12 May 2021

Liar's Poker

It could be that some readers have a passing interest in horse racing, especially during the Triple Crown season. I fall into that category, though I've never placed a bet. I have, not surprisingly, long ago formed the opinion that Bob Baffert is a fundamental cheat. Just like wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024, though I don't know whether they're Best Buds.

The crux of Baffert's excuse is that some ointment containing some amount of betamethasone made its way into the horse's bloodstream, thus causing the positive test. Now, that whole idea struck me as outlandish, to put it kindly, when I first read it. So, off to the innterTubes. This is a professional vet's assessment.
Q: Would the levels of betamethasone detected in Medina Spirit also have required him to have ingested the topical ointment?

A: No way to know. I don't know that there's any pharmacokinetic data on concentrations of betamethasone following topical treatment. And again–because I never make anything easy, right–that would depend on the condition of the skin, too. Intact skin would likely absorb less into the blood stream than inflamed skin, or an open wound where there's more direct contact between the blood and the blood vessels and the medication.
So, how much betamethasone is there in Otomax?
Each gram of Otomax Otic Ointment contains... USP equivalent to 1 mg betamethasone
That's one milligram. The test said there were 21 picograms (per what?) in the blood sample. A picogram is one trillionth of a gram, vs. one thousandth in the ointment. It doesn't take much to run afoul. On the other hand, given the volume of blood in a horse, and if the measure is per gram, that could be a lot of beta. Some reports said that this was twice the allowed limit, others that Kentucky now has an absolute ban.

For comparison, a 1,100 lb. horse has 40 liters of blood. Humans, 5 liters. For dogs, for which Otomax was created to clear ear infections, a Labrador retriever for example, it's 2.35 liters.

So, where does speculation leave us? Is it likely that an ointment meant to topically treat ear infections in a 2.35 liter animal could generate a measurable quantity in a 40 liter animal, applied not in the ear? Color me No Bloody Way.

Quants Hubris - part the ninth

Blythe Masters rides again! Again! And again!! And again!!!

After all this time, one might surmise that the Regulators That Be would pay attention to the practice of creating and selling synthetic assests. It isn't as if such shenanigans haven't been fatal in the past. Well, guess again. The only saving grace, to the extent one could feel so, is that the dim bulb Regulators That Be are Brits. Wait... These are the same folks dumb enough to be flummoxed into Brexit by a few snake oil salesmen, playing on latent jingoism.
Greensill Capital's supply chain finance business wasn't regulated in Britain but the Financial Conduct Authority did have supervision of the company to ensure it complied with anti-money-laundering rules.
Drop the ball much? This is what Greensill was doing:
[B]ut Greensill added a twist. It packaged the invoices and other receivables by the suppliers into assets that were then sold to investors through funds. The company also provided financing to companies based on "future receivables," which were based on transactions that hadn't yet happened.
Ah, c'mon Man! Social Darwinism Finance. One might wonder how many billions Greensill socked away up to the collapse, just like the Sacklers? Regulators That Be have a vital role in macro policy: disallow behaviours which can fail far beyond the assets of the bad/stupid actors to cover. They get away, at least, scot-free or maybe with a tidy nest egg that'll keep them in a small villa in the South of France in perpetuity.

10 May 2021

Conspiracy Theory Number One [update]

Color me cynical, but given how eager Putin has been to prop up ex-President AuH2O 2020, I expect that the pipeline attack is yet another favor. Puts those Northern Blue States in a bind. Just what wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024 desires. Prove me wrong.

[update]
Are you surprised? Much scouring yielded only one organ with the, obvious, attribution.
Once they gain access to Windows domain credentials, they will deploy the ransomware throughout the network to encrypt devices.
Thank you Mr. Bill.

07 May 2021

I Forgot My Lithium Pill!

There have been a handful of missives in these endeavors over the last few years, going back to at least 2016, that ponder the use of battery electrics. So far, no one has created an element better at electrical energy density than lithium (creating such an element would make one rather rich), so that's what is used to make Tesla, et al batteries. Most of the metal is being mined outside the USofA, and for good reason: it is a filthy business, made manifest in today's NYT.

You would do well to read it up. It's, kind of, the repeat of my story from high school or junior high school. The teacher posed a question to the class: would increasing centrally electrified public transport, metros and trolley cars and the like, while decreasing personal autos reduce air pollution? This was long before the notion of climate change or global warming was a signficant part of public discourse. Humbly, I leaped into the breach and offered that it would depend on the efficiency and emissions of power plants vis-a-vis auto engines. I don't believe there was a strong answer to the question.

As the earlier missives in these endeavors have pointed out, all such comparisons can lead to intelligent decisions only if such comparisons calculate goods and bads on an end-to-end basis. Just because a Tesla emits no emissions while you drive doesn't mean that none were emitted from extraction of all the natural resources needed to make that Tesla as well as the processes undertaken to make that Tesla. The article spends a lot of ink delving into an answer to that question.

Balls To The Wall - part the first

Wow!! Just, Wow!! Years ago The Wife insisted we go to Bermuda, with what turned out to be the last of our money. Sailed from NYC on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship that was decades old, and was soon sold off to an even lower class English line. They cut it in half, added several tens of feet to the hull, and went merrily on their way.

I found out later that NCL, how it is commonly referred, is, within the industry, de-acronymed as No Class Line. So it comes as a great shock to read today that the CEO has taken a rational stand against Ronny VirusSeed©:
"At the end of the day, cruise ships have motors, propellers and rudders, and God forbid we can't operate in the state of Florida for whatever reason, then there are other states that we do operate from, and we can operate from the Caribbean for a ship that otherwise would have gone to Florida," CEO Frank Del Rio said during the company's quarterly earnings call.
Not the company I expected to do more than blather. It's not the voter suppression issue, of course, but it ain't nuthin.

04 May 2021

Country Roads

How's an interstate travel ban sound? Now that we're down, mostly, to the two main anti-vaccine groups, Trumpsters and Godnuts, let's make sure they're bottled up in their own hollers and revival tents in their Ruby Red States. Come this winter of our disconnect, may be they'll kill off a substantial number of themselves. The Blacks-only-enforced voter suppression gigs will be offset. A bit. That's 'Good Eats'. And, following on with speculation/prediction in these missives, the 'experts' now conclude that garden variety herd immunity is out of reach. Among the reasons: by elongating the vaccinations, Covid has more time to mutate; with upwards of 30% of Americans (the Real Americans) refusing to be vaccinated we get a double whammy, both more time to mutate and more bodies to infect; so, given both of the forgoing, the probability that a vaccine-resistent mutation can erupt here in the USofA increases.

Here are some current numbers on vaccinations and infections. One ought not to be surprised they go together like a horse and carriage. You'll note that these are nearly all Trump States or Trump Counties. Who would have guessed?

More than one epidemiologist is warning that if the USofA doesn't act as a communal society with a common enemy, winter 21-22 will look rather like 20-21. The biggest IF is, if Covid gets an extended period of time to transmit and mutate (and visits from shithole countries like India and Brazil), the greater the likelihood that a new surge, disconnected from original Covid-19, will be visited upon us. A price of Personal Freedom the Trumpsters and Godnuts are willing to pay; it seems. If only they get sick and die, then let them. But they have no right to visit that on the rest of us.

Thought For The Day - 4 May 2021

About those new and interesting voter suppression efforts in the Ruby Red Rural States. If you believe that any of those new laws and regulations are enforced anywhere but Black or Brown or Hispanic precincts, you're quite out of your skull. The fish-belly whites will get all of the water and snacks they need. Not, of course, that they'll really need either since their voting lines will be only three or four deep.