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Odd Lots

  • I got caught in an April Fools hoax that (as my mother would say) sounded too true to be funny: That Tesla canceled all plans to produce its Cybertruck. (Read the last sentence, as I failed to do.) I like Musk; he has guts and supports space tech. About his Cybertruck concept, um…no. It looks like an origami, or else something that escaped from a third-shelf video game. The world would go on without it, and he might use the money to do something even cooler, whatever that might be.
  • Oh, and speaking of Elon Musk: He just bought almost 10% of Twitter, to the tune of about $3B. He is now the biggest outside shareholder. This is not a hoax, and I wonder if it’s only the beginning. Twitter is famous for suspending people without explaining what they did wrong, sometimes for things that seem ridiculously innocuous. A major shareholder could put pressure on Twitter’s management from the inside to cut out that kind of crap. It’s been done elsewhere. And boy, if anybody can do it, he can.
  • Nuclear energy has the highest capacity factor of any form of energy, meaning the highest percentage of time that energy producers spend actually producing energy. I knew that from my readings on the topic. What shocked me is that there is in fact an Office of Nuclear Energy under the DOE. I’m glad they exist, but boy, they hide well.
  • The Register (“Biting the hand that feeds IT”) published a fascinating article about how C has slowly evolved into an Interface Definition Language (IDL). C was never intended to do that, and actually does a pretty shitty job of it. Ok, I’m not a software engineer, but the way to build a new operating system is to define the IDL first, and work backwards from there. C is now 50 years old, sheesh. It’s time to start again, and start fresh, using a language (like Rust) that actually supports some of the security features (like memory protection and safe concurrency) that C lacks. This is not Pascal sour grapes. I’m studying Rust, even though I may never develop anything using it. Somehow, it just smells like the future.
  • Drinking wine with food (as I almost always do) may reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. It’s not taken up in the article, but I have this weird hunch that sweet wines weren’t part of the study. Residual sugar is a real thing, and I’m drinking way less of it than I did 20 years ago.
  • People have been getting in fistfights over this for most of a century, but establishing Standard Time year-round may be better than year-round Daylight Savings Time. I’m mostly neutral on the issue. Arizona is on permanent DST and we like it fine. The problems really occur at high latitudes, where there isn’t much daylight in winter to begin with, so shifting it an hour in either direction doesn’t actually help much.
  • There is Macaroni and Cheese Ice Cream. From Kraft. Really. I wouldn’t lie to you. In fact, I doubt I would even imagine it, and I can imagine a lot.
  • Optimists live longer than pessimists–especially older optimists. Dodging enough slings and arrows of outrageous fortune somehow just makes the whole world look brighter, I guess.
  • Finally, some stats suggesting that our hyperpartisan hatefest online has pushed a lot of people out of political parties into the independent zone–where I’ve been most of my post-college life. 42% of Americans are political independents, compared to 29% who are Democrats and 27% who are Republicans. I’m on Twitter, but I don’t post meanness and (as much as possible) don’t read it. And if Mr. Musk has his way with them, I may be able to post links to ivermectin research without getting banned.


  1. Bill Meyer says:

    On C as IDL — or anything else.
    C was interesting when it was a “small” language, despite highly irregular syntax and a variety of other warts.
    I rarely look at new languages because so many decide to use C syntax to a great extent. Can there be anything more troublesome than being unable to identify a language without a sign?

    1. Keith says:

      C is still a small language. Many of the other languages that took inspiration from C are decidedly not small.

  2. Bill Meyer says:

    Ivermectin: As someone pointed out to me recently, most sources seem to be silent now. The suppression has apparently been highly successful.

    1. You are so right. Suppression of dissenting opinions seems to be the goal of modern “news” media.

      1. Mapleton Reader says:

        Two points

        1) I was taught (in the 1960s) that “news” should be factual. Opinions are typically placed in Op-Eds and letters to the editor. I think today’s media tends to report both as news (caveat lector). Moreover, when the editorial policy is based on underlying opinions, we get biased reporting. Some have tried to show this bias in current US available media ( by political leanings. Another source,, tries to show reporting reliability as well. There is likely still some bias in these charts but I believe they are useful in trying to get a fairer picture of the truth.

        2) Concerning the dearth of ivermectin “news”, I googled ‘ivermectin studies’ and found lots of recent reporting (from 19 days ago til now) mainly of two new, large, double blind, studies (gold standard type of studies that the FDA uses for approval of other drugs) that showed ivermectin as “not clinically useful” against covid. It appears that these news items are mainly reported by the center and left side of the media bias charts mentioned previously. The Blaze and The Epoch Times have not referenced these reports, the last ivermectin articles I’ve seen from them were an opinion piece on Mar 22 (ET) and Mar 7 piece on the difference of fentanyl and ivermectin confiscations by customs (The Blaze).

        So yes, there appears to be a dearth of pro-ivermectin articles/opinions some of the media, mainly media that has a right of center bias. While suppression may be a cause, there is a more prosaic and likely reason based on these harder to refute recent studies reported at the same time the dearth started.

        FYI: The studies were done in Brazil and Malaysia, The Brazil study is found in the New England Journal of Medicine (

        1. Bill Meyer says:

          I reply with a single point: India’s experience, especially in Uttar Pradesh, is at odds with the studies which chow no clinical value.

          Sadly, the majority of studies are paid for these days by either government or big Pharma.

          1. You reached the max nesting on this platform, so I’m really replying to your reply below. Sigh. One more level of comment nesting wouldn’t have hurt anything.

            But you’re right: The war on COVID-19 treatments is a defensive war to protect the vaccines’ EUA. It’s probably too late now to attack that EUA in court, but the point remains and we need to remember it.

          2. Mapleton Reader says:

            I disagree that the Uttar Pradesh experience is at odds with this study.

            I went directly to the some English language Indian media available on the internet. It looks like you are referring to dated May 12, 2021. Compare that article to another Indian article that explains the what else was done in Uttar Pradesh (, which included large scale testing, tracing, and treatment (which included treatment with vaccines (and presumably quarantining, ivermectin, and other medical care).

            So, what helped Uttar Pradesh? Was it large scale testing, contact tracing, vaccination, ivermectin, curfews, masks, or quarantining? There is no real way to tell, but I’m sure that if one person points out ivermectin as the solution, another could point out vaccinations or any of the other interventions used. The only way to disentangle these interventions is to do a statistically valid experiment as the NEJM published.

            Certainly the study is open for review and criticism. But before the paper is painted with the government/Big Pharma brush, it is very easy to look at who actually funded the NEJM paper by actually looking at the paper. The funding was from FAST Grants, and the Rainwater Charitable Foundation. Since the funding was specifically for ivermectin (among other generic drugs) as a treatment for covid, it appears not to be suppressed or unduly influenced (in fact one of the funders would likely be very interested in a viable low cost covid treatment).

            I note that paper showed the ivermectin group had 100 “outcomes” while the placebo group had 111 (an outcome is hospitalization after early treatment). Because of the large number of people treated, this difference in favor of ivermectin could not be distinguished from a random chance outcome.

        2. Allsides tries hard, but, having some training in journalism, I find it pretty obvious which way a site leans. I do enjoy seeing the way they put articles on the same story side by side as L-C-R. My readings there (and elsewhere; I read broadly) suggest that media on the left speaks with one voice, whereas media on the right is all over the map.

          Like a lot of people, I’ve become suspicious of the medical establishment, especially when there’s some connection to government. I’ve said before and will again: The slobbering war on any treatment for COVID that doesn’t enrich a pharma firm is highly suspicious. I respect well-devised medical studies. However, I also respect clinical evidence. What are we to make of people who took ivermectin (or HCQ/zinc) and immediately improved? Are they all liars? Is this a mass outbreak of the placebo effect? IIRC, the mechanism behind ivermectin’s antiviral effect is unclear. However, the mechanism by which zinc ionophores (including HCQ and quercetin) partner with zinc to stop viral replication is pretty well documented. If I had to choose a remedy, I’d go with HCQ because we understand it better. (I take quercetin/zinc as a preventive because I know how it works.)

          I’ve experienced the placebo effect more than once. I can’t explain it or duplicate it, but that doesn’t make it any less real.

          Whether ivermectin is effective against viruses or not, there’s no reason to harass MDs who prescribe it off-label. It’s cheap, well-understood, and benign. The feds are withdrawing monoclonals from more states. If there were a cheap, fast cure for COVID-19, the vaccines would be unnecessary. That tells me most of what I need to know about the whole sorry story.

          1. Bill Meyer says:

            It is also true that HCQ and Ivermectin were not suppressed until an EUA was wanted for a covid “vaccine”. The EUA cannot be issued unless the med for which it is applied has no alternative medications available. So HCQ and Ivermectin HAD to be found ineffective.

  3. One reason nuclear power has such a high Capacity-Factor is that it is normally operated as base load. Since the system combined load is constantly fluctuating, an agile control system is required to match generation to demand. These swing units will normally be natural gas fueled since that type of furnace is more agile in responding to change in demand. Those cadmium control rods in a nuclear fueled boiler do not flip up and down as well as a gas throttle. Therefore, a nuclear plant best serves as a base load run at a constant level of generation.

    Renewable energy generation, because it is essentially uncontrolled as a source, adds to the uncertainty (randomness) of power demand. I tend to think of Solar and Wind power as “negative load.”

    Now that photovoltaic cells actually produce more energy over their lifetimes than the energy cost to manufacture them, it makes sense to use them to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

    At this time, I do not have reliable data on the energy cost ratio of wind generators. They are controversial due to effects on wildlife.

  4. Keith says:

    Unless I’m mistaken, Arizona is on permanent Standard time — Mountain Standard Time.

    I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding of the law that governs U.S. time — passed in 1966 or so and modified a couple of times later — allows a state to choose to remain on standard time permanently or shift between standard and daylight time on the schedule established by that law. That law does not allow a state to choose to remain on daylight time permanently.

    I think I read that the recent proposal being considered is to make everyone stay on daylight time permanently (or something close to that). That may have temporarily confused you about which time Arizona currently follows, but that is just a guess without evidence.

    I’m not defending any of the laws or proposals, just trying to explain them.

    1. I looked it up. You’re right. And I was wrong. We’re on permanent Mountain Standard Time here in Arizona. Why I thought otherwise is unclear. But it is abundantly true that in summer, we don’t need another extra hour of daylight.

      Things might catch fire.

      Thanks for the correx.

  5. Jim Fuerstenberg says:

    I would have been happy to tell you about the Office of Nuclear Energy…not an office we service (I am in the Office of Science), but their key lab is
    there is nuclear research at other labs, but Idaho is the main one. The former Argonne West is part of it too.

  6. Bob Halloran says:

    Among the political wonks, the traditional wisdom (in desperately short supply of late…) is that one-third of the voters are in your camp, one-third in The Other Guy’s, and one-third indifferent, and the goal is to get enough of that last group on your side to reach 50% plus one person at the ballot box.

    Given the current toxicity, I’m not too surprised that more people are telling both the established parties to get stuffed, and looking for an alternative. There’s always been mudslinging in politics, but the current levels have reached cartoonish proportions.

  7. Orvan Taurus says:

    Is Kraft. Might be macaroni. Maybe. Is NOT cheese.

  8. Rich Rostrom says:

    The “hyperpartisan hatefest” has caused a lot a of people (especially on the Right, where I lurk) to abandon the traditional parties as insufficiently partisan.

    My WAG is that no more than 20% of voters are centrist independents, and that a lot of the remaining “Ds” and “Rs” regard their party as the lesser of two evils. on the left speaks with one voice, whereas media on the right is all over the map…

    I’ll point one more time to Charles Murray’s post from 2009 (!!!). He noted that since 1971, all population segments had moved slightly to the right of center, except “Intellectual Upper”, which had moved 21 points left (on a 100-point scale, derived from General Social Survey data). The trend line was steady, which suggests that as of 2022, “IU” has moved 7-8 points further left.

  9. paul says:

    No placebo effect here.

    I read about Ivermectin at several sites. Ann Barnhardt has a good summary. Somewhere listed it as one of the best three meds ever. Aspirin, Penicillin, and Ivermectin. I would add novacaine but that’s just me.

    I looked at the local feed store for the 1% injectable and “out of stock dunno when we’ll get more”. I bought a liter on-line for twice the feedstore’s price and a box of 100 syringes from Amazon. Not quite $100 total.

    I have a multi year supply for the dogs and me.

    For the dogs, just squirt it on their food. They don’t notice. My dose goes on a tablespoon. It tastes sort of like green antifreeze smells. Not bad. Not sweet. One dose, skip a day, another dose. Once a month.

    My usual allergy stuff subsided. No cold this Winter. But wait! There’s more!

    Several years ago we went tubing at a river. I scraped my shin enough on the crossbar of a picnic table that it scabbed. Then it was a scaly patch that itched. Various athletes foot remedies from the grocery store just moved it, over about a year, from my shin to outer calf. Some prescription stuff didn’t touch it at all. It was an about 1.5 inch wide by 4 inch long spot. Somehow the stuff worked down to my toes. Oddly it didn’t spread to my other foot or hands from scratching the itch.
    I noticed the itchy patch was gone after three weeks. My toenails are starting to look normal. That whole double layer toenail thing is just weird.

    So far, so good.

    Best of all, my “acid indigestion”, that burning spot just below your ribcage? Gone. I’m not eating a Tums every night when I go to bed. Just 2 or 3 since September and one was as candy.

    That acid thing alone is well worth the $100 I’ve spent.

    Side effects? About a week of “oh my gawd the paint is peeling off the bathroom walls” but… I use to live in the Rio Grande Valley. Use to go swimming the irrigation canals. Quality of sanitation in far south Texas is different than central Texas. No telling what the Ivermectin cleared out.

    Nice side effects.

    1. Mapleton Reader says:

      I’m glad it worked for you. I lived in Texas and Louisiana and periodically they would have reports of flesh eating bacteria. However, because ivermectin worked for you does NOT mean it was not a placebo effect, or that it did NOT work against an underlying parasitic infection, or that it will work for others in the same way. It does mean that your results could form a basis for further research, if wanted and warranted for conditions similar to yours.

      In previous comments, I have been a proponent for good statistical data (my personal bias as a six-sigma black belt), which is difficult to do (as well as to find) in today’s society, even among some scientists. In general it is much easier to for people to rely on cherry picked data, testimonials of unknown reliability or research, a single data point, or a convenient idea that matches ones’ prejudices (especially in today’s world of algorithmic generated echo chambers of similar voices on Facebook and its ilk). I can no longer trust that someone has “done their research” unless they account for their bias and can site sources pro and con in coming to a conclusion (which takes work and effort to do).

      I would be grateful if ivermectin was proven useful against Covid. I just haven’t seen good statistical data that it does (such as the NEJM paper). What I have seen are missteps and errors from the medical and governmental bodies as they tried to come to grips with the pandemic and how best to mitigate it, and what appears to be fanatical support for ivermectin based mainly on a distrust of the medical, pharmaceutical, government bodies and centrist news articles.

      1. paul says:

        “However, because ivermectin worked for you does NOT mean it was not a placebo effect, or that it did NOT work against an underlying parasitic infection, or that it will work for others in the same way.”

        I’m calling “conflation argument”. There’s a smarter term but I’m not a college professor. Grin. Too many “or”.

        Aspirin works. Maybe it’s just a placebo? Sometimes the headache lingers.

        Well, if you’re not expecting anything, other than “it worms the dogs and folks say it’s good for Chink Flu” I’m not seeing how I’m getting a placebo effect.

        The leg fungus/whatever going away was hoped for. I admit that. That OTCs and a prescription cream did almost zero beyond moving the patch from shin to outer calf, the thing that worked the best was spraying my leg with Lysol Spray after a shower. After almost ten years and then after a couple of doses of ivermectin and it’s /gone/ after a few weeks?
        I’ll go with a fungus as a parasitic infection.

        Oh. The “picking up something from swimming in irrigation canals”, sorry, my mis-memory. I never swam in a canal after my motorcycle wreck. Four 6″ pins in the thighbone where it narrows into the socket, lots of drugs, and a just a few days shy of a month in the hospital pretty much cleaned me out. Pretty cool scar. And dropped me from 160# to 125#. I should be about three inches taller. Cracked my helmet when I landed, I’ve never felt exactly right since then. So much for college… drain bamage is a thing. But hey, 50/50 chance to save the leg and they did. Aches almost all of the time but that sure beats crutches. And no, I can’t tell what the weather is going to do.

        The acid stomach was never considered. It just happened. I haven’t changed my diet.

        It worked for me in unexpected ways.
        Yes, a fungus is a parasite. I could have had more than one. Might want to not eat anything in New Orleans or Key West. Pulling over on the highway to puke guts would be a sigh of something.

        I don’t know how it will work for other people. I’m just saying what happened to me.

        “I would be grateful if ivermectin was proven useful against Covid.”

        Even if not, take a dose and see what happens. Might clean out some bug in your guts.

        1. Mapleton Reader says:

          Thanks for the clarifications. I agree, that first sentence was a doozy. Just trying to make a point that the end result of a placebo effect and an effective treatment is indistinguishable (the patient gets better). This means the only way to tell if a new drug or proposed treatment is worthwhile is to do a randomized test with a placebo where neither the patient or doctor knows or can tell the difference.

          To get a feel for the weirdness with placebos, Smithsonian magazine has several interesting articles on this. Here are two I found fascinating. Google search for “Smithsonian Placebo” to get a larger list.

          1) An interesting study of a placebo effect even when both the dispenser and patient both know the treatment is a placebo.
          2) The opposite or nocebo effect, where a person assumes, that the the unknown to them placebo actually harms them.

          With respect to your last comment, based on my studies of ivermectin and covid, my brain/body will probably not see any effect since I don’t expect it to.

          I have probably come across as harsher than I needed to be in some of my comments. My main point is that there needs to be some way to prove whether a drug is actually beneficial, especially if there are substantial side effects or if it is especially costly.

          Recent scientific evidence has shown (subject to further testing and review) that ivermectin is not useful against early treatment of covid.

          However, as mentioned by Jeff in his blogs and comments, ivermectin is well tolerated, minimal side effects and low cost and has received much press (both pro and con). This makes it close to an ideal placebo (except the price may need to be raised – see first article, and any side effects such as yours would need to be reviewed). My new thought is that ivermectin may have been actually used as a placebo during the pandemic by various doctors who saw it as doing little harm to their patients who wanted it. This however would have muddied the waters for using the initial studies for any useful scientific analysis of the drug’s effectiveness. Just a thought.

  10. Mapleton Reader says:

    At last, a recent article in the Epoch times on ivermectin, dated April 15, two weeks after the NEJM article was published.

    I am not impressed. My cursory evaluation follows.
    1) The author, hereafter referred to as she to avoid confusion with the authors of the papers she references) doesn’t reference the NEJM article at all, which seems a strange omission, see below.
    2) To support her thesis, she refers back to an old July 21, 2021 article (a meta study of previous small studies done with ivermectin and covid that didn’t show statistical effectiveness) for critique. This may be important if the authors made a mistake, but certainly she would have to refute the more recent study as well which corroborates the 21 July study
    3) She uses the following points to discredit the 21 July study
    a) She states the study uses the words “uncertain” and “uncertainty” 38 times, which she claims self discredits the paper. I disagree since the authors are genuinely uncertain of the accuracy and validity of the source papers they are dealing with (rightfully so since some of the early covid/ivermectin literature has been retracted).
    b) She states that the number of individuals in the meta study is 1678 which she calls “a very low number” and presumably not enough to tell a difference. The authors would likely agree with her in that they called for a well designed randomized trial (which she quoted from them). This is what the NEJM paper did.
    c) She notes that the authors are currently funded by entities that may have conflicts of interest in the outcome of the trials. This plays into a mistrust of the results but doesn’t prove it. This is similar to poisoning the well logical fallacy, shifting the burden of proof, and an appeal to emotion. All this does not mean that the paper was wrong, just that it should be approached with caution (her point). However as a PhD, she can presumably check the data used against the sources, the statistical procedures used, and conclusions drawn, to see if there were mistakes made and make a much stronger case, but alas. She does make a nice point that meta analyses show mainly the consistencies of the data used and if not consistent (as the 21 Jul paper showed) the original data should either be further reviewed or a new better designed study should be done (as the authors requested).
    d) She finds a clinician who states that hundreds of cases have been helped with ivermectin (as part of a larger protocol) and then without sources she extends his findings to doctors around the world. This is a textbook case of cherry picking data. The clinician specifically states that ivermectin is a safe drug and that he saw no adverse reactions (No issue here). When he does say that “ivermectin … works”, note that ellipses are part of the quote, you wonder what was left out. Presumably the ‘as part of a larger protocol’ that she wrote earlier.

  11. Mapleton Reader says:

    Ok, a month late but Epoch Times “breaking news reporter” finally noted the there were reasons for the NIH to recommend against ivermectin as a treatment for Covid. Overall the article was factual, but did not reference the NEJM paper except by implication.

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