American Elephants


COVID-19: What We Know and What We Don’t Know by The Elephant's Child

Thursday March 26th: King County, Washington State, which includes Seattle, and an assortment of suburban communities. The population is 2.23 million. It is of particular interest because we got the first round of coronavirus or COVID-19. 31,712 people were tested, 92% negative, 2,530 or 7% were positive.

Washington state is the 13th largest state with a population of 7,797,095 (last Census). The total number of cases is 2,580 with 122 deaths.  Here is the Public Health Report for Seattle and King County for March 26, Thursday.   Lots of interesting data there, and a map that shows how it is spread. The blue in the middle of the orange map is Lake Washington, the surrounding light blue is Puget Sound. While we started it out in the country with the Kirkland nursing home, and way too many deaths, New York, bigger and denser is rapidly catching up.

The United States currently has the most cases of any country in the world. New York is rapidly surpassing Seattle in active cases, which is understandable as the city is so dense. There is so much that we just don’t know yet. Can you get the disease more than once, or do you develop an immunity? Are young people immune? Apparently not, but that information comes from only a very few cases. We will learn all these things in time, but we want it now.

What is even more interesting and positive is the way Americans are stepping up to contribute. Dyson, a company that makes vacuum cleaners and that sort of stuff, has designed new ventilators and will produce 15,000. Apple is turning out 10 million masks.  Bodman Industries does 3D computer printing. Their 60 printers will be printing 3,000 masks a day, and they are working with their suppliers to get others involved.

China announced this month of nearly a week of no new infections in Wuhan, the city where the pandemic originated, but nobody knows whether it can be believed or not. Chinese scientists have been transparent about what they have discovered so far, shared information on the genetics and sequences of the virus and details of autopsies, clinical care and outcomes and even shared fatality rates among different age groups. On the other hand, Chinese propaganda insists that the virus originated with the American military, which is absurd, but is filled with the Communist Party’s long history of propaganda and the necessity to bury the cover-up in a happy story of triumph over the virus. Communist governments do not like news that reflects badly on the Communist government. They included a photo of empty beds in a Wuhan hospital. A Taiwan network reported that one hospital as under pressure from the central government not to admit patients so it could report no new cases. So there you go.



The Day Before St. Patrick’s Update by The Elephant's Child

The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “CoronaVirus Disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).

“On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC). On January 31, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a Public Health Emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19. This declaration freed up funding and regulations to aid in efforts until Congress had a chance to act. President Trump also halted all travel from China, other affected areas, and put Americans returning from China into quarantine. On March 11, WHO publicly  characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. On March 13, the President of the United States declared the COVID-19 outbreak. a National Emergency

That’s the official language and dates from the CDC. Washington State and New York State each have 501 to 1,000 cases. King County has reported  today, March 16, that they have 420 confirmed cases and one more death. Snohomish County,  reports 176 confirmed cases and 4 deaths, Pierce County 29 confirmed cases and Island County had 6. Which indicates that a lot more testing has been done. Scientists here in King County have produced a vaccine, which has just begun human testing.

I am currently re-reading John McPhee’s Table of Contents. In an essay about scientists at Princeton, he quotes Freeman Dyson as saying: “The first rule of technology is that no one can tell in advance whether a piece of technology is any good. It will hang on things that are unforeseeable. In groping around, one wants to try out things that are quick and cheap and find out what doesn’t work.” which applies to our current situation rather nicely.

ADDENDUM: Late day, checking in with King County virus updates: Confirmed cases have reached 488. This demonstrates that testing is increasing, and identifying those who have been infected. This is a good thing. As testing increases, you should expect numbers to rise–not because infections are increasing necessarily, but because existing infections are being identified. Sadly, 43 deaths in total, most from the nursing home in Kirkland.



AAAARGH!!! by The Elephant's Child

Forgive me, but I want to rant a bit! I HATE PASSWORDS! I did business with this outfit two or three years ago, wrote down the password in my little password notebook, but it seems that is not actually my password, because (???) it doesn’t work. Well, then, they have my special verification clues, which apparently is the name of my best man or matron of honor at my wedding a couple hundred years ago. But that doesn’t work, and which one did they want — male or female, They don’t accept either one. So we start all over with sending codes and emails and new passwords. Supposedly I gave then the name of my “favorite author” as a verification back in the distant past. Favorite author? I was an English major, I do not now or ever have favorite authors. It depends on what I just read and whether I liked it or not, and I read all the time. And all this was for a very unimportant $10.00 purchase.

Does anyone else have this difficulty with passwords and verification? Or is it a universal complaint? Didn’t some federal person just become a laughingstock recently because his password was “password”? Oh do, please, tell me your horror stories so I won’t feel so alone in my rage.



What Happened to California? by The Elephant's Child

Here is Victor Davis Hanson on Tucker Carlson’s program talking about their native state of California. Both were born and grew up in California. Victor Davis Hanson is the 6th generation living in the same house, with obviously a deep sense of family history.I have lived in California, on both sides of the Bay area, and in Southern California. As I often say, I can remember when anyone who did not live in San Francisco dressed up to go to the city. Now, Travel agents and event planners suggest avoiding San Francisco because of the prevalent feces on the sidewalks and the  needles and addicts also on the sidewalks. So how did a once beautiful city and a once ‘golden’ state go so haywire?

California is now a state with probably more billionaires than any other and definitely with the largest number of people in poverty. Jerry Brown is not rated as abjectly low as the governors of Oregon and Washington in fiscal discipline—but what is it with this coastal corridor? There are lessons to be learned here.



The Trials and Tribulations of Technology Gone Haywire by The Elephant's Child

People who run big companies are only human, like the rest of us. Some are not as bright as they think they are, they are subject to fashion and fads, and very much influenced by what other companies are doing—because they might know something that their own company does not. It’s not easy running a big company, that’s why they make big salaries, and why the Democrats always want to raise their taxes.

One of the very BIG words floating around in our society at present is “Diversity.” An organization must be diverse or they will be accused of being racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-another underrepresented minority or another of those words, and held up to censure, ridicule, bad publicity or even attacks from the more enlightened. Womyn are particularly interested in diversity, as they know that all women are paid 9% less than men for doing the same job, even though equal pay has been the law since 1963. Group pictures will be scanned for the correct mixture of skin colors and ethnicity. It is a very big deal, and utterly meaningless.

James Damore, a software engineer at Google, was attempting to help to alleviate the problem, which Google apparently considers to be a very major problem indeed.  J. Christian Adams wrote about Mr. Damore and his lawsuit against Google at PJ Media.

I met James Damore at a conference last November after he received an award for speaking out against Google’s race obsession and cultish orthodoxy. The poor fellow seemed bewildered, still stuck in those good old-fashioned American notions of free speech, tolerance, and color-blindness toward other people. Damore didn’t seem to understand the Left has big plans for America. His experience at Google should make clear to every American that this gang is playing for keeps.

This article cannot possibly capture all of the rancid, racialist, thuggish things going on at Google, so I’d urge you to take time to read the whole complaint. It’s like reading Solzhenitsyn’s travel log from Ekibastuze. It reveals nothing short of the psychologies of totalitarianism in their timeless forms. The purges. The moral relativism. The threats. The lists of enemies.  The upside-down world of the wicked justifying their wickedness.

Do read Mr. Adams’ short article, and then follow the above link, to the whole complaint. I read it last night, and had a hard time getting to sleep.

Google is so wrongheaded, so foolish. They have fallen for a racist meme and are criticizing the most valuable thing they might have in their employees which is diversity of ideas. Real advances come about when someone thinks differently, follows up on a moment of inspiration, refuses to accept the standard idea as the standard.  Neither Orville nor Wilbur Wright had a pilot’s license.

Back in 1852, “Joseph Lister was a young house surgeon at London’s University College Hospital. While dealing with an outbreak of gangrene, he noticed that when he cleaned his patients’ ulcers—an unusual practice at the time—they had a much higher incidence of recovery. ”

He kept following up on his unorthodox idea, and learned of Louis Pasteur’s work, and eventually was able to decide that it wasn’t bad air, but “its constituent of microbial life” that was the source of hospital infection. Generations of people are alive today because Joseph Lister pursued his own diversity of thought. You can quickly come up with dozens if not hundreds of advances in our world that came about because someone had the fortitude to think differently, even in the face of taunts and condemnation.

It is, of course, much more comfortable when no one ruffles the feathers of anyone else, goes along to get along, does not rock the foundations. But thinking a little differently is what allows us to advance. It will take a courageous court in Santa Clara County to deal properly with Mr. Damore’s complaint, and conventional thinking would take note of the fact that Google is a very large and prosperous employer in the county. Think differently.



The Next Energy Frontier: It’s Not Offshore Wind! by The Elephant's Child

I posted this map of shale formations in the U.S. about ten days ago.  Note the Marcellus Shale, the biggest of the red areas. The subsurface area comprises about 50 million acres, and the economic outline  encompasses an area of about 18 million acres. That’s big.

The United States consumes 22 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas per year — estimates for recoverable reserves are that it will produce something in the neighborhood of 489 trillion cubic feet.  Recent reported recoveries suggest that this may be very conservative. The Marcellus will provide more than 20 years of consumption for the entire country, as well as more than 100,000 new high paying jobs which are being created in an economically depressed rural area of Pennsylvania.

American natural gas was in long term decline prior to the advent of significant production from the new Shale programs. The rise of production from the Shale Fields beginning in 2006 changed everything, and we are now seeing increasing production, a halt to imports and decreasing natural gas prices. What’s not to like about that?

U.S. Monthly Gas Production

A few encouraging facts from Gregory R. Wrightstone. You might want to keep them in mind when you hear the pronouncements  from the EPA, Interior, DoE, and all the varied bureaus and offices of the Obama Administration.

The Obama administration recently told Congress that accelerated permitting and financial incentives have helped to fuel a booming interest in developing wind, solar and geothermal power on public lands, but continuing and future development will depend on a strong commitment and dependable incentives from Congress.

Read that again.  Because the government is giving away permits and grants and startup money people are interested in developing  inefficient power, but if Congress doesn’t keep supplying the commitment in the form of loan guarantees, the grant program, and permitting that is deliberate, careful and on time — whoa.

Wasn’t there something about permitting in the Gulf of Mexico that is so far overdue that a federal judge is having to issue demands to Salazar to act within 30 days or face the consequences?




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