Friday, July 31, 2020

Interview with Lunatics and Monsters - Available August 4, 2020

This is fun!

My friend, Roe Bushey, asked me to do an interview earlier this year, and we knocked it out, and then I promptly forgot all about it.

I can’t even remember what we talked about. I mean, I know it was writing and publishing and stuff, but I don’t recall the specifics.

My notes say that we did it in early May, which would have been very close to the beginning of the lockdown. It’s not that I do so many of them that I can’t tell them apart. I have done quite a few, more than I ever thought I would. It was just so close to the start of the lockdown/quarantine in California, and then all the nonsense that has since followed, that it’s driven it straight out of

The podcast with you will be posted next week, Tuesday, August 4th. I’ll have an update then with the link. In the meantime, you can check out Roe’s other installments here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Banana-Headed, Zucchini-Eating Dundersquat

"One of those brash, dashing constables out
of a penny-dreadful."
BENEATH A FEARFUL MOON is moving forward.  Here’s a teaser for you on a “new” steampunk engine that I pulled together. Really enjoyed this process:

The big engines were a marvel of the modern age. Some timberjigs, like the Montferrands, walked like giants through the forest on saucer-shaped feet. Others, like the Dolbeers, used a set of treads similar to the motive trains to roll over the ground. The engines produced immense heat and smelled of burnt oil. They required the operators to rotate in and out of the “oven” on an hourly basis, while the other men ran the saws and clawed-arms to cut and move the felled timber. It was hard, hot, brutal work, but a solid team of timberjiggers could fell, trim, and transport a dozen good-sized logs in an hour. A good crew operating a timberjig could do twice the work in half the time.

Catch up with Constable Aubrey Hartmann and her first published adventure in THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE, winner of the Independent Book Publishers bronze medal! Available in paperback and digital formats.

Can you see it?
Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Obligatory July Post - Covid-19

Welcome to . . . Idaho?
Snake River and Shoshone Falls just five minutes away

Note: We’ve fled from the urban and suburban sprawl of Southern California to the very rural and eerily ambivalent state of Idaho and my wife’s family farm. We’re not hiding out from Covid-19, but we’re hiding out from Covid-19. Mostly, this lets our boys have playmates more their age, and breaks up the monotony of summer quarantine. I miss my desk and my truck, but all things considered, with my condition and compromised immune system, this is a pretty decent place to be.

All that said, the following was my conclusion to a rather lengthy and unfortunate discussion with a friend who seems to have gotten a few facts crisscrossed. It’s an easy thing to do, and while I’m certainly not an expert, and would never claim to be, I’ve relied on the information from experts, and provided the full links to show my work.

Finally, the following is not political. It's just science. 

Except I'm not nearly this cute!
Sorry, but Jeff is absolutely right. Five months and we here in the U.S. are only in the middle of the pandemic, not at the end (source: Dr. Fauci comments The U.S. numbers do not say what you want them to say, and since the pandemic hasn't ended, there is no logical ground where your argument stands.

On top of that, you're drawing from the wrong numbers. While there certainly are 329 million people in the U.S. (source: U.S. Census there are only 3.5 million confirmed cases of Covid 19 (source: Johns Hopkins I'm not clear why you keep using those two numbers together, since that's not how you arrive at any meaningful information. We know that not everyone has had Covid-19, and we know exactly when it first showed up in the U.S. Perhaps you're trying to come up for the viral transmission rate, which is called the R0 (R-zero) (source: CDC This determines how many people are likely to get infected from another infected person (source: LiveScience For example, most flus have an R0 of less than 1. H1N1 had an R0 of 1.4 to 1.6. The Spanish Flu, which killed 50 million people, had an R0 as high as 2.8. Keeping in mind that we're currently in the middle of the pandemic and not at the end, the current estimated R-value for Covid-19 is between 2.0 and 4.0 with 2.5 as the accepted best value (source: CDC Back to our 3.5 million sick, of those, as of today, there are only 1 million recovered, and sadly 138,000 U.S. deaths (source: Johns Hopkins Depending on when you take the numbers, that's a 3.9% mortality in just rough figures. We've been warned that the confirmed death rate is lagging (source: Dr. Fauci statements The CDC, based on its confirmed (i.e. more accurate) data, offers a higher number of between 5.5% and 6.9% (source: CDC Either way, the mortality rate is higher than you're trying to tell us because you're drawing from the wrong set of numbers to do you math.

I'll be six feet away for you!
None of which takes into account the suffering, cost, or potential disability of those 1 million folks who have "recovered". All things being equal, if they were young and healthy and have excellent insurance and a solid savings plan and are eligible for worker's compensation when they contracted Covid, they may walk away with nothing more than a good story. As we're still in the middle of this pandemic, we don't know the total cost, but right now studies are finding that Covid causes heart damage and cardiovascular damage which may put people at risk for heart attacks and strokes (source: Lancet There are also studies that show long-term lung damage which may lead to longer-term asthma and hypertension (source: Keck School of Medicine

I appreciate that you've been on the ground, seeing it every day. That is great information to have and a unique place to be. Although, as one person, it's a limited world view, and I suspect that, and your erroneous math, is what has colored your position. That's why we keep asking you to support your arguments with evidence from a reputable source, so that we can see that your anecdotal report lines up with the real numbers. So far, it doesn't. Now, I could play my "One of my best friends is a doctor." card. It's actually true, and anyone who knows anything about me, knows this is a fact. He's been "on the ground" in the U.S. since Covid landed. He took one of the first suspected cases. He's been watching as his colleagues become positive for Covid. Freaks me out to think about it. The thing is, though, I don't have to play that anecdotal evidence card because all the information we're getting says that your statements are wrong, that Covid is an ongoing, raging pandemic, and that without meaningful change many more are going to die.

That's all I have to say about that.