The Global Coronavirus Outbreak

The world is bracing for a new wave of Covid-19 infections, as the coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 200 million people and killed more than 4.3 million globally since late January 2020. Efforts many countries took to stamp out the pneumonia-like illness led to entire nations enforcing lockdowns, widespread halts of international travel, mass layoffs and battered financial markets. Recent attempts to revive social life and financial activities have resulted in another surge in cases and hospitalizations, though new drugs and improved care may help more people who get seriously ill survive…

The epicenter of the pandemic has continued to shift throughout the year, from China, then Europe, then the U.S., and now to developing countries like Brazil. Cases globally surpassed 10 million in late June, but ever since infections have been multiplying faster. The U.S. and India have the most infections, accounting for more than a third of all cases combined.

As countries loosen lockdowns in an effort to reboot their economies, many have seen a resurgence of infections. The number of new daily cases in the U.S. rose to record highs after some states relaxed social distancing requirements. Even places that successfully contained infections earlier in the year, like China and South Korea, have seen cases bubble back up…

The “worst is yet to come” given a lack of global solidarity, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, said at a briefing in Geneva on June 29.

The combination of ignorance and naiveté among Americans pretty much guarantees another deadly wave of illness and death. Personally, I stay away from my fellow Americans as much as possible.

I had to see one of the physicians in my life on one day’s notice, this morning…and he and his staff were as masked up and practicing the same safety protocols in place when this pandemic began. Politicians in DC may have lowered their standards. I doubt many medical practitioners have.

Texas’ utility incompetence brings havoc, steep price-tag, hundreds of miles North and South

Texas’ deep freeze didn’t just disrupt natural gas supplies throughout Lone Star country—its effects rippled across the country, extending as far north as Minnesota. There, gas utilities had to pay $800 million more than they anticipated during the event, and Minnesota regulators are furious.

“The ineptness and disregard for common-sense utility regulation in Texas makes my blood boil and keeps me up at night,” Katie Sieben, chairwoman of the Minnesota Public Utility Commission, told The Washington Post. “It is maddening and outrageous and completely inexcusable that Texas’s lack of sound utility regulation is having this impact on the rest of the country.”

The gas and electric markets in Texas are lightly regulated and highly competitive, which has pushed companies to deliver energy at the lowest possible cost. But it also means that many companies were ill-prepared when the mercury dropped. To save money, they had skimped on winterizing their equipment. As a result, gas lines across the state—which has about 23 percent of the country’s reserves—quite literally froze. The spot price of natural gas soared to 70-times what it would normally be in Minnesota, and gas utilities paid a hefty premium when they used the daily market to match demand.

Some places in this Land of Freedom … that slogan means local political hacks have all the freedom in the world to be dumb as a hoe handle.

Will Cockroaches Inherit the Earth?


gocomics.org

❝ Acknowledging that many inspect species might continue to decline in the 21st century — a time when extinction rates are about 1,000 times that of natural, expected levels — I asked Dini Miller, an urban entomologist, if the stubborn, stalwart cockroach might really inherit the Earth if other species were to bite the dust. The answer isn’t simple, but in large part it comes down to the continued success of the human race: The seven or so cockroach species we call pests, the ones we view as indestructible, have learned to thrive in our human society. That means they will continue thriving, as long as we do.

“If it wasn’t for us they wouldn’t be flourishing,” said Tim Kring, the head of the Entomology Department at Virginia Tech. “But certain species have flourished because we’ve given them nice homes, food, and water…”

❝ …We’ve certainly tried to annihilate them, using insecticides to unleash large-scale, nation-wide warfare against any roach that enters our homes.

But the roaches have resisted. “They defeat the countermeasures we deploy,” said Rick Santangelo, a cockroach control research specialist at North Carolina State University.

Our chemicals might knock out 99 out of 100 roaches, but the remaining one percent will prove resilient. Then, they’ll breed. “The more you’re exposed to something, the more tolerant you become to it,” said Santangelo. That’s not to say the resilient critters can’t be exterminated from your house. With the right strategically-placed poisons — like placing bait in hundreds of places around a kitchen — the roach dwellers can be expunged. But that’s just your house.

You can get rid of them in a single structure, but we’re not gonna eradicate roaches,” said Santangelo.

Life might become tougher – for roaches – if we succeed in eradicating ourselves. They’ve evolved in symbiotic fashion alongside human beings. Regardless of whatever your particular bible tells you. Frankly, I’d bet their hardiness will prevail in the face of incompetent politicians and ignorant, uncaring populations of human beings.u

Dummies never learn

❝ In the 1640’s the Dutch inhabitants of New Amsterdam built a 12′ wall to keep the bad hombres out. In 1664 the British ignored the wall and took New Amsterdam by sea. It’s now called New York. They took down the wall and built a street. It’s called Wall Street.

Same as it ever was…

Thanks, Ian Bremmer

Ask a neuroscientist “What’s wrong with the brains of Trump voters?”


Trump supporters on CNN

The Dunning-Kruger Effect:

Some believe that many of those who support Donald Trump do so because of ignorance — basically they are under-informed or misinformed about the issues at hand. When Trump tells them that crime is skyrocketing in the United States, or that the economy is the worst it’s ever been, they simply take his word for it.

The seemingly obvious solution would be to try to reach those people through political ads, expert opinions, and logical arguments that educate with facts. Except none of those things seem to be swaying any Trump supporters from his side, despite great efforts to deliver this information to them directly.

The Dunning-Kruger effect explains that the problem isn’t just that they are misinformed; it’s that they are completely unaware that they are misinformed. This creates a double burden.

RTFA…you’ll also discover threat sensitivity, terror management, intense nationalism…all sorts of crap beyond simple-minded ignorance.