29 May 2020

Take A Quiz

We know that The Very Unstable Lunatic and his acolytes are innumerate and science antagonists. They know they're smarter than the educated; hell The Very Unstable Lunatic's 'gut' is smarter than Einstein. The Very Unstable Lunatic even claims to 'have gone to Wharton' when in fact he went to Fordham; only snuck in the back door to Wharton as a junior. Didn't earn the MBA, which is what counts at Wharton, just a BA in something he calls Real Estate Economics. Whatever that is. According to the web page -
The Wharton School has offered a real estate concentration for undergraduates since 1985. The concentration consists of one required credit unit and three electives.

And, great brains weren't needed to be a Wharton undergrad -
Back then .. Penn was accepting 40 percent of all applicants, as opposed to its current cutthroat acceptance rate of seven percent.

Not much to it, and, in forward to the future moment, The Very Unstable Lunatic got a degree nearly 20 years before it existed.

So, here's your chance to see if you're smarter than a Very Unstable Lunatic.

FWIW, I got 90% (9 of 10). Didn't know that the child's sex is driven by Papa's gene mix. But then, I only took biology as a high school senior, and missed the last few weeks because seniors were released early for graduation.

Since the page offers to do it again, I infer that there are a myriad set of question/answer sets, so YMMV. I suppose you could do it a dozen times, and only mention your highest score?

28 May 2020

The Tyranny of Average Cost - part the twelfth

The gist of these missives is to show real-world examples of over capitalization and the effects on users and owners. Some over capitalization is intentional, if still misguided. Other times the over capitalization is accidental. But the result is always the same: a lack of revenue, when demand and output fall, to pay the vig. As production moves from mostly labor to mostly capital, the cost curve becomes ever more dependent on shifting output. There's increasingly less wiggle room in that cost curve to reduce cost, even temporarily,

An earlier essay on the death of an island, our second home of sorts, Block Island just got another chapter. Public infrastructure, even when privately owned, is by definition such a production process. Now the Island faces a 50% reduction in revenue for some of that infrastructure. It does not bode well.
"Some customers may just go out of business. I hate to say that. But if they're at 50 percent of their budget, they're not going to make it," said McNerney, referencing the fact that many, if not most businesses will not be able to run at full capacity for most of the summer. "I have some concerns," said McNerney.

27 May 2020

What Scares Me

If you're old enough, or have followed the history of American space flight, then you're familiar with the Vanguard lift rocket. Here's a look. Yes, it looks nearly identical to SpaceX. Vanguard blew up 8 of 11 attempts. Both run on LOX/kerosene, although SpaceX calls it RP-1. Not exactly some kind of 'modern' design.

Just So Ya Know

A couple of data stories for today.

The Very Unstable Lunatic and Bouncing Baby Bolsonaro continue to call out 'it is just a bit of flu', in hopes that folks will ignore the increasing pile of corpses in their countries. Both have been claiming that the death counts are inflated, vis-a-vis the seasonal flu counts. But, of course, they don't cite the comparable flu deaths.

Here's the ref to latest flu data (click 'View Chart Data' to view). Note, in particular that the term used is 'influenza like illness' and the column for 'influenza' is a small fraction of the attributed deaths. Lordy, why is that? Well, simply because flu invites opportunistic pneumonia, that's why. Direct influenza deaths are a minor part of the total. Not so, naturally, with Covid.

Another approach, which has been used for a very long time, is the calculate excess deaths. Epidemiologists do this as a matter of course. Here's the 'Financial Times' look at data
The FT has gathered and analysed data on excess mortality — the numbers of deaths over and above the historical average — across the globe, and has found that death tolls in some countries are more than 50 per cent higher than usual. In many countries, these excess deaths exceed reported numbers of Covid-19 deaths by large margins.

And, of course, there's the canard that 'it's just geezers and poor folks, so who cares?'. But the age distribution of Covid is far wider than flu.
For children, the risk of dying from Covid-19 appears to be much less than that of dying from influenza and pneumonia even in the most pessimistic of my three scenarios. From age 15 onward the Covid risk is higher, with the relative difference peaking for those in the 45 through 54 age group, whose risk of dying from Covid-19 in my middle scenario is four and a half times higher than their influenza and pneumonia mortality rate in 2018.

So, there you have it. The Very Unstable Lunatic and Bouncing Baby Bolsonaro have been lying to you. So it's not so surprising that these countries are running 1, 2 for the death crown. With Russia likely a dark horse contender, hiding its data behind an Iron Curtain.

25 May 2020

Parallax View - part the sixth

Another week's up, so here are today's numbers:
25 to 99 - 759
 5 to 24 - 777
      <5 - 421

Another week, some more creeping up the totem pole. The total infected counties stands at 2,918. Aren't many uninfected counties left to invade. Yes, the higher count county groups continue to grow in number. With respect to The Very Unstable Lunatic's threat to move the Convention out of NC, you can look at the scale of the epidemic there. In order to see the outline of the state you have to start with an empty selection of groups. Then start at <5, and add groups up the scale. You'll see that NC is already in deep shit. By August, what with pool parties and full churches, it may well be in full decimation mode. Moving the Convention to a full Republican control (i.e., The Very Unstable Lunatic mode) state (e.g. Georgia, Florida) will only be more fatal to those most zealot of Trumpians. Couldn't happen to nicer folks.

Thought For The Day - 25 May 2020 [update the second]

Just when one might have thought it was safe to go into the pool, we get this from The Very Unstable Lunatic.
Plans are being made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site. This is not something I want to do. Thank you, and I LOVE the people of North Carolina!

LOVE them so much that he's willing to kill off as much as 10% of his most loyal sheep. Since the convention is scheduled for late August, the bodies will have piled up long enough before Election Day that every Republican will know that they've all been burned on the Altar of Dear Leader. So, go ahead The Very Unstable Lunatic, make my day.

This just in (are you surprised?)
Pictures posted on social media showed mostly unmasked people crowded together at ACE Speedway in Altamahaw, North Carolina, on Saturday.
"We're tired of being stuck in the house. I'm not afraid of this virus one bit," spectator Becky Woosley told CNN affiliate WGHP.
North Carolina recorded its highest single-day surge of new cases over the weekend

Looks like they're determined to kill themselves off. Just like the apocryphal lemmings.

And, oh yeah, may be The Very Unstable Lunatic should invite a passel of Bolsonaro supporters to his Convention. Birds of a feather, "it's just a small flu", and all that.

[update the second]
Here's a solution to the Convention problem.

The RNC indemnifies all attendees, such that RNC covers all Covid-19 medical costs not just for attendees but also anyone identified (by an independent organization) as infected by an attendee, up to 4 levels deep. Also, the RNC pays the survivors of any of those infected who die $1,000,000 tax paid. Fair's fair. You want the event, so you should pay the external/social costs of doing it. And, that's more than traffic control and security (the vanilla kind).

22 May 2020

Ping Pong Diplomacy - part the second

Well, that didn't take long. Another side of Ping Pong Diplomacy, post hoc tracing, is on full display in this report from South Korea.
In total, they found 112 cases related to the single first case -- all occurring within a month of the initial mid-February dance fitness training class.This demonstrates the frightening exponential growth of cases, while also raising several unsettling questions about active physical exercise, and whether it may promote the spread of the virus.

Sounds just like the Westchester lawyer, which faded from reporting rather quickly. For reference, and a warning largely ignored, that was reported in early March, this cite is 4 March.
The man first developed symptoms in late February. They intensified rapidly, leading to his hospitalization in the last week.

The last report had the infection count back to said lawyer at 50, minimum.

While they didn't manage to catch any of the first ping pong balls, and thus staunch the growth, they've demonstrated the contagion's appetite. Let that be a lesson, should they have the interest in knowing real facts, to The Very Unstable Lunatic and his lackey Red State governors, determined to get rid of all those inconvenient mitigation requirements. What's a few dead bodies vs. profit? Among them, they'll skyrocket Covid-19. And to what end? Even bidnezz that open won't have customers to any degree. Most people aren't completely dumb.

Recall Bill Gates from a few months ago
There really is no middle ground, and it's very tough to say to people, "Hey, keep going to restaurants, go buy new houses, ignore that pile of bodies over in the corner. We want you to keep spending because there's maybe a politician who thinks GDP growth is all that counts." It's very irresponsible for somebody to suggest that we can have the best of both worlds.

Of course, he's living off the vig of his billions, so it's no skin off his nose.

21 May 2020

Ping Pong Diplomacy - part the first

Recent reporting (here, for example) about models demonstrating the reduced loss of life if The Very Unstable Lunatic had actually done something in January or February or early March may sound outlandish. But recall the effect of the geometric (oft called exponential) expansion: unless you contain it very early, it is totally out of control in a blink of an eye. I refer you to the 'Parallax View' series, and the underlying topo maps.

Here's a demonstration of the progression. It's just ping pong balls, mouse traps, and without a containment box (less complete that way). Left alone, it's over before you can even count. Catch some of the first few ping pong balls, and the 'explosion' falls apart. The same is true for epidemics.

That's why the models say so many lives would have been saved if The Very Unstable Lunatic hadn't sat around with his thumb up his ass (and ours) for those first 2 months.

20 May 2020

Your Lyin Eyes

Here's an interesting exercise. Pull up the topo map in the usual way. Now, unclick the 'All Affected Counties' button. Then, click the <5 button. Internalize the dispersion. Next, click on the 5 to 9 button, and toggle it a few times. Note how the counties abut, nearly jigsaw puzzle-ish. Continue the exercise using the same method with 5 to 9 and 10 to 24, and on up to >=1,000.

If that doesn't convince you that the Phat Lady ain't sang yet, nothing will. And, oh by the way, the >=1,000 group count continues to climb.

19 May 2020

I Told You So - 19 May 2020

From the beginning, at least from the first essay addressing data about and from the Damn Gummint (at all levels), I've made the point that the USofA isn't made of Red states and Blue states, but of shitkickers in the empty counties and the educated in the cities. Where's a newly minted EE from State U going to go next? Smallville in the middle of nowhere with no one who even knows what a EE does, or Gotham where there's lots of work for a EE? Not surprising to figure out that those are the Red and Blue dominions. Further, macroeconometrics is hard mostly because the data is from self reporting, and at the federal level, almost always from sampling.

Also from the beginning of The Very Unstable Lunatic's reign, I asserted that he and his minions would suppress and corrupt data collection and reporting when (and it will mostly) data contradict his addled brain. Can't let facts get in the way, "and bring me my bleach inhaler!!"

So, it should come as no surprise that mainstream news has put two and two together.
"The concentration of the economy in bigger, denser, more science-oriented places becomes a real ceiling on effective reopening," says Mark Muro, senior fellow and policy director at the Metropolitan Policy Program. "Metropolitan economic elites are well informed about the risk and may simply refuse to participate in what they may view as a precipitous opening. This is where behavior is going to have a large say, rather than political or policy positions."

The fact remains, and was true in Greece and Roman millennia ago, progress both economic and intellectual, happens in cities. They are the engines of growth.

Taking their cue from The Very Unstable Lunatic, states have taken steps to suppress Covid-19 data.
"When there is no accountability, the only kind of accountability that is left is the public scrutiny of places," said Brian Lee, executive director of Families for Better Care, a national long-term care watchdog group.

"Who does it ultimately benefit to not know the names of the providers? The providers. This shows (states) are protecting the interests of the providers."

Same goes for prisons and meat processing plants. What we don't know will hurt us.

That's the Right Wingnut way.

18 May 2020

Parallax View - part the fifth

Another week's up, so here are today's numbers:
25 to 99 - 732
 5 to 24 - 816
      <5 - 449

Numbers, except over 1,000 (192), have come down. Total of infected counties is 2,890, up a couple. The phat lady ain't sang yet.

17 May 2020

Lies, Damn Lies, and Wuhan

Now that Pompeo, and we can infer The Very Unstable Lunatic, is recanting the whole Wuhan lab story.
Pompeo has for weeks publicly espoused the theory that the virus that has infected more than 1,400,000 Americans originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, claiming in an interview earlier this month that there was "enormous evidence" and a "significant amount of evidence" this was the case. He later conceded that he couldn't be certain of its origin and that the evidence that it came from "the vicinity" of the Wuhan lab "could be wrong."

I, for one, infer further that some worker bees in the Intelligence Community, may haps even from the other Five Eyes, let them know that if they persisted with this fiasco, they'd get well and truly outed. Don't fuck with the Deep State.

16 May 2020

More Georgia Morons

Yet another reason to conclude that Georgia is run by morons.
The lizards are legal in Georgia as pets, but Jensen urged pet owners who may not want their lizards anymore to reach out to reptile adoption organizations.

Just what citizens want: the ability for Billy Bob to wipe out the indigenous fauna. Right up there with Covid-19. Gad.

15 May 2020

Cottage Cheese

At certain times and places, 'cheese' has been slang for moolah. At certain times and places, 'cottage industry' has been a term of art for home-based production; the sewing machine being a popular piece of capital. In the last few days, Twitter announced that any employee who's found preference for working from home, may do so indefinitely.

So, how would The Very Unstable Lunatic and Jared, and all those other commercial real estate moguls, feel about that? How much 'together time' do computer-bound, white-coller, brain workers really need? Apparently, not very much. All those expensive towers in mid-town Big City now half or two-thirds empty, indefinitely! May haps The Very Unstable Lunatic will scrape the gold plate (if it actually contains any Real Gold) off those escalators to pay for his Big Macs.

WeWork has been in the news for some time, and the news has not been good. With, if so it happens, a switch to very-part time in-office need for such workers, WeWork would turn into a brilliant idea. The Very Unstable Lunatic and Jared will have to go begging Vlad for moolah. If they can practice their keyboarding skills, they might be able to join this 21st century cottage industry.

14 May 2020

Nattering Nabobs

Remember back when? When The Very Unstable Lunatic and his Right Wingnut enablers pushed through that Trillion Dollar Giveaway to the Rich? The Nattering Nabobs asked a simple question: what will he/they do when there's a real problem?

One assessment of its performance
"It was unbelievable at the time, and it's proven to be absolutely untrue," said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. "The tax cuts were never going to — and have not — come anywhere close to paying for themselves."

Corporate tax revenues fell 31% in the first year after the cut was passed. Overall tax revenues have declined as a share of the economy in each of the two years since the tax cut took effect.

But now, the Right Wingnuts insists that no more aid to states, etc. is feasible
Republican Sen. John Cornyn reiterated Tuesday that he believes there is no "urgency" on passing another coronavirus relief bill when asked if the Senate will likely wait until after Memorial Day recess to take up phase four legislation. Like Barrasso, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham also referred to the bill as "dead on arrival" in the Senate.

OTOH, here's Powell
"The recovery may take some time to gather momentum, and the passage of time can turn liquidity problems into solvency problems," Powell said. "Additional fiscal support could be costly, but worth it if it helps avoid long term damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery."

And, that from a monetarist!!

The coronavirus recession has hit lower-income Americans the hardest. Powell said almost 40 percent of households earning less than $40,000 annually as of February lost jobs in March. He noted that the central bank's ability to help them is limited — the Fed can lend money to financial institutions and larger corporations, but it cannot spend money.

13 May 2020

A Man's Got to Know His Limitations - part the third

The upshot of yesterday's oral arguments on The Very Unstable Lunatic vs. the rest of us boils down to his lawyers asserting that, as President, he is totally immune to even investigation while in office.

But here's the kicker, which, so far as I've read and heard, no one has yet noticed. Federal statutes carry a five year statute of limitations. The infamous shooting on Fifth Avenue is state murder without any limitation, but The Very Unstable Lunatic could do anything within the Federal system, starting with first term inauguration up to the third year if a (woe is us if...) second term happens, and never be held accountable. He could, fur instance, illegally suspend this year's election, declare himself winner. He could, illegally, appoint himself President for a third term. And so on. Unless the Right Wingnuts grow spines and remove him, there is no recourse. Since Moscow Mitch and the rest love being a authoritarian minority, what do you think?

12 May 2020

Parallax View - part the fourth dot five [update]

The Monday, 11 May data was just graphed, with a few notable numbers.

1 - 0 newly infected counties since Sunday

2 - the <5 count went down a tad since Sunday 3 - the >= 1,000 count went up a tad since Sunday

We'll see how this works out come next week's essay. A trend in the making? Or just a momentary glitch?? If 0 newly infected continues, then panic may abate. We'll see.

Well... here's a relevant factoid wrt 0 newly infected counties. There are 3,071 counties/parishes. The total counted in the groups is 2,878. That's 94% coverage. And the Right Wingnuts have continually dimissed Covid-19. Yeah, right.

11 May 2020

Parallax View - part the fourth

Another week's up, so here are today's numbers:
25 to 99 - 733
 5 to 24 - 841

So the seedlings have flowered. The Very Unstable Lunatic and the Q-Tip Head have an increasing number of staff with Covid-19. How soon until they both are infected? A week? A couple? And, his sphincter lickers in the Red States are, also, inviting massive new infections by ending stay-at-home. Looking forward to the day when President Pelosi is sworn in; it's Constitutional. Who'll the Right Wingnuts get to run against her? On what platform? "We managed to kill the White House with our idiocy. You really want us to run the USofA for four more years! Of course you do!!" Sometimes the price of stupidity and hubris is infinite. An interesting review of how past pandemics have 'ended'. Often, if not most often, the disease is allowed to continue taking lives as a matter of course. Not very enlightened.

It's become apparent that I should have tracked the first group, <5, as well. So, here's today:

<5 - 501

Next week, we'll see if the latter-day Johnny Appleseed has been successful in casting them wee little critters into new and vulnerable places.

08 May 2020


The better part of 60 years ago, Gordon Parks built a photoessay for 'Life' magazine of a flavela in Rio de Janeiro. While I couldn't find a reproduction of the 'Life' piece, there is a recent, and coincidental, retrospective on the work. Coincidental, in the sense that Brazil's own Very Unstable Lunatic is branding Covid-19 something of a hoax. In a country of crowded cities with many poor living, not in luxury high-rises, but tenements or much worse.
Yet Bolsonaro said earlier this week he believed "the worst had passed" for the coronavirus pandemic, during a press conference outside the Alvorada presidential residence in Brasilia. But as the number of cases and deaths continue to climb, many health experts fear the worst is yet to come.
A recent survey from pollster Datafolha, showed Bolsonaro's approval at 33% and that the country is split nearly down the middle on whether the President should be impeached.

Is it any wonder that our Very Unstable Lunatic is such a fan of Brazil's?

Sound familiar? Given the immensity not only of Rio, but even more so of Sao Paulo (the fourth largest city on the planet), Covid-19 will cull the herd of most of those poor people. Lunatics the world over will celebrate this new weapon against poverty.

07 May 2020

Niagra Falls

"Niagra Falls..."

Slowly I turned ... step by step ... inch by inch...

The Very Unstable Lunatic's turn is coming.
A member of the US Navy who serves as one of President Donald Trump's personal valets has tested positive for coronavirus, CNN learned Thursday, raising concerns about the President's possible exposure to the virus.
[T]he White House has not enforced strict social distancing guidelines for staffers and few people inside the building wear masks during the day, including valets.

Like Boris like Lunatic. Could it be that the Dems will be running against Q-Tip Head? After all, The Very Unstable Lunatic is very much in the age cohort with minimal immune response, and not in good shape. Trust your lyin' eyes.

06 May 2020

Apples and Oranges

If one looks long enough, one can find actual data which sheds some light on the The Very Unstable Lunatic's (and his zealots) notion that Covid-19 is just another inconsequential flu. Well, here's 2017 data for flu:
1 - 4      104
5 - 14     113
15 - 24    190
25 - 44      0
45 - 64      0
65+     46,862

As should be obvious, seasonal flu wipes out geezers, many of whom are out of sight in long-term care facilities. They aren't going to restaurants or workplaces where they can infect others.

Here's data so far by age group for Covid-19
1 - 4        2
5 - 14       3
15 - 24     42
25 - 44    985
45 - 64  6,617
65+     29,655

As is painfully obvious, while still skewed towards geezers, there's still considerable weight in the income earning groups. Moreover, recall that ILI numbers are statistical estimates, since flu isn't generally recorded explicitly, while what we have now is explicitly Covid-19 as cause of death. Now that ships, tightly packed production lines, convents, jails, and such are being recognized as Covid-19 havens, I expect (don't you?) that the death toll among the income earning groups will head upward. And, naturally, when those bidnezzez in isolated locations in Red states find their staff disappearing, The Very Unstable Lunatic will send them much moolah and bar them from being liable for sickness and death among their workforces. Let's party like it's 1850!!!

05 May 2020

Sgt. Schultz

Watching/listening to the TeeVee, and the course of the talking heads amounts to: if I were a businessman, the first thing I would want is TESTING in order to be sure my employees are safe.

HORSESHIT. What the bidnezzman wants is elimination of liability. Trump/GOP can try to do that, by simple executive order. By the time it's struck down, it'll be too late. What the bidnezzman wants is the OK to kill however many employees as necessary to protect profit and CxO salaries.

Has no one learned anything since Reagan?

04 May 2020

I Told You So - 4 May 2020

Recall those predictions, inferences, about the Tectonix map of the Spring Break Covidiots? That nearly all of the USofA East of the Mississippi would soon begin to explode? Well, it has come to pass
One of them is increased mobility before the relaxation, premature relaxation of social distancing, we're adding more presumptive deaths as well, and we're seeing a lot of outbreaks in the Midwest, for example.
[my emphasis, of course]

Parallax View - part the third [update]

Week's up, so here are today's numbers:
25 to 99 - 695
5 to 24 - 866

So the seeds have sprouted. And The Very Unstable Lunatic has increased 'his' estimate of dead bodies to 90,000134,000. And, his sphincter lickers in the Red States are inviting massive new infections by ending stay-at-home. Oh, yeah, they're going to have 'reduced' capacity orders. Yeah, I won't fart in your face.

03 May 2020

Death in God's Country - part the third

As predicted here long ago, once empty Red States started whining, The Very Unstable Lunatic would ship them boat loads of moolah. Gotta keep the round head base on board.
Recipients of the $10 billion rural distribution will include, rural acute care general hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), and Community Health Centers located in rural areas.

Only the Real Americans should survive.

Oh Boy

It's going to be another day for the one week turnaround of the topo.ai map exercise (hint, things haven't reversed since my impatient update); the data is from yesterday.

But... I just did a different cut of the topo map and the Spring Break Covidiot map, and it's chilling. To reiterate, the Spring Break tracking ran through the end of March, which is to say, that all those Typhoid Marys have been 'home' for about a month. Given that Covid-19 has, it seems, a three week incubation/asymptomatic contagion schedule, now would be the time when community spread would move from a walk to a trot.

And, guess, what? If you flip between the Spring Break tracks and the 100 to 999 topo map, tell me what you see. For me, it looks like a pure overlay. There's the thread that goes from Lauderdale up through Georgia, then Tennessee, to Illinois. The I-95 thread is clear as a bell. And then there's the thread that goes through the Carolinas, hops over Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia, and ends up in Ohio. The topper, so to speak, are the clusters in the mid-west, in particular the middle of the lower peninsula of Michigan. Yes, the very part of the very state where the poorly educated insist that all this social distancing is a waste of time.