Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Urgent crowdourcing: DIY respirator projects… and one costing $100

These are fast-moving, “interesting times.” In ten days, parts of the U.S. and Canada may experience a dire medical emergency, akin to what we see today in Italy. Hundreds of thousands may need respiratory support while their immune systems fight off the COVID-19 virus. Without that support, thousands could die.

I spent last week working with Peter Diamandis’s XPRIZE group to outline a “DIY Ventilator Challenge” – but events surged past as teams around the world are already leaping ahead, conjuring ways to amplify the number of ventilators available, or hacking emergency alternatives. Below you’ll find links to some of these projects, starting with an excellent 5-part tutorial on ventilators. 

Here let me draw your attention to one project. While at the low end in sophistication and medical capability, it is peerless in aspects like low-cost and ease of construction. Steve Harrington and his Flometrics team built a prototype do-it-yourself respiration assistance device (DIYRAD) made entirely out of parts obtainable from Lowes or Home Depot. This very basic CPAP-like apparatus is not meant as a substitute for hospital care, but as a cheap, easy-to-make backup for use in a dire pinch by those with relatively stable, mild-to-moderate respiratory distress who cannot get such care, or who get turned away from over-burdened, overwhelmed ICUs.

Here’s a short introductory video:
… plus a 7 minute, detailed, how-to video:
… plus a detailed write-up:   (With an appendix linking to other projects around the world.) (Note the disclaimer!)

And yes, all such efforts merit urgent support during the next, critical week or two! 
There is a GoFundMe page… … 
…though any of you with greater resources might approach Steve directly, via his email address given in the videos.
… and anyone with relevant contacts in Italy is especially welcome to pass all this along!

Late News: It may be hard to find a $10 painter’s filter mask, so 3D printing plans should be available shortly.
(For further news, I’ve set aside the address though that'll be later.)

That’s enough to chew on. But I’ll append a few other items of interest - some of them cool - below the signature. 

Here’s wishing you all (and those you love) good health and good prospects for our world and civilization.

David Brin

1.  Among the resources listed for you in the appendix at is a fascinating and informative 5-part tutorial on ventilators:   plus links to other DIY ventilator projects at McGill University, at MunichRE and in Italy, as well as lists compiled by MAKE Magazine.

2. Discussion is welcome at the lively comment community right here, under my blog CONTRARY BRIN.

3. Some of my past sci fi has been more pertinent than I’d want! My Hugo-nominated story “The Giving Plague” deals with our complex relationships with viruses and such, including the several paths a parasite can go down, in “negotiating” with us hosts

4. Final COVID notes. The latest somewhat supported rumor mill items fall into the ‘Can’t hurt” category.

 (i) avoid ibuprofen/advil… for now, till we know more... and

 (ii) sniff a lemon (or anything strong) several times a day! At minimum a lemon-sniff will cheer you up a bit, I promise! But there are preliminary signs that the earliest-onset symptom is loss of smell. It’s not proved! But in this case we have one of those anecdotes that are absolutely harmless to try! (If you get sick, report how many days earlier you had smell failure. It's scientific data! But above all, get well soon.)

5. Remind me to talk later about the SOLUTION TO SAVE THE ECONOMY AND GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK! Yes, I have one.

 Oh, need cheering up? See my new sci fi comedy novel “The Ancient Ones.”


David Brin said...

This site is also pursuing a Low Cost Respirator and a face shield.

Sophont said...

Engineer who has a respected youtube channel is working on one

Slim Moldie said...

My little tinkering fingers could easily assemble one of these respirators. And my 10 year old kid would be into it. But should I?

Because then what? Obviously the intention is to keep folks out of the hospitals. The logistical plan? I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed here so help me out. Is the idea for a bunch of average js to build one and have them reserved for their local bubble, selves, neighbors etc? And/or is the plan for a bunch of average js to build one and then spread the word (this would be hard for me to do even if asked) so that all the parts are panic gobbled off the shelves like toilet paper--creating a demand, but then the parts can more easily be resupplied if hospitals get desperate enough? How many people would just hoard them?

I'm am not being sarcastic. Honest confusion.

Also has anyone found a covid map or graph that shows cases per-capita by state? I calculated a few in my head, sorry Louisiana, but an updated spreadsheet seems like it should exist.

Stay well everybody. And for all you non hampsterkaufs -- in case you don't already know, an inexpensive bidet attachment really does save a lot of tp even if it takes a few rounds to get used to.

I will now slink back into lurking mode which is a much healthier place for me to be in this kind of realm.


David Brin said...

ADDENDUM -- 1) All parts must be new, out of the factory packaging, or the risks are not worth it.

2) It is also best for the patient to wear a plastic face shield to catch droplets that escape the edges of the mask.

Good questions, SM. The aim is to offer folks options in places that have a good hardware store but where hospitals are overwhelmed. If pigs buy up all the local parts... what... a shortage of SHOP VACS is your worry? If each new shop vac helps one person get past their intermediate level COvid respiratory distress, each one is someone not in an ICU.

Tony Fisk said...

@slim, worldometers is one place providing coronavirus stats, with US state breakdown

DP said...

From a member of the pro-life party:

The fundamental problem is whether we are going to tank the entire economy to save 2.5% of the population which is (1) generally expensive to maintain, and (2) not productive.

— Scott A McMillan (@scott4670) March 23, 2020

Let’s play the game:

We decide to sacrifice the “weak” in order to save the “market economy”… and in doing so we cease isolation and control measures, and send everyone back out to shop til they drop.

The impact of that will NOT be “only 2.5% of the weakest members of the population”… the impact of that will be a massive number of infected (in the 100s of millions) all getting sick at once.

Let’s pick a low number: 1/3 of the population gets the virus in the next month.

100 million get sick.

20% of those millions will need hospital care (20 million)

5% of those millions will need ICU care (5 million)

and, if Italy/Iran are any guide, the Case Fatality rate will rise to somewhere between 7 and 10%, due to overload of the medical system. (7 to 10 million)

The result?

Just going by sheer numbers alone, the economy will come to a screeching halt, as something like 20 million people will require 2 weeks of medical care all at the same time, and something like 7 million to 10 million people will die over the next two months…

And that’s if ONLY 1/3 of the population gets sick.

The reality is that since this is a NEW virus, more like 70% of the population will get sick.

so double or triple the numbers above.

So the economy freezes ANYWAY.

matthew said...

This article in Slate talks about the "pothole infrastructure" type solution that our host is suggesting, as well as other good governmental employment suggestions. I beleive that it is a better set of perscriptions, in fact. Some of the items are others that Dr. Brin has called for in the past. Perhaps someone other than your regulars is listening to you, Doc.

Darrell E said...

Last night a friend of mine who works in a medical lab sent me the following text after watching one of Trump's updates from yesterday.

"This asshole is lying through his fuckin teeth. We are reusing masks, gowns, are running out of gloves and to top it all off, have to select which critically ill patients "who fit the criteria" get tested or not at our facility. We just started testing as of Tuesday . . ."

Larry Hart said...

Listening to Congressman Adam Schiff discussing COVID on Stephanie Miller's radio show. I'm getting the same vibe that I got when then-state senator Obama gave the keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic convention. Man, I wish this guy could be our next president.

matthew said...

Since Tacitus (Tim) was willing to site Politico in the last thread as a trusted source, I offer this:

Politico: Trump ignored CDC playbook for outbreak.

Either they're a trusted news source or not, Tim.

This is damning.

Luís Salgueiro said...

@Tim - answering last thread: sorry but you have wrong data – Best sensitivity for tests is around 70% in very symptomatic patients, in asymptomatic patients sensitivity can be lower than 30%. Specificity however is 100%. For higher sensitivity you need lung biopsy or bronchial wash.
Testing however has several positive effects and at least can allow better mathematical modeling and conduction of double blind testing of therapeutic alternatives. Unfortunately pharma companies are more interested in researching high value drugs like monoclonal anti-bodies and anti-retrovirals… sic transit glory mundi

Luís Salgueiro said...

@Dr Locum
You should know better… sigh
Let’s start with your first objection regarding data and a 3% inflated mortality.
We are talking about excess mortality here not 3% of total deaths. 3% is an average scenario, can be lower than 1% (much lower – vide case of MACAU) can be much higher as seen in Italy and now even worse in Spain. Worse case scenario goes to 12% mortality! Higher than the Spanish flu.
This virus is 3x more infectious than PANDEMIC INFLUENZA. Not seasonal Influenza Pandemic one, like A type Influenza. Best case estimates 70% population infected regardless of anything except vaccine. Most likely 80% infected. Of those infected 80% or more have light symptoms, flu-like still many of those will be unfit for work due to muscle pain and general malaise for 15 days (not 3-5 like seasonal flu). Of the remaining around 15 % will need urgent medical care and internment in a hospital bed without ventilator (standard support with saline and O2).
The remaining 5% require intensive care without which they die.
If the healthcare system has a large safety margin (meaning low efficiency on a day to day basis) to accommodate the extra necessities than mortality will be lower. If not…
Mortality is higher in the elderly but is not 0 in younger people, it is certainly much higher than the 1 per thousand of seasonal influenza.
Mortality data for Portugal is determined by primary cause, meaning that people that died, died from SARS -COVID 2 not stroke or myocardial disease. They died of SARS pneumonia.
We started voluntary quarantine precisely 15 days today. If the measure works we will see a definite flattening of the curve starting today. Schools closed on the 15th. Watch the data as they unfold.
However if your goal is to reduce the pollution and proclaim the coming of the apocalypse than by all means continue to spread disinformation.

*HEAVY SARCASM ON* Maybe the Portuguese Inquisition wasn’t such a bad thing after all if it culled from the population all the demon worshipers trying to bring about the apocalypse. *SARCASM OFF*

Luís Salgueiro said...

@DrBrin How can we improve truth finding? Biggest obstacle right now seems to be filtering information, I spend more time answering my patients fears based on disinformation than trying to cure them.

Luís Salgueiro said...


Darrell E said...

Dr. Luis Salgueiro,

Thank you for taking the time to counter misinformation.
I wish you all the best.

TCB said...

Coronavirus Dashboard, a really great site for following the numbers on COVID-19 cases.

It's a 'Vital Global Resource' run by a 17 year old high school junior from the Seattle area.

locumranch said...

I sense cognitive dissonance:

Although a vocal critic of inexpert government & bumbling Trumpian incompetence and a 'yuge' proponent of EXPERT government & expertism-in-general, our fine host has gone all-in for stumbling bumbling DIY respirator projects, the provision of cut-rate suboptimal medical care and amateurism-in-general.

This is FAILURE MODE written large, this panic-driven acceptance of ersatz & inexpert temporising measures, but perhaps the only reasonable response to either 'The Long Emergency' or an increasing likelihood of societal collapse, even though this so-called 'temporary suspension of standards' is likely to ACCELERATE collapse by cascading into every other conceivable role & discipline.

This cognitive dissonance springs from the self-contradictory belief that science is capable of intelligent design -- specifically that we'll get utopia if we let the intelligent elite run things -- but this falls flat because science is NOT a social virtue in & of itself.

For this truth & many others, including a discourse on citizenship, social responsibility & our time of troubles, I suggest you read Heinlein's 'Starship Troopers', available at the link below.

An aside to Dr.Salgueiro:

I was once a true believer like you, sacrificing myself X 20 years for social betterment, only to rewarded with contempt, social punishment, system failure & an even sicker society wherein less than 10% of the US population consumes more than 50% of the US healthcare resource total, which is why a 3 to 5% TOTAL mortality (rather than merely 'excess' mortality) is exactly what we need if we want western society to survive. Period. Exclamation point.

The time for triage is now.


Larry Hart said...

Luis Salgueiro:

How can we improve truth finding?

We can start by ignoring anything Donald Trump says. That may sound like a sarcastic comment, but it really isn't.

jim said...

Well here we are 3 months into 2020 and it is absolutely living up to its astrological billing--- the end of old age and the beginning of a new age ( I find this synchronicity between astrology and current events to be hilariously on point). These times are both trying and potentially dangerous.

I read the following today and it points to the silver lining to our current troubles.

“In a year where biblical calamities have rained down upon the world – as floods, bush fires and locust storms– this fracture has not emerged in the highly stressed natural world but from within a globalised human society. After ignoring the cries of Cassandra for decades, the horse has finally entered the gates of the cities, releasing billions of tiny invisible lifeforms that are no respecters of age, gender, wealth, position or race.The fracture point is what many of us have been searching for in these last years. Because, as every storyteller knows, the crack reveals everything that needs to be told: the flaw in the character that can bring down whole kingdoms, the chink in the prison wall that speaks of liberty, the wake up call to a cruel fairytale that has enthralled you and generations before you. And maybe the crack is, as Buckminster Fuller once described, the moment the chick, struggling for space as its food runs out, catches a glimpse of blue sky beyond the shell – and not apocalypse at all.”

Or as Leonard Cohen sang
“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in”

This crisis has let the light of new possibilities, new way of living though the cracks of the old system, things may never go back to the old “normal”.

David Brin said...

"I sense cognitive dissonance"... Yes and normally I'd say good for your courage to acknowledge your cognitive disfunction. But of course, you are doing nothing of the sort and your strawmannings again disply a lack of even vestigial logic.

David Brin said...

AGAIN had my blood donation appointment canceled. Poor participation, I'd guess. Just scheduled my 3rd try. And on that date the bloomobile appointments are spaced an hour apart! I expect there'll be just one staffer to handle paperwork and needle and everything. Less jocularity and camaraderie, I expect, but they probably pulled most of them into hospital duties.

David Brin said...

jim your desperate wish for an apocalypse is shared by the billionaires flying executive jets into New Zealand and Patagonia and Siberia, as we speak. You're all a bunch of sickos and we'll muddle through, then save the world and civilization for you, without your help.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

your desperate wish for an apocalypse is shared by the billionaires flying executive jets into New Zealand and Patagonia and Siberia, as we speak.

If they're that worried about contracting the virus themselves, then go with God and all. Retreating to islands might help (if they're not the ones bringing the virus to infect other billionaires with).

If they're thinking that their electronic representations of money will survive a complete economic meltdown in the world at large, I'm not sure I see how.

David Brin said...

LH: teh TOP topic of conversation among these struldbrug evetual-tumbrel-riders is this: "When all the money is no good, how do we keep our security staff (at our bunker redoubts) loyal to us?"

I'm serious! That's what I hear from many directions. And they are concocting stuff like: "Put explosive collars on their children."

Eep. I know how to accomplish this, actually, but it woulkd take more patience and sapience than these guys could ever muster. Also... I'm not telling.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

teh TOP topic of conversation among these struldbrug evetual-tumbrel-riders is this: "When all the money is no good, how do we keep our security staff (at our bunker redoubts) loyal to us?"

They do realize those security folks have access to weapons, right?

But, it's not just the security staff they need to keep loyal. Unless I'm mistaken, the people you are talking about "accomplish" everything by giving orders to someone else. They'd have a hard time preparing food for themselves or washing their own clothes, let alone any type of home maintenance without servants doing the work for them. And that's just the first level of Maslow's hierarchy of human needs.

My real question is what do they think life will be like without a modern society around it? They don't sound like the types of people who find contentment sitting around eating canned food and watching old sitcoms on DVR.

I know how to accomplish this, actually, but it woulkd take more patience and sapience than these guys could ever muster. Also... I'm not telling.

Knowing your views on AI and robots, I think I can kinda/sorta guess at the outlines of your secret plan. Don't worry, I'm not telling either. If it came down to it, I'd rather sell guillotines to the armed guards and servants.

jim said...

Well David, although I understand how someone with your world view could misinterpret what I wrote I still find your response to be entertainingly funny.

The end of one age and the beginning of another is not an apocalypse, it is a regular occurrence.
I am not wishing for the end of the world (nor do I expect it), just a change to something different.

But I do hope that the worldview that Man is the Conqueror of Nature / The Worship of the God of Progress /The Star Trek Future does face its Apocalypse so that we can move on to a better and more realistic understanding of our place in the world. And because you have that kind of worldview you think I want the actual end of the world ---nah I want the Light to shine though the cracks of the old worldview so that we can see the world anew.

TCB said...

I think I have a vague sense of what Dr. Brin's congressional judo move to enforce transparency from the White House would involve. Not the exact mechanic; there might be multiple ways to work it. But it would only take the leaders of one chamber to do it. And nobody else would have the power to stop them.

Darrell E said...

"Conqueror of Nature / The Worship of the God of Progress /The Star Trek Future"

The first two definitely have negative connotations, namely extremism, but, come on jim. What's so bad about The Star Trek Future? Like a tautology it pretty much means by definition that everything, is good. All your commendable environmental concerns specifically included. Is it simply that in your estimation it is impossible to achieve and therefore working towards such a dream is a horrible thing to do? In short, that'd be a fucked up point of view. If all of humanity shared your views throughout our history, today we'd be living with something like 16th century technology, at best, while trying to support a population similar in size to what we've had sometime during the 20th century. Certainly a much higher population than our level of technology could support without much higher levels of starvation, disease and misery than we actually have. Life would suck much worse than it actually does.

David Smelser said...

Here is another site with by county and by state breakdowns.
Graphs by standard and log scale.
Expressed as cases or normalized by country/state population.
Ability to highlight a specific country or state.

scidata said...

Re: The Star Trek Future

I find this fallacy a lot here. Star Trek is not simply a consummation devoutly to be wished by gullible dweebs. It contains, like all good SF does, a series of warnings to take preventative measures (a la 1984). Give us some credit.

Your continued existence represents a threat to the well-being of society. Your lives means slow death to the more valued members of the colony. Therefore...
Signed, Kodos, governor of Tarsus Four.

Luís Salgueiro said...

@Acacia – new research just published yesterday from France that coincides with our anecdotal observations: azithromycin added to hydroxychloroquine reduces viral shedding by 95% the French team investigating the results talk about almost miraculous

@Locum – I understand

Practising medicine in the USA today looks to me like a kind of hell from what I read.
It takes real courage… probably more than doing so in Africa or in a village lost in the South American jungles. And I am not being sarcastic. For years I couldn’t understand why American doctors permitted the situation to reach this point.
A few months back I came across and old book in a “alfarrabista” (a used bookstore). The author had the most astonishing name of Dr. Frank Slaughter, in the Portuguese translation the title literally translates has the magic scalpel… the English title is “That none should die”.
The book is semi-autobiographic and finally I understood the tragic history of USA healthcare, how corrupt politicians, and a population (doctors included) naturally suspicious of social measures created a system so abhorrent that anything should be better than socialized medicine. Envisioning a system where small medical groups working for the best of their populations, self regulated and without governmental interference and corruption could create state of the art medicine and the best healthcare system in the world.
And they succeeded for many years.
Until entropy took hold and the small offices became just another branch of the megaconglomerate, and hunting the doctor in court became some sort of national pastime. – Pardon me if, from an ocean away I see things distorted and incorrect but from here that is how it looks.

Jon S. said...

Also, the Star Trek Future does come from a history that includes the Bell Riots, the Eugenics Wars, and World War Three - and that's just Earth. Vulcan's history was so violent that the Reformation of Surak drove a significant portion of the population offworld, because they simply couldn't coexist with their former neighbors. And even the peaceful Vulcans had rather an - unpleasant history with their Andorian neighbors. (Remember what Archer found at the P'jem "monastery"?)

Heck, the Federation itself started off as a military alliance formed in the wake of the Earth-Romulus War. (And frankly, even without that war the alliance would have been necessary, in order to keep the Klingon Empire from absorbing them all piecemeal.)

David Brin said...

“nah I want the Light to shine though the cracks of the old worldview so that we can see the world anew.”

It is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius!

Oh jim is so fulla shit. His transcendentalist yearnings are couched in terms of love and tatami mats and flowers… all of it floating above ruin and smoldering bodies and the incineration of any hopes that are different than his.

How about we build a better world the only way the world ever improved… incrementally, through hard work and reciprocal respect and accountability and gradual fact-accumulation and wisdom and refutation of bullshit? And ACTUAL diversity instead of the faux kind preached by those yearning for death to all who disagree a little.

The only way "cracks through the worldview" ever happened, letting better views of the worl, was through liberal transparency and science and a complicated melange of flat-fair competition. Your loving priesthood will put us up on crosses, for the good of our souls.


scidata is right that the entire ethos and meaning of Star Trek is thoughtful thought experiments about personality interactions, broadened diversity and what kinds of governance issues might be faced by a “Federation” that has proved it sincerely wants to keep getting better. Nearly every episode.

Those who ignore all the actual topics of Star Trek episodes, in order to sneer at some trumped-up notion of a caricature of the show, are typically bigots.-

locumranch said...

The 'cognitive dissonance' to which I was referring was David's inability to reconcile his most favoured technocratic Expert Government paradigm with the democratic Representative Government model, since any such attempt would force our host to acknowledge that the technocratic Expert Government paradigm is simply a science-friendly form of minority rule FEUDALISM.

As exemplified by our current pandemic-driven economic shutdown, our technocratic elite has ruled for the exclusive benefit of a vanishingly small minority (the 3% or less) by placing the citizen majority (the 97% plus) under literal HOUSE ARREST in a way that effectively deprives the majority of hard-won liberties & livelihoods, even when the only sane logistical decision would have been to imprison the vulnerable minority for its own protection.

In effect, this is the Star_Trek future that our host so desires:

A top-down minority rule technocracy wherein the common red shirt exists as either a slave or a disposable resource to be used & discarded by an autocratic scene-stealing hack like James T. Kirk.


Alfred Differ said...

Since locum's 3-5% would result in 10-16 million deaths in the US alone, I really can't imagine how he calls that western society survival. I'm sure something would survive of us, but it would probably be an intensely conservative, piously fanatic, crazy-years type of society. That's not western society... especially the US dialect of it.

David Brin said...

locum we understood what you thought you meant by "cognitive dissonance." It's just that your strawman was so stupid and loony and off-target to anything resembling any thought that might be imputed from anything I was talking about that it just wasn't worth engaging.

scidata said...

US troops being deployed along the Canadian border. Just wow. Justin's new sexy beard is giving someone in the WH the vapours (yes, that's how it's spelled, get over it).

Be advised: You can have our precious tree sauce... when you pry it from our (always) cold, dead hands. [takes another pull]

Keith Halperin said...

@ Everybody: Site with useful stats-
Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)

Keith H

Acacia H. said...

Okay. As someone who is quite sick, I've got some views here. I'm not sure how good these views are... but seeing we're going to see a lot of people get sick, talking about how to cope with symptoms and recovering is probably a good idea. So here's my twenty five cents.

Okay. As someone who’s currently sick most likely with this (seeing I was not directly in contact with someone with COVID-19 they won’t test me) and has a moderate to serious case of it… I’ve some advice for people.

First, sleep sitting upright. This thing tends to go to your lungs. I’ve avoided NSAIDs and it’s still in my chest. It’s not fun, let me tell you that.

Second, avoid NSAIDs like ibuprofen and aspirin. Tylenol is safe but the others are anti-inflammatory agents and I have a sneaking feeling that COVID-19 causes inflammation of the lungs… and if you use an NSAID then the fluid in those cells causing the inflammation will end up in your lungs. Not fun.

Third, stay hydrated. As in drink lots of water or tea. I was feeling especially wretched earlier today when it dawned on me, I’d not drunk much water during the day. Once I consumed a couple tall glasses of water I started perking up again. So you’re going to want to avoid water… but drink it anyway.

Fourth: avoid soda. I’ve noticed ginger ale tends to end up with my mouth feeling thick and full of mucus. Water is far far better for you. Seriously.

Fifth: don’t forget to eat, even if it’s only a few bites of food at a time. You might not want to, but it’s quite vital that you do. It’s the only way you’re going to overcome this.

My nurse practitioner recommended Nyquil and Dayquil and while they taste wretched, they’ve allowed me to sleep (well, Nyquil does at least).

Finally? Get as much sleep as you can. Again, if you’re sleeping while sitting upright it will help your lungs remain clear (for the most part). Sleeping helps you heal. So… good luck with all of you.

Okay, one last thing. If you wash your hands frequently with soap and water then you might avoid being contaminated. It’s better not to catch this thing in the first place. So really, use basic hygiene. But if you do get sick or someone you know gets sick, keep them elevated, hydrated, and medicated.

Take care!

Ahcuah said...

scidata said: US troops being deployed along the Canadian border.

What the . . .?

Are the Canadians invading to gain control of our wonderful and bountiful Covid-19 testing kits?

Larry Hart said...


The 'cognitive dissonance' to which I was referring was David's inability to reconcile his most favoured technocratic Expert Government paradigm with the democratic Representative Government model, since any such attempt would force our host to acknowledge that the technocratic Expert Government paradigm is simply a science-friendly form of minority rule FEUDALISM.

No, we've discussed this topic before and you deliberately ignore the obvious.

Democratic government is a good method for deciding what goals to attempt, what costs to bear in the attempt, and what costs are not worth bearing. For example, we can vote democratically on whether to give up certain technologies to mitigate global warming, or whether we'd rather keep the technologies and live with the consequences.

What we can't vote on is whether certain technologies do in fact exacerbate global warming. Facts are facts, no matter how unpleasant they are for you or Donald Trump. Scientific examination by experts is the best way to understand what the facts actually are, but even in the absence of any such experts, Reality is what it is. It's not something that responds to the outcome of a plebiscite.

Likewise, we can vote on the ratio of lives saved vs economy lost that we are willing to bear. We can't vote the virus out of existence on April 12.

If the past is any guide, you will hear what I'm saying as the PFJ "oppressing" Stan/Loretta by telling him that he can't have babies. But he can't have babies, and that's simply a fact. Where's the fetus gonna gestate--are you gonna keep it in a box?

matthew said...

Alfred, I think the destruction of western society leaving "an intensely conservative, piously fanatic, crazy-years type of society" is *exactly* what our fake rancher and his ilk want. Remember that POTUS is getting advice hourly from fanatics that want the same thing.

Our job in defeating their sick worldview will be made easier by their lack of skills and distaste for learning. But the price will be high, high.

My work goes on - making weapons and medical devices, both considered *essential*. I have to be in-person much of the time to keep the wheels on the bus but I'm getting more and more clever in my remote control of my machines. Our factory used to be as crowded as some in Asia, with lots of manpower to move the parts around. We are now running the place with a pittance of a skeleton crew at any given time. Yang had a point about automation... and this event is turbo-charging the change-over.

Stay healthy and safe, community. You matter more than you know.

Smurphs said...

You guys haven't been paying close attention. All the world's evils are due to Globalism. Environmental catastrophe, American decline, acne. Everything.

jim has said as much on many occasions. He actually wants 6 to 8 Billion people to die. (I assume he would not be one of them.)

1% to 4% of the world's population dying is a good start, as far as he is concerned.

But here's the part I don't get: with the Eugenics Wars, World War III, etc, this IS the Star Trek Future.

So what's his problem?

TCB said...

Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance:
What the Next 18 Months Can Look Like, if Leaders Buy Us Time

Let the do-nothings and what-me-worrys take a look at Chart 3.

It was created on this Epidemic Calculator.

Alfred Differ said...


I think the destruction of western society leaving "(snip)" is *exactly* what our fake rancher and his ilk want

Yah. I’m coming around to your view of him. Too much evidence mounting that his pain is salved only with our deaths.

Alfred Differ said...

1-4% won’t stop globalization. We are in the midst of a social phase change. I doubt Black Death plague rates would stop it now.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Are the Canadians invading to gain control of our wonderful and bountiful Covid-19 testing kits?"

America has to protect itself from the Canadian virus, which has an affliction rate in Canada fully half that of the rate in the United States. You can find Canadians coughing (unheard of in March!) but speaking French!

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

"I think the destruction of western society leaving "(snip)" is *exactly* what our fake rancher and his ilk want"

Yah. I’m coming around to your view of him. Too much evidence mounting that his pain is salved only with our deaths.

I was wondering what it would take for the "He's a good neighbor who would help if we really needed it" people to realize that they're engaging in wishful thinking, good hearted as it might be. When someone tells you what he is, believe him.

David Brin said...

Acacia thanks. While you are recipient of (variously) our good vibes and prayers, we appreciate your eloquent missives from the battlefront.

(I hadn’t heard that aspirin was implicated along with Ibuprofen.)

Stay safe and get well.

Alfred: “We are in the midst of a social phase change. I doubt Black Death plague rates would stop it now.”

That phase change is what the oligarchy fears most. If we can hold on to a Hollywood-influenced society of science, tolerance humor, individualism and good-natured competition just 20 more years, their window to reassert Feudalism may close.

Don Gisselbeck said...

Apparently bicycle mechanics are considered "essential" in Montana. Now I have to worry about getting sick from a bicycle. (I'm sure that's how I got one of my worst colds ever.)

TCB said...

@ Larry Hart, "He's a good neighbor who would help if we really needed it" is something a lot of people would have probably said in Uganda or Bosnia, until the neighbor led his heavily armed "friends" to their door.

Larry Hart said...

Rodney Howard-Browne of The River at Tampa Bay Church in Florida mocked people concerned about the disease as “pansies” and insisted he would only shutter the doors to his packed church “when the rapture is taking place.”

How do we know the Rapture isn't taking place?

Larry Hart said...

Don Gisselbeck:

Apparently bicycle mechanics are considered "essential" in Montana.

"If only Bicycle Repair Man were here!"

Larry Hart said...

How many people has Donald Trump killed on Fifth Avenue by now?

David Brin said...

TCB the archetype of good neighbors turned bad in Rwanda, tho Lebanon and Yugoslavia and the entire Indian succontinent come to mind. And eachphase of the US Civil War.

LH... that's a good (bad) one.

Don Gisselbeck said...

Monty Python
of course.

Larry Hart said...

Keep this in mind while listening to Tim W (emphasis mine) :

“There’s a great swath of the country that is experiencing more what Donald Trump is describing than what you and I are experiencing,” Beth Myers, a prominent Republican consultant and longtime senior adviser to Mitt Romney, told me. (Her home, where she’s sheltering in place, is in the Boston area.) “Their lives are going on while the economy is cratering,” she said. “Now, that may change, but right now, it’s an urban-centered crisis. How does the person in rural Wisconsin think about everything? My guess is that they think that Donald Trump has the right tone: We have to take this seriously but not let it stop the country.”

Acacia H. said...

On a positive note, I just got off the phone with a physician (who called an hour and a half after when he was originally scheduled to, our poor medical professionals are completely overworked right now). He seemed fairly positive and felt me going into the doctor's office at this point risked me being infected with worse. What really cheered him was hearing how I perked up after I rehydrated myself yesterday and he pointed out that the antihistamines only work if you're well hydrated as you need that water flowing in to help break up the mucus in your lungs.

So really. Drink lots of water or tea. That'll help you keep this from getting truly wretched, hopefully.

Oh, I also told him to remain well hydrated and get plenty of rest. He was appreciative of the advice. ^^ I mean, when you get down to it, being a doctor right now is worse in some ways than being a soldier in a warzone. You can't see the enemy easily and you're constantly struggling to help people but if you let up your guard this thing could easily get you next.

Stay healthy, everyone. As for me, I've the windows open blowing in fresh air and airing out my bedroom because fresh air and sunlight can truly help at times. :)


matthew said...

TCB thanks for the Medium article "Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance." Even if you disagree with the stats, it's a very good article. Highly recommended.

Anonymous said...

Robert here,

One of my nieces is doing a residency in NYC. They have just been informed (by email) that they will only get masks on Mondays and Thursdays. So they have to stretch a single-use N95 mask for three days…

David Brin said...

Oy, Robert. Good luck to her.

Yay Acacia. Hang in there! (Did you experience the sense of smell loss?)

Anonymous said...

Your list of open-source hardware doesn't include

I sent them a few bucks, it would be a Good Thing for poor countries (and us) if Tesla built these instead of a paltry number of $25k ventilators.

TCB said...

Uganda/Rwanda, my bad. I recall that a radio station was instrumental in the Rwandan genocide and some of its management were convicted of crimes against humanity.

reason said...

To keep the US population in? Or to keep Canadians out?

Tacitus said...

Greetings all. I only wander through periodically these days. Part of my own crisis strategy is to stay informed but not completely internet-Borged !

But a couple of thoughts. Dr Salgueiro. I very much hope your take on Covid-19 testing sensitivity is "real world" applicable. The PCR testing done in hospital settings likely is, with a bunch of caveats. Deep NP sample. Turn around time (4 days locally), etc. It's harder to get info on the simpler home nasal swab kits but these seem to be antigen based and have less specificity. I assume these would be the only practical ones for mass screening, and that they will continue to improve. I've read up on the current situation in Portugal. Cuide-se!

Acacia and all who are ill in unsettled wishes.

LarryH asks me indirectly how things are looking in small town Wisconsin. I'll take the liberty of answering at length. Anecdotes from enough points of the compass become more of a mosaic, a pointillist, stylized picture of reality. Feel free to add your own.

If I may, I'll do this in another post....feeling a bit rambling this am.


Tacitus said...

An update from Wisconsin. It is an odd world out there today. Of course we have the same dark tidings and mass closures as most of you. But we also have magnificent weather that encourages - within guidelines of course - people to be out and about. Kids are playing in their yards. Dogs are getting worn out from too many walks. With less traffic on the highways and byways birds are singing louder and wild life is carefully tiptoeing closer to see what they can nibble on. It's really quite lovely. You'd expect the Apocalypse to have the sun darkened by Nazgul-locusts and the rivers to run with blood and/or ichor.

There's no wrath or panic. People are generally resolute and planning on this going on for a few more weeks. Folks working from home is going better than expected. Kids doing on line school is going less well. It helps that the past week was scheduled Spring Break but my contacts in the education world are shaking their heads.

I don't have as many contacts elsewhere as I once did. From the supply chain side I can report that we have plenty of cheap gasoline and enough food to last a very long time. I think the phrase "Quarantine 15" is going to become common. (no, not my invention). The medical system at present is only treating a handful of confirmed cases. With the "decks cleared" by cancelling elective things capacity is more than sufficient. Today.

Attitudes are OK, with the above factors contributing. People generally seem comfortable with what has been and will be done. Perhaps having a boring but capable Democrat as governor, local officials that they mostly know and a President who about half of them respect suffices. So much of effective quarantine really is consent of the governed.

Sorry Larry, but people from Illinois with cabins in northern WI are being told to stay home. That seems mean spirited but having worked many years in an up north ER I can attest to the limited acute care resources up there.

I have further thoughts on where this all leads but that would run on. I think we'll be sorting out the crucial, the optional and the silly in various parts of our society.

Hopeful in the Badger State.

T. Wolter

Larry Hart said...

Tim W:

LarryH asks me indirectly how things are looking in small town Wisconsin.

Maybe kinda, but mainly I was trying to point out the validity of your POV.

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

...Dogs are getting worn out from too many walks.

My wife suggested that soon, the neighborhood dogs would be hiding from their owners and pleading "Not another walk!" :)

Meanwhile, we're about to slap leashes on our cats and walk them.

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter (again) :

Sorry Larry, but people from Illinois with cabins in northern WI are being told to stay home. That seems mean spirited but having worked many years in an up north ER I can attest to the limited acute care resources up there.

No worries. We don't have a second home in WI or anywhere else. And my wife and I were just talking about how the small towns around summer homes (like the Hamptons on Long Island) would not have medical facilities to handle an outbreak. Dangerous as it is, we're happy to be in a metropolitan area at the moment.

Smurphs said...

Tim, thanks for WI snapshot. Here are some observations from suburban/rural PA (I'm in that in-between area, neither one nor the other.)

My High School-er has been home for two weeks. He has been assigned minimal on-line schoolwork but at least some every day, and all of that has been considered "optional". That ends on Monday. Class work will be assigned each day ,some due during normal school hours, some due on Friday. Some teachers will be available for on-line questions via various tools. All teachers were already available via e-mail. Our Spring Break is scheduled for the following week (April 8-13), I don't know what they have planned yet. We will see how everything works out.

Addendum: Our School District just announced 3 students have tested positive, none at my kid's school. As school has been shut down for two weeks, hopefully the quarantine measures kicked in in time.

My wife has been working from home for 3 weeks, but since she often does that once a week, no big change there. Her company had some international (French) visitors 4 weeks ago, who have since tested positive, but no one in her company since then. Dodged that bullet!

As I am retired, no big change for me. I am the only one who goes out, to the grocery store and Home Depot. With the extra hands at home, we've been tackling some long-delayed maintenance and home improvement projects. Much less traffic than normal, but still a fair amount.

Everyone is being friendly and cheerful, spirits are high. Yes, many more people are out walking every day, with and without dogs. Of course, I live in a relatively wealthy area, so only some people are in dire straights financially already. That will change as thing continue to stay shut down.

Some odd effects of the shut down rules here in PA. Landscapers are shut down. I understand the reasoning. Even if working outside, they will be riding the same trucks and assembling for job assignments. But many are one or two man operations, for whom work is already socially distanced. The same with construction. There was a fair amount of new construction in my area in progress, that is not yet sealed to the weather. A lot of it is going to be ruined. (It pouring outside right now, thunder and lightning too. Welcome Spring!)

Hard liquor stones are closed. I don't drink, but I know many, many people who do. At least beer and wine are still available.

No real shortages here, except for sanitizer products and masks. Some stores are limiting how much milk, TP and other staples you can buy. Then the grocery store half a a mile away has no limits. Most fast food places are open for drive-thru service. Most restaurants are closed, although some are trying the pick-up or delivery model.

Acacia H. said...

Actually, Dr. Brin, I never lost my sense of taste. It went on pause a day or two ago as things started tasting odd, but that was also when the weather really warmed up and when my symptoms changed to what is probably an opportunistic bug latching on after COVID-19 weakened me. Though again, I've not been tested. There is no *evidence* of what I'm suffering from. To pull a Trump, "she's faking it!" as I've not been to the doctor's office or the like even as I feel my breath rattling in my lungs with each breath.

But when the doctors don't want you going in because you might get something worse? Well, that really says something. Admittedly, it's a 30-40 minute drive to my doctor's office but even so right now I'd probably get easy parking and all that. ;)

That's also assuming there's a secondary illness. The nausea may be caused by mucus going into my stomach. Or maybe the monitor I'm reading off of is flickering at a rate that is not conducive for my health. Or any of a number of things.

So I think I'll just turn things off for a bit and sleep some more. One way or another, sleep cures woes.


David Brin said...

Good luck to all! and..



Anonymous said...

Something worth noticing:

Duke University uses vaporized hydrogen peroxide to clean N95 face masks for reuse

Not sure what equipment is involved. Maybe something like an autoclave, or the chambers that are used in reflow soldering ?

Don Lindsay