Friday Squid Blogging: Humboldt Squid Backlight Themselves to Communicate More Clearly

This is neat:

Deep in the Pacific Ocean, six-foot-long Humboldt squid are known for being aggressive, cannibalistic and, according to new research, good communicators.

Known as “red devils,” the squid can rapidly change the color of their skin, making different patterns to communicate, something other squid species are known to do.

But Humboldt squid live in almost total darkness more than 1,000 feet below the surface, so their patterns aren’t very visible. Instead, according to a new study, they create backlighting for the patterns by making their bodies glow, like the screen of an e-reader.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Posted on April 24, 2020 at 4:15 PM88 Comments


Brian April 24, 2020 4:35 PM

That’s terrifying. I was so afraid that squid was going to kill him. I can’t imagine going out into open water like that to search for those things at night. It’s the stuff of nightmares.

MarkH April 24, 2020 6:07 PM

A Practical Pandemic Step Which Can be Started Immediately

Despite all of the news, attention, investigations and information related to Covid-19, the unknowns and uncertainties remain enormous. Without clarifying some of these unknowns, setting best policies for minimizing casualties and restoring social and economic functioning, is like groping in the dark.

Among the commenters here, a few of us have been “huddling over the abacus” (thanks to lurker for that phrase!) trying to infer the critical parameters from woefully insufficient data. It’s perhaps more scientific than divining the future from goat entrails … but not by much.

A New York Times opinion piece proposes a program of randomized virus testing, to provide better answers:

Author Louis Kaplow focuses on the U.S., but the data and concept would certainly apply in many places.

Although there is a painful shortage in virus testing availability — and will continue to be, for a long time — the fraction of testing needed for such a program would be minute, and the value of the data enormous.

For regional studies, a few thousand tests would be sufficient, and nationwide a few hundred thousand. As test capacity gradually increases, only a few percent of that would be needed to conduct this program in the next few weeks1. Even better, numerous laboratories are newly coming online for SARS-Cov-2 testing, and must await certification for clinical use; their temporarily idle capacity could be devoted to population sampling without impairing medical needs.

A key concept on which Kaplow focuses, is that the present application of testing is extremely biased. For example, almost all present testing is limited to people with symptoms. That’s not the only bias; those who fail to access medical care, from whatever causes, will not be counted. Random population sampling, if diligently performed, can greatly reduce such measurement bias.

Because young people rarely develop significant sickness from SARS-Cov-2, we are largely blind to their infection rates. Random population sampling, with questionnaires for all and follow-up for those who test positive, could answer many questions:

• What are the actual case numbers?
• What proportion of cases have no symptoms?
• What proportion of cases need hospitals? or intensive care?
• What proportion of cases are fatal?
• How do these parameters vary with age?
• How do various social distancing measures correlate with case rates?

Random population sampling could answer these questions with a high degree of precision and confidence, reducing the error bands for some parameters to just a few percent.

This would provide a solid foundation for formulating and evaluating public policy.

I’m guessing that for many readers of this blog, the only part of the proposal that won’t make sense, is that it hasn’t been done already.

1 It would also be of great value to perform follow-up sampling over time, especially to see how changes in “lockdown” rules and other factors relate to infection rates.

lurker April 24, 2020 6:59 PM

@Mr.Peed Off: software liablity?
Might be just Covid has reduced the billable hours around the lawfare crowd, and they’re scratching for ideas…

Canon April 24, 2020 7:12 PM

Hi i was asked today about a scenario where your pnones baseband needs to be isolated.

So how do you do this?
There are some things to think about one is something called voice enabled device.

Barrier for voice enabling is easy and it takes care of that
Secondary use asterisk with an encryption that is not part of CALEA look it up so you know how that asterisk service need to be done

Be prepared to get some alfabet agencies come after you, its not if but one hundred persent sure they will…

Clive Robinson April 24, 2020 7:15 PM

@ MarkH,

A New York Times opinion piece proposes a program of randomized virus testing, to provide better answers:

There’s actually just been a test using a cohort ot 3000.

The results indicate that of the 19.4 million NY residents some 2.7 million have been infected. Taken with the NY recorded cases with a CFR of 7.4 it brings the likely CFR down to below 1%.

I’m still reading it because the actual cohort was not truly random in that it was taken from “people outdoors at stores” amongst other things (thus technically it’s not random but a “self selecting group” of shoppers and the like).

Remember in a lockdown the only real infection route to more hosts for the virus is through the likes of supermarkets and shopps.

Clive Robinson April 24, 2020 7:22 PM

@ Brian, ALL,

When I read,

    “six-foot-long …. are known for being aggressive, cannibalistic and, according to new research, good communicators.”

I thought just like bl@@dy politicians.

In Mexico they hang then up on large hooks (that’s the squid 😉

But yeah having seen a video of a fisherman pulling one in I would not want to be in the water with one, they realy are the stuff of nightmares writ large.

lurker April 24, 2020 7:46 PM


For a start, there’s so much uncertainty concerning CFR.

F is certain, the patient is dead, or not dead. Cause of death can be determined post mortem with a high degree of certainty. If Covid19 is present and the death is listed as due to some other co-morbidity that is a political decision. C is certain, it is the number of cases identified, and often hospitalized. What is uncertain is Cw, the cases in the wild, because: the disease is infectious before symptoms present; the disease can be present with no symptoms; random testing is not being done. The “random” testing quoted in several sources appears to be a self-selected cohort, mostly adults who are out and about and volunteer to be tested.

The virus has spread quickly and knows no political boundaries. To bring it under control, we must act in the same manner; speed and international cooperation are essential to protect health, privacy, and the economy.

Good luck with that…

MarkH April 24, 2020 8:14 PM


That’s the survey I referred to on another thread, implying that about 0.55% of infected New Yorkers are (as of yet) officially recorded as having died.

It differs from Kaplow’s proposal in at least three important respects:

  1. Kaplow’s program is for virus testing, whereas the New York survey used antibody tests … so they were measuring quite different things. For good or for ill, the meaning of antibody tests is still quite speculative, whereas virus tests are conducted under a regulatory regime intended to control quality. At this time, virus test results are likely a much more dependable measurement.

And of course, antibody tests (when they become dependable) will not be a very good way to track current infection rates.

  1. For a region like New York state, the sample size would probably be more like 10,000 to 20,000.
  2. Random population sampling, in the sense meant here, requires a much more rigorous process of enrolling participants, meant to counteract sampling bias errors. I suppose this would be something like good opinion polling organizations try to do: they know that various sampling methods introduce biases, and develop mechanisms to balance those out.

For example, when a sampling method is recognized as undercounting certain demographics or locales, compensatory oversampling can be applied to compensate, or varied selection methods used for enrollment.

MarkH April 24, 2020 8:57 PM


Well, yes and no.


I plead guilty to gross misuse of terminology.

The correct term (matching my intended meaning) is IFR, Infection Fatality Ratio1.

Until very recently, all of the “denominators” we were discussing here were based on medical testing, so they constituted actual cases; in effect, most of the discussions here (as I understood them) seemed to implicitly assume that for computation purposes that I=C.

Only in the last couple of weeks — and particularly in recent days — has survey data grown to the extent that it makes some sense to estimate numbers of undiagnosed infections. With a large proportion of such infections in mind, the difference between IFR and CFR is enormous.

For the purposes of predicting the death toll of unchecked spread, or a condition of endemic Covid-19, it’s IFR (not CFR) needed for the calculation.

Thank you for drawing my attention to this error. Clear discussion requires use of terms according to their established meanings!


F is far from certain. There’s a drum Clive has been beating for some time — supported more strongly each day by mounting evidence — that a great many who died from Covid-19 have not been counted as such, and it’s a practical impossibility that some who died from other causes were not mistakenly counted as Covid-19 deaths.

Further, I reject the characterization “If Covid19 is present and the death is listed as due to some other co-morbidity that is a political decision.” It could be, I suppose, but in general it’s a medical decision. When a patient was in the last days of a cancer fatally impairing vital organs, and developed a SARS-Cov-2 infection, is the cause of death a simple, unambiguous binary?

Clive has pointed to countries where F is probably off by large multiples! I suspect that this situation is not typical, and that even in those countries the numbers will “close the gap” (at least partly) as individual deaths are evaluated by public health authorities.

However, the true value of F in many afflicted countries may be 50 to 100 percent greater than is presently recorded.

For all of that, C is basically crap data too. How many people with symptoms — whether mild, severe, or fatal — will simply stay (and perhaps die) at home is going to depend on a variety of factors, including hospital overload, cultural traditions and biases, the quality and affordability of local health care, etc.

For example, where going to a doctor or hospital has very low marginal costs, and the system is not presently overloaded, people with mild symptoms are presumably far more likely to go and get their fever checked out.

The availability/non-availability of testing will also massively influence the official value for C. So it’s much more a bookkeeping number, than an indicator of the public health situation.

Please see point 3 from my previous comment … random population sampling (in its scientific sense) does NOT mean button-holing people on the street 😉

1 Because of my life-long interest in aviation, these 3-letter abbreviations are cognitively jarring. To me, CFR means Code of Federal Regulations (as in 14 CFR Part 21), and IFR means Instrument Flight Rules.

Rj April 24, 2020 10:48 PM


And @whoever-else-is-interested…

you will find graphs from raw data showing number of new cases each day for the past 60 days, for the entire US, and for each of the states therein. The raw data file also contains by county data, but the graphs do not go to that depth of detail.

I plotted these originally a week ago because I wasn’t seeing the data the way I wanted to see it. From these graphs, as noisy as the data is, one can usually see whether a given state has passed the peak in the infection. The noisyness is really bad. It appears that a case is attributed to the day its test results are received, not to the day the sample was taken, nor to the day symptoms first appeared. It looks like the delay between sample and results is prety variable. Maybe they ran out of a reagent at a certain lab; maybe a weekend intervened and th lab didn’t work on weekends. I don’t know, but its pretty messy.

Anyway, take a look if you are so inclined. I also include a link to the excellent graphical study by the founders of instagram.

Kahlest Gorkon April 25, 2020 1:14 AM

Ubuntu “mini.iso” Minimal Install .ISO for 20.04 LTS (HTTPS)

With this week’s release of the new version of Ubuntu Linux, there’s been a change in location for the “mini.iso” file. Rather than copy/paste the solution here, please see the following paste on Pastebin.

maqp April 25, 2020 1:32 AM

TFC 1.20.04 has now been released. This is the first time no new features were included. The project is for now, in maintenance and I couldn’t be happier, I feel everything that’s reasonably doable has already been done. This release only features some bug fixes and support for Python3.8 on *buntu 20.04 that were released on Thursday. Once released, the next ZorinOS as well as Linux Mint 20 based on the new Ubuntu LTS will also get support (assuming they won’t work out of the box for some reason).

MarkH April 25, 2020 3:00 AM


Nice work! I just discovered yesterday …

Most graphs in the press apply a smoothing filter, typically a rolling average (we used to call it a boxcar filter). This suppresses the spiky noise.

Clive Robinson April 25, 2020 5:35 AM

@ maqp,

I hope this finds you, your loved ones and friends well?

Thanks for the update, as well as all the hard work that has gone into the project over the past few years.

RGR – Clive.

Rj April 25, 2020 10:46 AM

I first had to find some decent data files. I wanted county resolution, and raw data. I wish I could have found a file showing by county number of samples taken on any given day. I was able to find population data. I wanted to graph the probability of being exposed in any county on any given day, and use color to show that value, and plot it on a map of the country, and make an animated gif to show the spread as a moving tide of color changes. But without testing data, that is hard to do. I also could not find a decnt vector file for a map of the us that would fit easily into gnuplot, which is what I was using to make the graphs. I wanted to generate a datafile with probability as color for each county, and then make 60 plots and tie them together into an animated gif using gifsicle or some such tool. Oh well, I guess I need a few more otherwise boring evenings before that will get done, and also the needed data.

Rj April 25, 2020 10:50 AM

We used to call such sliding window averages, or weighted versions of such, FIR filters, for Finite Impulse Response filters. Its an old but popular DSP technique. We even used to build analog hardware versions with sample and holds and a clock and an op-amp for a summer.

SpaceLifeForm April 25, 2020 11:00 AM

@ Clive

When one is in lockdown, long lost things may be found.


“During the equinoxes satellites in geostationary and similar orbits undergo nightly solar eclipses and we just so happen to have arrived at the Spring equinox so nature was co-operating.”

maqp April 25, 2020 11:37 AM

@ Clive Robinson

I’m doing great and the people around me as well. I hope it’s the same for you and your loved ones!

Thank you for all the help and support you’ve given over these years. I’ll try to find more time to participate in the discussion here; eight years of focusing in secure comms makes me feel I’ve missed a lot of interesting stuff.

All the best!


MarkH April 25, 2020 11:55 AM

It was Mr. Peed Off, who kindly alerted me to the bizarre (but hardly shocking) failure of Belarus to respond to pandemic.

An NY Times article gives some picture of the situation there.

Near the end of March — about 3.5 weeks ago — President Aleksandr Lukashenko told reporters “There are no viruses here. Do you see any of them flying around? I don’t see them either.”

To date, Belarus has neither advised or imposed any social distancing measures whatsoever. The pandemic trajectory of that country would be a good test of the eccentric hypothesis that the course of Covid-19 is the same regardless of such measures … except that the world is unlikely to see trustworthy data on its Covid-19 cases.

For the article, the Times interviewed two political rivals of Lukashenko; one of them lives in exile, and the other spent time in prison for his opposition. That’s today’s Belarus.

MarkH April 25, 2020 12:48 PM

Counting the Cadavers

As I mentioned yesterday, Clive has been warning us for weeks about Covid-19 death undercounts. I was skeptical that they were of such large magnitude as he suggested, until a few days ago when I started seeing unambiguous data on excess deaths1.

So what’s going on in Belgium?

Those of us looking at the very useful Covid-19 page, may have noticed that prosperous, orderly and liberal Belgium is quite the statistical outlier.

Excepting very small countries and city-states, in which statistical artifacts are likely to distort the ratios, Belgium reports the worst Covid-19 death rate per unit of population of any country on Earth … and in terms of cases per unit of population, runs second only to suffering Spain.

So … what the hell’s going on? The answer is surprisingly straightforward. In the rest of the world, public health authorities are using exclusive criteria: “prove to me, it was Covid-19.” As some of us computer geeks would say, they use a no-biased algorithm.

There are several ways in which that system can undercount. One of the most basic is that due to the scarcity of virus tests in most places, there is no routine postmortem testing of those who died at home or apparently died from other causes.

Belgium has distinguished itself, by taking the opposite tack of adopting inclusive criteria; simplistically, “if it looks like Covid-19, prove to me that it isn’t” … like a yes-biased algorithm.

There’s no a priori basis to expect that the pandemic is much worse in Belgium, than in its neighboring countries. But Belgium is probably counting a lot of cases, which other countries are missing.

Belgium is perhaps overcounting Covid-19 deaths; some other countries, certainly undercounting.

One potential cause of undercount

I believe I wrote on this site a couple of weeks ago, that physicians were seeing something unknown before Covid-19: patients with extremely low blood oxygen, and lung tissue still flexible despite severe inflammation (usually the damaged parts of lungs “stiffen up” in acute respiratory distress). As the case gets worse, the lungs of Covid-19 patients become stiff, consistent with the usual pattern.

Today, I read the account of an emergency physician who come to NY City to help in the crisis there.

What he discovered, is that patients in that transitional phase of lung failure — with air sacs collapsing, but tissue still flexible — are still able to expel CO2, and therefore don’t feel short of breath. But their capacity to absorb oxygen is terribly impaired. They are suffocating, but don’t know it.

What the doctor wanted people to know, is that this silent crisis is often happening in people who don’t know that they’re sick, and that by the time they come to the Emergency Room, it’s too late.

He recommends using a pulse oximeter to monitor lung functioning, especially for those who have tested positive but not hospitalized.

His experience could also explain some of the undercount:

During my recent time at Bellevue, though, almost all the E.R. patients had Covid pneumonia. … Even patients without respiratory complaints had Covid pneumonia. The patient stabbed in the shoulder, whom we X-rayed because we worried he had a collapsed lung, actually had Covid pneumonia. In patients on whom we did CT scans because they were injured in falls, we coincidentally found Covid pneumonia. Elderly patients who had passed out for unknown reasons and a number of diabetic patients were found to have it.

1 At present, when a town, region or country has far more deaths than typical for the time of year, it is logical to suspect that the increase is related to Covid-19. The most likely causes for excess deaths being greater than Covid-19 official numbers are (a) deaths resulting from Covid-19 infection which were not counted, and (b) people who died from other causes because of “crowding out” in oversaturated medical facilities, difficulty in accessing sub-hospital medical care, or fear of catching the virus by going to medical facilities.

Clive Robinson April 25, 2020 1:39 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

When one is in lockdown, long lost things may be found.

Hunting satellites was a hobby I had but, due to ill health of the falling over unconscious variety I stopped as being up on roofs –to get not just the hight in the skyline to have greater horizon distance but hight above QRM from modern electronics– was nolonger safe for me to do 🙁

Getting old is a curse that is hard to live with, my brain feels twenty, my body though feels three score is underestimating it… I look at a hill or mountain or roof top and know now it is forbidden territory.

Just a few weeks back I lost a life long friend who sadly fell backwards out of his bedrom window early one morning. We had been through a lot together and he was like a brother in oh so many ways. He was way fitter and healthier than I, but his Dr had put him on a medication and he’d been moaning about the fact he got dizzy on standing up because of them, just a day or two later, he was gone.

myliit April 25, 2020 1:52 PM

Two things: 1) So sad because our president might want to start another war, maybe a big one, to wag the dog, but that pesky coronavirus might be a fly in his ointment.

And, 2) cruise ships and cruise ship passengers in the age of pandemics.

“The Navy is coping with a new coronavirus outbreak on a warship at sea, with at least 18 cases emerging on the destroyer USS Kidd, defense officials said Friday.”

“ The Pentagon has deferred a decision about the future of an aircraft carrier captain who was relieved of command after he raised concerns about the Navy’s handling of a sprawling coronavirus outbreak on his ship, defense officials said Friday.”

“The pandemic at sea
The cruise industry’s decision to keep sailing for weeks after the coronavirus was first detected on a ship helped carry the virus around the globe and contributed to the mounting toll, health experts and passengers say.”

Clive Robinson April 25, 2020 2:52 PM

@ Markus,

I’m doing great and the people around me as well. I hope it’s the same for you and your loved ones!

Sadly it’s not as good as it could be I’ve been “confined to barracks” by the Drs as they think my “risk grouping” is one that should take up the monastic life for the summer and longer 🙁 but atleast without the vows of silence 😉

But I’m not even alowed in the garden to potter about or put antennas up… Because my neighbours are “renters” who unfortunately make “liberal studies students” look like saints…

As for the family, my son and his mum appear to have had the demon virus so you think would be safe to be around… but no we don’t know for sure as tests are for “storing not using” so as she is actively working with COVID-19 patients issolation from that part of my family is mandated as well…

Anyway, back to more important things. I knew the project had been a few years but eight is longer than I would have first thought. I guess time realy does pass unnoticed if you don’t keep an eye on it.

Hopefully appart from being a learning curve you have managed to get a lot out of the project including a help up the employment ladder. My advice is use it’s value fast, as the shine gomes off quickly.

When I look back on some of my early projects like writting satellite tracking software in PrimeOS BASIC and later Fortran 77 then Pascal along with all the graphics including world maps using some very very arcane vector plotting languages of which probably HPGL is the only one any one can remember. Few can understand what it is you did or why it was so difficult at the time. And yes there were many graphics languages that people wabted you to support, AGL for HP BASIC and various Tektronix vector plot terminals from back in the Space Race… Yup nearly all consigned to the scrap heap of history well within a decade, and all those hours of effort with them…

But there was the odd rarity, a little later in the 80’s that new “kid on the block” some one asked me to add. That one based on a Forth like interpreter called PostScript… It taught me two things,

1, The power and compactness of such stack based interpreters.

2, The human mind with rare exceptions can not get to grips with thredded interpreters. Why I’ve no idea, but that’s the way of it.

But the important thing realy is the first, the “power and compactness”, we rarely teach thredded or stack based interpreters today but the “bang for your buck” is absolutly unbeatable and when you design payloads that have to run for thirty years without upgrades or patching except by very very very slow and very very low bandwidths it’s a tool you need in your rack.

It sometimes scares me to think that having got PostScript under my belt back then, I could have spent the rest of my proffessional life working in just it alone…

Trust me when I say “I dodged one there!” 😉

So the real lesson is, keep your eyes open, your curiosity on high, and get a weather eye for thinking hinky, and remember no matter how long they exist humans will want to communicate, thus there is always things to be done in Comms and it’s “privacy” alike.

vas pup April 25, 2020 3:19 PM

Dubai Police use AI-based smart helmet to detect coronavirus:

Read inside the link: it detect in real time temperature and utilizing AI match to person identity.
Police in China utilized it first.

That is not only for police usage could be utilized, but in hospitals, transportation hubs, jails, military installation to check potential COVID-19 infected in real time to time pinpoint and isolate from other folks/staff.

Clive Robinson April 25, 2020 3:40 PM

@ myliit,

With regards,

    “The Pentagon has deferred a decision about the future of an aircraft carrier captain who was relieved of command after he raised concerns about the Navy’s handling of a sprawling coronavirus outbreak on his ship, defense officials said Friday.”

What ever the politicians and those that sniff around behind them think, I still maintain that from what of Capitan Crozier’s letter was made public he did not do just the right thing, but the honourable thing, and upheld traditions of Captain’s at sea that long predate the US Navy and the USA it’s self.

At the end of the day respect has to be earned and leading by example is an expected part of that. Those in the chain of command have to trust that those above them are looking out for those below, otherwise orders will become questioned and good order break down. When it is clear, that “the covenant” has been broken, then people should speak out and remind others above what their duties are especially in peace time.

The Captain by traditon and law is responsible for not just the ship but all the souls on board. This is as true for civilian vessels as it is for military big or small. To not look after those on board or take a cavalier attitude to their safety is a well documented historically deriliction of duty with quite severe punishments.

For some reason in the last fifty years or so we’ve alowed “money men” to not just gain unreasonable control, we’ve also allowed them to walk away from their responsabilities. As a result they have formed a class of near untouchables that are destroying the fabric of society that has built up for the good of all over centuries. We know from times past, that Cruise Ships especially, have earned the title of “Floating Petrie Dishes” from the way disease can spread through them due to close confinment. The same is known of “institutions” like prisons. So when governments are letting prisoners out due to fear of disease spread, do the money men incharge of these vessels act sensibly? No they fill them up to keep the money rolling through their accounts irespective of what harm they do, because they have no fear of punishment. They are the “vested interests” that are in the main responsible for the mess we currently find ourselves in in this world. Perhaps that is something we should address legislatively whilst such things are fresh in peoples minds.

JonKnowsNothing April 26, 2020 1:00 AM

@Clive @All

re: supply chains

As the current system collapses, we face similar conditions to every empire and economic system before us. Empires do not always collapse overnight but they collapse because they can no longer maintain their internal structures.

Sort of like an overloaded power supply, it will work until you hit the critical over-surge point and then it fails.

Anecdote: I acquired a very nice gaming rig years back. Top of the line everything. It was just screaming fast. I did all the required boot up, updates and yadda yadda yaddas needed to get ready to PVP. Once sure I had everything setup, I plugged it into my pretty-decent 30min UPS, powered it up and watched the whole thing collapse into a dead state. I checked everything and powered up again only to have the thing immediately cascade to dead. I unplugged the UPS and tried the wall and WOW!ZOOOM… I contacted the UPS maker and we redid all the same steps and the answer was: Get another UPS.

So, as we watch the collapse, we can consider what kind of new system will emerge. Trade is Trade. The methods change. The delivery changes. The currency changes. The goods themselves may change. We will be witnessing a new system. Of course there will be attempts to maintain the Old Ways, but there will be New Ones.

Anecdote: Eons ago, in a conversation with a libertarian oriented friend, during The Reign of Ronald Reagan the President who thought movie script lines were historical facts, especially when they were lines he had said in movies, there was the drum-beat about Big Government and downsizing all the waste. He called the people employed in such jobs as “buggy whip makers” who needed to find a new job. I informed him that carriage whip making was still a very good profession as well as saddle making and harness making and that horses, mules, oxen still ploughed a vast amount of acreage globally.

When the computer in a modern tractor blows, the tractor goes no where. Horses and oxen don’t have that particular limitation. They are not restricted by No Right To Repair. You can take them to the vet when sick and have a new horse shoe nailed on if it comes off.

The other aspect I pointed out was: all those people had jobs, they got a paycheck, paid taxes, rented or bought housing, bought food and goods and services, raised families, invested in generations of education. It wasn’t just about being in-efficient there would be a loss by throwing all of that away.

Perhaps the new supply lines and new systems will recognize that “buggy whip makers” still have value.

While those who survive will be witness for the thousands that died, we will also witness a new becoming.

I don’t know or see, how such things will be or change. I’m not that clever. Years and years ago a professor asked us why computers didn’t run on light? Not a one of us could even imagine such a thing. Admiral G was still handing out nano-seconds in copper wire.

You can watch neoliberalism collapsing in real time. Governments whose mission was to shrink the state, to cut taxes and borrowing and dismantle public services, are discovering that the market forces they fetishised cannot defend us from this crisis.

George Monbiot Tue 31 Mar 2020

The articulates it well. What will emerge instead?

ht tps://

ht tps://
ht tps://
(url fractured to prevent autorun)

myliit April 26, 2020 10:10 AM

@Clive Robinson, JonKnowsNothing , gordo, and others interested in Supply Chains, Inventory Issues, Inventory Delivery Issues, and so on

I found this ( 3 April; note: JIT refers to just-in-time inventory management, in the link, afaik) , but I don’t know if Clive was referring to a different post

Clive wrote : “As little as half a year ago if I had talked about “supply chain security” and asked “What happens when they stop?” I would have been met with denial and told “They can not stop, that is not possible” followed by vacuous reasoning about global strength of the market or some such economic hooey and hand wavery…”

Curious April 26, 2020 4:01 PM

Covid-19 related:

Apparently UK government had in 2016 an ‘exercise’ for a pandemic, called “Exercise Cygnus”. And so a member of UK’s NHS (National Health Service) has requested this report to be published, given the current state of things with covid-19 pandemic in UK.

“Exercise Cygnus took place in October 2016 as a simulation exercise to test the NHS’ preparedness for coping with a flu pandemic. The shortcomings it apparently revealed have been reported in the national press to be ‘too terrifying’ to be made public.”

“Despite making several references to lessons learned from Exercise Cygnus, the Government has steadfastly refused to make the findings public in the weeks since Covid-19 enforced a national lockdown.”

JG4 April 26, 2020 4:53 PM

Thanks for the reminder about TFC. I had missed the name change to maqp. Here are a couple of security gems that recall many past discussions.

23 APR 20 When in Doubt: Hang Up, Look Up, & Call Back

We Have No Reason to Believe 5G Is Safe
The technology is coming, but contrary to what some people say, there could be health risks
By Joel M. Moskowitz on October 17, 2019

JP Morgan said in 1912, “Gold is money; everything else is credit.” I haven’t gotten it to gel yet, but something along the lines of “Robust systems are secure; everything else is snake oil,” would be pithy.

Speaking of snake oil from one of the more colorful libertarians on your planet:

Clive Robinson April 26, 2020 8:09 PM

@ Curious,

With regards,

    “The shortcomings it apparently revealed have been reported in the national press to be ‘too terrifying’ to be made public.”

I don’t see why, the results are fairly well known.

There are three places of interest,

1, Medical fascilities.
2, Close quater / institutions.
3, Community.

Disease already runs rampant through existing medical fascilities just look up “Hospital aquired infection”. The cause is to many patients in to confined an area with inadiquate prevention of pathogen spreading. Basically artificial light in stuffy over heated environments.

Likewise is close quaters accomadation thus military barracks or accommodation, prisons, care homes, schools, Universities and dorms etc. One person sneezes and the whole institution blows it’s nose the following day.

With you would think individual homes giving safe distance thus the least infection. Not at all, whilst there is a degree of truth in rural or countryside areas, where not just homes but peoples work are well distanced. The same is not true for suburban and city living[1]. High rise flats with shared access corridors lifts and stairs are good places for pathogens to hang in the air are just part of buses, trains, metro’s and other public transport. Then there are “offices” which generally like hospital wards have too many people in to little area, with artificial light, and sealed in air which is just the right temprature and humidity for pathogen transmission.

As with the COVID-19 figures “flu deaths” are only a fraction of what they realy are. Officially about 4k die in the UK but the reality if 15-30k when institution and community deaths are added in. When you consider a “novel respiritory pathogen” experts talked about 3-15% of population as fatalities in a country of ~70million. A few presses on a calculator can give you the expected deaths in a serious outbreak, which is what the report was looking at to assess the breaking point of the NHS.

It’s why the UK chief scientist made his comment of “we’ll be lucky if it’s only 20k deaths” to UK politicians of the potential for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Realistically back at the outset we were looking at 20% of the population forming the at risk groups of which 20-50% would be fatalities without medical assistance. So 4-10% of the UK population or ~2.5-7million deaths without healthcare support. Which would happen after just a few tens of thousands of victimes filled hospitals to capacity.

[1] Did you wonder why New York state with 19.4million inhabitants had half the US deaths? Likewise London? The answer is that both are cities where public transport is a necessity for getting around.

Dancing On Thin Ice April 26, 2020 10:39 PM

Amazon using thermal cameras for detecting disease.
The comments note the public caight on that in previous attempts it was not accurate and a form of security theater .

La Abeja April 27, 2020 1:53 AM

@Dancing On Thin Ice

Amazon using thermal cameras for detecting disease.
The comments note the public caight on that in previous attempts it was not accurate and a form of security theater .

The thermal cameras are aimed at the employees. Some of them may simply be very angry, red-faced with rage, and about to “go postal.”

There’s a syndrome or an expression for it, I believe, in the Japanese language, of a situation of “overwork” or “too much service.”

Karoshi (過労死), it is called. Death from overwork.

It’s the Geisha (芸者) syndrome of “too much service” to meet certain arbitrary, rather artificial, established “gentlemanly” expectations of patrons in trade or commerce, often exemplified by a girl or woman in a subservient position of catering to customers.

Curious April 27, 2020 3:40 AM

@Clive Robinson

“I don’t see why, the results are fairly well known.”

Well, I don’t know much about this, but it seems obvious to me that if you haven’t read the report, and if the report have stuff that haven’t been reported on, or might have things uknonwn to the public, I don’t see how you can say that the “results” are fairly well known, whatever you meant by ‘results’. Presumably ‘results’ is like whatever conclusions, remarks, or other comments or knowledge put into the report.

I would think that an other interesting aspect, than potential secrecy in such a report and assuming it is so that the report as such isn’t public, is that the report I guess could show how much the government didn’t do, or maybe didn’t want to do re. a possible pandemic, which I would think would be interesting in a public setting.

Or, maybe when looking closer at the report, maybe it turns out they didn’t make sensible conclusions, just a thought though.

Perhaps, there is a level of apparent incompetence, not only from the current pandemic, but also from the report I am thinking now.

And then I guess for journalists, they would be better off reporting on a presumably, whole document, than whatever tidbits of information they get elsewhere.

Clive Robinson April 27, 2020 4:14 AM

@ Curious,

Well, I don’t know much about this, but it seems obvious to me that if you haven’t read the report, and if the report have stuff that haven’t been reported on, or might have things uknonwn to the public, I don’t see how you can say that the “results” are fairly well known, whatever you meant by ‘results’.

The report is based on information that is in effect “published work” by experts in the various fields.

Further results from the UK’s National Audit Office are not secret, they are open to any one who knows where to click a mouse.

Others involved with the report with regards input are known.

It does not take much joining the dots together to see what the bulk of the reports data, estimations and likely outcomes would say.

Thus the only bit missing is,

“What is going to happen when a government has cheese paired the health care down to not even meating normal demand, and government policy for this century is to privatise health care to the whims of hedge-fund managers”.

The UK Governments have “sold not just the family silver, but all the businesses that earn the money, just to party party party with those who will rob you blind”.

Thus there is no money in the pot, just promisory notes that have userous terms…

So I think even you can work out what the conclusions would be…

I’ll give you a clue remember “Herd Immunity Policy” that went spectacularly wrong real fast and has put various countries at the top of the WorldOmeter listings even though we know without doubt the governments concerned have been “fiddling the figures” way worse than anything the Chinese have been accused of… Where do you think that “Herd Immunity Policy” came from?

It was not thought up over night on a back of a fag packet calculation.

myliit April 27, 2020 5:36 AM

60 Minutes, imo, had an interesting piece on coronavirus and the military

“Fighting an unseen enemy: How the military is protecting itself from the coronavirus pandemic

Anyone joining the United States military takes an oath to defend the country against all enemies foreign and domestic. Safe to say very few of them had coronavirus in mind when they raised their right hand. By latest count, some 60,000 servicemen and women have been sent into action against this new enemy. But the military’s number one mission has been to defend its own ranks against infection. It can’t protect the nation if it can’t defend itself. …

Last month, 63 recruits in a class of 940 here at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, tested positive for the virus and upended basic training. …

Training is still going on at Fort Jackson for recruits who arrived before the two-week pause. But now every soldier is wearing a face mask, loading up on hand sanitizer before moving into firing position and trying to stay six feet apart.

We call it “social [or physical] distancing.” The Army calls it “tacticial dispersion.” …

David Martin: You have to curtail training. You have to postpone major exercises. That’s got to take a toll on the readiness of the Army.

Gen. James McConville: From where I sit, I’m looking at the long game, and the long game is that we have to protect the force to protect the nation. …

Gen. John Hyten: “… It’s a question the American military rarely has to ask itself, but the definition of what it takes to be a superpower has changed forever.

David Martin: So what will it take to get the military back to normal?

Gen. John Hyten: 2019 normal will never exist again. We have to figure out how to operate and fight through a world where coronavirus exists. If we just wait for what, you know, everybody hopes is gonna happen, which is the disease goes away, and it doesn’t, and we haven’t planned for the– for the other case, we’re in a bad situation.”

myliit April 27, 2020 5:56 AM

“ Malicious forces creating ‘perfect storm’ of coronavirus disinformation

Russia and China among state and other actors [including, not trivially, our president are] spreading fake news and disruption, say experts


Paul Barrett, a New York University expert in disinformation and fake news, has identified similar trends and said that some malicious actors are feeding off each other’s disinformation for their own ends.

“It’s a three-ring circus of disinformation,” he said. “It is almost impossible to pick out one strain and isolate it, because simultaneously Russian and China and Trump are getting in on the act and imitating each other more and more. It is incredibly difficult for an ordinary citizen to navigate what’s true.”“

myliit April 27, 2020 6:12 AM

“Donald Trump set to fall back on xenophobia [1] with re-election plan in tatters

The president had been intending to campaign on a strong economy and facing a socialist opponent but scapegoating foreigners has worked for him before”

[1] Xenophobia definition is – fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.

Clive Robinson April 27, 2020 6:42 AM

@ MarkH, JG4, ALL,

With regards the fake news on 5G, I would have thought that most people would have realised it’s actually a compleate load of nonsense cooked up in the US as part of the “anti-China” campaign.

I’m not sure who actually started linking in that “china disease” as some chose to call it would further “anti-China Telecoms” but the reason it’s been made prevelent in the UK is the “special relationship” is not working as the US War Hawks and Executive had hoped. The UK took a rational look at 5G and decided that with a few exceptions the US argued threats that China Telcoms would steal all our data was not going to be possible, so certain types crept out of the wood work to stir up the likes of “BNP Types” and they have had one or two minor successes blown out of proportion by the press, who rather than stick to facts have repeated the face scare stories by saying them as questions and either not answering them or answering beliberately vaguely.

The result the fake news has been fanned not alowed to burn out.

Any way on to the fun side… Dave over at EEVblog has “done a ripper” on it,

I chalenge you to not chuckle or laugh whilst watching 😉

MarkH April 27, 2020 2:31 PM

More Excess Deaths Data

On April 4, the U.S. official Covid-19 death toll stood at 8,128.

Compared to historical averages, there were about 15,400 more deaths than would be expected from mid-March to 4 April, leaving a discrepancy of more than seven thousand.

I caution that any assumption about what percentage of that discrepancy are uncounted deaths from Covid-19 is pure conjecture. Given the extreme lethality of heart disease, cancers, untreated diabetes etc., it’s entirely plausible that the majority of those 7,000+ deaths were to people who

(a) didn’t have Covid-19, and

(b) didn’t receive medical care they would have received under normal circumstances.

As with so many other questions we have discussed here, knowledge of the Covid-19 case fatality undercount will have to await more research …

PS Is gotdo any relation to gordo?

gordo April 27, 2020 2:44 PM

@ MarkH,

gotdo any relation to gordo?

Yes and no; gordo ain’t got no dough! Two left thumbs and a spell checker…doh! Have at it!

vas pup April 27, 2020 3:23 PM

Coronavirus forcing countries to reevaluate security paradigms:

Opinion: Weapons don’t fight pandemics:

“Keeping citizens safe is the greatest responsibility of any state. Citizens can only enjoy free, dignified lives when they are secure. And economic prosperity, too, depends on security being maintained for all. But that is easier said than done. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic shows how well or, indeed badly, different states are managing this outbreak. And, more importantly, how prepared they were for such a crisis.

Many officials say nobody could have seen it coming. But since 2003, we have witnessed the SARS, swine flu, MERS, Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks. Governments, in others words, had ample time to prepare for the possibility of a pandemic. But leaders in the Northern Hemisphere got their priorities wrong, investing billions in arms instead of readying emergency services for a potential disaster scenario.

Tanks, fighter planes and aircraft carriers — where many crew members have fallen ill with the coronavirus — are useless against a pandemic. The world’s mightiest army simply will not keep us safe. On the contrary, increased defense spending has often led to states diverting money away from health care systems, infrastructure networks and environmental protection measures.”

Read the whole article. For @MarkH will be very interesting.

The Black Storm Ahead April 27, 2020 8:06 PM

The spread of the coronavirus is exponential. If measures were not taken, in a matter of months, millions of people would be affected. Its ability to reproduce is a biological success. However, from a human point of view, it constitutes a threat and the priority of each country is to try to limit its spread through information, hygiene, and confinement measures, etc.

Our capitalist economy has also had exponential growth, thanks to the exploitation of fossil fuels and the development of science and technology applied to production. We are 7.6 billion people, we have colonized the entire planet and a quarter of humanity does not stop traveling by land, sea and air. Without a doubt it is a landmark of industrial civilization.

In the absence of a god to judge us, from a systemic perspective with a planetary perspective, this success is the prelude to an unparalleled failure that if we do not correct in time – hopefully reflection on this pandemic – will end civilization and perhaps with the species. The economic success of capitalism is equivalent, on the other side of the equation, to the destruction, also exponential, of the planet’s resources and vital systems. The budding energy crisis, as well as the climatic and ecological ones, have the same causes: economic growth and human expansion. Also the current health crisis is the result of economic growth and human expansion of which we boast so much; By destroying habitats through deforestation, natural resource extraction, monoculture and the consumption of wild animals, we facilitate the contact of pathogens with human populations (1).

As if GAIA were watching over the health of the planet, the coronavirus pandemic has temporarily pushed away energy and ecological crises, slowing economic growth and polluting emissions. The coronavirus has taught us that a few months of economic slowdown have been much more decisive than the 25 POPs to mitigate climate change and postpone the energy crisis, even if temporarily.

Experience shows that pandemics do not recognize borders but the inability to address them on a global scale. It has also called into question the policy followed by neoliberalism for the sake of economic benefit by concentrating many industries in China – including health – which has prevented an effective response to the pandemic.
In the face of global threats, a UN capable of informing and coordinating all countries is required to make the relevant decisions. Now, if once this coronavirus crisis is overcome, the social and economic deterioration that decimates the middle class continues in rich countries, the next pandemic could be much more serious and unleash chaos, with hundreds of thousands of deaths, overflowing any action. international.
A continuously growing economy, such as the capitalist one, cannot solve some of the global threats it causes, such as climate change, the ecological crisis and episodic pandemics.

There will be no energy or ecological transition if there is no economic transition
We need another economy that stops the destruction of our planet and allows us to develop another society with more human values. We need to make an economic transition to another type of economy and society that meets these conditions and which, from our point of view, could be ecosocialism. Without an economic transition to leave capitalism behind there will be no sustainable energy and ecological transitions.
The economic transition towards ecosocialism involves two phases: a phase of decrease , which will probably end up being imposed by nature, with two main objectives, the deactivation of the capitalist economy and the creation of conditions so that the new economy can unfold, and another phase of development of an Ecosocialist economy, whose objective would be the implementation of this economic alternative that must follow the principles of ecological sustainability and, at the same time, improve the social conditions in which the countries and classes most in need are found.
Here we will only deal with the decrease phase.

The decline and deactivation of capitalism

In the coming decade, there will be problems with fossil fuels, especially oil. Surely they will manifest with brutal ups and downs in the price of this resource that will alternatively produce economic problems in importing and exporting countries. However, this swing cannot last long since there will be an irreversible trickle of exporting countries that will swell the importers’ line, thus accelerating the oil decline.
However, the depletion of fossil fuels and other resources does not have to be the end of capitalism. If this system has proven anything, it is that it has a very high adaptability. Although energy and mineral resources are diminishing, the system could survive in some countries for several more decades transmuting into rentier capitalism or, as Collins (2) says, into catabolic capitalism that “feeds on” and destroys society trying to survive from the wealth of States, through debt and the acquisition and management of state infrastructure and services.

The replacement of the capitalist economy by an ecosocial one supposes, in the words of Carpintero and Riechmann (3): “(…) to hamper free trade and the operation of markets, the power of capital, the commodification of labor and nature ” But that is not enough, there is an urgent need to neutralize it and to stop operating in societies.
The exponential growth of the capitalist economy depends on the accumulation of capital through two mechanisms: the appropriation of surplus value of the workers by the employers in the productive economy and the imposition of money in financial entities that allows it to multiply at positive interest rates.
Here, two complementary measures are proposed to deactivate it based on the control of these accumulation mechanisms.

Regulation of wages in productive companies

Historically, the Russian revolution implemented the nationalization of productive companies, a revolutionary measure proposed by Marx and justified because the part of wealth taken from the worker by the businessman (surplus value) is considered unfair. However, after the fall of the Soviet Union, today’s societies would hardly accept such a centralized measure, which is no obstacle to nationalizing essential services.
Fortunately, we have another less drastic possibility: the regulation of wages in private companies and, of course, in nationalized ones. The government would negotiate maximum and minimum wages with the unions in different sectors and professional categories, and all company workers would vote on wages, including that of the employer. Cooperatives would operate autonomously, as is the case today. Today there are already companies that are established as cooperatives. Cooperatives meet and discuss and vote on different matters, including the range of salaries. In Felder’s Economy for the Common Good (4), it is the assemblies of citizens who vote on different issues of the town, or neighborhood of a city, including the difference in the degree of inequality that may exist between the highest and lowest wages.

The imposition of negative interest rates

The imposition of money at a positive interest rate encourages accumulation and competition among capitalists. This is an essential mechanism for the conversion of money into capital today, even more so when the productive economy has entered a sluggishness that no longer provides sufficient benefits to the system.
The modification of the rising interest rate has historically been used to cool down productive activity and control inflation, and downwards to activate it and raise inflation.
But, according to Dierckxsens (5), there is a reform of the financial system that could guide this decreasing transition towards a stationary economy and, from our point of view, towards an ecosocialist economy. It is about regulating capital accumulation by setting negative interest rates on financial institutions imposed by the central banks of the countries and, in the European case, supervised by the ECB (6).

A negative interest rate discourages accumulation since the money deposited is devalued. In these circumstances, the capitalists would seek to invest their money in productive activities because the lender, which is the bank, would pay interest on the loan. Initially, there would be an increase in productive activity that would originate more capital, but this, at negative interest rates, could no longer multiply, which would slow production.

The surplus value loses its meaning with this measure since it is the form of accumulation of money that the capitalist has in the productive sector and, as we have seen, this money would be devalued from the moment it entered the bank. Naturally, the employer should have a higher salary, both for the exposure of their money and for the quality of the work they do.

The logic of a reform of this type is that it affects the mechanism of the reproduction of capital and, therefore, ends the economic rationality of capitalism (7). These rates could be modulated depending on the amounts deposited and the economic circumstances.
The accumulation of money being a contradiction, the financial bubbles responsible for crises in capitalism would not have the possibility of forming.

However, such a reform of the financial system is not without problems. For example, retail depositors may argue that savings are necessary to cope with inflation in the future. Positive rates could be applied to this sector. Poor countries could also take advantage of this privilege, in order to attract capital for their development, on condition that they do not overcome their biocapacity. Banks can currently create electronic money; This ability to issue money, which should be exclusive to central banks, should be strictly prohibited. Likewise, tax havens should be eliminated, prohibiting deposits in them as a blatant crime.

But the biggest problem is that to be effective this reform should be implemented worldwide. Otherwise capital would migrate to other countries quickly. Along with the worldwide mobilizations of young people in recent years to face climate change, the coronavirus crisis may allow for greater awareness on a global scale to implement another economic system capable of solving global problems.

Next, we will discuss some economic, social and ecological changes that could be derived from this reform and that constitute conditions, surely necessary but not sufficient, to implant an ecosocialist economy.

It allows to decrease the economic metabolism:

In the context of this reform, profit would be governed by sufficiency and not by accumulation, so the competition between productive companies and their economic metabolism would be significantly reduced. The technological renovation of companies would slow down as the competition is much less, although this renewal could be regulated to increase technological efficiency. In this way, the system would avoid over-accumulation, that is, the impossibility of making the capital invested in technology profitable because the entrepreneur was forced to change it in order to compete, which can occasionally lead to crises that plague productive companies in capitalism.

The tendency to produce durable objects would prevail over time. Instead of creating new needs and promoting consumption through advertising, fashions and programmed obsolescence, this reform would promote the care of things, the repair of things and the fact of sharing them, thus stimulating the solidarity economy. In this way, security and hope would not depend so much on personal and collective work as they would reside in the solidarity economy and not in accumulating money individually. The system would encourage the creation of cooperatives, in which ownership of the means of production would be social and democratic decision-making.

If in these circumstances accumulating money in a bank would be meaningless, it would also be meaningless to hoard objects and merchandise; therefore, the exchange in the markets would be carried out according to their use value and not their exchange value. The money obtained from the sale by a seller is used to buy the goods you need in other markets, not to accumulate it in a bank.

The global and extreme competition that currently exists would diminish, since a negative interest rate discourages competition since there is no purpose in working to avoid accumulating money. In addition to the energy problems that are already beginning to affect global trade, threatening the dissolution of the world network of trade routes, the economy would tend to become increasingly local since the merger and business gigantism would be counterproductive as accumulation is sanctioned. As the economies became more local, a certain degree of competition would persist, both in the elaboration of products and in the sale of merchandise in the markets.
It allows to face unemployment and inequality :

A primary issue is unemployment. In the decrease phase, economic activity will necessarily decrease, increasing unemployment and, therefore, inequality. This would be a tragedy if capitalism still dominated.

There are two ways to combat unemployment: by reducing the workday or / and through State Guaranteed Work. In the latter case, as the decrease in production progresses and unemployment increases, the balance of workers in charge of the State with respect to the number of workers employed in private companies will be increasing. Productivity will slow down as workers hired by the state are not specialized to perform such diverse jobs (8). In the absence of exacerbated competition at the local or regional level, this should not be a problem.
With the passage of time, the imposition of negative interest rates in this decreasing phase would bring us closer to social and economic sustainability .

Stops ecological deterioration :

Another critical result of this reform is that the economy would be much more environmentally friendly than it is today. If the objects were more durable, the extraction of natural resources, industrial activity, energy consumption, and the production of waste and pollution, that is, economic metabolism, would be reduced. With the passage of time, the wasteful trend of “ use and throw away ” would be diminished and the economic metabolism would be brought on track towards a decreasing trend, adapting to local resources, until achieving ecological sustainability . Then the metabolic rhythm would end up adjusting to the principles of ecological sustainability and the biocapacity of the territory, achieving the quasi- closed circulation of non-renewable waste. Economic decline should also be accompanied, if necessary, by population control through positive stimuli.

The restriction of competition on a local scale is adapted to what happens in the Biosphere. In ecosystems there is also a certain degree of competition but it is limited to the populations that interact with each other in each of them. Consequently, to avoid overreaching and taking into account the principle of biomimicry (9), or more properly ecomymesis, it is advisable to eliminate competition on a global scale and restrict it to a local or regional size. And this would be an effective reform to do so.

It allows to tackle an agrarian reform :

Another crucial measure is to design and carry out land reform from a social and ecological perspective. We must avoid land grabbing by capitalists. Given that capital accumulation cannot occur in a negative interest rate economy, in a situation of major unemployment, some capitalists turned landowners could try to accumulate land and have a relationship with quasi- slavery workers , especially if diesel started to become scarce, as it seems that it can happen. Land, water, forests and other ecosystems must be publicly owned. Agroecology makes it possible to conserve these systems through management that follows the principles of sustainability: soil conservation and regeneration, minimization of energy consumption, promotion of biodiversity and reduction of transport thanks to the proximity of markets (10). The formation of local cooperatives would be the most appropriate to give work, manage and commercialize the harvested products. The final objective would be, in the words of González Reyes, (11): ” articulate a living and agro-ecological rural world “.

These brief reflections are not intended to be more than a schematic model that encourages economists to develop a rigorous eco-social economic alternative to the increased risks derived from the crises that this system is experiencing.
What has been proposed along these lines is a possible way to change the current socio-economic system dominated by capitalism for another more humane and reconciled with nature in order to avoid the worst of the collapse. However, there is another alternative that denies what is happening and justifies this system to the ultimate consequences.

Denialism and neofascism

The national and international context is not prone to launch an economic transition that renounces capitalism. In all countries, there is an internationally organized wealthy class that intends to continue with the looting of society and nature and preserve its status no matter who falls, applying the maxim of privatizing profits and socializing losses. The hate speech against the emigrant, the conquest of the soul of the people with consumerism, the rise of nationalism appealing to the security of each country and the denial of climate change and ecological catastrophe, are the axes of the discourse that aerates the neofascism.

Defending the security of each country, ” America first “, and denying the validity of world institutions by boycotting planetary decisions are the axes of neo-fascist politics, knowing that global problems exist. This policy leads to the extermination of half humanity and the exhaustion of the planet, that is, to a genocide and ecocide that are difficult to imagine.

We know that the elite, the super-rich, know global problems; They have the best information about the scarcity of natural resources and the climatic and ecological crises that we will begin to face in this decade and they already foresee their “salvation plans” in the face of what they call the “event”, that is, the collapse (12). The fascist political right is organizing on an international scale thanks to the mediation of Steve Bannon. The North American and European elites already know which way to go: authoritarianism within their borders and war outside them (13).
Perhaps the health crisis that all the countries of the world are suffering can be a turning point in raising awareness to address global problems in a world forum, such as the UN. For the time being, most states have valued the lives of their citizens more than the economy (14) and the champions of neoliberalism that did not initially do so, the United Kingdom and the United States, have had to rectify, which constitutes progress extraordinary.

References and notes :

Duch, G (2020). A food monoculture virus.

Collins, C. (2020). Four reasons why our civilization will not fade: it will collapse.

Riechmann, J. and Carpintero, O. (2014). How to think about post-capitalist transitions? In the uncertain steps from here to there. Socio-ecological alternatives and post-capitalist transitions. Ed. University of Granada.

Felber, Ch. (2014). End to middle money. Deusto (Grupo Planeta)

Dierckxsens, W. (2008). The transition to a stationary economy: The post-capitalist utopia.

Following the 2008 crisis, the economy has entered a period of secular stagnation, characterized by lasting economic sluggishness. Negative interest rates have been used to stimulate the economy. This financial policy is being applied in Switzerland, Denmark, the Eurozone, Japan and Sweden (this country just abandoned negative interest rates in December 2019 to place itself at zero interest rates). In all these cases, it is a temporary regulatory tool for economic activity within the framework of capitalism.

Dierckxsens, W. (2008). The transition to a stationary economy: The post-capitalist utopia.

Unti, B. (2014). Political ecology, current capitalism and full employment policies. (A postkeinesiana-marxista vision of the decrease). Without permission. January 12,

Riechmann, J. (2005). Biomimicry. Answers to some objections.

Mediavilla, M. (2019). Agroecology to feed the world.

González Reyes, L. (2019). Green New Deal? What Green New Deal?

Rushkoff, D. (2018). The survival of the richest and how they plot to leave the ship.

Turiel, A. (2017). Spain before the collapse.

Mediavilla, M. (2020). Coronavirus vs. ecological crisis: a matter of love.

Clive Robinson April 28, 2020 4:25 AM

@ gotdo,

“Many a slip twixt finger and screen”

Look on the bright side you’ve a very long way to go to catch up with my “fat finger syndrome” 😉

But your point about bias in reporting stands. I don’t envy any one the choice coming up, as some one on this side of the puddle noted, “Neither have a full deck of cards, and both are puppets of the 1% of the 1% infighting in the parties”. My own view is that the US people are not going to be served well by either of them. Because in this two horse race both nags have fallen at the first fence…

Humble Peon April 28, 2020 5:15 AM

Finally, A SubReddit For Our Queen Kim Yo-Jong

The official subreddit for pics of dystopian hottie, Kim Yo-Jong. Just because she wants to kill us all and has probably committed several human rights atrocities doesn't mean we can't love her effortless style

myliit April 28, 2020 6:45 AM

@gotdo, Clive Robinson, popcorn non eaters, etc., about our united states of amnesia presidential politics

For example, “ Now that Bernie Sanders has dropped out and endorsed Biden, does the progressive left have a moral obligation to hold their noses and vote for the former vice president, despite his many sins”. [3]. In the USA, our president is currently spinning how lucky we are that he is working so hard that he skips lunch. From

“WASHINGTON, D.C. (The Borowitz Report)—Calling it a “disgraceful situation,” Donald J. Trump on Monday blamed his sinking poll numbers on people paying attention when he talks.

Noting that his approval rating has plummeted since he began holding coronavirus briefings, he said, “There are a lot of people out there who are listening to things I say and basing their opinions on them, and I think it’s very sad.”

In addition to people paying attention when he talks, Trump said that he was being “treated very unfairly by people who remember what I say.”

“People are listening to what I say one day and comparing it to something I said on a different day,” he said. “These are very sick and terrible people.”


“The fact that [pollsters are] talking to people who have listened to me proves how crooked and rigged these polls are,” he said. “People who haven’t listened to me think I’m doing great.”

Trump said that, if people persist in listening to him, he may stop talking altogether. “I think that’s a really good plan,” Trump said. “Dr. Fauci suggested it to me.””

Text from gotdo’s link [1] and Clive wrote [2]

[3] about 30 minutes, no transcript, but worth it, discusses party politics in UK, too

2) “But your point about bias in reporting stands. I don’t envy any one the choice coming up, as some one on this side of the puddle noted, “Neither have a full deck of cards, and both are puppets of the 1% of the 1% infighting in the parties”. My own view is that the US people are not going to be served well by either of them. Because in this two horse race both nags have fallen at the first fence…”

[1] “ As Covid-19 and its economic effects clearly dominate all else politically, ads for the Trump campaign are ramping up the anti-China rhetoric in an effort to deflect blame. The first attack ad Donald Trump launched since Joe Biden became the presumptive Democratic nominee was titled “Biden Stands Up for China” (4/9/20), while a pro-Trump super PAC is airing multiple ads (4/16/20, 4/16/20) painting Biden as cozy with China. One ad warned China is “killing our jobs, stealing technology and putting us in danger with Covid-19”; the other concluded, “Now more than ever, America must stop China. And to stop China, you have to stop Joe Biden.”

Rather than respond by focusing blame for the crisis squarely where it belongs—on Trump’s incompetent, reckless and self-centered management—and working to beat back the dangerously rising anti-Asian sentiment in this country, Biden and some of his supporting super PACs are choosing to adopt rather than challenge the anti-China premise of the attacks. …”

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons April 28, 2020 9:30 AM

Remind me to sell off my e-reader. Can’t stand the idea of E-Ink really being powered by sea creatures from the deep. Next story I read will certainly give me nightmares (with backlighting of course).

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons April 28, 2020 9:48 AM

I have advocated for 4 different canvasing efforts for SARS-COV-2, COVID-19 testing. I will simplify for brevity…

  1. Two tests, viral detection (SARS-COV-2 tests have large amplification issues) and anti-body assay.
  2. Two demographics, pseudo random large scale, and known demographic biased set of the same size (determine the skew-metric component if you will).

One of the problems is that there is little information about viral shedding and non-antigen protein responses. For example, a host is carrying and transmitting, remains asymptomatic, and at some point stops hosting the viral component SARS-COV-2.

So a person that has no symptoms, has viral SARS-COV-2, is not COVID-19 positive and shows no anti-bodies and is never tested for viral presence but does plenty to pass it around. Kind of like a stealth polymorphic virus (not unlike some root-kit types as in Sub-7), it does want to be discovered and is deliberately deceptive to avoid detection. (This is for the purpose of allegory, not to be taken literally).

Clive Robinson April 28, 2020 10:55 AM

@ name.withheld…, ALL,

Kenya developed a breathalyzer type system for detecting TB you simply puf into it and it looks for the pathogen in your exhilation.

Apparently they are working on modifing it so that it will work for SARS-CoV-2.

I hope for five things out of this work,

1, They succeed.
2, They succeed quickly.
3, The test is sensitive so that false positives are rare.
4, The test is fast say 15secs
5, The technology becomes freely available.

I know somebody is going to ask Why? For one or more of these, the first two and last I would hope are obvious, but the reason is more general… Currently neither the antigene or antibody tests in use give any indication of if you are shedding pathogen (one is a nose/throat swab the other is a blood test). As the primary way you shed that infects others is via what you exhale it makes sense for “community health” to test to see if you are actively shedding virus this way. But why the worry about “false posatives” rather than “false negativez”? Well from a community perspective you want to identify all virus sheaders as quickly as possible, if you happen to identify someone as sheding who is not –a false positive–, whilst it is annoying for the person, it keeps the community safe, where as someone who is shedding who is not identified –a false negative” they are obviously a risk to the community. Those incorrectly identified as sheding will get cleared by further screening hence it’s an annoyance rather than life threatening to others in the community.

Why do I want the test to be very fast? Well the most likely place you are going to be infected is in an enclosed space such as a communal method of transport, shop or work place. If the test is fast then you can keep those sheding out in the relative safety of the open air.

JonKnowsNothing April 28, 2020 10:58 AM


The interesting part of the reports are the screen grabs. Complete tracing of all movements.

When the LEOs say they cannot do X or Y or Z, if there was any doubts about the veracity of such statements, a few screen grabs show them up for what they are.

And Sheffield isn’t the biggest spot on the map: The population of the City of Sheffield is 582,506; the metropolitan population of Sheffield is 1,569,000.

LEOs spend funds on stuff like this, and they cannot even get PPE to the people who are going to save their lives…

ht tps://
(url fractured to prevent autorun)

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons April 28, 2020 5:36 PM

@ Clive, the usual suspects, ALL

Have been engaged in immunological and epidemiological research of late, the level of available data and researh allows an independent scientist to do significant work on issues surrounding the SARS-COV-2 virus. Have limited my contributions to some basic virology and immunology whilst passing on the most problematic parametric elements of contagion management. Your help in passing along good information should be recognized and appreciated…I am one to give you the commensurate tip of the hat. Also, the usual suspects–you know who you are so I will not repeat it here…maybe an FAQ is in order.

Research so far is still preliminary, have a series of hypothesis that include genesis, amino base shedding, adaptation models, and the challenges that RNA transform pathogens represent. Directionally I am focused on data sets and modeling systems and some of the elemental schemas and behavioral modeling. Virus modeling is difficult due to the Heisenberg type uncertainy that in vitro analysis provides, in vivo is complex to verify against modeled assumptions.

Also, there are some interesting generative elements of virus types like SARS-COV-2 that suggest a “triggered co/multi-event protein messaging in transforming base RNA sources”. This kind of injection and payload model where existing proteins are leveraged is similar to that in computational malware that for example infects a host, acquires small remote payload, and hijacks existing DLL or EXE code in Windows and spreads via network.

Testing is difficult in encapsulated RNA viral modeling–has to do with two issues, the lack of a idealized test base and the amount of amplification required to extrapolate the RNA amino chains that provide for accurate matching.
An interview by a reporter from the Korea Times and a practitioner of immunology Dr. Djaballah with a useful in-situ general coverage that is helpful for baseline information. hxxps://

gordo April 28, 2020 6:20 PM

@ Clive Robinson,

Look on the bright side you’ve a very long way to go to catch up with my “fat finger syndrome” 😉

Not a chance! Thank goodness you are prolific in more ways than one!

Wael April 28, 2020 10:32 PM

@name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons, all,

Have been engaged in immunological and epidemiological research of late…

So have I… to some extent. Was speaking to my brother a few days ago (he’s an MD) told him it’s an authentication/authorization problem. He told me if you solve this problem[1] then you also find a cure to cancer and other ailments. I lack the expertise to go further.

[1] Cell does not allow rogue organisms to use its factory resources. I can go on and on, but it’s all science fiction.

Clive Robinson April 29, 2020 1:41 AM

@ Wael,

I can go on and on, but it’s all science fiction.

Nope, it’s chemistry with a little underlying physics.

What makes it look like Science Fiction or even Magic is complexity partially tamed by feed back mechanisms.

As you know most enginers like negative feedback systems because amongst other things they reduce bandwidth, thus speed, making predictability and thus stability easier.

However older engineers who had to get the best they could out of what was available knew the power of positive feedback. It is the stuff of wild rides and chain reactions and a difficult beast to tame.

You might ask what that has to do with COVIF-19, well in humans many of our immune systems are in effect negative feed back but the initial ones such as the release of cytokines that raise the body temprature is infact the equivalent of thermal runaway, it is a positive feedback system for a reason. That is in the initial stages of an infection that is novel to your immune system “Time Counts” you need to get the Img and Imi reactions that cause the formation of pathogen specific antibodies up and running. One of the reasons that we don’t “meltdown” is that whilst the cytokine system is raceing up a negative feedback system via interferon is running.

The problem is that they run independently of each other as do other feedback mechanisms. Thus if your positive feedback cytokine system is a little faster than average or the negative feed back systems a little slower than average then you head into “cytokine storm” territory.

The problem is that SARS-CoV-2 was a bat virus, that’s “crossed over” (zoonotic). The bat has an immune system many times faster than humans, thus to be a successful virus in bats the virus likewise has to be fast.

Hence the reasoning towards the hypothesis about the number of virus RNA strands that initially infect you may influance if you are asymptomatic or will succumb to the disease.

From an engineering perspective having all these feedback systems that are independent of each other is not a good idea as it makes reasoning about them difficult at best, and gives the apperance of “organised chaos”, which like the proverbial Gordian Knot can be difficult at best to unravel.

SpaceLifeForm April 29, 2020 2:07 AM

@ name....

I believe that ones blood pH and intracellular pH are both factors in this mess. Impacting outcome for the person and also impacting silent spreading.

It is very stealthy, which is why I believe it will not disappear.

As long as there are silent spreaders, the virus will hang around.

There is no chance, that even if a vaccine would appear, that everyone would be vaccinated. There is no reason to believe that the vaccine would be effective for more than a year. (see flu shot effectiveness)

The tests are not reliable on the front end or the back end.

It is going to end up being herd immunity, come hell or high water.

It may take ten years, but the virus will still be around.

Wael April 29, 2020 2:22 AM

@Clive Robinson,

Nope, it’s chemistry with a little underlying physics.

The science fiction I meant is to give cells the ability to deny access to a virus that obtained a key (or a password) to enter the cell, and to limit the virus’s privileges if it succeeds in entering the cell. The cell needs to have the ability to deny replication requests by a malicious actor.

it is a positive feedback system for a reason.

A purpose? Improvement 🙂 !!

making predictability and thus stability easier.

Right, like removing “ringing” in an amplifier; without some feedback (sometimes feed forward – forgot in which circuits) an amplifier becomes an oscillator 🙂

The problem is that SARS-CoV-2 was a bat virus

Has that been proven? If so, then eating bats should be prohibited! Why must we sit at home for weeks[1] because some schmuck behind a wet bamboo curtain has bad taste in food?

[1] Well, or for nearly quarter million people to lay in mass graves. Who knows how many more…

Clive Robinson April 29, 2020 3:35 AM

@ Wael,

… because some schmuck behind a wet bamboo curtain has bad taste in food?

We don’t know that they were going to eat a bat, or a pangolin…

In the west we have “pet shops” where you can by all sorts of creatures including many reptiles and furry mammals such as hamsters and rats… In China the tradition of markets over shops is quite strong.

As far as I’m aware in the West pet shop owners do not ask what you are going to do with the animals unless you buy a lot[1].

People do buy these “exotic” animals as “pets” and quite a few modern Chinese do indeed keep “exotics” as pets.

What the west does not have as such is the culture of eating wild animals under the notion of obtaing some form of prowess from them. The same is not true of older generations of many countries or regions in the world. From the middle east round to cover Africa and Asia is this myth of gaining prowess from wild animals by eating them. More often than not you will hear it called “bush meat”, however it does include what we in the west would normally consider “pets” like dogs, hamsters and other “cute fluffies”.

The Chinese Government has over atleast the last decade due to both SARS-1 and MERS tried stopping the eating of “Bush Meat” however in some the tradition is strong. I guess given time and enough generations (3-5) it might stop. Till then as any Government knows if you push hard against something it will only go underground.

Just remember next time you are basting a corn feed chicken on the grill, that there are an increaaing number of people in the West “keeping them as Pets” and others more than happy to tell you that “Meat is Murder” to try and make you eat “veggie burgers” or similar instead[2].

[1] A friend did once get asked why he purchased rats by the dozen, but as he kept “constrictors” and similar reptiles that like their food to twitch on the way down…

[2] I do wish they would stop doing so, because just about all those “textured vegetable protein” substitutes are absolutly dire at the best of times. What they should be doing is not making “faux meat” but pushing other traditional vegtable dishes. For instance I actually prefere certain traditional vegtable curries to the more modern meat curries, because not only do they taste better they have better texture, colouring, smell, etc. Likewise traditional Japanes dishes are a much better more sublime way to eat tofu than some of the substitute dishes…

Wael April 29, 2020 3:56 AM

@Clive Robinson,

“Meat is Murder” to try and make you eat “veggie burgers”

Some of them are pretty good, especially the ones made from soy, which isn’t good for men 😉

Meat murder is when we kill for “sport”. Plants are living, too. And may have feelings as well.

eat tofu than some of the substitute dishes…

Ahem, soy isn’t good for men who want to maintain masculinity. But may be good for those that don’t want to loose the hair on their head. Looking at Bruce’s picture, I’m betting he never tasted the stuff 🙂

Freezing_inBrazil April 29, 2020 12:47 PM

Ahem, soy isn’t good for men who want to maintain masculinity. But may be good for those that don’t want to loose the hair on their head.

I beg your pardon, but that is nowhere to be found in the linked content. Some commentary on estrogen there, and then this:

Thus, there are many factors that make it difficult to construct blanket statements about the health effects of soy.

Sorry if I missed any irony or spoiled some internal joke.

I bid you peace.

lurker April 29, 2020 1:35 PM

@Clive, re pangolin

Fifty years ago the pygmy tribes of the Congo basin had carte blanche to hunt their traditional meat sources. They did not ignore opportunuties to trade this meat for cash. Thus elephant steak and a whole menagerie appeared at the expat’s construction csmp. It’s is how I got to eat pangolin, nothing particularly memorable under those scales, other than a rather small version of oxtail stew.

Pangolin scales, roasted and ground to powder, are an ingredient in some Traditional Chinese Medicine. I haven’t had that disease, and my Chinese isn’t good enough to know more.

Clive Robinson April 29, 2020 4:01 PM

@ lurker,

I haven’t had that disease, and my Chinese isn’t good enough to know more.

Trust me when it comes to lets call it “traditional administering” the diseases themselves can be quiet inventively named.

For instance if you look at “animal husbandry” in farm live stock in England as recently as the 1930’s there were such delightfull names like “staggers” (magnesium deficiency), “Scour stoop” (no idea), “meadow cough” (a patasite in the bronchial tubes), “bag bloat” and many others. The “Knacker men” of the “dog food” side of the disposal business were quite adept at inventing new names and nodding knowingly (the side effect was quite a few peoples pet dogs etc ended up with parasitic infestations from unfit meat). As they knacker man paid money for dead beasts, rather than having to pay vets, many farmers would consult them first…

The traditional medicines were things like black treacle, turpentine, french chalk, linseed and other oils,such as caster, cod liver and paraffin, creasote, coal tar, washing soap in water, and occasionaly actual poisons like dilute caustics or acids, sulpher etc. These were administered to understandably unwilling live stock by various techniques involving ropes halters and beer crates and any other junk that might be handy including “stirrup pumps and rusty buckets”. Amazingly the live stock often survived…

Clive Robinson April 29, 2020 4:11 PM

@ Freezing in Brazil, Wael,

Sorry if I missed any irony or spoiled some internal joke.

Lets just say it depends on two words that sound the same, “unix” and “eunuchs”.

There are a number of side effects of the latter, glossy hair, not needing to shave and an extra five to fifteen years of life being just some…

Wael April 29, 2020 4:20 PM

@Clive Robinson, @Freezing_inBrazil,

Lets just say it depends on two words…

That was funny 🙂

HP injecting sneaky DRM update into printers that rejected non-HP ink? April 29, 2020 5:56 PM

One man’s effort <a href="">to sue HP Inc</a> for preventing his printers from working and forcing him to use its own branded, and more expensive, ink cartridges can move forward in California.

Florida man John Parziale was furious when he discovered in April last year that HP had automatically updated his two printers so they would no longer accept ink cartridges from third-party vendors – cartridges he had already bought and installed.

That month, HP emitted a remote firmware update, without alerting users, that changed the communication protocol between a printer’s chipset and the electronics in its inkjet cartridges so that only HP-branded kit was accepted. The result was that Parziale's printer would no longer work with his third-party ink. He saw a series of error messages that said he needed to replace empty cartridges and that there was a “cartridge problem.”

Parziale sued the IT titan in its home state of California, arguing he would never have bought the HP printers if he knew they would only work with HP-branded ink cartridges. At the time, the cartridges he bought to go with the machine did in fact work and were printing merrily right up to the point the DRM-style update was sent.


But feeling ripped off and beating a tech giant in court are two different things, as Parziale found out this month [<a href="">PDF</a>] when federal district judge Edward Davila threw out most of his claims against HP. Four of five allegations he had made were under America's Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), accusing HP of abusing its “authorized access” to his devices. These were rejected because, the judge noted, he had granted HP remote access to his printer.

JonKnowsNothing April 30, 2020 5:40 PM

@vas pup

re: UV radiation.

disclaimer: I am not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV or the Executive Branch…

UV radiation is used to sterilize water.

Steri-Pens (small UV lights on a battery) are available for camping and water purification along with other methods. You can purify water but not remove turbidity (cloudiness) with them. Most camping supply outlets sell them.

UV Light is also used to keep algae and bugs out of koi and fish ponds. The water is passed thru a clear tube that is surrounded by a UV light source. This kills the algae and the pond remains “clear” except for other debris like leaf fall. This are sold by pond specialty stores.

It the fights between NGOs about “best methods”, the cheaper water tablets get the nod but they do not always remove virus. It also depends on how much water needs to be purified – 1 Cup or 1Million Gallons.

Those of us who live in cities take water purification for granted however, climate change has had a number of cities globally run “dry” with “zero water”. There are also scandals about under-treatment or non-treatment of water, primarily affecting lower-income areas. Add on to that the legal and illegal dumping of chemicals and toxic tainted water into streams, creeks and seeping into ground water (municipal and wells) for more OHs?

Then you have stuff you cannot remove from the water like “Dibromochloropropane (DBCP)”.

Banned nematocide that may still be present in soils due to runoff/leaching from former use on soybeans, cotton, vineyards, tomatoes and tree fruit.

Where I live in California, this is not a “may still be present”, it is present and the leaching of the pesticide, once marketed as safe for all, through the ground into the ground water causes a lot of wells to be de-commissioned both private and city owned.

ht tps://,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane
(url fractured to prevent autorun)

vas pup April 30, 2020 5:46 PM

@JonKnowsNothing • April 30, 2020 5:40 PM
Thank you for Your input. Regarding water of drinking quality: one company in Israel developed machine which sucking out water out of the air, purified it and make ready to drink – even test it in very dry desert environment – providing about 120 liter (as best of my memory) of water per day. Sorry, do not have at hand link, but that is real thing.

A dubious person April 30, 2020 9:15 PM

@ All re: CFAA “clarification”

I participated in commenting on the previous article1, questioning whether the decision Bruce was talking about reliably prevented the US from prosecuting claimed ToS violations under CFAA. I noted that because there are varying interpretations across the US districts of the critical contract terms involved here (notably implicitly-defined concepts like “authorization” and “access”), the decision there was probably not so much a clarification as another oar in the water.

I’ve been offline a lot since then, but last week I noticed an item on “El Reg” saying that the US Supreme Court had agreed to hear arguments regarding such varying interpretations around (at least) claims of exceeding “authorization,” which seems like it might be relevant. I added a note on this earlier today (29 April) to that posting; but it’s pretty stale by now, way down the second page of articles; so I decided to bring it to the latest Squid as well. (I know there’ll probably be a new Squid tomorrow and this one will fall off the edge of the Disc, but I figured better safe than sorry.)

The upshot is that a case/appeal/etc. (US v. Van Buren/Van Buren v. US) that’s been bouncing around for awhile, which was decided based on certain interpretations of “authorization” and “exceeding authorization” (LEO Van Buren was charged with, among other stuff, exceeding his otherwise-authorized access to a police database system by looking up information for money). I had only the Register article before, but I’ve since then found the case files page for it on SCOTUSblog2, where I confirmed that the Court granted cert (agreed to hear the case) on 20 April. I plan to browse the filings for the case to see whether it looks relevant to the kind of criminal-disobedience3 ToS violations at the core of the previous decision, as well as to any threatened CFAA prosecution of e.g. Zoombombers (cf. Bruce’s original article on known security issues with Zoom4).

And a happy Worker’s Day to readers in the sensible regions of the planet; and to those of us doomed to work in the US instead, happy “Loyalty Day.”5

  1. h t t p s://

  2. h t t p s://

  3. Deliberately violating a somewhat arbitrary ToS condition, like the academic researchers were planning to do by creating accounts as fictional people, should be a civil offence (a contract violation) and therefore “mere” civil disobedience – except of course because A Computer System is involved it invokes CFAA, therefore criminal not civil liability, thence the need for the researchers’ lawsuit. (Bob help anyone who would then go on to break DRM… CFAA with a DMCA cherry on top!)

  4. h t t p s://

  5. See e.g. h t t p s:// . International Workers’ Day (aka “May Day”) was created in response to the Haymarket Affair, and the world in which it was celebrated once included the US. But the traditions of jingoistic demagoguery and population suppression responsible for the Haymarket Affair weren’t appeased by just lynching (ultimately, legally executing) Wobblies and anarchists, but demanded a successful6 PR battle against the very concept of large scale organized labor itself, de-legitimizing IWD by reinventing it as “Loyalty Day.”

  6. Successful in the US, anyway; ask a random sample of Americans to explain “Labor Day” and they’ll tell you it’s a September holiday that marks the “end of summer”/start of the school year and gives many people their last day away from the coal face until Thanksgiving.

1&1~=Umm May 1, 2020 5:52 AM


“The thing is that its not mine to be honest its just that ive collected it and i had a feeling its a good point fo time to release some of it…”

In possibly the worst kind of way.

Thus based on what has previously happened it will probably all get deleted in a short while when the Moderator goes through the blog postings.

There are a set of basic rules Bruce Schneier has put up about commenting that he likes people to follow. A link is at the top of every ‘Friday Squid’ page.

But to make it easier for you,

Can I suggest you go and read them before you post anything else. Because otherwise you might get disapointed by what happens to it.

Also if you have a lot of stuff how about sticking it up on a site like ‘PasteBin’ and just providing the links with a one or two sentence description?

Clive Robinson May 1, 2020 6:26 AM

@ vas pup, JonKnowsNothing,

… developed machine which sucking out water out of the air, purified it and make ready to drink

It’s actualy not difficult to do, it’s just getting it efficient that makes it harder.

Put simply any “chiller” dehumidifier or air conditioning unit sucks water out of the air.

Thus if you have a “cleanish” outside air supply just sucking it through a HEPA filter to renove particulates then activated charcoal to remove chemicals –it’s all an NBCR mask filter does– gives you a source of vaguely humid air that is safe (to what ever measure you need). This then is circulated across a series of chiller plates that drip into a collecting system.

This water should then realy be put through a microfiber then osmotic filter. Or a vacuum evaporator distilation system. Then through a UV-C trap if you are sufficiently paranoid…

The result although it is water a lot purer than from just about any other reasonable way –we’ll talk about 10k water another time– it’s not realy “drinkable”…

Yup you should not drink “pure water” because it lacks all sorts of minerals you need. Thus you need to “fortify” it first…

JonKnowsNothing May 1, 2020 9:56 AM

@Clive @ vas pup

Some while back I was researching water systems and wells for a project, including sustainable water systems. This part of California is actually a desert and Water Wars here are the stuff of movies and real life.

Most of what is here cannot exist without massive re-transport of water from other locations. Agriculture is a huge industry and uses enormous amounts of water. California has had serious droughts in recent years and the “drop the well” fight between folks depending on wells for personal or crops was the stuff of pre-COVID19 disbelief.

As the water table drops the bigger wealthier ag-businesses were able to get the well drillers in to drop their wells down to the lower water table. As the water table dropped further more the shallower wells went dry. Normally demand for new wells is well managed by the drilling companies but in that particular period there was no way for them to keep up. Many farmers and homes had dry wells, lost crops and their first experience of “no one cares”. Their schadenfreude came when the big dudes dropped their wells too low and ended up in salt-brine, which isn’t too good for almond trees. They still didn’t have any water and the big dudes had a lot of dead trees and had to pay for more new ag wells to be drilled but not quite so deep (Ag wells are expensive).

While researching the above topic, I read some interesting “survival” water options, none suitable for large scale but one was intriguing.

It required putting a large plastic bag over the branch of a “green leaf” tree or shrub. I admit I didn’t quite “get” how you got water draping a plastic bag over a branch until a picture showed you don’t drape it, you put the end of the branch into the bag and tie it off. After a good amount of time, you get a small amount of water collected in the baggie.

Of note: I never tried this and the article made mention of not doing this with a poison leaf tree-shrub. Which, of course, is another project in plant identification.

MarkH May 1, 2020 1:28 PM

April is the Cruelest Month … We Hope

More than two thousand persons were killed by SARS-CoV-2 infections in an average day, during the preceding 30 days, in the U.S. alone.

Even as this slaughter was in progress, some wrote comments on this blog asserting that Covid-19 is equivalent to the usual seasonal flu, or even the common cold!

I think it would be salutary for such persons to stand for a few minutes in the back of a commercial truck in use as a makeshift morgue.

Informal Poll: Who expects that any of these denialists will post comments admitting that they were dead wrong? Rather more importantly, will any of them have the humility to try to learn why they were so wrong?


Plants are remarkably efficient at pumping water up from the soil … especially considering that they do so without moving parts!

However, they are not so efficient at retention. The transpiration process needed for leaves to generate energy (CO2 in, O2 out) unavoidably exposes the plant’s internal water to the air, and they can lose 100 times more water to evaporation than they retain within to keep their cells alive.

It makes sense, then — especially in an arid environment — that the air around the leaves is an appreciable water source.

By chance, I learned a few hours ago from a TV program that some modern greenhouses reduce agricultural water consumption by as much as 90%, by preventing all of this transpired moisture from simply blowing away.

Where feasible, such a reduction in agricultural water use is probably a much more practical way to make more water available for people, than putting plastic bags on individual bushes 🙂

A dubious person May 1, 2020 2:10 PM

@ Clive R:

While one’s body certainly needs those minerals you’re talking about, I don’t think it requires them to come from the water one drinks. So I’d say: go ahead and drink that “purified” reclaimed humidity.

(Or am I missing something?)

Clive Robinson May 1, 2020 5:38 PM

@ A_Dub,

(Or am I missing something?)

Some of the micro nutrients etc your body needs are only partially “water soluable” and need to be in that form for your body to use them. As you can not put them back very easily you run into a problem (especially with your kidneys). Remember “Lime scale” on the inside of your kettle is not just “lime” by a long way.

@ JonKnowsNothing,

I was kind of aware of the water wars, not sure how true it is but apparently the local Governor has decided homes are only alowed some limited amount of water a day (55gal I think). You use a drop more and swinging taxes apply… Not so for Big Ag and industry, they can take what they want and polute what they want with their “waste water”.

With regards,

I admit I didn’t quite “get” how you got water draping a plastic bag over a branch until a picture showed you don’t drape it, you put the end of the branch into the bag and tie it off.

Yes it works, but only for a short while as it kills the branch as the leaves wither.

Another less harmfull way is to do what “Maple Leaf Syrup” collectors do. As they have to boil the sap down to syrup a fair amount of water comes off. Apparently it’s OK to drink that water if you condense it.

Clive Robinson May 1, 2020 5:53 PM

@ MarkH,

By chance, I learned a few hours ago from a TV program that some modern greenhouses reduce agricultural water consumption by as much as 90%, by preventing all of this transpired moisture from simply blowing away.

Speak to gardeners about Victorian “cold frames” –that extracted water from horse manure– and more modern “Polly tunnels” which can be as little as the top cut off of a 2 or 3 liter soft drinks bottle.

If you push them in far enough before the “root ball” expands out any water that comes from the plant goes back down into the soil near it’s root ball. So in a way it’s a closed cycle steam engine. With the added advantage that especially with “cold Frames” up against a south facing wall to keep the wind out you can get crops growing upto two months earlier and later.

The Chinese have developed “earth berm green houses” in effect you build a large pile of earth to the north and but a large green house on the south, the berm acts as quite an efficient energy store.

Similar tricks with “live in glass houses” have been tried in the North West of Europe. Thus not just providing food but reducing energy costs. The detail I’ve not seen written up is how you deal with the excess CO2 at certain times of the day.

Clive Robinson August 12, 2023 9:31 AM

@ Bruce, ALL,

Re : Chrome gets X25519Kyber768

Devon O’Brien, Google’s Chrome Security technical program manager has said that the next release will use a concatenation of the Eliptic Curve X25519 algorithm and the NIST “blessed” quantum-resistant “Key Exchange Mechanism”(KEM) Kyber768. Hence the mouthfull of “alphabeti-spaghetti” X25519Kyber768.

To potentially be crashing a net appliance near you due to that “little extra” it adds to the original data.

@ ALL,

Interestingly Google’s Devon O’Brien said,

It’s believed that quantum computers that can break modern classical cryptography won’t arrive for 5, 10, possibly even 50 years from now, so why is it important to start protecting traffic today?

The answer is that certain uses of cryptography are vulnerable to a type of attack called Harvest Now, Decrypt Later, in which data is collected and stored today and later decrypted once cryptanalysis improves.”

The thing to remember though, is that symmetric encryption such as AES256 is not going to be effected by even the best “Quantum Computer”(QC) any where near as badly as asymetric encryption used for “key exchange”[1].

So you can make quite a bit of your “thoughtful use” of Encryption secure simply by not using PubKey algorithms to do “Key Managment”(KeyMan).

Whilst almost trivial to say, KeyMan has a reputation for going pear shaped due to user issues. It’s why PK Key Exchange at a very low level like in the “Transport Layer Security”(TLS) where the user can not get their fingers in is so popular.

In short if you want protection from “Harvest Now Decrypt Later” you and those you corespond with need to “man-up” now and use application layer encryption that does not do PubKey Key Exchange.

I’m not saying Google’s got it wrong or put a back door in or anything like that. But… we lost one Post-Quantum algorithm at nearly the last minute due to what appears an almost trivial non-quantum clasical attack. So all I’m saying is “It’s early days and a lot can happen”.

[1] Symetric / block algorithms can be attacked using Lov K Grover’s algorithm, but the advantage it gives is only equivalent of halving the number of bits in the key length. So switching up to AES256 or higher should be done now. The Asymetric “Public Key” algorithms we currently use are very susceptable to Peter Shor’s algorithm and that unfortunately is going to be devastating should a QC of sufficient capability ever get built (which may be doubtfull in our expected life times).

Leave a comment


Allowed HTML <a href="URL"> • <em> <cite> <i> • <strong> <b> • <sub> <sup> • <ul> <ol> <li> • <blockquote> <pre> Markdown Extra syntax via

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.