Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.


He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.
 

A scientist picks apart the COVID-19 models, and finds them wanting

Link here. What he does is what everyone not involved in writing these models (most of which predicted wholesale disaster if we didn’t impose martial law worldwide) should have done. This quote alone tells us the dishonesty of these models:

More surprisingly perhaps, the Imperial College paper published on March 30 states that ‘Our methods assume that changes in the reproductive number — a measure of transmission — are an immediate response to these interventions being implemented rather than broader gradual changes in behavior’ [emphasis in original]. That is to say: in this study, if the virus transmission slows it is ‘assumed’ that this is due to the lockdown and not (for example) that it would have slowed down any way. [emphasis mine] But surely this is a key point, one that is absolutely vital to understanding our whole situation? I may be missing something, but if you are presenting a paper trying to ascertain if the lockdown works, isn’t it a bit of a push to start with an assumption that lockdown works?

In other words, they shaped their prediction so that a lockdown was required to prevent millions of deaths, ignoring the extensive knowledge scientists have about how viral epidemics routinely die out because of the normal spread of infection throughout the population, depriving the virus new and safe hosts to populate.

Or to put it more bluntly, these models were political documents, not scientific research. They, like all the global warming models (that by the way have never succeeded in predicting anything), were aimed not at illuminating our knowledge but in influencing political action, and in this case the destruction of free societies worldwide.

Some people not only deserve to be fired, some might justifiably be hung for the harm they have caused millions. And I am pointing at both the modelers and the politicians who didn’t do the proper due diligence required, and instead panicked, or decided this was a great opportunity to grab some extra power.

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I cannot thank the numerous people who so generously donated or subscribed to Behind the Black during this fund drive. The response was remarkable, and reflected the steady growth and popularity of the work I have been doing here for the past ten-plus years.


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21 comments

  • Andrew_W

    “. . ignoring the extensive knowledge scientists have about how viral epidemics routinely die out because of the normal spread of infection throughout the population, depriving the virus new and safe hosts to populate.”

    Except that there’s absolutely zero evidence that the spread of the virus has reached anywhere near the point at which such saturation has occurred, infections may be 4 – 10 times the numbers diagnosed, even in NYS at 10X diagnosed number that would gives the actual number infected at less than 10% of the population, pretty much everywhere else in the world is a very long way from reaching the herd immunity levels associated with the reduction in spread that’s being observed. And there are numerous countries in which the positive test rates are low enough and infection rates are declining to be confident that herd immunity is not the explanation for the lack of spread – despite rapid earlier spread in those countries.

  • Phill O

    Here is a link to the Brtiannica which may explain the current hype to some extent. The second wave might be the bigger problem. The lockdowns might be the mechanism to avert the second wave. Of course, the dems will jump on Trump regardless of what he does.

    https://www.britannica.com/event/influenza-pandemic-of-1918-1919

  • Cotour

    I always like a little perspective: https://youtu.be/v743pmwuPIY

  • wayne

    Cotour-
    interesting!

    pivoting (“suggested just for me!”)

    D.D.T. Use During the Typhus Epidemic in Naples, Italy 1943 to 1944
    [excerpted from–“DDT: Weapon Against Disease” United States War Dept., Army Pictorial Service, U.S. Signal Corps.]
    https://youtu.be/yiadXrjNb64
    2:21

  • Joe

    I agree that something with the models is broken. Not sure where the disconnect is at but there is one. Normally, I would say that is all there is to it but I have two very close family members both with COVID-19, two others I know of who have now died from it, and a lot of very tired front line nurses, doctors, etc. in PA who really need help. This isn’t as bad as they say it is but it sure isn’t the flu either. Both of my family members (in their early 20s) are fearful they will never fully recover. They were both models of health before this. We need more research and more options for testing possible treatments. Of course we needed these capabilities on the ground ready to go years ago but no one was paying attention.

  • R. L.Hails Sr. P. E. (Ret.)

    “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything” – Darrell Huff, his book How to Lie with Statistics.

    Every one who has developed compute models which use statistical data, comprehends this truth. Implicit assumptions can provide very impressive outputs, accurate to 14 digits, which are completely divorced from reality. What is required is understanding, humility and candor. Dr. Fauci, one of America’s best has stated that the early models predicting millions of death were not determinative to his early recommendations to the President. Fauci never relied on models after a life time of using them He relied on bogus information from China. He, and we, lost perhaps two months based on misinformation, when minutes counted. It cost us many lives.

  • Col Beausaber

    “The theory and the data do not agree. Something is obviously wrong with the data”

  • Andrew-Winter

    I loved that article. Then I tried to find a bio on Dr. John Lee, and Dr. John Lee who writes for Spectator Magazine.

    I could not find a thing. I really wanted to post that very reasonable article on Facebook, but I wanted to post a link to something about Dr Lee to support his credentials. I found a Wikipedia page that might have been him but there was nothing on it associating that John Lee with Spectator Mag.

    So, as of right now, I can’t pass this one on as I can neither confirm or deny the existence of this Dr. John Lee who writes for the Spectator. The free side of The Spectator website does not even provide a “bio” that I could have used.

    Disappointing. I really think that article hits the nail on the head, but…

  • Andrew-Winter: You are rejecting the article because of a need to rely on authority. Who cares what his credentials are? He as you say “hits the nail on the head.” As far as I am concerned, he could be a street sweeper. If he is right, he is right.

  • Ian C.

    Andrew-Winter,

    The UK’s page gives us “John Lee is a recently retired professor of pathology and a former NHS consultant pathologist.” It seems to fit this bio:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lee_(pathologist)

    Let me take this opportunity to recommend The Spectator, it’s on the center-right side of things and a fine counterweight to the mainstream’s antics. It usually emphasizes classical stances on liberty, individual responsibility, the use of reason (and humor) against fads and ideologies that encroach our lives in the West.
    It’s the only magazine I have a subscription to, and I’m not even British. The US edition, while still small (and cheaper), seems to follow in that tradition.

  • Trying to predict a model without any data is almost impossible, I would think. On the other hand because the virus acts similar to the flu it might be that the models were compiled using some data from years and years of data from the flu.
    What will be interesting to see is the number of flu cases during the lock down period, if the number of flu cases drop, the lock down did it’s job. On the other hand if the flu cases remain steady or increase during the lock down period, it’s been in vain.
    What might turn out to be a unexpected side effect of the lock down is a dramatic drop in flu cases.

  • mkent

    Oh my goodness, Robert. You are getting hysterical. There is nothing dishonest about these models (if by “these” you mean the Imperial College and IHME models used to set pandemic policy through much of the civilized world), and to call for violence against their originators is beyond the pale.

    Have you actually read the Imperial College study? I ask because some of your rants on this site show no evidence of your understanding it. The study did not attempt to predict the future crystal-ball style. It examined three potential mitigation strategies for the UK and the US and compared them with a fourth do-nothing approach. That fourth approach was not “fear mongering” or “dishonest.” It was the official policy in place in Britain at the time, as the Johnson administration at first wanted the virus to spread through the British population as quickly as possible to generate herd immunity as soon as possible. It was this study that convinced the British government of the folly of that policy. They then chose, along with most of the rest of the world, the strategy that saved as many lives as possible.

    That the press reported different numbers from the study when the strategy changed wasn’t because the study changed. It was because the strategy changed. The original study was always a comparison (i.e. if you do nothing, 500,000 Brits will die. If you choose strategy b, 20,000 Brits will die.)

    Likewise it’s not dishonest when comparing strategies to assume some level of effectiveness for each strategy. The purpose of the paper was to compare strategies. Assuming none of the strategies worked would produce a pointless paper. They assigned an effectiveness of 50-70%, if I recall correctly, for each of their proposed mitigations and calculated what the effects of each strategy would be. I’m not sure what else they could have done, and I have no idea what you think they should have done.

    …ignoring the extensive knowledge scientists have about how viral epidemics routinely die out because of the normal spread of infection throughout the population, depriving the virus new and safe hosts to populate.

    This is a virgin field epidemic of a new virus (hence the “novel” part of its name). The world population has no immunity. That means the virus will continue to spread until one of four things happens. 1) The population dies. 2) The population becomes immune to it. 3) A cure or vaccine is developed. 4) The population reduces the number of in-person social interactions such that the virus’s R0 factor falls below 1. The do-nothing approach results in either #1 or #2. The mitigation strategies are aimed at #4. How else are you expecting the virus to “die out”?

    So what is it about the paper that you’re taking issue with? The author of the article you based your post on doesn’t say what issues his are. It’s just a generic the-map-is-not-the-territory warning about models in general. No kidding. But since you so strongly and repeatedly take issue with the study, you must surely have an opinion on what it did wrong, right? Was it the assumed intra-family interaction factor? The co-worker interaction factor? The general population interaction factor? The transmissibility factor? The fatality factor? The lag time between transmission and contagiousness? Something else?

    Or is it you just don’t like the results of the study so you dismiss it out of hand?

  • Andrew_W

    Thank you mkent.

  • wayne

    Just as an observation–
    If Andrew_W thinks mkent is good stuff, then I know it’s wrong

    ———-

    “….. the assumed intra-family interaction factor? The co-worker interaction factor? The general population interaction factor? The transmissibility factor? The fatality factor? The lag time between transmission and contagiousness?……”

    Holy cow Batman— Technocrats busy at work!
    The phrase, “they know the price of everything, but the value of nothing,” comes to mind.
    ———

    Nassim Taleb
    The Coronavirus is a ‘White Swan’
    March 30, 2020
    https://youtu.be/lBjVTm7F1lQ
    6:45

  • wayne

    “the curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”
    Friedrich Hayek

  • Ian C.

    wayne,

    Technocrats busy at work!

    That’s the epidemiological approach to differentiate between the ways of contagion and understand the disease dynamics in a given population, which allows to take fine-tuned action.
    Do you really blame researchers for attempting to better analyze and control their subject of study?

  • Andrew_W

    If Andrew_W thinks mkent is good stuff, then I know it’s wrong.
    You must think that’s a clever substitute to actually addressing the points he raises.

  • wayne

    Ian C.
    No, I really don’t. (and maybe I am being too critical) I do have a background in applied behavior analysis and I’m acutely aware those of my ilk are fascinated with controlling their Subjects.
    However, (the idea is) we elect people with certain skill-sets to make the Big decisions and sit in the Big chair. We don’t elect modeler’s. [some of them are wonderful people, but always & forever, they have an Agenda.]
    “When your model has 10,000 lines of code, something is being obfuscated.”

    Richard Feynman:
    “Knowing versus Understanding”
    https://youtu.be/NM-zWTU7X-k
    5:36

  • wayne

    Andrew_W–
    Exactly!
    I actually feel like were discussing ‘man made climate change.’ (or whatever the politically correct phrase-of-the-day actually is)

    pivoting…..

    Virus Update– Glenn Beck
    “The Federal Reserve is buying 625 billion a week in bonds”
    April 13, 2020
    https://youtu.be/N7_Guinbu7w
    9:53

  • Edward

    mkent asked: “But since you so strongly and repeatedly take issue with the study, you must surely have an opinion on what it did wrong, right?

    The experts did wrong when they used the 2 million deaths prediction of the do-nothing result to give the impression that a lockdown was necessary. They lied to us.

    It was only after we were in lockdown that they admitted to their deception, and that a much simpler remediation would giver significantly better results: 90% fewer deaths. Mush of the country was already performing the simpler methods, such as avoiding large crowds (cancelled sporting events, and the museum where I volunteer closed).

    Even the study that gave us 200,000 deaths didn’t assume complete lockdown. That assumption was in the study that gave only 60,000 deaths. Thus, we may have saved 140,000 lives at a cost that is far, far greater than the lives saved. Indeed, it is entirely possible that when the smoke clears there will have been more deaths just due to postponed medical care than were saved by the lockdown. Add to that the other adverse affects of the lockdown ($2 trillion stimulus with another $4 trillion attached to the bill), and the cost of those saved lives is tremendous.

    All because these studies were misrepresented to the policymakers and to the public in general.

    We were not informed of the deception until after we were locked down, and now it is difficult to change state back to a reasonable living condition and a restart of the economy for fear that the first study will come true — or more accurately that they will be blamed for every death that happens forever after. The abuse of the science has confounded our leadership into fear and inaction. So much for being able to use science for decision making.

    As time went on and the experts started admitting to their deception, that is when the different versions started to be announced. First was the do-nothing version, with 2 million deaths. Then came the reasonable measures version, with social separation, hygiene, and crowd avoidance, where 90% of the deaths were avoided. Then came a version that included lockdown, but not the destruction of the economy or the lost medical exams and procedures, with a death rate of 60,000, saving 97% of the lives but costing far, far more in equivalent lives forfeited.

    As we all re-read the article in Robert’s post, recall that the author emphasizes the uncertainty of these models, due to the assumptions made when inputing the starting conditions. From the article:

    But the point is that for this type of science to work properly, it needs to be constantly challenged. If it is going to help us understand the world better, it absolutely requires wide discussion of different approaches and interpretations.

    This kind of analysis was not done. Assumptions were made, results tabulated, and decisions were made based upon the presumption that these results represented reality.

  • Edward

    What did the modelers do wrong, and what is wrong with their study? All models are wrong, some models are useful. The article explained that there are ways that these models could have been made more useful. I think that the models needed to consider even more than just the COVID19 deaths if we lockdown and destroy our economy in order to give adequate information for proper decision making.

    What is wrong with the models is that they are not useful. For the case of lockdown, they did not include the collateral damage caused by the lack of medical care for the rest of the community due to the doctors turning away low-risk, low-priority patients. Robert reported that his doctor would not perform a routine procedure that he needs for a current condition. Until my state reopens, I cannot get my dentist to replace a crown that fell off one week into our lockdown. A friend of mine was diagnosed with kidney stones the weekend before our lockdown, but now cannot get treatment until after the state reopens. When the state reopens, how long will we all have to wait before the backlog of treatments is completed, and how many of us will have worse conditions that develop due to the delays in treatment? The models were wrong in that they did not take any of these problems — and more — into account. Collateral damage was not properly considered when the lockdowns were ordered, and they were not properly considered now that these lockdowns are being extended.

    What is wrong with the way they are measuring how many people have died of COVID19 is that the data no longer corresponds to any of the models that they compare the data with. Clearly, they are padding the numbers specifically to prevent the reopening of America, and they do not have our best interests in mind. Otherwise they would be giving us more truthful numbers that would allow us to get back to normal lives sooner, if not right now. They would rather keep us in a panic, keep us willing to sacrifice for others (who do not need us to sacrifice), and keep us under their thumbs.

    I no longer believe any of the data that our states and medical communities present us. They have badly corrupted the data with extraneous deaths that do not match any reasonable measure of those caused by the disease.

    America’s medical community is now collecting bogus data even as it is complaining about China hiding and changing their data. What a pack of hypocrites.

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