddam threat or mass-destruction to our homeland.

And you, such an incredible hypocrite, you call Biden who gave the US president and intel communities the benefit of the doubt, equivalent in fault to the liars and warmongers, themselves. (Note the intel community has gone to great lengths to never again be used that way and even under Trump has mostly held the line.)

Your litmus tests are truly loony and worse, impractical at advancing YOUR goals, which would move forward at least 50% under a biden presidency, putting you in better position to push for more. But then, you writhe and avoid ever answering even one of my five challenges. Ever. Even one. Even once. Ever.

Keith Halperin said...

@ Dr. Brin:
"There will no longer be delays in instituting robust software for (1) telecommuting/work and (2) remote participation in public events/meetings."
My entire office of 100+ employees is now (due to virus) WFH.
I believe COVID-19 may result in a major change as many employees who now enjoy the advantages of tele-commuting (some for the first time) may be very reluctant to come back to being onsite when things have improved.
ISTM that it may finally become clear that knowledge workers should go onsite because they WANT to or occasionally NEED to (for a particular reason), but you shouldn't HAVE to just because a Twen-Cen boss is used to that. There are probably some non-physically-related work tasks which are fundamentally unsuited to tele-commuting, but
1) Nobody's ever told me what those might be, and
2) I doubt they would take up much time, certainly not 40+ hours/week
(I'm also proposing that the General Meetings and Monthly Job Club of the nonprofit I help out continue with these via: ZOOM.)

Stay Well,
KH

jim said...

Well David
Yes I think it is unacceptable to lie to get us into a war.
A war that has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and caused immense misery for millions.
And no, it is not acceptable to attack and kill innocent people because you are scared.
Biden knew that the Iraqis didn’t attack us on 911, didn’t have nuclear weapons and that the war would kill mountains of innocent men women and children, and that piece of crap voted for the war because he though it was politically convenient.

That fact that so many democrats will not hold these evil war mongers to account for their behavior shows just how debased America has become.

And as far as your 5 challenges – I have answered multiple times. Just because you don’t like my answers doesn’t mean I didn’t answer them. ( I mean really, you might want to get your memory checked, you seem to be slipping more and more lately.)

Unknown said...

The Long Emergency

Spurred on by an increasingly vocal demand for the government to DO SOMETHING decisive, Phase One of 'The Long Emergency' has been typified by an exaggerated and grandiose response to rather indolent self-limiting socioeconomic issues, as in the case of drug use, social inequality and crime, only to culminate in the so-called endless WARS on drugs, crime, inequality, sexism, racism, poverty and terror.

Insomuch as WAR requires the application of significant force, these 'states of emergency' have been accompanied an increasingly militarised police force, a 3000% increase in the use of SWAT teams in the course of routine policing, the widespread adoption of CCTV-type surveillance, the suspension of many constitutional protections including the presumption of innocence, freedom of speech & the freedom to associate, and the outright nullification of those regulations that may or may not contribute to those 'enemies' that we call inequality, sexism, racism & poverty.

All-of-the-above was pursued with the best of intentions, at least initially, until the present day when any & all threats to the socioeconomic status quo now require an exaggerated & grandiose response, leading to the current state of affairs wherein even the possibility of heavy rainfall, a bad snowstorm, a hurricane or a viral epidemic requires a 'State of Emergency' declaration & the indefinite suspension of civil liberties.

In the EU & the US, the West now teeters on the precipice that is The Long Emergency: Phase Two.

We declare a NATIONAL EMERGENCY which allows those in power to circumvent any & all limitations on government authority, placing the nation under the tyrannical equivalent of Martial Law, up to & including the indefinite mobilization of an armed occupying force in our city streets to 'maintain order' by any & all means.

It has already happened once in France from 2015 to 2017. It is happening right now in Italy & Spain and, most likely, it will happen here in the US & the UK: NATIONAL EMERGENCY DECLARED BY TRUMP

CHANGE appears imminent, my friends, whether you like it or not.


Best

Cari Burstein said...

Personally at this point I'd prefer a figurehead president who actually surrounds himself with people who know what they're doing and listens to them than the current situation with a guy who surrounds himself with loyalists, listens to nobody except Fox news, learns nothing and governs by gut.

I'd prefer a better option than Biden (or Sanders for that matter) but those are the options we've narrowed down to. Really hope Biden makes a good VP choice.

I understand the theory behind why people think letting things get worse (i.e. Trump) will be more likely lead to the drastic changes they feel we need. I just don't have any faith that it's likely to get them what they want, so I'd rather skip the 4 more years of chaos and at least stem the bleeding for now.

locumranch said...


The Long Emergency

Spurred on by an increasingly vocal demand for the government to DO SOMETHING decisive, Phase One of 'The Long Emergency' has been typified by an exaggerated and grandiose response to rather indolent self-limiting socioeconomic issues, as in the case of drug use, social inequality and crime, only to culminate in the so-called endless WARS on drugs, crime, inequality, sexism, racism, poverty and terror.

Insomuch as WAR requires the application of significant force, these 'states of emergency' have been accompanied an increasingly militarised police force, a 3000% increase in the use of SWAT teams in the course of routine policing, the widespread adoption of CCTV-type surveillance, the suspension of many constitutional protections including the presumption of innocence, freedom of speech & the freedom to associate, and the outright nullification of those regulations that may or may not contribute to those 'bad enemies' like inequality, sexism, racism & poverty.

All-of-the-above was pursued with the best of intentions, at least initially, until the present day when any & all threats to the socioeconomic status quo now require an exaggerated & grandiose response, leading to the current state of affairs wherein even the possibility of heavy rainfall, a bad snowstorm, a hurricane or a viral epidemic requires a 'State of Emergency' declaration & the indefinite suspension of civil liberties.

In the EU & the US, the West now teeters on the precipice that is The Long Emergency: Phase Two.

We declare a NATIONAL EMERGENCY which allows those in power to circumvent any & all limitations on government authority, placing the nation under the tyrannical equivalent of Martial Law, up to & including the indefinite mobilization of an armed occupying force in our city streets to 'maintain order' by any & all means.

It has already happened once in France from 2015 to 2017. It is happening at this very moment in Italy & Spain, and it is happening in the USA now. NATIONAL EMERGENCY DECLARED BY TRUMP

CHANGE appears imminent, my friends, whether you like it or not.


Best

David Brin said...

Tim, I'd like to know what you think of this list of corona-medical-related factoids.

1. If you have a runny nose and sputum, you have a common cold

2. Coronavirus pneumonia is a dry cough with no runny nose.

3. This new virus is not heat-resistant and will be killed by a temperature of just 79/80 degrees. It hates the Sun.

4. If someone sneezes with it, it takes about 10 feet before it drops to the ground and is no longer airborne.

5. If it drops on a metal surface it will live for at least 12 hours - so if you come into contact with any metal surface - wash your hands as soon as you can with a bacterial soap.

6. On fabric it can survive for 6-12 hours. normal laundry detergent will kill it.

7. Drinking warm water is effective for all viruses. Try not to drink liquids with ice.

8. Wash your hands frequently as the virus can only live on your hands for 5-10 minutes, but - a lot can happen during that time - you can rub your eyes, pick your nose unwittingly and so on.

9. You should also gargle as a prevention. A simple solution of salt in warm water will suffice.

10. Can't emphasis enough - drink plenty of water! THE SYMPTOMS:
It will first infect the throat, so you'll have a sore throat lasting 3/4 days
The virus then blends into a nasal fluid that enters the trachea and then the lungs, causing pneumonia. This takes about 5/6 days further.
With the pneumonia comes high fever and difficulty in breathing.
The nasal congestion is not like the normal kind. You feel like you're drowning. It's imperative you then seek immediate attention.
Serious excellent advice by Japanese doctors treating COVID-19 cases:

Everyone should ensure your mouth & throat are moist, never dry. Take a few sips of water every 15 minutes at least. Why? Even if the virus gets into your mouth, drinking water or other liquids will wash them down through your throat and into the stomach. Once there, your stomach acid will kill all the virus. If you don't drink enough water more regularly, the virus can enter your windpipe and into the lungs. That's very dangerous.

David Brin said...

jim says: "And as far as your 5 challenges – I have answered multiple times."
He lies. He flat out lies.

David Brin said...

The tradeoffs and necessity of containment measures:
https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca

Tim Wolter said...

David

Looking at the list I'd say the following:

1 and 2 probably wrong and rather subjective. Dangerous advice.
3 is plausible
4 is highly likely and I'd heed that one. But if they are indoors....
5 and 6 have way too many variables to factor in. Would not bet on 'em. What's bacterial soap gonna do to a virus btw?
7 looks like nonsense. The guy has a water thing goin' on.
8 time frame debatable but very good advice
9 and 10 not very useful advice. More water fixations.

I've been through a number of these events that did not reach their full potential...Swine Flu, SARS, etc.

Sadly my covic-19 predictions once there was no help from viral lookback studies has been pessimistic but accurate.

I'll go optimistic now. It appears the US at least is taking this seriously. I think in two weeks this burns out.

T.Wolter

David Brin said...

Thanks Tim. But we have no basis for optgimism since the US is a black hole of ignorance and lack of information, far worse than the situation in Communist China. Why?

Our calamitously vile national leadership ensured we'd be far, far behind the curve of the rest of infected nations, when it comes to testing. Result. We have NO idea where the new hotspots are, or how extensive or where on the spreading curves we are.

We had the capability to ramp up making test kits. That capability was directly, and deliberately sabotaged by the admninistration. Directly and deliberately, with 'cost-cutting' as an excuse but other scenarios totally consistent.

But yes, warm weather may help DT to crow "I stopped it! *I* did! Me!" While sycophants around a table reiterate: "He stoped it! *He* did!" And anyone who watches those things happen and doesn't feel vomit rising in-throat is no American.

But thanks for medical feedback. Much as I already figured.

Tim Wolter said...

David

As you've asked for my admittedly outdated professional advice I'll give you a bit more of it.

I fear you have become a devotee of the CSI school of science. Amazing tech just appears and works great! Problem solved in one hour. Of course you know better but your feelings sometimes overtake you.

Viral testing is not that easy.

Consider the consequences of false positives and negatives. Now I don't mind quarantining a few who turn out to be healthy but every person you wave through with a thumbs up can be the origin of another outbreak. And the accurate version of the test I'm told requires a rather uncomfortable deep throat swab that many overseas just refuse to do.

In addition to seeing The Fourth Horseman gallop past a few times I've seen things in medicine that turned into - well to accurately describe them would require language I don't deploy on the internet. Vaccines for instance.

Remember Lyme vaccine? The early versions of rotavirus vaccine?

Look, I'm no fanboy of the current administration. It would have behooved him and indeed the people running against him to cancel all gatherings weeks ago. But your vitriol adds little to the conversation.

Guess I'm veering away from stale medical advice again, sorry.

I'll stay optimistic but do worry about a second round later this year.

T. Wolter

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

5. If it drops on a metal surface it will live for at least 12 hours - so if you come into contact with any metal surface - wash your hands as soon as you can with a bacterial soap.


Even I know that an anti-bacterial doesn't do anything about a virus. From what I've read, the soap is more effective against the virus than the anti-bacterial agent.

David Brin said...

Tim right back atch. You suffer from strawmanning disease, having to discredit a critic by attributing to him traits that are totally absent. N did not mention vaccine delays but testing delays, which are an absolute fact and stunning malgovernance, when even African nations are testing and zeroing in on outbreaks faster than we have in the US.

Antibody reaction tests are vastly easier to develop and produce that working vaccines. I made clear that I know that. But even a test with substantial false positives is useful. It focuses spotlights on potential outbreaks. You know this.

TCB said...

Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now Politicians, Community Leaders and Business Leaders: What Should You Do and When? Longish article, many charts. Solid.

One big point: social distancing highly recommended; keep 6 feet away from other people, if you must be near them at all. China bought the US some time with the lockdown in Hubei province, and we (more precisely, the Trumpists in charge of the government's response) squandered it. The situation in Lombardy will probably be replicated here by April 1; countries that dealt with it properly and promptly (such as South Korea) have held mortality to about 1%. If the medical system is overwhelmed, mortality is closer to 4 or 5%.

john fremont said...

@TCB

Yes, I see the point getting circulated about how seasonal influenza kills more people every year. It also stressed the healthcare system in the country just 3 years ago in 2017-18.

JAN 05, 2018 Spotlight on flu season: Where hospitals are slammed hardest

ERs are filling up nationwide, triggering ambulance diversions and bed shortages. Here's a roundup of reports from various geographical regions.
Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

This year's flu season is wreaking havoc on hospitals across the country, with ERs overflowing, hospitals diverting patients and too few beds to go around.

NBC Bay Area reported Thursday that in some California counties the rate of flu cases has doubled in just the last couple weeks. Already the flu has killed at least 10 people across the state and hospitals are slammed. As a result, hospitals are taking extra steps to protect patients. South Bay hospitals El Camino Hospital and Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz are restricting visitors to 16 years or older....


https://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/spotlight-flu-season-where-hospitals-are-slammed-hardest

Acacia H. said...

Jim, if Trump gets into office again, do you honestly think he's going to leave? And do you think there will be enough of the country left if the ACA is ripped apart and private industry and the private insurance agency is allowed to act without government control while Trump-appointed judges side with industry and insurance agencies over and over again rather than the American People?

If Trump is reelected, I plan on immediately moving overseas. Because transgender people will be stripped of their rights. Minorities will have their voting rights seriously restricted. Republicans will have big gains in the House and Senate as the Supreme Court rules in narrow rulings that penalize Democratic regions and benefit Republican ones. The country will be fucked all because the Bernie Bros insist that it's their way or the highway. And I suspect Trump may try to spread Trumpism across the globe, so I may not even be safe overseas.

There is no if, no and, no but. If you refuse to support the Democratic Candidate for President, then you are a Trump Supporter. And given nearly three million more people voted for Hillary than Trump and yet Trump still got into office, don't give me the whole "well my single vote wouldn't matter" because there were thousands of people who said that and then their refusal to vote for Hillary DID MATTER and we got the Cheetoh in Chief as a result.

Acacia

Jon S. said...

"3. This new virus is not heat-resistant and will be killed by a temperature of just 79/80 degrees. It hates the Sun."

This may not be the case, as discussed here:

http://theconversation.com/will-warmer-weather-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus-133208

David Brin said...

Acacia, while I agree with your overall attitude, and I agree that any retention of any kinf of power by the undead Republican Party will be a calamity of (literally) galactic proportions (because re-imposition of feudalism will likely prevent humanity from taking to the stars, forever), I de disagree over the etiology and path of the worst calamity.

You assume that because Fox/GOP have stirred racism, sexism, misogyny, nazism and all that, then that must mean all those things are central to the oligarchy's program. Sorry. They aren't. The world mafia has one goal, total, unrestrained power. And hence, those standing in their way are not - by definition - the powerless.

I'd bet most mafiosi, putinists, foxites and other oligarchic putschists don't care much about racism and all that. They use misogyny and nazism as dog whistles to rile up trailer park trash as foot soldiers and to distract liberals from the real goal...

...which is demolotion of the caste that DOES stymie oligarchic power. The fact-professions. The scientists, teachers, journalists, civil servants etc. who are attacked VASTLY more by Fox & pals than are the vried races, genders and others. Oh, those races, genders etc are huge VICTIMS! And you likely would be, as well. But they are not Enemy #1.

No, what's happened under Trump term v.1 is Putin learned to his chagrin that all those eggheads have real power and have been thwarting many - maybe most - of the measures aimed at tearing us down. If Two Scoops gets a 2nd term -- with the accompanying GOP Congress, you can bet that priority #1 from day one will be to end the 140 year old Civil Service Act and truly wage total war on even the very concept of facts.


Alfred Differ said...

Tim,

I’m mildly optimistic about the virus for a similar reason. It does look like people are beginning to take this seriously down at the grass roots level. At this stage, I think that will be more effective than the knowledge we’d gain from all the testing we really SHOULD be able to do. Ideally… as we’d approximate in a nation run by competent people… we’d have both.

What stunning malfeasance is going to produce is (likely) a higher death toll… and something far worse. To get this behavior change required by our unnecessary ignorance, we are stopping large segments of the economy. Not slowing. Stopping as in Gapping. We SHALL adapt, but the disruption this causes will echo for many years. Some things won’t restart. Some people won’t be there for health reasons (dead or injured) and many more for economic reasons (bankruptcy or abandoned plans). The meltdown in 2008 did this kind of economic damage that is still evident… especially in voting patterns. You know that last part, though, because you’ve described the attitude of some of your neighbors.

Some of what is coming at us could have been avoided by competent leadership. For example, if the Progressives get universal health care, it will likely be as a result of this incompetent administration’s response to this crisis. No matter what it costs, it is more likely now than ever BECAUSE of the variety of damage that will be done. Not just deaths. Depleted bank accounts, lost income, failed dreams, elderly survivors injured and dependent on family members… you name it.

There is a political @#$@storm coming right behind the viral one. I’m mildly optimistic that we are addressing the viral one, but it looks like we are doing so in a manner that will have huge consequences afterward.

Alfred Differ said...

On a less important, almost technical note… people should not confuse the bond and equity markets. The bond market is MUCH bigger and where most of the wealthiest people have their money. The equity markets really aren’t big enough* to soak up what the rich could throw into them, if they were inclined to take that kind of risk.

This matters because injecting money into the bond market is not the same as injecting it into the stock market. In normal times, their movements anti-correlate. That’s not what is happening now which suggests something big (and hidden) is going on. On days when people are interested in risk, stock markets generally rise and bond markets fall. The reverse happens on cloudy mood days. At present, they are moving together (at least some of the time), so it is possible there is a liquidity problem happening in one or both. When people HAVE to sell in one, it might be because of their position in the other switching anti-correlation to correlation.

Either way, the amount of money moving between risk-on and risk-off days is a small fraction of bond assets. Injecting liquidity into bonds in an amount of roughly that scale MIGHT break the correlation. That’s the idea, anyway. We shall see.

As for $1.5T injection being paid for already, that is laughable. Bonds are debt instruments. All that happened is the government invented $1.5T out of thin air (one hand owes the other hand) and intends to make it vanish again at some point in the near future. If they are squeamish about making it vanish (happens occasionally), we re-scale the value of everything measured in USD and call it inflation.

*There is a reasonable argument to be made that the inflow of cash from 401K’s and their cousins in the US is responsible for a good chunk of the long term upward trend in the value of equities. If so, broad index funds are essentially bets that we continue putting our retirement money into a market that isn’t quite big enough to absorb it all. As a result, it draws companies into IPO’s and all that comes from being publicly traded.

Acacia H. said...

Perhaps, Dr. Brin. But my views that the Trump Administration would go after transgender people is based on its actions to date which include, on August 16, 2019, a Justice Dept. filing with the Supreme Court that federal law “does not prohibit discrimination against transgender persons based on their transgender status.” Also on May 24, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services published a proposed rule that would remove all recognition that federal law prohibits transgender patients from discrimination in health care.

Transgender people are an easy target for Trump. By going after us, Trump gives his base some of what the masses think they want. If he gets a second term in office, he will continue his war on transgender people. I would be safer in another nation than in the U.S. under Trump. People like Jim who insist Trump is better than Biden are a threat to my liberty and possibly my life.

Acacia

David Brin said...

I don't disagree with a single thing you just said Acacia. I think your relatively vulnerable clade WILL suffer terribly under a Mafia-Confederate-Nazi regime! I said as much. But we agree the oligarch controllers will do so in order to offer dog-bones to the real racist-sexists, down in the mob far below. As Mark Twain said... the lowest white man will fight for his own class oppressors, if you give him a black man to kick around.

Alfred I agree that IF COVID is what it seems... if getting it and surviving imbues genuine immunity and non-carrier status and hospitalization/death rates stay at 5% or lower and vaccines come that can improve all that much as flu vaccines have... and there's nothing hidden... then civilization will go on amid some tragedy and civilization will deal with a major wake-up call.

At this point... with science fictional reflexive imagination... I call that a major "if."

duncan cairncross said...

Jacinda has just announced that all visitor from abroad including NZ citizens must self isolate for 14 days

Damn that woman is impressing me

Alfred Differ said...

If covid19 does any of those nastier things (carrier status, fast mutate, high death rate) we probably won't know until it's obvious. No competent administration would have invented tests for any of those early enough to matter. Tests for detecting this particular variety would be damn useful, but... and this is a big one... those tests have to be pretty good in terms of small false results. Even a moderate percentage failure rate could do more damage than our current ignorance IF everyone is getting tested. (Just imagine what a 1% failure rate for HIV detection would do to relationships if 150 million of us are tested. You KNOW that data wouldn't stay secret.)

I get the temptation of imagine the possibilities, but I encourage you to keep on the speculation side and not drift into fantasy. Keep in mind that germ-blind approaches to epidemiology helped our civilization get a handle on some really killer bugs early buying time for innovative minds to invent germ theory. Simple stuff like soap, informed hope, and statistics got us a long way… and we have so much more now.

My reflex is to imagine the dark depths at night and bright opportunities during the day. I was poking around Twitter earlier today noticing some medical folks asking about supplies they desperately needed for certain kits and others responding with alternate vendors and their SKU’s that would do the job. Crowd-sourcing supply chains? Just-In-Time Innovation? At night I’ll likely think they can’t get enough done to help much. During the day I suspect I’m seeing Enlightenment Civilization flex its new muscles with no central control brain required.

We shall see.
Well... some of us will.

TCB said...

Weirdly enough, the coronavirus outbreak feels to me like an Old Testament plague, sent by a wrathful deity to humble the Pharaoh. There's nothing better for destroying a dictator than undeniable proof, proof even his sycophants can't ignore, that he should not be in charge of anything more complicated than a mop.

For the record, I'd really kinda like to die of old age in my own bed. If Trump holds power next year, I expect I will perish in combat with other Americans. So I am not a splitter and will support Biden if he is the nominee, as will Bernie himself.

Incidentally, I've seen hints that Sanders and Biden plan to rough each other up in the next debate, but not too much, and then herd their supporters toward a grand reconciliation. I agree with what Alfred said up there, if this crisis doesn't make universal healthcare happen, it never will. But even that is not as important as the Earth's ecosystem; we won't go to the stars if the fact professions are neutered, and we also won't go to the stars if our home collapses before we can get a good start. If we are lucky enough to get a Democratic government again, that government will have to be willing to make some very powerful, wealthy and destructive people and corporations very, very unhappy. (Lookin' at Big Oil and their methane-leaking fracking operations, among many others).

If COVID-19 puts Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office in the next few weeks, I might actually get religion.

Anonymous said...

...so it is possible there is a liquidity problem happening in one or both.
...and intends to make it vanish again at some point in the near future.
...we re-scale the value of everything measured in USD and call it inflation.
...it draws companies into IPO’s and all that comes from being publicly traded.

Alfred. Exactly THIS handweaving is what makes so-called financial bubbles.
Well, to say truth... that bubbles is still better then overproduction depressions of old times and/or denomination/pricecuts of Soviets...
but we should be inventing something better by now... in 21st century.
But what we have? Freakanomics? :)))

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

I don't disagree with a single thing you just said Acacia. I think your relatively vulnerable clade WILL suffer terribly under a Mafia-Confederate-Nazi regime!


It seems pretty clear that transgender people are the new Jews. Hitler made outright anti-Semitism unfashionable for two generations such that even today's anti-Semites have to be supportive of Israel and hate Muslims worse (as opposed to the mocking Nazi German protestation that "I'm not anti-Semitic. ((Comic pause)) I like Arabs quite a bit.") Transgender people are a small enough clade that it's probably not the case that "Everybody knows one", so the haters can openly hate them without incurring the opprobrium of polite society.

German Naziism wasn't necessarily about Jew-hatred either, but that didn't make it any less dangerous for the Jews. The same is the case for those who are attacked by today's Brownshirts.


Alfred I agree that IF COVID is what it seems... if getting it and surviving imbues genuine immunity and non-carrier status


I know we don't yet have all the real facts, but I've read of examples which belie both of those assumptions. Caveat emptor

BTW, while Bill Maher did have a show last night, it came the closest I've ever seen (even after 9/11) to the host questioning whether there are times when comedy isn't appropriate. The laughs were less about biting wit and more about the audience sharing one last auld lange syne together.

Larry Hart said...

Who could have possibly guessed? ...

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/opinion/trump-coronavirus-emergency.html

...
Millions of Trump’s supporters aren’t blind to the president’s clownishness and ignorance. But they’ve been relatively indifferent to both, because they find the first entertaining and the second irrelevant to his overall performance. Who cares what a president knows about epidemiology, so long as the markets are up?

They care now. The coronavirus has exposed the falsehood of so many notions Trump’s base holds about the presidency: that experts are unnecessary; that hunches are a substitute for knowledge; that competence in administration is overrated; that every criticism is a hoax; and that everything that happens in Washington is B.S. Above all, it has devastated the conceit that having an epic narcissist in the White House is a riskless proposition at a time of extreme risk.
...

Smurphs said...

Random thoughts:

RE: Government response in 2009 to the Swine flu, this is how the Obama Administration responded:

From CNN: "The CDC's summary report of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic outlines how tests were administered at the time. The virus was first detected in the US on April 15. The CDC informed the World Health Organization about initial cases April 18. A test to detect this strain of swine flu was developed by the CDC and cleared for use 10 days later, on April 28, and the CDC began shipping tests across the US and around the world on May 1.

Within the next four months, more than 1 million tests "were shipped to 120 domestic and 250 international laboratories in 140 countries," according to the CDC's report."


It still took months to ramp up production of test kits, but TWO WEEKS from detection to the creation of a test kit.

RE: Universal Heath Care. I'm all for it, but it is not a panacea. We still would not have enough doctors, nurses, hospital beds, etc. But at least no one would go bankrupt.

RE: Stock Market Crash. (Slump, correction, whatever you call it.) I don't blame Trump for this. Trade worldwide is taking a BIG hit. Other countries are being effected much worse than the U.S. (So far). And the Russia-Saudia Arabia petrol war is killing the energy markets. While Trump certainly could have made other moves than he has, and more quickly, most of these factors are beyond his control.

RE: Larry saying "It seems pretty clear that transgender people are the new Jews." Don't worry, the old Jews are still the Jews too. ;)

RE: Trump supporters now seeing his incompetence. HA. I literally LOL'd at that one. Trump has made some moves. Barring plague-level death tolls, Trump took some action. Therefore it was the right action. Therefore, he saved us and is a hero. Much like "Reagan won the Cold War", you will never convince them otherwise.


Tim H. said...

A profane, sarcastic and accurate video on COVID-19:
https://youtu.be/Hks6Nq7g6P4

David Brin said...

"If COVID-19 puts Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office in the next few weeks, I might actually get religion."
Or else our autocorrect finally kicked in.

Most agree the Stock Market had already been way overpriced. But usually stocks & bonds go opposite directions. Not now, suggesting another damn liquidity crisis.

Tim H. Thanks for the link. I'll now cough it around.

David Brin said...

onward

onward