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  • Archive for April, 2020

    Proactive to Punishment

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 10th April 2020 (All posts by )

    I can’t decide which is the more dispiriting element of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic; the fact that so many local authorities in America and Britain are letting their inner authoritarian out for an untrammeled romp while sanctimoniously insisting that it’s all for our own good whether we like it or not (or agree or not), that a large number of ordinary citizens are falling all over themselves in volunteering to inform on neighbors who are doing nothing more than going for more than one walk a day, visiting a park or beach, or exercising in their front garden, and that representatives of our National Media Establishment are as malicious a set of scurvy, biased, panic-sowing incompetents as ever crawled out of a journalism school armed with delusions of adequacy along with the degree. Age 27 and know absolutely nothing, as Ben Rhodes remarked. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Business, Civil Society, COVID-19 | 46 Comments »

    The Shape of the Future?

    Posted by David Foster on 8th April 2020 (All posts by )

    Historian Niall Ferguson cites “the most succinct statement I’ve yet seen of the “massive enduring social and economic change post-pandemic” hypothesis.”

    Offices>>Remote Work
    NFL, NBA>>Esports
    Movie Theaters>>Streaming
    TV News>>YouTube stars
    College>>ISAs, MOOCs
    K-12>>Internet homeschooling
    Corporate journalism>>Citizen journalism
    EU/EEC>>27 sovereign states

    I’m surprised he didn’t also include Stores>>Home delivery.

    Of course, the degree to which these changes happen and are sustained will be largely a matter of how long the coronavirus pandemic lasts and how definitively it is suppressed.  But even if coronavirus continues as a recurrent plague, none of these trends are likely to be absolute.  For example: Offices>>Remote work…my own experience with new-business initiatives, both in existing corporations and in startups, suggests that there really is a lot of advantage in the in-person human interaction. Some of these never would have gotten started in the first place unless such interaction had taken place.  And, of course, there are a lot of things that can’t be done at home, including most manufacturing and all construction work. Ditto transportation.  And I’m not sure what TV News>>YouTube stars has to do with coronavirus or other epidemics, given that neither modality need involve person-to-person contact.

    Assuming that coronavirus is largely or completely suppressed, what are the long-term effects likely to be?  Are there now so many people who will have been exposed to the convenience of on-line grocery shopping that they will feel little need to visit physical grocery stores?  Will spending half a day at the mall ever again be a thing?  Will people want to be densely packed into a movie theater or will they just decide that streaming movies at home (especially with large screens that I bet a lot of people are buying under the current circumstances) is just as good and a lot cheaper?  How about airline travel (or sea travel) for vacations?

    Colleges..traditionally, the on-campus college experience was (at least supposed to be valued) for free discussion and interaction with professors.  Yet much of this has already been suppressed, both via giant lecture classes and by fear of creating offense.  College was also valued for its social opportunities, especially those involving dating and mating and the finding of spouses.  Yet reports indicate that this has become pretty awkward due to the administrative sex police and their frequent condemnation of people (especially men) with no form of due process.  Plus, people are now getting married a lot later, so the pressure to find someone during one’s college years is less-strong than it used to be.

    In his tweet, Niall Ferguson also makes the excellent point that “I’d be more persuaded if there were evidence of comparable changes after the (much more lethal) 1918-19 influenza pandemic.”  Although media influence in those days was much less comprehensive and continuous; also, many alternatives that exist today (such as work-from-home as opposed to work-at-the-office) really weren’t feasible in those days.

    Thoughts?

    Posted in COVID-19, Deep Thoughts, History, Society, Tech | 33 Comments »

    At What Point…

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 7th April 2020 (All posts by )

    I have small businesses in two counties here in flyover country. In one county the death rate from covid is .0000035 – thirty five ten thousandths of one percent. In the other, *much harder hit*, .000020 – twenty thousandths of one percent. And this is taking the death tallies at face value, as if the people died FROM covid, vs. they died WITH covid.

    In Illinois, Gov. Pritzker is talking about curfew, temp taking, and a number of other ridiculous lock-downy things.

    Eventually, they have to let everyone get back to work, or there won’t be any “work” left.

    I’m wondering at what point will the citizenry call “bs” on this and just do whatever they want.

    Sure, there are hot spots and sure, there are problems, but if we didn’t know about covid in these places mentioned above there would be no panic whatsoever as these aren’t even rounding errors. And the economy is trashed? It’s far more dangerous to drive your car to the store than, well, going inside the store.

    To make it all worse, I can’t have a birthday party for my daughter, but it’s ok for the State of Wisconsin to have an election, and for the mayor of Chicago to go get her hair done.

    Posted in COVID-19, Crime and Punishment, Current Events, Elections, Illinois Politics | 29 Comments »

    Rethinking the Value of Cities in an Era of Plague

    Posted by Stephen Karlson on 6th April 2020 (All posts by )

    It’s the tension between “contagions for good,” the possibilities for sharing ideas and exchanging goods in thicker markets, and “contagions for evil,” when it’s your viruses and bacteria that are being shared with others.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Society, COVID-19, Deep Thoughts, Economics & Finance, Tradeoffs, Urban Issues | 18 Comments »

    Covid-19 moment of truth for our healthcare systems

    Posted by TM Lutas on 5th April 2020 (All posts by )

    The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has crucial data on Covid-19 for planning and it comes with a moment of truth for all Americans. The tide of good times has run out and those states that have built up a Potemkin health care system are now exposed in an undeniable way, in insufficient total hospital beds per million, insufficient total ICU beds per million, and insufficient ventilators available.

    The IHME data is available for download here. You can get to the pretty data projection visualizations here. The link takes you to the national visualization. Click on “United States of America” and you will see a state listing dropdown. They are doing the District of Columbia separately but the territories are missing.

    The state differences are sometimes stark and the worst state in the nation is not Alabama. More to come in further posts.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 57 Comments »

    In Medias Res

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 4th April 2020 (All posts by )

    What I’ve got so far:

    1. Everything’s on the table. The likelihood that your preexisting ideology or priorities are an entirely adequate match to what this situation truly requires of us is close to nil. “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” ― Eric Hoffer
    2. That said, your life experience will give you insights. Privilege your experience over your ideology and nominal priorities.
    3. All disasters are local. Concentrate on your meaningfully immediate environment, which in this case will be the local market for medical resources. For most of the US, that will be our MSA. For those outside an MSA (metropolitan or micropolitan) that will be their county; and for some it will be the group of counties that feed into the one hospital in the region.
    4. Deprioritize pandemic news from outside your local area. There are people in the massive NY/NJ/MA outbreak that I worry about, but what happens there will only modestly resemble what happens in the KC MSA, not least because of the difference in population density, which can approach 20x.
    5. Mitigate or avoid your own risk (including the risk you pose to others) by both following the hygiene advice we’ve all heard and minimizing your physical interaction with anyone outside your immediate household. Internalize R₀ = b × k × d, where R₀ is the reproduction number of the virus, b is the probability of infection given contact with an infectious person, k is the contact rate, and d is the infectious duration. While the nominal R₀ of COVID-19 is ~3, your personal R₀ can be driven to < 1 by your own behavior.
    6. The general form of the challenge confronting us is abrupt wide variation in formerly relatively constant phenomena. In Talebian terms, we have migrated from “mediocristan” to “extremistan.” The multiplicative nature of a novel viral pandemic, especially by comparison to the relatively predictable seasonality of influenza viruses, has a thick-tailed (power law) probability structure and complex payoffs (notoriously ranging from large numbers of nearly asymptomatic cases to abruptly life-threatening “cytokine storm” reactions). For detail, see The Fourth Quadrant: A Map of the Limits of Statistics.
    7. So we find ourselves at serious risk of running out of ventilators, ICU beds, and even hospital beds generally, to say nothing of supplies (but see “all disasters are local,” above), raising the prospect of significant second-order mortality among those unable to obtain adequate care for entirely unrelated illnesses and injuries.
    8. In this connection, many prior customs, techniques, tools, and materials are being revealed as highly dysfunctional and, if all goes sufficiently well, will be swept into the dustbin of history. The bad news for me is that my earlier fears about easily-bottlenecked processes have been realized. But we may look forward to significant adaptation, including deregulation of medical services.
    9. Similarly, a large number of purported fixes and remedies will fail. Folk remedies, in particular, seem likely to be disastrous, and this blog’s audience needs no persuasion that attempts at central planning will fail thanks to the Hayekian local knowledge problem. In that connection, and to quote something I wrote a few years back: “John Gilmore famously said that ‘the Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.’ The future adaptation of representative democracies will depend on our capability, as individuals, to interpret endemic institutional dysfunctionality as damage and route around it.”
    10. The relatively vulnerable are closer to the center of the network: affluent, living in high-density major cities, well-traveled, extroverted, socially active, with large numbers of regular contacts (even if mostly in a “bubble” as per Murray’s notorious quiz). But some are the alienated and defiant who reject risk avoidance or even risk mitigation tactics (or attempt folk remedies instead), ordinarily associated with …
    11. The relatively invulnerable, who are at or near the edge of the network: impoverished, living in rural or low-density metro areas, untraveled, introverted, socially isolated, rarely in face-to-face contact with others. Many of these people have mental health issues and associated substance abuse problems. But the relatively invulnerable are also the intelligent and conscientious who promptly adopt appropriate risk management strategies.
    12. The post-pandemic preferences of the relatively invulnerable will have massive economic and cultural effects. I expect a reasonably quick partial recovery from the economic shutdown, but full recovery may take several years. Many of the “third places” which have done well over the last few decades will not regain their patronage, and as of early April 2020, we can only guess which ones. Fond hopes of some of my co-religionists aside for a sudden revival, I believe church attendance and involvement will be well down in the aftermath, and will not significantly grow until the next “Awakening,” which per Strauss and Howe should occur at mid-century. Until then, believers will be culturally marginalized and congregations will be smaller—but comprised of relatively fervent, active members.
    13. Geopolitical risks are heightened, especially US-China tensions, and if Xenakis’ “58-year hypothesis” holds, this very year will see an echo of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
    14. The most important output of this process—and it is a process, with inputs, providers, outputs, recipients, etc—will be a collective lessons-learned database, comprised of both tacit and explicit knowledge, and somehow transmitted to future generations.

    Posted in America 3.0, Big Government, Business, China, Christianity, Civil Society, COVID-19, Culture, Current Events, Economics & Finance, Health Care, Human Behavior, International Affairs, Libertarianism, Military Affairs, Organizational Analysis, Predictions, Religion, Society, Systems Analysis, USA | 34 Comments »

    Posted by Jonathan on 3rd April 2020 (All posts by )

    El Mago

    El Mago Del Ponche is the official tire wallah of the Chicagoboyz blog.

    Posted in Photos | 3 Comments »

    Supply Chain Management in a Time of Crisis

    Posted by David Foster on 3rd April 2020 (All posts by )

    GE Healthcare, which is ramping up ventilator production, is using 3-D printing both to make parts directly and to make molds for injection molding.  However, the chief engineer for advanced manufacturing at Healthcare says that some of the 3D-printing companies he has been talking to are shut down due to government edicts that deemed their work nonessential.

    It sounds like they will get around this barrier…“We have a map of all the companies that have excess capacity, and so we’ll divert whatever print work we need to whatever company has got the ability right now, on top of the equipment we have at GE”…but I expect that there is going to be a lot of this sort of thing. There is no way that local or state officials can understand the supply chain dependencies that exist between a seemingly-minor local business and a major national priority somewhere up a level or two (or more) in the product structure. In some cases, all it might take is a letter from the top-tier manufacturer certifying the importance of the work the supplier is doing, but in many cases I suspect that the only rapid solutions will require Federal involvement.

    Posted in Big Government, Business, COVID-19, Current Events, Management, Tech, USA | 5 Comments »

    The Beginning of the Okinawa Campaign — Plus 75 years

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 2nd April 2020 (All posts by )

    In the press of events related to the Great Wuhan Coronavirus Pandemic, many anniversaries of the Second World War have been passing by with little notice and less comment.  For example, April 1st 2020 was the 75th Anniversary of the April  1st 1945 “Love-Day” landings on the western shores of Okinawa.

    This is the West Point Atlas map of the 1 April 1945 Love Day landings through 8 April 1945.

    Figure 1 – This is the West Point Atlas map of both the 1 April 1945 Love Day landings through 8 April 1945 and initial Imperial Japanese 32nd Army dispositions to defend Okinawa.

    The Okinawa campaign in WW2 has often been described as marking the end old style total war. Where “cork screw and blow torch” close combat to the death between American attackers “who fought to live” and Japanese defenders who “died in order to fight” played out its last dance.

    This is a photo of the USMC III Corps Landing beachhead on Okinawa a April 1945.

    Figure 2 – This is a photo of the USMC III Corps Landing beachhead on Okinawa April 1, 1945.

    Upon closer examination, as this 75th anniversary article series will demonstrate, Okinawa is far better described as a high tech war for the electromagnetic spectrum between technological peer competitors air and naval forces.  A “secret radar war,” if you will, where two opposing command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I) sensor networks were directing land, sea and air forces in a series of both combat and logistical moves and countermoves.

    And while the less advanced, and organizationally deficient, Japanese military lost Okinawa proper. It still took advantage of the primarily US Navy institutional biases, American military inter-service rivalries, logistical planning weaknesses caused by that rivalry and US Navy’s unwillingness to learn from “non-approved” sources to never the less defeat the US Navy’s original Phase III plan to overrun the upper Ryukyu’s and install island air and radar bases close enough Kyushu to properly provide land based air superiority for the invasion of Japan.

    These campaign objective failures were hidden in tales of US Navy destroyer picket heroism in the “Fleet That Came to Stay:…and classified top secret files…because of the coming budget war associated with the pending merger of the War and Navy department’s into the Department of Defense.  After 75 years, this series will part the curtains on these hidden histories.

     

    This is a map of the Ryukyu Island chain with Okinawa at the lower center-right. It's location would allow American airpower to dominate the sea lanes from China and Korea to Japan. Phase III of Operation Iceberg was to capture Miyako Jima for the RAF Bomber Command Tiger Force as well as Kikaiga Jima, Amami Oshima and Tokuno Shima for fighter bases to cover the Operation Olympic landings on Kyushu.

    figure 3 – This is a map of the Ryukyu Island chain with Okinawa at the lower center-right. It’s location would allow American airpower to dominate the sea lanes from China and Korea to Japan. Phase III of Operation Iceberg was to capture Miyako Jima at the lower center-left for the RAF Bomber Command Tiger Force as well as Kikaiga Jima, Amami Oshima and Tokuno Shima for USAAF & USMC fighter bases to cover the planned Operation Olympic landings on Kyushu.

    Too accomplish that objective, this series will examine the planned goals of the Operation Iceberg campaign against what was accomplished. How various American military institutions, doctrine and planning failed.  And why the defeat of the US Navy’s  Phase III plans set the stage for an American blood bath of preventable naval casualties during the planned Operation Olympic assault of the Japanese home islands, had the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki not made the invasion of Japan unnecessary.

    The yellow highlighted names on this map show island in the Ryukyu chain that hosted Japanese air bases that were used through out the 83 day Okinawa campaign as staging areas for kamikaze, spotter and snooper aircraft. These bases were never fully suppressed by American or British air strikes.

    Figure 4 – The yellow highlighted names on this map show islands in the Ryukyu chain that hosted Japanese air bases that were used through out the 83 day Okinawa campaign as staging areas for kamikaze, visual spotter and radar snooper aircraft. These bases were never fully suppressed by American or British carrier air strikes. Three of these air bases were scheduled for invasion and capture in the Operation Iceberg Phase III plans. None of these bases were taken due to US Navy casualties from the fanatical Japanese resistance on and around Okinawa.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Japan, Military Affairs, Miscellaneous, National Security, Okinawa 65, USA, War and Peace | 12 Comments »

    A Corona Virus Timeline.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 1st April 2020 (All posts by )

    It is now becoming a theme on the left that Trump was not quick enough to recognize the coming epidemic.

    For that reason, I think it valuable to keep a record of the time line.

    Here is the January 12, 2020 WHO report on the virus epidemic in China.

    The evidence is highly suggestive that the outbreak is associated with exposures in one seafood market in Wuhan. The market was closed on 1 January 2020. At this stage, there is no infection among healthcare workers, and no clear evidence of human to human transmission. The Chinese authorities continue their work of intensive surveillance and follow up measures, as well as further epidemiological investigations.

    Here is the January 30, 2020 report by WHO on the epidemic in China.

    The Committee believes that it is still possible to interrupt virus spread, provided that countries put in place strong measures to detect disease early, isolate and treat cases, trace contacts, and promote social distancing measures commensurate with the risk. It is important to note that as the situation continues to evolve, so will the strategic goals and measures to prevent and reduce spread of the infection. The Committee agreed that the outbreak now meets the criteria for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and proposed the following advice to be issued as Temporary Recommendations.

    The Committee emphasized that the declaration of a PHEIC should be seen in the spirit of support and appreciation for China, its people, and the actions China has taken on the frontlines of this outbreak, with transparency, and, it is to be hoped, with success.

    Trump stopped incoming flights from China on January 31, 2020.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Bioethics, China, Civil Liberties, Current Events, Health Care | 36 Comments »