What Exactly Is A Cloud?

In the early 90s, Microsoft was riding a wave of growth that would propel them to become one of the most valuable companies of all time. At the core of this growth was the Windows operating system. To understand the core value of Windows and explain its stunning success, consider it to have a top and bottom half. The bottom half – the Device Driver Kit (DDK) allowed, and required, hardware vendors to expose their products to Windows, and Windows applications, in a consistent way. The top half – the Software Development Kit (SDK) and Application Programming APIs, also known as Win32, enabled Windows applications to run on a wide range of hardware without adaptation. Combined with Windows global language support (localization), and single worldwide binary, Windows became the glue that enabled an explosion of applications, around the globe, to run on an explosion of hardware. Both Win32 applications and hardware became cheaper as volumes grew exponentially, and Windows to this day is very inexpensive product relative to the value it provides.

This model, while enabling the industry to grow rapidly by decreasing the cost and increasing the value provided by PCs and applications, was not without conflict. Hardware manufacturers frequently wanted to expose unique functionality, and Microsoft restricted this via a certification process. The argument being that unique functionality would not be understood by all applications, and so would break some of them – fragmenting the platform. Over time, Microsoft asserted that a majority of Windows blue screens were actually caused by bugs in “third party” (other companies) code, requiring even more control over it.

As a concrete example, the touch pad on PCs understands click, pinch and drag. Despite the usability of many more gestures on MacBooks, Windows would not easily be able to add more gestures as the operating system abstracts mouse and touch gestures into a narrow set that applications expect.

There were several implications of these design and business decisions. Installations of Windows are measured in the billions. It’s doubtful the world would have experienced the computing revolution that ultimately touched the lives of nearly everyone on the planet. But it also slowed the rate of innovation. Innovation and backwards compatibility, as Apple has demonstrated many times by breaking it, are at odds. Eventually this, combined with a growing hostility toward the degree of control Microsoft exerted on the industry led to other companies winning on the internet and the phone.

Local Area Networking, or the ability for computers to exchange data over office building distances at high speed started to become popular in the mid-80s. As Microsoft and Novell adopted LANs to Windows, their approach was to virtualize remote systems (servers) into models that already existed in Windows, in order to not break applications. Remote servers appeared to be locally attached disk driver and printers, and for the first time could be used by multiple different computers at the same time (sharing).

At the same time, the Unix approach to networking supported virtualization, but also supported simple application to application to application connections made via the sockets API. Unix adopted the TCP/IP protocol, which worked on local area networks but also on networks that spanned the globe. The ability for an application to connect to another application without the operating system understanding and supporting the application produced a wave of innovation on connected application innovation that continues to this day.

Window 95 was not the first version of Windows to support the sockets API, but it was the first commercially successful one. It is unlikely that the internet as it exists today would have grown as fast as it did without the Winsock API in Windows 95. It is unclear if Microsoft really understood the implications of this decision at the time – although in reality TCP/IP and sockets would likely have eventually been adopted globally, regardless of what Microsoft did. This was the beginning of the series of innovations that would break the grip that Windows had on the application ecosystem.

The most disruptive of the TCP/IP and sockets based applications was the browser and web server, starting to catch on in the mid-90s. The very first browsers were not much more than document directories and viewers, but they laid some important groundwork. Much of what we would come to think of as “the application” in a browser environment was downloaded immediately, from the remote server, upon looking a page. From the customer’s perspective, this was a zero-install application, and from the publishers perspective they could update the code of the application, across the globe, a single action. This value proposition remains to this day, and separates browser applications from mobile, Windows and MacOS applications.

Two other transformative browser features were the first global “application directory”, the Uniform Application Locator (URL). The URL was a readable identifier for a site/application, that had one part (www.zintel.net) that was centrally administrated, and another part (http://www.zintel.net/Public/Underwater/Underwater.html) completely under the control of an organization. Unlike existing application directories, this enabled massive growth without collisions, or any central clearing house.

Finally, hyperlinks enabled a new kind of application that referenced parts of other applications, without coordination (or even agreement, as current events in Australia are highlighting). A web of applications. The page/click/link model, which many people assumed to be an overly simple first version, has proven to be useful to this very day.

Microsoft had several responses to the explosion of growth on the internet. The company initially cancelled its competing investment based on the doomed X.25 standard, and invested in a browser called Internet Explorer.  Later, the company would “internet-enable” Windows and Office in way that would be come to be known as software+services.

But at that point Microsoft had grown accustomed to defining what would be successful, and what wouldn’t, simply as a side effect of the volumes of Windows being shipped. It is very difficult to displace a product once it has reached global scale. The company took two swings at making the browser standards effectively Windows standards, in a strategy known at the time as embrace and extend.

The first was ActiveX, introduced in 1996. This was a repurposing of a technology called COM/OLE II, which existed on the Windows desktop, and to some extent in Win32 applications, into Internet Explorer. This allowed browser applications to access functionality in the underlying Windows operating system. There is no doubt that this created customer value, as the subsequent popularity of Shockwave Flash for games and video demonstrated, but had the perhaps not entirely coincidental side effect of making web pages that ran ActiveX incompatible with all other operating systems, and put Microsoft in control of a piece of Internet technology.

ActiveX eventually was discontinued primarily because of real and perceived security flaws in ActiveX itself, and more so in the most popular ActiveX plug-in, Flash.

By the end of the late 90s, Microsoft’s control of the computing platform, not unlike Google’s control of web search, and Apple’s control of applications today, was starting to be understood from a technical / strategy perspective, externally, and actively opposed. In 1998 The DOJ under Clinton filed an antitrust suit against Microsoft, egged on by Sun Microsystems, Netscape and other competitors. The actual premise of the suit, that Microsoft held an unfair advantage because they could include their own browser with Windows, and that that customers wanted choice in operating systems on PCs, was quite weak. Unlike Apple today, which simply decides what application vendors will be allowed to compete, and which will be driven to bankruptcy, it was never difficult to load an application onto a Windows PC. And using Internet distribution, achieving scale and dominance quite possible, as Google’s Chrome has demonstrated. It turns out that customers did want choice in operating system, in the from of iPhone, iPad, Android, MacOS and Linux, but they didn’t not want an alternative to Windows – that would have simply not run Windows apps. The market took care of the problem the DOJ thought they were solving.

The suit did distract Microsoft for many years, and slowed innovation at the company. Likely this was the goal all along, at least in the minds of competitors informing the government.

I’ll only briefly mention Microsoft’s second attempt to control the browser standards, Windows Presentation Framework. Had this succeeded, it would have forced every web application developer to choose standards (sorry, enabled them with choice) that ran across all browsers, or a Microsoft standard that ran only on Windows. It was arguably a better technology than HTML at the time, but failed.

Somewhat ironically, the one important standard that is still running the web today, Jscript, was fully supported by Microsoft browsers from the beginning, ,and Microsoft only recently gave up on their own browser core and adopted Google’s WebKit. “Control” of the browser was a losing strategy from day one.

The first “cloud” companies were web hosters like GoDaddy is today. They ran Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS) on Windows Server, or open source Apache on Linux in large datacenters, and leased “instances” to customers. It is quite difficult to manage 100 servers exposed to the internet in a datacenter, but not incrementally more difficult to manage 1000, or 10,000. Customers, who initially thought of themselves more as publishers and less application developers in the beginning, found hosted solutions to be compelling. This remains true today.

Over time, as web and browser technology became more powerful, more and more applications moved to the web, primarily because of no touch install, global single gesture updates, telemetry, and operating system independence.

In the mid-90s, the important large scale off the shelf business applications were from SAP, Seibel and Oracle. Most of these systems were installed and ran on customers’ hardware, and were complex and expensive to operate and upgrade. In 1999, Salesforce was founded on the idea of delivering enterprise grade applications entirely as a  browser application plus a hosted (by Salesforce itself) “backend” component. The model was referred to at the time as an [internet] service, or Software as a Service (SaaS), and proved to be highly disruptive. It was much easier for customers to try before buy, to deploy, manage instances, and for Salesforce to update and manage the backend. Over time, Salesforce enabled 3rd parties to extend their application even running the datacenter. Applications tend to command more margin (https://mikezintel.wordpress.com/2019/07/17/cloud-economics) than raw infrastructure, and applications with a 3rd party ecosystem even more so. Salesforce continues today as cloud provider of enterprise applications, with sales of $14B in 2019.

Amazon launched Amazon Web Services (AWS), specifically Elastic Cloud Compute and Simple Storage in 2006. Unlike (cloud) web hosters, and (cloud) hosted applications, AWS offered customers instances of entire (virtualized) computers to do as they wish. At the end of 2020, AWS reported $13B in profit on $45B in annual revenue. This model eventually became known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

As all of this was happening, a new model of application, enabled by large numbers of inexpensive servers hosted in the cloud. These applications ran on many computers, often 10s of thousands and now 100s of thousands or more in order to perform jobs like internet search. Google took the lead on search, with profit of $34B on revenue of $160B in 2019. Unlike existing licensing models, Google, and later Facebook’s revenue source was selling advertisements.

Consumer distributed systems evolved through many models including messaging, cloud drives, photo browsing, blogging, file sharing, but Facebook emerged as the winner. Initially Facebook solved the “permissions problem” (how do I control who can see my stuff) with a simple gesture – become my online “friend”. Unlike MySpace they were closed by default (the world can’t see my stuff), and they had an innovative way to continue to draw you back into the site via customized “feeds”.  As the application evolved, Facebook integrated instant messaging, persistent threaded messaging that hung off individual topics, persistent email style messaging, photo and video storage and promotion, and web links into a highly immersive experience. Facebooks profit in 2020 was $29B on revenue of $86B.

Both Google and Facebook pushed the envelope of assumed privacy by actively reading customer data and aggregating it to sell to advertisers. Microsoft was an early developer of consumer distributed systems, with SkyDrive, Messenger, and Hotmail, and at the peak had very impressive adoption numbers. The company was not comfortable changing the privacy model customers had assumed with the personal computer, which likely led to poor revenue in this space, but increased enterprise customer’s trust in the company.

Microsoft launched an AWS competitor, Azure, in 2010. Microsoft does not disclose Azure revenue.

Microsoft and Apple also pursued the model of software+(cloud) services. The iTunes, iCloud, Office 365 and Windows experiences are now backed by often very large cloud services, that provide storage, sharing, email hosting, music fingerprinting, messaging, and many others.

Despite Apple proving to the world that ordinary web browsing was possible on a mobile phone with the iPhone, and despite the fact that a lot of it is done today, mobile applications+services are the dominant application model on phones, as the apps can break out of the page and click model, work offline, and leverage the unique input models of the phone.

Today, nearly all new systems are browser applications against a cloud backend and mobile app based against possibly the same cloud backend. Windows and Office are not new systems, but service-enabling these things has allowed them to provide new value in a cloud world. SAP other enterprise application vendors are working to move their backend systems from customer installed, to hosted by them, and have all provided browser applications even against their existing pre-cloud backends.

So what is the cloud? And who is winning, in the cloud?

Microsoft, Oracle and IBM seem to want to be cloud vendors, in part chasing new growth streams, but also to be and be seen as current and innovative. I’m sure someone knows what IBM and Oracle are doing in the cloud, but I don’t. Microsoft has both an IaaS offering (Azure) and a software+service offering with Office 365. It’s hard to gauge or even define how much of their 2020 profit of $44B on revenue of $143B is “cloud” revenue, as their “intelligent Cloud” segment includes “Server products and cloud services, including Microsoft SQL Server, Windows Server, Visual Studio, System Center, and related CALs, Microsoft Azure, and GitHub”, according to their financial statements.  Sometimes they use the term “Commercial Cloud” in press (but not financial statements), and it seems to include Office 365, the largest value proposition of which is the Win32 Office applications themselves.

Salesforce is a cloud vendor.

Other than Android, all of Google’s systems run in the cloud. And they have an IaaS offering, which they refer to as Google Cloud. They do not generally talk about bulk of their revenue and income which comes from ads, as cloud revenue.

Other than a few mobile apps, all of Facebook’s systems run in the cloud.  They do not generally talk about being a cloud vendor.

Netflix is a large software+services company that does not refer to itself as a cloud vendor.

Cloud doesn’t really mean anything at all.

Mike.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rep. Maxine Waters, Chairwomen Financial Services Committee Vs. Ken Griffin, Smart Rich Person

[ Waters ] Mr. Griffin, Americans feel the system is stacked against them, and Wall Street always wins. The Gamestop, er, thing put a spotlight on this. What say you?

[ Griffin ]  We at Citadel take this seriously. Our innovative business model with Robinhood has enabled, for the first time, free stocks trades to be available to millions of young investors.

[ Waters ] And what is that model?

[ Griffin ]  We are one of the pioneers of a technique that moves information over a special light. This is much faster than the old system, which uses sound. This allows us to provide Robinhood with the information needed to build a very responsive and engaging mobile application, making stock trading not just available to many more people of modest means, but to make the whole experience fun. The high speed of the whole system allows us to true-up prices in realtime, making for more trued-up prices.

[ Waters ] Um, retail investors are mad. Get in their faces, retail investors, in the bars, at the shopping mall, at the gas stations.

[ Griffin ] Excuse me?

[ Waters ] I demand – demand – that you tell this committee of which I am Chairwomen what you did to make these people mad.

[ Griffin ] What happened is this: Some good news on an out of favor stock, Gamestonk, sorry, Gamestop, caused Robinhood  trading volumes to spike – remember, this is free trading app and a fun one too! This caused an overload on the light system, and we had to fall back on the older sound system.  I blame reddit, specifically the subredditors.

[ Waters ] Save the Wall Street jive for your white boy club buddies, Kenny. The people are mad, and I demand you tell me what you did to make them so mad.

[ Griffin ] An overload is rather like when you put too many clothes in your washer, and it gets unbalanced. Eventually an alarm trips and the washer shuts down. Had we done nothing, a single overload would have become what’s called a cascade failure. That’s when you take the clothes from one overloaded washer, and add them the next washer, causing that one to overload. And so on. This would have quickly overwhelmed the entire electrical grid of the USA, had we not taken action with Robinhood, facebook and google to shut down the dangerous overloaded Reddit. Even with out quick action, much of Texas grid eventually failed. It’s all Trump’s fault.

[ Waters ] Thank you Mr. Griffin. BTW, if one was thinking, hypothetically of buying the recently cancelled Learjet 75, would you go Gulfstream or that Brazilian company?

[ Griffin ] G650, without a doubt. Would you like travel in one, as a try before buy? DM me.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WaPo is American Fascism

It isn’t of course. That’s a silly non-sequitur, like “Bananas are Ballroom Rollercoasters“, but it didn’t stop WaPo from publishing garbage titled “Trumpism is American Fascism“.

The word fascism used to mean:

A governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.

But now means:

A word I use.

For much of my adult life, the left has been hurling insults at the right and the middle. Initially this was done to suppress discussion and thought long enough for social changes to be embedded into the structure of society and become effectively irreversible. Or simply to be unpleasant.

If someone suggested that soaring black on black crime might be in part caused by fatherless children, they quickly discovered that they were racists. Have you ever wondered if rap lyrics create a good climate for raising children that respect women? Racist. The underlying social / political change this covered for was the destruction of black self-sufficiency and subsequent reliance on the state, and declining opportunities for growth. Why this is good is unclear, but it is done.

If you once thought, as billions did, for thousands of years, that marriage was a social and legal construct designed to keep the father around, because – pre-social science – biological fathers and mothers raising their children seemed to the natural order of things, and post social science because we know that children so raised fare better: homophobe.

Hypothetically, one might wonder if giving powerful hormones to pre-pubescent teens, and promoting the notion that irreversible surgical alteration of their reproductive organs is always in their best interests, but then one would be transphobic.

Do you think hiring, firing, salary and promotion decisions should be made based on ability, effort and accomplishment, and not gender or skin color: misogynist, and a few others.

Christian: bible clinger. Gun owner: gun clinger. Hater. Far right winger.

For a long time these things worked, primarily because they abused peoples’ innate decency. When first accused of one of these things, most people immediately become concerned that they said or did something that offended someone, or perhaps, really are racist, etc.

By the ten thousandth time, people understand the game. They understand it even more clearly when they see it ramp up for 3 months before any election, and then disappear magically.

Most sane people over 30 ignore these things, assuming this to be the most graceful way to manage unpleasant people.

More recently, as the left hurls insults, they are aimed less at the seemingly intended target, and are actually aimed at left themselves. Two or maybe three generations of children have been structurally indoctrinated by the left to believe Americans are fundamentally racist, and that freedom is a tool to be abused by the white supremacy. There’s no need to defect older people who know better when you can just brainwash every new generation.

After the election in 2016, the left doubled down on rhetoric and actions that made people turn against each other. While doing this, they blamed the subsequent anger and violence on Donald Trump and Trump voters. Trump, for his part, used the same language of flighting and winning that the left has been using for decades, making the left’s story a little easier to believe. It’s likely that at least some Biden voters believed they were voting for an overdue de-escalation of the anger in the country.

There are going to be disappointed.

For the last 4 years we have watched the left tell each other that the right is intolerant, ignorant and responsible for all the violence and anger in America, ignorant. And they seem to believe it. Don’t be confused when they say Trump, or Trumpism – they mean you.

The right’s immediate response to the capital riots was a tactical mistake, but one made for the right reasons. It was the same response the first time one is accused of being a racist: No, I’m not. That would be terrible. Am I? I’ll get back to you. The right denounced the riots immediately, as decency required, and they gave the left the benefit of the doubt that Trump incited them.

At least for a few days, when it became clear that was nonsense.

There’s a new theme on the left, and a dangerous one. Consider the recent Tim Cook memo. His objection to facebook’s business model is not that it erodes privacy, but that it could (or did) create an information feedback loop that makes ignorant people violent. And by ignorant people, he means the right. Tim slanders half the country, offers not a shred of evidence, and is celebrated for his kindly thoughts.

It worth noting that neither Apple under Tim Cook, nor facebook is in favor of freedom of speech. And somewhat ironically, they are in perfect agreement as to what speech is to be allowed. Apple recently removed Parlor from the app store, breaking the company, because they allowed speech not approved by silicon valley.

The meme in the news, and my facebook feed, is that the legacy of Trump is an ignorant, angry and violent right.

Notice how effective this trick is. In the old days, you might have wanted to say something about the mathematics of evolution, but you found yourself explaining why owning a shotgun doesn’t make you an angry, fearful bitter clinger. A conversation that you had lost before it began. Prior to the capital riots, the conversation was (always) about election fraud, and after, about the danger of the fascist right.

Politely ignoring this will not work. It will not stop. It will become an excuse to destroy more freedom.

The right has a choice: Do nothing, and lose. Fight back using the same techniques, and probably lose, and likely cause great damage, or find a way to defuse this nonsense.

Quickly.

Mike.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You’re wrong, she’s wrong, everybody’s wrong.

A few notes:

The spread of this disease is profoundly non-linear. Looking at cause and effect, and extrapolating the future from any given window of time is likely to produce very large (order of magnitude) errors. And has.

My hoped for “resistance” to infection and disease at about 35% is not supported by the facts. There is no factual reason to hope for this. The folks who predicted a fall wave based on people moving indoors have been more correct than anyone else.

Most people who extrapolated from the “case” explosion staring in May-Jun as testing ramped up (not shown on this graph) to produce curves like we are now seeing, and are claiming modelling success, are lying. “Cases” went up dramatically and stayed there for about 10-12 weeks before the disease as measured by deaths started climbing. In many places, cases and positive rates were falling as the last wave was increasing. This is still true. Nobody knows if the current wave will continue to grow for 12 more weeks, or will flatten and start to fall in the usual pattern, or some new pattern, starting today.  Sadly, we see few signs of peaking in the data yet.

The policy problems we have created by ignoring the false positive rate of the PCR-RT at a 40+ cycle count remain. A hypothetical administration, wanting to show better results, would lower the PCR-RT cycle guidance to, say 35.

There was a 3 month period when the US seemed to be doing dramatically worse than almost all (or all) reasonable comparisons.  I tried to explain this with the admittedly poor data I had in my models. What I did was remove the US (an outlier) , and then tried to do a Monte Carlo analysis of what I believed to be potential “causes” of disease spread and actual results to determine the sensitive variables. For the most part I failed to find much stastical correlation between policy and outcome. Variables that did seem to have an effect were limiting travel (globally and locally), limiting group sizes and population density. While I couldn’t measure it, there seems to be strong scientific reason to believe the 3’ (6’) practice is effective.

I failed to effectively model large quarantines with enough comparables effectively. I simply don’t know what they do.

One thing I did notice, and pointed out at the time, was that US failure to suppress the first wave was a statistical mistake – we were treating the summation over time of a many smaller graphs, each resembling places with smaller geography, as a single unit. In fact what we were seeing was the virus moving geographically, and hitting larger and larger populations, at the same time as we got better at treating it, and maybe better at preventing it. This explains, for me, the duration of the USA “bad time”, and the failure to suppress the first wave, but not the magnitude difference.

Of course, there were lots of explanations in the news: Southern and Mid-Western Americans are too stupid to follow rules, America all up is too stupid to follow rules, socialized medicine, the lack of a one-size fits all strategy, the lack of power at the federal government, unlike the more progressive China to weld shut the doors to people’s apartments, and the superior morality of people protects them from disease. Trump.

All nonsense, as we know can observe.

I’ll point out that global masking started as the same time as the geometrical explosion of wave 3. Policy and Karen wise, we still think whatever it is we’re doing with masks works. And there’s no real proof that it doesn’t. We can’t compare with wave 1 because the virus had not spread geographically yet.

There’s also no proof it doesn’t make things worse, which is what the data shows if you assume (statistical dangerous) correlation.

One constant though all of this: Fauci hasn’t a clue.

Mike.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Was Trump “Worth It”? (was: You Never Go Full Smollett)

Trigger warnings: Longer than a tweet or a fb meme. Thought required.

The country is badly divided, and full of hate. Trump did such a terrible job on the important topics of election fraud and Covid19 that he lost the middle. He placed his sad lack of loyalty on full display and armed his opponents. The leftish media, greedy tech companies congress and the White House are now fully aligned and empowered for an old testament level assault on liberty.

Apparently not.

Unity. Now is the time for unity, they say. Unity, racists!, they say.

unity
u·ni·ty
noun
the practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats

It’s important to remind ourselves that the overwhelming majority of conservatives in America do not know what 4Chan is, are not dumb, racist, sexist gun and bible clingers, and do not condone violence or economic / social punishment toward those who disagree with them. The majority of liberals are not so lacking self-awareness and consumed with hatred that they don’t know this. But some are, and with their bigotry amplified by the twitter and fb, they do a great deal of what we might call social injustice.

The amount of hatred on the ignorance networks this week is deeply saddening. And the justification for it, a cause for reasonable people to be concerned.

The odd thing is that we’ve told ourselves for 4 years now that the source of intolerance in America is the racist and sexist “far right” (i.e. your neighbor, two blocks down), led by the buffoonish clown Donald Trump. But Trump is a lame duck now, completely without power, and yet the anger has gone up. Way up.

Why is this? Perhaps conservatives are just too bad to be excused.

Perhaps.

One of the recurring patterns in Canadian elections is the post-election calls for the need to set aside differences and work together for the common good. I remember being proud of this civility and decency. It took me long time to notice that “setting aside differences” meant supporting more taxes, a larger civil service and more regulation. And nobody in the governing class really objected to this, because being a member of this class meant decent working hours, a low stress / low effort job, job security, early retirement and good, secure pension, expense accounts, and good bit of handy influence over business and people.

Canadian elections are not really about disagreements in the proper role of and size of government in society. That is a settled issue – nobody cares in the least how you really feel about it, and you have no ability to influence it. The power is fully distributed in the bureaucracy now. Elections used to be about who people believed could steer the leviathan a little more efficiently or fairly, but recently they’ve become  more about celebrity and greed. Each new generation understands and cares less about how government is supposed to work, and how it actually does work. Each generation lives under more regulation, has less freedom and fewer job opportunities. And each generation demand more of exactly that.

US elections are less civil, and less honorable. There is a lot more money at stake. The government class is less a group of people, and more system of coercion and collusion that includes corporations including the media and law firms, the education industry, non-profits, lobbyists, and the government itself. It’s worth reflecting on the fact that the the US government is Microsoft’s single largest customer.

Legal methods like trading “advice”, “speaking fees”, book and movie deals, board positions, non-profit foundations and others can net an ambitious political family like the Clintons $300 million, relative pikers like the Bidens a few 10s of millions,  the Obamas and Gores, $100 million. Run of the mill congressmen can easily make a few 10s of millions. And layers of staff, lawyers PR people and others around them do well too. One thing this election proved, clearly, is that the public couldn’t care less about any of this.

Politicians have to choose between a comfortable, easy life in exchange for just keeping quiet about the system, or working  to make it less corrupt, failing to achieve much, and ultimately losing power after being betrayed by their other friends in power.

While it sounds counter-intuitive, given that Donald Trump appears to place little value on integrity, loyalty and principal, the 4 year wave of hatred that was engineered against him was in no small way a result of the fact that he was not willing to be compromised by the swamp. It’s unclear exactly what his end game was, or if there was one, or if simply enjoyed messing with people, but he is far less compromised than the Bidens are. Joe’s range of motion will be severely restricted by the knowledge that he is deeply in debt to those that covered for him, and those that finance his family’s lifestyle.

Albert Bourla’s assertion that his timing of the news of a vaccine – one week after the election – after Pfizer had benefited from a large federal order, had nothing to do with politics, was not just a tribute to voter’s gullibility, but a statement that the swamp had prevailed against Donald Trump. It’s worth noting that Trump did not break Pfizer ‘s confidence about the vaccine’s progress, something he almost certainly knew about. And the current wave of deplatforming (i.e. removing their source of income) of conservatives at scale by tech companies is both a warning, and a signal of power. Tech companies, like the old media before them, can make or break you as a politician, and truth is not important as they can easily create monsters and heroes at will.

It was interesting to watch Microsoft, a company with very lefty employees and leadership, go quiet about Trump after the JEDI contract. And Amazon to sue, as soon as they saw Trump losing power. The purchase of Washington Post was far more “business”-savy than most people understand. I expect some sort of brokered deal between the companies, with the cover story that security and availability requires diversity of underlying systems.

And voters don’t care, or are actually for this level of corruption. Biden’s pre-selection assertion that he would not even consider a man for the VP and likely president role was a signal that you can expect the government and corporations to continue to create advantage for women at the expense of men. This alone likely bought him 5-10M votes.

Trump angered another group of people beyond the DC money crowd.

Over the last 50 years liberals have made steady inroads into the bureaucracy over nearly every organization: government, business, “non-profits”,  media, entertainment, academia, Christian churches. For 30 years of this long march, they have projected humility, altruism in the form of concern for the weak, unlucky, or disadvantaged. The perception, supported in no small way by some truth and a strong conviction that they on the right side of history – the good side – but still fighting more powerful forces, was one of a David and Goliath battle. Somewhere along the way liberals failed to notice that they had won. Indeed, the battle became more important than the results, and liberals were corrupted by power as everyone is corrupted by power.

Liberals have amassed huge power. They “educate” the children, shape values via the news and entertainment industries, use the law strategically to further their agenda, and decide who gets funded, hired, promoted or fired.

Over the last 6 or 8 election cycles, a pattern has emerged, growing more intense with every cycle. Preceding the election, the left, in the words of Eric Holder,  “When they go low, we kick them”. In fact, there’s a fair bit of kicking going on even if they don’t go low. And as they hurl unwarranted insults – always the same ones – at the right, they claim that it is actually the right that is doing this. Or “started it”. They have been forced by some injustice into a defensive offense.

Good grief.

After the election, all the nastiness is immediately forgotten. Not in the rhetorical sense – it is literally forgotten. It never happened. People forget what they said about Sarah Palin’s children, about Romney and many others. In fact it realty doesn’t matter who you are or what your record and values are; the rhetoric is simply necessary to defeat you so power can be maintained in the hands of the good people. To do good with.

Teabagger: Remember that one?

With Donald Trump they may have encountered the first candidate worthy of the level of contempt they had been handing out for decades.

If you don’t bring this up, maybe you won’t be next on the layoff list. If you do bring it up that is proof that you were and are the root of the problem all along.

Along with amnesia, the left also selectively reverts into a wounded position. They were and are being injured somehow, by your words. This is of course entirely fake and simply a tool to manipulate you.

If you doubt this, and reading the news, or the fb walls of liberals this week doesn’t convince you, here’s a little test you can do at home. Cut and paste the following into you fb status, and leave it there. Make sure your coworkers and colleagues see it too. And then watch the reaction:

While I am happy to see Trump marched off the stage in defeat, I sometimes wonder if in our zeal to defeat him we went too far. He didn’t start any new wars, doesn’t appear to have used his position for business gain as we feared he would, and did deliver a Covid19 vaccine in a year, as he promised. While these things don’t excuse his racism, intolerance toward LGBT and sexism and clownish behavior on the world stage, I am not sure we are completely blameless for acrimony know threatening to tear the country apart. Did we go too far?

We all know what the result will be.

But something different happened this cycle. The left lost, to a clown, that they had promoted during the primaries as an in-joke on the right.

Before Donald Trump had an opportunity to troll them, the left lost their shit. Then he trolled them mercilessly for 4 years. And they lost their shit. For 4 years. Decades of a formula that was working were dumped in favor of blatant dishonestly and an ugly nastiness that be very hard to put back in the bottle. It was ugly. The left behaved very badly.

If you doubt this, try this test:

Ask a liberal if the impeachment of Donald Trump was merited. Worth it.

Then, after the answer, ask what is was that got him impeached?

Now, repeat this a few times and compare the answers to the second question.

That will tell you want you need to know about the left’s honesty, objectivity and level of information.

We all know what the result will be.

Ironically Joe Biden was trying to clean this mess up and go back to the old successful formula. He tried, for a bit to call for unity. Unity, to the left, is where you forget all the things they did during the election, agree with everything they now assert to be true, and maybe you get to keep your job.

But even Biden couldn’t do it. His tweet about the hypothetical difference between how the capital protesters where treated and how BLM would have been treated was not just insulting, given that it’s not hypothetical – we know they answer – and BLM wasn’t shot and killed by the police despite 4 months of rioting, looting and murder. It was another baseless accusation of racism.

Conservatives a have some serious decisions to make here. The anger that got Trump elected was merited. And Trump was one of the very very few willing to fight an appallingly nasty opposition. But he didn’t have a plan, or a road map, he failed to understand that loyalty matters, he didn’t take good advice, and he repeatedly rearmed his opposition rhetorically. Trump’s treatment of Barr and Pence and I suspect many others was disgraceful.

A repeat of this, with each side taking it more the extreme don’t seem like a good choice. A return to the old way – surrender with decorum like Romney, doesn’t seem like a good choice either.

Mike.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This Damn Covid19

From Feb to May I observed many deaths from Covid19 graphs that looked like this:

I observed this in different populations, and population sizes, around the world. I hypothesized that something was dramatically slowing the spread of the disease long before the experts’ 70% herd immunity threshold. At the time there were reports of widely underreported (unmeasured) infections. This was followed by press reports of our failure to  manage this because of lack of tests.

The lack of testing got corrected by Jul and then I observed a lot of curves that looked like this:

To the degree that the explosion of “cases” without an increase in deaths was explained, the theories were: better case, better mitigations, false positives in the PCR-RT and pre-existing immunity. But the good news wasn’t really explored much, and the press was mostly about the increase in cases.

At the time, I tried and failed to correlate the mitigations we were trying with results. I was not successful. The virus seemed to do what it wanted.

I hypothesized that perhaps we were reaching herd immunity. Unfortunately this isn’t what happened. The threshold of resistance is no longer there.

At the time, there was a lot of press that stated that the USA was in long flat spot, or maybe even a second wave, relative to the rest of the world, which had apparently burned it out with their superior leadership and respect for science. I pointed out that that the long flat spot in the USA data was a result of the virus moving geometrically.

If we look at Deaths/M data for several states, we see that New York (and surrounding states) were responsible for wave 1, peaking at the end of Mar, and Texas, California and Florida (etc.) responsible for wave 2, peaking around the middle of Aug. Wave 2 was a much larger total population. At the time I thought I was observing a decrease in deaths/M over a larger population, leading to the appearance of “worse” outcomes (i.e. more total deaths) hiding the good news which is much better survival rates. I no longer see that in the data I’m looking at now. Perhaps I was being fooled by better outcomes relative to cases. I cannot explain this (although I didn’t spend much time trying).

The real puzzle is what’s going on starting in November? Death rates/M are increasing, not just in the USA but around the world. This definitely looks like (real) wave 2. The press has many explanations for this: Sturgis, Trump rallies, Thanksgiving, mask cheating, back to school, surfing, etc. None of them really correlate, and don’t explain the worldwide effect. Of course, many people predicted a second wave in colder fall when people go indoors. I haven’t spent any time looking at hemisphere data. Perhaps this is correct.

I don’t know how to make sense of the global increase in mask wearing with the global increase in deaths over the last 3 months. This doesn’t seem to make intuitive sense. But it’s what the data shows.

It would be helpful to have better test and control demographics, but I don’t. The press claims California is a  high compliance, high mitigation state, and Florida a free for all.

With all the caveats in the self-reported CMU mask data I flagged in the last post, let’s look at deaths/M in CA and FL. The blue line is mask wearing in FL and the orange line is death/M in FL. The grey and yellow lines are mask wearing and deaths/M in CA.

It isn’t working. Anywhere.

I think public policy folks know this by now but are out of ideas. And they sure as hell are not going to admit they have never known anything.

I was a bit surprised by the degree of offense my last post on masks produced. There seemed to be a widespread belief that “we” are wearing masks but “they” are not.

Perhaps.

Some folks made the “saves one life argument”. I agree with that. Unfortunately 300,000,000 masked people, each saving 1 life, would be 300,000,000 lives saved. Which would be great. If 300,000,000 masked people saved 100% of all Covid19 deaths to date in the USA, that would be 1000 masked persons / life saved. Even that would be good, if true. Unfortunately, so far, the data shows masking increases deaths, making it hard to model deaths saved.  

For what it’s worth, I’ve worn a mask since late Feb. Lately I gotten better at cleaning and replacement.

Feel free to do as you think best.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Mike.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Covid19 “Science” from CMU, Squeee!

The Delphi Group at Carnegie Mellon University recently released data on mask-wearing in the United States via a project called a COVIDMap and public API. This is a valuable contribution to the understanding of Covid19 models; actual mask wearing data has been difficult to find, and there is much speculation about compliance. Indeed overlaying mask wearing with case and death data might be insightful as to how effective masks are, and over what timeframes and geographies.

Ignoring the quality issues with opt-in self reporting from a fb feed prompt and a fairly small sample set, the most significant thing this data shows is that as of now, mask wearing when in public in the United States is consistently above 90%, and often 95%. This has been true for about a month. As of 12 weeks ago, the range was 60% to 90%.

Unfortunately 2 ½ months of data is not nearly enough to observe correlations between mitigations and results. Almost any 10 week window in 2020 would have led to grossly incorrect results.

That didn’t stop The Delphi Group at Carnegie Mellon from doing exactly this, in the form of a map infographic that shows current mask wearing compliance, and new “cases” (i.e. PCR-RT positives),  a scatter plot showing the same thing, and text calling out North and South Dakota as example of bad mask compliance leading to higher “cases”.

There are few things to note about this content:

The difference in compliance rates are a few percentage points, indicating that mask wearing is a highly sensitive variable. It wasn’t in my models (with estimated compliance numbers), and I can find no studies indicating that anyone believes it is. That said, there could be an as yet undiscovered threshold that produces non-linear results, so we should remain curious.

If you choose just about any other 12 week window to compare cases or deaths with mask wearing in The Dakotas, you would observe the exact opposite outcome in the data – not wearing masks keeps a population safe from Covid19. What is likely going on here is that 12 week window chosen – because they had data – happens to coincide with the geographic movement of the virus. Indeed, I believe most assertions of correlations between mitigations and outcomes are random based on where the data window falls on the geographic progression of the virus.

The usual disclaimer is in the University’s text: “Correlation does not imply causation”, although this point seems to be lost quickly in the wave of press referencing the data from the project.

Now what would solve the last issue would be a comparison of two demographics, carefully selected to have highly similar potentially dominant variables but differing in mask compliance, rather like DANMASK-19 did. That study concluded that masks didn’t in practice work. I think the same meta-study will be possible with the Delphi Group’s data, given 2 or 3 more months of collection.

With the caveats aside, let’s look at the actual data. This graph shows daily new deaths due to Covid19 and daily mask wearing in North Dakota during the window we have data.

From this data, assuming any correlation at all exists between masks and deaths (a statistically unsound assumption), you would conclude that masks cause deaths, or Covid19 causes masks.

If we shift the mask wearing series back 3 weeks to account for effect, a common adjustment these days when forecasting high death counts from high PCR-RT positives, the correlation is more pronounced.

Of course, the informed data scientist understands that this data shows us nothing.

Nothing at all.

Google recently donated $1,000,000 to this project. One wonders if a project showing that we know nothing at all about the effectiveness of masks would be equally valuable.

Mike.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to End Voter Fraud

Lawyers are not going to do it. Courts are not going to do it. Democrats and the media, being all in on it, are not going to do it.

The first thing to understand is who does it, and why. Look backward at the values and behavior of the left over the last 4 years. Not just people you see on tv or read about, but people you know. Form an opinion about how many of them would report a duplicate ballot, ignore a few mismatched signatures or get sloppy with voter rolls. And how many would actually forge boxes of ballots, or pocket a thumb drive.

The left is convinced that they are literally fighting evil  – that they are the good – and they will make life better for everyone if they just had more power over other people. They do not respect the integrity of any system that would, could, bring a evil man like Donald Trump to power. The right, for the most part, just doesn’t want them or anyone to have that much power.

It important to understand https://mikezintel.wordpress.com/2020/11/08/voter-fraud-is-a-myth/ how fraud actually happens. There is no Dept. of Fraud, or Committee to Commit Widespread Fraud, because none is necessary, and these things would be discovered. Occasionally, a truly obviously corrupt thing like changing to mail in ballots at the last moment is necessary, but democrats can count on the press and their extended organization to control the messaging as needed. But for the most part, election fraud is a highly distributed thing. You really only need to signal where and how much is necessary.

We need to borrow from the computer security practice, and game this out. Smart folks need to examine every step of the voting process with exactly the mindset of someone trying to cheat. This needs to be well-documented. For two reasons:

The first is that the system needs to hardened against fraud, and the only way to approach this is the knowledge of exactly how it happens.

The second is that the right needs to leak these documents in ways that make people believe that – finally – they’ve figured out the con, and could engage in the same con, the same way, with the same success themselves.

This would likely do it, and actually cheating might not be necessary.

Nothing else is going to work.

Mike.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Forget The Following and Lose Gracefully Like Romney

Maxine Waters calls for impeachment before he takes office
53 congressional democrats boycott of the inauguration
petition urging the electors to vote for Hillary Clinton
RESIST
Russian prostitutes peeing on Trump in bed Obama slept in
Impeachment
Obstruction of justice
Russia stole the election with fb ads
Russian stole the election by modifying vote counts
FBI/DOJ
Impeachment
Mueller/Flynn
White Supremacist
Pussy hat marches
Michael Avenatti
Nick Sandmann
Joy Reid
fb memes and images: Trump as rat, pig, baby, etc. etc.
Racists
Kavanaugh
Iran / WWIII
Homophobes
Ukraine/Logan Act/Impeachment
BLM/antifa
Sexists
defund the police
Cancel culture
Katrinavirus
the “Trump Accountability Project”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Voter Fraud is a Myth

If you are really, really bored, you might post something somewhere with the phrase “voter fraud” in it.  The actual text of the post doesn’t matter much, unless the post is exactly “these  conspiracy theorists should just read snopes and this study or that study and learn that widespread voter fraud is a myth.

Now you might think that your post might produce the following responses:

“Do you think voter fraud happens?” 
“Where?”
“How?”
“How often?”
“By whom?”
“Does it matter?”
“How would be learn the truth?”
“How could we prevent it?”

You would be wrong.

What actually happens is a surprisingly well-structured and prompt response that makes the first point below, and some or all of the subsequent points:

You are a conspiracy theorist (i.e. gullible and not too smart).
You have no evidence (this is true).
Here are links to studies and fact-checking sites that proves it isn’t widespread (they don’t).
More rarely, and usually in the form of a link: “you are a racist”.

If you were in fact a conspiracy theorist, you might wonder briefly why these answers are so consistently structured, and how that happens.

In the 30 years I’ve been in America, I notice that the fraudulent election topic comes up from time to time. Every two years, give or take. And the following patterns are always exactly the same. Now any one of these, taken alone, proves nothing. And the sum total of them prove nothing. But they are somewhat curious, to the curious.

Republicans propose structural changes that would make fraud less likely. Democrats disagree with them. They explain that the GOP is trying to make voting too hard for blacks. They never quite explain how their argument, that blacks are incapable or unwilling to show a photo id  to vote is not in itself silly and racist. One presumes that they don’t believe it, but use it because they want to keep cheating.

Democrats never propose structural changes that would make fraud less likely.

In close elections where a republican candidate has a lead that that go into long voter counts, new ballots are always found that swing the election to the democrats.

In this election, a new patten emerged. The democrats preemptively planned for a claim of voter fraud, by asserting that the GOP would make it, and would contest the election.

Some wonder how they knew.

On the charge that no such grand conspiracy theory has been found, none would be necessary. This isn’t how these things would work, if in fact they were occurring.

Voter fraud would be highly distributed. 100,000 of thousands of people, believing they are working for an important cause, are in a position to silently move outcomes a little bit at time. All in the same direction.

The question is, “is this likely to happen?” 

Over the last 4 years, democrats have demonstrated a willingness to believe, or pretend to believe, that Trump had Russian prostitutes pee in him in a bed Obama slept on, that Russians stole the election via fb ads and that Michael Avenatti and Christine Blasey Ford were credible. They are willing to ignore obvious influence peddling by the Bidens and Clintons, but believe they heard it in a few seconds of Trump phone call with Ukraine. They are willing to believe that Trump is responsible for every Covid19 death in America. Perhaps, the world. They deny the existence of Antifa, and believe BLM are looting for justice.

This is a demographic that very much wants power over other people, and feels justified in gaining in. Because they would use this power with more wisdom and decency.

Very much so.

Mike.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments