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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: New England, The South, Midwest
Home country: USA
Current location: Chicago
Member since: Sat Mar 5, 2011, 12:32 PM
Number of posts: 16,482

About Me

Human. Being.

Journal Archives

An Interesting Look At Our Biases Re The Coronavirus.

I wanted to share Mark Manson's piece here for a few reasons.

1. Science can only take us so far as we go through a pandemic that's not existed in our lifetime.
2. This piece helps us look beyond our knowledge of the rates of contamination and death rates, etc.
3. I'm only focusing on his third part, but the first two are definitely worth a read.

3. Our Cognitive Biases in Action – I’ve written quite a bit in the past about how our minds are inaccurate and we form erroneous beliefs based on irrational feelings.

Coronavirus is interesting because people seem to default to either panic mode or denial. It’s either, “The world is ending!” or “What’s the big deal?”

The truth is, as usual, somewhere in the middle. Individually, most of us are not at much risk. Systemically, we are at great risk. It’s exactly these scenarios ... where there’s a large mismatch between individual and systemic risks ...

That’s because our minds default to view things through how they affect us, not how they affect the country, the community, or the world. We have cognitive weaknesses when it comes to stuff like that—and no, I don’t just mean being bad at math. For example:

We all tend to think linearly, not exponentially – Paul Graham had an excellent tweet about this where he said, “People aren’t surprised when I tell them there are 13,000 Covid-19 cases outside China, or when I tell them this number doubles every 3 days. But when I tell them that if growth continues at this rate, we’ll have 1.7 million cases in 3 weeks, they’re astonished.”
The economist Tyler Cowen pointed out that the people most alarmed about coronavirus seem to be people accustomed to thinking exponentially—people in tech, finance, and science. People who seem to think this is a bunch of crybabies crying about crybaby things are used to thinking about problems linearly.

We tend to focus on first-order effects, not second- or third-order effects – If I wreck my car, I’m most likely to be upset about my wrecked car (first-order effect), not how I’m going to pick up my kids from school each day or how higher insurance premiums will affect my monthly budget (second-order effects), even though the second- and third-order effects will have a bigger impact on my life than the damaged car.

Much of the analysis I’ve seen on coronavirus stops at the first-order effects. “Stay healthy, wash your hands, you’re going to be fine.” Hell, that was basically my analysis a few weeks ago.

But the second and third-order effects of this could potentially be quite large.

...one example:
the US healthcare system is utterly broken. Roughly 60% of Americans can’t afford to pay for an unexpected emergency and 10% of Americans don’t have health insurance at all. Medicare (which insures old people) is already on shaky financial ground. 20 million extra people hitting the hospitals over the next year could cause a different type of epidemic: bankruptcies.

Another potential second-order effect: de-globalization. Quarantines and broken supply chains will force countries to adapt by reinvesting resources within their own borders, cutting off trade ties, making them more skeptical of travelers and business relationships and causing all sorts of shifts in the political zeitgeist.

Another one: coronavirus is most dangerous to the elderly. And the elderly vote more than anybody else and tend to be the most politically conservative demographic. The United States, South Korea, Greece, and Poland are just some of the countries with major elections this year. With 10-20% of the elderly population unable to vote, that could shift electoral results in many places.

Another one! Western countries and Japan are generally older populations. They have more old people than young. The Middle East and Africa are incredibly young countries. Some countries will come out of this far more unscathed than others simply due to their age demographics. That means lower health care costs, smaller losses in productivity, less fear and panic in markets, etc.

I’m not saying these things will happen. I’m just saying these are some of the things that aren’t immediately obvious that we could be thinking about.

We tend to focus on one-off solutions, rather refining daily habits – And finally, as I’ve written before, we are biased towards single, big changes in behavior to accomplish something rather than accumulating many small, regular changes that create bigger benefits. For example, wearing a mask is almost useless. Whereas eating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables and taking vitamins C and D regularly will boost your immune system immensely. Honestly, the single best thing you can do right now to protect yourself from coronavirus is all the same shit you should have been doing anyway: eat well, drink less, smoke not at all. And yes, wash your goddamn hands.
I’m sorry if this feels all doom and gloom.

Here are a few useful things to remember:

First, things like this are the norm throughout human history, not the exception. We’ve been spoiled lately in the disease department. We’ll make it through it. We always do.

Second, I know we call them economic “crises” but really, economic contractions are normal and healthy things for an economy. It’s where we cull the dead weight and sort out which businesses are actually creating value for society and which ones are just leeching off the rest of us. Or as Warren Buffett puts it, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”

And finally, we don’t know what we don’t know. There could be a miraculous vaccine discovery next month. Warm weather might eradicate much of this thing by summer. It might randomly mutate and become less lethal. The stress of this might force our healthcare systems to become more robust and cost-effective. The quarantines might change work-life culture across the world. Emissions might drop. Cybersex might make a roaring comeback. Who the fuck knows?

But if you look throughout history, the biggest and most necessary changes typically come in the wake of crises, much like our most important personal changes often come in the wake of our traumas. There’s always growth in pain. And there’s always opportunity for creation in destruction.

So stay safe. Stay clean. Stay home as much as you can. And… stay away from grandma for a while.


Midday Music for Millennials - Jes' grew can't stop, won't stop Tuesday (last day)

Behind every artist this past week are unknown ancestor-originators of the R&B universe, and some, of course, are the modern originators we know.

One can’t even begin to post all that jes’ grew, or from who.

This week didn't even touch the cake walk, rags, gospel, blues, jazz, or boogie woogie.

Larry Heard. “Can You Feel It”

J Dilla. “Dime Piece” (w/ Dwele)


Mark Morrison. “Return of the Mack”

Scatman John. “Scatman”

Jes’ grew Week, over and out.

Tips On Hand Washing -- Short Version from Wikipedia

Because we'd be surprised what people know and don't know...

What microbial growth looks like with

A = no washing procedures
B = washing procedures
C = alcohol disinfection

The "German method" of hand disinfections

Hand sanitizers containing a minimum of 60 to 95% alcohol are efficient germ killers.

Alcohol rub sanitizers kill bacteria, multi-drug resistant bacteria (MRSA and VRE), tuberculosis, and some viruses (including HIV, herpes, RSV, rhinovirus, vaccinia, influenza,[29] and hepatitis) and fungi.

Alcohol rub sanitizers containing 70% alcohol kill 99.97% (3.5 log reduction, similar to 35 decibel reduction) of the bacteria on hands 30 seconds after application and 99.99% to 99.999% (4 to 5 log reduction) of the bacteria on hands 1 minute after application.[30]

Hand sanitizers are most effective against bacteria and less effective against some viruses.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are almost entirely ineffective against norovirus or Norwalk type viruses, the most common cause of contagious gastroenteritis.[31]

Enough hand antiseptic or alcohol rub must be used to thoroughly wet or cover both hands.
The front and back of both hands and between and the ends of all fingers are rubbed for approximately 30 seconds until the liquid, foam or gel is dry.
As well as finger tips must be washed well too rubbing them in both palms alternatively.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA recommends hand washing over hand sanitizer rubs, particularly when hands are visibly dirty.[32]

The increasing use of these agents is based on their ease of use and rapid killing activity against micro-organisms; however, they should not serve as a replacement for proper hand washing unless soap and water are unavailable.

Drying hands matters. Generally, paper towels are cleanest. Blow dryers INCREASE microbe count.

In 2005, in a study conducted by TÜV Produkt und Umwelt, different hand drying methods were evaluated.[45] The following changes in the bacterial count after drying the hands were observed:

Drying method Effect on bacterial count:

Paper towels and roll --- Decrease of 24%
Hot-air dryer --- Increase of 12%

Many different hand dryer manufacturers exist, and hand driers have been compared against drying with paper towels.

Hand washing with wipes[edit]
Hand washing using hand sanitizing wipes is an alternative during traveling in the absence of soap and water.[46] Alcohol-based hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol.[47]

After washing and drying hands with the warm-air dryer, the total number of bacteria was found to increase on average on the finger pads by 194% and on the palms by 254%.

Drying with the jet-air dryer resulted in an increase on average of the total number of bacteria on the finger pads by 42% and on the palms by 15%.

After washing and drying hands with a paper towel, the total number of bacteria was reduced on average on the finger pads by up to 76% and on the palms by up to 77%.

The scientists also carried out tests to establish whether there was the potential for cross contamination of other washroom users and the washroom environment as a result of each type of drying method.

They found that:

The jet-air dryer, which blows air out of the unit at claimed speeds of 180 m/s (650 km/h; 400 mph), was capable of blowing micro-organisms from the hands and the unit and potentially contaminating other washroom users and the washroom environment up to 2 meters away.

Use of a warm-air hand dryer spread micro-organisms up to 0.25 metres from the dryer.
Paper towels showed no significant spread of micro-organisms.

Microbes. Can't live with them. Can't live without them.

Guess we have to accept less and and and more and .

Brazil Refuses To Drop Charges Against Glenn Greenwald; Appeal Judge's Ruling Throwing Out The Case

The Trump/Barr model is being beta tested.

... a court and law enforcement had already said that Greenwald did not break any laws in his reporting, and had followed ethical journalistic guidelines.

And yet, he was still charged with a crime for reporting on leaked documents, with prosecutors claiming that Greenwald's suggestions to the whistleblower on how not to get caught constituted a "clear role in facilitating the commission of a crime."

This was clearly a charade, as the Bolsonairo government in Brazil seemed mostly to just want to intimidate Greenwald and the press away from reporting on what now appears to be an extremely corrupt government.

A few weeks after the charges were announced, a court again said that it was clear that Greenwald broke no laws and refused to allow the case to go forward. However, as the Freedom of the Press Foundation has now announced, prosecutors have chosen to appeal that ruling and to continue to go after Greenwald...

The charges stem from that outlet’s investigative series documenting corruption involving high ranking prosecutors and Sergio Moro, the Justice Minister in President Jair Bolsonaro’s right-wing administration.

... whether you agree with Glenn or not, this is a blatant attack on a free press, and an obvious attempt at creating a chilling effect around necessary reporting on government malfeasance.

"Service" -- one of Joe's newest ads

This just ran during Rachel Maddow tonight.

Joe is about to be interviewed by Laurence O'Donnell.

Democratic Convention 2000 -- We've Been At This For More Than Twenty Fuckin' Years!

Biden!! Reconize!!

MMM -- Jes' grew Monday

always recommended

In-house fights ended, or the R&B/rap/hip hop world would move on without the fighters. Rock, funk, disco, electronica, ambient techno, EDM, rap, hip hop, house, electro house, brostep, dubstep, trap … they jes’ grew …

Tupac Shakur. “Keep Ya Head Up”

Biggie Smalls, aka Notorious B.I.G. “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems”

Nas. “Ether”


Jay Z and Nas Reunite

Jay Z and Beyoncé. “Crazy In Love,” “All The Single Ladies”

Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Gary Clark, Jr. tribute to Stevie Wonder

One Easy Thing Trump Could Do Tomorrow to Protect Healthcare Workers from the Coronavirus

Enact the OSHA standard by Executive Order.

Then ENFORCE it.

Since the earliest days of the Trump administration, the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration has had a completed draft of workplace rules that were made for the very crisis we now find ourselves in, with the power to protect vulnerable healthcare workers from exposure to infectious diseases like COVID-19.

According to the Washington Post, the draft regulation would require employers to provide healthcare workers with protective equipment and create plans to control the spread of infectious diseases, potentially including building isolation rooms for quarantining patients. The only problem is the administration doesn’t seem to have much interest in action.

... David Michaels, the former OSHA head, wrote in the Atlantic that issuing the infectious disease emergency standard would essentially empower the federal agency to enforce the infection-control guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

The standard would require employers to develop and implement an infection-control plan to protect health-care and related workers with occupational exposure. It would include provisions for worker training and distribution of masks and other personal protective equipment.

Rules that require employers to plan for an epidemic may seem like common sense... many is not enough. An OSHA standard ... would, in essence, make following CDC guidance an enforceable requirement.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Michaels said that the regulation would require hospitals to create a protocol for handling any patients with respiratory symptoms and to assess if they had enough protective gear. “The framework is there,” he said. “If OSHA wanted to modify the standard, it could put it out tomorrow.”


Midday Music for Millennials -- Jes' grew Sunday

Afrika Bambaataa and Soulsonic Force. “Planet Rock”


Grandmaster Flash. “The Message”


Salt-n-Pepa. “Push It”


Public Enemy. “Fight The Power”


Tim O'Brien Promises 'Scorched Earth' Attacks On Trump Family Corruption

Bloomberg campaign adviser Tim O’Brien hinted the former candidate will put big money toward hammering the Trump family corruption “unlike anything they’ve experienced thus far in the media.

O’BRIEN: I think it’s an important moment for the American people to be woke about how rampant the financial conflicts of interest are among Trump’s children and the president himself. They’re an absolute failure to distance themselves from the Trump organization and all the deals they’ve continued to pursue while in the White House, whether it’s the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.; 666 Fifth Avenue, which has a long and ugly history with Jared and the Chinese government; and Jared and the Russian government; and Jared and his family’s struggling finances at the time – all of this stuff will become, I think, food for thought for everyone.

Trump's corrupt ties go well beyond his own family. She cited the family of Trump cabinet member Elaine Chao (aka Mrs. Mitch McConnell), Rudy Giuliani’s family, Newt Gingrich’s wife, Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Attorney General William Barr’s son-in-law, Eric Trump’s brother-in-law - all of whom have profited from having Trump in the White House.

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