Locklin on science

US public health problems which are more serious than Corona-chan

Posted in corona-chan, stats jackass of the month by Scott Locklin on November 20, 2021
  1. Fat people. Americans are incredibly fat. It’s really beyond mere gluttony at this point; we’re approaching levels of fat which are legendary; like giants of old. Beyond the fact that most of the people who actually die of ‘rona are disgusting ham planets who are dying of obesity, beyond the crippling mobility problems, beyond the fact that it ups type-2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer rates, kidney, gastric and liver disease and lowers fertility through direct biological mechanisms, it also destroys beauty. 50 or even 30 years ago you could go to a working class nightclub in America and there would be good looking people around. Now you just have giant ham planets. The few non hambeest womenfolk seem to all have full time jobs as instagram influencers. This has destroyed the normal economy of love. I used to go for walks on a railtrail in Manchester NH, and I’ll never forget a working class couple I saw walking the other way. The man obviously worked outdoors, probably swinging a hammer; tanned and wiry, he was visibly tired from a hard day’s work and was walking his morbidly obese girlfriend around to get her some exercise. The girlfriend probably weighed 350lbs and had a sinister sneer on her porcine features as she wheezed along the trail. They both looked miserable. This demonic spectacle literally didn’t exist 30 years ago when I was their age, or if some circus freak managed to achieve conjugal union with a normal looking man, we’d all make fun of him for having sex with a barnyard animal. Now a days, the only weird thing about this coupling is the man had an outdoors job and so he was pretty normal looking.  If we demonize smokers as choosing an unhealthy habit, we must do something about the morbidly obese. Dying of lung cancer or COPD from smoking is nowhere near as bad aesthetically as dying of gluttony.
  2. Insanity. One of the downsides of internet equipped modernity: mentally ill people can find each other and convince themselves that there is nothing wrong with them. Quite often they can convince society at large there is nothing wrong with them, or it’s society’s fault somehow. Picking on fatties again: there is the great example of lardy cum-logs preaching “fat acceptance” and mythical “slow metabolisms.” 13% of the adult US population is on antidepressants. According to NIMH, 1/5 adults in the US is mentally ill at any given moment in time. 6.5% of American women are seriously mentally ill; as in, not functional at any given moment. Adolescents; 50% are mentally ill. When you have that many crazy people around, things are pretty crazy. We need far less acceptance of mentally ill people. Mentally ill people historically have been shunned and even imprisoned to prevent them from ruining the society around them by flinging literal and figurative shit at everybody else. The phrase “stigma of mental illness” has 48 million google hits; almost all of them advising people to overcome the stigma of mental illness. Well, I heartily disagree with this; when you remove societal disapproval of something, you tend to get more of it. The United States is literally and objectively the most insane country in the history of the human race: unquestionably more insane than Nazi Germany or North Korea. Widespread madness and the drugs that allow such people to continue to function in normal society have made the situation intolerable for normal people,  removing the incentive to have a society in the first place.
  3. Hormonal disruptors. There’s a lot of problems here; you can see the women becoming more masculine and the men more feminine. Fertility is on a steep decrease. The recent fashion in transgenderism is probably another result, albeit one with a twisted eugenicist political component. Glyphosate is probably a part of the issue, and its use in stuff like harvesting beans has approached absolute insanity. There’s also atrazine making frogs gay in America. They’re starting to ban BPA’s, but they substitute related substances which are just as bad, and BPAs are still in most thermal receipts you handle, and the filthy stuff gets absorbed in your skin from handling it. I am also suspicious of soy, weed and over-hopped beer. The main upside to all this for me anyway is middle aged to old men like me have giant cocks compared to 20-somethings because we weren’t exposed to this shit in the womb. Of course most of the 20-something year old American women are obese and mentally ill anyway, so it’s a wash.
  4. Autism. I’m not sure this doesn’t fall into the category of “insanity.” It may also have something to do with hormonal disruption. Either way, the fact that some huge fraction of the population who thinks they don’t have to be kind and thoughtful to others because “muh disability.” Whether its on the increase because of some chemicals in the water, mutations from later reproduction, or dipshits raised by their Xbox and ipotato: I don’t think it’s acceptable that we let it pass without even so much as a public health official commenting on the fact there are millions of unpleasant spergs running around being unpleasant and getting away with it. Computer sperdos; totally not buying it. If you’re capable of writing a makefile, you’re capable of learning how to behave in public in a way that doesn’t make people want to fling you from the roof.
  5. Allergies. Why do so many people have lethal allergies now?  Millions of people have or claim to have life threatening allergies, such that I can’t have fucking peanuts on American air flights any more. If you die because you’re around harmless peanuts or some other normal substance of modern life, this means you’re basically animated meat -walking dead. What causes this? Did everyone who was allergic to peanuts before, say, the 1980s die off? If they did, how did they manage to pass on their genes? Will this trend continue until everyone needs to walk around with an epi-pen? Like most fucked up things in America, nobody even notices it; everyone acts like it is a fact of life we must accept uncritically.
  6. Drugs. It’s been about a million deaths since 2000 of overdose. It’s accelerating; the US experienced 100,000 overdose deaths 2021 so far; a new record. Add to this the ruined lives around people who overdose or are otherwise addicted, and the giant tent cities associated with druggie infestation. Unlike the ‘rona which takes people who are close to their natural lifespan anyway, drugs mostly kill young, bored adventurous people: people who could be the best of us, but will never get a chance because they made a bad choice. It may be considered a sort of slow moving suicide, chosen by nihilistic kids, and it may very well be so, but it’s still a public health problem.  Beyond that, muh weed is going to cause huge problems down the line; it’s already been implicated in a minor epidemic of schizophrenia. Go look at people waiting in line for their muh weed; village of the damned. There are huge subcultures of people who need “muh meds” which aren’t any better: amphetamines, emotion-deadening SSRI antidepressants, benziodiapene anxiolytics, sleeping pills: people who use these daily are addicts. They are a public health problem despite them being supplied by large corporations: you know, like Perdue pharma pushing oxy.
  7. Fertility. Public health officials have utterly failed to communicate with people the fact that female fertility falls off at age 35, well, like chart below. Mutational load is also higher the older the parents. Men are also becoming infertile in greater numbers; sperm count is plummeting across Western Civilization, probably because of obesity and hormonal disruptors, or maybe just because they’re a bunch of giant pussies.
  8. Censorship and erosion of public trust. Imagine what would happen if there were a real public health emergency; a new infectious disease that, say, really did have across the board 1% or 10% infection fatality rates. I’m going to go out on a limb and assert that half the country wouldn’t listen, and I don’t blame them, because public health officials are liars and fools who have failed at everything they’ve attempted since the early 1960s, to say nothing of all the issues they failed to do anything about. It is an acute public health problem, one which will obviously get worse.
  9. Homelessness. Every American town or city above 100,000 people has favelas of bums living in it. We’ve always had hoboes, crazy people, drifters and so on; we’ve never had so many that tropical diseases have made a comeback. Some of these people are junkies, some are classic victims of mental illness who should be hospitalized, some are just poor. None of it is necessary: despite the primitive conditions of antediluvian ages like the 1950s, we had no such problems back then. Almost no modern or primitive current year societies have the problems the US does with this sort of thing. Supposedly San Francisco spends 100k per homeless person, which seems a little excessive. It’s obvious from these facts that whatever we’re doing it is incorrect, especially in San Francisco and the people working on the problem must be at least partially responsible for it.
  10. The health care system. The US spends more on its health care than any other country in the world, and gets worse outcomes than most of them. That’s more in absolute numbers and in fraction of GDP (20%). This is completely absurd, and the trend is entirely in the wrong direction. In fact, the US health outcomes, when normalized for risk factors, has steadily declined since the 1960s. I’ve experienced health care in a first world country that spends a small fraction of what the US does and has a couple years longer life expectancy despite heavy drinking and smoking: America is preposterously, ridiculously behind the rest of the world on almost every level. Americans may have some experimental treatments others don’t have access to; that doesn’t move the needle for most people, and it isn’t why American health care costs so much. In America, health care isn’t a public utility like the water or electric company; it’s a series of ridiculous rice bowls for evil bureaucrats and filthy looters. People can be bankrupted for routine treatable illnesses. The fact that something like medical billing is a profession ought to give you a hint that something is very wrong here.

 

 

 

Things the establishment got wrong about wuhan-coof

Posted in corona-chan, stats jackass of the month by Scott Locklin on August 12, 2021

I’ve neglected to talk about the Wuhan death virums until now, mostly because I’ve been enjoying the spectacular fuckery on display, the gaping credulity, the mass hysteria and the moronic panic. Also because the last thing anybody needed over the last year and a half is yet another dipshit adding to the noise. My employers asked me to evaluate the situation using the best public knowledge back in March and April 2020, and I did so; I did pretty well with my estimates. I haven’t thought about it much since then, other than on the occasions in which the situation inconveniences me: and then only to the extent that I get the job done.  It’s simply not that interesting, and knowing something of history I’m not particularly worried about the disease; more worried about governments using it as an excuse for totalitarian shenanigans. As such, it’s worth remembering how badly “the authorities” have handled the situation from the earliest days, in the same spirit as Matt Taibbi’s excellent discombobulation of the similarly insane Russiagate conspiracy theories. None of my statements below are scientifically or historically controversial, though I’m sure someone will attempt to argue otherwise.  Here’s my list of establishment fuckups:

  1. It’s just the flu. Yeah, they actually said that. For a long time. I assume because Orange Man was taking it seriously.
  2. Fatality rate. People still think the infection fatality rate of the ‘rona is equivalent to that of the black death. It’s not. It isn’t harmless either. This is exactly the kind of thing our modern “technocrats” are completely unable to deal with. It’s nowhere near as bad as the Spanish Flu. It’s somewhere around the fatality rate of the 1968 Hong Kong flu or the 1957 Hong Kong flu. By the way, we didn’t react to either disease the way we did to this one; most people alive back then didn’t even remember them happening. It took months and months before the numbers were in (despite little old me figuring it out in April); now the CDC has pretty good numbers. Ones which will get you banned from Facebook if you mention them. FWIIW for Americans (who are fat, old and unhealthy compared to world standards) below 18, your chances of croaking of the thing if you’re infected is about 1 in 50,000 or 100,000. For 18-49, 1 in  2000. 50-64, 1 in 200 (a bad flu, basically) and 65+ it is 1 in 20 (much worse than the flu). The data which inform these numbers were available in April; I had the integral nailed basically from the cruise ship figures. It’s useful to compare to chances of dying of other things. For example, a 12 year old’s chances of dying of corona-chan if infected (which seems to be a rare occurrence for some reason) is about the same as being struck by lightning.
  3. Masks. The same dipshits who now think you should wear a mask while outside by yourself insisted that they were ineffective, because they knew the mask factories had long since been outsourced to China, and they wanted those masks for hospital worker to have while doing tiktoc videos. Now we have to wear them forever, because muh consensus or something.
  4. Tests. One of the reasons it appeared to be certain doom for civilization at the beginning is right censoring of the data. Tests were difficult to obtain in the early days due to production ramp ups, so they only gave the tests to people who were obviously dying of pneumonia. There were huge numbers of people who had the virus but weren’t counted because they were restricting the tests to the few who were hospitalized, presumably to distinguish them from people dying of bacterial pneumonia. But then, the data was used as if they weren’t right censored, and they came up with the skewed figures for infection fatality rate. The tests themselves have all kinds of problems. They all have both false positive and false negative rates which, afaik are large, but still fairly poorly specified. PCR tests were sometimes useless as laboratories were often contaminated. Antibody tests were only useful a few months after initial exposure. Early on Tanzania’s president (F for him) had some fruits and a goat tested  and they tested positive.  Schoolchildren regularly get out of school by contaminating their ‘rona tests with soft drinks. These sorts of statistical issues are core problems people have been aware of for a century, yet people acted as if there was no such thing as a false positive of false negative and treated the tests as scientistic facts, rather than statistical tools which a proper scientist or Bayesian technician might think of differently.
  5. Data censoring, false positives/negatives in general. This problem was pervasive at the beginning, and it’s still a huge problem. More tests given, more positives, even when there are no more actual cases due to false positives. Some countries are requiring a test be given before you go to a restaurant or hotel. Test rates skyrocket, then of course these countries are showing more cases.  Lots of the data is like this; nobody seems to notice or care. At last peak hysteria (have we reached peak hysteria? can’t tell!), there were multiple errors per week one could publish a “you’re doing your stats wrong” paper on.
  6. Time series nature of data. The stupidity of this one absolutely blows my mind. I remember country/region X doing better than country/region Y at point T, people chimping out  that country X was a model for all. This repeated enough times to make everyone who made such assertions look incredibly stupid. I can’t link to the many examples; there are too many. Just for example: vaccine efficacy data in the general population is entirely summertime; we’ll only be able to tell if they do anything come winter; it already isn’t looking real good. My theory has always been that lung borne viral ailments will basically do what they please, and humans are helpless before them.  So far it looks like I am correct. This wasn’t/isn’t the only time series problem with time censored data, but it was a big one. Lung borne ailments are much worse in the wintertime, so if you’re comparing winter to summer without a model (caution; using models considered harmful), you have failed.
  7. Epidemiological Models. Neil Ferguson’s trash fire was the most famous example, credulously reported as muh science by ding dongs in the media, government and nerd establishment. At the time, the dipshit wouldn’t release the source code; with good reason. Ultimately it was a random number generator depending on a bunch of mystery constants chosen by the user, making it…. essentially someone’s opinion. People did notice (and were shouted down) the same piece of code predicted  mass death that never happened with…. 2005 bird flu, 2009 swine flu, and arguably the 2001 foot and mouth disease outbreak. Ultimately he was talked into releasing source code, which the greatest living C programmer heroically cleaned up for him. Mind you this was during a huge crisis; but we couldn’t embarrass the great scientist by allowing mere peasants to review his ridiculously flawed work. Even after he was revealed to be a total mountebank, the only thing which removed this scoundrel from public influence was the revelation of breaking quarantine for a squalid affair with someone else’s nerdy wife.  Similarly, there were a bunch of silly con valley goons caterwauling about ‘muh exponential growth’ who also deserve considerable opprobrium. Repeat after me: there is no such thing as exponential growth. Physical processes are logistic at best. I’m sure there were other examples; arguably too many to count.
  8. Lock downs. They mostly didn’t work. Remember when opening Texas back up was tantamount to genocide? Yeah, I remember that. Remember when everyone in Florida was gonna die unless they lock up immediately? I remember that too. Remember when Georgia committed genocide by opening in summer of 2020? Remember when everyone in Sweden was going to immediately croak? None of those things came to pass. Locked down California had a higher death rate than not-so-locked down  Florida who mostly did the sane thing of protecting their numerous old people rather than locking everyone up where they could cough on each other. Sweden did better than most of Europe. Nothing big happened in Texas or Georgia when they opened up, other than small businesses coming back to life. Remember when California, Connecticut, Massachusetts saved all those lives by implementing harsh lock downs? Well, that actually never happened at all. You can juggle the statistics in a way that make it look like there is some marginal effect here, but whatever it is, the effect is marginal, where the effect on people’s every day lives was enormous and entirely negative. Aka lock downs are basically ineffective outside of some very narrow circumstances, like cutting off air travel (which the establishment was against, and they now lie about) and living on an island. Quarantine sort of works, but it needs to be applied in a sane way, for example, the way it was with measles and polio outbreaks before vaccines. Just locking everyone up doesn’t work. It’s definitely the favorite technique of tyrants; has been since the 1600s. Didn’t work back then either, but it sure made people poor and angry. Reminder: only the Swedes (and Japanese and Belorussians but we don’t talk about them) got it right. I know it makes the human soybeans real mad: but they were right and the totalitarian numskull official “experts” were wrong.
  9. Two weeks to flatten the curve. Yeah, I remember that. Somehow that turned into “oh you idiots are going along with this; let’s do it forever.”
  10. Ventilators. Remember when  car companies were going to ramp up “wartime production” on ventilators so we could all stay alive in our hospital cucksheds? Remember when amateur scientists and hacker soyboys were inventing home made ventilators to save us all? Well, they quietly stopped talking about this, because it turns out these things were basically murder machines. There are now numerous videos of the things filling up landfills. This is a case study in large scale iatrogenics. Countries which didn’t have literal tons of ventilators did much better than countries which had the things. The low oxygen levels from the “ground glass” lung destruction effect were more effectively and easily treated with … oxygen. And leaving people alone, rather than death pressure fucking their lungs with some demonic contraption which probably helped spread the ‘rona in hospitals. Really the technocratic obsession with these ridiculous machines ought to be a case study in the abnormal psychology of twee nerds. Even at the beginning when I went along with the crowd and thought there might be a need for such machinery there was something unseemly and disgusting about the gruesome glee among certain schnerds to shove a tube down everyone’s throat and pressurize their lung sacs with …. muh technology.
  11. Overloaded hospitals. Never really happened. Sure some hospitals were busy. Some hospitals are busy every year. The preposterous spectacle of TikTok dancing nurses and empty hospitals was pretty bad, as were nitwits cheering on medical workers like trained seals, and the insistence that the hospitals really were overwhelmed and you had to be some kind of conspiracy theorist to deny this. Then the layoffs started. You see, telling everyone who isn’t dying of ‘rona to stay away from the hospital more or less bankrupts the hospitals. You have to print a shitload of skrilla to keep them ticking over doing nothing when no actual corona-virums patients show up. Which is what happened in most places. Since corona-chan is a physical thing, you’d more or less expect it to be geographically concentrated rather than evenly distributed over the set of all hospitals; some hospitals overwhelmed, as indeed some were, but the vast majority doing nothing but TikTok videos. Lying about it didn’t inspire a lot of confidence in the proverbial powers that be. Anybody could drive by their local hospital and see that it was empty, and that the army tents set up outside were also empty. Classic central planning blunder, and totalitarian denial of reality afterwords.
  12. Nursing Homes. Remember when several US governors (NY, NJ, PA, Mich) thought the hospitals would be so full of meat puppets hooked up to breathing machines they would overflow? Remember when the same US governors put non-ventilated corona virus patients in nursing homes with all the old people? Remember how pretty much all those governors states had huge fatality rates? Well, these facts are all related, and those governors play acting as miniature dictators should be held to account for murdering grandpa. Instead they’ll be held to account for awkward flirtations, because America is a profoundly unserious country which takes accusations of creepiness more seriously than boomer genocide. BTW wrote this before it actually happened.
  13. Airborne/aerosolized pathogen. It was abundantly obvious from the goddamned cruise ship data that the virus was airborne; from the very get-go. Some sniffly lawyer in New Rochelle spread it to half the big apple in the early days. Choir members in churches had a very hard time. No matter how many “fomites” one man could spread, even a huge slob, it was obvioso it had to be airborne. Only now are people beginning to admit this. After a year of learned magnificoes and most official channels stating categorically that this couldn’t possibly be true. Instead we had people doing ridiculous things like washing their groceries with bleach because muh fomites. This obvious fact could have informed policy; you can do shit like install better air filters instead of security theater like neurotically constantly sterilizing your hands. The “over cautious” approach of health and political authorities to obvious truisms like the fact that the ‘rona was an airborne pathogen is extremely typical of their responses to everything. If it was politically convenient they were absolutely sure of themselves, even if it was obviously wrong. Faced with ridiculous, preposterous amounts of evidence, they dragged their feet, demanded double blind studies and other such theater, and eventually, a year or two later, admitted they might have been wrong, but how dare you notice that they were wrong.
    What really bugs me: there is still really no good information on how it spreads. How do superspreader events work? Let’s reduce it to the basics. Is it snot? Farts? Does it come from higher lung pressure such as singers or fat people experience? Nobody wants to tell. Perhaps the real answer is …. politically incorrect -maybe it’s the disgusting, shambling obese people who spread it. Those who would deprive the unvaccinated of their civil rights; would you not be willing to deprive fat people of theirs? They seem more dangerous to me. Certainly they’re harder to look at. Both are a personal choice; choosing to be a disgusting fatbody is easily more deadly even in the absence of any new corona viruses.
  14. Cross-immunity/asymptomatic. A friend of mine tested positive for ‘rona antibodies; he felt a bit run down and wondered if he had been exposed. He had been (modulo false positives). I had spent the previous week being a tourist with the guy; for all I know I was exposed to it as well (I felt fine; mostly ate and drank too much).  There is now abundant evidence for both asymptomatic carriers and cross immunity from exposure to other corona viruses. For months this was dismissed as a conspiracy theory. Now it’s accepted as fact.
  15. Multiple infections. People can indeed get the ‘rona a couple of times. This is used as a justification for vaccinating people who already had the disease. This practice is, of course, known to be bullshit: that isn’t how the immune system works. Believing that somehow the vaccine is better than the infection in protecting against reinfection is stygian ignorance, and attribution of nonexistent magical powers to muh technology.  People administer the vaccines to people who had the illness anyway. Why? Don’t know, but considering the other nonsense in circulation, you can’t blame the tinfoil helmet types for being a bit suspicious of the “authorities.” Frankly, vaccinating people who already had the disease sounds dangerous to me. Since the vaccine sides are related to autoimmune problems when your cells start producing viral proteins; that’s going to happen even more if you’ve already got an immune system that knows what to do; such as among previously infected people. FWIIW every indication is that natural immunity by itself is superior to prevent future infection.
  16. Taking kids out of school. Granted this was mostly an American shitlib school district problem, but I suspect a lot of teachers unions will ask for next year off as well, so it’s worth mentioning they were wrong about this also. Many countries did not cancel school, and nothing bad happened to them.
  17. Bill Gates is a doctor/expert/whatever, rather than a college drop out who won the sociopath lottery. There is really no more reason to listen to Bill Gates about wuhan lung butter than the theories of the fruit merchant on my street corner.  Even his wife got sick of listening to this sinister sperdo’s bullshit, which, mercifully, seems to have temporarily made bubble head Bill go away.
  18. Risk factors. Just like with HIV/AIDS back in the 80s, they’re treating this as if we’re all equally at risk. Just like with HIV/AIDS we’re absolutely not. You’re pretty much not getting teh GRIDS unless you inject a few gallons of randomly sampled man batter up your keister, or share needles with people who do (or who share needles). Similarly, you’re not dying of the wuhan death virums unless you’re already dying of something else; obesity, diabetes most prominently featured in the united states, but there are a few others. As was the case with the GRIDS, tragically, there were a few exceptions which proved the rule. Unfortunately the same evil dipshits tried to get us all to draw the wrong conclusions on this; just as they are now -parading out “young and healthy” 400 lbs monstrosities taken in “the prime of life.” It’s sad hemophiliacs and blood transfusion recipients in the 80s died of AIDS, just as it’s sad 400lb 48 year olds are dying of wuhan-coof, or 80 year old nursing home residents are taken a few years before their allotted times. On the other hand, seeing obviously fit 25 year old women nervously jogging outside with their masks on is pretty fucking ridiculous.
  19. Treatments/prophylaxis. There was reasonable early evidence hydroxychloroquine has some salubrious effect. However Orange Man liked it, so it had to be proven wrong with fraudulent studies. There’s still  some evidence it might have benefits. Plenty of other substances have strong evidence of effectiveness, including the humble “vitamin-D hammer.” At this point, the evidence that dying of corona-chan is partially dying of vitamin-D deficiency is so overwhemling, all public health officials should be held criminally liable for not suggesting everyone start taking 5000 iu a day. It’s good for you and will prevent other problems even if it has no effect on your Chinese lung-butter survival rates. Similar comments may apply to zinc. Ivermectin appears like it could be efficacious, both as a preventative and a treatment; maybe it is, maybe it isn’t -but it is absolutely politicized in the US at least, and I could get banned on most social media platforms for suggesting we look into it. Of course, there’s no money to be made using common and harmless drugs and supplements. More to the point, in the US, you can’t legally use experimental vaccines if there are efficacious treatments available. Saying these things, which appear to be statistical facts, is considered so dangerous, tech companies will ban hammer you for the crime of saying them. There are still huge efforts to prevent people knowing about these potential treatments, and US doctors are basically not allowed to use them, even though the side effects are fewer than that of OTC medicines such as Tylenol.  Even if the above treatments were useless or marginal; the government approves useless or marginal treatments all the time. But they typically only do so when there is money involved.  They even did it for corona-chan; remdesivir is probably useless, but it’s patented and it sure does make some money Gilead can use for campaign contributions. Instead of making these off-label treatments available to doctors, the swine remove a common and completely harmless OTC supplement, N-acetyl-cysteine from circulation when it proves it may be of utility in treating this illness. What kind of garbage human would even consider doing this? The kind of goon we hire to run the FDA apparently. Can everyone say “regulatory capture” boys and girls?
  20. Smokers. In the beginning it was hypothesized that the Chinese were dying of this new virus because many of them smoke and there’s lots of bad air in Chinese cities. Then the actual data started coming in. Turns out smokers are much less likely to be hospitalized and die of the ‘rona than non-smokers. This makes right thinkers everywhere sad. They even post obviously false papers reassuring themselves that smoking is bad mkay, but it is a huge, enormous and won’t go away statistical effect, even a dose dependent one; not quite the effectiveness of vaccines, but good enough nicotine was tested in clinical trials. I’m not suggesting people go out and buy a carton of marlboros (lord knows there are enough fearful idiots out there some would if muh science experts told them to), but it is one of those things where the “experts” are at a total loss; something they’ve been telling us is certain death for decades actually has some health-conferring benefits (FWIIW, also for Parkinsons disease). It’s part of the morality of the current year clerisy that smoking is bad mkay. A serious and cold blooded actual technocracy would accept that it confers some benefit as a coronavirus prophylaxis, figure out why smokers don’t die of rona as often as “healthy” people, and how to use it to our benefit, rather than posturing with paternalistic purity preening.  I’m told by amateur historians tobacco was thought in olden times to have protective effects against the grippe and other plagues; maybe our forefathers were right on this one. Either way it makes fools of our “experts” and is worth noting.
  21. Regime approved riots and spontaneous demonstrations of gratitude and joy didn’t spread corona virums, but evil nasty and filthy republican protests did somehow, because, I dunno, muh white privilitch or something.
  22. Censorship as public health measure. This is a truly preposterous thing in light of all of the above. Not only are Alex Jones tier tin-helmet types being censored, but respectable scientists who do not conform with the prevailing establishment opinions are also being censored and demonized. The very concept of “freedom of speech” is that voices outside of the consensus might be right about some things, and a society which practices free speech is better off than one which attempts totalitarian thought control. Of course, people are prey to all kinds of bad ideas, but our “elites” are also (allegedly) people, and it’s obvious from the above they don’t really know what they’re talking about either. Science only works in conditions of free speech, you fucking murble-wurble-wub-science nincompoops.
  23. Delta as transmissible as Chicken Pox. This is an overt lie, which I suppose they’re getting away with because of censorship as a public health measure. Chicken Pox has a reproduction number R0 of 10 or 12. Right now, the delta variant is dominant in the US, and the reproduction number R0 is below 2 in every state. Why not go for broke and say it’s 10x worse than measles (R0 of 12-18)? I mean, if you’re just making up bullshit, why not go big?
  24. Honorable mention: some of the nonsense was pretty fringe even at the time (suggestions of glory hole use for safer sex), but notable for being taken vastly more seriously than all the shit they got wrong and banned from asociable media. My very favorite was the New York Times suggesting all men become estrogen treated castrati to protect them from the fearsome ‘rona. Vitamin-D or ceasing to be a disgusting fatbody, naaaah; just chop your nuts off and take some birth control pills and everything will be great. This should probably be enshrined as some kind of apotheosis of contemporary “technocratic” thought. Because if there’s one thing we need right now, it’s more castrated men.

Could be wrong can’t tell yet:

  1. Vaccinations efficacy. Most people think of various kinds of ronavax as a sterilizing vaccination the way polio vaccines are; not so. This has obvious and non-obvious consequences. The obvious one is you could be vaccinated and get sick or die of ‘rona anyway. The not so obvious one is that this will simply cause the virus to become more easily spread to people who have been vaccinated: that’s how evolution works. It may also become more deadly: this happened with a non-sterilizing vaccine for a chicken herpes virus.  While the preliminary large scale evidence for vaccination effectiveness is reasonably convincing by now, it’s far from definitive, and is entirely short term. Back when it seemed it might be Orange Man Vaccine, they sure were cautious about shipping things too soon. It is entirely possible vaccinated countries start getting the ‘rona at rates comparable to what one would expect come winter time, we’ll know this science experiment was a towering error.  Especially if the deaths peak  up as well. I’m not saying that will happen, but it could happen, and nobody should accept “muh variants” and “muh booster shots” as explanation and solution.
    Indeed, eventually, vaccine or no vaccine, the virus will eventually be just another coronavirus endemic in the populace, just as it was in 1889 when HCoV-OC43 probably became endemic. There’s an obviously true thing our psychological terrorist “technocrats” and their enablers won’t tell you. Barring huge breakthroughs SARS‑CoV‑2 will be with us forever. It will be with us for so long, eventually it will no longer be called SARS-Cov-2; it will have some other more innocuous name like HCoV-NL63 does. It will eventually just be another respiratory virus of no particular distinction. No lung borne ailment, let alone a viral one, has ever been eliminated by humanity. FWIIW the attention paid to coronaviruses now may end up telling us a lot of sudden death or clotting or viral pneumonia is associated with rare reactions from the other endemic coronaviruses. Would be interesting to know; probably a good many human ailments we attribute to nonsense like eating bacon are actually viral or bacterial; our science is so bad here it took until 2005 to fully recognize the fact that human ulcers were caused by Helicobacter pylori.
    Oh yeah, while I’m at it; there sure are a lot of “95% effective” vaccines. I have not looked closely at the raw data, but the probability of there being multiple 95% effective vaccines seems pretty low to me; even based on Benford’s law. When I see 95% all I can think of is p-value hacking. FWIIW CDC fucked up looking at breakthrough cases, because, I guess, it would be bad marketing for the vaccines. Evidence becoming overwhelming though. Iceland is looking pretty bonkers. So much so, Iceland’s chief epidemiologist has stated that herd immunity must be achieved via viral infection. Only “kooks” seem to have noticed this, and it may be wrong, but Iceland unlike the US is still a serious country, so it must be taken at least as seriously as the idea that a 17 year old who already had the ‘rona must be vaccinated.
  2. Vaccines: strategy As evidence mounts the vaccine wasn’t as effective as the propaganda said, we’re receiving calls for mandatory vaccination and persecution of the unvaccinated from precisely the same people who told us we needed to have a war in Mesopotamia and totalitarian surveillance state. David Frum has literally never been correct about anything, and the fact that this ridiculous, sinister neocon lizard is still taken seriously is in itself completely discrediting of “the establishment.” Since deplatforming and un-personing is now a fashionable way of dealing with sources of harmful “misinformation,” if anyone is deserving of this, it is David Frum, whose ideas have literally cost the US trillions of dollars, tens of thousands of lives, and sown chaos in large swathes of the world and caused 800,000 violent deaths. You could run a pretty good public policy institute by asking Frum what he thinks, and then suggesting the country do the opposite. For certain, Frum has done vastly more harm in the world with their actual misinformation than people like the Alex Jones.
  3. Vaccines: dangers. These are unquestionably the most dangerous vaccines fielded for mass consumption for decades; there’s been around 10,000 directly attributed deaths in the US, and possibly more that didn’t get counted. There has been reasonable speculations that vaccinations may be as dangerous as the virus itself at the present levels of infection herd immunity. This is almost certainly true for younger people; now officially so as far as the UK government is concerned, and people who want to vaccinate your kids are doing so entirely out of political malice. It’s obvious now that there is some cross-immunity with other endemic coronaviruses. Unfortunately it doesn’t show up in antibodies; only in the T-cell immunity memory system. If there were a test for this, one could figure out who to give the somewhat shitty and dangerous vaccines to and leave everyone else alone.
    Oh yeah, in case you need more things to worry about, it’s entirely possible the present generation of vaccines cause something called antibody dependent enhancement, making you more likely to die if you get a wuhan-lung butter infection on some time scale (remember, everything here is a time series process). They claim this hasn’t happened, but it’s still pretty early, and I’m virtually certain that a statistician who found early evidence of it would have a hard time informing people about it, because censorship is the order of the day. FWIIW I am tracking both things, and so far it hasn’t showed up in the overall mortality statistics.
  4. Lab Leak Hypothesis. It was declared definitively that only schizos and Russian influence agents would believe the insane and silly idea that the Wuhan coof might have come from a Wuhan biological warfare laboratory, and it was obviously some Chinese guy eating a bat sandwich which gifted the world with this fun new disease. Unfortunately, the guy who originally made this statement was deeply involved in US funded research on coronaviruses in Wuhan, as was the dipshit who told us AIDS might be airborne in the 80s. This is a pattern  which repeats itself a lot; the guilty more or less returning to the scene of the crime. Nick Wade is a freaking hero for bringing this out of 4chan where it was first noticed and in to public debate, and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists deserves a lot of credit for being the first mainstream institution to give the article air.  This, of course, could also be wrong; other people point out that enemies of the US were hit particularly hard by the virums…. and afterall, our people were funding the Wuhan lab. Could have been a deliberate release by US neocon types.  It’s not like the US never did such a thing before. I suppose it could also have been a bat sandwich. None the less, if the “experts” got their way, this wouldn’t be under consideration; and it is of supreme importance that people get to the bottom of it and prevent it from happening again, whatever the origin was.
  5. Immunity syndrome. Locking people up and masking them for a year and a half has consequences. All the masking and social distancing means you didn’t get your usual amount of viruses living in your respiratory tract. New Zealand, for example, has a weird outbreak of something called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).  Israel has had an unprecedented outbreak of summer colds, RSV and flu now that they’re back to “normal.” We have no idea how this will play out; the immune system is pretty weird, and people don’t realize the human lung has a biome; an ecology, just like the little buggers that live in your intestines. Remember, Polio was basically caused by keeping babies clean; it was a common human virus, but babies all were infected with it before their nervous systems could be damaged by it. Once they stopped being infected in early infancy, the full horror of the disease became apparent. Something like this could easily happen, and it hasn’t been considered by official “experts” at all.
  6. Muh variants. They keep saying Delta is more dangerous to young people. Except the data says it isn’t. Maybe some day data will come out saying the delta variant is more dangerous, but it sure looks like it’s less dangerous to me. It is apparently slightly more transmissible, but that’s not the same as “more deadly.” That’s kind of how evolution works; of course the dominant strain will be more transmissible and less debilitating.

Fun hatefacts <tm>: the CDC’s figures for total deaths appear to be accurate. The number of deaths they attribute to corona-chan is approximately equal to the number of excess deaths during the time of the ‘rona. Kudos to the little guys working on these numbers at the CDC; statistical lions led by donkeys. Schizos; no denying it, you can’t hide dead bodies. Of course, most of them were, well, old and fragile. Over 65s have a 1/20 risk of death if they catch the Wuhan flu. Of course, they have about the same chance of death in a given year period, in the absence of something like corona-chan. Being old radically increases your chance of dying. I know it’s hard for some of you to deal with, but it’s a fact. FWIIW, if you’re a 30 year old man, you have a 1/2000 chance of dropping dead of ‘rona if you catch it, or, like, a 1/1200 chance of dropping dead this year from being a 30 year old man (your long term probability of death is 1/1 BTW). Women have it easier of course; both of ‘rona and of being alive.

The technocratic managerial state, the main western governmental system since 1945, has failed. It’s not a big surprise, as most of the people involved in it these days are nothing like bloody minded and competent Glen Seaborg tier technocrats who actually practice scientific thought. They’re just regime apparatchiks, generally fourth rate intellects and personalities whose spiritual level is somewhere between dishonest clerk and agricultural slave. They’re sleazy dimwit ninnies role-playing as learned wizards. This is the West’s Chernobyl moment for this manner of technocrat. These are people so weak, cowardly and generally useless, they can’t abide being contradicted on the freaking internet. For all the caterwauling about “misinformation” -most of it seems to come from the self-proclaimed “experts” and their human soybean fans and hysterical enablers. Even if those clowns started machine gunning critics like the Soviet apparatchiks they resemble, this is still how they look to the narrow aristocracy of sensible people:

Muh wub science bubbleheads getting 5 different vaccines to protext themselves from death, bleaching their groceries and wearing masks by themselves in an automobile make voodoo adherents look sensible. The fact that large swathes of the population has no respect for the clodpated  numskulls making the decisions is as predictable as ballistics; nobody should -they’ve been wrong about virtually everything. The fact that all these tittering doofuses can do in response is … become more authoritarian probably means their time in power is coming to an ignominious end. Whipping up twitter mobs to, like shout down the actual scientists thinking about the problem is not as they say, a sustainable system for alleged technocrats. Much as I’d love to see a few of them hanging from the guts of news reporters, pour encourager les autres, depriving them of their pensions and forcing them to get jobs at the Apple genius bar would probably hurt them more. If you really want people to “believe the experts” the “experts” could try being correct more often, and admitting their numerous and egregious failures.  People with power should be held accountable, and they certainly shouldn’t be applying censorship when they’ve proved they have no fucking idea what they’re talking about.

 

 

 

Tierney scooped me, more or less, but his thing isn’t a cool list like mine:
https://www.city-journal.org/panic-pandemic?wallit_nosession=1

“Whatever the pandemic’s origin, the response to it is the worst mistake in the history of the public-health profession”

Historical fuck up:

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200918-the-fiasco-of-the-us-swine-flu-affair-of-1976
https://www.history.com/news/swine-flu-rush-vaccine-election-year-1976

TLDR from bodybuilder chad a year ago:

Edit add: I keep forgetting to mention it, but animal reservoirs (cats, rats, birds; even deer) are probably driving a lot of this, and probably invalidates leaky vaccines as a strategy.

“AI” and the human informational centipede

Posted in fraud, stats jackass of the month by Scott Locklin on September 2, 2017

Useful journalism about technology is virtually nonexistent in the present day. It is a fact little commented on, but easily understood. In some not too distant past, there were actually competent science and technology journalists who were paid to be good at their jobs. There are still science and technology journalists, but for the most part, there are no competent ones actually investigating things. The wretches we have now mostly assist with press releases. Everyone capable of doing such work well is either too busy, too well paid doing something else, or too cowardly to speak up and notice the emperor has no clothes.

Consider: there are now 5 PR people for every reporter in America.  Reporters are an endangered species. Even the most ethical and well intentioned PR people are supposed to put the happy face on the soap powder, but when they don’t understand a technology, outright deception is inevitable. Modern “reporters” mostly regurgitate what the PR person tells them without any quality control.

The lack of useful reporting is a difficulty presently confronting Western Civilization as a whole; the examples are obvious and not worth enumerating. Competent full time reporters who are capable of actually debunking fraudulent tech PR bullshit and a mandate to do so: I estimate that there are approximately zero of these existing in these United States at the moment.

What happens when marketing people at a company talk to some engineers? Even the most honest marketing people hear what they want to hear, and try to spin it in the best possible way to win the PR war, and make their execs happy.  Execs read the “news” which is basically marketing releases from their competitors. They think this is actual information, rather than someone else’s press release.  Hell, I’ve even seen executives ask engineers for capabilities they heard about from reading their own marketing press releases, and being confused as to why these capabilities were actually science fiction. So, when your read some cool article in tech crunch on the latest woo, you aren’t actually reading anything real or accurate. You’re reading the result of a human informational centipede where a CEO orders a marketing guy to publish bullshit which is then consumed by decision makers who pay for investments in technology which doesn’t do what they think it does.

centipede

 

Machine learning and its relatives are the statistics of the future: the way we learn about the way the world works. Of course, machines aren’t actually “learning” anything. They’re just doing statistics. Very beautiful, complex, and sometimes mysterious statistics, but it’s still statistics. Nobody really knows how people learn things and infer new things from abstract or practical knowledge. When someone starts talking about “AI,” based on some machine learning technique, the Berzerker rage comes upon me. There is no such thing as “AI” as a science or a technology. Anyone who uses that phrase is a dreamer, a liar or a fool.

You can tell when a nebulous buzzword like “AI” has reached peak “human information centipede;” when oligarchs start being afraid of it. You have the famous example of Bill Joy being deathly afraid of “nanotech,” a previously hyped “technology” which persists in not existing in the corporeal world. Charlatan thinktanks like the “center for responsible nanotechnology” popped up to relieve oligarchs of their easy money, and these responsible nanotech assclowns went on to … post nifty articles on things that don’t exist.

These days, we have Elon Musk petrified that a near relative of logistic regression is going to achieve sentience and render him unable to enjoy the usufructs of his toils. Charlatan “thinktanks” dedicated to “friendly AI” (and Harry Potter slashfic) have sprung up. Goofball non-profits designed to make “AI” more “safe” by making it available as open source (think about that for a minute) actually exist. Funded, of course, by the paranoid oligarchs who would be better off reading a book, adjusting their exercise program or having their doctor adjust their meds.

Chemists used nanotech hype to drum up funding for research they were interested in. I don’t know of anything useful or interesting which came out of it, but in our declining civilization, I have no real problem with chemists using such swindles to improve their funding. Since there are few to no actual “AI” researchers existing in the world, I suppose the “OpenAI” institute will use their ill gotten gainz to fund machine learning researchers of some kind; maybe even something potentially useful. But, like the chemists, they’re just using it to fund things which are presently popular. How did the popular things get popular? The human information centipede, which is now touting deep reinforcement networks as the latest hotness.

My copy of Sutton and Barto was published in 1998. It’s a tremendous and interesting bunch of techniques, and the TD-gammon solution to Backgammon is a beautiful result for the ages. It is also nothing like “artificial intelligence.” No reinforcement learning gizmo is going to achieve sentience any more than an Unscented Kalman filter is going to achieve sentience. Neural approaches to reinforcement learning are among the least interesting applications of RL, mostly because it’s been done for so long. Why not use RL on other kinds of models? Example, this guy used Nash Equilibrium equations to build a pokerbot using RL. There are also interesting problems where RL with neural nets could be used successfully, and where an open source version would be valuable: natural language, anomaly detection. RL frameworks would also help matters. There are numerous other online approaches which are not reinforcement learning, but potentially even more interesting. No, no, we need to use RL to teach a neural net to play freaking vidya games and call it “AI.” I vaguely recall in the 1980s, when you needed to put a quarter into a machine to play vidya on an 8-bit CPU, the machines had pretty good “AI” which was able to eventually beat even the best players. Great work guys. You’ve worked really hard to do something which was doable in the 1980s.

“The bot learned the game from scratch by self-play, and does not use imitation learning or tree search. This is a step towards building AI systems which accomplish well-defined goals in messy, complicated situations involving real humans.”

No, you’ve basically just reproduced TD-gammon on a stupid video game.  “AI systems which accomplish well-defined goals in messy … situations” need to have human-like judgment and use experience from unrelated tasks to do well at new tasks. This thing does nothing of the sort.  This is a pedestrian exercise in what reinforcement learning is designed to do. The fact that it comes with accompanying marketing video (one which probably cost as much as a half year grad student salary, where it would have been better spent) ought to indicate what manner of “achievement” this is.

Unironic use of the word “AI” is a sure tell of dopey credulity, but the stupid is everywhere, unchecked and rampaging like the ending of Tetsuo the Iron Man.

Imagine someone from smurftown took a data set relating spurious correlations in the periodic table of the elements to stock prices, ran k-means on it, and declared himself a hedge fund manager for beating the S&P by 10%. Would you be impressed? Would you you tout this in a public place? Well, somebody did, and it is the thing which finally caused me to chimp out. This is classic Price of Butter in Bangladesh stupid data mining tricks. Actually, price of butter in Bangladesh makes considerably more sense than this. At least butter prices are meaningful, unlike spurious periodic element correlations to stock returns.

This is so transparently absurd, I had thought it was a clever troll. So I looked around the rest of the website, and found a heart felt declaration that VC investments are not bets. Because VCs really caaaare, man. As if high rollers at the horse races never took an interest in the digestion of their favorite horses and superfluous flesh on their jockeys. Russians know what the phrase “VC” means (туалет). I suppose with this piece of information it still could be a clever Onionesque parody, but I have it on two degrees of Erdős and Kevin Bacon that the author of this piece is a real Venture Capitalist, and he’s not kidding. More recently how “Superintelligent AI will kick ass” and “please buy my stacked LSTMs because I said AI.” Further scrolling on the website reveals one of the organizers of OpenAI is also involved. So, I assume we’re supposed to take it seriously. I don’t; this website is unadulterated bullshit.

gartner

Gartner: they’re pretty good at spotting things which are +10 years away (aka probably never happen)

A winter is coming; another AI winter. Mostly because sharpers, incompetents and frauds are touting things which are not even vaguely true. This is tragic, as there has been some progress in machine learning and potentially lucrative and innovative companies based on it will never happen. As in the first AI winter, it’s because research is being driven by marketing departments and irresponsible people.

But hey, I’m just some bozo writing in his underpants, don’t listen to me, listen to some experts:

http://www.rogerschank.com/fraudulent-claims-made-by-IBM-about-Watson-and-AI

http://thinkingmachines.mit.edu/blog/unreasonable-reputation-neural-networks

https://medium.com/project-juno/how-to-avoid-another-ai-winter-d0915f1e4798#.uwo31nggc

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/3454567_Avoiding_Another_AI_Winter

Edit Add (Sept 5, 2017):

Congress is presently in hearings on “AI”. It’s worth remembering congress had hearings on “nanotech” in 2006.

http://www.nanotechproject.org/news/archive/congressional_hearing_on_nanotechnology/

“By 2014, it is estimated that there could be $2.6 trillion worth of products in the global marketplace which have incorporated nanotechnology. There is significant concern in industry, however, that the projected economic growth of nanotechnology could be undermined by either real environmental and safety risks of nanotechnology or the public’s perception that such risks exist.”

Edit Add (Sept 10, 2017) (Taken from Mark Ames):

My favorite photo of this wacky election

Posted in stats jackass of the month, Uncategorized by Scott Locklin on November 9, 2016

This dope got lucky in 2012, essentially using “take the mean” and was hailed as a prophet. He was wrong about virtually everything, and if someone were to make a table of his predictions over time and calculate Brier scores, I’m pretty sure he’ll get a higher score than Magic-8 ball (Brier scores, lower is better). Prediction is difficult, as the sage said, especially regarding the future. Claiming you can do prediction when you can’t is irresponsible and can actually be dangerous.
silver.jpg

While he richly deserves to find his proper station in life as an opinionated taxi driver, this clown is unfortunately likely to be with us for years to come, bringing shame on the profession of quantitative analysis of data. We’ll be watching, Nate.