How to deal with the aftermath
Published on August 20, 2014 By Phil Osborn In Current Events on www.joeuser.com
February 28th, 2016
In the wake of the near panic over Zika, a few voices have noted that dengue and several other deadly viruses are carried by the same group of people-loving mosquitos, species that have hitched rides to new locales, such as the southern U.S. and now Hawaii. Much off the radar are the millions worldwide who suffer devastating illnesses and death at the "hands" of a tiny minority of mosquitos who have that taste for human blood. We have the means to eradicate these pests, permanently, and implementation is apparently being held up by fear of being persecuted or prosecuted by eco-radicals who by their own tacit admission are well aware that no convincing case for preserving these species can be made - unless you simply think, as some do, that humanity is inherently evil and should be eliminated... Some people do think that way.
How many millions will be made ill or will die while the research community sits on the solution, apparently waiting for clearance from the eco radicals, whose status is now doubtless supercharged due to being taken seriously, in an argument that does not really even address the actual dangers, but argues procedurally that new and eco-hazardous precedents are needed - which is likely the actual reality, ironically.
July 31st, 2015
Looks like we got lucky - again. As in the vaccine, news just out. 100% effective in clinical trials.
Wonder if IS is quick enough on the uptake to handle this, or will they screw it up as with polio? I.e., executing health workers for spreading those Satanic vaccines. Or perhaps this is just so over the top that even IS would be embarrassed...
IS is using some very clever recruitment techniques that amount to mind-control. Not that other religions and various political groups don't use the same techniques. Like the one about how much a certain deity - several, come to think of it - will torture you forever if you don't love him. To a rational person, such a demand is ludicrous. What kind of god would make such an immoral threat? Love is not something that one calls up on a threat. PRETENCE of love, on the other hand. So God wants you to lie to him? But then you have to deal with the self-image thing, as in cognitive dissonance. We have a label for entities of this sort, who demand adherence and pretense, any form of power. We call them sociopaths.
So, IS is using torture and beheadings as that same entry drug. Just like the gangs who demand that the wannabe commit some serious violent crime against some innocent bystander, something that is impossible to undo. So then your options are suicide or buy-in. See my blog on hypnosis for some further connections and mind-control links.
July 30th, 2015
WHO is now recruiting for a number of vacancies as surge capacity for the Ebola outbreak. They are all grouped under “Ebola outbreak” in the vacancies listed below... http://www.who.int/employment/vacancies/en/
What do they know? The outbreak is now back to the starting gate in terms of numbers, and, while much more medical and social response capability is on line now, there is this pesky latent infection thing going on, and the already weak nations and regions were slammed by the costs of the original outbreak, so maybe WHO recognizes that we could very easily have another sudden explosion of cases. This time, let's prepare and put enough resources on line.
July 20, 2015
It's still going. Many current new infections seem to be sourced to previous victims who appeared healthy but who are now known to often carry the virus and be capable of infecting others with it, especially thru sexual intercourse. This really does seem to very possibly indicate the need for a quarantine, similar to the old lepers' colonies. Otherwise, viral lines that contain genes for hiding - perhaps specific to particular human genotypes, biomes or epigenetics - could lurk and spread silently and secretly, building a reservoir that might suddenly take off, like a smoldering fire hidden in roots.
May 24, 2015
Guinea reports an uptick of 27 cases this pass week. Another artifact of "culture," the problem appears to be families shipping bodies dressed up and appearing to be asleep in taxis and buses, to get them to their funeral. "Consider it a case of evolution in action."
May 17, 2015
News this past week as to eye infections due to ebola virus in "cured" patients.
Update May 2, 2015 - Not over yet
This is going to add another threat layer. Patient zero of AIDS boasted about giving his lovers "the gay cancer." What will be the reaction on the ground in Africa to this news? And what about when the man has an impaired immune system, as in common treatments for auto-immune diseases or transplants? The implication is that we probably have men here in the U.S. capable of infecting others with ebola, and possibly suffering a relapse themselves.
Update January 5, 2015
Now we'll see if the truth has any bite left. See also:
As I pointed out several months ago, there are plausible culprits in this scene. No need for conspiracy theory. Just factor in the way that investments have been structured and applied to siphon the cash to the people at the top, while the rest get nothing or less than nothing to live on, and the promised jobs went to foreign labor from Asia. Malnutrition and stress from living day to day impacts the immune system and the brain, leading to unwise decisions formulated out of desperation, such as eating suspect "bush meat." Poverty leaves little in the way of resources to follow good sanitary procedures. Much of the problem was ignorance, as in the practice of handling the dead, which died hard. Only good communications on the grass roots level finally saved the day, and some people, such as the back woods villagers, got left off that loop. Thank you, all the people who put it on the line to defeat what could have been a world catastrophe.
Update Decenber 15, 2015
Sierra Leone illustrates why Liberia has been so successful. It took overcoming the embedded belief curve and removing
the key element of touching the dead to turn the tide. That hasn't happened in the hinterlands of Sierra Leone, where many people are reported to have never even heard of ebola - or most of what we take for granted for that matter.
Meanwhile, various pundits are crowing exultantly over the obvious hype from the WHO and CDC, only months past, assessing it as a mere money making scheme.
This is incorrect. A large portion of why we stopped ebola in its tracks is that very hype that focused huge amounts of attention early enough on to scare people into doing the right things. Where rampant ignorance and lack of the most basic communications prevailed, we are still having problems, just as that model predicts. Information, credibiity, commitment of resources and basic common sense won the day where it really counted, before there were so many cases as to run past any conceivable response.
This illustrates an ongoing problem. The Hans Brinker who puts his finger in the dyke, all too often gets little or no
credit and perhaps even suffers for his effort, as mean-spirited people love to cut heroes down to their own paltry scale. Thank you, "Time," BTW.
Hopefully an unseen, unrealized global catastrophe that we stopped will not be twisted by the running dogs of the press into an example of crying wolf. This wolf is real. Yes, there is AIDS and malaria and the common flu, all of which far exceed the mortality of ebola to date, but that's only because we stopped ebolo just in time. The people who stood up to it and often lost their lives doing so do not deserve to be ranked as purveyors of hype because they succeeded.
We will need their sort again, and what if they are discouraged by an atmosphere of toxic malevolent envy that labels their heroism as mere egoistic show-boating or somehow as a part of a bureaucratic ponzi scheme? And do we really think that doctors would take a high risk of dying a miserable death to help some bureaucratic power grab?
Update December 7, 2014
So nice to have nothing to say, except that the problem is in an unstable holding pattern. At the current rate of growth, IF one of the vacccines work, then we should be able to put this one in the history file. We don't know if any of the vaccines will work. In that case, we are back to slowing down the rate of infection.
Update December 1, 2014
Update November 26, 2014
No response from the CDC. Maybe too close to the holiday? What kind of value judgement does that imply?
Meanwhile, in sharp contrast to Liberia and its success in getting the grass roots cooperation necessary to finally get a handle on the epidemic, we have this attrocity: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/11/26/sierra-leone-ebola-burial-workers-dump-bodies-in-pay-protest/
The above should be a reminder of just how important cultural/political dimensions are to determining a social solution space. Leaving out the moral/economic dimensions related to paying people to literally risk their lives should have been forseen as virtually certain disaster. Solution space null.
The underlying cause is almost certainly the culture of corruption. The money was there, released for payment. Where did it go? Why did the head of the hospital fail to respond when the desperation of the workers was obvious? It's as bad as Katrina, clearly, but with much bigger consequences. How can you expect people to react rationally as members of a culture when the leadership is generally thought to be completely unreliable?
Update November 25, 2014
Last night, I attemped various ways to reach someone at the CDC, with little success. Believe it or not, there is no human being handling public access, such as reporting a possible ebola sighting, except during normal business hours, and, even then, you will likely be told to contact your local physician or ER. This morning, I called them and spoke with a couple of people who could only suggest that I email Media@CDC.gov. Media being this blog... Here's what I sent them tonight, with only an hour to complete the job:
This is important information that could very well save lifes.
My phone # is xxxxxxxxxx. I am a free-lance tech journalist with many
published articles to my credit. I do in-house corporate web design for a
living. My degree was in physics. I have Asperger’s and an IQ just below
genius. I follow scientific and medical news, and I have a very successful blog
which includes extensive coverage of the ebola epidemic from the earliest
My analysis of the epidemic has generally been more timely and accurate than the
CDC, WHO or the media, as I incorporate more dimensions in my analysis, e.g.,
evolutionary biology or the human/ecology interface, or the impact on general
disease resistance of the poverty induced by the corporate neo-colonialists.
Regarding stopping ebola hiccups cold: Note that there is NO universally
accepted cure for hiccups. There has generally not been a huge, driving need,
as hiccupping usually resolves itself within hours. However, now it is reported
that late/terminal stage ebola is typically accompanied by unrelenting hiccupping.
The non-ebola cases of non-stop hiccupping are so rare in general that there is
no universal consensus on treatment. I, however, am one of those rare cases,
and I am reasonably certain that I found a cure some decades ago.
Back in the '80's, I managed to seriously burn my throat with a tablespoon or
so of pure DMSO - for my arthritic knee inflammation. I stupidly thought it
would work to just follow with a water chaser instead of diluting to start
with, but no... Instead, within an hour I started hiccupping, non-stop, as a
result of the chemical burn from the industrial solvent.
None of the remedies that I had used successfully in the past to deal with
occasional hiccups worked to stop it. I was scheduled to go to a conference on
the Queen Mary (Long Beach) that night, and I made it there, a couple hours or
so later, still hiccupping continuously, and my entire abdomen HURT!! by then.
I knew that this could literally kill me, and was getting ready to head for the
nearest ER when I ran across one of the attendees from the San Francisco area,
who told me, ~"Don't worry. Just toke." He handed me a pipe. As I
held the pot smoke in my lungs, the hiccups stopped cold. Half an hour later,
they came back. So I took another toke. They didn't come back again.
Why is this important? Because the hiccups alone can kill you within hours, if your
health is already compromised. Someone who is already exhausted and is on the
verge of general systems collapse does NOT need an aggravating factor thrown
in. A simple cure - pot - could save lives right now, today, this hour. And I
haven't smoked pot in a LONG time, so this is not some stoner rave. For good
socio/legal/economic reasons, I rarely discussed this over the many years. Now
it is important, because it could very well save lives.
If you google a bit, you will find that there is much other anecdotal evidence
for this solution. Because of the idiotic War on Drugs, however, there is a
profound dearth of hard, systematic, double-blind, peer-reviewed, replicated
research in the area. My own case, however, is striking enough that I think
that the subject needs immediate review by someone who could escalate to
near-term emergency field trials.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to your response.
Update November 24, 2014
CDC crashes library computer. For real.
What I was trying to do:
Back in the '80's, I managed to seriously burn my throat with a tablespoon or so of pure DMSO - for my knee inflammation. I stupidly thought it would work to just follow with a water chaser instead of dilluting to start with, but no... Instead, within an hour I started hiccuping, non-stop.
None of the remedies that I had used successfully in the past worked to stop it. I was scheduled to go to a CA Libertarian Party conference on the Queen Mary (Long Beach), and I made it there, a couple hours or so later, still hiccupping continuously, and my entire abdomen HURT!! by then. I knew that this could literally kill me, and was getting ready to head for the nearest ER when I ran accross one of the reps from the San Francisco area, who told me, "Don't worry. Just toke." He handed me a pipe. As I held the pot smoke in my lungs, the hiccups stopped cold. Half an hour later, they came back. So I took another toke. They didn't come back again.
Why is this important? Because the news is out that one of the definitive late stages of ebola involves continuous hiccupping. The hiccups alone will kill you within hours. Someone who is already exhausted and is on the verge of general systems collapse does NOT need an aggravating factor thrown in. A simple cure - pot - could save lives right now, today, this hour. And I haven't smoked pot in a LONG time, so this is not some stoner rave.
I tried to contact the CDC earlier tonight and got to a public questionaire form on their site. As I was entering my text msg, the site locked up. Then the other windows, such as my Yahoo mail locked up. Finally the entire system locked and when the local library guru tried to reboot, we got all sorts of non-useful messages, and finally a black screen with the msg "Cannot Find Operating System." They had to relocate me to another computer. They tell me, and my experience with these machines tells me that this is a major anomoly. That computer is effectively now dead in the water.
I.e., since all my other browser and Word windows were fine up to that point and nobody else is reporting trouble, it seems likely that the CDC has a nasty virus. But since their messaging system appears to trigger it or be the gateway, how to notify them? I will try calling them in a bit.
Meanwhile, there is literature on file from reputable medical sources as to the efficacy of pot to cure hiccups, but of course then you run into the social/legal barriers. And, once you've made a choice to write something off, in spite of the truth, then you're stuck defending the original mistake and then defending the coverup. Q? Could this be part of a coverup itself. Let's see how deep this rabbit hole is.
(See the case of the Red Cross and swimming after eating. For about 80 years, lifeguards and parents vigorously enforced the one hour rule, for no actual reason, as the Red Cross finally admitted that they realized their mistake early on, but then it became embarrassing to admit to it, so they chose to stand firm behind a lie that simply wasted millions of dollars worth of tiime, and likely a few lives of people who were afraid of certain death and thus failed to rescue someone or swim to safety in a flash flood, for fear of the dreaded but entirely mythical Red Cross stomache cramps.)
Update November 23, 2014
http://www.arabnews.com/news/664471 More on using robots for dealing with ebola patients. (See below also.)
Update November 17, 2014
The fat lady hasn't sung, but we've stopped listening. I started another blog here about what is important. Probably ought to get back to it, but I don't think we're quite out of the danger zone with ebola. Only about 1% of our hospitals are prepared, by their own estimation, and there are only four real secure containment facilities, and that most recent death of Dr. Martin Salia included the report that he had been tested early on in the disease progression and the test came back negative. The report mentions that this is not unusual. I.e., someone could still fly to the U.S., testing negative and be infected and perhaps infectious, if not then, then soon after.
Meanwhile, take a look at this: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-29942392
Note that I discussed the idea of using robots to deal with issues such as patient interaction, handling of bodies, sanitation, etc. briefly here on October 16th and then again on November 2nd. I had the idea considerably earlier, just never got around to covering it. Which brings up a meta-consideration that I've also mentioned repeatedly elsewhere.
Since I keep running on average a couple of weeks or more ahead of the official news, the implication is that the filters and search engines are not working very well - surprise. If they were working, then this blog would be top of the charts. Or, perhaps it IS at the top of certain people's charts as a loose cannon (or loose canon, perhaps?). Easy enough to block a site if you have God level clearance and access, and we know that there are people and organizations who are effectively Net Gods.
On my September 28th, October 2nd, and November 8th sub-blogs, among others, I delved into the root causes, also at last getting some media coverage pretty much parallel to what I wrote way back then.
Que bono? Clearly, the corps that invested in grabbing the natural resources, paying off the local jefes, reneging on the promises of good jobs for the native labor, while trashing the local ecosystems, all setting the stage for the poverty and lack of medical resources that enabled the outbreak would not be happy with my comments on these issues. If you care and like this, then please copy and paste the address or do whatever you do to pass the link along...
Update November 8, 2014
Looks like we dodged the bullet. New estimates are for a steady 1,000 new cases per week. Now that people at ground zero have absorbed the basics of prevention and their governments have become more rational and less obsessed with baksheesh (as ebola slashed all the "foreign aid" from the corps), we seem to be within reach of full containment. Which brings us to the sub-title of this blog...
Will the thousands of dead and hundreds of aid worker deaths, not to mention the serious risk to civilization itself, bring us to any kind of new mindset? Or, will it all be forgotten five years hence? I have suggested that the ebola crisis came about because of well-known underlying social pathology, starting with the fact that a high proportion of the victims were also victims of the general poverty.
What is almost surprising is how those people, living on a dollar per day or less, were yet able to eventually employ their human intelligence to do the right and rational things that have saved us all. Are these people deserving of their impoverishment? If they are in fact capable human beings, then why are they living on the edge of starvation? See my blog: http://philosborn.joeuser.com/article/450215/A_General_Solution_to_Poverty , for what to do next...
Update November 4, 2014
From NBC News: "Thousands of people in Sierra Leone are being forced to violate Ebola quarantines to find food "
Does this kind of idiocy have any limit short of the death of our species? You don't forcibly quarantine someone without food, or
presumeably potable water, etc. and not expect them to break out. Of course, one problem in areas like Sierra Leone is that a lot of people probably didn't have enough decent food to begin with, so it's a bit of a stretch to "reward" ebola victims while their uninfected neighbors go hungry.
And did we, with the silver spoon and the sophistication, do any better in the Texas case?
But then, as I pointed out early on, that was the beginning of the causational chain that led to the outbreak. See my blog on a Solution to Poverty: http://philosborn.joeuser.com/article/450215/A_General_Solution_to_Poverty
I have also written extensively on what I refer to as the Algebraic method of problem solving, which, stated briefly, is that you have to have at least as many independent perspectives on a problem as there are fundamental variables. Clearly, the major actors in this case - whether in Sierra Leone or in Texas - do not have that methodology. Instead, they are in pursuit of a multidimentional problem via one or two dimensional perspectives, when a more holistic approach is necessary.
A real world solution would involve at least the dimensions of economic cost analysis, basic morality, epidemiology, curtural norms and related memetic structures, real-politic, evolutionary selection pressures on the humans, the virus, and other involved species and how they interact - to begin with. Instead, it seems that the rule-oriented bureaurats are runniing the shows. At least Liberia seems to be getting their act together.
Update November 2, 2014:
I've begun my blog "On Evil," finally. http://philosborn.joeuser.com/article/458658/On_Evil Meanwhile, the ebola situation appears more hopeful. With no radical change in the virus or how it is spread, eventually we will shut it down, as long as we don't falter. The biggest danger appears to be either a mutation in the virus that makes it more viable outside the body, or one that enables "Typhoid Mary's." There is still the potential for terrorism, given the limited response capability of the U.S. medical system - with a limit of perhaps 50 patients at a time for full containment.
How nice it would be if we could manufacture an army of robots to handle the containment or quarantine facilities. The bots could be designed to be easy to sterilize and could be teleoperated or linked so that the patients could carry on normal conversations with the video images of nurses or loved ones. We already have various medical robots in use for surgery and sanitation and patient checking. Surely the most recent DARPA robotics challenge winner should be versatile enough.
October 29, 2014
An apparent pause in Liberia, but we've seen that before. The lag time can fool you.
Maybe people get onto reducing risky behavior for a little while, then lapse, and by the
time they see the positive results, they've already reverted to risk taking. While the
ebola virus is delicate and disintegrates in open air rather quickly, when it is in a
protective medium, such as a human body or a layer of vomit or feces, then it can
survive for at several days, it seems. People probably forget where the vomiting or
other release of body fluid took place or never knew to begin with, and thus fall
October 25, 2014
Someone finally mentioned the unmentionable on NPR or their BBC news hour. How long
before people facing a 90% chance of dying figure out that they can boost their odds by
simply flying to the U.S. before the symptoms are showing? If your parents or spouse and
kids are dying around you, your odds of staying there and living are not good.
This is why it is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to provide the services THERE. Otherwise, of course
we will start seeing large numbers of ebola refugees, some of whom will already be infected
and will likely infect at least 2 more people here. Containment is the key. (Even partial
containment is better than the alternative. Eventually we WILL have a vaccinne and
effective treatments as well. What we need is time. And a reliable and quick test.)
October 21, 2014
Note that I suggested early on that using antibodies from survivors might
be the best we can do, along with standard measures such as hydration. I also suggested
several ways to encourage availability of such antibodies, including paying the sources, or
recruiting volunteers from the ranks of alienated young Muslims who might otherwise become
violent jihadists. Why NOT demonstrate your faith and commitment to making a differnece
by SAVING lives instead of making Islam look bad by killing people?
So, now it seems that now the WHO is deciding to push the anti-body strategy until something
better, such as a real vaccine, is available. My suggestion of recruiting ebola volunteers from ISIS
has not gotten much air so far, but I will consider how to change that. Listen to the recent
interview on Chrysta Tippet's NPR show, "On Being," with an anthropologist who spent the past
several years investigating first-hand why young people are attracted to dramatic sacrifices - to
give meaning and weight to their otherwise futile-seeming lives. This can all be turned around
is the bottom-line, and ebola might offer a chance.
October 20, 2014
So far, so good. Nigeria is ebola free, after a truly heroic containment effort, and three health
care workers in the U.S. and Spain appear to have recovered. Lucky us, that the disorganized,
unprofessional response here did not result in a wildfire of infection. No very good signs from
the high-infection areas, but the longer ebola is contained, the more likely we are to have a
verified vaccine or better treatments. At best, it appears now, we will see around 10,000
additional deaths. At worst...
October 16, 2014
Now that we know - see Oct. 15th report - why ebola has grown in virulence - what do
we do about it? The answer is actually simple:
We're already using robots for surgery and routine monitoring and other tasks in hospitals.
No good reason not to use them as an isolation mechanism, albiet one that could reduce
the sense of isolation for the patient. No good reason why a robot couldn't deliver a massage,
using waldos to control robot limbs, with the same kind of force feedback that surgeons rely
on. Family member video images on the bot's face in realtime would not be a real technical
problem. Sterilization procedures should be a snap compared to the human inside a Hazmat
model. Run positive ventilation with the output run through intense UV + heat. Yes, this would
cost money, but how much is our survival worth? We have the technology to do this and
we will be needing something like this for our aging population anyway, so let's get cracking!
October 15, 2014
A mystery resolved: Why have the percentages of fatalities gone from 53% to 70% to 90%?
Evolution, my dear Watson! Remember the problems of handling and bathing the dead?
So, the virus that got spread around, again and again and again was the variatel mix that
was most lethal. Natural selection right in front of us. The milder forms of ebola, that just
made 50% really sick and only killed half, were quickly selected out.
Same as the bug in my scalp, mild psoriasis that I use medicated shampoo for. Without
thinking, when it itches, I scratch and spread that variant around. Where a slightly different
variant lives in a different location on my head, I don't itch as much and don't scratch, so that type
eventually loses out. Selection takes all kinds of forms.
Dog gone! What about the other ebola carriers? Will we see canicide? Like the killing of all
the solid black cats that alledgedly happened during the Black Death in the Middle Ages?
What other animals are actually safe? I understand that pigs also can be carriers.
What's behind all this is a moral breakdown. Morals are about the principles that matter
long-term. But long-term doesn't have the same meaning for someone in the 3rd world,
and we of the 1st world have adopted a "create your own reality" attitude towards a
whole range of issues, like the invasion of Iraq, as a response to 9/11, when people
were shouting that there was NO connection. The hijackers were mostly Saudis! But
then where would we have gotten our oil? Saddam? So, we killed hundreds of
thousands of Iraq civilians, and established the moral groundwork for ISIS. I could
cite 50 other examples...
ISIS and ebola are payback. We let people starve until they took the risk of eating
dangerous bushmeat. We - meaning the Ist world corporatocracy, including China -
looted their countries for the benefit of a tiny corrupt minority, leaving people without
clean water, healthy food, education, or hope, packed together like rats. It was just
a matter of time for ISIS, and for ebola. Now we are likely in for it.
Oh, On Monday, I went to an eye, ear, nose, throat specialist about my chronic low-level
sinusistus, that always gets worse in the Fall. No real solutions there, but we had a time
of it trying to access my medical records via their new computer system, the same one
that lost my records four times for the appointment a couple weeks back. So the doctor
on Monday says to the effect of "And this is supposed to enable us to deal with ebola?"
But the corporate management that paid the relative pittance to the actual coders and
probably minimum wage to the data entry slaves are likely quite healthy, at least in
the pocket book. Won't help them when ebola comes calling and they have to use the
system they built.
October 12, 2014 - Nice piece that reitterates with some more valuable detail some of
the history outline I did below for plagues.
Another failure to follow protocols in Texas - more likely victims. Shouldn't be a big surprise.
SOP in the so-called medical profession is to charge as much as possible without alerting
the patient, bury the evidence in multiple sources of endless paperwork jargon, deny everything...
The welfare of the patient is the last item on a long list. And who cares about the welfare of
a nurse? A system that sent me for a mamogram (I'm a man, and, yes, men DO occasionally
get breast cancer, but this was just a typical screwup.). A system whose most recent interaction
had me going to an appointment to "meet" my doctor, who I had already met over a medical
issue, but that didn't count. It was absolutely mandatory that we have this meet and greet
session, except that when I got there, my doctor is saying, "But what are you here for?" They
only lost me in the computer four times in a row in setting up the useless appointment.
It isn't just medicine, of course. It's just that Ebola is throwing things into focus. Today's "LA Times"
carried a frontpage article on the massive failure of their fabulous new student record tracking
computer system. Or just try picking major corporate sites at random and see how many times
they lose you, or you get completely lost trying to navigate because the people writing the code
and maintaining it aren't in charge of what they're doing. Instead, what happens is the result
of internal management turf wars.
The typical IT worker, based on my personal 25+ years, plus reams of anecdotal evidence -
and books on the subject - wastes perhaps 90% of his time writing code that is useless or
never will be used because decisions at the top have already effectively killed it months before.
And the solution is to add more layers of oversight and documentation, to the point that it
typically takes me now over ten minutes just to find a file. On my personal legacy system it was
and still is a minute. In spite of all the advances in hardware and OS (debatable, for sure),
most things take longer now than 15 years ago.
So, that inherently screwed up IT base is being jammed into our medical systems, with
probably the same likelihood of success at the L.A. School system is having.
This system is going to bat against Ebola? Oops, another possible case in the U.S.
October 11, 2014 - Catching up
Back to zero. My other JoeUser blogs mostly show up with a google search, but not this one.
New null news. A week ago it looked briefly like the curve was flattening from exponential
to simple linear at about the 6K mark. I was thinking, "Ah! That little inflection could mean
that the stricter measures and greater attention is finally sinking in, people are changing
behaviors to accomodate risk, giving us a breather." Oh well.
In addition to my suggestions as to survivor vs. fatality profiling, one obvious problem is with
the hazmat suits themselves. Ebola LOVES sweat. It HATES dry. It appatently disintegrates
when it dries out. Thus, dehumidification should probably be a TOP PRIORITY! Suits should
contain canisters of dehumidifier, as well as coolant if possible, and there should be a easy-to-read
humidity guage for the interior of the suit. If this is true, then watch out deserts! Imagine
thousands of Burning Men enclaves, refugees hoping that the desert air will block transmissions
from any unlucky infectees.
Here in the OC, there used to be a really dry desert climate. It could be 110 degrees and just
feel pleasantly warm at virtually zero humidity. That changed in the late '80's as people
created suburbs with endless grass lawns. Then we still had the heat, but now combined
with miserable humidity. Now, the OC is faced with a drought like no one has seen before,
and no end in sight. This could be a good thing. As people move to desert plants and
astroturf, the time that ebola can survive in the air drops substantially. Simply charging
for the water might be sufficient to make a big difference.
But then there's the fire factor. That regional bump in humidity for the past several decades
created a vast explosion of plant life throughout the area, including desert plants that burn
really hot. On top of everything else, we could be facing urban firestorms, right about the
time that we really need to be attending to ebola.
These new entry tests based on fever are possibly worse than useless. A lady from the CDC was
interviewed a couple days ago, stating in effect that essentialy they're like Teddy Bears for cancer
patients. As she said, the one essential thing missing from our anti-Ebola arsenal is a quick
and easy blood test, without which, things are probably going to hell. Accurate screening
and isolation are absolutely at the top of the list. BTW, whatever happened to that quick and
easy blood test that allegedly was in use in China? Or the one that someone claimed to
have seen in use in the Toronto airport?
I had been thinking about all the SF end-of-everything novels, and of course "Earth Abides" was
near the top of the list. Other people agreed, obviously, as NPR aired an Olde Radio broadcast
of a somewhat foreshortened and family-freinded version. Nicely done, overall.
So, now that the wolf is at the door, everyone is crying wolf. I recall a discussion with a
friend who stayed on top of the real news back around January, I think, when the first
reports of an ebola outbreak were surfacing. Charles didn't know at the time that he
was dying of cancer. He and I agreed that there was just something about this particular
outbreak that made one truly uneasy.
Time we took a bead on death itself. Too many Chuck Fetes - a reader, thinker, teacher,
researcher of vast potential - whose store of personal expertise and will were worth millions -
gone, along with millions more as I write - eaten by blind entropy.
October 4, 2014 - Well. Miracles happen. Today at least, all the null returns from Google
searches for this blog have been replaced with the usual plethora. I went for a week or so
with NOTHING showing on various key word combinations. So, I started posting copies on
FB. Then it became almost impossible to get to my TimeLine, and nobody was responding
with "likes" or "dislikes" or comments of any sort, which is also a bit unusual, unless perhaps
they never got to see the article. My guess is that someone at HS decided to flag and block.
If they can do it for kiddieporn... "Can't stop the signal" ??
October 2, 2014 - The ballroom scene in
Poe's "Masque of the Red Death" keeps intruding in my thoughts of
late. It was until recently that the authorities were estimating a 53%
mortality rate. Now the figure that seems popular is 70%. However, too many of the
Eurasian-extraction health volunteers have been coming down with no apparent
cause, no identifiable weakness in the protective gear.
Note that the natives in the effected African areas had probably lived in the
same area for many generations, meaning also long-term, low-level selection for
resistance to Ebola and the 50 assorted other diseases that the fruit bats
carry as bio-weapons against their major predator - US. I've already discussed
in some detail below the ecological elements to the current outbreak, with reference
to increased poverty, over-population, weakened immune systems for both bat and
human due to the various stressors.
What about the human genome factor? We have examples galore of the impact of
intrusions by resistant disease vectors moving into non-resistant populations -
the colonization of the Americas being the most likely to come to mind, with a
90%+ die off of native Americans. In one well-known case, Spanish cartographers
rowed up the Mississippi and wiped out the entire mound-builder civilization in
a matter of a couple decades, just by a handful of researchers, innocently
The Eurasians as well as the native Americans and the Indians and just about
everyone outside of Africa have a LONG history of NOT being exposed to Ebola,
the one possible occurrence being the plague that hit Athens and ended their
empire. How will this effect the odds? Not for the better, I would guess for us
Eurasians et al. Perhaps the typical Liberian has some degree of resistance
already wired in, such that airborne transmission is much less likely than some
German-extraction doctor. Thus the 200 or so anomalous cases among medical
personnel. I'm looking for a profile of victims that let's us see who is who,
by ethnicity, location, lifestyle, income, known medical problems, physique,
etc. Anyone with a link to this info - a victim/survivor profile - please stick
it in a comment here. Thanks.
Bottom-line, maybe the West Africans will end up being the major survivors in
October 1, 2014 - This site is being censored by someone. When I do a standard google search, using "phil osborn joeuser ebola now" I get a null return. This has NEVER happened before, even for blogs that got miniscule hits. That kind of interdiction requires NSA level of hacking. Meanwhile, the Canadian health ministry has altered their authoritative text on ebola to say that airborne transmission is not possible. The original text said that it was highly likely that it was capable of airborne contagion, as when someone coughs toward your face from a relatively short range. And that story today appearing everywhere about the Dallas patient? That came out on Monday online, first page for Google - ebola outbreak. Then it inexplicably disappeared and then reappeared on page two. Didn't follow the details after that as got tied up in other affairs. Why was it not on page one of the local OC Register on Tuesday???
September 29, 2014 - Odds were published of a 20% chance that ebola would make it to the U.S. by the end of September. Looks like a winner in Dallas, so to speak, if it is real. Wonder how the bets are going in Vegas? Actually very likely a good source of distilled data. Wish us luck. http://www.myfoxdfw.com/story/26659083/dallas-hospital-isolating-patient-being-tested-for-ebola
September 28, 2014 -
Yesterday, news on the vaccines that NPR news mentioned last week. At least two vaccines are in the works and several thousand doses are currently in the pipeline to go to the health care workers on the front lines. The companies are rushing to ramp up production, altho of course neither vaccine has gone thru anything like clinical trials with humans.
More info has arisen from the earlier ebola outbreaks. It appears that good results were achieved by injecting victims with plasma taken from live survivors, presumably the anti-bodies being the critical factor.
I haven't tried yet to look at the conspiracy end of things, apart from how destructive the local conspiracy theorists have been, in terms of fueling the outbreak. I'm considering researching that end, altho, like the 9/11 madnesses, you gotta figure that 99% is just someone trying to fuel a starving ego or simply the need to find a pattern in a world that is often truly chaotic.
There is plenty of culpability to go around without bringing in deep dark plots or corporate cabals. Below, I've covered some of what I think the complex eco/climatic/econ/politico/epidemiologic dimensions of the ebola synergy are, in hopes of providing one perspective on the problem that could lead to real solution spaces. Meanwhile, just as a side note, does anyone have any cogent fact-based opinion on who benefits from ebola? Que bono?
September 27, 2014 - Maybe a real break - HIV drug appears to cure Ebola:
I tried to suggest this possibility on another site a couple months back and my post was apparently censored to the point that there appears to be no record of it now online. My post urged that a strong focus be put on finding common characteristics among ebola survivors. Had that been done, then it seems possible in the light of this new claim, that a substantial percentage of survivors might also have HIV. Or perhaps a statistically low percentage of admitted ebola cases might be HIV positive and under treatment. Perhaps they were never identified or admitted because their symptoms never got that bad, scewing the results in another way. That's why statisticians are so valuable in fields like epidemiology; people able to tease apart the threads of causality.
At some point, given the number of cases, a pattern might emerge. Then the issue would be what it was about having HIV that provided a defense against ebola, and one common thread might very well be use of this HIV drug. I forgot that thread, which illustrates what distorts so much socially linked thinking. You come up with a possibly great idea and then someone censors the post or deletes the thread. Or you stress out over Trolls, which is what they want, of course. Stress of that kind often triggers memory loss - aversive repression of data that only is recalled if some outside source or new perspective bypasses the neural blockage.
One further idea: What if we had good statistics and health records from the start, with a CDC or WHO administration that could immediately and largely automatically compare the profiles of subjects to seek out patterns such as use of an HIV drug? See the opening chapter of Vernor Vinge's "Rainbows End."
September 25, 2014 - NPR interviews a head doctor from Doctors Without Borders. She refers to a 3-week doubling time. A few months ago it was 6 weeks. Then, last week, I read from several sources, 4 weeks. Now maybe 3... Was this factored into the "worst case" estimate of 1.5 million, which seems to have slid up to the end of December now, from end of January a week ago? Shall we try a Basyen analysis, anyone, factoring in the slope of the estimates as data?
Continueing with the historical/ecological analysis, McNeill, in "Plagues and Peoples," described most of human prehistory as being tribal - small tribal (200~500 members max) - for the reason that larger groups could be wiped out by an epidemic, while that same epidemic could not survive outside a living human long enough to pass between smaller semi-independent groups.
It took a million years or so for humans to evolve the enormously powerful immune system - best of virtually any mammal! - that we humans have inherited, and it took that immune system evolution to enable groups to grow, become fixed townships and then city-states. Even so, as I outline below, we have these periodic mass human die-offs, which often have enormous consequences in terms of politics and empires. The survivors, however, pass on their genes and the process repeats.
So then we have the recent population explosion in Africa, and the balance tipped too far once again, resulting - according to Jarred Diamond in "Collapse" - in such disasters as the Rwanden genocide, which was actually a response to too many people on too little land, by Diamond's analysis. Hutu vs. Tutsi was just an excuse or rationalization. Ebola is another example of the same scenario.
Here's a plausible scenario. With too many people eating the available fruit, plus climate change twisting the ecology in general onto new, unstable paths that neither fruit trees nor bats were used to, plus the eating of the bats by humans, the fruit bat population was probably stressed severely, increasing the likelihood of any given bat carrying ebola or something about as bad, from the fruit bat germ warfare arsenal of about 50 deadly diseases - aimed specifically at US, their major natural enemy and competitor.
So, in good times, humans might kill a bat and check for sign of illness before butchering and eating. A obviously sick bat would be thrown out. But with falling incomes and general infrastructure failure endemic in the now ebola-ridden nations, who would throw out FOOD? So the sick bats were the most likely to be trapped and eaten. This is the formula for disaster.
Maybe we should eradicate the fruit bats. We are pretty good at extinctions. I know that the eco-minded are screaming imprecations at me now. I don't mean just do it because we thought of it and it's probably comparatively easy and it might help, but rather that we should look at all the plausible remedies, given that what we have now is looming sheer catastrophy.
Maybe simply thinning the ranks of the bats by 25% would drastically reduce the percentage that are contagious, with relatively more fruit to share around. (And more baby bats, but we can repeat bat culling as needed, and the bats will be selecting for avoiding human contact that much more.) Of course, deleting the bats from the equation will not immediately help with the human situation regardless, but it could be one less major problem to deal with - more healthy food for humans, less eating of potentially lethal bat meat. We need to think long-term and consider all the possibilities. We have that edge over ebola, which can only react via transmission, replication and semi-random mutation.
But what if it gets totally out of control and a mass exodus of people - many infected - try to surge to their neighbors? At that point the human species is under threat as such - and we have these things called nuclear weapons. I'm sure that this option is being run through the simulations right now at the Pentagon. I doubt that it will come to that, but there's no point in not considering it, if only to prove that it might not work at all, or that we are unwilling to pay the moral costs, regardless of the consequences, such as a continental or world-wide civilization killer epidemic. Note that if we humans lose our capabilities, who will deal with Global Warming, which is past several tipping points and could likely become its own disaster, without major human intervention, soon?
Troubling times indeed.
September 24, 2014 - The good news first: NPR reports that there may be a vaccine on the way - soon and in large quantities. Stay tuned. The bad news: The WHO has issued a new worst-case forecast. From last week when they said perhaps a worst case number might be 500,000 by the end of January, now it's 1.4 million by January 20th. There is also discussion of ebola becoming a permanent endemic disease. Recall that once you've survived, you are immune - to that particular strain of several. You might have partial immunity to other strains and new mutations, including strains that might develop the ability to hide out in someone, the typhoid Mary scenario.
So, when you've got a million cases or more, there will be a constant mutation that can drive waves of new plagues on top of plagues, each with its special genetic skills. Perhaps the death rate goes down as it makes for more contagion if the host lives longer or percomes permanently infected but alive. This is a common viral trick that works as a mutualistic relationship for many host species. There are monkeys whose bite is virtually 100% fatal, because of some disease they carrry that does not make them ill, but kills predators - or competition. Consider the likely source of this version of ebola - fruit bats, who are in direct competition for the fruit with humans among other species. Humans, however, are particularly a problem for the bats, because, unlike most competitors for fruit, humans also eat meat, including bats. So the bats carry ebola and about 50 other deadly diseases.
This could happen among humans, with one population resistant to one ebola5 while another tribe carries ebola7b. Each tribe is then deadly or hazardous to the other, and meanwhile, the rest of the world has to figure out how to deal with this.
A huge fence?
September 22, 2014 - finally a ray of hope! BRAVO Sierra Leone and its intelligent, forthright leadership. Many thanks from the rest of humanity. Let's hope the followup will put ebola on the run! Good show!
Note that Sierra Leone' lockdown is similar to the response of the only major city to survive relatively unscathed during the Black Death of the 14th century - Milan. Milan simply sealed every house that had a sick person. Nobody got in or out - which meant that they died, but many other people lived. While other cities were running fatality rates of 25% to 90%, Milan recorded deaths of about 10% of the total population.
Of course, now we do have some treatments for ebola and eventually we will find a cure, so we don't need to write off the people in an infected house - altho we could have easilly reached that point, and it's still not certain whether we have the means and will to do something similar to Sierra Leone's lockdown and mass inspection effort for the other infected nations. And, it could potentially backfire, as the incubation period for ebola is up to 21 days. How many inspectors have been infected is an open question... Real heros, to say the least.
From yesterday see:
How quickly events can turn...
September 20, 2014 - I was right.
Update 9/20/2014 http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/UN-unanimously-declares-Ebola-outbreak-threat-to-international-peace-and-security-375877
Q: Is the U.S. medical system capable of dealing with ebola? You be the judge:
The above are just a sampling of what I can personally relate.
Do you really think that this system can handle ebola? I think that our doctors are generally ok, but the system as a whole is a near disaster already, without the enormous challenges of a major plague.
Updated September 17, 2014
A short historical perspective:
See: Plagues and Peoples - William Hardy McNeill
Guns, Germs and Steel - Jared Diamond
I've read the first one and my understanding is that Diamond's take is similar, though
decades newer, of course.
Chronology of history altering plagues:
429 BC - Fall and defeat of Pericles' Athens due to plague, possibly ebola related,
effectively signaling the end of Greek dominance throughout the Mediterranean,
leaving a power vacuum filled by Rome.
476 A.D. - Sack of Rome after the Roman/Italian population has been cut perhaps
to less than half due to multiple incursions of various now common childhood diseases,
brought in via those wonderful Roman Roads, under the safe passage of the Pax Romana.
Germanic tribes move into empty cities and abandoned villas, only looting Rome as an
~ 900 A.D. - Vikings explore a little of Newfoundland, drop by occasionaly to resupply,
along with fishermen from Europe, leaving a legacy ofmultiple plagues that wipe out
perhaps 95% of the native North American population in a few decades. When the
Pilgrims arrive, they find a virtually empty landscape.
~1350 A.D. - the Black death sweeps Westward from Asia over the newly
opened trade routes, ultimately wiping out perhaps one third of the entire human
population in a few decades and destroying the progress made during the High Middle
Ages to finally recover from the fall of Rome.
~ 1500 A.D. - Spanish invaders bring multiple plagues to the New World, wiping
out most of the population of Central and South America, Mexico, California, the Mississippi
basin and on.
~ 19th Century - U.S. military deliberately spreads smallpox in the native
population, killing thousands.
1917 - An Asian flu kills more than WWI. ~ 30 million die.
2014 - Ebola breaks out in Africa and spreads like never before, due to a breakdown
in basic human needs, such as safe food and water, due to corruption fueled by
foreign corporate colonialism.
http://www.nationalterroralert.com/safewater/ Just one of many sites that are gearing
up for what could be some really bad times. It's too early to panic, but the same
procedures that one should have done to prepare for an earthquake or similar
emergency apply to ebola. Every physical transaction with another human or dog or cat or
other warm-blooded animal including birds is a point of potential transmission. So, you
want to be securely holed up, with a gun, just in case, and plenty of potable water and food.
Remember that following any such disaster, there will be looting and fires, so pick up a couple
of heavy-duty fire extinguishers and you'll sleep better. This goes double for major
drought areas, such as S. CA. Ask your neighbors if they have the nescessities. DO NOT
boast that you are prepared. Otherwise prepare to either fight them or share what may
be barely enough for you and yours, with the additional, potentially deadly contact factor.
After leaving the library last night, it suddenly occurred to me to ask the obvious question:
What about (non-human) animal sources for antibodies? Tonight I attempted to get an
answer via Google with limited success, mainly due to the ongoing glitches in the OC
library/educational computer network, which is effectively out of service much of the time,
and has never been very good. Think DialUp speed.
From a brief and limited search, it appears that there has been quite a bit of research in
this area. Whether this could be applied, developed and put on line in time is another
issue. Any success in simply slowing the spread, flattening that exponential curve of
infections could buy us time to, for example, develop a vaccine.
Meanwhile, belatedly, the Obama administration is sending about 3,000 troops, it seems,
with a plan to build theraputic containment facilities in the worst hit areas, aiming
ultimately at convincing the not-so-stupid natives that they can risk staying home
rather than fleeing to the U.S. or Europe or anywhere and thereby guaranteeing the
incursion of the plague here, in the Ist World.
If the U.S. had the percentage of infected population that some of the effected areas
now have, it would be extremely dicy as to whether our creaky, corrupt, overtaxed
medical system could handle it. So, better to keep them - the Africans - at home.
Makes a grim sense. If the U.S. goes under as a source of succor, then probably
no one will step in to replace it in Africa.
As the numbers grow, the chances of mutations into more virulent forms rises. Killing
your victim quickly is not a great way to spread. The longer a victim can be sick and
actively spread the virus, the better for the virus, so there is inevitably that selection
pressure going forward. Most of the "childhood diseases" - mumps, measles, chicken
pox, etc. started as major killers, and then those various diseases mutated toward a
genotype that made one sick longer but with fewer fatalities.
Unfortunately, whatever means of treatment is applied successfully today, means a
selection for the genotypes that have a way around those treatments. So, we would
have been a LOT less at peril of losing virtually our entire civilization, perhaps
plunging into a new dark ages such as resulted in the 14th Century in the wake of
the bubonic plague, had we moved faster on this. (Note that I started paying attention
many months ago, and most people attributed it to my being a nut-job. I was also
a nut-job for predicting the 2008 financial meltdown, for what it's worth.)
The root problem of ebola lies with systemic cultural causes, such as the breakdown of the
general infrastructure in the face of corruption, such as the all too typical buy-off of the
people in charge for the advantage of corporate colonialists, such as the Chinese,
who were supposed to build new infrastructure and raise the general wages to the
point of triggering an economic renaissance thru use of native labor.
Instead, it appears that they preferred mostly bringing in Chinese or other Asian labor,
who they could more easily control and manipulate, while bribing the local officials as
they did so many times before - eg., Indonesia, where it is reported that Chinese
operatives bribed or threatened or possibly worse the country's leadership until the
looting collapsed the economy and the poor Chinese shop keepers ended up paying the
price - raped and murdered by vengeful Indonesian street mobs.
It would be ironic, now that they are abandoning the ship whose structure they
may have compromised to the point that it could not handle the ebola outbreak, if now
the fleeing rats carry the plague back to the Chinese mainland.
Updated September 15, 2014 (from my censored posting on the www.kurzweilai.net site.)
What we need is planning. We should be looking at strategies that can actually work.
E.g., the most promising potential treatment appears to be using ebola antibodies -
injecting antibodies from someone who has already survived ebola directly into
someone who is already sick or may be exposed, such as first line health workers.
If this proves out as a remedy then the race is to create enough antibodies.
Can we efficiently and safely harvest antibodies from the dead victims, on the spot,
maybe using medical robotics? Can we PAY people who do have the antibodies from
surviving ebola to keep supplying new batches? This may require reexposing them
repeatedly to the live virus. If the worst case scenario appears possible, losing 25%
of the world's population, then would it make sense to pay cadres of young, healthy
people to volunteer to be infected and then treated in order to create new sources
of the antibodies?
Update for September 4, 2014
Ebola - Do the math... That exponential curve is damned smooth
1000% more new cases per 6-month interval at minimum
200 2000+ ?20,000 ?200,000 (this time next year)
... That was the optimistic projection...
But we don't know how many more are unreported, except that it's a LOT. So -
?500 ?10,000 (now?) ?200,000 ?4,000,000 (this time next year, and then
?80,000,000 ?1.6billion this time in 2016
The fatality rate is running about 50%, or about the same as the Black Death in the
14th century, but when the figures worldwide get up into the tens of millions,
and the medical systems completely break down and marshal law is the rule
everywhere and armed gangs roam the streets and people don't dare get
physically close and the infrastructure breaks down, that 50% might go much
higher. Travel was slow in the 14th century.
One scenario: Radical militants seize the opportunity. They deliberately infect
thousands of their followers. The survivors cannot catch ebola again, but they
can carry it disguised as cosmetics or anything and then spread it where people
put their hands - subway turnstiles, for example. As the world attempts to cope
with the crisis, they deliberately target critical infrastructure - dams, water
mains, gas pipelines, wildfires in drought areas. Over half the world's people
and wealth goes down the drain...
(Or, perhaps the ISIL or Al Quida suicide bombers could volunteer to be infected
in order to demonstrate to the world what their religion is really capable of - going
into the worst hit areas and taking on the role of medical assistants, thereby sparing
the lives of the precious few doctors and trained nurses in these areas. How about
it, guys? What would Allah do?)
After the Black Death largely subsided, the survivors had a different set of morals
and expectations from life. Instead of a focus on an afterlife and the will of
God, they partied and engaged in all manner of wickedness, only willing to bet
on tomorow. Death had been the occasional tragedy. Now Death was the expected
guest and celebrated in the art of the time as the grinning skull.
What are your plans for after the Red Death?
Here's a thought. Take out life insurance on all the young, healthy people you
can afford. Or, set up a foundation for the purpose of pooling risk and return,
buying up life insurance like crazy. (Make sure that you read the fine print. A
lot of insurance companies are going to figure this one out and redact that
portion for new coverage.)
Life insurance for a 20-something has got to be super cheap, but when and if
ebola makes it here - or wherever you are, dear reader - suddenly that low risk
becomes ~50%. You could probably sell the policy back to the insurance company
a month before any of the ebola deaths occur in your pool. If the insurance
actuaries were smart - and they are - then that might easily be a $10K return
on a $100 investment. (I want 1% for giving you the idea, ok? That's fair. It's
what I would do.)
Now, however, I'm wondering if this isn't already in play. As in ISIL. Just
take out insurance on your Christian, Shiite or whatever non-Sunni neighbors
and pocket the return after you mention them to an ISIL rep. Tell the grunts
on the ground that it’s all for Allah and shop for that fleet of Rolls.