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  • in reply to: Lethal or Contagious #58925

    350,000 infected and the death of 22,619 in NY State mostly in the City and Long Island are not nothing. The severe cases are ghastly and there are reports of significant aftereffects including deaths from an overreacting immune system.
    Damn straight they’re not nothing. But a couple of salient points which means we can’t extrapolate from NY to other places:
    – population density of NYC is of the order of 15,000 people/square mile – several times that of other cities, let alone provincial areas. And Covid infection/deaths are certainly correlated with population density
    – Cuomo defends the practice of discharging Covid-positive patients from medical care into rest care homes. He says the homes have no ability to say no. What do you figure happens when you make it compulsory for the populations most at risk to accept known positive patients.. it’s totally, absolutely batshit insane. Cuomo is either psychopathic or (excuse the phrase) clinically retarded. And it parallels the Covid bailouts closely – the poor with negligible power are expect to comply and cower “in place”. The wealthy get to make abominable decisions that cost lives with no visible consequence.
    How can the solution to this be for the proles to comply with directives from the powerful?

    in reply to: Lethal or Contagious #58914

    “It’s obviously much easier to join the crowd and claim Bill Gates wants to force vaccinate us all, and the elites want to enslave us; and no doubt there’s a few psychos with crazy dreams. But maybe just maybe this is, or should be, more about us, about what we do, what powers we have, and what we do with those.”
    the more salient point isn’t whether Bill Gates is a psycho wants to force vaccinate us. It’s the clear correlation between institutions his organisation has invested in, and poor quality advice. Imperial College, WHO. As with pharmaceutical companies and medical research, or agro-giants and science – big money has always and will always corrupt outcomes.
    We know for a fact that Monsanto and Bayer have been utterly distorting agro research via incentives and punishment. Ditto for the drug companies. How naive do we need to be to think that the Gates Foundation throwing billions into research grants, media/promotion and drugs/vaccine deployment is not going to have precisely the same effects and for the same reasons? Because we think Bill is a nice guy? Let’s not look into his corporate track record.. nah, he’s found Jesus and is a reformed guy now..
    It’s not paranoia to make those connections, it’s simple economics – incentives, disincentives, perverse outcomes. That’s the essence of what TAE traffics in, right? If it didn’t come out that way, it’d be a monumental first in the history of modern capitalism.

    in reply to: Lethal or Contagious #58912

    No, no, no and no..
    You’re a real smart guy Ilargi. You must’ve noticed that the a substantial (if not a majority) of your commentariat have spent weeks presenting a wide variety of nuanced arguments, and it seems you’ve just stuck your fingers in your ears and put it all down to partisan shouting instead of listening to the arguments.
    You recall the Wilde (/) quote – “when the facts change, sir I change my opinion – what do you do?”.
    Well that facts have changed, massively, over the past few weeks.
    – The original pandemic modelling from Imperial College has been demonstrated to be outright garbage. Crap code, crap results. Consistently, over several different viruses. That’s not contentious, just fact.
    – The originally spread number of infectivity and case fatality rate have been adjusted substantially down over time.
    – Simple, cheap drugs have such as HCQ have been demonstrated as efficacious and methods such as intubation, which were counterproductive have been dropped. treatment has become more effective.
    – The effectiveness of precautionary measures such as Vit-D have emerged, as correlations are established from case observation. We can more effectively prevent bad results.
    – Correlation between lockdown and virus control based on a wide variety of places has been modelled by reputable virologists (see my vid link from a couple of days ago). The data says lockdowns are not correlated with effective pandemic management
    – Is is absolutely clear that age is the paramount correlation, that old and unhealthy people are at risk, whereas younger and healthy people are at little risk

    None of the above is – or should be – contentious. The cost to lives and of lives (even excluding the pure economic costs) of wide lockdowns has been modelled and is eventuating. And it is huge. Vast. And also uncontended – it’s a fact.

    Even if a vaccine were developed, the idea we’re going to be able to deploy it widely is totally farcical. You can’t argue for the precautionary principle in dealing with a new virus, and not adopt precisely the same precaution to deploying a brand new vaccine, developed in haste. Therefore, a vaccine is not a possible/viable solution.

    And it’s absolutely clear we can’t incurred the social, economic, emotional and moral costs of arbitrarily confining people to their houses on the basis of thoroughly discredited initial assumptions.

    Again, nothing in that should be contentious – it just requires a starting point of admitting “hey perhaps we were wrong”.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 16 2020 #58860

    @ John Day
    I read your earlier post quickly and didn’t properly grasp what you were saying. On a close re-read I do get it and – so looking forward to tomorrow’s next installment!
    PS, sarc in my earlier comment wasn’t directed at you, of course.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 16 2020 #58854

    Doc R
    With the benefit of hindsight, some ‘overreactions’ can still look like overreactions, while some others can end up looking like under-reactions. That’s the thing about uncertainty and limited information. Precautions, based on the best information available at the time, can later be seen as mistakes, when the situation becomes more clear. Rational caution could retrospectively be construed as irrational fear.
    Your point is well made, and in the face of such ambiguity, there can only be uncertainty. In the face of uncertainty, we can only expect (hope) for transparency of information and rationale. The reason I keep banging on about NZ’s response being an over-reaction is because it was based on shonky advice (a decision paper that a high school debating student could have driven a truck through. And that advice was withheld from the public until the lockdown was fait accompli. So in no way could there be any kind of public concensus on the need for (harsh L4) lockdown. As the decision was taken pre-emptorily, the burden of proof for the need for harsh lockdown should rest entirely with the government, and not with the lockdown critics. From this starting point, the government is a long and ever-increasing way from demonstrating that proof.

    John Day
    If we estimate that the mean number of years of life lost is 13 years per person, then the total years of life lost would be about 1,300,000.
    I’ve seen the reports estimating mean lost life at 13 years, and I can’t reconcile it with other reports that the mean age of death is 79 or 80 yo. (but I agree with you btw on the ludicrously high monetary value placed on each year). Obviously deaths of younger people will skew the means in this direction, but by 13 years? The corollory of course (never mentioned in the media) is that excess deaths due to lockdown (untreated medical conditions, suicide etc) will almost certainly skew far younger (ie greater lost life years) than victims of Covid (who tend to be old). So if we’re going to measure/discuss this way, let’s fix the goalposts and start reporting the lost life years of lockdown victims. /sarc yeah like, that’s gonna happen… /endsarc

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 14 2020 #58776

    in almost every circumstance, if the guardian provides any sort of health advice, i will be certain to do exactly the opposite.
    lol. It’s been extraordinary how the Guardian has morphed from breaking the Snowden files to the current Luke Harding state.
    I remember enjoying George Monbiot on the environment – passionate and informed (though not always 100% correct). Then he morphed into Monbiot the nemesis of Assad and started attacking Vanessa Beeley et al. O.M.G. That’s a zombie movie screenplay right there..

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 14 2020 #58774

    Also a quick thanks to everyone who participates in this forum (both regularly and occassionally).

    Having somewhere to rant, protest, discuss, argue has helped keep me sane these past few weeks, and particularly this week. I’d expected that coming out of full lock down as NZ did on Thursday morning would be a happy experience, unfortunately I discovered new depths of rage that I’d been suppressing. Sometimes the only way through hard times is screening off the intensity of emotion until it’s over, and then it comes out.

    I came back to work on Jan this year and was promptly and unexpectedly made redundant. Spent several weeks engaged in legal wrangling with my old firm, then was out. Then Covid/lockdown hit.. no job, no jobs advertised.. watching my redundancy payment ebb away, with no certainty as to when the arbitrary restrictions would be lifted.

    I still have my house, and a little money left in the bank, but shit it’s being hard, having so little agency over my own life, when I’m used to being self-supporting. And yet I know there’s many thousands of people worse off than me.. the stats on how few people in the US have even $500 spare.

    Anyway, thanks all – we may not always agree, but you’ve really helped me “survive” this so far..

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 14 2020 #58773

    Thanks John Day. I figure it’s worth sucking it up and choking down a few 1000IU pills a day! Cod liver oil.. urgh!

    Boogaloo – I didn’t watch the video – I figured it’d make my blood boil 🙂 Is it worth watching, or more of the same? Honestly, the UK response is just unbelievably bad. *shakes head*. I posted a comment on OffGuardian where I was careful not to criticise too badly, not being a UK citizen. I had poms responding – don’t worry, our govt deserves every criticism from anywhere. What a train wreck..

    I see one of the virologists whose part of the CovidPlabB group has uploaded a video of his findings to date. It’s likely to be pretty pedestrian and covering old ground for most readers here. But if you fast forward to around the 12:40 mark, he has built a model of the stats comparing outcomes from the various US states. His key point is that lockdown has a very minor correlation on outcome, but population density is strongly correlated (as you might expect from first principles).
    The model itself is also online here if you’re interested in exploring it.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 14 2020 #58763

    @John Day – thanks for the Vit-D advice. Can you share any leads on where to source 5000IU caps, as 1000IU seems to be all I can find in NZ?

    If everyone would have listened from the start it would be all over now. Instead the freedumb fighters have managed to make it a two or three year crisis. good job.
    You assume that complete lockdowns are extremely effective, and that not locking down causes excess spread. NZ locked down completely, Australia allowed businesses to remain open. Both countries have similar outcomes from similar starting points. The data just doesn’t support the notion that extreme lockdowns are the best and only solution.

    At what point will we have reached the “we destroyed the village to save the village” moment? Because lockdowns result in excess mortality from foregone medical operations, suicide etc, they should only be used where and when they can be justified, and for the absolute minimum efficacious period of time. Anything more is not caution – it’s abuse. Emotional abuse. Physical abuse.Psychological abuse.
    You could make a case for lockdown in New York perhaps. But not in sparsely populated areas (as Dr D consistently points out).

    Yesterday the NZ government presented the annual budget – $50 billion to be spent trying to support and restart the economy. Some economists are saying that may eventually rise to $200 billion. For a country of 5 million people! Much of that is required due to the international slowdown from Covid, but a goodly chunk is also from the excess of caution in locking down the entire NZ economy, as opposed to the less stringent lockdown applied by Australia.
    And when you go through the advice to government looking for the rationale for the stringent lockdown, it simply isn’t there. As in, literally doesn’t exist. These decisions are being made on whims, on feelings, for political purposes, not from sound analysis. They’re being post-hoc justified by obfuscation and the insane thing is most people don’t seem to care. Herd thinking. Reality denial. Sticking fingers in ears and going “la la la, can’t hear you”.
    There should be an international chorus of condemnation towards the shit-fuckery that was the Imperial College epidemiology model and advice stemming from it. It was a closed, buggy, poorly constructed model, funded in part by large sums of self-interested private cash. It predicted vast deaths not just once in the current crisis, but in every previous time it’d been used. It’s a total disgrace the way it’s influenced world opinion and actions.. a complete and utter disgrace. So why is it so hard to find this condemnation – loud and strong and clear?
    It’s possible (and sensible) to hold two truths concurrently – that sensible precautions against controlling excess spread and deaths from Covid are essential. And that most Western governments have done a pretty average job in terms of analysing and responding to the data as it arises. There’s been far too little transparent debate, far too much capture by industry experts and consequent herd thinking. Ginormous, earth-shaking decisions such as blanket suspension of civil liberties for arbitrary periods of time, and vast, vast debts being rung up with negligible oversight. And yet, most people don’t seem to really care. Are they asleep? We’re living right now through probably the most profound and consequential event of our lifetimes. And we’re going to continue to passively watch as relatively talentless and accountable middle-managers advise politicians to make these vast decisions, based on what? On a feeling? Off the back of grotesquely flawed modelling?

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 13 2020 #58737

    I read a great piece on today, which I’ll quote in full:

    I guess for me the issue with a word like madness is whether we are talking about madness in the strict social psychological sense of the word, or whether this whole debacle is driven by something a little closer to textbook clinical anxiety. Le Bon’s mad crowds were driven by irrationality and active aggression. But what I see during this lockdown are crowds driven by anxiety; that is a form of hyper-rationality that causes total passivity. People who are rational (i.e. clinically normal) see risk and are prepared to live alongside it (“Okay, I COULD die of BSE; but I’m still going to eat beef because I like it”); but people who are hyper-rational (i.e. suffer from anxiety) can’t let go of that slim statistical chance that they might be the one tragic case to die/suffer from X. So rather than mad crowds full of violence and action, we’ve ended up with hyper-rational crowds that don’t want a fight… they want to hide! You can deal with mad crowds by bringing out the army. But how do you deal with hyper-rational crowds? Reasoned argument won’t work, because ultimately, they can turn any fact, model or statistic around and show you that, actually, statistically, they’re very vulnerable and could very well die/suffer at any moment. This type of thing has been bubbling away in millennial cancel culture for a while now (to “cancel” of course being to undertake an entirely passive action that prevents engagement with anything you perceive as having the potential to “harm” you). For me, what’s changed during this coronavirus outbreak is that governments have suddenly started to feed this hyper-rational anxiety like never before: “You could die. You might die. We understand. It’s okay to wet yourself. But wear PPE. Sure, stay at home. Hide. Under the bed if it makes you feel better. Here, have some free money. Bleach your carpets. Cry. Sob too. Buy a ventilator. Ebay do them. Stay safe. That’s an order.” And what’s resulted is an utterly dysfunctional society that will give some people a free pass from being proper members of society for years to come.

    Taleb’s over-promotion of his theories outside the boundary where they can be usefully applied contributes directly to the what is beautifully characterised as “hyper-rationality”.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 13 2020 #58734

    Thanks for the response Doc R.
    Despite those reports, I’m not ready to dismiss this potential link just yet. 11 patients is not a bigsample set, and in context with the extreme risk aversion around Covid (ie “everyone hide in their homes..”) it would seem wise to be careful in prescribing HCQ to G6PD-deficient patients.
    Blacks and males seem to be statistically at greater risk, and this may be a contributing mechanism (noting correlation is not causality).

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 13 2020 #58732

    John Day
    hydroxychloroquine and zinc early is key.
    Unless it is contraindicated by the specific genetic background of the individual – see my post yesterday.
    I’m reminded of the story in one of the populist books a few years back where one of the ER departments of a major US hospital (Chicago?) replaced the practice of triage based on individual MD response with a strict heuristic flowchart based on aggregated best practice and saw their stats improve.
    We have ample data by now around successful treatment strategies (not that we should stop developing new ones). We don’t actually have a medical problem – an outbreak yes, but not a problem by historical standards.
    The problems we have (in terms of creating an accurate “problem statement”) are almost entirely political and in communication. Society is hysterical. Both metaphorically and literally hysterical.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 12 2020 #58696

    This is a goodie:
    HCQ is very effective – except for the ones it’s specifically contraindicated for.

    Remind me again how those Worldometer stats which entirely aggregate populations by country are in any way useful/meaningful?

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 11 2020 #58668

    “You need to find the answer as to why Flynn was targeted by Obama.”
    Oh, indeed. This is a good summary:

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 11 2020 #58653

    Wow – I find myself in (rare) full agreement with Taleb today. Managing response at the most regional level is indeed the only rational path forward.
    Still.. though I accept his point that economies have historically and inevitably contracted during times of pandemic, this is a somewhat dangerous comparison. They didn’t have access to gene sequencers, the internet, cloud compute etc etc. Their only rational response was maximum caution (at maximum economic cost). We do have access to those tools, and the useful role of WHO/CDC etc would be in providing platforms to host anonymised master data record sets that could be accessed widely to allow correlation and inference. Like Worldometer but with actually useful data.
    I was trawling through the just-released official advice to the NZ government from the scientists at the University of Otago. Their first paper, released in February was naturally high level and cautious due to lack of info at that time. But it did mention that they doubted NZ would follow international trends such as China due to NZ factors such as lower population density, low use of mass transport, relatively good population health, and good air quality. Bingo.
    The next paper in March 23rd, when more data is available omits any mention of those external factors. This was the one whose modelling was taken apart by the economist at Tailrisk. It’s not a bad paper, but the narrative focuses solely on the worst case possibility. That’s strange, considering the scientists were awake to that possibility previously. I suspect they lacked the courage to stand up to the prevailing international narratives at that time.
    The final paper, released March 24th dispenses with any counterfactuals entirely. It takes the worst case scenario from the previous day and presents it alone. Presumably they were given a political directive to do exactly that – it’s incredibly unlikely the previously tentative scientists decided to take that path themselves.
    So there’s a concrete record for anyone that cares that tracks the descent of science from initial common sense through to herd thinking through to total scientific collapse in the face of political objectives. Again, unless radical transparency is a baked-in feature of the process, we will get shit politically-motivated decisions, not good ones.

    On another note – Dr D.. I’ve noticed your lack of posting and missed it. You consistent rage in the face of shit-fuckery is a wonderful exemplar. I hope you can maintain it.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 9 2020 #58575

    Following up to Dr D’s excellent link on issues with the Imperial College programming model and processes are these two links to a Google software engineer’s review and comments: (worth reading even if you’ve read the second one linked above)

    Absolutely key point from the first article is that the reinsurance industry have their own pandemic models:
    1. They more accurate than the Imperial College model, but they still don’t employ them as they’re not accurate enough
    2. For critical decision making the industry creates two seperate internal models + engages an external model as a control. Y’know.. for control and accuracy!
    3. The re-insurance industry was never consulted around Covid response, despite having strong alternate off-the-shelf pandemic models that could be used as controls

    The tl;dr – the entire Covid response was some ghastly short-cut public sector decision making.

    A secondary point worth noting strongly is that imperial College has refused to release the original model, and Microsoft engineers are frantically rewriting it before release (and the new versions are producing new projections off the same data as they’re released..). Can you imagine how appallingly bad the original model must have been written? And yet huge decisions were made off the back of it.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 8 2020 #58522

    Also, for anyone interested the NZ government has just started releasing its internal advice papers.

    I had a quick scan, and the COVID-19-Moving-to-Alert-Level-3-and-Level-4 minute and paper of 23rd march seems particularly relevant. I noted:
    – it references Australia’s environment and decisions as pertinent and applicable to NZ. But after laying out it’s recommendations, it doesn’t contrast how these recommendations compare (and exceed) the Australia response.
    – it provides rationale for moving immediately to Level 3 (as the Aussies did). It then asserts that moving to L4 is inevitable, but provides no justification or rationale why this should be true
    – it seems that the L4 decision was essentially pre-determined by officials and not rationally justified to politicians. In conjunction with Ian Harrison’s modelling I’ve previously linked to, I venture wither the advice of University of Otago (ie who released only results from their model of L0 and L4 scenarios) was trusted at face value. Or an offline discussion took place between officials and modellers, and the commonly agreed results were released
    – it mentions Italy and Iran as scenarios to avoid, and Singapore and Taiwan as ones to emulate. There appears to be no consideration of why NZ was unlikely to follow the trajectory of these exemplars eg due to differing population densities, less pollution etc. Therefore there is no consideration of alternate/third paths forward
    – finally as with most countries without federal government systems, the response assumes a one-size-fits-all strategy across the country. That certainly simplifies planning and communication, but it also guarantees an excessive response in regions of lesser risk

    I’m (mostly) over my anger at the response.. it’s water under the bridge now. But in the spirit of “fool me once, shame on you..” etc), it’s clear with some analyses we can prepare better decision-making frameworks for future pandemic responses (noting these should of course have existed prior to Covid).

    Also interesting that the inter-governmental process of ensuring sound decision making within NZ is that a paper called a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) accompanies each recommendation. It’s essentially a problem statement, and a weighted list of possible responses with pros and cons, and a consequent recommendation to proceed. This process has recently been suspended for Covid-related responses. Possibly this can be justified by urgency, but there’s little doubt this wont improve the quality of analysis. One of my friends used to run QA on the RIS’s as they arrived, and was routinely dismayed at their quality at first pass. Imagine what removing them altogether is likely to create!

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 8 2020 #58519

    A good article just posted by Matt Taibbi on why the hastily drafted mortgage support measures are likely to fail, having misunderstood the structure of the industry. 2008 redux:

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 7 2020 #58490

    I took my motorcycle for a little “mental health” spin earlier, down a small winding road ti the coast.
    I encountered a few dozen other vehicles along the way and it struck me – the road we were jointly using was narrow and twisty, with only a painted dividing line in the middle. Yet we all had a strong expectation that other vehicles would conform to the rules of the road which allowed us to pass each other quite closely at a closing speed of 100mph.
    I mean, obviously, on the ‘bike I don’t 100% trust other drivers, so I’m always on the lookout to brake quickly or take evasive action. But the level of responsible trust implicit in driving on the roads is something most of us take for granted every day. For the simple reason that humans do substantially collaborate when there’s clear rules and norms.
    Sweden certainly has problems within it’s Covid response, and we’ll only know the results of their “experiment” in perhaps 12 months time. But they did manage to preserve the layer of civility/society which relies on people trusting others to behave well in their common interest.
    Whereas almost the entirety of the West resorted rapidly to very coercive behaviour by the individual authorities. I think that says a helluva lot more than we’ve had the collective mental capacity (being concerned with the short term issues) to process yet, and there’s potential for a substantial social backlash.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 7 2020 #58475

    “Fauci is a wanker and a rodent”
    Thank you, thank you.. those words will ring with me for days, and bring a smile every single time 🙂

    Coronavirus May Have Jumped To Humans As Early As October (SCMP)
    I’m persuaded by this clip that there was no natural jumping going on – certainly not via mutation anyway. Lab engineered seems the most probale, and certainly explains the massive Chinese response immediately after sequencing it.

    New Zealand ‘Halfway Down Everest’, Plans Big Easing Of COVID Lockdown (G.)
    “Halfway down Everest” – fuck, Ardern is truly a weapons-grade emotional manipulator (studied PR, worked in Tony Blair’s office.. what could you expect, I guess..)
    NZ certainly has certainly had a fortunate outcome in deaths (shame about the economic and social costs), but the deification of Ardern is truly disgusting to witness. the more I see and hear from her, the more repulsed I become.

    Really good article today on OffGuardian today on the constitutional and legal impact and implications of governments over-reaching their legal remit in mandating Covid responses.
    There’s a whole separate and interesting thread in exploring wtf happened to the historical concern of the left for protecting freedoms and liberties, and confronting excessive authoritarianism. I’d argue the widespread insanity on the left stemming from Russiagate, TDS etc has effectively neutered almost the entire political left.
    Today’s Flynn result is the latest symptom. I’m truly glad he’s escaped that utterly mendacious action, but watch the MSM reporting unfold and I guarantee it’ll be spun and twisted into something other than the complete vindication of him that it is.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 6 2020 #58428

    history teaches that first thing you do in a pandemic is close the schools
    I’d take issue with the idea that history necessarily teaches us valuable lessons. Lessons from previous pandemics may be applicable, then again they may not. Eg in typical flu pandemics, children are quite vulnerable. In the case of Covid, it seems they’re hardly personally vulnerable at all.
    But my bigger point was that the only useful way to approach any risk is in the context of all the other risks which simultaneously exist. The human cognitive inclination is to fixate on a small number of immediate risks, and ignore others that may materialise on a longer time horizon. And there’s some value in that – get off the train tracks before the freight train arrives, or you don;t need to worry about longer term risks at all.
    But in the case of Covid, the data is saying the immediate pressing risk is important, but not one of species extinction. Therefore we need to balance the the costs and consequences we are deliberately and specifically invoking by our choices against the marginal benefits of those choices.
    In the case of that school list above, a large number of those actions could be thrown out with absolutely negligible additional risk. To include them for the sake of “safety” is actually stupid.
    An example from engineering may illustrate. Say we’re designing an aeroplane. We can deliberately over-engineer it, at the cost of fuel economy (on every flight), purchase cost (born by every passenger in airfares) etc. Or we can design it to cope with the stresses we can model + a margin of safety, which will delivery best “bang for buck” whilst still being safe in every reasonably forseeable situation. (btw, please don’t raise Boeing in this discussion – fuckers that they are. That’s a different kind of incentive). That’s practical risk management in the real world. Sure, engineering is more predicable than pandemic management, but the solution is *not* excessive caution. It’s being willing to dial risk management activities up and down situationally to deal with the concrete manifesting risks.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 6 2020 #58425

    UK study finds higher risk of virus deaths for ethnic minorities
    The Swedish stats show the same trend, but its also clear from videos widely circulated that the immigrant/refugee population in Sweden widely ignored social distancing etc.
    I’m curious whether similar things happened in the UK. The UK knife crime figures indicate large sections of the UK “Asian” (eg Pakistanis) are not exactly scrupulous rule observers. To what extent is this anarchic nature a feature of the Covid spread?
    I genuinely don’t know, but I have a strong suspicion that the relationship between correlation and causation in those stats will lead to an interesting story.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 6 2020 #58424

    My Parents..
    What Will Schools Look Like After COVID?
    Thanks for posting that. That is some major dumbfuckery right there! (shakes his head).
    But this exactly the direction that fear culture must always inevitably lead. The administrators don’t dare risk showing anything other than ultra-extreme risk aversion lest some snowflake criticises them (or worse). The cotton wool straight-jacket ratchets up another couple of notches. And the children internalise the fact the world is a desperately dangerous place and they must always *comply* with wise and beneficent authorities who will always keep them safe.
    The *only* healthy response is to push to reclaim some autonomy – to think, to move, to own, preserve and protect one’s own boundaries.
    I’ve never had much sympathy with libertarians until recently – now it is so completely in our faces that it takes the metaphorical act of closing one’s eyes and ears completely to unsee the tragedy unfolding before us (and that tragedy is sure as shit not the virus)

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 5 2020 #58373

    Hi Boogaloo
    “Huskynut, you live in a land that has stopped the spread virus and you are complaining that it cost a few billion dollars? And you won’t give any credit at all to your government? I find that to be a really bizarre perspective.”
    I do them some credit, but it seems like I start from a different baseline than most. Unlike many who seem to start from “well at least that’s better than Trump”, I begin with the expectation that the PM (who has sought and received the position of greatest government authority, who is well-paid, and will subsequently enjoy a cushy sinecure on NZ company Boards for the rest of their life) will do a damn good job, or else receive fair criticism for not doing so.
    NZ inherited an easy start compared to most countries, due to geographical remoteness, pretty low average population density, generally clean air, modern (public) health care system etc. Yet we’ve experienced one of the most severe lock-downs in the world (at a high economic cost)
    That’s not a sign of great management – that’s a sign of comparatively lazy excess-of-caution management. Australia by comparision has done just as well with a less severe lock-down, including most businesses remaining open.
    When I learn that the “science” behind NZ’s approach was grossly cherry-picked (presumably to game the public into accepting the excess severity of approach), then yeah I get mad as hell. The government has willfully chosen to manipulate it’s population, many of whom will pay dearly for it.
    If I were a journalist, I’d be dying to get my hands on a story like this. It’d be a potential career-maker in any rational world. But mostly what I hear is “meh”.
    Journalistic standards have dropped *so* low. People’s expectations of politicians and industry have dropped *so* low. It’s like a giant depression has come across the entire world, and apart from small pockets the response to anything practically including nuclear armageddon is “wake me up when GoT is over”.
    I don’t want to settle for living like that, so I’ll try and be honestly critical of all who seek higher office (and the rewards therefof).

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 5 2020 #58364

    One last thing to consider in conjunction with the reports I referenced above:
    After 9 years in the political wilderness, the NZ Labour party took power at the last election, but only by forming a coalition with two other parties (NZ First and the Greens). For most of their term they’ve polled in the 40% region.. sometimes in the low 40s. They’ve been greatly helped in their term by the leadership of the rival National party, which is truly ghastly.
    Now, off the back of the Covid equivalent of being a wartime president, Jacinda’s party are polling well into the 50’s. The fact they’ve suspended Parliament and co-opted the National leader onto a “bipartisan” Covid committee which has completely muted the Parliamentary role of the Opposition has certainly helped Labour’s polling.
    Meanwhile, look at Harrison’s review of the NZ Covid model above and realise that placing a canned of tinned tomatoes in charge (in lieu of Jacinda) and simply continuing the pre-existing contact tracing policies was projected by the government modelers to result in 140 (total) lives lost. No hospital overwhelm.
    We’ve now spent several billion dollars and growing, saving ~120 (mostly elderly) lives. I dare say we could’ve achieved a sizable amount of the same result spending a small fraction of that sum on effective cordon sanitaire and substantial testing around nursing homes.
    But to read it on the MSM (and regularly linked here), Jacinda Ardern is the gender fluid second coming of the lord JC, and NZ’s biggest potential future export is an AI clone of her to placate feverish populations worldwide..
    In absence of published facts and rational debate around any complex event such as pandemic, the balance of risk and opportunity is vastly weighted to politicians doing what they’ve always done best – selecting the easiest path to re-election. Supported by scientists, whose publications and predictions mysteriously happen to align with the political needs de jour.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 5 2020 #58359

    And on the subject of modelling, I linked a little while back to this study, which replicated the official modelling used in NZ to justify the L4 lockdown:
    Harrison reached out to the universities/authors of the original studies for comments on his critique before he published. He didn’t get a response, naturally (imagine scientists deigning to respond to reasoned criticism..). The original modelers did manage to get out a backhand dissing of Harrison in the NZ MSM though, to which Harrison has just published a rebuttal and followup article:

    The fact is Harrison (with a thorough expertise in economic modelling) shows a vastly better understanding of the limits and constraints of the epidemiology model than the epidemiologists themselves. Up to and including building a better model than the fairly crude Covid-Sim which is widely used.
    Dethrone the “experts” and apply some goddam competence. Ensure models and background data are widely published (no, not the overly-aggregated Worldometer BS.. some solid data sets that expose useful data sets and correlations).
    Publish facts about economic consequences (GDP decline, unemployment) alongside case stats so that there is meaningful discussion about what range of interventions are within a reasonable “Goldilocks zone”.
    And do this on a *regional* basis – what is right for NYC is *not* right for rural Iowa. It’s impossible to discuss important correlations such as population density and air quality on an overly aggregated basis, and it’s produced months of virtually meaningless noise (“debate” oversells it’s value).

    in reply to: Debt Rattle May 5 2020 #58358

    Here’s my nomination for “the one guy who gets it”, and it ain’t Taleb:

    My day was greatly improved by waking to the story of Nial Fergusson also:

    Honestly… What. A Complete. Douche. Which is a nice and timely reinforcement of a couple of Ramins keys points:
    – why do the vast majority genuflect to scientists and reporters? (well, science is the new secular religion, so scientists must be it’s mysterious and incomprehensible priests)
    – the collective wisdom of the (intelligent) is the *only* effective counterbalance to coteries and cloisters of “expertise”. Every. Single. Time. individuals and small peer groups wind up captured by the big money.

    In a similar vein, the “Safe Climate Niche Closing Fast” article reeks to high heaven. “We surprised ourselves, so spent a year checking our model” is some dumb-assed BS. Just publish your model and let a crowd full of fresh eyes tear it to pieces.
    The article on climate

    in reply to: Debt Rattle April 24 2020 #57852

    My parents said know
    So I went back and read Deagal again to see corollaries between countries and the current miasmas… Any Deagel readers out there?
    Not yet – got a link? Deagal? Deagel? Deagle?

    in reply to: Debt Rattle April 24 2020 #57851

    Yet China, South Korea, New Zealand and Taiwan have managed to keep the virus at bay.
    New Zealand (where I live) has adopted extremely repressive measures at massive economic cost. Whereas Australia has similar outcomes to NZ with significantly less intervention (eg allowing all businesses to remain open, not just essential ones). The heaiest-handed interventions may not be as effective as you think.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle April 24 2020 #57848

    I agree with vis a vis the impacts of gutting health systems, and the moral agnosticism of the market toward deaths. But I’m not at all convinced that this is the primary factor in global deaths.

    I was much impressed by this vid (linked on Unz) of Professor Johan Giesecke, one of the world’s most senior epidemiologists, advisor to the Swedish Government (he hired Anders Tegnell who is currently directing Swedish strategy), the first Chief Scientist of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and an advisor to the director general of the WHO, lays out with typically Swedish bluntness why he thinks ultimate deaths in Sweden will not be far different from other EU countries:

    in reply to: Debt Rattle April 24 2020 #57843

    The emerging evidence of correlation between air pollution and Covid deaths, particularly in Europe is going to be a very interesting thing to keep an eye on:

    At what point are the CEOs of VW et al with their diesel emission defeat devices going to be hauled back in for a homicide investigation?
    It’s one thing to reach settlement based on your devices having reduced the value of owners vehicles plus some unquantified health effects to the population. It’s quite another if the focussed wrath of the population descends based on heavily studied and materialised deaths. Will they become the scapegoats for a good chunk of pent-up consumer anger?
    I couldn’t care less if their sociopathic asses burn in hell for eternity, but it’d be a shame if the slow-acting politicians escaped retribution off the back of a token effigy-burning.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle April 23 2020 #57791

    And on the Covid front, John Rappoport linked to this site today:

    I struggle a bit with Rappoport (well intended and often incisive but soooo polarising), but the linked author raises several interesting points/theories:
    1. The correlation between poor air quality and areas of high Covid incidence reporting (Wuhan, Lombardy/Milan, Madrid, NYC, New Orleans). This has been my suspicion from early on, but I’ve seen no previous data on correlation within NY districts
    2. The legacy of extreme industrial pollution stretching back centuries in some areas of NYC. On first principles it seems more likely than not that this would have a persistent and ongoing effect on health
    3. The argument on virus vs environmental factor as being the driver vs the correlate on disease and ill-health, which I’ll not take a position on as I have no idea. In fact, as he concedes around Bakdi’s comments we can usefully apply environmental considerations without addressing that debate.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle April 23 2020 #57790

    kimyo – nicely said.
    The anti-China hysteria is off the hook, and not helped (outside the MSM) by the likes of ZeroHedge using it as clickbait.
    It’s Russiagate 2 (coming soon to a theatre near you..!) – new target, new deflections, same old sense of righteous patriotic outrage directed at the “other” instead of stringing politicians from lamp posts as would be hoped.

    in reply to: Small Business Firings to Start #57723

    One of the largest problems facing small companies is they are often underfunded and have difficulty getting financing at reasonable rates. Banks find larger companies much more profitable.

    Having owned and worked in several small businesses, that’s been exactly my experience. Around 2010 during the GFC I went to bank to borrow a modest sum to invest in some promising R & D for which I’d secured 50/50 matched funding from a government agency. The bank turned me down flat.

    So I went back to them with my partner, and we spun a story that we were going to get married and wanted to borrow the same sum for our wedding. Since her family was all based in Europe and we wanted to do it right, the wedding was going to be really expensive, yada yada yada. Personal loan approved on the spot (we never did get married..).

    I’ve been working corporate rather than small business for quite a while now, but from that kind of experience, I’m still hyper-sympathetic to the needs and impacts of small businesses. And unfortunately, the careers of most government decision makers have never included a stint in small business. If you’ve never lived it, it’s possible to sympathise, but almost impossible to grasp the realities of trying to hold everything together whilst at the bottom of the economic foodchain.

    in reply to: The Peak #57675

    There’s some really excellent discussion emerging on ways to approach the future. A great example:

    in reply to: The Peak #57674

    And here’s another great article comparing the responses of various countries to analyse the most effective responses:

    in reply to: The Peak #57671

    btw – nice article by Ron Unz up toda for them that’s interested:

    in reply to: The Peak #57670

    Aggregated data is useful for assessing trends, but it’s a poor basis for decision making.

    Resurrecting my (mouldering) speed limit analogy, we can usefully assess accident and death trends from annual statistics, but it’d be foolish to assert the optimal speed limit for all roads across the country is 46.8 mp/h.

    In the early stages of the epidemic there’s a good case that can be made for adopting a precautionary principle. At this point we don’t have nearly as much data as we’d like, but we have enough to start assessing correlation in spread and death rates with external factors such as population density, air quality, specific underlying morbitities etc.

    At this point, it is in fact negligent for health officials *not* to do that. We have enough data on localised conditions to begin setting appropriate speed limits on a regional or local basis, rather than mandated a blanket approach.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle April 21 2020 #57628

    Ijargi – one more time: thanks for what you do to make TAE available to us.
    I even followed through on my threat and donated.. lol.

    in reply to: Debt Rattle April 19 2020 #57553

    So what inference are you drawing there? There’s one specific case study, representative of one specificc (perhaps unique) set of circumstances. And the lesson we should draw from it is…?

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