The Varieties of Religious Experience

One of the interesting things about having spent a part of my life at least trying to be a devout Christian, and at least part of my life at least trying to be to a card carrying Far Left liberal, hereafter referred to as a Lefty is that I understand the values, motivations, and structures of both these things.

Both groups, at least in America, believe that their beliefs and actions are the anthesis of the other. Lefties, the angrier of the two groups, believe they are fighting authoritative repression. Christians are more likely to believe they are fighting Godless ignorance. The most extreme of both groups believe the other side is both ignorant and evil.

A curious thing is not how different these groups are, as you might assume given the seemingly never-ending petty conflict, but how similar they are.  Which is why they are in conflict.

Both groups have an elite priesthood in charge of the orthodoxy. Christians formalize this in the church hierarchy. It’s less formal on the Left, but exists in universities, NGOs and feminist organizations. The Christian orthodoxy is rooted in ancient, scared texts. The Left’s orthodoxy, being much younger, is constantly evolving, but at the core (ironically) it’s a David and Goliath myth, the ever-evolving feminism, and a gross misunderstanding of science. Both groups have sin and sinners, redemption, and penance.

Both religions have command control style operation that enforces the orthodoxy: the church and the media. Both make heavy use of indoctrination at the youngest ages and continuing throughout life. Indoctrination is formal and relies on heavily on guilt and repetition. There is little tolerance for ambiguity or disbelief, and formal mechanisms to recruit.

Over time, what started as single religion fractured into subgroups with similar but different orthodoxies (i.e. Baptists, Catholics). Doctrinaire Environmentalists think people who accuse them of being Socialists in disguise are just stupid, but the truth is that Environmentalism,  Socialism, Social Justice-ism are all factions of Leftyism, and reinforce each other sometimes unconsciously, but never by accident.

Consider, without prejudice, the following two creation stories:

#1 An invisible omnipotent benevolent infallible force created the universe and the intricate complexity of life, which we barely perceive let alone understand, in 6 days, from nothing at all. On a whim. But this was tiresome, so he took a day off. He later appeared and performed miracles for about 2000 years, then sent his son for a visit and to be murdered, and both have remained in hiding for the last 2000 years but are still there.

#2 The universe and the intricate complexity of life, which we barely perceive let alone understand, was the result of an octillion quattuordecillion centillion uncorrelated accidents randomly taking place over a quintillion duodecillion eons from nothing at all.

On some reflection, they are both equally likely to be true, equally impossible to prove, and frankly farcical.

And yet, one of these beliefs is backward superstition, objectively ridiculous. The other, the only rational explanation proven by observable reality. The belief in which is not required, but to not believe a badge of ignorance.

To be fair, Lefties believe white people are born and must die racists, black people cannot be racist, democratic policies have improved the lives of inner city blacks, socialism raises living standards by making everything free and isn’t corrupt, children raised by their natural parents are not happier and more successful, gender doesn’t exist, women, when they exist are physically capable of doing anything men can but are socialized out of trying by men, when they exist, any patterns in qualities and behavior between men and women that have existed for centuries across civilizations are result of male sexism which always exists, men, when they exist can get pregnant, abortion saves lives, women get paid less for the same work as men, and global warming is not just proven, like evolution, but a more serious threat than overfishing or running out of energy.

At the same time.

There are differences of course. The most important one being that one has a real God, and the other, like Scientology and Kwanza does not. There’s a school of thought that believes humans have an innate spiritual hunger, that will be filled somehow. Lefties use science and dogma as a substitute for a God, but they really don’t confuse this with an actual deity.

The important emotions in Christianity are guilt, fear and hope. In Leftyism guilt, anger, arrogance, and a little hope. Christians are on balance more fearful but less angry than Lefties. Providing a framework for angry people to become self-righteous is recruiting tool in Leftism. Fear serves that purpose for Christianity.

Leftism seeks absolute power over everyone. It’s unclear if Christianity is as much as an opt-in thing as they believe, or if they are just losing the battle for power. The situation may have been very different in the Middle Ages.

Perverts appear to be randomly distributed, and happy to hide behind whatever piousness is handy.

Both religions attempt to change the brutish state of nature and reality with force of will. Christians leverage the supernatural directly, via prayer. And by charitable action. Lefties believe that by controlling thought, speech, and actions they can change human nature. They believe this is an entirely rational, indeed scientific process. But if one lies long enough (see list above), eventually it gets hard to tell the truth. And with gender recently becoming a fluid, much like wine turning to blood, the two are converging on the supernatural. Lefties perform charitable actions by forcing others to do them.

Both groups have an onion of believers. Most people who identify with either religion will find much of this post hyperbolic, bordering on silly. Because for every person who strongly believes abortion is sin, a much larger group believe it is just a somewhat sad but sometime helpful reality. And for every person who thinks abortion is joy, to be livestreamed, a much larger group believe it is just a somewhat sad but sometimes helpful reality.

Most people think of large organizations as scaled up versions of small organizations. This is a dangerous mistake, that impacts both religions, but is the fatal flaw in Leftyism.

All organizations at scale, given time, devolve the same way and for the same two reasons. The first is the nasty combination of human nature + money + power. Fear, greed, envy, lust, power can exist generally without harm as demons in our heads in the 4H club. But throw in money, power, and secrecy at scale and far too many succumb.

The second is central planning. It doesn’t work. It can’t work. In order to scale, organizations need to lock into some simple patterns and scale them with process and bureaucracy. Process and bureaucracy are death to creativity, innovation and learning. Over time, every organization gets dumber and less responsive to external changes.

It matters not a bit if the organizations is Big Religion, Big Government, Big Military, Big School, Big Environment, Big NGO, Big Corporation, Big media. Organizations age and die.

The free market has a mechanism for destroying dead companies, freeing their resources, and creating new ones.

Big Government, the darling of Leftyism, never shrinks, never learns, and never surrenders power.

Christianity, ironically, has cautionary parables about this.

I would write about the afterlife, if I knew anything about it.


Mike.

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Maybe This Would Work (was: For Ian)

Assumptions:

PCR-RT tests are not only useless due to high false positive rates, they are dangerously misleading.

Antigens tests, while having both false positives and false negatives, are much cheaper, easier and more accurate than PCR-RTs.

Covid19 does not target indiscriminately. It is tragically lethal to people over the age of 80, and younger people with diabetes, heart problems, obesity, cancer, immune system disorders, and other comorbidities. The death rate in children rounds to zero, but some children are at risk.

The vaccine saves lives with a healthy risk/reward profile, but the value accrues largely to the least vulnerable group. Older people benefit less from vaccination due to lower immune system function at age. The risk/reward profile for children is an open question, but the risk will have to very low to justify the limited benefit.

A strategy to eradicate a global disease that so far has produced multiple viable mutations in less than six months, by starving it of hosts, with a vaccine that starts at 95% efficacy (i.e. only 5% of the people who would have gotten it, get it post vaccination) and decays to 60-70% in six months is badly flawed, unless your plan to give the entire world boosters every 4 months.

If, hypothetically  you eradicated the disease from a geographic region but without strong immunity, it will return, likely in mutated form.

Lockdowns, social distancing and masking, while likely the best ideas we had at time, failed.

There is natural evolutionary pressure on the virus to mutate to less lethal forms. The vaccine likely puts pressure on the virus to mutate to more lethal forms, while at the same time reducing the pool of potential hosts.

Natural immunity is better and longer lasting than vaccination immunity.

A government bureaucracy, run by career politicians, who arrive at truth via a vote, is not science.

Science is not a consensus. It is a jumble of competing ideas, that get debated and proven, or disproven over time. This is often a slow process, that cannot be hurried much.

Politicians, on the whole, do not understand science, do not care to, are not very trustworthy.

I don‘t know how to achieve this in the real world, but it might work:

Stop using the PCR-RT, except in a clinical environment in concert with other diagnostic tools. Stop blanket testing for “cases”.

Sort demographics into best risk/reward for vaccination, and encourage people to  do it, via education, for their own protection. Risk/reward includes both tiny probability of reasonable  protection with very low risk, and some protection in the highly vulnerable.

Immediately stop the fiction that we can achieve “normalcy”, which isn’t a word but probably means normality, via carpet bombing with vaccines.

Do not vaccinate kids without comorbidites.

Assume the infected/recovered are immune, and do not need vaccination. But monitor for waning natural immunity.

Stop ignoring therapeutics like HCQ, Ivermectin and monoclonal antibodies and others, and aggressively study these things and others in every combination. Go with what works.

Carpet bomb the world with home antigen tests. Encourage anyone at high risk, or living with someone at high risk, to take a quick test if they suspect symptoms or exposure. With positives, take the high risk people to hospital immediately, and let the vaccinated quarantine at home unless they become very ill. Use therapeutics to save lives, both as prophylactics and as early treatment, when they seem to work somewhat.

Stop listening to politicians and career government bureaucrats posing as scientists. Stop lurching from idea to idea, and blaming other for failure of what are actually failed ideas.

Stop the masking, the anti-social distancing, lockdowns, mandates and other “soft” coercion, and return to a thoughtful normality.

Stop focusing on one risk to life at the expense of all others, and understand people die from multiple causes. Save more lives by doing so.

Live. Free. Think.

Mike.

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Are We Still Very Sure We Know What We Are Doing?

To Date:

WA State Deaths              8500

Population                         7.5M

Deaths/Capita                   882

Sweden Deaths                 15,000

Pop                                   10M

Deaths/Capita                   666

Mike.

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TDS, Revisited

I’ve been trying to understand the real causes of Trump Derangement Syndrome for the two years it took to develop a reasonable working theory.

It’s all been swept into the memory hole now, having done the job, but many of us still remember the madness: The fake Steele Dossier, fake Michael Avenatti, fake impeachment, the fake charges against Flynn, the confused Mueller, the weaponization of Coivd19 against Trump, and many others. It’s a little hard now to believe anyone would be fooled by such obvious nonsense, but half the country and a many other counties were. Or pretended to be.

At a more personal level, I watched  seemingly compassionate, moderate, sane people completely lose their everloving minds. This wasn’t a thoughtful objection to policy, or Trump’s erratic behavior, petty vindictiveness, bizarre communication style, casual relationship with truth, or any other of his undesirable qualities. Many of his supporters held their noses at those things.

We know this now because Biden clearly is as petty and vindictive as Trump, and he gets a free pass.

But they didn’t hate him. The TDS people hated him. A mass, visceral hatred I had never seen before. A hatred that was not swayed in the least by facts, or reality. A hatred that made destroying friendships and families a noble cause. A genuinely frightening hatred.

Once the TDS had set in, minds slammed shut to any information that would question the pure evil that was this man. He became an enemy of the LGBTs, and a racist – especially toward blacks. At the peak of the insanity, he was an anti-Semite, despite moving  the embassy, and having a Jewish son in-law and daughter.

To be fair, Trump said hurtful things toward Latin American illegal immigrants while he was running, and a good case could be made that he was a racist toward these groups. I rather doubt it – I think the issue was mass illegal immigration – but I can understand why people think otherwise.


As for the racism toward blacks or animosity toward LGBT, there isn’t a scrap of evidence, and much evidence to the contrary. He passed a long promised and never delivered but overdue  prison reform bill that benefited jailed blacks, mostly. He worked to create jobs for everyone, including blacks, and either did it, and/or took credit for it happening anyway. He seemed indifferent to the LGBT community, which perhaps is bad. But he clearly didn’t have an axe to grind there.

Yet we heard that he was hater. Every. Single. Day.

Why?

For a while I thought maybe he projected some sort of creepy Uncle Ernie vibe that women picked up on, but I was missing. Like Biden does now.

So I asked.

The answer was consistent: “Children in cages, and pussy grabbing”.

That was something to work with. Children in cages was silly to anyone without TDS with a modicum of curiosity and reading comprehension, but it was clear that once the disease set in, it slammed the mind shut. Hard. And the only information that got in was anything that kept the hatred going. Accuracy was not important to the TDS afflicted.

Maybe is was an Uncle Ernie thing, or offense at his vulgarity. But on reflection, the many of the TDS crowd were pretty vulgar themselves, in a juvenile attempt to offend imaginary Christians that lived in their heads, and the rest gave them a free pass. I don’t think anyone was actually offended.

But then I thought carefully about the Access Hollywood event, and what he said: “They let you do it.” Now this is certainly not my area of personal expertise, but I have observed over a lifetime that some women do indeed behave this way around famous, rich or powerful people. I assume everyone knows this, and thankfully decorum stops us pointing it out.

He pointed it out.

He’s rude.

But that still didn’t quite explain the magnitude of the TDS wave.

Like most people, I figured he was toast after that event, and I wasn’t sad. There was a good slate of GOP candidates in that election, and a few of them would have made good presidents. Besides, like most people, I assumed he would blow it and we’d get 16 years of Hillarybama.

That’s not what happened.

He apologized, sort of. He didn’t flinch. He didn’t back down.

This is root of TDS. The baby boomer left had been infiltrating every institution for my entire lifetime. They were patient, subtle, determined and very intentional. By the time Obama was elected, they had introduced an insidious form of racism and sexism, which was actually a tool to create structural advance in hiring, pay and promotions for lefties like them, and cleverly disguised it as anti-racism, everywhere. They were influential at the top levels of power, through a carrot and stick strategy best described by the reporter Nina Burleigh, “I’d happy to give [Bill Clinton] a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal.”, with a side of would you like to keep your job?

Allies = insurance. For a while.

They controlled pop culture, and had a brilliant run at programming people through satire, humor and music.

And Obama was the Messiah. It’s hard to describe this any better than the demi-god himself: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

Trump was genuinely dangerous. Not like McCain or Romney, who didn’t even need a blowjob but fell for a fake promise to be an honorable lefty, if they played along.

He didn’t back down.

Now the reason that this was bad is that it turns out that half the country wasn’t down for this agenda, and found themselves powerless and mocked. For decades. And getting worse.

Everyone, except me it seems, got it immediately. The entire century long progressive agenda to destroy freedom in the Western world and create a new class of authoritarian ruling royalty was at risk. The pitchforks might come out.

So they crushed him. And then they crushed a handful of goofy people taking selfies in capital. A show execution.

Problem solved. Polite people don’t talk about any of this much, I presume because they are embarrassed at their behavior. And it worked.

Maybe.

Mike.

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This One Will Likely Get my Nexus Card Revoked

I’ll do it as lovingly as a I can.

Recently, I’ve seen a series of fb memes from my friends in Nova Scotia. They say, basically, don’t be rude to retail employees enforcing Covid19 rules, because they didn’t make them – they are just doing their jobs.

I’ve been on both sides of the counter, and each time I read one of these I thought yes, please. But at the same time, something was bugging me.

I reflected on our 5 weeks stay there this summer. During the 100 or so possible opportunities for retail rage, there were 3 mild occurrences. All directed toward us, and unprovoked. Two at Wal-Mart, and one at The Big Stop. The latter was unpleasant enough that we didn’t eat there again, despite it being one of the better restaurants in the area and a long favorite.

Then I reflected on 35 years of spending summers there. Ignoring  Air Canada, which is a really just an example of why monopolies are horrible for everyone,  there were perhaps 10 retail rage incidents, all minor, and all directed toward us. It’s a polite place.

Each day, about 100 million people trust the auto shutoff on gas pumps to work correctly. Because it does. But try to lock the handle in Nova Scotia and you will be harassed – immediately – by a kid behind the speaker. Object to this, even politely, and the RCMP will be called. You won’t be charged, just threatened. Now, perhaps that’s how it should work. You are breaking the law, after all. But ask that kid or the cops why the law exists, and they won’t have a clue. Because they never thought about it. They just do it.

Ask why this seems to be OK everywhere else on the planet, and people defend the system reflexively.

Over 35 years, we’ve watched as the province, country or town passed seemingly minor laws, no single one being much to get worked up about. Some were silly, like solving the problem of rising gas prices by restricting changes to once a week. Making opaque garbage bags illegal so people could (and did) make sure you were recycling was a little creepy. So creepy that you eventually got a budget of how much trash you could dispose of in secret, and  how much was public. Many were expensive and ineffective, like requiring liability insurance for ATVs as a solution to crash injuries. Lots of new training, permits, inspections, gear – all in the good cause of safety but somehow becoming a powerful tool to cause harm to competition. Plastic bags, straws…

As far as I can tell, most folks there see this as good and natural progress. I think the cumulative effect of all these laws on freedom is under-appreciated.

It has been good for the governing class, with enforcement workers growing in number and wealth. Good work if you can get it.

But it seems to have created a sort of militant busybody army of people who not only enforce the rules, or turn you in, but that seem to love it.

Too much.

But maybe it’s all just very progressive, as the entire rest of the world has adopted the same model during the Covid19 years.

I guess maybe that’s what is bothering  me.

Mike.

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Late Stage Covid19 Trials of Arrogance Disappointing But Not Ending

Recent news: The CDC has admitted that the vaccine doesn’t stop transmission of the virus, calling into question the strategy of carpet bombing the disease out of existence, and making a mockery of deeply held facebook wisdom that the unvaccinated are a danger to the vaccinated, when the opposite is (also) true.

Natural immunity after an infection and recovery appears to last longer and be much stronger than vaccinated immunity. All immunity fades rather quickly, likely in a 6-9 month timeframe.

The latter two points would make a mockery of firing people who have natural immunity and do not want to get vaccinated.

In a sane world, guided by science.

Like Jen Psaki, l’ll cycle back to these points at the end.

Show me a model with two roughly equal sized reasonably small cycles and a subsequent cycle four times as large as either of those, dropping to near zero in between all of them. For bonus points, show a rapidly moving cycle move through the unvaccinated population after the rate of vaccination had reached 60% in the general population, 4 months after wave 3 was exhausted. Now explain any of this.

Everyone was wrong, and continues to be wrong. Even Professor Neil Ferguson.

Well, everyone in a position of power. I’m almost certain that somewhere in Pfizer or the CDC (and maybe China) there are people emailing spreadsheets titled “COVID19, PLEASE LOOK…”, and being ignored.

For the first time likely ever, everyone had access to the same data at the same time. The data was reasonably clean by big data standards, and enough computer power and modelling software was available that amateurs could try their hand at modelling this thing. I did.

I was wrong. Repeatedly.

The professionals all came out high, and often very high. This is to be expected, as it seems somehow better to be needlessly over-prepared and not need it than to be under-prepared. This is not actually true, as all allocations of resources take from something else. Indeed it remains an open question what could have been accomplished if we had had spent the money and human capital spent on C19 on cancer, heart disease. And politicians will use any convenient real or imaginary thing: war, global warming, a pandemic etc. to secure their jobs and income. It’s easy to understand why the press and the politicians guessed high. Clicks, money, power, vanity.

But curiously most of the amateur models also showed a large bias toward “too large” errors. And many of the errors were inexcusable – not recognizing that disease targets – nearly exclusively and ruthlessly – the elderly in poor health.

Why the bias toward doomsday scenarios? I don’t know. There seems to be a demand for them.

One of the first mistakes I made was hoping that a sharp drop-off in infections after the first wave in many geographically local groups at about the 35% infected (positive PCR-RT) was the end of the virus in that area. While the pattern seemed to be robust and repeatable, wave 3 put an end to any such hope.

The second mistake was not accounting for the time the virus takes to travel geographically. To be fair, lots of people made this mistake, and in Feb-Jul of 2020 I read (and wrote some) many assessments of what was working and not working that were in fact attributing actions – social distancing and masking – that were actually doing little or nothing, with geographic movement of the virus. Indeed the first lockdowns happened around Feb-Apr 2020 globally happened in many places yet to be infected. And some, far too late to help. In a handful, early enough, combined with boarder closings to suppress the virus. At least until Delta.

I continued to model until the news that variants were in the wild, and the data dried up. It became near impossible to attribute a death to a mutation, or not, with publicly available data. This remained true until vaccination rates reached about 60%, and Delta started to rip through every almost every community. The speed that it traveled was visible even in crude data. It was unlike anything else. Also, it wasn’t supposed to happen.

But I was in good company getting Covid 19 wrong:

  • Nancy Pelosi told us that C19 was not dangerous, that it was safe to visit a busy market Chinatown, and that any belief to the contrary was rooted in racism.
  • Remember Two Weeks To Flatten The Curve? Did they actually believe this? Based on what? That ultimately ended when the pain became so high that people finally paid attention and realized it didn’t work.
  • The models were wrong. Tragically, comically wrong. New York reached the status of the state that killed more of its citizens per capita with C19 sooner than any other. But even with that, the modelers convinced Cuomo to send C19 infected people from hospital back to nursing homes in preparation for a wave that never happened. He literally made the choice to kill old people with the hope of saving younger ones, and killed the older ones. Using science. Then he made money off a book he wrote about leadership and good governance in C19 times.
  • Every C19 death on the planet was once the fault of Donald Trump and his idiot followers for failing to take simple, scientific measures. Joe Biden would fix it quickly fix it using science. That was more than a year ago.
  • Masks don’t work. They’ve never worked. The data is beyond overwhelming on this. They know it. At some level, everyone knows it. The politicians ignore their own rules. If this is affront to your common sense, consider what would happen when you exhale a lung full of vape through a mask. (https://swprs.org/face-masks-and-covid-the-evidence)
  • Arresting windsurfers, the grocery dance, “phases”, whatever Australia did. Little evidence it works.
  • Hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin, monoclonal antibodies, and recently a promising anti-viral from Merck. Why the odd political war to shame therapeutic treatments and promote vaccination as the only option? Why not try all of them, and then in combinations? Conspiracy theorists blame it on BigPharm greed, but there’s something else going on here that’s weirdly religious. Treatments have become somehow good and bad. The things the smart people do, and do not do, without knowing why. Weird science
  • The PCR-RT and “cases” nonsense. It was conspiracy theory stuff until New York Times said it was all true.
  • A little more than a year ago, one got banned from social media for spreading info that C19 came from a lab, not a meat market. Today we know it came from a lab, we know which one, and we know that US was funding this research. The same people guiding policy now always knew it, because they were part of it.

Coincidentally.

  • Asymptomatic (as opposed to pre-symptomatic) spreaders. Mostly nonsense.

One of the odd things I noticed while travelling the world during C19 was the widespread belief that we were doing it right but someone else was not. There seemed to be a built-in desire to make other people conform, and to mistrust and blame them. An unearned mistrust, in my observation. Most people on the planet were trying the exact same things and everyone was and is highly motivated to survive.

At each stage of this, and in each place, there was an ingroup and an outgroup. The outgroup might be students, tourists, people who don’t stand far enough apart, or don’t wear a dirty cloth over their mouth and nose sometimes, Trump supporters, the unvaccinated, motorcycle drivers, etc. And each time the anger that we should feel toward our bad luck and unfortunately wrong actions we were forced to take by governments was redirected at the outgroup. For the purpose of controlling everyone, I suspect. For our own good.

It’s a brilliant strategy. Indeed people demand it. They demand you tell them who to despise and what to do next. This seems to creates a kind of “selfless-gestalt” among many people that makes them proud to be controllable, for the good of the entire race. The mechanism might be helpful for survival of the species under attack, if used properly.

Where are we now? It’s a very complex system.

Until recently, like most people I think I believed these things:

  • The vaccination reduces hospitalization and death dramatically.
  • The unvaccinated get C19 more often.
  • People who get C19 spread C19.

It seems reasonable from this info to assume that reducing the spreaders and vulnerable hosts to virus should starve it and we can eradicate it. The only reason this hasn’t already happened is lack of participation in the Gestalt Of Not Self. I believed it, three months ago.

Now we know:

  • Vaccine immunity isn’t good as natural immunity (post infection recovery).
  • Immunity doesn’t last that long.
  • Immunity is less effective against mutations.

If it weren’t for mutations, vaccines would be easy.

From an evolutionary adaptation perspective the ideal host does not die from the virus, is healthy enough to move around and disperse it, but does not quickly or completely kill it.

The host who dies is a dead end of a path of spreading. The host who fights off the virus and all its competing mutations quickly and completely is an evolutionary dead end.

If your goal is to eradicate the virus, you want as many of the third, and as few of the first types of hosts possible.

Vaccines that allow almost everyone to completely fight off a pathogen , like Smallpox and Polio, both protect the vaccinated and push the disease toward extinction. Vaccines like the ones we have for C19, that provide only partial protection from infection actually increase the number of the first group, which may make mutations worse.

This is not an accident, or unintentional. If your goal is to reduce illness and death, a “leaky” vaccine works well. The risk of mutations is a variable but presumably one well understood in the development and testing process.

It’s worth noting that evolutionary “need” for the virus to have more host who are only modestly ill and recover (and spread), and fewer seriously ill or dead hosts provides pressure that tends to favor less harmful and lethal mutations over time. This is a good thing.

There is a theory (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/tthis-chicken-vaccine-makes-virus-dangerous) that leaky vaccinations increase mutations, and potentially dangerous mutations, by turning vaccinated hosts into “sorting machines” that kill off weak strains and allow more harmful strains to propagate. There is a real world example and study of exactly this from our experience farming at scale.

Some of the factors that determine if a vaccine will contribute to harmful mutations:

  • The rate of mutations (high for C19).
  • The innate genetic code – the dangerous combinations that are possible from mutations (one gene, two genes …). This is related to the complexity of the virus (more complex is good, for us; C19 is more complex than the flu, but less complex than Polio and Smallpox).
  • The degree of vaccine leakiness.
  • The vaccination distribution, specifically how many are / will be infected post vaccination.

The Covid19 vaccines have without a doubt saved lives of the vaccinated. So far. It’s entirely possible the vaccines created Delta. Delta is killing the unvaccinated, mostly. A decision to remain unvaccinated is highly questionable.

Yet facebook wisdom of the day is sure that the unvaccinated are the dangerous ones, and that if we just all push for 100% vaccinations the disease will be eliminated. This is not based on science, and has not been the result so far.

Most of us a now due for boosters, six months later.

It’s worth noting that we “got lucky” with C19, in that it kills only a fraction of the population, and they are easy to identify – old people with diabetes, heart disease, other illnesses and obesity. Sadly, the vaccine has had less of an effect with this demographic that we would hope (https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/09/covid-19-vaccine-status-age-discrimination.html).

“According to an analysis of British data by the Financial Times, a vaccinated 80-year-old has about the same mortality risk as an unvaccinated 50-year-old, and an unvaccinated 30-year-old has a lower risk than a vaccinated 45-year-old. Even a 42-fold reduction, as was found in King County, would only be the rough equivalent of the difference between an unvaccinated 85-year-old woman and an unvaccinated 50-year-old.“

If a mutation changed this, and the disease attacked the general population equally, like the Spanish Flu did, the results would likely be apocalyptic.

Perhaps:

  • We could all stop pretending that we are experts, recognize that the science is complex and a process of unwinding unknowns over time.
  • The “experts” could recognize this too.
  • We could stop blaming others.
  • Politicians could stop using this as weapon to turn us against each other.

Mike.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert. I read this stuff on the internet. Some of it, maybe much of it, is almost certainly wrong. In the  past when I’ve posted about C19, I’ve been wrong almost all the time.

https://www.journalofinfection.com/article/S0163-4453(21)00392-3/fulltext

https://swprs.org/covid-vaccines-a-shot-in-the-dark/

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/vaccinated-individuals-can-spread-covid-almost-easily-after-90-days-walensky-warns-over

https://www.zerohedge.com/covid-19/immunity-service-snake-oil-salesmen-covid-zero-con

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Hey Millennials, Quit Yer Griping

So the system is stacked against you?

And you’ve got it all figured: Unfair tax rates allow old white men to steal money that would otherwise make everyone rich. Racism, sexism, indifference to LGBT and immigrant issues and pronouns are they key issues in modern western society; they are a terrible wrong to be righted, and can be fixed by voting the same was as all your friends do.

Maybe.

There might be other issues of concern. Here’s one: The structural stealing of wealth from the future.

Between the end of WWII and the nineties, the USA, as a result of being the last country standing, having a system of free enterprise and private ownership, technological progress and industrial scale experienced a wave of growth unlike anything seen before. Generation after generation correctly assumed a better, longer life than preceding one. Hard work, smart risk taking were often rewarded with success. People were optimistic about the future, and, unlike most of the world, the conditions you were born into were less important to success than hard work.

We could argue about when this ended, but it would be sometime between 1970 and 1990. It ended because the cycle ended – the rest of the world caught up, or better. Communications, travel and global supply chains created the “Flat Earth”, driving the price of labor down, dramatically. The impact of the mainframe and minicomputer tech waves in the 60s and 70s was mostly in allowing already large organizations (and growing sluggish because of it) to grow even larger. And slower. For a few decades. The PC  and communication waves were the first time tech had the potential to really revolutionize every person’s ability and every industry. And they did.

But the tech waves were also highly exclusionary. Not in the least in the ways we think they are exclusionary today (i.e. race, gender, orientation, religion, etc) but simply as result that they needed fewer, highly specialized workers. The tech crowd became the new elite. And the working class began a long slow decline that continues to this day. American society is increasingly class-oriented. Not formally, but structurally. It has never been more important to have the right parents in America that it is now.

Governments took steps to keep the good times flowing. Small ones, at first, with Regan’s “tax cuts pay for themselves” spending increases. The truth is the deficit spending is taking wealth from the future, and spending it now.

You don’t hear much about this in the news, or in classrooms. Perhaps it has been fixed, or will be, when just the right people are elected. Judge for yourself:

The reason you hear about pronouns, micro-aggressions, racism, transgender athletes and global warming is precisely because it has not been fixed, and there’s not enough war to distract you. Nobody even tried. It’s best if you just don’t think about.

We are borrowing so much money that no one will lend us any more at the offered interest rates. Indeed, we are buying our own debt with money created out of thin air, and then spending it. Economic theory tells us that this should have caused massive inflation, yet the government tells us it hasn’t. Looked at the price of a house lately? Do you really think a house built in 1980 for a cost of $60,000 is now worth $750,000. Deficits and inflation are the largest tool the older generations have to steal from the younger, and the unborn. Elon Musk? Dogecoin? 

Here’s one you might not be aware of, despite being in plain view for decades: The Trust Fund Fraud. Indeed, Medicare and Social Security are indeed massive transfers of wealth from the young to the old. Medicare for All would increase this, for the simple reason the old consume most of the health care dollars.

Education” is in on it. Universities, long thought to be the way to escape one’s born into class, have become sorting machines to identify the winners and losers in tech/medicine/finance. And if you are not sorted so, you graduate with a worthless degree, a mind full of nonsense, and an unpayable debt. University professors and administrators, like the ever growing governing class, do quite well for themselves. And government spending and loans, intended to make university more affordable, has done the opposite, do to the inflation these actions created in education.

The Diversity Industry plays a role here too. It’s helpful to the governing class, and the tech/medicine/finance/education class that you not figure any of this out. Diversity Inc. produces mountains of seemingly academic nonsense proving that the US is place where white men have structural advantage, and are meanies, which keeps people at each other’s throats while the system is changed to give structural advantage to other demographics. One of these demographics is not Millennials.

Heard of a “share buyback”? That’s where company leaders issue new debt to buyback existing shares, increasing the price of these shares, making themselves and other shareholders rich. They are taking unearned future revenue, which might be used to fund your pension (via the stock market), and spending it now. Lots of that going on.

Finally, underfunded pensions. This might be the biggest one of all. Pensions owned to retired or soon to be retired workers, without any saved money to pay them.

Perhaps you think the rich just need to pick up the slack here, and pay their fair share. It’s completely academic what their fair share is, the math isn’t remotely close to working.

Politicians know you are angry, and have happy to blame people, take more power, and make the situation worse. It’s hard to know if the governing class ever had any integrity; indeed, if it has always been this bad. But it bad now.

Mike.

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Real World Covid19 Experiments

For much of last year I used publicly available data and news to attempt to create models that demonstrated which mitigations we were doing were effective, and in what order. In addition to just understanding what was going on, and being bored and confined, I have an interest in complexity theory and the ways we learn, and don’t learn.

I encountered many problems doing so, above and beyond bad data and proving causation, including the PCR-RT false positives, the difficulty of measuring  actual Vs reported Vs mandated behavior, my failure to correct for geographic spread when looking for correlations, and the non-linear nature of the spread of infections. Many measures, including disinfecting, grocery store aisle directions, 6 feet, data was just not available to even attempt to model them.

On return from Fiji in Feb 2020, I was wearing a clean NOOSH N.95 mask during travel back to the USA. At that time the outbreak at LifeCare had just been announced, but I had been watching China since December. When I traveled internationally, multiple times, in the fall of 2020, I was wearing a clean NOOSH N.95 mask all the way.

I did not start out thinking masks don’t work, and I still think that worn correctly, they are likely an effective low cost prophylactic.

During the summer of 2020, there was enough geographic variance in mask wearing that it was possible to find decent A/B comparisons, and control for most other likely important variables. In my models I have a range of “percentage wearing”, prior to late Sept, of 50% to 85%.

I’d like to say I found no difference in outcomes correlated to this variable, but I didn’t. I found a slightly worse outcome based on higher percentage of mask wearing.

After the beginning of October, there was no reason to believe the globe wasn’t masking at about 90-95%, despite widespread unsubstantiated belief that “we’re doing it, but they are not”. And save a few exceptions, the entire western hemisphere experienced the largest, by far, wave of C19 deaths. While masked to the nines.

I don’t postulate that mask wearing caused wave 3, despite the correlation. It’s possible, but seems unlikely. But there’s little evidence it helped in the least. None, really.

There are a couple of counter-arguments I want to address: It would have been worse. I can’t disprove this, but while I did find some variables that seemed dominant throughout the last 12 months, masking wasn’t one of them. And on the decay side of wave 3, there was again considerable difference in behavior between say, California and Florida, with outcomes being worse for mask states. There are few counter examples of this pattern.

Another argument, which might explain apparent success  in South Korea and Japan, is that there is a critical point of mask compliance and hygiene, and anything below that point leads to spread. This is curious and I cannot prove nor disprove it.

Arguments I will not address: I am not a doctor, I am stupid, I am anti-science, I let Trump do my thinking, I don’t care if you die.

So what variables do seem to have an effect? In my admittedly crude models, in order: global travel in/out, local travel (cell phone data), population density, average age.

I gave up trying to model lockdowns. There are just too many variables to attempt to control for. Maybe they delay things, but they don ‘t seem to change outcomes unless you stay in lockdown until a cure arrives.

There are two maybe instructive populations I’m watching now. The first is Israel, who demonstrated that at about 45% vaccinated, the disease – at least in the short to the present term – drops to near zero, and effectively zero at about 60%. But the news is taking about vaccine resistant mutations now, and the Indian variant is in Israel. We shall see in 6-8 weeks if the current crop of vaccines are effective against mutations, at least in this population.

The second is my old home Nova Scotia. After successfully maintaining a basically zero infection curve for 8 months (with travel restrictions, I suspect), the “case” curve over the last 10 days is looking more like the upslope of a wave 3. And the province has already implemented a strict lockdown, which will likely have  a high compliance. Note that there has been, and likely will not be any real change in travel policy, or masking behavior there.

Here’s what we might learn:

“Cases” went up as testing went up (1000/day to 10,000 day). Hospitalizations and deaths have not gone up … yet. If cases grow but health outcomes do not (in proportion), the crisis might be a data ghost. I believe the PCR-RT false positive problem resulted in massive policy mistakes based on not understanding actual cause and effect last year around most of the world. I will note that an increasing % of tests are Antigen, which seem to have a lower false positive rate than PCR-RT, and the government is making access to tests more difficult.

 If testing remains constant, and cases come down in 2-3 weeks, this will argue that lockdowns are effective.

If cases and outcomes grow into a traditional wave 3, until vaccination rates reach maybe 30%, then the argument that masking and lockdowns will be even weaker. Indeed it will show what I actually believe, that we have far less control over this than we think. I have no hypothesis about how to prove/disprove the traveler/student theory which is popular in the press there now, or if C19 was moving undetected all along.

I want to write something insightful about the corrosive effect of politics on science and humanity’s decency, the apparent innate human need to find someone to blame, the ease which which people can be tricked, the complexity on non-linear systems, and our failure to learn despite apparent massive amounts of data.

But I don’t know what it would be.

Mike.

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Graph Shows Hydroxychloroquine Is Effective Against Covid19 After All

Blue is new cases. Orange, % of population taking Hydroxchloroquine.

Of course it doesn’t. If anything, it shows the opposite of that the post title claims. It seems that HCQ causes increases in cases, rather dramatically in the 3rd wave, rather than decrease them.

There is a lot of information missing: Is % on HCQ it a dominant variable? What are the sensitive variables? How do we prove this? What does the graph look like when we control for other sensitive variables? Is there a control scenario? How are the graphs different than the control?

That’s not even what it’s a graph of. It’s a complete fake. The fake title was chosen to generate interest among the folks most affected by the topic of the post.

This post isn’t about HCQ. It’s about how we learn. And don’t learn. And become more confident of our knowledge at each step, regardless of it’s correctness.

This is a post about selection bias.

Selection bias is a mental process that causes us to not examine information which conflicts with already held beliefs, Most people think of selection bias as a bad thing, but it’s an essential part of managing mental complexity. If you notice in passing that the sun rose in the South today, you can reasonably save yourself a complete re-examination of the layout of the galaxy and the laws of gravity, and quickly file the knowledge away as likely noise. If the same information is recorded by instruments or seen by many people, it deserves more examination. Selection bias, in this case confirmation bias, saves time and energy and reduces confusion.

I chose HCQ because many people have an opinion as to its effectiveness that is not based on pharmacology or any medical science. And they often convicted not only that are correct, but that science supports their position. Often neither is true.

Selection bias is a cause of major judgement errors, that grow larger and more unmovable over time.

The graph is actually the percentage of people reported in a fb study to be wearing masks, and the number of new PCR-RT positive tests each day in the USA.

All the same caveats and questions apply re: Does this show that masks work? Or not? Why?

But this isn’t a post about masks, HCQ, or Covid19. The amount of effort you put into understanding the graph, and your receptiveness to information is likely sharply constrained around if you do or do not already believe that they do.

Simplifying life is critical to understanding it from multiple perspectives, scales and over time. Confirmation bias is a key tool in this effort. Indeed we can’t understand complex abstract concepts without a layering of highly simplified concepts. Bias is critical to learning at scale.


But it is also used by marketing and policy people to change thought patterns broadly using propaganda. And by politicians to stoke mistrust and dislike of groups as tool to win power.

And it is the mental basis for racism.

One of the interesting things about selection bias is that it is at least as strong or stronger among high cognitive function individuals.

Mike.

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Final Submission, Style As Message 302, Columbia SoJ

Style Pattern 5: All Commercial Airlines Move Many People to Remote Destinations, and Quickly, and That’s What Matters, Experts Say

While flying can be disorienting and makes some people anxious, flying on commercial airlines is a very safe activity, thanks to ever vigilant government oversight of the entire industry.

Plane crashes are rare, and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) even more so. DVH is potentially serious medical event that occurs when blood clots form in the legs. While a sedentary activity can increase the chances that a person might suffer from DVT, the overwhelming  majority of cases do not occur while flying.

Airline seats are designed by airline seat experts and tested and certified by the Federal Government to reduce the risk of DVT to the lowest level possible. Millions of passengers fly every day on these seats without incident.

While people with a genetic clotting, family predisposition, or history of a clotting disorder might intuitively worry about flying, the odds of a DVT occurring on any trip in the flying population are 0.0000532. General management of these diseases and simple lifestyle changes generally allow such people to live a normal life.

DVT while flying among POC, women and the LGBT community – often ignored if not actively shunned by the medical community is a serious concern and highlights the need to keep making progress on social equity.

Style Pattern 11: A Silent Deadly Killer in Every Airplane Takes Life of Mother of Three.

Finley Violet was the first member of her rural Kentucky family to go to college. The young, fit mother of three was texting her spouse Kai on final approach to their home in Oakland, CA.  She was sharing the good news that her bottom surgery in New York had been completely successful, when she noticed a sharp pain near the calf of her left leg.

It went away as soon as she stood up and didn’t think further about it.

That night, Findley and her wife Kai and their three children, Kendall, Morgan and Jaime, were enjoying their first night together as a family in months.  Kai and Finley shared stories until midnight, and then dozed off to sleep.

The next morning Kai woke to the shock of realizing that Findley wasn’t breathing.

The Medical Examiner explained to Ka and the children that a blood clot, known as a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) in Finley’s left leg, likely a result of sitting too long in an airline flight, had broken off and traveled to her lungs and brain. In the middle of the night partially awoke briefly to symptoms of a heart attack and a stroke at the same time.

DVT can happen suddenly, and without warning, to anyone, and research shows that it happens more frequently on long stretches of sitting on airlines.

Experts recommend standing up once every 2 hours and moving your legs regularly while flying.

DVT while flying among POC, women and the LGBT community – often ignored if not actively shunned by the medical community is a serious concern and highlights the need to keep making progress on social equity.

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