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  • Archive for April, 2020

    Retro-Reading

    Posted by David Foster on 30th April 2020 (All posts by )

    I have a copy of Mechanical Engineering magazine for April 1930. It marks the 50th anniversary of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and contains not only commentary on the past, present, and future of mechanical technology, but also some thoughts concerning the social/economic impact of this technology. Very interesting reading, some of it relevant to today’s issues.

    There are excerpts from an address given by the ASME President in 1881:

    When the last generation was in its prime our factories were in operation twelve or thirteen hours; “Man’s work was from sun to sun, and woman’s work was never done.”  today man works ten hours, and woman is coming to a stage where she will work where, when, and how she pleases.  Then three yards an hour was the product for a single operative; today ten yards per worker are produced….A single mill operative at Fall River, Lowell, or Providence makes each year cloth enough to supply 1500 of the people who pay her wages by sending her tea.

    From the 1930 article on Fifty Years of Power:

    Turn back to 1880…It was a machine age, true, but only in spots–and very small spots at that. Along the streams of Eastern communities, mainly in New England, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, were dotted little mills.  Water power determined their original location.  Steam aided their growth.  Within their walls spindles whirred and rolls turned almost as in a modern plant.

    Step out of these nuclei of power and the machine age of that day disappears.  On the streets, the horse and buggy, the oil lamp, or gas at best, and the lamp lighter.  Horses for the street and for the plow…In the home, the oil lamp and scrub-board.  Pick and shovel in the ditch. Hod carriers on construction.  Ten-and twelve-hour days of back-breaking labor.  In the worker’s cottage, food and a little sleep…No time or money for reading, music, or play.

    Points made in the multiple articles on steam power: the transition from hand-fired furnaces in power stations to mechanical stoker firing…increased steam pressures…and the transition from reciprocating engines to steam turbines.  The result was that cost per kilowatt-hour generated fell from 3.1 cents in 1883 to .77 cents in 1929.

    Interestingly, only about half the power consumed in factories in 1930 was in the form of purchased electricity…the rest was self-generated, in the form of either self-generated electricity or of direct mechanical drive.  One type of reciprocating steam engine…the Uniflow..is seen as having a continuing applicability in horsepowers too low for efficient use of the steam turbine.

    Indeed, the advertising section at the back of the magazine contains an ad from the Skinner Engine Company noting that the newly-built New Yorker Hotel had chosen five Uniflow engines to generate electricity for the hotel rather than purchasing power from a utility. They claim that hundreds of engines have been installed in stores, office building, hospitals, and factories, and that the savings over utility power has proved so great that the engines brought greater returns on money invested and on floor space than any other department in the business.

    Refrigeration was apparently a hot area (sorry) in 1930, and there’s a pretty long article on the topic.  One thing I hadn’t known is that some cities had central systems for cooling, in which chilled brine was circulated through pipes to individual refrigerators in homes and businesses…the refrigerator could then be very simple, with no active parts other than a thermostat-actuated valve. Such systems were in use in Boston and in New York City as early as 1890.  Sort of a “cloud” approach to refrigeration—Cooling as a Service!

    Textiles were a very important industry in the US in 1930, and there is a long article on the subject. One interesting subtopic within the article has to do with dyes:

    The first use of the chemical or aniline colors dates back to about 1850, when the chemists of Germany presented several new colors obtained by subjecting various fabrics to the action or absorption of liquor holding a derivative of coal tar in solution…America did not make much progress in this direction owing to certain complications and the lack of consolidated action.  What was produced here was in most cases equal to the imported product, but owing to the greater facilities for producing the color, the greater attention given to research, substantial government financial aid, and, primarily, the exceedingly low labor cost abroad, competition was out of the question.  Hence up to 1914 we had practically no dye industry and depended on Germany not only for dyes but also for many valuable pharmaceutical preparations as well as for phenol, the basis for many of our explosives.  

    This problem was solved by intensive efforts during the First World War, and “whereas the value of our dye products in 1882 was $1.8 million, which increased to about $3.3 million in 1914–but with the aid largely of foreign intermediates–we now have over 200 firms producing $220 million worth of products, all more or less directly connected with this and allied industries.”

    The article briefly discussed an intriguing piece of textile technology–the knot-tying mechanism:

    Fifty years ago it was considered a mark of superiority to tie a perfect “weaver’s” knot, a knot that would properly unit the ends of the yarn and stay united while it was passing through the different processes…the number of operators who could tie rapidly and skillfully a series of these knots was limited.

    One of the handiest mechanical devices one can see in the industry is known as a “knotter,” which forms a smoothly-tied, not-slipping knot…Just a handful of mechanism, but in the particular processes where it is used it shows an economy of operation estimated at 50 per cent in time and an unlimited amount in patience.

    The author goes on to say that now (in 1930) there is equipment for collective tying of knots, bringing 2000 ends of warp together and uniting them by tying in eleven minutes.  Pretty intelligent-seeming for a purely mechanical system!

    The woodworking industry was also important in the US in the 1930s, and the author of the article on this industry notes that it had only been fairly recently that this industry had emerged from small-scale operations into mass production. (The author distinguishes between “intimate industries,” those having to do with the home, and “non-intimate industries” such as mining, iron & steel, and transportation, arguing that the non-intimate industries have tended to be mechanized earlier than the intimate ones…not sure this paradigm is really consistent with the very early mechanization of textile spinning and weaving.) There’s an intriguing observation about the emergence of the automobile industry and the characteristics of different American regions:

    It is a rather interesting side light on New England industry that the building of automobile bodies first started in the carriage and buggy shops of Amesbury and other parts of northern Massachusetts, while the first gasoline motors and steam engines were made in the machine shops of Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport.  New England had the genius to invent and develop the highly skilled product that was the forerunner of the modern automobile.  New England, however, fell short in vision and daring, and her factories were unwilling to venture their capital and reputation in such as risky experiment as the building of “horseless carriages” that were considered only as a luxury.  It required the daring and venturesome spirit of the Middle West to nurture and develop the tremendous automobile business of Detroit and the neighboring cities.

    This is probably long enough for a single post…I’ll continue with excerpts and comments in a later post, to include the magazine’s articles on aviation, railroads, sea transportation, and machine shops…also, some additional social/political commentary.

    Posted in Energy & Power Generation, History, Tech, USA | 19 Comments »

    Consistent Group Membership for Epidemic Control

    Posted by David Foster on 30th April 2020 (All posts by )

    This paper argues that having a mutually-consistent and reasonably small network of contacts can help in controlling coronavirus spread…for example, if a group of 7 people work together and also socialize together, they are better-off from a potential infection standpoint than if individuals in the group are socializing with different, and frequently changing, sets of people.

    Somewhat related:  the Federal Aviation Administration is taking steps to limit the spread of coronavirus in air traffic control facilities:

    Each air traffic control facility is establishing separate teams of controllers that will stay together throughout the duty week. Each crew will contain the same employees, limiting the possibility of cross-exposure to COVID-19 that would come through normal shift rotations. If a person on one team gets sick, the only people who would be exposed are the other people on that team.

    So, presumably, if one member of a team gets sick, all the team members would go home until they can get tested and found coronavirus free, and a new team will be swapped in to support operational needs. Not sure how large these teams are: in a control tower for a medium-sized airport, a team might consist of all the people working on a particular shift, but for a large facility like Potomac Approach or Kansas City Center, I imagine that the teams must comprise only subsets of the total workforce; probably people who work in close proximity to one another.

    Posted in Aviation, COVID-19, Transportation | 4 Comments »

    Arms and White Samite

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 28th April 2020 (All posts by )

    Frequent commenter at my site, Grimbeorn of Grim’s Hall, has had his novel come out, Arms and White Samite. We have both the Kindle and paperback versions in our cart, debating which we shall order. He is an interesting cat, for those who like variety: Army Ranger in both Iraq Wars who used his GI benefits to get a degree in philosophy. Long-bearded motorcyclist and Catholic convert. Georgia Democrat who eventually had to resign as they left him (echoing Reagan), between the last hurrahs of Zell Miller, then Jim Webb. Arthurian stories seem to be his first love.

    Posted in Book Notes | 2 Comments »

    Lament for a Mall

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 28th April 2020 (All posts by )

    Malls were the latest, trendiest, most oh-there thing in retail development about the time that I was in high school and college. There were a couple of them that I went to, early on, and they were … OK. A nice diversion if one was in the mood or purse for retail therapy. Most of them were enclosed, two or three levels, almost always expensively decorated, adorned with plantings, sometimes with dabs of architectural creativity here and there. All of that made sense in places where the weather was bitterly cold for at least half the year or boiling-hot for three-quarters of it – still does, in the upper mid-west and mountain west, especially in snowy winters. It was, however, a serious and time-burning excursion to go to the mall; finding a place to park nearest an entrance, walking … and walking, and walking, and carrying whatever you had purchased. If there was a nice and varied selection of shops, not wall to wall big chain outlets, exactly the same as every other mall – so much the better.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Current Events, Personal Narrative, Society, Style, Urban Issues | 40 Comments »

    “Insanity Blooms in Wisconsin”

    Posted by Jonathan on 28th April 2020 (All posts by )

    Robert Prost emails:

    The Republican dominated legislature in Wisconsin is suing Governor Evers to end his lockdown of the state. Evers’ authority to mandate a shutdown ends May 11 but he wrote lockdown orders that extend until May 26.
    Perhaps feeling the pressure, the Governor has pulled a very old trick – announcing a program that does the opposite of what its name would imply.
    The governor proudly announced the “Badger Bounce-Back Plan” to reopen the state. So Evers is using “science” to free us all. Not exactly.
    The state cannot be fully reopened until all three phases of the Plan can be completed. The state remains in lockdown until the step 1 criterion is fully met.
    Here is that criterion:
    “Downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) reported within a 14-day period.”
    Source: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/prepare.htm
     
    Huh? From my years of experience in a major teaching hospital, I would hazard a guess that virtually 50% of all patients who show up at the ER have some symptoms in common with influenza – cough, sore throat, fever, runny nose…
    Step 1 criteria are unlikely to ever be met, allowing the governor to hold the state hostage to his dictatorial whims for as long as he likes.
    If the state supreme court cannot halt this madness, I fear the state will fall prey to the socialists.

    Previous emails from Robert Prost:

    “A Fresh Perspective on the Covid-19 Numbers” – Part 2

    “A Fresh Perspective on the Covid-19 Numbers”

    Posted in COVID-19, Politics | 13 Comments »

    New Services

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 26th April 2020 (All posts by )

    Cross-posted at Assistant Village Idiot

    Delivered groceries were just coming in. Our local chains quickly became overwhelmed, and began only taking orders to be scheduled a week out.  As many people, of any vulnerability category whatsoever, are going to prefer to order things online more and more, there will be more of these services and they will employ more people.  I am not saying that your local supermarket is going to be obsolete, but hybrid forms are going to be more common.

    This will also be true of restaurants.  There will be more specialising in takeout, and even fabulous room-based chefs are going to star figuring out how to make meals that can move across town. We are not quite ready for the virtual reality of pairing meals with rented environments of “London 1898,”  “Paris 1927,” and “NYC 1960,” but it’s not that far off, either.

    No, of course it won’t be the same as actually being there, but as we can’t go there even in its modern form at the moment, and even when it comes back it will be very expensive, there will be a market.  Here’s the fun part:  there will be a market for Faux London, Faux Paris, Faux New York. In the same way that pizza and Italian food are not all that authentic, nor is Chinese food in America* very much what they eat in …Hunan, the VR market will cater to what people think is authentic. Chef Louis isn’t stupid.  Anyone can quick-google what the rich actually did eat in London in 1898, but he will prepare what you think was authentic and will spend money on. Enterprising young souls will also figure out what the children will eat that you can advertise to them as Florence 1568 or Jerusalem AD 63, so you can make it a repeatable history lesson.

    Our church is already planning to keep the online services going even after we can get together.  This is not only because many of us will not want to go to the high risk of weekly contact in an enclosed area with 300 other people, some of them quite close, but because even after all that risk is reduced to as low as it’s going to get*, some folks will decide that staying home and clicking on the church’s Sunday menu is what they actually want. Compare, watching the NFL on TV versus going to the stadium.  People increasingly view going to the stadium as an occasional adventure, while preferring to stay at home. Whoa.  Maybe churches that provide replay, commentary, and analysis are going to start finding a niche!

    What else is going to become delivery vs in-person going forward?

    * I have read that the American version of Chinese food is now available in Chinese cities

    **I think that means, even after a vaccine, two annual diseases that kill lots of people.  Doesn’t that clearly imply a third and a fourth?  We will live different from here on in.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 29 Comments »

    Chicagoboyz Waiting Room Series: 30

    Posted by Jonathan on 26th April 2020 (All posts by )

    take a load off...

    Posted in Waiting Rooms | 3 Comments »

    Law, Interpretation, Code, Checks

    Posted by David Foster on 26th April 2020 (All posts by )

    Many people in government–including President Trump and several Congresspeople–have expressed dismay about the ‘stimulus’ checks sent to organizations such as Harvard University and Shake Shack.  I haven’t observed much curiosity, though, about why these checks got sent out in the first place.

    Was the CARES act so written as to require money to be sent to such organization?  I haven’t read through this very large document, but here it is if anyone feels inspired to do so.

    Was the language of the law so ambiguous that it was interpreted by the detailed implementers as requiring such funding, even though that was not Congressional intent?

    Was it simply a matter of a coding error in a program that had to be written or modified very hastily in order to send out millions of checks?

    I’m curious about the lack of curiosity re this matter.

    Posted in Big Government, COVID-19, Law, Tech | 8 Comments »

    The Triple Constraint and the Next Wave

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 25th April 2020 (All posts by )

    Following up on the second item of my Risk Register and its recommended strategy for reduction, what ought we to do as individuals or households to prepare? It occurred to me to throw some project-management techniques at the problem. Let’s begin with a drivers-and-restrainers exercise, “drivers” being reasons that support taking an action, and “restrainers” being reasons that hold you back from taking the action …

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in COVID-19 | 3 Comments »

    Mutations

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 24th April 2020 (All posts by )

    Note that Greg Cochran over at West Hunter remains pessimistic about life becoming safer. Mutations are of course already occurring in C19, just from the numbers.  Most of those will be deleterious to the virus itself, or neutral.  But sheer volume produces mutations that are also diseases, some lesser, some greater.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 29 Comments »

    Posted by Jonathan on 23rd April 2020 (All posts by )

    asocial social distancing

    Chicagoboyz are social distancing as many miles as they can before it gets really hot out.

    Posted in Photos | 2 Comments »

    Dark Sarcasm In the Classroom

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 23rd April 2020 (All posts by )

    And in other places, like New York. I must confess to snickering nastily at New Yorker’s response to Mayor OBlah-blah’s unveiling of a system to nark out your neighbors for not obeying every jot and tittle of the Wuhan Corona-crud restrictions. Said system was immediately swamped in an unstoppable rising tide of rude pictures, pictures of rude gestures, and sarcastic references to Hitler, as well as crude personal jibes regarding the Mayor himself – to the point where the system was taken down entirely. Well, good for New Yorkers, I say – and a very good thing that such a thing wasn’t tried in a Texas city; seriously, the receiving server would have melted down into a radioactive puddle of goo. And California skateboarders industriously clearing out their skate-park of the sand dumped into it by officious authorities and making a dirt-bike track out of the excess sand? That’s just freaking awesome. We have not forgotten how to cock a snook at overweening authority; a tradition has been passed on to a new generation…
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Liberties, Conservatism, Current Events, Leftism | 34 Comments »

    Worthwhile Reading

    Posted by David Foster on 22nd April 2020 (All posts by )

    Waiting for Good Dough.  Excerpts of some thoughts on central banking and monetary policy, from a newsletter issued by Paul Singer’s hedge fund, Elliott Management.  Best post/article title I’ve seen in a long time.

    Remote work in industry during the pandemic and maybe afterwards…some thoughts from the CEO of GE Digital.

    Skills development in industry.  Career progression doesn’t always have to involve college education.

    Grim excerpts and critiques an Atlantic article which is a rather hysterical attack on a class of people who are very different from the author.

    Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen (he was coauthor of the first widely-used web browser and cofounder of Netscape) writes about the need for America to focus on building things. Surely most of us here will agree with that spirit, but a lot of his specifics seem dubious to say the least. Stuart Schneiderman offers some thoughts; worthwhile comment thread.

    A cat and a dog offer differing views about the merits of the work from home approach.

    Posted in Big Government, COVID-19, Deep Thoughts, Economics & Finance, Education, Leftism, Tech, USA | 11 Comments »

    25 Stories About Work – Harassing a Fortune 500 CEO

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 21st April 2020 (All posts by )

    A short one here.

    I run a small business here in the hinterlands of this great country and many years ago I had the opportunity to poke a Fortune 500 CEO in the eye, repeatedly.

    To this day I can’t remember how or why I got his personal email and cell numbers but I did. It was likely some sort of a mistake that was made at a trade show or something. The net is that I had them.

    I was a distributor for one of this company’s many lines. They made some completely awful decisions that had to do with the local market. I called the CEO several times and told him that these decisions needed to be reversed, immediately, or literally 100% of their sales would go away in my markets.

    Of course this is exactly what happened, and with relish, I called the CEO after their sales in my markets went to the level of zero, previously predicted, and asked him to tell me that I was right and how smart I was. I also told him what a great job his competitors were doing since we had moved away to their products in a heartbeat when the disastrous strategy was rolled out. He shouted at me and I laughed at him and asked him again to tell me how right and smart I was. He hung up on me after using some bad words. I laughed my ass off.

    Eventually he got tired of my nonsense and blocked me, but it was fun since he actually took my abuse so many times (even though my “abuse” was actually the boots on the ground truth). I started out polite and respectful, but when he acted like I was just some dopey hick from the sticks that didn’t know jack, well, I was forced to taunt him several times, as Monty Python used to say.

    Posted in 25 Stories About Work | 9 Comments »

    25 Stories About Work – The Sales and Use Tax Audit

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 20th April 2020 (All posts by )

    During a recent conversation I was reminded of our fabulous “25 Stories About Work” series here on the blog and thought I would share one with you. This post is going to be fairly boring to most, although it will be interesting to those who like to hear about what small business owners go through on the daily, and who may also be interested in what happens if you are presented with a sales and use tax audit. The rest is below the fold.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in 25 Stories About Work | 14 Comments »

    Cytokine storms

    Posted by TM Lutas on 19th April 2020 (All posts by )

    Covid-19, as a virus, generally does not directly kill. Instead, it fools our own immune system into killing us via the mechanism of a cytokine storm.

    It is not the only disease that can provoke cytokine storms. We don’t know how to reliably stop cytokine storms. If we did, we wouldn’t have to shut down the economy. We could just treat those who are starting to get sick so they wouldn’t develop into a cytokine storm, pay the bills, however, and we would all come out trillions of dollars ahead with a death toll of no national or international significance as the only people who would succumb would be those already on death’s door.

    If nobody else will say it, I will. We don’t need to close down the majority of our economy just to change what’s written on a death certificate that was coming out anyway.

    Diseases will continue to emerge. Any disease that provokes cytokine storms while not killing many itself will be just as scary as Covid-19 and we’ll be back to the question of whether we have another economic shutdown.

    Cytokine storms are not just associated with infectious diseases. The first mention of the term in the literature was about graft vs host disease in a 1993 article. They entered into the general public’s imagination 15 years ago with the H5N1 flu. We don’t really understand why they happen and how to reliably stop them from taking a life. This is a public health issue deeper than how we pay for healthcare. It threatens us all and will continue to do so at irregular intervals as new diseases emerge that cause cytokine storms.

    So as we move past our currently unsustainable shutdown due to Covid-19, we all have to decide whether we’re going to let cytokine storms go until the next time some disease breaks out and kills significant numbers of people via this mechanism or whether we’re going to treat this seriously so that the next time we’ll be ready. It’s our choice.

    Posted in Medicine, Politics | 20 Comments »

    Risk Register

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 18th April 2020 (All posts by )

    There are, of course, many items that could be placed in a risk register for our ongoing management of COVID-19. I find myself drawn to those categorizable as, or perhaps triggered by, human perception and behavior. By way of limiting the scope of this post to reasonable attention spans, here are my current top 3: Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Business, Capitalism, China, Civil Society, COVID-19, Current Events, Health Care, Human Behavior, International Affairs, Law Enforcement, Markets and Trading, Predictions, Religion, Society, Statistics, USA | 21 Comments »

    This Post Has Absolutely Nothing to do with Coronavirus

    Posted by David Foster on 18th April 2020 (All posts by )

    The US Naval Institute has posted some links to their archives.  This one is interesting:  a 1912 think piece on the future of the submarine, written by then-lieutenant C W Nimitz.

    Link

    Posted in History, Military Affairs, Tech, War and Peace | 8 Comments »

    “A Fresh Perspective on the Covid-19 Numbers” – Part 2

    Posted by Jonathan on 17th April 2020 (All posts by )

    Robert Prost follows up his previous email (posted here):

    Plotted below are the covid-19 confirmed cases for Wisconsin. The data is graphed so that the first derivative plot is scaled up for better visibility. The fact that the graph has been jumping so erratically means that somebody is manipulating the data. This first derivative is the rate of change of the accumulation of new cases. That fact that it jumps around means that either someone is pushing the hospitals to change their definition of ‘confirmation’ or the virus has a mind of its own. If the changes were due to the sudden availability of additional testing, the increase should be all in one direction if additional cases were being detected. Someone is playing games in pursuit of a political agenda. Were I to hazard a guess, I’d say it is due to our addled governor, aka Tony Baloney.

    Wisconsin COVID-19 Confirmed Cases

    Robert concludes: “This data certainly does not give a good reason to extend the lockdown.”

    Posted in COVID-19, Current Events, Medicine, Politics, Science | 10 Comments »

    The Dark Night of Fascism…

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 17th April 2020 (All posts by )

    …is said to always be descending on America but landing in Europe … but in the instance of this Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic, a peculiar variant of it looks to be landing in Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia, seeing as those states have been blessed with governors breaking all land speed records in getting in touch with their inner authoritarian. One might be forgiven for suspecting that their motivation is not so much for keeping those vulnerable to the newly-improved Chinese respiratory crud in quarantine, but one might also be forgiven for a healthy sense of suspicion; that governors like … Gretchen “Karen the Governator” Whitmer are actually making a frantic display of authority, in a pathetic attempt to demonstrate that they can, actually, make wise use of such authority. Karen the Governator is additionally challenged by the prospect of being theoretically in the running to be nommed to the VP slot in Joe Biden’s hapless campaign for the office of president of these United and temporarily locked-down States. Sigh – the thing about authority, class, good taste, or being a lady – is that if you must make an overt demonstration of those qualities to the masses – then you don’t possess them at all. While it’s absolutely fine that a real-life Natasha Fatale has lost the Russian accent and taken on the onerous duties of being the elected governor of Michigan, going all overboard like the bossiest boss of the most nightmare HOA imaginable (I’m all about building a second career!) … is not a good look. Demanding that retail outlets which are already open and have customers withing – not sell garden seeds, flooring, and baby car seats on the grounds that such are non-essential is bloody insane. And illogical. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Blogging, Current Events, Just Unbelievable, Media | 18 Comments »

    Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 17th April 2020 (All posts by )

    So our fabulous governor here in Wisconsin just extended our shelter in place order through May 26. From the state website, we here in Dane County have had a grand total of ten new cases of covid this week. For those who are counting, that is .0018% of the population. Put into words, eighteen thousandths of one percent.

    In the last two days, we have literally had more pedestrians die from getting hit by cars than from covid. And yet, the power grab continues. Other counties have far smaller ratios.

    Predictably, after yesterdays announcement of the extension of the economy killing order, protests are planned. I may attend if time allows.

    The good news is that you can go play a round of golf now (bring your snow shovel in parts of the state and perhaps a non white colored ball). State parks still closed. Not sure what the golf course lobbyists have on the governor but it must be good.

    This is absolutely ridiculous.

    Update: I have heard a story that a friend’s wife got pulled over by the local cops for doing nothing other than driving home from picking up some chicken. So that’s starting now. She will be at the protest next Friday at the capitol.

    Posted in COVID-19 | 10 Comments »

    Chicagoboyz Waiting Room Series: 29

    Posted by Jonathan on 15th April 2020 (All posts by )

    run

    Posted in Waiting Rooms | 3 Comments »

    Random Covid Related Thought

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 15th April 2020 (All posts by )

    I’m guessing that the overall deaths in the USA will be down this year compared to previous years. My line of reasoning is that all of the social distancing and hand washing and soaking ourselves in sanitizer will shut down the regular flu to such an extent that those lack of fatalities and related issues will far overcome any Covid related deaths.

    Posted in COVID-19, Deep Thoughts | 24 Comments »

    SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 Update, Easter 2020 edition

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 12th April 2020 (All posts by )

    There are lots of hopeful reports — despite the USA COVID-19 infections being over 1/2 million and the total deaths of over 20,000 people — that the pandemic will soon be “Over.”

    This is fantasy thinking at best.  SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 won’t be over, until it is over, for YEARS.

    “Over” being defined as world wide mass vaccinations to the tune of 70% of humanity or human herd immunity.  Assuming such a thing is possible, which it may not be, given this recent report from the UK Daily Mail on post SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 infection immunity —

    Blow to Britain’s hopes for coronavirus antibody testing as study finds a THIRD of recovered patients have barely-detectable evidence they have had the virus already

    .

    – Nearly third of patients have very low levels of antibodies, Chinese study found
    – Antibodies not detected at all in 10 people, raising fears they could be reinfected
    – Explains why UK Government repeatedly delayed rolling them out to the public

    .

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8203725/Antibodies-prove-difficult-detect-Chinese-coronavirus-survivors.html

    .

    Related studies:
    Wu F et al. Neutralizing antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 in a COVID-19 recovered patient cohort and their implications. medRxiv 2020.03.30.20047365; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.30.20047365

    .

    and

    .

    Zhao J et al. Antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 in patients of novel coronavirus disease 2019, Clinical Infectious Diseases, , ciaa344, https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa344
    total by July 1st 51,197

    Or this South Korean story on coronavirus “reactivation” —

    South Korea reports recovered coronavirus patients testing positive again
    APRIL 10, 2020
    Josh Smith, Sangmi Cha

    .

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-southkorea-idUSKCN21S15X?utm_campaign=trueAnthem%3A+Trending+Content&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=facebook

    The issue with most COVID-19 tests, like the ones mentioned in South Korea, is they detect SARS-CoV2 RNA. They do not detect whether the viral particles are active or not. The issue here is whether these people are shedding active viral particles that can re-infect people.  We don’t know if that is the case here from the story text.  Given how infectious it is.  This coronavirus will tell us in due course.

    There are some viral diseases like Herpes that hide inside your body and reactivate to make you infectious. We do not know enough about the SARs-CoV2 virus to say whether that is the case here.

    If the SARS-CoV2 virus is like Herpes in that once contracted, it never goes away and flares infectious several times a year.

    And there is no herd immunity for some people no matter how often they are infected.

    Then we will need multiple, cheap,  out-patient style “cure-treatments” as well as multiple vaccines, based on co-morbidities, and possibly to account for racial differences like sickle cell blood mutations, as SARS-CoV2 may well be more a blood disease than a respiratory infection in terms of it’s killing mechanism.

    See:

    COVID-19: Attacks the 1-Beta Chain of Hemoglobin and Captures the Porphyrin to Inhibit Human Heme Metabolism

    https://chemrxiv.org/articles/COVID-19_Disease_ORF8_and_Surface_Glycoprotein_Inhibit_Heme_Metabolism_by_Binding_to_Porphyrin/11938173

    There is not enough reliable data, d*mn it!

    Until we get to “Over,” our old economic world of Just-In-Time, Sole Source anywhere, but especially in China, is dead without replacement.

    The world is in the same position as Germany was from August 1944 – April 1945 or  Japan from August 1944 until August 1945 versus the Allied strategic bombing campaign.  We have entered the world of  End Run Production as world wide supply chains grind to a halt from various fiddly bits of intermediate parts running out without replacement.  The on-and-off hotspots world wide of COVID-19 at different times and places in the world economy is no different than WW2 strategic bombing in terms of causing random damage to the economic life support.

    See also  “End Run Production” here from this one volume WW2 history book The Great Crusade:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=5L-bwPZK7PQC&pg=PA420&lpg=PA420&dq=%22End+Run+Production%22&source=bl&ots=kc30FQflCj&sig=ACfU3U2kmF-kTPo0Tgr2A9_ESPKpEQAEOg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjfpurOnOPoAhUKA6wKHemwBMcQ6AEwAHoECC4QKQ#v=onepage&q=%22End%20Run%20Production%22&f=false

    Be it automobiles, self propelled construction equipment, jets, power plants or the latest electronic gadget, anything that has thousands of parts sourced world wide with lots of Chinese cheap/disposable sub-component content anywhere in the supply chain simply won’t be produced for the next 18 months to three years.

    This “random damage to the economic life support” effect is amplified by the unwillingness of Western private industry to invest in building the capitol equipment to produced those intermediate parts.  Because of the threat of China coming back with predatory pricing — using bought politicians to cover for them — means those parts won’t be built without massive cost plus contract government buy out of the investment risk like happened in the USA in the 1942 WW2 mobilization.

    The story of  one American n95 mask manufacturer’s experience with the Obama Administration in 2009 with the Swine flu is a case in point.  The n95 mask is a 50 cent item where China pays 2 cents a mask for labor versus 10 cents a mask for American labor.  When the American manufacturer geared up to replace Chinese mask production.  China came back on-line and the Obama Administration refused to keep buying the American mask producer’s 8 cents more expensive mask when the Chinese masks were available.

    Unlike almost 80 years ago, current Western and particularly American politicians are too corrupt to go too massive cost plus contract government buy out this private investment risk.  Mainly because these political elites  can’t be bothered to figure out their 10% cut.  Instead we are getting more “fiscal stimulus” AKA boondoggles that the elites will saddle the rest of us with high interest payments on huge public debts.

    It will take local small to mid-sized business to get the American economy going during the COVID-19 pandemic via making products and services that don’t use the intermediate products China threatens with when the pandemic ends.

    My read on what comes next economically is local/distributed production with limited capitol investment that is multi-product capable.  The name for that is additive manufacturing, AKA 3D Printing. Here are a couple of examples:

    1. The idea of 3D Printed Sand Casting Molds For Automobile Production

    voxeljet enters alliance to industrialize core tooling production using 3D printing

    2. And the replacement of physical inventory with 3D printers, print media and electronic drawings:
    Such “Make or buy” decisions have always been the key decision of any business.  The issue here is that middle men wholesalers and in-house warehousing holding cheap Chinese-sourced  intermediate parts are both set to go the way of the Doe-Doe Bird in a 3D/AM manufacturing dominated world.
    .
    Distributed production in multiple localities with 3D/AM vendors for limited runs of existing intermediate products to keep production lines going.  Or the re-engineering intermediate products so one 3D/AM print replaces multiple intermediate products for the same reason, will be the stuff of future Masters of Business Administration (MBA) papers describing this imminent change over.

    .

    But, like developing SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 vaccines, this new locally distributed manufacturing economy will take time.  The possible opening of the American economy in May 2020 will not bring the old economy of December 2019 back.

    .

    That economy is dead.  It cannot, will not, come back.

    .

    We will have to dance with both the sickness from SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 and the widening End Run Production product shortages that the death of the globalist  just-in-time, sole source in China economic model causes for years.

    .

    And this is a hard reality, not a fantasy, we must all face.

    Posted in America 3.0, Business, Capitalism, China, Civil Society, COVID-19, Culture, Current Events, Deep Thoughts, Entrepreneurship, Germany, Health Care, Human Behavior, International Affairs, Medicine, Miscellaneous, Politics, Public Finance, Science, Systems Analysis, Taxes, Tradeoffs, Uncategorized, USA | 64 Comments »

    Will we learn not to trust the government with unsexy maintenance tasks for vital public needs?

    Posted by TM Lutas on 11th April 2020 (All posts by )

    Pro-Publica lays out the facts decently but fails to draw the right conclusions in its dissection of New York City’s failure to stockpile for a pandemic. An endowment to finance storage and maintenance of an adequate stockpile would not have been subject to cost-cutting mandates and a move to just-in-time inventory systems. It would not be subject to political moves to take away its budget. It would just go on, year in, year out, assisting medical providers with emergency supplies stock rotation and providing a backup reserve for their on-site emergency supplies.

    So who is going to propose to create such an endowment, whether local, statewide, or nationally?

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 9 Comments »