I Am Legend

The lock-down, at least around here, really got going on Monday and has accelerated through the week. The weekend saw the hoarding, as public officials started acting hysterically in front of the cameras. On Monday, businesses started to wind down, sending people home if they were not needed or could work from home. The parking lot at my office was very light on Monday, but there were still people in the building. By Thursday the parking lot was just about empty of all cars.

There’s some traffic on the roads, but it like a Sunday morning, rather than a weekday or even a weekend afternoon. People are staying home, for the most part. Not happy with their work, the government is talking about a nationwide quarantine. They are talking about grounding all passenger air traffic for up to 30 days, halting stock trading on Wall Street, and imposing a shelter-in-place rule. Presumably, if one more person gets sick after that, they will begin bombing American cities.

Yesterday I realized that I had not had a face-face conversation with another human in a couple of days. I’ve spoken to people by phone and had e-mail exchanges, but I’ve not talked to anyone in person for a while. For whatever reason, I was reminded of the old Vincent Price movie The Last Man on Earth. There was an old Twilight Zone episode of a similar nature. Of course, there was the crappy Will Smith version on this theme, in which you end up rooting for the monsters to get him.

In my fortress of solitude, I started thinking about another science fiction classic, The Mote in God’s Eye. In the book, humans finally meet an alien species for the first time and discover something called the Crazy Eddie. This is a mythical character the aliens use to explain the inevitability of repeated cycles of collapse of the alien civilization and the pointlessness of trying to prevent them. Anyone who thinks they can solve the inherent defect in their society is called Crazy Eddie.

That’s the thing that does not get addressed in the tales of apocalypse like I Am Legend or the many movies that spring from it. The plague movies usually have a story line where the good guys can stop the plague or maybe come up with a miracle cure for it afterward. In the post-plague stories, after society has collapsed, the characters never think much about how they got to that place. It’s just bad luck. The collapse itself has no meaning other than as a devise to drive the plot of the story.

Maybe what we are seeing here is the inevitable end of all human society. From the perspective of time, the end point looks like a fizzling out of a dying people, but to those in it, it looks like mass insanity. Maybe this is what it looked like for those living in the late Roman Empire or even the late days of the Republic. Then, as now, the people speaking out against the gathering madness were dismissed as madmen, as everyone set about pulling the roof down on civilization.

On the other hand, one has to consider the possibility that it is not the world going mad, but you are the one going mad. It’s possible. There are a lot of people looking around and wondering why we are doing this, but maybe all of us are suffering from madness and the rest of the world is acting sober minded. It’s possible, but that would mean they have a secret way to feed people in a nationwide 30-day lock-down. Maybe turning America into a hermit kingdom is the path to the Promised Land.

For the curious, if they can get past however they are responding to the what’s happening right now, this is an amazing time. We will see things that no one could have imagined seeing just a few weeks ago. No one can know what follows a 30-day quarantine of a continent sized country. No one really knows what will follow just this one week halt to the global economy. No one knows what happens if the plague fears are wildly overblown, which seems inevitable at this point.

Regardless of what follows, we are living in a time without precedent. A century ago, we had a real plague, but the world did not stop. The stock market collapse in the 1920’s did bring a closure, but it was not for a month. The bank run that happened in 1933  resulted in a week-long bank holiday, but the rest of society kept going. The past provides some samples but nothing close to what is being contemplated. Heck, we are already into uncharted territory with the one-week lock-down.

Maybe I am the crazy one, but crazy or not, messing with big complicated things always has unanticipated results. This is an iron law of systems. Even if the response is appropriate to the danger, taking a sledge hammer to the very complex system that is American society will have consequences that no one can anticipate. Another rule of complex systems is you need to understand the iron law of systems before you are allowed to even tinker with the system. That rule has been violated.

This week I have the usual variety of items in the now standard format. Spreaker has the full show. I am up on Google Play now, so the Android commies can take me along when out disrespecting the country. I am on iTunes, which means the Apple Nazis can listen to me on their Hitler phones. The anarchists can catch me on iHeart Radio. I am now on Deezer, for our European haters and Stitcher for the weirdos. YouTube also has the full podcast. Of course, there is a download link below.


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This Week’s Show

Contents

  • 00:00: Opening
  • 02:00: Cochran & Sailer
  • 12:00: Permanent Crisis
  • 19:00: The Boomer Question
  • 25:00: The RV Community
  • 30:00: The Truth Still Counts
  • 46:00: Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect
  • 49:00: Economics
  • 56:00: Leaving A Record

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StreetsAndSan
Guest
StreetsAndSan

It’s believed I contracted some flavor of covid 19 at the cusp of February. I’m Z’s age, male and a frequent flyer who lives in Chicago proper along the lakefront. We were descending from LAX to ORD and the Chinese national, I saw his passport, who otherwise sat like a rock, motionless with a kid on his lap suddenly jerked his head in my direction, yanked his facemask and coughed what seemed like a gallon of hot mucous on my head and shoulders. One shot, nearly one kill. I couldn’t clean myself properly until I reached home. Three days later… Read more »

Marko
Guest
Marko

If the worst happens and you are sick with the flu for a couple weeks, consider yourself lucky. I’d rather endure that than be mangled in a car wreck.

Exile
Member
Exile

Hope you and yours stay safe. Did anyone give you information regarding your immunity/chances for re-infection?

StreetsAnd San
Guest
StreetsAnd San

No. The medical staff at N’western, which includes lotsa vibrants, had no idea WTF they were dealing with. My case was pre-test. Best I garner, there are at least 5 strains of covids 19, each with nuanced characteristics. There was scant latency my instance for example. I wear vinyl or nitrile gloves when shopping etc. I resumed walking thrice weekly with a business partner and friend through the lakefront parks without any special gear or practices, just attempting to avoid the dogsh_t from the pets of Lincoln Park Trixies and Chads, to the extent Millennials are not all Trixies. Right… Read more »

Alzaebo
Guest
Alzaebo

Streets, thanks to you, I was able to tell a good friend what symptoms to expect, and that I heard it from someone who is recovering.

He’s a friend at work, and everybody loves this guy. You are very, very much appreciated.

JR Wirth
Guest
JR Wirth

Chinamen are filthy gross people. Never do business with them by the way.

d. diconez
Guest
d. diconez

if i didn’t know better i would think the Chinese national coughed on you on purpose.

Bill_Mullins
Member

Why on earth do suppose that you “know better”? What evidence do you have that the man did NOT, in fact cough on StreetsAndSan on purpose?

[A] Chinese national, … who otherwise sat like a rock, motionless with a kid on his lap suddenly jerked his head in [StreetsAndSan’s] direction, yanked his facemask and coughed what seemed like a gallon of hot mucous on [StreetsAndSan’s] head and shoulders.

Sounds pretty fekking on purpose to me!

ProUSA
Guest
ProUSA

We are not allowed to think it was on purpose or that the Chin’s activated it on purpose.

joey junger
Guest
joey junger

I watched the old “Last Man on Earth” the other night, and even though Heston scoffed at it when watching to prep for “Omega Man” and Richard Matheson had his name removed from the credits, it still maintains its weird elegiac power. Not really scary, but poignant. But I think “Dawn of the Dead” is much more apt for right now, what with the mad consumerism accompanying the End of Times: American cities will be left smoking ruins, the global elite will have retreated to their underground bunkers at Raven Rock Mountain Complex, and worse of all, Amazon will suspend… Read more »

JR Wirth
Guest
JR Wirth

As I’ve been saying all along, it’s only a matter of time before the negroes find out that the fence is no longer electrified. Like the dinosaur scene in Jurassic Park.

d. diconez
Guest
d. diconez

that will be a scary day indeed.
thus, whites (and friends) should cling to the 2a more than ever these days.

Bill_Mullins
Member

Careful with the racist characterizations, there friend. In my work of delivering food I’ve come across more than a couple of black people who are just as upset about the hype and hysteria surrounding covid-19 as anybody here. Yes, I agree that the rank and file person of African descent probably has no clue where to begin to look for a clue to what’s going on but then how many whites are truly clued in? Sometimes I rail at “females and mud people” but there really are good and decent and intelligent people of all colors. It just seems that… Read more »

HamburgerToday
Guest
HamburgerToday

I’m inclined to relate today’s situation with ‘Land of The Dead’.

Karl Horst (Germany)
Guest
Karl Horst (Germany)

I would be very interested to hear your take on this one. You’ll have to download the PDF from the link below. A very interesting view of how the Chinese are going to take advantage of this current situation.

https://www.horizonadvisory.org/news/coronavirus-series-report-launch-viral-moment-chinas-post-covid-planning

Member

If China’s goal is to use COVID19 as a strategy for gaining market share, it may well be the most retarded strategy in the history of Marxism. They have managed to piss off the entire freaking world. Then, just to cement this, they lied repeatedly about CV19’s existence, destroyed data, and then threatened the United States that they would withhold critical medicines if we did anything to retaliate. That’s ____ing stupid. In the U.S., it is a foregone conclusion that all essential medicines/manufacturing is coming back to US soil. Not if, but when. The American Public couldn’t give two shits… Read more »

Ifrank
Guest
Ifrank

I hope you’re right hokkoda. But. Your argument depends on our, the worlds, good governance. That leaders feel some national loyalty, may I even say patriotism? That they even care about their people. My fear is that they care more dearly about profits and continued membership in that global rich man’s club. After this is all over, companies will move back into China, because it is more profitable.

Member

The GOP won three House races in PA this week. All were contested, one was a district Clinton carried by 10 points.

And we now have not one but two GOP NeverTrumpers (Burr, Loeffler, etc) cashing out stocks in what looks like an obvious insider-trading deal.

I believe there is a reckoning coming.

Carrie
Guest

hokkoda:
Maybe you have just pointed out the Silver Lining in this entire thing.

I was optimistic, reading your comment! Maybe that will be the one thing the bipartisan dummies can agree on. Only time will tell.

Member

I hope you’re right. Then again I’ve been waiting a long time for this sort of moment when the adults finally get home and kick out the drunken teenagers who’ve been trashing the house and driving donuts on the lawn. Maybe this is the catalyst for the overall change that needs to happen in a lot of ways. If Western nations are going to survive this century as anything other than outposts of the third world that happen to be above the 30th parallel they are going to need to adopt this tough-minded attitude towards the third world’s temptations and… Read more »

tgimacb
Guest
tgimacb

Biologically, a host is an organism that harbours a parasitic, a mutualistic, or a commensalist guest (symbiont), the guest typically being provided with nourishment and shelter.
liberals, socialists, blacks, muslim, virus share common traits.

Compsci
Guest
Compsci

Reads like any number of papers from pay-for think tanks advising others as to wise things to think and say at cocktails parties. China will take no leadership role from first world countries, nor will they make hay while the 1st world factories are closed. You see, trade is a two-way street—you can’t sell to someone who’s broke. China is in real trouble. They broke the back (temporarily) of their most important trading partners. And there is every reason to believe their partners will not come back to trade as aggressively as they did before the virus/pandemic. If China wants… Read more »

Alzaebo
Guest
Alzaebo

Stunning. Excellent, Horst, bloody excellent.
I and others who called Chinese shipping a Cargo Cult are thoroughly refuted.

Now THAT is strategic Disruption planning by hard-eyed adults, men trained by the iron mentors who survived the Cultural Revolution.

“Reparations”? What, like those paid by Germany for decades? Part of the cost, the ticket price of entrance to the Davos party.
Certainly less than Mideast war and occupation.
(Or the British Raj it was patterned on.)

What does NuMerica have to offer?
We’ll bomb you unless you take those World Bank loans? Five Eyes? Gay marriage? Female Defense Ministers? Halal Burger King?

ChetRollins
Guest
ChetRollins

The dilemma in A Mote in God’s Eye for the alien race was their mass reproduction inevitably brought about social and economic collapse of their planet, hence why they wanted the stellar transport technology to travel to new planets. Of course, the Humans wanted to stop them, as their rapid spread would soon lead to war and conflict with other peoples.

The dilemma of humanity will be how to keep prosperous countries to have the will to maintain their civilization and reproduce after comfort is achieved.

Member

Maybe it is just me but I always thought the Moties were like the Chinese.
Intelligent in a way that is useful to them and their reverse engineering skills.

Rwc1963
Guest
Rwc1963

The trick is to make modernity family friendly to the working class something which hasn’t been done. Tucker Carksin repeatedly points this out.

Out ruling and monied classes do not want a prosperous working and middle-class because it means less money in their pocket. This is why we have so much off-shorting of jobs and industry to what amounts to countries who practice slave labor.

The upper classes have always had a tendency to rot and die out do to bad mating choices that often breed out vitality and intelligence.

Ifrank
Guest
Ifrank

The secret Chet, is to have a reason. When you’re uncomfortable, you have a reason. To get comfortable. When you’re comfortable, you must invent a new reason.

Sleepy
Member
Sleepy

Since the Z Man didn’t mention it, I will: The Omega Man, 1971, starrring Charlton Heston. Campy and a bit pozzy, but Charlton effing Heston! I loved it as a kid…

Here is a link to the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2FU9uJh5YY

Member

I wrote a long time ago that the key to a good bio weapon is that it kills enough of your enemy to cripple him, but no so many that it boomerangs on you and wipes out all your people too. This was back during the anthrax / dirty bomb era in the early 2000’s. China is almost certainly under-reporting cases and deaths. More Chinese die before lunch on a Tuesday than in their reported CV19 death toll. China also knows that the West has a different attitude towards this stuff. So, they game it out, and either release it… Read more »

Member

You have to wonder if some neo-con nuts have another plan in place just like 9-11. Remember The Project for a New American Century?

Member

You’re right. These irresponsible and belligerent actions by the Chinese make it blindingly obvious what we must do — We must begin carpet bombing Papua New Guinea immediately!

Member

” the key to a good bio weapon is that it kills enough of your enemy to cripple him, ”
Perhaps.
A lesson the the VietCong learned very early on in their taste of US aggression is that it is far more debilitating both morally and in terms of resources to badly injure rather than kill.
I wonder what long term effects will result from the current panic inducer.

Drake
Guest
Drake

Alright, now I want to go reread some Niven / Pournelle. Of course my f&*#^ library is closed for the duration.

Durendal
Guest
Durendal

Lucifer’s Hammer, Ringworld, protector etc.

Drake
Guest
Drake

Footfall, The Integral Trees, Inferno, Escape from Hell…

Drake
Guest
Drake

So Chloroquine might be the magic bullet? A simple drug invented in the 30s and as common as aspirin in the tropics? I sure hope it turns out to be the case, and crashing our economy and forfeiting liberties was a ridiculous overreaction.
https://raconteurreport.blogspot.com/2020/03/a-new-hope.html

The Wild Geese Howard
Guest
The Wild Geese Howard

Chloroquine is a synthetic substitute for quinine. I was able to order some quinine powder capsules a few weeks ago on Amazon, sadly they are sold out now.

Drake
Guest
Drake

If only Warburg’s tincture was still available.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warburg%27s_tincture

Drake
Guest
Drake

And… Now 3 International Studies Find Chloroquine with Azithromycin Shows 100% Success Rate in Treating Coronavirus in 6 Days!
https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/03/huge-development-now-3-international-studies-find-chloroquine-with-azithromycin-shows-100-success-rate-in-treating-coronavirus-in-6-days-video/
Two of the most commonly available drugs in the world (I’ve been prescribed both at different times). We are destroying our economy when, for a fraction of the money being spent, the feds could order 330 million doses of the stuff, hand them out, and be done with this nonsense.

Bill_Mullins
Member

But if they did that then the crisis would pass and they would have nothing for which to blame the President.

Vegetius
Guest
Vegetius

If Trump is going to play Wartime President now, then let Senator Richard Burr be tried and hung as war profiteer.

One death may or may not be a tragedy, but it can be attention-getter.

Federalist
Guest
Federalist

“. . . let Senator Richard Burr be tried and hung as war profiteer.”

We could all use some cheering up.

FashGordon
Guest
FashGordon

Sold all his stonks after a secret meeting about the coronachan? Yeah, that’s a pretty bad look. This whole thing is pretty damn crazy. I’m actually pretty optimistic about it. If nothing else, crisis’ and panic open the door for dramatic shifts in the status quo. There is nothing I fear more than things continuing as they have been. We have been speeding down a road to ruin for far too long.

Member

I think that “Hanging is too good for him” as my grandmother used to say.
I quite like the public spectacle associated with M. Guillotine’s device, complete with tumbril. Somewhere on the National Mall would seem appropriate.

Of course, we’d want to bring it up to date and the modern day equivilent would seem to be a woodchipper.

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

The problem is, once you go there, it gets used on everyone, in turn. c.f. French Revolution. Though most everyone it gets used on lives in Capitol City, so there is that…

Bill_Mullins
Member

The problem is, once you go there, it gets used on everyone, in turn. c.f. French Revolution.

Somewhere I read that Robespierre was a huge of Madame le Guillotine – until it was his turn to become intimate with her.

bilejones, one must exercise extreme caution when choosing a petard seeing as how one is always liable to find himself hoisted upon it,

Carrie
Guest

woodchipper is more messy.

Alzaebo
Guest
Alzaebo

No woodchippers. Good lord, man.

Now Madame Guillotine, though, if French damsels in lace decollage, bell hoops, and silk became a thing as well…

La Belle Epoque Novo. The Revival.
A celebration of life after the grim Lockdown!

Sleepy
Member
Sleepy

The below Media-ite story says they sold “shortly after receiving classified into about the ill effects of then looming coronavirus pandemic.”

Translation: After receiving a briefing about how the government was about to shutdown the economy with the inevitable crash of the stock market.

This was not “shrewd investing.” This was blatant criminality. But as Z Man says, nothing will happen. I would be fun run against one of these critters and just bombard them with their perfidy. Sadly, they would be reelected anyway, but it would still be fun…

These people — both parties — hate you.

https://www.mediaite.com/news/three-more-senators-reported-to-have-sold-off-stock-shares-before-coronavirus-meltdown/

Bill_Mullins
Member

let Senator Richard Burr be tried and hung as war profiteer.

If only t’were possible.

Jim-bo-bo
Guest
Jim-bo-bo

Be very, very careful, people….your rulers in current government, pennsylvania and federal, who won the most recent popularity contest…err..election……are getting incredibly more powerful and arrogant using this “crisis” to grab more power for themselves…we’re GIVING AWAY the farm…our governor has GRANTED himself the absolute non-legal power to SHUT DOWN BUSINESSES….if this were the 1950’s there would be revolution in the streets…..it is truely a sad state of affairs…..if 30% of us died from this virus while going to work and school,etc. , I would think as a society we’d come out of it stronger……we will never recover from this government… Read more »

Screwtape
Guest
Screwtape

Massive money grab. Cookie jar is busted open and the kids are in a frenzy on the kitchen floor. Free shit is all Trump has left. For years it has been “best economy ever, stock market all time high, unemployment lowest ever, jobs jobs beautiful factories…” and “gina gina gina”. Then within three weeks time its “we are all gonna die” unless all of the above is wrecked errr re-priced. Don’t worry though we learned from last time that unless you want a bunch of dirty street-shitting commies camping on wall street you need to throw some bones to main… Read more »

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

Wall Street was ideally a place for the little guy to participate in the grow-grow-grow of the economy and corporate enterprise. It was also a way to stick it to Goldman’s “muppets” (the little guys) through trading and packaged products, and it is now dominated by the big business and corporate executive “skims”. The old-school Wall Street and the little guy investing is the Potemkin Lower Manhattan facade.

Alzaebo
Guest
Alzaebo

100 upcommies, Screwtape.
Everything we were told about Adam Smith was a headfake. It had the competition- us- chasing our own tails while the informed got connections.

Plus! We built all the cool stuff they use.
I feel so, so violated. He didn’t even call back.

Bill_Mullins
Member

if this were the 1950’s there would be revolution in the streets

{snif} Doncha just love the smell of frog soup?

Durendal
Guest
Durendal

I love The Mote in Gods Eye! Matter of fact my parents had a copy of Larry Nivens Ringworld on their bookshelf and it was what got me interested in science fiction.

Yves Vannes
Guest
Yves Vannes

His website is still up. It’s been given a facelift since he’s died. If you order one of his books through his website (from Amazog) it will help keep that site going.

https://www.jerrypournelle.com/sciencefiction/

Member

Nice audio clip from The Prisoner to start the podcast. I got caught up with that maybe ten years ago with crappy youtube quality episodes. Better ones available now. McGoohan went on to play the king in Braveheart.

BadThinker
Guest
BadThinker

Governor Tom Wolfe of PA shut down ‘non-life-sustaining’ business last night, which apparently also means Coal Mines must shut down… Coal plants stockpile anywhere between 30 to 90 days of burn. But shutting down the mines means reduced restocking at the plants. But it’s “non-life-sustaining”. Steel mills are still open though.. I guess nobody thought of the coke facilities for the blast furnaces?

These people are insane. I am so pissed of right now. I am supposed to start a new job on March 30. Still planning to start via telecommute, but I am freaking worried now.

Sandmich
Guest
Sandmich

They act like they’re terrified of death, but then make decisions like they’ll live forever, yes insane! I heard from my boss this morning that any business that is a “critical supplier” (and a supplier to the critical supplier) will need to stay open. This includes energy (oil, gas, but I would presume coal too), medical, defense, food – the list goes on but we both puzzled what the point was. The further down the supply chain you go, the more likely places will have to stay open since those companies are at the base of the supply pyramid. Maybe… Read more »

Member

So we’ve seen the last of The State for a while then.

Alzaebo
Guest
Alzaebo

Internet, banking and credit outages, that’s what I fear. The Big One.

Like the Lockdown, I can’t imagine it, though.

Update: headed to a shop for a minor repair. The entrance door will be locked, I was told, but they want me to call outside the door instead and they take payment over the phone.

Paintersforms
Guest
Paintersforms

Banks are open. Too life-sustaining apparently. My company supplies to medical manufacturers. We’re closed. M&M Mars is still at least partially open, I hear. Again, must be too life-sustaining.

Probably just another Dem party shakedown imo. Pay to work.

Bill_Mullins
Member

And you’re sitting in the middle of the seat!

Screwtape
Guest
Screwtape

Fingers crossed for ya Badthink. Perhaps the trickle down of the payroll “loan” package coming out of the swamp will keep your job safe.

Daniel Millet
Member

I get around to visiting about a hundred and fifty different businesses in a week, every week. I can tell you that none of the manufacturing is shutting down and almost no one is panicking at all. The few that are panicking, however, are in a complete mental meltdown. Most useless office jobs are closed however. But they are not productive jobs. The employees who would hold baking contests at their “job” are all at home. Amazon has no more of their own delivery drivers they have all been laid off. Despite what news stories you read they are gone.… Read more »

3g4me
Guest
3g4me

My husband’s office has about 50 of the perhaps 70 people left working in their large, multi-story office building. I seriously doubt any significant work is not getting done by the absence of those hundreds of ‘working women’ and the men who serve under them.

Knife Jones
Guest
Knife Jones

I think this is interesting.

Read the comments

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRao6lVmsoQ

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

Geez, everything is all racizzm, all day, every day, isn’t it? These are voters, too.

Bill_Mullins
Member

One of the comments was

Seriously, even the president himself called the virus: Chinese virus. What do you expect from people who support him?

This was my reply

He called it the “Chinese virus” because that’s where it originated! Facts are not “racist” neither is calling something what it – IN POINT OF FACT – is. Get over it snowflakes. There are cities in the U.S.where roving gangs attack and try to cold cock older WHITE men and nobody raises an eyebrow. Get a life, children. Shit happens.

Lib Dis
Guest
Lib Dis

At 54 you miss being a baby boomer by one year lol. You are baby boomX.

Bruce Charlton
Guest
Bruce Charlton

(From my perspective) I think you have done very well to keep your head at this time, and this is very rare: you give some examples of several people who I thought were sound, but have spectacularly failed this challenge. Indeed it seems to you me that you started-off down the wrong track with this business, but (and this is unusual) backed-away from where you were going, recovered; and have start making valuable analyses over the past days. One thing I think you need to consider is that crashing the world economy may be deliberate – indeed I believe it… Read more »

M. B. Lamar
Guest
M. B. Lamar

Bingo. Green New Deal! You’re all going to die in 12 years! Ha! Pull the other one.
Would you believe, a vanishingly small number of you Are going to have a mild cold… right now! Really? Holy cow, global tyranny is simply a must-do. Go for it!

Brilliant, really. Why do psychopaths have to be so intelligent?

NJ Person
Guest
NJ Person

Incredible. AOC must be laughing herself silly now.

Marko
Guest
Marko

I agree with you but for a different reason. I would not be surprised if the virus was used – used, not created – to crash & reset the economy to something more rational & sustainable. I know that Z readers tend to think the worst of our ruling class and they are usually correct, but top economists (the ones not always in media) tend to be a level-headed bunch, and I suspect they were worried about the trajectory of the national & world economy for the past few years. It’s all built on debt, credit, and micro-trades. You don’t… Read more »

Compsci
Guest
Compsci

Marko, I’m interested in your idea of a “beneficial” crash, but I don’t believe in the beneficence of others, and economists are low on my list—as I too believe it when they, themselves, call it the dismal science.

Perhaps you’d elaborate with a hypothetical scenario or two in which the future outcome of this world crash evolves into a more sustainable economic order? Then perhaps I’d have a better understanding of what you are saying.

Marko
Guest
Marko

A quick, furious financial crash, generated by a true crisis (war, pestilence, you name it) is a perfect way to reset the financial system. The only other way to reset the markets is to have a devastating financial collapse, and in that case all the world’s eyes are on the financial players, and governments and God knows who gets involved, probably making things worse. With a true crisis, you have a cover and can solve systemic issues without too many eyes judging you. An optimist would see this as a way for Serious Market Men to go in and sweep… Read more »

Thisisme
Guest
Thisisme

You can bet your bottom dollar on it.

Bill_Mullins
Member

Question, Bruce Charlton, if I may. Now I’m not disputing your premise. I’d just like you to walk me through how the elites you posit are behind the shutdown stand to profit by/from the resultant collapse. Illumine me. I truly wish to know. No irony/sarcasm intended. I have no problem believing someone would initiate a global collapse if it would profit them, I just cannot see how anyone would profit from such an event. I say this especially since the collapse could easily exceed anticipated bounds and end up bring the initiators down too. I do not believe that even… Read more »

MemeWarVet
Guest
MemeWarVet

In addition to the other pieces of literature mentioned, now would be a good time to read H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness,” the story of a once-great alien civilization that declines and collapses under its own weakness.

Lovecraft was an admirer of Oswald Spengler and the story, written in the 30’s, is an obvious metaphor for where HPL thought we were headed. It’s tough to say he wasn’t correct.

The Elder Things were so great even Cthulhu wouldn’t mess with them, but then they gave equal rights to a Stone-age race….

Vegetius
Guest
Vegetius

Now would actually be a good time to read all of Lovecraft.

http://www.lovecraft-stories.com/story/at-the-mountains-of-madness

BadThinker
Guest
BadThinker

The guy was Based.

Yves Vannes
Member

When things come roaring back….. The service sector which employs a significant percentage of the workforce will simply jump back into the thick of things? Fat chance. Most of these people are forced to live paycheck to paycheck. They are the canaries in the coal mine. It will have a ripple effect throughout the economy. Unemployment and YangBucks may paper over things for a short period but how about the long term? Manufacturing may come running back home but there will be a serious time lag between the contraction in the service economy and the rebuilding of the manufacturing base… Read more »

Al in Georgia
Guest
Al in Georgia

We have Top Men working on this. Top. Men.

Alzaebo
Guest
Alzaebo

Georgia, they don’t, but *we* do.

Thanks to the Zman for taking a lead.
I would not have realized we’re facing a an unprecedented ‘nationwide 30-day lock-down’, but for the Z-blog.
Now I and we can prepare as best we can.

I think the Woke might see this as their defining WWll moment, as they imagine telling the grandxids of their heroically inspiring March For Unity, showing backwards haters what Our Diversity can achieve. All the oppressed world are global citizens and Americans, equal in the eyes of Gaia and Corona-chan. Except the haters, Nazis, and Trump voters, of course.

The Wild Geese Howard
Guest
The Wild Geese Howard

I’ve seen recent numbers saying that 71% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. If this goes on more than a few weeks there will be a lot of angry, desperate people out there looking to take from those who were smart enough to set something aside for a rainy day. Prep accordingly.

Yves Vannes
Guest
Yves Vannes

There are already news reports of looting in California, London and Paris. This is after only a few day.

KGB
Guest
KGB

LA, Paris, London? Well, knock me down with a feather. What with their massive non-native populations and the fact that they’re filled to the rim with vibrancy, they ought to be the safest places in the world.

Karl McHungus
Guest
Karl McHungus

That was going on before the virus (in cali at least)

Member

Yes, it’s my impression that Californians begin everyday with the “looting forecast” – Today we will see some light pilfering in the inland valleys, possibly spreading to the coastal hills by afternoon. Widespread dumpster fires and petty larceny expected North of Long Beach…

Bill_Mullins
Member

Not San Francisco? What? Are the soup kitchens still running? I’d think SF would be one of the first places to see such civil disorder break out.

3g4me
Guest
3g4me

So many reasons for weapons and ammo purchases now. No arrests unless you actually murder someone, plus let all the dindus go because they might get the sniffles. And while all these people are out of work and out of business, the landlords (how do I combine parentheses and some sign for Han/Indian?) are warning people to pay up or be evicted. Plus money is germs so go all digital, plus . . . crap, it’s endless. Whether manufactured or not letting a crisis go to waste, they’re going all in. 2032 got here a bit early, folks.

Screwtape
Guest
Screwtape

Yeah the pimp hand of the gov’t. Takes the money you earned from whorin’ with one hand, bitch-slaps you with the other, then when the tears well-up he knows its time to hand you back 40% of your money because he really does care. Now get back to work bitch. The convenience of manufacturing’s slow return, which will happen at least in enough areas for pressers, is that to the owners it really doesn’t matter at this point whether the sweatshop is in Vietnam or North Carolina because there are already plenty of Vietnamese in NC to work for sweatshop… Read more »

Compsci
Guest
Compsci

Yves, how true. Stat’s for last year were indicating a real growth in wages of 3%. After this fiasco, wages will be back down to prehistoric levels and the dirt people will be once again happy to even have a job.

The game is rigged—you can’t win—you can’t break even—hell, you can’t even quit the game.

3g4me
Guest
3g4me

But but but . . . Walmart is hiring!

The Right Doctor
Guest
The Right Doctor

Amazing coincidence: these are the three laws of thermodynamics. Can’t win, can’t draw, have to play. We’re in Entropy Hell.

Karl McHungus
Guest
Karl McHungus

There is going to be immediate economic activity (including new hiring) at the start of the in-migration of manufacturing. Once the physical plant is back and running, economic activity will ramp up steadily for decades. Wait until china is hit with lawsuits for all this shit…

Member

ok. So maybe we are on the same page here. I’m all for caution – working from home for office types, the grocery store sanitizing the shopping carts continuously, limiting crowds, that sort of thing. The shelter in-place orders in California and elsewhere are batshit crazy and it really does seem that some nutters plan to tank the entire economy all at once.

Of course, there is a plan to streamline the H1-B visas, because of course.

Alzaebo
Guest
Alzaebo

“Of course, there is a plan to streamline the H1-B visas, because of course.”

Let me guess. Our informative and gravely unfortunate StreetsAndSan met one of those potential H1Bs on his way to a sanctuary city.

Probably waved on thru by ICE at landing, since he had a (somebody else’s) kid.

Mark Stoval
Guest
Mark Stoval

“Maybe I am the crazy one, but crazy or not, messing with big complicated things always has unanticipated results.” No, you are not crazy it is just that you can see what is coming. You are really “woke” in the real way and not like those idiots on the left. The California governor put the whole state on house arrest today — for their own good of course — and even Stalin never tried to go that far. And so far, it looks like no one is going to try to give him what he really deserves. I am a… Read more »

Paintersforms
Guest
Paintersforms

Sitting in my truck on break as I type this. Just saw a group of youngsters walk by throwing a football around. Kids playing outside, a rare sight these days. So at least there’s that.

On the other hand, this could be my last day on the job thanks to our brave governor.

Adults panic, kids make the best of it.

Screwtape
Guest
Screwtape

My GF casually said last night “i wonder if there will be a spike in babies born 9 months from now”. We had walked around the other day and it was like a spring sunday in some pre-iphone era. Couples both home, gardening, playing with kids in the yard. It was lovely but also kind of eerie because that has become so rare i suppose. I thought for a second then responded that there will definitely be more babies. Just not in this neighborhood. These birds around here are career ladies. They are all on birth control. But a couple… Read more »

Paintersforms
Guest
Paintersforms

Thank you.

Member

And while you’re behind the stockade we will expect more and higher quality blogging.

Paintersforms
Guest
Paintersforms

Used to get deathly ill every winter until I was 7 or 8. Almost suffocated a couple of times. Because of that I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t acutely aware of my mortality. It’s a difficult thing to come to terms with, so maybe it was a blessing in disguise to go through it at a young age. It’s stupid to be reckless, but panicking doesn’t help anyone. Only makes things worse. Life is contingent, and when your time’s up it’s up. There won’t be a damned thing you can do about it. Or you survive, there’s no… Read more »

Bill_Mullins
Member

It’s stupid to be reckless, but panicking doesn’t help anyone. We are in the time of what I call Vanderboegh’s Dictum”. Mike Vanderboegh once rote, “When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.” I submit to you that we are living in a world where elected rulers are following Mike’s “advice”. Well, for all the good the actions they’re taking will do they might as well be taking it. We are off the map here, folks. Terra FEKKING incognita. Nobody has a clue what happens next after TPTB shut down whole sectors of the economies of… Read more »

Paintersforms
Guest
Paintersforms

Yep ol’ Smaug knows Bilbo stole his cup.

Trapped on Clown World
Guest
Trapped on Clown World

It’s amazing how isolating it feels when everyone around you keeps saying “flatten the curve” like it’s a magical spell. I’ve had people tell me how nice it is to work from home since they don’t have to do anything, apparently oblivious to the fact that if there is no economic activity then they won’t have a job for long. A prime example of this feminine hysteria is Rod Dreher from The American Conservative. You really should consider doing a post around this man on his own as I think he perfectly encapsulates how smart people think about this virus.… Read more »

greyenlightenment
Guest

more like rod dresser

MemeWarVet
Guest
MemeWarVet

He’s the “Benedict Option” guy, right?

Trapped on Clown World
Guest
Trapped on Clown World

Yeah, I used to be a big fan. As a Christian I agreed with the importance of building a community to sustain us through hostile times.

But after about 8,000 global deaths this man totally lost his mind. If I was his friend I would be going to his house and making sure he isn’t painting the window panes and screaming at his children to get inside the house.

In WW2 Rod dreher would have been killed by his own men for screaming and risking their position.

MemeWarVet
Guest
MemeWarVet

Z has aggressively dunked on Dreher in the past; it was funny as hell and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.

jwm
Guest

I do not fear the virus as much as I do the concerted effort by the television networks, and newspapers to sow doubt, and discord, and to undermine every effort that the President is making. This can lead only to chaos. They are playing with fire in a barn full of straw. Will they be happy to see riots in the streets? Martial law? A body count that dwarfs anything brought on by the covid virus? I believe they either do not care what the results of their campaign of lies and slander produce, or that they hope to see… Read more »

Bill_Mullins
Member

They are playing with fire in a barn full of straw. Will they be happy to see riots in the streets? Martial law? A body count that dwarfs anything brought on by the covid virus? “Yes” to all the above because it will give them more ammunition to use in their unending campaign “to undermine every effort that the President is making”. Their sole goal is regime change and they have no scruples when it comes to pursuing that goal. They desire nothing more than to remove a lawfully elected president and they will accept nothing less than Donald J… Read more »

greyenlightenment
Guest

I think I see the problem with Steve, Greg, and others. They are putting too much faith in institutions, that they mistakenly believe are cultivating the ‘best and brightest’ , much like the Los Alamos project or the Apolo program, and thus we must defer to such institutions for the solutions to social problems such as the virus. These scientists are supposed to have the answers,and if their models say that 300 million Americans will get sick if we don’t shut everything down, then shut it down. These institutions are not cultivating our best and brightest but are dysfunctional and… Read more »

The Wild Geese Howard
Guest
The Wild Geese Howard

CDC, FDA, and the Surgeon General have already proven they are all about the ‘vibrant and diverse.’

Bill_Mullins
Member

The experts are using models which cannot even predict the past. If the aerospace industry used models of such “quality”, we would see aircraft of all sorts falling out of the sky on a daily basis.

Mikep
Guest
Mikep

This German Dr has an interesting take on the link between the Wuhan laboratory and the initial outbreak.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_AyuhbnPOI&feature=emb_logo
It has always looked like a classic case of mass hysteria to me and this just confirmes my prejudices. I would be interested to hear what take that crazy Arch Druid guy, John Michael Greer I think he was called, would have on plague/panic business. Does anyone know if he’s still on t’interweb at all?

Member

Dr. Wodarg has a website that is mostly in German, but has some English articles. His argument, as I understand it, is that the overall rate of respiratory illnesses is approximately normal for the season, but everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 has their illness or death attributed to the coronavirus, even if influenza, syncytial and rhino viruses, or even pre-existing conditions, are present. I wonder what he makes of the situation in Italy, where the fatality rate seems rather high.
,
https://www.wodarg.com/

Trojan House
Guest
Trojan House

50% of tests are false positives:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32133832/

Drake
Guest
Drake

In China and other places using that kind of test. Here the labs don’t use that method and don’t tolerate that level of errors. A benefit of non-socialized medicine is that we are pretty much the only country with a full-blown diagnostic lab industry. We discussed a few days ago – if anything they hedge their bets towards false negatives, particularly if the sample is improperly handled.
https://files.labcorp.com/labcorp-d8/2020-03/LabCorp_Coronavirus_%28COVID-19%29_Q%26A_March_10_2020.pdf

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

Out and about last night and this morning, things are really quiet out there. Miramar continues to house the quarantined, with guards and barricades at the little side gate where the buses come and go, making sure no quarantined person escapes. Wouldn’t want to get on one of those charter buses after that gig. Governor Newsome here in CA announced a “not really” lockdown last night, statewide, but exceptions for everything and everyone, as long as there are reasons to be at work or have your business open. But no socializing or having any fun, plebes. The vibe really reminds… Read more »

Bill_Mullins
Member

I get the feeling that we are entering something new, and there is no going back.

We are well and truly into terra incognita now. We are off the known parts of the map in well into the part with the legend “Here there be dragons”.

The Right Doctor
Guest
The Right Doctor

I have to start by saying that this outbreak is the most interesting thing, to me, that I’ve lived through since the buildup to the Moon landing, which happened when I was 15. Just for the record, I’d rather be bored. I’m an internist. Think pediatrician for adults, a generalist. Normally I work in Arizona, but the company for which I am medical director is also in California. This situation has me working in California the past three weeks. Yesterday I dropped a stat on you: the US had 500 new cases a day last weekend. It’s around 3000 a… Read more »

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

Doc, please keep us in the loop r.e. your experiences and observations. It’s so hard to get any first hand information from someone who is on the front lines of this thing, and who is more interested in observations rather than emotions.

BTW I have met Doc in real life, and he has a passion for life and for his work. A true happy warrior.

Drake
Guest
Drake

Yes – Please be our guy on the inside!

KGB
Guest
KGB

You seem black-pilled about it. If you could clarify, what have you seen that leads you to believe this is going to get out of hand? Two degrees of separation, “many within one”, implies an astounding death toll, one that hasn’t been documented in an entire country yet. Why here?

Trapped on Clown World
Guest
Trapped on Clown World

Doctors are the ones leading this panic. Have you ever spoken to the typical doctor? They got to where they are by memorizing lots of information and regurgitating it.

If we don’t see the national guard trucking bodies out by the thousands then doctors will be yet another institution that loses the trust of the people.

Compsci
Guest
Compsci

A lot of the panic is because the general populace is “innumerate”. Big numbers are scary to them because they are unable to put them in context. When those who are numerate attempt to use such in evaluation of costs and benefits of policies, they are disparaged and called names by those who seek to exploit the situation. Doctors are not generally innumerate. They are smart people. However, they are of a certain ilk and taught to treat the individual to the best of their ability. They act accordingly, which shades their perspective wrt societal costs—and that is how it… Read more »

Paintersforms
Guest
Paintersforms

Plus doctors are on the front line. They’re people too and they put themselves at risk. Whether or not this thing is as bad as they say (I’m still in the skeptic camp), I can’t blame doctors for taking it very seriously. It’s human nature.

Bill_Mullins
Member

Had an “interesting” exchange with my cardiologist Thursday. His fear seemed to be that the system meaning guys like him) would be overwhelmed. Any appeal to logic – i.e. by advising him that the models used by the experts to predict the future path of this pandemic could not even “predict” the path of previous coronavirus outbreaks using known good numbers – fell on deaf ears. We agreed to disagree and see how things went on the other side. Wish I’d have made a bet with him. Doctors’ money spends just as well as other folks’.

The Right Doctor
Guest
The Right Doctor

Italy has had deaths equal to about 1 per 20,000 population. Multiply how many people you know times how many each of them knows, on average. The square root of 20,000 is about 130. That’s the number-of-people-needed-to-know for an Italian being within 2 degrees of a victim at present. Exponents work quickly.

KGB
Guest
KGB

I don’t doubt that’s the case (having personal experience with a corona death) in certain areas of Italy, but in the country as a whole? You said that “most” of us would be in the same boat, which implies a nationwide effect. Is that what you’re saying? Also, what is it about Italy that leads you to believe that it’s the most likely scenario facing America and not, say, Japan or South Korea?

The Right Doctor
Guest
The Right Doctor

The East Asian democracies are the ones doing best. They have racial solidarity and high social trust going for them, and tend to obey authority and pull together. China is the outlier in that part of the world due to its government, which let the people simmer in the broth for a month before doing anything at all. More ‘chaotic’ nations, those blessed with diversity and skepticism, won’t do as well. Spring break didn’t happen like normal on the beaches of East Asia, you can be sure. I suspect we’ll follow the European trajectories, but will be happy to be… Read more »

Compsci
Guest
Compsci

I’m still at a loss as to how my knowing of someone who’s died or knowing someone who knows someone that died, as anything to do with policy? People die, people live. People who have died are gone. People who have lived must continue to live—and that life must continue in the current society.

Now the question is, what sort of society should that be in order to facilitate the best results for the living? Further, discussion of that future society does not necessarily require that we wait until all events have played out.

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

If you keep in mind the Doctor’s comments of a week or two ago, the potential for this thing being big and bad was a hypothetical, and he was not exactly flippant about it, but had suspicions that the fears about the actual reach and breadth of the thing might have been overblown. Now he is seeing real infected patients, and he is no doubt taking the responsibility, which good doctors do, of shepherding those patients back to health and vitality. Seeing patients in danger, rolling in, has to be a very sobering experience for a doctor. My guess is… Read more »

Bill_Mullins
Member

Italy is no longer reporting. Like China, Italy’s numbers have blanks in the “New Cases” and”New Deaths” columns at Worldmeters.info. Something smells to me.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Excuse me if I’m reading you wrong, but you are guessing 100 million infected, with millions critically ill or dying? Those percentages haven’t happened anywhere yet. I respect your opinion, but I’m taking it with a giant pinch of salt. High numbers of new cases doesn’t mean millions of dead people. The majority of those infected in multiple nations, thus far, are asymptomatic or only mildly ill. We have a neighbor with family in Hong Kong, and they say everything is back to normal, with only a week or so of quarantine. Some nations, like Singapore, Japan and Korea, avoided… Read more »

Compsci
Guest
Compsci

Doc. Appreciate your observations. Not sure group sentiment is that the current disease is fake. I believe it’s real. Discussion to me is how best to evaluate the cost/benefit of the response. As you’ve astutely noted, there are those who wish to take advantage of the crisis, any crisis, to fundamentally change society. It may be unavoidable, but I’ve not resigned myself to such at this time.

Bill_Mullins
Member

Look also at the way the majority of people are whole-heartedly on board Maybe where you live but not necessarily where I live. As an independent contractor who delivers food I can tell you that a lot of my customers and none of the people who work at the places where I pick up orders (restaurants and a major regional grocery chain) have flat out told me that this whole covid-19 thing is mostly hype and media-generated hysteria. They’re not buying the bravo sierra for a nanosecond. That said they have no choice but to knuckle under when the government… Read more »

H I
Guest
H I

Z, Cochran has an answer to Ioannidis today that’s relevant to our exchange in a previous thread. https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2020/03/20/john-ioannidis/ “6000 out of 8000 faroese got the measles, the kind of result you expect from a simple model. 75%….The Spanish flu had an R0 around 2.0 . There had been an antigenically related flu around 1890, so older adults were less vulnerable. The percentage infected ranged up to 50%”

Dave
Guest
Dave

Cochran is sputtering and angry and not open to reasonable debate. In the comments section, and Sailer briefly pipes in, Cochran excoriates the other professor for daring to question the worst case scenario. You either agree with Cochran and Sailer or you are in deep denial, according to both of them. Either way, in 2 weeks or so we will see if we become Italy or China. I fully expect thousands of new cases, and a death toll similar to a bad flu season, on the order of 100,000 people or so, but the continuing question is whether that number… Read more »

Compsci
Guest
Compsci

Yeah, Cochran is getting to be full “grumpy old man” mode these days. He is expending all his esteem points. Soon, his smallish comment section will be nothing more than a “yes men” cheering section.

Mike Ricci
Guest
Mike Ricci

He’s mostly right about Coronavirus, but Cochran is pushing 70 and had heart surgery not too long ago, so he’s in the high risk column and rightly worried. Combine that with his normal autism he’s impossible to reach.

Bill_Mullins
Member

I’ll be 69 in ~ 4 months. I have a pacemaker, 2 stents in my coronary arteries, type 2 diabetes and was once (9 years ago) diagnosed with auto-immune hepatitis (incurable and invariably fatal) and I still deliver food to whomever orders it. I don’t carry 30lb (or larger) cases of bottled water to the 2nd floor and I try not to physically interact with those to whom I deliver. But I fekking refuse to let fear rule me. As Frank Herbert put it Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will control my… Read more »

ToM
Guest
ToM

TPTB are willing to engage in pointless wars as long as it doesn’t effect them. But when it comes to nuke armed China and Russia they are very cautious. I expect once they see an economic depression likely to have them replaced, they will reverse on the economy.

Rwc1963
Guest
Rwc1963

Trump and the CDC are going to wreck the country economically and financially with the measures they implemented. Then factor in the Chinese screwing with us in terms of supplying us with medication and other medical supplies and worse their factories have not ginned up yet. We are not receiving consumer, indusrial goods from them or components that our factories need. Hospitals are already having to ration antibiotics and even that Malaria drug is being rationed. India who is one of he suppliers of that drug will no longer export it and that leaves China and they are getting outright… Read more »

Compsci
Guest
Compsci

If the lesson is learned, the price is worth it.

Severian
Guest

Great column.

Member

Maybe I am the crazy one, but crazy or not, messing with big complicated things always has unanticipated results. This is an iron law of systems. Even if the response is appropriate to the danger, taking a sledge hammer to the very complex system that is American society will have consequences that no one can anticipate.

I’m surprised at the amount of pushback people give when this is pointed out.

Severian
Guest

I asked a former friend just yesterday to list for me the government actions, if any, that he considers completely off the table when dealing with coronavirus. This is a married man, with kids, in a job of some importance, who heretofore has always been a reasonable person, even a conservative. I got told, verbatim, to go fuck myself. This is the level of “reasoning” we’re dealing with. Give the modern American “man” the tiniest bit of psychological stress, and he reverts to a toddler.

Tarstarkusz
Guest
Tarstarkusz

Information overload. People are being bombarded with notifications and google is pushing it and the press is pushing it and the TV is pushing it. It is all anyone is talking about.

Severian
Guest

Maybe. A week ago I was willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. Now they’re just freaking out for the sake of freaking out. It takes a lot to get me to hold a grudge, but telling me to go f*ck myself does the trick every time. And now I’ve lost a friend to this nonsense. That’s another one I owe the Media.

Tarstarkusz
Guest
Tarstarkusz

Yeah. Everyone loves to pretend that everything we do only has benefits and that there is no costs on the ledger. Well, now some of those costs are becoming more obvious, like your friend telling you to go eff yourself. That is a cost of the hysterical media.
This thinking has become extremely widespread. Like immigration only has benefits to the GDP and no costs at all.

Sandmich
Guest
Sandmich

Bull, you’re not surprised at all 😉

Member

Blast. Caught me!

Charlie_U
Guest
Charlie_U

Some of these people may even have read Joseph Tainter and NN Taleb, too.

BadThinker
Guest
BadThinker

Taleb is in full panic mode. He has gone off the deep end with his insane Precautionary Principle.

Charlie_U
Guest
Charlie_U

Sure thing, I agree, and William M Briggs’s takedown of NN Taleb’s precautionary principle mistakes still holds true.

Nevertheless, there’s still validity to some of the stuff Taleb has written about the dangers of messing with complex systems, even if he is flaking out at the moment and continuing to be an obnoxious goon.

Bill_Mullins
Member

On the basis of “suspected risk of causing severe harm to the public domain” how could any action – or INaction – with regard to covid-19 be justified. To this observer Taleb’s PP would force a total paralysis of any policy making process since any action could be subject to a “suspected risk of causing severe harm to the public domain”. Any thing a leader/ruler does has at least the potential to cause some harm. How would one go about defining “severe” in such a context? I’m all for exercising “an abundance of caution” but soon or late a leader/ruler… Read more »

BadThinker
Guest
BadThinker

I probably have mentioned it before, but John Gall’s Systemantics (aka The Systems Bible) does a great job distilling the problems with systems (and also the irrational belief in them).

The Wild Geese Howard
Guest
The Wild Geese Howard

Anyone wondering about this morning’s market rip should know the Fed is buying any piece of trash they can get their hands on:

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/historic-day-fed-buy-record-107-billion-securities-today-alone-fed-balance-sheet-explodes

Skeptics can go right to the Fed’s website and look at the balance sheet graphs yourself:

https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/bst_fedsbalancesheet.htm

Screwtape
Guest
Screwtape

In Kevin Costner’s finest work, “Waterworld”, there is a bit character on the badguy oil tanker. A weathered, frail old man. His only function is to sit in a small boat inside the pitch black belly of the beast and call out the depth of the remaining oil when asked. In the final climactic scene, as Costner brings chaos and collapse upon the ship of savage fools, he drops a flare down a shift into that cargo hold of oil. To which the old man in the boat, bathed by the brilliant light of the oil of a forgotten era… Read more »

Alzaebo
Guest
Alzaebo

A question to our neighbors up North, such as John Smith or our other stalwart subjects of the Mapleleaf Commonwealth-

What say Canada? What’s the news up yonder?

A Yukon lad told me “of course we have nukes, and they’re all on the border, pointed at you.” Quite sensible, really. Dat’s da Canadian value.

Josh
Guest
Josh

We’re really missing the forest from the trees on this. My company cannot get compressors anymore as or vendor has been told to make them for ventilators. Along with supply chain disruptions, customers are canceling order. We cannot get chemical masks (N95) to protect my workers at the plant.

We’ll lose more to deaths from suicide, drugs, alcohol, loss of insurance, etc. and you are correct, the boomers are causing undo pressure upon the system.

Compsci
Guest
Compsci

Stop it with the Boomers, or show evidence that the rest of the population is against the present state of affairs. The enemy is us, in general, and duplicitous politicians in particular. If there is any relation to Boomers, it’s that they are being used as a pawn/prop in this high stakes power game—as in pictures of frail old grandmas holed up in their apartment awaiting the Grimm Reaper of death in the form of COVID-19.

Bill_Mullins
Member

This boomer thanks you 😉

Bent X
Guest
Bent X

One angle in this whole circus that I haven’t really seen discussed is the massive insurance liability of this thing. Boomers are HEAVILY insured and being particularly exposed to this virus surely had a lot of claims department’s mortified Just some back of the envelope math could put this “panic” in perspective $100,000,000 dollar life insurance policy (conservative) 2 week hospital stay = at least $500,000 (very conservative) If deceased $500,000 mortgage payoff (if opted for) This is not to mention pension payoffs, Social security payouts and the like. Take  that number and multiply it by 1000, 10,000 or 100,000?… Read more »

Drake
Guest
Drake

My brother is a insurance / investment guy. At least right now, the insurance actuaries don’t think a significant number of young or middle aged people in decent health are going to die from this. So they haven’t changed their underwriting standards.
As a result – he is making an absolute killing this month on people panic-buying life insurance.

Bent X
Guest
Bent X

Yeah, it’s a real bitch when that whole “Live fast, die young” thing doesn’t work out.

Bent X
Guest
Bent X

If someone who had the time and insight to work with these large numbers (ahem) in more detail I’d be genuinely curious how they would shake out.

We might just be looking at a trillion dollar problem after all.

Bent X
Guest
Bent X

Wait a minute, that’s supposed to be 1,000,000
Life Insurance policy…ooops.

Bill_Mullins
Member

$1,000,000? I got $10,000. That’s enough to pay for my planting (at Ft. Sam Houston natl. cemetery down the way from my folks) and a couple of bills besides. If I live to vote in the ’24 election I’ll have outlived my Mom. If I vote in the ’28 election I’ll have equaled my Dad and if I vote in the ’32 general election I’ll have outlived both my folks and all my grandparents. I ain’t making book on ’32. Truth be told I don’t really want to see ’28. Don’t expect to be at all pleased with the way… Read more »

Compsci
Guest
Compsci

Bent. $100,000,000 ??? If that’s not a mistake, you’re pulling numbers out your ass. Even if you mean $1M, you’re still making it up. A 65+ yo will be paying big bucks for such a policy—if he can get it. Similarly for a house payoff—which is the same as any life insurance, except more expensive. As you age, insurance companies push those premiums up—way up—as actuary tables indicate. You’d definitely need to be in the upper 10% of the population to afford such. Most Boomers are not in that segment. Nor are they heavily insured—unless heavily is just having insurance,… Read more »

Bent X
Guest
Bent X

That was most definitely a mistake. Too many commas and zeros bouncing around in my head these days. I’m in no place to know what the actual numbers are. I do know that the recommendation that most of the older folks around me operate on is 10x your annual salary. Again that was all just back of the envelope. My experience is likely not representative of the whole. I live in are that is absolutely bursting at the seams with this upper 10% retired crowd so I may be getting a distorted view. Around here lately million dollar homes are… Read more »

Alzaebo
Guest
Alzaebo

Bent, nobody else thought of insurance- and our world is insured up the wazoo and every which way.

Good call. Insurance may be the biggest industry in the world by size alone.
This might be far bigger than a mere trillion, 1/22nd of the US economy.

Ris_Eruwaedhiel
Guest
Ris_Eruwaedhiel

At time, autos were built like Sherman tanks. Safer in case of an accident, but terrible gas mileage. Modern cars are lighter with improved mileage, but less safety in case of an accident. New homes have insulation, but this also leads to mold and radon buildup. A question of tradeoffs.

Tarstarkusz
Guest
Tarstarkusz

I disagree. Modern cars are much better built than older cars, particularly when it comes to safety. There is a method to the madness. The whole car is not built the same. The side panels and the entire interior of the car are made with thick high strength steel. The parts of the car furthest from your body are made with either plastic, aluminum or very thin mild steel The parts that are 1/2 way are made with mild steel only of moderate thickness. The purpose is to slow the rate of deceleration in a crash. The slower the “cage”… Read more »

Compsci
Guest
Compsci

Tar, well put. We often confuse size for safety. Older cars—even those I remember as a teenager—were, looking back, horrible. My first car predated seat belts. The steering wheel was a largish, thin, round metal wheel ideally designed to knock out all your teeth in a frontal impact. Ouch.

Ris_Eruwaedhiel
Guest
Ris_Eruwaedhiel

This is what I’ve been told. One friend had a 2005 Suburban, totaled it and then bought another one because, he said, the more recent models were junk. Other people have complained about the quality of modern cars. I’m not car savvy, but simply believed what people told me.

On the other had, another friend said speed limits were higher on curves nowadays because cars are better at turning.

Tarstarkusz
Guest
Tarstarkusz

In the 60s and 70s and before, the vast majority of cars went to the junkyard with well under 100k miles.
The average age of cars on the road is at a record high.
Modern cars have MUCH better paint and under-paint coverage that is electroplated onto the car. This really helps with premature rot. They really need to figure out something for the frame though, particularly in places like New England. The junkyards up there are loaded with beautiful looking cars that are just not safe because of frame rot.

Karl McHungus
Guest
Karl McHungus

you don’t know what you are talking about. yes the old cars were heavier built, but they were hitting equally heavy cars so that was no protection. New cars are designed to crumple around the passenger compartment. With modern cars, you see people walk away from accidents that literally shred the car body but leave the passenger compartment intact.

Compsci
Guest
Compsci

Not really. I suppose an argument can be made for large vs small “modern” cars at the margins, but today’s structural design and air bag technology make comparison of modern cars to older automobiles fairly meaningless.

ReturnOfBestGuest
Guest
ReturnOfBestGuest

Before crumpling was designed in, that engine block was coming right back into the front seat. I love the design aesthetic of older cars, and I do believe there’s an element of “planned obsolescence” to new models, but that crumple zone along with airbags and seat-belts have saved lives. (This will likely be undone by putting a massively distracting touch screen in the dashboard.)

Alzaebo
Guest
Alzaebo

I found myself sharing a front seat with one of those engines in ’78, so yeah.

(Head on into a parked car at 110.
Had 5 totals like that. Unhurt.)

But cockpit seats? Blechhhh.
Phukisdis, a baby carriage?
Bring back bench seats.
And free the kids.

Bill_Mullins
Member

Don’t know about “planned obsolescence” but my ’13 Toyota Highlander is considered to be good – with regular maintenance – for 200,000+ miles. It has under 40K miles now so I expect my wheels to fall off long before those on my car do. Course, I’m old and don’t drive just a whole lot. Driving the hell outta the wife’s Prius right now, though.

Dukeboy01
Guest
Dukeboy01

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or some such group routinely do crash tests where they take a brand new model of a car and crash it head- on into a 20- 50 year old model. The new cars win every time. It’s not even close. You can find the crash test footage on YouTube.

Tarstarkusz
Guest
Tarstarkusz

The idiots who want to shut down the world to prevent hospitals being overrun are just making a new mistake to deal with the old mistakes of globalism and more importantly “efficiency,” which involved closing a bunch of hospitals. Like all of the other “just in time” efficiency improvements, they have traded resiliency for efficiency. This works fine when everything is running perfectly. But as soon as something goes wrong, the whole thing falls apart. This thinking is now pervasive in our world.

Compsci
Guest
Compsci

The question is only tangentially one of efficiency. In an era of immense technological ability, how does a hospital stock itself? This particular pandemic has only palliative care as a possible “treatment”. That care being bed, oxygen, and as last resort—mechanical ventilation. Yeah, there is a bit of antibiotics and now a possible malarial treatment, but ignore that for the moment. You want all that at the ready, or in warehouses? What about another pandemic? What specifically will be needed for that? What medicines with limited shelf life should be stocked? Or for that matter highly trained personnel. Our “efficiency”… Read more »

Tarstarkusz
Guest
Tarstarkusz

You have a valid point, but I think there is a happy medium between diverting way too many of our resources towards unlikely but catastrophic events. From everything I am hearing, they are really worried that the hospitals will be overwhelmed. My city used to have quite a few hospitals that are now completely gone and have not been replaced. You have to go further to a different hospital. The hospital that serviced my neighborhood closed like 25 years ago. It’s not just hospitals. Entire supply chains are “just in time” with little to no inventory. Storing stuff costs money… Read more »

Bill_Mullins
Member

Guess I’m luck to live in a city – San Antonio, Texas – with a not-insignificant percentage of the total hospital beds in the country. We got a whole shed load of hospitals here; military (Wilford Hall and Brook Army Medical Center) and civilian.

Vegetius
Guest
Vegetius

Z what is your favorite Iron Maiden album?

KGB
Guest
KGB

What is this, Open Line Friday?

All right, Z, what band(s) did you despise when you were of a certain age, that you’ve reconsidered in recent years?

Member

I don’t remember much Iron Maiden, but I remember their cover of Cross-Eyed Mary was the most God-awful thing I ever heard.

BadThinker
Guest
BadThinker

Tull is in a league of their own. I love prog generally though most folks look at me weird when I say that.

NJ Person
Guest
NJ Person

Dear Mr. Z-Man. I just finished with your podcast and congratulate you for outlining the current situation with clarity, balance and logic. As for not going with the crowd, you may find company with Bertrand Russell who said “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil”. The ruling classes appear determined to continue with the hysteria. They want to shut down one-half the economy and expect to handle this by blowing one trillion dollars. The Wall Street Journal, the respected publication of “normies”, does not seem to have a problem with this. The ruling classes openly talk about following… Read more »

NJ Person
Guest
NJ Person

Correction. WSJ editorializes today about “Rethinking the Coronavirus”. Too little to late?

The Right Doctor
Guest
The Right Doctor

If you are stuck at home and want to read a book that is very timely now, and probably the best treatment of the last-man-standing genre, I recommend Earth Abides by George Stewart.

Tarstarkusz
Guest
Tarstarkusz

Isn’t that book where the guy ends up dating some black woman to repopulate the Earth? He goes crazy and drives across the country to find some fat woman who called his phone and he ends up having to steal batteries from a dealership and adds the acid to the battery to get it going? He tells a story about how a minor defect in a pipe ended up causing the damn to stop working? I read that book. It was awful! That book is from the 50s IIRC. Even then they were pushing race-mixing! Or that awful book The… Read more »

The Right Doctor
Guest
The Right Doctor

I liked it particularly for his ideas of what would happen to the man-made and the natural worlds in the absence of humans. Dogs, for instance. Are they actually dependent on us?

Most of it rang true to me, as well as the way the people reacted: the old wanted to remember and preserve, the eventual young wanted to get on with the only lives they had. I found it very thought-provoking, even now when I drive down a California freeway almost by myself.

BadThinker
Guest
BadThinker

Bruce Dickinson *again* for podcast end music!

Are you going to stick with Metal going forward? Loving it.

KGB
Guest
KGB

Yesterday, I was feeling optimistic that the tide would turn on this hysteria soon enough. Maybe it was seeing toilet paper return to the store. I was thinking another week and serious questions regarding the necessity of all these measures would start getting asked. Today, the various D governors have shown they’re going to empty their chamber while they can, so I’m thinking it may be Easter before there is some serious push back. But what somewhat black pills me is we’re such a culture of short-attention spans that even if (especially if?) this blows over in fairly short order,… Read more »

Member

Unfortunately, I think you’re being grossly optimistic as to when this ends. None of these governors is going to give up the right to dictate to businesses and people when they can go to work or leave the house for the foreseeable future. They are armed in fact with some bulls**t forecast from the UK that it will take over 18 months before we can even consider leaving our homes to let them justify a year-long lockdown. Not only that but the UK forecasts predicts these mysterious disappearances and re-appearances of the virus, so even if there are no new… Read more »

Tarstarkusz
Guest
Tarstarkusz

I just don’t buy our leaders being stupid. I don’t think they are stupid, I think they are evil. “Never attribute that to incompetence what can adequately be explained by malevolence.” (or something like that:) They may be unstable and prone to acting foolish, but they are also very aware of of their goals. Even if foolishness can partially explain their behavior, it is not an accident that it always is in such a way that we lose and they win. It’s like the press. I don’t deny that they are stupid and lazy in addition to being malevolent, but… Read more »

ReturnOfBestGuest
Guest
ReturnOfBestGuest

Some of them are genuinely stupid, though. I assume most of them are being bought or blackmailed or both.

Paintersforms
Guest
Paintersforms

I think they’re incompetents trying to larp villainy and doing a very poor job of it 🙂 Making a huge mess more than anything.

King Tut
Guest
King Tut

For what it’s worth, zman, I think you’ll be proved right too.

King Tut
Guest
King Tut

Why if I were an American, I would be fretting right now about the effect of the virus on the black employment rate.

Tarstarkusz
Guest
Tarstarkusz

Only if you were a Republican desperate to prove how not-racist you are.

King Tut
Guest
King Tut

But surely it’s better to choke to death, gurgling on your own fluids than run any risk of being wayciss?

ReturnOfBestGuest
Guest
ReturnOfBestGuest

We won’t be hearing that line again for a long while.

LineInTheSand
Guest
LineInTheSand

At last! Someone reminds us of what is most important! And let’s not forget to prioritize the self-esteem of Chinese Americans above our own lives!

King Tut
Guest
King Tut

When they said Diversity Inclusion Equity (DIE), they meant it.

Member

This is actually true, depending on where you live. A lot of my rentals are in heavily black urban neighborhoods. Young, bored, out-of-work, cash-strapped black men are a recipe for trouble.

KGB
Guest
KGB

Do you rent to them? If not, what kind of tenants are you able to procure in that setting?

Member

A couple of my houses have occupants that fit the description, but they are not the primary leaseholders Still, I expect April 1 to be bad for collecting rent.

KGB
Guest
KGB

I’ve got three units and I’m *ahem* very picky about whom I rent to. The difficulty in my neck of the woods is finding the right people willing to live in an area where they may come into contact with the vibrancy, but are gainfully employed and trustworthy. I’ve got a couple good ones right now, but the third apartment is vacant and I’m trying to be very careful in my search. I’d rather it sit empty for 6 months than let it to someone who doesn’t fit the bill.

Ben the Layabout
Guest
Ben the Layabout

How would they differ from the typical urban male black?

Member

Quantity, man. And excuses “Da Kung Flu made me do it.”

Ifrank
Guest
Ifrank

Especially, King, since the schools are closed.