Sunday, May 31, 2020

On The Games Of Summer

Are the police in this country over-militarized, and under-accountable for jackassery?
Hell yes.

If that (or anything else, frankly) pisses you off, do you have the absolute inalienable right, under the US Constitution, to peaceably assemble, exercise your free speech, and petition the government for redress of grievances?
Hell yes.

But the minute any part of your herd of halfwits breaks the law, and starts rioting, looting, and committing arson, you're simply terrorist thugs, and TPTB should begin gunning you down with extreme prejudice, using lead bullets, not rubber ones, and anyone taken alive should receive a PR-24 shampoo all the way from the scene to the lock-up, and any bail set (should anyone think you even merit same) should be set at the levels normally reserved for terrorists with a side-gig in molesting children.

And anything you had to say on the original topic goes up in the smoke of those storefronts.

And you think you're going to bring that to the suburbs next?

Do the math on that, 158 grains at a time.

You have now been negotiated with.
Play ball!

And may the odds be ever in your favor.


h/t Daily Timewaster

Sunday Music: Shoot To Thrill

Arnold Schwarzenegger soundtracks and Iron Man 2 brought me here. Completely kickass track, as multiple movie, TV, commercial, etc., uses prove, off a 25X Platinum album, after the death of longtime leadman Bon Scott. And if it's not at brain-melting volume, you're too old.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Truer Words...: Operation Enduring Clusterf**k

A commenter linked to a really spiffy vinyl morale patch version of this at L.A. Police Gear that is sadly already out of stock, otherwise we'd order 100 of them, and pass them out at work.

Fortunately, there are other versions, like the one in the pic at the header, and this sums up the situation splendidly, and probably will for the rest of the year.

Never underestimate the ability of the American people to mock and skewer official stupidity and deal with it appropriately. Get a patch or a t-shirt, and wear it with pride. We've all earned this one.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Five Blind Mice

As a couple of posters have already referenced it, we'll fisk this metric f**kton of bullsh..., er, rose fertilizer, originally posted in the NEJM a couple of months back, and unaccountably burped back up (or more likely, shat out) again this week.

1) That's not a "study". As it's conspicuously labeled "Perspectives", it's sheer OPINION.
And we all know what opinions are like (and in this instance, for exactly the same reasons).
In this case, by an over-educated and under-bright pack of bumbling baboons.

2) The authors are clearly axe-grinding jackholes, their entire thesis is unsupported patent horseshit, and the purpose of wearing cloth/surgical masks (which is what 99.999% of people have on) is always to protect others from you, not to protect you from others, and anyone who doesn't know that is not only a jackhole, they're too stupid to be writing papers anywhere.

At their intended purpose, such masks excel, as they have for 150 years or so since they were pioneered for maintaining asepsis in surgery.

3) For bonus points, the Five Blind Mice who authored that codswallop have about 45 years of post-secondary education between them, and yet none of them noticed they contradicted themselves a couple of paragraphs after that corker:

"...fundamental infection-control measures.

Such measures include vigorous screening of all patients coming to a facility for symptoms of Covid-19 and immediately getting them masked and into a room;

IOW, fundamental infection control is masking people to curb the spread of cough and sneeze droplets, the exact method of transmitting Kung Flu against which face masks excel.

Some people tell me I can't fix stupid; I say I can, if you'll let me use a big enough hammer.
Those five degreed jackasses should be horsewhipped until the whites of their bones show, and then be dipped to the neck into a vat of rubbing alcohol. Daily. For a month.

4) Don't get fooled by something just because it's posted by NEJM.
We can't help such poly-degreed dimwit fucktards pulling their scrub pants down and spanking their own asses in public. But we can point and laugh when we catch them at it.
Like in this case.

If the NEJM had a comments section, these five @$$clowns would be getting the nationwide shellacking they richly deserve. But apparently, they were all sick the day they covered wearing a surgical mask in surgery, to prevent spreading infectious diseases.

[Hint for the terminally obtuse, who want to post links to even more half-assed "studies": you wear those masks to prevent the spread of virus-laden droplets FROM you, not TO you, which is why everybody out and about is supposed to wear them. One unmasked @$$hole being an individual screws the pooch for anyone within 10m of his sneeze. Any claims that they'll protect you is based on incidental blockage of inhaled particulates, and the gaping holes around the face seal render that a game of something like 50% to 80% efficiency at best, down to 0%, depending on how sloppy you are at wearing it, and how much viral load you're exposed to. If you're among unmasked people coughing and sneezing, you want an N95 or better, not something you got on the 'net for two bucks, or sewed yourself at home. And the viral particles are contained in droplets, which makes them one helluva lot bigger than dry individual virii, so stop with the recockulous claims that "masks won't work against a virus". It's worked empirically for a century and a half already. 10,000 surgical suites aren't wrong. And you're at least a month behind on the conversation. If you cannot grasp these concepts, you're not tall enough for this discussion, this blog, or, probably, the internet itself. Check yourself before you wreck yourself, and stop posting utter bullshit like you found a diamond mine.]

And since I doubt even my brighter readers (at least hose outside the medical field) make a regular practice of perusing the NEJM, I suspect some other MSM sh*thead who flunked eighth grade science posted an excerpt or linked to this story, and fell all over himself getting it to press without any intervening thought occurring, let alone any one of five simple but obvious questions, before inflicting it on humanity to a broader audience, chiefly to stir confusion.

Mission accomplished, @$$wipe.

Now tell us the one about if a woman weighs the same as a duck, she's a witch; and how we know the earth is banana-shaped.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Why Science Is An Annoying Bitch

From Comments:
Would it be fair to suggest that, as lay persons, we do not know shit about the CV-19? Would it be further advisable, considering the lack of consensus among the researchers, to err on the side of caution? Is there definitive, rock solid information upon which we can make informed decisions other than the suggested cautious approach?

I need someone to tell me what I need to know. I need the certainty. I need succor.... "

Everyone is a layperson at something, in fact, at most things.

The bigger problem is that most people stopped doing science somewhere around high school.
So they forget (if they ever learned) that there's no such thing as "settled science". Nor "scientific consensus".

As Michael Crichton famously said in a lecture I refer to and quote from frequently:
"In science, consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There's no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus."
It's fair to say that the experts don't know shit about COVID-19. If anyone looked at the JAMA Online website on a recent post where I linked to it, one of the papers published was a list of all the things that were known and unknown about Kung Flu, specifically with the purpose of jerking people's chains in the research biz about things that they should be trying to nail down, to the extent possible.

At this point, most of the map of Kung Flu is marked "Here be dragons." Most of what we know is extrapolated or interpolated from other versions of coronavirus, and prior pandemics. Science is a tool for exploring the unknown. It provides clues, and a framework for learning. What it isn't designed to do is provide philosophic certainty and ontological comfort.

Actual honest science is but a framework, just as certainly as a latticework of 2x4s begins a house.

Science is not, nor was ever intended to be, a paneled living room with nice paint and wallpaper, cozy décor, and a comfortable chair next to the fireplace.

This is why people who do science are generally lousy at building houses, and people who actually build houses are lousy at doing science.

And the people who cannot cope with things they don't like, because they don't like them, are usually lousy at both things. Rich people have choices in that, and can order life to conform to their wishes in many instances. Those less financially fortunate have no such options, and end up living in cardboard boxes, because life refuses to bend over and kiss their ass. Those of us between the two extremes pick our battles, and try to ignore the things we cannot change and cannot stand to deal with, if we don't have to do so.

What's kicking most peoples' asses now is that they cannot ignore Kung Flu, and don't want to deal with it, nor will it conform to how they wish the world was. Hence the massive amount of hitherto sensible people who are serially and collectively losing their shit.

They just can't cope, and they're not resilient enough to deal with uncertainty and chaos that seemingly never ends.

The rest of this year, and this crisis, will not go well for them, and their responses thus far bode poorly for their eventual status.

Darwin snickers in the wings.


Another Headshot To "Just The Flu, Bro" Narrative

USA! USA! We're #1! We're #1!
How did we get there?

Now you know why.

2020: the Year Of The L-Shaped Recovery

It is said that the measure of a man's intelligence is related to how much he agrees with you.

By that standard, John Wilder is brilliant in his latest post.

In it, he looks at the recent prognostication by Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, that the economy is going to come surging right back.

Unfortunately, Scott is wronger than two boys fornicating.

And as noted above in comments at the OP, Adams is, indeed, smoking industrial quantities of hopeium.
I share his wish that things would be otherwise, but people can't buy groceries with wishful thinking.

As we told you back at the beginning of the month, the oil business isn't going to bounce back. Probably not for near a decade.
The auto manufacturing business - and 400 ancillary industries - aren't going to bounce back.
Airline travel drop-off is going to kill some major carriers.
Tourism, hotels, and everything related won't be back for a year.
Hollywood is looking at the south end of a northbound worst-movie-summer-in-recorded-history since Thomas Edison invented the motion picture. TV production is on the longest hiatus since the last writer's strike. People in the biz are losing their houses.
Concerts? Gone.
Trade shows? Gone.
Sportsball? On life support.
Farmers? Lucky to stay off of food stamps this year.
Restaurants? This year will probably be the most closures and bankruptcies since 1929.
Retail? Aloha. Malls are going to be the new ghost towns.

And all those employees? The ones not working anytime soon?
They'll be the exact ones NOT buying all of the above goods and services.

This isn't going to be a V-shaped recovery.
It isn't going to be a U-shaped recovery.

Welcome to 2020: The Year Of the L-shaped Recovery™.
(Anybody can use that one, but *I* said it first.)

And before this year is out, we'll be happy if we could just get back to the Obozo economy.
Getting back to the Trump economy from 2019 will likely be something that takes years and years.
If ever.

Ask Weimar, Zimbabwe, or Venezuela: you can't inflate your way to prosperity.
It fails every time it's tried.

Buckle in, kids. if you've got a paying job to go back to, count your blessings.
And if not, start scrambling.
Like Tom-Brady-looking-at-a-wall-of-blitzing-linebackers scrambling.

Because if you don't you're going to be sacked, and become roadkill.
Just part of the collateral damage from Kung Flu.
And if you aren't careful, you'll find out that massive unemployment brings Famine, which brings Plague, which brings Death. And the unrest from that brings War. Which doubles down on the first three.

No points for noting that all four of those riders come visiting on Four Horses.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Why It's Easy To Make This Look Easy

There are some smart people blogging out there.
There are some others who are smart within their own subject matter expertise.
And then, there are a whole lot of dumb people who don't have even that narrow skill set.

Literally anybody can play pretend smart on the internet. You don't even have to take a physical.

The ass-kicker problem there is when you say something that sounds smart, until someone with 1 more IQ point starts looking a micrometer under the surface.

Say, for instance, you decided to report on the hot-button issue, COVID-19, AKA Kung Flu.

You might link to a partisan agenda-driven article, written by a guy whose entire science expertise peaked in eighth grade earth studies, and whose math skills are severely taxed just to balance his own checkbook.

And then distill that questionable fount of received wisdom down to something like this:

"Antibody testing in New York has also arrived at 13.9% infection rate."
Someone who didn't know you were half-bright, and quoting another half-bright, (we'll let our brighter readers work the math on that for the product of that problem) and had not done even the most rudimentary link-following on the problem, wouldn't see the gaping flaws in that conclusion, or the 57 problems with doing things so slap-dash.

They wouldn't for example, have followed their first link to find the breadcrumbs from which that narrative was woven. Like this one:

(CBS-NY 4/23)New York has its first real data of how many people may have been infected by and survived the coronavirus.Gov. Andrew Cuomo released the results of a preliminary antibody study.{Emphasis mine. -A.}
The clever words  "may have" are what we call "weasel words", not because they're false or even trying to deceive, but because they are useful, and frequently necessary, words used to leave room for the possibility of change, when all the data are collected, collated, and analyzed properly, before it's finalized. Life is shades of gray, not black and white. Cement-heads (so called because they can only do concrete reasoning, and not hypothetical reality-testing) unaccustomed to analysis don't get this obvious reality.

They would also miss that this was a preliminary study, for exactly those reasons.

But the most glaring omission was failure to investigate and find out that this recent conclusion was based on news which came out back on April 23rd, not yesterday, and the entire "survey" upon which that dubious conclusion was based was full of more shit than a Christmas goose, which was well-known within minutes of it being revealed publicly.

Like the obvious sampling bias in only surveying the people out and about in NYFC at the height of the outbreak when the virus was killing 2000 people/day in the US.

Like using an unproven test, with no validation ever even attempted, merely because it was available, though potentially hugely inaccurate.

Like failing to note that quoted 13.9% blended rate ignore gaping omissions of relevant facts, to wit:

As far as the breakdown by region:
  • Long Island, 16.7%
  • New York City, 21.2%
  • Westchester/Rockland, 11.7%
  • The rest of [NFY] state 3.6%
 Like failing to note obvious realities, such as the fact that antibodies may not indicate infection by Kung Flu, but merely mild exposure to someone with the disease, and thus no post-infection immunity.

Like ignoring that the entire test may indicate coronavirus antibodies, without indicating specific COVID-19 coronavirus antibodies.

And overlooking the accuracy of the test itself is totally questionable:

(CBS-NY 4/20) Med-Rite and practices like New York Internal Medicine in Whitestone are utilizing tests produced by Brooklyn-based Lenco Labs.  

Lenco is one of around 100 companies offering antibody testing after the FDA announced there would be regulatory flexibility without its usual standard formal review because antibody tests have the potential to answer complex questions regarding when we can return to work.

The FDA has granted emergency-use authorization of the tests to a select few, including Mount Sinai laboratory. Emergency use authorization means the organization can use an unapproved medical product in an emergency to diagnose, treat or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases when there is no available approved alternative. 
“Even a very small false positive rate could lead to hundreds of thousands of people being told that they’re safe, when they might not be,” said Dr. Ania Wajnberg, the director of Mount Sinai’s antibody testing program.

The governor says patrons of supermarkets around the state will be recruited at random for testing.
And then, it gets even worse:
Dr. Steven Spitalnik has overseen the development of a test distributed to some health staff at Columbia and New York-Presbyterian hospitals. 
“We also do another nasal swab to see if they’re still positive. Between 14 and 28 days after resolution of symptoms, we and others have found up to 30 percent of individuals are still positive by the nasal swab, and they have antibodies too,” he said.
For the Common Core grads, that means a good number of the Swinging Richards out there testing positive in this half-assed "survey" with antibodies were/are walking around fully infected, contagious, and spreading them like Johnny Appleseed  everywhere they go 24/7, which is why NYFC is the Ground Zero of this pandemic outbreak in the U.S.

Because they're fucking idiots.

This is before simply granting the thesis of the original stupidity, arguendo, and then asking simply,

"Okay, genius, NYFC has a 20% infection rate. So you're telling us that you want to jack that up by 5X there, and 25X everywhere else, because we don't have enough people dead from this yet???" 

Now, look, kids.
We kicked the shit out of the retardation behind this bogus and half-assed NY "survey" weeks ago. And then, too, we did it for the specific benefit of the recockulous assertions of the same internet soopergenius, who evidently can't follow a link or read and process a story to save his life. Literally.

The test was crap.
The "sampling" was crap.
The preliminary results were and are crap.

Shit x shit x shit = More shit.
Then you take partisan hack with an axe to grind, basing his recockulous conclusions off of such total shit, and run it through the filter of someone not bright enough to notice, A, B, C, and D through Z, and you get the original thesis.

And all it took to uncover that was about three mouseclicks, which the OP never bothered to attempt, obviously. Let alone reading what was then found, at even a middle-school level of comprehension.

If someone is going to blog without doing that level of due diligence, they're going to need 9-1-1 on speed dial.

Cleat marks in your dick are always hard to heal, but it really doesn't help when you put on a blindfold, and sharpen your cleats, before you stomp all over your own junk.
Take the blindfold off, take the cleats off, and sit down. And probably, go put on some serious bandaging, before you do yourself even worse injury. If such is possible.

BONUS: For those able and willing to read something harder than an agenda-driven column, the facts about the outbreak, and how it compares to seasonal influenza, are accessible online, and digestible by anyone who made it to 9th grade:
JAMA Internal Medicine: Deaths from COVID-19 and seasonal Flu.

Monday, May 25, 2020

The Price For Your Today Was All Of Their Tomorrows

"If you are able, save them a place inside you,
And save one backward glance when you are leaving,
for the places they can no longer go.

Be not ashamed to say you loved them,
though you may, or may not have always.
Take what they have left, and what they have
taught you with their dying, and keep it as your own.

And in that time that when men decide, and feel safe,
to call the war insane, take one moment,
to embrace these gentle heroes you left behind."

- Major Michael D. O'Donnell
KIA, Cambodia, March 1970

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sunday Music: Big Yellow Taxi

This particular earworm has been quietly sitting on The List since last June, waiting patiently for its appointed day, and now I find it eerily prescient, as I listen to the chorus, and think about the world and economy of only this past January.
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you got till it's gone...
Truer words, gentle readers, truer words.

Appreciate what (and who) you've got, while you can.
You have no idea how fleetingly they may be there to enjoy.
Have a happy Sunday.