Posts by JedRothwell

    It is minus vs. the expected death rate from all causes. Maybe less crime, bombs, car accidents..

    I read that in the U.S., the number of influenza cases is much lower than normal, presumably because of social distancing, masks, and the other precautions people are taking to avoid the coronavirus.

    Martin Fleischmann pointed out that their calorimetric technique was devised by J. P. Joule. I found the paper in which Joule first published the technique. He used it to discover Joule's law, P = I^2R, and he used it to measure the heat from electrolysis. The title is:

    "On the Heat evolved by Metallic Conductors of Electricity, and in the Cells of a Battery during Electrolysis". Philosophical Magazine. 19 (124): 260. 1841.…PA260#v=onepage&q&f=false

    The paper is attached, here: Joule, J P On the heat evolved by Metallic.pdf

    The full title of the magazine was The London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science.

    Incidentally, the paper before Joule's was, "On a remarkable Bar of Sandstone off Pernambuco, on the Coast of Brazil." By C. Darwin, Esq., M.A., F.R. & G.S. So Joule was in good company.

    I like the comment on p. 276:

    "73. I am aware that there are some anomalous conditions of the current which seem to militate against the general law (68.), particularly when in the hands of Peltier it actually produces cold. I have little doubt, however, that the explanations of these will be ultimately found in actions of a secondary character."

    In other words, "it doesn't quite work, but let's worry about that later." Good attitude!

    Joule's collected works are here:

    Here is a discussion of herd immunity, with numbers from antibody tests New York City, London, Madrid and various other cities:…avirus-herd-immunity.html


    The World Is Still Far From Herd Immunity for Coronavirus

    The coronavirus still has a long way to go. That’s the message from a crop of new studies across the world that are trying to quantify how many people have been infected.

    Official case counts often substantially underestimate the number of coronavirus infections. But even in results from a new set of studies that test the population more broadly to estimate everyone who has been infected, the percentage of people who have been infected so far is still in the single digits. The numbers are a fraction of the threshold known as herd immunity, at which the virus can no longer spread widely. The precise herd immunity threshold for the novel coronavirus is not yet clear; but several experts said they believed it would be higher than 60 percent.

    The class below age 65 is not very affected. In Europe below 0.1% mortality!

    Oh great. So it is no worse than a severe influenza epidemic, except there is no vaccine and no immunity so it hits the entire population. Plus it apparently leaves many people coughing up blood a month later, or with amputated legs. Just a not-so-bad version of Spanish flu, if you don't mind seeing millions of people over 65 die.

    Thus shutting the economy/schools definitely was an error for most countries.

    Yes, it was an error. If we had done what they did in Korea, there would be no need for a shut-down. They never had a shut-down, and the one in Japan was only for about 20% of the population for a few weeks. It was an error in the same sense that getting boxed in and having to retreat from Dunkirk was an error. It was a terrible way to respond, but the only thing left to do. Look at what happened in Italy or Paris, or today in Brazil and you will see how things would have been without the shut down. If we hadn't done it, millions would be dead.

    Very well written article of how irresponsible media created COVID panic through outrageously misleading

    Nature created the panic, not the media, and not people. In March, without social distancing or the Korean methods of controlling the epidemic, the number of cases were doubling every 3 days. If nothing had been done, we would now have hundreds of thousands of new cases a day, and tens of thousands of deaths. That is not debatable. That is what always happens when a natural epidemic sweeps through a population of mobile animals, such as birds or people. The number of cases rises exponentially until herd immunity is reached. The natural death rate from COVID-19 is ~3%, about the same as the 1918 Spanish flu. Therefore ~6 million people would die.

    Anyone who can do simple arithmetic can see this. This was called the "nightmare scenario." It is not open to question whether it was possible. Without steps to prevent it, it was a sure thing. Such epidemics have swept through human communities countless times throughout history.

    Because the U.S. Federal and state governments did not take any action to control the virus with the methods described by the Koreans, and urged upon us by the Koreans, that left only the lockdown, which is the last-ditch, least effective, and most destructive method, according to experts.

    It makes no sense to say the media is somehow "guilty" for pointing out facts about nature and doing elementary arithmetic. This is shooting the messenger. The fact that the nightmare scenario did not happen -- not yet, anyway -- is a good thing. We can thank the media for that. And we can thank the good sense of the people wearing masks and the people who locked themselves down, which they did before the governor of Georgia ordered them to, and which ~70% continue to do even after the orders were lifted. If they had not, the R0 in Georgia would still be 4. You can run the numbers for yourself to see how many people would be sick or dead in that case. See:…d/jvoLBozRtBSVSNQDDAuZxH/

    We did not avert a catastrophe. 100,000 people died and the economy was destroyed. That is a catastrophe. It was a totally avoidable tragic fiasco, entirely the fault of the Trump administration. If we had done what Korea, Japan and other countries did, only a few thousand would have died. Using brute force lock-down methods that destroyed the economy and ruined millions of lives, we managed to avoid a much greater catastrophe. That is thanks to the media and people's good sense. It is not a triumph, any more than the retreat from Dunkirk was a military victory.

    They beat diesel! "At US$0.11 per kWh, the utility-scale solar-plus-storage system provides energy significantly below the cost of diesel "

    Diesel and other petroleum generators produce less than 1% of U.S. electricity:…electricity-in-the-us.php

    However, Diesel is used in places where other sources are not available, such as remote islands or for peak power in rural Virginia. In other words, in niche markets. Utility plus solar may still be too expensive in most markets, but it is competitive in these niche markets when it replaces Diesel. This is an example of how a technology begins in specialized niche markets, improves, and then begins to invade other, broader markets. This is described in the book "The Innovator's Dilemma," which I highly recommend.

    That would sound less partisan, if you added New York's Governor Cuomo, and New Jersey's Murphy to the list.

    Nope. They took action sooner than anyone, and they tried various things. When they failed, they admitted it and tried something else. They are now reducing the rates of infection and death faster than anyone else. Furthermore, New York City is one of the most crowded places in the U.S., with subways and other places where infectious disease spreads easily. That's not Cuomo's falt.

    They tried and failed, and then tried other things and succeeded. They made mistakes. The Federal government is mired in inaction. It has done nothing.

    Many other bad moves on their part, that even the doting media is having a hard time sweeping under the rug.

    No one has swept anything under the rug in New York. You must be thinking of Georgia where they cannot even count dead people, never mind cases or tests. Every mistake that Cuomo made he himself reported, in detail, in this briefings, and it has all been published by the New York Times and other mass media.

    hmmm.. as some have said, tracking and tracing is probably impossible in the US. Does not seem like Cuomo was able to pull it off, even with Blumbergs help!

    Incorrect. Tracking and tracing is working well in Alaska. It has just begun in New York. The rate of infection in New York is coming down faster than any other state. Tracing began in Massachusettes weeks ago. It is way down in cases, and even more in deaths, which indicates they are detecting more cases than they did before.

    Amen to this --

    The one vital message of nearing 100,000 US deaths

    On this somber Memorial Day weekend, America is approaching the grim milestone of 100,000 Covid-19 deaths in a population of 330 million. Six Asia-Pacific nations -- Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan and Vietnam -- have just over 1,200 coronavirus deaths in a combined population almost the same as the US, 328 million. On May 23, the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker shows that America recorded 1,208 new deaths, while the six Asia-Pacific countries recorded just 13 deaths: 12 in Japan, 1 in Australia, and 0 in the others.

    America has failed to control the epidemic while many other countries, and not just the six in the Asia-Pacific, have succeeded.

    The American political system has not been focused on how to end the epidemic. Our political debates from the first days of the epidemic have taken the bait of Donald Trump's nonsensical Twitter feed: chloroquine, Clorox, China pro and con, WHO pro and con, filling church pews by Easter, the liberation of states, the bailout of the post office, the loyalty of Fox News, and whether or not to wear a face mask at the Ford Motor plant. This is not the politics of problem solving; it is the politics of distraction. . . .

    . . . Six months into the epidemic and around 100,000 deaths later we still do not have systematic contact tracing across the country. Neither the President nor Congress has focused on the topic even though it is the key to keeping Americans alive and restoring the economy. . . .

    If you are someone who enjoys driving a certain sort of car for whatever reasons those might be, then it is a matter of where you want to spend your money. There are no one-size-fits-all answers in the world of cars.

    That's true. Cars mean a lot to some people. And why shouldn't they? Some people enjoy expensive artworks, or antiques, or a home theater. It's their money. For me, my 1994 Geo Metro was a utilitarian object like a pair of boots. The Leaf is that too, but also a sort of toy, worth a few thousand extra.

    For many teenagers in the 1950s and 60s, cars meant more than they do now. Kids went cruising around like in the movie "American Graffiti." Nowadays, many young people don't bother to get a license at age 16. It is become passe. Perhaps when self-driving cars become universal, and you can no longer express yourself by driving on public roads, people will no longer invest ego in their car. Most people may use robotic taxis called by cell phone, and cleaned every day by robots. More like elevators than cars.

    I used to be strongly anti-automobile, because of the environmental damage they cause, and the disruption to urban areas. I still am opposed to them in many ways. I hope that most roads will be put underground centuries from now. I favor a large toll for city centers in places like London and New York. I am glad to see that Paris and other cities are banning them from many roads, restoring the city to pedestrians. The Netherlands and Denmark, which are flat places, have seen a tremendous increase in bicycle use. Milan, Seattle and other cities have banned cars from many streets during the coronavirus to give people more room to walk, and now they say they will make the ban permanent. As Clarke said, we should take the technology we need, and leave the rest. We need cars for some things, but not in downtown Manhattan.

    Then again, I think about what my mother said about cars. She grew up in the 1920s and 30s. She learned to drive the family Model T Ford in New York City at age 13, and drove the car from then on, because her father did not like to drive, and the police did not enforce license laws back then. She drove army trucks, tractors, "anything with wheels." She agreed with me that too many cars, traffic jams, accidents and pollution are bad. But they are the result of too much of a good thing. She said you have to understand what it was like when cars first came into our lives. You have to understand how liberating it was, and how many people were given the freedom to live and work where they wanted, and go wherever they felt like going. F. Allen's book "The Big Change" has a chapter on "The Automobile Revolution" describing this. Well worth reading. A car gave a sense of freedom you cannot appreciate now that we have had them our whole lives. When technology is everywhere, and you have always had it, you take it for granted. You don't appreciate it. When you grew up without it, you never stop feeling grateful for it. Take computers. I went through college writing with a typewriter, or writing by hand in Japanese. Ugh! I had to look up words, schlep to the library for information, and manually organize bibliographies. I have hundreds of books because that was the only way a person could have information, literature, culture and knowledge at your fingertips before the internet was invented. So I appreciate computers more than any young person does today -- because I lived without them.

    The first thing I did out of college was to get a computer and program it to do word processing and spell checking. From that day on, I never wrote without it. I appreciate those things! I appreciate Microsoft Word. Everyone who grew up with it complains about it. It is lousy software in many ways, but even the worst word processor is incomparably better than writing by hand, or with a typewriter.

    If we ever get cold fusion, the first generation will appreciate it. They will consider it a miracle. All generations after that will take it for granted, and complain about it. That is as it should be. People should demand more from technology. Otherwise, things will not improve.

    BBC Corona Virus the Human Cost

    Thanks. That's a good article. Note that the full title is:

    Coronavirus: The human cost of virus misinformation

    The above link cut off "misinformation."


    A BBC team tracking coronavirus misinformation has found links to assaults, arsons and deaths. And experts say the potential for indirect harm caused by rumours, conspiracy theories and bad health information could be much bigger.

    This is horrible. I would add: Ignorance has multiplied the cost in illness, death, and destruction by a factor of 1,000. Literally, 1,000! We have 20,000 new cases, while in Japan and Korea they have 20. Ignorance and a misplaced sense of cultural superiority. Hundreds of thousands of people are dying because Trump, Gov. Kemp and Bolsonaro are blithering idiots. This could have been prevented. We should have known it was coming, and we should have stopped it, or controlled it with Korean methods.

    Nassim Taleb is incensed that people call this a "black swan" event. He said it is a white swan. A wholly predictable event that could easily have been prevented.…ore-fragile-global-system


    Nassim Nicholas Taleb is “irritated,” he told Bloomberg Television on March 31st, whenever the coronavirus pandemic is referred to as a “black swan,” the term he coined for an unpredictable, rare, catastrophic event, in his best-selling 2007 book of that title. “The Black Swan” was meant to explain why, in a networked world, we need to change business practices and social norms—not, as he recently told me, to provide “a cliché for any bad thing that surprises us.” Besides, the pandemic was wholly predictable—he, like Bill Gates, Laurie Garrett, and others, had predicted it—a white swan if ever there was one. “We issued our warning that, effectively, you should kill it in the egg,” Taleb told Bloomberg. Governments “did not want to spend pennies in January; now they are going to spend trillions.”

    Out of curiosity, if you decide to get a new car, will you buy a Chevy Versa or a Nissan Spark for $15,000? I doubt it.

    I would have in the past. The car I tossed out the other day was a 1994 Geo Metro that cost $8,000. No radio, no electronics, roll up windows, manual shift. I loved it! It was like driving a Model T Ford.

    This time I got a used 2017 Nissan Leaf. It was more expensive than other used cars. I can't justify the cost because I do not drive many miles. I will never make it back in gasoline savings. But I do love high tech machines. And low tech machines. The ones in the middle bore me.

    The thing is, we have a Prius for long distance travel. So the limited range of the Leaf is fine with me.

    Those are among the cheapest cars you could buy but most people don’t buy the cheapest cars.

    I do. I buy the cheapest anything when it serves my purposes. An axe, not a chainsaw. I agree with Arthur Clarke, that we should take what we want from technology, and leave the rest. I have no objection to cells phones, but no use for one either. In his essay "Technology and the Limits of Knowledge" (1972), Clarke concludes:

    "Not long ago, I was driving through the outskirts of Bombay when I noticed a sadhu (holy man) with just two visible possessions. One was a skimpy loincloth; the other, slung round his neck on a strap, was a transistorized megaphone. There, I told myself, goes a man who does not hesitate to use technology to spread his particular brand of knowledge. He has grasped the one tool he needs, and discarded all else.

    And that is the true wisdom -- whether it comes from the East, or from the West."

    In the US, they now spend an average of $37,000.

    That's an insane amount of money for most families, for most cars.

    I agree with JedRothwell. There aren't any reported yet in public space.

    Actually, as noted by Zephir, there are some claims of repeatability in the public space, but as far as I know they have not been independently confirmed.

    Improved repeatability has been reported and confirmed, but Miles and others.

    If any reliable high repeatability would exist LENR science would now be main stream.

    I don't think that is a given! The mainstream might go on ignoring the field. I hope people would pay attention, but they might not. It is difficult to overcome academic politics.

    Sorry @Jed Rothwell I didn't realize you are such an expert on this. Of course electric cars are much more efficient and easier to maintain..But where can I find a cheap one?

    I am not an expert. I just read the textbooks.

    You cannot find one that is cheaper than a gasoline car yet, because manufacturers don't make as many, and they have not been making them for long. Also because they are a hot item. Trendy. So they are sold at a premium. It is like buying designer shoes instead of regular shoes. The materials and cost of production is the same but you pay more for the image.

    ~69 million gasoline cars are manufactured per year. Roughly 10 million electric cars are made, 7 million of them in China. They have only been mass produced for about 10 years. When the numbers begin to approach gasoline cars, and manufacturers have a great deal of experience making them, there is no doubt the price will fall to about the same level as gasoline cars. I say there is no doubt because the materials and manufacturing techniques are not inherently more expensive. The design is actually simpler. Automobile unions are concerned because it is easier to automate electric car manufacturing, and the transition is expected to reduce the need for workers. So, after a few decades they may be cheaper than gasoline cars.…on-in-selected-countries/

    Siemens has announced a 14 MW offshore wind turbine, the largest in the world. It is gigantic! It beats GE which has a 12 MW unit.


    Since it is offshore, I suppose the capacity factor is higher than 30%. Probably around 40%. Maybe even 50%. So it is effectively ~5.6 MW. 161 of them would produce as much as an average U.S. nuke (~900 MW taking into account the nuke capacity factor).

    One nuke produces roughly ~0.2% of the electricity in the U.S. So, 80,500 of these babies could generate all the electricity in the U.S. As a practical matter, that is impossible, given the distribution of wind. But the number is not impossibly high. The cost, mass of materials, space taken up, and so on for 80,500 towers would not be more disruptive than conventional generators. We are not talking about millions of towers. That was the prospect in the 1970s when modern wind power began.

    A combination of wind towers, solar, nukes, and gigantic batteries to smooth out intermittency could produce all of the electricity in the U.S. with no carbon emissions and practically no pollution, other than solid waste from material that cannot be recycled. I do not like nukes, but they are better than coal plants. I think they would still be needed if we are going to retire coal and gradually retire most natural gas. This would not raise the cost of electricity much. It might reduce it in the long term, as the technology matures. I think there is still plenty of room to reduce the cost of wind and solar. Nukes are a lost cause. They will never get cheaper.

    If they (CDC) would have included the ~35% asymptomatic cases they excluded for some reason

    I think it is extremely unlikely 35% of cases are asymtomatic. If that were true, there is no way the Japanese case trackers could have reduced daily infections from 600 down to 30 in a few weeks, leaving practically no unknown sources of infection today. If there were an extra 210 invisible cases during the peak, there would have been asymtomatic people inadvertently infecting others. There may be very mild cases, but those people know they are sick. They may not know they have coronavirus, but they know they are not feeling well. In Japan, people nearly always go to the doctor today if they suspect coronavirus, because it costs nothing to visit a doctor, and the government urges people to go and be tested. They have administered 278,642 tests. Only 5% were positive. That is much lower than the U.S. positive test rate, which is around 11%. So they are doing more tests than they need to do. That's okay. It reassures people they are not sick.

    It is ironic that Sec. of HHS and others have criticised Japan for not doing enough tests, and claimed that Japan may have undiscovered cases because they have not done enough tests. That's ridiculous. The U.S. has 20,000 new cases a day. They have 20. Obviously, we need a thousand times more tests than they do! The absolute number of tests is meaningless. Even the per capita number is not very meaningful. For that matter, tests themselves do no good if you do not act on the data, and take steps to trace cases and quarantine people. You might as well not test if you are going to sit on the data and do nothing to control the outbreak. In the U.S., and especially in Georgia, the government does nothing. Individual people acting on their own have contained the outbreak. The daily cases have not increased much since the shut-down was ended, but I think that is because people are wearing masks, most gyms are still closed, restaurant traffic is off 80% (which is more than Japan during their "soft" shut-down), and so on. In other words, the state has only partially reopened. The infection rate R0 has not returned to the high levels seen before the shut-down, thank goodness. It was already falling before the shut-down. See the last graph on this page:…d/jvoLBozRtBSVSNQDDAuZxH/

    Since the state has only partially reopened, the economic catastrophe continues, and unemployment rates are still as high as they were during the worst of the great depression. The economic situations in Japan and Korea are bad, but nowhere near as bad as the U.S. This shows the folly of doing nothing to contain the virus. Compared to the cost of treating 20,000 cases and thousands of deaths per day, and the cost of having people too frightened to go to restaurants and go back to work, the cost of case tracking and quarantining would be trivial. A few percent at most. Despite that, federal and Georgia government leaders do nothing, and let the epidemic, the deaths, and the economic disaster rampage on. For no reason! I have never seen such stupid people in my life. (Okay, except for the opponents of cold fusion.) They are no better than the World War I generals who sent thousands of soldiers to their deaths every day, without thinking about it or even trying any alternative methods, even after other generals showed how to drastically reduce casualties.

    I believe that 1.4% IFR only applies to New York, which is one of the hardest hit areas in the world. Everywhere else, the IFR is lower

    Yes, it says that was computed for New York. The title is:

    Fatality Rate based on New York City Actual Cases and Deaths

    But not everywhere else has a lower rate. Places with third-world standards of healthcare such as India, South American, south Georgia and small towns in Alabama have a higher rate. New York is one of the hardest hit areas, along with Wuhan, but it also has good healthcare in most neighborhoods, for everyone but illegal immigrants, so the mortality rate is low. Illegal immigrants in New York avoid hospitals, for fear of being deported. NHK interviewed some of them, and that is what they said.

    Painting with a pretty broad brush there Jed

    My wife gets a flu vaccine and I don’t,

    Neither of us have had the flu in over 15 years.

    I’m not stupid, I’m an engineer, most people think I’m a pretty sharp guy.

    You are not sharp, you are lucky. Also, you are married to a person with more sense than you have, who will not infect you. The most common source of infectious disease is from a family member. You are lucky to be living in the modern era, when influenza is less common than it used to be. In the 1970 pandemics, elderly people died from it "like flies" as one nurse told me at the time. You benefit from herd immunity. That is to say, you benefit other people acting socially responsible, even though you yourself are irresponsible.