October 31, 2021

"Banned Man's Party" (Oingo Boingo parody, groyper tribute)

Unlike the tendency to drain a holiday of its energy by indulging in it for weeks ahead of time, so that it's a rushed formality when it actually arrives, my inclination is always to just get the spirit started when the holiday arrives, and let it keep going for however long after that it can go. So we're just getting into Halloween here, and there will be other posts soon.

To inaugurate the spooky season, here's a parody of a Halloween dance classic, "Dead Man's Party" by Oingo Boingo (original lyrics here). How to relate it to online life, as I usually do? Well, dead men are those who get banned, and have to lurk in some netherworldly space, keeping one another company. So naturally I thought of the groypers (the OG cozy ones like @nineeleven, @groyper, and their gang on Gab, and honorary groyper Aimee Terese, not the gay radcuck posers who copied their branding).

Would someone willingly shed their mortal social media coil in order to dance with the digital dead? If the ordinary site is boring or toxic enough, and the vibe in Hades fun enough, sure, why not risk it? -- at least for a night of carnivalesque inversion, like Halloween. This is from the perspective of someone flirting with the netherworld, occasionally addressing one of his worried friends from back on the ordinary site.

Pronunciation guide: plat-FORM in the chorus.

* * *

I'm all caff'd up with nowhere to post
Scrolling with a banned man through an old folder
I'm all caff'd up with nowhere to post
Scrolling with a banned man through an old folder

Waiting for the notification we're live
Going to a party where no one has to priv
Waiting for the notification we're live
Going to a party where no one has to priv

Circuit board caught fire, halfway through the stream
I was doxxed by stalkers while the mods were asleep
It's a banned man's party, on an afterlife platform
Every froggy's coming, leave your avi at the door
Leave your avi and alt at the door

Don't press Escape
It's only memes

I'm all caff'd up with nowhere to post
Scrolling with a banned man, with a banned man
Waiting for the notification we're live
Scrolling with a banned man, with a banned man

Log on in a cozy frame of mind
Seven proxies that I'm behind
The heart-piece glides across my Ouija board
Says they're waiting on the Chan of four

Circuit board caught fire, halfway through the stream
I was doxxed by stalkers while the mods were asleep
It's a banned man's party, on an afterlife platform
Every froggy's coming, leave your avi at the door
Leave your avi and alt at the door

Don't press Escape
It's only memes
Don't grow estranged
From frens you can't retweet

Don't press Escape
It's only memes
Don't grow estranged
From frens you can't retweet

October 26, 2021

Culinary wokeness as imperialist tastemaking

As the preeminent scholar on wokeness, it's my job to weigh in on the topic whenever there's an interesting new angle to explore.

Recall the fundamental theme -- that wokeness is a necessary outgrowth of imperialism, suited to that stage of the empire's lifespan when it has reached its plateau for conquering foreign peoples, and now needs to integrate them (especially their elites) into the core of the empire, in order to administer a sprawling multicultural polity.

Ethnic suprematism motivates the core during its expansion stage (why they should conquer other groups), while cultural pluralism attends its "integrating the conquered" stage (why they should encourage all their subjects to get along). See the endless historical examples from this post, including polytheism in the Roman Empire and the millet system in the Ottoman Empire.

This process of multicultural integration does not, however, extend to all foreign groups -- it excludes those who have not been conquered, and is outright hostile to those who control a rival sphere of geopolitical influence. It is imperialist, not universalist. That makes members of these excluded groups natural recruits to the cause of anti-wokeness, as detailed in this post on the ethnic composition of the anti-woke left.

As an aside, I've noticed in the years since that post, libtards became such censors during the 2010s woke jihad, that they won't even tolerate discussion of cultural ethnicity as distinct from genetic race. That post clearly identifies cultural, not genetic, faultlines (e.g., Catholic Slavs, or Southern vs. Yankee whites). Yet these days, libtards rule out cultural discussion with guilt-by-association scarewords like "calipers," "skull measuring," "phrenology," and other biological / racial terms.

They aren't stupid enough to believe that Catholicism is a skull trait measured with calipers. What they really mean is that all discussion of group differences -- no matter which groups, and no matter how they are divided -- is forbidden. They learned from their anti-woke antagonists of the 2000s blogging heyday, that it doesn't matter whether two groups are different for genetic or cultural reasons. The point remains that they're rivals over some critical resource, whether material or cultural.

And since the power-serving function of wokeness is to get all of the empire's subjects to play nice with each other, the ideological jannies realized they have to cast aspersions on all discussion of differences or antagonisms between groups that are subjects of the empire. That means not only African-Americans vs. white Americans, but also sub-groups of white Americans like the WASPs and Ashkenazi Jews who form the ruling elite, vs. the Irish and Italian Ellis Islanders who have been left in cultural limbo (neither forming the ruling elite, nor alloted quota "seats at the table" for their Talented Tenth).

The jannies still allow, and even encourage, the hyping up of antagonisms between any subject group of its own empire, and a group from a rival sphere of influence. You can still shit on Russian Slavs and Armenians, from the Russian sphere of influence. And you can deride Persian-Americans as tacky, gaudy, loud, and materialist -- as long as you refrain from doing so toward Indian-American brahmins, who are just as tacky, gaudy, loud, and materialist (by the metric of severe WASPy puritans).

After all, Iranians have never been subjects of the Anglo-American Empire -- in fact they've controlled their own rival sphere of influence -- so fuck them. Indians, though, have been subjects for centuries, so yay Indians. The one must be stigmatized, while the other must be normalized, to strengthen the Anglo-American Empire.

* * *

Over the past week, there's been an insane over-reaction to an innocuous remark by Swedish poster Tinkzorg on Twitter, which praised Nordic cuisine and lamented that Muslims could never enjoy some of it, such as the dish of root mash and ham hock. You can imagine all the typical libtard reactions -- racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, etc. -- but also, how dare you praise Swedish cuisine, it's so terrible, tasteless, and disgusting, compared to the delicious cuisine of Muslim peoples.

Here we see both sides of wokeness playing the role of imperialist integration, only now in the domain of cuisine. First, the reflexive sanctification of the food culture of conquered or allied groups of the empire, many of whom are Muslim -- e.g. from NATO ally Turkey, or subjects from India and Pakistan. And second, the reflexive dehumanization of those who remain obstinately outside of our sphere of influence, such as the Swedes, who not only refuse to join NATO, but do not use the Euro currency. They're resisting political, military, and economic integration into our empire's European region -- so fuck them, and fuck their whole culture.

How can we tell that the jannies' jihad is over imperialist membership rather than any aesthetic substance? Most importantly, because no group's cuisine is disgusting -- it would never have survived for so long, among such a large population, unless it was pretty good. Naturally those raised on it will like it most, while it may be an acquired taste for outsiders. But even then, there will be certain dishes that no foreigner could resist. The notion that most or all of another group's cuisine is sad, pathetic, revolting, or disgusting, is strictly an outgrowth of antagonism between the two groups in some more fundamental domain (like military or economic).

But we can get even finer-grained resolution on the imperialist nature of the jannies' objections to Swedish cuisine and preference for "Muslim" cuisine. (They're equating "Muslim" cuisine to MENA and South Asian regional cuisines, regardless of whether those regions are Christian, Druze, Jewish, Jain, Sikh, or Hindu.) They can't object to pork aesthetically, because it tastes great. That leaves them with non-aesthetic cultural taboos against pork, which they cannot even raise if they're non-Muslim white libtards. And in fact Swedish cuisine incorporates staple MENA spices like allspice and cumin, so there goes the criticism that Swedish food is bland compared to "Muslim" food.

* * *

Which nations on the global map are afforded protection, and hyped up for their delectable food, by members of the Anglo-American Empire? Oddly, it excludes the Axis of Evil nations. Then again, that's not so odd if we view these culinary jihads as imperialist rather than aesthetic.

There is a mania for the cuisine of Anglo imperial ally Morocco, and to a lesser extent our client state of Egypt, but not Libya, which resisted incorporation into our sphere of influence. It is that last North African country you'd be allowed to praise for any part of its culture. And if you did, you've have to frame it in interventionist terms -- how sad that common people who make such wonderful food are governed by such a horrible dictator.

Indeed, there's more of a presence of Ethiopian cuisine in America, and they're Christian rather than Muslim. But they have not defied joining our sphere of influence, so yay them.

There's a mania for the cuisine of Lebanon (operated here primarily by Christians, not Muslims), and to a lesser extent Israel (also not Muslim), our most reliable allies in the Levant, but not Palestine, and definitely not Syria, which has been part of the Russian sphere of influence in the Levant.

There is no widespread presence of Iraqi, Iranian, or Afghani cuisine in the Anglosphere -- despite their combined populations being gigantic, sending plenty of immigrants to found restaurants, or at least be envoys to grocery store chains to carry their food in the ethnic aisle. And yet I see plenty of imported food from Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and even the UAE (all allies), in the Walmart and TJ Maxx ethnic food sections. Doner kebab is widespread in the German region of the Anglo Empire. Not to mention all the Indian restaurants, and the Indian section in every grocery store, including items that are made in India itself.

A Persian market that caters mainly to a local Iranian immigrant population does not count. That is culturally isolated, unlike having multiple restaurants in every mediocre metro area, or a dedicated section in every supermarket, both of which cater to cultural outsiders.

Russian cuisine will never be a trend in the Anglosphere, but neither will the cuisine of the Caucasus, nor the Central Asian former Soviet states, a large portion of whom are Muslim.

Moving beyond the Muslim question, the cuisine of the former Yugoslavian groups will never catch on here either, least of all that of Serbia, which has spearheaded the resistance to Balkan incorporation into the Anglo-American Empire. It's not in a separate universe from (fellow Orthodox) Greek cuisine, and yet Greek food has enjoyed a mania in America since the '90s. But then, Greece has been a NATO member since the early days, and uses the Euro currency. Croatian food will never enjoy the mania that Italian food has, even if they're the same food from adjoining regions of the Adriatic border.

Once Spain joined NATO in the early '80s, it was not long before the Spain craze of the '90s and after (music, food, tourism, everything). Interest in that country's culture was minimal before then, during the Franco era, when it did not join NATO like the other defeated Axis powers of WWII. They had to purify their geopolitical stigma before they could become culturally celebrated.

Everyone in America accepts that French cuisine is great, since they've been our allies since the Revolution (different story for the Brits, though, for whom they have been rivals since the Hundred Years War). In fact, the only time we denigrated the French for their food -- calling them "cheese-eating surrender monkeys", referencing the Simpsons -- was when we perceived them to have the slightest hesitation in joining the War on Terror of the 2000s. The military elite even changed the name of French fries to freedom fries in their cafeteria, showing just how central food is to Us vs. Them distinctions, and how they reflect geopolitical or economic rivalries, not aesthetic substance (we had loved French food and French fries for decades before that brief spat).

What about Latin American cuisine? Food from subject state Mexico has long been a staple in America, but as we have incorporated more of Central America and the Caribbean as sweatshop colonies during the '90s and 2000s, you can now buy pupusas in any random Kroger in the Midwest, despite El Salvador being a small country of fewer than 10 million. Anglo subjects in Jamaica have seen their food become more and more popular as well. Not to mention Southern Cone allies like Brazil and Argentina.

Which Latin American countries will never enjoy widespread acceptance? Nicaragua, owing to the Sandinista resistance, Venezuela (Chavez), and Cuba (communist / Soviet sphere state). It's not like Dominican or Puerto Rican food is huge here, but it gets the benefit of the doubt and has some presence where those people live. But not Cuban, unless it is clearly identified as coming from anti-Communist Cubans -- it's the same food that pro-Castro Cubans eat! Ditto for Panamanian, Honduran, Guatemalan, vs. Nicaraguan. And ditto for Colombian, Ecuadorean, and Peruvian, vs. Venezuelan. Pro-America food good, anti-America food bad.

That leaves East Asia. The elephant in the room is China, whose cuisine was popular back when it was a weak nation dominated militarily by Britain and Japan, then economically by the US, including its transition to a sweatshop colony under Deng-ism in the '80s and '90s. Since the 2010s, and especially going forward, though, I sense Chinese food becoming much more thrown by the wayside among Americans. They're getting too uppity as a polity, military, and economy, rivaling the US, at least in their region. So fuck Chinese food.

What Asian cuisine have Americans turned to instead? Why, our other client states or dependent sweatshop colonies -- South Korea, which we've occupied since the Midcentury, Japan, which we defeated and occupied since then as well, and Southeast Asia, which we failed to conquer militarily but have turned into a sweatshop colony since the Asian Tiger era of the '90s.

Every middling city has multiple Korean restaurants, including fast-food as well as sit-down places, and Korean food in the supermarkets, to the point where even non-foodies know Korean-language terms like kimchi and bulgogi. The Kpop phenomenon, South Korean movies, South Korean fashion, and South Korean cosmetics, show that this is not limited to food, but culture in general. And yet, why no love for North Korean cuisine, or other domain of culture? Because they are defiant against joining our sphere of influence, so their food must be tasteless peasant slop, even if it's the exact same dish from the other side of the DMZ. They can still be ridiculed by the libtards who make our movies, like The Interview.

The perennial popularity of Japanese cuisine proves that the waning taste for Chinese food is not just a fashion cycle of out with the old and in with the new. There has been a cultural fascination with Japan among Western European nations since Admiral Perry opened it up through gunboat diplomacy in the mid-19th century. Widespread adoption of Japanese food -- sushi, ramen, Pocky candy, etc. -- began in the '90s, after Japan was not only no longer a military rival, but an economic one either (the '90s being the beginning of their Lost Decades). Similarly for the mania for anime, Nintendo, manga, hentai, cosplay, harajuku, otaku, karaoke, and everything else Japanese (so revered that the terms are always imported as loanwords rather than translated).

Unlike China, Japan has not recently grown powerful in its own right, so it poses no foreseeable threat to our sphere of influence, and therefore we can continue to enjoy its culture without worry, rather than throw it out as "last decade's fashion".

Thai and Vietnamese food became widespread during the 2000s, after they had been subjugated economically during the '90s Asian Tiger era. Their restaurants are almost as ubiquitous as Korean, likewise in the Asian section of every generic supermarket. Even non-foodies know terms like pad thai, pho, and banh mi. But since we never did defeat and occupy them militarily, unlike Japan and South Korea, broader interest in their culture has been minimal.

Which nation in Southast Asia will never see their food become popular, even among libtard foodies? Burma (now supposed to be called Myanmar), lumped in with the other Axis of Evil states by Bush's Secretary of State Rice. It has resisted incorporation into the post-WWII Anglo-American Empire since the '60s, and rather than serve as a sweatshop colony is usually targeted with economic sanctions by Western economies (though not Asian ones like China). It's a large nation of 50-some million, and their food -- without having tasted it -- is as good as Thai or Vietnamese, not to mention more exotic / obscure, which should make them ripe for the picking among trend-setters. Again, these considerations are not aesthetic but imperialist.

As for sub-Saharan Africa, there's little interest at all in their cuisine within the Anglosphere. There's already competition from the African slave descendants, as conquered peoples needing to be incorporated culturally, whether African-American in the US or Caribbean in the UK. The Scramble for Africa didn't last long before decolonization, and there never was much settlement or extensive occupation anyway. Even today they are not the primary destination for sweatshop owners looking for cheap labor colonies (that would be Latin America and Southeast Asia / Pacific Islands). Thus, sub-Saharan African cuisines are mostly ignored by the Anglosphere.

We can make a simple prediction, though: those nations that do become more of an economic value-adder to Anglo-American profits, or a military alliance, will see their cuisine treated favorably, while those that remain outside or outright resist, will be ridiculed as disgusting. Nigerian cuisine, for example, could eventually become popular in America or Britain, but not that of the Congo, which is equally delectable (again, not having tasted it). Handy rule-of-thumb: countries singled out by the Anglosphere for "human rights abuses" are resisting incorporation into its sphere of influence.

* * *

This nakedly imperialist project is best demonstrated by the Anthony Bourdain TV series about culinary tourism, No Reservations (from the 2000s) and Parts Unknown (from the 2010s). Have a look at the episode lists in those links, and notice who does and does not get included, and how they are treated even if they are included.

Those outside the Empire are at best treated as hapless and goofy places with OK food, like the portrayal of Russia during the 2000s, when Anglo triumphalism over Russia was taken for granted in the wake of the fall of the USSR and the catastrophe of the 1990s. That portrayal all changed after Putin beat back the Anglo-American proxy invasion via the failed Georgian uprising of 2008. The Russian Bear was no longer slumbering in harmless hibernation, and it was suddenly back to relentless anti-Russian propaganda for the creative class in the Anglosphere.

Naturally, his companion during trips to the Russian sphere of influence is not a Russian Slav (boo, hiss), but one of the ethnic minorities who the Anglosphere hopes to break away from the Slavic majority (part-Ashkenazi Jewish, part-Tatar).

The portrayal of Iran and Libya as places with decent people and food, but tragically governed by evil despots, is all too familiar from the imperialist propaganda machine. Especially during the second series, which began in 2013 during the outset of the 2010s wokeness hysteria, this show was clearly intertwined with the State Dept and the CIA to manufacture consent among its libtard audience for official imperial interventionism. Reflecting this tonal shift, it moved from the benign Travel Channel to CNN, at the heart of the Anglo propaganda machine.

Same time as the CIA staged a hostile takeover of the Vice brand for capturing the hipster sub-demo of libtards. Bourdain himself was branded as a bridge between the metrosexuals and the hipsters (proto-dirtbag leftists), within the overall libtard audience.

* * *

Where does this process leave the cuisine of the core nation, then? After the stage of imperial expansion, its subjects are not supposed to gloat about how great their own culture is. It must be respected, as with the Roman cult of the emperor, but not lorded over the rest of their subjects (hence Roman polytheism as well). Americans must respect bacon cheeseburgers, but they can't brag about them being superior to tacos or bulgogi -- that would be supremacist, when pluralism is called for during the "consolidation of past conquests" stage.

They can use self-deprecation, though, to signal their comfort with the high status of their own food, not needing the patronizing reassurance from others that it's actually good.

Now, though, as our empire has begun its long period of disintegration, this kind of wokeness will be less and less required. The whole point of it is to integrate -- when disintegration begins, it no longer serves any purpose.

What shape it takes remains to be seen, but it will track the more fundamental domains of political, military, and economic disintegration. If some groups splits off from us relatively peacefully, we will just lose interest, maybe mutter under our breath about how their food sucked anyway. If they humiliate us in military defeat, like Afghanistan just did -- or Russia and Syria did during the late 2010s -- we will become more overtly reactionary against their culture.

To wrap up with that in mind, a welcome antidote to the toxic cultural imperialism of the Anglosphere libtard creative class is left twitter's resident Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Marina (@shamshi_adad). Part of her "not like other girls" appeal is a non-ironic fondness for the culture of the former Soviet Union, including quirky manufactured products like Soviet-era radios, but also the food culture of Russia itself and its Central Asian Turko-Mongol clients.

It's not a USSR LARP, though, as she's fond of Yugoslavian cuisine, and Turkish cuisine (or perhaps that's a sign of Turkey's gradual slide away from the Anglosphere and into the Russosphere...).

Surprisingly, she's an Anglophile and the main defender of English cuisine, despite unrelenting attacks from her fellow leftists. IIRC she's part-Italian and part-Irish by ancestry, and a native New Yorker. So, not defending Anglo cuisine out of in-group-ism, but as a member of a peripheral ethnic group that still appreciates what came from the imperial core. But without, at the same time, denigrating the rivals of the core, such as Russia, Yugoslavia, etc.

Not just another flunkie from the dirtbag left subdivision of the CIA's outreach programs, in other words. Just an open-minded free spirit eager to make friends from all walks of life, during the twists and turns of life's many fun, and funny, adventures. One of the precious few refreshing personas left on that hellsite, after most of the others abandoned ship in the wake of Bernie's implosion (including her spiritual big sister, Alison Balsam, pbuh).

October 24, 2021

Pop-tart synchronicity

First that_groyper incorporates pop-tarts into his daily coffee reports, rather than the usual raisin bagel. (@groyper on Gab, btw.) Now Thotton Mather (from Twitter) says she's going to be making her own pop-tarts, rather than the usual foodie fare.

I have no idea what this sign means. But it means something. The cozy left and cozy right are converging on the same idea, seemingly independently of each other. It's not just cozy autumn weather -- this is new to 2021.

Millennials growing weary of 30-something status-striving, and wanting to re-create their less-pretentious '90s childhoods? (That would seem to rule out a revival of the Pillsbury toaster strudel, whose tagline was "Something better just popped up". Ooh la-di-da, Mr. French Man.)

What would be in the recipe for a Pure Moods pop-tart? Something old-timey and folksy like "harvest" flavors, sure, but where is the "new" in that New Age recipe? In music they could use synthesized pan pipes. What's so cutting-edge in food, that could complement the trad harvest flavors? Maybe the brand would've figured that food can't be too hi-tech, so just make it green tea pop-tarts for the New Age crowd.

(Oh God, the horror of something art-faggy like a "deconstructed" pop-tart... Kellogg's x Helmut Lang toaster pastries, exclusive to Target...)

Have Millennials crossed the streams and applied '90s color palettes from one pop culture domain to another -- like a black pop-tart with teal, purple, and magenta brushstroke frosting?

In a new sequel for the Donkey Kong Country franchise, the main villain has hoarded all the world's bananas for himself, and there's only mass-processed junk food left for everyone else, so DK goes around collecting banana-flavored pop-tarts to satisfy his monke sweet-tooth. Naturally Kellogg's won't like the insinuation that their product is a dystopian substitute for the real deal, so make the story that pop-tarts are the only remaining source of real bananas in the filling (so it's a silver lining), and if DK can defeat the main villain, he'll open up the supply of bananas for pop-tarts and anything else.

Just brainstorming here. The '90s isn't going to revive itself.

October 21, 2021

Re Aimee T's musings on unrequited love in a virtual world


How do two ghosts requite their love for each other, relationally, not only in their private feelings? Doesn't that presume that they were once physically embodied and close, in contact, earlier during their existence?

Even as ghosts, aren't they portrayed as being in proximity to each other, like Catherine hovering outside Heathcliff's window? Or Sam following Molly around in Ghost, moving the objects of her environment, and eventually slow-dancing with her while possessing another person's body? A mirage is something your eyes are beholding right-here and right-now.

They can continue to requite each other's love, still entangled, as long as it is an extension of their earlier corporeal bonding. There must be a tangible basis for something that becomes more ethereal and spectral, when a barrier like death or great distance separates them.

In our case -- two virtual presences in each other's minds -- we never shared that initial, fundamental, unmediated direct sensory connection. Eyes holding onto eyes, voices vibrating eardrums, breathing in your blooming scent, tasting your lips on my lips, hair brushing against my neck as your head fills the void above my shoulder.

We tried to leapfrog that stage of a relationship, and skip all the way to the "ghostly lovers separated by fate" stage. Without having first connected, though, it feels like we're only ever going to be permanently leading each other on, never to be satisfied.

No one is to blame here. Online communication is so novel, it lured us into feeling as though we had already met each other, when the reality is that we will never (we both being rooted in lands on opposite sides of the globe).

I didn't fall out of love with you, and there's no new online-girl who I've moved onto. I just realized that the medium that connects us does not allow for real romantic love -- even of the separated souls kind -- but that we could still sustain a relationship that was closer to friends, since that is nowhere near as physically intimate, as embodied of a relation, as lovers.

But if somehow the current collapse severs our roots, ushering in a new age of widespread migration, we will be the first to find each other and wander the new wilderness together.


October 20, 2021

Insect-borne pathogens enrich picture of dynamics of diseases spread by shared medium, not encounters between sick and healthy

In this next installment of the revival of anticontagion theory, we'll zoom out to see how broad the class of diseases is that are described by the model. We want as general of a picture as we can manage, so that aspects of one sub-group can clue us in to what's going on in another group that's less well understood.

We've already covered a classic non-contagious disease like cholera, which is transmitted via a contaminated shared medium (i.e. water), into which the sick shed pathogens, and from which the healthy consume them, not through a sick and a healthy individual having an encounter. And we've shown that coronaviruses infecting humans and bats -- including the one causing SARS-2 -- are another textbook case, where they are spread through the medium of indoor air, not encounters between sick and healthy.

Now we return to the other major diseases that motivated the 19th-century debate over how diseases were spread -- plague and yellow fever. These are borne by insects (fleas and mosquitoes), which bite a sick person and thereby become carriers of the pathogens in the sick person's blood, then travel to a healthy person, bite them, and transfer these pathogens, making this person sick. We can add malaria and others to the list.

But first, there is one insect-borne disease that was classified as contagious -- i.e., spread through encounters -- even by the anticontagionists way back in the 19th C., which means we ought to consider treating it as such today as well. That is typhus (not to be confused with typhoid fever), which is spread by the human body louse. It was known to spread from one person to the next who were in close contact with each other in crowded settings like jails, hence the nickname "gaol fever".

What distinguishes typhus from all the others is that its insect carrier is not very mobile between human hosts -- unlike fleas that jump long distances, and which are riding on the backs of rats from one place to another, and unlike mosquitoes and flies that can fly long distances. The body louse only walks or crawls around a single host (their body and their clothing), so that the next host must be very close in order to crawl from one to the next.

This requires an encounter between a sick and a healthy person, so it behaves like other contagious diseases. For example, it does spread more as a function of higher population density, like in jails.

So technically, the diseases described by the shared-medium model are "mobile" insect-borne diseases, but I will drop that qualifier as too cumbersome, now that it's understood.

* * *

Recall what the shared-medium model is tracking -- not only susceptible, infected, and recovered individuals, but also the concentration of the pathogen within the medium. I'll put up the formal mathematical model, and analyze it, later. First we're just getting all the conceptual stuff covered, so that the model will be motivated and make sense the first time around. Presenting the equations etc. first, and then explaining the details of it all, is putting the cart before the horse.

What, then, is the "medium" for an insect-borne disease? Why, the entire local population of the relevant insect. It may sound strange to describe it as a medium, since unlike water and air, people do not rely on mosquitoes, flies, and fleas to go about their daily business. However, those insects do rely on us for their survival -- so we very much come into inevitable contact with those species, even if it's them seeking out us rather than the other way around.

And by adding up a bunch of individual insects into an entire local population, they are like drops of water that add up to the entire local public water supply, or molecules of air that add up to the entire local volume of indoor air. The number of insects carrying the pathogen, as a share of their entire local population, is the same as the concentration of cholera particles in the water supply, or coronavirus particles in the indoor air of some locale.

A sick person "sheds" their pathogens into the medium by getting bitten by the insect, like someone with cholera excreting into the water supply, or someone with a coronavirus breathing into the air of an indoor building. Then a susceptible person comes into contact with this medium by being bitten by an insect. If it is a carrier, it's as though the person were drinking contaminated water or breathing contaminated air. If it's not a carrier, it's as though they were drinking a virus-free cup of water or breathing from a virus-free pocket of air.

Not every insect is a carrier, just as not every drop of water in the system contains cholera, and not every pocket of indoor air contains coronavirus. But as the concentration of the pathogen in the medium increases, it becomes more likely that a susceptible person will become infected by "consuming" or coming into contact with the medium.

There are differences among these shared-medium diseases, such as those whose medium is mobile -- running water in a public supply, jumping and flying insects -- vs. fairly fixed in place -- stagnant indoor air, slow crawling insects. But this is only a difference of degree, not kind, so we don't need multiple models to cover them. There will be a parameter for how frequently a sick person, or a susceptible person, comes into contact with the medium -- which will be higher for the mobile-medium diseases, and lower for the fixed-medium diseases.

* * *

What lessons can we learn from insect-borne diseases, when looking at the prospect of dealing with SARS-2 or other respiratory diseases? Crucially, a vaccine is unlikely to solve the problem, and solutions will have to affect other parts of the environment to purify the medium -- or eradicate the medium altogether, if it's not beneficial for us anyway (like fleas and mosquitoes, and unlike air and water).

Even the non-mobile insect-borne disease, typhus, lacks a vaccine. And so do the other big ones spread by mobile insects, like malaria and plague.

The sole exception is yellow fever, but that vaccine is neither necessary nor sufficient to prevent outbreaks. The US and places under its control -- like the Panama Canal and Cuba -- eradicated the disease during the early 1900s through changing the environmental conditions. Namely, improved sanitation, spraying residences with pesticide, preventing stagnant water from forming (where the mosquitoes lay their eggs), and disrupting stagnant water by spraying it with oil. Control or eradication of the insect species remained the primary method of combating the disease during the Midcentury, when DDT was widely used.

A vaccine was developed by the 1940s, but was secondary at best even then, and did not play any role during the eradication of the early 20th C. It was beaten back in tropical regions as well, primarily through changing the parts of the ecosystem affecting the mosquitoes, not through mass vaccination of the human population.

Yellow fever has in fact reemerged as of the 1980s, despite availability of the vaccine, which does well in clinical studies but whose effects are evidently overwhelmed in the changing real-world ecologies of the past several decades. Since the most parsimonious explanation of the rise and fall of the disease up through the early 20th C. does not include the vaccine in the picture, we don't need to invoke it during the recent resurgence either.

Over the past 30 or so years, urbanization has skyrocketed in tropical regions, and since humans are the food source for mosquitoes, this has led to a surge in the mosquito population in those areas. With more mosquitoes swarming around, people come into contact with the medium far more often than before. Overcrowding strains the public water supply, so more people store their own water in large tubs near their house, which makes them stagnant and perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Overcrowding strains sanitation services as well. These regions are a lot filthier than they used to be.

And perhaps just as importantly, pesticide use has fallen off a cliff, especially DDT. Pesticides are like a vaccine in that their widespread use will trigger a co-evolutionary arms race, where the target adapts by becoming resistant to the obstacle. Pesticides and vaccines also have side-effects on people, which must be weighed against their benefits.

Why shared-medium diseases are so hard to control via vaccines is a separate matter, which I'll speculate on sometime later. The point for now is simply that they are, and therefore we should not expect vaccines to do much work in controlling respiratory diseases, which spread through shared indoor air volumes, whether SARS-2 or anything else.

Improving sanitation and disrupting other parts of the transmission cycle -- before a susceptible person comes into contact with the already contaminated medium -- is the only reliable way to solve these problems. Draining stagnant water areas so mosquitoes can't breed, poisoning the rat population so plague-carrying fleas have no vehicles to get close to people, separating outgoing and ingoing water supplies to prevent cholera from passing from sewage to drinking water, and ventilating indoor spaces as much as possible to prevent respiratory pathogens from filling up the air.

October 17, 2021

Pure Moods music in '90s video games

The influence of the New Age zeitgeist touched so many areas of popular culture during its 1990s heyday, though one that I have noticed, and not found much discussion of, is the soundtracks to video games. This format is far less culturally important than pop music, movie scores, and so on, but it's worth documenting in order to show how broad the New Age spirit really was back then. Video game music was in fact just coming into being, as memory size increased dramatically and allowed for more than a 30-second ditty looped over and over, now longer pieces serving as a score for a movie.

What are the basic features of New Age and world music to qualify for inclusion here? Atmospheric and harmonic, though there must be some kind of melody or riff -- nothing too background-y. Beyond-ordinary tones and textures -- culturally exotic, or archaic / primitive. Specifically a breathy and resonant timbre, such as that of the signature instrument of the genre, pan pipes. The more resonant, the more it sounds like a deep sigh, embodying the ethereal mood. Organic and natural, rather than artificial and technological.

This post is not exhaustive. I'm not a gaymer, and have no encyclopedic knowledge. It's a neat topic, but not that important. In the comments section, I'll add to it over time if I find new examples. If you have other examples, feel free to leave a YouTube link, with a timestamp if it's in a long video.

Donkey Kong Country, "Life in the Mines" (1994)

By far the most New Age video game soundtrack from start to finish, fittingly for a game about retvrning to monke. The pan pipes are just as prevalent in "Voices in the Temple," and they also carry the infectiously upbeat melody for the "Bonus Room Blitz" (the most memorable tune if you haven't played it since the '90s).

Ecco the Dolphin, "Opening Theme" (1992)

Another thoroughly New Age soundtrack, also from a game where you play as a noble animal, hitting on the "save the dolphins" theme of '90s environmentalism. It is more of a minimal film score, but it has its melodic moments.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, "Lost Painting" (1997)

Usually the games in this vampire-hunting franchise aim for Baroque and Classical, mixed with rock and metal. And this soundtrack is no exception, but it does contain one gem of Pure Goth Moods that would've fit right in with Enya (one YouTube commenter mentions this stylistic similarity). No pan pipes, but there is a breathy organ-sounding pipe in the bass range, and synth bells that really ring out, adding to the lush, resonant feel overall.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, "Temple of Time" (1998)

This game not only has a New Age / world music score for each of the temples, representing diverse habitats of the Earth (forest, fire, water, etc.), it makes central use of the flute instrument named in the title. The ocarina was continued in the 2000 sequel, Majora's Mask, but was phased out after that -- no more New Age zeitgeist to work it into.

Flutes are the most primitive form of instrument, which is why this game could not have been about a Guitar / Xylophone / Drum of Time. Most of the songs you play on the ocarina are derived from Classical forms, not exotic ones, but the fact that you play them on a reedless woodwind instrument does give it that prehistorical back-to-nature feel, and resonant timbre.

The "Gerudo Valley" theme took part of a related '90s craze for Spanish / Flamenco music (Gypsy Kings, Azucar Moreno, and the "Macarena"). But that song is too melodic and energetic to belong on a Pure Moods compilation. Instead, I'll highlight yet a third '90s New Age mania that this soundtrack made use of -- the Medieval chant. It doesn't get more resonant, droning, slightly-melodic, and archaic than that.

October 13, 2021

SARS-1 and MERS coronaviruses spread via contaminated medium (indoor air), not encounters; beating respiratory "diseases of civilization" requires superior ventilation

Brief navigating note: I've added a new category tag for all posts in this ongoing series about diseases that are supposedly transmitted via encounters, but which are in fact transmitted via a contaminated shared medium. It's "Neo-Anticontagionism" -- "contagion" referring to contact and touching, i.e. close encounters, as the way diseases are spread. It appears at the end of every post in the series, as well as in the sidebar on the right called "Category Index". I don't know how long the series will be, but it's important and distinctive enough to put it all in one convenient place.

This post will look at the two most famous coronaviruses aside from SARS-CoV-2, which also cause acute and severe respiratory symptoms in human beings, namely SARS-CoV-1 (causing the Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak of the 2000s), and MERS-CoV (causing the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak of the 2010s).

I'm sure the broad lessons about transmission from these three well-studied cases will generalize to other coronaviruses that infect humans, it's just that these three have received a lot more attention and funding to study compared to the coronaviruses that cause less severe symptoms.

* * *

If SARS-CoV-1 were spread through encounters, then it should have crossed the species barrier outdoors, since bats (the virus' reservoir) have encounters with other species outdoors. In fact, of all their inter-species interactions, most take place outdoors because when they are indoors roosting, they are far within the depths of their protective caves, where only their fellow bats and some cave-dwelling animals live.

Also, the list of species to whom bats transmitted the virus should resemble those whose habitats are close to, or overlap with, the habitats of bats. Those would be the species with 1 degree of removal from the reservoir -- of course it could then be spread to other species in contact with the 1-degree species but not the bats themselves. But a 1-degree ring of species around bat-colonized caves should be identifiable.

In reality, the other species that bats gave SARS-CoV-1 to were localized within a single market in Guangdong, China (see here). These multiple inter-species crossovers could not have easily happened in the wild, given their vast and not-so-overlapping range of habitats. But when they are all concentrated into a single place, by people who trade in wildlife of various habitats, then these crossovers with multiple species are easy.

The market was not for dead animals being sold for food or their pelts, but a live-animal market for wildlife. It was enclosed and informal, not an open-air market, nor one with advanced HVAC and filtration systems to achieve aircraft-levels of ventilation. So an infected individual was alive, exhaling into the fairly stagnant air volume, from which all the other individuals -- of whatever species -- were inhaling.

As we saw with SARS-CoV-2, the alternative model of "high population density and more frequent encounters" can be ruled out by the specifics here. Namely, because the animals were being sold, they were all caged and grouped by species -- here's a section with a bunch of palm civets, there's a section with raccoon dogs, and so on. Some sellers would only have one of these species for sale, preventing contact with other species.

The density / contact model could only explain the spread among individuals grouped tightly together -- this particular grouping of palm civets in this particular seller's stall. Or if that seller had palm civets and raccoon dogs grouped next to each other, then among that combined population. The animals are not roaming around the market, so they cannot spread it through encounters with any other animals in a different stall.

The only mobile species that could transfer the virus from one place to another within the market is humans -- some guy spends a lot of time in close contact with animals in one place, wanders somewhere else, and spends a lot of time in contact with other animals. However, that would implicate customers or shoppers who spent a long time browsing around the market -- but in fact, it was the workers of the market who made up most of the SARS cases, and they spend most of their time in their own stall tending to their own population of animals. They are the least mobile and free-ranging of the humans in that market.

These facts can be explained, though, by the model of a contaminated shared medium, namely a poorly ventilated indoor air volume. The virus particles get an initial impulse when pushed out of the lungs during exhalation, so they can coast or glide for awhile, in addition to their movement by diffusion. They can -- and do -- travel through space, without needing an infected individual to move around as their vehicle. When an animal, of whatever species, inhales these particles that have traveled far from their source, they get infected in turn -- without an encounter.

That explains why multiple individuals of one species get it, why the same species gets it no matter whose stall they're in, and why multiple species get it -- all of them are connected by the shared volume of enclosed, stagnant air. It also explains why workers get it more than shoppers -- they spend far more time immersed in the market's enclosed air volume.

* * *

MERS-CoV got less attention because the SARS-1 outbreak happened in the wake of 9/11 and the anthrax outbreak, which primed everyone to be more vigilant about a novel respiratory disease that could be spread by terrorists or hostile foreigners. That post-9/11 mood had faded by 2005 or so, and by the time of the MERS outbreak in 2012, it had all but dissipated -- even though this new disease was coming from Saudi Arabia and had the phrase "Middle East" in its name. And ISIS was chopping off heads, not using bioweapons, so there was nothing big in the background to make people pay special attention to MERS.

But it did get scholarly attention because it was another new coronavirus infecting humans, so maybe it could shed light on SARS and help us prevent any further coronavirus epidemics. Nope! They drew the wrong lessons, based on the reigning false model of diseases spread through encounters, and here we are now with SARS 2.0. Again, the current coronavirus is not deadly enough to need to stop society in order to solve it, but the people investigating SARS and MERS should have been able to prevent it, or at least deal with it based on reality after it was already unfolding, rather than continue to treat it as a person-to-person encounter disease, instead of the contaminated shared medium disease that it so obviously is.

MERS' reservoir is a microbat species that prefers shelter while roosting, as usual. (It does have an unusually cool name, though: the Egyptian tomb bat.) The main species it has crossed over to is dromedary camels, and to a lesser extent humans.

With their usual contagion-theory blinders on, researchers focused on the fact that a man who had died of MERS had been in close contact with a camel that was also infected, indeed he had been applying medicine to its nose which showed strange secretions. The inference is that the virus was present in the nasal secretions, the man touched these secretions, and then his own nose or face, which sent it into his lungs, spreading the disease through a close-contact encounter.

But how the hell did the camel get it from the bat? Did a healthy camel sniff a sick bat's secretion-oozing nose? Or maybe the bat felt mischievous and targeted the camel, smearing its nose on the poor camel's nose, while taunting him with, "Now you got my gerrrrms, now you got my gerrrrms!"

C'mon, people.

One team came close to the truth, when they found MERS-CoV in an air sample collected from the barn of a camel-owner who had come down with MERS, and whose camels were sick with MERS (see here). This proved it could be airborne, that it could stably aerosolize, and that it was at the scene of the crime at the right time.

But as usual, airborne or aerosolized respiratory diseases were treated as spread through close contact, i.e. the proverbial "cough or sneeze in the face". "Proverbial," and yet an act which has never actually happened between two individuals of any species, at any time in our planet's existence. However, it is required by the ideology of ballistic / encounter-based models, so it simply must happen so frequently as to be proverbial.

And again, how could the camel get it from the bat? The human owner was close to the camel -- close enough to be applying medicine to its nose. OK, maybe it spreads directly in an airborne way over a distance of several feet. But bats roost way up on the ceiling of the barn, or high up on one of the walls. The bat was not roosting within several feet of the camel's head. Therefore, close contact (airborne or otherwise) is ruled out.

Only the shared medium model explains the multi-species crossovers. The bat finds a structure where it can roost, and this camel barn is poorly ventilated like all houses for livestock. While roosting, it exhales into the stagnant enclosed volume of air in the barn. While not roaming around outside, the camels stay in the barn breathing that air. The human owner of the camels also spends time in the barn doing various chores, breathing that air -- whether or not the bat is there at that time (it could be out foraging), and whether or not the camel is there at that time (it could be out grazing). Other humans could enter the barn, for that matter (such as a guest who is just chatting with the owner, while both are inside the barn).

Since the aerosolized virus particles get both an initial boost during exhalation, as well as diffusion, they can travel from way up where the bat is roosting, to where the camel is resting, or where the human is doing his chores. The stagnant indoor air connects them all.

A later review article (see here) provides further confirmation of the shared medium model, although it is not aware of that. It looks at various factors to explain why MERS is emerging in the Arabian peninsula during the 2010s. One major factor they point to is the sedentarization of nomadic pastoralists, owing to the immense wealth that the Gulf states (such as Qatar) began to enjoy after nationalizing their oil and gas supplies (mostly completed by the 1970s), and as they began to spend some of that wealth to encourage the nomads within their populations to settle down, so the state could better administer them.

Camels that are part of a nomadic herd do not spend any time at all inside of an enclosed volume of air. There are no permanent structures for dwelling or gathering, and even the tents that are put up temporarily are for people and their things, while the camels rest outside of them. Only when nomads begin to sedentarize, do they build permanent dwellings for their livestock, like barns.

Bats are not drawn to roosting near nomadic herds, since there is nothing for them to hang from on a regular basis. Perhaps their tents -- but those are only good for a short while, and then they're gone. Bats want a reliable den to provide security, not having to tag along with a nomadic group, which would be far and few between. Only the sedentarization of the nomads would bring a structure that would tempt the bats to roost inside of -- the barn (and perhaps the human owner's home, although that space is more vigilantly policed by its dwellers).

Notice again the inability of the contact / encounter model to explain these facts that attend sedentarization. Camels and their owners are in close contact all the time when they are nomadic -- being ridden, being tended to, being shown affection, being milked, and so on and so forth. Whatever pathogens infect camels, have ample opportunity to cross the species barrier to humans. And yet, no MERS-like crossover events among nomadic camel-owners -- only when they settle down and build barns, which does, however, introduce a shared medium that could become contaminated (indoor air).

Contact theory could explain why bats don't spread disease to camels in nomadic settings, because they have no close encounters outside of barns. But the shared medium explains this as well, in addition to all the other crucial facts.

* * *

Let's end with a return to the grand historical view, in which I think most respiratory "diseases of civilization" adapted themselves to the shared mediums that only arose with sedentarization, such as the indoor air of buildings (akin to waterborne diseases arising with public water systems). The case of MERS shows this in-tandem development unfolding in real time, as nomads settled down and instantly got stricken with an infectious respiratory disease.

Pathogens that travel through a respiratory route have almost no chance of spreading in epidemic fashion among nomads, because the currents of a fresh-air environment will scatter them quickly, rather than allow them to build up within a highly-visited space.

Adapting ourselves, and our livestock, to these sedentary environments requires sanitizing them. Not by spraying antibacterial disinfectant on all surfaces -- that's not how they spread. But by treating the medium with a pathogen neutralizer (that has no bad side effects), or creating some kind of current that will carry the pathogens quickly away, or separating outgoing from ingoing channels of that medium.

In the case of contaminated indoor air, the solution is improving ventilation and filtration, to such an extent that earlier times will look as backward as we presently view the public water systems of the pre-20th-century West.

October 11, 2021

Coronaviruses spread via enclosed air, from bat caves to indoor buildings, not via encounters: a window into respiratory diseases of civilization

To recap the project I've stumbled onto, most diseases thought to be transmitted through personal encounters are in fact spread through a contaminated shared medium, into which a sick individual emits pathogens, and from which a healthy person takes them in -- without needing to be in the same place at the same time, perhaps never coming close to encountering each other during their entire lives. See here for the overview based on the case of 19th-C. cholera in Europe, and here for the contemporary example of SARS-CoV-2 (causing COVID-19).

This post will briefly look at the non-human origin of coronaviruses that now infect humans, and how their transmission dynamics can shed light on how they circulate within a human population.

Recall the most important fact about the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 -- it never occurs outdoors, but only indoors, especially where ventilation is poor. This means the particles are suspended in a stagnant air volume, much like a pond of stagnant water. A sick individual exhales particles into the enclosed air volume, and at some other time, perhaps after the original sick person has left the building, someone else enters the building, immerses themselves in the now-contaminated air volume, and breathes the particles in, becoming sick in turn.

All of these coronaviruses that infect humans ultimately come from pathogens infecting bats. (A separate family of coronaviruses originated in rodents, and infect pigs and other livestock, but via a fecal-to-oral route).

What do bats do? They roost -- hang upside-down while not active, and seek shelter when they are so vulnerable. The large bats that could take on predators may roost in forests, but the microbats that are too small to defend themselves mano-a-mano, roost in more defensible environments like caves. Human-infecting coronaviruses come specifically from these microbat species.

What is a cave? A great big "indoor" enclosure of air, with minimal ventilation inside, and whose opening to the outdoors is small relative to the size of the interior. Ventilation is basically zero where the bats roost -- not right inside the entrance, which would make them easy pickings for predators, but deeper back into the recesses of the cave.

Crucially, these caves are communally shared -- it's not like each bat or its family has its own detached bat-cave like Batman does. There are a whole bunch of them in there, coming and going without any bouncers to regulate the entrance. So the cave air is not only stagnant, but acts as a public medium that connects all of the individual bats that exhale into it and inhale from it, much as a stagnant pond of water connects all of the fish that swim within it -- or all of the ducks that feed from it (but that's for a later post on the non-encounter-based spread of influenza!).

So, one infected bat exhales while roosting in the cave, and the virus particles become aerosolized -- they are part of that air volume, just as inseparable from it as the oxygen. Healthy bats inhale air from this now-contaminated medium, not necessarily right next to the original sick bat. The virus particles travel by diffusion, which is slow, but they also start off with an initial impulse coming from the pressure that the lungs exert to expel the air from within the bat into the surrounding air (even more oomph in that initial burst if the sick individual has a cough or sneeze, as in humans).

The end result is that virus particles spread to regions of the cave far away from the source bat. It doesn't matter if it takes awhile for this spread to happen -- the sick bat is holed up in there roosting for hours on end, day in and day out, and the same is true for the healthy bats. A healthy bat may have a preferred roosting spot that is "far" from the roosting spot of the sick bat -- outside of the distance that a typical breath, cough, or sneeze immediately reaches -- but given some time, those particles can travel to reach him, too. Proximity is not needed.

However, couldn't you explain this indoor transmission by appealing to population density, which is required by the direct contact / encounter model? I.e., if transmission happened through encounters, such encounters are more likely when individuals are packed more tightly into the same space. So a bunch of bats roosting in clusters could be spreading it to each other through close encounters, not through a medium like the stagnant air.

But there are two facts that rule against this alternative explanation. First, it only says that transmission would be greater inside the cave than outside of it -- not that outdoor transmission would be near zero. And bats do in fact encounter other bats, and other species, outside of caves, for enough time to breathe near them and pass along pathogens. And yet spillover from bats to other species only takes place where the two species share an indoor air volume (typically poorly ventilated), such as an indoor market or restaurant. Not out in the wild.

And second, these coronaviruses should also be endemic to the macrobat species that roost in trees rather than caves. They also hang around for hours on end, and in clusters where they are in close proximity to one another. The difference is that these environments have superior ventilation, being outdoors. A really dense forest with leaves enshrouding the branches, or that form a canopy and "walls", could be somewhat of an enclosure, blocking the totally free flow of air. But even that is much more open to air currents than caves.

And forget about it if it's anything other than a tropical rainforest. Bats that roost in trees like you see in a typical park are not immersed in an enclosed volume of stagnant air at all. No structure is enclosing the trees, and the branches and leaves of the tree itself leave lots of open space in multiple directions to the "outside" world.

So much else is shared between the microbat and macrobat species' physiologies, that it should be trivial for coronaviruses to plague the tree-roosting macrobats -- and yet it's only the poor cave-roosting microbats who are beset by coronaviruses. Only the model of a shared medium can account for that, not the encounter / density model.

If some disease were spread among macrobats in trees, it would be the tree that was the public medium connecting all of the individuals. Perhaps if a pathogen they picked up on their feet penetrated the tree bark and spread from one branch to another, where it infected another bat who was roosting far from the original sick bat. But not a pathogen that travels through the respiratory route -- there's no enclosed medium of air in a tree.

That wraps up the proof that coronaviruses among bats are transmitted not through encounters, close contact, and higher density, but through a contaminated shared medium.

We can draw a further lesson, though, by noting that a pathogen is far more likely to cross a species barrier if the new ecology is similar to the old ecology. Fewer selective sweeps of random mutations would be needed to adapt the pathogen to its new host species.

So, is there any similarity between the environments that cave-roosting bats inhabit, and human beings? Well, if those humans have sedentarized and spend enough of their time within enclosed structures, especially ones that are shared with multiple other people. Not hunter-gatherers, and probably not nomadic pastoralists. But agrarian and industrial societies? Absolutely. I think that's what the respiratory class of the "diseases of civilization" are -- pathogens adapted to stagnant indoor air of shared buildings, scarcely different from those infecting untreated public water supplies that arose with sedentary agrarian societies.

And sadly for the animal species we have domesticated, these conditions apply to their structures as well. Unless they belong to purely nomadic pastoralists, they spend a fair amount of time within an enclosed building of some kind -- a barn, a stable, a doghouse, something. Both to corral them into an easily manageable place, rather than chase after them individually, but also to protect them from predators, and provide shelter from the elements.

And in an even sicker twist of fate, their human owners spend a decent amount of time in those animal buildings as well -- they aren't like a detached guest house, where the livestock do their own thing and take care of themselves. Human beings enter those animal buildings to tend to their needs, spending a fair amount of time immersed in the same stagnant volume of air as their animals. Crucially, humans enter the animal building even when the animals are not there -- to clean the place up, to restock the animals' feed, and other barn chores.

That sharing of stagnant air is the route through which a respiratory pathogen crosses the species barrier between humans and their domesticated livestock -- not direct contact or close encounters, since the sick animal could be outside the barn at the time their human owner is inside it doing chores. But the stagnant volume of air containing aerosolized virus particles is still there, even when the animals are out and about, due to limited ventilation.

In the next post in this series, we'll look specifically at two more coronaviruses that have crossed from bats to humans, and perhaps some intermediate species along the way. Namely SARS-1 and MERS. Both cases confirm the model of transmission through a contaminated shared medium rather than encounters between the sick and the healthy.

October 10, 2021

RETVRN to catcalling, eschew the wimp-out of avoiding girls IRL

First a brief catcalling report:

Last night, I started off feeling only meh while driving down the main drag through campus on Saturday evening. Maybe because I had tea instead of coffee in the morning, or my beef stew had run out and I didn't have the bovine energy boost that I normally would have had.

But sometimes all it takes is a little change of tune -- popped in a John Cougar Mellencamp CD I scored at a thrift store for a dollar, and started blasting "Wild Night". Followed up by a CD I haven't played in public for over a year -- Breakout by Miley Cyrus. Why don't they make fun-loving hard-rock-edged pop music anymore?

Ended with the Fountains of Wayne album that "Stacy's Mom" is on (mainly cycling through that, "Mexican Wine," and "No Better Place" to keep up the power-pop energy for the crowd).

As I turned off the main drag to head home, there was a group of 3 police cars and 5-10 cops on the other side of the street, with a crowd of gawkers on my side looking over at the action. Why so large of a response? Multi-car pile-up? Mass murder in progress? Nope -- a single college babe was seated on the sidewalk with her hands tied behind her back.

I thought maybe she was doing a sit-in protest alone, but they were those hand-ties that cops use, and she looked like a normie (mom jeans and crop top), not an Antifa uniform. Ah, so it's a Mugshawtys girl who probably got a little drunk and disorderly.

Or maybe she was refusing to wear a mask while entering the dorms? It had to have been bullshit, because the cops only police harmless stuff these days, and let the city burn down when rioters show up.

The moment called to me, and I responded back. I turned down the music, and howled out the window:


I'd been looking for the right opportunity to catcall, and this also let me get in a "fuck the anarcho-tyrrany" message too. Plus the force multiplier of all those gawkers hearing the message, not just the girl and the cops themselves. Shatter the "back the blue" conformity effect by making light of the situation, when a crowd is present.

Further down the street, I was still horned up from the Mugshawtys girl, when I spied on my side of the road, a group of four.... I wouldn't say MILFs or cougars, but 30-something "girls night out" types. Looking good, not slutty, chatting and laughing with each other. Turned my head 90 degrees to the right to stare them down head-on, and belted out an "OWW OWW OWWWWWW!!!"

The black-haired one spun her head around the instant the sounds came out of my mouth, and locked on with narrowed eyes. She must've been craving validation all day, she was so prepped and primed to react! But the timid guys who were out that night must have blue-walled her. Random hot no-filter guy to the rescue!

* * *

I know what you timid boy-men are thinking: "Noooo, you can't just inflate the egos of the heckin' roastie-rinoooos".

First, they didn't look like roasties. But even if they were, they absolutely win a reward for getting out of their corona-pod, leaving their handheld computers ("phones") in their purses, NOT interacting via social media or "dating" apps, and actually putting themselves out there in public and looking good, all but wearing a sign that says, "Oh guysss, come on and approach us".

Millennial guys (and perhaps Zoomers?) think that they're being so strong and stoic by avoiding all interactions with girls IRL, and retreating into the virtual realm (porn, video games, social media). "Heh, take that stinging rejection, femoids, now you'll know how lonely we feel."

Back on planet Earth, those women put more points on the scoreboard of "being a normal human being" by getting out and making themselves open, while you sink further into the swamp of an online-only existence.

You are weak, not strong, for allowing yourself to passively sink to the bottom.

That doesn't mean you can't change, but first you have to recognize that avoiding women is a wimp-out. If you want to prove your strength around women, then go put yourself out there, too, and interact with them IRL -- without giving in to their every demand.

Turning down copious pussy is a million times more of a character-building exercise than escaping from women altogether. And you can't prove your strength without putting it to a test. By withdrawing into the virtual realm, you're just failing that test by default. Don't show up to the field on game day? OK then -- you forfeit. No points, no trophy, no respect.

The WASP-y puritanical strain of American culture is so strong that your typical Millennial guy thinks that being around girls who want to be approached, and letting out a catcall, or dancing with them in a club, is "giving in to temptation" and therefore a sign of weakness.

Wrong again! Degeneracy is having no standards and being a slave to your passions, which would be if you catcalled every girl you saw, tried to grind on every girl in the club, or if you were hot, allowing every girl who made a move on you to end up in bed with you.

If you catcall a girl here and there when the moment is right, dance with this girl or that girl who you're getting along with in the club, and sleep with this or that girl who you have real chemistry with and enjoy each other's company -- that's not being passively pulled around like a puppet on strings by some more powerful force than your own willpower.

It will always be more of a power-move to log off, leave the pod, and interact with girls IRL while still leaving them wanting more, than to ignore them altogether and occasionally troll them online. To reiterate: if you're on a social media platform, other than Boomers on Facebook, you are gay or a girl.

* * *

"B-b-buh, I'm not hot, so hot girls wouldn't welcome my advances anyway..."

Then it's time to GET REAL and settle -- just like you tell them to do! -- not whine like a child. Go out and find girls who are not so out of your league, and give them some validation. There are plenty of plain or homely girls wandering around lost in the thrift store, supermarket, park, etc.

Yes, you can catcall girls even if you're aren't a 10. Find some who aren't super-babes, and just say, "What's up, girls?" with a fun-loving smile and stare. They may giggle among themselves, but they'll be flattered that they even got catcalled at all. It's not a rejection, just "omg, is this guy for real?" You made them laugh, showed a good sense of humor, and willingness to approach girls. And as long as you aren't being super-serious yourself, it's all in good fun. Move along, and enjoy that little character-building interaction you had.

You're not trying to pick them up for a one-night stand, just a fun little bit of flirting. How do you expect to get any further with them, if you can't even handle that basic level of interaction? And as long as your "not a one-night-stand" intention comes across, they won't feel creeped out or inclined to reject you.

Since most Millennials and Zoomers form their tribal affiliations through online sub-cultures, and communicate primarily through online platforms, why not drop a sub-cultural reference IRL, to make it feel like you're familiar with each other?

"Oooh, what's up, My Chem girls?"

"Oooh, what's up, cottage-core?"

(Yes, they could be lesbians, but do it for practice anyway)

"Oooh, what's up, mom jeans?"

"Oooh, what's up, [some character an anime fan resembles]?"

"Oooh, ruin-my-life gf, what's up?"

As long as you deliver it with a jokester kind of smile, and a look of recognition and appreciation, that tinge of horniness will not creep them out. It'll lower their defenses, while they have a little giggle about it. But it's laughing-with, not laughing-at (OK, maybe a bit -- but that's your job as the male, to man up and take a small up-front hit to your ego).

It's a standard "neg" from the PUA heyday of the late 2000s (not the nerdy and girl-hating "bitter insult" phase that it devolved into later). It's partly a dig at them for clearly belonging to an identifiable sub-culture or following fashion trends, like they're a drone wearing a uniform, contrary to the "I'm not like other girls" image they have of themselves.

But it's also an appreciative complement, like "I'm also into that sub-culture" or "you look good wearing that, and who cares if it's a uniform?" They already make self-deprecating TikToks to that effect -- "and why aren't YOU in uniform? [transition from their normie look to their sub-cultural look]". So they won't take offense.

The point is to broaden the signal of your libido so that it doesn't come across as a narrow urge to just bend them over. That aspect is still present, but there's also a general air of fun-loving mischief that makes it not specifically and creepily porno-brained. That would be something like, "Damn, you emo girls look good in fishnets."

You can catcall a girl's body without it being narrowly sexual, by highlighting something sensual that is not part of any sex act:

"Oooh, eyebrows on FLEEK!"

"Damn gurl, your hair is LONG! OWW OWWWW!"

If you're hot, or just feeling risky, still keep sexual-part comments general rather than pointing to some specific part. And obviously read the room and only say that to a girl who is clearly dressed to show off her bod, and is seeking validation for it.

Not, "Dat ass, tho!" Not, "Mommy milkies". But:


Bonus points for assonance there, though I'm still waiting for a hot girl dressed in yellow so I can rack up extra style points for rhyming:

"Oooh, HEH-LO YEH-LO!"

* * *

Actually, even the most barebones "OWW OWW OWW!" is employing a poetic device -- onomatopoeia. It's not human speech, but neither is it a natural human vocalization (like a sexual grunt or moan). It's imitating the call of a wolf or dog, and not being as realistic as possible in that sound either (it's highly stylized even for it being a wolf sound). It's figurative, like "you make my animal nature come out," not like "I'm a canine-identifying furry and am trying to perfect their vocalizations for believability".

This signals that it's not ordinary speech, but some kind of ritualistic communication. That lets the girl know that you're not earnestly approaching her with a transactional intent, like "Hey, I'm horny, you must be horny too, wanna fuck?" You're playing a game together, doing a mating dance together -- especially if she responds to you in ritualized fashion as well, whether catcalling back or just giggling-with.

Rituals have prescribed rules and roles, so there's less confusion about what's going on and how to behave. It feels safe during what otherwise might be a risky or confusing situation. That allows individuals to give up their individuality for awhile and take part in a collective effervescence. Like chanting in unison in church, especially if it involves call-and-response.

The basic psychology is no different when people are out-and-about looking for a diversion from the hum-drum grind of the work week. And it's your responsibility as the guys to get out there and lead the ritual on the "call" side.

Even if they don't respond with a catcall of their own, their hand-waving, giggling-with, smiling, etc. are just as much of a reciprocating response as the applause from the audience during a performance, or the laughter from the audience during a stand-up comic act.

October 9, 2021

Cheeky yet wholesome shorts worn by Zoomers

Fashion field report: the combo of high-waisted and loose-fitting bottoms, popular with Zoomers, has given birth to a new level of cheekiness in girls' shorts.

But it's somehow convincingly wholesome because the high-waisted-ness means there's lots of fabric, covering all the way up to her belly button (and sometimes higher). So, the shorts do not appear skimpy, and she does not appear scantily clad.

It's like our eye is judging how much of her overall body is covered, not just the sexually charged zones. If half of her buns are showing, but above that is covered up to her ribcage? Meh, doesn't feel very slutty.

The impression was a lot sluttier back in the 2000s when bottoms were low-waisted and tight (around the butt anyway, could have flared out toward the ankle during the early 2000s). Even if shorts fully covered the lower part of the butt, the waist was so low-rise that you'd see the top of their butt, and it just didn't cover much of her overall body at all. Almost like a fig-leaf from a cartoon -- a hand-towel wrapped around the lower 2/3 of her butt.

The fact that this is a new combination suggests that the fashion cycles for how high the waist is, and how tight the fit is, are decoupled and on somewhat different time-scales. Last time bottoms were so high-waisted was the '80s, and yet they were tight back then. Last time bottoms were so loose-fitting was the '90s and early 2000s, and yet they were more low-waisted back then. For the first time in a long while, high waists are coinciding with loose fits.

I thought I'd noticed this shift over the summer, but during the past week several girls were out to get my attention, and then turned straight around to show off their cheek-o-rama shorts.

Tonight I dropped by the supermarket, and there was a cute short blonde teen there, with looong hair (another facet of Zoomers' casual sexiness), in what looked like ordinary gym shorts. She's the only one in the aisle, so I'll turn the corner and head toward her, as she's begun walking towards me. Wearing gym shorts to the supermarket on Friday night? Validation-seeking.

Also, she's probably been trapped indoors and existing even more online due to society's corona panic (she was maskless), and she needs some IRL attention. No amount of likes and subs on her social media account hit as hard as getting looked up and down by a hungry-eyed 10.

Later I saw her in the checkout with her mom, so I'm assuming she's part of the new crop of wild-child types who were born during the last restless phase of the 15-year excitement cycle, 2005-'09, as profiled in this recent post. They're getting a lot more forward, including scandalizing while in the company of their parents. Then again, she did have a sad-girl look, so maybe she's from the 2000-'04 cohort, and was 17 or 18.

After some initial eye-contact, when she gets close she suddenly spins around, and I'm cool because I know she isn't going to walk away out of the aisle -- it's just the standard move of girls showing their back when they get a little nervous around someone they like, and/or want to show off their butt. In her case, probably both.

Honey bunny is showing the bottom third of her buns just by walking plainly. Then she turns sideways to pretend to look at some item, so her back is facing the middle of the aisle. Maybe she adjusted her shorts without my noticing, or maybe it's the new angle on the high side slit -- but more than half of her ripe, tan bubble is sticking right out there. It's not just underbutt -- you can see the outer upper part where it curves back toward her body.

The high-waisted aspect gives it the wholesome impression -- lots of fabric, lots of skin covered up overall. But unlike tight-fitting dolphin shorts from the late '70s or '80s (or their revival in the late 2000s), these are fairly loosey-goosey, so they don't cling in place. They easily shift around to get out of the way. That makes them more revealing of the ass, and yet not so scandalous because the shorts themselves are not clinging like second skin.

What makes the tight-fitting ones scandalous is that they leave nothing to the imagination. The current style may reveal more than half of her ass toward the outside and bottom, but the other region toward the center and top has a loose-fitting piece of clothing over it. You don't see the shorts clinging to the inner upper part, where her butt cleavage is. That part is left to the imagination.

Somehow that's enough to counterbalance the large amount of cheekage on display.

It's not the same as a high-cut bikini bottom. Those are still form-fitting in the center and upper region, so they very much look skimpy and scantily-clad. This style is more of a loose, flowy, oversized bikini bottom, for everyday validation-seeking environments, not swimming.

And it doesn't look baggy in the sense of shapeless or boxy either. Not an unflattering profile. Loose, casual, just rolled outta bed with her bubbalicious bod already in peak form, y'know, the yoozh.

Don't bother image searching -- most of them are older pictures showing fairly form-fitting stuff for "cheeky shorts". I tried to find a helpful pic for this post, but no help from the internet. Just go wherever there's a bunch of Zoomers IRL, and you'll see at least one wearing the contempo style.

Despite it being technically fall, we're in for another week of 80-degree weather, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to catch them in the wild for awhile longer.

October 7, 2021

Coronaviruses spread through contaminated medium (indoor air), not personal encounters; solution is sanitation of spaces, not targeting individuals

Having looked at the history of cholera in the previous post, we'll draw some lessons for the current SARS 2.0 pandemic (COVID-19), and in a follow-up post, the outbreaks of SARS 1.0 and MERS in the 2000s and 2010s. That is, the other coronaviruses that were harmful to human beings. The pattern probably extends to other coronaviruses, and other respiratory infectious diseases, but I'll stick to these three cases since there's a lot of interest in them, hence a lot known about them, and they're part of the same family.

First, though, the current pandemic is not harmful enough to warrant a "drop everything" effort to eradicate the virus. It is far less deadly than SARS 1.0 and MERS, or influenza for anyone under 65 or 75. This is not a contribution to the Zero COVID insanity, or anything like that. This is strictly an investigation into the transmission dynamics of this family of viruses, and of respiratory infectious diseases more broadly.

The mathematical models they require are very different, and more complex, from the standard epidemic models (S-I-R), as the pathogen is not spread through person-to-person encounters, but through a medium -- into which a sick person sheds pathogens, and from which a healthy person contracts them, all without having to be within a mile of each other for their entire lives. Instead of only tracking individuals who are susceptible, infected, and recovered, we now need to also keep track of the concentration of the pathogen in the medium, and describe how the susceptibles and infecteds interact with this medium, since they do not interact with each other (for disease transmission). From a 3-variable system of differential equations, we must expand into a 4-variable system.

But the math models will wait for another post. The purpose of this post is to properly frame and understand how these coronaviruses are transmitted, what this implies about any attempts to control or eradicate them, and how broadly the results generalize to other respiratory diseases. For while COVID-19 is nothing more than a bad cold, it would still be nice to not have yet another source of bad colds, if the solution is cheap and easy (unlike the expensive, difficult, and failed attempts so far -- masks, social distancing, lockdowns, vaccines, etc.). And if the solution is good, it will impact all sorts of pathogens transmitted in the same way, not just the relatively benign one that causes COVID-19.

Let's start with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The most stunning fact about its transmission is that it never takes place outdoors. This alone eliminates the person-to-person encounter model -- people encounter other people outdoors all the time. The virus travels through the respiratory route, and people breathe all the time out in the open, not just in the privacy of behind closed doors. And yet, no outdoor transmission. Conclusion: it's not passed along through encounters.

It only gets transmitted indoors, especially where ventilation is poor. In that case, the indoor air is acting like a stagnant pond of water -- a medium that is just as physically real as any liquid or solid. Spergs seem to have a problem understanding that the gaseous phase of matter is still matter, but it is. And the more enveloped it is, with little escaping or coming in, the more it is just like a stagnant pond.

All of the super-spreader events have taken place indoors, with poor ventilation. Spring Break on a Miami beach? No. But a church group meeting for an hour or so in the same room? Yes.

One exception to this rule is the inside of an aircraft. These should be ideal super-spreader environments, since people are packed in there for hours on end, drawing passengers from all sorts of different places where the virus could be spreading. And there is a known roster of who was there -- zero difficulty for "contact-tracing" methods that would lead investigators back to a particular flight that all the sick people had taken.

Why don't aircraft interiors serve as super-spreader spaces? Because their air is refreshed -- old air sent out, new air drawn in -- at a far higher rate than just about any other space that ordinary people find themselves in (offices, homes, restaurants, retail, etc.). Think about it: have you ever entered a plane and felt like it was even remotely musty, stuffy, stagnant? Hot during summer, maybe, but not oppressive in its air quality.

Of course, someone infected could travel by plane and spread the disease once they landed and entered some other indoor space with poorer ventilation than a plane. But not to the other passengers and crew during that flight itself.

Immediately we discover one of the most powerful ways to stop the spread of this and similarly transmitted pathogens -- amp up the refresh rate of the air indoors. Natural ventilation would do well, but if that's not feasible, then through the HVAC system. Whether or not the increase in power costs would be justified by the decrease in disease cases is an empirical matter, and could vary from one virus to the other. But it's the best place to start.

Note that this solution has nothing to do with individuals, whether sick or healthy. It's changing the environment where the contaminated medium is located. This would be akin to altering a stagnant pond of water into a moving river supplied by a fresh mountain spring. Whatever germs that had been deposited in one part of the river by a sick person would be carried away by the current. Always safer to drink running water than stagnant water.

* * *

The specifics of how a COVID-19 victim deposits virus particles into the indoor air is not too relevant. We could be wholly ignorant of microscopic phenomena, and still conclude that this thing is transmitted through stagnant indoor air, and try to solve it by improving ventilation. But as it happens, we do know how the virus contaminates the medium: a sick person enters the indoor space, expels air from their lungs in various ways (breathing, talking, coughing, etc.), and the particles are small enough to become suspended in the air (aerosols).

It's like mixing sugar into your coffee -- once you do so, it's part of the coffee. The sugar crystals are not large enough to sink to the bottom, and they're just mixed throughout the entire volume of liquid. You can't drink your way around them -- every sip has some sugar in it.

Virus particles exhaled into indoor air is not quite as thorough of a mixing process -- nothing is stirring them all around the indoor volume to get them everywhere. But their tendency is to diffuse in every which direction, so they will mix themselves evenly into the air (although diffusion is a slow process). Most likely there are clouds of particles where the sick person had exhaled, and other virus-free pockets far away where they had not been. However, there's no way to detect these virus clouds through any of your bodily senses, so there's still no way to navigate your way around them. Once they're there, someone's bound to walk through them and breathe them in -- perhaps minutes or hours later, without having any encounter with the sick person who exhaled them.

The main things that affect how many virus particles there are in the medium are the number of infected people who come into contact with it, and the duration of their contact. Does some supermarket have only 1, or maybe 10, or 50 infecteds wander through it on a given day? And do those infecteds wander around for just 5 minutes or 50 minutes exhaling particles?

The same is true for how many new cases a given space can generate -- how many susceptible people wander through it, and for how long of a visit?

* * *

Now we see why lockdowns, social distancing, masks, and even vaccines are not working to stop the spread.

Lockdowns left several crucial buildings operating, like supermarkets.

Social distancing came from the incorrect view of close personal encounters as the transmission, while also forcing people -- sick and healthy alike -- to spend more time immersed in the medium, as they have to take more winding paths to avoid others.

Masks are too crude to filter out the tiny virus particles, but they did trick people into spending more time immersed in the medium because they thought their face-armor was a magical protector. This also increased the number passing through, who otherwise would've stayed away without their supposedly magical armor.

Vaccines seem to be playing a similar role, encouraging more people to pass through a space, and to spend more time inside it, fooled into believing they're magically protected. If they neutralized the virus, that would be one thing, but they don't appear to do that, only ameliorate symptoms, which means they're about as useless as masks at stopping transmission. They may in fact be worse than masks in that regard, since masks do not ameliorate symptoms -- so if you got it, you were laid out for several days to a week, and you were not going to indoor spaces outside the home. The vaccine lessens your symptoms, leaving you more able to leave the home and spread your virus particles throughout indoor spaces.

Of course vaccine mandates are even worse, compelling even more people to become not-so-bed-ridden spreaders if they contract the virus.

Strange, isn't it? All of the mass-scale solutions have been totally ineffective at stopping the spread, clamping down on hospitalizations, deaths, and so on. And we're only just getting started in the autumn season -- get ready for winter!

These solutions all failed because they were based on the personal encounter model of transmission. They're all about minimizing risk when two people come near each other, as though COVID-19 were an STD, and The Experts were telling you to wear a condom and get the HPV vaccine. But that's not how this sucker works.

The main thing we can do is to sanitize the indoor air quality. Improve natural and artificial ventilation to fully change the air more often, so that virus particles that enter the medium do not hang around for very long. Improve filtration to remove particles. Perhaps put something into the air to kill the virus, if such a substance exists, and if there are no side-effects to breathing it in -- highly doubtful, but still a possibility, better than vaccinating every last individual.

These are the lessons from cholera, another example of an infectious agent spread through a medium rather than person-to-person. Unfortunately we cannot separate outgoing vs. ingoing air volumes, like they were able to do with sewage water vs. drinking water. That leaves the other methods of sanitation (improving flow / reducing stagnancy, filtration, treatment with virus-killers).

* * *

I doubt these improvements will be made in my lifetime, and highly doubt they'll be taken up during the current pandemic. Just as the anti-contagionist John Snow did not solve the cholera pandemics of his day simply by figuring out what medium was transmitting the disease. Too many other interests at play in public health.

For one thing, sanitation places all the costs on the elites, whether private or public. A single individual citizen cannot do anything to alter the ventilation of any indoor building outside the home. That's on the owners and operators of the buildings. He could try pressuring them, but I mean he is unable to do anything in virtue of his role as a lowly citizen, whereas owners and operators can make changes any time they feel like it.

We live in a time of wicked elites, not benign or mutualistic elites. Just like John Snow's climate, living in Dickensian / Victorian England. Not until the Progressive Era and New Deal did they finally clean up the water supplies and end cholera. Our wicked elites would rather every one of us shoulder the burden -- stay apart from each other, wear a mask, get the jab, etc. (And even then, to no effect.)

I imagine Dickensian elites had a similar "let them eat cake" attitude toward solving cholera. Just stay away from other people who show symptoms of cholera, or stay away from each other altogether. Put a cloth -- any old cloth -- over the mouth of your glass when you drink water from it that might be contaminated with cholera. If you have cholera, put your excretion through a baking sieve before it goes into the sewer. We must all do our part.

If they'd had vaccines back then, their Dickensian elites would've said the same thing as ours -- everyone get a jab so that when you come into contact with a public water supply that we refuse to clean up, you won't come down with such nasty symptoms when you inevitably contract the pathogen.

Or maybe they would've said just build your own private water system. Don't ever drink from the public one, and don't ever send your excrement into it. Then what's the point of it being there? Exactly like the "stay home" solution -- sorry, you can't avoid indoor spaces outside the home, even if you do have a fake work-from-home job. We all have to go to indoor places outside the home, and we all have to breathe, just as we all have to excrete and drink.

Sanitation of public goods and spaces is what we need, not the impossible task of isolation from those necessities.

The other major reason I don't see the correct decision being made anytime soon is that sanitation of public spaces is a unifying solution, and our current climate is one of hyper-polarization and antagonism. There's no way to identify if you're a member of Team Us or Team Them, if the elites are just cleaning up the indoor air. No masks to wear as tribal membership badges. No personal decision whether or not to get vaccinated, or whether or not to submit to vaccine passports, and so on and so forth.

Americans, and those in their sphere of influence, are a crumbling empire, going through a disintegrative phase. They are dead-set on antagonizing their so-called fellow citizens, and polarizing any situation that might offer a common solution.

Again, the current pandemic is not a huge problem in need of solving at the expense of everything else. But it would be worth terminating if it were cheap and easy. And future pandemics might not be so relatively painless as this one. Not to mention existing respiratory diseases -- might be nice to get rid of some of those, too.

But none of that will happen until the polarization reaches a maximum, and after that cataclysm, the elite ranks get thinned out, with the remainder not wanting to be so antagonistic and polarized as earlier, lest the cataclysm strike all over again. This is a description of how things work, not a consultant's pitch to a team of managers about "here's your problem, now here's your solution". They won't listen, and you're just LARP-ing by behaving otherwise.

Somebody has to set all this stuff down, though, for the record -- and in the hopes that it gets preserved long enough to be useful when the society has survived the cataclysm, and the elites become less wicked after passing through the Great Winnowing.