COVID-19 and the economy: Where do we go from here?

The COVID-19 story keeps developing. At first, everyone listened to epidemiologists telling us that a great deal of social distancing, and even the closing down of economies, would be helpful. After trying these things, we ended up with a huge number of people out of work and protests everywhere. We discovered the models that were provided were not very predictive. We are also finding that a V-shaped recovery is not possible.

Now, we need to figure out what actions to take next. How vigorously should we be fighting COVID-19? The story is more complex than most people understand. These are some of the issues I see:

[1] The share of COVID-19 cases that can be expected to end in death seems to be much lower than most people expect.

Most people assume that the ratios of deaths to cases by age group, computed using reported cases, such as those included in the Johns Hopkins Database, give a good indication of the chance of death a person faces if a person catches COVID-19. In fact, the cases reported to this database are far from representative of all cases; they tend to be the more severe cases. Cases with no symptoms, or only very slight symptoms, tend to be missed. The result is that ratios calculated directly from this database make people think their risk of death is far higher than it really is.

The US Center for Disease Control has published Planning Scenarios, based on information available on April 29, 2020.* Using this information, the CDC’s best estimate of the number of future deaths per 1000 cases with symptoms is as follows:

Ages 0 – 49    0.5 deaths per 1000 cases with symptoms

Ages 50-64    2.0 deaths per 1000 cases with symptoms

Ages 65+       13.0 deaths per 1000 cases with symptoms

The CDC’s best estimate is that 35% of cases have no symptoms at all. Thus, if we were to include these cases without symptoms in the chart above, the chart would become:

Ages 0-49   0.5 deaths per 1,538 cases (including those without symptoms), or 0.3 deaths per 1000 cases with or without symptoms

Ages 50-64  1.3 deaths per 1000 cases with or without symptoms

Ages 65+    8.5 deaths per 1000 cases with or without symptoms

A recent study of blood samples from 23 different parts of the world came to a similarly low estimate of the number of deaths per 1000 COVID-19 infections. It reported that among people who are less than 70 years old, the number of deaths per 1000 ranged from 0.0 to 2.3 per 1000, with a median of 0.4 deaths per 1000.

The same paper remarks,

COVID-19 seems to affect predominantly the frail, the disadvantaged, and the marginalized – as shown by high rates of infectious burden in nursing homes, homeless shelters, prisons, meat processing plants, and the strong racial/ethnic inequalities against minorities in terms of the cumulative death risk.

[2] There seem to be things we can do ourselves to reduce our personal chance of serious illness or death.

General good health is protective against getting a bad case of COVID-19. Thus, anything that we can do in terms of a good diet and exercise is likely helpful. Staying inside for weeks on end in the hope of preventing exposure to COVID-19 is probably not helpful.

Continued exposure to huge amounts of disinfectants and hand sanitizers is likely not to be helpful either. Our bodies depend on healthy microbiomes, and products such as these adversely affect our microbiomes. They kill good and bad bacteria alike and may leave harmful residues. It is easy to scale back our personal use of these products.

There are recent indications that vitamin D is likely to be protective in reducing both the incidence of COVID-19 and the disease’s severity. Web MD reports:

Several groups of researchers from different countries have found that the sickest patients often have the lowest levels of vitamin D, and that countries with higher death rates had larger numbers of people with vitamin D deficiency than countries with lower death rates.

Experts say healthy blood levels of vitamin D may give people with COVID-19 a survival advantage by helping them avoid cytokine storm, when the immune system overreacts and attacks your body’s own cells and tissues.

While we don’t know for certain that vitamin D is helpful, there is certainly enough circumstantial evidence to suggest that it would likely be worthwhile to raise vitamin D levels to the amount recommended by the National Institute of Health (30 nmol/L or higher). People with dark skin living in areas away from the equator might especially be helped by this strategy, since dark skin reduces vitamin D production.

Masks seem to be helpful in preventing the spread of infection. A person’s own immune system can handle some level of germs. If two people meeting together both wear masks, the combination of masks can perhaps reduce the level of germs to within the amount the immune system can handle. Our immune systems are built to handle a barrage of small attacks by viruses and bacteria. Continued “practice” with relatively low combinations of good and bad bacteria (as occur with masks) will tend to build up our bodies’ natural defenses.

We see dentists and dental hygienists wearing face shields. These shields are readily available over the internet and can be worn with a mask or by themselves. We don’t yet know precisely how much protection they provide, but early models suggest that they can be helpful in two directions: (a) preventing the wearer’s droplets from harming others and (b) reducing the droplet exposure from others. Thus, they may be a worthwhile way to reduce exposure to the virus causing COVID-19, even when others are not wearing masks.

[3] The medical community’s ability to treat COVID-19 cases keeps improving.

There seem to be many small changes that are improving treatment of COVID-19. If patients are having trouble getting enough oxygen, having them lie on their stomachs seems to increase their blood oxygen levels. The cost of this change is pretty much zero, but it keeps people out of the ICU longer.

Originally, planners thought that ventilators would be needed for patients with COVID-19, since ventilators are often used on pneumonia patients. Experience has shown, however, that oxygen plus something like a CPAP machine often works better and is less expensive.**

The simple change of not sending recuperating patients to nursing home-type facilities for the last stages of care has proven helpful, as well. Many of these patients can still infect others, leading to infections in long-term care facilities. Tests to tell whether patients are truly over the disease do not seem to be very accurate.

Last week, it was announced that treatment with an inexpensive common steroid could reduce deaths of people on ventilators by one-third. It could also reduce deaths of those requiring only oxygen treatment by 20%. Using this treatment should significantly reduce deaths, at little cost.

We can expect improvements in treatments to continue as doctors experiment with existing treatments, and as drug companies work on new solutions. Looking at cumulative historical mortality rates tends to overlook the huge learning curve that is taking place, allowing mortality rates to be lower.

[4] More doubts are being raised about quickly finding a vaccine that prevents COVID-19. 

The public would like to think that a vaccine solution is right around the corner. Vaccine promoters such as Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates would like to encourage this belief. Unfortunately, there are quite a few obstacles to getting a vaccine that actually works for any length of time:

(a) Antibodies for coronaviruses tend not to stay around for very long. A recent study suggests that even as soon as eight weeks, a significant share of COVID-19 patients (40% of those without symptoms; 12.9% of those with symptoms) had lost all immunity. A vaccine will likely face this same challenge.

(b) Vaccines may not work against mutations. Beijing is now fighting a new version of COVID-19 that seems to have been imported from Europe in food. Early indications are that people who caught the original Wuhan version of the COVID-19 virus will not be immune to the mutated version imported from Europe.

Vaccines that are currently under development use the Wuhan version of the virus. The catch is that the version of COVID-19 now circulating in the United States, Europe and perhaps elsewhere is mostly not the Wuhan type.

(c) There is a real concern that a vaccine against one version of COVID-19 will make a person’s response to a mutation of COVID-19 worse, rather than better. It has been known for many years that Dengue Fever has this characteristic; it is one of the reasons that there is no vaccine for Dengue Fever. The earlier SARS virus (which is closely related to the COVID-19 virus) has this same issue. Preliminary analysis suggests that the virus causing COVID-19 seems to have this characteristic, as well.

In sum, getting a vaccine that actually works against COVID-19 is likely to be a huge challenge. Instead of expecting a silver bullet in the form of a COVID-19 vaccine, we probably need to be looking for a lot of silver bee-bees that will hold down the impact of the illness. Hopefully, COVID-19 will someday disappear on its own, but we have no assurance of this outcome.

[5] The basic underlying issue that the world economy faces is overshoot, caused by too high a population relative to underlying resources.

When an economy is in overshoot, the big danger is collapse. The characteristics of overshoot leading to collapse include the following:

  • Very great wage disparity; too many people are very poor
  • Declining health, often due to poor nutrition, making people vulnerable to epidemics
  • Increasing use of debt, to make up for inadequate wages and profits
  • Falling commodity prices because too few people can afford these commodities and goods made from these commodities
  • Gluts of commodities, causing farmers to plow under crops and oil to be put into storage

Thus, pandemics are very much to be expected when an economy is in overshoot.

One example of collapse is that following the Black Death (1348-1350) epidemic in Europe. The collapse killed 60% of Europe’s population and dropped Britain’s population from close to 5 million to about 2 million.

Figure 1. Britain’s population, 1200 to 1700. Chart by Bloomberg using Federal Reserve of St. Louis data.

We might say that there was a U-shaped population recovery, which took about 300 years.

A later example that almost led to collapse was the period between 1914 and 1945. This was a period of shrinking international trade, indicating that something was truly wrong. On Figure 2 below, the WSJ calls its measure of international trade the “Trade Openness Index.” The period 1914-1945 is highlighted as being somewhat like today.

Figure 2. The Trade Openness Index is an index based on the average of world imports and exports, divided by world GDP. Chart by Wall Street Journal.

Many of the issues in the 1914-1945 timeframe were coal related. World War I took place when coal depletion became a problem in Britain. The issue at that time was wages that were too low for coal miners because the price of coal would not rise very high. Higher coal prices were needed to offset the impact of depletion, but high coal prices were not affordable by citizens.

The Pandemic of 1918-1919 killed far more people than either World War I or COVID-19.

World War II came about at the time coal depletion became a problem in Germany.

Figure 3. Figure by author describing peak coal timing compared to World War I and World War II.

The problem of inadequate energy resources finally ended when World War II ramped up demand through more debt and through more women entering the labor force for the first time. In response, the US began pumping oil out of the ground at a faster rate. Instead of depending on coal alone, the world began depending on a combination of oil and coal as energy resources. The ratio of population to energy resources was suddenly brought back into balance again, and collapse was averted!

[6] We are now in another period of overshoot of population relative to resources. The critical resource this time is oil. The alternatives we have aren’t suited to fulfilling our most basic need: the growing and transportation of food. They act as add-ons that are lost if oil is lost.

If we look back at Figure 2 above, it shows that since 2008, the world has again fallen into a period of shrinking imports and exports, which is a sign of “not enough energy resources to go around.” We are also experiencing many of the other characteristics of an overshoot economy that I mentioned in Section 5 above.

Figure 4 shows world energy consumption by type of energy through 2019, using recently published data by BP. The “Other” combination in Figure 4 includes nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and other smaller categories such as geothermal energy, wood pellets, and sawdust burned for fuel.

Figure 4. World energy consumption by fuel, based on BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Oil has been rising at a steady pace; coal consumption has been close to level since about 2012. Natural gas and “Other” seem to be rising a little faster in the most recent few years.

If we divide by world population, the trend in world energy consumption per capita by type is as follows:

Figure 5. World Per Capita Energy Consumption based on BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy

Many people would like to think that the various energy sources are substitutable, but this is not really the case, as we approach limits of a finite world.

One catch is that there are very few stand-alone energy resources. Most energy resources only work within a framework provided by other energy sources. Wood that is picked up from the forest floor can work as a stand-alone energy source. Wind can almost be used as a stand-alone energy source, if it is used to power a simple sail boat or a wooden windmill. Water can almost be used as a stand-alone energy source, if it can be made to turn a wooden water wheel.

Coal, when its use was ramped up, enabled the production of both concrete and steel. It allowed modern hydroelectric dams to be built. It allowed steam engines to operate. It truly could be used as a stand-alone energy source. The main obstacle to the extraction of coal was keeping the cost of extraction low enough, so that, even with transportation, buyers could afford to purchase the coal.

Oil, similarly, can be a stand-alone energy solution because it is very flexible, dense, and easily transported. Or it can be paired with other types of less-expensive energy, to make it go further. We can see our dependence on oil by how level energy consumption per capita is in Figure 5 since the early 1980s. Growth in population seems to depend upon the amount of oil available.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the economy is a self-organizing system. If there isn’t enough of the energy products upon which the economy primarily depends, the system tends to change in very strange ways. Countries become more quarrelsome. People decide to have fewer children or they become more susceptible to pandemics, bringing population more in line with energy resources.

The problem with natural gas and with the electricity products that I have lumped together as “Other” is that they are not really stand-alone products. They cannot grow food or build roads. They cannot power international jets. They cannot build wind turbines or solar panels. They cannot put natural gas pipelines in place. They can only exist in a complex environment which includes oil and perhaps coal (or other cheaper energy products).

We are kidding ourselves if we think we can transition to modern fuels that are low in carbon emissions. Without high prices, oil and coal that are in the ground will tend to stay in the ground permanently. This is the serious obstacle that we are up against. Without oil and coal, natural gas and electricity products will quickly become unusable.

[7] A major problem with COVID-19 related shutdowns is the fact that they lead to very low commodity prices, including oil prices. 

Figure 6. Inflation-adjusted monthly average oil prices through May 2020. Amounts are Brent Spot Oil Prices, as published by the EIA. Inflation adjustment is made using the CPI-Urban Index.

Oil is the primary type of energy used in growing and transporting food. It is used in many essential processes, including in the production of electricity. If its production is to continue, its price must be both high enough for oil producers and low enough for consumers.

The problem that we have been encountering since 2008 (the start of the latest cutback in trade in Figure 2) is that oil prices have been falling too low for producers. Now, in 2020, oil production is beginning to fall. This is happening because producing companies cannot afford to extract oil at current prices; governments of oil exporting countries cannot collect enough taxes at current prices. They hope that by reducing oil supply, prices will rise again.

If extraordinarily low oil prices persist, a calamity similar to the one that “Peak Oilers” have worried about will certainly occur: Oil supply will begin dropping. In fact, the drop will likely be much more rapid than most Peak Oilers have imagined, because the drop will be caused by low prices, rather than the high prices that they imagined would occur.

Amounts which are today shown as “proven reserves” can be expected to disappear because they will not be economic to extract. Governments of oil exporting countries seem likely to be overthrown because tax revenue from oil is their major source of revenue for programs such as food subsidies and jobs programs. When this disappears, governments of oil exporters are forced to cut back, lowering the standard of living of their citizens.

[8] What our strategy should be from now on is not entirely clear.

Of course, one path is straight into collapse, as happened after the Black Death of 1348-1352 (Figure 1). In fact, the carrying capacity of Britain might still be about 2 million. Its current population is about 68 million, so this would represent a population reduction of about 97%.

Other countries would experience substantial population reductions as well. The population decline would reflect many causes of death besides direct deaths from COVID-19; they would reflect the impacts of collapsing governments, inadequate food supply, polluted water supplies, and untreated diseases of many kinds.

If a large share of the population stays hidden in their homes trying to avoid COVID, it seems to me that we are most certainly heading straight into collapse. Supply lines for many kinds of goods and services will be broken. Oil prices and food prices will stay very low. Farmers will plow under crops, trying to raise prices. Gluts of oil will continue to be a problem.

If we try to transition to renewables, this leads directly to collapse as well, as far as I can see. They are not robust enough to stand on their own. Prices of oil and other commodities will fall too low and gluts will occur. Renewables will only last as long as (a) the overall systems can be kept in good repair and (b) governments can support continued subsidies.

The only approach that seems to keep the system going a little longer would seem to be to try to muddle along, despite COVID-19. Open up economies, even if the number of COVID-19 cases is higher and keeps rising. Tell people about the approaches they can use to limit their exposure to the virus, and how they can make their immune systems stronger. Get people started raising their vitamin D levels, so that they perhaps have a better chance of fighting the disease if they get COVID-19.

With this approach, we keep as many people working for as long as possible. Life will go on as close to normal, for as long as it can. We can perhaps put off collapse for a bit longer. We don’t have a lot of options open to us, but this one seems to be the best of a lot of poor options.

Notes:

*The CDC estimates are estimates of future deaths per 1000 cases. Thus, they probably reflect the learning curve that has already taken place. It is unlikely that they reflect the benefit of the new steroid treatment mentioned in Section 3, because this finding occurred after April 29.

**I have been told that disease spread can be a problem when using CPAP machines, however. Using ventilators at very low pressure settings seems also to be a solution.

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Financial Implications and tagged , , , , , by Gail Tverberg. Bookmark the permalink.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.

2,824 thoughts on “COVID-19 and the economy: Where do we go from here?

        • Perhaps look at and for what is not extend and pretend. Somewhere there are things that work, we see the forest but not the trees, some do grow to the sky.

          Said somewhat irreverently, I come here to find what does not work, this site is good at that, basically you size down the haystack making finding the needle easier.

          Dennis L.

        • Well it’s lasted a lot longer than I thought was possible and I hope it lasts a while longer. I’ve got 25 years max left, so another nice, comfy 25 years would be great thank you!

          Seriously though, we probably underestimate the momentum and adaptability of the economy and people. Say oil production goes down from 90million bpd to 70bpd that’s still a load of energy to do useful stuff with.

          Sure things won’t be great, but we should be able to limp along.

      • Farming is unique, it uses more capital/capita each year and not less. The capital is important; when I drive into the farm I notice the corn has groups of 4 plants about 6″ apart separated from the next group of 4 by about 10″ – a failure of singulation in what I assume is a >$100K planter which is a combination of electronics, hydraulics and brute strength from a 300-400hp tractor guided by GPS and a bit more.

        In my years of business/practice, replacing capital was trivial, building a group to effectively use the capital was the challenge, I was good at that, my people were important to me, but it was mutual and when need be, I could prune where necessary.

        In your graph there seems to be an implied assumption that given capital, magic happens, modern capital is complex, modern social interactions are complex, both need people capable of using the capital and interacting together. People must be able to utilize capital to give it value to them and society.

        It appears to me that modern education has failed in this respect and many who have fallen through the cracks have been failed by an educational process which is inconsistent with how knowledge acquired. See AI, it is not done via reasoning. Education takes time, time to train brains, fill them with facts, it may be many cannot use the capital and the failure of modern pedagogical thinking may fall short of old fashion rote learning.

        Personal observation, aren’t they all, your column is a considerable distraction from my pencil and paper review of math for next semester, in general it is a plus, pedagogically for math a minus.

        Dennis L.

      • Harry,

        Skimmed the report, a significant fraction(I am too lazy to read the report) of the patients had pre-existing heart conditions.

        Those with no known conditions see my post on Fix, dead of heart heart attack. It would seem to me that an exam of an apparently healthy patient with say a angiogram would be necessary to rule out a pre-exisiting heart issue with plaque, etc. The problem such an examination is it would be tantamount to mal practice especially were there complications of the examination. Insurance companies would not pay for this exam in a healthy patient with no symptoms so ruling out preexisting conditions seems a stretch.

        This is becoming crazy, modern medicine has done wonderful things and many have resulting issues due to being alive secondary to treatment, the virus is a real challenge to these people.

        A guess that both in lives saved and economically is all these precautions have cost more lives in treatments delayed and huge economic harm based on very poor data.

        Medicine has put band aids on a great many conditions, today’s issues are stressing systems, the band aids worked and gave many people years of comfort and life. Now, they appear to be failing. Nature bats last.

        Perhaps palliative is the best that can be done for many. Is that so bad?

        Dennis L.

      • As are Wuhan and Bergamot.

        And going back to the start of the pandemic, remember those reports of people keeling over and dying in the street of this new virus?

        Yes, that’s how scary it was folks. It was going to spread all over the world and make people everywhere fall down and die in the streets.

        https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/5da8645f65eddc9c66e9dafd5e2acf7a77da05fb/0_245_6048_3627/master/6048.jpg?width=620&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=3dffe98332f00bc44e15276d4d0e9358

        It is an image that captures the chilling reality of the coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan: a grey-haired man wearing a face mask lies dead on the pavement, a plastic shopping bag in one hand, as police and medical staff in full protective suits and masks prepare to take him away.

        On what would typically be a crowded street in Wuhan, an industrial city of 11 million people under quarantine, there are only a few passersby – but they dare not go near him.

        Journalists from Agence France-Presse saw the body on Thursday morning, not long before a vehicle arrived carrying emergency workers. AFP could not determine how the man, who appeared to be aged in his 60s, had died.

        But the reaction of the police and medical staff in hazmat suits, as well as some of the bystanders, highlighted the fear pervading the city.

        Poor guy. It seems the face mask didn’t save him.

  1. Tesla is not a car company. The production of cars is a lead loss facility to its primary business of carbon credits and tax credits. For a car manufacturer to be viable their primary income has to be the manufacture and sale of cars. Not financial rigging.
    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/13/elon-musk-is-now-worth-more-than-warren-buffett.html
    Amazon is no different. They’re not a retailer. They do not buy at wholesale and sell at retail. As such their entire value is miss judged. The only money they truly make is cloud computing.

    These are two of the primary examples of disruptive industries that are destroying traditionally profitable business models. Why? Because that’s how it goes down. The trading of substance for illusion. The collapse won’t be a crash down but rather a moonshot. Roaring 20s part 2.

    • An opinion, no more.

      The value in Amazon, Google and others seems to be the information. My cursory study of AI seems to show it is basically doing correlations, not causation(inference) on huge amounts of data which is in itself revolutionary. Early AI looked at deterministic reasoning, it never lead anywhere except to languages such as LISP.

      If the correlation idea is correct, much of modern education is nonsense, kids need to memorize facts, exercise the brain and connections come through aggregation. It seems to be how we think in general which has significant implications for social engineering. Personally I think this is reflected in religions and a a small set of rules which work in the aggregate although in the specifics there are exceptions. The social question is can a society work with so many exceptions; currently it seems to be a challenge.

      This second paragraph is a rejection on my part of the ideas of guys like Nietzsche, they try and apply reason to a pile of facts and presuppose axioms which don’t exist and lead to endless circular reasoning and in his case basic insanity and alienation from friends. Mathematics works because it is totally abstract, when applied to reality, it never has worked perfectly, think the three body problem. It is close enough to travel through space, but it is never exact and course corrections compensate for the shortcomings as I understand it. Nietzsche and I presuppose much higher education has too damn many course corrections, it is a fudge.

      As for the future, all one can do in this case is take a pile of data, see how that data correlates to previous outcomes, chose say three in order of probability. Course corrections are possible only by changing basic data inputs, tough to know what to change. To date, we have not done a very good job, Hirsch tried very hard to change course sometime in the 1980’s I believe, it did not work.

      Dennis L.

      • Nietzsche wasn’t driven insane by his philosophy. Insanity doesn’t work like that. There was, no doubt, a physiological basis. Anyway, Nietzsche wasn’t really the kind of philosopher you’re describing. By profession he was a classical philologist who led students in reading Latin and Greek texts. He wrote (ranted) a lot about the politics and pop culture of the day, in formats and styles that would not really be accepted by professional philosophers anymore–“belles lettres” describes them better. He does sometimes discuss traditional philosophical questions like ethics, but not in a very systematic or self-critical way. He did have a number of close friends over the years.

        I’ve often thought they should make a movie based on the biography “Zarathustra’s Sister,” about his sister Elizabeth Foerster-Nietzsche. She married a proto-Nazi who took her to found an Aryan breeding colony in South America. (It failed.) Nietzsche reacted to the marriage in more or less the same way any normal person would–a promise had to be extracted from him that he would not discuss politics during the happy event. But Elizabeth gained control of his archives after his breakdown and death, and edited / manipulated the posthumous publication of his writings.

        • Thanks, your understanding is far better than mine, I am probably picking on him more than I should.

          More than anything at an advanced age I am reacting to a liberal education which seems to give no answers, run in circles and drive people crazy. Secular humanism does not work any better in my opinion than religion and traditional Catholicism had much better music, that is in no way meant to sarcastic. More and more I suspect the world is what it is, it is not deterministic and rational reasoning is circular. This works in the abstract with mathematics, begin with a set of axioms and much is self consistent, but it was engineered by humans to be that way. Applied to the real world it seems at best approximations, applied to quantum mechanics and it becomes bizarre.

          Always interesting to hear from you, all the best,

          Dennis L.

          • Nietzsche is peachy.

            or:

            Nietzsche said God is dead. God says Nietzsche is dead.

          • Dennis, if you really believe mathematics was created by humans, please let me refer you to Euclid’s “Elements”, Book IX proposition 20. It is the proof that there is no largest prime number. In its time, this was completely unexpected, and contradicted almost all of the natural philosophy of the age. I do not think even the priests of Thoth could have created all those primes; but nevertheless, they are there. And were there from before the creation of the world.

    • Lots of illusion out there. Wind and solar are only viable because they get the subsidy of being allowed to go first. They tend to reduce the wholesale price for electricity, making more difficult for other producers to be viable.

      • Agreed. I have a south facing shed with a slanting roof, maybe 150 foot long, 50 foot south facing roof. Looking seriously at solar cells for roof, makes money for me, makes no sense to the coop. But, I can virtue signal that I am green, underlying reason is the the state of MN has mandated green power, why not? We are part of a system.

        Dennis L.

  2. Re. Covid hot-spots. Although I just skimmed some of his recent rants (his writing style makes his posts a little hard-to-digest), Karl Denninger brought up some observations about fecal transmission:

    ======
    We knew in the middle of February this virus spread in scat. Why? Because in multiple incidents, including one in Hong Kong, people who did not know each other and lived ten floors apart in apartment buildings got the virus at the same time. It is implausible that such events could have occurred due to “respiratory droplet” spread; to do so they would have had to have been in the same place at the same time and had the potential to have said contact with one another in a reasonably close and continual basis for at least some material period of time. That didn’t happen so that means of spread is not possible.

    So how did the transmission happen?

    The building did not, as is common in that part of the world, have “P-Traps” on the sinks.

    You don’t smell sewer gas in the US because it is code to have P-traps on the sinks and other fixtures connected to the sewer line. The water trapped in the “P” (or “U”) keeps gas from coming back up into the building. But in many parts of the world there either are no traps as originally installed or people illegally modify the plumbing to add another fixture or other thing, and don’t put one in. There is no compliance monitoring and this happens all the time. In both these cases the people infected were on the same sewer line and there were no traps on the sinks.

    I noted this at the time in my podcast and wrote about it as well. We knew at that point that the only plausible explanation for how these people got the bug was that (1) it was in crap and (2) it was spreading via other than direct contact with same. It was that and Diamond Princess that convinced me that this bug was being spread via feces and the galley/food staff were the primary vector. This, by the way, is the same mechanism by which norovirus, which is common on cruise ships, spreads. We have since confirmed it is in feces and in fact MIT and others have proposed that we can detect outbreaks in a community before they hit the hospitals by sampling sewer lines.

    We’ve deliberately ignored this evidence for the last five months.

    Masks do exactly zero to inhibit fecal/oral transmission.

    http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=239710

    ========
    The virulence of all aerosol transmission of respiratory viruses, without exception, follow very closely the absolute humidity in the region in question. This is absolute fact and is why if you look at the CDC data for ILI — diagnosed as a specific flu or not — you will see exactly this pattern. We did not know that this was tied directly to absolute humidity for a long time, but about 10 years ago the link was discovered and curve fit — and it’s a near-exact fit when controlled for all other factors such as time spent outdoors, HVAC prevalence and similar. …

    It is why every single year we have a “flu season.” It is why you are much more likely to catch a cold in the winter than the summer. Some people do get a cold or flu in the summer, but not many. This is science, not conjecture or politics.

    Covid-19 is not following this pattern; we knew this in March. We knew this because places that were already very hot, where absolute humidity was already way higher than the winter and early spring months, were seeing massive outbreaks. We confirmed this when the virus got into Dade county in Florida by persons returning to the US from Italy and spread like wildfire — it was not being attenuated even though total humidity was much higher than that of New York City at the same point in time. We continue to see confirmation in that now we have outbreaks in places like Dallas and San Antonio TX well into the summer, along with Miami, Los Angeles, South Carolina and Phoenix.

    Note that the prevalence of A/C does not change any of this. Not only is the virus spreading like Hell in places like rural India (where there are no A/C units) but A/C units condense a huge amount of material out of the air and get rid of both the aerosols and anything in them in the condensate which is drained to the ground outside. If the presence of A/C units didn’t attenuate transmission about equally well as being outdoors then we’d see massive outbreaks of flu in office buildings and cattle-car packed call centers in the summer but we don’t.

    All of these facts are hard, scientific evidence that the primary mechanism of spread of Covid-19 is not aerosol.

    … [lots of all-caps yelling]…

    Incidentally you will find the same is true of norovirus. This is why Norovirus spreads rapidly on cruise ships even in the Caribbean where absolute humidity is sky-high. Norovirus is contact spread, including through feces — which we refuse to acknowledge as a means of spread of Covid-19 even though the overwhelming scientific evidence is that it spreads in exactly the same way norovirus does and we KNOW, scientifically, it is in feces.

    When a cruise ship gets an outbreak of norovirus do they mandate masks? I’ve been on a cruise where it happened and the answer is NO. They spray the hell out of every single surface with a bleach solution on a nearly-continuous basis. The entire damn ship smells like bleach. Guess why they don’t mandate masks? Because the virus is not attenuated in spread through total humidity which is proof that the primary means of spread is not aerosol and even if it did masks don’t work against viruses and they know it.

    Covid-19 is not attenuated in spread through total humidity either.

    IT IS NOT, IN THE MAIN, SPREAD VIA AEROSOL.

    PERIOD.

    Which means even if masks could work against respiratory viruses, which they can’t, they won’t work in this instance because that’s not how the virus is spread.
    http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=239621

    This may or may not jibe with what others here understand, but his line of reasoning (whether adopted to justify an anti-mask predisposition) does seem logical. This state of affairs would not only obviate mask regulations but obviate the need for “social distancing”. I have come across some speculation linking social distancing to the individuating capabilities of GPS.

    • There certainly is a lot to be figured out with respect to this virus. I know I read quite some time ago that we knew that feces could spread the virus. I am guessing that there is more than one way the illness spreads. We don’t have all of this worked out well. The fact that so many people on the Diamond Princess got sick, even though they were confined to the rooms, was clear evidence of a subtle way of disease spread.

    • This is not in any way “hard, scientific evidence” unless it has been studied and published in the peer-reviewed literature. And that Denninger guy is no virologist, no epidemiologist, no immunologist, just a business man. No need to listen to him, except maybe when it comes to finances.

      • Hmm, see my note below or above on Denninger and money, suffice it to say he is no Warren Buffet.

        I would listen to a plumber before any of the mentioned experts and no sarcasm intended. Plumbing works, at least code plumbing in the US.

        Dennis L.

      • There is no need to listen to anyone in a lab coat any more. All we ever get from our experts nowadays are paid-for lies, lies by commission or ommission.

        The food pyramid? A lie supported by experts.

        Global warming? A lie spread by experts.

        The official 911 story? A lie spread by experts.

        Vaccination propaganda? Lies spread by experts.

        The MH17 show trial? Who would ever trust anythng that happened in a court room that had the least political angle?

        You can go on with such examples all day. Only a fool places his naive faith in officially approved experts. Most of them are just hired guns, government sock puppets and corrupt political actors.

      • “This is not in any way “hard, scientific evidence” unless it has been studied and published in the peer-reviewed literature.”

        Agreed completely. The problem is that when the evidence *has* been published in the peer reviewed literature, it is highly likely to be “evidence” that somebody has paid good money to be fabricated. I fear we are rapidly returning to an age of scientific writing where the amateurs are more trustworthy than the professionals. As happened to geology in the eighteenth century, and natural history in the nineteenth.

    • Thank you, I sort of gave up on Denninger back when he predicted Berkshire was done and Warren was a has been. Someone back on TOD used to collect his articles regularly. Your reference is as good a story as any.

      Came across a The black Death:The World’s Most Devistating Plague(Amazon Prime) a few weeks ago, one of the thesis is it was a combination of diseases and not one. With all the different manifestations of Covid-19 one might wonder if we are seeing more than one contributing factor.

      Modern plumbing is said by many to be one of the greatest if not the greatest contributor to public health in modern history. Traps make sense, but not sure how the disease jumps from the open sewer line to the infected patient.

      The disease is hell for many/most of us in one way or another. The lack of social contact sucks.

      Help me out on GPS.

      Dennis L.

      • Dennis, the GPS systems that allow location tracking on people’s phones is accurate to within a meter or two (newer ones something like 1ft, older ones maybe 12m?). So, if one were to want to track an person at a unique location, forcing people to remain separate tends to make their locations more clearly individuated. There are many articles you can duck-duck-go: “social distancing” “cell phone” “data”.

        Though this article conveys traditional claims that the data is being used in an anonymized fashion, that clearly has to be false in the case of covid contact tracing.
        https://www.wired.com/story/apple-google-social-distancing-maps-privacy/

        I can imagine that people are working on this, not necessarily because we are all equally likely individual targets but, to train and refine existing surveillance systems that do likely target individuals.

    • Everything in this post seems to make a lot of sense to me. And I have been downed by norovirus which I picked up when taking a sick dog to the vet. But that’s a long story I won’t go into here.

      I am not sure why the controllers are so interested in keeping people apart for GPS surveillance purposes. Does anyone have any ideas on that?

        • It does sound tin-foil-hatty, but looking at the types of phone apps and tracers they seem keen on rolling out it is hard to discount the enthusiasm for Total Information Awareness (which never went away.. it was only publicly shelved for appearances’ sake).

          I read “The Puzzle Palace” back when it came out (1982). I was studying (biology) at a school very much intertwined with the government and computing power at the time. It was obvious that what the book revealed, while shocking, was merely the tip of the iceberg. Though people are now inured to a lack of privacy, the ramifications of those revelations are still not probably not fully understood by the “man-on-the-street” even today. My feelings are that whatever is revealed in terms of their power is only a fraction of what is going on behind the scenes. I don’t make a case for anything in particular.. rather, “I know my chickens.”

      • Thanks, keep at it I am starting to see it. The downstream capital loses value, its depreciable life span is shortened, the costs need to accrued against the income more quickly resulting in negative accrued income, but it has positive cash flow until it doesn’t.

        Dennis L

    • Wow. Great to see a Muslim cleric talking up peaceful coexistence.

      Also interesting to see his view on what happened to Syria – destroyed by (Muslim) sectarianism he says, whereas I always thought it was primarily due to Western interference.

      • I always thought it was the Arab Spring protests against the Assad government, which raised the difficulty that democracy would favor Sunnis over Alawis like Assad and his backers. (Some people blame the protests on economic or ecological conditions.)So yeah, Syrian sectarianism weakened the country to the point where various militias, some of them transnational or foreign-backed, became the main centers of political power. Russia propped up the Assad regime to protect its bases (so now Assad controls the major cities and roads), ISIS rose and fell, the USA abandoned Kurdish “Rojava” to the Turks.

        • the Arab Spring 2010 followed neatly on the tail of the financial crash of 08/09, which was caused by the peak of conventional oil in 05.
          The collapse of Syria was exacerbated by a 4 year drought that drove farmers off their land into cities, where there was no support for them

          there might be hundreds of side issues, conflicts, collapses—you name it, but those events seem to form the main thread of what has influenced the past decade, until covid 19 delivered the killer blow

      • Well, that seems to be the modern recipe: ousting secular leaders and leaving a vacuum for religious and sectarian chaos: Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and now Syria. On the other hand, the Modern State is more likely to be the Unnatural State.

        • It is a very large topic and one that has been fought out since the Reformation. What is a state? What is the relationship of the rulership to the ruled? Are nationalists correct in their view that the state is optimal when its borders conform to the geographical location or extents of groups with ethnic, linguistic and/or religious/cultural identities?

          What is the alternative to the national state? Is it supernational leaderhip through dynasties and empires, just as the Ottomans ruled various areas through satrapies? Or The Russian Empire – the “prison house of nations” as it was called – and its many states (and always seeking more) under the Romanovs? And so for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, always seeking more land and people to rule in the Balkans and elsewhere, or the Hoehzollerns, and through the Windsors, and so on.

          Of course, anti-nationalism and supra-national leadership is all the rage in European politics where politicians see a chance to become the totalitarian masters they always aspire to become. In their eyes, the solution for the “evils” of nationalism would appear to be the permanent establishment of ruling bodies of bank-appointed experts, privileged and well-paid, a grey-suited clerisy – like the EU – without any claim to legitimacy or the loyalty or obedience of those they arbitrarily rule over, who will be the unchallengable masters of vast areas of the earth and its peoples.

          In the meantime, this same clerisy do their darnedest to stir up racial, ethnic, religious and linguistic divisions because then it allows them to claim that national self determination and national homogeneity don’t work.

          So Syria is destroyed with Europe and CIA-trained and funded terrorists. Libya is bombed by Reagan, and by Blair and Sarkozy, and finally and most successfully by Hillary and the US Air Force. Now there are genuine slave markets being held in Tripoli, as there were in Syria under ISIS.

          Because apparently, nationalism causes wars and strife. Not the resistance to nationalsim. Not the will to complete unchallegable power. No, nationalism.

          At the same time, since WW2 at least, the leadderships of the the Western nations, which ruled over peaceful and highly homogenous communities, have been working at 100 mph to destroy that homegenity through mass immigration and multiculturalism. They then use the resultant divisions to promote strife between the different groups. The goal of course is to take formerly relatively unmixed nations and mix them up to the point that they are un-unmixable and to blame “racism” and nationalism for the problems of inter-group competition and the differential levels of group achievement that then naturally arise.

          Once the homegenity of a country is sufficiently damaged, the schemers can then denounce “nationalism” and insist that a world of “equality” and “social justice” without “racism” can be attained only if more power – supra-national power without any claim to legitimacy – is handed over to them as fair-dealers and trustworthy middlemen to manage all of these problems that they themselves have stoked and inflamed.

          And that has been the battle to define the State over the last century: a battle of the people who want a state in which they rule themselves according to their own cultures and values against the aspirations of totalitarian puppet masters who want to rule over the state and the people like lords and nobles of old, without legitimacy and with complete and unanswerable power.

          • Well put. Do you think WW I and WWII with two or three or four nation states beating each others’ heads in had something to do with this rejection of nationalism?

            To me both wars seem like idiots destroying their youth. As for me, I wonder what would have happened if the US did a Major Barbara and supplied the current losing side with just enough arms to overcome the winner until the balance changed, always charging a premium for the loser’s survival. That would be diplomacy at its finest.

            Said sarcastically, Germany conquering Paris was maybe the gift horse being looked at in the mouth, at least students of French would not have to suffered reading Camus and Sartre.

            Dennis L.

  3. Combining digital identity, vaccination record keeping and a cashless payment system in West Africa:

    Africa to Become Testing Ground for “Trust Stamp” Vaccine Record and Payment System

    “A biometric digital identity platform that ‘evolves just as you evolve’ is set to be introduced in ‘low-income, remote communities’ in West Africa thanks to a public-private partnership between the Bill Gates-backed GAVI vaccine alliance, Mastercard and the AI-powered ‘identity authentication’ company, Trust Stamp.

    The program, which was first launched in late 2018, will see Trust Stamp’s digital identity platform integrated into the GAVI-Mastercard ‘Wellness Pass,’ a digital vaccination record and identity system that is also linked to Mastercard’s click-to-play system that powered by its AI and machine learning technology called NuData. Mastercard, in addition to professing its commitment to promoting ‘centralized record keeping of childhood immunization’ also describes itself as a leader toward a ‘World Beyond Cash,’ and its partnership with GAVI marks a novel approach towards linking a biometric digital identity system, vaccination records, and a payment system into a single cohesive platform. The effort, since its launch nearly two years ago, has been funded via $3.8 million in GAVI donor funds in addition to a matched donation of the same amount by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    In early June, GAVI reported that Mastercard’s Wellness Pass program would be adapted in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Around a month later, Mastercard announced that Trust Stamp’s biometric identity platform would be integrated into Wellness Pass as Trust Stamp’s system is capable of providing biometric identity in areas of the world lacking internet access or cellular connectivity and also does not require knowledge of an individual’s legal name or identity to function. The Wellness Program involving GAVI, Mastercard, and Trust Stamp will soon be launched in West Africa and will be coupled with a Covid-19 vaccination program once a vaccine becomes available.”

    https://www.mintpressnews.com/africa-trust-stamp-covid-19-vaccine-record-payment-system/269346/

    • Africa has another issue.
      The average age in Africa is 19– and hardly anyone in that group has a covid problem.
      Let’s see how this unwinds.
      Europe the average age is in the mid 40’s.

      • Unwinds: Not well I am afraid, warriors are generally in late teens, early twenties – that is when we as males believe we are invincible. One has to wonder how the white, female SJW will see things then. The young might be expected to be useful, those older may be considered a cost. Given the current migration trends realization of the decline of the white male privilege may not prove to be the blessing thought.

        Wonder if they will retain the vote, the evidence from the no go zones is not promising for that cohort.

        Dennis L.

    • Okay, what is wrong with cc?

      They are convenient, pay them off and it is free working capital for the 30 or so days – make all the purchases at the beginning of the period and it can be more than 30 days, chose the right card and get points, it is negative interest of the rest of us. Use them for a business, pay regularly and they up your credit limit, more free money.

      Get a line of credit at your bank checking account, use it only for timing issues and pay it off, lower interest rate than cc, simple, but emergency only, cashflow only, accrual accounting on your business and don’t make the same mistake twice.

      Watch for the transfers of balances and if they still exist, the 90 plus days of accrued interest only. Laugh at this, I financed a 501c3 with this, made it work and got paid points to boot. It was an experiment, I could pay it off, but I rolled >30K with no cash invested, basically did a credit guarantee.

      Man, there are more opportunities today than ever before, but they are hard. I didn’t complete my MBA, required 40 credits, I have 60+ but they were in accounting and finance, I knew the numbers and they worked. Rolling the cc companies was great sport, did good things for the community, made me an income doing something meaningful and had a great group of people with whom to work.

      It is all in how you look at it.

      Dennis L.

      • Dennis, did you ever consider that the complicated gamesmanship involved in these machinations is itself consumptive and ends up being a tax on us all?

        At one point I had a number of European acquaintances. Their tendency was to make a lot of cellphone calls (more than USians at the time). The tariffs were super-complicated and long-term contracts were not the norm, so they all went around with 3 or 4 cell phones apiece, each one optimized for a certain offer scheme (minutes/data, texts, time of day rates, familial or group discounts) and they somehow managed to juggle these penny-shaving strategies in real time, all day long. How exhausting! They had complicated signaling to direct callers to another phone (let’s say they would let it ring 2x and then hang up, or something to that effect) if their minutes were running out or if the rates were inconvenient.

        • Yes, I considered it, it was understanding of accrual accounting which made it work. Over eight years the equivalent of almost 1/4 the population of a city of 50K got access to dental care, outcomes of decay, extractions, and cost/encounter declined, access to routine dental care increased to 50% of the patients.

          It worked because I understood accounting in addition to being a competent dentist; I was not a wild eyed idealist, I had a few goals, they were achieved and the cc companies paid the startup costs. Pay A/P with a cc and you have 60 days of working capital for supplies. Know your accounting and it works every month, no surprises, it works because of growth, know the S curve which is not a straight line.

          The phone system is probably similar, but with fewer rewards.

          As for being a tax on us all, learn the game. Life is a game, it is not fair but one can learn the rules and play on a more equal field. We are going to need to be productive, find a need and fill it, making a profit and doing so is a plus, not a minus. We can’t solve the problems of the world, sufficient to make the world around us better.

          There are still many opportunities in life, but they require work, sacrifice, playing the long game. Until we pass, we will all need to find a useful niche in life and fill it(this is the reality of demographics). For my grandmother when her husband was killed in an industrial accident it was turning over her home to my father and becoming a baby sitter and more to me. It must have been painful, she and her husband had a good life, he was yard foreman for the Milwaukee Road. I believe in the future, the pessimists have always been wrong.

          Dennis L.

      • “What’s wrong with cc?” In general, it’s a tax, a parasitical intermediary. Think of Paypal. They get fees on top of the cc fees on every transaction, because they saw they could insert themselves and people would chalk it up to “convenience” or “security”. They don’t really offer anything I would deem commensurate with their take off the top.

        If you have a tick sucking your blood, ok.. you can bear that.. it only takes a little bit. But be a moose these days in northern New England, and find you have 90,000 ticks (yes, on a single moose)*. That’s game over.

        *https://www.deeranddeerhunting.com/content/articles/deer-news/moose-infested-with-90000-ticks

        • Linda, it is not a tax done correctly, it is a plus. It requires discipline to use well, cc depend on people wanting more than they are, basically it relies on Bernays. For me, cc have never been a take off the top, they have been working capital, but then I sit in the second to the last unremodeled room of my home, doing the walls, one at a time, aged 73, too dumb to do otherwise.

          They are only a parasite if allowed to become one.

          Through personal experience I do not believe the contemporary stories are necessary, my parents when married lived in a tent, following the Coast and Geodetic Survey, when my grandmother needed help they took over the house and she lived with them, it was tough. We counted pennies, did not flush the toilet until really yellow, took sequential baths in the same water, etc.

          There is no tick sucking my blood, I had the benefit of a Lutheran, Calvinist up bringing which made me not rich, but not a fool either. Secular humanism erased all that for much of our population, we all suffer because of it. I now prefer the quiet and music of Catholic service, I believe we are part of a system and along for the ride.

          Dennis L.

      • P.S. also Dennis, did you ever think that maybe you got those good opportunities because you were already credit-worthy? Just like the cheap-credit games of today seem to benefit only those at the top of the pyramid.. just sayin’.

        I had a card once that kept shortening the payoff period (29 days, 27 days, 23 days) just to fuck with customers. I likely had “bad” credit because I tend to pay everything off. The first time one of those “oops” late-payment mistakes happened due to them randomly shortening the time of the yellow light (as the privatized traffic companies do, to induce a greater instance of running red lights), I cancelled the card.

        I kind of don’t want to think that you are so naive as to think credit cards are a net boon to humanity.

        • Lidia17.

          Yes, I got them because I was credit worthy, yes I saw what they were trying to do, yes I was able to take that money and invest it in a community service that would meet needs which would be measured and yes during a tough economic time it also employed one recent graduate in hygiene who for 4-5 months previous had no job. They made nothing off of me, nothing off of the community and by paying supplier bills with a cc the no interest loan was for up to120 days.

          Current experience paying by check is maybe $1.20 including postage, stamp, envelope. Paying by cc is the hidden cost of internet service, actually probably greater with few bills paying by cc rather than check. In the good old days we had dial up and land lines – that was cheap.

          Sorry about the late payment experience, if you can do it, a bank line of credit helps this issue but it can only be used for timing issues, not increasing the liability side of your balance sheet.

          As for boon to humanity, you are probably right in that less is more. A positive is moving through checkout lines more quickly. When shopping at Menard’s I personally groan when someone goes to write a check rather than swiping and moving through.

          The switch from paper to internet – sure it is convenient, but it shifts the cost from the biller to the billed, internet is necessary, the post office requires a one time mail box.

          A positive is mail was working before electricity, somethings will remain when things change.

          All the best,

          Dennis L.

  4. I like this guy because he agrees/supports my thesis, demographics.

    https://econimica.blogspot.com/2020/07/japan-1991-us-2007and-then-nothing-but.html

    Feeling feisty today, he has lots of graphs, Gail should like him too, she likes graphs.

    All this stuff in the US has exhausted the productive middle class, they had few if any children and considered it a virtuous thing to do. They also burdened their children with education loans which are impossible to pay and themselves with great retirement plans and associated health care benefits. It isn’t working anymore, it will change.

    If the future cannot be changed, change what is possible in one’s own life and enjoy today, the sun came up again, my bet tomorrow will be the same.

    Being so gloomy causes one to miss what is possible right in front of one.

    Dennis L.

    • Yes, humans in their “prime” of life make a big difference. They provide a type of energy as well.

      Part of our collapsing economy is indeed related to fewer workers in the most productive period of their lives. They are the ones with the highest wages. They are the ones who tend to buy new homes and new cars. With globalization, however, the wages of this group in high income countries does not do nearly as well. More of this income gets distributed to lower-wage countries.

      • Forgive me if this seems irrelevant, but a connection came to mind. This is something that makes me a little queasy about permaculture (a study I was once more enthusiastic about). The idea of “surfing” an optimized wave of production and extracting from its sweet spot just seems like more MPP.. not necessarily healthy across the board, even if possible. The permaculture “gimmick”, as it were, is keeping human-managed ecosystems in an adolescent-to-middle-aged state, capitalizing on the peak production of that stage, as compared to a minimally-productive young state (post-disturbance, opportunistic weeds) or a less-active mature state (old-growth forests). Seems like that is what governments would like, too, if they could manage it.

        • Thanks. I had never heard about ecosystems’ age before (well I had but it never stuck), and don’t understand much just based on reading this. I tend to think there are too many people busying themselves about every subject (in an overly left brain way), but always managing to miss that “sweet spot” where things can work in a fuzzy seat-of-the-pants way, without much effort.

          FE helped me crystalize a thought: the time has long passed for growing food on open land (although it will continue for a long time). With so much human interference and disruption it would be best for the land to be left alone–allowing for wild crofting, container growing, ground-upward hugelkultur, and very little digging. And although I get pushback re vertical farming here, I’ve been seeing articles on their success (which would seem god enough even if the articles were only half true).

          • the problem with vertical farming is that it has to be all true, rather than half true

            vertical farms have to have a productive function–ie more energy comes out than goes in

            My problem with vertical farming, is that if you take 1 acre of land, cover it with another, and so on upwards, then in theory you have 20 acres of ‘farmland’.

            But each acre needs light heat water and a growing medium, plus harvesting machinery for each floor. All of which have to be transported to where the actual food is grown.

            We use 10 cal of energy to get 1 cal of food by current production methods, where the sun does a lot of the work input for us, for free. If Vfarms used only 2 extra cal in production, that energy would have to come from somewhere.

            In a vertical farm we have to provide all the additional sun and water energy on top of the 10 cal we input now, plus the energy cost locked into the vertical building itself.
            As far as I can see, trial V farms seem to produce only low calorie salad type crops.

            • Reading on OFW helps me to scale projections ever downward. (It’s an ongoing task.) Throughout life I’ve been double minded–using imagination to concoct the kind of insane fixes and safeguards that I now know there isn’t energy or genuine need for. Then the other mind has always been into living with nothing, never giving money a thought, building with materials that, if I spoke of them here, would produce the same pushback as with V/farming.

              NO. Absolutely not. I’m not playing by the rules of IC, no matter how much I’m unavoidably wrapped up in it. I don’t care in the slightest bit about providing for the entire world. I don’t care if everybody dies. So good for me to be weaned off those fixes that take energy and work at scale.

              However, I’ve been posting repeatedly that I pretty much ascribe to the Orlov 150 strong model of social organization. So I’m by no means thinking of vertical farming in industrial scale. Plants will grow up a wall under many conditions, often if you leave them alone. I would recommend growing any food that way. Pretty much leaving it to nature and not doing things that require extra energy or produce unwelcome outcomes. I’m not coming up with the financial solution to anything. I simply live in awe that I’m still around and have privileges that I do. I’ll go with whatever works for now–you can generally see where things are heading, and adjust for it. If those privileges go away tomorrow, that’s the way it is. I’ve the best I can. Nothing I can do about it. I try like blazes to get people I talk to to learn as much as I have about the issues for survival. Then I detach myself from the outcome. It looks unlikely that they’ll catch on. But, so what? I DON”T CARE!

    • And if we follow the advice of John Ruskin, we will look out for that sun as it rises and as it sets, and be all better for it.

      Everything is relative and it’s all about perspective.

      I get some wonderful cloud formations for my paintings because I am always looking out and in the fields here as soon as the sun first shows – later in the day, even as little an hour later, or even 15 minutes – the sky might be blank and uninteresting.

      Stay in bed thinking ‘It’s going to be dull today, why bother?’ and you will never know what you have missed.

  5. https://ktla.com/news/nationworld/30-year-man-who-thought-coronavirus-was-hoax-dies-after-attending-covid-party-texas-doctor/

    A 30-year-old patient who thought the coronavirus was a hoax has died after attending a “COVID party” in Texas, a doctor said.

    “One of the things that was heart-wrenching that he said to his nurse was, ‘You know, I think I made a mistake,’ and this young man went to a COVID party,” Dr. Jane Appleby, the chief medical officer at Methodist Hospital, said, according to television station KSAT in San Antonio on Friday. “He didn’t really believe. He thought the disease was a hoax. He thought he was young and he was invincible and wouldn’t get affected by the disease.”

    A “COVID party” is a gathering held by someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus, the doctor said. People attend to see who gets infected first.

    • yes, this is no hoeax.

      the death rate may be only 0.26% according to the CDC, but it is still a “death” rate.

      too bad that this virus can’t be stopped.

      but there are scientists who insist that Farr’s Law will once again prove correct, and the spread of the virus will decrease about as fast as it increased.

      it can be hoped for.

      in the meantime, there is a real possibility of the USA reaching the Herd Immunity Threshold within the next couple of months.

      before then, the sad truth is that more will die.

      younger people seem to be volunteering to spread the virus among themselves, which is too bad for the far-less-than-0.26% of them who will die from covid.

      but it’s actually good for society as a whole, as their behavior will hasten the month when the country will be over the HIT.

      I’m still worried.

      even if the country as a whole reaches HIT, does that apply to every local area?

      I doubt it.

      I will be wearing a mask and socially distancing probably as long as anyone in my local area, maybe forever.

      in the meantime, daily deaths were at a record 2,700 in May and now are in the 700 range.

      and the spike in “cases” is not correlating with deaths, because in March/April most positive cases were very sick people and 90% of cases were missed because these were people who were not very sick at all.

      now, anyone and everyone gets tested and so not many “cases” are being missed.

      in reality, cases are way down, in spite of what the current expanded testing says.

      we know this is true because deaths are way down.

      this is good.

      covid deaths may be down to near zero within months, and no vaccine(s) will be needed.

      I hope so.

      • reaching the Herd Immunity Threshold within the next couple of months.

        On Earth it is different.
        We are about 5% at most, and need to get to 70%.
        This will take a minimum of a year, probably longer—
        And the early infected might not have immunity by then.
        We don’t know.

        • HIT is about 15%.

          NYC had masss protests in May/June and no spike in cases like in other major cities.

          they obviously have reached HIT.

          Farr’s Law, which you perhaps are ignoring (?), is once again proving correct as daily deaths are down from 2,700 to about 700.

          the virus is decreasing about as fast as it increased.

          BUT:

          you are correct that we don’t know if immunity will diminish and the pandemic will restart.

          but we do know about Farr’s Law. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farr%27s_laws

          do you think a population doing lockdowns and social distancing and wearing masks has negated Farr’s Law?

          I welcome your answer.

      • Would be nice if you are right but there is a good possibilty that herd immunity won’t occur as we loss our anti-bodies to the disease quickly according to these studies.

        https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/06/chinese-study-antibodies-covid-19-patients-fade-quickly

        https://www.miamiherald.com/news/coronavirus/article244087867.html

        https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31483-5/fulltext

        Early days though and they could be wrong.

        Fingers crossed.

        • thanks.

          I just mentioned a similar idea above.

          yes, if immunity diminishes in the near future, the pandemic could return.

          for now, Farr’s Law is once again proving correct.

          BUT that doesn’t mean that this pandemic can’t be different.

          it is a coronavirus.

          that could be good, in that perhaps 70% of the population already has some immunity to coronaviruses.

          or not so good, if immunity to C19 is no better than to the common cold.

Comments are closed.