Rather than get into all of the sturm un drang of the ongoing wars over data, who is counted as a casualty, and other fun stuff, I’m increasingly reminded of something that happened many years ago with another computer model. It brought home to me that models are only as good as the assumptions and data that go in, and on the competence of the person or persons developing the model.
Back in a galaxy far, far, away — wait, wrong intro. Back in the bad old days of Ronald Maximus Reagan, the left was in full fury (nothing’s changed, has it?) railing against him and his efforts to restore our military. Some scientists did a study, and created a model, showing that a nuclear exchange (which while possible, was not as probable as they made out) would cause a “nuclear winter.” A new, radioactive ice age that would doom the few poor survivors of the exchange. Lot of controversy, lots of distortion of the work, and thankfully lots of push back.
To cut short the timeline a bit, I was talking a few years later with a modeling and simulation expert at Argonne National Labs who worked with their “holo deck” (not the official name, but the highly unofficial one most people used) system. This 3-D imaging system was extremely realistic, and if you were in it on one particular scenario, they reminded you that if you started to feel motion sick, close your eyes — yes, it was that realistic. It was also amusing to watch a group inside it all swaying in unison as it was running…
We got to talking models, and the nuclear winter model came up. Seems that the original model was flawed, to put it mildly. In effect, the original model only had three dimensions (IIRC). The atmosphere was treated as a single mass; the earth was treated as a single mass; and, the nuclear explosions were effectively treated as one event. Not terribly realistic, and not even the weather models of the day were that simplistic.
According to the scientist I was talking with, to start getting realistic results you had to break the atmosphere into (at least) 15 different layers, which means at least 15 more dimensions to the model. By the time that was done and other sections brought up to something approaching reality, nuclear winter became, at worst, nuclear autumn. Not saying a nuclear exchange would be a good thing, but it would not result in the catastrophic weather changes the study touted.
More and more, as we deal with the various models, I’m reminded of the nuclear winter model. When you try to simplify things, or assume that something is simple, you are going to have problems. I wonder what a post-mortem of the models will show, and if this might not be a factor. We will see.
Since the media isn’t going to say it, once again, COVID-19 is not Capt. Tripps. It is not the flu or a cold. Chill, distance, and use good hygiene. STOP THE PANIC!
Also, a reminder once again: if you are sick or think you are sick, DO NOT GO TO WORK OR TO VISIT PEOPLE. Stay the frack home. Don’t be Stupid, go to work/out, and insist on getting up close and personal to everyone you meet. Yes, Stupid is capitalized as I work with Stupid, who did just that. Don’t be Stupid.
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If you suspect you have COVID-19 or have been exposed: call your state health department and work with them so that you can be dealt with in a way that minimizes the chance of spreading the virus to those helping you and to the general public. Can’t get them? Call your local department or see if your health service has online/telemedicine screening set up; or see if one who has will let you use it even if you are not in their network. Do not go out in public, and don’t go to an ER or other facility without calling ahead. Be smart.
Use the interactive graphic to keep track of things. Is COVID19 an epidemic? Yes. Is it a Pandemic? Yes. Is there need for panic? NO. HELL NO. Should you be paying attention? Yes. Hell yes. Should you be preparing? Yes, better late than never. And good luck finding/getting stuff.
Want to avoid catching COVID19 here in the U.S.? Wash your flippin hands frequently, wash them thoroughly every time you use the bathroom, then follow with hand sanitizer after every washing, use hand sanitizer liberally when you can’t wash on a regular basis. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, and stay away from those who don’t. Also, keep your bugger hooks out of/away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. Do NOT shake hands with anyone, and avoid touching or being touched by strangers. Or your strange friends.
Avoid travel if at all possible. If you have to travel, or go out for any reason, use lots of hand sanitizer and go to full flu protocols. If you have to use a public restroom, take full precautions including using paper towels and such to handle faucets, doors,etc. Believe it or not, this was highly recommended before now, and major grocery chains have long told employees to use those practices to avoid getting or spreading colds, flu, etc. Not many actually do it, but…
If you own a business, make sure your employees know the above protocols. Have someone who refuses to wash their hands or otherwise follow the protocols? Talk to them, write them up, and if necessary fire them as they now pose a risk of infection to you and your customers. Extreme? Yes, but while the CDC and others are working to slow it down, odds are it is already here and could hit hard and fast. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
I want to reiterate that there is no need for panic, but there is a strong need to be alert, be informed, and be prepared.
Good Sources Of Information On COVID-19
Instapundit (no longer doing roundups, but great articles from Glenn and his team)
South China Morning Post (decent, some salt may be needed)
Business Insider (decent, even if they did fall for some lies about Trump)
More to come
Local Independent Businesses That Need Your Support
More to come
Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles: