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.


FredLewers said...

And... That's why God made breathing a reflex. On a positive note, they make you look brilliant by comparison.

Knightsofnee said...

I read everything, top to bottom. Great link, will pass it on. Denninger has his told ya so sign up, again. Amusing if it wasn't so dangerous.

I can tell you this, it's been pretty quiet here in Myrtle Beach SC, but after this weekend, the limited number of ERs on the redneck Riviera (2 in total) are going to go hot soon.

Stay frosty.

Jen T said...

I almost hate to link to this, but as another example of supposedly pro-liberty people stomping on their own junk, there are guys like Eric making it sound like it is your patriotic duty to avoid wearing a mask (which he calls Fear Masking) because you shouldn't be afraid of a cold. Somehow it is pro-liberty to ridicule people's efforts to keep themselves healthy, now? I guess if you're an idiot, that's just how you roll.

T said...

France's Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure warned about the Wuhan lab years ago.

You know, a whole lot of people in the West simply do not understand that the Communist Chinese government wouldn't really give a shit if 10% of the Chinese population dies.

Mike Guenther said...

Ya know, it wouldn't be so bad if TPTB, ie. CDC, WHO, etal. Would make up their damn minds about what's what. First it was you shouldn't wear a mask and surfaces needed to be wiped down every 30 minutes. Then it was everyone needs to wear a mask no matter what...except for N-95 masks; save those for health care workers.

Last week it was the virus doesn't live on surfaces as long as we thought. This week it's oh we were wrong last week.

And as far as masks go, it seems to me to be about even with some doctors recommending masks for everyone and the other half saying that unless you're sick or are around someone who is sick, you shouldn't wear a mask.

Frankly, I go with the docs who say don't wear one unless you're sick. They are hot and very uncomfortable and make it hard to breathe. (I have been wearing a mask when I go to the store because my wife has an autoimmune disease and we finally got a couple of cases in our area of the county where we live. About 25% of people wear a mask.)

Survivormann99 said...


I have never left my home here in SoCal without a mask for the past two months. As you might suspect from my nom de plume, I am the sort of person who took the WuFlu seriously from the get-go. On January 22 I was sounding the alert with other people, and on January 24 I was telling them where they could purchase 25 N95 masks for $8.95.

Because of what I was seeing in China, I ordered military gas masks. I ordered disposable foot protection. I even ordered disposable hazmat suits. I was taking all of the dire predictions seriously, given what I was seeing done in Wuhan, and given the alarming R0 and CFR predictions.

Now, it seems that every couple of days a new study comes along that contradicts the last one. We were told that face masks were unnecessary for laymen. Then we were told that they were necessary. Then we were told that the masks were dangerous due to hypoxia and the concentration of viruses on the outside of the mask that would inevitably infect us.

Fauci told us in February that the virus posed little risk to Americans. Then he said it did. The Italian Bantam rooster, told us for weeks that the Second Wave was coming. Today, I see that Fauci is walking that back. Note the weasel words he uses to cover his derriere.

Despite hundreds of physicians in this country reporting good results from hydroxychloroquine, Trump was mocked for promoting it. When he told the world that he was using it, the MSM went wild, many claiming that he was being reckless with his health. (This expression of concern was rich, given that the liberal press (sorry, redundant) can't wait to seem him in his grave.)

We were told, as recently as today that hydroxycloroquine was too dangerous to use. Yesterday, we were told that the Indian government recommended its continued use.

All of this took place while the so-called elites skirted the rules. Chris Christy was appropriately mocked by the MSM for sneaking his family on a state beach that he had closed to the public a couple of years ago, yet the MSM has mostly soft-pedaled the fact that Chris Cuomo was out and about when he was supposed to be shut-in, Whitmer's husband was out fishing, De Blasio went to his favorite gym, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfood went to a beauty parlor (as if it would help her looks), and Black Face Northam was out without a mask and appropriate social distancing. Reporters doff their masks only until the cameras stop rolling. I am sure that I have missed some examples of "Rules for thee, but not for me."

I have lost faith in the medical and scientific community. I have decided that wearing a lab coat or scrubs does not mean that a person isn't a retard, and doesn't mean that they are not in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry. Too many "studies" seem to be skewed to produce results that please those who financed the study.

At this point, however, I have WuFlu fatigue. I have listened to so many wild ass predictions by the so-called experts that I am turning a deaf ear to them. I will continue to stay home, mostly, and to wear a mask in public, but I will not criticize those who don't. As for the experts, it is "a pox on all their houses"--until the next study comes along.

Aesop said...

The only people telling anyone masks didn't work, or that you didn't need them, have been the GORRAM MEDIA, when they fornicated up what was actually said.

If anybody can't tell the difference between what the media says, and reality, I cannot help them; their problems are bigger than any virus.

If anyone is going to cherry-pick articles to highlight how stupid, self-contradictory, and hypocritical the MSM or your would-be overlords are on any given day, and use that kind jackassery on their part as an excuse to plead apathy and/or stupidity, they deserve what happens to them, and rest assured I will point and laugh.

If you have no cases in your county, ROWYBS. It doesn't spontaneously generate out of thin air.

If you do have cases in your county, and chose not to maintain a safe distance from others, wash your hands, and wear a mask, you're quite simply being Gilligan.

When, not if, this blossoms again this year, you'll know it isn't the fault of the ChiComs the second time around.

The tonnage of public shit-headedness seen in Doofus-on-the-street interviews in the last 24 hours would stun an elephant.

Nick Flandrey said...

@survivorman, I took it seriously and am taking it seriously. It IS fatiguing. I've been plugging away for years on preps (in the face of constant scepticism), I can continue plugging away on this for a while longer.

I've sent extra masks to family and friends who mocked me. I haven't had to buy TP since Dec, or Jan. No concerns about cleaners, PPE, or getting enough to eat.

We did the hard things, paying off debt and building up reserves.

It's always harder to stay the course.

The suckiest part is the lack of good info, but this is an imperfect world with imperfect info. Too many people are aware now, and are actively subverting info and actively putting out disinformation.

It should be easy to continue on as you and I have, it costs us very little at this point. Don't lose faith, but do stay open to the idea that situations change and our response might need to change too.


Survivormann99 said...


"The only people telling anyone masks didn't work, or that you didn't need them, have been the GORRAM MEDIA, when they fornicated up what was actually said."

Au contraire:

I am not disputing your analysis. I will keep wearing my mask. That isn't the issue for me. It is the idiots in scrubs and lab coats (which is not to say all people who wear them) who can't get their stories straight. Yes, I suppose that it is a "novel coronavirus" that explains this. This doesn't explain why they feel compelled to pull opinions out their derrieres and present it as being "gospel." Thus, WuFlu fatique by the public.

We kept an economy going when small pox and polio were scourges. (One of my earliest memories is getting vaccinated for polio when that vaccine first became available.) We simply need to move forward and take our losses, if necessary, before there is no country and no economy left.

There is no way to stop the re-opening steamroller. People are saying, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" You may be able to say, "I toldyaso" in a few months but we'll all have to wait and see how this plays out. Some "experts" predicted 2 1/2 million dead Americans. We'll have to wait to see how many dead we have by November.

John said...

Thankfully in Modern Mayberry, for now, Coronavirus appears to be non-existent. That doesn't mean that we won't have our own COVID Carla or Carl, but I have my fingers crossed.

Aesop said...


Ah, thanks. I missed that particular bit of Fauci stepping on his wedding tackle yet again.

But I'm not against re-opening.
Rather the opposite.

I just want folks to have their heads removed from their nether regions as they do it.

A certain percentage of Gilligans in society make the follow-on outbreaks inevitable, but with the most modest amount of common sense, the impact can be minimized, if only...

FredLewers said...

I thought this was interesting. It does explain asymptomatic carriers.
BIG CAVEAT: I've not vetted any of this. I read the article and understood some of it. I'm throwing it out here for opinions, conjecture and rebuttal.

elysianfield said...

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?

Where is "That Would Be Telling"? I need someone to tell me what I need to know. I need the certainty. I need succor....

Aesop said...

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 quote from and refer to frequently: "If it's science, there's no consensus; if there's consensus, it isn't science. Anyone telling you different is selling something."

It's fair to say that the experts don't know shit about COVID-19. If anyone looked at the JAMA Online website I linked to 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 (for which delightful moniker of yours I give you sincere personal thanks; walk tall - it made it from you to the White House inside three weeks!), specifically with the purpose of jerking people's chain 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 an 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, 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.

Einherjar said...

The New England Journal of Medicine.

"We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic."

Aesop said...

The author is clearly an axe-grinding jackhole, that's 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, they excel, as they have for 150 years or so since they were pioneered for maintaining asepsis in surgery.

Aesop said...

For bonus points, the Five Blind Mice who authored that codswallop have about 45 years of post-secondary education between them, and 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.

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 dipped in a vat of rubbing alcohol. Daily. For a month.