The One We Did On Video

Strange times call for improvisation and trying new things. So this week The Ricochet Podcast isn’t just a podcast, it’s also a Zoom webinar (sorry, the video is only for Ricochet members — not a member? Join today!). See James Lileks’ secret TV studio designed by a dyslexic! Rob Long owns and prominently displays Communist propaganda! Peter Robinson is wearing a sweater! Wait, that’s not a surprise. OK, he’s floating above San Francisco bay! But enough about the video, more importantly, we’ve got a great guest this week: Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at the Stanford Medical School, Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. He explains why the numbers we’re seeing may not tell the entire story of this pandemic. Also, a new Lileks Post of The Week, My Life as a Google End User, some thoughts about life as we now know it, and some cameo appearances from some actual Ricochet members!

Music From This Week’s Show: Sitting In My Room by The Ramones

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There are 57 comments.

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  1. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The video version will be posted on the Member Feed in a couple of hours.

    EDIT: It is now available ONLY on the member feed.

    • #1
    • March 27, 2020, at 2:02 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  2. James Lileks Contributor

    AHEM

    According to my video feed, the R behind me was pointed in the proper direction. First time using Zoom; won’t happen again. (The backwards R, I mean.)

    • #2
    • March 27, 2020, at 3:58 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    AHEM

    According to my video feed, the R behind me was pointed in the proper direction. First time using Zoom; won’t happen again. (The backwards R, I mean.)

    Less startling than your head disappearing from time to time. 

    • #3
    • March 27, 2020, at 4:17 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    @jameslileks , I thought you were behind a window with a giant Ricochet logo plastered on it. So of course it would appear reversed.

     

    • #4
    • March 27, 2020, at 4:17 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. rdowhower Coolidge

    When you hear the good and obviously brilliant doctor speak with humility of how much the medical experts really don’t know and how the public should be skeptical about what they are told and what should be done, remember how smug and certain Rob has been about this whole crisis and how we absolutely had to shut down everyone and everything and there was no other choice. Also recall all those times Rob was praising globalism and how he warned about how ill prepared we were for the certain to come viral pandemic…oh, wait, he never did say a word about that. Never mind.

    • #5
    • March 27, 2020, at 5:13 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  6. dicentra Member
    dicentra Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It might take awhile to set this up, but one thing that could come out of this, as soon as the antibody test and vaccine are developed, is to provide people with an electronic document that could certify that you’ve got the antibodies or that you’ve been vaccinated, and you could present the document on your phone to whomever needs to see it, like a cop or your boss. Everyone’s got a phone these days, so it’s practicable.

    • #6
    • March 27, 2020, at 6:49 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Leslie Watkins Inactive
    Leslie Watkins Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Back when the big scare was that we were oil guzzlers with a catastrophic future I used to say to people who were freaking out: It’s true that Americans will probably never be good at conserving things. But it’s also true that we’re pretty darn good at figuring out work arounds and alternatives. At discovering and fixing stuff. And that seems like the more viable approach to take when it comes to future unknown knowns. The question is whether the system, the elite protocols, will ever take that into account. 

    • #7
    • March 27, 2020, at 7:43 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  8. kedavis Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    AHEM

    According to my video feed, the R behind me was pointed in the proper direction. First time using Zoom; won’t happen again. (The backwards R, I mean.)

    Does this mean that Zoom always reverses images, for some reason? That doesn’t seem like a good idea. But that graph of the rapid decline of coronavirus sure was encouraging!

    • #8
    • March 27, 2020, at 8:30 PM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  9. kedavis Member

    I can say right from the start that Peter needs a better microphone, or headset, or whatever. Or maybe just better settings. Lots of distortion.

    Rob’s audio was the cleanest.

    • #9
    • March 27, 2020, at 9:14 PM PDT
    • Like
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Why are more people not discussing the diamond princess cruise that docked in Japan? 

    19 percent infection rate. 3711 passengers and crew. 
    8 deaths. Everyone was tested. 

    • #10
    • March 27, 2020, at 9:40 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. kedavis Member

    From .7 to .07 is one order of magnitude, not two. Two orders would be .007.

    (For those who don’t know, “an order of magnitude” means 10 times more, or less.)

    • #11
    • March 27, 2020, at 9:41 PM PDT
    • Like
  12. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    • #12
    • March 27, 2020, at 10:05 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. kedavis Member

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    Why are more people not discussing the diamond princess cruise that docked in Japan?

    19 percent infection rate. 3711 passengers and crew.
    8 deaths. Everyone was tested.

    If you take only those numbers, 19% of 3711 is 705 people. 8 deaths out of 705 is about 1.1%.

    However. Based on what Dr. Bhattacharya said just here, if there’s currently no way to know how many people have gotten corona and recovered, then there’s no way to know how many of those 3711 people might have gotten it and already recovered. Or might be asymptomatic and tested negative but still were infected just not showing it yet. That would tend to make the “bad” numbers smaller. Which is probably true since the cruise ship was far from representative. And we should hope so, because those stats applied to the whole US population would lead to almost 700,000 deaths.

    • #13
    • March 27, 2020, at 10:11 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    Why are more people not discussing the diamond princess cruise that docked in Japan?

    19 percent infection rate. 3711 passengers and crew.
    8 deaths. Everyone was tested.

    If you take only those numbers, 19% of 3711 is 705 people. 8 deaths out of 705 is about 1.1%.

    However. Based on what Dr. Bhattacharya said just here, if there’s currently no way to know how many people have gotten corona and recovered, then there’s no way to know how many of those 3711 people might have gotten it and already recovered. Or might be asymptomatic and tested negative but still were infected just not showing it yet. That would tend to make the “bad” numbers smaller. Which is probably true since the cruise ship was far from representative. And we should hope so, because those stats applied to the whole US population would lead to almost 700,000 deaths.

    The point is if a cruise has infection rate under 20 percent, there is no way any country will have infection rate greater than 20 percent. 

    • #14
    • March 27, 2020, at 10:26 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. kedavis Member

    I’m not sure how much buying a gift card and ripping it up, as @jameslileks mentioned, actually helps. At least the way it used to be, an outstanding gift card was considered something of a liability, in terms of accounting. I suppose if they start “expiring it” after a while, that might make a difference. But in some areas the companies aren’t allowed to do that.

    • #15
    • March 27, 2020, at 10:35 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. kedavis Member

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    Why are more people not discussing the diamond princess cruise that docked in Japan?

    19 percent infection rate. 3711 passengers and crew.
    8 deaths. Everyone was tested.

    If you take only those numbers, 19% of 3711 is 705 people. 8 deaths out of 705 is about 1.1%.

    However. Based on what Dr. Bhattacharya said just here, if there’s currently no way to know how many people have gotten corona and recovered, then there’s no way to know how many of those 3711 people might have gotten it and already recovered. Or might be asymptomatic and tested negative but still were infected just not showing it yet. That would tend to make the “bad” numbers smaller. Which is probably true since the cruise ship was far from representative. And we should hope so, because those stats applied to the whole US population would lead to almost 700,000 deaths.

    The point is if a cruise has infection rate under 20 percent, there is no way any country will have infection rate greater than 20 percent.

    Well then, the main issue is likely that, without better testing as mentioned by Dr. Bhattacharya, nobody really knows how many people have been exposed/infected but not yet showing symptoms or testing positive, or how many people already had it and recovered, because the current tests don’t show that.

    • #16
    • March 27, 2020, at 10:38 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. James Lileks Contributor

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I’m not sure how much buying a gift card and ripping it up, as @jameslileks mentioned, actually helps. At least the way it used to be, an outstanding gift card was considered something of a liability, in terms of accounting. I suppose if they start “expiring it” after a while, that might make a difference. But in some areas the companies aren’t allowed to do that.

    It’s one guy with a hot dog stand. I gave him $ in exchange for goods exchanged in the future in the form of a photocopied piece of paper. I won’t ask for the goods. He keeps the money. I think we’re good.

    Worst case scenario, he demands I eat some hot dogs.

    • #17
    • March 28, 2020, at 12:32 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  18. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    Why are more people not discussing the diamond princess cruise that docked in Japan?

    19 percent infection rate. 3711 passengers and crew.
    8 deaths. Everyone was tested.

    If you take only those numbers, 19% of 3711 is 705 people. 8 deaths out of 705 is about 1.1%.

    However. Based on what Dr. Bhattacharya said just here, if there’s currently no way to know how many people have gotten corona and recovered, then there’s no way to know how many of those 3711 people might have gotten it and already recovered. Or might be asymptomatic and tested negative but still were infected just not showing it yet. That would tend to make the “bad” numbers smaller. Which is probably true since the cruise ship was far from representative. And we should hope so, because those stats applied to the whole US population would lead to almost 700,000 deaths.

    The point is if a cruise has infection rate under 20 percent, there is no way any country will have infection rate greater than 20 percent.

    Well then, the main issue is likely that, without better testing as mentioned by Dr. Bhattacharya, nobody really knows how many people have been exposed/infected but not yet showing symptoms or testing positive, or how many people already had it and recovered, because the current tests don’t show that.

    Everyone on the cruise was exposed yet only 19 percent tested positive. The other 81 percent are immune 

    • #18
    • March 28, 2020, at 1:44 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. kedavis Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I’m not sure how much buying a gift card and ripping it up, as @jameslileks mentioned, actually helps. At least the way it used to be, an outstanding gift card was considered something of a liability, in terms of accounting. I suppose if they start “expiring it” after a while, that might make a difference. But in some areas the companies aren’t allowed to do that.

    It’s one guy with a hot dog stand. I gave him $ in exchange for goods exchanged in the future in the form of a photocopied piece of paper. I won’t ask for the goods. He keeps the money. I think we’re good.

    Worst case scenario, he demands I eat some hot dogs.

    Okay, that’s an individual thing. But actual gift cards like from Walmart etc, follow big-business accounting rules and stuff, plus most if not all states have some additional regulation by now. Including the states that don’t allow the issuer to start deducting value if not used within 6 months, etc.

    • #19
    • March 28, 2020, at 1:53 AM PDT
    • Like
  20. kedavis Member

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    Why are more people not discussing the diamond princess cruise that docked in Japan?

    19 percent infection rate. 3711 passengers and crew.
    8 deaths. Everyone was tested.

    If you take only those numbers, 19% of 3711 is 705 people. 8 deaths out of 705 is about 1.1%.

    However. Based on what Dr. Bhattacharya said just here, if there’s currently no way to know how many people have gotten corona and recovered, then there’s no way to know how many of those 3711 people might have gotten it and already recovered. Or might be asymptomatic and tested negative but still were infected just not showing it yet. That would tend to make the “bad” numbers smaller. Which is probably true since the cruise ship was far from representative. And we should hope so, because those stats applied to the whole US population would lead to almost 700,000 deaths.

    The point is if a cruise has infection rate under 20 percent, there is no way any country will have infection rate greater than 20 percent.

    Well then, the main issue is likely that, without better testing as mentioned by Dr. Bhattacharya, nobody really knows how many people have been exposed/infected but not yet showing symptoms or testing positive, or how many people already had it and recovered, because the current tests don’t show that.

    Everyone on the cruise was exposed yet only 19 percent tested positive. The other 81 percent are immune

    As I indicated, there’s really no way to know that.

    • #20
    • March 28, 2020, at 1:53 AM PDT
    • Like
  21. RufusRJones Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I’m not sure how much buying a gift card and ripping it up, as @jameslileks mentioned, actually helps. At least the way it used to be, an outstanding gift card was considered something of a liability, in terms of accounting. I suppose if they start “expiring it” after a while, that might make a difference. But in some areas the companies aren’t allowed to do that.

    Good point.

    • #21
    • March 28, 2020, at 3:10 AM PDT
    • Like
  22. J Ro Member

    Good show! Lots of issues addressed. Here’s another one, seen at Macrumors:

    “Zoom, a video conferencing app that many people are using at the current time to keep in touch with coworkers while working from home, was sending data to Facebook without disclosing the data sharing to customers.” …

    “In a statement, a spokesperson for Zoom said that Zoom was unaware that the Facebook SDK was collecting unnecessary device data.”

    I’m sure Zuckerberg is ready with one of his typical non-apologies.

     

     

    • #22
    • March 28, 2020, at 3:52 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. RufusRJones Member

    Pence isn’t a doctor but he’s a civic executive with civic management experience which is something Trump doesn’t have. That was one of the reasons I was against Trump. We are lucky he’s there. I forget what it was, but he has already managed one health crisis in Indiana.

    Every big city with excessive mass transit use should have been prepared for a pandemic 100%. Why do we need to force more centralization anyway?

    As of right now, I say everybody involved in public health in Minnesota and New York is a liar. Illinois looks bad, too. New Orleans potentially screwed up and is not taking ownership of it. Apparently, Minnesota has a notable conservative from a rural area that basically just bitched about is people being locked down and now he has a very high caseload per capita. The way the authorities are being un-careful about how they talk makes me ill. 

    It almost seems like there needs to be a global pool of money to do whatever it takes to test as fast as possible. Now do a list of countries that won’t really cooperate. Get the sense that ramping this up is a lot harder than it sounds.

    The actual scientific data about plastic bags has been completely against recyclable bags. This is very easily looked up on the Internet. Recyclable bags have far more risk and it takes over 100 trips to the store for them to net out.

    Forcing more centralization, mass transit, and globalization in the era of pandemics is stupid.

    Re: The UN. The fact is every single international political superstructure is worthless, now. I think NATO is doing more damage than good at this point.

    Rob is right about conservatives duplicity on spending. I have posted evidence of this over and over. Trump is not some special case. He is just trying to get past the asset bubble. It can collapse on November 5th or whatever. 

    What happens if China continues with their goofy culinary habits and food safety non-procedures?

     I think Republicans that don’t understand we have to do something to prevent a pancaking debt deflation are out of their minds. These are typically never Trumper’s that are just reactionary about everything. They may be smart and decent but they don’t study things enough. That doctor. was outstanding. Perfect. 

    • #23
    • March 28, 2020, at 6:08 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  24. RufusRJones Member

    Minnesota public health is pathetic.

     

     

    • #24
    • March 28, 2020, at 6:16 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. Taras Coolidge

    The guys keep talking about “putting people back to work”.

    Maybe it’s because I just listened to Victor Davis Hanson, but it occurs to me to ask:

    Who do they think is keeping those supermarket shelves filled — elves?

    • #25
    • March 28, 2020, at 7:07 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  26. RufusRJones Member

     

     

     

    • #26
    • March 28, 2020, at 7:27 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  27. Mark Alexander Lincoln

    Speaking of preparedness, probably the one most dangerous disaster and least thought of is this: what if your power went out for six weeks?

    Being a former Silicon Valley resident, I figured a devastating earthquake could knock out power for weeks. But this is not just a natural disaster concern.

    It takes little research to understand our weak and vulnerable power grid. Perhaps Peter recalls reports in the Bay Area of unknown individuals hacking into certain power spots and some minor sabotage of transformers that seemed to be testing the system. 

    What happens, James, if Minnesota power goes down mid-winter for several weeks? Can you heat and feed your family?

    Power outages also means no refrigeration at supermarkets to receive trucked goods.

    The only suggestion I have is have enough on hand to survive six weeks without power. After that, it may become Lord of the Flies.

    I don’t own firearms, and will likely get one only if Divine Spirit clearly gives me a sign. Like turning on the radio just as a gun show is advertised as I notice a bumper sticker that reads, Protected by Smith & Wesson.

    • #27
    • March 28, 2020, at 8:09 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. Taras Coolidge

    @rufusrjones — Specifically, the U.N. is useless, because the worst international criminals, Russia and China, are not only members but also have veto power. It’s like making the Joker the Police Chief of Gotham City.

    That’s why Rob’s romantic notion of the U.N. becoming the international disease watchdog is far-fetched.

    On the other hand, international organizations that were not designed by Soviet agents for the benefit of Josef Stalin can be more effective.

    For example, in the Seventies, my late father was part of the successful effort to expel the Soviets from the World Congress of Psychiatrists, for abusing psychiatry to imprison and torture political dissidents.

     

    • #28
    • March 28, 2020, at 8:13 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  29. Nohaaj Coolidge

    The breathless insistence on “tests, tests, TESTS” seems overstated and over simplified. Each test is only a snapshot of an instance in time, and as soon as the tested subject interacts with another person (or perhaps even a contaminated paper bag) the test results become less relevant. Complicating the value of conducting massive testing, is the current wait time for results.

    I agree with widely using the testing process for diagnostic purposes in patients showing symptoms. It allows the medical team to properly administer medical services. 

    Testing the general population en masse seems to me, to be inappropriate. Trying to develop statistical data by testing a significant pool of people in the general public, again seems to be a waste of our resources. Based upon the assumptions of doubling infections every three days, and a term of infection of 24+/- days, the pool would have to be tested every three days for a period much longer than 24 days to get meaningful results. (ie infection limits, recovery and death rates)

    While statistical data derived from long term testing of a significant pool is cool and interesting, I believe our resources are better utilized in developing treatments. The data set will develop itself overtime. 

    • #29
    • March 28, 2020, at 8:20 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. Architectus Coolidge

    kedavis (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I’m not sure how much buying a gift card and ripping it up, as @jameslileks mentioned, actually helps. At least the way it used to be, an outstanding gift card was considered something of a liability, in terms of accounting. I suppose if they start “expiring it” after a while, that might make a difference. But in some areas the companies aren’t allowed to do that.

    It’s one guy with a hot dog stand. I gave him $ in exchange for goods exchanged in the future in the form of a photocopied piece of paper. I won’t ask for the goods. He keeps the money. I think we’re good.

    Worst case scenario, he demands I eat some hot dogs.

    Okay, that’s an individual thing. But actual gift cards like from Walmart etc, follow big-business accounting rules and stuff, plus most if not all states have some additional regulation by now. Including the states that don’t allow the issuer to start deducting value if not used within 6 months, etc.

    Yes, I am not inclined to track it down right now, but I was appalled a few years ago to hear that states (or the feds?) were considering unused gift cards and gift certificates to be “unclaimed property”, subject to disposition by the state. Uggghhh….

    • #30
    • March 28, 2020, at 8:24 AM PDT
    • 2 likes