Friday Squid Blogging: Cocaine Smuggled in Squid

Makes sense; there's room inside a squid's body cavity:

Latin American drug lords have sent bumper shipments of cocaine to Europe in recent weeks, including one in a cargo of squid, even though the coronavirus epidemic has stifled legitimate transatlantic trade, senior anti-narcotics officials say.

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 May 1, 2020 at 4:06 PM • 96 Comments

Comments

myliitMay 1, 2020 6:01 PM

@markky

afaik warfarin, aka rat poison, iirc, is still considered the gold standard for blood thinners in old people. Perhaps because newer Warfarin replacements haven’t been adequately tested in old people. Regardless Warfarin isn’t dummy proof and can be tricky to keep in range, but doable, perhaps.

Doctors, in general, often seem to want old people to switch to newer blood thinners.

Clive RobinsonMay 1, 2020 8:36 PM

@ myliit,

Doctors, in general, often seem to want old people to switch to newer blood thinners.

Not surprisingly meaauring a persons INR is not easy at the best of times for most Drs, even though there are now test systems that look like Blood Glucose test systems and cost less than one months supply of the "newer blood thiners".

The big problem with Warfrin as I know from experience is it scares doctors into timidity...

I used to have to take a dose 4-8 times that of other people (I used to joke that that eas because I had three little old ladies hiding in me). Which ment that when I had to have "loading doses" instead of "twice the dose for two days" they chickened out in part because the British National Formulary (BNF) tables did not go upto even my nomral dose back then. So they would only give me a little above my normal dose then moan that I spent two weeks in hospital as the figures slowly crept to where they should be...

It's the "people don't understand exponential" issue again, even smart doctors get leary of it, engineers on the other hand tend to get "the hammer out" when it comes to half life calculations and limits and quickly bash them into shape. It got so bad on one occasion I actually got a friend to bring in my computer and I actually wrote them not just a paper on how to do things but drew up easy to use graphs... All but a heart consultant thought "I was from planet Tharge" or some such.

The thing is you first calculate the patients actual "half life" which you can do with one dose and two tests. You then calibrate the scale appropriately. You then use not just one dose a day but several small doses for two or three days. Each one keeping below an arbitrary limit (it is rat poison after all) you draw across the graph.

I got very good at doing not just the loading doses in my head but the holding dose as well.

At one hospital where I got on well with the pharmacology team, we used to have a little competition between my calculations and that of their very expensive computer program. They were quite impressed at how I was not just able to do it but do it in my head in about a minute.

Unfortunately despite nagging and nagging my own General Practitioner to alow me to do daily testing at home and adjust the dose as well they were not going to go there...

Eventually they moved me from "Rat Poison" that is cheaper than chips even in the US (less than 2cents/ tab) and they put me on another drug, that you take just once a day which was eye wateringly expensive... The US price is ~500USD/month the UK price less than an eighth of that if you are a private patient and only about 5USD equivalent if you pay for prescriptions (which I don't due to other diseases which carry a "total exemption")...

To say US citizens are being "ripped off" by US drugs companies and Insurance companies is shall we say a bit of an "under statment".

La AbejaMay 2, 2020 12:17 AM

@Clive Robinson

"newer blood thiners".

The big problem with Warfrin ...

"Rat Poison"

I used to eat oatmeal for breakfast every morning, but I found that too much oatmeal over time thins my blood uncontrollably. I like walnuts in my oatmeal, but they have a further blood-thinning effect that compounds that of oatmeal.

Certain fats such as beef lard and milkfat from cows — which are often considered "unhealthy" — will thicken the blood and restore its ability to clot: but too much clogs the arteries.

Coffee, probably more so than tea, contains alkaloids that aid in the digestion and eventual detoxification of beef, milk and similar animal fats, in the human liver.

The shepherds of ancient times, said to have watched their flocks by night, no doubt had plenty of coffee along with the fats from mutton, lamb, beef, milk, etc. in their diet. (Mutton grease is even more artery-clogging than beef fat.)

MarkHMay 2, 2020 6:05 AM

.
A Different Kind of Medicine to Protect Against Covid-19 Infection

I found this fascinating, and guess that some other readers will also:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/01/opinion/coronavirus-vaccine-innate-immunity.html

The immune systems of vertebrate animals (like us) are wonderfully complex. There's a functional way of classifying its components into two categories: innate, and adaptive.

The adaptive side includes antibodies which attach to one kind of molecule forming part of a pathogen, leading to the neutralization or destruction of that virus or cell.

As I understand it, all vaccines are designed to activate the patient's adaptive immune system. Because the antibodies are ultra-specific -- they "like" only one molecule -- the principal effect of vaccines is also highly specific.

However, there's an observation-based hypothesis -- more than 90 years old! -- that vaccines made from live/active pathogens can also strengthen the innate immune system, which is non-specific.

Innate immune response is of great importance, because it can resist an infection in the first hours or days before the adaptive immune system can respond.

Surprisingly to me, this hypothesis has not yet been adequately tested, despite very suggestive data. If true, it would mean that a vaccine against one pathogen could confer some protection against other very different pathogens!
__________________________

Some medical researchers are hoping that this effect will apply to SARS-CoV-2, and making preparations to investigate it. If it works, the protective effect -- and its durability -- are likely to be less than that of a "tailor made" vaccine.

However, partial protection could be of enormous help against the pandemic ... and very importantly, it might be attainable via vaccines which are already available. Accordingly, the use of some existing vaccine(s) might save many people from grave illness or death, in the interval before a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine becomes available.

Despite some intemperate statements from the U.S. and UK, it's very unlikely that a new vaccine can be fielded within the next year, so something that could be done within a few months could be an enormous help.
__________________________

One candidate for testing against the pandemic, is the Sabin oral polio vaccine (OPV), which I remember drinking as a little boy. Note that the Salk injected polio vaccine fielded a few years prior is not eligible, because that is based on inactivated virus: OPV uses active ("live") virus, believed to be necessary for innate immune system enhancement.

One caveat: OPV carries a small risk of people becoming sick with polio.

Another caveat: if OPV helps against Covid-19, the number of doses needed would be orders of magnitude greater than present production. The problem of production scaling is a big worry about all potential Covid vaccines; I'm surely ignorant about the problems involved, but perhaps scaling up production of a "live" vaccine would be especially time consuming.

MarkHMay 2, 2020 6:22 AM

@Clive:

three little old ladies hiding in me

Sounds uncomfortable ;)

the ... tables did not go up to even my normal dose

This reminded me of an occasion in 1990 when Arizona's Phoenix airport (a fairly large and busy facility) had to halt airline traffic for a few hours.

Part of the preparation for a transport plane departure is for the flight crew to compute critical speeds and distances required to get the plane safely into the air. This process includes the consultation of aircraft performance tables, for which air temperature is a key parameter.

That day in Phoenix, the temperature was so high that it exceeded the maximum temperature in the tables published in the aircraft manuals. Being unable to complete the computation, the crews could not legally take off ...

A similar situation recurred there in 2017.

MiquelMay 2, 2020 9:36 AM

@Clive

Re:

"1, Let everyone get infected with attendant high mortality rates and getting an endemic infection with anything upto 1-6% of the worlds population dead."


It is the month of May already and you are still making these embarrassing statements. For some reason you are deliberately spreading fear and lies, and this is sad. Unless you can present proof that contradicts the currently available data, you should refrain from fear mongering.

Until then:

1. It is now known that COVID-19 mortality is between 0.1% (in sunny high Vit D regions) and 0.9% (NYC).

2. Dr. Fauci published a paper on March 26, where he states that COVID-19 is "akin to a severe seasonal influenza which has a case fatality rate of 0.1% ... rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS"

3. No epidemic will ever infect 100% of the population. The Spanish flu infected 30% of the world population. The Spanish flu virus was no more aggressive than previous influenza strains. It was the malnourishment exacerbated by the war, lack of antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections, poor hygiene and low quality healthcare that made it so devastating.

4. Malnourishment is still the main cause of what we are seeing today. Obesity is a form of malnourishment, and it comes with all the downstream comorbidities. Deficiencies of Vitamins D, A, K, C, Selenium, Zinc are a form of malnourishment.

5. Epidemics of respiratory viruses will usually infect only up to 25% of a population. Look at the data on COVID cruise ships, at the Hunan long distance bus study, at the antibody studies in the severe outbreak areas. In the same way each year, common flu infects 20% of the population according to serological studies and 80% of all flu infections are asymptomatic. No different to COVID-19 whatsoever.

6. Common flu spreads faster than COVID-19, according to WHO

7. Asymptomatic shedding of COVID-19 is NOT a major driver of transmission, according to WHO

8. 80% of common flu infections are asymptomatic, according to WHO

9. 80% of COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic, according to WHO

10. 80% of Dengue infections are asymptomatic, according to WHO

11. Majority % of EBOLA infections are asymptomatic. At least 15 percent of Gabon's population has antibodies. In some villages, up to 34% have antibodies. Possibly dependent on the Selenium status in soil and foods. Selenium is an antiviral, and a deficiency was shown to cause viruses (including Flu) to mutate into more dangerous forms.

12. There is nothing novel about SARS-CoV-2. All respiratory viruses are novel. Each season, new strains emerge and cause epidemics. That's why you need a different flu vaccine each year. For the novel flu virus.

13. The only "novel" thing about this coronavirus would be that it poisons the ACE2 enzyme. But this is not novel either, because it was first observed with SARS-1.

14. Viral epidemics do not follow an exponential curve

15. COVID-19 is unlikely to return in autumn, and if it does there will only be limited outbreaks nothing on the scale we've seen so far.

16. The fact that 6% may not seroconvert is irrelevant. It may or may not be true. It sometimes happens with flu and other viral diseases as well. The overwhelming majority seroconvert, otherwise the epidemic would not be over now.

17. Immunity is not conferred only by antibodies

CallMeLateForSupperMay 2, 2020 12:33 PM

#Clive
I'll take a wild guess and say that the trade name of "eye-wateringly expensive" blood thinner you referred to begins with an "E" and ends with an "liquis" (AKA apixaban). I am chained to it now.

z80May 2, 2020 1:21 PM

@Miquel

> 1. It is now known that COVID-19 mortality is between 0.1% (in sunny high Vit D regions) and 0.9% (NYC).

I wonder where these numbers come from...

49517 cases with 7765 deaths is a mortality rate of roughly 15.5% (Belgium)
167305 cases with 24597 deaths is a mortality rate of roughly 14.5% (France)
1117979 cased with 65416 deaths is a mortality rate of roughly 15.5% (USA)

All these numbers above are current numbers from the JHU.

MiquelMay 2, 2020 1:33 PM

@Clive

South Korea says recovered coronavirus patients who tested positive again did not relapse: Tests picked up 'dead virus fragments'

Experts in South Korea said that recovered coronavirus patients who tested positive again were not reinfected and that their virus was not reactivated, as was previously feared.

Coronavirus: Scientists conclude people cannot be infected twice

https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-south-korean-reactivated-cases-not-reinfected-experts-2020-4

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20200429000724

A Nonny BunnyMay 2, 2020 2:14 PM

@z80

I wonder where these numbers come from...
I have more doubts about the "sunny high vit D regions" claim.

Anyway, you do need to keep in mind that because many people aren't tested, confirmed cases are far from all cases. For a long while in the Netherlands we almost only tested people that ended up in the hospital (i.e. the worst cases), and hospital workers.
A while ago in the Netherlands they tested blood donation samples and concluded about 3% of people had had the virus (+/- half a million people). But we have fewer than a tenth of that in confirmed cases.
There's similar studies from other countries.

On the other hand, comparing the number of deaths in April to normal years, also shows many more additional people died than just the confirmed covid-19 victims. It suggests around 60% additional unconfirmed corona deaths (in the absence of other likely causes).

The true picture probably won't be clear for months to come.

MarkHMay 2, 2020 2:17 PM

Miquel's 9:36 AM comment includes numerous assertions of fact. I've no doubt of his honesty or his good intentions. Even so, demonstrable facts are mixed with some which are speculative and debatable, and others which are unambiguously false.

I recommend a skeptical approach.

Interested readers, please see what I wrote yesterday.

AndersMay 2, 2020 2:55 PM

www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2020/04/30/exclusive-warning-over-chinese-mobile-giant-xiaomi-recording-millions-of-peoples-private-web-and-phone-use/

vas pupMay 2, 2020 4:24 PM

@JohnKNowsNothing and @Clive:
Thank you for your thoughts on pure water out of the air (last week blog).
Having time, I found link to video confirming possibility and huge (as our POTUS like to say) potential for utilization:
An Israeli Company WaterGen is Generating the Water From Air
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s17rgrbyR4

I guess remote outpost of military and IC in dry areas (by the way Navy ships as well) could utilize this technology for self sufficient water supply utilizing duo with solar powered electricity generator or/and powerful Tesla batteries.

vas pupMay 2, 2020 5:35 PM

Cyber-spies seek coronavirus vaccine secrets
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-52490432

"In mid-April, an FBI official said there had been "some intrusions" into institutions working on Covid-related research.

Deputy assistant director Tonya Ugoretz said bio-medical data had long been "a priority target for cyber-espionage" and organizations publicly linked to work on the virus had become a "mark".

Later in the month, the US assistant attorney general for national security, John Demers, said it would be "beyond absurd" to think China would not be interested in such details.

US and Western spies are also likely to be interested in what is going on inside China, including any discrepancies over the death toll from Covid-19 as well as its research on vaccines and treatments."

My take: the difference is in possible utilization of obtained by IC information: for free at least for own citizens or for huge profit for big pharma. I guess you do know the answer.


myliitMay 2, 2020 6:18 PM

@Clive Robinson, markky, La Abeja, CallMeLateForSupper, and others interested in blood thinners or anticoagulation

Clive wrote: “There are now test systems [to help keep warfarin users in their therapeutic range] that look like Blood Glucose test systems and cost less than one months supply of the "newer blood thiners".”

From Wikipedia: “Patients are making increasing use of self-testing and home monitoring of oral [warfarin] anticoagulation. International guidelines on home testing were published in 2005.[25] The guidelines stated: "The consensus agrees that patient self-testing and patient self-management are effective methods of monitoring ...

Several types of anticoagulant drugs offering the efficacy of warfarin without a need for monitoring, such as dabigatran, apixaban, edoxaban and rivaroxaban, have been approved in a number of countries for classical warfarin uses. There is a reversal agent available for dabigatran (idarucizumab)[27] but not for apixaban, edoxaban and rivaroxaban.[28][needs update]”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warfarin

Vitamin K, of course, is a reversal agent for warfarin. For example, if you have to go into surgery in a hurry

lurkerMay 2, 2020 6:33 PM

Water from Air
Frank Herbert already did this on planet Dune…

CanonMay 2, 2020 6:37 PM

Hi Couple of things:

Choosing Pseudo anonymity:

- What to think about
- First of all is what are the most
common names in your language group

So: In the Country of
Swedoslowakian Communistic Community it would be:

Erik Andersson for a MALE or
Maria Andersson for a FEMALE
So choosing one of those would be a good name to choose in an OPSEC Pseudo Name

Then you need to think what is the objective:
- In this case the objective is not to look as if the whole truth comes from lets say belorussia but sweden, so we want to make it look like its actulally swedorussian

So someone analyzing this have language patterns to look at

But.. we make those false
now what is going to happen ?

// Canon


CanonMay 2, 2020 6:48 PM

The baseband in the phones made in china are so prone to problems today that we have no idea to trust 5G technology since its going to be a plattform for surveilance for tomorrow...

--
So it was a bad way showing a second or third step psyop but this is a way its done

I can my selfe do it and it will work for my objective however doing it would put me in danger showing it done would be very bad indeed

There are even longer chains of effect
where it makes sense when it comes together after the whole change has been shown to the object

CanonMay 2, 2020 7:18 PM

Does someone know if its possible to do a pastebin via tor...

--
Anyways some things ive done lately is a TOR router combined with pihole...
I below the idea since i dont get how to make it over torsocks
--


#!/bin/bash

cd /etc/cron.daily
chmod -x /etc/cron.minutes/03min

# ADHOC STEVENBLACK
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/StevenBlack/hosts/master/data/StevenBlack/hosts
mv hosts /etc/hosts

# ADS0011 WINHELP
torsocks wget http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.txt
mv hosts.txt /etc/ads0011.txt

# ADS0013 STEVENBLACK ADWARE+MALWARE
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/StevenBlack/hosts/master/hosts
mv hosts /etc/ads0013.txt

# ADS0014 UNCHECKY ADS
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/FadeMind/hosts.extras/master/UncheckyAds/hosts
mv hosts /etc/ads0014.txt

# ADDS0015 YOYO PETER LOWE
torsocks wget "https://pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/serverlist.php?hostformat=hosts&mimetype=plaintext&useip=0.0.0.0"
mv "serverlist.php?hostformat=hosts&mimetype=plaintext&useip=0.0.0.0" /etc/ads0015.txt

# ADDS0016 BLUE ULTIMATE 2018
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/EnergizedProtection/EnergizedHosts/master/EnergizedUltimate/energized/EnergizedUltimate.txt
mv EnergizedUltimate.txt /etc/ads0016.txt

# COINS0001
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/hoshsadiq/adblock-nocoin-list/master/hosts.txt
mv hosts.txt /etc/coins0001.txt

# COINS0002
torsocks wget https://zerodot1.gitlab.io/CoinBlockerLists/hosts_browser
mv hosts_browser /etc/coins0002.txt

# COINS0003
torsocks wget https://zerodot1.gitlab.io/CoinBlockerLists/hosts_optional
mw hosts_optional /etc/coins0003.txt

# COINS0004
torsocks wget https://zerodot1.gitlab.io/CoinBlockerLists/hosts
mw hosts_optional /etc/coins0004.txt

# FAKENEWS0001
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/StevenBlack/hosts/master/extensions/fakenews/hosts
mv hosts /etc/fakenews0001.txt

# GMBLING0001
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/StevenBlack/hosts/master/extensions/gambling/hosts
sed 's/127.0.0.1/0.0.0.0/g' hosts > /etc/gambling0001.txt
rm hosts

# GAMBLING0002
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/StevenBlack/hosts/master/alternates/gambling/hosts
mv hosts /etc/gambling0002.txt

# JERRYN70 MOBILE GOODBYEADS
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/jerryn70/GoodbyeAds/master/Hosts/GoodbyeAds.txt
mv GoodbyeAds.txt /etc/mobile0001.txt

# JERRYN70 MOBILE GOODBYEADS ULTRA
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/jerryn70/GoodbyeAds/master/Hosts/GoodbyeAds-Ultra.txt
mv GoodbyeAds-Ultra.txt /etc/mobile0002.txt

# JERRYN70 SAMSUNG
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/jerryn70/GoodbyeAds/master/Extension/GoodbyeAds-Samsung-AdBlock.txt
mv GoodbyeAds-Samsung-AdBlock.txt /etc/mobile0003.txt

# JERRYN70 XIAOMI
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/jerryn70/GoodbyeAds/master/Extension/GoodbyeAds-Xiaomi-Extension.txt
mv GoodbyeAds-Xiaomi-Extension.txt /etc/mobile0004.txt

# JERRYN70 LEECO
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/jerryn70/GoodbyeAds/master/Extension/GoodbyeAds-LeEco-Extension.txt
mv GoodbyeAds-LeEco-Extension.txt /etc/mobile0005.txt

# JERRYN70 YOUTUBE
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/jerryn70/GoodbyeAds/master/Extension/GoodbyeAds-YouTube-AdBlock.txt
mv GoodbyeAds-YouTube-AdBlock.txt /etc/youtube0001.txt

# MALWARE0004
wget https://www.malwaredomainlist.com/hostslist/hosts.txt
sed 's/127.0.0.1/0.0.0.0/g' hosts.txt > /etc/malware0004.txt
rm hosts.txt

# MALWARE0006 KAD POLISH
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/PolishFiltersTeam/KADhosts/master/KADhosts_without_controversies.txt
mv KADhosts_without_controversies.txt /etc/malware0006.txt

# MALWARE0007 BADD BOYZ LIST
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/mitchellkrogza/Badd-Boyz-Hosts/master/hosts
mv hosts /etc/malware0007.txt

# MALWARE0008 URLHaus Obs listan är 127.0.0.1 baserad
torsocks wget https://urlhaus.abuse.ch/downloads/hostfile/
sed 's/127.0.0.1/0.0.0.0/g' index.html > /etc/malware0008.txt
rm index.html

# MOBILE JAWZ
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/jawz101/MobileAdTrackers/master/hosts
mv hosts /etc/mobile0006.txt

# PORN0001
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/StevenBlack/hosts/master/extensions/porn/clefspeare13/hosts
mv hosts /etc/porn0001.txt

# PORN0003
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/StevenBlack/hosts/master/extensions/porn/sinfonietta/hosts
mv hosts /etc/porn0003.txt

# PORN0004
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/StevenBlack/hosts/master/extensions/porn/tiuxo/hosts
mv hosts /etc/porn0004.txt

# PORN0005
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/StevenBlack/hosts/master/alternates/porn/hosts
mv hosts /etc/porn0005.txt

# SOCIALMEDIA0002
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/StevenBlack/hosts/master/extensions/social/tiuxo/hosts
mv hosts /etc/socialmedia0002.txt

# SOCIALMEDIA0003
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/StevenBlack/hosts/master/alternates/social/hosts
mv hosts /etc/socialmedia0003.txt

# TRACK0001
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/FadeMind/hosts.extras/master/add.2o7Net/hosts
mv hosts /etc/track0001.txt

# TRACK0002 DISCONNECT
torsocks wget https://s3.amazonaws.com/lists.disconnect.me/simple_ad.txt
cat simple_ad.txt | sed 's/^/0.0.0.0 /g' > /etc/track0002.txt
rm simple_ad.txt

# TRACK0003 EASYPRIVACY
torsocks wget wget https://v.firebog.net/hosts/Easyprivacy.txt
cat Easyprivacy.txt | sed 's/^/0.0.0.0 /g' > /etc/track0003.txt
rm Easyprivacy.txt

# TRACK0004 SAMSUNG TV
torsocks wget https://v.firebog.net/hosts/static/SamsungSmart.txt -O temp.txt
cat temp.txt |sed 's/^/0.0.0.0 /g' > /etc/track0004.txt
rm temp.txt

# TRACK0005
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/crazy-max/WindowsSpyBlocker/master/data/hosts/extra.txt
mv extra.txt /etc/track0005.txt

# TRACK0006
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/crazy-max/WindowsSpyBlocker/master/data/hosts/spy.txt
mv spy.txt /etc/track0006.txt

# WINDOWS W10 TELEMETRY 0001
torsocks wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/dfkt/win10-unfuck/master/data-harvesting-hosts.txt
mv data-harvesting-hosts.txt /etc/windows0001.txt

# WINDOWS W10 TELEMETRY 0002
torsocks wget https://gist.githubusercontent.com/angristan/20a398983c5b1daa9c13a1cbadb78fd6/raw/58d54b172b664ee5a0b53bb2e25c391433f2cc7a/hosts
mv hosts /etc/windows0002.txt

# RESTART DNSMASQ
sleep 5
systemctl restart dnsmasq
chmod +x /etc/cron.minutes/03min

exit 0
--
Then there are some dnsmasq and other stuff
but thats 80% of the pihole
--

MarkHMay 2, 2020 11:34 PM

.
Have You Heard the One About Herd Immunity?

"Herd immunity" is a concept in the field of public health. Its core idea is a mathematical equilibrium condition in which the distribution of immunity within a population diminishes an infectious disease's reproduction rate R such that R = 1.

Under the simplifying assumption of population homogeneity (one group or region is much like another, with respect to the disease), the threshold distribution which forces R = 1 corresponds to a proportion of the population with immunity; I'll call this proportion ρc, for critical ratio.

If the proportion of population with immunity is greater than ρc, then R < 1, with the consequence that any incidence of infection will "die out" without the need for any special intervention, because each "generation" of propagating infections contains fewer persons than the previous.

Conversely, if the proportion of population with immunity is less than ρc then R > 1, with the consequence that a group of infected persons will communicate the infection to a larger group, and the number of persons sick at one time will progressively increase -- in essence, an epidemic.

In such case, if surviving infection confers immunity, then as the infection spreads, immunity will grow within the population until the proportion approaches ρc. As the threshold nears, R diminishes until the number of infections can no longer grow. This scenario might be called "natural herd immunity." It's worthy of grim note that the increase in proportion with immunity comes not only from growth of the denominator (number of recovered with immunity), but also shrinkage of the denominator (total population).

If we take R0 as the reproduction rate in a population with no immunity, then it takes a little algebra to derive that

ρc = 1 - (1 / R0)

Looking deeper, we can see that this is true only if there is no correlation between the population distribution of immunity, and the population distribution of exposure to infection. If those distributions are assumed to be random, then that criterion is met.
___________________________

As an analytical matter, what's written above is all logical and straightforward. Of course, the reality of widespread infectious disease in human populations is vastly more complex and messy.

Something which came into the world not many weeks ago, was the "herd immunity strategy" as a policy in reaction to Covid-19. I suppose this policy has two forms:

1. We can't stop the spread anyway, so we'll let it go (or maybe, try to slow the spread a little to reduce resource saturation)

2. We could stop the spread, but we don't want to pay the prices in economic costs and restrictions of liberty, so we'll let it go ...

In comment threads here, Clive Robinson has made the case against this policy most forcefully and eloquently. Personally, I believe that if Clive estimated an upper bound of 6 percent of global population killed, that is difficult to reconcile with available data; however his lower bound of 1 percent seems quite reasonable, and -- given the error bands on the data -- 2 percent is not out of the question.

So, if your moral position is "around 100 million dead is acceptable to me ... as long as I'm not one of them!" then the "herd immunity strategy" should be no problem.
___________________________

In this NY Times article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/01/opinion/sunday/coronavirus-herd-immunity.html

a biology professor and a biostatistician take a look at the "herd immunity strategy."

They remind the readers of what so many seem never to think of: nobody on Earth yet knows the effectiveness over time of post-infection immunity, because it's too early to have made the required observations.

That being so, following the "herd immunity strategy" is like deciding to let a forest fire burn until rains stop it, without knowing whether rain will come before the forest is 100% destroyed.
___________________________

The authors also make a more subtle technical observation. Natural herd immunity as defined above is the operation of a linear feedback system. Those of us who have designed analog circuits (including Clive and me) are very well aware that in general, linear feedback systems will overshoot before settling to an equilibrium value.

The article includes a plot of an example model, in which the proportion of population infected great exceeds ρc.

A simple way to think about this, is that when the immune proportion reaches ρc then the subsequent "generation" of infections will (according to the idealized math) equal the present generation. The number getting newly sick is not increasing, but is still at its maximum! At a proportion just above ρc, the reduction in sick with each generation of infection spread will be only a little smaller than the generation before ... which means a lot more infections, before the damping down of propagation ends the spread of the disease.
___________________________

It's a brute fact of politics, that those with decision-making authority can more easily imagine getting blamed for decisive action than getting blamed for passivity. Thus, inaction has an enduring seductive appeal ... "Twas the little microbes wot did it, guv'nor! Not us!!"

EtienneMay 3, 2020 2:57 AM

I used to fly in the military, and every 3 years we had to go to the altitude chamber for re-certification.

Of course we re-learned our hypoxia symptoms.

Mine was the same, every time. The skin under my fingernails became blue. Which is why those fancy electronic meters are hooked to your finger, maybe.

When I had walking pneumonia a few years back, yes, my under fingernails were turning blue. A chest x-ray confirmed my lungs were screwed-up.

Easy test, look at your nails, save $100, instead of buying a fancy monitor.

Clive RobinsonMay 3, 2020 6:04 AM

@ La Abeja,

Certain fats such as beef lard and milkfat from cows — which are often considered "unhealthy" — will thicken the blood and restore its ability to clot: but too much clogs the arteries.

That's what you get told, but it's actually not true as science well knows.

What causes the damage is not the lipids (fats) but the triglycerides that act as the "glue"

Triglycerides are a product of processing short "carbohydrates". It you eat a mainly meat and fat as those who live in places where edible plants realy don't grow your chances of getting arterial plague is very minimal because triglycerides are not in their blood. They also do not get type II diabeties, and they actually eat less because they feel satisfied more quickly.

The reason we get told this nonsense about 60% of your diet being carbs is down to Ancel Keys and his political machinations for the "corn syrup" industry. Since he has died various researchers have repeatedly shown that his research was in effect "rigged" the result in the US is somewhere around half the population being obese or showing high triglycerides and comorbidities.

At the end of the day you can live without "simple carbohydrates" perfectly healthily, you do however need some "green leaf" vegtables to help keep your dietary system functioning in the way you are used to. But cutting wheat, root vegtables, and all processed food out of your diet and only eating once a day will help you a lot, especially if you are immunocompromized.

But don't trust me on this look it up. Search for "Intermittent fasting" and the diets that actually work --Atkins early stages / Keto-- and for the bad side "Ancel Keys" who might in effect be the biggest serial killer of all time with deaths in the high millions to his name.

CuriousMay 3, 2020 6:10 AM

I wonder if people with reduced some oxygen intake in the body because of covid-19 virus, would still experience dizzyness when inhaling regular air rapidly, or not.

mEntropyMay 3, 2020 9:11 AM

@Clive Robinson
A ketogenic diet/rich in fat can alter your gut microbiome in unhealthy ways mid term. The chinese conducted a study, with soy fat, which is one of the worst fats you could attempt this with, soy both being allergenic and its fat being of the unhealthy kind and laden with pesticides. The participants' adverse results persisted for at least half a year.

Don't have the time to locate a link, sorry, just figured you might be interested in researching that yourself.

My point is not to say that a fat-based diet has to always result in adverse outcomes, I've pointed out the quality of fat being a factor. Omega 3 vs 6 balance and toxic compounds stemming from fertilizer and pesticides being deciding factors, fat stores and delivers those toxins from the field to your bloodstream.

As high fat levels in your bloodstream, quite often caused by a fatty liver oversaturad by carbohydrates offer virii and bacteria optimal feeding and hiding grounds, you'd best be careful with what fat you go for.

EtienneMay 3, 2020 12:49 PM

@Curious "I wonder if people with reduced oxygen intake because of virus, would still experience dizzyness when inhaling regular air rapidly, or not."

As lung alveoli (air sacs) shrink or are filled with liquid, there is no way oxygen can get into the blood, or carbon dioxide be removed from the blood, thus no amount of rapid breathing can help.

When you are connected to an ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), blood flows through tubing to an artificial lung in the machine that adds oxygen and takes out carbon dioxide; then the blood is warmed to body temperature and pumped back into your body.

The reason they use ventilators, is it is less invasive, and if the patient can be be put into a coma and reduced demand on the need for oxygen, this will be the cheapest method, but not many people survive.

ECMO machines are too few in number to be used in a pandemic.

MarkHMay 3, 2020 6:22 PM

@Clive:

When you have a little energy, please write how it goes for you ...

Your friends/pupils/interlocutors will be anxious to find out!

Mark

MarkHMay 4, 2020 1:56 AM

@Trudi Fenster-Klotz:

It's worth remembering that this is the same Michael Levitt who predicted -- not many weeks ago -- that no more than 10 would die from Covid-19 in the state of Israel.

The total deaths attributed to the pandemic in Israel has exceeded 230 ... with 10 deaths in just the past 3 days.

Oopsie!

There's nothing about a Nobel that protects the awardee from making statements which are foolish and wrong :(

The most important fact in the linked article, is that Dr Levitt is not an epidemiologist.

There's no reason to believe that he understands epidemiology any better than the tech geeks who write comments here.

His biological research had no connection whatever to epidemiology. Yes, he likes to crunch the numbers. So do millions of others who studied math.

Clive RobinsonMay 4, 2020 7:19 AM

@ Miquel,

Still spouting misinformation I see.

For instance those excess death rates as we know from Italy and Spain where the virus was running free in the population.

The morticians reporting back to the Mayors were reporting 5-11 times the number of funerals.

So the real death rate is way way higher.

Your problem is that even though every one should know by now that the only "official" deaths are those that have died in hospital after receiving a RT-PCR test so is quite deliberately artificially low.

In the UK for instance they quite deliberately left out the death in care homes which reduced the number by over a third of those reported.

As for your quip of,

For some reason you are deliberately spreading fear and lies

No I'm not, the excess death figures do not lie. You however realy need to sit down and look at your motivations because you are approaching the level of "Faux News" certain politicians are putting out.

For instance you say,

80% of Dengue infections are asymptomatic, according to WHO

What you don't go on to say quite deliberatly as I've already discussed it in depth hear, is that their are four strains of Dengue feaver the first one you get will be quite mild not asymptomatic, but if you get a second strain you are in a world of pain and without medical support death.

The fact you mention this after COVID looks deliberatly designed to "snow people". We have no idea what may happen with SARS-CoV-2 but the one thing we do no for sure is that viral mutations are proportional to the number of infected cases. Thus the UK politically originated "Herd Immunity Policy" where you let it rip through society like wildfire is a very stupid idea on many counts. Real herd immunity in nature takes several generations to build up, as you well know from,

Epidemics of respiratory viruses will usually infect only up to 25% of a population.

You can make an approximation of how it builds up

No epidemic will ever infect 100% of the population. The Spanish flu infected 30% of the world population.

Actually we have absolutly no idea how many were infected by Spanish Flu, only the bad cases and deaths.

With regards the 100% of the population with "seasonal diseases" that is self evident. Also an inverse exponential rise mathmatically will never get to 100% but five effective generations would mathmatically make so little difference as to be close enough to insignificant. However mathmatical models don't predict human behaviour because humans respond to changing conditions. But as the experts keep changing their mind on the properties of SARS-CoV-2 and in some places over 8 in 10 have been recorded as testing positive... The 30% is overly optomistic at best.

I could go on but I see others have picked up on your comments and cautioned others.

But finally as appart from the excess death rates the only other thing we have is history you might want to study a bit of history on epidemics thus pandemics. Often but not always they come in generational waves often due to seasonality effects. This may or may not be true for SARS-CoV-2, we just do not know. However the historic evidence suggests the first wave is generally a fraction of the second wave and often a fraction of the third wave....

Clive RobinsonMay 4, 2020 7:29 AM

@ CallMeLate...,

I'll take a wild guess...

Close the one I'm on actually goes by the name of Riveroxaban...

And the only reason I agreed in the end to go on it was after I'd had an indepth conversation with a senior cardiologist.

He quite understood my reluctance after all Rat Poison has been around long enough and is so widely used that most of it's side effects are known. And as it's so commonly used it's been extensively tested against nearl all new drugs.

Clive RobinsonMay 4, 2020 8:02 AM

@ MarkH,

When you have a little energy, please write how it goes for you ...

Well I had an infection which was likely to turn serious as they often do with me.

Well I was put on clarithomycin 500mg twice per day. After taking 5 tablets I was so ill that things were going rapidly down hill. After all when your urine first goes bright orange then quickly into brown and smelling like "smokey bacon chips" it's what the call a "clue that something is not right". Another is when the muscle pain and tiredness means you don't have the strength to roll over in bed let alone get out of it and breathing is at best hard going.

Well I stopped taking the tablets as by then it was clear to me atleast it was not the infection. As the drug started to wash out of the system I started to improve a lot and whilst I'm not yet back to my normal grouchy self ;-) neither am I in a state were some bloke is standing of stage left with a hammer waiting to nail the lid down.

Apparently I'm one of those 1 in 10000 or less cases where it in effect "eats my muscles" and the dark coloured urine is the break down products getting flushed... (still does not explain the smokey baccon smell, but then my taste buds were well off as well as the after tast of a tangerine was distinctly that of banana :-/

The Dr thinks the muscle aches will hang around for a few days yet, but the other anoying things like seeing moving shadows in the corner of my eye, and the strange hearing effect you get shortly before your ears pop on aircraft have gone so whilst I still get wiffs of almond marzipan on fruit cake atleast I am not one, atleast by normal measures :-)

CallMeLateForSupperMay 4, 2020 8:20 AM

@Noderator
Post by avonresumes, above, is advertising.

myliitMay 4, 2020 9:32 AM

SCOTUS is live streaming court cases, live now
https://www.c-span.org/networks/
“NOW ON C-SPAN 1
Supreme Court Oral Argument in Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com
The Supreme Court for the first time in history hears oral argument via teleconference. The case concerns a popular travel reservation company’s fight to trademark its website, booking.com.”


“Radio broadcasts[edit]
In addition to the three television networks, C-SPAN also broadcasts via C-SPAN Radio, which is carried on their owned-and-operated station WCSP (90.1 FM) in the Washington, D.C. area with all three cable network feeds airing via HD Radio subchannels, and nationwide on XM Satellite Radio.[21] Its programming is also livestreamed at c-span.org and is available via apps for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices.[20][97] C-SPAN Radio has a selective policy regarding its broadcast content, rather than duplicating the television network programming, although it does offer some audio simulcasts of programs such as Washington Journal.[98] Unique programming on the radio station includes oral histories, and some committee meetings and press conferences not shown on television due to programming commitments. The station also compiles the Sunday morning talk shows for a same-day rebroadcast without commercials, in rapid succession.[98]”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-SPAN#Radio_broadcasts

Clive RobinsonMay 4, 2020 9:34 AM

@ MarkH, ALL,

I missed this one for some reason at the time (I guess you can't read everything)

So I don't know if anyone has posted this or not,

https://eu.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/03/21/coronavirus-america-needs-five-week-national-lockdown-column/2890376001/

But his five week estimate is only a day or two different to the prediction I made for Eradication.

And it would, though unpleasent have been the least costly not just emotionaly but economically as well. But as others have noted if you must go back to work because Mr Amazon / WashPo thinks you should to increase their profits and to extract more "rent seeking" on your carcus, then maybe you are in the wrong job (assuming of course that there are any real jobs left after they outsourced all but the Suits in the C corridor.).

JonKnowsNothingMay 4, 2020 10:17 AM

@Clive

Clive-Canary WOOTS. Better yet a real set of Clive-Commentary! Hopefully you are better now.

I've also been on the receiving end of "medical practicing" with "new improved or new uses for older drugs". They may work a treat for others but they almost always send me to the ER. Admittedly I am gullible to the standard phrase of "that's a known side-effect and it will go away in 1,3,7,15,20,30 days". It goes away alright I end up in the ER (mucho $$ in the USA) and stop taking the stuff.

You description of brown urine made me think of rhabdomyolysis with this gastro-tidbit:

Hemlock may cause rhabdomyolysis,
 either directly or after eating quail that have fed on it.

@All

re: validity of reported COVID19 numbers.

MSM report that in the UK the London end of the government withheld the testing data from the non-London end of the country.

Health ministers in Scotland and Wales were barred from seeing thousands of coronavirus results from rapid testing sites for weeks because of data restrictions imposed by the UK government.
....
none of the positive test results detected in Scotland and Wales were included in their daily updates on Covid-19 cases in April, and could not be factored into those governments’ planning for the pandemic.


ht tps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhabdomyolysis

Rhabdomyolysis is a condition in which damaged skeletal muscle breaks down rapidly.[3] Symptoms may include muscle pains, weakness, vomiting, and confusion.[3][4] There may be tea-colored urine or an irregular heartbeat.[3] Some of the muscle breakdown products, such as the protein myoglobin, are harmful to the kidneys and may lead to kidney failure.

ht tps://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/04/rapid-coronavirus-test-site-data-was-not-shared-with-scottish-and-welsh-ministers

(url fractured to prevent autorun)

Clive RobinsonMay 4, 2020 10:20 AM

@ myliit,

The guidelines stated: "The consensus agrees that patient self-testing and patient self-management are effective methods of monitoring ...

Yup, modern machines can actually calibrate to individuals these days...

And I just wish that the Drs had alowed me to go down that route, the savings would have been significant, and Vitimin K injections are so cheap and ubiquitous that they have a safety factor built right in unlike Rivoroxoban...

Having been a keen cyclist and had a few knocks and scrapes in my time accidents were quite high on my list of things to consider.

myliitMay 4, 2020 11:49 AM

@Clive Robinson and his popcorn eaters or misc. or misc.misc.

Re: Gut microbiome (Iirc, fecal matter transplants, including oral, have been discussed here before; others might want to post on that topic)

A few links for antibiotic users, or not, in general:

https://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/supplements-remedies/probiotics/ Culturelle and I forgot the other one

Search vsl 3 Or https://www.drugs.com/mtm/vsl-3.html

https://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/supplements-remedies/take-a-probiotic-plus-a-prebiotic/

““As you might know, probiotic supplements provide beneficial bacteria (usually Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium) that normally inhabit the human digestive tract. Most of these “friendly” bacteria occur naturally in cultured milk products such as yogurt containing active cultures or acidophilus milk as well as other fermented foods such as live (refrigerated) pickles, sauerkraut, [miso?], kimchi and kefir.

Prebiotics are types of non-digestible fiber that feed and promote the growth of probiotic bacteria. Prebiotics are readily available from the diet – they’re found in such fruits and vegetables as asparagus, artichokes, bananas, garlic, legumes, onions, wheat, tomatoes, and soybeans.

I generally don’t recommend that the average person who eats a healthy diet take probiotic supplements except when prescribed antibiotics. These powerful medications wipe out intestinal bacteria indiscriminately, including those that help keep the digestive system functioning normally and may support general health. Start taking probiotic supplements twice a day with meals as soon as you begin a course of an antibiotic, and continue using them for a few days after you finish your prescription. Look for brands containing Bacillus coagulans (BC-30) or Lactobacillus GG in liquid or capsule form. The dose is one tablespoon of the liquid culture or one to two capsules with meals unless the label directs otherwise.

There are a few exceptions to this rule ...”

https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/gastrointestinal/c-difficile-battling-a-bad-bug/

CuriousMay 4, 2020 12:11 PM

@Etienne

Btw, afaik, ventilators have different modes of operation, one is by increasing the frequency of air pushed and pumped out, as opposed to increasing the pressure ever higher over time and eventually damaging the healthy part of the lungs.

MarkHMay 4, 2020 3:23 PM

@Clive:

Re your survival (so far):

Hooray!

==========================
Re your past few days:

Oy!

I guess it's one of those things where the doctors say, "if it don't kill you, it just might cure you."

==========================
Re the linked article by Yaneer Bar-Yam:

We must agree to disagree about eradication ... Bar-Yam's own prediction was "the number of infections will be a small fraction of what they are now" if such a lockdown had been undertaken.

It seems beyond reasonable dispute that such a lockdown would have vastly reduced the incidence of infection ... and the numbers of dead. By now, when his proposed lockdown would already have concluded, the U.S. would be in a much better posture for moving forward than it is in fact.

Such a step would only have been possible with a POTUS who is loyal to his country, rather than to his own loathsome self and the nauseating foreign tyrants he so ardently admires.

And even with the blessing of a patriotic president, this would have been one of the hardest political lifts since the War of the Rebellion in 1861. It would seem that the 50+ governors have the legal authority to compel such measures, not the federal government.

With a Democratic president in the 21st century, it would have been impossible, because Republican governors would happily defy the program (as indeed they have been doing) no matter how many of their own citizens are sacrificed. For a Republican president to succeed, s/he would need to:

(a) be broadly respected and trusted; and

(b) possess the political genius of Lyndon B. Johnson, with that acute degree of understanding of every region and major political leader in the country, and the wiles to administer strategic doses of "carrot" and "stick".

A fat, wheezing, lazy, ignorant narcissist -- whose pathetic weakness oozes from his pores -- lacks every possible qualification needed at the apex of power in such a crisis.
___________________________

It's worth noting that Bar-Yam's conclusion that such a maximal lockdown was necessary "to save millions of lives" is probably not borne out by the facts. With scattershot lockdowns of lesser restrictiveness, the death toll for this first wave of Covid-19 is likely to be less than two hundred thousand.

Also, he predicted case growth by almost a factor of 100 in two weeks. I haven't found data from any country, consistent with such growth (at least, after the case count passed 100). If anybody has seen such an example, kindly point it out.

Human societies have a lot in common with Petri dishes, but perhaps diverge in some respects.

MarkHMay 4, 2020 3:56 PM

@Clive, All:

I must revise my third-to-last paragraph above. In my ultra-chaotic country, with no consistency of pandemic policy either spatially or temporally, there might not be any discernible "waves" of Covid-19, but rather a protracted slow-rolling tide.

About 2000 Americans died per day in April. The White House's own figures reportedly project that this will increase to 3000 per day in May ... not because social distancing doesn't work, but because rules are being relaxed everywhere.

How things will play out is far beyond my prediction. All will depend on the willingness of people to resume distancing as death tolls increase.

My guess is that in the event of maximal government negligence, the total death toll could conceivably reach two million by the end of 2021. In such case, Bar-Yam's claim of millions of lives would be validated.

MarkHMay 4, 2020 5:39 PM

@Clive, All:

The Covid-19 model considered by the White House calls for an increase from today's level (about 1750 dead per day) to 3000 at the end of may, implying a mean death rate of perhaps 2400 per day during May.

Their figures also reportedly predict 135,000 dead (cumulative total) by the first day of August. If nothing is done to "apply the brakes," then a total of one million dead by the end of the year is, I suppose, within the range of plausible estimation.

Clive RobinsonMay 4, 2020 7:01 PM

@ mEntropy,

The chinese conducted a study, with soy fat, which is one of the worst fats you could attempt this with, soy both being allergenic and its fat being of the unhealthy kind and laden with pesticides.

Soy is one of those plants people should not eat unless it's been eaten already by microbes (fermenting etc).

Even multiple stomach creatures have trouble digesting it in an efficient way unless it's been "predigested" for them usually by cooking the soy in some way.

As for the fat being laden with pesticides, yup and all sorts of other poisons. Lipids stores are known to be the reseptical for poisons that can not easily be excreated by the organism. Put simply nature works on the idea that lipid stores are the last line of defence in bad times that will mostly never come, so whacking such poisons in their is not such a big risk.

The trouble is lipids and the attached poisons move up the food chain which is realy a pyramid so by the time you get to apex preditors the poisons are fairly concentrated...

I realy would not advise anybody to eat them raw, however quite a few well known "sushi box" companies are known to add them in, so treat them as a garnish, pretty to look at but not something you would actually eat.

La AbejaMay 4, 2020 7:20 PM

@MarkH

135,000 dead (cumulative total) by the first day of August. If nothing is done to "apply the brakes,"

The French word for "brake" is frein. The Bible tells it all.

le juste Lot, profondément attristé de la conduite de ces hommes sans frein dans leur dissolution … (the just Lot, profoundly saddened by the conduct of these men without restraint in their dissolution) [2 Peter 2:7] …

Clive RobinsonMay 4, 2020 7:35 PM

@ MarkH, All,

When you have a little energy, please write how it goes for you ...

I am improving rapidly but tommorow for safety's sake I will need to go onto a different antibiotic.

@ ALL,

To those of you who have wished me well your kind thoughts and words have touched me, and it seems insufficient just to say thank you, but you can be sure I've read them all and I am most gratefull.

So in return I wish all, at this difficult time well, and hope that you, your loved ones and friends, come through this with long lives, health and happiness, with only memories to tell children and grand children yet to be, to be on the lookout for such problems at future times.

Clive RobinsonMay 4, 2020 8:45 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

rhabdomyolysis

Such a nice sounding name, you'ld hardly think it was dangerous...

But yup it's a killer especially if it gets sufficient to do internal organs damage.

When I realised what was happening and how fast, if I'd not been in self issolation I would have assumed someone was trying to poison me, infact that's what I told the people on the UK 111 number, specifically "clarithromycin is poisoning me". Needless to say they did not have an automated script for that and an hour later they were still asking me about COVID... When my own Dr phoned me back, his comment was ahh your unlucky and we went on to discuss alternative antibiotics.

Hemlock is a funny plant and it grows wild all over the place, including in a neighbours garden, though they don't know. It looks like a cross between a large carrot top or parsley, at some times of the year it's very easy to spot because it is about the only green thing around.

But I was unaware of the quail issue. For those that don't know a popularish dish in France is something that looks like a large vol-au-vent with a lid, inside of which with it's head sticking out is a mostly deboned quail wrapped in prosciutto and mushrom duxells (just like a Beef Wellington). It's called "Cailles En Sarcophages" and yes the name translates to "quails in coffins", It's nice to know that sometimes they can bite back.

Clive RobinsonMay 4, 2020 9:46 PM

@ MarkH,

My guess is that in the event of maximal government negligence, the total death toll could conceivably reach two million by the end of 2021

2.2million was the figure I worked out on the first data we got and at that it works out at 0.667% of the US population (1 in 150 people).

We still don't know what the real death rate will be but 5.6% on the way to getting the "Herd Immunity Policy" to work would not be that surprising.

The other thing we don't know about is how US Healthcare will be used and abused and who will be the losers in saturation.

Infact about the only thing we do know with any accuracy is nothing to do with the "Official COVID" figures and thats the "excess death rate over the previous five year average". And some of those are truly frightening with five to eleven times in certain parts of Italy and Spain, and the UK figures are quite quickly climbing.

I know some have argued that it might be due to accidents, but actually you'ld expect accidents to drop significantly during a lockdown.

I know many think I'm overly pessimistic, but I've tried to be as realistic as the little data we have comes to light. Plus I'd way more prefere to hear "we spent to much" rather than "we spent way to little" a national disaster is not realy the time or place to be optimistic. From my point of view every life saved is atleast one more person who does not know how lucky they have been, and I must admit I would like to be alive because people were actively chasing to be as proactive as possible. Unfortunately that's not the way some people see it because they have short term vested interest (the airline and tourist industries being to obvious ones).

The thought that due to "certain vested interests" proactive action was not taken, actually upsets me because at the end of the day those people have parents, siblings, partners, friends and people who depend on the work they do.

I know it might not be glamorous, but the guy that cleans the grease traps down at the local fast chicken shop, if he does not do his job right then the place can be burned down or closed down by a health inspector. Untill you've actually cleaned a grease trap last thing in the early hours of the morning when all you want to do is sleep, you don't realise how difficult a job it is, and how tempting it is to not do it thoroughly just so you can get home to bed.

There are a lot of jobs like that in the US with low pay and low benifits and if bosses can manage it no healthcare either. If the death rate falls disproportionately on them, other people are suddenly going to find out why they were needed.

JonMay 5, 2020 1:05 AM

@ Clive R.

There's some support for the argument that the bubonic plague did in feudalism, in the 13th century - before the plague, there were thousands of peasants everywhere, so they could be abused at will by those in authority. After the plague, suddenly peasants became scarce and in demand, and if the authorities didn't treat them well they'd up sticks and go somewhere else.

Elementary economics, really. If you want individual lives to be valuable, reduce the supply while increasing the demand. This is, of course, being ruthless and uncaring about it...

I don't know if this coronavirus outbreak will change the current course of economics much, but if it does, in the correct direction, that would count as a good thing in my book.

J.

MarkHMay 5, 2020 5:02 AM

@Clive:

In my stubborn determination to figure things out, discover facts, correct mistakes, and diagnose and learn from flaws in reasoning ... I have often been tactless, to say the least. The occasional abrasive quality of my comments in our dialogue/sparring/bickering is, oddly enough, not inconsistent with my always wishing you well.

I have learned quite a lot from your contributions in the years I've been looking in on this blog, and I know for fact that a great many others have likewise benefited.

My God grant that we can still irritate each other over our disagreements for many years to come.
___________________________

Re "the guy that cleans the grease traps" and other minimally paid workers:

You have put your finger squarely on the a problem which is particularly severe in the U.S. If one made a plot it would surely be very scattered, but I'd bet good money that overall compensation vs. crucial value of work to society have a significant negative correlation.

Many of those with incomes in the millions are sociopaths whose career achievements include shedding thousands of workers from corporate workforces, figuring out "legal" ways to evade taxes and to bribe legislators to weaken environmental and safety regulations, and devising financial innovations liable to defraud ordinary investors of trillions of dollars.

This pandemic has thrown the madness of our "system" into sharper relief. Though U.S. doctors are famously well-paid, hospitals and other medical facilities are mostly staffed by low-paid peons. A few days ago, the NY Times told about three hospital workers who had walked around their facilities handing out masks to those doing patient care during the pandemic, and themselves were dead within a few weeks from Covid-19.

In the U.S. -- and I think in many other countries too -- a dreadful proportion of deaths are in nursing homes. I have some experience with such environments: the people who work there, mostly ladies, do work that is often hard, physical, needing much care and patience, and for most people would be too disgusting to endure.

They are paid absolute bottom-dollar for their hard work. In my region, almost all of them are immigrants; their pay is so lousy that they commonly finish their shift at one care facility and go directly to a second one (sometimes even a third!) because their miserable pay isn't enough to take care of their family on one job, even with the economy of renting shabby housing in blighted neighborhoods.

One can only imagine how this "shuttle care-facility work" has accelerated the spread of Covid-19 among the most vulnerable elderly.

Clive RobinsonMay 5, 2020 5:02 AM

@ Jon,

There's some support for the argument that the bubonic plague did in feudalism, in the 13th century

Not just the plagues but all major social disorder leading to deaths. If you look at social development after the first and second world wars you will see the same thing.

Politically "distant wars" are a way for a government to buy it's way out of recession.

Not only does it reduce the local manpower thus upping what the waged would get and then spend thus freeing up otherwise locked up sums of money. It also increases the "feel good factor" because that freed up money gets used to buy what were once "luxury items". Oh and being a distant war it's some other nation that gets bombed back into the stone ages, "win win win".

There are two problems though, firstly it realy does not solve the underlying problem of why the recession happened. Secondly it only realy works if most of your industry is "local" that is within the countries tax reach.

The thing about outsourcing and globalisation is you are playing a shell game.

Whilst as a company in country A labour might be expensive, thus labour in country C might be one hudredth the cost, you also have to add in the extra cost of shipping.

If you redid the figures assuming a fixed rate per person anywhere in the world then it would take only a few moments to realise that the much vaunted "economies of scale" are always going to be subservient to the "Distance cost metric" that is how much extra does the distance of shipping an item cost?

I was working at an FMCE company design offices that manufactured in various factories in Asia. I was in a meeting with a major customer one day one of the more senior people present from the customer wanted what to them must have seemed a trivial change, which was to change the number of items in a shipping box from six to five to make their store keeping easier. And I remember thinking at the time "Oh boy this is going to be fun"...

There is actually a great art to designing display boxes, shipping boxes palate stacking and palates to go in a shipping container. Oh and don't even think of using "small containers" they actually carry a price premium over the full size containers.

My boss instead of saying no did a quick white board excercise and showed that it would actually more than double the shipping cost. The engineers from the customer in the meeting had nodded along with the calculations. The gentleman who had suggested the change just look dumfounded...

There are only three reasons globalisation realy exists,

1, To reduce the cost of labour.
2. To keep the dirty job of making feedstock out of your country.
3, Because the other country has the technology your country does not.

The first is realy a fools choice because of what you export free gratis that will then be used against you at a later date, especially as the foreign labour costs will rise fairly quickly even under a tyranical government.

The second is often seen as an environmental issue but primarily underneath it's another distance cost metric issue. Look at how much gold you can economically get out of a ton of rock, do you ship the rock or ship the gold? All feedstock production has this at the root of it. But you can now see this much closer to home. Not many years ago you would demolish a building and have to pay big money to have it hauled away. These days larger firms have a machine that crushes concrete etc and grades it as aggregates it also recovers the rebar etc in more uniform and usable size. Thus what aggregate does not get used on site when laying new cement etc becomes a saleable product and like the scrap rebar there is generaly a que of customers. All of which significantly reduces the environmental footprint as production is colocated with the raw resource.

The third reason is actually the real sting in the tail of globalisation you have to "export IP" to get "goods back" thus you increasingly ship more and more advanced technology to the manufacturing company. You might have heard the joke about "The F35 America's most advanced fighter that only the Chinese can build, on time, on budjet and importantly working"... Whilst it is a joke the gem of reality in it is huge.

Most of these problems actually stem back to the Bretton-Woods agreement which was designed to stop money fleeing from one country to another as those that control it seek a more advantageous profit or security etc. The fact such financial movment leaves economic devestation in it's wake and also engineered crises to make more profit by increasing instability and war was the reason for Bretton-Woods. Eventually a couple of Europeans worked out not just how to break Bretton-Woods but profit vastly from it so we got a variation on "bonds" and "financial crises".

Unlike most finance men the Chinese tend to take a longer term view, that is they want not rapid growth but sustained growth. Also a lot of that foreign income from the likes of the US has gone back out again, a big chunk back into the US. That is they are in effect buying political stability, it is after all difficult to declare war on a nation if within a few months you run out of bits to keep your basic infrastructure and thus economy going. Whilst this might appear like an excellent idea, it does have it's down sides as has been seen with "Rare Earth Metals". China has been busy buying up influence in many second and third world nations with "resources" what their actual game plan is I don't know but if you have a monopolistic hand on raw resources, you do on feedstock, this you can then leverage upwards to full control of IP and beyond. However a wise man noted it's better to be the shopkeeper to an Empire than it is to own an empire. That is whilst Empires are always trouble and the all fall often violently so, a careful shopkeeper will be around for the next Empire and the next one etc. Because Empires are like armies they march on their stomachs, only their appetite especialy for the frippary of luxuries is almost unbounded.

MarkHMay 5, 2020 5:30 AM

.
Unappetizing Content Alert

If you're squeamish, maybe better not to read this comment while munching on your morning bagel ...

An Efficient Method of Virus Surveillance

It's probably worth noting here, that almost always on schneier.com, the word "surveillance" means observation of persons, communications, etc., and almost always is mentioned in connection with worries about the effect of such observation on privacy.

However, when epidemiologists and public health officials say "surveillance," they mean surveillance of the disease, not of individuals.

This surveillance method is not novel; it has some history, and can be very useful. Simply, it's a matter of applying genetic virus testing to samples from sanitary sewer systems:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/01/science/coronavirus-sewage-monitoring-lockdown.html

There are a few common-sense caveats:

• the direct measurement is of aggregate virus shedding, which is only a proxy for numbers we'd like to know such as how many people are infected etc.

• the measurement can be distorted by changes to total water consumption, or by population transience (people traveling into or out of the area)

• the absolute measurement is probably not useful for interpretation ... but trends in the numbers may be very informative

For example, if efforts to reduce infection in the district have been successful, it's expected that the measured values will decline. A failure to see such a decline would suggest that infection control was not working as thought.

An exciting promise offered by this kind of surveillance -- based on observations with SARS-CoV-2 and other infectious agents -- is that rising measured values can lead an outbreak (emergence of new clinical cases) by as much as 6 or 7 days. For a region in which Covid-19 is fairly well controlled, this could be enormously useful in early detection of new eruptions before infections have spread to many people.

I think we'd all like to see much more virus testing on individuals, especially including those without symptoms. Until the resources are available to do that, this kind of surveillance technique can give a synoptic picture of the virus situation among large groups of people at relatively low cost in dollars and laboratory utilization.

Freezing_in_BrazilMay 5, 2020 7:06 AM

Question of the day: will the SSL/TSL handshake survive the coronavirus?

Only time will tell...

LurkerMay 5, 2020 7:50 AM

@MarkH, @Clive, @Wael and @(quite a few others)
I'd just like to say thanks for so much mental stimulation. @MarkH - if you think your contributions are "tactless, to say the least", may I suggest you get out a bit more? With a mask, obviously. :-)

I look at this site at least once a day, and I'm in awe of your collective knowledge and wisdom. Long may it continue. And a good part of the 'wisdom' comes from the debate and disagreements between you all. I have learned so much, despite having gone around the block many times myself.

Stay well, keep posting. Please.

POWER-SUPPLaY AttackMay 5, 2020 7:52 AM

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2020/05/04/power_supply_attack/
https://web.archive.org/web/20200505123644/https://www.theregister.co.uk/2020/05/04/power_supply_attack/

== OK, so you've air-gapped that PC. Cut the speakers. Covered the LEDs. Disconnected the monitor. Now, about the data-leaking power supply unit... ==

"An obvious defense against acoustic data transmission is to disable any speakers on the protected device, a practice known as audio-gapping.

But Guri's latest research shows that's not enough. He and his team have found a way to turn the power supply in an isolated, muted machine into a speaker of sorts, one capable of transmitting data at a rate of 50 bits/sec.

He calls the attack POWER-SUPPLaY. The technique has the potential to be used against PC workstations and servers, as well as embedded systems and IoT devices that have no addressable audio hardware.

"We show that malware running on a PC can exploit its power supply unit (PSU) and use it as an out-of-band speaker with limited capabilities," a paper [PDF][1] detailing the technique explained. "The malicious code intentionally manipulates the internal switching frequency of the power supply and hence controls the waveform generated from its capacitors and transformers."

[1] https://arxiv.org/pdf/2005.00395.pdf

Clive RobinsonMay 5, 2020 9:16 AM

@ MarkH,

My God grant that we can still irritate each other over our disagreements for many years to come.

They say that a little irritation and sufficient time are the root causes of all great perls.

Speaking of watching over the hole in the ground.

It's actually as sensible, as doing air monitoring on polution or a hundred and one other environmental factors we do already. And it turns out it also solves a "wood for the trees" problem.

For instance to know what effect air temprature is going to have on say smog, you don't want to be measuring the temprature of every object even those that move and integrate them, even though we do now have the technology to do that. It's simpler cheaper and more accurate to use several thermometers in a cell patern and loft them up under a ballon to get the aggregate where it matters and more importantly as a verticle slice, that measuring object temprature would not.

This has similar hallmarks that is rate of change over a given area, putting just one or two test instruments in "choke points" would give you an area aggregate against time, trying to use more instruments would not actually improve the results to any real degree at the best of times and could make them worse.

As for virus testing on humans wirh SARS-1 that was fairly easy you pointed an infrared themometer at their head from a nice safe distance, if it was high you could get in closer to do an invasive test.

With SARS-CoV-2 there are only two ways to have a quick reliable test a prototype non invasive breath test and invasive body fluid collection via pin prick test.

The swab test has kind of been ruled out for a couple of practical reasons. Firstly they've already discovered what was suspected to be the case which is the nose and throat swabs only work if thay touch an area of membrane that has infection upon it. Which is actually due to the way things work (muck slides down into your gut) and the fact it's lower respiritory tract infection realy not that likely unless you are sheading virus like a tropical storm. The second is that pushing that swab in and out and all around is kind of covered by "cruel and unreasonable"...

When this type of swab was first done to me for Hospital Infection testing I started to sneeze violently and uncontrolably and I got a nice little river of blood. The look on the nurses face kind of made me feel sorry for her, because she looked very alarmed.

Any way a couple of paper hankies later the nose bleed was under control and I joked with her that she ought to keep the blood because "Normally I'm difficult to bleed as my veins are shy and granular".

Mind you not as funny as one junior Dr I gave her the shy and granular warning and she put the needle in without a test tube, the result a small fountain of blood shot out and hit her lab coat and trousers she looked at me and raised a questioning eyebrow and simply said "Shy" in that questioning way that Spanish women do so well...

BillTMay 5, 2020 9:35 AM

@MarkH

One can only imagine how this "shuttle care-facility work" has accelerated the spread of Covid-19 among the most vulnerable elderly.

That's not to mention the many caregivers not affiliated with a care facility, but employed in going from home to home in service of the elderly and disabled. They are now either vectors for transmission or not doing the important work they once did. It's not always easy to find good caregivers, but that's probably largely because it is such difficult and low-paid work, despite its importance.

Clive RobinsonMay 5, 2020 11:38 AM

@ POWER-SUPPLaY Attack,

Ben Gurion Uni and that research department have turned into a bit of a standing joke around hear.

Put simply we've yet to find one of their papers that is either not derivative of another paper that's been discussed on this blog some time before, or where the principles behind the attack have not been well disgussed on this blog some time before.

The trouble is most of it's not good enough to be dignified by the term plagiarism and not even undergrad level projects.

If you want to know more see the discussions hear not just on Air-Gapping, but "Energy Gapping" the original discussions about proving the suspected but derided BadBIOS theory of audio networking were done by a couple of regulars on this site, in one case it was a quiet weekend afternoon in the ham shack redoing a bit of old code on realy old ISA sound card boards.

As for the discusion about magneto constriction of inductors to use them for emmitting sound in power supplies that was brought up by @figueritout some time before that.

As for "Energy Gapping" as opposed to the much older "Air Gaping" the term is about stoping paths for radiant and conducted energy and limiting the bandwidth of convected energy.

Why only limiting the bandwidth of convected energy. Well there are no perpetual motion machines thus when work is done waste energy is produced which by radiation transport and various pasive transducers convert any radiated or conducted energy to heat. You have to disipate that heat so to limit the potential for information being impressed (modulated) on it you limit it's bandwidth which is fairly easy to do with baffles and if realy concerned moving objects in the convection flow.

So yeah Ben Gurion gets a big J-cap yet again.

If people want to discuss the technical details from K12 level physics up just say and theres three or four who will oblige you.

MarkHMay 5, 2020 12:02 PM

@Lurker,

for your kind affirmation to various among the truth-quest gang in the schneier.com commentariat. To some extent, these threads function as a sort of Prony brake for mental horsepower which might otherwise sit idle ;)

Bruce makes a continuing generous investment of time, patience, and money to keep this commenting forum alive. Perhaps a motivation for this generosity, is that glittering specks of gold dust may sometimes be discerned amidst the muck.

We thank you, Mr. Schneier!

MarkHMay 5, 2020 12:29 PM

If you know anybody of such brutal mental density1, that he still says Covid-19 is like seasonal flu ...

1. Heaven help you!

2. If you retain any stubborn patience, you might refer him to this article:

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2020/5/5/21246567/coronavirus-flu-comparisons-fatality-rate-contagiousness

which does a nice job of summarizing why the Covid = flu claim is absolutely false.

Among other points of distinction, based on present data (which seems to be converging, so the error bands are probably fairly well known), we can see that Covid-19 is between 10 and 40+ times as lethal as seasonal flu.

In the 30 days of April, Covid-19 killed as many Americans as a really bad modern year of flu ... and May is expected to have an even greater death toll.

1 The sort of clod Igor Stravinsky liked to call a хуй голландский

vas pupMay 5, 2020 2:11 PM

Why smartphones are digital truth serum
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200503092738.htm

"Why do smartphones have this effect on behavior? Melumad explains that "Writing on one's smartphone often lowers the barriers to revealing certain types of sensitive information for two reasons; one stemming from the unique form characteristics of phones and the second from the emotional associations that consumers tend to hold with their device." First, one of the most distinguishing features of phones is the small size; something that makes viewing and creating content generally more difficult compared with desktop computers. Because of this difficulty, when writing or responding on a smartphone, a person tends to narrowly focus on completing the task and become less cognizant of external factors that would normally inhibit self-disclosure, such as concerns about what others would do with the information. Smartphone users know this effect well -- when using their phones in public places, they often fixate so intently on its content that they become oblivious to what is going on around them.

The second reason people tend to be more self-disclosing on their phones lies in the feelings of comfort and familiarity people associate with their phones. Melumad adds, "Because our smartphones are with us all of the time and perform so many vital functions in our lives, they often serve as 'adult pacifiers' that bring feelings of comfort to their owners." The downstream effect of those feelings shows itself when people are more willing to disclose feelings to a close friend compared to a stranger or open up to a therapist in a comfortable rather than uncomfortable setting. As Meyer says, "Similarly, when writing on our phones, we tend to feel that we are in a comfortable 'safe zone.' As a consequence, we are more willing to open up about ourselves."

...these findings suggest that the device people use to communicate can affect what they communicate. This should be kept in mind when thinking about the device one is using when interacting with firms and others."

vas pupMay 5, 2020 2:55 PM

Communicators with Representative Abigail Spanberger

Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), a former CIA agent, talked about security strategy as U.S. companies implement 5G in U.S. wireless communications systems. Topics included potential cybersecurity threats from other countries and cybersecurity practices she uses in her work and at her congressional office in general.Her legislation on this subject passed the House in January 2020.

Recently on CSAPN-2, initially was on January 13, 2020, but some interesting thoughts are there anyway particular starting with minute 19.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?468071-1/communicators-representative-abigail-spanberger

MarkHMay 5, 2020 3:10 PM

.
A Search for Covid-19 Anti-Viral Medicine

https://theconversation.com/we-found-and-tested-47-old-drugs-that-might-treat-the-coronavirus-results-show-promising-leads-and-a-whole-new-way-to-fight-covid-19-136789

A research group at UCSF has been working on a "from the ground up" approach in the search for drugs which might work against SARS-CoV-2. It's an interesting use of computer power.

When the researchers began studying the virus, they constructed a list of every protein making up the virus. They then used a database of proteins making up people, and some analysis to predict which human proteins each virus protein can possibly interact with.

On the basis of this "map," they decided to analyze drugs already approved by the U.S. FDA, and identified 47 candidates which should be capable of interacting with those same "target" human proteins.

A priori, any drug on their candidate list might either increase or decrease the action of the virus.

They have sent samples of each medication to laboratories with the ability to test drugs on cultures of monkey cells, and found a few candidate drugs which reduce SARS-CoV-2 in the cultures.
__________________________

What they've attempted, is a sort of exhaustive search.

The medicines which look hopeful will need a LOT of testing to ascertain whether they're safe and effective for Covid-19 patients. If testing goes well, they might have found a shortcut to a useful antiviral medication.

JonKnowsNothingMay 5, 2020 3:31 PM

@All

re: Ventilators and can non-medical oriented companies make them?

What seems a long time back but was probably not that long ago, there were discussions about the hyping of non-medical companies making the many thousands of needed ventilators.

Part of the question was whether such non-medical oriented companies were competent enough to build such devices. An interview in der Spiegel with a medical ventilator manufacturer indicated that the Big German Car Companies had contacted him to see if they could "push production". His answer was No.

Well it seems that that is the answer:

Capitalist companies with no-medical expertise cannot convert in the short term.

As the "Ventilator Challenge" winds down on it's way into a politically-hoped-for oblivion, the results are:


  • Monday 16 March 2020, dozens of manufacturers and medical device specialists were told NHS needed 30,000 ventilators
  • The ventilator challenge began on Saturday 14 March
  • "Building a modern high-quality machine from a standing start would have been impossible" Nick Grey, a designer and inventor behind Worcestershire-based technology firm Gtech
  • Asking manufacturers to switch from cars or jet engines to specialist medical devices was unrealistic according to Craig Thompson, head of products at Oxfordshire firm Penlon, one of the few specialist ventilator firms in the country
  • The device design passed out was an old version 1960 with capability setting of a few hours with optional 1+ days.
  • Companies then focused on The Big Prize, dumped trying to make an existing version and went for a "brand new concept".
  • Alison Pittard, dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, has said that simple devices of this nature would have been “of no use”.
  • These new designs would not pass the Medical Regulations
  • Some companies focused on making existing types instead of re-inventing something different.
  • 5 April 2020 the UK reduced the target to 18,000 ventilators,
  • Initial design specs did not include critical aspect of being able to deal with fluid build up in the lungs and quick change over of ventilators.
  • Some devices had to be returned for changes
  • Some companies had their commitments altered and dropped
  • Canceled contracts and delays of various sorts
  • Change in treatment protocols to CPAP machines
  • Of the “new” ventilator projects, none have reached the final stages of testing and the majority including those made by Sagentia and Dyson are not needed

The focus of Big Capital is to make a big hit. Big Capital with Big Ego CEOs and Big Biz Attitudes focus on Big Profits.

Expertise is not something you get from a Can of Spinach. Continuity is not something you get from zero-hours-contracts.

Hind-sight is fine, but keeping the Buck in front, will indicate where it Stops.


ht tps://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/may/04/the-inside-story-of-the-uks-nhs-coronavirus-ventilator-challenge

ht tps://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/26/how-the-uk-plans-to-source-30000-ventilators-for-nhs-coronavirus

ht tps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popeye
ht tps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popeye#Spinach
ht tps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindsight_bias
ht tps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buck_passing#"The_buck_stops_here"
(url fractured to prevent autorun)

MarkHMay 5, 2020 3:49 PM

.
A Sober Look at Vaccine Timelines

Anybody who's been reading about the pandemic knows that an effective vaccine, widely administered (meaning billions of doses), is the most likely way the danger of Covid-19 will be brought to an end ... and probably, the only practical way.

The time frame of "12 to 18 months" has been repeated countless times. And some people -- including those who surely know better, but perhaps are getting crushed by political pressure -- have said that a vaccine might be available in January!!

Personally, I think that unprecedented speed is conceivable, given the state of technology and the availability of funding many times greater than has ever before been invested in a vaccine.

Some reality checks:

• a usual time frame for vaccine development is in the range of 10 to 30 years

• after 50 years, a vaccine against HIV (the cause of AIDS) is still not available

• the world record is 4 years (for the Salk polio vaccine); and that was done by taking terrifying shortcuts in testing which I think unlikely to be repeated

This article:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/30/opinion/coronavirus-covid-vaccine.html

takes a methodical look at the necessary steps, and the kind of time likely to be required. One of the many "poles in the tent" is that human immune systems take a certain amount of time to develop antibodies, and more time than that is needed to observe the helpful and harmful effects on disease susceptibility. There's simply no way to accelerate these steps.

The world is doing what it can. Many different vaccine projects are in parallel development. The Gates Foundation will invest billions in the construction of factories for seven promising candidates before they are proved out in testing, knowing that most (or even all) of those factories may prove useless.

Ironically, if a vaccine comes to market quickly, this may be due to reckless endangerment of human life in a country that doesn't adhere to Western standards of medical ethics ... but if that happens, we'll have to ask how safe we feel using that vaccine.

For a few vaccines specific to cases of known exposure, it makes sense to balance a possibly dangerous vaccine against the danger of the disease. But the familiar vaccine use case, that of control of easily spread disease in populations, involves administration to otherwise healthy people, adults and children alike.

The safety of such vaccines must be tested to the highest standard of any type of medication. A vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 would eventually be administered to billions of people. Even a small rate of adverse reactions could harm or kill many millions.

MarkHMay 5, 2020 4:10 PM

@vas pup:

Thanks for that link.

I don't know how many phases of testing are needed for a synthetic antibody. Perhaps they might have sufficient clinical results in 2 or 3 months.

Let's wish them luck!

Clive RobinsonMay 5, 2020 4:36 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

re: Ventilators and can non-medical oriented companies make them?

About what you would expect realy. I've worked with anumber of companies and designed quite a number of high tech products and the rough rule of thumb is,

1, 6 months for the I/O interface electronics.
2, 12 months software design and functional test
3, 3 months integration testing.
4, 5 months mechanics and enclosures.
5, 3-18 months certification testing.

Obviously most of these parts can be done independently and in parallel with other parts. Some however are boat anchors such as step 5 as frequently you have to book into test houses a year or so in advance. Steps 1 and 4 are not independent of each other and for everybody the sooner the I/O electronics is sorted the easier other steps become.

So even large engineering houses only shave a few days total project time even with a large internal workforce.

But there are real gotchers with respiritoty devices, your lungs realy don't like the majority of seals, flexible tubes bellows and similar and lubricants or other similar parts because they "out gas" and often the out gases are quite unpleasant solvents with what used to be euphemisticaly called "Toxilogical disadvantages" which I once heard someone say is "a polity way to say it kills you in the worst possible way often slowley".

But the reality is most of the electromechanical parts are not made in your country or even in the EU (remember Switzerland is not realy in the EU). These parts are dificult to design to have high stability, service life and efficiency.

It was realy a very expensive Publicity stunt and as I said at the time ventilators were not the real concern things like CPAP and other assisted airway managment were as the sooner you got on them the less degredation your lungs and other organs would suffer. It's part of the reason Germanys figures were so much better than others.

WaelMay 5, 2020 5:46 PM

@Clive Robinson,

Put simply we've yet to find one...

I can't wait to see their original gravity modulation / demodulation attack. I think we spoke about it as another form of "energy" [1]

[1] yea yea. Force.

@Lurker,

I'd just like to say thanks for so much mental stimulation.

Thank you?! Grease my sanitized hands, chief! I accept all forms of currency: toilet paper, antibodies, masks, ...

markkyMay 5, 2020 7:38 PM

I ran across this article researching something for a female friend (possible Alopecia Areata), so while it turns out that it wasn't applicable to her at all, it was rather interesting to me with all the recent reading I've been doing. I happen to have taken finasteride for years to stave of hair loss so was already familiar with the link between dht and baldness in some men.

As usual, I initially regarded what I was reading with a large grain of salt, but it seemed quite reasonable by the time I got through to the end.

To paraphrase somewhat, the article is about how androgens may be a factor in enabling sars-cov-2 to link to the ace2 receptor.

https://www.futurity.org/covid-19-men-severity-hair-loss-2329142/

and the letter the article references,

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/dth.13365

JonKnowsNothingMay 6, 2020 1:35 PM

Marcy Wheeler reporting on the alteration of COVID19 statistical data.

Data is subject to correction(s) over time but this report is about the removal and falsification of data to promote policy changes.

A number of states have fudged numbers, changed definitions and removed categories in order to manipulate statistical comparisons and graph lines to justify their economic policy decisions.

Also some states are altering what aspects of "public data" are allowed to be "public" such as telling researchers they cannot use the "state public data" for their models if they contradict the approved versions.

Additional data has been sanitized by its complete removal from public repositories.

ht tps://www.emptywheel.net/2020/05/06/live-and-let-die-the-data-manipulation-begins/
(url fractured to prevent autorun)

Clive RobinsonMay 6, 2020 4:44 PM

@ vas pup, MarkH,

With regards the Israeli Government Bio-Weapons Research Lab and the work it's been doing.

You need to remember that even if it works and to a safe and efficatious level it's at best a treatment and not a vaccine or cure.

That is whilst it helps brings the virus down to levels your body can deal with it does not give you any real resistance to re-infection so you will end up having to have it every time you get sick with the virus. Which with a nonseasonal pandemic could be "any time soon".

Don't think I'm knocking what they have done if it's the only effective treatment then we need it. But you need to view it for what it is. You may remember I talked about South Korea calling for blood donors who had been infected and survived to be tested for levels of their antibodies in the blood serum (serofluid) so that their antibodies could be injected into those with serious disease where their body was not keeping up with the internal spread of the virus. And @MarkH and myself discussed the "vampire approach" to faking health with antibody injections in case Governments had a crackdown (As France now has). @MarkH found if I remember correctly it only gave between a couple of weeks and a month and a half protection.

Well this is the same but without doners, this uses synthetic serofluid antibiodies but not any anti bodies that will go on and make more antibodies thus it's effective time in your body could be as little as a week. Which is why it is one of the most expensive ways of treating an illness as in effect it's a "live product".

The other problem Governments are likely to not to want to use it (we saw this with Foot and Mouth Disease) because it might blow holes in their "greater good" policy. In Europe and much of the world the Foot and Mouth Policy in live stock was test for anibodies and if found slaughter the animal [1]. Even though some politicians do see us as "livestock" generally we are not officially up for slaughter till we put the uniform on and then only maybe[2].

But this time it's the "Back to Work Policy" the reason for which is given as "The Economy" a big scary made up word that requires much arm waving to explain why it's the countries collective responsability. Now is the time to keep an eye on the BS meter, because when you look under the arm waving and calls to patriotism the reality you find is not in any way "collective" or "fair" by a long way. What you will find as normal is certain "vested interests"[3] that put their interests above those of society and as a result have endangered society greatly and put us in this mess[4], where draconian measures are now required for the protection of society.

But "lockdown" does not pay the "vested interests" who are now making threats in various ways, some of these are "rent seekers" who actually only suffer at the hands of other rent seekers, the top layer of which are the financial houses who can not do anything with such income during lockdown any way. As was once observed "the market for mortgages is based on people buying houses, If nobody buys then there is no market". In lockdown little is being bought or sold and you can see this from what is going on in the oil industry where their market has not just collapsed but become a smoking crater that might be their Chicxulub (site of Extinction Event Impactor Asteroid that alledgedly got rid of the dinosaurs).

Such talk frightens people especially politicians who are shall we say not always the brightest or best the planet has to offer. However we have to be careful. Because whilst we know there are going to be shortages in the food production side because some crops will not get grown due to lockdown. Rice is a big concern due to just how much of it is hand planted and is man power intensive to grow, protien foods such as "pork and poultry" have the same issue but they are also having their own pandemics as well (African Swine Fever etc). But there is more than sufficient "food in storage to cover it and alternative food sources will be available. The only real big unknown in the food supply is actually transport and border crossing thus much food might end up rotting in the ground. So the food more local to you is what your choices might be, tough if you are on the green tea and avocado diet at the top of greenland, but there will be sufficient food to keep you alive and well but limited in taste[5].

The point is these ecenomic problems which are actually not problems will be blaimed on lockdowns in stories put about by the "vested interests" and vasal politicians. Even though most of the stories will be "faux news" etc just simply reporting people are stocking up on loo rolls as we've recently seen can cause panic buying, large numbers of people in stores lack of social distancing, raised voices, and even direct physical contact... None of which are desirable in a time of infection.

All of which will "prime the pump" for the "It's "your patriotic duty" campaing to get you to put your life on the line for the profit of the self entitled, and the politicians they have bought. But importantly it also has to be "done on the cheap" as costs eat into profit...

Cheap at the moment is flaky antibody tests as @MarkH noted some of them by result are no better than random, but they are cheap and they are available

At the moment two things can be said,

1, If you have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 then you've had COVID-19.

2, If you have survived COVID-19, then you are not going to get it again "for a while".

The reason I say "for a while" is because we don't know, but the scientists that know the most about corona virus infections collectively reason it is a minimum of 18 months.

Thus from a politicians view point a finger prick 10USD test means you can get back to paying the self entitled for 18 months for less than 15 bucks.

The problem with these artificial antibodies with only a couple of weeks duration in them means that they will have to test each person not once in 18months but once a weak in 18 months or 78 times as often which will actually take the cost of a test up to nearer 22 bucks a pop or over 1700USD per person that is not cheap...

So there will be reasons found to stop the artificial antibodies being used as letting people die would be cheaper and more profitable...

[1] The "slaughter all infected" livestock policy was standard across many diseases whilst there was scientific logic to this policy at one time it mostly does not exist now. But no politician wants to change the policy due to the ever present "political logic". Political logic might be seen as the logic of insanity by some but is in effect called the logic of "universal fairness" by many and it's the logic of the lowest common denominator. Terry Pratchet once called it "The crabbucket" logic of the commons. Politicians gloss over it with various excuses that always blaim others. One being because they think it will be two difficult to achieve politically because "other politicians" will see it as wrong politically... Whilst a circular argument and self defeating it does have more than a germ of truth to it because in politics the policy that hurts most people is the one that is seen as fair, because it pulls everybody down to the same squalid level. Frightening but true but it's the same logic that says "do as your neighbours do, lest they think that you think you are above them" or "they think you disrespect them" In the UK it gets call by it's more obvious downside "Keeping up with the Joneses". It's a prison with walls so thick that to leave the prison you have to go as far as another prison. As the Eagles so famously sang "You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave".


[2] Unofficially we are all up for slaughter by "financial" or "other" policy "constraint" usually excercised on a "blaim the victim" basis to cover up what is realy going on. You die of starvation because you do not have enough money to buy food, well the last fourty odd years of political rehtoric in the US should tell you all about that and several hundred years of "staving people off of the land" which lead to the likes of the "Potato Famines" still goes on today as a quite deliberate policy. The modern neo-libertarian expression as expressed by hedge fund managers and hostile take over "asset strippers" is,

    Don't leave money on the table.

And both Nature and History show quite clearly why it's a bad idea. The finance industry whilst generally scalping you actually warns you about it with,

    If an investment looks to good to be true, then it probably is...

A trite "motherhood and apple pie" statment that most would ignore, but then it does cover their vulnerables quite well...


[3] What you will find is certain vested interests not seeing the income that they believe they have a god given entitlement to, thus they believe you owe them everything they demand... That's what the politicians are telling you it's time for you to save their skins because they've made the equivalent of a pact with the devil. It's the vested interests sense of entitlement and the stupidity of the politicians that got us into the mess we are in. As always, they expect not to have to suffer in any way, for the mistakes they have made. So you therefor do have to suffer, and to make any payments due with your life if necessary as long as it's not theirs...


[4] The surface layer of these "vested interests" are not difficult to see and they are the lobbyists of, the owner operators of the "floating Petri Dishes" such as the Diamond Princess, that carried on running cruises knowing full well from history it was murderously insane to do so. The operators of airlines who stopped the boarders being closed, likewise operators of leisure industries who kept places open where social distancing was not possible and know from experience that their products are designed to encorage the reduction in inhibitions, thus increase physical intimacy. But they are just the surface, Lobbying is a very large part of the "Marketing Industry" reputed to be the largest industry in the world. When you look at Lobbying the money involved suggests a number of things most of which you can rule out and you get left with "finance to buy influance" a large chunk of which appears to have been money laundered. A best guess is that it ends up in political hands be they party funding or candidate pockets directly or by barter.


[5] Remember even if you only get tinned potatoes, peas, and tomatoes, with the right dried bouillon, herbs, and spices you can make many vegtable dishes including a large number of curries, chillies, soups and much more. The secret to restaurant kitchens is have as little variety in the meat/fish component and only three to five vegtables and mix and match with sauces to give a large selection of dishes. You have a similar with salads iceberg lettice and cucumber work in everything from sandwiches through starters mains and sides with onions and tomatoes and others on the vegtable list such as form boild sliced potatoes with a little mayo or fried to crunchy brown you can also add fresh, dried and cooked fruit, and if you have excess milk making cottage chease only takes a few minuits and the liquid can be used as maranaids or bases in other sauces for other dishes and in some cases can be used for bread making. But also remember to get a few large bottles of a good quality ketchup as you can use it as a base in most meat or veg dishes and with mayo and some pickles if you've made them a good aproximation to that pink coloured sauce used in salads and fish dishes. Oh and get a jar of a good quality yeast extract much of the "fortified with" vitimins and minerals included in empty calorie foods come in large quantities in yeast extract so even if you use it only as a "multi-vitimin" replacment you are going to be well ahead.

MarkHMay 6, 2020 8:12 PM

@Clive:

A couple of days ago, I saw a report consistent with some others we've picked up (and perhaps better documented): a medical facility in Texas saw two patients with second Covid-19 illness.

For both patients, the both rounds of illness were confirmed with virus tests, and after the first instance the symptoms seemed to have cleared.

Now, it can happen that symptoms relieve while the patient still carries a large microbial load, and the apparent second instance is actually a flare-up of a single infection. I don't know whether enough lab testing was done on these patients, to prove whether their initial infections had in fact ended.

If these patients did indeed develop second infections, we don't know how significant that is. If 95% or 90% or even 85% of people are well protected after contracting the infection, that's almost as beneficial as 100%. But if immunity is much less than about 75% one year after infection, then the "herd immunity" threshold (in which R doesn't exceed 1) might never be reached, except by vaccination.

But the really big deal on the matter of immunity, is that it is (as of my reading up to 24 hours ago) purely speculative. As far as I'm aware, nobody anywhere on Earth knows the effectiveness or duration of infection-conferred immunity from SARS-CoV-2. That such immunity is zero, cannot yet be ruled out, though from experience at least some immunity seems likely.

Sweden has already expended the lives of about two thousand of its citizens on the quest for natural herd immunity which might, in the event, not exist!
__________________________

I think it likely that useful vaccines will become available eventually, but nobody knows when. It might be 2025, or even later.

In the meantime, the only feasible policies for pandemic management are:

(a) strangle it to as low a level as society can afford (the cost of such strangulation being enormous), and then aggressively Test/Track/Isolate in the hopes of maintaining low infection rates; or

(b) let infection spread nearly to its natural limits.

The overt policy of most states sounds like (a), but because they aren't suppressing infection enough to make TTI feasible, their de facto policy will (b) by fits and starts.

Therefore, death rates won't be controlled primarily by stopping wide-scale transmission, but rather by a great many limited measures. If the synthetic antibody from Israel works, it might become one of a hundred or so "arrows in the quiver."

It's not a very comforting picture, but it's what we're going to have until global vaccination arrives.
__________________________

Clive rightly points to a problem of enormous importance which is already part of discussions about a future vaccine, but which will be far worse with the patchwork quilt of stop-gap interim measures: a great many of them will be (to use Clive's phrase) eye-wateringly expensive, and have the effect of aggravating the already grotesque disparity between the world's haves and have-nots.

When vaccines finally are here, the economics of vaccination must be arranged so that enough parties will have a profit motive for ensuring that it's as universal as practical.

JonKnowsNothingMay 6, 2020 9:57 PM

@All, @Clive, @MarkH

@Clive - seems it's WAI already

"It's "your patriotic duty" campaing to get you to put your life on the line for the profit of the self entitled. Clive 05/06/2020

MSM Report

Washington state sees sudden rise in Covid parties
Gatherings held with the intent of catching, and overcoming, coronavirus are jeopardizing public health says state official

You can call them BYOC parties. That’s bring your own Covid-19.

Health officials in Walla Walla, Washington, are admonishing the sudden rise in so-called “Covid-19 parties” where non-infected guests mingle with those who have tested positive for the virus, ostensibly in hopes of speeding up the process of catching, and overcoming, the virus.


ht tps://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/06/its-irresponsible-washington-state-sees-sudden-rise-in-covid-parties
(url fractured to prevent autorun)

JonKnowsNothingMay 7, 2020 4:34 AM

@Amor vincit omnia

re: Love Among the Ruins

I am not sure why, but it seems that pandemics cause science advisors world wide to lose "contact with reality".

Ferguson is only the latest in a list of high profile science, medical and pandemic specialists to find themselves "sans paydays".

Scotland and Australia and New Zealand all had the same problem.

It must be the rarified atmosphere of High Density Politicians that causes delusions of "for you, not for me", making extra trips to the shore, second homes and mountain biking when you have the entire mountain to yourself and no traffic to get in your way to find the perfect parking spot in the empty car-park.

And then.. they lied about it... multiple times.

The Bells of Hell go ting-a-ling-a-ling
For you but not for me:
For me the angels sing-a-ling-a-ling,
They've got the goods for me.
Oh! Death, where is thy sting-a-ling-a-ling?
Oh! Grave, thy victory?
The Bells of Hell go ting-a-ling-a-ling
For you but not for me.

ht tps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bells_Of_Hell_Go_Ting-a-ling-a-ling
(url fractured to prevent autorun)

MarkHMay 7, 2020 6:00 AM

@All, JonKnowsNothing:

seems it's WAI already

I haven't the foggiest notion, of what "WAI" means. I don't mean to pick on Jon particularly ... it happens from time to time that commenters here use abbreviations or initialisms which may be well known (for example) to specialists in a certain area of endeavor, but are very obscure to everyone else.

Because I want my comments to be understandable, I try to limit my abbreviations to those in one of three categories:

• very widely known and standardized (CIA)
• likely known to early-days students of security and crypto (RSA)
• used a lot recently in comment threads (CFR)

If for compactness I want to use an initialism that doesn't meet this standard, I try to make sure that I spell it out at or near my first use of it.
______________________

From a conversation with friends abroad:

Woman: Do you talk with your stepdaughter in English or Russian [child's first language]?

Me: Mostly Russian.

Woman: Why? Isn't it better to speak in English so she will learn it more quickly?

Her Husband: He wants to be understood.

He was quite right. I do want to be understood!
______________________

KTHX ZOMG WTFBBQ :)

MarkHMay 7, 2020 6:15 AM

.
A Troubling New Statistic

The governor of New York state announced yesterday that 2/3 of recent Covid-19 cases there were to people who have been "sheltering in place."

This doesn't mean that stay-at-home isn't effective: there's lots of evidence that it is. Obviously, there's a degree of "leakage", and finding out how that occurs would need a lot of investigative effort.

I hope that public health officials will try to figure that out.

I certainly don't know what the transmission vectors are for people staying mostly at home, but if I were investigating, one of several obvious routes I'd study is socializing by children.

Well into our local stay-at-home order, we were out for a drive (permitted, and really helpful psychologically) when our child recognized classmates from three different households playing together in front of a house.

There's growing evidence that although children rarely get very sick from Covid-18, they are spreading the virus (not surprising, as I'm aware of no reason why this would not be expected).

JonKnowsNothingMay 7, 2020 10:04 AM

@MarkH

re:

seems it's WAI already
...
I haven't the foggiest notion, of what "WAI" means.


WAI = Work As Intended
 Used to describe functions or features, brush aside bug complaints, or implementation concerns.
 Is Working As Intended or Not Working As Intended.


In the above posting it is used to indicate that government policies to encourage people to become exposed so they can return to work faster is Working As Intended (WAI) since people are engaging in COVID19-Infection-Parties.

The fall out of the policy as referenced previously is that a good number of these folks are going to die from their "patriotic duty to the economy".

What doesn't get mentioned often is there are reports that some folks who recover from COVID19 are left with debilitating conditions that take months to recede and some may never fully recover. This aspect is Not-WAI.

Adding more people to the vulnerable category means they cannot "preform their patriotic duty to work" and thus become a drag on the economy.

JG4May 7, 2020 10:24 AM

I was pretty sure that I posted a Youtube link yesterday clearly demonstrating fake news in mainstream channels. Not sure where I may have strayed over a line to get the comment deleted. I even took out the part about liars, thieves and murderers during editing.

This made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, but too much does these days:

This is what mind control looks like
This is Operation Mockingbird
https://youtu.be/HeRyrXJS0tU
50,030 views•Apr 12, 2020

Can't recall seeing it here before. Apologies if it has been discussed.

I love the part about "extreme danger to democracy," as if there had been one.

"If you don't own the channel, you can never control the narrative."

I recommend downloading videos (and possibly comments) before they are deleted.

vas pupMay 8, 2020 5:34 PM

@Clive Robinson • May 6, 2020 4:44 PM
Thank you for your input on the subject.
I guess fighting COVID-19 in a best way is to have as much tools as possible available, and as in general security: prevention (vaccine), detection (testing), mitigation (cure). So, in each and every case doctor with brains (until AI will be trained to do so) should select proper action, but we all know - only in our pipe dreams it could happened.

wtfMay 9, 2020 12:37 AM

what's going on with all this bs spam in comments, troll bots have been turned on

DroneMay 10, 2020 12:56 AM

@Jon said: "Which would almost certainly outlaw floating power plants such as this one"

Certainly not. There's no reason why a US-made floating power plant like that would be outlawed by the new Executive Action (EA). But I really don't see where a floating power plant like that would have a permanent use in the USA. However, floating power plants like that are useful in emergency situations. For example, I can see a where a foreign made floating power plant may come in handy near an island or key after a devastating hurricane strike. In that case it would be a simple matter to make a temporary exception to the EA.

"One wonders exactly how much of that order is due to 'national security' and how much 'local profiteering', by swiftly outlawing competition."

I do not think Trump's EA has much to do with "profiteering" at all. Instead, it has everything to do with security. I don't want any non US-made equipment in a existentially vital system like our power grid. We have many examples of vulnerable foreign-made industrial control systems where the US would have little to no chance of fixing them should they be installed in the US infrastructure.

MarkHMay 29, 2020 6:14 PM

In a break from tradition, I offer a comment on-topic to Bruce's squid post.

Very Faithful Readers of my comments (God bless you, if you exist) may recall that I gave a direct-observation snapshot of economic activity as visible from my neighborhood.

The local foundry (or Satanic mill, as homage to Blake) resumed its activities roughly 3 weeks ago. I still don't know whether the shutdown was connected with the pandemic, or had some other cause such as plant maintenance. It's back in its 24/7 regime.

I had estimated that rail traffic looked busy enough, that I couldn't imagine it being less than half of normal. In fact, I'm not sure there was any reduction at all, but my observations are so spotty that my inferences must be very approximate.

In the past week or so, I saw shipping container trains carrying the equivalent about 250 and 300 standard-sized (40 foot) containers.

Today, I counted out my personal record: three locomotives pulling 187 "stack" (or well) cars. Almost all were at capacity, so I reckon about 350 standard container equivalents. I compute the length at more than 2.5 kilometers; I suspect this is the maximum length ever run on my local main line. The general limiting factor is the relationship between gross load weight and the maximum force rating of the couplings. Freight trains can be made longer by adding remote-controlled locomotives at the tail end and/or in the middle, but local operations don't justify the complexity of that.

So, to the on-topic part: these container trains run between Atlantic ports and the rest of the U.S.

I don't know how often container ships go the "long way round" between Asia and the eastern U.S., but I presume that the great majority of these containers are European, South American and African traffic.

So, transatlantic trade appears to be going at a good clip ... leaving ample capacity for the illegal drug industry to continue their smuggling.

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