Monday Message Board

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link. You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

24 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. This is the worst legal decision I’ve ever seen. And the biggest confabulated ego.

    Dr Thaler says;
    “further evidence that the system ‘walks and talks’ just like a conscious human brain ‘

    “Thaler is therefore both the founder and architect of confabulation theory and the patent holder for all neural systems that contemplate, invent, and discover via such confabulations.”

    And in Dr Thaler’s mind, HIS AI neural net is …” further evidence that the system ‘walks and talks’ just like a conscious human brain.”

    Turing test – passed 
    Human consciousness – passed
    Singularity – in Thaler’s mind it will be legal bots arguing and patenting ‘themselves’ into total supremacy,  but ‘it’ will keep humans and courts to keep patents alive.

    With Thaler’s system, I could patent in or troll JQ with Thaler & GTP3;

    1) download ALL JQ’s work, everything you have ever written
    2) make it a library in GTP-3
    3) generate new text and algorithms on specific research or policy
    4) combine above w ANY concept or human derived data / current trend
    5) produce novel works by AI-QuigDabus
    6) Argue in court for patent & copyright
    7) get awarded protection to MY AI ‘JQ’ neural net generated ‘idea’.

    This is both Artificial Idiocy & Legal Idiocy. 

    This is THE example of why legislation is needed, before smart idiots win a court ruling, because of lack of duty of care of future humans.

    “Artificial intelligence can now be recognised as an inventor after historic Australian court decision

    “Dr Thaler says he is elated by the South African and Australian decisions, but for him it’s never been a legal battle. 

    “”It’s been more of a philosophical battle, convincing humanity that my creative neural architectures are compelling models of cognition, creativity, sentience, and consciousness,” he says.

    “”The recently established fact that DABUS has created patent-worthy inventions is further evidence that the system ‘walks and talks’ just like a conscious human brain.”

    “On Friday, Australia’s Federal Court made the historic finding that “the inventor can be non-human”.

    “It came just days after South Africa became the first country to defy the status quo and award a patent recognising DABUS as an inventor.

    “AI pioneer and creator of DABUS, Stephen Thaler, and his legal team have been waging a ferocious global campaign to have DABUS recognised as an inventor for more than two years.

    “They argue DABUS can autonomously perform the “inventive step” required to be eligible for a patent.”…

    How to patent in every novel invention or innovation involving ‘Artificial Intelligence’… relatively forever, with US mickey mouse protection regime. 

    “Thaler is therefore both the founder and architect of confabulation theory and the patent holder for all neural systems that contemplate, invent, and discover via such confabulations.”

    Stephen Thaler of Imagination Engines on himself;

    “Stephen L. Thaler, Ph.D.,
    President & CEO, Imagination Engines, Inc.
    “Brightest Technical Moments

    “Now, after the absorption of general knowledge about the world, DABUS can conceive new ideas within a wide range of conceptual spaces. This paradigm shift in machine learning, called Vast Topological Learning (VTL) is no longer based upon the passage of neural activation patterns between generators and discriminators, but the bonding trajectories taken through vast swarms of dynamically interconnecting artificial neural nets. (see conceptual sequence above)

    “Yes, the decades-old idea of brainstorming neural nets, biological or artificial, was only the start of an evolution of machine intelligence that has led to a new generative AI paradigm that develops subjective feelings for what it senses and imagines. 

    “To find out how hot buttons strengthen concept chains, as well as how an AI-based machine vision is recruited to act equivalently to the mind’s eye, see the lead article in JAICs latest volume: Thaler, S. L. (2021). Vast Topological Learning and Sentient AGI, Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness, 8(1).

    Thaler, S. L. (2012). The Creativity Machine Paradigm: Withstanding the Argument from Consciousness, APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers, 11(2).

    Thaler, S. L. (2014). Synaptic Perturbation and Consciousness, International Journal of Machine Consciousness, Vol. 06, No. 02, pp. 75-107.

    No, UQ doesn’t, ” recognises the long-term implications of AI and is committed to drive innovations in AI research and its application.”

    Yet I’ll bet the legal eagles are all over this.

  2. “As of now, CATL has started its industrial deployment of sodium-ion batteries, and plans to form a basic industrial chain by 2023.”
    – press release

    This is real news. CATL is one of the big five battery producers, and on some reckonings currently the largest. The announcement was made in a Jobs-style video presentation by the CEO, Robin Zeng. He put his and his company’s credibility on the line. Businessmen who embarrass the Chinese government risk more than loss of face. it’s most unlikely the claims are false.

    “Industrial deployment” is a bit vague, but it implies the batteries are in pilot production lines not just labs, and samples will shortly be shipped to potential customers for testing. They say that “sodium-ion battery manufacturing is perfectly compatible with the lithium-ion battery production equipment and processes.”

    Third, sodium is superabundant, unlike lithium. According to the USGS a cubic mile of seawater contains 48 million tonnes of sodium in dissolved salt, and there are 320 million cubic miles of ocean, give or take 10 million. Shortages and monopolies are inconceivable. The new batteries will be much cheaper.

    Disadvantages? The minor one you may remember from school chemistry: metallic sodium reacts violently with water. A car crash that pierces the battery case could turn nasty in rain. The risk is real but much less than gasoline fires. The major snag is energy density. CATL claim 160 Wh/kg now, with a pathway to 200. State-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries are at 300 Wh/kg, Tesla 3 production batteries are about 260. Sodium batteries may well always stay a cheap-and-cheerful second best. CATL plan to sell mixed battery packs for the mass market, exploiting sodium’s faster charging and better low-temperature performance, as well as its low cost.

    Surprisingly, CATL do not mention stationary storage, where the technology already looks a winner. For this use, there are few if any constraints on volume and weight. Large stationary batteries are what you need to firm the output of solar and wind farms, and cheaper ones make renewables even more attractive.

  3. Sodium Battery: Lithium is “better” in terms of its characteristics. On the periodic table sodium is a lithium wannabe and hands out directly below it. But, over time, stuff tends to full in price until it approaches the cost of materials. CATL may be playing a long game where they expect to eventually beat lithium on cost per kilowatt-hour. Not sure how that works out given its lower energy density will require more other materials ’cause it will be bigger. But we’ll see.

  4. Ronald: lithium carbonate goes for $13,000 per tonne, sodium chloride for under $100 per tonne. Both need processing to get pure metal, but the cost ratio of >100 to 1 must still be about right. You would need to make the battery cans out of platinum to upset the expectation that sodium batteries will be at least an order of magnitude cheaper than lithium ones. CATL have told us that the manufacturing processes and therefore costs will be similar.

  5. The sodium battery type appears to have complex compounds in the cathodes and use the intercalation reaction method. Yes, I had to look up “intercalation”. Some compounds used are Na2/3Fe1/2Mn1/2O2 and Na0.76Mn0.5Ni0.3Fe0.1Mg0.1O2. Yep, first chemical formulas I have ever seen to employ fractions. Must be a convention to express the ratios in intercalation,

    A table in the Wikipedia article says sodium ion battery safety is high, that lithium ion battery safety is low and lead-acod battery safety is moderate. I think it might be safe to say there isn’t sodium in the battery in pure metallic state.

    I argued a long time ago on this blog that a sustainable economy would eventually have to use mainly ubiquitous resources. That is to say, resources available everywhere. Sodium batteries might be a step in that direction.

    Most common elements “in earth’s crust”:

    Oxygen – 46.1%
    Silicon – 28.2%
    Aluminium – 8.23%
    Iron – 5.63%
    Calcium – 4.15%
    Sodium – 2.36%
    Magnesium – 2.33%
    Potassium – 2.09%
    Titanium – 0.565%
    Hydrogen – 0.140%

    Hmmm, what if we included atmosphere and oceans?

    I am surprised carbon is not in the above list, yet carbon certainly seems ubiquitously available. This means a very low percentage can still mean ubiquitously available by distribution.

    But now I have learned the sustainability problem is really about wastes and overwhelming earth systems with same. It takes very little CO2, comparatively speaking, to wreck the benign Holocene climate as we are doing.

    Following Liebig’s Law of the Minimum “growth (or even a sustainable equilibrium) is dictated not by total resources available, but by the scarcest resource”. Our scarcest resource is not any material or even energy. [1] Rather our scarcest or most fragile resources are the earth systems which supply geo-services and bio-services. Once we disrupt these, efficient batteries or best-possible batteries will be of little use, except in the final hard-scrabble sense of trying to not die in the current season.

    Mind you, many of us are having our minds concentrated in this way by COVID-19. I am already thinking, “how do I not die this year?”. The answer is to get vaccinated obviously but it is also to “stay locked down” as much as possible whether there is an obvious outbreak or not. New variants will vaccine-escape and immune-escape. New variants will start killing people of all ages in significant numbers. This is the highly probably but not absolutely certain path of this pandemic now.

    Note 1: I thought energy would be the limiting factor. I was wrong.

  6. As a slight note on the CATL battery system, in case it is of interest:

    The system in question appears to be based on a Prussian White//Hard carbon system, which could make sense (in my opinion) from an industrial perspective. Unlike the P2-layered oxide cathodes (such as those Ikonoclast notes), Prussian white is fully sodiated (meaning you don’t have to compensate the deficiency to achieve maximum practical capacity) and is already fairly established (by, for example, Altris amongst others). The Hard carbon anode also makes sense (no sodium metal, AFAICT!). Hard carbon is tricky when it comes to scale up of production, but OTOH China’s industrial processing for such materials is quite advanced.

    Interesting stuff, but probably have to wait to see what the eventual impact will be.

  7. At $5,000 US per tonne, around the price it used to be, about $3.20 US worth of lithium carbonate is required to make one kilowatt-hour of lithium battery cells. All else equal that will make a $50 US per kilowatt-hour battery about 6% cheaper. All else is unlikely to be equal, and other costs may dominate. And this could go either way. One example of a cheaper material having a hard time getting adopted is Perovskite. This has been proposed as an lower cost alternative to silicon for PV but it has been finding it hard going because the cost of silicon required for a solar panel has been a moving target.

  8. From the 4 Corner program on Australia’s vaccine failures came the almost universal expression of frustration with poor, mixed and muddled messaging by govt – primarily from Morrison.

    Fed up would be putting it mildly.

  9. If a city was destroyed by something like war or volcanic eruption would banks and other creditors require that debtors pay their debts in full ? I would hope not. Why is the pandemic so different ,people are struggling and businesses will go to the wall .The risk of natural disaster should not fall exclusively onto the shoulders of debtors .Disasters should not widen and entrench the wealth gap. Government payments to assist debtors end up in the hands of creditors .

    According to the Guardian today those smart light switches have a chip in them that has over half of the elements of the periodic table in it .

    Norman Swan came pretty close to saying you cant catch Covid by touch yesterday .I think he meant you could if you tried hard enough .

    Dan Andrews is copping the blame for NSW / Vic border communities being cut in half but he did say if Sydney had a ring of steel, like Melbourne had, Vic could remain open to regional NSW .NSW refused that request . What’s truth got to do with anything ?. Like it or not NSW Conservatives have decided how Australia will proceed .

  10. John it looks like you’ve outlasted the Catallaxy Files. Found out today it was wound up on the 29th July. It has been unreadable for the last 10 years.

  11. Ronald: Checking, I was surprised to find how small a share of the cost of a battery comes from the lithium. This 2016 source gives 3%.

    Your 6% for today looks more plausible than my over-optimistic first take. However, as you say raw materials will become a larger share of the total cost as factories get much bigger and more efficient, so all is not lost for sodium. The innovation should put a stop to alarmist speculations about running out of lithium, as we now have at least one workable alternative. It my also put a cap on the price of lithium, for the same reason.

  12. Daniel, I’m planning an obituary post. Catallaxy was an important contrributor before the crazies took over (or in some cases, relatively sane contrirbutors went crazy)

  13. Sodium definitely works, I just have no idea if it will add or subtract from the other costs of a battery. If — all up — it adds less cost than it saves, then it looks great for stationary storage.

  14. James , yes that claim does sound improbable but I suppose it makes the point anyway .Its a shame those ones have a habit of sticking in the mind for decades .Just another reminder of the value of doubt – personally and in polite company .Unfortunately in the political context ,in the company of over confident aggressive cheats ,it is just a handicap – one Leftists suffer from disproportionately .

  15. Ronald: – “Sodium definitely works, I just have no idea if it will add or subtract from the other costs of a battery.”

    Sodium drawbacks compared with lithium:
    1. Mass density:
    sodium (solid): 0.968 g/cm3 vs
    lithium (solid): 0.534 g/cm3
    reference: Wikipedia
    2. Energy density: – sodium is 0.3 volt lower vs lithium in a battery cell – 10% lower energy density.

    IMO, sodium is likely to remain less attractive for mobile applications, but may become attractive for stationary applications.

  16. In South Australia today, on the ABC Radio channel, two talking heads running the show, they went on about how the “experts” had misled the politicians, what with the inconsistency of advice given over the duration of the pandemic. Like, surely we can appreciate that the experts (i.e. scientists, and public health officials) would temper their advice as the facts on the ground changed over time? In the next breath, the presenter said that since he wasn’t a qualified medical doctor, he couldn’t claim to know what certain statistics/data meant. Like, just a few days ago, the SA Premier, Steven Marshall—a Liberal Party politician—stated very frankly that from day one he only relies on the public health advice from the public health officer(s), *because* they are the experts, not him. And, he gave a straightforward commitment to continue this practice. Given that South Australia has survived a delta variant outbreak and pretty much shut it down (not that anything is certain, when it comes to the delta variant), using a very rapid and significant shut down of seven days, how can the ABC presenters be claiming that the experts can’t be trusted? Perhaps in this situation, the shoe is on the other foot.

  17. Don, there are examples of people in positions that should be occupied by experts who have said wrong or stupid things on COVID. Those people should be sacked from their positions and put somewhere they’re less likely to cause damage. Their incompetence is a result of promotion in peacetime being based on ability to climb the chain of command rather than ability to effectively cope with deadly situations. If you look at World War 2, in most nations, older military leaders were either sacked or sidelined in the first couple of years, with places taken by more competent people from lower down the chain.

    However, while losses worldwide have been similar to a world war, we have not seen talent rising to the top. Instead, we’ve seen this process blocked by incompetent but well meaning people not being called out on terrible mistakes because they are opposing politicians who are calling for policies that would kill tends of thousands.

    So it’s not a war against the virus, it’s a war war against ourselves and those who are on our side — humanity’s side — need all the allies available and this includes the ones who are bad at their jobs.

  18. The COVID-19 pandemic proceeds apace as a global emergency. It has also become a genuine emergency in Australia due to the delta variant and the Scott Morrison Government’s egregious and never-ending errors. The virus “species” responsible for COVID-19 disease is designated SARSCov2 [1] The delta variant is so highly infectious and also more lethal without vaccination (via immune escape, vaccine escape and higher infection rates in all age cohorts, especially the young) that it has “changed the rules of the game”.

    At least, delta has changed the rules of the game for those humans who listen to and attempt to understand the epidemiologists, virologists and general medical authorities. The rest, the science and reality denialists, continue on obliviously to the very oblivion, in many cases, to which they are actively trying to drag the rest of us.

    Eric Liang Feigl-Ding [2] who just appeared on the ABC’s “Q and A” program made dire predictions about COVID-19 in January 2020 on Twitter. I missed that because I don’t follow Twitter. Feigl-Ding was heavily criticized then, and since, for alarmism. He has been proven correct on every score hat I can see and thoroughly vindicated by the complete series of events and processes in the COVID-19 pandemic thus far. He will continue to be vindicated. One can say this with something like 99% probability of being correct. The pandemic is still worsening exponentially, globally and in many countries, including Australia. Australia will most likely have a disastrous wave or waves now.

    The heavy bias against serious scientific warnings (from warnings about climate change to warnings about COVID-19) continues to dog politics, economics and almost all public debates. Those who put out serious scientific warnings have been and still are pilloried, marginalized, abused, called “alarmists” and too often even had their careers destroyed or derailed. The denialists carry the day over and over again and lead us deeper and deeper into the age of disastrous consequences. Even the “reasonableists” are actually functioning as denialists. Even the “reasonableists” failed to realize and continue to fail to realize the catastrophic juncture or rather dis-junction we have reached, in relation to climate change, pandemic diseases and many other related emergencies. These problems have grown out of our nature as humans, out of our sheer numbers (overpopulation), out of our elite’s choices for market fundamentalism and science denialism and out of the masses’ directed or programmed choices, in their befuddled state of consumerist and techno-optimism induced ignorance, for purblind consumption and selfishness.

    This COVID-19 pandemic will get far, far worse from here. The virus is evolving faster, with increased infectivity, increased lethality, increased immune escape and increased vaccine escape at a rate greater than we can respond to by all current vaccine developments and increased logistical roll-out- expansions. We will soon need boosters every six months, is my prediction. Whether we will get them is another story. The virus is seriously defeating vaccine development and logistical roll-out already. The resources already devoted to these efforts globally will need to be increased by at least a factor of 100 for us to have any chance of averting a global catastrophe from the virus alone.

    The COVID-19 pandemic crisis and the climate crisis will require nearly all our surplus resources to deal with. All non-essential economic activity (that is economic activity not related to essential and human services and dealing with these global crises) will have to be wound down essentially to near zero. The longer we take to do this, the more billions (yes, correct order of magnitude) of people will die prematurely before 2050.

    The catastrophists were and are correct. The denialists and “reasonableists” were and are egregiously wrong and will be proven so in short order. Catastrophism, not just of the geological theory variety, but also of the ecological, earth system, epidemiological and civilizational varieties, is the correct lens through which to view our imminent future and what we must do in an effort to avert an horrendous fate and quite likely extinction for the entire human race.

    – – – – –

    Notes below in quotes are from Wikipedia.

    Note 1: SARSCov2 scientific classification as follows:

    “(unranked): Virus
    Realm: Riboviria
    Kingdom: Orthornavirae
    Phylum: Pisuviricota
    Class: Pisoniviricetes
    Order: Nidovirales
    Family: Coronaviridae
    Genus: Betacoronavirus
    Subgenus: Sarbecovirus
    Species: Severe acute respiratory syndrome–related coronavirus
    Virus: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 SARSCov2.”

    Note 2: “Eric Liang Feigl-Ding (born March 28, 1983) is an American public health scientist who is currently a Senior Fellow at the Federation of American Scientists[1] in Washington DC. He was formerly a faculty member and researcher at Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is also the Chief Health Economist for Microclinic International. His research and advocacy have primarily focused on systematic reviews & meta-analysis, obesity, cancer prevention, and drinking water safety. Feigl-Ding is a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow,[2] and a World Economic Forum Global Shaper.[3]

    Feigl-Ding was a candidate in the 2018 Democratic primary for Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district.[4][5] During the COVID-19 pandemic, Feigl-Ding’s commentary on COVID-19 attracted considerable attention on Twitter.[6] In late January 2020, Feigl-Ding’s early alarm and call for COVID-19 preparedness[6] went viral[7] on Twitter. Feigl-Ding later commented on the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation efforts in various media and urged action.[8][9] ”

    Even the Wikipedia article on Feigl-Ding carries the warning:

    “This article reads like a press release or a news article and is largely based on routine coverage or sensationalism. Please expand this article with properly sourced content to meet Wikipedia’s quality standards, event notability guideline, or encyclopedic content policy. (June 2021)”

    The article actually is very reasonable and low-key. The wholly unwarranted warning shows the depth and extensiveness of the ubiquitous denialist and reasonablisit bias against fully scientifically merited catastrophic warnings.

  19. Ikon, as ” the proportion of equilibrium play increases significantly until fifth grade and stabilizes afterward, suggesting that the contribution of age to equilibrium play vanishes early in life.”, i think you are uniquely qualified to extend this paper, to enhance and nuance equilibrium abilities from 5th grade to adults. I’d play. We need it.

    “Are You More Strategic than a Fifth Grader?

    by  Alex Tabarrok

    “Isabelle Brocas and Juan Carrillo have a new paper in the JPE testing when children develop strategic (k-level) reasoning. A clever game outlined below illustrates the basic idea. Players 1,2 and 3 are asked to make (simultaneous) choices to earn prizes (money for the adults and older kids, points for toys for the younger kids). The sophisticated, rational choice becomes successively more difficult as we from from player 3 to player 1″…

    “Steps of Reasoning in Children and Adolescents

    We develop a novel graphical paradigm of a strict-dominance-solvable game to study the developmental trajectory of steps of reasoning between 8 years old and adulthood. Most participants play the equilibrium action either always or only when they have a dominant strategy. Although age is a determinant of equilibrium choice, some very young participants display an innate ability to play at equilibrium. Finally, the proportion of equilibrium play increases significantly until fifth grade and stabilizes afterward, suggesting that the contribution of age to equilibrium play vanishes early in life.”

  20. COVID () may have found a reservoir in deer. Apparently 40% of deer show signs of exposure which suggests it was present in the wild population with an R greater than 1. It may have burnt out or it may be endemic in their population.

    Obviously not a good thing. While it would be possible to vaccinate sufficient deer on a continent to wipe it out, that’s obviously a big job and if it’s endemic in deer that increases the likelihood it will also be endemic in other wild animal populations.

    So while we can wipe it out of the human population with vaccination, it could pop up again out of wild animal populations in the future.

  21. Australia is joining the rest of the world in the nascent catastrophic global pandemic emergency of COVID-19.

    NSW has 319 new cases today with 83 infectious in the community.
    VIC has 29 new cases, none of these cases in quarantine when infectious.
    QLD has 13 new cases: 12 were not infectious in the community and health authorities are still gathering information from the 13th case.

    On the data for NSW and given the relative non-compliance of the population in key areas (for whatever reasons) and given the relatively weak lock-down measures applied by the NSW government, we can say that the NSW outbreak is out of control and in all likelihood completely unstoppable. This is given the characteristics of the delta variant and the poor vaccination rates coupled with serious early signs of delta vaccine escape.

    Victoria may be able to contain their outbreak but a few more days of rising numbers would seriously dent this possibility. Qld looks in the best position to contain delta but this is by no means a certainty.

    On the world stage, China has confirmed delta outbreaks in 40 cities. On this data, the ship has very possibly sailed for China too. They are now likely to have an almost India level outbreak in at least some provinces. Don’t forget 10 provinces in China have populations from 54 to 104 million. China may well do better than India but in the less advanced parts of China, not so much. Factor in that China’s vaccines are about half as effective as the “gold standard” (Pfizer and Moderna). Even these top vaccines are showing less effectiveness against delta, at 90% and falling against serious illness and death and far worse at about 40%, for stopping mild illness and transmission (asymptomatic or symptomatic).

    The evidence to date is that Delta variant is unstoppable by any and all measures currently being employed by any and all nations on earth. No nation, even the previously best, is showing an ability to properly contain delta with current stratagems. The virus is winning hands down almost everywhere and closely threatening to win everywhere. Technology, vaccines and NPIs (Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions) as currently implemented in all jurisdictions are LOSING or close to the brink.

    Delta variant is not even close to the worst variant that could evolve. The evolutionary space (genetically, virally, and especially environmentally with nearly 8 billion potential hosts) is stupendously vast, seen from the scale of a virus.

    I now predict a complete, albeit protracted, disaster for the whole planet of humans. Once COVID-19 gets to say the OmIcron variant (first syllable accented at least colloquially as in “ominous”), who knows what it could do? There is no particular evolutionary pressure for COVID-19 to evolve to become milder in such a globally huge COVID-19 naive population.

    SARSCov2 “Omicron” variant – “OH lookie, it doesn’t matter if I kill this person in two weeks provided I can infect really fast and jump to new hosts asymptomatically in 2 or 3 days. After all, I have nearly 8 billion potential hosts to go through. I can kill indiscriminately for “ages”, in viral generations, and not run out of hosts. All those wimpy mild versions will concomitantly and almost unavoidably spread slower with lower viral loads. I will have the inside track. Olympics, here I come! Muhahahaha!”

    What will actually be required? In the worst extremis it will be:

    (a) 95% or more mandated double-vaccination.
    (b) 12-monthly or even 6-monthly boosters.
    (c) Mandated full masking in public with N95 masks. [1]
    (d) Complete world lock-down, locking down all national borders against all non-essential travel.
    (e) Phasing out or large wind-down of all non-essential parts of the economy.

    Non-essential (international) travel means all tourist travel, sports travel and business travel. Non-essential parts of the economy means tourism, professional sport, clubs, pubs, bars restaurants, large gatherings and takeaway foods. None of these are strictly necessary for survival.

    If all this sounds excessive, then consider this. If COVID-19, hypothetical variant Omicron, was spreading to all babies and children, killing 10% and giving another 20% long COVID would people consider such measures? I suspect they would. When this gets bad enough a great majority of people will be clamoring for draconian lock-downs and other measures. Those breaking lock-down and measures would face very serious consequences. If we don’t want to go down that full path, then we most vaccinate now to 90% plus and give 100% enlightened self-interest compliance to all lock-downs. People should even make it a mater of personal discipline and social conscience to lock down even harder than official requirements, if at all possible.

    “Meanwhile in Texas – 500% hospitalizations surge—one Houston Texas hospital sees 6x rise (500% increase) in just 3 weeks. Most age<50 with zero underlying condition! 95% ARE NOT VACCINATED! Doctor: we are “Fighting a war against #COVID19 & human stupidity”. – Eric Feigl-Ding.tweet

    "Let this sink in—schools in Texas no longer have to notify other classroom students’ parents about #COVID19 cases, but yes (they have to) notify for lice. – Eric Feigl-Ding tweet

    "BREAKING—Florida is caught underreporting #COVID19 deaths by 3.5x. Instead of the reported “175” deaths, the actual net increase in #COVID deaths is 616 in one week. Fuzzy math by Gov Ron DeSantis? – Eric Feigl-Ding tweet.

    At the current rate it is possible that NSW will become Australia's Texas and we don't even have Texas' vaccination rate. 44% of Texas's population has been fully vaccinated.

    [1] Even occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-certified N95 respirators can exceed an expected level of 5% (passage of) virions.

  22. All the contentions I have made recently about the real possibilities of the evolution of SARS-Cov-2 into more dangerous variants are borne out in the following report.

    Click to access S1335_Long_term_evolution_of_SARS-CoV-2.pdf

    These more dangerous variants are seen as arising, in all probability, relatively rapidly and frequently. Alpha and Delta are just empirical examples already. Delta was first identified in India in December 2020 which equates to just one year, approximately, of viral evolution.

    The report also canvasses the possibility of “an evolutionary trajectory with decreased
    virulence.” It further notes “Likelihood: Unlikely in the short term, realistic possibility in the long term.”

    There we have it, Multiple more dangerous variants are realistic possibilities short term and a relatively mild variant which dominates is unlikely in the short term. This is the opposite of naive expectations that it will likely rapidly mutate to a mild version. In other words, we should realistically expect more bad news time after time in the short to medium term, which could mean for up to several more years, at least.

    Here are some excerpts:

    “Scenario One: A variant that causes severe disease in a greater proportion of the
    population than has occurred to date. For example, with similar morbidity/mortality to
    other zoonotic coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV (~10% case fatality) or MERS-CoV
    (~35% case fatality)…
    Likelihood of increased severity phenotype: Realistic possibility.
    Impact: High. ”

    “Scenario Two: A variant that evades current vaccines…
    Likelihood: Realistic possibility.
    Impact: High for a completely new spike, medium/low if a spike from a seasonal CoV is

    “Scenario Three: Emergence of a drug resistant variant after anti-viral strategies…
    Likelihood: Likely – unless the drugs are used correctly. Impact: medium unless a scenario
    arises where drugs are needed more widely.”

    “Scenario Four: SARS-CoV-2 follows an evolutionary trajectory with decreased
    Likelihood: Unlikely in the short term, realistic possibility in the long term.

    Pity we (humans) didn’t eradicate it when we had the chance early on! Now, there is hell on earth to pay. And we will now pay these terrible human and economic costs for many years to come. And the human species (homo sapiens sapiens likes to call itself wise. What a joke!

    A “miracle” early exit from this crisis is now highly unlikely.

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