Archive for the ‘COVID-19’ Category

Trump and COVID

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

I’m trying to figure out how I feel about thew news that Trump has COVID.

While I’ll be the first to admit that him dying of the disease that he helped spread would be a very poetic end, I also suspect I’d find it deeply unsatisfying. This is partially because I have two entirely contradictory thoughts about it – one of which I wish I didn’t have, because it speaks to me having a flaw that seems to be common to humans, and the other which I think most people would agree is reasonable.

The first thought is a desire to see him punished for the massive harm he’s done to our world and the people in it. While it’s true Trump hasn’t hurt as many people as Dubya, he has hurt millions and millions of people and made the world a less safe and less desirable to live in place. I generally don’t think we should punish people, although we should set them up for situations that invite rehabilitation, but there is a part of me that wants Trump to get repeatedly beaten by the very cops he told to be more violent when arresting people, and wants him to hear the slam of the jail cell and feel the steel bracelets and know that ultimately he did not get away with it. I don’t really like what this thought says about me – I know that anger is a reasonable response to being hurt and Trump has hurt us all, but I also don’t think it does any good for anyone to hurt back simply because we’ve been hurt.

The second thought is a desire for redemption for Trump. I want some sort of Hollywood-style character arc where he learns and grows, and if he dies now that becomes impossible – whereas if he lives through COVID but faces some of the fears that I would imagine are associated with having it and realizes some of what he’s done to the world maybe he can be a tiny smidge less self centered and less horrible in the future. I think this is something we should all want for each other.

Anyway, for the second reason I am going to wish him a full recovery but hopefully enough of a symptomatic experience to learn some things.

The delusional thinking is strong with these folks

Saturday, August 1st, 2020

So, I was looking at a list of everyone’s plans for COVID and schooling (this one) and I was impressed at how many people plan on reopening schools. We know from several recent event with school summer camps that despite the idiocy of the idiot-in-chief, children do in fact catch and spread COVID. As such, there is really no hope for a in-person reopening this year. Nonetheless, large numbers of people have deluded themselves into thinking this is what they should do. We also know, by the way, that in rare cases (maybe 1:10,000) COVID kills perfectly healthy children. So, this decision is likely to kill hundreds of kids.

Part of what’s frustrating to me is we see Trump being wrong, over and over. He keeps making statements that are obviously wrong. We’ve seen the GOP be wrong over and over about things that got people killed, and they just keep standing up and making more wrong statements and people eep identifying with them and loving them because after all, if they voted for democrats a bum somewhere might get a free beer and that’s the most horrifying thing that could ever happen. Never mind the hundreds of billions of dollars we spend murdering people around the world to prop up the petrodollar, never mind the ill will we’ve generated around the world that will be coming back on us for centuries by murdering people’s friends and family and/or getting people’s friends and family killed in our stupid proxy wars, never mind the obvious lies about things like weapons of mass destruction in order to make more money, it’s all about let’s make government small.. except the department of perpetual war (“Department of defense” my ass) which needs to be as big, bloated, and overpowered as possible.

And what’s frustrating is, obviously these people didn’t learn as their children were killed in the endless and stupid wars, so they’re not going to learn when their children die of COVID. They’re still telling themselves that COVID is “almost over” despite much historical data telling us that it’s only just getting warmed up, and they’re planning to reopen schools despite the USA having the world #1 record on both deaths and cases. I guess the USA also has the world #1 record for corruption and stupidity in government.

While we’re talking about annoying – these same people are going to slowly acknowledge that OK, COVID wasn’t a democratic hoax but they’re going to continue to assure us that global warming is. Their base is either stupid enough or brainwashed enough to continue buying into this point of view – one of the things I’m slowly wrapping my head around is we’re either really good at manipulating people’s points of view or a lot of people are just not very bright to begin with and completely unable to master skills like critical thinking and.. this one might be kind of important.. recognizing that they’re being sold large amounts of bullshit by a propaganda machine.

Anyway, if we do continue with the school reopening, I predict the failure.. and the deaths.. will be epic.

The insanity of democracy

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

So, being wrong should count against you, politically. Not, this is my opinion wrong, but, factually wrong. And the GOP has been *epicly* wrong about COVID – the amount wrong they are is going to come with a huge body count. We can reasonably guess they are similarly epicly wrong about global warming. They were epicly wrong about the weapons of mass destruction thing and a whole bunch of people ought to be sitting in jail who are instead being re-elected and cheered on for their awfulness. But I digress.

The astonishing thing is I *know* that my conservative friends are going to continue to defend their party even though it’s been demonstrated that *the GOP is out of touch with reality*. Time and time again.. the Laffer curve, anyone? History tells us that it didn’t work, yet of course we’re doing it again. Masks? Of course COVID is just like the flu and we don’t need masks.. on this one, of course, they are slowly bending because otherwise they won’t have a constituency. Which, I guess, is just evolution in action.

The problem with democracy is the majority of the voters aren’t paying attention or have no real memory to speak of for events. So even though the GOP should be at this point a tiny fraction of a percent of congress, if people were voting them out every time they were factually wrong in a way that got people hurt or killed, they play to people’s emotions and people continue to re-elect them even though they are hurting us all.

Individual freedom vs. Group safety

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

So, I’ve seen a lot of epicly dumb posts surrounding COVID. There’s obviously some people who don’t understand the ideal gas law or gas diffusion, there’s obviously some people who are paranoid schizophrenic to levels that make me look totally sane (I especially love the people who are convinced God will protect them. Evolution in action, I tell you)

One of the interesting questions is to what extent the group has the right to restrict freedoms of the individual for the best interests of the group. This is a slippery slope, and it’s very difficult to figure out how down it you should go. Common sense says that given how much wearing a simple mask reduces transmission, that requiring wearing masks is a reasonable thing. After all, we put up with being required to wear clothing (although I do think that there should not be laws requiring wearing clothing – I actually think this is more restrictive and less reasonable than requiring people to wear masks *where there is a demonstratable large safety advantage to the group*)

Anyway, I’m sure it’s a subject that people will be debating for centuries, and I don’t know what the right utopic answer is – I suspect the answer is different people will want different things. I also suspect it’s one of those things where the winning answer might be to have people inside a virtualized world where they have unlimited freedom even though their “real” body is subject to restrictions for the good of everyone.

COVID, government response to economic situation, etc

Monday, April 20th, 2020

So, I notice the government is still thinking of economic stimulus in terms of let’s keep those dollars circulating. This makes sense because if all the dollars end up in the hands of the billionares, the dollars are suddenly worth nothing at all and the rest of us will create a new currency. However, in terms of keeping us all alive and healthy during this pandemic, passing out money is not the right thing to do.

We have no idea if the USD is even going to be worth the paper it is printed on when this oil war is over, and certainly if the government keeps printing money idiot economists are going to tell us it should be worthless. (There is some level at which this is true, but we’re obviously nowhere near that level if we’re having to loan money into existence)

Anyway, the right solution is to hand out ration booklets, a la WWII. Except, no money changes hands. You’ve got coupons for N calories of food – you can choose whatever food you want, we probably would exclude luxuries like lobster which would still be paid for in USD, but for the most part anything we can cheaply and easily mass produce goes on the list of things you can buy with your coupons. You’ve got coupons for N kwh of electricity, N cubic feet of water, N gallons of gasoline. We have some sort of arrangement via which you can barter the ones you don’t need for the ones you do, and we also give out more resources to the essential workers than to the folks just staying home.

We combine this with rent and mortgage forgiveness for your primary residence, and 0% interest on all outstanding secured debt until the emergency is over.

You see what I’m doing? I’m putting us on the bucketed currency system. *This will work* much in the way that printing checks for $2000 a person per month will simply result in the price of rent becoming $2001 for each person. Essentially this recognizes that capitalism is flawed, and very poorly suited to deal with this type of situation, but we shouldn’t starve to death in the midst of plenty, so let’s temporarily use production for use instead.

Of course, the powers that be won’t do this. They’re not smart enough, or they wouldn’t want to be in charge of things. They also lack mental agility, and even if they didn’t most of our citizens lack the mental agility to consider this situation a war, and know that we need to use different approaches during wartime than we do during peacetime.

Companies, stop being so shortsighted

Friday, April 3rd, 2020

So, one of the problems I keep running into with $COMPANY is that they are making decisions which make short term profit at the cost of long term profit. They keep encouraging their employees to sell .. with increased commissions.. while not having equipped all the employees to sell online or having prohibited in person events. This is a really dumb thing to do, but it reminds me of my conversation with a carny who was setting up a ride at the Prince William County Fair.

He was being really intent, carefully checking every bolt, every cotter pin, and he told me “Kid, you never want to kill a mark. You want them to come back next year so you can fleece them. Kill one mark, and a thousand marks won’t come next year because they will be too afraid. I check my ride until I’d be willing to let my own kids ride on it.”

The logic which doesn’t escape carnies but does seem to escape $COMPANY is that encouraging selling right now if it risks in person interfacing is potentially killing both customers and employees and therefore costing long term profits. I understand that we are not mentally adaptable enough to switch to a alternate RAS just for this emergency and then switch back – that we’d literally rather die than do anything that smacks of collectivism. All I can do is sit back and watch the carnage. Lately I’m thinking the USA will be 5x the deaths of the nearest competitor.

One more COVID post, aimed particularly at MLM folks

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

MLM folks, *do not* have in person parties.

“But no one is sick!”

The problem is, COVID can

A: Be totally asymptomatic.. you feel just fine, but you are shedding – releasing hundreds of billions of copies of the virus

B: Be shedding before it’s symptomatic.

And

C: The test probably false-negatives fairly often, based on the number of people I know who got the test negative but are obviously sick with it. One thing I suspect also is that whether a person believes they have it or not may affect what answer they *hear* regardless of what the actual answer *is*. The human brain is a very tricky animal especialyl when death is involved.

“But I need to pay the rent”

Look, if the landlords evict us, we will *end* them. All we have to do is a special type of general strike where we give them all the money. Once all the tokens are in one group’s possession, they are totally worthless and then we will create a new type of money. Remember, we make the value, they don’t. Go back and read resource allocation as a group, especially the last part.

More COVID thoughts

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

So, let me just address a few of the most obvious points here, in order.

#1: Yes, I have COVID. No, I don’t meet the diagnostic criteria, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have it, it means the diagnostic criteria are wrong. In a few minutes I’ll explain a bit more about that, but first let’s address the next point..

#2: NO I AM NOT GOING TO GET TESTED. THIS IS A STUPID THING TO DO. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE IT – shelter in place. IF YOU THINK YOU DON’T HAVE IT – shelter in place. Me getting tested would just potentially expose health care workers to it and get me a whopping big bill from our – let’s face it, evil – health care system. It wouldn’t change anything. I wouldn’t live my life any differently if I had it or if I didn’t.

So, I’ve never had a fever for longer than a week in my life. I’ve had low grade fevers every night for the past 2.5 weeks. The odds of me having something that is *not* COVID while the world is having a pandemic are vanishingly small.

#3: No, doctors are not that great at what they do. Actually, they’re pretty terrible. This is a inevitable consequence of having health care be for profit – the system ends up optimizing for profit instead of for good hea#4: Having a criterion for a fever is a *Stupid* thing. Look, if you’re over 30, you *know* your body by now. You know what it’s regular core temp is. You know when it’s elevated. The *reason* it’s elevated is that information theory tells us comparing a lot of strings of information on billions of cells is a energy-expensive operation. Please don’t let the doctors confuse you. Most of the other symptoms are because systems are being damaged because cells that should be doing something useful are being hijacked to instead be replicators of the virus.

If you’re sick right now, odds are you have COVID. On the other paw, if you’re the type of person who has an easier time staying inside because you believe you’re not sick with it and you might catch it, by all means, believe you’re not sick. but in reality.. I watched many many many of my friends all get sick at the same time. Don’t kid tourself.

#4: We’re gonna get through this by working together, trusting each other, and sharing. If we keep holding onto our old ideas – about all sorts of things – we’re going to have a much rougher time of it than if we start accepting some new ideas. The world is going to change. It pretty much has to. I hope that COVID makes us all realize that we have *always* been throwing 3% of our population under the bus for no good reason – the bottom 3%. I also hope that we learn how to unbrainwash the conservatives.. at this point surely no one can really claim that we don’t have enough for everyone to eat and live indoors, or that it’s a good idea to use a resource allocation system that results in people starving to death while we have plenty of food and freezing to death while we have plenty of houses.

#5: We need to invite the chinese team that beat htis to temporarily control the USA. This is no time for stupid patriotism, stupid me-first-ism, or stupid “i’m a stable genuis”. They have a proven track record, they are only having a few cases a day. they beat it. We need their help. Yes, we’re going to temporarily lose all privacy as to our location, and that’s a *good thing*. The government needs to admit that after this we are having a constitutional convention, and that we are actively destroying all for-profit organizations related to health.

#6: Going forward, if we are going to keep increasing the population of earth, we *need* to have a trustworthy government. Our form has obviously failed. We need something new. That we could *get* to the point of electing Trump makes it obvious that what we were doing simply does not work.

#7: As far as I know I’m going to live through this. It doesn’t seem to be getting any worse and actually the fever has been going down.

You Idiots, You’re Not Hoarding Wealth, You’re Hoarding Pointers!

Saturday, March 21st, 2020

So, as I’ve talked about before, money is a pointer in the C sense of the word. It isn’t the actual value, it’s a token that represents the value. If you missed that part, go back to the top of http://moneynotvalue.sheer.us and come back and join us when you’re done.

Okay, so, here’s how our current resource allocation system can actually make real value disappear.

At some point, some jackass who didn’t understand that money is a pointer invented the idea of “interest”. Call it what you like, vig, whatever. Once you have interest in the system, several things happen:

1) The “wealthy” i.e. those who already have too many of the fucking pointers.. get more pointers. Which they can then use to capture even more pointers. However, if the pointer dissapears, the value is not gone. If you destroy the value, the pointer points to nothing. Go ahead, grab a C compiler and try it. I’ll wait.

2) The “poor” i.e. those who don’t have all the tangible resources they need but don’t have the tokens.. get less real stuff, and more of it sits on the shelf. Some types of stuff LOSE VALUE – REAL VALUE – as they sit on the shelf. I gesture you to milk as a prime example. So we end up wasting resources – real resources – because of these stupid clowns who don’t understand the difference between the map and the territory.

2.5) A reminder.. when the creators can’t get enough tokens they can’t create wealth. So by hoarding pointers, the “wealthy” are making us all – *INCLUDING YOURSELVES* – less wealthy. Real wealth isn’t a million dollars, it’s a bunch of friends and a holodeck. And, as I’ve talked about before, if we work together we can write neurological software that will give us all a holodeck! without draining the planet’s resources at all and while our bodies continue to keep the lights on.

3) The “wealthy” become increasingly afraid someone will steal their hoarde. Because we were designed by evolution in a world where resources were scarce and we were competing with tigers and other things that outclassed us until we became tool users, we have built in fear about losing resources because in most of the race’s lifespan, losing resources meant starving to death. That’s hardwired in.

4) The “poor” become increasingly afraid to take risks, which results in less of the ACTUAL VALUE. For example, musicians who end up flipping burgers instead of recording all that great stuff because they’re afraid they won’t be able to eat and live indoors, and thusly afraid they will die.

So, all the brokenness will go away if we make a few basic changes to money, which I’ll talk about in a future article. For now, you assholes who are hoarding too many tokens.. you know who you are.. those tokens are not value, and the only type of power they give you is the power to cause something like the current COVID-19 crisis to blow up enourmously. We can safely bet the USA will be on the *top* of the cases and deaths list, because people are afraid to leave their jobs, because you assholes couldn’t get your shit together to have a plan, and talk it over *before* the next pandemic, where we would temporarily switch to a simple go/no go system for resource allocation instead of dollars in the bank. See “This Perfect Day” for a example of how this can work. (Yes, I know it’s a dystopia, but that part is pretty utopic)

I will also mention, as a side note, that resource allocation systems are like operating systems or any other type of tool, YOU USE THE RIGHT ONE FOR THE JOB! We *need* full on collectivism right now. However, we can’t get there from here, because:

A) No one realizes what time it is. To me, it is obvious that whenever we punch the brakes on the disease, it’s going to be two weeks before we see the output side of that. Procject a moving average filter of the number of cases per day into the future two weeks and tell me that our “built for profit” health care system is even going to be able to pretend to cope. And yet, people are still billing and suing each other. Guys, I am declaring a emergency. Pilots out there will know that at this point we have three priorities – Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. All three are directly related to keeping us alive to fly another day. No one wants to bend a airplane but if you kill yourself trying to save the airframe you are a moron who does not understand we mass produce these things in factories all day long and they are replacible, we are not.

Similarly, companies are replaceable, individuals are not. The company I work for (a multilevel marketing firm i.e. a system where you sell to your friends, usually at in-person “parties”) who will remain nameless has not yet announced they are turning off minimums (the value under which you get no commission for your team and may also be kicked off the island) and they encourage people to prioritize survival above selling. Not only that, they want to raise commissions, incentivizing people to continue to sell. The big risk here is a lot of these people have believed the lies of the president and other conservatives and therefore will have in-person MLM parties, encouraging the spread of the virus and costing us lives. I ask you, if even one employee has to die, is it not better that the company die instead? We can always build another of those. We can’t replace ANY of the people. (To their credit, they do have a option to do the parties virtually. But even though I’ve put them in a position to release it to everyone, to the best of my knowledge they have not done so)

Look at the exponential growth curve on this thing and grow up. It’s time we prioritize survival, we will figure out the bills when we’re done. And if any hospital is still running their billing department, hopefully their charter will be lifted and they will be handed to the government when we’re done. They have failed to understand that as a species, we are all connected, and the thing they are collecting isn’t the value, it’s a bunch of stupid, potentially worthless pointers – but most people are not exposed enough to all the ideas I have been exposed to to be able to see money that way.

B) The milgram effect keeps a lot of the people who *do* see the situation for what it is from doing the right thing. I talk about elsewhere in this journal how we are a loosely confederated collection of subnets and most of those subnets have no great way to authenticate information sources or the validity of information. Therefore, when people project authority and claim authority we tend to follow their directions even when we know they are wrong.

C) Beyond this, a deeply wired fear about starving to death and freezing to death kicks in whenever our ‘Jobs’ are threatened, because the wealthy (who would be far more wealthy if they hadn’t done this) hoarded a bunch of pointers that in fact are just pointers and have no real value. Hint for you rich folks: you *need* the rest of us. Go read my essay on resource allocation as a group, and let me know how you’re going to be more wealthy after the crash you’re causing right now by not just announcing “here, take it all, spread it as needed, avert those people’s fears so they can stay home instead of spreading this fire further and faster.

This is a fast moving wildfire, folks. We gotta smarten up if we’re going to come out of it ahead.