Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

A Very Intriguing Theory about Possible Artificial Origins of COVID-19

April 26, 2020 28 comments

A couple of days ago, I came across a rather long medium post about how COVID-19 aka SARS-2 might have been created in a laboratory rather than through natural selection. While I considered posting a link to it yesterday, it was prudent to do some due diligence first. See.. part of my job and training involves using software tools similar to the ones used in that post, so I decided to first independently verify a few of the main sequence alignments, structural models of proteins and publications etc before promoting it. Well.. while I have not re-verified every single point of data in this post, whatever I have done to date suggests that its main conclusions are correct.

Here is the post: SARS-CoV-2 Genealogy Through the Lens of Gain-of-Function Research

Since this post is very long and technical, let me summarize it- very briefly. The author starts by pointing out the unusual coincidence of an absolutely minimal furin cleavage site evolving at the junction of S1 and S2 subunits of the Spike protein in SARS-2. This is suspicious since gain of function by natural mutations usually tend to first create less than optimal sequences for new functions before being optimized via evolutionary selection. But this virus is too new for such an optimization to have occurred naturally- at least, that is not the most likely explanation.

He then points out that the two viruses which SARS-2 is most similar to ones discovered a few years ago (2014 and 2017/2019) in two different parts of the China. The Bat virus (RaTG13 with 96% similarity) came from a faecal swab from bat droppings from some cave in a part of China that is over 1,000 km from Wuhan, while the Pangolin virus (MP789 – 70% something similarity) came from autopsy of a bunch of smuggled sick pangolins from Malaysia in 2017. He then compares their sequences and while the Bat virus (RaTG13) is very similar to SARS-2, the Pangolin Virus has considerable dissimilarity with SARS-2 in first quarter of sequence for Spike Protein. Homologous recombination in a host infected with two viruses of same “species” without a segmented genome requires them to be very similar to each other.

More curiously, the new furin cleavage site in SARS-2 is a “gain of function” mutation, which means that it allows the virus to be more pathogenic (more infectious or capable of infecting a wider range of hosts/ cell types). It should be noted that more than a couple western research groups tried to insert similar enzymatic cleavage sites into other Coronaviruses such as SARS, MERS etc in the past. So it is not unreasonable to assume that the Chinese group in that Wuhan lab might have also tried it. In fact, we know that multiple research groups in Beijing tried that same gain of function mutation in a chicken Coronavirus. Oh ya.. and they also showed that putting that site into the S protein of another bat Coronavirus allowed it to infect human cells.

He then goes on talk about the whole field of Coronavirus research including many publications by a prominent researcher named Ralph Baric, who pioneered many of these techniques used for creating “gain of function” mutations in Coronaviruses. And yes.. he collaborated with the head of that Wuhan Coronavirus lab over the years, so it is makes perfect sense that you would see some his techniques are used in the later’s lab. Long story short, they looked at many “gain of function” mutations which made the resultant viruses deadlier. Also, Baric’s work seems to be have been “inspirational” to the lab in Wuhan since they kept trying out his ideas on Bat Coronaviruses.

The author then goes on to point out that accidental “leaks” of viruses from secure labs are far more common than most people realize, and are almost always due to poorly or hastily trained staff. So the idea that a poorly trained or careless researcher getting infected, but not developing serious illness and going on to spread it outside the lab is far more plausible than many would like to believe. He also points out the restriction enzyme map of nucleotide sequence, necessary for many types of genetic engineering, is rather similar for SARS-2, Bat and Pangolin coronvirus. And there are some other unusual similarities between the nucleotide codons used for certain amino acids- The explanation for which is a bit technical and complicated.

To summarize, the likelihood that this virus was created (along with others) to study effect of various “gain of function” mutations in Coronaviruses but then accidentally released into community through the actions of a poorly trained junior researcher is much more likely than it evolving naturally from a bat Coronavirus found in some remote part of the Yunnan province in China somehow magically recombining with a Pangolin Coronavirus from Malaysia and gaining just the right fragment of the Spike protein from it.

What do you think? Comments?

Electric Cars and “Renewable Green Energy” as Virtue Signalling Scams

August 25, 2019 9 comments

As some of you might have heard, the autistic girl promoted by globalists aka Greta Thunberg is making news for taking an ultramodern yacht to cross the Atlantic and publicly demonstrate her commitment to a supposedly “zero carbon” lifestyle. Just do that you know, most of her handlers and promoters are flying to NYC. Any ya.. once her fake sanctimonious speeches in NYC are over, she too will quietly fly back to Sweden. While I could write a lot more about how this delusional and mentally-ill girl is being promoted as the face of environmental activism, it is best to leave that for another time. Instead I will talk about how electric cars and “renewable green energy” are nothing more than virtue signalling scams. Yes.. you heard that, they are scams.

Readers might remember that I have written a (still ongoing) series about how anthropogenic climate change is a form of secular apocalypticism. Some might also remember my thoughts on Tesla Motors being an image driven scam. This is not say that electric automobiles are somehow impossible. Indeed, electric vehicles with performance equivalent to their internal combustion powered equivalents have been technologically feasible since the late 1990s. My objection to the popular delusion that the future of automobiles being electric is based on factors other than technological feasibility. To put it very briefly, the electrochemistry which underlies rechargeable battery technology puts an upper limit on the amount of energy stored by this method.

Long story short, the amount of energy stored in carbon-carbon or carbon-hydrogen bonds (fossil fuels) will always be at least a magnitude greater than that possible with an battery utilizing the most optimal electrochemistry. But that, by itself, is not the Achilles heel of electric automobiles. As you know, it is easy to build electric vehicles with pretty decent performance using currently available battery technology. The far bigger and related problem is as follows: how do you get all that lithium, cobalt etc to build batteries on a large enough scale to displace internal combustion engine powered vehicles. This becomes tricky rather quickly, even if we assume better than 95% recycling of all metals used in such batteries. Then there is the issue of obtaining enough of those pesky lanthanides aka ‘rare earth elements’ for their electric motors.

But the electric car scam gets truly exposed once you consider how the electricity used to power and recharge it is generated. As things stand today and in near future, most of that electricity is going to come from coal/gas fueled power stations. Some will come from hydroelectric or nuclear powered stations. My point is that only a small minority of the power used to recharge those vehicles is going to come from “renewable energy sources”. In other words, using electric cars instead of normal ones merely shifts the location where carbon fuels are being burnt, not the amount. And it gets worse. Let me ask you another related question. How big is the “carbon footprint” of the industrial and transportation infrastructure necessary to build, install and maintain all those solar cells and windmills? Are you starting to see the problem?

And it just keeps on getting worse. Ever wondered why hydroelectric power has long been the dominant way to generate renewable energy? Well, think about it this way.. the amount of water which flow through a river, while varying from season to season, is reasonably constant over a period of several decades. Furthermore, it can be easily stored for future use, and over multiple years. To make another long story short, generating a constant and predicable amount of power is far easy if your source of renewable energy is water rather than wind or sunshine. The same is true for power plants using coal, oil, gas or nuclear fission. In contrast to this, the two most touted sources of “green energy”, namely wind flow and sunshine, are fickle and dependent on weather.

Do you think it is possible to run massive power grids based on the whims of weather? Some will say- why not build “green energy” power plants with.. say.. 10x the capacity you need? Well for starters, it starts becoming far more expensive and maintenance intensive than conventional power plants. But more importantly, building even 10x capacity doesn’t give you the same level of confidence in power grid stability as conventional power plants have been known to provide for many decades. Imagine running an electric grid which will fail on a massive scale at least a few times per year and during extreme weather events when such power is necessary. But couldn’t we store this energy?

Well.. sure, we can store energy from fickle sources and release it in a more gradual manner. But doing so introduces even more complications. Building huge rechargeable batteries of any known electrochemistry is expensive and they not as reliable as many want to believe. To make matter worse, if that is possible, their malfunctions can be far more catastrophic and harder to repair than is the case for conventional peak power plants. The other way to store excess energy or moderate its fluctuations involves the use of pumped storage. While this particular technology is very mature and routinely used in hydroelectric plants for providing extra juice for certain times of the day, constructing such an installation requires certain topographical features in addition to lots of water. In other words, you can’t set them up in most locations.

But what about a “smart” grid? Wouldn’t having a “smart and connected” grid solve the problem? Well.. not really. Leaving aside the part where you actually have to first possess enough energy to distribute it properly, there is the issue of whether these “smart” grids are robust enough to deliver power without massive and frequent failures. You don’t have to a genius to figure out that anything connected to a large network or the internet can and will be hacked. And even if does not get hacked, a “smart” grid is far more sensitive to cascading failures due to component malfunctions than your old-fashioned “dumb” grid. Of course, you can always use coal, gas, nuclear and hydropower plants for generating the base load and backup. But then, how much “renewable green energy” are you actually using and more importantly- WHY?

If your use of “green energy” is not sufficient to reduce your sins.. I mean carbon dioxide output.. by over 80%, what is the point of spending all that money on building and maintaining these white elephants? Did I mention the part where most countries in Asia and Africa do not go much further than giving lip service to the cause of “renewable green energy”. Yes.. you heard that right. For all the noise the leaders of some developing countries make about “green energy”, when push comes to shove they simply build more conventional power plants. For them, “green energy” is, at best, a way to provide some peak energy and keep a few more people employed.

Electric cars and “green energy” are solutions in search of a problem which does not exist. Sure, they have some good niche applications. For example, using electric cars in densely populated cities would certainly improve air quality. Similarly using solar panels to augment peak power usage for air-conditioning and refrigeration in warm countries with lots of sunshine makes sense. But let us not pretend that people are going to give up a comfortable life to perform penance.. I mean, pay much more and get far less.. to please the insatiable gods of environmentalism. Moreover, attempting to do so via rules and regulations is guaranteed to piss of the majority and result in the election of more right-wingers nutcases such as Trump.

What do you think? Comments?

MultiCellular Life Arose More than Once and is Far Older Than We Think

July 27, 2019 2 comments

During some background work for my series about why belief in anthropogenic climate change is a form of secular apocalypticism, I came across some interesting new evidence for multicellular life evolving far earlier than is common “scientific consensus”. But before we go there, let me first give you a bit of relevant background and explain certain concepts. First, life on earth is over 3.5 billion years old since the oldest undisputed microfossils of single-celled organism which resemble modern-day bacteria (Prokaryotes or Archaea) are at least that old. However, there is evidence for bacteria-like microfossils in even older rocks. And evidence for 4 billion year old life exists at more than one location. And yes.. there are still many in the “scientific community” who do not want to believe that life could have existed in the Hadean eon (4.6-4 billion years ago).

It is, however, important to understand that life on earth for the first 2 billion or so years was almost certainly unicellular. But how can we be so sure that this was the case. The simple answer to that question is, atmospheric oxygen, or more precisely its lack. See.. all existent life on earth has a common ancestor (DNA/RNA based), but that common ancestor was unlike almost all of the life on earth today, for a simple reason. Oxygen constitutes about 21% of our atmosphere now, but it was a trace gas (likely less than 0.1%) when the Earth formed 4.6 billion years ago and remained so until about 2.5-2.4 billion years ago. And we know that was the case, because there is a huge amount of evidence for the point in geological history when oxygen levels finally rose above 1%. And this change had a profound effect on the Earth, because it is linked to the longest period of global glaciation in Earths’s history– one lasting almost 300 million years.

But back to the type of microorganisms which lived on earth prior to the Great Oxygenation Event. The first ones were almost certainly Chemoautotrophs who survived under anaerobic conditions. They were followed by Haloarchea which use Rhodopsin rather than Chlorophyll for photosynthesis. Bacteria which use chlorophyll came later, but were almost certainly around by 3.5-3 billion years, based on the presence of fossil stromatolites and microfossils. The key connection between these distinct groups of bacteria is their ability to survive and grow without atmospheric oxygen. Moreover, cyanobacteria release oxygen during photosynthesis. So what happened to all the oxygen released by them for the first billion or so years of their existence? Well.. it reacted with available sinks of gaseous oxygen in the atmosphere, on land and in oceans. In other words, all that oxygen reacted with atmospheric methane, terrestrial deposits of iron and other readily oxidizable elements. Atmospheric levels rose only after these sinks were saturated.

While I am not going into the many effects of rising atmospheric oxygen on levels of methane and CO2, the short version is that levels of methane fell a lot, while those of CO2 increased. FYI- methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 and the sun was less brighter in the past. All of this led to a long series of ice ages that lasted about 300 million years. But why do the levels of atmospheric oxygen matter? The simple reason is the energetic of anaerobic vs aerobic respiration is such that only the former can support multi-cellular life. This is not to say that rise in oxygen levels had no major effect on microbial life. Indeed, the rise must have killed most of the previously existing species of anaerobic microorganisms on earth. Today strict anaerobes exist only in certain environments such as under the soil, below ocean sediment, in decaying organic matter, bowels of ruminants etc.

Now let us, once gain, get back to the topic of this post- namely, ancient multicellular life. While bacteria can form mats and films with some external characteristics of simple multicellular organisms, they lack the defining feature- cellular differentiation. Multicellular organisms, you see, are defined by being Eukaryotic and exhibiting cellular differentiation. This is important to understand, because unicellular Eurkayotic organisms (with endosymbiotic mitochondria) have been likely around for about 2 billion years. And you will soon see why that approximate age for Eukaryotes becoming capable of aerobic respiration, through endosymbiotic mitochondria, is very relevant. Now let us talk about the history of scientific belief on when multicellular life first came into existence. Until 1959, geologists and paleontologists were certain that multicellular life came into existence at the start of the Cambrian era. But one pesky problem remained..

How did so many different phyla (many of which are still around) suddenly appear in the fossil record, without any precursors? But for decades, most scientists chose to ignore that question. The funny thing is.. odd shapes which looked like multicellular life-forms had been found in pre-cambrian rocks as early as 1868. But “scientific consensus” being what it is, such discoveries were ignored or explained away as bubbles or concretions for almost a century. It took the discovery of Charnia fossils in 1956-1958 for the evidence of pre-Cambrian life to become strong that it could no longer be ignored. Since then, fossils of multicellular life from the Ediacaran era have been discovered all over the world. While almost nobody today doubts these fossils to be of multicellular life, they raise more questions than answers.

While a few, such as Dickinsonia, can be tentatively assigned as animals (as opposed to plants), most Ediacaran biota does not resemble existing organisms. Even the body plan of many exhibits peculiarities such as fractal branching and radial symmetry, which are basically non-existent in animal phyla today. Also, they seem to lack a circulatory or digestive system, but have a far more structured body than sponges or jellyfish. To make matters more interesting, we do not know what they evolved from- especially given that the Earth had just emerged from an almost 100 million years long glaciation at the start of Ediacaran period. Nor can we can say with certainty, if they evolved into something which survived into the Cambrian period, which started about 540 million years ago. But wait.. there are even older fossils of multicellular organisms.

For the past few decades (1960 onward) the “scientific consensus” slowly accepted the reality of multicellular organisms during the Ediacaran period. But they still maintained that not much happened before 800 million years. Of course, there are multiple sites with fossils in the ‘boring billion’ between 0.8 and 1.8 billion years ago, including red algae from 1.6 billion years ago. And we cannot forget all those trace fossils, found all over the world, of what appear to be tunnels and tracks made by worm-like animals from around 1.5 to 1 billion years ago. However recent discoveries have pushed that date for multicellular life even further back in time.

In 2010, a French-Moroccan professor at University of Poitiers came across what appeared to be fossils of multicellular organisms from 2.1 billion years old black shales of the Paleoproterozoic Francevillian formation in Gabon, Africa. You might member that this was the time when Earth emerged from Huronian glaciation episode. The oxygen levels in the atmosphere had also finally reached about 2%, barely a tenth of today, but enough for primitive multicellular organisms. His group kept returning to that site and finding even more evidence of such fossils at that site, now known as Francevillian biota. Here is a figure from one of his papers in 2014.

and here is another.. FYI, many of disc shaped fossils are a few cm across.

While these fossils are not much to look at, in addition to being controversial because they go against “scientific consensus”, their existence is compatible with what we already knew about atmospheric conditions at that time. As it turns out, 2.1 billion years ago was immediately after the Huronian ice ages, when atmospheric oxygen levels had finally reached somewhere between 1 and 2% and Eukaryotes had recently gained endosymbiotic mitochondria. It is therefore within the realms of possibility for simple differentiated multicelllar animals such as slime molds, proto-fungi, jellyfish-like animals and proto-wormlike creatures to have evolved from unicellular Eukaryotes in the 50-100 million years years after the Huronian glaciation ended.

To be very clear, nobody is suggesting that they possessed dedicated circulatory or digestive systems like those seen in even the most primitive multicellular animals around today. But their overall size and morphology, in addition to the environment under which they were deposited strongly suggest they were multicellular. While we do not know if their descendants evolved into creatures such as those seen in the much later Ediacaran biota, that is irrelevant to the fact that they represent the evolution of multicellularity. My point is that multicellular life began much earlier than believers in the “scientific consensus” are willing to accept. Never forget that it is scientific theories which must adjust to observed reality, not the other way around. Here is a recent paper containing evidence for motility in some members of the Francevillian biota.

What do you think? Comments?

Anthropogenic Climate Change is a Form of Secular Apocalypticism: 1

July 6, 2019 6 comments

Over the years, I have written a few posts about why anthropogenic climate change is a form of secular apocalypticism whose origins can be traced to the ongoing terminal demise of the ‘white’ west. However, I never got around to writing an in-depth series about that topic- until now. My biggest concern about writing such a series was its potential length and the necessity of explaining many concepts as it unfolded. But it gradually became obvious that ‘kicking the can down the road’ was not a viable long-term strategy. So, I have decided to start writing it- even if the results turn out to be initially less brilliant than hoped for.

With that out of the way, let me quickly describe the structure of this series. While it would have been preferable to first tackle the psychology underlying belief in anthropogenic climate change, doing so would have created a series of long and turgid posts which were unlikely to capture the readers interest. Instead, I have decided to mix posts about interpretation of scientific evidence with others about related psychological concepts. The first couple of posts in this series will be about the lack of correlation between atmospheric concentration of CO2, average surface temperature of earth and mass extinctions over past 550-600 million years of geological history.

But before we go there, let us be clear about a few things. Measuring atmospheric CO2 directly and accurately is only possible if you have an actual sample of the atmosphere. All measurements of atmospheric CO2 from the past are therefore indirect, albeit to varying degrees. For example, while it is possible to measure CO2 dissolved in ice-cores samples, the numbers have to adjusted for the atmospheric temperature at which the tested snow originally precipitated using isotopic analysis, because the solubility of CO2 in water and ice is temperature dependent. Ice-core measurements, in contrast to other methods, do have good temporal resolution.

There is however a upper-age limit to using ice cores and the oldest one, we are somewhat certain about, is about 2.7 million years old. Also, there may be a hard limit on how far we can go back with ice cores since parts of mainland Antarctica within 483 km (300 miles) of the south pole were seasonally ice-free as late as 2.6 million years ago. The next part of this series will explore how those parts of Antarctica were 30 degrees Celsius warmer than today, even though the atmospheric CO2 levels were not that different. Measuring atmospheric CO2 from a time before 2 million years requires different, and even more indirect, methods of measurement.

Without going into too much detail here (you can always read the source paper), this category of methods is based on atmospheric CO2 being directly correlated to preferential weathering of certain minerals in rocks (through rain) and carbonate deposition in the oceans. It also factors many other things from stable isotope measurement of certain elements in dated rock/soil samples, size and position of continents in past, outgassing through known large-scale volcanic activity and many others to estimate the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The relevant part is that this model, even in its crude older form, gives an acceptably accurate measurement of CO2 in the atmosphere upto 600 million years ago. Ya.. the error margins can be upto 50% of the measurement, but it is still good enough to tell us that the earth used to have far higher atmospheric CO2 in the past. Reconstruction of average surface temperature during these eras is based on fossils records of plants and animals, various isotopic ratios and recreating positions of landmasses using paleomagnetic data.

But how much more CO2? Well.. it was almost 20 times higher than today in the Cambrian era and about 10 times more during the Ordovician. And it remained in the 8-12 x range for the Silurian and Devonian. Notably, these were the four geological ages when most animals and plants lived in or near oceans and other water bodies. It was also the heyday for Mollusks and shelled Cephalopods. Evidently, all that atmospheric CO2 had no negative effect on oceanic pH.

More curiously, the Ordovician-Silurian (O-S) extinction was largely due to a short spell of global glaciation. And this global ice age occurred when CO2 levels were over 12 times higher than today. It was only in the late Devonian (after plants had finally established themselves on land) that atmospheric CO2 levels started to fall, and there was another moderate sized extinction towards the end of that age. The next age, Carboniferous, saw a massive expansion of plants of land and resulted in a further decrease in atmospheric CO2 until it was about 2-3 times current levels. It was also the age of high oxygen levels and giant insects.

Atmospheric CO2 levels during the Permian remained low for millions of years but then started to go up. The end of this era saw two very closely spaced and massive extinctions, the End-Capitanian and Permian-Triassic aka ‘The Great Dying’. While CO2 levels went up to about 4-5 times today, temperature increases (especially in tropical and sub-tropical oceans) were insane. There is evidence that the surface temperature of ocean water in subtropical regions exceeded 40 degrees Celsius for a few hundred thousand years. While temperatures did fall afterwards and life recovered, they remained pretty high by current standards. However the climate eventually became wetter, especially after the Carnian Pluvial Event.

The Triassic-Jurassic extinction ended the Triassic and ushered the Jurassic. That geological age saw an increase in atmospheric CO2 but no accompanying rise in average surface temperature. While forests on earth never reached the density and levels they did during the Carboniferous, the Jurassic comes a semi-close second. Earth transitioned into next age, aka Cretaceous, with only a few minor and small extinctions. Initially the cooling seen during the late Jurassic continued, but soon reversed itself and it became almost as warm as the middle-Jurassic. The Cretaceous was also the longest geologic age since the Cambrian explosion and lasted about 145 million years. Atmospheric CO2 levels slowly declined to about 2-3 times today, in spite of the temperature remaining fairly high and constant. Isn’t that odd?

The Cretaceous ended with the Cretaceous-Tertiary/Paleocene extinction. After that the earth recovered from it the climate was still pretty warm and humid. Then we had the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum at around 55 million years and for about 200 k years it so warm that Palm trees grew in Washington State and Southern Canada. Then around 45-35 million years ago, there was another round of cooling and a further slight decrease in atmospheric CO2. However temperatures went up again between 35 and 6 million years ago. The most recent round of global cooling began about 6 to 7 million years ago when a land-bridge between north and south american continents started to form between southern tip of what is today Mexico and northern tip of Colombia. This bridge started to cut off equatorial connection and circulation between the Atlantic and Pacific.

Once that land connection was fully formed about 2.6-2.3 million years ago, global temperatures dropped even further and we started having regular and long ice ages (after almost 300 million years) with brief inter-glacial warm periods. This is also when a lot of tropical and sub-tropical whale species and large marine mammals went kaput and consequently took out predators such as Megalodon. Did you notice that the drop in atmospheric CO2 cannot explain the current stretch of ice ages started around 6 million years ago, nor why they intensified in past 2.3-2.6 million years. Are you beginning to appreciate why I think that the whole anthropocentric climate change theory is bullshit. In the next part, I will show you that as late as 3 million years ago, Antarctica was a significantly warmer continent.

What do you think? Comments?

Some Thoughts on How a War Between Iran and ‘USA’ Might Unfold

June 24, 2019 9 comments

In a fresh round of escalation today, the orange buffoon unveiled another bunch of meaningless “sanctions” against Iran. While it is still not certain that the buffoon-in-chief is delusional enough to actually start a war with Iran, pressure from people who have promised him tons of money etc after his term is over (such as that idiot in SA and his equivalent in UAE), pleadings of Zionists (including his son-in-law) in combination with chicken-hawks such as Bolt-on and Pompous-Idiot is likely to result in a war with Iran in the near future. While it is far more desirable, for everyone, that such a war does not start in the first place- it increasingly looks like we will get there, one way or the other. Notice that I said ‘war’ rather than ‘conflict’, ‘skirmish’. You will soon see why.

But before we go there, a quick geography and history lesson. Iran isn’t a small country. It has about 1/5th the area of lower 48 and about 1/4th the population of USA. To make matters more interesting, it is one the only three long-standing nation states in Middle-East, the others being Turkey and Egypt. There has been a Persian state of some sort covering most of modern-day Iran for over 2,500 years. Compare that to modern cockatrice states such as Iraq, SA, other Gulf Sunni emirates and even modern-day Syria. Did I mention that Persians and are not Arabs. Oh.. and also Iran was able to withstand the 8-year war with Iraq (and all states which supported the former) during the 1980s. Also unlike arab neighboring countries they make almost every single weapon system they use. Sounds a bit like DPRK, doesn’t it?

So let us start with the predictions..

1] Iran is not going to wait for Trump to change his mind or finish his presidential term. It will keep ratcheting up the tension, because they have nothing to gain by playing the waiting game. Expect more mysterious fires, explosions and mishaps at petroleum and petrochemical facilities in SA and other gulf Sunni emirates. They understand that west-European countries are spineless decaying entities who will not openly defy the also terminally declining USA. The best way to separate west-Europeans and other american catamites from USA is to cut off the former from being able access all middle-eastern oil. Iranians fully expect the USA to attack it, sooner than later- and they want prefer it sooner than later.

2] The ideal situation, as far as Iran is concerned, is for USA to attack it without significant preparation (troops on ground) and not expect a serious response. But once they do attack Iran, expect it to systematically target and destroy Saudi and UAE ports, oil storage installations, pipelines, desalination plants, brine-pumping plants etc. Iran wants to cause enough damage to shut down the oil output of those countries for at least a few months. And they have enough cruise and ballistic missiles with the requisite range and accuracy to pull that off. To be clear, I expect them to primarily use anti-shipping missiles (boat and land launched) to target structures on or near the shore. Have a look at a map of the area and compare it to the range of various short and medium range missiles possessed by Iran, in abundance.

3] To make matters more interesting, they will also send large number of irregular soldiers and militias into Iraq and Afghanistan to attack american military facilities, but also civilians and spread chaos in those countries. Expect Iranian irregulars to conduct a lot of bombings of oil infrastructure, assassinations of local american-stooges and create general mayhem in those countries. They might go especially hard on the Kurds parts of Iraq (who they see as american collaborators) and engineer a refugee crisis. The motives here are two-fold. Disrupt oil production and export from Iraq. Secondly, greatly increase the size and complexity of battlefield for USA.

4] Doing 2 and 3, almost simultaneously is possible for Iran and achieves a few synergistic objectives. Wrecking petroleum production and transport facilities all across the middle-east quickly cuts the world’s supply of crude oil etc by about 30-40%. More importantly it delivers an especially nasty blow to west-European countries, Japan, South Korea, India and other wannabe american catamites. Do you think countries like France, Germany, Japan and India can keep running properly if 60-80% of their oil supplies just disappear for at least a few months? Furthermore, USA is now faced with the prospect of fighting locals and militias in at least three countries in addition to dealing with a massive exodus of expat workers from those countries and more refugees from Iraq. And it gets even better.

5] Imagine what will happen to global trade, commerce and the stock market of many countries if such a large percentage of oil supply suddenly vanishes and the price for remaining supplies go up by 400-800 %? Oh.. and you cannot normalize the supply unless Iran is defeated (very hard, if not outright impossible) or peace is reestablished in that region. Do you think Trump and the Zionists will remain popular in USA if oil cost 20-30 bucks per gallon? Some of you might say- doesn’t USA have enough military might to prevent this outcome? Won’t they be able to blow Iranian boats out of the water or something like that? Well.. have a look at distances involved. Iran could do most of this by using nothing more fancy than civilian vehicles to transport most of the troops and missiles necessary.

6] It goes without saying that such a large-scale but unconventional attack across neighboring countries would cause mass panic and result in the abrupt departure of many ruling families- in addition to yet another refugee crisis. The perceived inability of USA to protect the interests of their local stooges will further damage whatever residual credibility it still has in that region. To summarize, given available options and capabilities, Iran is likely to rapidly exacerbate war with USA, by going after its oil-producing client states in that region.

What do you think? Comments?

Good Explanation of Physics Behind the Chernobyl Reactor Explosion

June 21, 2019 1 comment

A week ago, I came across this very good YouTube clip about the nuclear physics underlying that disaster. While I have seen dozens of reviews of the currently popular HBO miniseries about the Chernobyl disaster, this is one of the very few which goes into the physics of why things went so wrong. To make a long story short, the reactor design was less idiot-proof than should have been the case for something designed for routine power generation. FYI, Chernobyl-4 was the only one of the RBMK type to actually suffer such an accident. It might interest readers to know that all other reactors of this design type never experienced any major issue and ten are still completely operational and generating power as usual. The most important lesson of Chernobyl is that any product or service meant for mass use has to be way more idiot-proof than otherwise necessary.

What do you think? Comments?

Conflict Between Right Wingers and Tech Monopolies Won’t End Well: 4

June 5, 2019 4 comments

In the previous post of this series, I wrote about how the large number of aspies.. also known as programmers etc.. in the tech industry will be one of the main reason for its coming downfall. To quickly summarize, most programmers are poor at reading other people- especially as it concerns transgressing boundaries that no sane person would dare cross without expecting blowback. As a result, these mentally disabled people (just being honest here) will often make and stick to really bad decisions, you know.. the type which will get them removed from the gene pool. Euphemism aside, this is an issue that is especially relevant in the rapidly declining west due to market share of tech monopolies such as Google, FakeBook etc. See.. monopolies make the effects of stupid decisions that much worse, creating conditions for a quicker and far harsher blowback.

In that post, I also briefly mentioned SJWs- specifically, how they too lacked a theory of mind, but for far different reasons than aspies.. I mean programmers. But why is the nexus of aspies and SJWs in tech monopolies so problematic and ultimately suicidal for those corporations. It comes down to how these two groups of losers make each other mistakes that much worse. So let us talk about that dynamic. Large tech corporations seem to hire people with SJW mindsets for administrative jobs at a much higher frequency than other corporations. Part of the reason for this phenomena has to do with them being located in coastal California and heavily urbanized parts of the east coast etc. But the more important reason, in my opinion, is that tech monopolies want to present a public image of being trendy,”with it”, “woke” and morally “superior”.

It also helps that they have not suffered any serious or sustained blowback to acting like high-handed assholes.. yet. And that is likely to change, far faster than most want to believe. Many forget that just a decade ago, the state of internet (as far as it concerns tech monopolies) was quite different from what we see today. And let us be honest about something else, the public image of tech monopolies and that sector in general has taken a pretty severe beating in the past five years. There is a reason why cable shows such as ‘Silicon Valley‘ have become popular and increasingly caustic in their depictions of that sector. A decade ago, many people worshiped techies and wholeheartedly supported that sector. Today, I am willing to bet that, over 50% of americans will pay money to watch them be burned in a public square.

But why does this fast and large shift in public attitudes towards tech monoplies matter? After all, who really liked Standard Oil, Bell Telephone Company, pre-1950s Movie Studies and IBM during their heyday. In case you didn’t catch it, there is a reason I chose the names of those erstwhile monopolies and oligopolies. Is anybody today saddened by their breakup or downfall subsequent to anti-trust actions by previous governments? My point is that the public perception of any corporation, even one that is effectively a monopoly, is ultimately the single biggest determinant of its future survival. Tech monopolies have made far more enemies in past decade than many other monopolies did over multiple decades. But why and what does it have to do with SJWs?

To understand what I am getting at, let me ask you a few short questions. Which corporation will be hated more, one which charges you a bit too much for some services (any old-fashioned local bank) or one which unilaterally screws you over with no recourse (Paypal)? Which one will be hated more, an old-fashioned record label or movie studio run by greedy people belonging of a certain ethno-religious (insert name..) or corporations that fill a similar niche today but will shut you down and screw you over at the metaphorical drop of a hat because you offended some stupid piece of shit (YouTube, FakeBook)? I could list more examples, but you get the point. The later types of corporations elicit far more revulsion and hatred than the former. But why?

Well.. for two reasons. Firstly, internet monopolies do not follow due legal process or even bother to carefully justify their actions. Human beings remember slights and insults far better than “rationalist” idiots want to accept. Secondly, many less reputable corporations of yesteryear were not monopolies and one could easily find competitors eager to work with another new customer or partner. Also, as mentioned in a previous post, monoplies such as Standard Oil, Bell Telephone Company and IBM were always more than willing to sell their products and services to whoever could pay- irrespective of whether they agreed with their worldview or not. It was all about making money and getting repeat business, nothing more.

Now let us go back to SJWs or more precisely, how they will be the death of internet monopolies- in more ways than one. Ever wondered why corporations in previous eras seemed to lack SJWs, or why corporations in some sectors still have no SJWs within their ranks? It comes down to corporate structure, specifically how it has changed over past four decades. Prior to 1980, almost every person in management and administration rose to their current positions from within that corporation or from another similar one. In other words, they were loyal to the corporations they worked for and it was rewarded with job or career security. However the neoliberal “revolution” changed that and the management and administrative staff of corporation were increasingly external hires who saw each job as a temporary stepping stone towards an independent career- which never works for most of them in the end.

But what does this have to do with SJW-ism and “woke” capitalism? Well.. think of it this way, what does a person who does not expect to stay at a corporation for the rest of their life care about? The simple answer is- finding their next and hopefully better job. But what value does somebody, who likely has never worked in a corporation similar to the one in which they are seeking a job, offer to their new employer? Only two things, impressive-sounding educational “credentials” and manufactured public image. This why, for example, a mediocre candidate getting an MBA from an ivy-league school translates into a great job offer while an intelligent one from a “second rate” state university languishes in obscurity.

And this often ties in with a carefully curated public image aka people indulging in grandiose acts of “virtue” display or anything else that is seen as fashionable. It is all about showing off, lying and bullshitting. Earlier, I mentioned that SJWs lack a theory of mind, albeit for different reasons than aspies. Well.. here is the reason. SJWs are all about careerism supported by ever more ridiculous displays of fake “virtue”. If being “woke” and “tone policing” did not exist, they would support and promote anything that appeared fashionable. Heck, if enough idiots educated at ivy-leagues thought that Nazism was hip, they would go full Nazi.

In other words, being “woke” and “politically correct” is fashionable for the same reason polyester suits were fashionable in 1970s or those weird padded suits were big in 1980s. It is all about constantly giving off the appearance of being “hip”,”current” and “with it”. But surely, they cannot be that stupid? Are they so out of touch with reality? Guess what.. they are, and hanging out in their own social bubbles merely reinforces their belief system- if you can call it that. But more importantly, they have so far been insulated from the consequences of their behavior and actions. I, however, predict that it will soon change and they will increasingly have to face the wrath of people abused by them in past- for reasons that have to with probability.

In the next part of this series, I will lay out the many statistical reasons why SJWS and their corporate enablers will soon face an extremely nasty and likely violent backlash. And ya.. their doom is linked to probabilities generated via their own actions and behavior.

What do you think? Comments?

2019 and 2020 Will be Much Bigger Shitshows than 2015 and 2016

May 30, 2019 17 comments

As regular readers know, I often make predictions on a number of topics which later turn out to be right (or pretty close) with a high rate of success. More importantly, I am able to accurately identify the underlying dynamics, trends and forces responsible for the ultimate outcomes. Now let me make another seemingly obvious prediction, but with far greater insight and details than possible for quacks.. I mean credentialed “experts”. My prediction is that 2019 and 2020 will be far larger and more problematic shitshows than 2015 and 2016. Some of you (MikeCA?) might argue that every day since the election of Trump has been a shitshow.. and that is technically sorta true. But if you think that 2017 and 2018 were shitshows, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

There are many reasons why this period of 1.5 years will be an epic meta-shitshow of the likes we haven’t witnessed in living memory. However, it is not simply the sheer number or magnitude of individual shitshows that will make this period memorable, but how one shitshow will feed into another and so on.. you know, synergy. But before we go there, let us talk about why 2015 and 2016 marked the beginning of our current era of shitshows. It all began with an orange Buffoon riding down a gaudy escalator alongside a trophy wife with a face pumped full of cosmetic Botox. Initially it seemed that his campaign for the republican presidential nomination was just another publicity stunt to obtain a larger payout from the reality show in which he was starring.

However it became obvious to me within 4-6 weeks that his outrageous and colorful persona had far more public support than effete Washington DC ‘insiders’ realized. And yes.. I never changed my opinion on that issue and turned out be right. And ya.. I also predicted he would win against Hillary in early 2016, even at times when even the most radical presstitues.. I mean journalists.. thought that HRC might somehow prevail against him on election day. I also explored the real reasons why HRC would lose to that buffoon– before the election took place. FYI- majority of my accurate predictions have been about issues and topics other than Trump. But enough about the orange buffoon. Let us now talk about Brexit- more precisely, why the ‘remain’ side lost.

MSM news outlets in that rapidly decaying country (UK) want you to believe that Brexit was due to the stupidity of poorly educated people in that country. However a simple look at the geography of that vote tells you all you need about Brexit. Long story short, post-2008 austerity measures in UK hit parts of the country that are not London pretty hard. People who live in those regions, aka most of that country, got progressively disillusioned with the shitty status quo. They expressed their discontent by voting against something which stood as a placeholder for the widely reviled status quo. You know.. just like people in the Mid-West finally got tired of Obama’s 8-year long lie about “Hope and Change” voted for Trump over the symbol of continuity aka HRC.

But both these shocks to the Establishment, their aftermath and colorful rhetoric accompanying both those changes are nothing compared to what we will witness in 2019 and 2020. While I will restrict my predictions to USA, things are also likely to get interesting in other parts of the world- maybe a bit too interesting. But before we go to the list, a word of caution. The most obvious reasons are unlikely to be the most consequential. The less glamorous reasons, further down the list, carry far more weight than the shiny but superficial ones which are obvious. So let us start by listing them in order of apparent obviousness.

1] Ever since Trump won the republican nomination in mid-2016, democratic establishment and deep state types have been trying to find enough dirt to stop his victory in the 2016 presidential election (which they failed) or impeach him. As things stand today, they have not uncovered anything more scandalous than Trump getting his disgraced lawyer to pay hush money to two women he had sex with while married to his current wife. While this revelation does provide fodder for supermarket tabloids, it is totally unsurprising and in line with Trump’s past behavior. More importantly, the Mueller investigation has not uncovered evidence of “collusion” between Trump and Russia or Putin. Nor has it shown any definitive evidence for obstruction of justice by Trump. And I know MikeCA will have something to say about my characterization of that report.

But these severe setbacks have not stopped an increasing number of democrats from demanding his impeachment, because face it.. they always knew he was “guilty” of something impeachable. Today, the patron saint of pro-impeachment brigade aka Robert Mueller came out and all but openly encouraged democrats to start the impeachment process, even though his report does not contain enough evidence to prosecute Trump for either “collusion” or obstruction of justice. And ya.. I am aware of the legalese bullshit about not being able to exonerate him- but let us get real, people are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It also helps to be rich and white, but that is a topic for another post. My prediction is that democrats will initiate pre-impeachment proceedings against Trump, irrespective of potential negative effects it might have on their electoral prospects in 2020. But how does this translate into a nasty shitshow?

Well.. for a few reasons. Firstly, it is unlikely Trump will be impeached, tried and made to resign before November 3, 2020. Secondly, the pre-impeachment investigation is going to be long and highly contentious. It will also overshadow democratic primaries and possibly the presidential election to such an extent that other issues will be effectively sidelined. So be prepared for a democratic primary in which candidates offer endless paeans to bipartisanship, civility in politics, reestablishing “norms” and impeaching Trump at the expense of all the other stuff most voters in the general election actually care about. You know.. stuff like antitrust action against various monopolies and oligopolies, medicare for all, doing something about student debt etc. Think of HRCs “what will the children think” 2016 campaign on steroids. But in some ways, this will be smallest shitshow of them all.

2] Stupid old losers who constitute a majority of democratic primary voters in large states seem to be enamored by “gun control” aka banning civilian ownership of guns. Given that everyone in the packed clown car of democratic candidates is expected to appeal to them, one should expect increasingly shrill and strident anti-gun ownership rhetoric. While appealing to these losers might help one win the primary and a few coastal states in general, it is almost guaranteed to backfire in swing states- especially those with large rural and semi-urban populations. Now add in a few random mass shootings (almost inevitable?) between now and Nov 3, 2020 and you can imagine how nutty this could get. Expect the Democratic house to pass one or more atrociously written anti-gun ownership laws and a few high profile court cases.

To make matters worse, if that is possible, we have seen a recent trend by private corporate monopolies/ oligopolies based in heavily democratic states to deny services based on ideology. Here are a few recent examples.. Software Maker Salesforce Tells Gun Retailers to Stop Selling AR-15s, YouTube Alternatives for Gun Videos & Content Creators and Bank of America to Stop Financing Makers of Military-Style Guns. I, for one, don’t see how pissing off millions of well-armed and single-issue voters who live in gun-ownership friendly jurisdictions is a smart idea when your party has to win their votes in 2020. Then again, this is the same party which think that Joe Biden in 2020 would make the best general election candidate. Or maybe the Democrats don’t want to really win national elections. Who knows..

The large number of democratic candidates vying for the party nomination will make things even weirder than the republican field in 2016. We have all seen how small campaigns which use far less costly traditional advertising and advisers can prevail over larger “mainstream” operations. Between this and the proliferation of small donors, expect far more candidates to remain in the race even after the first major primaries are over. And the DNC and other party establishment are going to try hard, and ineffectually, to stop Bernie by hook or crook. Don’t be surprised if the 2020 democratic convention is held under even more acrimonious circumstances than 2016. And there will be anonymous leaks, just like last time. It is going to get real ugly by mid 2020.

3] Let us now turn to the less obvious, but far more consequential, trends which promise to make 2019 and 2020 the biggest shitshows in living memory. Long story short, we are due for at least three independent nasty blowbacks from Trump’s foreign and trade policies. Let us start by talking about Iran or more precisely how his stupid policy towards that country has the potential to backfire in a spectacularly disastrous manner. It is no secret that idiots such as Pompeo and Bolton, urged on by Zionists and Saudis, are trying to start a war. What they don’t understand, or are willing to understand, is that any war with Iran in addition being unwinnable would make the Iraq misadventure look like quaint in comparison. The outcome of such a war would include Iran finally developing nuclear weapons (perhaps with Chinese assistance), prolonged and massive oil shortages with resultant price hikes and many other bad long-term effects (on USA).

Moving on.. Kim Jon-un has repeatedly conveyed to USA that unless economic sanctions are at least partially removed by end of 2019, he will restart testing ICBMs. My guess is that DPRK will demonstrate an entirely solid-fueled ICBM in early 2020, unless Trump and the idiots running “foreign policy” in USA openly abandon the idea of DPRK giving up its nukes and ICBMS- because the later ain’t going to happen. Which means that sometime in 2020, Trump will have to decide on how to respond to new ICBM and perhaps even nuclear tests by DPRK. To make matters even more interesting, this escalation will likely occur around the same time as Iran is likely to finally leave the JCPOA and restart its uranium enrichment program at maximum capacity. But wait.. it gets even better, or worse, depending on your viewpoint.

As most of you know by now, Trump is involved in an unwinnable trade-war with China. And here is why.. China’s economy and manufacturing capacity is far larger than USA in real terms. While the american economy and system will implode without Chinese imports, the converse is not true. There is also no other country in the world that has as large, varied and sophisticated a manufacturing base as China. Did I mention that USA and rest of the “West” are economically stagnant, demand saturated and in overall decline. China is not going to compromise on Huawei, give in to demands of american corporations or basically change anything significant about how it works or does business. It is the USA and rest of “West” that will have to ultimately eat crow. And they will start hurting USA by screwing over Boeing and make life interesting for every american corporation which does significant amounts of business there or dependent on its exports.

Tensions with Russia could exacerbate further given the current political climate in USA and provide opportunity for yet another shitshow. Did I mention how conflicts between internet monopolies and right wingers could spill into the real world with potentially disastrous results for the former. To summarize, the rest of 2019 and whole of 2020 will almost certainly witness far larger and problematic shitshows than anything in living memory. Even worse, many of these shitshows could feed into each other to create meta-shitshows.

What do you think? Comments?

How China Should Screw Over Trump and Gradually Destroy Boeing

May 23, 2019 4 comments

As most of you know by now, the orange buffoon and some of his old white advisers think they can “win” a trade war against China- which is darkly comic because China’s economy surpassed USA in real terms almost a decade ago. Their latest sad attempt to “win” against China involves sanctioning its telecom giants such as ZTE and Huawei. The Chinese, being no fools, have been prepared for this contingency for about five years, because the first rumblings of such american behavior were heard as early as 2012, during the Obama presidency. While they probably did not expect a total idiot such as Trump to preside over the 2nd act of american collapse, that is where we are now. Before moving on to the main topic, a quick prediction about how the Huawei ban story is likely to unfold. Long story short, USA will lose because China is not France or Japan.

While many racist idiots on the internet and american think-tanks seem to think that China might retaliate by freezing imports of rare earth elements, dumping american treasuries or stopping the production of iPhones and pretty much every other smartphone brand, I think they may use a much more interesting tactic. Destroying Boeing is a far better way to retaliate because airliners and CPU chips are pretty much the only two important non-weapon related products made in USA. And ya, China should go after Intel too- but via a different and somewhat longer route. The advantage of being a very large and competently run one-party system is that you can afford to play the long game unlike dying delusional losers who pretend to be the “most democratic and humanitarian” system in the world. Here is how they can fuck Trump over and destroy Boeing- in a manner which advances their cause and is profitable.

As you might have also heard, airliners of new Boeing 737Max series has been grounded because they used shitty software and failure-prone hardware to fix serious flaws in airframe design. It is my opinion that this ongoing fiasco has potential to break Boeing’s back and ruin its share in the international airliner market. While the company could still survive on defense contracts from USA, China should use this perfect storm of circumstances to start the process of gradually destroying Boeing as a viable maker of commercial airplanes. As luck would have it, a large number of the nearly 5,000 odd orders for that series come from East-Asia, specifically China. This leverage gives China an almost unique pathway to break Boeing’s back. Sure.. tens of thousands of Americans will lose their jobs, but guess what- who gives a shit?

Step 1: Given the stakes and desired outcome, there is no no need to rush the final outcome. China could start by demanding compensation for grounded 737Max aircraft, order more equivalent Airbus aircraft and not order any more of them– in the short term. As luck would have it, again, this is exactly what is happening right now- which sets up the next step.

Step 2: Once Boeing comes out with what it considers to be an adequate fix, China should examine it thoroughly and then declare it inadequate. They should say that it is a fragile fix for a design that is fundamentally flawed. They can then pretend to be reasonable by letting Boeing fill a small fraction (around 20% ?) of their 737MAX orders with the older and tested 737NG series.

Step 3: China should then ban 737MAX aircraft from flying in Chinese airspace (even during transit) as safety precaution. This will make it much harder for other Asian carriers, who either have tons of flights to China or overfly it, to buy them. But don’t say anything negative about, or restrict, other Boeing products like the 777 and 787 series, yet.

Step 4: Transfer bulk of orders for that airliner class to Airbus. If they express concerns about their ability to fill those orders on time, offer financial and other help to setup more assembly lines in China and Europe. This step will make it easier to reverse engineer indigenous airliners in future as well as start cutting into Boeing’s income stream.

Step 5: Boeing makes a profit on a new airplane series only after net sales finally surpass the cumulative cost of development, testing, interest on debt and building cost per airplane. Banning the 737MAX series from China achieves two things. First, it pushes Boeing to spend billions on developing a new replacement series. Secondly, loss of potential future income from that series (its main source of income in next decade) fucks up the balance sheets.

Step 6: American corporations are run by ivy-league frauds, greedy MBAs and obsessive bean-counters for the sole benefit of major shareholders. A major shortfall in the income stream translates into much lower dividends, share prices and a rapidly increasing amounts of debt- which leads to “right-sizing” aka firing people who actually work.

Step 7: Firing workers and operating with a significantly smaller, demotivated and poorly paid workforce results in poorer quality control- and we have already seen something like this occur with the 787 series. China can keep inspecting other Boeing aircraft series for poor build quality and they will get the proof they want within a year or two. This can then be used to further humiliate Boeing and enforce further bans against its other airliners.

Step 8: Some of you might wonder whether banning banning 737MAXes from East-Asian skies could truly hurt Boeing. Wouldn’t the markets in North and South America + Europe make up for China? Well.. no, because North America and Europe are saturated low-growth markets while Latin America is a pipsqueak compared to China and East Asia. Banning 737MAXes from Eastern Asia is, therefore, sufficient to initiate Boeing’s death spiral.

Step 9: Increased production of Airbus airliners in China will achieve two ends. Firstly, it will prevent any global shortage of short-to-medium haul airliners. Secondly, the experience gained building those aircraft will be useful for their indigenous airliner programs. Did I mention that it will start the process of making Boeing noncompetitive in the commercial airliner sector.

Sure.. Boeing will still be around five years from now. However it will now derive most of its revenue from selling shitty military aircraft, expensive but worthless missiles and other military paraphernalia to USA and its vassal states. A fitting end for that company.

What do you think? Comments?

Conflict Between Right Wingers and Tech Monopolies Won’t End Well: 3

May 12, 2019 18 comments

A few months ago, I started a short series about why the conflict between right wingers and tech monopolies won’t end well. While the immediate reason for that series was the conspiracy by tech monopolies to deplatform Alex Jones, I knew that sooner or later there would be more instances of such high-handed behaviour by tech monopolies. As it happens, my allegedly pessimistic views on human beings and their pathetic institutions get validated almost every single time. Some of you might have heard that Roissy’s blog was recently banned. Apparently that particular blog was on WP, unlike self-hosted WP blogs who are constrained only by the availability of a willing DNS registrar and hosting provider. There are those, especially on the “left” who see this as some minor victory in the war against “hate speech”.. which is now basically whatever shrill SJWs do not want you to say in public. Others see it as good riddance since that blog had increasingly become full-bore racist and was frequented by even sadder racist nutcases.

Here is what I think about the whole situation and some of you won’t like to hear it. The right to free speech is about protecting the right to unpopular speech- even and especially if you do not agree with it. I am no fan of the racism, anti-semitism and nativism which increasingly filled up posts on that blog. Having said that, I support the right of Roissy to post crazy and repulsive stuff as long as it does not involve overtly illegal stuff (making specific threats towards specific people etc). In any case, people who post controversial stuff online are not making you go to their site or social media profile and read it. Some of you might think it odd that me, a non-white guy with a deep dislike for racism and other forms of bigotry and discrimination, would support the free speech rights of a blog that peddled many of those very things. Then again, I have read a bit more history than most of you to know that “public moralists” of all shades are power-hungry sociopaths who will not stop once the most objectionable people or stuff are gone.

Consider, for example, that the hilariously misnamed PATRIOT act passed after Sep 11, 2001 to combat “global terrorism” is now used almost exclusively in investigations of “drug trafficking” to target poor people of color. Or SWAT teams, first conceived to tackle rare instances of hostage taking, are now found in almost all larger police departments and usually used to murder non-violent (and usually non-white) citizens. Similarly, laws to deal with highly organised Italian mafia are now used to terrorize, murder and otherwise destroy the lives of poor and often completely innocent non-white people. You might also remember how the 1994 crime bill meant to combat fictitious urban “super-predators” ended up jailing and destroying the lives of millions of black men for “crimes” that would have been never prosecuted if they were suburban whites. My point is that all laws, rules and regulations meant to “protect” public morality, virtue and other non-tangible bullshit end up as tools of exploitation, profit and abuse for those pushing them.

It also my contention that the tech sector, especially tech monopolies are highly susceptible to behave in such a high-handed manner. Of course, the problem with behaving in such a manner is that the inevitable backlash will be especially brutal- and that previous term is not just a figure of speech. Let us first talk about why the information technology sector is unusually susceptible to high-handed and ultimately suicidal behaviour. See.. two types of persons are over-represented in information technology corporation- Aspies and SJWs. Yes, you hear that right- Aspies and SJWs. But why is that combination so problematic and ultimately suicidal? The simple and short answer is that both, Aspies and SJWs, do not posses a functional theory of mind– albeit for different reasons. Aspies, aka computer programmers aka software “engineers” are often seen as smart or intelligent people. The tragically funny part is that they are not.

The vast majority of computer programmers are closer to autistic savant artists and other autistic savants than people without such mental disabilities. While I am not denying their specific skills, a majority of people working in programming etc are what one might say.. suffering from a mild mentally disability. This is also why so many in that sector have libertarian economic leanings. I can appreciate this far better than most since I was a bit aspy as a kid but grew out if it. But most programmer and mathematically minded do not grow out it- largely because they lack the brain circuitry to appreciate what they do not possess- not unlike a child who was born blind or deaf. But why would this be a problem? After all, haven’t the founders of Google, FakeBook etc done very well- at least right now? A disability which lets you make a very nice salary in Silly Valley cannot be that bad.. right? The thing is.. keeping power is far harder than attaining it.

The next issue I am going to talk about will be obvious to most people, but may not register in the mind of tech Aspies. Have you noticed that information technology companies, out all types of corporations, treat their users and customers like shit? I am sure that most of you have come across tons of people complaining about FakeBook, Twatter, Google, Apple, Paypal etc. Did you notice the large tech monopolies missing from that list… Amazon, Netflix and to some extent Microsoft. But why is that so? The ‘so clever’ among you might say that this has something to do with you being the product for companies such as FakeBook and Google and the consumer for Amazon, Netflix and Microsoft. Others might say that this is because they can get away with it- and there is some truth to that. Let me posit a third option- connection or lack thereof to the physical world aka reality. And you will soon why I think that is the case.

Let me ask you another question- How many of you would walk into a some random bar, insult everybody you interacted with and try to start fights with them? Let us assume that you could somehow win the first few bar fights. Or consider randomly insulting people around you, for no good reason. Why won’t the vast majority of people behave in this manner, even if they could “win” the first few times. The simple, if tasteless, answer to that question is most people who are not Aspies understand real-world social dynamics. The majority of people understand that pissing off random people around yourself, for no good reason, carries a serious and rapidly increasing reputational cost. While it may not be much in the beginning, especially if you are rich, the many enmities you will make along the way will lead to your eventual downfall and demise. There is a reason that even Machiavelli advises rulers against mistreating their common subjects- lest it create fertile grounds for successful usurpers.

Even highly totalitarian, but somewhat successful, regimes such as those in the former eastern block understood that gross mistreatment of average people and frequently subjecting them to capricious power-crazy nutcases was fundamentally bad policy. This is also why the Chinese government actually cares about what its people want and think, in many cases far more so than USA. The problem with tech Aspies is that they can read history quite well but are mentally incapable of understanding it. In other words, they are unable to appreciate how their actions and behaviour make them hated and detested. As you will see in the next part of this series, this profound inability to read other people and their proximity to equally oblivious SJWs makes for a really bad combination, with potentially catastrophic results. In case you are wondering, the main reason Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft haven’t gone that far down this route has a lot to do with such behaviour having an immediate and marked negative effect on their business.

In the next part, I will write about how SJWs aka hyper-socialized sociopathic fakes and their involvement in the tech sector makes the effects of tech aspism far worse than it would have otherwise been. SJWs, academic leftists and post-modernists also lack a functional theory of mind- though for vastly different reasons than tech Aspies. As you see, the peculiar combination of tech aspism and SJWism induces way more backlash than either would have by itself.

What do you think? Comments?

Some Thoughts on Mueller Report and Trump Derangement Syndrome

April 21, 2019 8 comments

Over past couple of days, I managed to read some more of the Mueller Report and to be honest.. it isn’t that exciting, otherwise would have finished it by now. Having said that, it doesn’t contain any evidence of “collusion” or conspiracy between the Orange Buffoon or members of his 2016 campaign team with ‘Russia’ or Putin’. The contents of that report, if anything, further validates my belief of Trump being the real-life version of the George Bluth Sr. character from Arrested Development. Similarities between many members of fictional Bluth family and Trump clan have been pointed out by others in the past. Also, building a wall between Mexico and USA was one of the central story arcs in the 4th season of that show in 2013.

The report merely confirms Trump being somebody with street-smarts but otherwise incapable of thinking strategically or systematically. And this makes him like almost every other rich guy who got there through some combination of having rich parents and being at the right place at right time. The very idea that such an intellectually mediocre but egotistical lecher could participate in any complex conspiracy is as absurd as somebody with serious brain damage caused by playing american football going on to become a famous mathematician. That he actually took the Mueller investigation and RussiaGate seriously enough to utter “This is the end of my presidency, I’m fucked” to people around him (in spite of being innocent) tells you far more about his state of mind than his ability to do anything beyond pay hush money to his mistresses.

Some of you might say that Trump is too stupid to understand that he is being manipulated by ‘Putin’ or ‘Russia’. Fair enough.. now tell me which of his actions towards Russia are irrefutable proof of him being a ‘Puppet of Putin’? In case you can find a few minor ones, do also tell me how you reconcile all those other major hostile actions taken by his administration against Russia with Trump being a ‘Russian Stooge’. While you are at it, also tell me how Trump’s behavior towards Kim Jong-un is a sign of the later having “kompromat” on the former. My point is that there is no evidence for Trump’s policy towards Russia being any less hawkish than that of his predecessor. To put it another way, Trump is basically a boilerplate republican president with poor impulse control and especially brazen, stupid and incompetent advisers.

Which brings me to the topic of Trump Derangement Syndrome, also know as Orange Man Bad. As I have noted in a few previous posts, hating Trump is a very popular form of performance art among celebrities, corporate media types, establishment democrats, other deep state types and basically anyone who wants to be recognized as “woke”. Of course, they will never explain why they used to be super chummy with Trump before he ran for the presidency in 2015. Or.. why exactly Trump’s policies are so much worse than those of Obama44 or Bush43? Then again, I do not expect such delusional and incompetent losers to have the mental ability to answer such introspective questions. So let me help you understand the real reason behind their irrational hatred for Trump aka Trump Derangement Syndrome aka Orange Man Bad.

In an older post, I pointed out that Trump’s approval numbers (which were always low) have not suffered from the 24/7 barrage of negative news against him unleashed by the corporate media and establishment. Why not and what does it have to do with Trump Derangement Syndrome. Even the gain of legislative seats in the 2018 elections by democrats was largely due to popular anger directed at Trump’s missteps on healthcare and inability to stop outsourcing rather than his persona. So what is happening? Why has the near constant assault by establishment types and their media flunkies on his personality had basically no effect on his approval ratings? part of the answer to that question lies in the nature of contemporary american elites and how they are perceived by the rest of society- especially after 2008.

As I have mentioned in numerous prior posts, the elites of most societies throughout human history have risen to power via some combination of blind luck and parasitism. In other words, they are not actually competent at fulfilling the duties of the societal positions they occupy. Under conditions of economic growth and general societal well-being, it is possible for cover their gross inadequacies, largely because they don’t have to do anything beyond acting competent- the key word being ‘acting’. That is why a lot of the declared 2020 democratic candidates resemble used-car salesmen and D-list actors. This however stops working and becomes counterproductive when the society in question goes into prolonged or terminal socio-economic decline. USA as a nation has been in obvious terminal decline since 2008- at least for the 99%.

Trump winning the presidency is a very visible reminder to the establishment elite that the old status quo is fragile and likely over. Sure.. the guy is a piece of shit, but let us not pretend that he is a bigger disaster than his predecessors such as Bush43 and Obama44. If you don’t believe me, just look at how easily establishment democarts were to forgive Bush43 for his role in the failed and incredibly expensive occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan- not to mention all the other shit that went on during his presidency. Or look at how they celebrate Obama44 for everything he promised voters but did not deliver- from ending foreign wars, passing something approaching universal healthcare, holding financial institutions accountable, slowing down job outsourcing, improving racial relations and a whole host of other things he could have done.

Those who display Trump Derangement Syndrome are like those idiots who want to return to some mythical golden era or period- you know, the one which never existed. To make maters worse, condemning Trump and publicly wanting his presidency to end in some shameful way has become part of the sacrament for anybody who wants to maintain their relevance among the elites or hope to join their ranks. That is why people as diverse as Rachel Maddow, Laurence Tribe, almost every Hollywood or Music celebrity, rich voters living in certain coastal zip codes and establishment Democrats (and Republicans) in addition to many “national security officials” were (and still are) so invested in the Mueller Report. It is also why they are now busy spinning the lackluster findings and moving the goal posts- with almost every single passing hour.

See.. the thing is, western elites lack the reality-based ruling mandate of their Chinese or Russian counterparts. For the past 30-40 years, their claim to rule has been largely based on looking good, competent, intelligent, sophisticated and clever. This is why establishment democrats still worship Clinton42 and Obama44 and their republican counterparts have made a cult out of professing reverence for Reagan40. That is why they push candidates such as Kamala Harris, Beta O’Rourke and that Pete Buttguy. Trump’s election in 2016 was a massive public relation disaster for them because it showed that even an egotistical lecher with the attentions span of a mildly-retarded dog could still perform the “most important job in the world”. The Trump Derangement Syndrome is therefore largely driven by their hate for him after he inadvertently exposed their incompetence, impotency and rapidly declining relevance.

What do you think? Comments?

Some More Thoughts about Recent Arrest of Julian Assange in London

April 15, 2019 9 comments

In the previous post on this topic, I wrote about how exposure of information by Wikileaks (and others inspired by it) has permanently damaged the only remaining ruling mandate for elites in western countries. In case you are wondering, that was Assange’s goal from the very beginning- and he has succeeded. If you don’t believe my take on what he has achieved, let me remind you about how things were in 2008. At that time, most people still thought Bush43’s presidency was an anomaly and everything would return back to how it was in the 1990s. They also believed that Obama would become the next FDR and reign in financialism. Did I mention the hilarious part where almost everyone believed that internet monopolies such as Google, FakeBook, Amazon etc were the greatest thing since sliced bread and could do no wrong. Simpler times indeed..

Then many seemingly unexpected things started to occur in quick succession. First, there was the global financial crisis which began in late 2008, which lead to multi-trillion dollar bailouts for ‘too-big-to-fail’ financial institutions and corporations. Of course, everybody else (aka the 99 %) got screwed and Obama turned out be the black version of Reagan rather than FDR. It slowly became obvious that the 1990s were never going to come back. And then it got worse as entire sectors of the economy got hollowed out- at an even faster pace than before. More problematically, almost all of the new jobs created since then have been precarious and poorly paid. My point is that, it is hard to understand the full impact of Wikileaks unless you first appreciate the socio-economic-political climate into which it was born.

I first wrote about Wikileaks a long time ago (link 1 and link 2) and my initial assessments about it proved to be correct. Not surprisingly, the MSM attitude towards Wikileaks and Assange has not changed since 2010. At that time, I also made another comment about Assange which turned out to be far more prescient than I initially realized. Since 2010, the many archives of documents released by Wikileaks and Snowden have had a profound impact on how people in the west perceive their own governments and civic institutions. Today nobody pretends that the NSA doesn’t exist or that USA-based internet monopolies such as Google, FakeBook, Amazon etc are anything other than commercial arms of the (rapidly failing) american empire. In 2008, you would have been considered delusional for publicly stating that almost all journalism in USA is elite stenography, even after their almost unanimous support for the failed occupation of Iraq in 2003.

We also cannot ignore what happened in the rest of the world during that period and the impact of Wikileaks on public discourse in those countries. Let me remind you that Wikileaks is by far the single biggest reason USA was not able to keep a significant military presence in Iraq after 2009. Its revelations also did an incredible amount of permanent damage to public image of western countries in other parts of the world. After they were made public, very few people in countries such as China, Russia etc could keep pretending that the american system of governance and institutions was any less repressive and problematic than their own. These leaks have also sped up the process of making the internet and communications (in general) more decentralized and much less USA- or west-centric. In short, Wikileaks achieved a decent percentage of its original objectives- so far. And ya.. it did contribute to the defeat of HRC in 2016.

As you also know, the declining vassal states of Sweden and UK cooked up a stupid and highly counterproductive scheme to arrest Assange and extradite him to USA since 2010. In my opinion, this stupid scheme was stupid and short-sighted. Then again, elites throughout human history have never shown themselves to be good at long-term and strategic thinking. And this type of malfunction is intrinsic to large hierarchical and impersonal social systems- as I have also written about in previous posts such as this one. Here is another one which explains how these systemic shortcomings play out in other large systems. To put it another way, the whole idea of trapping Assange within that embassy for 7 years was an incredibly stupid idea. But why, specifically, was it so dumb? Well.. because it made him into a larger-than-life (almost religious) figure while simultaneously shredding the public credibility of western countries.

The thing is.. people universally understand that a person trying to persecute somebody for their personal beliefs is an acknowledgement of your own weakness. For example, if some obviously mentally-ill guy across the street kept shouting that you were the anti-christ, people around you would either ignore it or find it amusing. Nobody would believe the guy making those claims. Now imagine if you responded to those claims by trying to get the guy, making them, killed. People would rightly think that those claims were actually correct and that you were indeed the anti-christ. This dynamic is part of the reason why scandals which would sink conventional politicians, many times over, have no worthwhile effect on Trump’s popularity. He simply does not care enough about them to give a conventional explanation or response.

If the elites in USA, UK and Sweden etc had any ability to think beyond the short-term, they would have handled the Assange situation very differently. Firstly, they would have realized and accepted that somebody like Assange and Wikileaks was as inevitable in the internet age as Martin Luther and Protestantism were in the aftermath of movable-type printing being invented- or the ‘One’ arising in the Matrix. And yes.. I also wrote a post about this issue in that past. Secondly, the most optimal way to handle somebody like Assange was to watchfully ignore him- thereby denying him martyrhood. Sure.. he would keep leaking document archives and causing some problems. But guess what.. he ended doing that stuff anyway.

Persecuting Assange made the USA, UK, Sweden etc look just as repressive and incompetent as the countries and regimes they claim to be superior to. Or as I call it, scoring repeated self-goals. But why does it matter? Well.. because, as I mentioned in the previous post, the ruling mandate of elites in west is derived from abstract ideas such as being perceived as honest, democratic, competent, meritocratic etc. This is in sharp contrast to a nation like China, where the elites derive their legitimacy from providing real, concrete and measurable improvements in physical quality of life for their citizens. This is also why persecuting somebody like Assange is far more damaging to western-style governmental systems than imprisoning a dissident is to China.

Will write more on this as events unfold..

What do you think? Comments?

End of Mueller Investigation and ‘Trump-Russia-Putin Collusion’ Bullshit

March 23, 2019 10 comments

Unless you have been living under a rock since Friday morning, you must have read or heard that the Special Counsel investigation aka Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s alleged collusion with ‘Russia’ and ‘Putin’ during the 2016 presidential election is finally over. While an executive summary of its findings should be available sometime this weekend, it is noteworthy that there are no new open or “sealed” indictments. Which is a fancy way of saying that the Special Counsel has not been able to indict one single person from Trump’s presidential campaign, including the orange buffoon himself, of collusion with “Russia” or “Putin”. Every single person who has been indicted by Mueller’s team has landed in that position because of criminal actions unrelated to 2016 campaign or committing perjury. In other words, the establishment democrat/s desire to see Trump impeached has taken a massive and unrecoverable hit.

Even worse, they have finally validated Trump’s defense of this investigation being unfair and a ‘witch hunt’. Way to go, dumbfucks! Of course, there are still tons of dead-enders who keep babbling about “SDNY” and other similar bullshit. But let us get real.. the majority of people will now no longer believe in the results of any future investigation of Trump. In fact, just over 50% of Americans were seeing it that way before the Mueller investigation wrapped up– without a single indictment for collusion with Russia. It is now increasingly likely that Trump will use the report as an important plank of this campaign for re-election in 2020. And you know what.. if establishment democrats are stupid enough to rig their primaries (like they did in 2016) for a corporate-anointed loser such as Biden, Beto or Kamala- he might actually win in 2020.

Matt Taibbi has written an excellent post about how Russiagate is contemporary equivalent of the WMD fiasco of 2002. In it, he goes into considerable detail as to how a bullshit “dossier” written by a greedy British hack and paid for by the DNC started one of the most darkly comic chapters in recent american history. I would strongly suggest you read his entire post- even if it is a bit on the longer side. While the circumstances surrounding the start of this investigation, which began around June 2016, are almost too comical to be real- it keeps getting better and more absurd. Taibbi also skewers all the national news outlets, “respectable” journalists, cable news anchors, talking heads, Twitterati and “celebrities” who got into the act- if only to make a quick buck. Once again, I strongly suggest you read his post- preferably more than once.

Moving on.. the obsession of establishment democrats with ‘Trump-Russia-Putin’ is now going to get much harder to justify. But don’t worry, I am sure that they will find a few new ways to fuck themselves by focusing on something which the majority see as hacky partisan bullshit with no connection to the worsening quality of their lives. Between this pile of bullshit, renewed calls for “gun control” and mouthing empty platitudes which deceive nobody in 2019, they will find a way to lose to that orange buffoon in 2020. And let us be honest about something.. establishment democrats would rather lose to Trump than defy their corporate masters and campaign on popular policies such as universal single-payer healthcare, student loan forgiveness, higher minimum wage etc which might actually get the majority of voters to elect them.

I might write another post about this topic soon, preferably after reading the executive summary of the Mueller Report. Till then, have a look at the hysterically comic bullshit which was being passed off as real journalism by cable news networks- narrated by the always funny Jimmy Dore.

What do you think? Comments?

Persecution of Anti-Vaxxers Will Backfire on Believers in Scientism: 1

March 10, 2019 9 comments

Over the past few months, we have seen a barrage of attention-seeking types, supported by the dying MSM, who claim to defend “science” from anti-vaxxers (link 1, link 2 and link 3). However, as anybody who has read enough about the history of modern medicine knows, there have been anti-vaxxers, of some type, as long as there have been vaccines. Which is a nice way of saying that all the effort expended by all those pro-vaccination supporters is about self-aggrandizement, rather than anything altruistic. See.. the thing is, the first major anti-vaxxer movements petered over a century ago once it became very obvious that specific infectious diseases were caused by specific microorganisms and exposure to an attenuated form of the pathogen or its main toxin would confer functional immunity to those diseases.

In other words, the modern anti-vaxxer movements are NOT populated by rubes who reject the idea that pathogens cause infectious diseases or deny that vaccines elicit an immunological response. In fact, I wrote a couple of posts on this topic in the past where I pointed out that the modern anti-vaxxer movements are an inevitable consequence of profit-driven medicine and that the effects of late-capitalism on the medical system have made it increasingly untrustworthy. Sharp eyed readers might have noticed that I used the plural rather than singular form of ‘movement’ in my previous sentences. As you will see, there is a good reason behind using the plural form and it is very relevant to the rest of this series- specifically the part about how persecution of anti-vaxxers will backfire on believers in scientism.

Let us now talk about the real factors at play in this conflict, and let us be honest about how things are in real-life as opposed to how they should or ought to be.

1] Public trust in the medical profession, especially in USA, has been dropping at an increasing rate over past two decades. Regardless of what you want to believe, it is hard to escape the fact that public faith in “credentialed experts” of all types has been steadily going down over past 2-3 decades. And let us be honest about something else- this loss of faith is grounded in very solid reasons. It takes too much effort to keep believing in priests.. I mean”credentialed experts”.. who have made repeatedly been shown to wrong, greedy and incompetent. By now, almost every person in USA has had personal experience or knows somebody directly who has suffered due to dogma, greed or sheer incompetence of physicians who behave as if they are incapable of making mistakes. And the effect of such behavior and attitudes on their overall credibility is cumulative.

How many of you would willingly place your trust in people who have repeatedly displayed their ability to believe and promote bullshit, derive their livelihood via cartelisation of their profession and are generally incapable of accepting their past mistakes? Why, then, would you expect people with skin in the game aka parents to blindly trust any guidelines or recommendations these “credentialed experts” with no skin in the game come up with? And let us be honest about something else.. “revised guidelines and recommendations” during the past 20 years have almost exclusively been used to sell increasingly more expensive drugs and other medical services without a corresponding increase in life-expectancy. And this leads us to the second issue- namely, the risk-benefit ratios for each vaccine.

2] Too many losers.. I mean supporters of scientism.. believe (or pretend to) that all vaccines are wonder drugs with almost no side-effects and almost universal efficacy. The reality, as usual, is more complicated. While there are vaccines with almost 100% efficacy and almost non-existent serious adverse effects (Diphtheria and Tetanus toxoids, oral and injected polio vaccines, Mumps and Rubella component of MMR, Hepatitis A and B vaccines etc), not all vaccines with almost universal efficacy are free of a small risk of serious side effects. Two of most well-known vaccines (Vaccinia-based smallpox vaccine and Rabies Vaccines- even the latest ones) are known to cause serious side-effects in about 1 in 1000 to 10,000 recipients. That is why we stopped vaccinating the general population against Smallpox a few years after it was eradicated in the late-1970s and also why the Rabies vaccine is usually used for post-exposure treatment in humans.

Now you know why only veterinarians, bat cave explorers, people who travel in wild areas of poor countries and people who work with the rabies virus are vaccinated pre-exposure, and everybody else is vaccinated immediately after exposure. This is also why the yellow fever vaccine, which is also very effective, is used so sparingly outside countries and localities where that disease is endemic. Long story short- even extremely effective vaccines can have adverse effects at unacceptable rates in areas where the disease is not prevalent. For example- vaccinating everybody in USA with the smallpox, rabies and yellow fever vaccines would cause more deaths and illness than those diseases cause under current long-established guidelines.

3] Not all vaccines are highly effective. Yearly influenza shots are a very good example of vaccines whose real-life efficacy rarely exceeds 50%. In most years, their efficacy is closer to 30%, and it often dips as low as 10-20%. Did I mention that influenza stains at the start of an epidemic are often not the same as those near the end? Pretending that yearly influenza vaccination protects people from that disease at a higher rate than wearing a magical charm or talisman is scientifically disingenuous. Maybe, someday we will have an efficacious vaccine for all strains of influenza that can infect humans or attenuate the disease. However, as things stand today we don’t have one and it is stupid to keep pretending otherwise.

And then there is the issue of established and efficacious vaccines, which nonetheless, could use some improvement. For example- the cellular pertussis vaccine has pretty good efficacy (85-90%) but is known to make a few children ill enough to require hospital care. The acellular version, while displaying far fewer serious side effects, is a bit less efficacious (60-80%). Clearly, we should try to develop a better pertussis component in the DPT vaccine with more efficacy and fewer side effects. Also, a better system for identifying kids who will react poorly to the cellular version of that vaccine is required. The Measles component of the MMR vaccine provides a pretty high degree of complete protection (over 85%), however about 1 of 10 vaccinated children can still develop a very mild form of the illness if exposed to that virus.

Let us, therefore, not pretend that the Measles competent of MMR is close to 100% effective. The same is true for Chickenpox vaccine- which provides total protection for about 80%, while providing protection against moderate to severe disease to the other 19-20%. Note that I am using numbers and percentages based on standard multiple-dose vaccinations schedules. In the next part, I will go into the efficacy and effectiveness of these and other vaccines from a public health standpoint. As you will see in that part, some vaccines are far more consequential from the public health standpoint than others- which is a fancy way of saying that some are more important than others.

What do you think? Comments?

GPS Ankle Monitors are Redundant in Era of Ubiquitous Smartphones

February 21, 2019 3 comments

Sometime ago, I came across an article which documented how smartphones can now perform many functions which once required physically separate devices. For example, smartphones now universally have acceptably good video and sound voice recording capabilities- thus replacing the still camera, camcorder and pocket voice recorder, at least for non-professional users. The same can be said of their ability to access GPS and other radio-navigation data, making it unnecessary for most users to own a dedicated GPS receiver. While I am fine with technological advancement and convenience, I am also cognizant of their downsides and potential for abuse.

As many of you know, one of the many peculiarities of what passes for “law enforcement” in USA is its strong attraction for technological “solutions”- especially if someone who is already rich can make more money from it. That is why, for example, the carceral and borderline third-world state of USA is by far the largest user of GPS ankle monitors. It occurred to me that this is one more device that has been made redundant by smartphones. See.. Google, Apple, almost every single one of your smartphone apps and internet monopolies such as FakeBook are already spying on everyone 24/7, and this includes geolocation. Why keep using an old technology such as GPS ankle monitors when people will pay to buy the latest smartphone and privacy-invading apps?

What do you think? Comments?