Monday Message Board

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Mastodon here

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.

48 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. A while back, I lost a bet with an economist. There are no prizes for guessing who. The bet was made in 2010 and came to maturity some time in 2020, IIRC. I eventually paid up and added in an adjustment for inflation as the bet was in 2010 dollars. The payout went to a charity as per the winner’s request.

    The worst mistake I made was not losing/donating an affordable amount to a charity nor was it betting with an economist. My worst mistake was that the subject of the bet was denominated in the numéraire (as change in world income over time). I would have lost that particular bet no matter what but it is still a mistake in principle to gauge the future, past or anything else in the numéraire.

    Leaving that aside, the collapse I predicted for the decade 2011 to 2020 has arrived just one decade later. It is happening now. No-one should be in any doubt that this is the collapse. Even objective economists admit it, openly using terms like “mitigated disaster”. The problems with conventional economics run very deep. Capitalism is failing the bulk of the people of the world completely and utterly and is destroying the world as a livable place for humans and most other meso and macro species.

    This article says some really interesting stuff about this and the fundamental faults which lie at the heart of conventional economics. Its research program is flawed in enough parts to render the whole structure untenable. The empirical proofs are now undeniable.

    “The Paradigm in the Iron Mask: Toward an Institutional Ecology of Ecological Economics” – Gregory A. Daneke (Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University, USA)

    Click to access Daneke102.pdf

  2. John, how about an analysis of Chalmers’s recent essay? I expected its endorsement of public-private partnerships (amongst other things) to provoke you. Also I wonder if it is wise for superannuation funds to invest in housing, given that most Australian household wealth is already in housing. Thanks!

  3. Noone should be in any doubt fundamentally unmitigated disaster completely failing and utterly destroying the world conventional economics capitalism undeniable empirical proofs the whole structure untenable.

    Yep, I get it. Utterly, utterly and fundamentally, fundamentally.

  4. Harry, kick the ball. I know you are able to provide a domain specific – economic – rebuttal. Not make fun of Ikon’s well held beliefs. 

    The abstract of Ikon’s linked paper “The Paradigm in the Iron Mask: Toward an Institutional Ecology of Ecological Economics”
    (Daneke 2022)
    … has, as the opening paragraph:
    “Various heterodox economists envision some sort of Socio-ecological Economics (armed with complex adaptive systems tools and concepts) as the vanguard of their displacement of the crumbling cultural citadel of Mainstream Economics.”

    Harry, aside from the emotive alliteration -“crumbling cultural citadel”-, it looks to me like;.
    “Various heterodox economists”
    … are doing exactly …
    “some sort of Socio-ecological Economics (armed with complex adaptive systems tools and concepts)”.

    The system dynamists / engineers / mathematicians I worked for in the ’90’s consulted to capital owners, finance and mining, ● were doing exactly! ● “some sort of Socio-ecological Economics (armed with complex adaptive systems tools and concepts)”. At $1,500 per day. Plus expenses.

    Such economists combined with capital / finance / investors provide us greenwashing. Witness biodiversity offsets. CCS subsidies. And PR attempts at making coal sound rosey and a great investment. Fixes poverty. Not too many externalities. Worthy investment.

    Or how about the Coldry Process (brown coal cleaning & drying method) promoted by the Australian patent owner Environmental Clean Technologies. They say
    “Wind and solar can’t build or sustain a modern society”
    [This is proper propaganda as opposed to Ikon’s referenced paper]

    Or how about this – company formed to get losses,  not profit, subsidised via tax offsets – a pure play loss partenership using coal cleaning and a US rule:
    “Cross ReCross Refined Coal LLC v. Commissioner,45 F.4th 150(D.C. Cir. 2022)”.

    Further in the abstract:
    “In order to mount a serious paradigmatic challenge, scholars and practitioners need be able to dismantle the institutional barricades erected in their path over decades.”

    Harry, the coal diggers, burners, tax play users and “Various heterodox economists” are trying to do the reverse to make miney not save the planet –  “dismantle the ● [Government environmental] ● institutional barricades erected in their path over decades.”.

    Is this so controversial Harry? I think your emotive reaction got the better of your economic reaction. Me too sometimes.

    And the last sentence of abstract:
    “They also need to build a stronger policy orientation, and focus their efforts on financialization as the prime source of much of the social and natural systems disintegration.”

    “Build stronger policy”. Not controversial surely.

    “focus their efforts on financialization as the prime source of much of the social and natural systems disintegration”. The phrase “prime source” is up for rebuttal,  yet financialization of the two companies I linked above re washing coal seems to be obvious and worthy of “focus their efforts on” … “stronger policy orientation”.

    Harry, you can do better. I didn’t understand what you wrote, same as you don’t understand what I write when emotive and just kicking the ball.

    Harry, after you’ve finished at the 19th, how about kicking the ball please. We may learn something.

  5. The US  “Cross Refined Coal LLC v. Commissioner,45 F.4th 150(D.C. Cir. 2022)” ruling above came via an example used in;

    “The Rise of the Robotic Tax Analyst

    “In this article, Alarie, with the help of GPT-3, a large language model artificial intelligence system, reviews the predictions made in the Blue JPredicts column in 2022, and he speculates on AI’s role in tax research and analysis by 2030.

    “Copyright 2023 Benjamin Alarie.
    All rights reserved.

    “As a bold taxwriting experiment, this installment of Blue J Predicts has been generated with the help of an AI assistant, OpenAI’s “Generative Pre-Trained Transformer 3” (GPT-3).1”

    I cannot recall a time of more concentrated announcements of a technology than AI articles lately. Not since the Alta Vista got swamped by Google’s page rank. You?

  6. I am mocked by some for a hyperbolic style but not refuted on at least one key point. Has Prof. J.Q.’s “mitigated disaster” statement been refuted on the “disaster” score? Can it be refuted? No and no. Because the “disaster” part is fully supported by the climate science to something like a 99% probability now. And the chances of the SARS2 pandemic remaining a long-term crisis and exacerbating other pandemics and health problems, by various negative feed-backs, immune over-stimulation and/or general physiological damage and/or immune damage at individual and herd levels, must be at something like 50% at this point.

    Matters are very grim. I can’t imagine anyone living in an optimistic bubble now without comprehensive and ideologically (or religiously) motivated science denial. Some are still mocking and sneering about the warnings. I would suggest this stance will not prove sustainable.

  7. One Camera per Nine students this year at my kids NSW public high school..

    Control by coercion

    And “Memphis’s SkyCop cameras couldn’t prevent Tyre Nichols’s beating death”

    Yes, it has come to this.

    At the first school assembly 2023, public NSW high school, my kid said the Deputy Head said:
    “Since the [x] Block toilets are only for seniors, there are cameras outside the [x] Block toilets. So if a junior goes into the [x] block toilets we will know about it.” Repeated numerous times and boasted about [Deputy Head’s] surveillance powers.

    Nice. Just after the Headmaster assured only for safety and security with privacy foremost.

    I can see Deputy Head watching the doorway of the [x] block toilets. A deputy head watching if a kid uses the “correct” toilet. Welcome to the panopticon of dis-education.

    Zero consultation. Zero proof. Zero staff increase. Zero social supoort increase.

    Head threatened / boasted of power to expel too.

    “Memphis’s SkyCop cameras couldn’t prevent Tyre Nichols’s beating death

    “Installed as a crime-fighting tool, the city’s surveillance network of 2,100 constantly monitored cameras has had little impact

    Via “Are Citywide Surveillance Cameras Effective?
    “from the robo-cop dept.”

  8. “Machine Learning Open Source Software (MLOSS) is an important, yet neglected factor shaping the trajectory of AI.

    “2. We suggest that a dependency graph of technology capabilities (Wardley map) provide a helpful alternative to the canonical AI production function.

    “3. We examine the economic incentives, sociotechnical factors, and ideology shaping MLOSS

    4. We suggest that the future of MLOSS involves decreased emphasis on deep learning frameworks and increased focus on model and data tooling (probabilistic predictions can be found at the end). At the end, we also briefly examine the risks implied by these trends.

    “Intended audience: technologists and academics wanting to analyze and critique AI research and development as a whole”

    Any alternatives to:
    “Wardley map “Critisisms” tab
    “Simon Wardley claims that much of the process’s value lies in “exposing assumptions. allowing challenge and creating consensus”[19][non-primary source needed] — but detractors worry that the process in fact lets people “launder assumptions into facts, delegitimise challenge (and still create consensus)”.[20]”

  9. I was watching the BBC news this morning. Hey I am stuck up on the Snowy Mountains and have to do something. But anyway, the British Education Minister was saying that there was no way he would match the teacher’s union pay demand. He claimed that the pay rise offered was just. But if it was just then it would have been accepted. Having worked as a teacher for 34 years and only been called out on a strike for two and a half days in that time, I can assure you of the dedication of teachers to their students. i was even teachers Rep and could not even get my fellow teachers to down tools for one period.
    By the way KT2 did you see that John Cleese movie where he was a headmaster,? Talk about life imitating art. The headmaster, John Cleese, sat in his office and watch a bank of CCTV screens.
    But put that aside, I now come to Iconoclast’s point about an imminent economic collapse. Listening to that British Minister it came to me that the current situation is due to the bipolar nature of income and wealth distribution that is mow afflicting capitalism. The top ten percent are very well paid and have significant non-money assets. The bottom ten percent are very poorly paid and have little or no assets of any kind. What is left of the middle income group sits on what they’ve got and defends their living standard with debt. Rising entrepreneurs get to the top income group then get lazy. Old wealth inheritors are born lazy and stay that way.
    Simply put that British minister was doing his job for his political backers. He was keeping the income gap wide and gawping. I had a frivolous thought. If the pay of MPs was tied to that of nurses, teachers, first responders and welfare workers then maybe, just maybe, these hard workers ( no I am NOT talking about the MPs) may just get wage justice.
    PS I define a just wage as one that keeps ahead of inflation and reflects the crucial nature of the work being done for the WHOLE nation.
    Sorry brokers that lets you out.

  10. Quiggin b/s comment

    The b/s conundrum

    Steve Hanley at CleanTechnica scratches his head over the rise of RNG – self-described “renewable natural gas” – made from shovelling cow manure into digesters on farms. The gas is collected and sold to gas distributors, profitably. Should the farmers also get yet more subsidies for saving the climate?

    A thought experiment helps set out the problem. You have a nice Jersey cow, called – to be original – Daisy. You keep her in a field. Every day she munches grass at one end and excretes say 40 kg a day of manure from the other. The manure is broken down in situ by dung beetles, fungi, and bacteria, releasing methane (CH4), a powerful greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Daisy and her billion mates are major contributors to climate breakdown.

    Now you bring Daisy indoors and keep her in a shed, still feeding her grass (not realistic but an unnecessary complication). You collect the 40 kg of her manure daily and put it into a digester. Tame bacteria, similar to those in the field, break it down to methane, which you collect and sell. Your quality of life goes up, Daisy’s down. The gas is sold through the grid and burnt in stoves and power stations, releasing CO2 instead of CH4 into the atmosphere, apart from the leaks.

    Now do the emissions calculations. CO2 is a much less potent greenhouse gas, so you are very much ahead in climate terms. Can I please have my subsidy for green virtue? On the face of it, yes. But what’s the baseline? Compared to Daisy-in-the-field, it’s a big improvement. Compared to no Daisy, you are still an undeserving net polluter. The other problem is that manure harvesting is so profitable that it is not realistic to treat it as an additional output, but a core part of the dairy cow business. A baseline without it is artificial.

    Your b/s contributions are welcome and will be gratefully fed by JQ into the UQ basement digester.

  11. PS. A portrait of Daisy:

    The cuteness of Jersey cows is not a happy genetic accident but the result of careful selection by humans. IIRC Colonel John Le Couteur, ADC to WIlliam IV, set the standards for breeders around 1850 primarily on the basis of a male sexist aesthetic: straight back, honey-coloured coat, large submissive pop eyes, and docile nature, only the last of which is of practical value to farmers. Daisy is the perfect Victorian bride. The bulls are far from docile and very dangerous, small black thunderclouds that won’t share a paddock and, with a short wheelbase, are too nimble to avoid if one makes a run at you. With their high yield of rich milk, the cows are highly valued in many countries, from Japan to Uganda, where a bride price could be two ordinary cows or one Jersey.

  12. James Wimberley,

    When I was young, I spent Xmases on my uncle’s dairy and crop farm(s) in the Wide Bay district of Queensland. He originally owned a farm with jersey cows and a jersey bull. The bull was kept well separate most of the time and nobody ever entered its distant paddock. I was very young at that time so I don’t remember much. On his second farm, purchased later, he switched to Brahman bulls and slowly started cross-breeding away from pure jerseys IIRC. He also kept pigs and planted sorghum (a drought resistant variant called milo) and other crops.

    I was never chased by a jersey bull but my cousin and I as young teens were certainly chased by a Brahman bull. This was across part of a lumpy, uneven, previously tilled paddock covered in dry stubble. The bull was close behind us by the time we neared the barbed wire fence at a sprint. There was no time to part wires and straddle through the fence in the usual way. We both dove over the fence head-first and landed tumbling in a laneway with hard packed tracks. I could not have made that dive for ten bucks, which was a lot of money to a kid in those days. We made the dive over the fence at full pelt with a Brahman bull behind us.

    Some Brahman bulls are docile but not all of them. My uncle’s larger, red-brown [1] Brahman was docile. My cousin used to sit on its back when it was on the ground chewing its cud. The other Brahman which chased us, a slightly smaller, grey and black one, was mean. With Brahmans, YMMV.

    Note 1 – This is my red-green color blind description from memory.

  13. Thanks for being a teacher Gregory J McKenzie:
    And now all I can see is our Deputy Head now as Cleese! – “The headmaster, John Cleese, sat in his office and watch a bank of CCTV screens.”

    I tried to find scene. Best I can find is between 10s-15seconds in this trailer. Cleese, with screen behind him, yelling at student out the window. Exactly.
    “Clockwise 1986 Trailer | John Cleese
    youtube [insert dot]

    As you say Greg, “Talk about life imitating art.”. Cleese and Clockwise will now be shown to the kid’s peer group. I await interesting feedback.

  14. Masks! ! !

    Raina MacIntyre et al say:
    “An updated Cochrane Review published last week is the latest to suggest face masks don’t work in the community.

    “However there are problems with the review’s methodology and its underpinning assumptions about transmission.

    “The studies addressed quite different questions”
    “Cochrane has approximately 30,000 volunteer experts from around the world.[6]””

    Grrr. Why can’t “we” – science – settle the mask ?syllogisms???

    Ask Andrew Gelman? See below. 

    We still carry masks. But mask wearing is 2 orders of magnitude below average use last 2yrs.

    “Yes, masks reduce the risk of spreading COVID, despite a review saying they don’t

    Published: February 7, 2023

     C Raina MacIntyre,
    UNSW Sydney,
    Abrar Ahmad Chughtai,
    UNSW Sydney,
    David Fisman,
    University of Toronto,
    Trish Greenhalgh,
    University of Oxford

    “The question of whether and to what extent face masks work to prevent respiratory infections such as COVID and influenza has split the scientific community for decades.

    “Although there is strong evidence face masks significantly reduce transmission of such infections both in health-care settings and in the community, some experts do not agree.

    “An updated Cochrane Review published last week is the latest to suggest face masks don’t work in the community.

    “However there are problems with the review’s methodology and its underpinning assumptions about transmission.

    “The Cochrane Review combined randomised controlled trials (RCTs) using meta-analysis. RCTs test an intervention in one group and compare it with a “control” group that doesn’t receive the intervention or receives a different intervention. A meta-analysis pools the results of multiple studies.

    “This approach assumes (a) RCTs are the “best” evidence and (b) combining results from multiple RCTs will give you an average “effect size”.

    “But RCTs are only the undisputed gold standard for certain kinds of questions. For other questions, a mix of study designs is better. And RCTs should be combined in a meta-analysis only if they are all addressing the same research question in the same way.

    “Here are some reasons why the conclusions of this Cochrane Review are misleading.

    “It didn’t consider how COVID spreads and how masks work

    “COVID, along with influenza and many other respiratory diseases, is transmitted primarily through the air.
    “In contrast, surgical masks are designed to prevent splatter of fluid on the face and are loose-fitting, causing unfiltered air to leak in through the gaps around the mask. The filtration of a surgical mask is not regulated.

    In other words, respirators are designed for respiratory protection and cloth and surgical masks are not.

    “The studies addressed quite different questions

    “A common mistake in meta-analysis is to combine apples and oranges. If apples work but oranges don’t, combining all studies in a single average figure may lead to the conclusion that apples do not work.

    “This Cochrane Review combined RCTs where face masks or respirators were worn part of the time (for example, when caring for patients with known COVID or influenza: “occasional” or “targeted” use) with RCTs where they were worn at alltimes (“continuous use”).

    “Because both SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses are airborne, an unmasked person could be infected anywhere in the building and even after an infectious patient has left the room, …”

    Here is an Andrew Gelman piece re mask studies. I hope he / they at statmodeling review Cochrane paper.

    “Posted on February 24, 2022 9:51 AM by Andrew

    “Kollepara et al. conclude:
    “Masks block some fraction of viral particles from dispersing from those who are infected and from infecting those who are susceptible . . . studies that did not find masks to be effective had limited statistical power and therefore do not imply that masks are ineffective . . . The studies that did not find statistically significant effects prove only that masks cannot offer protection if they are not worn..”

  15. Antony Beevor’s book “Russia: Revolution and Civil War 1917-1921” is a bloody accounting of the establishment of the Bolsheviks in Russia. The civil war, between the bolsheviks (Red) and everybody else (White), included forces from Britain, the US, France, Canada et al.

    While the Allied involvement was relatively minor it did offer propagandists an opportunity to create further tensions. It could be argued that these fears continue to day, Putin’s paranoid rhetoric is popular within Russia.

  16. N95 masks and P2 masks work to stop viruses. They don’t stop viruses completely but they filter out 95% of virions under test conditions, hence the appellation “95” .The holes in the mask are larger than the virions but natural electrostatic charges ensure the mask material intercepts most of the viruses. If the great majority of people wear masks in public indoor and confined spaces then every individual becomes safer and the “herd” becomes safer too. Adding in filtration systems in indoor spaces plus proper vaccinations, proper testing, tracing and isolation/quarantine would make everybody a lot safer. No need for mass lock-downs.

    But no, we would rather continually infect people. A count of 18,828 people have died in Australia from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, most of them in 2022 (about 16,000 IIRC). The death rate still shows little sign of slowing down in the long term although there are fluctuations week to week, month to month. In the seven days to 2nd Feb, 88 people died from COVID-19 in NSW and 70 in Victoria. I can’t easily find the figures for the other states. At a guess, one would think at least 200 died in Australia in that week. If we keep running at 200 deaths a week for this year (and there is no reason to think we won’t) then that will mean over 10,000 deaths from COVID-19 in 2023. It will remain a major cause of death in Australia and one we are doing very little about other than giving infrequent vaccinations which wane. ATAGI is still refusing, or failing, to meet to decide when the next booster will be given. Why all this foot dragging? Many people are more than 6 months past their last booster. After 6 months your protection is very low, especially against new variants.

    In the current “plan” (it doesn’t deserve that title) there is no way out of the covid-19 pandemic. It goes on indefinitely. Current indication are that adults will catch covid-19 twice a year on average. Children will likely catch it 4 times a year on average. By contrast, in the past, adults typically caught the flu about once every five years and children about once every two years. Covid-19 is several times worse than the annual flu and at least as serious as serious episodic pandemic flu in terms of annual deaths. In addition, covid-19 generates long term serious syndromes in survivors far more frequently than does flu. All of this adds up to an endless and unsustainable mess. Add it to all the other unsustainable processes at the heart of our political economy and we are rapidly headed for unmitigated disaster, unless we change course very soon and very radically.

  17. The Robodebt inquiry has revealed the effects that a dumb downed public service has on government – poor decision making by ill informed lawmakers.

    The outsourcing of essential human services, privatisation of public assets and actions of statutory bodies should attract further scrutiny.

    The actions by the LNP, to “cut red tape” and “grow the pie,” should haunt them for some time.

  18. Iko: – “At a guess, one would think at least 200 died in Australia in that week.

    There were 1,799 deaths due to COVID reported in Australia in the first 34 days of 2023. That’s roughly ten full Boeing 737-800 planeloads of passengers, or one planeload every 3 to 4 days.

    That’s a death rate of 52.9 per day, tracking towards 19,300+ for the full year of 2023.

    Australia’s worst flu season (for deaths) was in 2017, when 1,255 people died. We’ve had more COVID deaths in the first 3 weeks of 2023 compared with flu deaths in the whole of 2017. COVID is at least and order of magnitude worse than flu on deaths alone.

    Add in ‘long-COVID’ cases that permanently disable and I’d suggest the picture is much worse. A healthy economy requires a healthy population.

  19. Trust ’23 – discuss.

    rog says: “The outsourcing of essential human services, privatisation of public assets and actions of statutory bodies should attract further scrutiny.”

    How were we going to reign in capitalism & raise trust in government again? Not any time soon with these trust factors.

    For profits and brands – your new trustworthy institutions! 2023 is NOT the year the dog – government,  media, institutions – I assume they have so many fleas – that the tail – employers, brands – are now seen as more trustworthy than the dog – governments and institutions. A real worry.

    Edalman Trust Barometer 2023 shows Australia verging on US style polarization.

    And a fall in trust of governments, media, institutions, yet business trust up to 58%, and ‘My Employer’ trust at 77%.

    “‘My employer’ (77 percent) is the most trusted institution and is trusted in every country surveyed aside from South Korea (54 percent).

    “2023 Edelman Trust Barometer Reveals Business is the Only Institution Viewed as Ethical and Competent; Emerges as Ethical Force for Good in a Polarized World

    “Media (50 percent) is distrusted in 15 of 28 countries including Germany (47 percent), the U.S. (43 percent), Australia (38 percent), and South Korea (27 percent).

    “‘My employer’ (77 percent) is the most trusted institution and is trusted in every country surveyed aside from South Korea (54 percent).

    “Government leaders (41 percent), journalists (47 percent) and CEOs (48 percent) are the least trusted institutional leaders.

    “Scientists (76 percent), my coworkers (73 percent among employees) and my CEO (64 percent among employees) are most trusted.

    “2023 Edelman Trust Barometer

    “2023 Edelman Trust Barometer: A conversation with Richard Edelman”

    WED, FEBRUARY 1, 2023

    As to trust in Australian media, the news pieces which alerted me to  2023 Edelman Trust Barometer, all were walled gardens – commentary but no link to 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer. I gave up asking The Guardian to link to references.

    Here is a trust-y news source:

    “Trust slumps in government and media as division rules, Edelman survey shows

    ”       “Distrust in government and media, combined with a lack of shared identity and fears around what the future might hold have led us to this place,” said Tom Robinson, the Australian chief executive of global communications firm Edelman, which commissioned the research.

    ”      “As a direct result, business is under heightened pressure to lead the way back to unity and trust.

    ”      “Australia is heading down an alarmingly divisive path, but there is still opportunity to correct course before we end up in severely polarised territory like some of our Western counterparts.”

    “Rich, journalists, foreign powers ‘divide’

    “The annual Edelman Trust Barometer report found that almost half of Australians surveyed (45 per cent) believed the nation was more divided today than in the past.

    “The ‘rich and powerful’ were identified as the major force in dividing society, ahead of hostile foreign governments.

  20. Geoff Miell,

    Thanks for the corrections to my post. My quick searches and rough estimates significantly low-balled the deaths and morbidity by about a factor of two. All of this looks very bad and there are no signs of it getting better in the foreseeable future. I don’t know how anyone can be sanguine about this.

    Our protections against covid-19 continue to decline. Masking has declined to near zero. Hardly any doctors, dentists, pharmacies or hospitals require masking with adequate N95 masks for staff or patients. Air HEPA filtering for public and social sites and public transport seems to be near non-existent unless some Hospitals like RBH are still running their HEPA filters. Vaccine boosters are overdue for the bulk of the population and ATAGI continues to sit on its hands with no clear indication of when they will make a decision. If your last booster was 6 months ago or more and monovalent like mine then like me you are substantially unprotected once again.

    We can’t count catching COVID-19 as durable or worthwhile protection. It may protect yes but it also wanes at about the same rate or worse than vaccines. In addition, catching the real disease degrades and/or “inflames” your immune system for the next event and sets up “original antigenic sin” or antigenic imprinting. The latest evidence suggests that to be catching COVID-19 twice a year, every year, will be a dangerous downward spiral for almost anyone of almost any age. In that case, the chances of death or serious long covid outcomes after five years (ten infections) look alarmingly high. I hesitate to put a percentage on it but to imagine this won’t have a major, or even disastrous effect on our society and economy is to keep living in fantasy land, IMHO.

  21. Mandated vacccines claim – “why mandates, passports and restrictions may cause more harm than good”.
    Agree or not, it is a sensible idea to hear this side.

    Mandates do have consequences and they need to be very well communicated and managed. Seeing an increase in distrust of childhood vaccination is just one unintended consequence.

    The authors call for “the public health community and policymakers to return to non-discriminatory, trust-based public health approaches.”

    Judging by the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer, governments will need a concentrated effort over a generation to build the level of trust the authors hope for imo.

    And the authors need to nuance their open ended remarks and finding, for a better reception, imo.

    “The unintended consequences of COVID-19 vaccine policy: why mandates, passports and restrictions may cause more harm than good

    “Our analysis strongly suggests that mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policies have had damaging effects on public trust, vaccine confidence, political polarization, human rights, inequities and social wellbeing. We question the effectiveness and consequences of coercive vaccination policy in pandemic response and urge the public health community and policymakers to return to non-discriminatory, trust-based public health approaches

    Via: “Surely Right”
    by  Alex Tabarrok February 7, 2023

    “For more on reactance see also Bardosh et al. The unintended consequences of COVID-19 vaccine policy: why mandates, passports and restrictions may cause more harm than good, an excellent piece I am still stunned was able to make it into the BMJ (kudos to them.) ”

  22. Crushing Crypto & Blasting the Blockchain.

    Replace blockchain w permission system run on Raspberry Pi’s! Cheaper, safer, cuts illegal money, environmental improvement.
    – “Conclusion
    “A lower bound on the current cost of the lack of regulation of the cryptosphere is about $9B/year. The true cost is likely to be many times that lower bound.”
    – “The alternative explanation is that the permissioned system would be subject to regulation, preventing it from performing hugely profitable illegal transactions.” …
    – “Prof. Angela Walch is correct when she writes:
          “the common meaning of ‘decentralized’ as applied to blockchain systems functions as a veil that covers over and prevents many from seeing the actions of key actors within the system.”

    “Economic Incentives

    “One would think that the permissioned systems would out-compete them, but in the cryptosphere they don’t. Below the fold I attempt to answer the following obvious questions:
    – Why are permissionless systems more expensive?
    – How large is the investment in avoiding the need for permission?
    – Where does the return on this investment come from?
    – How large is the return on this investment?

    “The answers to these questions show that Prof. Angela Walch is correct when she writes:
          “the common meaning of ‘decentralized’ as applied to blockchain systems functions as a veil that covers over and prevents many from seeing the actions of key actors within the system.”

    “Why are permissionless systems more expensive?
    “Fundamentally, they are expensive to operate because the only defense against Sybil attacks (^fn1.) is to make mounting such an attack infeasibly expensive, and this requires that participation in the network be expensive. Permissioned systems can use cryptography to exclude attackers, so their security is exponential in the cost. The security of permissionless systems is linear in the cost, so at scale they are exponentially more expensive for the same level of security against attack.

    “They are also more expensive to set up because they require massive replication of resources, which also makes them less efficient in operation. They are slower because they depend upon gossip protocols for communication and synchronization.

    “How large is the investment in avoiding the need for permission?”
    Let’s estimate this for the two major cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

    “Bitcoin’s transaction rate is limited to around 7 transactions per second, but it is currently processing around 4. A Raspberry Pi could probably handle well over a thousand times as many. Bitcoin’s daily transaction fees are around $500K, but they are swamped by the block rewards, currently over $20M/day, or around 500K Pi/day.

    “As I write two pools control the Bitcoin blockchain, so a permissioned system of 7 Raspberry Pis using Byzantine Fault Tolerance(BFT) would provide the same attack resistance. It would be perhaps 1,000 times faster and at least 100,000 times cheaper.

    “A Sybil attack is a type of attack on a computer network service in which an attacker subverts the service’s reputation system by creating a large number of pseudonymous identities and uses them to gain a disproportionately large influence.”

  23. Rog, I’ve recently read Orlando Figes “The Story Of Russia” which demonstrates the historical antecedents of Putin’s policies and rhetoric.

  24. That was an interesting intro Paul; Russia doesn’t have a history, it has a story.

    “A silent and conformist population is one lasting consequence of Stalin’s reign.

    ..The Whisperers is not about Stalin, although his presence is felt on every page, or directly about the politics of his regime; it is about the way that Stalinism entered people’s minds and emotions, affecting all their values and relationships.”

    And people call the USA a failed state!

  25. I criticize ATAGI and they make a decision. Correlation is not causation, of course. The problem is that ATAGI and the government are making no long range decisions. The next booster is now permitted but still with no stated plan of what comes next. They have no long range plan to deal with COVID-19. Every decision just kicks the can down the road a little further. It IS possible to have a coherent plan with contingencies in it. Their idea of dealing with an unknowable future is to have no plan, to make up responses on a month by month and year by year basis.

    A plan with contingencies might say, “We intend to deal with the pandemic solely by vaccinations but if that doesn’t stop the pandemic we will add NPIs back in to our responses.” A plan with contingencies might say, “We intend to use vaccinations and natural immunity to make the disease mild but if it remains non-mild (as it has) then we will add NPIs and other measures back in to our responses.” These would be poor and non-preemptive plans but at least they would be flexible plans with contingencies to deal with failures to meet objectives.

    But there is a deep failure in our democracy and a deep failure in the ethics (and even intellects) of modern, capitalism and consumerism enculterated humans. As this writer put it:

    “The single most dispiriting element of the whole pandemic response thus far is how obvious it has become that the vast majority of people are unwilling to make the smallest alterations to their daily lives in order to protect the vulnerable.

    Mandatory masking on public transport and in health / social care settings is a very small ask that fundamentally is a minor inconvenience for most people, but hugely important for those that are vulnerable.

    The elaborate argumentation I have witnessed against this very basic level of NPIs in society is generally nothing more than a faux-intellectual justification of two qualities of the authors: selfishness, and ‘I don’t like masks’.

    These objections are rooted in a psychology that centres the objector, not the people they have the capacity to protect. It is also a psychology that favours the status quo over adaptation.” – Conor Browne

  26. I hope someone can invent some type of a roomba for that (a motorized vacuum cleaner robot), James. We should let cows get some fresh air. Thank you for the lovely photo.

  27. @ikonoclast
    “I can’t easily find the figures for the other states.”
    Has diligently collected all the stats since early in the pandemic
    A recent weekly number of 322 deaths for Victoria includes ‘173 historic COVID-related deaths, which occurred between March 2021 and June 2022. These deaths were added as the result of the Department’s regular data auditing process.’

  28. @rog
    “The civil war, between the bolsheviks (Red) and everybody else (White), included forces from Britain, the US, France, Canada et al”
    The et al included 150 Australians who fought in the British forces (with Australian Govt. permission) two of them won VCs – one posthumously

  29. Economics bias & ChatGPT.

    AI will propagate wage price spital correlation. Some here do the same, sometimes with a single focus and no confounders and minimal nuance.

    Obvious really as homo economicus, Econ 101 etc to be found everywhere in training data, including here.

    “Any analysis of the text of the Web will reveal that phrases like “supply is low” often appear in close proximity to phrases like “prices rise.” A chatbot that incorporates this correlation might, when asked a question about the effect of supply shortages, respond with an answer about prices increasing.”. From:

    “ChatGPT Is a Blurry JPEG of the Web

    “OpenAI’s chatbot offers paraphrases, whereas Google offers quotes. Which do we prefer?

    By Ted Chiang
    February 9, 2023

    “The same logic applies to the problem of compressing a slice of Wikipedia. If a compression program knows that force equals mass times acceleration, it can discard a lot of words when compressing the pages about physics because it will be able to reconstruct them. Likewise, the more the program knows about supply and demand, the more words it can discard when compressing the pages about economics, and so forth.

    “Large-language models identify statistical regularities in text. Any analysis of the text of the Web will reveal that phrases like “supply is low” often appear in close proximity to phrases like “prices rise.” A chatbot that incorporates this correlation might, when asked a question about the effect of supply shortages, respond with an answer about prices increasing. If a large-language model has compiled a vast number of correlations between economic terms—so many that it can offer plausible responses to a wide variety of questions—should we say that it actually understands economic theory? Models like ChatGPT aren’t eligible for the Hutter Prize for a variety of reasons, one of which is that they don’t reconstruct the original text precisely—i.e., they don’t perform lossless compression. But is it possible that their lossy compression nonetheless indicates real understanding of the sort that A.I. researchers are interested in?

    “Let’s go back to the example of arithmetic. If you ask GPT-3 (the large-language model that ChatGPT was built from) to add or subtract a pair of numbers, it almost always responds with the correct answer when the numbers have only two digits. But its accuracy worsens significantly with larger numbers, falling to ten per cent when the numbers have five digits. Most of the correct answers that GPT-3 gives are not found on the Web—there aren’t many Web pages that contain the text “245 + 821,” for example—so it’s not engaged in simple memorization. But, despite ingesting a vast amount of information, it hasn’t been able to derive the principles of arithmetic, either. A close examination of GPT-3’s incorrect answers suggests that it doesn’t carry the “1” when performing arithmetic. The Web certainly contains explanations of carrying the “1,” but GPT-3 isn’t able to incorporate those explanations. GPT-3’s statistical analysis of examples of arithmetic enables it to produce a superficial approximation of the real thing, but no more than that.

    “Given GPT-3’s failure at a subject taught in elementary school, how can we explain the fact that it sometimes appears to perform well at writing college-level essays?

  30. Christmas – fusion before ‘cheaper than renewables’ SMNR’s!

    NuScale shoots itself in the foot… again. Who is funding this? US (pun-ny) “The Department of Energy has already pitched in over $1 billion to the project, and the Inflation Reduction Act passed last year includes $30/MWh in credits for nuclear power plants.”

    “NuScale announced that its planned price of electricity from the Idaho plant project had increased, from $58 per megawatt-hour to $89. That’s more expensive than most other sources of electricity today, including solar and wind power and most natural-gas plants.”. From MIT:

    “We were promised smaller nuclear reactors. Where are they?

    “Small modular reactors could be quicker and cheaper to build. Now, they’ve reached a major milestone.

    By Casey Crownhart
    February 8, 2023

    ““We found that we could actually produce more power with the same reactor, the same exact size,” says Jose Reyes, cofounder and chief technology officer at NuScale. Instead of 50 MW, the company found that each module could produce 77 MW.

    “So the company changed course. For its first power plant, which will be built at the Idaho National Laboratory, NuScale is planning to package six of the higher-capacity reactors together, making the plant capacity 462 MW in total.

    “The upgraded power rating requires some adjustments, but the module design is fundamentally the same. Still, it means that the company needed to resubmit updated plans to the NRC, which it did last month. It could take up to two years before the altered plans are approved by the agency and the company can move on to site approval, Reyes says.

    “The long road ahead
    “Back in 2017, NuScale planned to have its first power plant in Idaho running and generating electricity for the grid by 2026. That timeline has been pushed back to 2029.

    “Meanwhile, costs are higher than when the regulatory process first kicked off. In January, NuScale announced that its planned price of electricity from the Idaho plant project had increased, from $58 per megawatt-hour to $89. That’s more expensive than most other sources of electricity today, including solar and wind power and most natural-gas plants.

    “The price hikes would be even higher if not for substantial federal investment. The Department of Energy has already pitched in over $1 billion to the project, and the Inflation Reduction Act passed last year includes $30/MWh in credits for nuclear power plants.”

  31. KT2 – I expect the higher than anticipated costs and time delays will only make SMR’s more popular with pro-fossil fuels opponents of strong action on climate, like the LNP. The point isn’t to do emissions reductions better and cheaper, it is to delay. Nothing delays better than backing technologies that aren’t available yet and expected to be very expensive. But they can blame anti-nuclear sentiment, ie green-left influence for their lack of an actual climate policy. Win-win for certain interests. Lose-lose for everyone. Ultimately, ironically, the people that are those interests, even if they don’t see it. I expect wealth is their preferred insurance against damaging climate outcomes.

  32. KT2: – “NuScale shoots itself in the foot… again. Who is funding this?

    It seems there’s still not enough funding for NuScale’s UAMPS project to proceed.

    Per E&E News article by Peter Behr published 14 Dec 2022, headlined Rising costs imperil nation’s leading small reactor project, it included:

    To keep the UAMPS project on track, developers will not only have to keep existing utility sponsors — they will have to sign on new ones.

    Twenty-seven of UAMPS’ 50 member utilities are sponsors of the project, agreeing to buy 116 MW of power. But Webb said the entire 462 MW of capacity must be fully subscribed for the project to go forward.

    So it seems 75% of capacity is yet to be subscribed for the UAMPS project to proceed.

    I’d suggest this is a rather inconvenient detail that seems to be missed/ignored by many SMR boosters.

    Ken Fabian: – “I expect wealth is their preferred insurance against damaging climate outcomes.

    I’d suggest money will be valued less on planet Earth as it warms further and becomes increasingly more hostile to human civilisation.

  33. Geoff,

    There is no “profound shift” yet, unfortunately. All I hear are statements admitting the plain facts of recent lamentable empirical events which Butler et al. cannot lie about, precisely because they are recent clear factual events on record. I hear no plain statements like, “We were wrong, we admit we were wrong and we have to take a new approach to Covid-19 going forward.”

    Until I hear this style of thing, I will know that nothing substantive has changed. They have to say and admit:

    1. We were wrong to let covid-19 spread unchecked.
    2. There have been too many deaths and illnesses by far.
    3. The vaccines-only strategy is a clear failure.
    4. We need to outline and implement a full plan including at least three vaccinations a year PLUS add in full test, trace, isolate, quarantine, masks and filters for indoor air.

    Without the above, this pandemic will never end in the lifetime of anyone over 60 (especially since many over 60 will die much younger than would otherwise have been the case) and indeed we may yet see the evolution of a “strain from hell” which fully escapes vaccines and natural immunity and runs with infectiousness greater than any Omicron variant and infection fatality rates in the 5% to 30% range. This is still a real possibility.

    Some viruses we can only “live with” by making them exceedingly rare. All the ways to do this are known and understood. Only unfettered capitalist individualism prevents us from using these methods.

  34. Evolution rocks! – we have LRRC15! – “Overall, LRRC15 is a novel SARS-CoV-2 spike-binding receptor that can help control viral load and regulate antiviral and antifibrotic transcriptional programs in the context of COVID-19 infection.” Study below.

    Maybe not in our lifetimes Ikon, but the dreaded E word – eradcation – comes a step closer.
    [Please – no responses here re eradication. Sanpit only]

    New immune “receptor protein, LRRC15” discovered via using CRISPR to turn on all relevant genes and then; 

    “The team used human cells in tissue culture to search the whole human genome for proteins that can bind to Sars-CoV-2, the virus which causes Covid-19.

    “This was done using the genetic engineering tool known as Crispr, which allowed them to turn on all genes in the human genome, then look to see which of those genes give human cells the ability to bind to the Sars-CoV-2 spike protein. The spike protein is crucial to the virus’s ability to infect human cells.

    “This let us find this new receptor protein, LRRC15,” Neely said.

    “The fact that there’s this natural immune receptor that we didn’t know about, that’s lining our lungs and blocks and controls virus – that’s crazy interesting.”

    “And while the discovery may take years to translate into drugs that can protect against viruses and other diseases, Turville said the research adds to our understanding of innate immunity – hard-wired responses humans have that can act as soon as a virus appears.

    “Understanding these pathways is important as they enable us to put the brakes on a virus, so other arms of our immune system can catch up and respond,” Turville said.

    “In some cases these brakes can be so effective, that the virus may never gain momentum. Indeed this could be one of many factors that may increase the ability of people to be protected from the virus early on.”

    Fibroblast-expressed LRRC15 is a receptor for SARS-CoV-2 spike and controls antiviral and antifibrotic transcriptional programs

    “Mechanistically, LRRC15 does not itself support SARS-CoV-2 infection, but fibroblasts expressing LRRC15 can suppress both pseudotyped and authentic SARS-CoV-2 infection in trans. Moreover, LRRC15 expression in fibroblasts suppresses collagen production and promotes expression of IFIT, OAS, and MX-family antiviral factors. Overall, LRRC15 is a novel SARS-CoV-2 spike-binding receptor that can help control viral load and regulate antiviral and antifibrotic transcriptional programs in the context of COVID-19 infection.”…

    Citation: Loo L, Waller MA, Moreno CL, Cole AJ, Stella AO, Pop O-T, et al. (2023) Fibroblast-expressed LRRC15 is a receptor for SARS-CoV-2 spike and controls antiviral and antifibrotic transcriptional programs. PLoS Biol 21(2): e3001967. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3001967

  35. LRRC15 corroboration.

    “LRRC15 inhibits SARS-CoV-2 cellular entry in trans

    “Strikingly, expression of LRRC15 in ACE2-negative cells blocks spike-mediated viral entry in ACE2+ cell in trans, suggesting a protective role of LRRC15 in a physiological context. Therefore, LRRC15 represents an inhibitory attachment factor for SARS-CoV-2 that regulates viral entry in trans.”

    Citation: Song J, Chow RD, Peña-Hernández MA, Zhang L, Loeb SA, So E-Y, et al. (2022)
    LRRC15 inhibits SARS-CoV-2 cellular entry in trans.
    PLoS Biol 20(10): e3001805. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3001805

  36. If its not an unfolding disaster what are the signs of success ? Generally increasing life expectancies, growing knowledge, and generally increasing levels of consumption for the human population are probably the only candidates I can think of . These sound reasonable perhaps only in theory ,and there are alot of negatives to weigh against them .

    Sure my life is good but is humanity really any happier on average than it was in past millenia ? I doubt that, but what’s happiness compared to power anyway? In wealthy countries a time poor middle class has arisen but the bottom %50 in those countries still own almost nothing . Those countries couldnt have got to where they are without 1000’s of years of slavery on an industrial scale. 30 – 40% of the residents of ancient Rome were slaves . Even Scotlands wealth is largely derived from slaves even though almost no slaves actually lived there .

    I think alot of people place all value on progression of the human project – conceived as ever increasing intelligence, technology , knowlege , consumption , population ,etc. We are just so special arent we .Techno utopians have faith ,they do not to care what destruction occurs as long as the holy project goes on somehow . I care about all the people and animals currently existing but the thought that the Earth in 200 years might have no humans on it does not bother me at all – why should it ?

    And no ,I am not depressed . I am one of the luckiest ones – having a great life on a dying planet.

    One of my oldest freinds is a dairy farmer . A few years ago he got on Facebook to keep in touch with dairy things .His fear of Vegans triggered their algorithm and now he is a major conspiracy theorist with authoritarian/fascist sympathies. What is truly amazing is how specific and well tailored to his needs the stuff he consumes is . It is as if these videos were made specifically for him by someone with money to spend who knows him very well . Once I helped him pull a calf out of its mother ,it come out front feet first back feet last like it was diving out .His immediate reaction was ‘Damn, its male ‘ .

    I told my dairy mate that we have swapped places on Covid .Since I still take it seriously I am now the fringe nutter and he ,the conspiricast denier , is mainstream (he didnt like that suggestion). Its all kind of understandable .We think we will be ok and want something (in this case ‘freedom’) – someone somewhere will pay the price .Thats the way we always live isnt it ? I want my new phone -so kids work in mines and people slave in factories to make it . My brother is really struggling with long covid now ,its been 5 months .He has been seriously depressed and recently decided to take 3 months off work .His main problems are fatigue and insomnia. He was very fit and healthy – probably in the top 5 to 10 % that way .He was a competitive road cyclist and hasnt ridden his bike since .

    Masks have prevented me from getting it so far .I work part time in a pretty risky place .I am the only one wearing one and am almost the only one not to have got it yet (out of 40 – 50 employees) .I cant help thinking how it might have been different if the virus affected babies rather than lower market value people.

  37. In the Saturday paper re Halton inquiry on Covid

    “Constant changes to ‘the rules’ have been difficult to understand and was reported as a barrier to access by consumers. Clinicians have reported confusion and patient difficulty in exercising choice. For example, the ATAGI ‘guidance’ has led to restricted access to Novavax as a booster, resulting in several patients reporting to the review that they have been refused access to this vaccine as a booster as ‘you don’t qualify’.”

    The report said communication to both patients and doctors about “actual eligibility” should be “both clear and permissive”.

    “At times, the ATAGI guidance and published statements have served as a gatekeeper to the use and uptake of vaccines, with advice treated as de facto decisions about eligibility,” she wrote.

  38. Nano nuclear reactors next!

    Hammers (bag of), Nails. Micro reactors. Universities. 

    Tyler Cowen says “If there is anything to turn you anti-nuclear…” in Friday assorted links
    by  February 10, 2023…
    “6. Several universities to experiment with micro nuclear power.  If there is anything to turn you anti-nuclear…”

    Excerpts from linked article below.

    “Caleb Brooks, a nuclear engineering professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
    …” The University of Illinois hopes to advance the technology as part of a clean energy future, Brooks said.”
    …”Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, and aims to start operating it by early 2028. Brooks is the project lead.

    “The total cost of Last Energy’s microreactor, including module fabrication, assembly and site prep work, is under $100 million, the company says.”

    ” said Jacopo Buongiorno, professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Buongiorno studies the role of nuclear energy in a clean energy world.”

    ” Buongiorno and Marc Nichol, senior director for new reactors at the Nuclear Energy Institute,”

    “such as steel and cement manufacturers, may be able to use it, said Professor Jean Paul Allain, head of the nuclear engineering department.”

    ” The goal is to have one at Penn State by the end of the decade.”

    “Purdue University in Indiana is working with Duke Energy on the feasibility of using advanced nuclear energy to meet its long-term energy needs.

    “Nuclear reactors that are used for research are nothing new on campus. About two dozen U.S. universities have them. But using them as an energy source is new.”

    “Several universities to experiment with micro nuclear power”
    February 9, 2023

    “But not everyone shares the enthusiasm. Edwin Lyman, director of nuclear power safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists, called it “completely unjustified.”

    “Microreactors in general will require much more uranium to be mined and enriched per unit of electricity generated than conventional reactors do, he said. He said he also expects fuel costs to be substantially higher and that more depleted uranium waste could be generated compared to conventional reactors.

    “I think those who are hoping that microreactors are going to be the silver bullet for solving the climate change crisis are simply betting on the wrong horse,” he said.

    “Lyman also said he fears microreactors could be targeted for a terrorist attack, and some designs would use fuels that could be attractive to terrorists seeking to build crude nuclear weapons. The UCS does not oppose using nuclear power, but wants to make sure it’s safe.”

  39. Basically this is how far the ground, and more importantly, children can be seen in front of various vehicles.

  40. Jim Chalmers on Insiders this morning via The Guardian…

    “Chalmers also made a point to say the government “has not changed our position on those Stage 3 tax cuts” and said that they won’t come in “for more than a year now” meaning that “a decision on those tax cuts, of either nature, wouldn’t actually impact on the inflation challenge that’s in our economy right now”.
    Polisp3ak for
    [Eliding unfairness and ignoring opportunity costs]

    “On the suggestion that Australia is entering a “wage-price spiral” (which is basically a re-run of the 1970s and was the product of a very specific institutional set up that no longer exists), Chalmers rubbishes the idea immediately, pointing to the global factors as the driving factor.”
    [Eliding price gouging]

    As ABC doesn’t do transcripts anymore. Here is The Guardian providing a patial transcript embedded in…

  41. “Chalmers places indefinitely growing productivity at heart of economic strategy

    By Guest author Ray Champ

    Feb 6, 2023

    “Through this approach, Chalmers and Albanese seek to gain votes from the ‘teal’ Independent candidates who represent wealthy communities that would benefit from gains to capital, but are wary of supporting the Coalition due to its record of obstructing action of climate change, whilst maintaining a progressive base and defending against the Greens. It’s a part of their messaging of consensus politics which was exemplified in their ‘Jobs and Skills Summit”

  42. Prof Kathy Eagar tweeted on Feb 10:

    COVID weekly report: 242 Australians died of COVID this week. That’s one COVID death every 42 minutes. The good news is that deaths are slowing

    This makes 2,041 deaths in the 1st 6 weeks of 2023.

    Australia had 910 COVID deaths in the whole of 2020 & 1,319 COVID deaths in 2021

    2,041 deaths up to beginning of Feb 10 (for a period of 40 days) is a death rate of 51.0/day or tracking towards 18,600+ deaths for the full year in 2023. That’s still appears to be tracking worse than for last year, 2022.

    Yet it seems to me some prominent medical people still get media prominence even now, continuing to spread the message of complacency, despite all the accumulating compelling evidence/data, and thus likely facilitating more suffering and deaths. Who’s investigating these individuals for recurring misinformation?

  43. The Australian hallucination of “a fair go” is just that – a hallucination.

    What makes this article all the more galling, is the priveliged private school funding has increased compared to public schools, reinforcing the disadvantage.

    Just about every sporting code on the planet adjusts for this inequity. Australia provides education funding doing the opposite – keeping thenweaker teams weak. A dis-adjustment instead of re adjustment. Disgusting. Would we bother to watch sport if top teams always won and were showered with funding? No.

    We, it seems have an agreement without targets in education. From Productivity Commission report press release: “The Commission recommends that each state and territory should set a target to reduce the share of students who are falling behind.”

    “Success in life is tied to parental education. That’s why we need to track intergenerational school performance

    “Education is a major driver of social mobility, with research showing educational attainment explains up to 30% of the transmission of economic advantage between parents and children.

    “But a Productivity Commission reportpublished last month shows the education system is not doing well in correcting for the disadvantage students face in the classroom.

    “For example, Year 3 students whose parents did not finish secondary school are an average of 1.3 years behind in numeracy, compared with those whose parents have a bachelors’ degree or higher. By the time these students reach Year 9 this gap widens to almost four years.

    Report :
    “National School Reform Agreement

    “Each year, almost 90,000 students do not meet minimum standards for reading or numeracy in NAPLAN. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, students in outer regional and remote Australia, and students of parents with low educational attainment are three times more likely to fall behind than other students. The Commission recommends that each state and territory should set a target to reduce the share of students who are falling behind,” Ms Siegel-Brown said.”

    Click to access school-agreement.pdf

  44. And productivity vs carbon footprint data?

    “ChatGPT user acquisition rate

    Mon, 23 Jan 2023 23:00:29 -0500
    [quoting from another list, i.e., unverified]

    “Time it took to reach 1-million users:
    Netflix – 3.5 years
    Facebook – 10 months
    Spotify – 5 months
    Instagram – 2.5 months
    ChatGPT – 5 days
    [Dan also asked this interesting question: What do you suppose OpenAI is doing with all this user data that they are presumably accumulating at warp speed? PGN]”

    “ChatGPT reaches 100 million users two months after launch

    “Unprecedented take-up may make AI chatbot the fastest-growing consumer internet app ever, analysts say

  45. Because the FT is pay walled…

    “Mariana Mazzucato: “The McKinseys and the Deloittes have no expertise in the areas in which they advise.”

    ” The EU’s Green New Deal, for example, cannot be carried out “with old tools”. A cost-benefit analysis of the moon landings would have grounded the crew, she says. “If we had used today’s criteria, there would have been no reason to try.” The Apollo missions helped produce today’s camera phones and baby food. But the UK Treasury’s methodology for public investment rules out the possibility of such positive spillovers.”

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