What do CAGW and CCP virus have in common?

Models. Models built by sinecured credentialists for careerist advantage; enabling anti-human busybodies, corporate elites and autocratic politicians to demand policies commanding the lives of ordinary people.

That both sets of models, and the ensuing policies, have been failures is not a coincidence. Neither is the refusal of the busybodies, elites, or politicians to apply the policies to themselves.

For example, flying from their mansions to environmental conferences in private jets and ignoring social distancing in BLM marches.

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.

Stop it!

Harvard researchers say social distancing may be needed into 2022
Detailed models suggest the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could resurge as late as 2024.

The worst secondary effect of the CCP virus pandemic is the press coverage. CNET should be ashamed and so should Harvard. The idea that CCP virus will come back is intuitively obvious, but the article hawks it as unexpected.

A couple of snippets that tell you the model and the article were unnecessary:

[S]ome social distancing methods, like avoiding hugs and handshakes, could persist beyond the end of the pandemic

“The authors are aware that prolonged distancing, even if intermittent, is likely to have profoundly negative economic, social and educational consequences,”

Maintaining ‘no hugs nor handshakes’ would surprise precisely no one as a natural public response.

This behavior will not be intermittent, it’s going to be a fact of life, like more hand-washing. The lack of “hugs and handshakes” will not have “profound” effects. If they’d mentioned the six feet distancing rule, they might have made a case for “irritating effects.”

Harvard bases this on a “detailed model.” OOOh! Models. Harvard. Scientists. Changes in public behavior after a world historical pandemic. Run!

The CCP virus modeling has been wildly wrong – as bad as CAGW models. They specify 2024. Because putting a number on it makes the model seem more precise and insightful, but it is a WAG generated by a spreadsheet. Why not 2028 and 2035? People wouldn’t worry so much, and wouldn’t click on it.

A 2024 resurgence would be tempered by a vaccine, likely by effective drug treatment, likely (and sadly) acceptance of cell-phone-based contact tracing apps by those who care nothing for privacy, and by handy, 5 minute, inexpensive self-testing kits available at CVS and Walmart. If the FDA gets out of the way.

I question whether they factored those changes into their model. If they did, I’d call BS on the values they used.

To help determine the way forward, the researchers say a better understanding of immunity to the virus is key, as is epidemiological surveillance of the disease, which can be done through widespread testing and contact tracing.

They had to have a model to reach that insipid conclusion? While admitting the key element of their model, immunity, is not understood?

A plea for funding, and a quest for clicks.