Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

Kimberlin’s empr dot media website continues to muddle along, but almost all of the news stories seem to relate to the quasi-war between Ukraine and Russia and COVID in Ukraine. Both are reasonable stories to be tracking, but … well, I’ll need to do a bit more research before I say more.

Papiere, Bitte!

I was given a shot record card with the details of first dose of COVID vaccine, and I expect it will be updated when I receive the second dose. I’ll pass the information on to the appropriate health care providers so they can keep my records up to date.

Yesterday, Rep. Mike Loychik tweeted, “Vaccine passports have no place in a free society,” to which I replied, “Well, yes. That’s why they are being proposed.”

I don’t plan to carry my vaccination records as some sort of internal passport.

Slow Blogging

Blogging was running in low gear at Hogewash! yesterday, and it will slow today as well. I woke up yesterday with a severe pain in my left maxillary sinus caused by an infection. The doc prescribed a course of industrial-strength antibiotics and some very nice pain pills. It may be a while before I sober up.

A Science Experiment

Whether or not they have realized what they were doing, the political leaders of several states have been conducting a scientific experiment. Their implied hypothesis is that extended draconian restrictions on the activities of the people in their states would result in fewer deaths from the Wuhan virus pandemic. Simultaneously several other states took the opposite approach to managing the pandemic, effectively providing a control group for the restrictive state experiment. We now have data comparing the results of the two approaches. Has the restrictive state hypothesis been falsified?

Here’s a chart of the relative performance of the states plowing relative levels of restriction versus death rate. A higher number on the death rate axis corresponds to a higher death rate. A higher number on the restriction axis corresponds to tighter restrictions.Chart Source: Wallethub

While there are more restrictive states among the ten best performing states, restrictive states account for half of the ten worst. Thus, the data do not support the hypothesis that tight restrictions on the public’s activities necessarily will result in relatively lower death rates.

It’s possible that tight restrictions on public activity might be beneficial in some circumstance, but the data also suggest the possibility that many other factors have affected the variation in performance among the states. For example, Hawaii and Vermont have relatively high restrictions, but are their low death rates a result of their relative isolation from the nation’s large population centers or some other factor? Could such relative isolation have a part in Nebraska’s low death rate? Could California’s high poverty rate be affecting its poor performance?

The science isn’t settled on exactly why some states are doing better than others, but it does seem to show that lockdowns and other such measures weren’t and aren’t a magic bullet.

Oh, one more thing …

The average unemployment rate in the the most restrictive states is 7.1% (9% in California). The national rate is 6.7%. The rate in the least restrictive states is 4.7% (3.1 % in Iowa).

A Reasonable Hypothesis

Ali Alexander has a website up that deals with an hypothesis relating to Joe Biden’s health. He suggests that Biden may have Parkinson’s disease and presents evidence to support his hypothesis. The case isn’t airtight, but it’s a reasonable starting point for discussion of an import issue which the Biden campaign has tried to avoid.

Watch the video and discuss it among yourselves and with others.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

The ostensible reason for Bill Schmalfeldt’s recent “retirement” is a flare up of his Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Many were amazed by the apparent remission he enjoyed over the past couple of years as he bounced from one broadcasting gig to another. The Cabin Boy’s™ Symptoms were the subject of this post which appeared three years ago today. It appeared at the end a long series of posts that day debunking claims he was making during LOLsuit VIII: Avoiding Contact.

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Bill Schmalfeldt may have taken my suggestion that he thoroughly search this blog for references to him as a child pornographer or as someone faking Parkinson’s disease because he logged in to Hogewash! and conducted these searched this evening—

6:51:45 pm ET search=parkinson’s
6:56:27 pm ET search=child
6:58:39 pm ET search=pornography

So, how did that work out for him? I can’t say for sure, but at 7:08 pm this evening, I received a tweet from him with a dead link to one of his old websites and a copy of one of the pornographic images he created of me that was part of the evidence supporting Judge Stansfield’s finding that the Cabin Boy™ was likely to continue to harass me and that the first peace order should be extended.

The Gentle Reader should make up his own mind about what all that means.

UPDATE—So the Cabin Boy™ thinks I’ve lied?The Cabin Boy™ says I lied about his putting my face into pornographic images, specifically, an image involving anal intercourse. He may recognize the image on the left. It was stored on his Patriot-Ombudsman website as Screen-Shot-2013-03-24-at-5.07.52-PM_clipped_rev_1-2.33.37.png. (Since it was stolen from a video by Peter Ingemi, the Cabin Boy™ has no rights to the image.) It was this image that he photoshopped on the body of a man on the receiving in of anal sex. I have the original post as he published it in the vault, but I won’t post it here because I intend to keep my end of the 2014 Settlement Agreement. Also, this isn’t a porn site, so I do not choose to have such filth on this blog. However, if the Cabin Boy™ wants the image included in a court filing, I will do that if necessary. But he may want to remember Judge Kramer’s reaction to the other homoerotic image he posted with my face photoshopped in when it was entered into evidence in Schmalfeldt v. Hoge, et al.

Murum aries attigit.

UPDATE 2—The Dreadful Pro-Se Schmalfeldt may also remember tweeting this just before he posted that homoerotic image—

UPDATE 3—I’ll take this tweet as permission to reproduce the Cabin Boy’s™ original blog post and/or the homoerotic image here at Hogewash!However, I stand by my decision not to reproduce Schmalfeldt’s filth on this blog. For now, the most I will do is show the small section of the original image at right. The area behind my face has been blurred to remove pornographic content.

If the Cabin Boy™ wants to press the issue in court, I’m willing to produce all the evidence I have.

UPDATE 4—I grabbed the tweet in UPDATE 3 out of my web browser immediately after seeing this tweet pop up in Tweet Deck—I normally save tweets as rendered by a browser because they tend to be more compact when included in a blog post. Note that the timestamp on the this tweet is 3:10 am, 9 July. My Tweet Deck program uses UTC which is +4 hours from ET. The tweet in UPDATE 3 is timestamped one minute later.

It appears that in the interval between when I noticed the new tweet in Tweet Deck and the time I opened my browser, the Cabin Boy™ deleted his original tweet and retweeted it without the words, “Post the image …”

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BTW, it appears that Schmalfeldt is no more successful building an audience on YouTube than he was trying to gin up believable claims during his LOLsuits. As of 8:30 ET yesterday evening, he hadn’t picked up any additional subscribers since last Thursday.

Who Wants To Go To Work?

I don’t especially want to go to work. I’m doing just fine, sitting in my office at home and telecommuting. As long as I keep getting paid with money that has sufficient purchasing power in the economy, I’d just as soon not have to drive to someone else’s office to do what I can to across the hall from my kitchen. (And my coffee is better than the Folger’s junk that seems to infest so many workplace coffee pots.)

Looking around the neighborhood, I can see several other professionals who have moved their work into their homes and who are continuing to do well economically. Other neighbors aren’t doing so well. They normally engage in businesses, trades, and professions that require close one-on-one interactions with people. Some of them haven’t earned anything for weeks.

Gentle Reader, can you guess which group is more favorably disposed to reopening the economy quickly?

On the leading edge of the Wuhan virus pandemic, most Americans were willing to put up with some significant disruptions in their personal lives in order to protect the public health. There really was a sense of “we’re in this all together,” but that has dissipated as people who want to feed their families are told by a governor that they can’t buy seeds to plant in their gardens because of a virus lockdown. Another governor’s sending Covid19-infected patients to old folks’ homes has not increased the public’s trust in government’s competence either. Thus, we have a large group of Americans who are wanting to and are ready to go back to work—and who are losing or have lost patience with the “experts.”

Meanwhile, those of us doing “essential” work have been paid all along—at least so far—but now, the lack of tax revenue is eating away the ability of many states and localities to make payroll. Oh, and advertising is now down, resulting in media layoffs. It may be that some of the less protected members of the “essentials” may begin to favor reopening the economy as well.

So, who is still in favor of broad, non-targeted lockdowns? Cui bono?

That should be an interesting topic for research by a good investigative reporter.

You know, I once saw a movie about investigative reporters. The line in the film that helped them put their big story together was the advice, “Follow the money.” I’ll bet that would be good advice for this story.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

When you’re writing about a bunch of psycho, you can wind up writing about psychology. This TKPOTD appeared six years ago today.

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This post is about Team Kimberlin and psychology, that is to say, their crude attempts at the practice of psychology. One of the characteristics that I noticed fairly soon into my coverage of these folks was their continued reference to the alleged mental illnesses of those who wrote about them. This has included such absurd claims as that someone might be dangerously violent because he has ADD. Or that another person has substance abuse problems. I’m supposed to have OCD.

According to the DSM-IV (that’s the psychologists’ diagnostic bible), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a ego dystonic disorder. That means that the sufferer actually suffers because he is distressed by his own behavior. I am pleased to say that I’m not usually bothered by my own behavior, so if I have anything like OCD, it would be Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder which is ego syntonic, meaning that the behavior fits with the person’s self-image and doesn’t cause him distress. Someone with OCPD is not aware of anything abnormal. He explains why his actions are rational, it is usually impossible to convince him otherwise, and he tends to derive pleasure from his obsessions or compulsions. Those around him suffer.

I’m told neither OCD nor OCPD fits me; however, Jerk NOS has been suggested by a friend who is a psychologist. I think she was joking.

But back to Team Kimberlin …

If I remember my Pysch 101 from 1966 (or there about) correctly, Sigmund Freud defined psychological projection as a defense mechanism by which a person unconsciously rejects his own unacceptable attributes by ascribing them to objects or persons in the outside world instead. Projection involves psychically expelling one’s negative qualities onto others. It’s a common psychological process, and I suppose projecting one’s own propensity for violence and lying or one’s own obsessive behaviors onto others makes it easier to live with a corrupt personality.

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Crazy People Are Dangerous™

Crudely Modeling Herd Immunity

So what is this “herd immunity” that people keep talking about?

It works something like this:

Adam becomes infected with some disease. We’ll call it Batpox for this example. It turns out that the statistics of Batpox’s transmissibility are such that it is about as contagious as measles. Measles has a basic reproduction number (R0) of about 12. When Adam goes to visit his friends Betty and Chuck, the odds are high that they will both become infected as well—unless they are already immune because of a previous encounter with the disease or a vaccine. OTOH, if enough of the people Adam contacts while he’s sick are immune to Batpox, the disease isn’t likely to spread any further. A population has reached herd immunity for a disease when enough of the population is immune to prevent the disease from easily spreading.

The percentage of population required for herd immunity is greater for larger values of R0. The formula for the approximate percentage of immune individuals necessary for herd immunity is

X = (1 – 1/Ro) X 100

For measles X is about 92 %. That’s why it’s important for kids to be vaccinated in order to get the number of immune individuals as high as possible.

The initial estimate of R0 for the Wuhan virus was around 2.7. That would imply that we’d need about 63 % of the population to be immune in order to achieve herd immunity. However, the Real World data for Covid-19 shows much lower values for R0. That’s values, plural, because different places have different factors that affect transmissibility.

Take a look at these charts of how R0 has varied over time in various states. (Source: rt.live) The solid lines represent the calculated values for R0 and the shaded areas around the lines show the confidence intervals for the calculations based on the amount and quality of the data. These plots are for entire states; the New York and Michigan numbers would be even lower with the effects of New York City and Detroit removed.

Note that these states have all achieved an R0 of about 1. Plugging that value into our formula for herd immunity gives a required immunity percentage of … pokes at calculator …  zero.

Now, I’ve been engaged in modeling here, and we know how problematic that can be, but I believe this gives us a hint about why people are ready to get back to their normal lives in large swaths of the country. Certainly, a value of R0 below 1 explains why the death toll hasn’t spiked in Georgia.

There are still places in the country struggling to contain the Wuhan virus outbreak, and they should be supported in their efforts. However, the data support letting the rest of the country get on with our lives.

I’m So Old …

… I remember when they taught this sort of stuff in ECON 101.

What happens when people are out of work and lots of stores are closed? Income tax and sales tax revenue drops. Bloomberg is reporting that New York’s tax collections have dropped by over two-thirds. Meanwhile, over on the left coast KPIX reports that Governor Hairgel is proposing pay cuts for California state workers because state revenues are down over 20 percent.

As the old Russian proverb says, “Го́лой овцы́ не стригу́т. (One doesn’t shear naked sheep.)” I suspect that we’re about to see a large portion of the bureaucracy begin to favor an expeditious reopening of the economy.

Fighting the Last War

There’s an old adage which states that most armies are prepared to fight the last war. It has a deep basis in Reality. After our 1892 medium-power Krag rifles were outclassed by the full-power Mausers used by the Spanish in 1898, we adopted the Mauser-clone 1903 Springfield for World War I. The lessons learned about firepower in that war led to the adoption of the M1, which would have been a superior weapon in WW1, but was outclassed by the German Strumgewehr 44 (the original assault rifle) by the end of WW2. We entered the Viet Nam War armed with the M14, which would have been a great weapon for WW2, only to be outgunned by the other side’s AK47s, true assault rifles. I went through basic training with an M14, but was finally issued an M16 in Viet Nam.

Armies aren’t the only bureaucracies that cling to outdated “solutions.” The public health response to the Wuhan virus pandemic is a case in point.

The 1918 influenza pandemic was worse than it had to be, in part, because of the failure of some communities to take proper measures to prevent rapid spreading. The proper lesson from that pandemic is that dangerous communicable diseases must be contained by reducing interpersonal contact until other means of fighting it are available.

The initial restrictions imposed as public health measures dealing with Covid-19 were reasonable and cautious responses to a potentially catastrophic situation. They would have been excellent in combating the 1918 flu, but it appears that they’ve been overkill in vast swaths of America with disastrous unintended (I hope) consequences. For many the cure is worse than the disease.

Most Real World situations don’t track well with our attempt to model them because we never seem to be able to understand all of the ways that things interact. Experience and common sense and a willingness to take risks are necessary live in the Real World. Credentials are not the same thing as experience, and non-expert expertise has failed. It’s time to get back to living in the Real World. That will require that public health concerns take their rightful place among other factors to balances with economic realities and civil rights.

Bending the Curve

Here’s the Wuhan virus stats for Maryland as found around noon today at the State Department of Health’s Covid web page. These show for confirmed cases and confirmed deaths.Note that the moving average death rate has been flat at roughly 46 (±2) per day for the past two weeks. It will be useful to learn what factor or factors caused that abrupt downward bend (from the +2 deaths/day slope of the previous three weeks), and why deaths have plateaued rather than falling as initial modeling predicted.

Stay tuned.

A Karen Named Patricia

Reason has a post up about what happened in St. Louis when the identities of the tipsters who had reported businesses operating in violation of a shutdown order were posted on Facebook. Their complaints were matters of public record and were obtained under Missouri’s sunshine law by Jared Totsch, who was interviewed by a local TV station.

“I’d call it poetic justice, instant Karma, a dose of their own medicine,” he responded. “What goes around, comes around. They are now experiencing the same pain that they themselves helped to inflict on those they filed complaints against.”

The station also interviewed one of the tipsters, a woman named Patricia.

“I saw a lot of businesses that were non-essential that were open and had lines outside, parking lots filled as if the order didn’t matter to them,” she explained to the station. “And that was kinda frustrating.”

Patricia says she has lupus and is particularly at risk during the Wuhan virus pandemic. She may be, but lots of other people are also especially at risk, including me. I’m elderly and have heart problems. However, I need to weigh my risks against the risks of the people around me; I need to take reasonable precautions for my own health while imposing the least possible bother on others.

People like me may have special risks, but everyone has general risks caused by curtailing “non-essential” activities for too long.

People are being impoverished by layoffs and business shutdowns, and that artificially induced poverty is stealing away resources required for healthy living. Children are missing well-child medical visits, delaying vaccinations and increasing their risk of childhood diseases. Taxes needed to finance the operation of public health infrastructure won’t be paid on income that isn’t generated. The list goes on.

The time has come to begin moving to more targeted responses to the pandemic. There are probably communities and activities that still should remain locked down, but most of the country is ready for less heavy-handed measures.

The Karens have had a nice run for the past couple of months. It’s time for them to let go.

Bending the Curve

Earlier this week, I posted day-by-day graphs of the Wuhan virus cases and deaths reported for Maryland by the state’s Department of Health. Here are updated charts.

First, the daily new confirmed cases—Over the past few days the curve was trending downward, but the large spike of new confirmed cases on 1 May has pushed the moving average up again. I don’t have any information about the 1 May data other than the raw number. It may have been caused by the state’s testing program finding a large at-risk population, or it there may have been a burst of new cases.

OTOH, the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths is beginning to trend down.

If the spike in new cases is just noise in the data, then Maryland may have turned the corner on the pandemic.

We shall see

Bending the Curve

I went over the the Maryland Department of Health’s coronavirus website and found the daily numbers for confirmed new Wuhan virus cases and deaths. Here’s the data. The green bars are the daily raw numbers. That data is rather noisy. The blue lines are the 5-day moving averages.

First, the confirmed new cases day by day—

Second, the daily deaths—Eamining the case data, it looks as if the number of cases hasn’t diverged far from a linear rising slope. Projecting the trend present around the first of this month onward yields about the same rate as we actually have now. If the was exponential growth, the exponent wasn’t much more than 1. Maryland hasn’t turned the corner on new cases yet, but it appears that we’ve kept the rate of increase from exploding as it did in New York City.

The downward bend in the death rate over the last few days is a hopeful sign.

Maryland’s response to the pandemic hasn’t been perfect, but we have achieved better results than some without having to go to full-tilt, nanny-state fascist as have some jurisdictions. Now comes the hard part. We need to reengage the economy without reinvigorating the virus.

The Day It Finally Bothered Me

Being required to stay at home for the past month has resulted in occasional inconvenience, but hasn’t been truly bothersome. Attending church and other Zoom meetings over the phone had been my biggest annoyance. (Zoom isn’t installed on any of my devices because of security issues. I connect to those meetings with a landline phone.) My son happened to pick up toilet paper, paper towels, and other household staples at Costco a few days before things went nuts, and the stores where we shop have generally restocked well after the initial disruption. Working from home has actually been more productive because I’ve had fewer interruptions and meetings via Microsoft Teams usually have run more efficiently than face-to-face meetings. Doing The Other Podcast from Studio B here at Stately Hoge Manor is easier in some ways and more challenging in others than schlepping gear to an undisclosed location each week.

But yesterday, something about the shutdown finally truly bothered me.

Yesterday was Arbor Day.

My late wife Connie was deeply involved in issues related to natural resources, especially trees. She served as the President of our county’s Forestry Board and was a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council of Forest Sustainability. The photo on the left shows Connie in a hollow sycamore tree. It was taken while she was with a group of Forestry Board people measuring trees to determine the largest of various species in the county.

Connie died on Thanksgiving Day, 2016. On Arbor Day, 2017, a group of friends planted a sycamore tree in her honor in a county park. The Gentle Reader should not be surprised to learn that I go by the park from time to time to see how her tree is doing. Yesterday, was the first Arbor Day that I missed going. The park is closed.