Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Computers Can't Think

More and more, I am noticing that once a store is out of stock on an item, more often than not it never regains a supply of that item. The result is a steadily diminishing supply of goods on the shelves, diminishing at an accelerating pace.

I have not been able to confirm, but I suspect that computerized ordering has much to do with this.

Computer ordering bases its order on what the store is selling. When the item first runs out there is still a robust history of sales, so the computer will reorder. The next time it places an order, however, there have been no recent sales (the store was out of stock), so it does not reorder that item.

So even if the item came in after the initial outage, it was not reordered afterward because of the period of non-sales. Then there are some sales which may trigger an order, but the computer shows diminished volume on the item, due to the period when it was out of stock.

That order, then, may be for reduced quantity, which causes the item to be out of stock even sooner, and reduces the sales history even further. That causes the computer to cut the next reorder quantity even further.

You can see the diminishing numbers that the computer is looking at, right? Diminishing numbers that eventually tell the computer that it is no longer worth reordering the item at all.

Shortage? Bad store management? Or both?


Saturday, January 08, 2022

On Political Violence

Ted Rall posted a piece at The Unz Review on the current attitude toward political violence in this nation which is well worth reading.  I do think he misses a couple of points, which I will address later, but he does address a couple of glaring contradictions in the manner in which we view political activism.

“Our republic rests,” he writes, “upon a paradox. We teach schoolchildren that in the late 18th century, the personal assessment of some colonists that the British government was unjust followed by their decision to take up arms was not merely justified but noble and heroic. In the 21st century, however, any analogous judgment that this government is corrupt and unresponsive to their needs is beyond the pale — and an armed revolt would be the act of treasonous maniacs.”

He goes on to say that those who fought for the South in the Civil War were never brought to trial, nor were they even deprived of their weapons. They were, in fact, sent home to live in peace, unlike those who stormed the Capitol Building on January 6th without any weapons and without apparent intention to damage the structure.

“To sum up the official line,” he continues, “the American Revolution was a fully justified, admirable use of political violence (24,000 dead British soldiers) that created the best country ever. The Southern secession that attempted to cut the best country ever in half, … was forgivable.

Political violence now, on the other hand, is not now, nor ever will be, morally or legally permissible.”


The counter argument, of course, is that the British government was wrong, The Yankee government was righteous, and Democrats are… Well, whatever they are.

The point that I think he misses is that the present government policy of stamping down political violence very ruthlessly  is based on an extreme fear of such violence, which is entirely natural in a government that was born in political violence (the American Revolution) and which used even more extreme violence (the Civil War) to survive.


Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Changing Times

All the rhetoric about how this country is a racist nation, and the uninterrupted history of police brutality takes me back to an incident I experienced sometime in the early 1970s. I was at a smallish party and was introduced to a man who, I was told, had come to this country from Poland. He said he had been here about a year, living in Atlanta, Georgia.


At one point I asked him what one thing most impressed him about America. He did not hesitate even slightly before replying, "One doesn't have to be afraid of the police."


He was black. Think about that for a moment.


Monday, December 20, 2021

Changing Times

Offered without judgement.


When I was in the Navy if a female sailor (they were known as WAVEs back then) got pregnant she was discharged. Today she is issued new, free, maternity uniforms. Might be a bit awkward on the deck of an aircraft carrier, but...


Well, okay, maybe a little bit of judgement.


Friday, December 17, 2021

For the Sake of Clarity

It seems I am losing my ability to communicate accurately, as the last several posts have led to readers completely missing the point I was trying to make. I will address just yesterday’s post for the sake of simplicity, a post in which readers suggested I was promoting misinformation and lies.


Let’s assume that Fauci’s statement in the first paragraph, that the vaccine will protect adequately from the Omicron variant, is true. It has been suggested that my comment in that first paragraph was was intended as contradiction of that statement, but that is not what I wrote. What I wrote was that the following content of the news report contradicted his statement.


I did not claim that the following content of the news report represented truth, merely that NBC News reported it. All of the “facts” in that material, about positive Covid tests in professional football teams and what have you, may have been lies and misinformation. I don’t know, and I don’t care. I did not present them for the purpose of making any argument about the validity or otherwise of the vaccine.


I presented them merely because they were things that the media was reporting along with Fauci’s statement that the vaccine is effective and with statements urging people to get vaccinated if they had not already done so.


The one opinion I offered as to vaccine effectiveness was when I said that I regarded the requirement for vaccinated persons to wear a mask as indication of the government’s lack of confidence in the vaccine’s effectiveness. That is not an unreasonable assumption. It was not intended as a reflection of my confidence or lack thereof in the vaccine.


Perhaps, for clarity, my last sentence should have read more along the lines of, Why would the media urge people to get vaccinated after reporting a host of lies and misinformation that seem to indicate that the vaccines do not work?”


I have no axe to grind. I don’t know whether the vaccine works or does not work. I don’t know whether or not it is dangerous. If you are vaccinated, I applaud you. If you are not, I don’t care. But I am able to think rationally, and I recognize when the media is printing gibberish, and it is that upon which I was commenting.


Thursday, December 16, 2021

Contradictions Abound

I watched NBC News yesterday evening and the contradictions contained within a single 30 minute news report boggled my mind. Fauci tells us the vaccine plus booster is working fine and will protect against the new Omicron variant, but everything else in the same news report contradicts every part of his statement.


More people have died of Covid this year, with vaccines available, than did last year before the vaccine was introduced. Hospitals are overloaded and staffs exhausted, just as they were last year. The head of the CDC proclaims her fears that it will "get far worse in the weeks ahead."


Professional sports is becoming more and more crippled by players sidelined due to positive Covid tests, despite a plethora of "protocols," vaccinations and frequent testing. The NFL Cleveland Browns, who are 95% vaccinated, have no fewer than 7 team members on the disabled list because they tested positive for Covid.


No few states, California among them, are again requiring masking in public venues even if vaccinated, which suggests to me that the government believes that the vaccine does not work, or at least does not work very well.

 

All of the above in one evening's news report. Why would the media urge people to get vaccinated after reporting multiple news items that seem to indicate that the vaccines do not work?


Monday, December 13, 2021

Nope, Insanity Increased

The article in the previous post was followed by one informing us that two cases of the "Omicron variant" had been discovered in San Diego and that both were in persons who were "fully vaccinated and boosted." The article went on to urge that  everyone who has not already done so should hasten to get vaccinated as soon as possible.


The article did not say why anyone should get vaccinated.


Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Hopefully, the Topper

Hopefully peak insanity has arrived, as NBC News tells us that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine will not protect you from the Omicron variant of the pandemic virus, but that three doses will keep you safe. They are, therefor, urging everyone to get yet another shot of the vaccine that they admit is not working.


Keeping to the American principle of, "If it's not working, do it harder or do more of it."


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

State of the Pandemic

The media is back in panic mode with the advent of the Omicron variant, but preliminary information from doctors who have actually treated it is that it follows the typical pattern of viral evolution and is less pernicious than the original. The Delta variant is clearly part of that pattern, in that deaths from the virus are less common with that variant than with the original. At this point in California:


1.2% of people who become ill from the virus die from it. That sounds a bit dire, but it turns out that one is very unlikely to become ill.


3.0% of people who are tested for the virus test positive.


That means that 0.036% (less than 4 of 10,000) who are tested will die.


0.04% per year, (4 of 10,000) is the percentage of California's population who will suffer death from the virus. Per year.


Are we over-reacting?


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Weirdness

The San Diego Union Tribune is raving about trolley ridership taking "a jump" (increasing) after the new Blue Line extension was opened on Sunday. Why would it not? At the time this astonishing news was first published the new extension had been open for all of one day, and MTS offered free rides on the extension for that day, which was a Sunday.


I can't wait to see what the numbers will be on a weekday, when they are charging regular fares to ride the new extension.


Thursday, November 18, 2021

San Diego Crazy

San Diego has its own form of crazy. Some of it is the California influence, but we have our own individual touch that we add to it.

 

A young woman just went past my window jogging with her dog. It is, as is usual for this time of year, a gray, cool morning. So she was wearing a down-filled parka, zipped up, with the hood up and tied around her face. She was also wearing short shorts and flip flops.


Saturday, October 23, 2021

Repeating tthe Past

I am 78 years old, so perhaps my perspective is a little more long term than today’s space travel enthusiasts, who are wildly excited that some rich guy got to ride weightless in orbit for ten minutes.

I recall when the US space program was able to put Alan Shepard into a weightless orbit on the edge of space in 1961, no less than sixty years ago and half again longer than this “adventure.”

What are we doing? Who are we, to be celebrating that we have regained the ability to do something that we first did more than half a century ago?

We have a little vehicle driving around on Mars, but we did that in 1997, almost 25 years ago.  We are planning to land an unmanned rocket on the Moon, but China did that last year, and we first did it in 1970, again, more than fifty years ago. We are still not even planning a manned mission to the Moon, something we first accomplished 52 years ago and are not presently capable of doing.

We are excited as all get out about repeating “exploration” of fifty years ago, but what are we doing (and by that I mean doing, not just talking about) that is actually new or ground breaking?


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

More Contra-Narrative

Merck, announced today that they filed an “emergency use authorization” request with the FDA for an oral antiviral medicine for treating Covid-19. Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb lobbied for the emergency use authorization, declaring the untested pill to be “a profound game changer.”

Question: If the vaccine works the way that public health agencies and the government claims, as justification for requiring the vaccination in order to keep your job and participate in our social fabric, why is a pill such as this needed on an emergency use basis?

And why would it be seen as a “profound game changer” if the vaccine was working effectively to prevent the spread of the virus?


Monday, September 13, 2021

Pandemic Logic

There may be a planet somewhere on which it makes sense to complain about a shortage of employees to fill vacant positions while firing the employees you have because they refuse to be politically correct, but this is not that planet.


Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Misinformation as a Public Health Crisis

San Diego City Council passed a resolution last week declaring that “Covid misinformation is a public health crisis.”

No specific action was included in that resolution, merely that the conclusion be “studied,” and that methods be devised to prevent misinformation from being spread.

Meanwhile the public health agencies, along with doctor and nursing agencies, continue to urge everyone to get vaccinated immediately if they have not done so because this “surge” is happening due to the “fact” that Covid is now “the disease of the unvaccinated.” They claim that nearly all of the “cases” today are occurring among people who have not received the shot(s).

Other countries, much more heavily vaccinated than the US, are experiencing something rather different.

 

 

San Diego claims that 75% of our population is “fully vaccinated,” and that 25% of our population is now causing more cases than 100% of the population caused a year ago when the vaccine was not available. To anyone with more than a few functioning brain cells, that seems highly unlikely. Who’s spreading misinformation?

So perhaps the difference between San Diego and Israel, Iceland and Gibralter, all with vaccination rates and infection rates higher than ours, is not so much the experience as the degree of honesty.



Monday, August 30, 2021

Little Noticed

Yes, the Formula 1 “race” was a farce, but too little notice is given to the Red Bull team rebuilding Sergio’s car and having it ready to race in less than two hours. The guys in the garage are the unsung heroes of auto racing.

Also unnoticed was the action of Kevin Harvick on the final lap at Daytona last night. Caught in the middle of a massive multi-car pileup, his car was pretty much destroyed, but he managed to drive free of all the wreckage and make it all the way down the track and across the finish line.

His wreckage (I won’t call it a car) was visible in the background as Ryan Blaney was celebrating at the finish line. I think his effort, which gained him several positions in the race results, deserved comment, but it escaped NBC’s notice.


Saturday, August 21, 2021

Childhood Memory

 I was reading a blog yesterday in which the writer mentioned how, as a child, she would have felt unsafe if her parents were not in charge, and it brought back a childhood memory.

I was 7 or 8 years old and had been brought to the hospital with a fairly severe concussion. After making me stay awake for some time, they finally got me admitted and into a room and told me I could go to sleep.

I was having no part of that, and continued to fight hard to stay awake. “It’s okay, William,” they kept telling me, “you can go to sleep now.” I refused and continued to fight the sandman. I wasn’t entirely sure why it was not okay, but I was just not comfortable letting sleep take me.

Then I heard my father’s voice out in the hallway and I was asleep before he made it into the room.


Monday, August 16, 2021

from space

After 46 years we seem to be doing the same thing and, while it's a bit on the trivial side, we're using the same type of helicopter to do it?  

 

Update, Monday, 10:15pm: I was not actually intending to imply criticism. The CH-46 Sea Knight is a fine bird. Like the B-52, which we are also still using in quantity, it was built by Boeing back when that company was run by engineers rather than by bookkeepers.


Thursday, August 05, 2021

Adapting

The human species was well established in North America during the last Ice Age, which means they saw the end of that Ice Age coming.

Were they panicked? Did they see the ice cap melting and scream hysterically at each other about the disaster that would befall them if all that ice continued to melt? Did they frantically try to imagine ways to stop the ice from melting further, because of the unimaginably bad conditions that would result if all the ice melted?

“We have to build fewer camp fires, because we’re all going to die if the ice melts.”

They didn’t stop the ice from melting, of course (if they tried, which is doubtful), and things didn’t get all that bad, they actually got better.

So here we are with the ice melting again, and no one is suggesting that we ought to be coming up with ways to live with the change, they are hysterically screaming that we have to stop the change.

If you see a boulder rolling down the hill at you, which is the better course of action? Step aside, or try to stop the boulder? Well, if you are a “climate scientist,” the obvious answer is “stop the boulder.” Good luck with that.

Humans have one advantage over any other being in the animal kingdom. We can use our intellect to adapt to change. Well, we used to be able to do that.


Friday, July 30, 2021

Mandatory Vaccination Unravels

Hysteria over the “Delta variant” has completely unraveled the vaccination mandate, although authoritarian government has not yet recognized that and is still trying to ban you from employment, travel and entertainment unless you submit to a jab that, from a public health standpoint, is completely useless.

Fear of the “Delta variant” may be real (may be), but rationale for the vaccine mandate most certainly is not, now that the CDC has announced that people who are vaccinated can get infected and carry viral loads as high as, and even higher than, people who are not vaccinated.

This means that people who are vaccinated can spread the “Delta variant” as easily as those who have not been vaccinated, which in turn means that there is no public health benefit to vaccination. Yet more and more companies and governments are denying access unless you have been vaccinated. That might be a reasonable precaution to protect others if vaccination prevented, or even reduced the spread of Covid19 but, according to the CDC, it does not.


Friday, July 23, 2021

Sign of the Times

An article recently, on a different subject, mentioned that Obama made cuts to NASA so that private industry could take over the space effort. I checked, and rather big cuts were made during his administration. Spending is always blamed on the president (falsely of course), so Obama’s influence on those cuts is not entirely clear, and the reasons for the cuts are not clear at all, but they were made and private industry did take over.

So, what was the effect of this transition from government to private funding of the “space effort?”

Well, under government spending we sent men to the Moon and built the space station. Under private funding we have built reusable rockets to give billionaires ten-minute rides into space, which they have greatly enjoyed.


Sunday, July 11, 2021

Zampolit by Another Name

In the Soviet Navy each ship of any size had a Zampolit officer as part of ship’s company. The Zampolit was there to ensure political conformity and report on any ideologically impure crew members, including the Captain.

We are seeing the Left attempting to implement the same structure in the US, only the title is different. The equivalent of the Zampolit officer has infiltrated all major US corporations as the “Chief Diversity Officer.”


Saturday, July 10, 2021

Decisions, Decisions

I gave up on the SRX racing series because a) the racing was boring and b) listening to Danica Patrick is like listening to fingernails on a chalkboard.


Next week, however, the series will feature Bill Elliott racing against his son Chase. That has only happened once (Bill won, but Chase was still just a kid), so it is being rather seriously hyped at this point. So I have to decide a) is it being overhyped and b) is watching it next Saturday night worth listening to Danica Patrick?


Tough call. Very tough call.


Thursday, June 10, 2021

Space Program

Space program? What space program? What are we doing today that we did not do fifty years ago?The equipment that we landed on Mars is a little bit more fancy, but the first Mars lander was in 1976, 45 years ago.


52 years ago we landed a man on the Moon, and not only can we not do that today, we do not even aspire to do that today. We have some loose talk about sending a crew to Mars, but we do not even have designs drawn up for a vehicle to do that. Such a mission is not even serious talk at this point.


Are we an advanced nation? Not when we cannot even plan to do what we actually did half a century ago. Biden is the perfect leader for us today. A senile old fossil, dreaming of past glory.


Saturday, May 29, 2021

Doing It Right, Part 2

There is a lake in the infield at Indianapolis, but unfortunately for the announcers, it is not on the track, so Scott Dixon will not be able to demonstrate his ability to drive his car to victory across a body of water. 

I'm sure they have no doubt that he can do that, but it's too bad that he won't be able to demonstrate it for them. The other drivers are just there to provide contrast.


Thursday, May 27, 2021

Doing It Right

This coming weekend, at the Coca-Cola 600, each race car will carry on its windshield the name of a person who lost their life in service to this nation.


It’s not the first time NASCAR has done this, and it’s something that the organization has absolutely gotten right. The driver of the car almost always mentions the person being honored on his car in interviews,  he has spent time with that person’s family, and frequently the family is at the race.


The announcers often speak about the honorees during the race as they feature a car. “The 29 car carries the name of…”


Thank you, NASCAR, for your respectful celebration of Memorial Day.


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Modern Economics

From an article by Michael Hudson explaining why President Biden is refusing to cancel student debt ,

“The fact is, if the government were to write down all the student debt, it wouldn’t cost the government a penny right now. And that wouldn’t cost the banks a penny because the debt is owed to the government and the government would simply be canceling a future source of revenue.”


I think Mr. Hudson’s definition of “debt” needs to be refined, because it is not currently in contact with reality. “Future revenue” would be something along the lines of “no money has changed hands yet, but some day in the future you will buy something from me.”


Debt would be more like, “you have my money and I want it back.” So when you cancel that debt I don’t get my money back and therefor I do actually lose my money. If the government gets into the habit of randomly cancelling debts, it’s going to become really difficult to find anyone who will lend you money.


The key, of course, is that Mr. Hudson says that the government “it won't cost the government a penny right now,” which is a tacit admission that it will cost the government money in the future, namely when the student loans are supposed to be paid. But he doesn’t worry about tomorrow. “Carpe diem.” Seize today


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Good Advice

The Haas team in Formula 1 has two rookie drivers, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, who will be racing at Monaco for the first time this coming weekend. Monaco is a legendary street course with no runoff areas, walls on both sides everywhere. Tricky place to race, to say the least.


Team principal Guenther Steiner had some advice for his two rookies, telling them to, "Stay out of the walls and off the barriers."

 

Well, duh. Does he think they were planning to hit the walls and barriers on purpose?


Sunday, May 16, 2021

Logic Should Apply

Dr. Fauci and the Director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, both gave the same explanation for the change in policy regarding face masks, namely that it was not so much as change in “science,” as it was simple observation. We have now been administering the vaccine long enough, they told us, and to enough people (some 153 million), that we can now be assured that it works well enough that we can quit wearing face masks.


I don’t know why anyone would have a problem with that. We’ve been trusting these people for fifteen months or so when they are delivering bad news, why should we quit trusting them merely because they deliver some good news?


What they didn’t address is the 33 million people who have what is called “acquired immunity” due to having been infected by the virus and recovering from the resulting illness. Applying the same logic of observation to that group, we should note that an even lower number of that group has become ill a second time (effectively zero, in fact) than in the immunized group, and should acknowledge that this group’s immunity is as good, or even better, than those who have been vaccinated.


In fact, in all known viral diseases where acquired immunity exists at all, (10 out of 14) it is superior to vaccination, being essentially 100% effective, and in all those cases it is well known to last for a lifetime. Why should we assume this one is different?


Two viral diseases, the common cold and annual flu, are not a single virus in either case. Both consist of multiple viruses which combine and mutate annually, obviating any opportunity for acquired immunity. The flu vaccine is developed each year based on the best guess of what next year’s dominant flu virus will be, and in a good year is 40% effective.


The herpes virus is incurable and becomes a latent virus in the host, and since the host cannot get rid of the virus no acquired immunity can be developed.


The rabies virus has such a low survival rate that data on acquired immunity cannot be developed. Vaccines provide immunity for approximately ten years.


All the rest (smallpox, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, hepatitis, polio, ebola, hantavirus, and yellow fever) provide an acquired immunity which last a lifetime. Chicken pox virus can remain latent in the host and return as shingles, but it does not cause a recurrence of chicken pox.


So, if you are going to evaluate this virus against other viruses, you cannot do so against the clod and flu because this is not multiple viruses, it is a single virus with very minor variats. If these variants are not rendering the vaccine impotent, they cannot be doing so to acquired immunity.


You cannot compare this virus to herpes, because clearly we are finding that it is possible to rid the host of the virus, that is to cure the patient.


You obviously cannot compare it to rabies. The death rate is far too low.

So you simply have to compare it to the ten other viruses, all ten of which provide lifetime acquired immunity. Why would you assume this one does not? That’s not to say the issue should not be studied, but you should start with the most likely assumption, especially when that assumption is consistent with current observation to date.


Friday, May 07, 2021

Only Biden...

Biden has another new program, assisting homeowners with their mortgage. To qualify you must owe less than $356,825 and not have missed a payment in six months.

 

?  Why the odd amount? But more to the point, if you have not missed a payment in six months, why do you need help? Weird.