Never is heard a discouraging word

COVID-19 shows we’re more risk averse than post-World War II Americans

Of course. Because the Nanny State has been reaching out from university campuses for decades: Where ‘safe spaces’ segregated by race and ‘gender’ are festooned with the adult coloring books, Play-Doh, blankies, and puppy videos with which the road to serfdom infantilization ‘maturity’ is now paved.

I remain convinced the students who flocked to beaches during Spring Break were foolish given what we didn’t know about the CCP virus. Still, they behaved admirably compared to those adults somewhat older people who now huddle in their houses, swaddled in bubble wrap, providing the fodder for Karen memes, and cheering Governor Witless’ arbitrary edicts.

The Spanish flu app

I don’t want to send any traffic to this totalitarian screed, so no link.

Apple and Google are building a virus-tracking system. Health officials say it will be practically useless.
The tech giants have refused officials’ pleas to allow the collection of location data and to help contact-tracing teams learn where new infections have spread.

It’s a Washington Post article, execrable even by their abysmal standards. It assumes the CCP virus pandemic logically requires suspension of individual rights. The poor official’s pleas have been ignored. Well… not so much pleas as authoritarian demands.

Let’s start with some truth in headlining: It’s a people tracking system, not a virus tracking system. Viruses do not carry cell phones. Too bad.

The authors do go so far as to quote, without rebuttal, the director of research at a D.C. think tank “devoted to reducing the power of monopolies,” that if virus exposure tracking apps do not default to continuously tracking the location data of every individual, and record this in a centralized, health official accessible database:

“You have a private government [Google and Apple] that is making choices over your society instead of democratic governments being able to make those choices.”

Freedom respecting government does not pose this choice, except to informed volunteers. The WaPo scribblers do not even consider leaving privacy choices to individuals: Mob-majority governments which routinely reveal private information to health officials is the only useful approach. The Chinese Communist Party’s social credit program has already incorporated this insight. We don’t need that here.

Daring Fireball nails it, and gives a great overview creating no WaPo traffic. RTWT

WaPo reporters Reed Albergotti and Drew Harwell parade before us a series of public health officials and Progressive Think Tank spokesperps unleashing their inner fascist. It is discomfiting that the WaPo can find so many. Albergotti and Harwell conclude that Apple and Google are to be roundly castigated for placing individuals over the collective.

They are telling us salvation is in trusting the politicians and bureaucrats who oversaw such luminaries as Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, secured the DNC email server, and were held accountable (not) for the 21.5 million stolen records at the United States Office of Personnel Management (Including fingerprints!), 26.5 million at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 76 million at the National Archives and Records Administration, and 191 million from the U.S. Voter Database. Just to mention some of the more egregious examples of government care for citizen’s information.

And this talk about “private government,” with no mention of Hillary’s bathroom email server is hilarious. And this,

“If it’s between Google and Apple having the data, I would far prefer my physician and the public health authorities to have the data about my health status,” she said. “At least they’re constrained by laws.”

…displays appalling ignorance of certain former Secretaries of State and Presidential candidate’s approach to public information. Here’s a woman whose health had a legitimate public interest. But, when she collapsed next to a NY bollard, we were told to ignore it. OK. Ignore me too, unless I tell you differently.

These critics of individual rights, you’re likely aware, are mostly the same people cheering on Facebook and Twitter in the quest to label as “hate speech” anyone who disagrees with the CDC, WHO, or the Chinese Communist Party theories of CCP virus contagion. And they seem blind to the fact that the actual monopolies are the governments and apparatchiks they promote.

I’ll admit it is a consistent political philosophy if you view individuals whose decisions you don’t like as deplorable. They should not speak freely (and corporations should stop them from doing so) and the government must be made aware of your whereabouts at all times (by those same corporations). These Quisling-wannabes have become known colloquially as ‘Karens’.

There certainly are public health officials who would disagree with the point, content, tone, and totalitarian policy suggestions of this ‘news’ article, but the ‘journalists’ couldn’t be bothered to find even one.

Such complaints about Google and Apple are surprising only to the extent the complainants haven’t suggested we each be assigned a personal tracking drone.

If the Weimar Republic had invented the WaPo preferred app in 1918 to track Spanish flu, Mengele would have inherited it. You could imagine he’s the culmination of the petty tyrant public health officials WaPo reporters seek out in order to write stories bashing private enterprises still devoting at least lip service to individuals and to freedom.

Apple and Google are building a virus-tracking system. Health officials say it will be practically useless. OK, so don’t use the data individuals choose to send you.

When you let me directly and precisely monitor your every move, I’ll think about letting you monitor mine. Fair’s fair.

Nominee for the 2020 Dagny Taggart Award

An award which will be available to both sexes in future years. If you have a nominee, though, it’s appropriate the first winner be female.

Not All Heroes Wear Capes. Some Wield Scissors.

Ms. Luther didn’t nail the cease and desist order to the courthouse door, she ripped it up.

She has a GoFundMe page that’s doing quite nicely.

Modeling models

Perhaps if transistors hadn’t been invented then running VisiCalc’s descendant, Excel, on a vacuum tube computer would show you the real meaning of global warming…

Let me back up. I want to talk about computer models, starting with some I was running in the early 1970s.

I worked for a company whose business was replacing the mainframe computers of its clients by renting time on much larger ones we ran for the clients. The clients used various forms of telephone connections, primitive by today’s standard. A 57 kilobit leased line would be a high speed example. No network, a point to point serial line.

Anyway, the modeling we did was to simulate what it would cost prospects to use our services. As input we were able to get quite precise data about the number of bytes read & written, lines printed, CPU cycles consumed, hard disk capacity, number of lines of code executed, etc., for all the computing done on the machine we were proposing to replace. We also did this for clients contemplating new applications.

We had a great deal of complexity to deal with, but it was well documented, well known and precisely accurate. We also had incentive to get it right because, profitability. We exhaustively tested each new IBM system software release against our model. We continually verified its assumptions across several different mainframe architectures.

Not only that, but the easy stuff was 80% of the model. Mostly this consisted in sorting things into different sequences required by the programs. With dependable database software, this aspect of computing has mostly faded away. Well, except for those still running 1970s software, like New Jersey. (The comments at that link are interesting, too.)

Sometimes, though, even given all our knowledge, we discovered there were things we didn’t know. Usually, not knowing these things turned out badly.

Like the cost of a CICS transaction… You don’t care what that means, I’ll spare you the details. Short version, one customer had creatively designed a system that made CICS use 5 times the expensive resources our exquisitely constructed model assumed.

Even in a nearly closed system, with highly accurate and detailed information about a mechanistic process, with monetary incentive – we could get the wrong answer. Because of human innovation.

Anyway, we used 80 column punch cards to construct the individual models and then fed them into the mainframe. Punching the wrong hole, or punching it in the wrong place had serious consequences in this tedious process. The output was checked meticulously. Tweaking a parameter meant changing the whole construct, not just one parameter, and another run on the mainframe. It was labor and compute intensive.

A little later, I purchased a personal computer, a TRS80 Model I. I also obtained a copy of one of the most important programs ever created for microcomputers. VisiCalc.

VisiCalc was intoxicating! I could change one cell and watch the effects ripple through the spreadsheet in seconds. The need to be meticulous didn’t go away, but errors were easily and quickly corrected. Assumptions were testable for reasonableness immediately.

What gradually did go away were constraints on believing the output. I watched this happen in a consulting career using such tools (Lotus, Excel) to advise my clients. Despite my decidedly cautionary advice about what we didn’t know we didn’t know, vanishingly few were appropriately skeptical.

“Yes, I am knowledgeable and trustworthy. Yes, that output reflects what you told me. But, neither of us even can know enough.”

This extended introduction brings us to two sets of models now being used to control our lives: Models of the CCP Pandemic (known to the politically correct as COVID-19) consequences and Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (known, until the next terminology rehash, as “Climate Change”).

Differences between my 1970s models and those: I knew much more about vastly fewer model parameters and their limits; had devastatingly superior, proven data; dealt with a non-chaotic system; and had greater personal consequences for inaccuracy.

The main differences between the CCP and CAGW sets of models is that the CCP models are simpler and have a much shorter time scale.

The similarities for the CCP and CAGW sets of models is that they have been wildly wrong and are used to argue for massive government expenditures, limitations on freedoms, and citizen surveillance.

Some are even connecting the two. I can see why.