Archive for the 'Survival' Category

Paul Cottrell On Covid-19 As An Engineered Virus

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 3 weeks ago

Via WRSA, this video is very interesting.  There are others that serve well as preliminary political and fact-checking background, but this video is the most well-informed analysis I’ve found.

I asked a few days ago whether Coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab, and said “That’s what I have believed from the beginning, it is what I believe today, and it’s what I will always believe unless someone presents clear and convincing evidence that persuades me to relinquish my belief.”

This informed video doesn’t dissuade me from my views.  It cements them.

His analysis is sweeping and he seems conversant on a whole host of topics, including the effect on the economy of having so much of our material and parts produced in China.  The effect on the logistics chain is enormous for a just-in-time chain when a blip happens.

He says we must bring it all home.  I agree.  If that doesn’t sound “capitalistic,” then so be it.  I’ve said before that I’m not a Ron Paul libertarian “The world is a Utopian trade platform and unicorns fart purple pixie dust rainbows over trade-friends to knit them together in love for each other” follower.  I don’t want to debate this point – it’s a value judgment, and it’s mine.  You can have your own, whatever that is.

And R.J. Rushdooy as well.  Libertarianism without a moral foundation is a recipe for disaster.  If “free trade” and “capitalism” means a borderless world where evil corporations outsource manufacturing to enemies in order to maximize quarterly earnings because idiot analysts want to play a better gambling game on Wall Street, then I’m not that.

Under the Lordship of Christ, nothing and no one is free to do anything they wish.  We are free to obey God’s commandments, which brings the ultimate liberty, and He has a lot to say about this sort of thing, including duties of company owners to their workers.  I cannot ensure that corporations are practicing righteousness, and don’t advocate holding CEOs at the barrel of a gun to force good behavior on them.

But as for the safety, security, health, protection and welfare of a country with borders, corporations who do business with enemies hell bent on destruction of our country should be seen and treated as allies of those enemies.  So should the politicians who enable that alliance.

Finally, as I mentioned before, I see the FDA as culpable in the deaths of Americans due to this virus, and I have previously mentioned that the CDC had one job, i.e., to prepare for epidemics and infectious disease.

They … had … one … job.  They failed.  They failed to model, they failed to stay abreast of the facts, they failed to ensure enough PPEs were available in the national stockpile.  Additionally, I stumbled upon this comment at another site.

Hospitals were given the green light by the government to get rid of private practice physicians. This occurred during the days leading up to the passage of Obamacare, when hospitals were initially promised they would have monopolies on patients vis a vis Accountable Care Organizations. Hospitals went on a buying spree, paying top dollar for physicians and their practices. Coupled with the expense and headaches of the Electronic Medical Record, and insurance companies and hospitals both developing so called networks, in which physicians were frozen out of contracts as independent practitioners.

Why? Because the government figured out that it is easier to control the 5200 or so hospital CEO’s, who would now be the boss of the formerly independent 750k or more physicians.

This corporate practice of medicine has led to pressure on doctors to adapt protocols and submit to busybody hospital administrators to toe the line, or else find another job. In the worst cases, hospitals start sham peer review proceedings, a weaponized version of quality review and oversight, which can tarnish a doctor for life based on scurrilous and false evidence.

Doctors should not work for hospitals. It is an inherent conflict of interest, unethical, and it is the corporate practice of medicine. The doctor no longer works for the patient, but the hospital CEO, who has a fiduciary duty. This story is a good example. Unfortunately, the AMA is all in on it, and has not represented practicing physicians and patients for years.

You can see that however you wish.  But I’ll remind you of the quote attributed to Mussolini: “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.”  A market void of righteousness is as much slavery as the state authority without righteousness.  You’re merely exchanging one wicked ruler for another.

Updated Covid-19 Graph

BY Herschel Smith
6 months ago

I’ve updated my Covid-19 graph.  I’ve started tracking active cases as well as confirmed cases.  Active cases are in red.  It’s as close to perfect as I can get it, and the fit hasn’t changed since my last post of the curve.

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Masks Work: So Why Don’t We Have Any?

BY Herschel Smith
6 months ago

Via Instapundit, masks work.

Masks reduce the spread of infectious disease by catching microbes expelled by the wearer and protecting the wearer from microbes in their environment. When we cough, sneeze, talk, or simply breathe we emit a plume of air and droplets, which are largely composed of saliva, mucus, salts, and—if we are infected—potentially dangerous microbes. The smallest of these droplets, sometimes called aerosols, may hover or drift through the air for hours, potentially exposing anyone who enters that airspace. Larger droplets may travel only a few feet—or up to 26 feet if propelled by a sneeze—before falling to the ground or onto another surface, such as someone’s skin or clothes.

So why don’t we have any?

Last week, a Trump administration official working to secure much-needed protective gear for doctors and nurses in the United States had a startling encounter with counterparts in Thailand.

The official asked the Thais for help—only to be informed by the puzzled voices on the other side of the line that a U.S. shipment of the same supplies, the second of two so far, was already on its way to Bangkok.

Trump aides were alarmed when they learned of the exchange, and immediately put the shipment on hold while they ordered a review of U.S. aid procedures. Crossed wires would only confuse our allies, they worried, or worse—offend them. And Americans confronting a surging death toll and shortages of medical equipment back home would likely be outraged.

[ … ]

The administration has also placed a moratorium on overseas shipments of USAID’s stockpiles of protective gear and is asking that the equipment be sent to the U.S. instead, other officials said.

“It’s a good thing that we’re taking a holistic look at where and when we’re sending PPE as we’re looking to fulfill needs here at home,” said Pence spokeswoman Katie Miller.

President Donald Trump seems attuned to the political hazards. During Monday’s task force briefing, he emphasized that the U.S. was sending only “things that we don’t need” to other countries. “We’re going to be sending approximately $100 million worth of things – of surgical and medical and hospital things to Italy,” he announced.

[ … ]

“They’re really trying to walk a fine line between making sure Americans get everything they need and then starting to provide assistance elsewhere, and the vice president’s oversight is slowing down the decision-making process,” one person close to USAID said.

As usual for Politico, the article eventually turns into a tiring and monotonous blast piece against the administration.  But that fine line being discussed is, to me, unnecessary.  It shouldn’t exist.  PPEs should be directed towards America first.  Only when America has enough should we even consider shipping PPEs overseas.  What to the pols is a fine line should be a big bold border.

I think I mentioned that I know a health care provider who showed up for work wearing an N95 mask, only to be told by hospital administration that personal PPEs weren’t allowed.  “Fine,” this health care provider said, “Then give me one.”  “Oh, we don’t have any.”

And why is there such a thing as a sewing group who has to sew cloth masks for health care providers?  Cotton is cellulose, and N95 masks, like HEPA filters in nuclear power plants, work by interception of particles with electrostatic charge.  That’s why they can’t be decontaminated with alcohol.  They lose their charge.

So who’s running this show anyway?

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The Current Trajectory Of Confirmed Covid-19 Cases In America

BY Herschel Smith
6 months ago

In my ongoing coverage and analysis of Covid-19 in America (updated almost daily), I included a much earlier graph with a curve fit, at the time, exponential and with a very high correlation coefficient.  The graph from 3/23 looked like this.

The doubling time was computed as:

ln(2) / 0.2988 = 2.32 days

The graph has been unsettled lately, until last night and today.  I have received requests to update the curve.  I said I would have to jettison the exponential curve fit and go with a polynomial (see original post), and today I did that.  The exponential model was massively over-predicting cases going forward and the correlation coefficient had begun to degrade.  The revised curve is below.

There is a remarkable difference.  The doubling time depends on where you are on the graph.  It’s a third-order polynomial.  Currently, the doubling time is 4.1 days, versus the value of 2.32 days computed not too many days ago.  The correlation coefficient is very high, and the curve is stable and well-behaved.

Here I am not weighing in on or performing analysis of the reasons for this.  There could be many, or only one, or some combination of causes.  Some readers may posit “social distancing,” others may point out that the testing rate has change because slightly symptomatic patients are not being tested, others may postulate that herd immunity may be playing a factor (i.e., it’s possible that many millions of Americans have already been exposed to and infected with the virus and had little to no problem with it), and still others may postulate that PPEs, hygiene protocol and the reluctance to go to hospitals may be playing a role (my own daughter, a surgical NP and first assist who also has to spend copious time in the ER) observes that numbers of patients entering hospital care is down.

Again, I am making no claim whatsoever as to reasons for this.  I am only mathematically modeling this phenomenon, and I can conclusively say that there is a remarkable difference between doubling time and trajectory today and a week ago.


Per request, this is a picture of the previous exponential fit versus the polynomial fit.  It’s QAD (quick and dirty), with no bells and whistles.

With more time I could write Macros to make this much better with various data analytics options, but I’m not paid to do this analysis.

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Wake County Sheriff Suspends Pistol, Concealed-Carry Permit Applications As Demand Surges

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 1 week ago

From a reader, news from North Carolina.

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office will suspend pistol and concealed-carry permit applications until April 30 as demand surges amid the coronavirus outbreak, Sheriff Gerald Baker announced Tuesday.

Applications that have already been submitted will continue to be processed, Baker said during a press briefing.

Pistol permit applications last week averaged 290 per day, or more than three times the roughly 90 applications per day during the same time period a year ago, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Baker said his office needs time to manage the backlog.

“This decision does not limit anyone’s right to purchase a handgun,” he said in a news release.

Of course, that’s a lie and he knows it.

All permitting schemes are an infringement upon God-given rights, including the one in North Carolina.  If the Sheriff had said that he was stopping the processing of concealed handgun permits only, then he might have been correct, but since North Carolina has a permitting scheme for BOTH pistol purchases and concealed handgun carry, that means if someone wanted to go purchase a handgun tomorrow, he would be unable to if he lived in Wake County.

Many other counties are doing the same thing, and unfortunately, the entirety of Pennsylvania is shut down to firearms purchases because the governor issued a shutdown order for all businesses.

Even Hungarians are standing in line for firearms purchases.

About 300,000 people hold licenses for guns in each of the Czech Republic and Hungary, both with about 10 million inhabitants. Licenses are not mandatory for some light arms.

“We are selling five times as much as in a normal March,” said Gabor Vass, who runs three gun shops in the Hungarian capital including the one where Rostas bought his gas pistol.

“We could sell 15 times more if we had any more rubber bullet weapons, but we ran out.”

The shop, little bigger than a phone booth and tucked inside a suburban shopping center on the edge of Budapest, was hardly designed for an onrush of customers. But last week brought a heavy stream, people from all walks of life.

“Prepping” means doing it before, not after.

The United Sheep Of America

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 2 weeks ago

Ham Radio Crash Course

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 2 weeks ago

What I know is that I know very little about this topic.  If I get into it very deeply, I’m going to have to get a mentor.

In Prepping Biblical?

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 3 weeks ago

I could go on for hours on this, but you don’t have hours, so …

COVID-19 Preparations

BY Herschel Smith
7 months ago

I’m not a medical professional (although I will cite one in particular), but one of my best buddies texted me to ask what I thought, so here it is.

Here’s what we know at the moment about Covid-19 (I won’t supply the copious URLs since you can find them yourself or have already studied them).  Covid-19 is probably a weaponized virus.  There is still speculation that the practice of keeping animals in close proximity that would not otherwise be that way has caused animal to animal to human transmission of mutated viruses, but in my opinion this is a least probable origin.

China sat on the information for too long to allow for containment and isolation of it, so the entire world is now dealing with it.  It shows indications of behaving like HIV, inasmuch as the method of attachment to a cell involves a “hook,” and thus it is extremely hard to get rid of.  Animals appear to be able to test “weak positive” for the virus, even if they are asymptomatic.

There is a risk of recurrence of the virus, so this has led to speculation that the virus isn’t really killed with treatment, lies dormant, and can reappear later (maybe not much later).  Then again, it’s entirely possible these patients were released and declared well without really being well.

Two dozen “first responders” have been quarantined in Washington State.  The problem with this was explained to me by my daughter, a health care provider (in surgery and emergency medicine).  Health care providers see patients with HIV, TB and Hepatitis (and various other blood borne and airborne illnesses) all the time.  One cannot isolate and contain without knowing that the patient has a disease.  Diagnosis must precede isolation.  Otherwise, it’s just the common cold.  Covid-19 can be transmitted asymptomatically.

This particular virus has a transmission vector that makes it very contagious.  It’s difficult to diagnose and contain prior to transmission of the virus to others.  Moreover, my daughter is concerned about the level of understanding and training associated with this virus, as well as hospital procedures and equipment to deal with an epidemic.  The CDC can say what they want – the hospitals in America are unqualified to deal with this, and there may be no way to deal with it without assuming that every patient who comes into the ER has this virus (an expensive, time- and labor-intensive process for which America doesn’t have the resources or personnel).

So there is much bad news.  There is some good news too.  While there won’t be a vaccine for this for a long time, it appears that anti-viral drugs (such as are used for HIV) are effective against this virus.  Of course, that’s expensive.  It would stretch the logistics chain to the breaking point, especially since all of our drugs are made in China.  This is one effect of a global economy.

Here is a real time board (Johns Hopkins) of all Covid-19 cases, along with deaths.  If you examine the plot at the lower right, it seems to be indicating (for cases in China), 1 – exp(-lambda * t) approach to an upper asymptote (saturation and approach to a maxima).  I would like to see better correspondence before saying this, and I certainly don’t go on record with this analysis saying this.  I’m paid for my analysis, and I’m getting nothing for this post.

Seeing approach to an upper asymptote would be a good thing, but it requires intensive, aggressive isolation and containment, including stay-at-home workers, travel restrictions, and absolute border controls.

As to how to prepare for this, it all depends on your perspective.  If you believe this doesn’t even approach the deadliness or risk of the common cold or flu, there would be no preparation necessary except to wash your hands and cover your mouth when coughing.  If you believe this is TEOTWAWKI, you won’t be able to do enough preparations.

Not that I’m some sort of expert, but I said I was posting this for a good friend.  I don’t recommend anything beyond your usual preparations.  Do you have guns and ammunition?  You should anyway.  Do you have freeze dried and canned foods, oatmeal and grits, and other things that are non-perishable?  You should anyway.  Do you have means to filter and purify water?  You should anyway.  Do you have batteries and multiple means of fire starter?  You should anyway.

So if you’re just now beginning to think about being prepared, ask yourself why that’s the case.

I do have one very specific recommendation.  Our buddy Matt Bracken stated that he had purchased “rubber gloves.”  This is a good idea, but we need to be more specific than that.  There is a big difference between Nitrile gloves, Butyl rubber gloves, Polyvinyl chloride gloves, and Latex gloves.

Nitrile gloves protect the skin well against nonpolar solvents.  They offer good cut and abrasion resistance, and are often used in medical applications due to puncture resistance.  They are ineffective against some polar solvents.  Butyl rubber gloves are ineffective against nonpolar solvents but protect well against polar solvents.  Polyvinyl Chloride gloves protect against water solutions, acids, some polar solvents and caustics, but not well against nonpolar solvents.  Latex – natural rubber – is ineffective against nonpolar solvents, but offers good cut and abrasion resistance against water solutions and polar solvents.

This is all very complicated.  If you’re not sure which you need, or what the risk is (water solution, acid, caustic, polar or nonpolar solvents), then look it up. If you can’t, double up on gloves to ensure protection against unknown agents.  Nitrile gloves offer good puncture resistance.  They are cheap, they can be found at your local hardware store, and they can be used in concert with other gloves to protect against most agents.  Get some.

Also get breathing air protection.  Be able to filter the air you breath.  Very fine filtration media (HEPA filters would only be available for full face respirators SCBAs and are expensive), combined with charcoal filters is your best bet.  By the way, activated charcoal filter fines are made in Sri Lanka by charcoaling green coconut shells.  Consider logistics and location.

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Prepper Math

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 1 week ago

Not the kind parents will teach their children in home schooling (not necessarily so, but maybe, I certainly would), but with a different emphasis.

Following the same procedure, we can see that even over an 18-year span we have a 10% chance of violent revolution, which is an interesting thought experiment to entertain before you have kids. It’s also important to note that a violent nation-state transition doesn’t just affect people who live in a floodplain. It affects everyone stuck in the middle. Especially the poor and defenseless.

The authors try to do some PRA (Probabilistic Risk Assessment) with a limited failure data set.  After all, violent revolutions in North America is a limited data set.  A better statement follows.  The tech preppers do not necessarily think a collapse is likely. They consider it a remote event, but one with a very severe downside, so, given how much money they have, spending a fraction of their net worth to hedge against this . . . is a logical thing to do.

This is better because it boils it down to its essential elements.  We’ve discussed this many times before in the context of concealed or open carry.  The minimization of risk means understanding high risk scenarios, and risk = probability X consequences.  So for example, if something is low probability and the consequence of the event is low (for example, a spoon breaking when you eat your morning cereal), you don’t invest in a new set of expensive china.

If on the other hand an event has high probability or high consequence, that can drive the risk high, meaning it’s something you need to plan for.  Preppers see the event for which they are planning to be a high consequence event.  They are right.

It’s just that simple.

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