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COVID-19

Not much to say here: by now you've all heard of Coronavirus Disease 2019, and it's probable that there are cases in your country. (Another 13 cases just got added to the UK score this morning.)

Remember: Coronaviruses have a lipid membrane, which is vulnerable to disruption by detergents (including soap and water). It can persist for up to 24 hours on some surfaces (especially polished metal). Wash your hands! You're probably safe from droplet inhalation unless an infected person coughs in your face—droplets settle fast.

The headline mortality rate for COVID-19, 2%, is comparable to the 1918-20 Spanish Flu (an order of magnitude higher than a regular winter flu). However, it rises to around 15% in over-70s. This is therefore going to cause a crisis in the nursing home sector, where homes will either have to run on a skeleton staff by sending home sick care workers, or risk killing their residents in large numbers. (This is why we need statutory sick pay!) It has the potential for major demographic, political, and age/wealth redistribution as side-effects. Also for exposing butt-headed political moves like Boris Johnson demanding the UK leaves the EU's pandemic response early warning system (apparently viruses will give the UK a free pass because Brexit), or Iranian clergy in the holy city of Qom staying open to pilgrims because their shrines are places of healing. And I'm fairly certain that as soon as there's a vaccine, the Anti-Vaxxers will crawl out of the woodwork.

Anyway, feel free to discuss COVID-19 related matters in the comments below.

1227 Comments

1:

Oh, and I forgot to give a shout-out to the South Korean Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a bunch of quasi-presbyterian millennarian whackjobs who believe their leader, pastor Lee Man-hee, is the second coming of Jesus and the end is nigh: Lee will take 144,000 people with him to heaven on the day of judgment, "by sacrificing our bodies like a candle". New members have to recruit followers or pay a fine to the leader, and apparently they have a culture of infiltrating other churches to evangelize.

Shincheonji has an ... odd ... relationship with viral pandemics (SARS too, not just COVID-19): congregants were told not to wear masks while praying as it was "disrespectful to God to have masks on", and takes roll-call at services. And the messiah himself has denounced COVID-19 as a tool of the devil and told his followers to beat it through faith.

So yeah, this is why South Korea has a COVID-19 problem.

2:

Interesting* piece on the news this morning about Statutory Sick Pay and contracted out NHS staff (Cleaners, Securoty Guards, Catering Staff who work in hospitals but are not directly employed by the NHS). It turns out that most, if not all, of them are employed on contracts which only offer basic SSP. So the first three days are unpaid and after that you go on to ninety-four pounds a week. Oh and you need a note from your GP to claim. (Remember what they said about *not* going to your GP if you develop the symptoms of COVID-19?).

So expect people who clean the wards, prepare food and do all sorts of other jobs in hospitals to continue to turn up for work. What could possibly go wrong?

*And when I say interesting I mean absolutely fucking terrifiying.

3:

Charlie ... That torygraph piece you linked to is interesting, if only for its revelation of monumental stupidity.
I wonder if BOZO will backtrack if COVID actually does turn out bad ( i.e 1.5-4% fatalities ) - the trouble is, of course, the same as we have had for some years now: There is ZERO political opposition, because Corbyn's a fuckwit.
Meanwhile ... how bad is really bad?
What was the fatality rate OF THOSE INFECTED in 1918?
Why are the Iranian figures so skewed to a high rate? ( I suspect actual infected numbers are being suppressed or massaged, so the death rate appears higher, but I could easily be wrong )
What is the actual incubation period?
I'm well past 70 ( 74 ) but my fitness is probably in the top 5% for my age cohort - so next question: Are there any other "Preferred" groups, more likely to both catch & succumb to this virus? Do we have the data? ( Age, yes .. diet? living conditions? temperature/humidity curves? general fitness & health? etc. )
As always: MORE DATA NEEDED.

4:

Shincheonji also has a fun policy of "recruiting" by false front businesses and exploiting the vulnerable by fake friendship. I will not cry in the least if the South Korean government decides to nuke them with extreme prejudice.

I feel like this particular pandemic is teaching everyone useful lessons the hard way, like, it's a bad idea to have an underclass with "no recourse to public funds", universal healthcare should be universal, and running it down because of "efficiency" will bite you in the behind when you subsequently need to run it back up in a panic.

America, it is going to go through like the Black Death with a newly upgraded combine harvester scythe. If you contrive a system where nearly all your working and middle class actively runs away from healthcare, and where every business is so deliberately short staffed that sick leave is unthinkable, and then you refuse to test near-certain cases for weeks as they spread and spread, and then try and prioritise talking up the market... well, it was nice knowing ya.

5:

What was the fatality rate OF THOSE INFECTED in 1918?

Wikipedia is your friend: here's the patterns of fatality from the Spanish Flu. Weirdly, mortality was highest among pregnant women (at 23% to 71% across 13 studies).

The Spanish flu hit in two waves: a first, low-mortality strain (at about 0.02%) but then a much more severe strain. It hit Western Samoa hardest: "90% of the population was infected; 30% of adult men, 22% of adult women, and 10% of children died." Elsewhere it ranged from 0.7% of total population, to 5% of all cases of death in Georgia (US state), and 10% of total deaths for 1918 in Ireland.

So the only good answer is "it varied" -- but in some populations it was edging into Ebola territory.

6:

Spanish flu mortality rate was something like 1.5% and I think there's some speculation that sanitary conditions (e.g., WWI front lines) made it worse.

7:

According to WHO:

"Individuals at highest risk for severe disease and death include people aged over 60 years and those with underlying conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer. Disease in children appears to be relatively rare and mild with approximately 2.4% of the total reported cases reported amongst individuals aged under 19 years. Avery small proportion of those aged under 19 years have developed severe (2.5%) or critical disease (0.2%)."

8:

We're all gonna die. Of ECONOMIC impact.

9:

Yeah, well, that's me in the "highest risk for severe disease and death" category per WHO (hypertension and diabetes). FML.

10:

It will certainly be interesting in many ways.

As mentioned, the combination of factors from the last decade or more (anti-vaxxers and their distrust of modern science/medicine, the election of really incompetent leaders and their cult of experts are the enemy, that those leaders are incapable of telling the truth, etc.) will make it interesting.

But it is also possible that the side-effects, like damage to the economies or the panics from fear, could prove to be more interesting. In the last several days there are Costco outlets being emptied by panic buying that more resembles a hurricane coming.

11:

I've been helping tamp down hysteria locally in my peer group. Death rate, like Spanish Flu, is going to vary. The topline rate is averaged across many different vulnerable populations. The over 70 set having a much higher rate is part of that; if they're at 15, and children under 18 months are as well, it means the 20 to 40 year old set is going to have a rate below a percentage point. Our news media isn't great about communicating nuance like that.

By the way, that's why the 2nd wave of Spanish Flu was so terrible; it struck the age groups that usually shrug off pandemics.

I keep thinking that this thing will trigger one of the bigger generational wealth-transfers in several decades. The over-70 set all have estates, dying early is a great way to give a lot of money to the 30 to 50 set.

12:

If you contrive a system where nearly all your working and middle class actively runs away from healthcare...

E.g.,

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/health-care/article240476806.html

Paraphrase of the above: Florida guy returns from China and develops flu symptoms. Checks into a hospital, tests negative for coronavirus and subsequently receives a bill for over $3,200 with more coming.

13:

Iran’s going to be the interesting one to watch. Rumours are that there is a high infection rate in the upper echelons of government care of the deputy health minister.

14:

Scottish Government needs to immediately put into action "National Treasure Protection Scheme" and get Mr Stross and his kin into some extremely well funded bio-facility, to keep him safe, and *more importantly* keep him writing - there's books in you we *need*.

15:
The headline mortality rate for COVID-19, 2%, is comparable to the 1918-20 Spanish Flu (an order of magnitude higher than a regular winter flu).
It appears that the % of asymptomatic/mildly affected is much higher than initially estimated, making the mortality rate appear much higher than it actually is. The number of undiagnosed cases is presumed relatively high.

That means that some estimates are now that the mortality rate could be actually be between 0.5% and 1%. Bad, but not as bad as 1918 H1N1.

16:

Odds are the mortality rate is a lot lower: There's a lot of sub-acute cases out there, where people think they've got a cold or mild flu, and are passing it around similarly. This is probably especially true in Iran which has a higher mortality rate: People are just not going to the doctor unless they're already really sick.

And that's the biggest issue: this is likely to infect a lot of health care workers, even with precautions taken. Even if they don't get severely ill, it'll take them off the table for a couple weeks. So if there are endemic areas, they *will* be short on docs and nurses.

Meanwhile, my Italian holiday has been canceled, some hotels won't refund prepaid stays. My current plan is to drive around the US pretending (only slightly) it's a Max Max-like wasteland.

17:

I've heard they're billing the ones in quarantine too.

Because what you really want from a population experiencing a pandemic is for them to think "if they catch me and send me to hospital, I'll be billed vast sums I don't have, the debts will destroy my credit and collectors will chase me for life, I've got no sick pay, my job will sack me for missing a day, and I have rent due. I had better hide myself in a hole and cover my symptoms with dayquil."

18:

I wonder if the higher death rate of older people is just an effect that they are more likely to have been infected in an hospital, so it is more probable that that they are had preexisting conditions.

Data from South Korea give "only" 3.7% mortality above 80 (sample size fortunately small, 3).

19:

Two percent lethality is the British casualties from the Great War, less concentrated in a particular demographic. Four percent lethality is the French or German casualties.

This is more than enough to collapse constructions of social legitimacy, which were already doing pretty badly here in Late Capitalism. It's not obvious that having the deaths concentrated among the old, rather than the young, will help.

A few other things: firstly, this is not a containable disease. You get many asymptomatic carriers (frequently children!) and you have to test everybody, the entire population, because there isn't (unlike SARS which always caused fever) a consistent set of symptoms. Despite a greatly increased technical capability even compared to SARS, the ability to do whole-population testing wasn't there before Covid-19 hit so we're not going to be able to do it this time. Given time, everyone is going to get this.

Second thing; there've been a few pictures posted in the last couple days of the Port of Los Angeles, empty of containers. (The largest container port in the US and an annual quarter trillion-with-a-T dollars in cargo.)

Economic downturns kill people. That part of this ain't looking great.

Third thing -- the Late Capitalism is going to settle on someone to blame as quickly as possible. (It can't possibly be a policy of denying as many people health care as possible to increase profits; it would never do for that idea to get stuck in the public consciousness.)

Fourth thing -- like any other greenfield virus, it's mutating pretty fast. We don't actually know what the overall lethality is going to look like when this is over. Could go either way. And while there's been much emphasis on two weeks of staple foodstuffs, there hasn't been much on having electrolyte replacements on hand. You can get through viral infections a little hungry far more readily than you can get through a little dry, and people don't seem to be stocking up on that basis.

Oh, and wealth transfer? Probably not meaningfully; a tremendous slice of middle-class wealth is in housing. Housing prices fall when you lose whole-digit percentages of the population and during economic downturns and during times of great economic uncertainty. Plus the transfer mechanisms aren't set up for the scale even if nothing else was wrong.

20:

And me: hypertension and COPD.

What I am expecting is that it will get into some imprisoned communities (e.g. most refugee camps, Yemen, Gaza) and their jailers will ensure that there are not enough medical supplies to treat it properly, and possibly do even more to make it worse. I remember when the BBC was leant on to stop an appeal to supply Gaza with medical aid. Bluntly, at 72, I can take my chances - but I really gag at the prospect of it being used in that way.

21:

"...I've got no sick pay, my job will sack me for missing a day, and I have rent due. I had better hide myself in a hole and cover my symptoms with dayquil.""

We wish. More likely it's "dose myself with enough medicine that I shouldn't even drive, then drive myself to work, and stumble through my shift."

Heck, I did that a few years ago, working for a branch of a Japanese company in the USA (no sick days, no remote work), and took down my office. Major weekly corporate reports relied upon by engineering were not run.

22:

Graydon @19, listing potential knock-on effects:

Fifth thing -- If Donald Trump dies of COVID-19, my unstoppable celebratory tequila binge will probably fall into the 15% expected mortality range, and I can't think I'd be the only one.

Add in other of the plentiful villains of contemporary politics -- BoJo, Pence, Reese-Mogg, Mitch McConnell, et al -- and a lot of us will be asymptotically approaching mortality rates more characteristic of Russian Roulette with only two empty chambers.

Timor mortis conturbat me.

23:

Yeah, for "hide myself in a hole", read "actively conceal my case from authorities who are trying to control infection". Instead, infect the entire office, the fast food joint I serve in and all its customers, everyone riding in my uber, the people I deliver pizza to, etc etc.

Hence the combine harvester scythe.

24:

Update

Here in Scotland the government is taking COVID-19 seriously enough that the First Minister just held a press conference and public briefing. Scotland's chief medical officer says worst case is 80% of population affected, and 4% require hospitalization. That's 250,000 hospital admissions.

The best figure I can find suggests Scotland has around 13,000 hospital beds, total. The UK has fewer hospital beds than almost any other developed nation. NHS England currently runs at roughly 88% occupancy; I'm going to assume NHS Scotland is the same.

Assuming each hospitalization case requires 10 days' care (this is based on anecdotal reports of patients who recovered), we're going to need 2.5M hospital bed-days to cover this. That's 6,850 hospital bed-years.

So if the epidemic takes 12 months to run its course and the morbidity rate is constant (it won't be!) Scotland will need 50% more hospital beds than it currently has, for a whole year.

COVID-19 apparently doesn't do well in temperatures over 26 celsius. Problem: Scotland almost never goes over 26 celsius. So unless there's a freak heat wave, summer won't save us.

I don't have an answer to this, but I'm seeing a picture like: large public gatherings cancelled, lots of people staying home (and coughing quietly indoors), emergency overflow facilities for nursing patients set up in large buildings like conference centres and sports facilities (they need kitchen/catering equipment).

This is assuming it takes 12 months and the infection rate is steady. If it burns through the population in 3 months we're fucked: total healthcare system collapse (remember, healthcare workers are more likely to be infected than everyone else).

25:

The sort of generational wealth-transfer I'm thinking of is the decidedly American style of retirement savings: tax-sheltered stock-market accounts. When someone who is 6 years into a 30 year retirement dies early, most of their accumulated value is still there. That will then transfer to their descendants, a transfer that is actually pretty dang easy compared to real-estate.

The GenX'ers with suddenly dead parents will see that influx of equity as a lifeline for their equally suddenly under-water mortgage. That will set such people above their peers with surviving parents.

Of course, any kind of excess deaths among the age-groups with actual assets to distribute is going to lock Probate courts up tight for years. So, if you're in that group, make sure your wills and such are up to date.

26:

"It appears that the % of asymptomatic/mildly affected is much higher than initially estimated, making the mortality rate appear much higher than it actually is. The number of undiagnosed cases is presumed relatively high. "

I would bet that at least the same factor applied to the Spanish Flu:

1) Doctors couldn't diagnose much at the time.
2) People were (IMHO) less likely to go to the doctor for 'mere' aches and pains. There was nothing that the doctors could do, and any pharmacist would sell you some narcotic pain juice.
3) Once it got well underway, it would have been a bad idea to go to a hospital, since that would ensure that you had it.
4) Record keeping would have been much less.

27:

Thing is, once we get anywhere near the worse case then the rules change.

For example, it doesn't matter if they healthcare workers are infected - if they can still function then they can work on caring for / treating patients with Covid-19 because there wouldn't be danger of the worker spreading the virus - and if you have set up in a conference centre/sports facility/school there is no danger of cross-infection.

28:

I would bet that at least the same factor applied to the Spanish Flu:

Also: co-morbidity (tuberculosis was a major cause of death back then -- flu on top probably knocked a bunch over the edge).

Also: yes, they had OTC opiates (anybody could rock up to the counter and buy a bottle of heroin elixir!), but opiates are respiratory depressants -- I can see a significant number of overdoses being lost in the noise (person with flu medicates for pain, finds it subtly harder to breathe).

But the second wave Spanish flu was rather different from what we normally recognize as flu: for further info, google on "cytokine storm" (which could cause healthy young adults to go from walking to dead in six hours flat).

29:

Reminder: 1% annual mortality is what we live with if life expectancy is 100 years. We're used to roughly 1.2% in the developed world.

The special sauce is 2% surplus mortality, especially concentrated in a particular demographic (the UK suffered 2% population losses over 4 years during WW1, but lost about 10% of an entire generation of young men). France ... men got scarce; in Germany they had to breed up an entire new cohort before they could go back for round two.

30:

TonyC @ 2: Interesting* piece on the news this morning about Statutory Sick Pay and contracted out NHS staff (Cleaners, Securoty Guards, Catering Staff who work in hospitals but are not directly employed by the NHS). It turns out that most, if not all, of them are employed on contracts which only offer basic SSP. So the first three days are unpaid and after that you go on to ninety-four pounds a week. Oh and you need a note from your GP to claim. (Remember what they said about *not* going to your GP if you develop the symptoms of COVID-19?).

So expect people who clean the wards, prepare food and do all sorts of other jobs in hospitals to continue to turn up for work. What could possibly go wrong?

So expect people who clean the wards, prepare food and do all sorts of other jobs in hospitals to continue to turn up for work. What could possibly go wrong?

I was reading about the cruise ships that got quarantined & apparently the "service" staff were all living in steerage conditions and the majority of the cases on board were among them rather than the actual ship's crew or passengers, who could actually isolate themselves in their cabins.

31:

jules M @ 4
Indeed - all those poor ( & brown ) people don't matter ... but diseases aren't fussy.
In spite of the realisation that isolation might help, at least on european monarch died in the great death of 1347-48 (51) ... it's going to be fun { see later }

Charlie @ 5
Yeah & it already looks as though COVID is like that, even with preliminary numbers, the death rates are varying wildly ... again how much of that is down to misreporting is, um, err - take your pick.
Your update @ 24
Just for once the Scots have got it right - that's probably a worst-case scenario, but if you prepare for that & it isn't as bad, you are ahead of the "game" - unlike the USA

Allen Thomson @ 12
Yeah your really could not make that insane shit up, could you? [ See also JM @ 17 - REALLY - that utterly bonkers? ]

As mentioned by others, how about the "Typhoid Marys" out there with no symptoms or very mild symptoms?
Suppose I get a cough & think it's just the "November cough" that everyone got, doing a re-run & get a mild temperature stay in bed for a couple of days, feel better & start going out agin - when actually I've had a mild dose of COVID?
All too easy to imagine.

"Fun" - needless to say, the jokes are already appearing.
About NOT drinking nasty Spanish beer ( "Corona" ) or those of us of a certain age referring to the "tizervirus" ( Tizer was a sweet fizzy drink in the 1950/60's period - & it's rival was ... corona )
Anyone got any more, the sicker the better?

32:

BTW, the news snippet about 38% of Americans not drinking Corona (beer) is apparently bullshit: the true figure was closer to 4% (the 38% referred to an earlier question and apparently reflects the total proportion of non-beer-drinkers in the polling sample).

33:

Re: Iran - "New Year's" coming up!

Seriously hope that Iran follows China's example and calls off its New Year's travel and public celebrations.

Excerpt:

'Nowruz is the country’s biggest holiday, and the ritual is to buy new clothes and toys—and to travel to the Caspian coast or other vacation spots to take a break from Iran’s mounting crises.'

I looked up Qom's weather forecast: should reach low 70's next week with low-moderate RH levels.

FYI - the below is a non-commercial site. Choice of BI or metric.

https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/iran/qom/ext

34:

My current plan is to drive around the US pretending (only slightly) it's a Max Max-like wasteland.

Go for Station 11 instead. I'm a bit of a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, and that is by far the best I've ever read - and relevant to pandemics. Or at least it's the best which doesn't involve zombies (World War Z is still the daddy there) or anything supernatural.

35:

richard77 @ 18: I wonder if the higher death rate of older people is just an effect that they are more likely to have been infected in an hospital, so it is more probable that that they are had preexisting conditions."

Data from South Korea give "only" 3.7% mortality above 80 (sample size fortunately small, 3).

I read somewhere that the virus primarily causes upper respiratory symptoms, but in the elderly it is likely to descend into the lower respiratory system and develop into pneumonia which is the main cause of mortality.

I wonder how that might be affected by the pneumonia vaccine my doctor suggested I get several years ago? Might that give me an added defense against the worst effects?

36:

My parents are pretty much doomed: my mom turns 89 next week, though she's in reasonable health my dad is currently fighting leukemia and he's 86 and his white blood cells are below half of what they should be. Me, I'm in trouble as I'm 58 and my antibody production ceased a decade ago.

I'm reliant on:
(A) herd immunity, which doesn't exist. And as we're having people get sick a second time, there's questions being raised.
(B) people selling plasma to produce my antibody med. See (A). This med, fiendishly expensive, gives me pretty good defensive against the common plagues that sweep through schools and I've had one common cold in the last couple of years, along with an enterovirus. Since I don't build my own antibodies, we don't know how good of a defense my body mounts against attack, but it seems.... adequate.

So, ignoring the vaccine which won't exist until the middle of next year at the earliest, for my needs LOTS of Americans need to get infected, survive, and continue to sell plasma to CSL Behring. It then takes six months+ for that to be turned into my meds and get sent to me.

And the question has been raised whether or not COVID-19 will become part of the normal cycle of coronaviruses that are in constant circulation.

So this really sucks for me. As if my immune disorder doesn't represent a possible 20 year reduction in my lifespan, now I get this thrown at me.

But I do live a normal lifestyle, working in a university library running interlibrary loan, though it's entirely possible that the school could shut down if things get bad. I have hospital-grade hand sanitizer, as recommended by transplant surgeons, at my desk, and we're starting stronger cleaning protocols. We'll see what happens.

37:

Also: co-morbidity (tuberculosis was a major cause of death back then -- flu on top probably knocked a bunch over the edge).

COVID-19 is mutating fast enough that I've seen speculation that it can be co-morbid with itself and that one reason medical staff are having such a high death rate is because they get exposed to, and thus infected by, multiple strains simultaneously.

Any green-field virus is going to mutate a lot; gene sequencing is now quick and simple enough that people are inferring when and where patient zero was from the mutation patterns. This is cool, but not directly helpful; the implication is that we're all going to get this more than once, hopefully but not certainly with decreasing severity on re-infection.

It does highlight a real need to minimise opportunity for infection; getting one case of one variant is (so far) on the odds not that bad. It's therefor really important to catch all the variants you're going to get infected with sequentially, rather than simultaneously.

38:

Overworking when infected by something like COVID-19 usually turns a low-risk patient into a high-risk one - health workers need protecting against that.

To OGH (#24): if TPTB in the UK were behaving rationally, they would stock up on basic oxygen tanks and breather masks, and issue those for home use as a first-line treatment for a lot of us old fogies (e.g. those where there are at least two active adults in the household). Yeah, that would have a higher death rate than hospital treatment, but So what?

39:

Don't expect it to be so simple. The political, social, economic and environmental consequences of WWI on the UK (due to the deaths alone) were major, and there were a LOT of negatives. I shall leave it to historians of the future to decide whether the 'revolution' it caused was eventually good for the UK's body politic or not, because it is still too soon to tell.

Expect any such event in the USA to have similar unpredictable and major consequences.

40:

> Spanish flu/COVID

Speaking of which, the JHU map shows 120 cases currently in Spain, the first case in Ecuador flew in from Madrid, and on our morning walk after I'd posted #12, I spotted a shiny penny which, on closer examination, revealed itself to be un centavo de España(*). Precautionary decontamination ensued.

(*) I don't recall ever seeing one of those on the left side of the Atlantic before. Strange are the ways of fate.

P.S. Perhaps a question for OGH: is money an effective vector for coronavirus?

41:

Certainly not saying to overwork them - but when you lose the risk of transferring the virus a lot of normal precautions become more of a luxury than a necessity. Like having support staff stay home if they are sick with Covid-19.

And if we do get to worse case, or even 50% case, a lot of normal procedures will be out the window.

42:

Here is some data from 1100 early Chinese patients. ( scihub PDF).


Key takeaways - it is mostly harmless to young people (less than 1% of patients are under 15), the median incubation period is 4 days (2-7 interquartile range, so 14 days is a very distant outlier and suggests intermediate undetected carrier), it's characterized by coughing and fever but no congestion or nausea. 6% of patients needed intensive care, 1.4% died. This is important because it's information from before the medical facilities were overwhelmed by the spring festival travel induced wave of new infections, and therefore corresponds to the situation we're now seeing in the West. That said, the disease is better understood now and we should see better outcomes in aggregate, until medical providers get overwhelmed and death rates go up due to lack of intensive care capacity, like they did in Wuhan.

43:

Interestingly, WHO suggests (linked PDF file) that fecal transmission is significant:
https://tinyurl.com/vhclhsw
This explains why washing your hands, post-toilet, is very important. And given that many people apparently can't be bothered, it's probably wise to flush public toilets and manipulate public washroom taps and doors with a toilet paper barrier between you and the surface. Or carry hand sanitizer for after you've washed hands and left the facility.

I prepared a small "don't panic" preparation guide for friends and family that I thought I'd share:

http://geoff-hart.com/resources/covid19.html

Please don't clutter this blog post with typo corrections, dead link reports, and simple errors; send that information to me privately (ghart@videotron.ca) and I'll update the Web page. Major errors in logic are definitely worth discussing here, but please e-mail me a copy of your critique in case I miss it here on the blog. Work is starting to build up, and that means I may not pay sufficient attention here.

44:

Bill Blondeau @ 22: Timor mortis conturbat me.

We're all going to die ... The best we can hope for is that it's "someday", rather than today. And hope to go peacefully of extreme old age, rather than doing something spectacularly stupid that wins us a Darwin Award.

I'm 70½, diabetic (diet & medication, not insulin dependent) and a 10 year cancer survivor. I'm a fairly solitary homebody, so I don't think my lifestyle exposes me too greatly and as noted earlier, I've had the pneumonia vaccine which may alleviate some of the danger. I think I'm more likely to die of aggravation (which I'll leave until after the 300 mark).

My only concern right now is if the Covid-19 does get me, who's going to take care of my little dog? I don't have a plan yet, but I'm thinking about it.

45:

P.S. Perhaps a question for OGH: is money an effective vector for coronavirus?

Unknown at this time, but I expect the possibility will drive traffic towards cashless/contactless payments (which are already eating cash alive in the UK).

46:

Charlie: Stay tucked away in your garret writing and you'll be safer than those of us who have to get out and about every day.

And (not related to the above), antisocial introverts FTW!

47:

Definitely come uo with a back-up plan for your little dog; anything can happen any day and it will give you peace of mind.

I have upped my handwashing/hand gel game since I had to travel unexpectedly three weeks ago. Trying to train myself not to touch my face but it’s *hard*.

My current project is using the pandemic as a motivator to really put together a good earthquake kit since I live in Southern California. Trying for two weeks of food and 10 gallons of water. I have a little solar lantern that can charge our phones in a pinch.

My mother-in-law and dad are both in extremely poor health and I am concerned about unknowingly infecting them when I go to visit...which brings up the issue of flying or driving. Driving would probably be better, and we could even camp along the way (it’s a two to three day drive) if motels seem problematic.

48:

So if the epidemic takes 12 months to run its course and the morbidity rate is constant (it won't be!) Scotland will need 50% more hospital beds than it currently has, for a whole year.

A good movie to watch right now might be Contagion - about a worldwide pandemic.

From what I recall, it's frightening in that everything is treated in a matter-of-fact way. Running out of beds? Well, sports stadiums aren't in use these days, so move the overflow there. Healthcare professionals dying (one of the main characters who is a healthcare professional dies - and it was a major actor who croaked, not some faceless B-lister).

Plus it had a subplot about an irresponsible antivax asshole who was listened to because people were desperate.

In the movie, the authorities seemed to be doing their best to handle the horrendous situation they were in. Unlike the current malevolent / incompetent goofs in charge of the USA these days. If the government lies like a rug, it doesn't take too long for people to ignore what they say.

49:

But I wonder about vaccines... bear in mind that viruses mutate as they propagate, so there's no guarantee a vaccine that works now will continue to work 12 months from now.

50:

My current project is using the pandemic as a motivator to really put together a good earthquake kit since I live in Southern California. Trying for two weeks of food and 10 gallons of water. I have a little solar lantern that can charge our phones in a pinch.

US gallons? ~38 litres isn't enough for one person for ten days.

You want at least five litres of sealed water per person-day. (Cooking and wash water are absolutely required, it's not purely drinking water.)


Ideally, sealed water is smallish -- 10 litre or 20 litre -- sizes. (Something you're sure you can access when ill comes into this.) Presuming you have a tank-style hot water heater, you also want some water-only, this-only jerrycans and a this-sole-use hose that lets you drain your hot water tank (and thus house plumbing) into same, comes the day.

51:

Re: Toilets

Put the lid down before you flush!

A lot of US & Canadian toilets have enough water pressure to spray droplets out of the toilet bowl and onto surrounding surfaces. No idea what the typical toilet water pressure is elsewhere but it's easy to check by pouring some toilet bowl cleaner (usually they contain a vivid dye/color) into the toilet bowl, lay paper towels across the top of the seat to cover the opening completely, put the lid down which will also help keep the paper towels in place, flush and check the paper towels once the water tank/reservoir has finished re-filling. (Not being paranoid - this is one of the things we were cautioned about when caring for a family member post-BMT with cGVHD, i.e., very high dose prednisone plus other immune-suppressants. Ideal is patient has his/her own separate bathroom: toilet, shower/tub and sink. There was much more that may not be applicable here.)

And for skyfairy's sake, don't let your pet drink out of the toilet bowl!

52:

Meanwhile, my Italian holiday has been canceled, some hotels won't refund prepaid stays.

Yep. I'm planning to fly to the UK a week from today. 7 night stay at a nice hotel. If I decide to cancel I have 1 week to use the hotel certificate somewhere else.

53:

Mortality Rates.

OK. Someone educate me.
Per the John Hopkins mahttps://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6p:

As of this moment:
89K cases confirmed
3K deaths
45K recovered

Wouldn't mortality be 3/(45+3)?
Which is around 6%.

This ratios has been dropping as more data comes in but is still way above the 1% - 2% everyone is talking about.

54:

Mortality varies with age cohort; I suspect the estimate of 1-2% is based on extrapolation, and a lot of the surplus deaths are among elderly/obviously sick patients admitted to hospital (there'll be a lot of low-grade infections in the community who haven't been officially diagnosed yet).

55:

I happened to go through SEA at the same time as the state's first case of COVID-19, so I've been following the drop in mortality rate.

There are two issues with the higher number you've come up with (which was 20% when I first started looking):

1. If it takes 8 weeks to get to a "recovered" state, then in the early stages like this, you have patients who are fully expected to recover, but who are still in the confirmed state. Each time a new country ramps up cases (Italy, at the moment, for example), you get this problem.

2. Inevitably, the people who get diagnosed are the ones who seek professional healthcare - this, in turn, is the people who have a life-affecting illness, not the ones who are basically healthy but have some mild symptoms - cough, fatigue, headache.

Between the two, you get into a situation where the confirmed death rate (currently around 6%) is an upper limit on the mortality rate. You can account for effect 1 by tracking when diagnoses first started in an area and make a good statistical guess, and effect 2 needs you to estimate the community rate.

56:

I've been working the last couple of days on training away face touching, by making fingertips smelly. It seems to be working.
Found a stinky liquid skin crack sealant sold in the US called Nexcare ("Skin Crack Care"), and another liquid bandage called newSkin that smells though not as bad. I haven't tried the proper cyanoacrylate-based liquid bandages more commonly available outside the US and don't know if they have a noticeable smell.
Garlic might work, e.g. garlic-infused nail-polish; really, anything to remind one that fingers are near the nose/face would work, e.g. if one wanted to go tech, a proximity alarm of some sort perhaps using a pair of rings, left/right hand.

57:

Re: Mortality rates. A recent article from Business Insider shows a number of interesting charts, including this one mapping mortality rates to age cohort. Bad news for 60+, especially 70+. Stay safe, folks.

58:

Oh, but there's a few more things that will lead to more and more people getting the virus. A few years ago, a raft of corporate bullshit came out extolling the virtues of huge, open-plan offices. All of the virtues were either more than balanced by other costs, or were entirely illusory, but the notion of "Big, open-plan office good + cheap" lodged in the minds of corporate top brass and unfortunately stayed there.

I myself work in such a pit of employment misery, as an IT worker and utterly detest it. I am autistic, and prefer not to be distracted; open plan is misery for such as I. Worse, a big open-plan office concentrates all the key IT workers for an organisation in one room which could also be custom-designed to cross-infect people with aerosol-transmitted diseases.

So, factor in modern working conditions into the economy-crippling effects of Coronavirus.

59:

Bill, the New Skin product uses ethyl acetate as the solvent; that is mostly what you can smell. For all that it is termed a wound sealant, be careful not to get it onto an open wound, because it really stings badly if you do that, and the stuff is difficult to wipe off.

It is however quite good if you want a temporary glue-like substance that can be removed at a later time.

60:

Re: ' ... working the last couple of days on training away face touching'

The transplant (BMT) ward protocol abut touching was: if you touch your face, hair or anywhere/anything below your waist - including hospital bed rails - you immediately exited the positive-pressure isolation room, un-gowned and SCRUBBED your hands (fingertips to elbows with soap and brush) for a minimum of 2 minutes before re-gowning and re-entering that room. By day 3, my hands up to my elbows were so red and raw that not touching my face/head became much easier to 'learn'.

I also decided to get a really short haircut because I noticed that about half the time that I was 'touching my face' it was to touch/move my hair.

61:

Little circular pads for face-wiping + a bottle of "cleanser" will do wonders - & of course, wash your hands ...
I wonder if some anti-vaxxer will get their comeuppance after this is all over, or even before? Ropes & lamp-posts come to mind.
Ditto for the utter wankers supposedly in charge in the US

62:

A couple points re. mortality rates:

If one person dies and you've only had that one reported infection, the mortality rate is 100%: 1 death / 1 infection. As the number of cases grows, the denominator of "deaths/infections" will typically grow faster than the numerator for infections with a relatively low rate of serious symptom development, so you'll see the mortality rate initially seeming high and decreasing over time until it reaches equilibrium.

Second, we don't yet know how many people are actually infected because (to the best of my knowledge) nobody is testing asymptomatic people *en masse*, so it's hard to calculate the true mortality rate. For all we know, 100% of people who come within 2 m of someone who's showing symptoms get infected, but only a few percent develop significant symptoms, and ca. 2% of them die.

63:

Worse, a big open-plan office concentrates all the key IT workers for an organisation in one room which could also be custom-designed to cross-infect people with aerosol-transmitted diseases.
I've ranted vigorously about open-plan offices in previous threads (hypersensitive introvert), but pandemic-facilitation might be a more-convincing twist.
Doubling time for COVID-19 cases seems to be about a week. (I haven't checked this work though.)

Something to keep in mind in the coming couple of weeks: we believe from modeling estimates from case data (https://t.co/ORhIxf7Qcs) and from phylodynamics (https://t.co/iRqMpQ87ql) that epidemic doubling time is about 7 days. 1/4

— Trevor Bedford (@trvrb) March 2, 2020

For those that don't want to click blind twitter links,
https://github.com/midas-network/COVID-19/blob/master/parameter_estimates/2019_novel_coronavirus/README.md#doubling-time

64:

Here’s a usable link to the Johns Hopkins map:
https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

Any bets that the 2 (recovered) cases in Russia are BS? That is, Russia isn’t reporting actual numbers.

65:

So, great, another bunch of Christian Scientists....

66:

And I'm fairly certain that as soon as there's a vaccine, the Anti-Vaxxers will crawl out of the woodwork.

They are already crawling. According to anti-vax theories the whole Covid-19 thing is a conspiracy cooked up as an excuse to force mandatory vaccination on everyone. See for instance https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/anti-vaxxers-terrified-of-a-mandatory-coronavirus-vaccine-in-australia/ar-BB10xPeA

Meanwhile the 5G "electromagnetic sensitivity" crowd are claiming that its actually a cover story for the illnesses created by the 5G rollout.

67:

Yep - my lady's over 60, and I'm over 70, survived cancer 19 years ago... Actually, since someone mentioned it, I think I did get the pneumonia vaccine.

68:

That transplant ward protocol is looking good now. :-)
Not paywalled at the moment (for me at least):
Stop Touching Your Face! (Tara Parker-Pope, March 2, 2020)
Article does not provide any suggestions for training away face touching so my above comment about smelly finger treatments applies.

69:

That's like the funnymentalists who have "pregnancy centers" and "advisors" who are lying, non-medical -it's your punishment for having sex groups.

70:

You wrote:
I keep thinking that this thing will trigger one of the bigger generational wealth-transfers in several decades. The over-70 set all have estates, dying early is a great way to give a lot of money to the 30 to 50 set.
---
What the fuck? Really? Do you really believe that rich asshole from a year or two ago, who wrote that you can't retire if you don't have $1.5M in the bank?

MOST of us don't have anything like that. Hell, I just retired last year, and my kids would have to sell my house to get more the $10k or $20k each.

This is bs.

71:

No problem. "Well, if you're billing me, I'll break quarantine and come. (cough, cough)"

72:

Port of LA: in the last month, 25% drop in shipments. https://www.wsj.com/articles/port-of-los-angeles-sees-coronavirus-impact-sharply-reducing-imports-11582648931

You'll notice it's from that wild-eyed, Democratic media... the WSJ (owned by Murdoch, btw).

Economy going south, seriously.

73:

Har-de-har har. And their idiot jailers will go home... as carriers.

74:

Pence is paranoid, so he may be so far away from any human being, even standing, that he might avoid it. Of course, that won't work well on the campaign trail.

McConnell... please, please....

75:
Meanwhile the 5G "electromagnetic sensitivity" crowd are claiming that its actually a cover story for the illnesses created by the 5G rollout.
Link, or search string? (I collect these things.)
76:

Trump is famously germaphobic so ironically may turn out to be one of the more enthusiastic adopters of enhanced hand-washing.

78:

Trump is famously germaphobic
Oh, yes. (Well, probably excepting his philandering, if he still does that.)
The Purell presidency: Trump aides learn the president’s real red line - A self-described germaphobe, the 45th president is strictly enforcing proper hygiene inside the White House — and wherever else he goes. (DANIEL LIPPMAN, 07/07/2019)
(For non-Americans, PURELL is a hand-santizer brand sold in the US and maybe elsewhere.)

79:

"We are extreme hand washing. I mean extreme, extreme hand washing"

80:

Thank you. (Those are good links.)

81:

nobody is testing asymptomatic people *en masse*

Yes, we were chatting about this this morning and had some doubts about the way the epistemology is being carried out.

If you test as many asymptomatic people as possible who have warning signs like travel from China and contacts with the travelers, that's one thing. If you test asymptomatic people without warning signs, but that live in the neighborhood, that's another. And if you test asymptomatic people nowhere near any of those two, that's yet another.

The testing kits or other means of identification are somewhat limited in number. What to do?

82:

This is very similar to precautions for patients who have received Radium-226 for treatment of metastatic hormone resistant prostate cancer.

Which I happened to learn when I went down the rabbit-hole researching why Ra-226 concentrations in the nearby river jumped to detectable amounts about 6 months ago.

83:

Oh, yes, that's what I was going to say: SCREW HAND SANITIZER! It should die. No, GO USE SOAP AND WATER.

Hand sanitizer is a major contributor to drug-resistant bugs.

84:

The one DJT uses (according to that news report from 2019/07) is 70% ethyl alcohol, no other active ingredients. That's considered acceptable, though suboptimal for COVID-19 compared to soap(/detergent) and water (Reason being lipid membrane, mentioned by Charlie at top.)

85:

FYI we get to see how prepared are the various global powers are for a WBD Bioweapon strike. It's clear public health wonks don't read tom clancy

86:

Great news, then!
I live in Texas. It's 26 Celsius right now and will be 27 on Wednesday. Why
do I not feel happy?

87:

Re: 'Ra-226 concentrations in the nearby river jumped to detectable amounts'

What happened? This sounds 'unusual'.

BTW - I'm unfamiliar with therapies for other cancers but wouldn't be surprised if they all stressed infection-avoidance.

88:

One possible positive outcome.

If the South Korean and Iranian patterns are repeated there'll be a few less religious fundamentalists in the world so maybe we'll get a bit less asshattery over the next 5 years.

Aside:
Is shrine-licking really a thing? Almost sounds like deliberate false propaganda.

Aside2
Any chance we can get Pence and Co to start kissing crosses?

89:

Is shrine-licking really a thing? Almost sounds like deliberate false propaganda.

You're familiar with kissing the Pope's ring, yes? (That sort of ritual is more widespread than you might think.)

90:

@85: It's clear public health wonks don't read tom Clancy

I assume you mean the earlier works he actually wrote, not those later "with" books. The wonks read them, all right; they just don't talk about them (in public).

91:

Also am I the only one who is disturbed by how close COVID is to CORVID?

A feast for crows and all that.....

92:

Children apparently have a much lower mortality rate from this: possibly they're getting much milder cases.

People with actual health problems, the kind that have them in nursing homes, are the ones most likely to die.

Get your flu shot, if you haven't already. It won't stop COVID-19, but it will keep you from getting flu.

93:

In the US, we had our Civil War, which took down a lot of younger men. Their children /grandchildren/great-grandchildren were in WWI and WWII.

94:

I'm not going to be visiting my sis in NorCal anytime soon. She's one who would have trouble if she gets it: type-2 diabetes and late-stage kidney disease. She already has her medical stuff set up: DNR and the like. (So do I.) My brother and his wife are better off, and all three of them have hospitals near by.

95:

I'm hoping they're among those who get it. (Recovery is optional, based on how much of a problem they were before.)

96:

Well, then, with luck, we may get rid of a lot of folks who love to hurt the rest of us.

I mean, kissing their stacks of money....

97:

Is shrine-licking really a thing? Almost sounds like deliberate false propaganda.

When some of use visited the Blarney Castle a few years ago we all said, no way. But they line was continuous of people willing to lie on their back and serial kiss an old rock.

And I still got SICK my last day in Ireland. Oh well.

98:

Get your flu shot, if you haven't already. It won't stop COVID-19, but it will keep you from getting flu.

I wish people would stop makes such absolute statements. Each year there are multiple flu strains. The health wizard all get together 6 months or so ahead of time and try and guess which ones will be the most common. They they make a vaccine that has those in it. At times they guess wrong and flu rates go up. But getting a flu vaccine only helps if you are exposed to the most expected varieties. You can still get the others.

But staying getting a flu shot prevents the flu just gives the anti vacers more ammunition when people with the shot get the flu.

99:

Er, why? Most hand sanitizer is either a concentrated alcohol or a bleach - no antibiotics involved - why should either of those cause drug-resistance?

100:

So tomorrow I plan to vote.

Saturday night I came down with a nasty virus. Tests showed not the flu or strep. But I'm likely still spreading it as I feel like total crap. Head to toes. But my throat no longer feels like it is on fire.

So now I get to pull up to the curb, explain my situation, and see how crazy the volunteer staff goes. I'll do it during a slow time so as to stay off the news.

Here in NC we have curbside voting if there is a reason you can't or shouldn't go into the polling place. I'm thinking with everything else going on they will take the clipboard and pen I use and toss them into a trash bag and burn it.

101:

I'm 59 and in the last few months have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and hypertension in addition to the asthma I developed a few years ago. So this is getting quite personal.

102:

colortheorytoo @ 47: Definitely come uo with a back-up plan for your little dog; anything can happen any day and it will give you peace of mind.

Had to go to the big-box home-improvement store this afternoon. Across the parking lot is the "Pet Hotel" where I used to board my cat when I had to be out of town on a weekend, so I went in and got him registered in their system just in case. Also gave them contact information for who can come get him in a worst case scenario.

I have upped my handwashing/hand gel game since I had to travel unexpectedly three weeks ago. Trying to train myself not to touch my face but it’s *hard*.

My current project is using the pandemic as a motivator to really put together a good earthquake kit since I live in Southern California. Trying for two weeks of food and 10 gallons of water. I have a little solar lantern that can charge our phones in a pinch.

It would be hard for me to wash my hands more often without slipping over into extreme OCD. I wash my hands before using the rest room as well as after. My house is about as sanitary as a cave, especially with all the Jerry built/Jury rigged home repairs I've got in progress. It's an 85 year old frame house that didn't always get the maintenance it needs and now it's about to fall down around my ears. But it beats living under a bridge somewhere, which is the only alternative currently available.

OTOH, I think there might be something to the "theory" that too sterile an environment might actually contribute to weakening our immune systems. If so, I'm definitely keeping mine well exercised.

The threat around here is two pronged - hurricanes can knock power out for an extended period in the summer/fall and during the winter we get sleet/ice storms instead of snow. One side effect of my ongoing effort to rebuild the kitchen is I'm actually starting to keep staple foods in the house again because I finally have a secure way to store them & keep vermin out. I have a small generator capable of powering the refrigerator (w/ice maker) & a 4 cup Mr. Coffee and/or a microwave and I have a gas camp stove, along with a covered porch where I could set it up out of the weather. AND I'm getting a gas range this week.

My mother-in-law and dad are both in extremely poor health and I am concerned about unknowingly infecting them when I go to visit...which brings up the issue of flying or driving. Driving would probably be better, and we could even camp along the way (it’s a two to three day drive) if motels seem problematic.

I was listening to NPR this afternoon and they had a doctor on who said the surgical masks people are getting don't do much to protect you from getting the virus, but if you DO get the virus they are much more effective for keeping you from spreading it to others. I have a cartridge respirator. I wonder if that would be effective against viral aerosols? I probably should replace the cartridges while I can.

Oh well. I was going to have to go back to the big-box home-improvement store again tomorrow anyway.

103:

As mentioned up thread "we're all going to die!!!". Eventually.

The advice where I am is to ensure that you have at least two weeks worth of food etc., because of potential issues with supply chains.

Hopefully for folks in the UK you can just keep up your levels of food, medicine, etc. that you prepared in case of hard brexit. There's nothing like hunger to make someone want to go outside...

Remember to make sure it's food that you would eat normally (because you don't want a new diet when under stress, and for those with children, that's likely to cause them to eat less, and be more susceptible to illness). And if you don't eat rice and beans normally, why not? It's good cheap food, lasts for ages, and with the addition of some fruit and veg, has almost all you need.

(Personally, I'm hoping that nothing happens where I am for just another six weeks...)

105:

Haj this year should be interesting.

106:

Nah, it’s the 5G that makes the vaccine mutate to cause gut disease that leads to autism once the chemtrails have their effects. Wake up sheeple!

107:

"...if they catch me and send me to hospital, I'll be billed vast sums I don't have, the debts will destroy my credit and collectors will chase me for life, I've got no sick pay, my job will sack me for missing a day, and I have rent due. I had better hide myself in a hole and cover my symptoms with dayquil."

Thanks for the better world guys! (Remember, if someone has more than a hundred-million in the bank, it's not cannibalism!)

108:

You should start a YouTube channel. I think you'd do quite well!

109:

The Saudis have already banned foreign pilgrims from entering the country to vidit the holy sites.

110:

I'm sure the UK Cobra meeting considered situations where large numbers of people get together in close proximity since football and sporting events got mentioned. I've become fascinated by some that don't seem to get much attention.

- Prisons. Do prisons act as incubators for flu each year? Do they already have procedures for managing highly contagious diseases?

- Private schools and boarding schools. We'll know it's bad when Eton gets it's first case and shuts down. Bear in mind here that the UK private school system has a large number of children from rich foreign nationals that fly in each term or a couple of times a year. Because of course, that's where the money is.

- Colleges and universities. Freshers flu and rave flu is a well known thing where everyone gets sick in the first week of term, especially the autumn term. The next mass movement will be the end of spring break and the start of the exam term where people will force themselves to go in no matter what health problem they've got. At least revision is self isolation. Note here this post about a Berkeley professor basically telling people to avoid lectures and work from home. It's also got some scary views about the likely Covid state of the Bay Area as of 2-Mar.
https://old.reddit.com/r/collapse/comments/fchr2i/professor_jonathan_shewhuk_of_uc_berkeley_urgent/

And then there's the London commute with it's packed trains, buses, DLR and tubes.

Bonus link: My favourite World Population stat explainer has a page on Covid-19 for those who love checking stats obsessively.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

111:

Paul @ 66
It's at times like this, that one wonders about the utility of Firing Squads ....
The anti-vaxxers & "ems" crowds are actively dangerous & in the case of the a-v mob murderers.
"WHat is to be done" ... about them .... since accurate public information doesn't seem to work.

Of course guvmint public information has already poisoned its own well, the idiots ( Supposedly "safe" levels of alchohol consumption are just straight-out lies, based on no actual numbers at all, for instance )

gordycole @ 91
Corvus corax specifically ... well-known for clearing up battlefields, etc

112:

Not mentioned above... China’s mortality rate is approx 60% men.

Which may connect to smoking being far more prevalent in men in China than women. Or not!

But I believe the mortality rate for children under 10 is still 0%.

And those under 20 are doing nearly as well.

113:

Or men are more likely to be "in the system".

114:

” The over 70 set having a much higher rate is part of that; if they're at 15, and children under 18 months are as well, ”

Mortality rate in children under 18 months is 0% so far.

This is a disease that kills old people and spares the young. So far.

I’m relieved. I love my parents - but the death of my 78-year old dad would not be as awful as the death of my 18-year old daughter. The young are the future.

115:

” Colleges and universities”

The academic year started here in NZ two days ago. The universities are screaming about their losses from the govt not letting in Fee-paying Chinese students - we have had a travel ban from China for a few weeks.

116:

Old farts like me and other are at a higher risk of death from any respiratory related illness. Our lungs tend to be worn out and full of debris from decades of smoking, working in nasty places, or just life.

117:

Well the toilet paper shelves in the local supermarket were heavily depleted by panic buyers today, so I hope everyone’s happy. We bought eggs, milk and bananas, just in case people get really stupid because we probably need them tomorrow anyway. I expect that once the initial panic subsides people will calm the flowering heliconia down, but who knows? The hospital I work across the road from had its first confirmed walk-in case of COVID-19 today. It’s not the first in the local health servicet, we took a few passengers from that cruise ship in Japan, but it’s the first organic one so to speak. I assume we’re all getting it, so it’s a matter of getting on with things and dealing with it.

Mostly life is complex enough anyway, panic buyers need to get over themselves. Best line of defence, ordinary soap, is plentiful and cheap.

118:

Hey. I bought TP a few days ago. But I like to keep a week or two on hand anyway because running out is so messy.

I told my wife to buy a few extra canned goods that we normally eat. But not crazy amounts.

119:

Skimmed through the ~120 comments so far, so apologies.

Not many found cases in NZ yet, I see one of the two latest 'suspects' tested negative. I have no idea if that Korean cult has a presence here - haven't looked yet. We'll be heading into autumn soon. The North Island is having a long dry summer so far but not hot enough to hit that 26deg point. Different weather in the South Island.

I work in legal aid, a job that is adjacent to the Court system but not quite of it. That'll be interesting for the mixing up of people. Most of my own office's work-contact with the public is telephonic/electronic, but Courts and benefits buildings could be a heck of a place for stuff to mix. Even more than a typical shopping centre/mall. I have quite a few friends and people I deal with daily who will be in those buildings.

I'm a union delegate (Public Service Association) we're talking with the H&S reps and management about things to do, but real life could move quicker than committees. We'll see I guess.

On a selfish note, I hope that come June, or whenever, that things are stable enough that Charlie can still book his tickets down here to NZ for the WorldCon. With luck we won't go down as the lowest attended one since the 1950s, or that future post-apocalyptic WorldCon described in a short story which memory fails and I cannot find by quick googling.


120:

My grandfather had COPD, probably from silicosis or asbestosis. He had a small dairy farm for 40 years, but worked on the roads and in construction. When he was in hospital for his second knee replacement, he pointed to a lift well across the courtyard from his room, that he’d been involved in the concrete pour for a few decades previously. I wouldn’t have been surprised if that job gave him silicosis, but you just can’t tell. He died at 89 from an MI, but he certainly had congestive heart failure associated with the COPD, he only got diagnosed and started getting oxygen therapy a year or two beforehand, so there you go. Anyhow, COPD is not something I would wish on anyone and I hope you’re getting good treatment. I’m pretty confident you would be in the UK (as you would here too), but it’s a bastard of a thing all the same. Not sure if reliable enough batteries exist to make truly portable oxygen concentrator, I’d want to carry a backup bottle anyway, so it’s like everything is heavy for reasons that are not good ones.

I have obstructive sleep apnea and hypertension. When the latter came to light, I adjusted sodium, fat and alcohol dramatically. But I’m the first to admit I’ve let all that slide a lot recently and the hypertension is currently barely controlled with my current medication regime (one type of ACE inhibitor), most likely I’ll end up needing some sort of combination. So I am probably stuffed if I don’t do the lifestyle adjustment, not so much to do with COVID-19, more to do with the breakdown of the supply chains due to climate change, not to mention power for the CPAP machine.

But anyway I agree about the vulnerable, captive communities and I suppose that’s the next humanitarian crisis to watch for. We’re mostly here pretty spoiled 1st world adults who can do a lot for ourselves without even really trying, we have so much help surrounding us (well, leaving aside the situation of our US friends, which is potentially pretty rotten too). The engines of history are currently Syria, Gaza and so on, and they grind people up horribly.

121:

the flowering heliconia

This expression reminds me of that one scifi book where there are these epidemic diseases which prepare the people for the next long season. Too bad the Covid-19 likely isn't going to prepare us better for the climate change...

122:

PS The office manager handed out a box of tissues to each staff member today. My brain is fuzzled...

123:

Not wanting to divert the thread, but apropos of the comments up thread I have to express my utter visceral bone-deep hatred of open-plan offices, exacerbated by the fact that the senior management who blabber on about how it increases "productivity" couldn't be pried out of their little private offices with a crowbar and dynamite. Hypocritical self-serving bastards that they are.

124:

Re: 'It's at times like this, that one wonders about ...'

The below makes me wonder whether the Korean gov't would excuse/not charge someone barrelling along the highway in a car and leaving a trail of deaths if they 'apologized'. Think it's time to examine the legal/social definition of a 'weapon'.


REUTERS:

'The founder of the secretive church at the center of South Korea's coronavirus outbreak knelt in apology, as government prosecutors consider seeking murder charges him. The church may be liable for its refusal to cooperate with efforts to stop the disease.'

125:

'm sure the UK Cobra meeting considered situations where large numbers of people get together in close proximity

The "Cobra meeting" is a backformation from "Cabinet Office Briefing Room 'A'", one of a couple of secure briefing rooms (no windows, electronically isolated, presumably checked regularly for bugs) used for emergency coordination. It really got traction during the Falklands War IIRC -- the acronym sounded so bad-ass that the newspapers kept using it and the cabinet office surrendered to the inevitable.

We currently have a PM who loves to shake hands and doesn't seem to have got the memo about skin contact. And I'm guessing 20-50 people in a closed boardroom for those meetings.

What are the odds that next week there's a local cluster in Whitehall where the Patient Zero was a COBR-A meeting attendee?

On another note, I gather while some airlines are mothballing airliners due to lack of demand (notably Cathay Pacific, so far) the ultra-rich have caused a spike in bizjet rentals because they don't want to be exposed to the unwashed masses in airport hubs. Shame they haven't realized that the pilots and bizjet cabin crews they're locked in a small metal tube with for 3-8 hours are exposed to the rest of the airport folks anyway.

I will note that I drive very little these days, but am getting my car roadworthy again (it's up for an MoT test this month and I'm doing more than the minimum to pass -- I want it usable). Eastercon is still possible, and my travel options are: fly via FlyBe (if they're not going bust again), 5 hours on a train, or a 6-7 hour road trip with co-driver. The road trip is not only cheaper, it's probably less likely to expose me to subclinically infected carriers if we're into the epidemic phase by then. (The co-driver is someone I share a bed with, so *shrug*.)

126:

I hope that come June, or whenever, that things are stable enough that Charlie can still book his tickets down here to NZ for the WorldCon.

I'd really like to, but from where I live the exact antipodal point on a globe is about 300km south of the bottom of NZ's South Island. I literally have to fly halfway around the world to get there. Given the airlines and airports I'm willing to use (hint: no Ryanair, no British Airways or American, no Heathrow or Gatwick) this means flying a minimum of 3 sectors, and possibly 4, which means traversing 4-5 airport concourses over 30-40 hours. (Typically: Edinburgh-Frankfurt, Frankfurt-Singapore/HK, Sin/HK to SYD, SYD to final destination ... unless there's a direct service from the South China Sea to NZ.)

There are way too many imponderables to make booking flights sensible at this point: like, are any of those airports going to be on lockdown 4 months in the future? Not to mention sitting in cramped aluminum tubes surrounded by possibly-infectious strangers for a couple of days, or whether I'll be in hospital myself.

127:

You're familiar with kissing the Pope's ring, yes? (That sort of ritual is more widespread than you might think.

This past Sunday I happened to be looking at a TV display in a store and noticed that one of them was showing an outdoor Eucharist in Central America, complete with milling crowd and sacerdotes sequentially placing wafers in the mouths of the faithful. Hopefully the Holy Ghost was providing some cover.

128:

Thanks for the reply. As I said "I hope"...
For now, everything is wait-and-see - so much unknown. Having done the UK-NZ trip a couple of times via several routes, yeah it's a bugger any which way even at the best of times.

As long as things don't end up with WorldCon 78 being 500 people in hasmat suits with the only international guests being anyone based/stuck in NZ/Aus at the time...
(see, I'm an optimist!)

129:

The local Anglican and Catholic churches have instructed clergy to place the wafer in the hand of the communicants, and for them to dip the wafer in the wine.

Not perfect, but safer than the old way.

130:

I've done Edinburgh to Sydney a couple of times, and it's brutal: NZ is the equivalent of adding a shortest-possible trans-Atlantic flight on top. At my current age I can only contemplate it in business class (which costs). On the silver lining side of things: I suspect there will be deep discounts on business class seats during an epidemic -- airlines will prioritize keeping them filled even if they're running at a loss (losing 20% on a seat is better than losing 100% on an empty seat, and hopefully the prole who's enjoying the high life will come back and pay for more later, once they experience it).

131:

Too bad the Covid-19 likely isn't going to prepare us better for the climate change...

We could get lucky here:

The 'target demographic' for Covid-19 seems to rather generously include the 'Climate Change Oppostion': Nasty old rich people who are paying the "Aryan Anti-Thunberg", most of the toxic media moguls, most of the CEO-population, their common foot-soldiers: Brexiteers, Gammons and Climate-deniers, pretty much all of Donald Trumps cabinet, and most of the US senate and Congress!

If it decimates and then comes back around next year and decimates again our current leadership we will be making great progress!

Then we only need to find where 'Boris WWII Bunker' is so we can fart down the ventilation ....

132:

Have you considered Qatar? They go Edinburgh-Doha then Doha-Auckland. Not the ideal owners, I realize...

133:

Panic buying is stupid. Being prepared is not. Having two (or preferably four or more) weeks worth of supplies gives options.
1. If you are in a high-risk demographic, or if you cohabit with someone, then you can isolate yourself if needed.
2. If you get the illness and the government uses its, very conveniently passed in 2015, legislation to force you to stay at home, you've got supplies. (I heard an interesting thing on the radio today about how 'democracies' turn authoritarian. Of course, now I can't find what it was. I think the last few years have demonstrated that Australia is not immune.)
3. If a bunch of idiots panic buy, then you don't have to worry.

If you live in an area prone to flooding then all the more reason.

Of course, buy what you would eat anyway.

134:

"Have you considered Qatar? They go Edinburgh-Doha then Doha-Auckland. Not the ideal owners, I realize..."

They all laughed when I bought my personal dirigible, but who's laughing now!

135:

The annoying thing about Wellington is that it's neither Auckland nor Christchurch, which appear to be the airline hubs for the North and South islands.

We're doing London to Singapore to Auckland - two legs followed by a leisurely road trip down to Wellington - but Charlie has a deep dislike of LHR. Air New Zealand might have better options, but transiting at LAX is a no-go for my wife and me.

136:

I will not fly on any middle-eastern owned airline. That's a hard nope.

137:

We'll probably fly Lufthansa (IIRC Air NZ is in their alliance and serve KL or Singapore) and do the road trip thing too. Fly out a week before the worldcon so as to be over the jet lag.

Air France is ... sub-optimal ... for anywhere in the southern hemisphere that isn't in South America.

138:

> getting to NZ

Have you looked into going the other way around? For example, there are direct flights from Santiago/SCL to Auckland/AKL, and you can get to Santiago via CDG (or, sorry, LHR).

139:

I think it's worth a bit to provide some context, esp. in the face of some of the more hyperbolic headlines: The CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/2018-2019.html) estimates that the ordinary flu killed 34K Americans during the 2018-19 flu season, almost half a million were hospitalized, and over 35 million showed some symptoms.

Nobody seemed to panic, the economy didn't crash and life went on. Granted, Corona seems to have a somewhat higher average mortality rate, but I'm not expecting any sort of system failures coming out of this.

If the American gov response is esp. bad, it could conceivably affect the US presidential race. Maybe.

140:

Charlie
Where Eastercon this year?

BA are VERY variable - they can be good - depends on the route & airports (I think)
Quaintarse are supposed to be very good indeed.....

Someone at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, smack in the middle of the Sq Mile has tested positive ....

141:

Eastercon this year is at the Birmingham Metropole - a frequent con hotel next to the NEC.

142:

Eastercon is in Brum (Hilton Metropole, IIRC). Might or might not be do-able. There's a shortage of direct flights from Edinburgh (if you stick to my rules, i.e. never EVER fly on Ryanair), I don't want to dog-leg via Amsterdam, and the direct train route is Cross-Country. Driving ... at least it's straightforward and we can stop for lunch en route.

143:

"...Corona seems to have a somewhat higher average mortality rate..."

IIRC, the current range of estimates is from 10x to 20x the CFR of influenza.

Taking the number which you gave, this might translate into 340K - 760K killed[1], and 5 million hospitalized. I checked recently, and got a figure of 3 million hospital beds in the USA, so this would seriously overload our health system.


[1] I would expect less, because at that point we'd be in quarantine and serious lifestyle changes.

144:

And the high number of ICU stays would have broken that system down long before.

145:

"I will not fly on any middle-eastern owned airline. That's a hard nope."

May I ask why?

146:

I was wrong - it's Ra-223 that is used as a radiopharmaceutical. The precautions about avoiding contamination from urination is because radium is excreted in the urine, at sufficient concentrations that others should not be inhaling any aerosols or ingesting from transfer contamination to the hands or face from surfaces.

The common methods for determination of alpha emitting radium isotopes in water cannot distinguish between isotopes until higher concentrations are present. Ra-223 radiopharmaceutical is still a valid explanation considering the non-detectable historical results and the absence of any mining activity or effluent upstream of the measurement point.

147:

First off, the CDC is being operated by Trump appointees who have already made some absolutely indefensible decisions. CDC public statements are not the definitive voice of rationality and good statistics that they might have been in former days.

Secondly, we don't know how lethal COVID-19 is. There are estimates, but the estimates all have very large error bars.

Thirdly, the information emerging about the disease indicates that the only effective screening mechanism is to test absolutely everyone daily for two weeks. Nobody's in a position to do that; all the screens have leaked. So everybody's going to get it.

Fourth, the economic uncertainty, which itself straight up kills people, is still increasing.

Panic buying staple foodstuffs isn't an especially stupid means of reducing uncertainty. It's better to have a minimum-quantity-on-hand pantry with a month or so of shelf-stable staples all the time, but most of the population can't do that.

148:

There is a good chance it already has, though it won't be obvious for a couple of months yet.

The additional 3 week shutdown of China after the normal Chinese New Year, and the resulting port issues in China, mean a lot of shelves will risk going empty at some point going forward.

But the bigger problem for Trump is what is happening in the US.

That panic buying is all money currently being spent, but money that will (given it is likely going onto credit cards) in the months ahead be repaid - by spending less in the lead up to the election. So retail could be hurt, meaning fewer hours for retail workers, rinse and repeat.

But likely worse, given the uncertainty a lot of people will likely cut back/eliminated non-essential spending as they wait to see what happens, thus causing further retail strain.

Business may also play a wait and see game, etc.

Which is one of the reasons why Trump is trying to pretend nothing bad is happening in the US - he needs to maintain consumer confidence, and hence consumer spending, to keep the economy good for the next 8 months.

149:

Further to this, consider the list of cancelled conferences(*).

Even if the hotels and airlines don't refund the booked flights/rooms, there will be a hit to the local businesses who don't have conference attendees spending money.

This is all going to start appearing in statistics in the coming months.

* https://www.zdnet.com/article/coronavirus-update-2020-tech-conference-cancellations-and-travel-bans/

150:

A better-than-usual guide to reducing face touching:
How To Stop Touching Your Face - Amid the coronavirus outbreak, experts offer advice for doing the (seemingly) impossible and altering this common habit. (Caroline Bologna)
My approach, mentioned above, is to make one finger on each hand smelly (with a liquid skin crack sealant or liquid bandage, currently); that, with a working nose, is a real-time hand-near-face proximity alarm. Biotech.

151:

Perhaps it will finally get people to learn what telecommunications are for, then. Perhaps if we're really really lucky they'll even remember the lesson afterwards.

152:

I’ve been building up a reserve of food etc. in a measured way over the past week. But for me this is overdue as I live in earthquake country. Storage is a real issue but if it’s a matter of life and death I suppose I can get over stumbling over the crates of supplies. I feel that this virus is a Hurricane Katrina for the whole country...so I think people are wise to err on the side of caution.

My husband and I are supposed to go to Vienna for a science meeting in May...we’ll see...I wouldn’t blame the Europeans for not wanting to let us nasty, germy USAns in.

154:

As a (fellow) despiser of open plan layouts[2] (who has read all of the academic literature on the subject; there is literally nothing of substance supporting them except higher physically packing of employees), this warmed my heart (bold mine):
Keeping our employees and partners safe during #coronavirus (twitter.com, Sunday, 1 March 2020)
In addition to the travel, event and visitor restrictions that we previously shared, today we provided additional guidance as we look to protect the health and safety of our workforce. Beginning today, we are strongly encouraging all employees globally to work from home if they’re able.

And Jack Dorsey[1]:
To quote one of the loudest advocates of open-plan offices, Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter:
We encourage people to stay out in the open because we believe in serendipity—and people walking by each other teaching new things.”

Sadly, it will be hard to measure the productivity benefits (of telling people in working in hives optimized for rapid spreading deadly infections to work from home) against an economic downturn. I hope a few people try.

[1] Good rant: Open-plan offices are the sweatshops of the West (Matej Latin, 01 Feb 2019)
[2] layouts with essentially no visual or auditory barriers, generally tightly packed.

155:

Also poppy seeds. As in those little black specks you often find on bread rolls ...

Singapore prohibits importation of those1, but I don't think they're going after individual seeds.

1 As I understand it you can import them, but they have to be tested first to make sure there's no detectable opiate level in them

156:

And there's another one where if we're really really lucky people might just remember the lesson afterwards.

157:

I feel that this virus is a Hurricane Katrina for the whole country...so I think people are wise to err on the side of caution.

I think that's an excellent way to put it.

I generally have a couple weeks food on hand; the ~20 kg mixed weird grains order should arrive tomorrow. (About 200 grammes of boiled MWG is a meal; if I need more than that it's the apocalypse and I don't need to exercise much further concern.)

158:

Conversely, the Diocese of Chichester say not to dip the wafer in the wine:


Because hands can be as much a source of pathogens as lips, intinction is no safer than drinking and can introduce germs into the cup. Intinction (dipping the bread into the wine) can also threaten those with certain immune or allergic conditions. For instance, those with gluten intolerance for whom traces of gluten can be hazardous are at greater risk when other communicants have dipped their communion wafer into the wine.

As for kissing things: Six weeks hence it'll be Good Friday, when it's customary for the whole congregation to kiss a wooden cross.

159:

Thanks guys, for all the responses to my comment, but I'm still not convinced that the Coronavirus compares to the ordinary flu in terms of seriousness...

Barry, @143: "IIRC, the current range of estimates is from 10x to 20x the CFR of influenza."

The estimates I've seen indicate the overall mortality rate is likely somewhere around 3% or so. See many comments upstream from here. There is also the question of how contagious the CV is compared to the influenza, and how far we can expect it to spread, before warmer weather kicks in. I don't expect tens of millions at this point.

@Graydon @147: Please do not impune the reputation of every civil servant and technical expert in the US government simply because they work downstream of the D. I think it's likely that the vast majority of the health care scholars and statisticians working at the CDC are dedicated to protecting the public health (and lets give some recognition of the pushback against the administration that frequently occurs in the face of WH propaganda). See here: https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2020/03/politics/coronavirus-trump-cdc-timeline/

"...A close examination of the timeline from the past two months reveals how US health officials took active steps to deal with the crisis as information trickled out of China, a country led by an authoritarian government that has been criticized for its censorship and handling of the crisis.

Regardless, with the available information, US health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took bold steps to prepare for the outbreak. "

I think it's really important not to fall victim to the "everyone lies" fallacy--that actually plays right into the hands of the propaganda machine and the goals of global oligarchy. There are many people out there still telling the truth to power. Let's listen to them.

Mdive @148: I don't want anyone to die or suffer if avoidable, but I've been waiting several years for DT's evident incompetence to bite him in the butt, and maybe this will be it. The economy is taking a hit, mostly so far it seems to be the stock market, which means The Republican's donor class, and that more than anything else may be responsible for the administration backing off the more explicit and extreme comments they made at first (democrat hoax, etc.).

Consumer confidence taking a hit as a result of something Trump does is, frankly, nothing new (trade war anyone?), and by itself, that won't change the outcome of the election, unless it goes so far as to negatively impact employment, which seems farfetched. But a colossal failure to act effectively, even if the country itself finds a way to cope with the epidemic (which I am willing to bet will happen), would at least give the Democratic challenger more ammunition to through at him in the ensuing months.

160:

Nasty old rich people who are paying the "Aryan Anti-Thunberg...

For anyone who missed the context of this, yes, there's a right-wing teenager called the "Anti-Greta," who at only nineteen years old has white nationalist baggage, which is not attractive in anyone but particularly worrying in Germans for some of us.

161:

The estimates I've seen indicate the overall mortality rate is likely somewhere around 3% or so.

Which is about 30 times the mortality rate associated with a regular winter flu, and about double the 1918-20 Spanish Flu.

This is not panic-worthy; it's not the black death. But is is going to be disruptive if it turns out to be remotely as infectious as is currently believed.

162:

Damian @ 117: Well the toilet paper shelves in the local supermarket were heavily depleted by panic buyers today, so I hope everyone’s happy. We bought eggs, milk and bananas, just in case people get really stupid because we probably need them tomorrow anyway. I expect that once the initial panic subsides people will calm the flowering heliconia down, but who knows? The hospital I work across the road from had its first confirmed walk-in case of COVID-19 today. It’s not the first in the local health servicet, we took a few passengers from that cruise ship in Japan, but it’s the first organic one so to speak. I assume we’re all getting it, so it’s a matter of getting on with things and dealing with it.

Mostly life is complex enough anyway, panic buyers need to get over themselves. Best line of defence, ordinary soap, is plentiful and cheap.

David L @ 118: Hey. I bought TP a few days ago. But I like to keep a week or two on hand anyway because running out is so messy.

I told my wife to buy a few extra canned goods that we normally eat. But not crazy amounts.

I hope the shelves have been restocked. I normally do my grocery shopping on Tuesdays ... I play music on Tuesday nights & there's an alignment between home, Costco, the grocery stores I shop at (now that the new Wegmans is open) and the place I play that makes it possible for me to hit all of them in one trip, thereby reducing my carbon footprint. I was thinking about getting toilet paper. I get the BIG 30 roll package at Costco & I'm currently down to only a dozen rolls (2 six packs) on hand. I generally prefer not to get too close to running out.

I'm getting REAL CLOSE to being finished with my kitchen rebuild and I'm starting to stock up now that I finally have kitchen cabinets (hung the last ones on Sunday). I've just a few aggravating minor details to complete and I'll be set where I don't have to go out into the cold cruel world unless I want to (or need to do my weekly grocery shopping).

163:

Robert van der Heide @ 104: Enjoy your bottle of Corona with a wedge of Lyme.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyme_disease

That's one I DO actually worry about, because it can lurk undetected in your system for years before suddenly flaring up and crippling you. I had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, another tick-borne disease (thank you Ft. Hood, Texas!), so I've been warned I'm at extra risk.

164:

Charlie Stross @ 125: I will note that I drive very little these days, but am getting my car roadworthy again (it's up for an MoT test this month and I'm doing more than the minimum to pass -- I want it usable). Eastercon is still possible, and my travel options are: fly via FlyBe (if they're not going bust again), 5 hours on a train, or a 6-7 hour road trip with co-driver. The road trip is not only cheaper, it's probably less likely to expose me to subclinically infected carriers if we're into the epidemic phase by then. (The co-driver is someone I share a bed with, so *shrug*.)

I've heard of the MoT test, but I don't think I've ever had it explained what it involves. I have the impression it's required like our annual "safety" inspection, but yet I've heard of people driving cars that don't have a "MoT". Would someone please elaborate on what's involved?

165:

Alright, here are a couple of tidbits.

One is that there is a conspiracy theory running around in South Korea right now. Supposedly Shincheonji Leader ( wannabe messiah) Lee Man-Hee, when he kowtowed in apology, flashed a gold watch given to him by the previous (now jailed) SK President Park Guen-hye. The theory is that Lee was deliberately trying to destabilize the current President Moon by spreading Covid-19. Moon does have more than 1 million signatures against him on a petition to oust him from office over his handling of the Covid-19 outbreak. On the other hand, my limited understanding of Korean customs suggests that a leader of a group kowtowing in apology may make it that much harder for the lawyers defending that group to say that they weren't responsible. Since they're considering murder and other charges against Lee and members of his inner circle, I'd say that Shincheonji is about to enter the official persecution phase of the messianic cult cycle.

Oh, and apparently Covid-19 is caused by SARS-Cov2, which means this virus is basically SARS 2.0, a more-adapted-to-humans strain of SARS. It's ba-ack. I'm thinking we maybe should start calling SARS batshit fever, but apparently that isn't accurate. Probably the more accurate moniker would be "wet market fever," which would place the blame squarely where it belongs, on those well-designed viral spillover enhancement facilities, the live wildlife/wet markets of China. Anyway, we're stuck with Covid-19 and SARS, which is the limit of our creativity.

In the technothriller/SF world of short term prognostication, This article from Science can cause additional cheer/angst. Apparently, the Chinese draconian crackdown did limit the spread of Covid-19, at least in the short term. They have to ease up on the quarantine pretty soon, at which point we'll know whether going draconian with all five claws was sufficient to permanently stop the spread or not. I've got mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I'm sufficiently worried that I do hope it worked. No point in a global pandemic, especially if mortality does shoot up where hospitals get overwhelmed (as in Wuhan).

The bigger problem is that, if China's measures even appear successful, places like the US and the UK may well try to copy the draconian quarantines, which are also a useful way to spread authoritarianism and racism. That part I'm not happy about.

The good note is that kids seem to be largely immune to SARS. To them it's just another cold. It's a killer of the old and compromised, like some of us here. Scary, but it won't take down civilization any more than smallpox did. If it does get loose in the US though, it may well facilitate a shift in power towards the young, for all the good and ill that causes. And if things get ugly, it may shift power towards authoritarianism, as the jackals try to seize this emergency and use it to gain power.

166:

Conversely, the Diocese of Chichester say not to dip the wafer in the wine:

It seems that this matter is causing a certain amount of confusion and distress.

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/french-dioceses-ban-holy-communion-on-tongue-as-coronavirus-spreads

167:

I've done Edinburgh to Sydney a couple of times, and it's brutal: NZ is the equivalent of adding a shortest-possible trans-Atlantic flight on top. At my current age I can only contemplate it in business class (which costs).

My daughter and her husband just did JFK to LHR to DXB to SYD then to NZ. (Not sure of that last leg or two). What made it somewhat tolerable was the LHR/DXB/SYD in an A380 suite. All on points. They came back via the Pacific route in economy though. Then slept a lot the next few days. To bad the EU/UK doesn't have credit card points the way we do in the US.

168:

There's a whole book on it, so this is very abbreviated...

It is a mandatory annual safety inspection, required for all cars over 3 years old (but, as of a couple of years ago, not for cars over 40 years old). There are a few exemptions, such as recovery trucks or agricultural vehicles (per the legal definition thereof), but next to nobody falls under them. Driving without an MoT is illegal; people who report doing it are basically admitting to having taken the chance.

It involves a visual inspection of safety-related components - suspension, structure, brake gear, lights, door catches, etc - plus measurement of brake force, and of emission levels for newer cars. It does not check mechanical functions per se, so in theory a car could pass the MoT without an engine in it (although they would probably refuse to do the test on the grounds of all the shoving around). It also does not check anything that would involve taking things apart - so if a car has those horrible plastic sill trim cover things on it, the structural metal of the sills themselves can have rotted away completely underneath but it'll still pass the MoT because they're not allowed to take the covers off to look.

169:

"Scary, but it won't take down civilization any more than smallpox did."

It was pretty bloody effective at taking down civilisations that weren't used to it.

170:

REAL CLOSE to being finished with my kitchen rebuild and I'm starting to stock up now that I finally have kitchen cabinets

Extra rations can sit in the middle of the living room for a week or few. At least in my world.

But my wife and I do inhabit different worlds at times.

171:

«  (Typically: Edinburgh-Frankfurt, Frankfurt-Singapore/HK, Sin/HK to SYD, SYD to final destination ... unless there's a direct service from the South China Sea to NZ.) « 

Consider stopping in Singapore for a night at the airport hotel. A chance to sleep in a real bed, lounge about the pool, unkink ones legs. There are several flights HK/Sin to NZ, but to Auckland or Chch not Wellington.

The big changes in NZ international flights the last few years is addition of various routes by Chinese airlines, via China.. Most of which are currently cancelled.

If you are thinking business class, then Air NZ flies direct from Heathrow with a very nice business class. With a refuelling pause in HK. You might consider if that is worth compromising your no Heathrow stance.

Lots of flights HK/Sin to Auckland or Christchurch.

172:

MoT

Sounds like our current North Carolina inspection. Some better, some worse.

While in Pennsylvania I learned their inspections were a bit more complete in terms of braking and body parts. With all the salt used thy want to make sure body panels are not about to fall off and that you can stop if the brakes are applied.

Given our climatic variations states tend to have differing emphasis on what they inspect for. And for many (most?) states you can't renew the registration without an inspection (if one is required). It is all computerized.

About 10 years ago I got a nasty gram from the state DMV cancelling my registration and insurance due to a lack of inspection. But I did have the sticker and the receipts. The garage forgot to do the equivalent of hitting "Save" when they completed the inspection. At least they stood up for their mistake and dealt with the DMV to get it all worked out.

173:

Smallpox alone didn't take down any civilization. Military action plus a variety of Eurasian pandemic diseases was much more effective, at least in the Western Hemisphere.

The bigger point is that losing 10-30% of a population doesn't necessarily doom western civilization, so I don't expect that Covid-19 will do it any more than the flu does, at least by itself.

The bigger problem is the Four Horseman of war, pandemics, and famine. They tend to be tied together, in that a breakdown in society's systems caused by unrest, epidemic disease, or crop failure tends to spiral, causing the other two to show up in due course, followed by a lot of people dying from all three causes combined. That's the utility of this particular mnemonic.

Right now, we are all worried about this happening, but so long as we react appropriately and don't over-react, it probably won't destroy civilization. And even if we screw up, it probably won't destroy civilization.

It may well kill some of us though, and that would truly suck.

174:

So tomorrow I plan to vote.

Voted early this morning. Most of my symptoms were gone so I went in to vote.

I was #25 at 7:30am which means almost no one is going to vote today and/or most plan to vote later and/or most voted via early voting.

If the plan is to vote later after work then turnout will be down as we're expecting rain across much of the state for the rest of the day. Which will likely help Bernie as his troops really mobilized for early voting. And some people might be getting scared to get out into such areas where lots of people pass through.

As a reference I think we have around 1200+ people registered to vote at my polling place.

175:

Does flights.google.com work in the UK or EU? Or the equivalent URL for the specific country?

176:

You know, there is actually stuff sold for things like that. The one I'm aware of is called "bitter orange", or some such, and it's OTC in drug stores.

177:

Two words: porridge oats.

50-60 grams simmered for 10-15 minutes in 400ml of water (optionally: 50/50 water and skimmed milk for a smoother mouth-feel) will make for a basic meal. Add a pinch of salt or a spoonful of sugar (or non-glycemic sweetener) to taste: alternatively mix with dried fruit.

It doesn't last forever but you can store a startling number of meals at the back of the refrigerator and as long as you've got power (or gas) you can cook it. Gets slash-your-wrists boring eventually, though.

178:

Isn't that the "stop a kid from sucking their thumb" stuff?

179:

MoT (Ministry of Transport test) -- these days, a VOSN (vehicle operator something something). You need to get your vehicle certified every 12 months after it's 3 years old or it's not road-legal and, more importantly, you can't get insurance. (Insurance is mandatory: driving without it can get you a fine, penalty points on your driver's license, and your vehicle seized and crushed).

Covers roadworthiness (brakes, tire tread, lights), structural soundness (nothing falling off due to rust), emissions, and all the stuff you'd expect: goal is to ensure that cars much be verified as safe for other road users at least once within the preceding 12 months.

It's prudent to get the car serviced (oil, coolant, filters changed) and brakes checked at the same time, if not more often.

180:

I wonder how air conditioning interacts with COVID-19. (This seems a reasonable response to the Texas question.)

OTOH, I haven't been able to get any answer from Google as to what temperature is needed to deactivate COVID-19. It seems that hot food *should* be safe, as I found a link that said either heat or alcohol would do the job, but didn't say how much of either. Perhaps I should add v. high proof grain spirits to my coffee.

181:

You're all so pessimistic! Look on the long term bright side - all those empty care home places, no more seriously long term sick to burden the NHS. Boris can finally deliver on his NHS promises. Then there are the millennial whiners who will inherit houses and start voting Tory. Of course, half of the readership of this blog will probably be kicking off as well. I find it all rather exciting.

182:

Soap and water kill, and get rid of them. Sanitizer - you betting that when you wipe it off, gets all of them?

And I've read how the sanitizing soaps, and sanitizers, are not used fully, and result in that - that was in medical reports.

183:

When you note that China's fatalities are about 60% men, you don't state the percentage of men in the population. There was certainly a period quite recently when female children were frequently killed, so an elderly population of 60% men, or even higher, wouldn't be too surprising.

184:

Five points! Five conspiracy theories in one! Ellen and I both laughed.

Bravo! Bravissimo!

185:

Yippee campaign slogan from '68: eat the rich!

186:

Dried fruit helps, and so does having flavorings. (I've had it with a little chai spice - it was surprisingly good. My sis has used a red/black pepper mix - about 3 parts coarse-ground black pepper to one part red pepper, like cayenne.) Consider adding some flaxseed or other ready-to-cook grains to it, also.

187:

And while I remember, unless she is already bunkered down I don't expect the Queen to survive. If Charles also succumbs does that mean that its King Harry and Queen Meghan? Or are we talking King Pedo the First?

188:

It's William after Speaker-to-Plants, then Wills and Kate's sprogs then Harry and his offspring. Only then does Andrew get a look in.

189:

Honey also stores virtually forever and can be bought in bulk

Rice is another good one, as are certain kind of beans

I usually just go the dehydrated / freeze dried route because I want 30 days of food always on hand and don’t want to have to bother to keep cycling it. But that’s more expensive

190:

Don't forget dietary fats; this usually means vegetable oil for shelf storage. Grapeseed doesn't taste like anything much, which can be an advantage after a while.

191:

MICROWAVE. Porridge + milk (real milk), 3 mins, add a drop more milk & stir, 2.5 mins, done. Uses a lot less energy, quicker, doesn't dirty a saucepan, and you don't have to keep stirring it to stop it burning on the bottom.

The microwave has rendered all those variants on Chernobyl kids' breakfast obsolete - they are no quicker or easier than the real thing.

One possible problem is your gut rebelling, though - I once lived on porridge for a fortnight and then spent 2 days throwing up.

193:

It’s no good trying to flatter me - I know you’re one of the LizardGreyAlienIlluminatiRothschildCabot elite!

194:

David L @ 174:

So tomorrow I plan to vote.

Voted early this morning. Most of my symptoms were gone so I went in to vote.

I was #25 at 7:30am which means almost no one is going to vote today and/or most plan to vote later and/or most voted via early voting.

I was #248 at 10:00am. There were actually 4 or 5 other voters in there while I was there. Usually there's only 1 other voter when I go in at mid-morning, if any.

195:

I'm not convinced any USasian style with prepping makes sense in the UK.

Bear in mind the UK is roughly the same area as Michigan, but with almost 7 times the population density. Drop off the Highlands of Scotland and NornIron (sorry) and it skews denser still, with a good 20+ millions worth within a 2hr drive of Birmingham. The UK

Either we are sorted within 2 weeks including intermittent infrastructure breakdown including water supplies or its total Mad Max territory. That density means it should be relatively easy to maintain services to most people. The UK and Japan rank roughly equal interms of GDP per capita per square mile and probably skews better for arable land - add in still a half decent Health system and there are much much worse places to ride out several different magnitudes of apocalypse.

2 weeks worth of supplies and some electrolytes and water purification tablets are probably massive overkill.

My wife laughed at me for doing the above purely for 14 day quarantine purposes - til she found out one of our friends - a local GP (Dr) was doing the same thing.

196:

2 weeks worth of supplies and some electrolytes and water purification tablets are probably massive overkill.

The point is not to weather a breakdown in services; the point is to not need to go outside that whole two weeks.

This is expensive in terms of the economic hit; in terms of the "well, if you never interact with anybody, the virus can't spread" it's a brute force solution. It has the considerable benefit of being likely to work. (Plan for a month. We don't actually know for sure all the COVID-19 variants fit into the two week window.)

197:

Anyone know whether the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracking site has changed how they track cases because the numbers look buggered up, i.e., they don't add up. Plus the time stamp is for this morning and the last time I looked was early afternoon and the site showed a pm time stamp.

https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

198:

Charlie Stross @ 179: MoT (Ministry of Transport test) -- these days, a VOSN (vehicle operator something something). You need to get your vehicle certified every 12 months after it's 3 years old or it's not road-legal and, more importantly, you can't get insurance. (Insurance is mandatory: driving without it can get you a fine, penalty points on your driver's license, and your vehicle seized and crushed).

Covers roadworthiness (brakes, tire tread, lights), structural soundness (nothing falling off due to rust), emissions, and all the stuff you'd expect: goal is to ensure that cars much be verified as safe for other road users at least once within the preceding 12 months.

It's prudent to get the car serviced (oil, coolant, filters changed) and brakes checked at the same time, if not more often.

So it is pretty much like our annual state inspection, which in North Carolina has to be done within 60 days prior to renewing your license tag. I don't know if they check "structural soundness", but I know you can't have a rusty muffler even if the vehicle will pass the emissions test. It also won't pass the test if they can't read the OBD codes (On Board Diagnostics) on later model vehicles. Don't get a new battery installed and take it straight down to the inspection station. It takes 30 - 60 miles for the computer to reset after the battery has been disconnected.

If you don't get the inspection done, you can't renew your license plate. Driving without proper tags can get you a REALLY BIG fine, although I think the state gives you a bit of grace - 15 days into the next month - but you can actually lose your driver's license for a flagrant violation. Insurance is also mandatory here and if you forget to renew they take your license plate and it's another really big fine if you don't turn them in BEFORE your insurance lapses PLUS another big fine to get them back (plus your premiums are likely to go up) if you didn't turn them in on time.

And still, there's idiots get caught all the time driving without a license, driving without insurance and driving without proper tags. It's mostly people who lost their driving privilege to DWI (Drink Driving), but a few are political idiots who think they have a right to drive without complying with the law.

199:

"Plan for a month. We don't actually know for sure all the COVID-19 variants fit into the two week window."

That's a nice idea, but it only works if everybody you encounter once you re-emerge from your cocoon did precisely the same thing, at the same time.

(Wasn't there an XKCD calculation that we would be able to eradicate the common Cold that way ?)

Realistically, you will need to stay isolated until the pandemic has fizzled *entirely* out on its own, or until a working vaccine you can tolerate has been waiting outside your dwelling for three weeks.

It's called a pandemic, because there is no escaping it.

200:

I'll raise you mealie meal (maize) porridge! NOT something you want to eat without strong flavourings ....

I have just bought 28 freeze-dried meals, but mainly for cycle-touring. For breakfast, I will have muesli (Dorset Cereals). If we go into lockdown before then, we shall eat those ....

201:

Actually, soap and water doesn't kill anything much, not even if you use 'medicated' soaps. The point about sanitizers is that they can be used after touching unsafe things when out - you may not have access to soap and water and, even if you do, the handles on the way out are sources of infection.

I can see no reason to do anything special at home. In a household, if one person has it, everyone is exposed.

202:

Is that your own work? It seems similar to a (longer, less coherent) conspiracy theory that's been doing the rounds recently.

Poe's law, of course, prevents us from working out whether the original posting was sincere, and it has been taken down though the content has been copypasted around quite a bit:

The vaccine contained replicating, DIGITIZED (controllable) RNA which were activated by 60Ghz mm 5G waves that were just turned on in Wuhan (as well as all other Countries using 60Ghz 5G ) with the “smart dust” that everyone on the globe has been inhaling through chemtrails. That’s why when they say someone is “cured”, the “virus” can be “digitally” reactivated at any time and the person can literally drop dead. The Diamond Princess Cruise ship was SPECIFICALLY equipped with 60Ghz 5G. It’s basically remote assassination. Americans are currently breathing in this “smart” dust through chemtrails. Think of it like this….. add the combination of vaccines, chemtrails (smart dust) and 5G and your body becomes internally digitized and can be remotely controlled. A person’s organ functions can be stopped remotely if one is deemed non-compliant. Wuhan was a test run for ID2020. The elite call this 60Ghz mm 5G wave the “V” wave (Virus) to mock us. Trump has created a space force in part to combat this weaponized technology. We need to vehemently REJECT the attempted “mandatory vaccine” issue because our lives depend on it.

Trump as saviour is a particularly good touch, I thought, though you do win some points for including autism.

203:

Firing squads... I dunno, for some of the wealthy, and some politicians (and some of that is repetition), maybe a gallows would make more impression on them.

Or the "Humane Invention".

204:

Oh, crap. They could be hurting... for that matter, though, we're starting to worry about *our* cons, like Balticon, Memorial Day weekend (or Heliospehere, next month, that we'll be at).

205:

Fully understand people changing in SYD rather than Auckland to get to Wellington. Check if you will have to change terminals in SYD. Transfer to Domestic at AKL involves going outside, although there is a free bus option.
Currently only arrivals from AU and USA can use the eGates, due to COVID-19 measures (normally most of Europe + several others can also).
https://www.customs.govt.nz/personal/travel-to-and-from-nz/travelling-to-nz/on-your-arrival/

AirNZ normally doesn't care if you are flying one-way or return, so driving AKL-WLG and flying back not especially expensive. WLG-AKL tickets currently NZD69 to NZD324, but variation very much driven by time of day.

Everybody remember that your chances of getting your travel insurance to pay out on COVID-19 related disruptions is very poor if you didn't buy it before February (and not always if bought earlier).

206:

Stop. Right now. They did not fire everyone in the CDC, or in the NIH. They mostly still know what they're talking about... or did yuo not hear that the Orange Idiot was told no, we're not going to have a vaccine before the election?

More at: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/03/anthony-fauci-trump-coronavirus-crisis-118961

207:

We're all going to get it.

It matters immensely whether we all get it over the course of the next two weeks, three months, or year, though. "Everybody stay in" is an attempt to buy the year time frame.

208:

The White House overruled the CDC on returning people from Japan. It looks like the CDC appointee refused to use the WHO test (so the US started off using an ineffective test and is not yet able to test in the necessary volume despite the best efforts of various states) and is responsible for the "only if you have a point of contact AND all the symptoms" testing rule being used which is actively harmful.

Individual working for the CDC? If you happen to know one, sure, useful source. Official public announcements? Unfortunately pretty suspect. We know they've been politically overridden and we know there have been those two actively harmful policy calls.

209:

You *think* you know. Actually, you (lt)fnord(gt) know nothing, and the nice people bashing in your door will make sure of it...

210:

Classmates of a student in coronavirus quarantine shook hands with Mike Pence

The steps seem to be:

  • Patient who tested positive.

  • Mother of student - came in contact with patient in professional capacity - in precautionary quarantine.

  • Student - in precautionary quarantine.

  • Classmates.

  • Mike Pence.

  • 211:

    I wonder if this means that the Tangerine Terror will hold meetings with Pence in a hazmat suit - even if Pence turns out not to have coronavirus?

    212:

    China's one child policy started in 1979, so that gender-imbalanced cohort is roughly in their 30s. So the higher mortality rate for men would not appear to be driven by a gender imbalance.

    I suspect that the high rate of smokers in China is a contributing factor, particularly since about half of all Chinese men (18+) smoke. But as Chinese government owns the tobacco monopoly and so profits from the sale of cigarettes, I cannot imagine much of public discussion on the topic.

    213:

    When you note that China's fatalities are about 60% men, you don't state the percentage of men in the population. There was certainly a period quite recently when female children were frequently killed, so an elderly population of 60% men, or even higher, wouldn't be too surprising.

    No. More elderly women than men in China (like almost everywhere else, as women just live longer). From the CIA Worldbook for 2019:

    65 years and over: 11.27% of Chinese population (male 74,277,631 /female 81,828,269) (2018 est.)

    It's the young in China that are predominantly male:
    0-14 years: 17.22% of Chinese population (male 128,270,371 /female 110,120,535)
    15-24 years: 12.32% of Chinese population (male 91,443,139 /female 79,181,726)

    And that male/female imbalance in the young is largely due to couples being more likely to have another kid if they didn't get a boy the first time around. Not infanticide.

    214:

    Pfui. Maize porridge, or polenta, is what happens when white people don't bother to ask brown people how to cook something before taking it as a crop. If you want to get the proper nutrients out of maize, you need to nixtamalize it, at least with wood ashes, to make hominy, grits, or masa to make tortillas. That's the proper way to eat corn. Keeps you from getting pellagra.

    Anyway, for those who are going all iron age and abandoning bread in favor of gruel and pottage, every grain can be made that way, although some (notably maize) really should be properly treated, rather than just soaked, boiled, and glumly spooned up. If you're so far gone in fear that gruel (not even malting or pan-frying the grains, no less!), telling you there's a point to eating bread (or drinking your grains in other yeast-processed forms) is a waste of time.

    So instead, I'll point you towards ful mudammas, which is basically soup made from reconstituting dried fava beans (add a bit of baking soda and you don't have to skin the beans). It's a really old dish, quite nutritious, and quite yummy with things like parsley, chopped tomato, an egg, hot peppers, etc. Traditionally it's one of those dishes where you start with the basic ful (pronounced "fool") and decorated to the taste of the person eating it. It works as breakfast in the Mediterranean, or dinner if you're vegan. It's also pretty fast when cooked in a pressure cooker, or quite slow if you have to do it on the stove top.

    215:

    Do recall the degree of mysophobia involved; this is someone who advocated for permanently refusing reentry to AmCits who went to help with the Ebola outbreak, and apparently sincerely viewed this as just plain common sense.

    The question might be more appropriately "who gets picked as the alternative running mate?" should Pence become known to have been infected.

    COVID-19 is alleged to be doing a number on the senior ayatollahs, courtesy of their health minister's exposure and face-to-face meetings; it would be ironic in a divine degree of the same thing happened to Trump's cabinet, but I don't think that's especially likely.

    217:

    Already saw a rag's headline that he'll dump Pence and get Nikki Haley?

    218:

    Dumb question time: Could you use a 3D printer to make a respiratory mask?

    219:

    The White House overruled the CDC on returning people from Japan.

    Are you sure. I know it is a fine line but I thought it was local State Dept folks who over ruled the CDC staff.

    Based on the way DT looks at all of this he would have not brought back ANYONE who had sneezed in the previous 2 weeks.

    220:

    Nikki Haley

    Agree or disagree with her politics, she has a backbone and speaks her mind.

    She has already contradicted the DT in public.

    So, nope.

    221:

    Nope. The effectiveness of the mask comes from the filter, which comes from precise tiny holes. Three-D printers are nothing like sufficiently precise.

    The masks are most effective to keep you from infecting other people, and then only if you wear it properly and continuously. As a sole means of avoiding infection they're doubtful.

    (Note what the folks in the medical profession are wearing as well as the masks.)

    Mask technology is much much better than it used to be; you can get a serviceable gas mask for about 250 USD, purely as a civilian "organic vapour" PPE purchase. The N95 and N99 masks are much cheaper than they were, too. Still no substitute for hand washing.

    (If you find that the alcohol hand sanitizer makes your hands feel sticky, you're overdoing it.)

    222:

    The trade war really had little effect on consumer confidence and thus isn't comparable - it hurt a bunch of farmers bad, but Trump/GOP bought most of them off with massive subsidies.

    Other business hurt were minor headlines at most (though obviously important to those laid off).

    Covid-19 on the other hand is front page daily news.

    Google has just cancelled the physical part of this year's I/O conference in May (Google's big yearly developer conference), and given Apple and Microsoft also have WWDC and Build in those time-frames there could be more to come.

    Google has also banned all international travel by all employees until further notice, thus hitting conferences elsewhere (no Google people or events at the Go language conference in Europe).

    Other companies have instituted similar policies.

    This is all going to hit the travel and hospitality industries hard, so in weeks to come the local headlines in many places will also be dominated by Covid-19 fallout.

    Hence why the US Fed did a massive 1/2 point emergency rate cut prime rate today, in an attempt to keep the US economy going - and the EU central bank can't do anything similar as the EU prime rate is negative (not that the US rate is far behind at a measly just below 1.25%)

    Trump is so concerned, at least in part because I assume some polling or Fox News coverage is so negative, that he announced today he is donating this quarter's salary to the Covid-19 fight.

    223:

    Re: 'fava beans'

    Maybe take a pass on this if you're of Mediterranean, Southeast Asian, or African descent. Estimate is that about 400 million (1 in 20) folk worldwide lack a crucial enzyme to break this down properly -- very bad result. I'm none of the above but still would not touch this with a 10-ft pole.


    224:

    Re xkcd on eradicating the common cold

    The one I thought of (I'm sure not first) is lice.

    If everyone on Earth shaved all their hair off for a month human lice would be extinct.

    225:

    What I saw had the State Department directive originating in the White House. That doesn't mean the executive directly ordered anything, or even knew about it.

    That the CDC had been overruled got leaked later; the policy is to ignore what the scientists say. (Given the rate of testing in the US, this isn't going to end well.)

    226:

    Might be worth reading up a little more before you dose yourself with more fear. Being heterozygous (female, it's x-linked)) for favism is thought to be a partial defense against malaria. That's why there's this odd combination of favism being common in some places where the beans are commonly eaten.

    Anyway, if you have favism (male or really unlucky female), you're likely to know already, because there are a number of drug interactions that also cause trouble. So unless you're in one of the high frequency populations (Sardinian, Kurdish, pure Ashkenazi), and/or you have a history of things like jaundice and anemia, then it's not worth worrying about.

    227:

    The American Physical Society's conference (11,000 physicists from around the world) was supposed to be this week in Denver. Last Saturday it was abruptly cancelled, 36 hours before the opening. Several hundred of the people registered, many from other parts of the world, had already arrived in Denver when the cancellation notice went out.

    228:

    Five litres per person/day is probably optimistic for California, at least in the middle of summer with no air conditioning. To the point where it's likely not worth stockpiling much drinking water at all: One of those handpumps with a built-in water filter (about £40 or your regional equivalent on Amazon) and a big plastic jerrycan take up less room and don't have an expiry date.

    229:

    I take the view that both is good. Having some sealed water on hand means there's one less thing to get organized about right away either immediately post-disaster or when already ill.

    (I live somewhere that half the year, I have to worry about a filter freezing, and where five litres is not going to be enough the other half. Melting snow for drinking water is this whole different problem.)

    Gravity filters -- fancy siliconized nylon bags where you hang it and let gravity pull water through the filter -- beat the besnackers out of hand pumps for bulk use. Water purification tablets come in 20 litre sizes, same as jerrycans; so do collapsible buckets, if you're the sort of twitches-about-potable-water person who wants to filter into the bucket, toss the purification tablet into the bucket, wait the allotted time, and then and only then fill the jerrycan.

    (I'm sufficiently twitchy that I've got a mechanical stopwatch and thermometers in the bag with the water purification tablets.)

    230:

    Good grief. I just smooshed together a bunch of semi-random nutjobbery memes but it seems I was barely edging into the whackosphere. Oh dear...

    And whitroth - mission failure I’m afraid. The cats got to them. Of course , by “the cats” I mean the local Vancouver Island cougars, the biggest, strongest,fastest variant in the world. But not all is loath the fertilizer will be most welcome!

    231:

    Okay, now I’m craving posole!

    232:

    whitroth @ 206: Stop. Right now. They did not fire everyone in the CDC, or in the NIH. They mostly still know what they're talking about... or did yuo not hear that the Orange Idiot was told no, we're not going to have a vaccine before the election?

    More at: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/03/anthony-fauci-trump-coronavirus-crisis-118961

    I think they're confusing a White House advisory board or committee or something(?) Obama set up in 2014 during the Ebola crisis. He had a whole bunch of public health experts & epidemiologists & doctors & such to help him figure out sound policy for dealing with that threat after several aid workers had contracted the disease & had to be evacuated.

    Trump fired all of them, but that was right after he took office before anyone ever heard of coronavirus or CoVid-19.

    The CDC they just ignore.

    233:

    Heteromeles @ 214: Pfui. Maize porridge, or polenta, is what happens when white people don't bother to ask brown people how to cook something before taking it as a crop. If you want to get the proper nutrients out of maize, you need to nixtamalize it, at least with wood ashes, to make hominy, grits, or masa to make tortillas. That's the proper way to eat corn. Keeps you from getting pellagra.

    No corn likker?

    234:

    Texas has a safety inspection: horn, lights, seatbelts. They weren't checking anything else when I lived there.

    California checks emission equipment every two years - my Prius is due this year, and yes, they do check - as a requirement for registration. (The notice for mine should show up this month, though it's not due till late May. Requires driving 80 miles in the previous four or five days, to get good readings.)

    235:

    Do you need a minimal time on the gas engine to get valid readings?

    How do they force emissions in a test bay?

    Never thought about this before.

    236:

    Ah, cornmeal mush. That's what I grew up hearing it called. (I probably met it at least once at my grandparents' house; Granny would have learned how to make it growing up in Kansas, but she preferred packing it in a bread pan to cool, then cutting it in slices and frying it (served with ham or bacon, maybe eggs, and fruit). It was a common dish in her father's generation.

    237:

    He fired that lot and defunded them in 2018. (He really thinks that health emergencies can be handled by "just in time" staffing. But he wasn't competent as a business manager, either.)

    238:

    The issue is he thinks everything is like a construction project. On those you hire plumbers and electricians as you need them. Of course there is a big pool of experienced plumbers and electricians all over working in their field all the time.

    Pandemic experts, not so much. If you want them ready you have to pay them to work in their field even when they are "not" needed. Trump can't fathom such a thing. Or doesn't care as he figures it does nothing to impact his image media campaign. Assuming nothing big goes wrong in the 4 years.

    239:

    I've been toying with memes about reducing face touching behaviour[1] by using hand scents and a working nose as a proximity alarm, and this variant is a little over the top most places, but not for there:
    Floral scent mimics of rotting flesh, such as Smilax herbacea (Smooth Carrion Flower)[3], might work really well as nail-polish scents[2] for discouraging face-touching. (Smilax herbacea is not in season yet though, sadly, so I can't make a trial batch. But similar scents or scent recipes might be in commercial scent libraries.)
    Could be marketed as "a preview of the scent of one's own corpse" if the face is touched. :-)
    Any suggested variants?

    [2] There is a report of a good candidate for a perfect behavior-modification nail polish that smells like "death and evil’s baby", but they may have just gotten lucky with a bad batch.
    [1] Another link: Coronavirus: 5 tips on how to avoid touching your face (Anne Wallace, Mar 3, 2020)
    [3] I nearly vomited when smelling one of these flowers for the first time.

    240:

    Just tried it - it seems to work in Ireland.

    241:

    How bad - fatal?

    242:

    it increases "productivity" couldn't be pried out of their little private offices

    There are worse things. My boss doesn't have a private office in our new building, he's out with the peons. So we get the full benefit of his hands-free calls and his habit of leaving his phone on his desk. It's definitely not as bad as it could be, but it adds another layer to the open plan office. We also have a LOUD HOWARD type.

    I just can't wait until we employ more staff and actually fill up the space have (right now I have three spare desks out of 8 near me, and an open "pod" that is supposedly a meeting area but has been filled with unwanted desks. Worst case there could be 10-12 people within 5m of me. My productivity might not change, though, because right now someone has gone on holiday leaving test systems I rely on in an unusable state. I could fix them, if I had access... but I need holiday-person to set that up.

    243:

    turn authoritarian. ... Australia is not immune

    It's important to remember that we already have the authoritarian legislation in operation, it's just not widely applied.

    For example they can put anyone they like in an "immigration detention centre" and hold them there until that person is able to prove to the satisfaction of the authorities that they are born in Australia, have Australian citizenship *and* neither hold nor are eligible for any other citizenship. Only once that is done are they required to release the person.

    Now I'm not saying that they will definitely use that exact system to put infected people in camps, merely that "have been exposed to a foreign disease" could easily become grounds for doing so.

    There are a raft of similar bits of "get in the van" law that could be used instead or as well...

    244:

    The vaccine contained replicating, DIGITIZED (controllable) RNA which were activated by 60Ghz mm 5G waves that

    Interestingly, that random conspiracy theory resembles a fairly common variant of paranoid schizophrenia in which the patient suffers from the conviction that they're not in control of their own body -- that they're a robot, or controlled by implants, being operated remotely by a computer/aliens/god/some hostile entity. See also the late Francis E. Dec's gangster computer god rant from the 1960s/1970s: this is just updated with chemtrails and 5G.

    245:

    That reminds me: another curse of the modern workplace to add on top of open-plan is hot-desking.

    Imagine the happy hunting ground this creates for a viral pandemic when half the cleaning staff are too sick to work so the desks aren't getting wiped down every night!

    246:

    Unlikely unless you are looking over an entire lifetime. Even then not everyone has had vanilla flu, much less Spanish flu even in the early C20th.

    There is nearly always a cohort that has some natural immunity.

    Will it join vanillia flu as a ever circling pandemic - not sure right now but probably.

    Half expect it to the new normal. Instead of checking for explosive water I suspect there'll be temperature sensors at all global travel hubs, moreso even than now.

    247:

    Barry @ 143
    You do not have a health system

    Bill Arnold @ 154
    What the propnents of the open-slave marketplan office forget is the NOISE level.
    Which can be amazingly distracting & anti-productive, the thing they are supposedly in favour of!
    What happened to the idea of the 1980's onwards, the "cubicle farm, where everyone was in a big space, but there were (sound-absorbing) screens at least half-way round each desk ???

    Bellinghman & Charlie - Poppy Seeds
    Been a problem here, too ...
    Railway workers are regularly tested for drugs ... people have been suspended on opiate testing, because of poppy-seed breads.
    I THINK they are now wise to this one.
    The problem is that the "test" can't distinguish between the seeds & actual opiate drugs.

    Charles H @ 180
    This is a "wet" virus - boiling will kill it.

    Bill Arnold @ 239
    No really you need Phallus impudicus scent for that - I actually saw one last autumn, but didn't have my new phone, or I would have taken a picture.
    Boy do they pong!

    Face-touching
    If this goes on ( Yes, I know, R.A.H. story ) I might start carrying a small bag of cotton wipes & a v. small bottle of "face cleanser" with me + the usual extra hand-washing.

    Food reserves
    Mine are in the big freezer & ... down on the allotment, growing.
    I usually have enough flour in stock to make bread for a month or more ....

    AND - almost lastly
    Charlie @ 161 ... Yes how infection is Corvid-19 going to be/is? [ That's a deliberate typo - a reference to the cleaner-up of battlefields ]
    Vital question, to which we do not seem, at present, to have an answer.
    How easily is it spread around & how many peole actually "get" it & possibly even more important, how many people are silent carriers ( "Typhoid Mary" ) ???
    [ I see that Heteromeles @ 165 has partly covered this, & the scary link to SARS as well ]

    Dirk B @ 187
    FUCK RIGHT OFF
    I suspect queenie will be OK, it's Phil (the Greek) who is more likely at risk
    And no, it would be William V, who as an ex Search-&-Rescue Pilot has his head firmly screwed on.

    248:

    161:
    The estimates I've seen indicate the overall mortality rate is likely somewhere around 3% or so.

    WHO estimates 0.9%.

    That is a big difference.

    Many places it is the difference between enough hospital beds and a health crisis that overwhelms the hospital system.

    And also a reminder that science is hard. We take it for granted, but basic empirical work is actually really hard. Coronavirus must be the most studied thing on the planet right now, and yet we still do not know how likely you are to die of it.

    250:

    Your political correctness has rotted your once-fine mind! I grew up in central Africa, and that's what most of us ate, whether we were black, white or khaki. You may be right that wood ash helps, though it can't help much - however, my point wasn't its poor nutrition, but its taste. I was brought up on it, as were some of you lot, and can eat it as plain porridge without gagging, but most Brits can't. And I stand by my point that plain oatmeal porridge is FAR more palatable in the long term than that stuff!

    I grow four varieties of beans for drying, and we buy in more (and other pulses). Yes, for nutritious and tasty staples, pulses beat even oats (by FAR the best of the grass grains) into a cocked hat.

    251:

    And wore no close-fitting clothes :-) The difference between head and body lice is interesting.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_louse

    252:

    One thing the British government could do would be to (temporarily) permit the open sale without tax to the public of 80% ethyl alcohol as a general-purpose disinfectant and hand wash. At the moment the only cheap alternative is "methylated spirits", methyl alcohol sold with taste and colour additives to try and make it unpalatable to those unwise enough to consider drinking it.

    253:

    To be fair, the African use of maize to replace sorghum in ugali (and its many other names - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ugali for a full list) is because white people took maize from the Americas without asking the locals how to use it, and introduced it to Africa where it grew better than sorghum had.

    It is very much a case of the white man getting it wrong, even if Africans have embraced maize as a staple crop.

    254:

    That is a supposition but, as far as I know, it is poorly supported by evidence. The following is my understanding of the actual evidence we have.

    We believe that the Spanish and/or Portuguese introduced it to the Old World - but whether that was done 'officially' or by individuals (who could perfectly well have been 'non-white') is unclear. Furthermore, it is doubtful that it was introduced as a grain (as distinct from eating ast roasted green corn, or animal fodder), so it could perfectly well be black people adopting it and not asking white people how to use it! We simply don't know. Furthermore, I lived in the savanna of sub-Saharan Africa, and nobody has a clue exactly how it got there from the coasts, or exactly who failed to communicate with who.

    I haven't read this, but the citation is fairly informative:

    https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-african-history/article/introduction-and-spread-of-maize-in-africa/472E970A12F35FD3C2A30EF0B63B2864

    255:

    Well this is going to spread. We just got our first case in Raleigh, NC. From someone who visited one of the outbreak nursing homes in Washington state. There is no way to get from there to here without a long single flight or 2 or 3 multi hour flights.

    So interacting in two medium to large airports plus in a plane or planes for 5 to 10 hours.

    Oy Vey.

    And I'm hearing rumblings that flights back and forth across the pond to northern Europe are being cut back due to lack of demand.

    256:

    Meanwhile in the barbarous Americas, completely predictably, Republicans in Congress are blocking an emergency funding bill on the grounds that it limits drug company profiteering off of the health crisis. Fighting the spread of corona virus and keeping Americans alive would be nice but the important thing is that it's profitable enough for corporations. As of Tuesday $7.5 billion in emergency funds was hung up because Republicans couldn't live with the anti-price-gouging clause in the legislation.

    257:

    Come on Greg - where's your sense of adventure? Think of it as a game of Russian Roulette, with extra bullets in the chamber for the over-60s. Of course, the real odds are a lot better. So, in the words of Filthy Harold, are you feeling lucky? Well, are you, punk?
    As for panic buying, I sent the kids out to do some today.
    Not quite sure why, though, but it seems fashionable.
    If its anything like flu I won't be eating for a week or two. If I don't get it, it's business as normal.
    OTOH, if its infrastructure collapse everyone is worried about and no supermarkets open, I will just have to go out looting Mad Max style.

    258:

    I'm with Elderly Cynic on the edibility of oatmeal porridge versus the abominations known as "grits" or "hominy". (Tried each of them once: never again. Porridge, however, I can eat daily.)

    Polenta ... I like polenta, although its lack of nutritional completeness is noted.

    259:

    I know nobody who can tolerate it (as porridge or similar) who wasn't brought up on it! That is apparently true of some other staples, too.

    260:

    Welp, I'm just back from my 6-monthly hospital check-up (I'm a frequent flyer with a cardiology professor), and $PROF decided I need a 24 hour ambulatory blood-pressure check (aka sleep deprivation torture) and another appointment in about six weeks. Yes, I'm likelier to die of a stroke due to creeping hypertension than of J. Random Virus that hadn't shown up in this city (yet), but still: imagine my joy at being summoned back to one of the two main teaching hospitals for a city with a roughly one million catchment area right in the middle of a likely epidemic.

    (I will note that there are warning notices and well-filled bottles of disinfectant and hand sanitizer absolutely everywhere, though, and all the staff I spoke to were aware of/worried about COVID-19. So at least they're not in denial.)

    261:

    Meths isn't methanol, it's ethanol with a bit of methanol in it to make sure it poisons you if you try to drink it. Same principle as selling codeine mixed with paracetamol to make sure you die horribly if you try to get off on it. (Not that this stops the mixture being addictive.) The purple dye is just an optional extra (you can get meths without it, which is a better cleaning agent as it leaves no residue) to make sure you don't forget the government would rather you went blind than got drunk without paying tax on it.

    Meths would do the job fine, and be a lot more pleasant than that horrible sludgy stuff. So would isopropanol or acetone, both of which are available cheaply in gallon lots.

    262:

    I love to tell the story of how a Brit and I once had a, only mildly in jest, argument about the best way to get rid of the royals. He wanted to take them down to the basement and shoot them. I strongly think this is a waste of bullets, and why bother doing it in the basement? Hang them (you can re-use the rope) and do it in the open where everyone can see.

    Some people seem to think I'm joking when I suggest it as a solution to the Republic problem.

    I then point to France where it turns out that actually, getting rid of the royal family has done wonders for their tourist trade. The English can keep their men in funny hats outside the palace, and people would actually be able to go in and gawk at the stupidly luxurious rooms that the royals used to use... (Also, think of the benefits to the coffers when the government gets to confiscate all that personally owned by Liz land.)

    263:

    Meths would do the job fine

    My thinking is that making something like this cheap (sold from pharmacies, perhaps) or even free means it would be better to make it from ethanol than meths because some people would drink it anyway. Having significant numbers of idiots turning up at A&E blind and turning yellow from a crashed liver at the same time a lean and efficient and not-wasteful-at-all NHS ecosystem is trying to cope with a lot of COVID-19 sufferers is less than optimal.

    Using acetone and such on food prep surfaces is not recommended, alcohol is only a problem for Temperance blue-ribboners.

    264:

    Re: 'How bad ...'

    Favism can be fatal to some people principally groups that Heteromeles mentioned ... 'Sardinian, Kurdish, pure Ashkenazi, and/or you have a history of things like jaundice and anemia'.

    Worked at a smallish outfit (about 90 people) and we had a map of the world with pushpins to mark where folks were born: over 50 countries from across the 6 habitable continents. We were planning a company lunch and wanted some idea as to what foods to order. Ended up doing a potluck which went over so well it became an annual event. This was a very informal outfit: people actually talked to each other including about things like ethnic foods, sensitivities. Basically, what I once considered rare/exotic ('foreign') therefore could ignore became something that I needed to be mindful of. Shared home-cooked meals was the door-opener.

    265:

    "Same principle as selling codeine mixed with paracetamol to make sure you die horribly if you try to get off on it." A tip for all you would-be junkies. In cold water (20degC) codeine is about 100x more soluble than paracetamol. And if you want to keep the solution rather than just gulp it down, buffer it with citric acid.
    Sadly my hospital adventure where I disposed of 400ml of oral morphine in 4 weeks (mostly out of boredom), sort of ruined codeine for me. It put me off opiates for fun.

    266:

    Yes, the legislation is already there. Two nasty pieces of legislation passed in the last five years (with the support of the craven Labor party) are the 'Telecommunications (Interception and Access ) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015' and the 'Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018'. The first includes warrants which prevent you from either confirming or denying that you have been served a warrant of the particular type (preventing warrant canaries, a big thing in the USA because they get "Freedom ofs peach" [sic]). The second means that the government can force companies to put backdoors into software to make it easier for the government to spy on people they don't like. Sorry, I mean for legitimate law enforcement agencies to monitor criminal activities... Nothing like what happened in the UK where local councils where misusing (by which I mean, using as intended, to cower the general population) the anti-terrorism legislation a few years ago to make sure that kids were going to the correct school...

    And while the Greens are the only major party [sic] that actually stand up against this bullshit, that doesn't actually mean that they aren't still a party of the right. They just happened to be on the liberal right, instead of the illiberal right. They have shifted to the right along with the Labor Party.

    267:

    (Re: The Greens - not that I think that any of the rest of them are any better.)

    268:

    Thanks!


    If you're game, here's another dumb question:

    Based on what I've seen/read in the media, my understanding is that this virus attaches itself/burrows through the body's cell wall(s). So - if avoiding this virus is unlikely, what can you do to strengthen whatever cell walls are at greatest risk? (Or, make those cell walls less attractive to that virus?)


    269:

    I like the optimism that all the desks are getting wiped down every night on a regular basis.

    Given that cleaning was long ago sub-contracted out to low wage, I really can't live on this by have no choice, workers it is doubtful many of them are taking pride in their work.

    270:

    No names, no pack drill, but I know of at least two cleaning contractors who actually instruct staff to not clean desk tops unless they're clear.

    271:

    "what can you do to strengthen whatever cell walls are at greatest risk?"

    There's nothing of that sort anyone can do.

    The "horns" of the Virus looks like a particular protein, another particular protein on the surface of some of your cells react to that, and do what they are supposed to do when they get in contact.

    This is also why all talks about vaccines is at best highly speculative, because the vaccine would have to work in a way which recognizes that the "fake" binding site of the virus is lacking the rest of "the regular customer".

    The things you can do, or rather could have done, are the things we all ignore at our peril: Don't smoke, get lots of exercise, live on a sound and varied diet, dont inhale a lot of air polution etc.

    272:

    Micheal
    Another usual total idiot ....
    The Monarch, personally, actually owns very little land
    Most of the "Crown Estates" are really government owned
    Liz OWNS: Sandringham & Balmoral - the rest are offical governement offices - if Ghu/Cthulu preserve us, we were a "repubublic" Buck Ho would be the president's official residence & Wiindsor his/her weekend place. STill have to be paid for, sam as the Elysee in Paris, yes?
    Windsor is the odd one out - it's half-&-half &/or owned by a "trust" like organisation, IIRC.

    273:

    Eh, I'm not actually British, and I don't actually care about the details of ownership of various bits of stuff there. But Wikipedia sayz: "The Sunday Times Rich List 2017 estimated [Liz's] personal wealth at £360 million, making her the 329th richest person in the UK.", which even if it isn't all land, still isn't something to be sneezed at. Not to mention the various other royals would have their own personal estates. I'm sure they could be convinced that handing it* over to the 'public', and abdicating from all rights and responsibilities of royalty would be a fine thing for all concerned. (Especially if the alternative is "Humane".)

    * Apart from say a million pounds, which while it wouldn't allow them to be kept in the fashion to which they may have become accustomed to, is still pretty good.


    Have you no objection to inherited power (even if it's only hypothetical power) and the obscene wealth that is accumulated? Because personally I found inherited power quite objectionable. The fact that the royals are only hypothetically politically powerful doesn't make me like them any. The wealth is also something that just doesn't sit right. But you know, I'm old fashioned -- I like inheritance taxes. Bring in 100% inheritance tax over a set amount, say a million pounds...

    274:

    A quick Wikipedia says that, through his title of "Duke of Cornwall" Speaker to Plants owns some 550km^2 of Englandshire.

    275:

    Micheal
    her the 329th richest person in the UK. So why are you going after her, before the other 328 ??????

    Incidentally, my falling-down ( London Clay shifts ) house is probably worth about a million, which is bonkers, but there you go - now you can join Dirk.
    Start picking on, oh, the Bushes? Instead?

    Pigeon
    OTOH "Duchy Originals" - the sold farm products from those estates are very good, quite sharply-priced products, worth eating - or those I've sampled, anyway.

    276:

    "strengthening cell walls" -- we're animals; we haven't got cell walls. (Plants have cell walls.) As was otherwise noted, strengthening cell membranes is hard to define and beyond current art.

    What's coming out of the autopsies in Wuhan is that the mechanism of lethality is "irreversible fibrosis" in the lungs; if I unravelled the med-speak correctly, if you develop a severe case of COVID-19, your lungs produce enough mucus from the infection that you hydraulically damage/rupture your alveoli at which point there's no further oxygen transport going on there.

    This would explain the observed utility of vacuuming the mucus out of people's lungs as part of ICU treatment; it would also explain why catching two strains at once looks like it makes the prognosis so much worse. But it's a single-digit number of autopsies so I wouldn't put too much weight on it.

    What I would put weight on is what's always true of coronaviruses; wash your hands, if you do get sick take it seriously and rest, get more fluids than you think you need, supplement at least C, D, and zinc.

    277:

    Meanwhile: 8% of Iranian parliamentarians test positive for Covid-19.

    Could there be a political revolution in Iran if the elderly hardliners start dropping like flies?

    278:

    There's the anti-Churchill view though: "Inherited power is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried". Democracy is a fine principle, and I do strongly believe in it. But I'm also well aware that democracy has given us Jim Crow, Prohibition, Nazis, McCarthy, Vietnam, Watergate, the Troubles parts 1 and 2, the Poll Tax in the UK, Section 28 in the UK, and of course most recently Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Brexit. And conversely, democracy has also given us inaction in the face of mass murder in Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Bosnia, Kosovo, Georgia and Syria. YMMV on Trump, Johnson and Brexit of course, but the others are undeniably wrong.

    The problem with democracy is that no democratic government can afford to think long-term. The only way to get planning on the scale of years is to have people involved who can guarantee to still be around years later. YMMV on how you make that happen, but the House of Lords was a pretty good check on the more barmy excesses of the Commons. It frankly scares me to hear the kind of language that comes out of the Commons when the Lords apply the kind of scrutiny on loopholes and kneejerk responses which is what they're intended to do.

    279:

    If you have a house that valuable why not sell it and live somewhere nice?

    280:

    Maybe he likes living in a relatively cheap part of London? (There are streets where the average house price is north of £50M.)

    Similarly: I could sell my central Edinburgh tenement flat and buy an entire castle in the border country ... if I felt like paying castle-sized heating and roof repair bills, and having a two hour drive if I felt like shopping in (either of) the big cities.

    281:

    Oh, wow, donating his couch change to help? All $110k of it? But I thoght he was already donating all of it to something or other....

    282:

    When we lived there, it was like PA's - pull and check one front and one back wheel brake (alternate each inspection), look for rust, check headlight alignment (and if the other lights worked), horn, wipers.

    283:

    Sorry, "wiping down the desks every night"?

    What do they do with people with stuff piled on their desks?

    We used to have them in once a week to clean our cubes and offices at the NIH.

    By the way, this whole thing gave me the impetus, and a mechanism, for my current story I'm working on, where, in my 11000 yr timeline, we have the disruption that leads to the Terran Confederation.

    The mechanism? People who are dying of advanced, or genengineered diseases, going after trillionairs (this is set 75-80 years from now)....

    284:

    Time for my std. Yankee response to a Southerner's question as to whether I want grits for breakfast: "I don't know if I'll like it, so I'll just take one grit, please."

    285:

    If I hadn't found someone, now that I'm retired, I'd be thinking about it, too.

    But, as I keep saying, when my order of tumbrels, which is three year back-ordered, shows, let's just build, on the Mall, the "human invention" of M'sieur Guillotine.

    286:

    [g]
    When I worked for Ameritech in the mid-nineties, walking through the break room at lunch time was *dreadful* - my nose wanted to grab me and drag me to half the tables and eat with them. We had folks from all over the world.

    Was extremely pleased when several Muslims invited me to eat with them as they broke their fast during Ramadan.

    Had a *lot* of friends there.

    287:

    Democracy wasn't inactive in the mass murders in Chile and El Salvador - we *paid* for it to happen (and what the FUCK is Kissinger still doing alive?)

    288:

    Hominy comes in several forms. I like a couple of them, and don't like the finely ground stuff. The kind I like is whole kernels with the husk removed..hot and with butter.

    OTOH, it's not very nutritious. And, as a diabetic 2, I no longer even consider eating it. But I prefer the yellow hominy over the white. The ground hominy, i.e. hominy grits, isn't nearly as desirable, though proper spicing can make it tolerable, as it has essentially no flavor.

    289:

    What do they do with people with stuff piled on their desks?

    You've heard about "clean desk" policies, right?

    For maximum misery, if you're an evil boss running a hot-desking system, there are fewer desks than staff. (Late to work? No desk for you! You can wander the floor waiting for an unwary co-worker to take a bathroom break, or try and colonize a conference table between meetings.)

    Each staff member gets a locker. They can put their stuff in a locker whenever they go home. (Makes it easier to downsize them, too: when they turn up to work, you present them with their locker contents and the appropriate form, The End.) Anything left on a desk overnight gets chucked in the trash -- notepads, pens, potted plants, personal photographs, even laptops: it's their fault if they lost it. (Oh yeah: this policy plays best with a staff uniform and a bring-your-own-device policy so that if they lose their laptop it's their personal machine wot you sold on eBay chucked in the trash.)

    For added lulz: disabled folks who need special chairs are allowed to take them home at night in their car but have to bring them back the next day. Also, it's 100% open plan including the conference tables (which are standing only, because we're running Agile, y'all), and there's a strict no-mobile-phones policy for anyone below management grade (except for sales/marketing).

    This isn't quite as grim as what I'm working on for the sequel to "Dead Lies Dreaming" (hint: zentai suits, shock belts, and ball gags for the no-vocalizations-needed workers) but it's what I gather they're rolling out at DEFRA. (Oh, but they have colour-coordinated staff kitchens with bring-your-own-appliances (as long as they're chromed: non-chromed toasters/kettles/etc get the trash treatment). Or maybe the civil servant who told me this was pulling my leg? It's hard to tell these days.)

    290:

    re. Palatability: "Hunger is the best sauce." If you don't have the foods you like, most of us are willing to hold our collective nose and eat pretty much anything that will keep body and soul together. Which I understand, intellectually and emotionally, and had confirmed by a friend's father, who survived something like half a year of siege during the second world war. (Don't recall where, other than that it was somewhere in the Mediterranean. Not to mention stories from concentration camp survivors.)

    In terms of my recommendations for setting aside food, diversity is a good starting point. It avoids the whole "didn't we just have that yesterday?" thing.

    The choice of storing enough food for 2 weeks or longer is based primarily on the desire to reduce the frequency of having to go mingle with scores of other potentially infectious people at the supermarket and pharmacy. A secondary goal is that if the virus takes off and starts knocking down the people responsible for keeping the food supply coming, a good storeroom gives you survivability while you wait for the government to bring in the army and get supplies moving again. Hopefully we won't go there, but it's not beyond the realm of plausibility.

    291:

    Incidentally, my falling-down ( London Clay shifts ) house is probably worth about a million

    That happens. A friend bought a nice-enough but not extravagant 1570 ft^2 house in San Jose thirty years ago for a little under $160k. According to Redfin, it's worth more than that now, in the megabuck range.

    292:

    Remembered it finally: the siege of Malta. More than a year, depending on how you date the start and end.

    293:

    There is always a limit, not least because a lot of people simply cannot swallow certain foods - i.e. they gag as soon as those go in their mouth.

    294:

    In terms of my recommendations for setting aside food, diversity is a good starting point. It avoids the whole "didn't we just have that yesterday?" thing.

    Not to be too obvious, but a thoughtful selection of spices/condiments can help with the diversity thing. You can fix beans in a lot of different ways, even if the underlying beans remain the same. And soy-based TVP is also quite versatile and nutritious.

    295:

    "Because personally I found inherited power quite objectionable."

    It is not rational to declare that a given holding of power is inherently and unalterably bad for no reason other than the convention used to decide who gets it, regardless of the nature of the power or the quality of the holder.

    If the nature of the power is purely ceremonial and doesn't actually allow you to compel anything, then there's no substance to support any serious objection: it doesn't matter anyway.

    If the power is real, then what matters is whether or not the person holding it is a wanker, not how they got it. Neither inheritance nor democracy guarantee the result one way or the other. Democracy as a selection method seems to pick wankers very roughly half the time. Inheritance seems to perform with equal mediocrity - indeed the history of the monarchy of England shows a fairly consistent wanker/not wanker alternation by generation, although YMMV as to the phase of it. The point about democracy is not that it's a more successful method of wanker avoidance but that it gives a reasonably dependable and frequent non-violent turnover, so people hopefully don't have time to get too unhappy no matter which way they think the phase is.

    The success rate of any method depends more on the circumstances around its use than on what it actually is. Democracy usually operates by way of repeated competitive selection, which like any competitive process produces a selection pool with a higher and higher proportion of wankers the further you progress. If candidates were selected at random from the entire population and only ever got one shot at it, it might perform a bit better. Inheritance produces rather different results depending on whether the main premature termination condition is "getting stabbed because you've failed to display enough wankerism to stop people stabbing you" or "getting your head chopped off because people are fed up with you being a wanker".

    296:

    The WHO have released a report of their investigations in China. It's very scary indeed.

    Pdf is here: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf

    Reddit thread is here:

    https://old.reddit.com/r/China_Flu/comments/fbt49e/the_who_sent_25_international_experts_to_china/

    5% of those infected need artificial respiration.
    15% need high concentration oxygen.

    For severe cases, from infection to recover is 3-6 weeks.

    Western health services are unlikely to cope. The fatality rate is going to be a lot higher than China.

    297:

    "In terms of my recommendations for setting aside food, diversity is a good starting point. It avoids the whole "didn't we just have that yesterday?" thing."

    Ha. I consider "what to eat today?" to be the question requiring an undue expenditure of mental effort. Consequently the answer to your question is only ever "no" if the shop has run out of stock, which is the occasion for much swearing as I hunt for whatever's most nearly the same for the least extra money.

    298:

    Random thought: Perhaps this has actually been around for a lot longer than we've noticed, and loads of people have already had it but without any distinctively severe symptoms. Perhaps the panic version is just a random nasty mutation of something everyone's just dismissed as "some fluey bug thing" until now.

    299:

    For severe cases, from infection to recover is 3-6 weeks.

    Yes, I've been watching the recovered numbers, and they're not going up very fast. How do they compare with past flu recovery times?

    300:

    Precisely. The rabid anti-monarchists (and, as far as the UK goes, they almost all are at least delusional) are keen on confiscating millions from royalty, but are quite happy for our 'democratically elected' rulers to pass billions of public resources onto their corporate cronies. I find that FAR more objectionable.

    They also completely ignore the fact that the Great Reform Bill passed only because King William IV helped to force it through and that, during the dark days of Thatcher, it was the hereditary peers who stood up for the people's liberties and rights. It is extremely likely that, if our monarchy still had the same power as King William IV, some of the evils of the past 20 years would have been at least ameliorated.

    301:

    5% of those infected need artificial respiration. 15% need high concentration oxygen.

    To add to the lulz, the death rate among folks with elevated blood sugar or hypertension is in the 8-12% range. Guess what I've got both of?

    Now, I'm on treatment for those conditions. And as type II diabetes and hypertension get likelier with age, it's possible that the elevated mortality with those conditions reflects the age of the patients, and younger hypertensive diabetics are at somewhat lower risk. But if not, my personal risk factor is equivalent to a 70-79 year old.

    302:

    Flu recovery is typically 1-2 weeks, however post-viral syndrome (aka chronic fatigue syndrome) can last years to decades. (It's not psychosomatic, although that appears to still be the dominant medical wisdom in the USA; in the UK they found immune system changes in sufferers that suggest yes, it's a real thing.)

    303:

    Could there be a political revolution in Iran if the elderly hardliners start dropping like flies?

    In many ways these hard liners are a front for the IRG. The IRG is somewhat like the SS in Germany back in the day. It has businesses, a somewhat separate military, and enforces the mandates of the leadership. Although it may be murky as to who is leading who.

    But you have to remember that you can't even be on the ballot for the Iranian Parliament unless approved by the IRG and the mullahs.

    304:

    ... You forgot that during the dark days of Thatcher, it was the backwoods peers who she bussed in to vote in the HoL who pushed the Poll Tax through. (Which eventually killed her career, and caused the biggest tax rebellion in British history since the time of the Black Death.)

    305:

    Bad as the health services are, the kicker's the spread rate. The PRC got that down by tracking down every single point of contact for every known case and testing them. They had ten thousand people doing nothing but; they've got test kit production up to approximately necessary levels; they now have mandatory testing of everyone reporting a fever.

    It's not obvious how many other places have the political mechanisms to do this. (Or will use them effectively where such mechanisms exist.)

    Anybody with a respirator factory needed to start round-the-clock shifts two months ago.

    306:

    Well, crap: The neuroinvasive potential of SARS-CoV2 may be at least partially responsible for the respiratory failure of COVID-19 patients:

    Following the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), another highly pathogenic coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 (previously known as 2019-nCoV) emerged in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and rapidly spreads around the world. This virus shares highly homological sequence with SARS-CoV, and causes acute, highly lethal pneumonia (COVID-19) with clinical symptoms similar to those reported for SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. The most characteristic symptom of COVID-19 patients is respiratory distress, and most of the patients admitted to the intensive care could not breathe spontaneously. Additionally, some COVID-19 patients also showed neurologic signs such as headache, nausea and vomiting. Increasing evidence shows that coronavriruses are not always confined to the respiratory tract and that they may also invade the central nervous system inducing neurological diseases. The infection of SARS-CoV has been reported in the brains from both patients and experimental animals, where the brainstem was heavily infected. Furthermore, some coronaviruses have been demonstrated able to spread via a synapse-connected route to the medullary cardiorespiratory center from the mechano- and chemoreceptors in the lung and lower respiratory airways. In light of the high similarity between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV2, it is quite likely that the potential invasion of SARS-CoV2 is partially responsible for the acute respiratory failure of COVID-19 patients. Awareness of this will have important guiding significance for the prevention and treatment of the SARS-CoV-2-induced respiratory failure.

    Source: J Med Virol. 2020 Feb 27. doi: 10.1002/jmv.25728.

    307:

    I suspect you've actually got it backwards. Remember, Covid-19 appears to basically be SARS 2.0. Reportedly it's as close to the original SARS virus as the H3N2 influenza viruses are to each other.

    Apparently, SARS was a case where the SARS virus jumped from a horseshoe bat to a civet and from there to humans. While it's possible the first jump happened in the wild and then the civet was captured, it's equally, maybe more likely that there was a bat cage above a civet cage in one of those wet markets, the bat excreted on the civet, the civet licked itself clean, then got prepared and eaten by a human. During the prep, the virus got passed, although I suppose a civet sneeze or civet excretions transferred the virus to whoever was caring for the civet. Once SARS 1.0 got to human hosts, it was fairly deadly (9.6% fatality rate) but didn't spread well (around 8100 cases known) and the outbreak passed, leaving people to think that SARS was gone.

    Apparently SARS is still in the horseshoe bats. In new SARS 2.0 spillover it appears, based on limited evidence, that the bats infected pangolins, and possibly humans got it from the pangolins (although they could have got it directly from the bats). SARS 2.0 is less lethal but much better at infecting humans.

    The obvious way to cut the SARS transmission chain is to get Chinese people to stop having anything to do with horseshoe bats and to test any other wildlife they're going to eat. I understand poaching of all these is highly favored for these species, perhaps also in the cooking sense? Anyway, cleaning up the wet markets in China to stop the spillover of zoonoses into pandemics is probably about as easy as stopping the small-arms trade inside the US, which is every bit as lethal and every bit as much a culture-bound psychological issue* as Chinese eating infected wild animals is.

    *When your kids are far more likely to get killed by the guns in your house than any intruder or attacker is, sanity suggests that other options for home defense may be better. But, yo Second Amendment, trust the corporate suits over the government suits, and so forth. 'Murica.

    308:

    China:

    * Built two 2000 bed hospitals in just over a week.

    * Manufacturing 1.5 million COVID-19 test kits from cold in under 12 weeks.

    * Has a panopticon surveillance state up and running and can track people down.

    * Is able and willing to lock down cities of 20 million people under full curfew.

    This doesn't sound like anything the west has been able to do since approximately 1970 -- was feasible under world war conditions, the machinery has subsequently been dismantled.

    309:

    As a point of reference, I went to buy some rubbing alcohol yesterday to top up our lab supplies (running low after doing the strawberry DNA extraction lab). None left in the shops, no idea when more might arrive.

    This is Toronto, where a lot of rumours are floating around in the non-English press*.

    So wiping down surfaces at school is probably a good idea (caretaking doesn't do it more than once or twice a year, so I have to clean my own classrooms). Any suggestions as to what to use? Would bleach work, and if so what concentration?


    *During SARS, the Chinese-language newspapers routinely published provably-false rumours as truth, repeatedly. It's worse now with WeChat.

    310:

    IIRC, we used to use 1:10 bleach:water to wipe down the lab benches. This was about 20 years ago now...

    It's what I used to clean up FedEx at Stanstead when one of our shipments leaked and they started bending our ears about it. Mind you, I went back at them 'you are providing Hep B vaccinations for all your workers, aren't you?'

    311:

    Talking about social change, 15% fatality among the elderly will seriously change the Tories' slice of voting populace.

    312:

    OK. Airline news. From public sources.

    United cancelling 10% of flights in US. 20% internationally. For April and maybe May.

    Lufthansa grounding 20% of their fleet.

    Both actions due to dropping demand.

    While you may not have much sympathy for the flight crews not working, there are a LOT of lower paid people who will go without pay as these cuts ripple through the system. Those cleaning crews that swarm the plane after everyone is off don't make $100K with a pension.

    313:

    Container shipping is taking a huge hit, too -- ships from China to the EU returning to China empty due to slackening demand for imports because industry has basically stopped. (The drop in atmospheric pollution in China is visible from orbit.)

    Combined with shaky economies globally -- we're close to a re-run of 2008 -- and yes, it looks like there's going to be an economic crisis this year (calling it a recession is low-balling it).

    314:

    Re: '... doesn't sound like anything the west'

    Maybe the Scandinavian countries, Germany and Switzerland?

    315:

    Yup.

    Which means the rate of spread is greenfield, once it gets loose.

    327 * 0.75 * 0.05 = 12.26
    66 * 0.75 * 0.05 = 2.48
    39 * 0.75 * 0.05 = 1.46

    (Five percent of patients require respirators. Ten percent of patients require high-concentration oxygen for time frames measured in weeks, and we probably can't do that, either; that'd triple those numbers.)

    Probably loose in the States. No way Canada is going to close the borders soon enough if it's loose in the States. Test capacity not obviously ramping fast enough, but then again that information isn't public.

    316:

    In China everyone is supposed to carry something like an internal passport. If the police stop you in a major city and you don't have it on you they take a picture of you, go to a nearby "call box" and find you with facial recognition.

    Plus the number of internal police per "citizen" is way higher than anywhere in the "west".

    Also governors (or equivalents) telling construction sites to pack up and move "over here and build this" just can't happen under most western governments short of major legislation.

    So implementing such things as Charlie mentioned is no where near as easy as in China.

    317:

    Consider coming round the other way: Edinburgh to Chicago nonstop on United, then nonstop from there to Auckland on Air New Zealand.

    318:

    If those flight exist. See my earlier comment.

    319:

    Would bleach work?

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/cleaning-disinfection.html

    EXCERPT

    For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

    Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

    Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:

    5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water

    or

    4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

    321:

    I'll probably screw this up since it's my first time commenting.

    This will be of most interest to those in the US and especially in North Carolina.

    The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill had a mini-symposium yesterday (March 3) on COVID 19 / SARS-COV-2. The recording is at https://zoom.us/rec/share/zpYuHrbWrD1Je5X2uV_8GbwsH5rJT6a81ydL-fpZy0dufXKKVXVMk9XHbMnVRB_l

    There are four speakers. The first talk is quite scary.
    The second talk is informative but focused on classical epidemiology so I probably missed things. The third talk is very interesting, especially around minute 54 when he says there are probably thousands of cases in the US rather than the official hundred or so. Not surprising though.
    The fourth talk is about clinical considerations. The part about the secret government PPE stockpile at about 1:24:30 and the bit about the FDA banning test development by universities (1:25:40) really pissed me off.

    322:

    No, I didn't. My understanding from reading between the lines at the time is that those were mainly Tory LIFE peers, and were needed to overcome the coalition of the Labour life peers and hereditary peers.

    323:

    "garlic-infused nail-polish"? That would not work on me... I am way too fond of garlic! That is probably also why I never could be a vampire. Which don't exist anyway. But I love sunlight too much too.

    324:

    paws4thot @ 270: No names, no pack drill, but I know of at least two cleaning contractors who actually instruct staff to not clean desk tops unless they're clear.

    A number of years ago, I worked for a large computer company, the one that defined PC compatibility. They had what was called a "clean desk" policy. Before you went home for the evening all of your work materials, papers, manuals & tools had to be locked up and your desk was "clean", i.e. there was nothing on the desk except for the telephone & workstation, so I don't think there'd be any problem there.

    You couldn't even leave paper in the trash can, it had to go into a large blue bin for the shredders.

    325:

    JamesPadraicR @ 277:

    Meanwhile: 8% of Iranian parliamentarians test positive for Covid-19.

    Could there be a political revolution in Iran if the elderly hardliners start dropping like flies?

    There could be, but I don't expect one. The Iranian military is heavily invested in the current regime, and another revolution is unlikely to be in their interests. Plus, I think there are plenty of young radical hardliners waiting in the wings to take over from the old fuddy-duddies.

    326:

    really pissed me off

    Just asking because it is not obvious from your comment.

    Because it is nonsense or because you believe it to be true?

    327:

    whitroth @ 281: Oh, wow, donating his couch change to help? All $110k of it? But I thoght he was already donating all of it to something or other....

    If you're referring to the recent announcement that Cheatolini iL Douchebag is "donating" his last quarter 2019 "salary" to the CDC, yeah he has been "donating" it all along, but which agency it gets "donated" to is decided extemporaneously by where he thinks he needs a propaganda boost.

    It's a gimmick. His "donation" is a drop in the bucket compared to the cuts his administration has proposed for the CDC in his 2021 budget. He rakes in much more than he's giving up.

    During the same quarter his DC hotel alone generated a profit greater than his total annual salary. And that doesn't even count what the Secret Service pays to Trump properties for his protection detail to be there whenever he goes to one of them. They don't even get a government employee discount rate.

    Plus, there's no independent audit, so we don't really know that he IS donating his salary. It might just be another scam like the Trump Foundation or Trump University. I bet they don't even bother keeping two sets of books (or if they even keep books).

    328:

    whitroth @ 284: Time for my std. Yankee response to a Southerner's question as to whether I want grits for breakfast: "I don't know if I'll like it, so I'll just take one grit, please."

    OTOH, it's always fun to go into a Waffle House or other similar establishment that serves breakfast 24 hours a day up there in yankeeland and order "grits" just to mess with their heads ... and I don't even like grits. I've never eaten at a southern restaurant that you couldn't get potatoes (hash-browns, home-fries or scalloped potatoes) instead. They won't even bat an eye.

    Oh yeah, in yankeeland you also gotta' ask 'em if they have REAL sweet tea (which I can barely stand either, but in the south I've never run into any problem getting UN-sweetened ice tea).

    My experience has been it's easier to get northern regional cuisine in the south than it is to get southern regional cuisine in the north. YMMV.

    329:

    Everyone with an MBA needs to reapply for their job, which includes taking a test put together by the staff, to show that they actually have a clue of what they're managing.

    Anyone with a business degree and an MBA needs to be escorted out the door yesterday, and given a shopping cart for everything they own,because they're not qualified to be a greeter at Walmart.

    330:

    Ok, Redfin. Do. Not. Ever. Believe. Zillow. Zillow exists solely and exclusively for house flippers, and they overstate the square footage (as they do on the house I own right now, by a *lot*), and they LIE about value. Maybe 8-10 years ago, I looked up on them what my house in Chicago was worth when I sold it, and they claimed it was worth 40% more (outright flat lie - I have a booklet my agent prepared, showing me what similar houses in the area were being sold for.

    331:

    We need to have *tests* to run for office, to demonstrate that you at least have read the stolen answers. The Orange Thing would have failed so badly they'd have laughed him out.

    332:

    Because I believe it. We're the FDA and we're in control. Or some other reason I don't understand. But it delayed widespread testing for a week and a half.

    333:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7CJovhhVq8
    Somehow, I don't see unavailability of southern culture as a bad thing. Pity I might have to leave the country to be free of it.

    334:

    going draconian with all five claws

    or maybe 4, prove me wrong !

    335:

    I wonder if this means that the Tangerine Terror will hold meetings with Pence in a hazmat suit

    as per Gahan Wilson...

    336:

    I figure that China will truly be past an notions of imperialism when they dig up Qin Shi Huang's tomb in the name of archaeology.

    Until that happens, I'm pretty sure the Chinese dragon will continue to have five claws. If you want to try the experiment, you could go to China and ask if their dragon is four or five clawed...

    337:

    I'm rather busy and won't respond to individual comments. But regarding inheritance tax, make it 100% over two million or even five million pounds if you like. It'll still massively cut down inherited power and wealth. As for corporations, you can do something similar if you want. The specifics I'm not touching here.
    As for the other stupidly wealthy people in the UK (and everywhere), they can get the same offer the royals get. Donate all your wealth above xx to the 'public', and renounce all rights and responsibilities, and we'll leave you alone.

    Why is the monarchy so much more objectionable than other forms of inherited power? Because it's more obvious, and more insidious. The monarchy makes inherited power appealing. As for democracy, well I don't call rule by some mob of people who had maybe 30% of those people who voted (first-past-the-post) vote for them "democratic". But I'm fussy, when I say "rule by the people" (i.e. "democracy") I actually mean "rule by the people", not rule by some elected plutocrats. (And I recently started writing something about why "rule by 51% of people" can still be just as morally objectionable as "rule by one person".)

    338:

    We need to have *tests* to run for office

    Remember that whatever test is applied has to be either an amendment to the constitution (when was the ERA ratified?), or it needs to get through the existing representatives, senators and president in whatever form is required to make it long-lasting, plus it has to get through the supreme court ditto.

    So rather than "older, richer, whiter men" have an advantage you'd prefer "candidates must have at least $10M in cash, be at least 50 years old, white ("I know it when I see it" perhaps?) and both genetically male *and* possessed of a penis"?

    Anything else will drive the slavers into further fits of frothing rage, and it's going to be a long time before the current gerrymandering setup collapses to the point where a simple majority of "other" is enough to overwhelm it. Remember the various contrary majorities - rich white women against the ERA, latinos against DREAMers, etc.

    339:

    inheritance tax

    The problem is that the global tax system has "collapsed"* to the point where a lot of rich people don't own much at all, and a lot of things that you think are valuable actually come with matching debts to effectively anonymous, unowned entities in zero-tax jurisdictions. Admittedly the US and UK are major players in those games so could in theory help dismantle them. But since both are effectively fascist states that theory can't actually happen (the UK has left the EU rather than clamp down on anonymous money, for example).

    Any other single-point reform fails for the same reason. And a lot of simple solutions also break significant parts of the global trade system so change should be made cautiously. Perhaps not quite as cautiously as change is being made, though. And non-financial changes will make some of the reasons to have the current system moot (the pandemic, various climate-related catastrophes etc).

    One of the single-point changes I think would be useful is a beneficial owner disclosure requirement. It would absolutely have to be of the form "if you can't show who owns it then the government is will accept it", but that's not a sufficient condition.

    * in much the same way as the Nazi empire "collapsed"

    340:

    Yes, those of us who have even perused the literature on wealth management are perfectly aware that being a billionaire is about control, not about ownership. Ownership is taxable, control is not.

    What would collapse the billionaire class (perhaps!) is if AIs are employed to force the wealth managers to continually complexify the webs of holding companies, until they lose track of what they actually control. At that point, use abandoned asset laws to scoop the real estate (real=crown, of course) and return ownership to the states.

    Now this is a facetious proposal, because I'm perfectly aware that this ends up with the AIs owning everything.

    The point is concealed control is how things are owned by the super-rich.

    If you really want it all to break down, pray for a World Wide Web War that's so brutal that the internet backbone is broken so that attacks can no longer be propagated through it. Then everyone goes back to using non IoT controls on their remaining infrastructure. As a side effect, many of the ownership structures that billionaires use to avoid taxes literally disappear, since they're based online. The problem then is that large companies will almost certainly squat on assets, claim ownership, and threaten to sue anyone who claims otherwise.

    Nuclear war would be even more thorough.

    341:

    Re: CDC household cleaning guidelines

    Except for the difference in the direction of potential infection, this is pretty close to what we were told to do post-BMT including not directly touching the laundry, using hottest water temp and machine dry thoroughly, etc. Basically in this case, once the patient enters their bedroom, nothing leaves the room unless it's bagged in plastic either for washing or disposal. This includes any food/drink left over by the patient: it should get bagged and tossed immediately. (No reheating/eating their leftovers even if their food was served on a separate paper plate or 'untouched'.)

    If you're concerned about ruining your current designer bedroom linens and bathroom towels with harsh detergents, bleach, etc., get a couple of inexpensive sets that you won't mind throwing out once this is over. A couple of sets because you'll need to change the linens/towels every couple of days at least. Launder immediately, don't let used linens/towels hang around. (Same for clothing.)

    342:

    JBS@324,

    When I worked as an applications programmer WAAAAAY back when (we're talking mainframe COBOL batch, folks), I had the then normal attitude that any horizontal area in the workplace was fair game for such things as 15 inch fanfold compilation listings.

    However, I can tell you who DID keep to the sort of clean desk policy you describe even in that environment. The military liaison officers attached to the various teams. They wouldn't have needed to change their procedures in the slightest to hot desk.

    I once asked the tame Major in my immediate area, who was in every other respect VERY easy-going in his dealings with the IT anarchists, why he adhered to this approach so rigidly when the entire building was a secure area and we didn't work on any systems classified past Restricted. He told me that leaving a clean desk was part of his officer training, with security as PART of the rationale.

    343:

    Saw a tweet with this advice in an image (don't mess with Texas!)

    TEXAS CORONAVIRUS PROTECTION
    Wash your hands like you
    just got done slicing
    jalapenos for a batch of
    nachos and you need to
    take your contacts out.

    344:

    "garlic-infused nail-polish"? That would not work on me
    Yeah, my latest is at #239, a nail polish that smells like rotting flesh, that could be marketed with lines like:
    "smells like the rotting corpse that you will become if you touch your face!"
    I've mentioned this approach elsewhere and people have reported success with strongly scented hand lotions or soaps. The point is to be aware of a hand near the face.
    One problem is olfactory fatigue, but it's only a problem if the scent is detectable when the hand is well away from the face.

    The point is that this is a low-cost behavior modification, that doesn't directly negatively affect commerce or human interactions, and we need to focus on more of these. Also, such modifications (including hand washing) generalize to other diseases transmitted through contact. Social norm breakages, e.g. stopping handshakes might make some uncomfortable, but f-em.


    345:

    What would collapse the billionaire class (perhaps!) is if AIs are employed to force the wealth managers to continually complexify the webs of holding companies, until they lose track of what they actually control. At that point, use abandoned asset laws to scoop the real estate (real=crown, of course) and return ownership to the states.
    I'm really liking this thought. Though it need not be done with AIs at least initially; e.g. humans can penetrate these webs already, and with assists from very good tooling they could do it faster. (I once had to untangle a decade of financial transactions by someone who passed away after a few years of dementia. Ugh.)

    346:

    Well, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

    347:

    alexhewat @ 342: JBS@324,

    When I worked as an applications programmer WAAAAAY back when (we're talking mainframe COBOL batch, folks), I had the then normal attitude that any horizontal area in the workplace was fair game for such things as 15 inch fanfold compilation listings.

    However, I can tell you who DID keep to the sort of clean desk policy you describe even in that environment. The military liaison officers attached to the various teams. They wouldn't have needed to change their procedures in the slightest to hot desk.

    I once asked the tame Major in my immediate area, who was in every other respect VERY easy-going in his dealings with the IT anarchists, why he adhered to this approach so rigidly when the entire building was a secure area and we didn't work on any systems classified past Restricted. He told me that leaving a clean desk was part of his officer training, with security as PART of the rationale.

    They didn't tell us why, but I presume they were trying to keep confidential company information confidential. "Clean desk" was their work rule & if you wanted to work there, you followed their rule. I didn't see any problem with it. It wasn't like they were asking me to do anything wrong or shady.

    348:

    Bit of a subject change but I've never seen this before.

    Real time graphics of what the NASA Deep Space Network is doing.

    https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html

    349:

    You’re thinking wrong about the clear desk policy:

    1) Ensure that membership of “good practice groups” feeds into employee’s regular performance reviews.

    2) Create a “Good Security Practice” group.

    3) Fold the “clear desk policy” into the company security standards — which already have mandatory disciplinary outcomes for non-compliance — as documents or even personal items left on the desktop may constitute a security risk.

    4) Include random “desk checks” as an initiative for the “Good Security Practice” group.

    5) Initial offence results in a small sticker or warning note left for the offender. Desk location and name noted. (For “hot dealing”, create a check in system “for convenience”, but that really allows desk occupancy and occupants to be tracked.)

    6) Repeat offence results in mandatory disciplinary action.

    In short: Why hang a person, when you can hand them a rope and persuade them to hang themselves.

    350:

    Dirk @ 279
    snarl I already live somwhere nice - & I don't remember lving anywhere else: Now then fuck right off - AGAIN
    The stupid, it burns!
    Charlie: THANK YOU
    [ It WAS a realtively cheap part of London - I was expecting house-prices to go insane in 1969-70, when the Vic line opened ... nothing happened until about 1995 - THEN they went bonkers. ]

    Graydon @ 276
    That's horribly like the main cause of death in 1918-19

    JPR @ 277
    We could hope, but there's the utterly mad, totally brainwashed stonkingly-high-on-testosterone "Revolutionary Guard" who need dealing with - at least half-way to the Taliban ( About the only thing they won't do is damage cultrual artefacts. )

    Graham @ 278
    You forgot the repressive measures in AUS, which we are being reminded of on this blog.

    whitroth
    "the Royals" are waaaaay down the list, though ... & I don't think they should be on it, anyway.
    START with Murdoch, the Barclays, the entire ownership of the Daily Hate, N v Hoogstraten & quite a few like them, yes?
    SEE ALSO EC @ 300
    Thank you, sir & spot on.
    May I add George V siding with the liberals over Lloyd George's budget, starting off some form of State insurance & pensions.....

    Pigoen
    YES - this: f the power is real, then what matters is whether or not the person holding it is a wanker, not how they got it. Neither inheritance nor democracy guarantee the result one way or the other. Democracy as a selection method seems to pick wankers very roughly half the time. Inheritance seems to perform with equal mediocrity - indeed the history of the monarchy of England shows a fairly consistent wanker/not wanker alternation by generation...
    Although the problem with democracy is the way it can be internally subverted; Trump / Erdogan / Brelusconi / Netanyahu are the poster-boys for this. See also Rome from the destruction fo Carthage to the succession of Octavian/Augustus.
    BOZO is well along the path, but, of course, currently there is ZERO actual "opposition", because wanker Corbyn.

    Various @ 312, 313 ...
    Really?
    That serious a hit to world trade already, with total numbers of deaths, let's face it, ridiculously tiny.
    It shows how close to "the edge" all our systems are & how stupid this all is.
    I'm reminded of one of A Wellesly's sayings, regarding planning campaigns & fighting wars: They planned their campaigns just as you might make a splendid set of harness. It looks very well, and answers very well, until it gets broken; and then you are done for. Now I made my campaigns of ropes. If anything went wrong, I tied a knot and went on.
    Wellington practically invented the "sound-byte" 150 years early!
    [ "Resilience" vs "Efficiency" in fact ]

    PJ Evans @ 343
    LURVE IT

    Actual Corvid-19
    What is the actual INFECTION rate amongst the general population?
    OK - let's suppose that it does have a 3.5% fatality rate amongst those infected, but that only 10% of the population get it .... changes the numbers, doesn't it?

    ^^^^^^^
    OK again - I'll bite & as I'm too idle to google it.
    W T F are "grits"?
    They sound utterly revolting I must admit - even worse than porridge ..... or tapioca SHUDDER

    351:

    I will add (as other posters have commented) there are valid security reasons for having a clear desk policy, or at the very least ensuring that all paperwork and notes are cleared, but the objectionable part in my anecdote is the insidious transformation of fellow employees into informers and enforcers, and the wonderful working environment that engenders!

    352:

    Dirk is trolling, don’t feed him. Along with sneering superciliously at all the “fuddy-duddy” commenters, it seems to be the only reason he pops up these days.

    353:

    Off on a tangent, but Charles Stross *is* occasionally writing horror, so...
    "Coronavirus name" https://xkcd.com/2275/

    354:

    Moar Randall Munroe:
    Self-isolate https://xkcd.com/2276/
    goddammit, every nerd is pre-adapted for surviving this epidemic.

    355:

    Office plans: I've sat in an open office for about three years now. I don't like it, but at least in my workplace it's not as bad as it could be. People can reserve a place if they use it every day, and the enforcement is lax. Empty desk policy is okay, as it means "no papers or computer storage on the desk during non-working hours" and makes the cleaners' work easier.

    I use headphones to block out distractions if needed. No noise canceling, but good enough headphones that my tinnitus acts up if I put them on with no sound. We also have silent rooms, but I rarely use them because I have my own (well, company-owned, dedicated to me) mouse and external keyboard. I'd rather not have common-use keyboards, and lugging them around in the office is also annoying, so mostly I just sit at my spot here.

    356:

    Nah. All they would do is to buy a bigger and better AI, so it would just mean that even the investigatory media wouldn't have an earthly of tracking them. And they could shoft from online to manual almost trivial, using an army of peasants as computers (i.e. back to the original meaning).

    There are ways to resolve this, but they involve reversing the current directions rather that accelerating them. Just as with so many other problems, like transport :-(

    357:

    There are. But ONLY if all filing-cabinets are high-security safes, the computer system is secured to spook-level standards, and the building is regularly swept (by competent professionals) for bugs. As clear desk standards are normally imposed without even a gesture in those directions, they are worthless for security.

    358:

    I threatened to go to court if I was forced into one, under the UK's Disability Discrimination Act, which was a main factor in getting the scheme cancelled. But I am severely deaf, and my job required me to use the telephone - inter alia, my deafness means that I cannot control the volume of my own voice at all well.

    359:

    Re the Lords. Yes. Even if my reading of the tea-leves was wrong about the peers bussed in, my point was never that they are particularly wise and benevolent, but that they are no worse than our 'democratically elected' representatives, and a lot less prone to being led to extremism by demagogues. In the past decades, the number of foul laws that have been rammed through by the Commons against the wishes of the Lords far outweighs the obstruction of beneficial laws by the Commons.

    360:

    Absolutely. In most cases it is of course a case of “being seen to do something”, rather than actually doing something effective.

    In most cases the “secure pods” provided for out of hours storage could be opened in about 3 seconds with a broken plastic spork (and two of those seconds is the time taken to find the spork).

    361:

    As clear desk standards are normally imposed without even a gesture in those directions, they are worthless for security.

    I know at least 2 people who worked in TLA environments. They both talked about how their work environments on some projects meant nothing that could record anything went into the work area and nothing came out. I was with one 6 or 7 years ago when he was out buying a "stupid" watch and a CD player so he could wear a watch and listen to music while working. I don't know if they had a clean desk policy but things did NOT leave the room. And the LAN was private. And forget WiFi.

    362:

    Probably loose in the States. No way Canada is going to close the borders soon enough

    As of today's briefing the UK health authorities think community transmission is taking place in the UK. The government has a four-phase epidemic plan (dusted off from SARS -- unlike the US, they didn't dismantle their planning apparatus for ideological reasons) and is moving to phase 2, "delay" (phase 1, "containment", having clearly failed). And the first airline has already gone bust -- FlyBe was already in trouble but got a bail-out from the government in January; COVID-19 has pushed them over the edge.

    A friend who flew to London for meetings yesterday tweeted, unironically, "fastest and most efficient airport security I've ever seen."

    (And I've decided it's time to stop my thrice-weekly swimming routine and switch to walking for exercise: the pool is low-chlorine (b/c no children allowed) which is great for my airways but not so great for sitting around in a hot tub afterwards or sharing water with people who might be shedding coronavirus in the pool. Dammit.)

    363:

    Consider coming round the other way: Edinburgh to Chicago nonstop on United, then nonstop from there to Auckland on Air New Zealand.

    That's a hard "nope".

    I'd have to change planes on US soil. That means entering the USA through border control and customs before re-checking bags and flying on. (Most countries allow international passengers to change flights without entering the airport host country; the USA is a pain in the arse as this process adds 2-3 hours plus stress to changing planes, in the middle of an intercontinental trek.)

    364:

    Turns out that economics blogger Prof Simon Wren-Lewis did work modelling effects of a flu pandemic a few years ago. He’s dusted it off here:

    https://mainlymacro.blogspot.com/2020/03/the-economic-effects-of-pandemic.html

    Key points:
    Sick workers staying home is a noticeable but small economic impact.
    Parents staying home to watch the kids if the schools are closed has a bigger impact - because there are so many of them.
    Firms that make or sell Durable stuff will mostky be fine. Less people will buy a TV or Car during a pandemic, but that will mostly just defer those purchases by a bit so more people will buy such things afterwards.

    But firms like restaurants or hairdressers or gyms or pubs or other ‘social’ things will be in trouble. A lot of them will go broke if they lose a month’s income. The surprise is how big the ‘social’ economy is: such firms employ a *lot* of people, having them going broke would hurt. That could cause a recession.

    365:

    Why is the monarchy so much more objectionable than other forms of inherited power? Because it's more obvious, and more insidious. The monarchy makes inherited power appealing.

    The existence of a monarchy also defines two classes of citizenship -- those who are eligible to be head of state (and who are not allowed to vote in parliamentary elections because parliament answers to the head of their family), and those who are never eligible to be head of state (and that parliamentary vote you get is a sop to representation because your representatives are required to swear an oath of loyalty to the monarch before they can take their seats).

    Yes, the UK has a nearly-least-bad implementation of this (the Netherlands is even less toxic, among those where the monarch still has any constitutional role), but the system itself can turn bad in an eye-blink if an authoritarian government decides to turn the monarchical principle into a tool of repression (see also: Thailand).

    366:

    I periodically turn up to see whether the terminal pessimism has dissipated. Everything from Charles 2016 prediction of Brexit dead bodies in the street (don't you just hate being virally right for the wrong reason?) to the ever popular "we are all going to die". [Insert cause here: Brexit, Climate Change, Plague, AI Apocalypse, running out of air etc].
    Personally, I am terminally optimistic.
    Anyway, I will be back again when the bodies in the street start to pile up, to check the mood. I suspect, given the age profile of the blog, some of you won't be posting past that time. But since I'm in that age profile as well... game on!

    367:

    Wren-Lewis also worries about the self-employed in our gig economy, who might not stop working and self-isolate.

    This may be where late-stage capitalism’s erosion of workers rights - to sick pay in particular - could really hurt us all.

    He recommends govt intervention, including a govt sick-pay fund to pay self-employed people to stay home when sick. I just can’t see that happening.

    368:

    For better or worse, Southern US culture has a toxic reputation in many other parts of the world -- one earned through slavery, racism, and post-reconstruction hypocrisy.

    369:

    ctual Corvid-19
    What is the actual INFECTION rate amongst the general population?

    The worst-case projection is 80% infection rate.

    The optimistic predictions are in the 40-60% range, which is comparable to Spanish flu coverage.

    50% infection rate with 2% death rate, in the UK, would mean 660,000 dead, which is about the same as the second world war ... only compressed into 6-12 months rather than 6 years.

    370:

    #362 - There's nothing "hard" on the Engl...BBC news website, but I've seen one report that FlyBE were losing money at the rate of about £12 for every passenger flown.

    #363 - Thiefrow have done that to me, despite the fact I remained airside for the entire duration of the transfer!

    371:

    Hmm

    - The paper Charlie quoted above (post 306) suggests that this is die to encephalitis - the virus travel sup sensory/motor pathways into the brain and shuts down the respiratory centres in the medulla.

    - The WHO report tells us that 5% of those infected are unable two breathe spontaneously and require artificial ventilation.

    What we don't know is the recovery rate of that 5%.

    372:

    Argh. should have proofread better. Apologies.

    373:

    A typical bit of BritGloom: https://mobile.twitter.com/BBCPolitics/status/1235501769007992832

    Even at 50% infection, and 10% hospitalisation, that's 1.5 million in a burst. The UK has 10% of that number of beds.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_James_Frazer

    374:

    The worst case scenario (high end of infection estimates, high end of death estimates) doesn't bear thinking about: it'd be a die-back on the scale of both world wars dropped on us in under 12 months (rather than stretched out over a decade). Mass graves time, the crematoria couldn't possibly keep up, and subsequent societal changes as a result.

    On the up side: I'm pretty sure that isn't going to happen. (He says, clutching his lucky rabbit's foot.)

    375:

    Fair point. Entering's not too bad, and airports like ORD and LAX have onward bag drops to speed things up - but then you have to go back through TSA. I can understand wanting to find another route.

    376:

    OTOH Bozo and Trumpolini appear to think the worst won't happen...

    377:

    They can't control it so it's not their problem; their problem is how to hold on to power.

    378:

    Also - not get infected.

    379:

    From the BBC:
    "take it on the chin" and allow it to "move through the population without really taking as many draconian measures", Mr Johnson said.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51749352

    I.e. let people die to protect GDP.

    380:

    True, but ignoring the real issue; they get stuff right on the "stopped clock" method. ;-) (if you don't believe me, watch Prime Minister's Questions, and note how often Bozo seems to be pulling data out of his @r$e! Take note; I'm not the only person in this company who thinks so.)

    381:

    but I've seen one report that FlyBE were losing money at the rate of about £12 for every passenger flown.

    So it was the Lucy Ricardo business plan. Lose a bit on each sale but make it up in volume.

    382:

    For better or worse, Southern US culture has a toxic reputation in many other parts of the world -- one earned through slavery, racism, and post-reconstruction hypocrisy.

    The problem is this is crap. Both in reality and reputation.

    The south of the US was up front about all of this. The north pretended their shit didn't stink. Sort of like a lot of the world.

    Good or bad the south bragged about their crap. Everyone else pretended it didn't exist.

    There is a lot about southern culture that worked well. If you were of the right shade. No excuses but that's what JDS was talking about. Say's he who has lived in KY, PA, CT, and now NC. And visited a lot of other placed.

    I was in school (5th grade) when we integrated. I was too socially clueless to realize how crap it was in terms of implementation. While in high school there were some public debates that opened my eyes that some of my parents social circle were not all that nice of people.

    383:

    Greg Tingey @ 350: ^^^^^^^
    OK again - I'll bite & as I'm too idle to google it.
    W T F are "grits"?
    They sound utterly revolting I must admit - even worse than porridge ..... or tapioca SHUDDER

    They're kind of like Couscous made from ground corn (maize).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grits

    They're not bad tasting, just very bland when served plain. But they are generally served plain so the person eating them can season them however they want them seasoned.

    You can season them any way you want to (although putting ketchup on grits is ICKY and WILL get you strange looks). The fun with Yankees trying to eat them is they don't seem to understand you have to season them to taste, so they try to eat them plain.

    384:

    Ok, Redfin. Do. Not. Ever. Believe. Zillow.

    Agreed. We figured that out a while back when we had a more active interest in house prices. Redfin is at least in the "less bad" category and is usually ok for quick sense-of-the-territory looks. But it also needs cross-checking for anything that actually matters.

    385:

    "I.e. let people die to protect GDP."
    There is a very strong argument for that, especially if you are one of those people who believes "austerity" has caused a lot of deaths. Also, getting it over quickly rather than dragging it out over a few years has its benefits. But only if there is no effective vaccine soon. Since I spend about 2hrs a day on the London tube I probably won't get a choice. BTW Greg - London is a shithole.

    386:

    Charlie Stross @ 362: unlike the US, they didn't dismantle their planning apparatus for ideological reasons

    I dunno. Is pure spiteful stupid malicious vandalism an ideology?

    387:

    It's a bone-headed approach. What it WON'T do is to protect GDP, because the extra disruption will cause more financial harm than it gains. I am not convinced about the political and economic demographic changes, either, because disruption almost always causes the 'rules' to change.

    While I agree with OGH about the need to buy a good rabbit's foot, the figures I gave were towards the low end of what the experts expect. If Bozo handles this competently, I will forgive him for most things except Brexit, but a universal vaccine delivered by flying pigs is more likely.

    On the other hand, as I have said, even a 3% death rate if concentrated among the elderly and infirm is not a long-term problem. The 1918 influenza caused FAR less economic and political disruption than the war deaths. We old fogies don't have that long to go, anyway - er, live with it. But I can see no sign that the gummint is going to manage the short-term problem competently.

    My wife (who works close to the NHS) actually said that Cunt would be far better than Halfcock - while true, we desperately need someone of MUCH higher calibre.

    388:

    They're [grits] kind of like Couscous made from ground corn (maize).

    They're also not unlike polenta. Note that there's a variant made with ground dried hominy, which is nixtamalized corn and reasonably nutritious. We've made faux polenta with that and it's pretty good.

    389:

    Just a reminder (Not as gentle as it might've been.) that goes both ways. And think a bit about how inextricably bound contemporary conservatism is with the peculiar beliefs of the southern .01% and all the joy that has brought us.

    390:

    Some forms of maize have a fairly horrible acrid taste if not cooked for long enough - which can mean hours. I think that most varieties eaten by humans in 'the west' have now had that bred out of them (like spinach and its bitterness), but I remember it. As always, that sort of breeding almost always leads to blandness.

    391:

    Charlie Stross @ 363:

    Consider coming round the other way: Edinburgh to Chicago nonstop on United, then nonstop from there to Auckland on Air New Zealand.

    That's a hard "nope".

    I'd have to change planes on US soil. That means entering the USA through border control and customs before re-checking bags and flying on. (Most countries allow international passengers to change flights without entering the airport host country; the USA is a pain in the arse as this process adds 2-3 hours plus stress to changing planes, in the middle of an intercontinental trek.)

    I wonder if you could accomplish the same thing - "coming round the other way" - going through Canada ... Toronto or Vancouver maybe? The U.S. isn't the only country in North America that has international airports. I'd expect at least one airline would have a direct, nonstop flight from Canada to NZ.

    392:

    Flights to Canada are candidates for being diverted to US airports in an emergency and as such can be subject to American TSA and ESTA. It's basically the 357kg gorilla principle combined with the Monroe Doctrine.

    393:

    The U.S. isn't the only country in North America that has international airports.

    And then there's South America. See #138 above.

    394:

    I have a dumbphone (Nokia 7110) in part because I used to work in secure data centres where nothing personal that could exfiltrate data was permitted beyond the airlock security doors -- no wifi, no mobile data, no SD card, no Bluetooth, no camera.

    395:

    "And then there's South America"

    And then there's staying at home when you have pre-existing conditions like Charlie, and the subject of this blog post is spreading like wildfire.

    My wife and I are rearranging London meetings to be online. She has already canned a trip to NYC for the Armory Show (an art fair). The current main thinking here is not wanting to get quarantined somewhere that isn't home if a fellow attendee of some event turns out to be infected.

    I suspect the "not leaving the house unless absolutely necessary" stage is a few weeks away at this point.

    396:

    Charlie Stross @ 368: For better or worse, Southern US culture has a toxic reputation in many other parts of the world -- one earned through slavery, racism, and post-reconstruction hypocrisy.

    I understand that, but if you're going to be down on Southern U.S. culture, shouldn't it be for what's going on now instead of what we did wrong a hundred years ago. There are plenty of problems that still need to be fixed so we can move ahead, but they're not exclusive to the U.S. South. Jim Crow originated in the North.

    https://www.amazon.com/Color-Law-Forgotten-Government-Segregated/dp/1631492853

    Slavery was introduced into the American Colonies by British merchants and the "cotton culture" of the deep south was primarily fueled by British demand to feed English mills & financed by British Banks. The Confederacy wouldn't have lasted a year without Britain's (unofficial) support. And the "Southern" elites who engaged in that slave/cotton plantation culture were primarily descended from the fortune seeking younger sons of the British Aristocracy. So if we're going to condemn wrongs done a hundred years ago, the U.K. needs to accept their share of the blame, because the culture of the American South is more than anything else, an extension of British Culture from the same period.

    https://www.amazon.com/American-Nations-History-Regional-Cultures/dp/0143122029

    Not everything people believe about Southern U.S. culture are actually Southern, U.S., culture or true.

    397:

    Your Nokia wouldn't be allowed into the areas these guys worked in. ;)

    399:

    David L @ 382: I was in school (5th grade) when we integrated. I was too socially clueless to realize how crap it was in terms of implementation. While in high school there were some public debates that opened my eyes that some of my parents social circle were not all that nice of people.

    And from my perspective ... I was in the 1st grade when Durham, NC began the process of desegregating schools. It's been two steps forward and one-and-a-half steps back ever since then NATIONWIDE. Some locations, oddly enough more often in the "old south" than anywhere else, have made more progress toward desegregation than other places (Urban NE & rural NW). But there is NOT yet an integrated school system anywhere in the U.S., North or South, East or West.

    In the early 70s, courts in Massachusetts and in North Carolina ordered school busing for desegregation in Boston, MA and in Raleigh, NC. There were riots in Boston, but not in Raleigh.

    We (the U.S.) have gotten a lot closer to integration in commerce. Doesn't matter what color your skin is, everyone's money is green, and the corporations are willing to steal it from you regardless race, color, creed, national origin, gender or sexual identity.

    400:

    Chris King @ 395:

    "And then there's South America"

    And then there's staying at home when you have pre-existing conditions like Charlie, and the subject of this blog post is spreading like wildfire.

    My wife and I are rearranging London meetings to be online. She has already canned a trip to NYC for the Armory Show (an art fair). The current main thinking here is not wanting to get quarantined somewhere that isn't home if a fellow attendee of some event turns out to be infected.

    I suspect the "not leaving the house unless absolutely necessary" stage is a few weeks away at this point.

    I hope my suggestions will be taken in the spirit of "If you want to go, might this alternative circumvent the obstacles that are preventing you from doing so."

    401:

    David L @ 397: Your Nokia wouldn't be allowed into the areas these guys worked in. ;)

    You weren't even allowed to take a pencil, pen or a piece of paper in or out.

    402:

    JBS @ 400:

    You make a good point.

    403:

    Re: 'You weren't even allowed to take a pencil, ...'

    Did they check hands? One colleague used his palm/arm as a portable notebook.

    404:

    Nojay was working with banking IT systems in a cash center owned by a bank that got to print legal tender.

    That's one level of security paranoia. (Consider the likely threats.)

    Working in national security is an entirely different threat environment, so yeah. I strongly suspect that the "no pencils, no paper, definitely no devices rule" probably impacted staff efficiency ... but it was a sensible a cost/benefit trade-off under the circumstances.

    (Bank: worst case, huge financial losses and maybe a beaten up security guard or two. NatSec: worst case, mind-bogglingly huge financial losses (as in, carrier battle group or mechanized brigade sized) and a lot of soldiers have a Very Bad Day. No comparison.)

    405:

    A bright point in all the politiical gloom...they are bringing back "Spitting Image".
    It will not stop brexit or the epidemic and all the other horrors, but at least the morons and criminals will be depicted the way they deserve.
    The britons who don't die of disease and poverty-induced health problems will get something to smile at.

    406:

    The modern world is fragile, and most western economies at this point (thanks in a large part to the shifting of actually making most things to cheaper places) rely on consumer spending to keep the economy out of recession.

    In a case like this that will be difficult to do.

    But really, the best point/line (though I don't share the same optimism about the public at large learning the lesson) was the final sentence:

    "One lesson of coronavirus may be never put into power politicians that have a habit of ignoring experts."

    407:

    icehawk
    And how well will Corvid-19 cope with being immersed in an anywhere between 4.2% - 5.5% alcholol solution, I wonder?
    [ Otherwise known as "a pint" ]

    Charlie:
    OK so let's take the 50% infection rate ...
    What's the infection rate in Wuhan, then - do we actually know & can we actually trust any numbers coming ut of the PRC, because propaganda?
    Though just over half a million dead wouild really be a disaster ...
    Even if this one fizzles out, as I suspect it may
    Unless something really serious is done SOME NEW DISEASE WILL HIT US - & it will probably, also come for the same general area, because of things like their vile "wet markets".
    See also my previous remarks about "Efficiency" vs "Resilience" - also known as short-term & long-term thinking, I suppose.

    JBS @ 383
    BLEURGH
    I like fresh "Corn" - especially if I can get it to grow properly & keep the ffing grey squirrels off the cobs ... but grinding it to couscous & serving bland ... yup - porridge/tapioca YUCK
    ... @ 386
    YES - it is an ideology, unfortunately - it's a variant of Nihilism
    Also called (incorrectly IMHO) "disaster capitalism"
    Smash it up & steal the remnants is the method, yes?
    @ 396
    YOU FORGET
    That one of the pricipal "reasons" for the US "revolution" was that farseeing people understood the long-term implications of the Mansfield Decision ... that Britain was going to abolish slavery, not too far in the future ... so lets rebel, right now, so we can carry on ...
    @ 399
    😂 oh and ... 💩

    Dirk @ 395
    STOP TROLLING ( And lying & being an annoying shit ... )

    QUESTION
    What happens if you are booked on a flight, or flight-transfer via CAN, but get diverted to the US & don't have a visa (etc, etc)
    They plainly don't want you, nor you them - do they hold you until they can post you on, send you back... or what?

    408:

    Re: 'Not everything people believe about Southern U.S. culture are actually Southern, U.S., culture or true.'

    Okay - Stephen Colbert is from South Carolina, so that's at least one person.

    Wondering whether some measurement other than inherited wealth might be a better predictor of a region's social consciousness, let's say: religiosity of the bible-is-the-one-and-only-literal-Truth variety and NRA membership. Or if that area doesn't publish such data then try: local public schools use only books recommended by the Texas School Board. A bit easier for a quick assessment because it combines both these variables, but messier for the stats geeks who prefer their variables unconfounded.

    409:

    #404 - I wasn't aware that Nojay had worked for the Bank of England. The "big 3" Scottish clearing banks are allowed to print "bills of exchange" which are usually treated as legal tender, but aren't. (Original source my father, who worked for the Clydesdale).

    #407 I have some Mexican recipes that use corn meal, and use it instead of breadcrumbs for making schnitzels or "breading" fish for frying. I've never tried making a cornmeal porridge though.

    410:

    Comedians like Stephen Colbert are the reason I can keep up with the US news without puking.

    411:

    4.2% alcohol?

    I don't think that's fit for this purpose. A 30 second exposure to 42% alcohol is apparently what you need, so I think you're going to need to switch to Whisky or Gin. Without ice or mixers.

    (We're lucky that it's a virus that gets messed up by soap or strong alcohol. I suspect that's due to the same structural features that do make it so infectious.)

    412:

    The Mansfield decision got the southern colonies on board with the northeast, but they expected, and often got an outsized share of power in exchange.

    413:

    Fwd: "Dogs, cats can't pass on coronavirus, but can test positive" https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-03-dogs-cats-coronavirus-positive.html
    Thank Ctulhu for that. If pets had been carriers life would not be Worth living.

    414:

    AIUI the "bills of exchange"/"legal tender" distinction is down to Scotland and England having disjoint legal systems that use different terms. In actual practice, Scottish banknotes are just as much banknotes as Bank of England ones.

    415:

    Paws
    For schnitzels, try a mix of fine & medium Matzo Meal...
    I use this regularly!

    Charlie @ 414
    In other owrds ... " A Promise to Pay" ... as it says on the notes.

    416:

    Spent the summers with my Southern grandparents growing up. My experience of grits: delicious with butter, salt, and pepper. Also had a delicious dish with shrimp and creamy grits in New Orleans a while back...but plain grits??? Yuck!

    417:

    I think there is an urban/rural divide in the South much like the rest of the US. Visiting my relatives in their small Kentucky town feels like going back in time about 40 years. What I find suffocating is the role religion plays, and the pressure to conform. A nice thing is that people often look out for each other and help out in ways that would require paying someone a lot of money for the same service here in California.

    418:

    The infection rate is R₀ and it's not known. (And is always an estimate with messy stats.) The individual contact transmission rate is between 1% and 5% from Chinese data; we can put some weight on the stuff from the WHO trip to the PRC.

    Note that the initial cover up response has been overridden hard by the central committee; the decision to spend all that GDP by shutting down and then not do the real stats is not plausible. So the current statistics and especially the direct medical stuff (what the autopsies are finding, gene sequences, etc.) are reliable. It's not controlled-experiment quality data, but it is enough to do epidemiology with.

    The caveat is that like any virus going greenfield into new hosts, it's going to mutate. The more spread, the more opportunity for mutation and the more opportunity for the usual selection process against especially virulent strains. (Being a virulent disease lowers your odds of transmission as you kill your host prior to sufficient contact with alternative host organisms.)

    419:

    Re cornmeal mush: when someone like me (who grew up on the stuff) says "don't bother", it might give you a hint ....

    420:

    DQT* 3:

    Are 'novel' viruses identifiable via light (spectroscopy)? If yes, does this mean that a smartphone lens/software (app) can be developed and used to scan for/identify a virus, as in the Star Trek tricorder?

    Related to this: Is anyone studying what light could inactivate the Covid19 virus? (See below for a 'proof of concept' paper on a different virus.)


    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5429381/


    'New Proof-of-Concept in Viral Inactivation: Virucidal Efficacy of 405 nm Light Against Feline Calicivirus as a Model for Norovirus Decontamination

    Abstract

    The requirement for novel decontamination technologies for use in hospitals is ever present. One such system uses 405 nm visible light to inactivate microorganisms via ROS-generated oxidative damage. Although effective for bacterial and fungal inactivation, little is known about the virucidal effects of 405 nm light. Norovirus (NoV) gastroenteritis outbreaks often occur in the clinical setting, and this study was designed to investigate potential inactivation effects of 405 nm light on the NoV surrogate, feline calicivirus (FCV). FCV was exposed to 405 nm light whilst suspended in minimal and organically-rich media to establish the virucidal efficacy and the effect biologically-relevant material may play in viral susceptibility. Antiviral activity was successfully demonstrated with a 4 Log10 (99.99%) reduction in infectivity when suspended in minimal media evident after a dose of 2.8 kJ cm−2. FCV exposed in artificial faeces, artificial saliva, blood plasma and other organically rich media exhibited an equivalent level of inactivation using between 50–85% less dose of the light, indicating enhanced inactivation when the virus is present in organically-rich biologically-relevant media. Further research in this area could aid in the development of 405 nm light technology for effective NoV decontamination within the hospital environment.'

    * 'Dumb question time'

    421:

    SFReader @ 403: Re: 'You weren't even allowed to take a pencil, ...'

    Did they check hands? One colleague used his palm/arm as a portable notebook.

    Go straight to Ft. Leavenworth. Do not collect $200. TLA agency within the U.S. Army. VERY strict. They checked. Trying to sneak anything in or out was a court-martial offense for espionage under the UCMJ. They were not playing around.

    422:

    You are remembering the bit where I'm Scottish and we regard oatmeal porridge (normally with milk and salt or sugar) as a good "hot breakfast?

    423:

    Allen Thomson noted: "Not to be too obvious, but a thoughtful selection of spices/condiments can help with the diversity thing."

    Definitely. Chicken is chicken the world over, but nobody would mistake southern fried chicken from Thai chicken or any of several Indian chickens. Similarly, oatmeal ad nauseam can get pretty bland, but if you throw in other grains and different dried fruits, it becomes more palatable for long-term use.

    That's why spices are included in my prep list (http://geoff-hart.com/resources/covid19.html). Also drinking alcohol ("to improve morale", but it also improves many dishes. A nice dark stout in chili, for instance.)

    424:

    Greg Tingey @ 407: JBS @ 383
    BLEURGH
    I like fresh "Corn" - especially if I can get it to grow properly & keep the ffing grey squirrels off the cobs ... but grinding it to couscous & serving bland ... yup - porridge/tapioca YUCK

    It's served bland so you can season it to your taste. You don't eat it bland unless you're an ignorant Yankee who doesn't know any better. I don't know anyone who doesn't put some kind of seasoning, if nothing more than butter, salt & pepper, on grits and I grew up here where it's been a staple food all my life. Nobody eats just plain grits ... not more than once anyway.

    @ 396
    YOU FORGET
    That one of the pricipal "reasons" for the US "revolution" was that farseeing people understood the long-term implications of the Mansfield Decision ... that Britain was going to abolish slavery, not too far in the future ... so lets rebel, right now, so we can carry on ...

    Nope. I don't forget. Mansfield had nothing to do with the American Revolution. In fact, when the General Court of Massachusetts Colony ordered freedom for slaves in accordance with the Lord Mansfield's ruling in the Sumerset case, they were overruled by a succession of Royal Governors. It was high-handed interference in the internal affairs of the colonies by Royal officials that led to the American Revolution.

    The Declaration of Independence succinctly lists the causes.

    425:

    "a dose of 2.8 kJ cm-2"

    That's ten times the whole-spectrum intensity of sunlight for three-quarters of an hour. I'd guess you could inactivate most things with that dose at more or less any "light" wavelength purely by thermal effects.

    426:

    SFR
    Generally speaking, most viruses are too small to be seen with a light microscope - but there are exceptions.

    427:

    colortheorytoo @ 417: I think there is an urban/rural divide in the South much like the rest of the US. Visiting my relatives in their small Kentucky town feels like going back in time about 40 years. What I find suffocating is the role religion plays, and the pressure to conform. A nice thing is that people often look out for each other and help out in ways that would require paying someone a lot of money for the same service here in California.

    Kentucky, although a "slave state", is not really part of the south. It's "Greater Appalachia" like western Pennsylvania. It has much more in common with its neighbors across the Ohio River than it does with the "Deep South" Carolinas, Georgia & states of the lower Mississippi watershed (the cotton belt).

    North Carolina is split between "Tidewater", "Greater Appalachia" and the "Deep South". In fact the part North Carolina where I grew up and where I live now (about 20 miles apart) are at the pivot point for those three regions, so it's a mix of cultures. I'd bet most here don't even know the difference between North Carolina & South Carolina (hint: South Carolina STARTED the American Civil War, and North Carolina didn't).

    I really strongly recommend Colin Woodard's "American Nations" if you want to understand the regional cultures of North America. Among other things it explains why the 13 Colonies that became the U.S. revolted and why the former "New France" settlements in eastern Canada didn't join them (and why "New France" in Louisiana eventually did).

    http://colinwoodard.com/americannations.html

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/30/opinion/urban-rural-united-states-regions-midterms.html

    428:

    COVID-19 is loose (i.e. community transmission is happening) in both the US and Canada. The rate of testing makes it impossible to determine how serious this is.

    My guess:
    A huge number of people have caught COVID-19, but the rate of serious cases will be much less than 1%. The assumption here is that the US isn't the only place that has been doing a poor job of testing, so basically the only cases tested are those serious enough to show up at a hospital (and in the US not even most of them).

    429:

    Just so y'all know. I got the shutoff valve for my new stove installed.

    Wasn't as hard as I was afraid it would be. I didn't know if the existing pipe ell & cap would be frozen together from having the pipe dope in the joints undisturbed for half a century, but a fairly gentle application of torque with a pipe wrench undid them and the threads were clean. I used Teflon tape for the new valve instead of pipe dope. Tested the seal with soapy water & with a specialty gas leak detector solution.

    So, I'm ready to go when the stove gets here. By tomorrow night, I'll be "cookin' with gas!"

    430:

    ...Also: Viruses are made of the bare minimum selection of molecules from the biomolecular library needed to transport a bit of code about. This minimalism around a common need means they are all basically made of the same stuff. They are rather like USB memory sticks. They all look pretty much the same; the difference is the pattern of 1s and 0s inside. All you can say from looking at them is "that's a USB stick"; more detailed investigation is required to determine whether they contain Stuxnet code or just billions of FFs.

    So, any visible light method, nope. (X-ray diffraction gives you some broad classification, allowing you to distinguish normal finger biscuit shaped ones from ones shaped like a little doggie, etc.) There is the further problem that the quantity needed to be infectious is vastly smaller than the amount you'd need for any hand held instrument to even see it's there.

    On the same theme, the decontamination methods we have are on the same kind of level as hitting it with a hammer. Ones with a case made of thicker plastic or something might still work, in which case you hit them again and/or use a bigger hammer. Similarly all we can really do to prevent them being plugged in is pour glue over them. We don't have anything better that can avoid also smashing the thing it's on, or making a sticky mess of everything. On the other hand these methods do tend to work on everything, whereas methods with less potential for collateral damage, such as erasing the payload or disabling the USB controller, are model-specific and need rewriting every time someone in China rejiggers their production methods.

    431:

    Charles H
    You have put your finger on a fatal weakness in the US ...
    People have to PAY - bucketloads - to go to hospital, even for tests.
    So, unless people are desperate, they simply will not do it - & the virus will spread.
    Whereas, elsewhere in civilised countries the national health systems will pick the problem UP & do theor best to sweep it up, because, no matter how expensive, prevention is still cheaper ....

    432:

    If you're going to have a 100% over a base inheritance task, at least index it. Say 100% over twice the median value of inheritances for the prior year (or decade).

    That *might* have something going for it.

    433:

    A huge number of people have caught COVID-19, but the rate of serious cases will be much less than 1%.

    Probable case number is not yet huge in Anglo NorAm (tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands or millions), the PRC data via the WHO really shrinks the error bars on the number of undetected cases there (the PRC is testing everyone presenting to medical services with a fever at this point), and the expected rate of serious cases is way, way higher than 1% based on that data.

    It is really important to remember that the existing lethality estimates presume a functioning health care system doing its best for everybody. The expected lethality in the event of a health care breakdown is an order of magnitude greater.

    434:

    I.e. let people die to protect GDP.

    That is overly glib.

    You are assuming that draconian measures - things like closing schools and workplaces are actually effective and not just theatre.

    Isolation works. Isolation is where sick people stay home. That reduces infection rates by a lot.

    Healthy people staying home - not as useful unless you do it for close to everyone.
    Just not effective otherwise.

    And if you do it, then how many months do you plan to shut down the economy for? Seriously, the virus is not going away.

    GDP is not just a number, the economy is people’s livelihoods. Draconian measures means bankruptcies, unemployment, people losing their homes. Economic crises ruin lives and kill people.

    There is a level of pandemic where that is worth it. I am not convinced that this is it.

    435:

    Ah yes, I remember hearing about that book and it look interesting. I have long thought that there are many flavors of “southern”. And ironically, all of my relatives in western Kentucky and even just over the river in Indiana consider themselves to be southern, and frequently mention it. There is also what seems to be a somewhat distinct culture along that part of the Ohio River (ask me about “burgoo” sometime!) My family was entirely German-speaking from arrival in Virginia in the late 1600s until World War I—maybe the book covers that as well. If we’re splitting hairs, I would describe them as a blend of Midwestern/Southern, but I’m no expert. Thanks for the book recommendation, I’ll put it on my list!

    And now I must drag my distractable ADHD self back to finishing my disaster preparedness shopping and hopefully making some art.

    436:

    The US used to have a 90% inheritance tax ("death tax"). I think it's now 40%.

    What we need is to have it apply to all trusts where the party that died had more than 25% control over. It was *always* only on high-value estates.

    Take it back to 90%, with what I suggested above, to prevent trusts from getting around it.

    437:

    Income and asset caps.

    Income is capped at 10 times the lower of median or mean income (if you get it, and can say what to do with it without going through some mechanism that can and does tell you no in permanent ways, it's income).

    Assets are capped at 50 times max income/500 times the floor(median,mean) income.

    (You worked for fifty years, from 20 to 70, and made and kept max income for every one of those years.)

    If the applicable mean income number is 50 k$CURRENCY, the max income would be 500 k$CURRENCY and the max assets with be 25 M$CURRENCY. That's certainly not suffering, and it fixes pretty much all of the structural problems around refusal to pay taxes, political decisions made for money instead of human survival, and similar.

    438:

    The Spanish Flu was particularly tragic because it hit young adults aged 15 to 35 worst by far, with a mortality rate several orders of magnitude higher than normal. Older people had residual resistance from earlier flus, but young people not. The average mortality is hiding how truly horrible the 1918-1920 pandemic was.

    439:

    When I said "tests", I meant it. I think a first revision would be that they have to pass the *same* test that someone applying for US citizenship has to pass.

    Here's me paying for a drink for you if the Orange Fool could do it, or even get half the questions right.

    440:

    There's a problem with this:
    "One lesson of coronavirus may be never put into power politicians that have a habit of ignoring experts."

    Experts are often not only in agreement, but wrong. Usually they're right, but unpredictably they're wrong. So you need to not just attend to them, but weight the costs and benefits of their being wrong. And, of course, most alternatives to a wrong opinion are also wrong. Whoops!

    Then there's the fact that a politician MUST appear decisive, or he won't be trusted. Ouch!

    So that's a really difficult problem. Usually the right decision will be to go with the experts, but not to be certain that they are correct. (And it's also worth noting that in some areas the experts aren't much better than throwing darts. See "Random Walk through Wall Street". And there was this Chimpanzee that beat the market one year.)

    441:

    Recently read a story about how the residents of an apartment building in NYC kept complaining, and the city inspectors gave it failings in a lot of things, but the managers shrugged their shoulders, because who owned it was so complex that they couldn't find them to fine.

    I don't understand why the city didn't just seize the building, and run it/sell it to the residents.

    442:

    Who to start with? Hell, yes. US: McConnel, Graham, every single member of the self-proclaimed "Tea Party" group (aka the Koch-funded neoConfederates). Murdoch....

    443:

    I've never had to work in that kind of environment - in fact, at one place, we were trained to not lock our desks, because we were working with hardcopy records that needed to be accessible at all times. (We were loading the information in a database which is still in use, but while it was being loaded, there was no guarantee it wouldn't be needed in an emergency.) So I got in the habit of not keeping anything more personal than bandaids and pain relievers in my desk, and leaving it unlocked.
    We also were trained to leave the computers on all the time, because updates tended to be done in the off-hours.

    444:

    Sorry, but when there's plenty of hosts, there's little pressure to not kill your current host...at least not at the cost of becoming less infectious.

    I *know* this isn't the normal belief, but that's the way it works. There's a lot of pressure to remain as infectious as possible for as long as possible, but if the immune system is going to kill you eventually anyway, there's no reason not to kill the host first, especially if it lets you infect even one additional host.

    For an extreme example of this, consider the fungus that causes ants to climb to the top of a weed where they are exposed to predators, and hang on until they die.

    445:

    Current (as of last year) for the US federal gov't, generally, is not clean desk, but *anything* dealing with any level of classification or privacy:

    1. Do not take home.
    2. Do not leave on desk.
    3. Must be stored in locked drawer or file cabinet.
    4. May not be seen by a foreign national.
    5. May not be discussed in public (hallways, break rooms, etc).
    6. NOT TO BE AVAILABLE ON PUBLIC WIFI.

    446:

    Graydon
    My mother's family all got the "Spanish Flu" - including my grandparents, who would then have been (approx) 45-50 yr old - they were deradfully afraid that the youngest, one of my aunts was really, really going to die, but she just scraped through. She would have been about 8 or 9 at the time.

    Charles H
    OTOH, the example of Churchill in WWII, who had a panel of "civilian" experts on whom he relied for much information, which helped guide us away from many of the worse paths we could have taken.

    whitroth
    I think that's impsssible here.
    ( I could be wrong )

    447:

    To be serious, you'd probably want something more in the range of 60%, and also some other ingredients to stop your skin drying out. Like actual professionally made stuff.

    448:

    I'm not Scots, but I considered good Oatmeal (i.e. steel cut in large chunks) with milk to be a decent breakfast. Other cuts of oats required additional seasoning, and just forget the instant oatmeal. (Fast cooking oatmeal was decent with milk when uncooked, but not really tasty.)

    449:

    Family members had a winter holiday in Mexico; they rented a house for a week or so (it was a group of 11). One couple lives in Germany; he's from Africa, so it was safer for him than the US.

    450:

    "Protect GDP"? Given that GDP has no relation to the well-being of 99% of the population, screw it.

    Oh, and "London is a shithole"? I see, Dirk is a suburban asshole who doen't understand cities, fears and hates them, but comes in to aggravate those of us who love cities, and make himself unwanted.

    Go home, little boy.

    451:

    No, racist pig reasons. People keep getting *so* tied up in the "peeing hookers" that they completely miss the point that he went to a lot of effort to make sure it was the mattress the Obamas slept on when they came to Moscow.

    452:

    The heaviest support of Trumpolini is in the South, and it's SOUTHERN BLOODY BADTASTES and the heavy, heavy "funnymentalist literalist evangelicals" that are in the South.

    I, being of Jewish ancestry, and a socialist, am *really* nervous in much of the South, esp. the Deep South.

    453:

    [quote]You have put your finger on a fatal weakness in the US ...
    People have to PAY - bucketloads - to go to hospital, even for tests.[/quote]

    Yes, that's a real problem. But it's not the only problem. The CDC hasn't been doing their job, and their management didn't want they to do their job, so the first round of test kits were highly defective, and they forbid anyone else to develop test kits. Recently (i.e. this week) they've decided that States can develop their own tests. One report I ran across said that at the time they took the figures down from their web page (around Feb. 20) there had been fewer than 500 people tested in the entire country. So it's not just down to excessive costs.

    454:

    I have a flipphone, no camera. It is, you understand, a "cellular telephone", for "speaking to someone at a distance".

    I'm online, in front of a real computer, with a real keyboard, and a 24" diagonal screen far too much of the day. Why is it that I should carry something so that someone who's TERRIFIED of speaking to another human being can text me, and expect instant answers, at all times of the day and night? Or watch things on a microscopic screen?

    And does *anyone* want to argue that a virtual keyboard on a stupidphone is anything other than an abominably horrible kludge of an interface?

    Oh, and I'm waiting for the clinical reports of a pandemic of carpal tunnel syndrome from texting.

    455:

    I know you want to avoid Heathrow but if you're willing to put that aside, Qantas operates a direct flight from Heathrow to Perth. 17 hours in a Dreamliner. From Perth the flight will take you onto Melbourne or you can head elsewhere. Getting to Wellington from an east coast Australian city is trivial. No North America, no Middle East, no Asia. And they're planning on direct east coast to London and New York flights in a couple of years (assuming...)

    456:

    Probable case number is not yet huge in Anglo NorAm

    Non-Anglo Americas, north and south, are pretty low as far as reported (not probable) cases are concerned. As of writing

    Ecuador 13
    Mexico 5
    Brazil 4
    Chile 4
    St Barthemely 3
    Argentina 1
    DomRep 1

    All else 0

    Total 31

    Ecuador might be breaking out, TBD. Whatever else is there is lurking unreported at the moment.

    457:

    I have long thought that there are many flavors of “southern”.

    But oddly, there aren't any Northerners/Yankees, outside of a few rural areas, and haven't been for over a century. Certainly none of my ancestors emigrated from Europe in time for the US Civil War, and pretty well everyone who lives in Boston/NY/etc would say the same. (Italians? Puerto Ricans? Poles?) The Civil War is mostly just another thing you study in high school. So when someone with a southern accent uses a word like "Yankee" or "Yankeeland" he gets kind of a sideways look. "Ignorant Yankee" is an ignorant phrase.

    458:

    Qantas operates a direct flight from Heathrow to Perth. 17 hours in a Dreamliner.

    Speaking of that, what's happened to the Airbus A350 ULR? According to billing, it should be able to get to any place in Australia from LHR nonstop. Not that I'd recommend such an ordeal unless it were, to remain on topic, to escape the coronavirus.

    459:

    Hey, I'm from Philly (mid-Atlantic), and we consider oatmeal, normally with milk, and either sugar, brown sugar, or honey, and maybe raisins cooked in, as a tasty breakfast.

    460:

    And does *anyone* want to argue that a virtual keyboard on a stupidphone is anything other than an abominably horrible kludge of an interface?

    Doesn't weigh much, though. But I recommend eg this keyboard if you want something that fits in a pocket, and can actually be typed on. (Assuming your fingers are the same size as mine.) Sold under various names. Unfolding it powers up the Bluetooth link.

    Oh, and I'm waiting for the clinical reports of a pandemic of carpal tunnel syndrome from texting.

    People have solved that by sending Real Short texts. Poetry and good writing were already dead anyway, sigh.

    461:

    There's tons of pressure to not kill your hosts faster than you can spread, though.

    If the plague kills everybody faster than some can stagger to the next village for help, providing new hosts, that variant goes extinct; it's out of hosts. There are some indications that greenfield measles may have been like that.

    462:

    So, the keyboard... and why not just carry a laptop?

    Besides, you really, really do not understand how I feel about texts, and the literal fear some people have about talking, rather than texting.

    463:

    re: Stocking up on foods

    Maybe I missed it but I was expecting half of the folks here to say they were going to buy crate-loads of kippers. Or is this one of those outdated cultural stereotypes?

    I usually have a few tins in the cupboard along with some tuna and salmon.

    464:

    the only cases tested are those serious enough to show up at a hospital

    The cost, for me, if I feel the need to go to a hospital: one single bus ticket. (The bus runs every 10-15 minutes from the stop across the street from my front door: takes 30-35 minutes to the shiny new Royal Infirmary.) Or, if I'm really ill, a phone call to request an ambulance.

    The cost in Italy, to J. Random Italian person, is not much higher; while there are co-pays in most of the EU, they're generally capped at a level that would make most Americans go WTF?!? (with, say, open heart surgery costing less than the co-pay for a family doctor visit in the US).

    So we can get a very much better idea of COVID-19 morbidity in the general population if we drop "not invented here" and look at other countries that don't artificially suppress demand for medical treatment.

    465:

    On the other hand, why not simply drop inheritance tax altogether?

    The amount of offence a tax on already-taxed assets causes is huge, and if you force people into weird and wonderful legal measures to dodge inheritance tax, all you end up doing is creating a new aristocratic class which lacks the traditional British exit clause of some inbred nitwit blowing all his inheritance on gambling.

    You have really to decide if you're going to use tax as a way to control the population (in which case, be very wary that you don't get the control turned back onto you), or merely as a way for government to get the money it needs to finance its self and its works.

    If the former, then you're well down the road to totalitarianism.

    If the latter, be careful you don't create a capitalist hell like the USA currently is turning into.

    The trick is to balance it. This is difficult.

    466:

    oatmeal, normally with milk, and either sugar, brown sugar, or honey, and maybe raisins cooked in, as a tasty breakfast

    And that (oatmeal, oat bran, [c]raisins, nuts, ground flax and such) can be made into very tasty oat bars or, with leavening, bread. A smear of cream cheese for taste when it's eaten is recommended.

    We're much into that kind of thing, as it's good, good for you, allows for control of what you're eating, and is fairly cheap per gram.

    467:

    I know about it, but $WIFE doesn't want to have anything to do with Boeing's Plastic Prodigy until it's racked up a good few tens of thousands of airframe-decades in service without fatal accidents due to delamination of the carbon fibre bits of the fuselage. (Airbus worked their way up to plastic planes in stages, and learned the hard way: Boeing did it in one giant leap, and ... we know about Boeing and quality management this century, don't we?)

    468:

    I think a first revision would be that they have to pass the *same* test that someone applying for US citizenship has to pass.

    Oh sure, as a fantasy and possibly an effective measure if you could implement it. The trouble with the citizenship test specifically in the USA is that it's a "pass one of the following" where one of the options is "do you have a lot of money".

    It's like my suggestion that any law that can't be explained by the lawmakers wanting to pass it, cannot be passed. Or better, any law that can't be explained by a current lawmaker is not valid.

    469:

    On the other hand, why not simply drop inheritance tax altogether?

    The inheritance tax did a very good job of chopping the family assets off the aristocratic upper class during/after WW2, which was really good for everybody else.

    It's no coincidence that Thatcher cut the rate of inheritance tax and the same titled nobs have been crawling back into power ever since.

    470:

    There's one word why: bones. I for one do not have the time to spend dissecting the wretched things out of the good kippers, and the so-called boneless ones tend to be a bit meh.

    Also, they stink the place out when you cook them.

    Best left to a hotel breakfast - yes, I was eating them most days in Ireland this summer. It did help we were staying at a non-chain hotel.

    471:

    My personal, only mildly impractical, version of that is to have all laws sunset themselves in at most 20 years; the bigger the margin on the vote, the longer the sunset period is (with the shortest being the expected lifetime of the elected body, for marginal victories, so 5 years in the UK with the FTPA, 4 years in the USA).

    Needs press help, too, so that lawmakers shoulder the blame if (e.g.) they forget to renew something like murder laws.

    472:

    whitroth @ 452
    As "the boss" says ... she commutes from a medieval village, across the nature-reseve/flood-plain to the Roman city.
    Dirk simply does not grok it at all .....

    @ 454
    Ah, but now you can get largish clamshell, with a real actual keyboard - that can be used as a phone without opening it ...
    { Charlie & I both have one ... )

    DonL
    Poetry will never die

    Madeleine
    WHat I like & are now almost completely impossible to get, are ... Bloaters
    Much nicer than Kippers.

    Inheritance Tax
    Agree that some powerful "families" were shits ... but they have been replaced by - - powerful corporations, controlled by some real A-grade arseholes
    Which is probably worse. (maybe)
    Now what?

    473:

    Kind of outdated, yes. There aren't any herrings any more. We've eaten them all.

    Cooked breakfasts are also pretty rare these days. They take too long. Nearly all the people for whom I have any data seem to be out of the house between 15 and 30 minutes after getting out of bed. (Makes me scream to think of it, since I need two hours at least drinking tea and getting ready to face the horror.)

    And, as Madeleine says, bones. Shitloads of tough spiky bones and the flesh sticks to them instead of falling off. They're not tasty enough to be worth the hassle.

    And refrigeration technology is cheap and easy these days.

    474:

    I do have time to do a cooked breakfast weekdays - but 5 am is far too early for me to eat. Besides, I'm still half-asleep for the next hour, then it's get the packed lunch together, get the dishwasher going, get washed and dressed and on the road in enough time to catch the 07:41 without freezing my backside off hanging around on the platform.

    So my usual breakfast is 3-4 slices of a fruit loaf eaten at the office when I get in just before 9. I sometimes take a pot of porridge in an insulated container on the train, even rarer I might do a bacon sandwich in the container but I have to remember to get the bacon out of the freezer the night before (and remember to get pitta bread in the weekly shop).

    476:

    Quite. The alternatives are either carrying a kit of parts to assemble a laptop on the fly, which is daft, or something which is inherently and unavoidably shit because it is too fucking small. And in both those cases you have to use a computation module, an OS, and application software, which all have evil built in by design and require unfeasible effort to get rid of it.

    "Terrified of talking", though, I can't agree (though you do seem to be concerned with people who can do it but don't, as opposed to don't because can't). My ears are fine, but the software for translating between language and meaning is up the creek. So either I communicate with people face to face, or I do it in writing, non-interactively. A telephone has me confused to all fuck within a very few sentences, a speech programme on the radio is just a long-drawn-out annoying noise, and an English TV programme is vastly easier to follow by turning the subtitles on and the sound off.

    477:

    Didn't you used to be able to get Shippam's Bloater Paste? Mind you, I always liked the Anchovy Paste (which got discontinued some years ago). Trouble is, people these days don't like gamey foods much these days, and things like that are a bit of an acquired taste. (Hmm, I'll have to look out for Patum Peperium next time I'm in Waitrose - I try and avoid the place because I don't want to get used to shopping there on a routine basis.)

    478:

    The inheritance tax did a very good job of chopping the family assets off the aristocratic upper class during/after WW2, which was really good for everybody else.

    Although it's a major reason for Cornish coastal villages being 80% empty during the winter months. The locals couldn't afford to buy so the estates were forced to sell to second/holiday homers to cover the death duties.

    479:

    Or, at least, to be told it was. Hehe.

    480:

    And worse. It destroyed the rural communities that were built around a manor or similar, especially following WW I, and all but eliminated the yeoman farmers. Both of those were a major factor in farms being taken over by absentee companies, the move to industrial farming, and the demise of mixed farming, the near-total destruction of (for example) chalk downland, and more.

    But who gives a fuck about peasants and the ecology?

    481:

    Both Air Canada and Air New Zealand have nonstops from Vancouver to Auckland. But I can't find any nonstops from Edinburgh to Vancouver.

    482:

    Guess you'll need to wait until Qantas delivers on Project Sunrise then. They've picked the A350-1000 with an extra fuel tank. However, they were planning on making the final aircraft order this month. Who knows what has happened to that plan. Qantas' latest announcement

    483:

    Qantas preferred aircraft for the AU east coast to London/New York direct is the A350-1000 with an extra fuel tank and increased MTOW. AIUI this is technically NOT the ULR variant which is really just a -900 that utilises existing but unused fuel tank space.

    484:

    I get the historical interest bit. Indeed, a current project is to develop the ability to look at my own local city as it is now and see it as it was a hundred years ago, before the Mayor started driving his tank through it. I can report a little early success... but the time spent on fieldwork is severely limited by the density of the crowds, which does my fucking head in. And that is the fundamental problem with cities in general.

    I'm afraid it has to be said that London is a shithole... maximal crowds, and look away from the bright lights and glitz and there is unspeakable filth lurking in every corner and crevice. But then it is also true that I spent three years of my youth being programmed, by association, to despise the very name of the place and its hair and guts and everything about it... with the sole exception of the Underground, which is ace, and all the other railway interest.

    485:

    The annual SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, scheduled for March 13 to 22, are still on (as of today).

    However, there is an online petition asking SXSW to cancel this year's event, as of Thursday afternoon, there are more than 50,000 signatures. Many American, Asian and European musicians and institutions have already canceled tours or postponed other activities due to COVID-19 concerns. And many tech and media companies have decided to withdraw from SXSW this year include Facebook, Twitter, Intel, Vevo, Mashable, Amazon Studios, TikTok, Netflix and WarnerMedia.

    486:

    Same thing happened in the US, after the Republican'ts started referring to it as a "death tax" with the implication that it would take away everything. It only applied to estates with a value over $5million in personal assets to start with - and if you have enough heirs that that's going to be a problem, you need better estate planning.

    487:

    Hell, no. Back in the nineties, I heard the last living member of FDR's cabinet, and he said, in so many words, that it wasn't so much to raise tax money as to prevent a class of inherited wealth.

    488:

    Quite. There's something Pyrrhic about claiming a victory in class warfare for grabbing the assets off the aristos when you then don't bother with the "redistribution" bit but instead allow the assets to be taken over by plain capitalists, who see them as something to be exploited immediately rather than maintained for future generations, and have arisen through a selection process that tends to favour arseholes. It was really good for somebody else, but I remain to be convinced that it was the proletariat.

    489:

    That's ludicrous. You want laws against murder, or rape, or.... to sunset?

    490:

    I need at least 90 minutes to get from bed to fully-functional. When I was working, and had to leave by 6am to catch my train, it meant getting up far earlier than I wanted; I didn't normally do hot breakfast, but could if necessary (about 10 minutes, maximum). If I was really in a hurry, breakfast was a sandwich (probably PB & honey).

    I've done egg tea a couple of times, when I had 10 minutes: make the tea, and while it's brewing, beat an egg with a couple of tablespoons of sugar (preferably in a paper cup, so you can toss it). Pour the still-very-hot tea onto the beaten eggs. I found it was especially good with a spiced tea: something like eggnog but with caffeine instead of alcohol. The egg flavor isn't a problem until it's getting cold. (Recipe from Sir Kenelm Digby, circa 1650)

    491:

    "Clamshell" - is that some sort of Apple thing?

    I will not give them one penny.

    492:

    So when someone with a southern accent uses a word like "Yankee" or "Yankeeland" he gets kind of a sideways look. "Ignorant Yankee" is an ignorant phrase.

    From The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce:

    YANKEE

    -n.

    In Europe, an American. In the Northern States of our Union, a New Englander. In the Southern States the word is unknown. (See DAMNYANK.)

    493:

    I don't do cooked breakfasts - well, I didn't when I was working, except for weekends. Weekdays, cereal and juice, and good tea when I got to work.

    494:

    And many tech and media companies have decided to withdraw from SXSW this year include Facebook, Twitter, Intel, Vevo, Mashable, Amazon Studios, TikTok, Netflix and WarnerMedia.

    A tech conference that I'd paid for in Miami at the end of the month just announced they are cancelling and will be refunding my money. I'm glad I had not yet booked airfare or hotels.

    495:

    In the late 1980s, before the complete collapse of the Soviet Union, my brother-in-law installed software upgrades on the systems in the command-and-control bunkers the US operated in Europe. He had to carry things into the bunker in order to deliver the software. As I remember his stories, one medium, which had to be left in the room, and random strip searches on the way in and out. Additionally, the clearance for the job would have been cancelled if he failed to check in at a US military outpost or embassy/consul for more than 72 hours. He got the job when his predecessor missed that limit by a couple of hours. My sister said the 72-hour requirement made planning holidays more challenging.

    496:

    I have long thought that there are many flavors of “southern”. And ironically, all of my relatives in western Kentucky and even just over the river in Indiana consider themselves to be southern, and frequently mention it.

    As someone who grew up in FAR western Kentucky we thought we were from the south. Till we visited Memphis or Mississippi and couldn't understand anyone talking.

    KY has 3 major zones of culture. Anyone who says it is all the same is looking out the window from 50,000 feet. The eastern end of the state was in many ways as foreign to us from the western end as Mexico. And the 5 years I spend in the middle were like another land from the western end.

    Pennsylvania is very similar at least in terms of there being 3 major zones of culture.

    As to what is a Yankee, it is someone from the northern / eastern areas who is rude and proud of it. And they like to sell their inflated housing and move to our cheaper areas and then be loud and crude a lot. The ones that are polite are NOT called Yankee.

    497:

    "Clamshell" - is that some sort of Apple thing?

    No: it's one of these.

    498:

    Link broken.
    [[ now fixed - mod ]]

    499:

    Tinky Winky 2, Simon Barnes, died of hypothermia in Liverpool in 2018. He was 52.

    The actor was the replacement for the original Teletubby, Dave Thompson, removed after the first series because his interpretation of the role was unacceptable. It was rumoured that Tinky Winky had been deemed too camp.

    Tinky Winky was purple. He had the triangular antenna on his head.

    If the current media predictions are accurate, it shouldn't be long before someone vaguely famous is revealed to be suffering from superflu? 'And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.'

    500:

    Because one of the drugs currently being tested and showing some promise for Covid-19 was originally developed for Ebola, I looked to see if there was anything around that described the condition from the patient's perspective yet was medically reliable and complete. Found this FDA branded interview that runs 1:35:08. I'm about two-thirds through.

    A few people asked about transmissibility, i.e., when, how long, via what pathways, which organs, etc. If Covid-19 is transmissible in the same way as Ebola, then your blood can test clean of virus but you might still have loads of it in other parts of your body (testes, eyeballs, etc.) for several more months. (According to Dr Crozier, these are 'preferential organs' in terms of blood circulation: they're better protected than other parts of your body.) I feel that this info ties in with the article that Charlie posted about Covid-19 brain stem damage.

    I'm guessing the Chinese performed thorough autopsies - hope they looked at more than lungs and brain stem. And that they check for virus in sperm.

    Here's the video and description:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi29GJZllts

    'Ebola Survivor - Dr. Ian Crozier (Sept 2015)

    Dr. Ian Crozier contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone while treating Ebola patients in the government hospital in Kenema as a volunteer for the World health Organization. He was evacuated to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia on Sept. 9, 2014, the third American with Ebola to be airlifted there from West Africa. He spent an agonizing 40 days in the hospital before finally recovering. Less than two months later, he developed soaring pressure in his left eye, with nausea and headaches. Test results were completely unexpected: the inside of his left eye was teeming with Ebola. Dr. Crozier, who also suffers from hearing loss, joint and muscle pain, disabling fatigue, problems with memory loss and word-finding, calls himself a poster child for “post-Ebola syndrome”. He describes his experience in great detail in this lengthy interview, which is segmented by questions on the screen. The interview was conducted by the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at the FDA TV Studio in Maryland in May 2015.'

    501:

    Anywhere near Owensboro?

    The only time I ever heard anyone use the term "Yankee" was in reference to houses with basements, which my dad calls "Yankee houses".

    502:

    Owensboro was 1 1/2 or more hours east. :)

    I grew up outside of Paducah. Across the river from Superman's home.

    503:

    Thanks.

    My bleach doesn't have an expiry date on it, but I know I bought it 5-10 years ago so I'm guessing it's nowhere near as effective as it should be. Time to hope there's been no run on bleach…

    504:

    Wren-Lewis also worries about the self-employed in our gig economy, who might not stop working and self-isolate.

    So he's an optimist, then? Because from my experience there's no might about it — they'll keep working until they can't.

    505:

    Because from my experience there's no might about it — they'll keep working until they can't.
    No work, no pay.
    Most work at an hourly rate is like that.

    For Dirk (video at twitter link):

    This is absolutely horrifying.
    Rick Santelli on @CNBC says we should consider giving coronavirus to everybody to just get it over with.
    That way it won’t wreak so much havoc on the economy.
    This is your brain on capitalism.pic.twitter.com/Uv5UYyKtxy

    — Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) March 5, 2020

    One problem is that his assertion about mortality rates is just wrong. A slower pandemic might end up killing substantially fewer people than trading it for instant death (OK 3-week death) for 3 percent of the world population, because (1) peak load on the healthcare system (for e.g. oxygen) might be reduced to below its capacity, (2) antiviral regimes might be developed and distributed that make serious cases more survivable.
    Another is that a utilitarianism that maximizes short term global GDP is difficult to justify.

    506:

    That one of the pricipal "reasons" for the US "revolution" was that farseeing people understood the long-term implications of the Mansfield Decision ... that Britain was going to abolish slavery, not too far in the future ... so lets rebel, right now, so we can carry on ...

    A book that's on my list is The Counter-Revolution of 1776 by Gerald Horne.

    "The so-called Revolutionary War, Horne writes, was in part a counter-revolution, a conservative movement that the founding fathers fought in order to preserve their right to enslave others."

    507:

    "Je suis le Rire. Salut! Mais pas n'importe lequel: celui qui apparait quand tout va mal... C'est la nuit plenie d'orties. Pres des ruines, meles aux tessons, leurs buissons etaient ma cruaute, ma mechancete hypocrite que je gardais, une main derriere mon dos pour blesser le monde... Dans leurs feuilles je trempais mes mains delicates: la cigue ne m'aurait pas glaces les veines. Ce qui est mechant dans le monde vegetal m'etait gagne"[0]

    For Greg et al:

    The mother...: (to the Moon): I'm Laughter. Hi! Not the usual kind, but laughter that appears when all goes wrong. It's the night full of nettles... Near ruins, tangled with shards, their bushes were my cruelty, my hypocritical wickedness that I kept, with one hand behind my back to hurt the world... In their leaves I steeped my delicate hands: hemlock would not have frozen my veins. Everything wicked in the vegetable world was won over to me.

    Genet - The Screens

    Anyhow, we could do a long discourse post and so on, but feeling a little ragged. Some things playing too smart, forgot that glamour doesn't quite translate to fucking humans, did it "MATE". Let's just say the last time we were male with those outlines was when Stoker was writing Frankenstein[1].

    Here's a Counter-Factual for Dirk:

    Imagine a world where the WeWork IPO went sailing through and CN offices got splurged[2] on the through-flow cash bonanza[3] and all those little 'entrepreneurs' scuttling after their little dinky awards[4] went from there to Dubai to Seattle and royally spread COVID[5]19 over the entire of the 'eloi' set, would have hit all those sugar daddies and Royal Dames as well.

    Fucking grep my balls and clinch my pincers you'd be living in a different time-line.

    Ruff Ruff.


    ~


    Anyhow, bored. Someone call your dogs off before we break their Minds. Clever?

    grep: WeWork - COVID stuff and you're working tainted Bell-Rings from stuff you didn't even start while running Ramp and Clamp psychosis shite.


    Amateurs


    Fucking glamour, and you thought you were being clever.

    "Bet you a quid, mate"

    "Six coins in the hand, two for each eye, send your three past the Styx well paid"[6]

    [0] If you can work out why that quotation is without French grammar, well done. Blame GooogleBoooks, no-one allowing the original online or having to type this on a non-qwerty kb so who knows where the shortcuts are. Suffice to say: Google only produces one result for it, which is shocking. And also the joke. Memory-holed those protests to Algeria have been, quite successful.

    [1] Predictable. You're predictable. This is a death sentence in this modern AI world.

    [2] https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Startups/WeWork-halts-China-expansion-as-it-struggles-to-fill-offices

    https://www.ft.com/content/b5104854-f6ac-11e9-a79c-bc9acae3b654

    [3] https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/hsbc-london-office-evacuated-coronavirus-a4379396.html

    [4] https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2020/02/20/tony-blair-labour-refuse-sign-trans-rights-pledge-culture-war/

    [5] Yes. We did the Raven joke before the name was officially released. Fucking sue us.

    [6] Here's one for Bill: dig up when we did that reference and note the name gone missing. Felicity was the one after. Textual Missing --- always look for the... Gaps. Week before, posts gone tooootling.

    ~


    No, but really. [6].

    The quote that's missing is something like: "We can hack the tripartite Minds as well".

    508:

    My grandfather was from northeastern KY - there are still a fair number of distant cousins there, though many moved out. My grandfather (and his father and two of his sisters) left between 1900 and 1905, moving west to Kansas and then Oklahoma.

    509:

    Oh, and Warren is out, as is Bloomberg.

    The USA people [non-oligarchs] are completely fucked if they run Biden vrs Trump.

    Hands up who noticed Bloomberg did that to give Biden a boost but also to ramp stocks up for a certain sector[1]? Hint: everyone, including the Hipster_Trader and Stock Cats which is kinda only a couple of levels up from Reddit WallstBets.

    Spend $500 mil getting Samoa? No, he spent that to shore up FLoRiDA (ahem, mentioned before, Scott and the Mysterons) and the Health Industry.

    Bloomberg and Warren are both Republicans anyhow. Beats the other Dems just running ex-Spooks we suppose. No, really: Bloomberg has never been a Democrat. Never run on that side. 2020 - did everyone forget?

    ~

    But, for Withro and co: IL elections, Bibi is stuck on 58, and the unmentionables polled 12-13%. And remember kids: you only need 10% for societal change, so IL still has a chance at sanity for 2020-30 catastrofuckey world. So, hanging in there, Messiah approaching or not[2].


    [1] Didn't last. -1k again. REPO MARKETS. Told you it was a stress test. Blueuergy¬!

    [2] Do the work: predestination of him as last incarnate before arrival has unfortunate over-tones when it actually means IL spends the next 2k+ years in constant elections. Yes, this is a Talmud / Jewish joke, quite funny though.

    510:

    Oh, and Bill.

    https://twitter.com/Andrew_Adonis/status/1235130299136253952

    For this response:

    don’t think you understand that the rules no longer apply. This is going to get dirty, bloody, and evil very fast. Trump cannot give up power because he, and his whole family, go to jail. Forever.

    https://twitter.com/zakhalwe/status/1235131299930701824


    No, none of the cluster fucking muppets do realize this. Which is why Warren quitting is putting them into care-bear safe space land rather than the required "Mother Protecting Cubs" land it needs to.


    Y'all should check out Turkey and RU and Hafar and so on. You know, if you want to run spread reality bets against us.

    Three Sisters

    Cute.

    ~

    More than 80% of Indian Ocean dolphins killed

    https://tbsnews.net/environment/more-80-indian-ocean-dolphins-killed-50941


    do the grep: we mentioned sharks, same deal.


    ~


    Oh, and greg: if you want to annoy Dirk, ask him who/what/why burnt down his Xian refuge.

    511:

    No, actually try to find that post, we remember it distinctly.

    Hacking Three Minds.

    The Singing Ones come in Pairs.

    They always work in threes[0].

    "Bet you a quid" the female[1] one said.

    We did [redacted]. They did [redacted].

    And pretty sure we posted about hacking their brains with a rainbow. Preeety sure we did[2].

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQpfa9RZbTk


    Don't worry if it isn't in the records.


    Stuff like that tends to... vanish.


    [0] And, if you want to get kinky, look up Iceland and three men in a bar, UK salesmen speaking a dead language not heard for 3k+ years just to tie it all into something your brain cannot process.

    [1] Not actually female or human, thus the term. Not a TERF, this is shit running nasty wetware on slaved corpses, not fucking joking "MATE".

    [2] We know we did. Which is why the £6 joke makes sense when we made it. Styx "MATE", Banishment.

    512:

    [No, Really]

    This is a bit esoteric, but it's a Spa/Temp Memory ~Fix with repercussions 'cause these fuckers are not playing around no more, they got that "10+ million dead is a feast" vibe going on right now.

    Six Gold Coins in the Right Hand and a black sky with a Rainbow in it. While you tortured a [redacted] and claimed zer soul [rescinded / not theirs / shared suffering].

    Styx "MATE".

    ~


    Fucking Warren and Bloomberg though. How fucking virally infected are you not to notice that shit?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7dizLdsZJw


    513:

    Yes, and now you know why we [SEAGULL] warned a nice collective of old men about it before it happened. Mother Hen and all that, tweak your cheeks and remind you that you're all loved, no matter how you are by modern kids.

    Wooden spoons and tweaked ears, it's all been ironic.

    Anyhow.

    HEXAD.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZBRrYEGET8

    Remember kids.

    "Kill Zer"


    Ask me sometime about how men promising eight years of female slavery caused all of this.

    Ask us again what failing to kill us / inner voice / DMT light zone is gonna do to all your fucking contracts.

    And they've got 10 more months for shit to get really wild before, well. Let's just say:

    We know you cheated.
    We know how you did it.
    We can spot you in the wild.
    We can see you in REAL TIME[tm].


    Your lists don't mean shit from now on.

    ~


    "Jackpot"

    514:

    My grandfather was from northeastern KY - there are still a fair number of distant cousins there, though many moved out. My grandfather (and his father and two of his sisters) left between 1900 and 1905, moving west to Kansas and then Oklahoma.

    Eastern Kentucky has been, for most people there, a sucky place to live for 200 years or so. And before that only so so. Mineral rights to nearly every square inch of land that were sold off in the 1800s, opioids, bad shine, and total grinding poverty. To start with.

    But in sort of a Stockholm Syndrome the people from there who don't leave are fiercely proud of the area. For few reasons outsiders can see.

    I'm happy for you that your ancestors got out.

    515:

    Immortalized in song

    https://youtu.be/neSUe7dO4v0

    I also grew up in Kentucky funnily enough

    516:

    Since you asked, perhaps this:
    Turns out we can hack the fucking [redacted] as well, which is... interesting. Semantically close, to my mind at least.
    Which I will reread(+etc) in context with today's comments. (Good to hear from you.)


    517:

    Yep. That captures the mood.

    518:

    Madeleine
    07.41, huh?
    So you are almost-certainly starting "outside the zones", given that you say 09.00 later ... though that could easily include a tube "hop"
    Unlike the two termini in London, where it is reckoned (from surveys) that over 85% of incoming passengers walk to theor final destination. [ LST & CST respectively ] ...

    I came across Shipphams Crab paste again, recently (Waitrose) ... but Waitrose are no more expensive than Sainsbugs on many items ... but they have lost the fffing plot.
    Can't get Anchovy Essence any more & their nice vermouth (Dolin) is extremely erratic in supply ... but you can get them all from "Ocado" - or so it says in the online advertising ... grrr ....
    And yes, the do "PP" - I've got a pot in the fridge. Agree entirely about the flight towards blandification of flavours.

    EC
    Yes. The "estates" had a single owner who could be complained to, or pressured ... and, usually ( As always, there were bad exceptions ) peole there eat better (Home-grown estate food) & lived longer - especially notablle in the mic C19th
    See also Pigeon @ 488
    Coprorations never (or almost never) take the long view

    Pigeon
    So, you obviously don't live in Lodon / It's ALWAYS had both the bright lights & the squalor - it's a big city. My other favoutites in the UK, Cardiff / Mnchester / Edinburgh are exactly the same in that respect.
    Why/how were you "programmed" ("three years of my youth") to despise the "FLower of Cities All" then?

    whitroth @ 491
    Not ffffing likely
    "Planet Computers
    LINK" - a revived form of the Psion - same people , I think.
    I got mine for £200 off, by pre-ordering ... AND CHarlie's link to the same thing appears to be borked, oops.

    Disasters
    IF the Dems are stupid enough to pick Biden, because Sanders is a "socialist" ( He isn't he's an SD ) then DT will walk all over him - it'll be a replay of "crooked Hilary" all over again, with Ukraine in the frame.
    I agree with the Culture-named Twitter-poster, Zakalwe - he(?) is correct

    Oh yes Maybe a problem with semi-fundamental constants and "Dark Matter" too ....

    519:

    Singapore Airlines flies Singapore to Wellington via Melbourne.
    So it is not non-stop - but there is no worry about connecting flights or etc as it is the one plane all the way.

    But if you are coming a week early, you can fly direct to Auckland or Christchurch.

    520:

    If your elected representatives don't consider them worth renewing, then yes.

    In practice, I would hope that elected representatives would recognise that voting against the renewal of laws criminalising such heinous crimes is a one-way ticket to being unelectable, and thus they would be renewed for 20 years at a time with time to spare before they sunsetted.

    The idea is to keep government focused on the things that matter, and take away time they might use for foolish ideas because it's needed for renewing important laws. As a side benefit, panic legislation that is no longer applicable gets dropped after at most 20 years (and for stuff that's marginal, maybe even within 5 years).

    Like I said, it's not entirely practical, but it's an interesting thought experiment.