31 August 2021

Thought For The Day - 31 August 2021

Another island going down the tubes. I suppose because it's many thousands of miles from Soho, Hawaii doesn't make the headlines. Talk about exponential! Of course, the situation could go in reverse if you're visiting the graph some days later.

On the 29th, the case count is 1,658. That's more or less 10 times the next worse day in all the pandemic. "Death in Paradise".

30 August 2021

I Told You So - 30 August 2021

Many's the times these missives have dissed the scardy cats in the Corner Offices for their demand for for-certain high returns on fiduciary capital. Such, of course, don't exist, so the Corner Offices now load up on Treasuries. We got the Great Recession just because the Corner Office guys gulled themselves (and we civilians) into believing that pell-mell residential housing mortgaging wasn't Just Another Ponzi Scheme. Thanks Blythe!

These days, we get conflicting arguments. Some say Powell will turn off the faucet of Fed Treasury buying: the party's over. The Fed's the reason Treasuries draw historic returns, and not in a pleasant way for the capital rich.
The short answer: Money is essentially free now, thanks to the Fed's double-barrel shotgun approach to economic stimulus — interest rates near zero and a massive investment in bonds that keeps yields near rock-bottom. If the Fed eases off the stimulus pedal, borrowing could grow more expensive, making businesses pay more, which means less profit which means Wall Street is sad.
Of course, that assertion is true IFF Treasury interest rates are solely the result of Fed buying. But what if that's just not true?
Rates on Treasury bonds are still near historically low levels, but banks have been buying government debt like never before. In the second quarter of 2021, banks bought a record of about $150 billion worth of Treasurys, according to a note published this month by JPMorgan analysts.
My my!!! The Smartest Guys In The Room just can't, or won't, find any useful ways to turn fiduciary capital into physical capital. There's the meme, been around for some years: "Software ate the world!" Meaning - real goods making is terminal, and so is most need for significant physical capital. (Of course, that tic again, the glow of AI has dimmed rather a bit in two years.)

It's worth keeping in mind that what Powell/Fed have been engaged in is not just more of Great Recession QE. It looks the same, but the two are separated by some years and events in time. It's arguable that Powell's Fed's action is more necessary than Bernanke's of a decade ago. Why, one might ask? Because Covid is a truly external systemic shock, while the Great Recession was the product of those self-same Smartest Guys fiddling the system.

25 August 2021

Thought For The Day - 25 August 2021

Smack Down!!
[US District Judge Linda] Parker is ordering the lawyers reimburse the attorneys' fees that the city of Detroit and Michigan state officials paid in seeking the sanctions. The lawyers must also take legal education classes, the judge said, and she is referring her decision to the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission, and "the appropriate disciplinary authority for the jurisdiction(s) where each attorney is admitted," for potential disciplinary action.
[my emphasis]

Not Shithole Countries

Recall wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024's lament that the USofA only gets immigrants from 'Shithole countries'?
One of the sources who was briefed on the conversation quoted him as saying: "Why do we want all these people from Africa here? They're shithole countries ... We should have more people from Norway."
The Norwegians replied
Christian Christensen, an American professor of journalism at Stockholm University in neighboring Sweden, tweeted: "Of course people from #Norway would love to move to a country where people are far more likely to be shot, live in poverty, get no healthcare because they're poor, get no paid parental leave or subsidized daycare and see fewer women in political power. #Shithole"
So, what have the Norwegians done recently? How about a human-less, electric cargo ship?
Nearly all of Norway's electricity is generated by hydroelectric power, which is generally considered to have much lower carbon emissions than burning fossil fuels, although it still produces greenhouse gases.
Which means, of course, that Norway isn't simply switching out one source of noxious pollutants from ships to another source, coal fired power plants. Not bad for a Not Shithole Country.

Driver-less tractor-trailer trucks, now cargo ships? How will the marginally educated earn livings? They are the 'Real Americans' after all. They said so on 1/6.

17 August 2021

The Red and The Blue - part the fourth

Here's a long-ish essay, which is what I've written in bits and pieces over the, at least, five wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024-years. You should enjoy.

The crux of the matter (you read this, more or less, many times here)
Sun Belt metro areas like those centered on Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix, in fact, are generally among the most dynamic areas anywhere in the nation, soaring not only in population but also in jobs and economic output, and pulling further away from the non-metropolitan areas of their states.
And, the Kryptonite quote
Muro's team at Brookings took a broader look, comparing the population growth of all the metropolitan areas in the key Sun Belt states with the remainder living in smaller places. In Texas, Florida and Georgia, the analysis found, the metropolitan areas accounted for about 99% of the states' increased populations since 2010; in North Carolina, South Carolina and Arizona, the metropolitan areas accounted for more than 100% of the states' growth, meaning that the smaller non-metropolitan places actually lost population over the past decade.
Is it any wonder that the Right Wingnuts are scambling like mad to install a permanent Tyranny of the Minority? Just like a third world dictatorship.

Recall: you can't gerrymander a state; while the Right Wingnuts may win some House seats, the Senate is in the Democrats' crosshairs. wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024 is likely too stupid to understand the numbers (he's innumerate), the RNC isn't. The same can be said for state legislatures. State-wide offices are just that, so the Right Wingnuts are striving to suppress votes in urban districts not just to please wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024's White House ambitions, but to forestall getting tossed out of their own State Houses. May be not 2022, but soon. And sooner if they do take any measure of victory in 22 and install Taliban-ish restrictive regimes. When you come right down to it, the difference between them is more of quantity not quality.

13 August 2021

Am I Blue

You betcha! Born and raised and currently residing in New England. Two pieces of recent news makes clear that the Blue is smarter than the Red. Not to mention that the Blue has been supporting all those Welfare Shitkickers in the Red states for generations. FDR gave them clean water, electricity, roads, and most of the other basic facilities of civilized living, and what do they do? Vote for oligarches whose primary goal is the keep the Shitkickers down. Panty waists like Biden continue to delude themselves into believing that the shithole county folks will actually vote for the politicians who actually seek to make their lives better. They've figured out that the Debbie Dummy Democrats will still lavish support on them, no matter what. Stupid is as stupid does. On both sides.

Y'all must know by now that 95%+ of Covid-δ infections are the unvaccinated in Red states? Boy howdy. So, let's go bail them out of their stupidity!! May be it's time for some Tough Love?

As has been said here more times than most readers need: there are no Blue states and Red states if you look closely enough, just Blue cities and Red shithole counties. The former are where the smart people go to make progress for themselves and the community as a whole. The latter, alas, are the places that the morons stay and bitch that city folk live a much better existence and took away their slaves in The War of Northern Aggression. There's a song from the WWI period (yes, that long ago) which sums up the problem: "How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree)?". Yes? It is well documented that shithole counties are getting older, whiter, sicker, and dumber as young folk with any smarts get the hell out as soon as they can. And they go to cities, where their smarts can be put to good use.

Now, we have the results of the wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024 Census. As expected, though not by those who were afraid that wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024's minions could put a fat thumb on the scales, cities continue to grow and shithole counties continue to shrink. Not even Viagra will help all those aggrieved old white men get it up. Every news org has a write up; pick the one you normally read. And media, politics, and data wonks are having at it, too. Some take the positive view that this is yet the next nail in the coffin of the Old Persecuted White Guy network. Others take the pessimistic view that, at least in the near term, Right Wing control in so many states will be able to gerrymander their way out of disaster this time.

For myself, I lean more positive than negative. I find it less likely that gerrymandering will gift seats to the Republicans, and, absent draconian voter suppression working, state-wide races will become ever more dependent on city dwellers. That's good for the thinking individual.

The second bit of news is kind of mind boggling. It's not Cold Fusion (which only manifested as a poor data programming tool), but might be nearly as spectacular
"If you go to a much higher magnetic field, you can go to a much smaller size," said Bob Mumgaard, a plasma physicist who is chief executive of Commonwealth. He said that if it was possible to build a device just one-fiftieth the size of the planned reactor in France — which will be roughly as big as a soccer field — it would be able to generate almost as much power.
Much like the difference between American and Russian nukes in the 1950s: they went for big and easy, we went with small and difficult.
Commonwealth's new magnet, which will be one of the world's most powerful, will be a crucial component in a compact nuclear fusion reactor known as a Tokamak, a design that uses magnetic forces to compress plasma until it is hotter than the sun. The reactor looks like a doughnut-shaped jar surrounded by magnets. Soviet physicists originally envisioned it in the 1950s.
I recall reading up on Tokamak back when I was in college. Kind of a Sputnik experience. While most fusion is built around lasers, these folks are going with mega-magnets. We'll see who's best. I wouldn't bet against MIT, though.

09 August 2021

Bay State

A commenter on a blog I follow got uppity about the whole Red State/Covid-δ debacle, particularly incensed that someone pointed at Florida and Texas as the source of much of Covid-δ's spread. As if this were some Snowflake Fantasy. Said commenter pointed its finger/link at Massachusetts; I suppose to make the point that it's not just Red States. Well, not a strong argument.

Of course, the link was reporting about the P-town issue. The place has a resident population of about 3,000 and a daily summer season count around 60,000 almost all of which aren't from around those parts. The touristy part of town is narrow streets and alleys, and most of the time it's a shoulder-to-shoulder experience in season; the times we've gone is way out of season. Hard to imagine a better petri dish for Covid-δ.

Even more amusing: this argument prompted me to look at the NYT MA page, and lo and behold the only Red part of the state is Nantucket, an even more alien invaded place, second and third home of the rich and famous.
Nantucket is a tourist destination and summer colony. Due to tourists and seasonal residents, the population of the island increases to at least 50,000 during the summer months. The average sale price for a single-family home was $2.3 million in the first quarter of 2018.
-- the wiki

08 August 2021

That Pesky Exponent

The mantra these days: if you're innumerate, you're a danger to society. Ronny VirusSeed© is the number one idiot, with Wheelchair Greg a close second. Covid-δ is the top fuel dragster of disease, going from 0 to 300 mph in a quarter mile (not that they run that far anymore - too dangerous).

From today's news
Behind the country's latest surge is the Delta variant, which now accounts for more than 93% of coronavirus circulating in the US, according to data from the CDC. This includes several sub-lineages of Delta, all of which are classified as variants of concern. The number is even higher in parts of the country including Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, where Delta accounts for more than 98% of circulating virus.

Those numbers show a rapid increase in the variant's prevalence across the US. In late May, the CDC estimated that Delta made up about 3% of new Covid-19 cases.
[my emphasis]
That ain't linear.

07 August 2021

Delta Dawn - part the second

The first episode has some connection to this one, mostly coincidence, but I couldn't let the pun go unpunished.

Among the shibboleths I've run across in my life is the following
The Old World nearly wiped out the New World populations with the simple common cold.
The New World returned the favor, although not as spectacularly, by giving us syphilis.
Today's analogy is somewhat more cynical
American IT gave IIT Freshers all of our compute jobs.
In return, India gave us Covid-δ.
Note a fair trade, but who said life was fair?

And, of course, the latter is undeniable. Within a smidge, it emerged in the USofA beginning of this March. It took a couple of months to gain traction. Now, go look at the NYT country case graph. Note the shape following February, 2020 vis-a-vis May, 2021. Geometric progression can be bad and it can be lots worse. Covid-δ is lots worse. This is a slope worse than last fall. Moreover, if you look at the Bad Red States, FL/AL/LA and such it's the unvaccinated.

Ronny VirusSeed© is the worst of the bunch. Not only is FL rising faster than it did in The Bad Olde Days, daily case counts (which I guarantee are being fiddled minimized) are greatest yet. Good going Idiot.

The issue is easy to see. For some Red State get some case count/date after Covid-δ was detected. Next, slide back to 2020 and that value. Next, take the latest case count number, and slide back to the original infection segment and that case count. Note how long the time is in both situations. In general, what is one month with Covid-δ is three or four months with original Covid. Let that sink in. There are some questions now:
Will Covid-δ find a peak and drop as fast as it climbed the way original Covid did?
Will Covid-δ not stop at a peak similar to original Covid and just keep going?
Since Covid-δ is far more infectious to the unvaccinated, and the unvaccinated are concentrated in Red States, will the peak be OK nationally, but population altering in Red States?
Will Floridians capture Ronny VirusSeed© and hang him by his heels and fillet him with the band playing "The Wicked Witch is Dead"?
Back about March, 2020 the effectiveness of asymp transmission was no longer debated; no one, other than a Right Wingnut Moron, would hang around someone coughing and sneezing and nose dripping, so the asymps had to be driving infection. This time around, the Lamestream Press appears to be ignoring history. We now know that breakthrough infection of the vaccinated, while rare, is likely asymp. It may even be true that the vaccinated, while not infected/asymp, can still transmit Covid-δ that has entered the nose, but doesn't get down into the respiratory tract to cause infection. The jury is still out on that.
[B]ecause Delta reproduces so quickly and efficiently, it appears that the virus can sometimes reach detectable and infectious levels in vaccinated people before the vaccine-mediated immune response kicks in.
[my emphasis]
One hopes it's not so, because this is more insidious than asymp. So The Revenge of the Smart; this time around we'll be killing off the Covidiots!!! Yay!!!

03 August 2021

Parallax View - part the fifty fourth

The last version in these missives (expected to end the title, sigh) was way back in April, 2021. Here is today's map. The map didn't appear to be predictive or illuminating back in April, thus suspension. Guess what? It still doesn't, compared to the version from CNN (about half-way down the page), which shows transmission levels. Now, that's what we need to know.

It's similar in information content to the Tectonix map of the Fort Lauderdale Covidiots, aided and abetted by Ronny VirusSeed© in 2020. Same greedy stupidity, yet again. As I type, Florida reported 38,321 on 27 July and 38,776 on 30 July, new cases. Miraculously, 0 in days since. Ya believe that? Neither do I. Those numbers are way bigger than any over the entire length of the pandemic. and Ronny VirusSeed© continues to gaslight his citizens. And, just as the Lauderdale Covidiots spread Original Covid far and wide, we can expect the same this time. Even just a glance at the transmission map shows that the spread is well underway. The only saving grace is that the infections are nearly 100% among the unvaccinated. Freedom to die.

A week or so ago I mentioned to The Wife that the carrot hasn't been working in getting the cretins vaccinated, thus it's time to employ the stick, which would be that if you end up needing medical care for your Covid infection, neither Medicare, Medicaid, nor health insurers will pay for it. The cost comes out of your pocket. A day or two later, Carville was bloviating on one of the MSNBC nightly chat fests, and went nucular: if you get sick with Covid, and you're not vaccinated, you don't get medical care. No doctor visit, no hospital bed. No nuthin. Boy howdy!! Some people are just too stupid to do the right thing. They all think that 19th century USofA was some kind of Freedom Utopia, when it was in fact mostly deprivation for most citizens most of the time.