The maths behind why Israel is ahead of the game on stopping Corona Virus Covid-19

Yesterday I recorded a video with Jonny from the UK. He’s a maths and computer modelling wizard and he’s built a very sobering model of the spread of the novel SARS Corona virus 2 and the implications for outbreaks of Covid-19 disease. Overnight Trump took measures that are less drastic than Israel’s but welcome nevertheless.

The spreadsheet is here: make a copy and change some numbers. You really need Chrome or Brave for this to work well. This video is also on YouTube here.

The first time I played with this after watching his videos I immediately understood the actions my government in Israel was taking and those of South Korea and what China belatedly did after waiting way too long.

I’ve spoken many times of my contempt for computer modeling of the Earth’s climate to make predictions of the distant future and claims about man’s influence. In my opinion that use of computer modelling and the way it is reported and manipulated is downright dishonest.

The modeling of the spread of a biological contagion, however, is a very different proposition and is a perfect candidate for this kind of modelling. It’s very clear from the actions being taken by the Israeli government, for example, that they’re using a similar model to the one Jonny has put on Google for anyone to use.

The point here for amateurs is not to get the numbers right, it’s to try changing initial conditions or the speed with which containment measures like quarantine are imposed and see how many people you can save or kill by moving one number.

The big message is that very large numbers of people die when your country run out of hospital capacity. In reality this maybe even more local. When that happens as appears to have been the case in Italy right now, large numbers of otherwise saveable people die. And nobody seems to be counting deaths caused by a lack of access for all other sick people.

Finally I want to mention the idea of levels of security. I believe this drives the way the Israeli government is reacting. The first thing was shutting flights and travel from a steadily growing area until they now force anyone arriving into 14 day quarantine. That’s destroyed our tourist industry.

They haven’t YET closed all schools (because this causes horrific problems with medical staff and other essential workers staying home with their kids). But if there is a credible chance the any given schools has come into contact with a patient, they shut it. They’ve banned large gatherings indoor and called for many other events to be shut down. If this isn’t done voluntarily I have no doubt it will be mandated.

This seems to be working, we have cases, we have transmission but it is quickly stopped and often we’re finding infected people already at home in self isolation. That is very important. If we keep the R₀ number here in Israel down, we beat this.

I’m not sure how we re-enter the world, when it will be safe for us to travel and allow travel from infected parts of the world, but we keep our older citizens alive. Hopefully we get a vaccine, but in the meantime I approve of what my country’s leadership is doing to keep us safe here in Israel.

Podcast is talking Tron and Steemit from the north of Israel

I was up in the north of Israel, just a few kms from the border with Lebanon. I have no idea what the two explosions I heard were. They may well have been from somewhere up on the Golan Heights. I’m talking about the purchase of Steemit by Justin Sun of Tron. I’ll have more to say on that in the coming days.

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Alt-Tech Opinion for BlockTV Government vs Big Tech

This was my first Alt-Tech Opinion for BlockTV News.

Welcome back to BlockTV. I’m Brian of London and this is my alt-tech opinion for BlockTV on the 3rd of February 2020.

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that the big tech giants, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple have too much power and control. Whether that’s a problem or not seems to be related to the size of your slice of their massive lobbying budgets.

The Antitrust Subcommittee of the US House Judiciary Committee is currently working on an investigation and a couple of weeks ago the committee took time out from impeaching Trump to continue doing something useful, perhaps. They held a field hearing about the power of online platforms and spoke to witnesses specifically about Facebook, Google Amazon and Apple.

This was part of their investigation into the competitiveness of digital markets: this is a bipartisan investigation which will generate a report and recommendations for new laws and regulations seeking to govern how big tech platforms work.

This meeting took testimony, under oath, from four witnesses⁠1. All four told compelling stories of how difficult it is to innovate in a market dominated by companies which have grown so huge. Throughout I heard a clear tension between business people who want government to get out of the way and let them innovate, against a recognition that Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon have grown unnaturally large and are now a threat to innovation.

This is David Heinemeier Hansson, the CTO of software service provider Basecamp.

[Video]

It was very clear in all of those tests that Facebook was by far and away the most effective way to market because of the immense amount of personal data that they have so we could target our apps to just an astonishing degree and no other advertising platform was able to compete and this is why Google who also has the same sort of capabilities of charging and Facebook is able to capture 99% of all growth in Internet advertisement as was stated in that report from 2016 because they simply have devastatingly effective machinery.

He’s arguing, and I’m in complete agreement, Facebook and Google managed to collect and gather a trove of personal information in an early gold rush. Most people had no idea they were handing over something this valuable in aggregate because individually they either thought it a fair exchange for free email, photo sharing with grandma and some shiny beads or they simply never thought of it. Apple and Amazon are sitting on similar power.

As these giants grew quickly, the incumbents in the advertising market, whose business they were eating, didn’t see it coming. Back in 2010 now prominent crypto invester, Lou Kerner, made what seemed like a wild prediction for Facebook advertising revenue in 2015 and that Facebook would come to dominate online advertising and how online advertising would dominate advertising in general.

[Video 48s]

Facebook hit his prediction about 18 months after his prediction but this was still wild growth.

I have worked on and run many websites since before Facebook started up until today:  especially in news and opinion, Facebook can easily send 70% of a site’s traffic. Whether you’re buying adverts using their astonishingly intrusive targeting data, or just trying to have your thoughts heard, Facebook is the giant you can’t ignore. 

For the crypto world, we can’t ignore Facebook’s January 2018 ban on crypto advertising and their casting of cryptocurrencies as a “frequently associated with misleading or deceptive practices”.

[Read]

Ads must not promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings, or cryptocurrency.

Google and Twitter copied this weeks later. This attack on an entire industry that may one day compete with these incumbent giants doesn’t appear to have been illegal in America (though it may have broken Australia’s anti-cartel laws).

America doesn’t really have the same anti-trust regulations as Australia which is a pity. Even now the politicians don’t seem to know what to do next. Toward the end of the hearing the politicians ask the panel what they suggest: the short version is they really don’t know what to do about it.

Speaking in a separate interview to the Verge⁠2, committee chairman David Cicilline said this:

[Audio 36s]

This is not an investigation that results in an enforcement action investigation.

Congress is the only place that has the ability to actually change the statutes and update the laws and put proposed regulations in place that actually fix this marketplace. So unlike an enforcement action that focuses on the behavior — a single company gets directed to do a single thing — our work is much broader. And it is actually more significant because if we do it right, we can get this digital marketplace working properly. And that will benefit consumers. It will benefit the next great company that’s going to come down the pike because competition was possible.

The US Government is slowly coming to terms with the dramatic concentration of power which has happened to social media, online advertising, local, national and international news, retail sales and the distribution of apps on our phones, the most important communication devices in the world. It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened to fast than for governments.

But for those of us with the ear to the ground in the crypto world, where suspicion of big government and their regulations is real and well founded, how do we feel about whatever this committee will propose? Does anyone think US authorities have done a great job regulating crypto? Can we place most of their efforts in the category of mostly harmful?

If you’ve got an opinion, look me up on twitter @brianoflondon or @brianoflondon on Steemit. Tell me know what you think.

For now, that’s Brian’s Alt-tech opinion.

1 https://judiciary.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=2386

2 https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/23/21078903/podcast-house-antitrust-chairman-cicilline-tech-monopoly-vergecast

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You can join the fight against the Tech Goliaths in two ways, you have a no win no fee claim or you wish to help finance the case.

⭐️ Please join the case if you held crypto and have a claim.

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Podcast talks Israel Deal of the Century, Brexit and Impeachment

First up it’s Trump and Jared Kushner’s Deal of the Century for Israel and the Palestinians. I started a long thread about this which you can find here. The very first page gave me this post about the understanding of Islamic Jihad that is missing from this plan. The deal isn’t really a deal, as Melanie Phillips points out, it’s an ultimatum.

After that I talk a bit about Brexit day as the UK formerly left he EU at 11pm UK time on 31st of January 2020.

For other good reading on Trump’s Deal, I recommend this piece by Melanie Phillips:

But the plan states the all-important historical truth denied by the Palestinians because it vitiates their entire claim to the land — that Jerusalem was the political center of the Jewish people under King David, and has remained their spiritual center and the focus of their religious beliefs for nearly 3,000 years.

The Trump plan won’t bring peace; however, it restores the truth and justice that are essential prerequisites of peace. Crushing the lethal and poisonous fantasies about Israel and the Jewish people, as well as taking a hard-headed approach to Palestinian intentions, it replaces illusions by reality.

If you want a tremendous (but long) read on something that could actually work I suggest you study this plan: The Two-STAGE Solution to the Arab-Israel Conflict. I’m going to have more to say about this in future videos.

“Antisemitism is a chronic illness that, when it flares up, eats away at the mind of those it infects, and destroys the hater more thoroughly than the hated. It can be cured, or at least controlled. The [Christian] Germans, Austrians, Italians, French, Romanians… today are largely cured of genocidal antisemitism [the underlying philosophical ideology of World War II], but the Arab nations are not, and, alarmingly, we see much evidence now of cross-infection back to Europe.”

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Deconstructing The Deal of the Century from Trump to Israel and the Palestinians

My opening opinion on the plan as a whole: this is a great deal and Israel will accept it in a way that is more unified than I have ever seen from Jews before. And you can even include many Israeli Arabs who will quietly go along with this. The Palestinian leadership, tied as it is to enriching itself from perpetual war and keeping their people back, will reject this. They have no interest in a state or good conditions for their people.

I was intending to read the whole thing but I stopped at the last paragraph on the 2nd page when I read a very important section which demonstrates exactly how Jared Kushner thinks (I know it is his point of view because of the interview he gave CNN included below).

The conflict between the State of Israel and the Palestinians has kept other Arab countries from normalizing their relationships and jointly pursuing a stable, secure, and prosperous region. One reason for the intractability of this problem is the conflation of two separate conflicts: a territorial, security and refugee dispute between Israel and the Palestinians and a religious dispute between Israel and the Muslim world regarding control over places of religious significance. The absence of formal relations between Israel and most Muslim and Arab countries has only exacerbated the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. We believe that if more Muslim and Arab countries normalize relations with Israel it will help advance a just and fair resolution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, and prevent radicals from using this conflict to destabilize the region.

Page 2

This is the last paragraph on the first substantive page and the point at which I decided I couldn’t do this commentary on Twitter and where I can’t go through this whole document and tweet about it before I explain something. I can also match this up with an interview that Jared Kushner gave to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour last night and I’m highlighting this section:

Once I understood how Jared sees the religious dispute between the Muslim world and Israel as relating primarily to “places of religious significance” and therefore, in this case, the Jewish Temple Mount, I know that he hasn’t reached a useful understanding of how Jihad drives this conflict.

The building of a mausoleum and a Mosque on top of the ruins of the Jewish Temples which they call Haram al-Sharif, on Mount Moriah where Abraham was set to sacrifice his son Issac, was obviously an act of Islamic colonialism and a mark of conquest. The history of Islamic imperialism is littered with such actions. The destruction of the religious and cultural symbol of conquered civilisations is fundamental to Islamic colonisation. Replacing them with new Islamic symbols and buildings is very important.

Today’s dispute between the Islamic world and Jewish Israel isn’t about a few hundred square meters and some buildings, it’s about the very existence of non-subjugated Jews, living in a land of their own. Islam wants Jews to be Dhimmis again. Jews (and this now seems to be the majority of Israeli Jews, even the ones who aren’t descended from populations which historically lived as subservient Dhimmis in Islamic lands.

In 2010 I wrote on Israellycool that Jews Must Never be Dhimmis Again. I’m repeating that post here because it captures everything that is missing from Jared’s understanding of why there is no peace between Islam and Israel.

Jews must never be Dhimmis again and it would be nice if a leader of Israel would actually speak the true reason why we’re not going to be a minority in a Muslim country again. What have we got to lose, the whole Muslim world hates us anyway*?

We face a few big lies:

Big LIE 1: Israel is not Jewish. This comes from Islam which is a replacement theology. Moses was a Muslim who led all the Children of Israel (including the good ones who were Muslim) to the Promised Land (for the good Israelites who were Muslims). I’m really not joking and when it’s not late on a Saturday I can provide references. Anytime a lying Imam trots out the verse that promises Israel to the Jews, he’s not mentioning this little gem.

Big LIE 2: Jews and Christians were treated better in places like Muslim Spain and the Ottoman Empire than by Christians. This is another big lie and comes from the total ignorance of the history of Dhimmi peoples and the lack of understanding that Dhimmis are not second class citizens, they are not CITIZENS. They have no rights, especially not the right to life, as all rights granted them can be revoked in an instant at the whim of a Muslim ruler.

Big LIE 3: Abrahamic faiths. I’m sorry this is the biggest and possibly the most dangerous lie. The relative suicide bomber scores of Islam, Christianity and Judaism should be enough to realise that the Jewish and Christian vision of God is nothing like our Muslim brothers’. That’s just the start: so Mohammad copied down some stories from Jews badly, every other aspect of Islam runs contrary to the message of freedom of thought and spirit in the Torah.

Are we seeing a common problem here? It really is not Arabs and Jews. Sure the Dhimmi Arab Christians usually fall into line with the Muslims because that’s a survival tactic that Dhimmitude creates: divide and conquer playing one Dhimmi group against another. We could probably live OK ruled by Arab Christians but not by Muslims.

Jews must never be Dhimmis again and it would be nice if a leader of Israel would actually speak the true reason why we’re not going to be a minority in a Muslim country again. What have we got to lose, the whole Muslim world hates us anyway*?

* I know that what little drive there is in the Muslim world to wrestle their lives back from the mad totalitarian theocrats that increasingly run the show nowadays probably rests on the West supporting them. Well if the West doesn’t acknowledge that both Jews and true reformers of Islam face the same problems, can we ever give them real support? We don’t need to be loved, that’s a Christian desire. We need our strength to be respected.

Update 17 May 2016: This post has been up for a long time, but a conversation with an expert has led me to reconsider some wording. The following original wording:

Moses was a Muslim who led all the Children of Israel (who were all Muslim) to the Promised Land (for the Muslims).

I am changing this to:

Moses was a Muslim who led all the Children of Israel (including the good ones who were Muslim) to the Promised Land (for the good Israelites who were Muslims).

The verses of the Quran 5:32 and 5:33 (the first of which is quoted often and is actually a piece of Jewish law taken out of context) make specific mention of the Children of Israel but go on to qualify WHICH Children of Israel are to be regarded as good. The ones who don’t do “corruption in the land”.

5:32 – Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.

5:33 – Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment,