Finding God in a Dog

The Ebola Post, October Edition

via Finding God in a Dog A month ago I posted the original “Ebola Post” to capture my thoughts on the West Africa EVD plague. It’s been a month since then, and the outbreak shows no signs of slowing. Here’s where we are.

THE NUMBERS

On August 38th WHO recorded 3,069 cases of EVD. On September 29th the CDC reported 6574 cases with 3091 dead. The overwhelming majority of these cases are in the West African nations of Liberia and Sierra Leone. Cases double every 24.3 days or so, although the World Health Organization now puts the figure at doubling every 21 days. If the rate of increase doesn’t change, we’ll exceed 50,000 reported cases by December 31st, a million cases by next May, and a billion cases by Jan 1 2016.

THE GOOD NEWS


  • The nations of Nigeria and Senegal appear to have finally contained their EVD outbreaks.

  • At least one candidate Ebola vaccine has been proven safe to humans. Whether it actually works is another matter, yet unsettled.

  • One physician claims to have successfully treated 13 of 15 EVD patients with HIV retroviral drugs.

  • EVD is now on the world’s radar in earnest. The United States has pledged close to a billion dollars in support; billionaires are pledging tens of millions.



THE BAD NEWS


  • CDC believes that cases may be vastly under-reported, by about a factor of ten.

  • Civil society is breaking down in Liberia, as food and medical care have become scarce.

  • A person in Dallas, Texas has been diagnosed with Ebola. This person flew to the US on September 19-20, came down with symptoms September 24th, went to the hospital, was sent home, returned to the hospital on September 26th, and was only then put under quarantine. It’s almost certain others have been infected in the Dallas area. CDC is tracing contacts as I write this; hopefully they’ll track them all down before the number of cases exceeds 25 or so.

    This is the second time that Ebola has struck in the United States —- the first was a harmless (to humans) strain that escaped a Virginia lab. This is also the second time that the West Africa Ebola plague has landed in another country via airplane.



ANALYSIS

The simple fact is that we haven’t dedicated nearly enough resources to fighting the Ebola plague. It’s still expanding at an exponential rate, and any hope that we can prevent the spread to other nations, or even other continents, have been disproved. The main question is whether we can continue to halt outbreaks in the rest of the world until EVD burns through every last person in West Africa, or until we can develop a working vaccine.

PREDICTIONS

By October 31st, EVD cases will exceed 15,000 with 7,500 deaths. Almost all of these will be in West Africa. The flare-up in the Dallas will have been completely contained. The estimated cost to contain the epidemic will exceed $10 billion; world response will continue to be anemic at best.

Thursday Miscellany!

via Finding God in a Dog


  • The campaign against ISIS will cost $1.5 billion a month. If we devoted those kind of resources to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, we could save millions of lives, and prevent possible spread to other regions….but that (unlike war) would require Congressional approval.

  • A smidgen of good news as Ebola has been contained in Nigeria and Senegal through swift, early action. Also, an Ebola vaccine appears to be safe for use. The bigger questions are whether it will work and for how long.

  • FiveThirtyEight released their ratings of well-known pollsters. Not a shock: Zogby got an “F.” Shock: they’re the only F-rated pollster to NOT be banned by FiveThirtyEight. By the way, Survey USA earned an A rating, whereas PPP earned a B-.

  • The conservative case for peace, here and here. Read carefully, friends!

  • For those of you who hadn’t heard, Oregon State Hospital
    psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Fritz, husband of Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, died yesterday morning in a violent car accident in Salem. Most Portlanders, Burners and art car fanatics know him as the man who drove the zebra-striped Nissan “Zentra,” which he was driving when someone jumped the median and hit him head-on.

a discussion on sexual orientation

  • me: *explaining various sexual orientations to a classmate*
  • classmate: wait, what's polyamory?
  • me: well, it's when someone has more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.
  • professor: *overhears from front of class*
  • professor: that is d i s g u s t i n g
  • me: *defensively* um, actually, no it's--
  • professor: how DARE they put a greek prefix on a latin root like that?! What right do they have to decimate my beautiful antiquated languages?!?! GREEK AND LATIN DO NOT FRATERNIZE THIS IS LIKE THAT STUPID ROMANTIC SUBPLOT BETWEEN THAT DWARF AND THAT ELF IN THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!
  • me: ....
  • me: ....
  • me: ....
  • professor: it should be polyerosy

Friday Miscellany!

via Finding God in a Dog

US conducts ground operations against Al-Shabbab in Somalia

via Finding God in a Dog Earlier today, US forces are conducting ground operations against ground operations in Somalia:

The Pentagon told CNN U.S. military forces conducted an operation against Al-Shabaab in Somalia Monday. “We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told CNN.


You may recall that I predicted this last December. Also, back on July 2nd, the Pentagon announced the deployment of 120 “advisors” to that country. So this is hardly a surprise. It will be interesting to see to what degree Obama escalates against al-Shabbab, as a part of our 13-years-and-counting war on Al Qaeda.

The Ebola Post

via Finding God in a Dog I’ve decided that I need to start documenting the spread of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa on a month-to-month basis. This is a story that is (or should be) on everyone’s radar already. My concern is that even the news-aware aren’t really tuned in to the grim reality of EVD, or how it could dramatically change our lives in the next couple of years. This initial post is a snapshot of my thoughts right now.

The Numbers



First, let’s start with the really scary stuff: the reported number of infected and dead have both so far followed a geometric progression, doubling about every 29 days. Put another way, if the progression continues unchecked, we can expect the number of cases to continue to double every 29 days, which is the same as increasing tenfold approximately every 95 days. The last World Health Organization (WHO) report puts the number of cases at 3069 as of August 28th; unless conditions improve, therefore, we can expect about 30,000 cases by 1 December 2014, 300,000 by 6 March 2015, three million by 9 June 2015, and so on. If this progression were to continue unchecked by artificial or natural controls, we would see billions of cases in the first half of 2016.

Mitigating Factors



These numbers are really scary, but the thing to keep in mind is that this is what happens if EVD spreads uncontrolled. There are several factors, both natural and artificial, which should control the epidemic. Let’s look at these in turn.

WHO Intervention



WHO has put together a nine month, half billion dollar plan to curb the spread of EVD. This plan focuses primarily on building a health care infrastructure in Liberia, where conditions are at their worst. This effort isn’t a sure thing. It requires a lot of personnel (12,000 locals and 750 international experts), and depends on outside funding from governments, NGOs and private donors. So far, the first world’s response has been anemic. The plan calls for bringing the spread of Ebola under control (meaning, that it’s no longer increasing exponentially) within two to three months, and then halting new infections altogether in six to nine months. WHO claims that EVD could affect more than 20,000 people before they can get it under control. We should keep in mind that these numbers are probably minima. If WHO is succeeding, we should know by December.

Possible Vaccine



There is no known vaccine for EVD. British company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has an experimental vaccine which has proven successful in monkeys. They’re going to start safety trials next week to see whether the vaccine is safe for humans, followed by a larger immune response trial to see whether the vaccine produces the desired immune response. Assuming the vaccine passes both trials, a larger test in West Africa, to see whether the vaccine really prevents Ebola, is possible in early 2015. If this vaccine doesn’t work, there are others in the pipeline —- but those will take longer to prove.

So, yeah, this is a crap shoot, but the payoff could be huge. Once we have a vaccine, we can control the spread of EVD by vaccinating around the hot zone (a practice known as “ring vaccination”). We can also vaccinate vulnerable populations (such as health care workers) or even the general population (which may be necessary if EVD continues its geographic spread).

Possible Treatment (ZMAPP)



Right now the only treatment for Ebola is palliative care —- replacing lost fluids and electrolytes, treating secondary infections, controlling fever, maintaining proper blood pressure and oxygen, and so on. There’s an experimental drug, ZMAPP, which has been shown to reverse and cure Ebola in monkeys. A prototype of this drug has been used on humans, but two patients died, and while five other patients recovered fully, it’s not clear that the drug had any effect on their recovery. Human trials of this new iteration of ZMAPP are due to begin soon.

It bears repeating that we don’t have a cure yet. We were able to treat Ebola patients in the US, but our best guess is that they recovered thanks to world-class palliative care at a world-class medical center. Also, it bears mentioning that homeopathic treatments —- such as snake venom —- are more likely to kill you than heal you.

Geographic Factors



Presently the disease moves as infected people move. Most people in West Africa are not very mobile, and are limited by the Sahara Desert to the north, mountains to the east, and an ocean to the west. That still leaves a triangle from St. Louis, Senegal, to Western Ethiopia, to Port Elizabeth, South Africa. There’s close to a billion people in that triangle, and EVD is certainly capable of spreading through that area in the next 18 months.

Of course, these factors don’t matter much in the modern world. EVD spread to Nigeria through one infected passenger on an airliner. Airlines are taking steps to control the spread, including monitoring passengers for symptoms, but these are filters, not guarantees. The more people that come down with EVD in West Africa, the greater the likelihood that it will spread elsewhere.

What If We Fail?



So, those are the possible mitigating factors. Absent those factors, if EVD continues to spread at an exponential rate, the number of cases will increase tenfold every 95 days. By Summer of 2015, we’d have millions of cases. By Fall of 2015, tens of millions. By Winter of 2015, hundreds of millions. By Spring of 2016, billions. Finally, by Fall of 2016, EVD should run out of people to infect. Everyone is either dead or recovered.

I think this scenario is unlikely. I don’t think that it’s highly unlikely, and that, quite honestly, scares me. I think the most likely scenario is what I call the Reasonable Worst Case Scenario (below).

The Reasonable Worst Case Scenario



So, let’s suppose WHO can’t contain the epidemic and we don’t find a vaccine in the next year or two. EVD spreads out of control in West Africa, and eventually millions are affected from Senegal to Somalia to South Africa. In reality, this outcome is not that much worse than what we see today with HIV. The bigger damage will be economic. The first world, out of sheer terror, will curtail activity in sub-Sahara Africa, and many states will be cut off altogether. Nigeria’s booming economy will come to a screeching halt; South Africa will at least see a depression. Oil prices will shoot back up with Nigerian oil production offline. We’ll see a shortage of raw minerals similar to what occurred before China’s economy slowed down. There will be occasional first-world and second-world outbreaks, but the likelihood is that we’ll contain them and move on, similar to Hanta virus outbreaks in the USA. The rich of course fare much better than the poor. Even in the first world, there is a dramatic difference in medical care between Emory University Hospital and your local Oregon Health Plan clinic. Many outbreaks will be contained with cordons sanitaire or isolation centers. Vaccine testing and production would continue as demand would be very high.

The Absolute Worst Case Scenario



So what about the worst case scenario that everyone’s afraid of? Suppose EVD spreads out of control, globally, and eventually reaches everywhere in the world. By the Autumn of 2016, there have been seven billion cases with 50%-90% fatalities. What now?

Once you’re infected, it is believed that you’re then immune to that strain, at least for a few years. It’s also thought that some people carry a gene that makes them completely immune to EVD, but we haven’t tested this. Assuming either of these conditions are true, we’re not looking at an extinction-level event. Instead, we’re looking at a few very hard years followed by a period of trying to rebuild. One could look to the past, during the Black Death, for an historical example. Beyond that, the only thing that’s guaranteed is that the world will look very different.

This entire Tumblr is completely inexcusable.

vincekramer222:

Batman ♥. Superman: Dawn of Lustfulness

"He may be made of steel, but this summer, one man will penetrate his heart.

Not Sorry Feminism: "There's No REAL Sexism Anymore"

smitethepatriarchy:

You would expect that men who ask for flexible schedules in order to take care of their kids would be less likely to have the request granted than women, right? Because nobody thinks that men can take care of kids. Everybody’s soooo nice to mothers, mothers get all the credit, poor fathers can’t get a break, they’re so looked down upon.

NOPE.

About 70 percent of the participants who read a transcript with a male employee said they would be “likely” or “very likely” to approve his request when it was for child care reasons, compared to only 56.7 percent of those who read the same transcript with a female employee. About 24 percent found the man to be “extremely likeable” compared to only three percent who found the woman “extremely likeable.”

(via chickgonebad)

Via "We Hunted The Mammoth" comes news of "The Sarkeesian Effect," a feature documentary.

via Finding God in a Dog My eyes rolled so hard watching this trailer that I sprained my eyeballs. Details below.

Originally posted by manboobz_rss at A proposed new anti-Anita Sarkeesian “documentary” promises to give voice to the loudest “silent maj

http://ift.tt/1pWYk8f

http://ift.tt/1vD4HOG


I don’t usually post raw videos from the insufferable assholes I write about on this site because, well, they’re insufferable assholes, and listening to them smugly opine about shit they’re completely ignorant about is generally about as entertaining as, you know, GirlWritesWhat videos. (I know, that’s a bit circular, but I really couldn’t come up with anything more insufferable than that.)


Anyhoo, I’ve broken my rule and posted this video because the two guys who made this video — the would-be filmmaking duo of jordanowen42 and Davis Aurini — are so over-the-top in their insufferable assholism that it’s actually kind of perversely charming.


You see, these two woman-hating YouTube blabbers — the first a belligerent doofus whose apartment is nearly as unkempt as mine, the other a sort of PUA version of Anton LaVey — are pitching what they claim will be an important new documentary exposing the evil “Social Justice Warrior” agenda of evil women and traitor men like Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, and, well, I can’t remember the names of any of the men. It’s called The Sarkeesian Effect. And they want your money to fund it.


Their promised “feature-length documentary” will be a powerful work of investigative journalism that will give a voice to the voiceless — to the “silent majority” of, well, angry white dudes who spend whatever time they don’t spend playing video games posting obnoxious and abusive comments about Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn to YouTube and Reddit and eleven zillion other websites that cater to them.


In other words, this is the loudest “silent majority” I’ve ever run across.


But these are guys who love to pretend that their bold thoughts are being silenced, and PUA Anton LaVey Davis Aurini happily panders to their persecution complex:


Don’t let these people silence us. Your contribution will be a defiant strike against the degeneration and corruption that is going on in this world.


The word “degeneration” helps remind us that Aurini considers himself a part of the neo-Nazi-lite “Dark Enlightenment.”


Anyway, they argue that you should send them lots of money, because PUA Anton LaVey’s suits can’t be cheap you’ll be striking a blow for every dude who’s ever called Anita Sarkeesian a “whore” in a YouTube comment. Well, they don’t literally put it that way, but, you know, come on. That’s what they mean.


And hey, who wouldn’t trust this dude with their hard-earned cash?


Send me your money! Heh heh heh heh heh.

Send me your money! Heh heh heh heh heh.


I found this video hilarious from start to finish. Stick with it at least until, a little after 6 minutes in, PUA Anton LaVey Aurini lights up his second cigarette, showing what a devil-may-care attitude he has by mumbling his lines with a cigarette in his mouth as he fiddles with his lighter.


Yep, that’s the kind of quality investigative  journalism you can expect from these two.


Monday Miscellany!

via Finding God in a Dog


  • Nigeria claims that they’ve had one new case of Ebola since yesterday. What they haven’t mentioned —- which is absolutely critical —- is where they found that new case. If in the quarantined population, that’s very good. If in the wild, that’s very bad news for their containment strategy, and for the spread of the disease.

  • Justin Raimondo on how we’ve returned to the sixties, and not in the fun, Summer Of Love Nostalgia way.

  • Julian Assange is talking about leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy soon, presumably for health reasons. Once he steps foot on British soil, he’ll likely be immediately arrested and eventually wind up in a US prison for espionage.

  • The most potent weapon in the campus rapist’s arsenal is alcohol and a predatory eye; on the other hand, the most potent weapon in preventing campus rape is peer pressure among college-aged men. More here.

  • Boys’ science-themed bedrooms versus girls’ science-themed bedrooms, explored here.

Wherein Kareem Abdul-Jabbar nails it on #Ferguson. (was: Wow.)

via Finding God in a Dog (Kareem Abdul Jabbar is better known for his basketball skills than his social thought, but he nails it below. —maxomai)

Originally posted by fengi at Wow.

Time has posted an essay by Kareem Abdul Jabbar titled "The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race". It’s fascinating whether you agree with all of his points. Unlike many others who discuss race, gender and class, he doesn’t dismiss the other struggles in order to concentrate on class war. He handles intersectionality as deftly as a skyhook:
…on May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University…On May 14th, 10 days after Kent State ignited the nation, at the predominantly black Jackson State University in Mississippi, police killed two black students…with shotguns and wounded twelve others…That heartless leviathan we call History swallowed that event whole, erasing it from the national memory.

…unless we want the Ferguson atrocity to also be swallowed and become nothing more than an intestinal irritant to history, we have to address the situation not just as another act of systemic racism, but as what else it is: class warfare.

…the targets of police overreaction are based less on skin color and more on an even worse Ebola-level affliction: being poor. Of course, to many in America, being a person of color is synonymous with being poor, and being poor is synonymous with being a criminal. Ironically, this misperception is true even among the poor.

And that’s how the status quo wants it.

The U.S. Census Report finds that 50 million Americans are poor. Fifty million voters is a powerful block if they ever organized…So, it’s crucial that those in the wealthiest One Percent keep the poor fractured by distracting them with emotional issues like immigration, abortion and gun control…we fall into the trap of turning against each other, expending our energy battling our allies instead of our enemies. This isn’t just inclusive of race and political parties, it’s also about gender. In her book Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution, Laurie Penny suggests that the decreased career opportunities for young men in society makes them feel less valuable to females; as a result they deflect their rage from those who caused the problem to those who also suffer the consequences: females.

…The middle class has to join the poor and whites have to join African-Americans in mass demonstrations, in ousting corrupt politicians, in boycotting exploitative businesses, in passing legislation that promotes economic equality and opportunity, and in punishing those who gamble with our financial future.

…I hope John Steinbeck is proven right when he wrote in Grapes of Wrath, “Repression works only to strengthen and knit the oppressed.” But I’m more inclined to echo Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues,” written the year after the Kent State/Jackson State shootings:

Inflation no chance
To increase finance
Bills pile up sky high
Send that boy off to die
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life

Headline mix-and-match!!

via Finding God in a Dog Don’t you wish you could mix-and-match the day’s headlines? For example, today I saw this on Google News:

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 12.21.49 PM

And then I saw this:

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 12.22.02 PM

Am I the only one who wishes I saw:

Obama says militant siege broken – but Ferguson mission not over yet

?

Congratulations to Professor Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to win the Fields medal.

via Finding God in a Dog Today the International Mathematical Union announced the winners of the Fields Medal, awarded every four years to outstanding mathematicians under the age of 40. Among them is Iranian-born Prof. Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to win the Fields medal. Her biography is here.

Without in any way detracting from her astounding (and in some cases counter-intuitive) work, part of me wonders whether her selection wasn’t also intended to send a message to the government of Iran. Iran recently banned women from STEM fields, including Mathematics. By way of contrast, it was the encouragement of Professor Mirzakhani’s elementary school teachers that led her to her thus far brilliant career in Mathematics. The implied message to Iran’s government may very well be not to so rashly interfere with the ambitions of half of their students.

There are other lessons to be learned by Professor Mirzakhani’s biography, perhaps the most important of them being that slow and steady and deliberate can produce works of beauty and grace that “quick and lots” cannot.

As usual, the pro-life movement makes a lot of unwarranted assumptions….

chickgonebad:

pro-choice-or-no-voice:

restlesshippo:

The Coveted Badge of “Regret Free” Abortion
Self-delusion won’t bring joy and healing after abortion; only forgiveness will.

In the article above you will see some Pro-Life Compassion™.
This article calls people like myself, who do not regret their abortions, “sociopaths”. It goes on to say that we constantly have to “justify our abortions to ourselves”, when in all actuality, there’s nothing to justify.
The article is also very religious based and has no sources (shocking right?) It’s pretty much just a huge pile of malarkey and all it does is shame those who’ve had abortions, there’s nothing enlightening or even remotely helpful about this article.
To the writer, supporters and reposters: Way to be ableist and extremely ill-informed, while also trying to speak above the experiences of people who’ve had an abortions. Congratulations, you get the award for “asshole of the week”! Your parents must be proud. - Paige


Dear “pro-life” people: making up stories doesn’t promote your cause.

As usual, the pro-life movement makes a lot of unwarranted assumptions….

chickgonebad:

pro-choice-or-no-voice:

restlesshippo:

The Coveted Badge of “Regret Free” Abortion

Self-delusion won’t bring joy and healing after abortion; only forgiveness will.

In the article above you will see some Pro-Life Compassion™.

This article calls people like myself, who do not regret their abortions, “sociopaths”. It goes on to say that we constantly have to “justify our abortions to ourselves”, when in all actuality, there’s nothing to justify.

The article is also very religious based and has no sources (shocking right?) It’s pretty much just a huge pile of malarkey and all it does is shame those who’ve had abortions, there’s nothing enlightening or even remotely helpful about this article.

To the writer, supporters and reposters: Way to be ableist and extremely ill-informed, while also trying to speak above the experiences of people who’ve had an abortions. Congratulations, you get the award for “asshole of the week”! Your parents must be proud. - Paige

Dear “pro-life” people: making up stories doesn’t promote your cause.

Thursday Miscellany!

via Finding God in a Dog