Some Quick Thoughts On Iran

Looking around the world, there are some potentially interesting ebbs and flows in data in various regions. Interestingly enough, all of them have ties to China. I’m leaving out The Hermit Kingdom, as the black hole that is still semi-operational has a lot to do with internal, and there seems to be some confirmation that it may have indeed been an effort to see who was disloyal and/or who the rest of the world sees as replacing him. In the past, those speculated upon usually met grim fates, remains to be seen what happens this time.

I’m going to start looking at some of these interesting places with odd data by focusing a bit on Iran. The mullahs are hanging on, though it may well be by the fingernails. The economy is shattered, COVID has run rampant, and they have so far not been successful in their effort to force the return of the Hidden Imam.

Many in the West, particularly politicians, fail to grasp how important that last fact is to the mullahs. It is both a case of mores, the cultural blinders we all wear though some seem to never take them off, and of a mindset that equates religion with superstition. For progressive and related belief systems, religion is foolish and something to which only lip service should be paid because it is important to the stupid proles. For them, their mores don’t allow them to consider that the mullahs, and many others, take it very seriously and aren’t simply using religion to gain temporary power.

The fact is, the mullahs and those who support them see the power they now have as temporary. The solution lies in past prophecies that state when the Hidden Imam/13th Imam returns, their power will not only be greater, but permanent as his return will usher in a golden age of a world-wide caliphate. Yes, that’s a simplistic statement of the view, but it is accurate for this discussion.

The Iranian Revolution was not just about Islamism, it was an effort to gain the power needed for a particular sect of Shia to bring about the conditions for the return of the Hidden Imam. It has been a driving force behind all efforts, as the right set of conditions has to be in place for that to happen.

What conditions? There are several, but the key one is, there has to be their version of Armageddon. There has to be a major war that sets the mullahs against all other religions. There is a reason the mullahs refer to the United States as The Great Satan.

They need the war, but also don’t want to lose. If they can be attacked, hold their own or not get wiped off the map immediately, then those conditions will bring the return, and the Imam will lead them to victory despite the odds. Again, I’m simplifying things, but it is accurate for these purposes.

Now, nevermind if they provoke the attack, for any response to anything they do counts as an unprovoked attack. Don’t ask me to explain that, it is twisted but it is how they think. I really wish I had been able to get back from Iraq with some of the artwork related to this that we captured on a raid. It would convey a lot if I still had it.

Thus, we have everything from the Embassy Takeover to the efforts to develop nuclear weapons. It is also the reason for the provocations in the Straights; and, it is the reason for the extensive clandestine network and operations that now span the Middle East, parts of Africa, and even into Asia. $130 billion buys you a lot of clandestine activity…

Ironically enough, there is reason for me to believe that COVID came into Iran not by an innocent merchant, but through that clandestine network. Without going into some details, consider a hypothetical.

You are working on nuclear and other weapons, but have been having a rough go of it. Your rockets don’t work reliably and don’t perform as advertised. Your nuclear program has been thwarted, or seriously delayed, by actions from Israel and the United States. Your population is restless, and quite a few of your non-covert operations have ended badly. You need help, and help from an almost neighbor on the nuclear part has, to some extent, dried up. What do you do? Where can you go for help on all the technical and production issues?

Where indeed. Wouldn’t it be very ironic if you had people in for meetings and more in a country where a major epidemic has broken out? And wouldn’t it be even more ironic if your (semi) clandestine air flights brought back more than your people and items?

Is there reason to believe that this could have happened? Yes. Amazing how much info on flights there is out there in the open through sites that track pretty much all flights that leave the ground; and, there is other open-source intelligence as well. Good enough to take to court? No, but interesting none-the-less. Keep in mind that we are limited on humint from China, indeed we have effectively none right now, because the Chinese hacked the allegedly secure server that they were using to communicate with the CIA. They were rolled up and pretty much all are presumed dead at this point.

Now, for fun, look at the spread of COVID-19 from Iran via that same semi-clandestine airline and from covert meetings. As I noted a while back, a good counter-intel type could have a field day with that.

Now, not for fun, look at some sudden improvements to missile and other technology that has come out recently. The largest being that the Iranians just put a satellite into orbit. Why is that important?

First, any rocket that can put a satellite into orbit is by definition an ICBM that can hit almost anywhere in the world. If you start producing large numbers of them, you have a way to deliver nuclear weapons to any target almost anywhere in the world. You are no longer limited the near neighborhood.

Second, you also now have the means to deliver a FOBS strike. The nightmare for most of the Cold War was having a nuclear weapon disguised as a satellite launch exploding over the middle of the United States at high altitude. The resulting EMP burst would disrupt or destroy the electrical grid, most civilian electronics, more military electronics than anyone still wants to admit, wipe computer records even as it destroys the computers. With communications, command, and control severely damaged or destroyed, a first strike would be devastating.

Now, think about how much damage such a strike could do in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Now, spend a moment thinking about how much more our world depends on advanced electronics, communications, and computing power for everything from our phones and cars to financial markets. Computers run a good bit of our manufacturing, logistics, and even farm operations. Not sure there is a good word other than devastating, but also feel it needs to be taken up a few orders of magnitude.

You want to kick off Armageddon and cripple your enemy with the first blow? FOBS will do it. Provoke an incident in the Straights (or elsewhere), get hit, and retaliate for the unprovoked attack by the Great Satan in a way that could put us back several hundred years in one blow. And, in the process, set the conditions for the return of the Hidden Imam.

What could China gain from helping Iran? Keep in mind, they declared a People’s War against us more than a year ago. If you clandestinely help an enemy of your enemy, surely you can’t be directly blamed for what they do with suddenly improved tech in several sectors.

How likely are the two paragraphs above? They are not improbable. In fact, on some levels they make almost too much sense. Is this what is going on? That remains to be seen. Right now, there is just some strange ebbs and flows in locations on the moving picture of the world. It remains to be seen what happens, but it needs to be watched.

Moroccan Stew

I’ve bought a pressure canner to do some canning this summer, and one of the things I want to can are what I call complete meals. That is, they have everything in them for a complete meal. I’ve also been wanting to play around with some spice mixes that came my way: berbere and Ras El Hanout.

Berbere is Ethiopian and there are possibly thousands of variations. The one I got is not as hot as some, but does pack some nice warmth if not heat on top of some interesting flavors. Ras El Hanout is a Moroccan spice blend (though an Algerian-born acquaintance swears it is Algerian). It has a little bit of warmth to it, and some amazing and exotic (to American palates) flavors.

I’d experimented a small bit with them, when the idea of doing a stew popped into my head. Thus, I did a trial run this weekend and have very much enjoyed the results.

I started by cutting chicken thighs up into cubes, coating them with olive oil, then hitting them with salt, pepper, and a healthy dose of the berbere mix. They went on skewers and into my smoker at 350 degrees to roast.

While that was going on, I diced up a yellow onion and began sweating it in the pot. Once it got where I wanted it (translucent for the most part, bit of caramelization), I added in dice portobello mushrooms, diced zucchini, and diced fire-roasted tomatoes. I then added salt, pepper, and several tablespoons of the Ras El Hanout mix.

Most of the chicken then came off the skewers and into the pot. No, not all of it as I did some quality control, in fact a bit more than normal as it was very, very good. Once in, I let it simmer for a while.

I had it for dinner last night, and it was delicious. Rich, full of flavor, and a decent amount of heat that helped the other flavors pop without being too hot if I share any of it. Three containers (potentially up to six single servings) in the freezer.

The only thing I think I would do differently is to add crushed/minced garlic to the onion as it was sweating. The garlic should work well with both spice blends, and add a bit more depth to an already rich dish.

For now I’m calling it Moroccan stew, but since it is a blend of Moroccan and Ethiopian, need to come up with a better name. Maybe next time inspiration will strike with a name to go with the recipe.

My Personal Decoupling From China

Like many, I’ve made the decision to decouple from China. I’ve avoided food products, human and pet, for years given the plasticized pooches and what a scientist who tested such products told me they had found in almost everything.

The fact is, taking it to the level I want to is not going to be easy. The variety of products, from cooking utensils to electronics, produced in China is staggering. Some of what I’ve done recently is do some research window shopping. Many/most of the cooking utensils and household goods in the kitchen section of the brand-name grocery store come from China. Almost all the linens and related items at one big box store come in whole or in part from China. I was glad to find out that the rival big box store features linens and related from India.

I’ve also discovered that either made in China or made with materials from China can be hard to determine. In fact, where such a label is required, there is no requirement that it be easy to find. Some seem to take great delight in trying to make that as hard as possible.

Finally, the fact is that if you have to buy electronics right now, pretty much everything comes in whole or in majority from China. This will change, but for now, if you want to avoid Chinese products, it will be hard.

Hard, however, is not impossible. I know I really need to upgrade my phone, so I’ve made the decision to buy a used phone. This way, the money does not go to any multinational corporation, but a locally-owned small business (already have one in mind). Barring misfortune, I wait another year or two to upgrade my laptop; but, if not, used.

If enough people do the same, and also let the major computer/electronics businesses know what we are doing and why, they will get the hint. Some are already looking to at least move assembly to other countries around the world, and it’s a start. Bet it accelerates if new products stall and the used market booms.

For everything else, I’m doing my best not to buy Chinese. In fact, what I am doing is buying products made in Taiwan as often as I can. It’s a way to support them, and hopefully expand their market here. Again, one person won’t make that much difference, but if enough people start doing it and letting retailers know that we won’t buy Chinese but will buy Taiwanese…

The only way I plan to buy anything from China is if it is an emergency (can’t live/work without said products) and there is no other source. I will pay more to not buy Chinese at need. Note the parenthetical phrase — emergency, not inconvenience.

Yes, I know that for now I will end up having to buy some things from China, simply because there is no other source for some things. But, I will keep it to a minimum and push for retailers and others to find other sources.

Again, if enough of us do it…

Ending the COVID-19 Updates

I’ve made the call to stop the updates. Right now, the numbers are meaningless, unreliable, and being used to stoke panic and push agendas. To compare the number of deaths to that of a war is both odious and deceitful, not to mention meaningless as we lose around this number to the flu (and we have lost far less than common accidents take out each day).

With the death numbers highly suspect, and the number of cases on a world-wide basis also highly suspect because a number of countries are believed to be significantly underreporting both cases and deaths (cough, China, cough). Essentially giving a bonus to hospitals/others for declaring a death as being from COVID-19, even if the person was not tested for the disease, has made U.S. death figures meaningless.

The repeated manipulation of the numbers by the mainstream media and certain politicians out to score points, does nothing good. It creates panic, and it creates opportunities for the unscrupulous. It does nothing to advance rational discussion or the marketplace of ideas.

I will continue to post links to interesting papers and articles, so that they can be discussed and at least some rational discussion can be put forth into the debate.

Frankly, I find it interesting that for all we have learned about COVID-19, we still don’t know that much. We actually still don’t know how it kills; rather, we have seen many patients die of cytokine storms when it provokes the body to attack itself, and an interesting group of younger victims who have had strokes as a result of infection. Beyond that, there is evidence that it interferes with hemoglobin and oxygen saturation on some level. But, we still don’t know exactly how and why it kills.

The origins do very much matter, as it is interesting, fascinating even, on a biomolecular structural level. How it mutates, and how fast it mutates, is going to make a huge difference in how it interacts with us both later this year and the years to come. There are a lot of questions about it’s structure and how it came to be that need answers, answers that can only come with time and proper study.

While I repeat what I’ve said all along, that whatever it is it is NOT an end-stage (finished) bioweapon. That said, you could not ask for much more out of a bioweapon, esp. one designed to take out a nation for a period of time rather kill everyone (economic versus destruction). The spread rate is far higher than our so-called experts believed at the start. It is transmissible when those infected are asymptomatic and many who have it remain asymptomatic. It is transmissible through multiple vectors, and no we still don’t know all of what and how their either. There are a number of other oddities and issues, but the fact remains that for all it is NOT an end-stage bioweapon is has certainly functioned as one on several levels.

By now, if you don’t know the basics, don’t know how to wash your hands, put on and use gloves and masks, and other aspects of dealing with this, not much can be done for you. So, there is no need to keep repeating the basics.

From now on, I intend to write about the interesting articles, and to do separate commentary on the political and economic aspects. For all that there is some connection between the two, the politics have started driving things well beyond the science.

For those of you who have regularly read and enjoyed my updates, my thanks. I hope you enjoy the articles to come.

Yet More From Our Expert Class

First it was masks. Now, it is gloves. This from Dr. Lindsey Weaver, Chief Medical Officer for the Indiana Dept. of Health. Her basic rational?

You are too stupid to wear them correctly, and it is just easier to tell you not to wear them rather than to tell you how to wear them to get maximum safety. Gee, after all you proles are too ignorant to be shown how to put them on, to wash or use sanitizer on them on a regular basis, and to change them safely on a regular basis as well.

This is the same arrogance we saw on masks, and possibly for much the same reason (supply). This from our so-called elite class who as a class have yet to get it right at the start so far. Some still are not getting it right…

Grrrr. The condescending tone just really iced the cake as it were.

Some Quick Thoughts On The Hermit Kingdom

A few weeks ago, North Korea went dark. Not a loss of power, but a loss of signal if you will. This happens periodically, as they deal with internal matters or assess how some of their shenanigans are playing in the rest of the world (or have had it firmly suggested by the Chinese that they stop whatever it was that they were doing). They have never been a major focus for me, so I generally note it and move on.

However, there are times they do this and become a black hole. It’s not just a loss of signal, it’s a cessation of activities out in the world as well as a total lockdown of information on an internal basis as well. A few times this has been done, I suspect, to see who gets speculated upon as a replacement for the current Kim in charge. Funny how often those mentioned in the media during those times have accidents, disappear, go into exile, or are flat out killed later.

The other times, well, those are interesting. It usually means that there is a major power struggle underway, either for leadership or to change policy. What comes out after is rarely a cause for celebration elsewhere.

One possibility of what is going on is here. It is an interesting take, and a bit different from anything I’ve come across.

For now, I trust South Korean intelligence reports a heck of a lot more than I trust the mainstream media, and they say Kim is alive. My own suspicion is that there is a major policy struggle underway, and those often enough include struggles for power and to remain in power. If it is about a successor to Kim, there are few good options I see.

We will learn soon enough.

Paleo Pancakes

So I don’t lose it, here’s my current recipe for paleo pancakes.

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup packed almond flour
  • 2/3 cup arrowroot flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T honey
  • 2 t apple cider vinegar
  • water
  • coconut oil
  • Options: almond extract, vanilla, nuts, cinnamon, ground clove, ground nutmeg

In a bowl, beat the 8 eggs until well blended. Then add honey, any extracts or spices or nuts, salt, and the baking soda and beat until thoroughly mixed. Then, add the almond flour and beat until smooth. Then add the arrowroot and beat until the mixture is smooth. Then add the coconut flour and repeat. Add water to get the desired consistency.

Cook in a skillet on the stove in coconut oil. Makes 10-12 pancakes.

Enjoy.

Restoring America’s Interest Act

Something a bit different for a Saturday. A week or two ago, some of us kicked around some ideas, which led to this post. As a step forward, I took the time this morning to do a rough draft of legislation to start some of those suggestions. Here it is:

An Act 

To expedite the return of critical American research, development, and production to the United States so as to provide for increased national security and to provide opportunities to expand the American economy. 

Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. 

This Act may be cited as the Restoring America’s Interest Act of 2020. 

SEC. 2. FINDING. 

Congress finds that —

(1) it is in the national security interest of the the United States to ensure that American industry can provide a wide variety of products, goods, and services readily and without impediment of production, transportation, or quality; and

(2) it is in the national security interest of the United States to ensure that critical products, technology, research, and development are not subject to state-sponsored or commercial espionage, or to acts designed to interfere with research, development, production, or distribution; and

(3) it is in the national security interest of the United States to ensure that tax revenues are not used to directly or indirectly provide resources and opportunities for other nations, groups, or other entities to conduct direct or indirect espionage or to have means to cause damage to the United States by having control of critical products, services, and operations. 

(4) it is in the national security interest of the United States to reduce the regulatory burden on industry in order to both facilitate relocation of all phases of industry to the United States and to ensure that needless and unnecessarily complex regulations prevent effective response to future emergencies

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS 

TBD

SEC. 4.  MEASURES TO PROVIDE FOR RESTORING AMERICA’S INTEREST

(a) In conjunction with inputs from industry and relevant government agencies, a series of tax incentives will be developed for companies, sole-proprietors, or other businesses that

(1) move to return mining, harvesting, and other actions to produce needed industrial and agricultural products, materials, or other components needed as precursors for industrial and agricultural operations to the United States; and 

(2) move to return research, development, production, and logistic operations to the United States. 

(b) that same panel will also develop a series of tax incentives will be developed for companies, sole-proprietors, or other businesses who are unable to return such operations to the United States for reasons of regulation, scarcity of resources or raw materials, or other physical limitation that

(1) move mining, harvesting, and other actions to produce needed industrial and agricultural products, materials, or other components needed as precursors for industrial and agricultural operations to countries or locations within specially designated trade zones outside the United States; and 

(2) move research, development, production, and logistic operations to countries or locations within specially designated trade zones outside the United States. 

(c) A working group will be established to include members from the Executive Branch, appropriate government agencies, industry, and others as needed to 

(1) to create these special trade zones comprised of countries who have shown commitment to free and fair trade; open, transparent, and representative government; fair treatment of the United States and its Citizens in all areas; and, who are otherwise committed to improving the quality of life for its Citizens; and

(2) for purposes of this act, transparent and representative governments can and should include constitutional monarchies and other forms of government that provide for a truly representative government; and

(3) for purposes of this act, the zones must exclude all communistic governments, oligarchies, and other other one person, one party, or similar rule; and 

(4) for purposes of this act, Taiwan should be recognized as an independent entity and included in an appropriate zone.

(d) Any business entity taking part in the incentives provided may not purchase, trade for, or otherwise use equipment, technology, or other products from any company in any country specifically excluded from the trade development zones

(1) such companies may apply for an exemption for raw materials unavailable anywhere else. 

(e) no agency of government may expend any resources on raw materials, products, services, or other goods from any country specifically excluded from the special trade zones; nor may they use products, services or goods of any type from such companies even if provided at no cost

(1) agencies can apply for exemption if there is no other source for the raw materials, products, services, or goods of any type, with that exemption requiring review and a formal vote by the National Security Council after review by appropriate security agencies. 

(f) the ownership of companies or other business entities performing critical operations within the United States may no longer include ownership by foreign governments directly, indirectly through companies owned in whole or in part by those foreign governments, or by others acting as agents for those governments if those governments are specifically excluded from participation in the special free trade zones

(1) for purposes of this law, such companies include those doing port operations of any type, airport operations of any type, logistics operations, research and development of any type, and other operations as determined by the appropriate government agencies; and

(2) the Department of Justice is to review all previous purchases by such companies or operations as outlined above to determine legality and to review for anti-trust and similar issues.

(g)  outdated and needlessly complex regulations and standards having hampered or prevented effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and, such outdated, needless, and ineffective regulations serving to prevent both the full mobilization of the private sector and preventing the return of operations from overseas, an appropriate series of working groups will be developed to review all current regulations and related operations so as to allow the Executive Branch and Congress to eliminate unneeded and/or outdated regulations, update regulations and processes current levels of technology, and reduce the regulator burden on industry by executive action or the passage of new legislation as needed

(1) all such working groups must include independent and small business representatives from the field in question, and representatives from industry shall have one more individual representative than those from government; and 

(2) the agency who’s regulations are being reviewed may only have one representative in the working group, though other agencies may have representation if such expertise is required

(3) academia is limited to one representative in the working group 

COVID-19 17Apr20

Beyond the guidelines on ending this flippin lockdown, there is a fair bit of news and even some good news. Let’s start with the good news.

First, the clinical trial of Remdesivir, from Gilead, has proven successful. You can read more here.

Second, a trial of Pluristem Theraputics, Inc.’s allogenic placental expanded (PLX) cells is now underway in the U.S. Seven patients at high risk of death in Israel were treated with it, and all survived. It is worth noting that the treatment may suppress or reverse the over-activation of the immune system that appears to be the cause of death in a number of victims.

While the study is from China (trust nothing, verify the everliving out of it), it is safe to go outside and stay there. You are far more likely to get it, and for multiple infections to occur if you are inside. I will echo a number of others who said ‘No duh, closing parks, beaches, etc. was fracking stupid’ and I will add that it was done by power hungry fascists who need to be removed from office ASAP.

In potentially good news, the CDC is looking at the universal testing results from a men’s shelter in Boston. A small number of positives led to the decision to do a universal test, which resulted in 146 of 397 people tested being confirmed as infected — and none of the 146 were symptomatic. Seriously, go read this as it turns a lot of the CDC/NIAIC/Etc. assumptions on their head. False assumptions lead to bad guidelines and operations. Correcting that is imperative, for both biomedical and political reasons.

In more neutral news, it appears that obesity may significantly increase your chance of becoming severely ill with COVID-19, particularly in younger to middle-aged people. I will be interested in watching to see what linkage this has with the reports that glucose metabolism (and diabetes) may play an important part in that over-stimulation of the immune system (cytokine storms) mentioned earlier. Certain types of diabetes are often linked to obesity. If COVID-19 and certain flus are indeed causing deaths by cytokine storms, understanding the mechanism is crucial to countering.

Again, it will be at least a year before we have the data and answers we need. A lot of good research has begun, and preliminary studies are not only helping shape treatment (and response), but are identifying and refining areas of future research and development. May I highly suggest not trusting media reports on the research: it is often flat out (deliberately in some cases) wrong, as I pointed out yesterday. Go to the papers, read the abstract, and on short papers take the time to read the entire publication. It is well worth the time.

I will also say that the continued war on Hydroxychloroquin is disgusting at best. The people behind this, and who actively push it, are doing a tremendous disservice and frankly should be held accountable for it. They would literally, not figuratively, rather people die than to admit that it has been shown to be effective in a number of cases. They continue to ignore as much as possible that an American study, the results of which were presented to the CDC in 2005 (link in previous updates), showed that it was effective against ALL covids. This active bit of stupidity needs to have legal consequences, as well as social.

In conclusion, don’t let the MSM wind you up or be your main source of info. When it comes to false information, they lead the pack.

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.

If my posts are enjoyable, helpful, or otherwise a benefit, please consider hitting the tip jar. Any help is very much appreciated, especially as I’ve been off work without pay since 27 Mar.


•My Amazon Wishlist

As always:

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? NOHELL 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)

New England Journal of Medicine

Additional link to Johns Hopkins

More to come

Local Independent Businesses That Need Your Support

Oaken Barrel (Twitter at @OakenBarrel)

Shapiros

Greek Islands

Bynum’s Steak House

Schoolhouse 7 Cafe

WIBC’s list of local

More to come

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

COVID-19 16Apr20

COVID-19 10Apr20

COVID-19 9Apr20

COVID-19 8Apr20

COVID-19 6Apr20

COVID-19 5Apr20

COVID-19 4Apr20

COVID-19 3Apr20

COVID-19 2Apr20

COVID-19 1Apr20

COVID-19 31Mar20

COVID-19 30Mar20

COVID-19 29Mar20

COVID-19 28Mar20

COVID-19 27Mar20

COVID-19 26Mar20

COVID-19 25Mar20

COVID-19 24Mar20

COVID-19 23Mar20

COVID-19 22Mar20

COVID-19 21Mar20

COVID-19 20Mar20

COVID-19 19Mar20

COVID-19 18Mar20

COVID-19 17Mar20

COVID-19 16Mar20

COVID-19 15Mar20

COVID-19 14Mar20

COVID-19 13Mar20 The Game Of Loads And Vectors Gets Real For America

COVID-19 12Mar20

COVID-19 11Mar20

COVID-19 10Mar20

COVID-19 9Mar20 The Game Of Loads And Vectors

COVID-19 8Mar20

Heh

COVID-19 7Mar20 How To Do It Right If You Have/Have Been Exposed To COVID-19

COVID-19 6Mar20

COVID-19 5Mar20

COVID-19 4Mar20

COVID-19 3Mar20

COVID-19 What Am I Doing?

COVID-19 2Mar20

COVID-19 1Mar20

COVID-19 29Feb20

Quick Additional Thoughts On The Bureaucracy

Panic Is Off And Running

COVID-19 28Feb20 Reasons To Hope, Reasons To Fear

COVID-19 A Plea To The Politicians (And Media)

COVID-19 27Feb20

COVID-19 Breaking A Chain?

COVID-19 26Feb20

COVID19 The Situation In China Gets Even Weirder

COVID19 25Feb20

COVID19 24Feb20 Raising DEFCON

COVID19 23Feb20

COVID19 22Feb20

COVID19 21Feb20: Just Look At The Blooms Dear

COVID19 Update 20Feb20

COVID19 Update

Update & Quick Thoughts On Preparedness

Expansion On A Theme

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness

COVID-19 16Apr20

Yes, I took a few days off. First, most of the news on COVID-19, aka Winnie the Flu/Xi Flu/Chinese Flu/etc., was political in nature rather than science based. Second, a lot of the more learned discussion had to do with models, and much of the really good discussions on that would be “inside baseball” to most people. Short version remains, however, that the prime model used for policy is seriously flawed and even with corrections is not yet close to reality. Until it is, it should not be used for policy decisions in my opinion. Third, I needed a break and got some other things done.

Before I get to the main topic for today, two quick notes. It is good to see that what was previously taboo is now going mainstream. Back two months ago, if you talked about the safety problems at both labs in Wuhan and even appeared to entertain the idea it could have been a lab accident, you were guilty of spreading false information and could be deplatformed. I’m glad several of us did, and even more glad to see some more open discussion of those problems and the possibility this started in a lab.

This article asks another taboo question that needs full and honest discussion. Given that the Chinese economy is brittle and was already in trouble; and, that Xi seized the opportunity to expand monitoring even as troublesome people were disappeared and various cleansings expanded, it is not outside the realm of possibility that Xi decided to level the world economic field a bit and make the most of it.

The main topic for today, however, is a study being breathlessly touted in the media for saying it is futile to develop a vaccine (and with some other slams). No, no it does not say that vaccine research is futile. Not unless you selectively edit the quote.

“Based on the close relationship of SARS-CoV-2 to SARS, current vaccine and drug development for SARS-CoV-2 has also focused on the S protein and its human binding receptor ACE2 (7, 24). Thus, the observation in this study raised the alarm that SARS290 CoV-2 mutation with varied epitope profile could arise at any time, which means current vaccine development against SARS-CoV-2 is at great risk of becoming futile. “

Let’s break this down and take on some of the media talking points.

Point 1: Until it is peer reviewed, and other studies confirm (or refute) it’s findings, I don’t trust it. Number of reasons, including that early studies can be like early reporting: full of errors and sensationalism.

Point 2: A finding of the study is that a mutation of COVID-19 has been found in India. That mutation, if you go to line 282 in the paper, actually makes that version less infectious as it reduces the ability to bind to ACE2 receptors. Did you get that? The mutation is less infectious, not more.

Point 3: Unlike some other covids and other viruses, the rate of mutation in COVID-19 is slow. If you go to line 229, this paper confirms that and even goes so far as to note “A relatively stable genome of SARS-CoV-2 is a good indication for the epidemic control, as less mutation raises the hope of the rapid development of validate vaccine and antiviral drugs.” Hardly the breathless gloom and doom implied by various headlines and discussion.

Point 4: Going back to the discussion above, changes in the S protein may make vaccine development targeted to that protein (and the related ACE2 binding) futile. Not all vaccines, just that target.

There are some other interesting points in the paper, but again it has to be taken with caution for now. As other studies replicate or provide information, a better assessment can be made.

As I discussed in a previous update that discussed structure-based drug design, viruses mutate. It’s a given. Some mutate slowly, some like an ADD squirrel in a field of nuts. Some mutations make the virus easier to catch, some make it more deadly, others can change receptors, symptoms, and more.

The fact is, however, that quite a few of those mutations are evolutionary dead-ends. Too deadly, and people die before they can transmit it. Less infectious (as seems to be the case discussed here), again, it is a strain that could die out well before others.

The key to vaccine development for fast mutations is to find targets that don’t change, because when those change that strain dies out. There are always such targets, the trick is finding them and finding ways to target them.

In conclusion, don’t let the MSM wind you up or be your main source of info. When it comes to false information, they lead the pack.

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.

If my posts are enjoyable, helpful, or otherwise a benefit, please consider hitting the tip jar. Any help is very much appreciated, especially as I’ve been off work without pay since 27 Mar.


•My Amazon Wishlist

As always:

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? NOHELL 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)

New England Journal of Medicine

Additional link to Johns Hopkins

More to come

Local Independent Businesses That Need Your Support

Oaken Barrel (Twitter at @OakenBarrel)

Shapiros

Greek Islands

Bynum’s Steak House

Schoolhouse 7 Cafe

WIBC’s list of local

More to come

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

COVID-19 10Apr20

COVID-19 9Apr20

COVID-19 8Apr20

COVID-19 6Apr20

COVID-19 5Apr20

COVID-19 4Apr20

COVID-19 3Apr20

COVID-19 2Apr20

COVID-19 1Apr20

COVID-19 31Mar20

COVID-19 30Mar20

COVID-19 29Mar20

COVID-19 28Mar20

COVID-19 27Mar20

COVID-19 26Mar20

COVID-19 25Mar20

COVID-19 24Mar20

COVID-19 23Mar20

COVID-19 22Mar20

COVID-19 21Mar20

COVID-19 20Mar20

COVID-19 19Mar20

COVID-19 18Mar20

COVID-19 17Mar20

COVID-19 16Mar20

COVID-19 15Mar20

COVID-19 14Mar20

COVID-19 13Mar20 The Game Of Loads And Vectors Gets Real For America

COVID-19 12Mar20

COVID-19 11Mar20

COVID-19 10Mar20

COVID-19 9Mar20 The Game Of Loads And Vectors

COVID-19 8Mar20

Heh

COVID-19 7Mar20 How To Do It Right If You Have/Have Been Exposed To COVID-19

COVID-19 6Mar20

COVID-19 5Mar20

COVID-19 4Mar20

COVID-19 3Mar20

COVID-19 What Am I Doing?

COVID-19 2Mar20

COVID-19 1Mar20

COVID-19 29Feb20

Quick Additional Thoughts On The Bureaucracy

Panic Is Off And Running

COVID-19 28Feb20 Reasons To Hope, Reasons To Fear

COVID-19 A Plea To The Politicians (And Media)

COVID-19 27Feb20

COVID-19 Breaking A Chain?

COVID-19 26Feb20

COVID19 The Situation In China Gets Even Weirder

COVID19 25Feb20

COVID19 24Feb20 Raising DEFCON

COVID19 23Feb20

COVID19 22Feb20

COVID19 21Feb20: Just Look At The Blooms Dear

COVID19 Update 20Feb20

COVID19 Update

Update & Quick Thoughts On Preparedness

Expansion On A Theme

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness