Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Can Edit Their Own Genomes

This is new news:

Revealing yet another super-power in the skillful squid, scientists have discovered that squid massively edit their own genetic instructions not only within the nucleus of their neurons, but also within the axon—the long, slender neural projections that transmit electrical impulses to other neurons. This is the first time that edits to genetic information have been observed outside of the nucleus of an animal cell.


The discovery provides another jolt to the central dogma of molecular biology, which states that genetic information is passed faithfully from DNA to messenger RNA to the synthesis of proteins. In 2015, Rosenthal and colleagues discovered that squid “edit” their messenger RNA instructions to an extraordinary degree—orders of magnitude more than humans do—allowing them to fine-tune the type of proteins that will be produced in the nervous system.

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 22, 2020 at 4:12 PM97 Comments


Lawrence D’Oliveiro May 22, 2020 5:14 PM

As programmers, we have long concluded that self-modifying code is a bad idea. Is it any wonder that evolution is such a mess?

Chris May 22, 2020 6:24 PM

So regarding the so called pseody anonymity
what do you put under the
E-Mail Address:

This particular field is importantos…

You need to put an email address that is so so valid
so how can we at make us pseudo anonumous
in away where us not wanting ourselfe to give an email
address extinguishable …

An easy way would be as follows


If someone have a better idea shoot

Chris May 22, 2020 6:41 PM

So here is the deal..

You started it you stop it
when you feel its enough you tell me

myliit May 23, 2020 8:57 AM

re: Cellular Modems, etc., from recent SoS threads. Anybody want to add to the discussion?

JG4 – undocumented ultrasonic features and mapping cell phones

SpaceLifeForm – Addressed various cellular related questions that I had posed

SpaceLifeForm – Presumably discussing vulnerabilities of devices with cellular modems

Singular Nodals May 23, 2020 9:13 AM

@ Lawrence D’Oliveiro

self-modifying code

One has to distinguish between substantial, of the essence, code, and non-sunstantial, accidental code.

myliit May 23, 2020 11:45 AM

In last week’s squid, I posted questions about the use of either virtual private networks (VPNs) or Tor at this point in time. Anybody want to add to the discussion?

Thanks for the, imo, interesting discussion that may have stemmed from that post:


Clive Robinson



Tor was also mentioned in the squid from two weeks ago. For example, you could search VPN or Tor at

One’s choice, of course, should probably be tied to his/her threat model.

Various links
Choosing a VPN warning: dns leaktest link takes you an options broker site; last updated 3 April 2020
Live DVD: Insecure or Tor browser in Tails
Tor Browser

Misc. Links
Live DVD or CD: TENS formerly LPS U. S. DoD (numerous guides and training) updated 29 April 2020
Securedrop, Share and accept documents securely.

Alejandro May 23, 2020 1:46 PM

For what it’s worth, these days with TOR many sites block it now so at least for surfing it’s less than ideal. I am a fan of Cloudflare in general, but they are death on TOR for some reason. They claim most of the users are criminals or something. So they block it every which way. Last, but not least, a good many nodes are highly compromised and/or run by nation states so….its’ a dice roll.

That doesn’t mean the VPNs are all that better. A couple I tried filled me up with ad PUPS and so on. Some were actually pretty maliciously tracking, despite what they claim, and likely ‘sharing’ data.

Probably the best thing is to spin your own VPN with a droplet from, say, Digital Ocean although the set up is very tricky. Frankly, running SSH off a droplet is pretty easy and what they call a poor man’s VPN. I think that might be a good thing, but you need to be careful about it’s limitations.

Mr. Peed Off May 23, 2020 2:08 PM

With most standard-compliant Bluetooth devices impacted by the vulnerability, the researchers said they tested the attack against as many as 30 devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, headphones, and single-board computers such as Raspberry Pi. All the devices were found to be vulnerable to BIAS attacks.

“The BIAS attacks are the first uncovering issues related to Bluetooth’s secure connection establishment authentication procedures, adversarial role switches, and Secure Connections downgrades,” the research team concluded. “The BIAS attacks are stealthy, as Bluetooth secure connection establishment does not require user interaction.”

vas pup May 23, 2020 3:02 PM

@Bruce: Thank you!
That is amazing part out of your initial extract:
“allowing them to fine-tune the type of proteins that will be produced in the nervous system.”

Real mapping such process to AI model has real prospective because as best of my memory, through proteins in nervous system it is possible to pass and modify memory. I’d like to get clarification from a person with high level expertise in genetic biology.

myliit May 23, 2020 4:04 PM

“The FBI is mad because it keeps getting into locked iPhones without Apple’s help

The debate over encryption continues to drag on without end.

In recent months, the discourse has largely swung away from encrypted smartphones to focus instead on end-to-end encrypted messaging. But a recent press conference by the heads of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) showed that the debate over device encryption isn’t dead, it was merely resting. And it just won’t go away.


You’d think the FBI’s success at a tricky task [getting into the iPhone(s)] (remember, one of the phones had been shot) would be good news for the Bureau. Yet an unmistakable note of bitterness tinged the laudatory remarks at the press conference for the technicians who made it happen. Despite the Bureau’s impressive achievement, and despite the gobs of data Apple had provided, Barr and Wray devoted much of their remarks to maligning Apple, with Wray going so far as to say the government “received effectively no help” from the company.

This diversion tactic worked: in news stories covering the press conference, headline after headline after headline highlighted the FBI’s slam against Apple instead of focusing on what the press conference was nominally about: the fact that federal law enforcement agencies can get into locked iPhones without Apple’s assistance.

That should be the headline news, because it’s important. That inconvenient truth undercuts the agencies’ longstanding claim that they’re helpless in the face of Apple’s encryption and thus the company should be legally forced to weaken its device encryption for law enforcement access. No wonder Wray and Barr are so mad that their employees keep being good at their jobs.

By reviving the old blame-Apple routine, the two officials managed to evade a number of questions that their press conference left unanswered. What exactly are the FBI’s capabilities when it comes to accessing locked, encrypted smartphones? …”

lurker May 23, 2020 4:11 PM

Looking for a Silver Lining
This gem from my local print nxpaper:

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the technology being used for [Covid19] contact tracing could be attached to a barcode on takeaway packaging and then we’d know who discarded their litter in the street.

JG4 May 23, 2020 6:08 PM

I didn’t realize that I figured out the broad strokes of the cell phone system identification concept a couple of years before my 2015 description. I recently stumbled into this note (below) in my email, possibly the day that I was looking for evidence of having posted the links to inexpensive ultrasonic microphones.

I’m pretty sure that I told the spooky story from late 2016 or early 2017 about two days in a row seeing ads on my computer within minutes of discussions near other peoples’ cell phones. At the time, there were slips of paper in the battery contacts of my phones. It has happened several times since then.

From: JG4
Date: Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 12:26 AM
Subject: an awesome ultrasonic surveillance concept that probably already is in use
To: Bruce Schneier

I thought up this one on my own.
This can be done with a single cell phone, but it is much easier and more powerful with multiple ones.
The subject area is system identification and it is the process of measuring the acoustic transfer function of the environs of a cell phone or a collection of cell phones.
If you have a gathering of people, all of their cell phones can be switched on surreptitiously.  If you know the secret passwords for the secret backdoors.
Then, one by one, or all at once, each phone can be caused to emit an ultrasonic signal, which is picked up by nearby cell phones.  This also can be done simultaneously, using random signals of bandwidth restricted to be out of the range of hearing, or with subaudible signals that are within the range of hearing.  The coding has to be different for each phone so that demodulation will measure the desired information of interphone distances and distances to the walls and shape of the room.
The time delays uniquely identify the arrangement of people in the room, i.e., who is closest to who and what all of the distances are between the phones and walls.  The signals also uniquely identify the shape and size of the room by the echoes from the walls and ceiling.  Even with a single cell phone, although it helps to have someone walk it around for you.
I’m surprised that we haven’t seen more tools in the building trade that use ultrasound to map rooms or at least measure dimensions.
You can bet your last dollar that the spooks are all over this.  If they have prevailed on the phone manufacturers to build in capabilities beyond the audio range that would be the natural bounds of a product spec, that is a readily identifiable signature or calling card of Big Brother.  In case you had any doubts about the nature of reality.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Just Turning Your Phone On Qualifies As Searching It, Court Rules ars technica

Remote Employee Monitoring Veriato Solutions (Dr. Kevin)

Clive Robinson May 23, 2020 6:09 PM

@ lurker,

With regards,

    “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the technology being used for [Covid19] contact tracing could be attached to a barcode on takeaway packaging and then we’d know who discarded their litter in the street.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the journalist used to write that article actually knew what they were talking about?

Whilst there are some people that may drop their litter in the street, the problem of poorly designed waste bins arises due to several things but three well known ones are,

1, Careless / lazy “bin men” who spill waste when emptying street bins.
2, Wind sucking waste out of street bins.
3, Pets and vermin taking waste out of street bins.

I’ve regularly photographed the first[1] and the third[2] as evidence and presented it to my local council, and I’ve seen the second on a number of occasions[3].

The evidence I and others supplied gave rise to the local council upgrading the street waste bins to the point they are “Pet and vermin” proof, but not bin-men proof. Worse they did not upgrade the “domestic bins” of those who live above the shops, so now the pets and vermin attack those bins, and it’s not uncommon to see domestic bins that have been,

1, Knocked over and contents dragged out.
2, The bins chewed through by, Squirrels and rats.
3, Squirrels and cats getting into the tops of bins in broad daylight due to two much rubbish in them.

With thr exception of the lazy bin-men that started when councills subcontracted out waste services to various well known companies, ll of these problems with pets and vermin became significantly noticable to people when the UK government alowed local councils to stop collecting domestic waste weekly…

If the person writing the wish about barcodes actually did a little research then they would know not just the above, but that many people pay in cash and use mobile phones that are not tied in some way to them.

Thus the person writing the artical is almost as stupid as people who think mobile phones using Bluetooth as tracking devices is a good idea…

There used to be an old IT joke of,

    What ever the question is, the answer is not Microsoft

Well the new version should be,

    What ever the question is, the answer is not new uses for existing technology.

There is some kind of mass psychosis amoungst those that should know better, that as technology can solve some problems, it must magically be able to solve all problems.

This is most definitely not the case for two reasons,

1, Trying to solve social issues by throwing technology at the problem usually fails expensively so. Social problems are best solved with social solutions.

2, All technology has limitations and weaknesses, which have a habit of becoming glaringly obvious only when “can do kids” get “make it so” orders and the systems the kids deliver gets trialed by ordinary people.

I can confidently predict that all “mobile phone” solutions for COVID-19 tracing will have,

    “More holes, unraveling threads and lack of any real support than a pair of third hand string underpants.”

It realy is a very very bad idea, and you can be sure that one or two people are going to get quite rich at the taxpayer expense on such boondoggles…

[1] The issue with bin-men started after the UK Government forced “outsourcing” onto local Government for “ideological reasons”. The result is that the bin-men are in too much of a hurry, and they spill waste onto the street that then gets spread around and into peoples gardens etc. The local councils have denied this but video footage taken of bin-men spilling waste with just about every other bin the empty tends to make such denials look like what they are “lies”.

[2] For over half a century now I’ve had a “soft spot” for foxes, especially in urban environments. I also thoroughly dislike “tree rats” and “feral cats”. In the country side the life expectancy for a fox is about 36months, in urban environments only 18months, which is sad when you consider that in protected environments they have been known to live 90-110months. As I also have insomnia problems, watching and photographing the urban fox at night is a better way to pass the time than laying wide awake in bed fretting about not being able to sleep.

[3] Poor design of street bins usually occures when people try to solve one problem without testing for others, so you make the bin easy to drop litter in by having a truncated funnel design to the top. The problem is when wind blows across the top the result is you get a vortex effect which reduces the air preasure thus lifts litter out of the street bin… Other design issues give rise to similar vortex issues just as poor building design gives rise to those miniature tornadoes known as “dust devils”.

Clive Robinson May 23, 2020 6:50 PM

@ vas pup,

And how can you work out whether it’s a natural virus, or an artificial one?

The artical you link to is “click-bait”.

For instance we have a broad estimate for the number of virii there are. It’s such a large number that in essence the number of viruses we have analyzed is like a cent or two compared to the US National Debt… The number of virii mutating is happening at a rate far greater than we can analyze them.

Thus realistically we can not tell if a virus is a bio weapon or not unless the scientists have been realy realy dumb…

That is whilst we do create virus sequences in the lab, they are mainly for research reasons. As such the researchers often “tag” their creations for a number of reasons. Three are to add some kind of “easy trace” via the likes of bio-luminescence, add “kill switches” and identifiers such that intellectual property rights can be established for research destined for commercial explotation.

One of the differences between engineered sequences and natural sequences is “redundancy”. When you chop up viral strands you edit out the sequences you want that you then splice back together. This means that the resulting strand is “all function” rather than natural strands that contain a very significant level of redundancy thus the resulting strands are nowhere near “all function”. Thus a man made “bio-weapon” would without care “feel wrong” to anyone sequencing it.

Thus the chances are by overwhelming odds that any new or noval pathogen would be natural not man made.

There are a number of other “tells” but it’s reasonably certain that if several actual experts in a type of virus say it’s natural then it probably is.

This “China made SARS-CoV-2” rhetoric is actually usless politicians trying to cover up their failings. The problem is that they are actually so usless their repeated failings shows what the rhetoric actually is, which is “Fake News”.

Oh the other thing to think about… If SARS-CoV-2 is a manmade bio-weapon, it’s actually not a very good one. Because it’s incapacitating and killing the wrong people. The 1918 pandemic which we know was natural, targeted the “economicaly active” rather than the old. If you were developing a man made bio-weapon for warfare then you would not just target the economicaly active, but you would also add some kind of mechanism to protect your own economically active citizens (otherwise you would be taking target practice at your toes).

Lawrence May 23, 2020 11:18 PM


I fear I must risk all and contradict you re: bin men (and women).

Here in my part of NZ they are an essential service close to gods, more valuable than a sheep truck and trailer full of sporting heroes. Only the bin people would venture down torn and buckled streets post-earthquake to take away our rubbish and bring a sense that we mattered to someone (ever seen a waste truck applauded along a street?). During our pandemic lockdown they were at it again, venturing out in the name of health to look after us. Little kids stand on the streets to wave to them.

Perhaps your folks made you listen to “My old mans a dustman” a few times too many with the consequence of an intolerance to small failings? Then again it may just be that we have a superior sort of bin people down here. 🙂

Wael May 24, 2020 12:23 AM

Re: above link: one commenter said:

Man this guy really knows how to paint a picture with his words

I agree!

Rachel May 24, 2020 1:50 AM

Hello Wael dawg!


If SARS-CoV-2 is a manmade bio-weapon, it’s actually not a very good one. Because it’s incapacitating and killing the wrong people.

plus the target demographic would also appear to include most of the China ‘Party Politicans’

Wael May 24, 2020 2:35 AM

@Rachel, CC: @Clive Robinson,

Hello […] dawg!

Hello! I’ll watch Buzz Aldrin in a few… if I have the patience for a 45-min video clip.

Because it’s incapacitating and killing the wrong people.

1) Depends who “developed it!
2) There’re no “wrong people” … unless it was developed for a targeted human genetic signature (race or common trait or known immunity to certain viruses, or… a previous “marker” that was “installed” on the “right people”[1]) and it affected the “wrong signature” — if it was “developed”.

[1] Perhaps previous “versions” of COVID were meant to develop immunity for certain populations before the new version was “released”… too much of a conspiracy theory? Who knows… Either the numbers are wrong or something else is going on.

SpaceLifeForm May 24, 2020 2:45 AM

Testing Apples and Oranges for ripeness


Eleven states also confirmed mixing viral and antibody test results.

The CDC says it’s planning to separate those numbers in the coming weeks, but experts say the current method is unhelpful and potentially misleading.


In statewide data Friday, Missouri reported about 6.5% of tests conducted in the state were positive. After separating the two types of test, however, the data showed that 8.3% of PCR tests were positive and 4% of antibody tests were positive.

[at this point in time, in the progression of the pandemic, so far, the ratio of positive PCR to antibody, being nearly 2, tells me that silent spreaders are everywhere. My working assumption is that well over 50% of the population has been exposed, and is asymptomatic. My working model is that everyone may be a carrier, including myself. And that there is no immunity.]

Wael May 24, 2020 2:56 AM


To continue..

or… a previous “marker”

If I were a virologist, I’d be looking at specific sets of data that helps to understand why some people are asymptomatic, and why others get mild symptoms. I’d check for previous diseases, immunizations, or other commonalities. Maybe we’ll find out that, for example, people who had previous flu shots were at risk (or not). Perhaps people whose diet is predominantly GMO… or certain kinds of meat (pork) are at a more elevated risk.

But I’m not a virologist, although I have access to some — who don’t pay much attention to my thoughts, and rightfully so.

Clive Robinson May 24, 2020 3:28 AM

@ Lawrence,

As I noted in the UK our bin-men changed due to political interference by one of our political parties (the same idiots we currently have making all the wrong decisions with regards COVID-19).

They used to be employed by the local councils and were friendly, helpful and often knew us by name. And yes back in the times of power cuts and fuel shortages they still came around in the cold and the dark of winter mornings picking bins of all shapes and sizes up from around the back of peoples homes. And bearing in mind most bins were metal back then they did it much more quietly than you would expect.

Now however the bin-men are employed by the same “service companies” that give large “donations” to that political party and also appear regularly in various published articles for some form of crime and coruption. They have forced various changes such as “wheelie bins” made of plastic that vermin chew through, and burn oh so easily if some vandle/criminal thinks it would be fun to do so thus endangering the lives of those who have them next to their homes. And these service companies use machines so noisy that they rattle the windows and wake even those who are deaf with the vibrations caused.

So now we have a new type of bin-man in the UK who unlike the old ones don’t work for the community but some profit oriented service company. The older bin-men are gone their pensions taken, and they have been replaced by those who cost far less… and it’s clear there is a “trickle down effect”, that is the ethics of these employers filter down into their workers via incentive schemes.

As for the old the infirm and disabled, they are told that they have to push these akward wheelie bins out to be collected and then take them back again. Thus blocking the pavements. Pavements that on busy roads have been made narrower and narrower, and left in disrepair. Thus anyone trying to use the pavment when the bins are out find their lives in danger either from trip hazzards or overly fast traffic…

This by the way is all in the name of what neo-liberals call progress…

Clive Robinson May 24, 2020 4:11 AM

@ Rachel,

I was going to post an interview of Buzz Aldrin

I was lucky enough to meet him a few years back when he gave a talk in London about his “Mars Cycler” idea, which still looks a better bet than any of Elon Musk’s plans… Now those Musk plans do look to be very high risk…

Oh one interesting side note, some psychologists have concluded that any small team going away for more than a year would be best made up of ~2/3rds women not men for a whole bunch of reasons…

I’ll leave it to others to decide if they are right or wrong about the psychology. But one thing that would be true is lower crew mass and less requirments for food supplies etc. Then there is the better eye sight and dexterity and other physiological advantages.

But there is another issue that did not get covered by Chris, that @Wael and myself have touched on in the past which is the nonlinear relationship between age and risk. You get to hear about it with “micromorts”. Put simply as you get older risk matters less in real terms than it does when you are younger. The counter balance is knowledge and experience that increases with age. At some point there is going to be a sweet spot.

Nik May 24, 2020 4:14 AM


Where I live the Rubbish company expects you have the bins ready by the mailbox. For me it’s 500m downhill, especially fun in the snow and winter. Lately they have been spilling quite a bit, including dropping a wine bottle in the middle of the road leaving shards. That I got to sweep up. The bins are plastic, of course and one is rubbish, the other one “recycling” [1] I’m envious of my neighbor who has a bear-proof trash can, something needed here.

Further rubbish is that the results of the COVID-19 throat swab my wife got last Monday are not in yet. In the news our governor touts “free for all” tests with results in 72 hours. LIES. After calling the place, they said the results are in “up to 7 business days”. I’m sure they are not free for me since I have health care.

Especially funny since we both have this very odd cold that lasts for 3 weeks now. or is is the flu? Or what? we have been not leaving the property in 4 weeks

[1] I always wonder what gets recycled. My company is a private one, I’m sure they do not offer any tours.

Wael May 24, 2020 4:23 AM


I watched the video and posted a long comment on it that I’m too tired to reproduce. Apparently I mentioned a reference to a banned name in my reply which caused the filter to block my comment… oh well… I was able to retrieve it, and I’ll remove the offending name:


I was going to post an interview of Buzz Aldrin but this about the moon landings is more scientific

Oh, this again[1]! Watched it… interesting, heard most of the arguments and counter arguments and counter-counter arguments before, as I watched dozens of these videos and read a bit about the mission.

Me? I’m not sure. Perhaps true, perhaps not. The thing I don’t understand is the Van Allen belt, but it seems a space ship doesn’t necessarily need to go through it (see Wikipedia on Van Allen belt pictures). The rest… I can believe the given defense arguments. But what’s there to find out? Deception? Ho hum… Really went to the moon? Ok! Non-consequential for me. I know it sounds too passive, but things like that take a lifetime or two to investigate.

[1] xxxxxx xxx’s comment:

PS: a 2013 video that talks about the “upcoming” 2017 declassification of JFK’s assassination. Haven’t watched it, and I don’t intend to!

@Clive Robinson,

At some point there is going to be a sweet spot.

I reached my sweet spot 🙂

JonKnowsNothing May 24, 2020 7:33 AM

@Clive @All

re: Garbage Pickup

Garbage Pickup is actually a pretty complex deal. Aside from the dropped garbage or the plastic bags blown out of the transfer trucks.

Like most things we take for granted (regular pickups) we rarely really get farther into the details once the stinky messes are hauled off.

There are many types of garbage, refuse, recycle, non recycle items and each is
it’s own nightmare of rules, regulations and disposal issues.

  • Concrete and Asphalt from construction and road building.
  • Sheet rock and old toilets from DIY renovations.
  • Cardboard and paper cups.
  • Styrofoam and plastic liners and stick-on-pull-off plastic protectors.
  • Food old, new, rotten, putrid
  • Diapers, cat litter, dog poop, pigeon and bird poo
  • Stable manure (horses mostly)
  • Lawn and garden clippings
  • Tree and shrub prunings

It’s an amazing classification of what society tosses away. IF you have the luck to have garbage pickup at all, which many parts of the world do not.

Lots of archaeology wouldn’t be possible without the old dump to rummage through. Urban archaeologists don’t need really old dumps to comb through, modern dumps preserve things so much better you can still read the 1950 newspapers wrapped and string tied around lumps of potato peels.

Garbage pick up is also a really fantastic combinatory problem.

  • Truck Empty vs Truck Loaded
  • Terrain – Hilly vs Flat vs Steep vs Mountains
  • Roads – Paved vs Non Paved
  • City Street Design – Wide vs Narrow Roads
  • Type of Residence – Density vs Remote
  • There are other social economic aspects too.

Goal: Make the fewest trips in the fastest time collecting the most garbage with least transfer or dump off times without violating traffic and other ordinances collecting the right stuff and taking it to the proper destination.

In San Francisco there is Lombard Street: You do not want to start at the top of the hill with a near full load in a big truck.

How you get an near empty truck to the top of the street is something the drivers figured out without computers.

No doubt in many places computerized route optimization has replaced innate know-how. The drivers and pick up folks do not get paid to stop and clean up anymore. They are on time-managed-gig-economy-time-and-motion-production pay.

Another feature of our economy.

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

Curious May 24, 2020 7:44 AM

@Lawrence D’Oliveiro

So, I am not a programmer or anything, but I once had this idea for a computer game, in which a computer would have some strict internal logic that re-shaped its code and processes (an all reprogrammable cpu of sorts) and basically relied on obscurity to achieve a level of security. And instead of having protocols and standards to exchange information with the world, the computers would have to rely in intellegently speculate what the communication would be structured like to establish communication, as if adding the element of ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ as a necessary element for interpreting other computer’s existence and the meaning of whatever stored or streamed data was known. I guess the idea would be similar to an ephemeral cpu if that makes sense, ever changing. Sounded good in my head. 🙂 It all sort of alluded to being an ‘organic’ cpu, some kind of hardware that lives on by itself, and based on some basic parameters that existed on its creation. 🙂 Even if you figured out what some data or process did by means of copying its accessible memory, the idea was that by that time, everything would have been changed.

Clive Robinson May 24, 2020 9:40 AM

@ ALL,

With regards SARS-CoV-2 there are three ways out of our current prediciment,

1, We can make it extinct by issolation and other quarantine methods.

2, We can just learn to live with it as it becomes endemic as this strain or a mutated strain (the so called “herd immunity” does not make the virus extinct it just reduces the chance of infection, to some smaller “average chance” of spreading and new viable hosts get born all the time).

3, We can find a safe and effectivr vaccine to reduce the number of viable hosts way beyond what “herd immunity” can thus eventually make the virus extinct.

Many think that vaccination as was done with small pox is the only way we can now get out of the situation and back to the normallity we enjoyed in 2019 and earlier.

There has been much noise made about various vaccine groups on of which is called the Oxford – Astra Zenica trial.

Well tests on six monkeys showed the vaccine failed in all cases to stop the monkeys becoming easily infected and producing similar infective viral loads to non vaccinated monkeys.

The only difference appears to be that it slightly minimised lower respiritory effects.

Now I would be the first to admit that as it’s the lower respiritory infection effects that ends up killing or incapacitating people that anything that reduces the effect might be of use if there is no other alternative. But as far as what was talked up and effectively prommised about this “Oxford Vaccine” it appears to be a bust. What I do not know is if they will go on with safety trials or “full human trials”, I suspect not unless they change the vaccine in some way (there is a quite small chance that it still might be both safe and efficacious

So I’m not actually surprised about this Oxford Vaccine apparent failure, it’s actually to be expected as I’ve indicated in the past. As for the other seventy or so candidates in the race I suspect many will be either not sufficiently safe or sufficiently efficacious or both. That is on simple binarry “states” alone you only have a one in four chance of being in the both sufficiently safe and sufficiently efficacious state.

In reality the odds of both is actually way way smaller than that, so we may find all the current seventy odd candidates fail. This is because unfortunately as far as safety and efficacy are concerned they’ve actually got more than two states. That is you start with an immune system that is not in any way sensitised to SARS-CoV-2, if you add in a vaccine it can improve the immune system or they can damage it such that you are much more susceptible to the virus than you would have been if you were not vaccinated. Thus you now simplistically have three states for each or only a 1:9 or just over 11% chance. This damaging effect occures in nature as I’ve mentioned before with the degue feaver virus strains. Get any one of the four the first time and your symptoms may be sufficiently mild that you do not even realise you’ve been infected. However if you then get any one of the other strains you will not just notice your chance of dying is very significantly raised even with good medical support…

There are other states to be considered, so as you can see the odds of being in the desired success state drop quite rapidly as the number of states goes up irrespective of what the actuall measured odds for each state are.

myliit May 24, 2020 11:20 AM


“[at this point in time, in the progression of the pandemic, so far, the ratio of positive PCR to antibody, being nearly 2, tells me that silent spreaders are everywhere. My working assumption is that well over 50% of the population has been exposed, and is asymptomatic. My working model is that everyone may be a carrier, including myself. And that there is no immunity.]”

References, footnotes, or your deliberative process, please. Or best arguments against your working model.

re: superspreaders

You probably heard about the superspreader in a Washington State choir practice:

“… the now infamous Skagit Valley Chorale practice, on March 10th, at a church in Washington State. It was pre-lockdown, but there’d been enough coronavirus news to lead the group to suspend the usual hugs and handshakes and to sit farther apart than usual. According to choir members who were present, no one seemed ill at the start of the rehearsal. No one coughed. The singing was as powerful as ever. And that may have been the problem. There was an index patient who had been experiencing cold-like symptoms for three days, which worsened after the rehearsal and led to a diagnosis of covid-19. According to an investigation by the Skagit County Public Health department, fifty-two of the sixty other choir members in attendance subsequently fell ill. Thirty-two choir members tested positive for covid-19. Two died.

covid-19 isn’t actually crazy infectious. Measles is crazy infectious: for instance, in a 2008 outbreak in San Diego that began in a school where thirty per cent of students were unvaccinated, each infected child spread the virus to, on average, eighteen others—meaning that the disease has a “reproductive ratio,” or R0, of eighteen. By comparison, a person with covid-19 will infect, on average, only two to three others out of all the people he or she encounters while going about ordinary life. Exposure time matters: we don’t know exactly how long is too long, but less than fifteen minutes spent in the company of an infected person makes spread unlikely. (For instance, among four hundred and forty-five people who were within six feet of a covid-19 case for ten minutes or more, only two tested positive, both of whom had confirmed cases in their households.) But an R0 of two or three is more than enough to cause a pandemic. Given an average incubation period of five days, a single unchecked case can lead, over two months, to more than twenty thousand infections and a hundred deaths. The six-foot rule goes a long way toward shutting down this risk. But there are clearly circumstances where that is not sufficient. At the right point in the illness, under the right environmental and social conditions, one person can produce a disaster. In ninety minutes of choir practice, in a crowded church on a March day, with a woman at the height of infectivity, the R0 was in the dozens. …”

Another type of superspreader:

“Trump Is a Superspreader—of Distraction

A couple of months ago, in the early days of the Great Shutdown, Republicans complained that Democrats’ impeachment of Donald Trump had distracted the President from taking more aggressive action to counter the spread of the coronavirus. Trump’s Senate trial, they pointed out, began in January, just as covid-19 was making its way out of China and the President was receiving his first briefings about it. “I think it diverted the attention of the government because everything every day was all about impeachment,” the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, told the radio host Hugh Hewitt in late March. Trump, when asked about McConnell’s comments at the time, first denied that he was distracted before allowing that the Senate trial “probably” did divert him. After all, he deadpanned, “I certainly devoted a little time to thinking about it.” The public did not buy the impeachment defense, however. Polls since then have shown that a majority of Americans hold Trump himself accountable for America’s halting, uncertain reaction to the pandemic.[1] His belated response is all the more striking given a new model from epidemiologists at Columbia University, released this week, showing that tens of thousands of American lives might have been saved if major cities had closed down even one week earlier in March.


If a return to normal isn’t really around the corner, Trump can at least offer distraction and denial. Diversion was and is the point. As if the coronavirus did not exist. As if more than a thousand Americans weren’t dying every day of this terrible virus without a cure. It was only a few weeks ago that the President was saying the United States might lose only fifty or sixty thousand Americans, or perhaps a hundred thousand total, to the disease. On April 10th, he predicted that covid-19 deaths in the United States would be “substantially below the one hundred thousand” figure, perhaps even as low as half of that. But now it is the start of the Memorial Day weekend, a time when the country traditionally pays tribute to its wartime fallen, and Trump’s “invisible enemy” is about to pass that awful milestone of a hundred thousand American deaths. The grim symbolism of this year’s holiday is not likely to be soon forgotten, no matter how hard the President tries.”


“America’s seniors, sacrificed on the altar of reopening


Back in March, three-fifths of those 65 and over approved of the federal government’s response to the pandemic. Now a majority of that age group disapprove. Poll after poll has shown Trump in the past two months losing his lead among 65-and-over voters, a crucial demographic for Republicans, both nationally and in battleground states. The political handicapping site FiveThirtyEight observes that Trump won voters 65 and older by 13.3 percentage points in 2016. At the moment, Trump trails Biden by 1.0 points among such voters in an average of national polls — an enormous swing. …”

“ When President Trump announced this week that he is taking the drug hydroxychloroquine, I was working my way through The Post’s new book, “Donald Trump and His Assault on Truth,” written by the newspaper’s Fact Checker staff.

The thought that Trump would ignore warnings from the Food and Drug Administration and deliberately ingest a drug that could have serious side effects was disturbing. Equally upsetting, however, was the thought that the president may have taken to the airwaves to tell a flat-out lie. Why should we believe he’s taking the drug? After all, America has come to this: a president of the United States whose word cannot be trusted.

Fact Checker editor and chief writer Glenn Kessler labels Trump “the most mendacious [untruthful ] president in U.S. history.” And the 344-page book backs up that charge.

“Donald Trump and His Assault on Truth” lays bare the scope of this president’s record of unprecedented habitual and intentional dishonesty, tracing three-plus years of deceitfulness up to and including his incompetent handling of the coronavirus crisis. …”

JonKnowsNothing May 24, 2020 5:29 PM

@Clive @All

re: Vaccine Outlook

De Spiegel interview with Belgian pandemic expert Peter Piot, adviser to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, has some interesting insights on several aspects:

  • COVID19 survivor – didn’t think he would get it
  • 60+ days and still recovering
  • Major symptom: Total Exhaustion
  • Low oxygen saturation
  • 1 week after discharge for COVID19 returned to hospital “entire lung had been infiltrated – I was suffering from a massive immune reaction” (cytokine storm)
  • difficulties in producing a vaccine for billions of people
  • COVID19 vaccine effectiveness: “flu vaccines, the protective efficacy is generally only between 60 and 70 percent. …. But I don’t believe that a vaccine will provide 100 percent protection”
  • Treatment possibility: “it is possible that we will have a treatment for COVID-19 before we have a vaccine.”
  • Alternate prognosis: “Many people think that for people who get COVID-19, it is a kind of flu for 99 percent, and that 1 percent die. I want it to get it into people’s heads that there is also something in between – large numbers of people who survive, but who are seriously ill for a very long time.”

On the topic of long term recovery in Australia:

The poet, broadcaster and author Michael Rosen has left intensive care 47 days after he was admitted.

That raised my eyebrows: 47 days in ICU in the USA will exceed the maximum life-time benefit allowed by many USA Health Care Insurances. Additionally, early triage reports that even if you were “getting better” but “not getting better fast enough” and a younger person (than you) needed your bed, they would withdraw treatment.

Rate of infection may be more than 1:10. As the USA “opens the front doors, back doors and knocks down the barn walls” to open the economy, a hairstylist in Missouri may have exposed 91 people (with masks on). The report only mentions days of “symptoms” and doesn’t mention the pre-symptom infection period.

The stylist who tested positive for Covid-19 …. worked eight different days while experiencing coronavirus symptoms …. While infectious, the same individual also visited a Walmart and a Dairy Queen and made three visits to a local gym.

And then, Only in the USA, we have Anti-Mask Backlash in some locales where if you are wearing a mask or social distancing, you won’t get service and folks will be sure to Close The Gap so you can “feel their breath”.

ht tps://

ht tps://

ht tps://
ht tps://

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

Clive Robinson May 25, 2020 4:14 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

folks will be sure to Close The Gap so you can “feel their breath”

Technically assult with intent[1], and at some point somebody is going to get seriously injured if not dead on somebodies idea of “stand your ground” or similar…

It’s “super spreaders” that show the lie of “herd immunity” not just as a policy but long term goal. The theory is that if enough people are immune then there is insufficient viable hosts “on average” for the disease to spread. Generally as far as disease is concerned there is nothing special about a super spreader they are just like any other equally infectious person. The diference is the number of contacts they make, which is a social not disease issue. The argument of herd immunity is that if 70% of the population is immune then infection “spread” becomes nolonger possible thus the disease will die out… Well if you are infectious and do not know it and come into contact with a hundred people then approximately 30% will be viable hosts, thus you will infect some if not all of them. Yes hairdressers / barbers are a particularly bad social interaction, because you sit in a chair with your head less than their shoulder hight and well within arms length of them, they also talk and thus spray a fountain of infection over you… So yes from the social side hair dressers and barbers are going to be more likely to be supper spreaders than not. Similarly people that do other “beauty services” like eyebrow threading, tattooing, ear piercing and even those doing teeth hygiene or dentistry and emergancy services such as “first responders”. Which all in all is quite a chunk of the everyday “service sector” workers in society.

Unfortunately this “anti-mask” attitude is not unexpected in a society where the balance between “Individual-v-Social rights and responsabilities” are so badly skewed. There is some kind of “cowboy myth” still in existance even after nearly a century and a half of “property rights” putting an end to the idea of “freedom to roam” and the “Wild West”. US citizens are not “rugged individualists” any longer few possess any survival skills and can not walk a mile comfortably let alone ten. So without safe running water to the tap in their home and a super-store within a car drive, many would basically perish. It’s just a question of how.

So better adjusted societies see the need for and welcome people wearing masks. Because they know the mask wearers are being “sensibly socialy responsible” not “individual irresponsible idiots”.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the disease spread to nullify the irresponsible…

As for the US Health Insurance and cutting people off from health care… I’ve made comment in the past on this blog about the idiocy of the system and how it quite deliberatly creates supply shortages in normal times to artificially increase prices thus justify much more profitable premiums whilst needlessly killing thousands if not hundreds of thousands… Oh and the fact that disease is no respector of money or high walls, if the general population is unhealthy then disease spreads where ever it can thus even the rich and high status individuals will get sick as disease spreads through the unhealthy… People need to realise that their health is very much dependent on the health of society around them, that is if society is sick then you will be very lucky not to get sick, irrespective of how infectious a disease might be.

I won’t go into the disease reservoir effect of low grade housing and health, it’s not exactly difficult to look up how it happens and what the results are.

Instead I will note another asspect of “Bush meat” and “wild disease” zoonotic transfer. Normally we thibk in terms of distant jungles and tend to forget livestock like swine and fowl, but that is where quite a bit of zoonotic transfer happens especially with mutating of endemic diseases. But we tend to realy forget another potential zoonotic disease reservoir, which is our “pets”…

We now know that quite a few “pets” can become infected with SARS-CoV-2 this includes “rodents” which include those pesky “vermin” that people say are “always within six feet of you in a city”. Whilst we “think” the transmission is only from human to rodent, I’ve not yet seen any research results that say it “definitely can not” happen the other way. Thus as in the wild we could get “disease reservoirs” in other creatures and have the disease transfer back again… Thus we could end up with something “endemic” that comes back every few months or so not “out of the wild” but out of sewers and garbage piles. History shows us that many pandemics before the 20th century antibiotics had the likes of rats as the disease vector…

[1] A number of police forces around the world are currently trying to deal with being spat at, much as they did with being bitten when AIDS was an unknown and very much in the media a few decades back. Under several varients of law it matters not a jot if you are infectious or not it is the act of “intent” that is deemed important, so it matters not it it’s your breath or a gun, knife etc it’s “deadly intent” or what ever the local varient is called.

JonKnowsNothing May 25, 2020 9:40 AM

@Clive @All

re: Locusts Swarms and Famine

More reports of devastating locust swarms devastating spring crops.

Mir Gul Muhammad, a farmer in Balochistan province [Pakistan], was blunt. “The worst that we have ever seen, ever, in our whole life,” he said of the swarms of locusts that descended on his village of Gharok.

Locusts have already destroyed the winter crops.

The Pakistani government declared a national emergency this year after the locusts began to decimate winter crops. The first swarm came from the United Arab Emirates in mid-2019, and in the next few weeks time a new infestation is expected to arrive from Iran

There are locust swarms in many parts of Afrika too.

This second invasion [threatening Afrika] from breeding grounds in Somalia includes more young adults which are especially voracious eaters…. increasing number of new swarms form in north and central Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.

United Arab Emirates / Iran / Pakistan / Somalia / Kenya / Ethiopia

The FAO (food and agriculture organization of the UN) graphic shows the forecast for the swarms to move both east and westward across the African and Asian continents.

ht tps://

ht tps://

ht tps://

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

JonKnowsNothing May 25, 2020 10:36 AM

@Clive @All

Topic: Choice between 100,000 people and 1 trillion dollars of wealth.

It hardly seems that anything ever happened pre-COVID19 things changed that fast, but we should not to let history slip by without acknowledgement.

The worldometer on coronavirus for 05/25/2020

Global Deaths            347,293
USA Deaths            99,381

The USA is fast approaching the 100,000 death count (official and officially undercounted). So time now to ask:

  1. Did we save 1 Trillion Dollars for the price of 100,000 deaths?
  2. Was the loss of 100,000 people worth 200 million hours of production, worth what we saved?

The cost world wide is more than triple the estimates. The dice did not stop rolling at 100,000.

The dead are dead, the hours of production not recoverable for 15-25 years (new generations of workers) and the forecast is for more of the same.

Back in March 27, 2020 Squid 722 Clive had the following exchange (partially reposted for continuity of the topic)

Jordan Brown • March 27, 2020 9:18 PM

It’s not exactly armchair epidemiology, but what I think is a critical question is the trade-off. If we have a choice between losing 100,000 people and losing a trillion dollars of wealth, what’s the right answer? That’s ten million dollars per person. 100K deaths is probably a low estimate for the worst case, but a trillion dollars is probably also a low estimate.

How much is too much to spend? Would you rather have a 1% chance of dying, or a 90% chance of coming out of the incident penniless and unemployed?

Nobody likes to compare dollars with lives, but it’s clear that the ratio isn’t infinite. Now we’re just haggling over the price.

Clive Robinson • March 27, 2020 10:15 PM

@ Jordan Brown,

If we have a choice between losing 100,000 people and losing a trillion dollars of wealth, what’s the right answer?

As it’s the wrong question the answer really does not matter.

The reason the question is wrong is you have an assumption in there which is, losing a trillion dollars of wealth

Thus the real question you should be asking is,

If we have a choice between losing 100,000 people and losing a 200 million hours of production, what’s the right answer?

Which quickly becomes clear that you need the people to do the production such that the economy keeps functioning.

ht tps://

ht tps://
   Jordan Brown • March 27, 2020 9:18 PM

ht tps://
   Clive Robinson • March 27, 2020 10:15 PM
(url fractured to prevent autorun)

Clive Robinson May 25, 2020 11:46 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing, ALL,

The FAO (food and agriculture organization of the UN) graphic shows the forecast for the swarms to move both east and westward across the African and Asian continents.

I’m aware that Jordan, for historical reasons has grain silos to see them through some period without nrw crops. What I do not know is for how long they will be good for.

The thing is that many nations have ignored history where famin is common right up untill less than half a century ago.

The thing is that certain business types have seen the sensible policy of storing food from good times for bad times as “stealing money from their pockets”. Thus people who should know better have been persuaded to sell their crops at almost a loss in the good times, when common sense says keep the excess in reserve for the hard times as these things are cyclic.

Now we are going to see “Disaster capatilists” move in and make large profits from the short supply of food, which will kill millions along the “silk route” paths.

Oh and as I’ve noted there is an issue with the protein supply. You have African Swine Fever runing rampent in China and parts of Eastern Europe and places inbetween. You also have domestic fowl (chicken, ducks, geese) attacked by what could be a form of bird flu.

In the US you’ve had farmers slaughter livestock because meat producers are not buying even though there is a meat shortage in shops. The reason is the very poor work conditions in the meat producers and their labour not wishing to take the risk of getting COVID-19 due to the meat producers flatly refusing to provide PPE or other protective measures for their workers.

Sooner rather than later these issurs are going to cause a lack of supply in food world wide. Whilst rich Western nations will just raise the offer price and pass it onto consumers, poorer nations will be facing food shortages famin and starvation, which will have a deliterious effect on farmers, so causing a “knock on effect”.

My advice to people is we are almost certainly going to have another most likely much more severe wave of COVID-19 starting in as little as six weeks due to premature “lockdown lifting”. If the food shortages become coincident to that or the third COVID-19 wave, then even the West is going to have food shortages of various forms. So stock up on tined meats of various types and tinned tomatoes and tetra packs of pasata. Likewise rice, oats, flour, sugar, powdered milk and dry flaked/powdered potatoes and pulses. Also stock up on frozen fresh meat and learn how to “jar” / “can” butter and chease. Also learn hoe to make a “root store” such that you can save fresh potatoes, carrots and onions. Oh and if you have a garden now would be a good time to start growing potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbages and “spring salad vegtables” and if you know how grow sweet peppers which are very high in vitimin C and chilly pepers and herbs, that you can grow on a window sill. Learning how to brine and pickle vegtables and things like lemons and limes will also help a lot.

These are all quite minor changes and if you spend 10-20% more than you normally would on these foods with a long shelf life whilst you can still get them and they are cheap could save you a lot of pain and cost down the road in the next few months and year or so to come.

I know a number of people are saying the equivalent of “it will all be over by Christmas” or it’s a “phoney war” but as with both the world wars such people were proved badly wrong.

Whilst I can not say if they are right or wrong, the old “Boy Scout” moto of “Be prepard” is actually not going to cost most of you much more than “storage space” because if you are sensible about what you buy, you will eat it all any way long before the expiry date.

Oh one of the reasons I talk about “canned food” is that all you need is a spoon and sometimes a can opener to eat at short notice. Nearly all other foods need to be rehydrated with hot water or cooked in boiling water. Which means you need both water and power, which as some people in California and one or two other places have found are realy not something you can count on. The other thing is the smell from cold canned food is quite small unlike any form of cooking, there may be times you don’t want people “smelling you out”, so they can steal from you.

As my father used to say “The best place to be when there is trouble is somewhere else”, likewise “Don’t bring trouble to your doorstep” a little forward thinking can be the difference between a mildly annoying situation and a world of hurt, pain and even death.

Oh and those of you who have a “From my cold dead hand” view on guns, can I suggest that you would actually be way better served by a crossbow than a hand gun or rifle, because it’s way way quieter and you can easily reuse the bolts/arrows if you take a little care. And if you realy must have a gun, a shotgun is better than a hand gun and in most cases way better than a rifle. It’s why you see people in the countryside with shotguns as you get most small game easily with them unlike rifles which are for larger fairly soon to become scarce game like deer etc. The other thing to consider is an air rifle. Because again it is quieter and as,with crossbows an air rifles ammunition is fired by mechanical energy and if you “recover it” it does not take much effort to reuse / recycle it almost indefinitely. Oh and if you are thinking about keeping “small livestock” think rabbits and ducks, becsuse they both live quite happily on vegtable scraps and unlike chickens and geese they tend to make little or no noise and they are less likely to attract vermin such as mice, rats, cats, dogs or foxes. I used to keep a couple of dozen rabbit cages in my garage and three dozen duck boxes in a shed. All without noise smell and vermin, and importantly without any complaint from the neighbours, who actually thought I was lucky to have ducks in the garden, keeping the grass etc down.

myliit May 25, 2020 1:18 PM

+1, imo, even if you have never heard of John Prine:

From Nashville Public Radio: 55:57; best listened to with undivided attention; be prepared to dry your eyes [1]

“ A Radio Wake For John Prine

When John Prine died on April 7 of complications from COVID-19, he left behind boots too big to fill — and an even bigger hole in the heart of our city.

A legendary songwriter, a gracious mentor and inspiration to new generations of music makers, and perhaps the city’s premier meatloaf connoisseur, Prine deserves the big send-offs we give to great artists and heads of state.


Leave your own John Prine memory:

(Write a new entry)
Kat Chapman from Canada
Ive been listening to J.P. since 1972….His music has helped me thru the darkest times of my life. And there’s been many! His huge heart .humour , and ability to relate to his audience is truly unmatched. No one will ever be able to fill his boots..thats for sure!!
Im 65 now and still listen to him everyday… actually even more now! Truly LOVE this man !!. ….. Beautiful Tribute “Wake”

…”–cUsH_1n8 6:55 1 April 2020
One of John Prine’s Earliest Television Performances/ “Hello In There” 3:13 10 November 2010
John Prine – Illegal Smile

[1] 8:26 13 February 2015
Drive All Night, The River (1980), Bruce Springsteen

Clive Robinson May 25, 2020 1:24 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

Topic: Choice between 100,000 people and 1 trillion dollars of wealth.

My answer has not realy changed at all. “One trillion dollars of wealth” is actually meaningless, as it’s a fairly pointless fiscal measure not a measure of either work or real assets.

That trillion dollars is actually mainly “Manufactured debt” that is you are borrowing from the future to have something today. The theory being that as “inflation” is an inbuilt part of fiscal measure then the comparative value of the debt goes down as asset values rise due to inflation.

Thus the winners are those who are asset rich and the loosers are those who are asset poor. Secondly many assets can be used to raise income to service the debt via “rent seeking” thus the poor are forced into the position of paying of the debt of the rich. Thus the rich win in three different ways and the poor just loose endlessly for generations.

The US Fed is actively encoraging such “disaster capitalism” for the rich by “printing money”. They may call it “quantative easing” but it’s more easily identified under the definition of “fraud” relating to “counterfiting”.

If the US realy wanted to do the sensible thing, they would put all debt repayment on hold, and only give money to workers not businesses. The net result would be to put the finance industry on hold, stopping their gross profitering along with the many bIllionairs who have seen an upto 40% rise in their incomes under the “stimulus” activity as well as crippling the economy and sadeling the next three generations or so with the debt of the billionairs profits.

If ever there was a wrong way to go about things the UK and US are leading the way…

As for the US 301 deaths / million and the even more appaling 544 deaths / million of the UK, most are totally needless deaths that could easily have been avoided.

And as both countries are comming out of lockdown way befor they should, the death rate is going to rise and a second and third wave of COVID-19 going through the populations is shall we say “expected” and if history is anything to go by both the second and third waves will have a higher mortaliry rate than the first wave. So 1million US deaths may be likely especially if healtcare becomes saturated then the death rate will become five to six times worse…

As I originally indicated the question is the wrong one to ask.

It also appears to have been deliberately selected to make thr deaths look unimportant thus a touch of the old Joe Stalin,

    One death is a tragedy, a million is just a statistic.

Remember another statistic which is “You know a hundred and fifty people on average”, which can be rephrased as “With a million US deaths, half the US population will have direct knowledge of one of them”.

It realy is time for US and UK journalist to stop sucking up to political leadership, and instead realy start challenging them on their all to obvious failing. But I realy can not see that happening because the relationship is far to cosy to be trusted for even minimal independence.

Perhaps people should be asking about “Genocide by political favouritism”.

Trudi Fenster-Klotz May 25, 2020 1:25 PM

@Rachel @Wael @all growing tired of popcorn (everybody ?)


There are a priori independent possibilities – there was a moon landing, there was not a landing, there was a staged fake landing, there was not a faked landing.

Since there are pictures, the combination no actual landing, no faked landing can be eliminated. This leaves 3 combinations. Two involve an actual moon landing, so the probability is 2/3 the landing occurred, ignoring higher order refinements.

An interesting question is why one would fake a landing if there was a real landing. Various possibilities spring to mind.

Bong-Smoking Primitive Monkey-Brained Spook May 25, 2020 1:59 PM

@Trudi Fenster-Klotz:

tired of popcorn (everybody ?)

The other possibility that you so conveniently ignored is: there’s no moon and earth is flat. In fact, you’re all a figment of my sublime i.e. high imagination.

vas pup May 25, 2020 2:53 PM

Thank you for this part in particular:
“One of the differences between engineered sequences and natural sequences is “redundancy”. When you chop up viral strands you edit out the sequences you want that you then splice back together. This means that the resulting strand is “all function” rather than natural strands that contain a very significant level of redundancy thus the resulting strands are nowhere near “all function”. Thus a man made “bio-weapon” would without care “feel wrong” to anyone sequencing it.”

Sherman Jay May 25, 2020 3:03 PM

@JonKnowsNothing @Clive @All,

Did we save 1 Trillion Dollars for the price of 100,000 deaths?
Was the loss of 100,000 people worth 200 million hours of production, worth what we saved?

good questions!

But, there is this perspective, too:

ht tps://

Another article details ‘Bezeros’ wealth INCREASED $30Billion since March 2020. And, yet, he is reported to still not be providing PPE to his employees and is discontinuing the $2/hr. ‘hazard bonus’ to his employees this week.

I am amazed, and have trouble envisioning a billion of anything. These people could give away a Billion or two and they would still have more money than they could spend in their lifetime.

So, the age old question: what is a life worth?

JonKnowsNothing May 25, 2020 4:26 PM

@Clive @All

re: Famine and Jordanian wheat silos

An interview with the King of Jordan, he stated they had wheat stored for 1.5 years.

King Abdullah II: It brings new uncertainties. Health and food security are becoming valuable commodities. Europe has fertile agricultural lands. They will be hoarding food supplies, understandably. We too have begun to invest heavily in storing our wheat and we’ve got enough for another year and a half. We’re quite comfortable. But what happens after that? In many places, the danger of people starving to death is greater than the danger from the virus itself.

As you have mentioned, if the neighboring countries have not been so fortunate in storing up food, there is potential for some serious conflicts to come.

There may be some odd problems that show up in the food chain due to dietary and religious constraints. People with intolerance to fruit, wheat or milk and religious restrictions like Halal or Strict Kosher and similar food group exclusions.

Don’t forget what’s in front you: rats

MSM Reports that the rats in cities are very hungry because our human lockdown has deprived them of their normal food source. Reports of hungry troops of monkeys normally fed by tourists are making more aggressive forays into urban areas in search of food. Reports of urban deer foraging farther into city areas.

Urban deer and pigs are a nuisance and dangerous to people who live where they make incursions but are considered delightful by sight-seers and visitors. Urban deer cause a great deal of discord in communities. It’s not just deer but any animal where some like them and some don’t. Feral pigs though are dangerous to mess with, so recommend you go the other way if you come across a pod of them.

There are plenty of recipes you can hunt up for cooking things we modern folks don’t consider food. And a quick trip though Tolkien will yield some camp cooking recipes from Sam too.

In the USA, eating rabbits will raise plenty of eyebrows, but rabbit in France is normal cuisine. In most US Cities you cannot have chickens, rabbits (for food) or anything labeled “livestock”. Guinea Pigs are a staple in Peruvian Highlands but definitely not on the acceptable eating list in the USA.

But old timers and some old recipe books will show you how to cook rabbit, opossum, raccoon, squirrel (rats with fuzzy tails) and other foods not found in the market freezer section.

Those remembering WW2 will remember victory gardens and “pet pigs” which later became the bacon on the table and lard for cooking. In France, lard is the “keeper” for pate.

One problem for urban folks, is they no longer know how to butcher anything. Chicken comes all cut up and they never plucked a feather before. Another short coming of our centralized food delivery system.

ht tps://

ht tps://
ht tps://
ht tps://
ht tps://
ht tps://

ht tps://

ht tps://
ht tps://

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

Wael May 25, 2020 5:57 PM


An interview with the King of Jordan…

His majesty should collect the grasshoppers and sell them! People eat them in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as well as some parts of Asia and other places. Even farmers in Yemen are happy to hear about swarms of grasshoppers visiting them: they setup traps, nets an all for them, collect them, and sell them for a lot of money. Supposedly they are cleaner than shrimp because they eat plants – and shrimp eat… crap. Umm.. John the Baptist lived on Locusts and Honey…

Now John himself wore clothing
made of camel’s hair, with a
leather belt around his waist.
His food was locusts and wild honey.

This (Arabic) video talks about 8 benefits of eating locusts. The first being… you guessed it, I won’t translate it, but old people are the ones who usually eat it. Rumor has it: it doesn’t give you headaches like vitamin V (rhymes with Niagra) does – LOL

Famine and Jordanian wheat silos

Famine to some, feast to others. I am quite sure @Clive Robinson tried it. I mean, as the stoner once said,… he ate a freaking crow 🙂

I lost my appetite…

lurker May 25, 2020 6:18 PM

@Clive, All reports deaths per million population:

UK. 544
USA 302
World. 45

From a distance, contemplating my choice of ancestry, the question seems not to be [100K dead or 1Trn wealth?], but rather: in future why should we trust any claims of these two nations to be world leaders, economically, technologically, or morally?

They valued each life at $10M, which is starting to look like a sigificant overestimate, if the $1Trn figure remains unchanged. If the $1Trn is wrong, and I concur with @Clive that number is imaginary, ie. orthogonal to reality, it’s still a fail in Economics.

They could not supply sufficient PPE for their health workers, nor could they get sufficient reliable testing in place early enough.

They played golf while Rome burned. Well alright, what were they doing all through the month of February?

Faustus May 25, 2020 6:24 PM

@ Sherman Jay

The only rational purpose I can see for extremely large wealth is funding an extremely important and/or interesting endeavor.

Bezos IS funding Blue Origin, a space outfit. Perhaps he is in pursuit of an amazing dream, which I can respect as a quest, and cannot really justify or condemn as a reason for his being a cheapskate with his employees, since that is basically our social norm.

Elon Musk is an “unusual” man who I might describe clinically. But I really think he is focused on Tesla and SpaceX as grand quests and is not that concerned with stacking up dough or proving anything to anybody besides perhaps himself.

Despite Blue Origin, Bezos has always read to me as a miserable person who needs money and achievements to fill a psychic hole, the kind which is, of its essence, unfillable in this manner. But I am curious if anyone has a link to anything which presents Mr Bezos as more than a tight wallet with a haircut.

Clive Robinson May 25, 2020 7:44 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

Feral pigs though are dangerous to mess with, so recommend you go the other way if you come across a pod of them.

There are places in Europe where they are not “feral” but “wild” and the females atr especially aggressive. I found a 7.62 (0.303) to be quite effective at stopping them head on. Mind you get it wrong and you’ld better be able to jump in a tree.

Farm pigs are some what easier to deal with though the butchering is a bit messy.

Essentially the way you do it to make best use of the animal is to. Firstly get it into another stye or pen then wait for it to get hungry, then put a couple of chopped up vegtables in a trough. As it’s head goes down to eat you give it a good smack across the back of the head with an appropriate “priest” to render it unconscious. You then tie it to a pully block system by it’s hind legs and pull it up. Feal for the pulse in the neck and slit it’s throat there and collect the blood in stainless steel buckets. When it has “bled out” put the buckets in the shade covered or into a pool of water so the blood cools (this is for making “blood puddings”).

You then stick your hand up it’s backside with a hose and wash it’s lower intestine etc out. You then “candle the bristles” that is with a lighted candle or small gas tourch burn off all the bristles. In some places they wrap it in a layer of straw and burn the straw which burns the bristles off.

You now eviscerate it and remove all the internal organs and guts. Basically there are two sections, the lungs and heart above the diaphram and the digestive system below. At the top is the trachea and esophagus which you cut in the neck and tie off. At the bottom there is the colon and urethra which again need to be cut and tied off. If you then cut out the diaphram the whole lot drops out with very little persuasion. Some put the organs into cold salt water as they get them out others don’t. You then process the intestines to make casings, the process is involved and fairly tedious. As an over view you first wash the “green” intestines out and wash the outside as well befor turning them inside out and pealing the mucosa off to make runners. You then drop them runners in more cold highly salted water to make “raw casing” you then grade for size with the small intestine making “sausage casing” and the large intestine making “salami casing”.

You seperate the viscera fat which is hard and dry and surounds the internal organs, it’s used for making a form of lard used in making cakes and pastry. You also take some of the belly fat that you mince up for making the blood pudings and sausages.

You then cut away the belly bacon for either dry or wet curing. Joint out the ribs and chops and other prime cuts. Remove the head for boiling down to make brawn, joint off the front legs (sholders / butt) remove the trotters joint off the hind legs to make gammons and hams, you may or may not remove the trotters or bone the ham out depending on what sort of hams you are making. Then trim off as much of the rest of the meat off the bones for “sausage meat”. Reserve the bones for “stock making”.

Put all of the meat and blood in the cold house. Start mincing up the belly fat for making the blood pudings and sausages. The recipies for blood puddings are many and varied so I won’t go through it, but remember start cooking them in “hand warm salted water” and very slowly bring the temprature up or they will burst and that is realy messy.

What you have to do first though is sort through and prepare the intestines for making the casings for the blood pudding, sausages and salami. And as noted above this is a quite tedious peocess and often is done over night whilst the meat is cooling.

To make sausages you need roughly 1/3rd fat, 1/3rd meat and dried bread or rusk that you have rehydrated. Mince the fat then mince it through again with the meat, add any flavourings and then mince through with the bread or rusk. Finally put the sausage “stuffing horn” on the mincer load it with sausage casing and mince the mixture through again and into your sausage casing, making links of appropriate length to give a two ounce sausage.

Making salami uses the larger intestines and equal quantaties of chopped meat and fat, pepper and spices. Wash the outside of the casing down with water you have washed down a mature salami in. This adds the good bacteria etc to the outside of the salami. Put in an “air drying cage” and hang in an apple tree, or in a well ventelated out house and cross your fingers for a few months. The outside of the salami should go white as it drys out and matures.

You can also make “air cure hams” or jamon with the hind legs. If you get this right you have a very very valuable pair of legs, whilst not worth their weight in gold it can certainly seem like it when you buy it buy the almost invisably thin slice.

Altetnatively you can wet brine them and then “treacle” them over a week or so to make Xmas hams etc.

I prefere to “dry cure” my bacon and only lightly cold smoke it. The more you cure it the longer it lasts but most people do not like it that salty. Therefor it’s best to let it mature as a light air cure before slicing into seven or fourteen rasher lots wrapping in white greaseproof paper and freezing if your freezer goes below -18C then it’s good for a year or more but you will probably have eaten it all before then.

Making “pigs head brawn” is a fairly grizzly process you basically wash it right out, cut the ears off, split the skull remove the eyes and put one or both halves in a preasure cooker and cook it right down untill the meat falls off the bone. When cooled to hand warm cut or mince the meat brains toung etc up and put the meat to one side. Then cook the skin again to render it down to make the jelly and lift out any fat. When cold remove the solidified fat and reserve it for frying etc (as lard). Add the meat to the jelly and bring up to the boil put the meat and some liquid into a mould and put a press weight on top. Put in the fridge untill solid. You have two choices at this point. Firstly turn it out and serve it as a cold cut with salad and bread. Secondly reduce the remaining jelly down and pour on top when this has cooled and gone solid you can then add a layer of fat toped by greaseproof paper. This is like “sealing a paté” to keep the air out depending on how good you are this can last upto three months in a fridge before you eat it.

If you enjoy wrestling with your food preasure cook the trotters till the flesh is nearly falling of the bone. Sever very hot with a bed of mash of potates and parsnips or carrots with a good helping of pepper. You will end up using your hands to break the bones appart to get the meat and jelly off of them. I also serve a sauerkraut as a side dish as well as pickled beetroot. It also works well with home made Korean kimchi.

The heart and kidneys are best braised very slowly. As for the liver there are various things, I tend to make paté as it makes it go further. If you know the difference between sweetbreads and sweetmeats then you probably know what to do with them.

The big problem is what to do with the lungs… There are a couple of Italian dishes. But you can also use the basic Scottish “king of puddings” recipie to make a haggis but using the pigs paunch and pluck rather than that of a sheep.

There are a few bits left over such as the ears, tail etc, for which there are quite good Chinese recipies. The least of which but probably best known is “spare ribs in sauce”.

Oh and don’t forget render down the skin etc to get the fat and gelatin. If you do it right both do not taste of pork, so can be used to make “sweet pudings” such as suet pudings like plumb duff and spotted dick or lardy cake or certain types of raised pie pastry. The gelatin with fruit and juice to make “jelly” for the likes of trifles etc.

Having been told what to do it’s best to watch others do it before you have a go yourself. Appart from the fact it’s a bit of hard work in the early stages most people can do it. I’ve seen preteens dig in and help at what is a “family event” with even six year olds carrying the meat into the cold house. Traditionaly a meal is had at the end of the process with some of the sausages and other bits braised slowly in red wine with mushrooms and all sorts of other bits and bobs depending on “grandma’s recipe”.

As for deer mostly the same mechanics apply and you can get it down from fresh carcus to joints and cuts of meat etc in a little under an hour total with practice. There are three basic stages,

1, Field dress, you basically gut it as quickly as possible after shooting it to stop the meat getting tainted. You then return with this to your home etc

2, Skin, with care the hide can be used to make floor coverings, tentage, cordage, clothes and footware.

3, Butcher the skined carcus into joints and cuts for freezing and cooking.

Clive Robinson May 25, 2020 8:09 PM

@ Wael, ALL,

I am quite sure @Clive Robinson tried it. I mean, as the stoner once said,… he ate a freaking crow 🙂

Those “four and twenty black birds baked in a pie” were not what we call “blackbirds” these days but young pre flight rooks (of the corvid family which includes crows).

There is the old and ancient art of “rooking” for which you require a hat, a stick and a sack.

When rooks leave the nest they edge out along the branch and contemplate hurling themselves into the unknown void. If left alone they will often hit the ground rather than take to the wing. They will eventually get air bourn but it might take an hour or so in which time they are very vulnerable on the ground.

However if you bang on the branch with your stick they fall off and land on the ground without even trying to fly, where you can pick them up easily, pop them in the sack and take them home to make a pie…

I’ve shown my son this strange rook behaviour when he was young, and I spent the afternoon with him catching the rooks that had failed to fly and putting them back on the branch, where they usually took flight after a minute or two. Technically you are not supposed to do that, but with so many people with dogs off the lead, sooner or later there was going to be a problem so poping them back on the branch was the lesser of two evils…

SpaceLifeForm May 26, 2020 12:33 AM

@ Clive

The US Fed is actively encoraging such “disaster capitalism” for the rich by “printing money”. They may call it “quantative easing” but it’s more easily identified under the definition of “fraud” relating to “counterfiting”.

You’re correct, but it’s not going to make a difference, because as you pointed out, the money is not going to the proper recipients.

I believe we are looking at classic “liquidity trap”.
The problem is that it is global. None of the options to escape the trap are viable at this time with current leadership. And the virus has no financial stake.

The US administration can’t buy their way out of the mess that they mismanaged.

@ lurker

“They played golf while Rome burned. Well alright, what were they doing all through the month of February?”

I believe they were looking at the pandemic as a way to win their next election. Few dead people vote.

JonKnowsNothing May 26, 2020 1:16 AM

@lurker @SpaceLifeForm


They could not supply sufficient PPE for their health workers, nor could they get sufficient reliable testing in place early enough.

They played golf while Rome burned. Well alright, what were they doing all through the month of February?

The follow on to this question is:

What are they planning for the next 30-45 days?
What are they planning to do 4 months from now for the second wave?

May 23-25, 2020 in the USA and other areas of the globe, people flowed out of their shelters and into parks, beaches, pools, grouped up in malls and restaurants. Humans grouped up like livestock in a factory farm.

The next 30-45 days is going to be an interesting “test” of what’s up next.

For Round 2, where is the massive build up of material needed? Where are the improvements in the manufacturing of high end, high grade PPE, test kits, swabs, reagents? Not to mention the replacement personnel, for all the sick and dead medical and support persons lost in Round 1?

At what point do BAME medical staff, support and the global immigrant communities decide that Home Office Hostile Environment, that America First and the Great Wall in the Desert, that the Everyone is a Shirker Except US-Exceptionally-Wealthy, are not worth dying for?

In my small corner of the USA, with access to pretty decent private health care nearly every person I meet in the clinic, from building guards, pharmacists, nurses, MDs, technicians are BAME and many are first or second generation immigrants/citizens.

At some point, I’d pick up my huaraches and stay home.

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

Wesley Parish May 26, 2020 1:52 AM

@usual suspects

Much as we expected:

Chrome: 70% of all security bugs are memory safety issues

Roughly 70% of all serious security bugs in the Chrome codebase are memory management and safety bugs, Google engineers said this week.


The number is identical to stats shared by Microsoft. Speaking at a security conference in February 2019, Microsoft engineers said that for the past 12 years, around 70% of all security updates for Microsoft products addressed memory safety vulnerabilities.

Nothing unexpected.

And then, the usual Think of the Children!!! And the Ticking Time Bomb!!!

Leaked Senate Talking Points Say Internet Surveillance Warrants Would Force FBI to Let Terrorists Bomb Things

Requiring federal agents to have “probable cause” to eavesdrop on the internet activities of American citizens poses a direct threat to national security and would force the FBI to stand by while terrorist plots unfold on U.S. soil, according to a leaked copy of talking points distributed to Senate lawmakers this month.

As opposed to standing by and letting them murder en masse innocent citizens gathered to pray?

Christchurch Call: USA missing from 26 member pledge to eliminate violent online content

The United States will not be joining the agreement, however, saying it was “not currently in a position to join the endorsement”.

Unfortunately, moral cowardice of this sort does not save lives:

White supremacists left out of designated terrorists list

“Unfortunately with the obsession with Islamicists, it seems that Western intelligence agencies, to include those in New Zealand, simply discounted or were unaware of the degree to which white extremists have copied Al Queda and ISIS’ playbook when it comes to recruitment and the planning of events.”


Professor Patman said one of those politicians was US president Donald Trump, and so there should be no surprise that white extremists aren’t on the UN’s terrorist list.


“So, if the United States, which according to some Americans has been turning a blind eye to white extremism, particularly under the Trump administration, that’s likely to be reflected in the organisation in which America contributes more than 20 percent of the funds for, namely the United Nations.”

Moral cowardice costs lives.

It appears that whoever gave those Senators that paper was very firmly convinced that these only one set of people and one method to kill people en masse.

The talking points themselves are of a highly dubious nature and conflate multiple existing legal authorities. They paint a picture of a government that, hamstrung by the requirement of “probable cause,” is unable to stop terrorist plots, even as federal agents knowingly stand by and watch as Americans are murdered by bombs.

Since the US Federal and State governments are quite happy to stand by and watch their citizens get murdered en masse with automatic rifles, due to the way the NRA fills their pockets with cash, might I suggest the only true American way to deal with that anxiety is for the NRA to diversify, and become the National Rifle and Bomb Association. Then they don’t have to worry about getting blown up – they can sell hand grenades to primary schoolers with a clear conscience. After all, if “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.”, surely the same thing also applies to a bad man with a bomb

SpaceLifeForm May 26, 2020 2:22 AM

Drinking the koolaid.

It’s no worse than the flu.
It will be over when it gets warmer. etc. etc.

White House adviser Kevin Hassett: “Our human capital stock is ready to go back to work.” #HumanCapitalStock

This is fascism defined in one brief sentence.

SpaceLifeForm May 26, 2020 2:54 AM

Stay at home, stay healthy, avoid any risk taking activities. You don’t want to have to visit ER, where you may get sick.

And stop flying people!


On 9 March, a patient who had recently traveled to Europe and had symptoms of COVID-19 visited the emergency department of St Augustine’s, a private hospital in Durban, South Africa. Eight weeks later, 39 patients and 80 staff linked to the hospital had been infected, and 15 patients had died—fully half the death toll in KwaZulu-Natal province at that time.

The report, which reads like a detective novel, tracks the virus’s spread through five hospital wards, including neurology, surgery, and intensive care units (ICUs), as well as to a nearby nursing home and dialysis center. Remarkably, no staff infections seem to have taken place in the hospital’s COVID-19 ICU, arguably the riskiest area of the hospital. That may be because patients are less infectious by the time they are admitted to intensive care, or because staff there are more diligent about preventing infection, the authors note.

The first patient, who sought help for coronavirus symptoms, only spent a few hours at the hospital, but likely transmitted the virus to an elderly patient admitted the same day for a stroke. The pair were in the hospital’s emergency department at the same time; the first patient was kept separate in a triage area, but that room was reached through the main resuscitation bay, where the stroke patient occupied a bed. (The emergency department was closed in April and opened again this month with an altered layout to improve infection control.) The two were also seen by the same medical officer.

Clive Robinson May 26, 2020 3:23 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

    “human capital stock”

Well atleast they include the word human, which is more than the old “Human Resources” term for laying people off of,

    “Outsourcing a unit of work resource”

But I note they also ommitted the word “live” so it should be,

    “human capital livestock”

Yes folks to the US Government you are just “livestock” that is “capital” thus “owned”…

So get in the pen to be selected for the “Slaughter house line”…

And people thought “slavery” had died out…

SpaceLifeForm May 26, 2020 4:40 AM


“I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer but let’s be clear: to get a vaccine by 2021 would be like drawing multiple inside straights in a row, to use a poker analogy,” Dr. Bach says.

So far, the virus behind Covid-19 has not mutated significantly, so it shifts shape less rapidly than the flu. But we have only been following the virus for months, so there is a risk that it will still mutate. Most vaccine makers are focusing on the ‘spike’ protein, which it uses to invade cells. They try to teach the body to recognize this protein and produce antibodies. If the spike changes, many of the potential immunizations would miss their target.

It’s mutating quite well. Will it mutate to better or worse is the question. Check the graph.


JonKnowsNothing May 26, 2020 11:12 AM

@Clive @All

I would like to request some assistance in analyzing some C19 numbers.


From early on, I started collecting copies of our local data. At first, I did not collect them but compared them visually with the many detailed exchanges here about C19 numbers, progressions, counts etc. Mostly to see if I understood what was being explained and if could I replicate it with our local data.

Not too long after I started looking at the numbers I realized that there was a “problem” in that there was no public audit trail. Numbers were posted one day and overwritten with new numbers the next. Without an audit trail of changes, it became clear that either “trust” was presumed or I would have to scrape the numbers and build my own trail. As I “KnowNothing” but am of the tin-foil-hat brigade, I scraped the numbers.

Later the local folks put up graphic information displays and I scraped those too and knew pretty fast from the various graphs presented that those formats can be highly descriptive and I was careful to try and capture the base data where possible.

Coming after the fact, scrapping data, does not mean I got it 100% or that there is anything specifically wrong with the data as presented. I just was able to get a better “view” of the progression locally using the information provided by Clive and Others about what was happening.

Locally we are pretty lucky. Our numbers are low enough to count easily and do not extend off the imaginary chart of comprehension. We are small potatoes compared to many locations. I “think” our local folks have done a pretty good job over all given our small size and that’s helped keep our Official C19 Deaths to 22 (05/25/2020).

“So what’s the Problem?”

There is one set of numbers I do not understand and cannot back track how they are calculated. All the other numbers I track, I can back-forward-mash-and-match but not this particular sequence. This became more problematic when towards the start of May, the USA government was pushing the economies to open and there were reports of officials changing numbers to meet their economic policies. It appears these numbers may be in the same category. Generically the number of cases are still rising, but this set of numbers as displayed graphically look like the cases are going down.

While the numbers look odd to me, it maybe it is completely OK and that’s why I am asking for input. If they are OK, great, I will learn something new, if they are borked maybe it’s just error-rate, if they are spiked well, I will know to check carefully.

Here are the numbers and definitions:


New Daily Cases: New cases are counted based on the date that laboratory COVID-19 confirmation was received and processed by the [redacted]. This does not represent the date of the disease or symptom onset. The number reported on this graph may differ from the preliminary daily counts previously reported as those counts reflect mid-day totals.

Numbers that changed over time

       May 5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15  
Original   39  56  26  37  26  22   48   30   47   71   61
Change 1       55  27  40  28
Change 2       56  28  40  26  23                  72   51

So, the changes are not that great, they could be error-corrections, however they do not match any other set of “official new case” numbers published and I cannot spot a correlation to anything other than when they are presented on a graph the trend is downward. Our case load just passed 1,000 and the daily new case count is going up as published elsewhere but not reflected in these numbers.

I only started scraping this set of numbers recently and may be missing some aspect.

Any insight on this small sample would be appreciated.

JG4 May 26, 2020 11:19 AM

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

I tried to delete myself from the internet. Here’s what I learned
Seth Fiegerman byline By Seth Fiegerman, CNN Business
Updated 9:58 AM ET, Thu May 21, 2020

(CNN Business)It was MyLife that broke me. After spending hours studying FAQ pages, sending terse emails and making occasional phone calls in an earnest-if-naive attempt to take back some control of my personal information online, I had my first demoralizing moment.
MyLife pulls together vast amounts of public data to create background reports and “reputation scores” on millions of people in the US, all available to those willing to pay for a monthly membership. On it, I found a sometimes inaccurate but eerie amount of personal information about, well, my life: my birthday and home city; my previous job title (though curiously not my current one); a list of people “Seth maintains relationships with,” including the names of both my parents, each linked to their own profile pages with still more data. All there in one place waiting to be discovered.

“Superpower” Discovered in Squids: They Can Massively Edit Their Own Genetics Science Daily (David L)

Squids’ Gene-Editing Superpowers May Unlock Human Cures Wired (David L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Inside the NSA’s Secret Tool for Mapping Your Social Network Wired (Kevin W)

How a NeoCon-Backed “Fact Checker” Plans to Wage War on Independent Media Mint Press (RR)

Michael Moore film Planet of the Humans removed from YouTube Guardian

What critical thinking? Wayback Machine is now complicit in Big Tech censorship RT. BC: “IMO, there are few things more reprehensible (and dangerous) than systematic editing of history.”

SpaceLifeForm May 27, 2020 2:06 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing

Hmmm. Second googlewhack for me this month.

Jon, if I am allowed to speculate a bit, and connect a couple of dots, I’d would be concerned about the validity of the numbers also.

I can also give you 559 reasons why your local covid numbers are not horrible.

Mark Currie May 27, 2020 3:13 AM

@ Lawrence D’Oliveir

“As programmers, we have long concluded that self-modifying code is a bad idea”

This was not always so. In the early 80’s micro-controllers had limited memory and limited instruction sets. I once used this technique to improve the speed of an encryption algorithm. The bits in the instruction that modified particular bits in the data could be preset according to the key and then executed in RAM. This could obviously not be done in ROM.

JonKnowsNothing May 27, 2020 9:38 AM


Thank you for your input.

I realize the sample set it too small to mean much. I will pay more attention to this aspect. I am not really able to replicate data held in big servers or high powered software systems.

I can indicate the following:

  • From all the published number these match no other numbers that are presented as being the same data (new cases counted on day of lab result receipt). Since they match nothing else it is plain curiosity and bull doggedness that makes me keep hunting for the “salt”.
  • The double set of edits looks like an editing war in a department.
  • The numbers are presented 6 days a week. So most folks look at the last column only. They rarely would bother doing a “look back” and the presentation graphic is such that nothing sticks out that it was changed. Bar height doesn’t change much for such tiny edits. Ex: Day on May 9 scrolls left over time and a change of +/-2 doesn’t catch the eye.
  • The one that does is the big shift from May 14, 15. -10 or -20 really shifted the bars on that day, and as you all know, the trends follows the shift for a while. It looked odd from the scale of all other changes.
  • The definition of “same day as results received” begs the question of if you got a result on Wed, why would you change the Wed result on a Friday or the following week? Lost paper work? If they are losing results that’s a concern too.

Thanks for scanning it and I’ll keep searching. I could of course call and ask about it but that’s not nearly as much fun.

vas pup May 27, 2020 2:17 PM

Dogs can sniff out COVID-19:

“In a Finnish study, dogs learned to recognize the distinctive odor of a coronavirus infection. In the future, dogs might be able to detect infected people in nursing homes or at airports.

If the findings from Finland are confirmed, the sniffer dogs with their extremely sensitive sense of smell could prove to be a great help in the fight against the new coronavirus.

Luca Barrett from TARSQ can easily picture coronavirus sniffer dogs being used in situations where there is a high risk of infection. For example, people attending football matches and other major events could be checked before they are admitted.

The dogs could also be employed at airports to scan people entering a country. “When the dogs go down the queue, they can detect if someone is healthy and can enter the country. But if a person smells of COVID-19, the handler could send that person to a coronavirus testing center instead,” Barrett says. That is because a second test is still needed to confirm the dog’s initial sniff detection.

Barrett says dogs could also be used to search for the virus on surfaces. For example, before passengers board an aircraft, a four-legged friend could first check whether the machine is free from SARS-CoV-2. Similar measures are planned for doctors’ surgeries, aged care homes or nursing homes that have had to be evacuated because of COVID-19 cases. Before these are used again, a sniffer dog could check whether the environment is “clean.””

JonKnowsNothing May 27, 2020 5:39 PM

@vas pup

Dogs can sniff out COVID-19

Sniffer dogs are popular. Some actually work as described. Many dogs do not.

It’s complicated because dogs normally require “handlers” and like Clever Hans, they pick up very subtle clues and can react to those clues rather than their noses.

Be aware that currently in Australia there is an on-going scandal over the “alert” of police sniffer dogs. If a police sniffer dog “sits” near you this gives the police probable cause for a full body, full cavity, public strip search, for contraband regardless of your age. There are numerous reports on the topic.

Sniffer dogs may be helpful but most are for show and tell, and in law enforcement for intimidation.

Working dogs, are different. They work all the time. Guide dogs, sheep and cattle dogs, highly trained hunting dogs are generally reliable.

It’s less about the dog and more about the human handler.

ht tps://

ht tps://

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

myliit May 28, 2020 1:51 AM

I assume this executive order could effect this blog too.

“Executive Order Is Expected to Curtail Protections for Social Media Companies

The move is almost certain to face a court challenge and signals the latest salvo by President Trump to crack down on online platforms.

The Trump administration is preparing an executive order intended to curtail the legal protections that shield social media companies from liability for what gets posted on their platforms, two senior administration officials said early Thursday.

Such an order, which officials said was still being drafted and was subject to change, would make it easier for federal regulators to argue that companies like Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter are suppressing free speech when they move to suspend users or delete posts, among other examples. …

Along with the First Amendment, Section 230 has helped social media companies flourish. They can set their own lax or strict rules for content on their platforms, and they can moderate as they see fit. Defenders of the law, including technology companies, have argued that any move to repeal or alter it would cripple online discussion.

But as conservatives have claimed that social media companies are biased against them and overmoderate their political views, Republican lawmakers have increasingly pushed to modify the statute. …”

Anon May 28, 2020 2:46 AM

AppStore VPN scam – Helix VPN

Can we do anything about a rogue app on the Apple App Store?

This advert pops up in Safari on iPhone and then prompts download of Helix VPN.

The app then prompts you to subscribe at £9.99 per WEEK.

Clearly very naughty social engineering that preys on people’s tech fears and ignorance.

myliit May 28, 2020 2:50 AM


I found the South Africa link, and its linked pdf, interesting in that they seemed to be emphasizing non airborne transmissions.

Two MSM links- about silent spreaders and how covid-19 might be here to stay

“… Since the coronavirus crisis began, officials have been concerned about “silent spreaders,” people who have the virus but do not show symptoms. They could be strolling along Ocean Front Walk or marching up a hiking trail and look perfectly healthy — but still pass along the virus that causes COVID-19 to others. …”

“ Coronavirus may never go away, even with a vaccine

Embracing that reality is crucial to the next phase of America’s pandemic response, experts say. …

With so much else uncertain, the persistence of the novel virus is one of the few things we can count on about the future. That doesn’t mean the situation will always be as dire. There are already four endemic coronaviruses that circulate continuously, causing the common cold. And many experts think this virus will become the fifth — its effects growing milder as immunity spreads and our bodies adapt to it over time. …”

Clive Robinson May 28, 2020 4:01 AM

@ vas pup,

With regards the,

    “Coronavirus may never go away, even with a vaccine…”

I suspect we lost the opportunity to make SARS-CoV-2 extinct when Boris Johnson and Donald Trump were having their little “mutual admiration” love in of the Airline vested interests, back earlier this year.

It’s why I talked about the idiocy of the “herd immunity policy” and it potentialy taking around 80years to happen due not to any “herd” effects but by the deaths of those who are susceptible.

That is we first have to wait for all those who are susceptible to this strain to “die out” and likewise for their genetic decedents to fail to breed and die out… Thus the survival of the human race is dependent on our ability to “out breed it”.

The question then arises about how much longer “mutations” will take their toll on the human race? And the answer to that is likely to depend on “reservoirs” be they geographical or species or both.

As the article noted we already have four “cold viruses”[1] from the Corona Virus family that are “endemic” but importantly there is also MERS in camels that act as a reservoir species in the Middle East.

We know that “pet animals” such as felines and rodents can catch SARS-CoV-2 by air transmission, what is not known is if we can catch it from them… The odds are actually in favour of it happening at some point.

Imagine if you will what will happen if,

1, It becomes endemic in the wild, urban, and city rat populations.
2, It could transfer back from rats to humans.

There are various things people say about such rats like “You are always within six feet of a rat” and “there are five rats for every human”, “rats are as smart as cats” etc. None of these sayings are exactly true, they are just estimates to make people realise just how big the rat problem realy is.

Whilst the rat population becoming a reservoir species is not a “Doomsday” or “existential” threat. We do need to remember that, each year many people do die from and with the common cold (though which viris and strain is probably not recorded[1]).

Thus SARS-CoV-2 could end up “genetically shaping” mankind over several generations. Which unfortunatly would reduce the genetic diversity of the human race.

[1] Whilst there are four strains of Corona Virus that give the common cold symptoms, these are not the only virus that cause the common cold. Importantly even with over fifty years of ongoing research we still do not have a vaccine for “the common cold” nor do we have a vaccine for another corona virus that very badly effects humans, the so called Middle East Respirator Syndrom (MERS) that has an animal reservoir in camels.

Wesley Parish May 28, 2020 4:13 AM

Prolly OT: For What Very Very Little It Is Worth …

President Trump has just promoted himself from President to Federal Secretary of Silly TweetsUnpresidented!
Made-up murder claims, threats to kill Twitter, rants about NSA spying – anything but mention 100,000 US virus deaths, right, Mr President?

It’s hardly on the main security buffet, but it indicates quite well why checks and balances are necessary. With a bit more work, he could promote himself Yet Again to the Federal Secretary of Silly Walks.

Clive Robinson May 28, 2020 7:39 AM

@ Wesley Parish,

he could promote himself Yet Again to the Federal Secretary of Silly Walks.

Change “walks” to “blow drys” and you would alredy be there… Just like BoJo in London. They make a right couple of quiffs.

vas pup May 28, 2020 2:07 PM

@JohnKnowsNothing and @Clive thank you and please see the article:

“For example, we do not have a specific Swiss Cheese receptor in our nose but when we smell Swiss Cheese, numerous receptors in the nose are stimulated. This in turn causes numerous limbic system olfactory neurons to fire, sending a complex pattern or electrical signature to the brain. If we have smelled Swiss Cheese previously and stored its specific electrical signature, we recognize the aroma that our nose has sensed as Swiss Cheese. The first time we encounter a smell, we must be taught what this “fingerprint” is so that we can recognize it in the future. The human nose is clearly more sensitive to some smells than to others. While this may in part be evolutionary in nature, it is also possible to learn to smell certain substances.”

“Another possible application of the electronic nose is in areas where humans or dogs are currently used to identify smells. Dogs are commonly used to detect explosives or contraband agricultural goods in airports. Cyrano Sciences and the California Institute of Technology are jointly investigating the use of the electronic nose for land mine detection. Others are working on similar systems.”

That is link related as well:

Q: Is it possible to get from dog’s brain ‘signature’ of COVID smell? In similar way as human EKG, EEG, MEG, etc. And generally is this any future for non-human brain-computer interaction and/or in a future trained dog to not trained dog brain-to-brain interaction through passing electrical signature?

Clive Robinson May 28, 2020 5:08 PM

@ vas pup,

It’s been a long while since I got down and dirty with the human olfactory system. However the system as described will not work like the human olfactory system.

You might have noticed that mint and orange, normaly produce a gastly taste when combined?

Well it has to do with the “resonance” issues of the chemicals involved, thus the system as described will not function as human taste/smell does.

Is this going to be a corncern? Probably not in most applications but in some it might be.

Oh another issue, is most but not all humans respond to a combination of highly specific smells or tastes. Some few respond to the individual component smells which is how we believe dogs smell. The reason we smell “pizza” rather than it’s components, is that we believe it enables us to recognize poisons much faster with a much lower sensitivity, which is of significant advantage in most but by no means all cases (sweet lead oxide to name but one of many).

MarkH May 28, 2020 6:03 PM

@Wael, Rachel:

My ambivalent thanks, for a reference to a 2017 discussion of a classic conspiracy theory.

It was pretty depressing, but not entirely so … the participant commenting as Cassandra was knowledgeable, provided excellent factual content (with links to much more), and was unfailingly courteous.

Wherever you may be in the internet-aether, I hope you are well, Cassandra!

The interlocutor whom Cassandra engaged with such patience, displayed a combination of characters I’ve seen often enough to regard as a syndrome:

• ignorance of basic well-known facts and principles underlying the subject of discussion

• vehement, unshakable certainty consonant with the credo “I hope to God I’m right, because I’ll never change my mind!”

• clever simulation of knowledge, including use of jargon (perhaps without understanding), equations (certainly without understanding), and links to authoritative sources (who would certainly have disputed the conclusions)

That particular conspiracist also had a gift of saying things in such a baffling manner, that it was hard to even comprehend what it was supposed to mean. This left me with the impression, “I know this is wrong, but I’m so confused by its statement that it’s difficult for me to pinpoint the error.”

Conspiracy theories are enormously popular; polling suggests that a large fraction of people believe at least one of them.

And it’s not to be wondered at, that folks who visit a security blog are particularly distrustful.

What has been most educational for me, is the extent to which people with strong intellects and much education are persuaded by such claims. Until I reached my 50s, I naively imagined that these attributes would protect people from getting sucked into such obvious cognitive traps. I was quite wrong!

If there’s a way to inoculate against conspiracy theories, I don’t know what it is. I do have a guess, that people are especially vulnerable whose “first lens” in viewing the world is moral judgment. When more gray matter is devoted to deciding whether something is good or bad, than to perceiving and understanding it, I hypothesize that explanations fitting moral precepts are highly attractive, even when they are also extremely illogical.

But for what little it’s worth, here are some suggestions:

  1. Before adopting an interpretation, do your level best to think of the three strongest arguments against it, and how you would make the best case for those counterarguments.

  2. Before adopting an interpretation, take it seriously. Almost everybody fails to do this! Ask, “if this were true, what would be the implications and ramifications for other people, agencies, and systems? Would these implications be consistent with things I am highly confident in, or certain of?”

  3. Practice scientific skepticism, not “idiot skepticism.” By the latter, I mean applying enormous suspicion to everything you dislike or disagree with, while giving a free pass to everything that supports your preconceptions. Idiot skepticism is just an amplifier for confirmation bias (and yes, if you think I’m talking about you, I mean you).

  4. Practice skepticism, not cynicism. Cynicism says, “they’re all a bunch of evil, rotten, corrupt liars” … and gives me permission to believe whatever I want, because I have essentially denied the existence of authoritative sources of knowledge. Skepticism asks, “what is the evidence for and against? How strong are the various items of evidence, and how ambiguous is their interpretation? What logical errors connect the evidence to the conclusion?” … skepticism does NOT demand absolute certainty.

  5. If an interpretation is especially satisfying, or fits with your Personal Theory of the World, look at it with a Very Cold Eye. If an interpretation is unsettling, and suggests that you might have been wrong for the past 20 years, try to keep an open mind.

  6. With respect to the “hoax/secret” theories, do your best to estimate how many people would probably need to have either actively participated, or at least been in the know. Consider that every one of them is a complex human being with a variety of commitments, values and loyalties. It’s an enlightening exercise!

JonKnowsNothing May 28, 2020 8:59 PM

@myliit @SpaceLifeForm @ALL

re: Non air born transmission of COVID19

iirc(badly) Way back in the Wuhan days…

There were reports that the virus was detected in human semen/sperm samples.

If found to be a significant infection transmittal path, that would add it to the list of STDs; which is a pretty long list already.

There were also reports of newborns getting COVID19 with various pathways of infection suggested from: contact with medical personal, contact with infected surroundings, contact with body fluids and internal contact with the virus carried by the mother prior to birth.

I do not remember reading any follow up reports on those findings.

JonKnowsNothing May 28, 2020 9:41 PM

@vas pup @Clive


Dog’s noses
Dogs are commonly used to detect explosives or contraband agricultural goods in airports.

disclaimer: I Know Nothing

Dog’s noses ability to smell all sorts of things is legend. It’s not that the dog cannot smell X or Y or Z.

Dogs, like that majority of animals, are extremely aware of their surroundings. Eat or Be Eaten is the motto. They know all sorts of things that humans ignore, like they know when a family member is nearing home after work. We think it is magic.

Dogs, and other animals have a completely different view point of the world. Humans ascribe to animals all sorts of emotions and behaviors that within the animal social patterns are nothing of the sort. Some TV shows have shown that human interpretation of animal behavior often is not a good understanding.

How much animals “think” runs into a huge wall between “dumb as an ox”, “beasts of burden”, and “mans dominion” to the other side of the warm and cuddly, with augmented human perceived behaviors.


It’s all in the handler and how they work with the animal and how well they can interpret the responses.

Animals do not understand “human intention”. In Engineering we call it The DWIM Principle: Do What I Mean.

Animals like dogs and horses, have a specific set of responses to stimulus. Apply the right stimulus to get the response you want. This is much easier said than done. Humans are highly inaccurate in providing the correct indications for the desired outcomes.

In addition, animals have no choice in their human owners or over whatever the humans want them to do. They have to live with us and they will do whatever it takes to survive. This means, that animals may have zero clue what you want, but will do “SOMETHING” “ANYTHING” to avoid discomfort or to receive a reward.

Bomb sniffing dogs, and dogs like the Aussie Drug Alert dogs, may work exactly as trained but it is more likely they do not. Human handlers make a hash of things regularly and animals will pick up on these new clues fast.

You cannot ask a dog or a horse “what are they thinking” directly, and only very astute handlers pick up on what the dog or horse are “really doing”.

Everyone likes a treat.

If the officer puts the leash in one hand and moves it to another absent mindedly or scratches his nose, or hefts his gun belt or stands legs apart, all of these could trigger the dog to “sit” because it worked once. The officer thought he got a drug hit and maybe he did, but the dog read the body language of the officer and got his treat fast/faster. An officer looking for a drug bust may swagger a bit or turn a certain way while scanning the crowd and the dog knows a “treat coming” like Snoopy and his dinner bowl.

Guide dogs often have a sign on their harness: DO NOT PET. There is reason for that.

Dogs do not understand what happens to a person they sit next too. The dog just wants a treat.

ht tps://

Intention is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intention involves mental activities such as planning and forethought.

ht tps://

DWIM (do what I mean) computer systems attempt to anticipate what users intend to do, correcting trivial errors automatically rather than blindly executing users’ explicit but potentially incorrect inputs.

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

Rachel May 29, 2020 2:43 AM

MarkH; Wael

Thanks MarkH for your great response. It’s
something of a primer on critical thinking.

I sent the moon video to Wael not to make a point but for his personal stimulation as he was obviously doing something other than working.

His response was very entertaining ‘oh not this again’

I indeed enjoy Cassandras responses and suddenly realised how much they reminded me much of Tatütata – not suggestion they are two seperate people.

I am genuinely unattached to whether the moon existed or not.

[ 4minutes, Buzz Aldrin ]

Just like many such discussions it has no bearing on my life either way.

I’m a bit disturbed by your sentiment below though

‘Conspiracy theories are enormously popular; polling suggests that a large fraction of people believe at least one of them.’

Carryng on from the invention of the phrase in the 1960’s, it reads as
being there’s one version of events, which is the official state sponsored variety. Believing or questioning anything else means you are deluded.

We have a whole new generation of CT apparently, – anyone not believing in RussiaGate ™. Anyone not believing in the dude that calls himself your Preisdent is now a CT.

Many of your criteria can be turned in the reverse direction also.

I’ve meant plenty of scientific types who assert a myopic moral superiority in dismissing everything that doesn’t fit their world view of double-blind trial authority.
Basically, nothing exists unless it’s been granted the stamp of dignity and right-to-be-believed by a research body. Yet I’m sure yourself, and probably every old hand here, have had original concepts, original vision or work
that goes entirely against the official, established and scientific version of reality ™ And futher, had it held against them. Had it written off. Been vilified. Etc. There are plenty of scientific greats who were shunned by the establishment.

The best, most exciting mind is one that says ‘I don’t know’. That’s how discoveries happen.

Clive Robinson May 29, 2020 4:01 AM

@ Rachel,

I am genuinely unattached to whether the moon existed or not.

It exists, as the tides show every day. And you probably attached to it in ways you don’t realise as it effects a lot of flora and fauna including bees and ants.

As for the moon landings, over the years the evidence has piled up “for” and the “arguments” against more shrill and desperate.

I suspect within a few years we will have satellites around the moon some in geostationary orbit others in what would be “low moon orbit” as people consider exploiting it as a “stepping stone” to other objectives.

Thus at some point some comercial organisation not from the US will no doubt take sufficiently detailed pictures to settle the issue one way or another.

But that will not stop the CT types, they will argue it was smuggled up later to justify US claims or some such 😉

After all I’ve been told there is a rise in people believing that the earth is flat due to some bloke and a steam powered rocket or some such…

Having once worked out from first principles (using pythag and a hoop) the basic orbital calculations and checked as best I could the gravitational constant to write a navigation program and a satellite tracking program written in Prime BASIC when I was in college (which I still have on punch paper tape). I kind of realised that you have to sometimes do things from scratch to check you realy understand what is going on.

As I’ve mentioned I’ve met Buz and listened to his talk on the Mars Cycler, what he says makes more sense than some of the proposals you are hearing from others…

Oh to my minor annoyance, the tail end of a tropical storm stopped SpaceX putting a couple of astronauts in space from Florida for the first time in a decade. Hopefully tommorow it will happen.

Oh and Virgin had a fail on their “under wing” launch system which was a shame, but shows great promise, because if they get that going it realy will democratize space which should force cooperation down some necks rather hard.

I just wish the UK would get back in the game properly we’ve had a great deal of independent development over the years and it’s a shame that idiot politicians just don’t get to understand what a little support could do.

There is a lot of real value to be made in space unlike the faux value of the likes of the banking and finance industry. It would be nice for the UK to have a reputation for doing something independently constructive for once.

Wael May 29, 2020 5:06 AM

@Rachel, @MarkH, @Clive Robinson,

obviously doing something other than working.

Obviously, huh? Guess what: I was working, dawg! 🙂

His response was very entertaining ‘oh not this again’

It was a lighthearted comment. I watched the whole thing, and I liked it, regardless of whether I believe if.

It exists, as the tides show every day.

There’s a relationship between the moon and lunatics!

Conspiracy theories are enormously popular

Sometimes the official narrative is the conspiracy theory.

If there’s a way to inoculate against conspiracy theories

If politicians and governments earn trust, then there’s a “way”.

people believing that the earth

They’re just making controversial videos to make you money from YouTube. None of them really believe earth is flat. But great minds believe the universe or the Milky Way may be flat! Go figure 🙂

Trudi Fenster-Klotz May 29, 2020 11:43 AM

Re: Round vs. Flat earth

I’m never sure in what the controversy consists.

Even a “flat” earth is to a degree “round”, since it has length, width, and depth, i.e. is a solid. Even a “round” earth is to a degree “flat”, since it is not uniform.

Chris May 29, 2020 4:12 PM

This is actually a important one
When you register for an blog where you dont care what the results are going to be
but still you need to give an email address.

What email address do you put on that field:

To be honest i am surpriced it has not been touched since its a big way to track people.

I have tried some on this page
first if its empty it doesnt work
if if it doesnt have and @ it doesnt work
which way or another if person1 uses one email and person2 uses an other email would be trackable…

Can we do something about this here and now and just spread it around that EVERYONE
that are asked for an email address gives the following email address in that field:
Maybe we even have to have EFF or similar to actually register that email so its a valid email if they put a secondary check on this

This is anyhow something that ive been irritated over since 7 years or so !

Chris May 29, 2020 4:19 PM

Ok so today I am happy

Part from this email tracking part its ok

However i do like to tell you about this particular youtube person.
Got damned… I almost never get impressed but i did get impressed this time
Just lie wow, mostly UNIX knowledge but a touch of sec…
Love XX

MarkH May 29, 2020 5:06 PM


Many of your criteria can be turned in the reverse direction also.

Above, I enumerated some suggestions for critical thinking … I don’t see any criteria for what is or is not a conspiracy theory. Anyway, there’s probably no generally accepted standard.

“Conspiracy theory” has become a sort of swear word, and is certainly used by thoughtless people to dismiss any idea they don’t like. Personally, I try to use language responsibly.

If I understood your comment correctly, you’re concerned about dismissal (or perhaps even suppression) of perspectives differing from majority or authoritative opinion.

I think it worthwhile to make distinction among these scorned perspectives. Please bear in mind that there are no sharp lines, and reasonable people will disagree on the assignment of particular ideas to categories.

[Note: I don’t know any way to offer concrete examples, without offending people here who believe what I’m very confident are falsehoods. Sorry about that!]

  1. Informed Dissidents — Have a deep understanding of their field, and reach very different conclusions from the majority of their peers.

Such may be found throughout academia, even in physical sciences (and math!) which are supposed to be comparatively unambiguous.

Some examples from astronomy: Fred Hoyle (no big bang), Geoff Burbidge (quasars are a lot nearer and weaker than astronomers think), and Allen Hynek (maybe those UFOs really are from other worlds).

They were real professional astronomers, not ignoramuses making stuff up. Their ideas probably hurt their reputations, but they were not consigned to any kind of dungeon, as far as I’m aware.

A very special example is Alfred Wegener, whose continental drift hypothesis was not accepted until after his death. He couldn’t find enough supporting evidence, and the understanding of Earth’s structure at that time gave no theoretical basis for how such motion could occur. Nonetheless, he was respected for his other scientific work.

Ted Fujita (of tornado fame) inferred the existence of downbursts and “mini tornadoes” around the principal rotation; both ideas were met with great skepticism by his colleagues, before they were confirmed by observational evidence.

  1. Cranks, Crackpots, and Quacks — Proceed from ignorance of widely available knowledge. Most of them are all-around ignorant, but some are extremely intelligent and knowledgeable (including Nobel laureates).

A very ugly example is Bill Shockley, co-winner of a Nobel for discovery/invention of the bipolar junction transistor, who destroyed his reputation by forays into eugenics and “research findings” that African Americans are doomed by their genes to intellectual inferiority.

Shockley took seriously the work of psychologist Cyril Burt, a notorious scientific fraud (I don’t consider fraud as one of the categories here, only views which I suppose are held sincerely).

Shockley was an expert and authority … but NOT in psychology or cognitive measurement.

To illustrate the challenges of these categories, Samuel Hahnemann (founder of homeopathy) was not a true crackpot: his hypothesis reflected the extremely weak theoretical basis of medicine in his time, and certainly was not as bad as a lot of other notions in vogue with physicians of his day. The science which proves that his medicines cannot have inherent value was not discovered until long after his death.

In contrast, anyone sincerely advocating Hahnemann’s types of “medicine” today is a crackpot and/or quack.

  1. Conspiracy Theorists

It’s worth noting that their hypotheses don’t necessarily contradict grounded fact.

The function of conspiracy theories is mainly psychological. They generally propose an elaborate explanation where much simpler hypotheses would suffice (see Occam’s Razor). The general pattern is that some Powerful Group secretly and/or deceitfully inflicts grave harm on society; because such things happen in fact, the notion of such a conspiracy is not inherently implausible. The devil is in the details.

Climate Change Hoax

Hypothesis: Earth’s academic climate researchers have conspired to promulgate a fiction of human-caused climate change. They are motivated by some combination of greed, ambition, and the ideological desire to promote left-wing totalitarianism.

Note that this accuses many hundreds of scientists (mostly unknown to the Conspiracy Theorists) of extremely grave immorality, and in some cases serious crime.

A very large majority (if not all) of the researchers would have to be in on the conspiracy.

All of them — including the dissidents (see above) — continue to conceal this monstrous fraud.

Vaccine Hoax

Hypothesis: Widely-used vaccines are much more dangerous and/or less medically useful than admitted by drug disclosures or the medical community. Their prescription is motivated by greed.

Either the medical community doesn’t understand the effects of vaccines, or they do but nonetheless push them knowing they are bad.

If they know they are bad, they either keep their own children from getting vaccinated, and warn all of their beloved friends and extended family not to use vaccines, or they allow them to be needlessly poisoned.

If those who knowingly sell or prescribe evil vaccines protect children they care about from getting vaccinated, this has not leaked to the public.

Medical insurance companies (and other organizations with liability for medical catastrophes) have either failed to detect the harmfulness of vaccines, or silently act against their interest by paying avoidable costs.

I could go on, but it’s hardly necessary.

MarkH May 29, 2020 5:16 PM


Sometimes the official narrative is the conspiracy theory.

I suggest that this happens much more often under authoritarian or totalitarian governments, than in liberal democracies.

@Chris, Test:

I like to use a@b.c for my email … but if the system is picky about top-level domains, I suppose I could make the extra effort to type

Chris May 29, 2020 5:26 PM

Hi regarding MarkH

So yes this field can and has been and is been used as a signal!

Chris May 29, 2020 5:46 PM

Ok cooking food at the sametime trying to read the stuff here

Wow today was good stuff here!


I will use that from next month on
And i hope everyone understand the problem here and will do the same

And again if you are inbound you can read that field as a signaling filed obviously very useful

Chris May 29, 2020 6:38 PM

Ok guys thanks for an intresting evening
i have been looking littlebit about phones
especially after this new covid19 tracking thing that can or is being or might be or is allready in use depending on what country or operator you are under. so also related to legislation obviously

Gadaa ihate to say go to this or that URL
because there could and most likely is a gazillion better ones and i might be connected to via a secondary affiliation to that site, and maybe that site is wrong on something, which would put my name on the line…

anyhow if so it doesnt much matter, I would still be chris or Chris or , Mike or MikE or what ever.. since its still possible
anyhow this dude has some ideas that are not new but he is not talking bull.. at least not as far as i can tell
he had a new info that i didnt know before
regarding googledrive and wifi, and its a _nomap _NOMAP add to your SSID such as
anyhow what do you think about him
i kindof like his style, but i am european maybe he is not very american ?


SpaceLifeForm May 29, 2020 11:33 PM

The nice thing about conspiracy theories is that there are so many of them to choose from.

Clive Robinson May 30, 2020 4:50 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

The nice thing about conspiracy theories is that there are so many of them to choose from.

Just like “cookies” and like cookies,

    With a few simple ingredients you can bake your own.

The thing people tend to forget, is one of the first rules of being a confidence trickster or financial market operator is “There is profit in confusion” or “The more confusion there is the easier it is to make profit”.

Thus if you want to make profit, logically you first have to make confusion. Conspiracy Theories are just a way of creating confusion… So the old advice about “follow the money” should be a way of making spotting Conspiracy Theories easier…

Take the 5G confusion as an example, at the moment appart from “bit part players” like @Bruce has on another thread, those who hope to gain the most are US Politicians and their backers.

The danger of course is that in putting the ingredients together you end up baking more cookies.

And that at the end of the day is the whole point behind conspiracy theories all stories sound equally as improbable to a range of people. Thus they are like “A Turing test for humans” 😉

Leave a comment


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

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.