Thursday, September 26, 2013

Zombie Apocalypse, preparing and failing

Lately I have been interested in the concept of a "zombie apocalypse".  Can it happen?

The answer is yes and it would be incredibly bad.

The most common "rage" virus is rabies.  If rabies became an airborne virus it is possible that the world would suffer a "zombie apocalypse".  If the form of rabies is anti-viral resistant we have a huge problem.

Guess what, there are airborne rabies virus already.

The rabies virus can have an incubation period of as long as a year and as short as a week.  Incubation is the time between infection and illness.  If the airborne rabies virus became more virulent, transmitted more often, and took 6 months to a year to incubate the majority of the world would be infected before people started dying.

People with rabies die within about a week of showing the illness.  If the disease were very consistent (and thank God they are not) the entire world (90+%) would probably be infected within a few months.  Let us speculate 6 months.  I picked six months because it works with a 6 sigma distribution really well.

This isn't a real model, it is a speculative model so don't get your panties in a bunch.

The virus becomes virulent.  The first month about 4% of the world is infected and no one is sick.  The second month about 16% of the world is infected and no one is sick.  The third month about 50% of the world is infected and no one is sick, but, by now some doctors probably know something is wrong.  Rabies can't be diagnosed prior to symptoms, there are no infection tests, but, there are some smart cookies out there and I expect a few people would have a clue.

By the end of the fourth month about 85% of the people in the world are infected.  More people know something is wrong, but, no one knows exactly what and no one is sure what is going to happen.  There is some political debate.  By the end of the fifth month about 97% of the world is infected.  By the end of the sixth month 100%.

Now everyone is infected and no one is sick.  Politicians and doctors go back to working on the stuff that is popular.

Because we are working with a very consistent virus, six months later, one year after the first infections, people start going crazy with rabies.  Within a week they die.  Maybe the anti-virals work, maybe not.  The worst thing is that we have 2-3 months before most of the people in the world, including the people who would manufacture and distribute anti-virals, are dead.

By the end of the 1st month, 4% of the world population is gone.  360,000,000 people are dead.  The disease is not random, the people who have the most contact with others die first.  People who travel, truck drivers, shipping, airlines, logistics, managers, medical professionals, teachers, children, etc.

By the end of the 2nd month 16% of the people in the world are dead.  The disease follows probability of contact with others and now the 16% of the most important people in the logistics of getting a cure out there are gone.  The likelihood of combating a world wide disease with those people gone is nil.

By the end of the third month, between the deaths from the virus and the deaths from enraged victims billions are dead.  Infected people are hiding and it isn't doing any good.  Families are killing each other. 

By the end of the fourth month most of humanity is gone.  95%+. 

Game over.

That sounds pretty outrageous, but, it is probably a more likely Armageddon than a flu virus pandemic.  Why? because some preparations have been made to combat a flu virus pandemic and no one is making serious preparations for something like an airborne rabies virus pandemic.

We can't prepare for everything.  We carry a single spare tire and the odds of having two flats at the same time are minimal.  It does happen though, and when it does there isn't anything we can do except deal with the consequences of not having 2 spare tires.

With all the interest in a "zombie apocalypse" I sometimes wonder if the world isn't being somewhat prophetic, if we don't know what is going to happen already in the dark recesses of our minds.  Maybe we are heading down a road of self fulfilling prophecy where we are creating the conditions necessary for such a virus to destroy us.

In any case the research was interesting and educational.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Failure and Failure and Avoidance and Disaster

What is failure or success?

Interesting question.  One of the most interesting things happening on the web these days is the idea that either success or failure can be identified.  This is a form of evolution.

I don't believe in the evolution of man from a lower species.  I do believe that changes can occur based on environment.

Contrary to popular opinion intelligence is not an evolutionary trait.  If intelligence were an evolutionary selection there would not anywhere near as many stupid people in the world.

So what does evolution select for?  Probably memory.  Probably memory of mistakes or "bad things"

How did I come to this conclusion?  Pretty easily actually, it is based on common beliefs as represented by old sayings.  "People remember the bad and forget the good".  Think about it and I am sure you can think of similar sayings.

Psychologists tell us that people remember things attached to emotional situations best and that most of the situations we remember are attached to negative emotions.

If we consider the large number of negative "epic fail" and "failure" presentations on the web in combination with the large number of common beliefs around negative memories in combination with evolutionary concepts the idea that evolution has selected for negative memory retention becomes very interesting.

People who remember past mistakes, or bad situations, and avoid them are more likely to survive.

Now that seems like a brain dead conclusion, yet, people commonly think that evolution selected for intelligence while the circumstantial evidence suggests that evolution selects for people whose memories of bad situations is better than others combined with a desire to avoid bad situations.

In other words, evolution selects for people who focus on failure and live in fear.

Guys like me, the "bulls in the china shop" who are "reckless" enough to continually tackle the impossible, the risk takers, are probably the result of a combination of recessive genes that minimize memories of past bad situations and maximize a desire for achievement.  Whatever achievement we have defined.

Not always the achievement we have told others we want.  If people focus on failure than people will want to "cut" others down to size so it is best to never share or allow people to understand the nature of an individuals success.

The advent of anonymous and hackers who are trying to pressure people into an avoidance behavior pattern are circumstantial evidence of evolution selecting for fear.  Their extortion based behavior suggests that they believe fear to be the primary motivator in human beings, which suggests that they are motivated primarily by fear.

I suppose we can call it avoidance behavior to make people whose primary motivator is fear better about themselves.

There is another set of circumstantial evidence for evolution selecting for cowardice and for courage being a recessive trait, the reliance of people on the opinions of others.  If people believe someone else is a "bad risk" that "bad risk" can be ostracized.  This is another indicator of avoidance behavior and remembering the "bad".

One of the attacks I have suffered under is an attack on my credit rating where some hacker does something to damage my credit.  While the actions of the hacker do not honestly reflect my integrity, avoidance behavior results in others taking negative actions against me.  As if I care.

This is behavior very similar to political propaganda.  People are placed in situations where they believe a falsehood and make decisions based on the false information.  When bad information leads to enough bad decision making whatever group is influenced by the decisions is damaged and even destroyed.

This makes accurate information important and yet hackers spend quite a lot of their time doing everything they can to provide false information.

Eventually the "information highway" will result in the destruction of the planet as the information becomes more and more corrupt and people make more and more bad decisions based on bad information.

Damaging one person, say someone who was considered one of the best, if not the best, in the world at their profession can set a technology back years.  Damaging any individual not influential in their field probably won't hurt much, but, the bad information builds up.  Garbage in, garbage out.

Bill Gates used Microsoft to impede technology development and as a result the "internet bubble" cost trillions.  It happened, I am not arguing with propagandists.  Bill Gates made billions by costing the world trillions.

Poor appraisals of mortgaged properties resulted in the "mortgage bubble" which cost trillions.  It wasn't banks, they trusted the Garbage In and as a result they got Garbage Out.

Politicians are elected based on propaganda and twisted information and as the information becomes more twisted the bad decisions based on trying to avoid bad situations become worse and worse.

It is all based on memories of bad situations and a desire to avoid them, but, too many people providing the information have different ideas of what "bad" is.  We all know there is a "good" and a "bad", we just don't define it the same way any more than we define success the same way.

When people who define "bad" in different ways and manipulate information to avoid bad situations the information becomes contradictory and people can't help but make bad choices based on the contradictory and incorrect information.

The only possible result is disaster. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hollywood hypocrisy

I just saw part of an old episode of Law and Order on TNT.  The episode was called "Blue Bamboo".  An attorney asked Jack McCoy if suspects should be transported across borders and tortured.  McCoy responded "Works for me."  This was first aired in 1994, the year after the first Trade Center Bombing.

This episode reminded me of a couple of other Law and Order episodes like "Memos from the Dark Side" where McCoy prosecutes a man for conspiring to torture people.

Hollywood propagandizes whatever they feel like.  Before 9-11 they propagandized torture as acceptable and after 9-11 they propagandized torture as unacceptable.

Truthfully I just find crap like this laughable, unfortunately a lot of people actually base opinions on fiction like Law and Order since there is truth mixed in with the fiction.  This is the way propaganda works.  Tell people something they believe is true and combine it with a fiction they don't know about.  Eventually people believe the fiction is truth.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Destroying the world, Obama style

The Obama admin has stepped in it now and I don't think there is any way out of it for either Obama or the United States.  Watching how everything unfolds over the next few years is going to be a blast.

I expect that, as usual, rather than admit how badly things have been screwed the United States will pretend things are actually going well and getting better.  How long that fantasy takes to crumble will be interesting.

I am not going into great detail because the perfect storm of economic and political stupidity that has gone so far as to be unstoppable would take too much time to explain. In a nutshell the elimination of disposable income and reduction in middle and lower income modality health care spending in the United States will cause a disintegration of the economy and the foreign policy credibility of the United States.

Free markets work well. Things like greed, those who create monopolies or artificially inflate prices destroy the free markets, and things like trade restrictions, like Obamacare, destroy the free markets, create the conditions for an economic disaster.

We saw the housing bubble create an economic storm. People blamed banks, and they were partially responsible. In reality it was more the real estate agents, mortgage brokers and housing appraisers at the bottom who lacked any kind of oversight and created the conditions which caused the disaster.

Free markets are markets which are not influenced. When people deliberately influence markets the markets are no longer free. Buyers of homes and mortgages depend on appraisals to determine values. If the appraisals can be influenced the market is no longer free, it is influenced.

When we step back and apply that understanding to the entire economy we begin to realize that free markets are gone. Over controlling or influencing of the economy is creating the conditions necessary to destroy the economy. Lots of people have been saying this for a very long time and for the most part I have disagreed. I'm afraid Obamacare and the manipulation of deficit/debt spending by the Obama admin have created conditions we cannot recover from.

That is not the real issue, long term sustainability is the issue. Economies come and go. Rome rises and falls. The British Empire rises and falls. Economic failure can and will be survived. The failure of the U.S economy will not be the disaster everyone is afraid of.

The real issue is that the world can't support more than about four billion people in any sustainable way.

That means the first step in a sustainable economy has to be a reduction in population. The Chinese recognized this and attempted to slow population growth. In my opinion they failed even though population growth was actually reduced. It wasn't enough and no one else in the world supported that policy. What happens as the rest of the people in the world realize that the only feasible solution is population reduction?

Let us speculate freely.......

Everyone has heard the conspiracy theories about how the CIA developed HIV and Ebola in Africa as methods to reduce the population. I doubt that happened, I think it ludicrous to believe such a thing. But what about the future?

Could the economic storm of the future create enough concern that a government or even non-government entity could release a virus that has a huge mortality rate?

I doubt it. Politicians tend to be control freaks and such a virus would be uncontrollable. As stupid as politicians believe people are I doubt if a virus with a 50% or better mortality rate which didn't kill at least 50% of the political leadership could be ignored by even liberal democrats much less the people of other nations. In fact, even if a plague occurred naturally the rumors of the CIA starting it would be so strong that other, nuclear weapon armed, nations would be unable to ignore them no matter how stupid the rumors are. In my opinion a global plague will result in nuclear attacks on the United States.

Will those who created the conditions for the coming economic disaster actually think logically?  Will politicians who can misdirect responsibility to someone else take control?

Suppose those in power somewhere decide that the only way to save the world is to create the conditions for a sustainable economy by reducing the population through the use of a plague. Suppose someone, China, Russia, whoever, decides that the only solution to the global sustainability crisis is to release a virus that becomes nearly random. Everyone blames the States. The North American coasts are nuked, mostly the East Coast, since the world needs the agricultural lands of the Midwest and wind patterns from nuking the west coast would destroy the Midwest.

Why do I think such a thing possible? Because politicians are control freaks and when things are totally out of control the last thing a control freak has is the ability to choose the time and place of their own demise.

Now that we have mostly eliminated the moronic politicians in the States from doing something this crazy who would? China, Russia, ????.

So where in the world would our protagonist start such a virus? Probably around Washington D.C. in the Maryland area. "An accidental release from a secret laboratory." A small nuclear explosion near Washington D.C. soon after the release of such a virus could be propagandized as a U.S. attempt at stopping a plague. With U.S. credibility destroyed any attempt to blame anyone else for either the plague or the bombing would result in even more international hatred directed toward the States.

The development of an anti-viral by either Russia or China or some branch of the W.H.O. would not be a surprise and neither would the inoculation of people in other nations coming first, before those who “started” the plague.  Politicians in other nations would be first on the inoculation list.

Scary fricking scenario.  Pretty insane.  I think I will just write a short science fiction story using that plot.  A story without a happy ending.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tracking down the Bullsh*t in the Obama Admin

During the Obama administration the public debt has been increasing dramatically while deficit spending is dropping.  How can that happen?

It didn't make sense, what the fu*k was going on?

Then it hit me, the Fed stimulus.  Buying bonds to maintain low interest rates.  The Obama administration used the same accounting "magic" that Congress is using on the Social Security fund.

What the Obama admin and the Social Security fund are doing is pretty simple fakery and it doesn't rise to the level of actual fraud unless the money can't be paid back.

The idea is simple, turn cash into an asset so you can still spend the cash and maintain the illusion of financial stability.  The first step is to write an IOU or a check and then call it a bond.

A bond is a promise to pay money with interest on either a regular schedule or all at once.  Checks and IOUs, promissory notes, bonds, are all promises to pay money.

When a company has a promise to pay money on their balance sheet it is called an asset. The U.S. Government writes a check called a bond. The government then buys that bond from itself. Here is where it sounds tricky, but, this is all actually legal.

Lets say the government collects 800 million in taxes and they need to spend 1 trillion dollars to keep the government together. They write a bond for 500 million dollars. They buy that bond from themselves. Now the government has 300 million in one bank account, 500 million in another bank account and a 500 million dollar asset. The government has turned 800 million dollars into 1.3 trillion dollars.

Now they can borrow another 200 million dollars. The government has an entire 1.5 trillion dollars. They have borrowed 700 million dollars so the public debt increases 700 million dollars. The deficit is a little trickier.

The government spends 1 trillion dollars, but, because they have an asset on the books, the 500 million dollar bond, it looks like they spent only 500 million dollars so now they have a 300 million dollar surplus.

If any private organization did this they would be convicted of fraud and the corporate management would be sent to prison.