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How to Think about Coronavirus

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America just held a nationwide IQ test. Did you notice it?

Everyone who has said about coronavirus that, “It’s just the flu,” failed the IQ test. As did those who claim discussing coronavirus is “spreading panic.”

They are engaging in what Scott Adams calls Loserthink. Read his book here.

Low probability of certain death = “Freakout” is Rational.

You will almost certainly not die from the coronavirus.

If the coronavirus contagion and death rates are accurate, between one and three million Americans could die.

When you have a low risk of a pandemic with a death count exceeding the total number of Americans who died in World War II, you take precautions.

Reasonable minds can differ as to what those precautions are.

But if you’re not thinking about coronavirus in terms of fat tail risk, you’re not even allowed to be part of the conversation.

  • “Tail risk is the additional risk of an asset or portfolio of assets moving more than 3 standard deviations from its current price, above the risk of a normal distribution. … Tail risk is sometimes defined less strictly, as merely the risk (or probability) of rare events.”

You will almost certainly not die from the coronavirus. Do you buy some extra food / water?

Your car will almost certainly not be stolen. Do you lock it?

Your house will almost certainly never burn down in a fire. Do you have fire insurance?

Why it’s better to panic early: Nassim Nicholas Taleb & Yaneer Bar-Yam

“But 60,000 people die from the flu each year!”

Yes, and this is terrible.

I had no idea that seasonal flu deaths were that high. Did you? (Don’t lie. I bet you didn’t.)

Rather than use, “but 60,000 die from the flu,” as some sort of repudiation of coronavirus risk, isn’t the answer that we should care more about the flu.

You’re not checkmating anyone with that stat. You sound like an idiot. Or someone who is glib about human death.

If we as a society can prevent more people from dying of the flu, let’s have that conversation.

Math is hard.

Engineer Liz Specht did what engineers do – MATH!

Our hospitals aren’t prepared to handle the number of patients who catch coronavirus.

Read Specht’s entire thread on Twitter.

Here are some highlights:

  • The US has about 2.8 hospital beds per 1000 people. With a population of 330M, this is ~1M beds. At any given time, 65% of those beds are already occupied. That leaves about 330k beds available nationwide (perhaps a bit fewer this time of year with regular flu season, etc). 7/n
  • By this estimate, by about May 8th, all open hospital beds in the US will be filled. (This says nothing, of course, about whether these beds are suitable for isolation of patients with a highly infectious virus.) 9/n
  • Importantly, I cannot stress this enough: even if I’m wrong – even VERY wrong – about core assumptions like % of severe cases or current case #, it only changes the timeline by days or weeks. This is how exponential growth in an immunologically naïve population works. 22/n

Ms. Specht assumes a closed system, so her numbers are likely on the high side.

But she is also creating a starting point of how to think about the coronavirus.

“It’s just the flu, bro,” is f-cking moronic. Shut the f-ck up. You don’t know anything.

Any rational discussion of coronavirus looks at the worst-case numbers / secondary effects of millions of sick Americans.

And then you start using an OODA loop / find ways to open the system.

1. Observation. How many cases of coronavirus are there? Where are these cases originating? Who Is getting sick? How many are dying?

2. Orientation. Are the number of cases of coronavirus increasing? Then what? Are they increasing? Now what?

3. Decision making. Make a rational decision based on what you’re observation and how you’re orientating yourself based on these observations.

4. Action. This is where leadership matters.

Solutions to a Coronavirus Crisis.

We need “right to try” laws.

We need virtual doctor visits.

We need some form of “doctors lite.”

You don’t need an MD and $500,000 in medical school debt along with 4 years of a residency to treat patients with coronavirus.

We need vision and leadership.

https://twitter.com/ScottAdamsSays/status/1236373223828148224

If your contribution to the coronavirus discussion is some form of “It’s only flu,” please go away. You’re not helping.

Let the adults figure out what to do next.

And please don’t rely on media outlets to understand the math.

 

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The Patreon Lawsuit Involving Owen Benjamin Explained by a Lawyer

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Patreon, a platform popular with podcasts, journalists, and comedian faces significant legal peril due a fascinating quirk of California law that no one seemed to have noticed.

  • Summary: Patreon banned Owen Benjamin. Owen Benjamin’s backers moved for arbitration, alleging various causes of action. Under the arbitration procedures spelled out in Patreon’s Terms of Service, Patreon must pay the filing fees, which could total millions of dollars. Patreon cannot collect those fees back, even if Patreon wins the arbitrations.

Tech companies face almost total protection from lawsuits due to a law created by Congress to encourage freedom of speech on the web. Because of this, companies have gotten sloppy with the Terms of Service.

Patreon’s Terms of Service, like nearly every other tech companies, provide that anyone who wants to use Patreon must do so in arbitration. Patreon’s TOS also ban class actions or any joint actions.

Patreon’s TOS mandate arbitration and ban class actions because individual consumers who suffer small harms aren’t able to find a lawyer to take their case. Again, all tech companies do this. Let’s not single out Patreon. Here is Amazon:

  • Any dispute or claim relating in any way to your use of any Amazon Service, or to any products or services sold or distributed by Amazon or through Amazon.com will be resolved by binding arbitration, rather than in court, except that you may assert claims in small claims court if your claims qualify.

Here is PayPal:

  • By opening and using a PayPal account, you agree to comply with all of the terms and conditions in this user agreement. The terms include an agreement to resolve disputes by arbitration on an individual basis.

Owen Benjamin Gets Banned. Dozens of his backers individual claims for arbitration.

Patreon, by banning a Creator, disrupts the economic relationship between Creator and Backer. In legal terms this is called tortious interference with a business relationship.

Patreon, under California law, must pay the arbitration fees in advance. These fees can be upward of $10,000 per case.

If dozens of backers move for individual arbitration against Patreon, you can start doing the math.

Benjamins’ Backers Put Patreon on Notice; Patreon Unilaterally Amends its TOS to Bar the Claims the Parties were Going to Bring.

In early December, numerous defendants told Patreon that they intended to move for individual arbitration.

Patreon’s TOS suggest that contacting them before seeking arbitration is required, although this provision could be read as a request rather than a demand.

  • We encourage you to contact us if you have an issue. If a dispute does arise out of these terms or related to your use of Patreon, and it cannot be resolved after you talk with us, then it must be resolved by arbitration.

Because Patreon wrote the TOS, the terms will be resolved against Patreon. In law this is known as contra proferentem. Any ambiguous language will be read in favor of the party who did not draft it.

The TOS, to me and many others, looks like a pre-filing demand. Others may claim the terms read otherwise. Contra proferentem applies.

Two or three weeks later, Patreon unilaterally altered the Terms of Service by adding this clause:

  • You may not bring a claim against us for suspending or terminating another person’s account, and you agree you will not bring such a claim. If you try to bring such a claim, you are responsible for the damages caused, including attorneys fees and costs. These terms remain in effect even if you no longer have an account.

Patreon claimed that its unilateral change to the TOS “remain in effect even if you no longer have an account.”

Yes, Patreon literally changed its TOS after it was contacted by arbitration claimants, who were required to contact Patreon before moving for arbitration.

Patreon filed a Mass Action against the Arbitration Claimants.

Patreon lost several procedural motions before arbitrations. After losing these motions, they sued the arbitration claimants in California State Court.

Realizing that the arbitration fees would be in the millions of dollars range, Patreon filed a group action against all 72 arbitration claimants. Patreon sought an injunction, that is, they want the Court to order the arbitrations to be stopped.

Here is what Patreon’s TOS says about group actions:

  • Arbitrations may only take place on an individual basis. No class arbitrations or other grouping of parties is allowed. By agreeing to these terms you are waiving your right to trial by jury or to participate in a class action or representative proceeding; we are also waiving these rights.

To drop my lawyer’s latin again, contra proferentem. Patreon can’t claim that when they said that “other groupings of parties is allowed,” applies only to arbitrations. That provision is subject to an ambiguous reading at best.

How can Patreon file a group action against 72 defendants when Patreon barred group actions? They can’t.

The Patreon Hearing.

The 72 defendants were represented by well-known First Amendment lawyer Marc Randazza.

The Court issued a tentative (not final) order denying the injunctions.

During the hearing, Patreon’s counsel brought up additional cases that it claimed applied to the lawsuit.

The Court suggested that Randazza file a supplemental motion addressing those new cases Patreon’s counsel cited.

Patreon will probably lose, and should lose, its State Court action.

Patreon’s TOS required parties to use arbitration. Group actions were banned. The parties complied with the TOS, first by putting Patreon on notice as to their claims.

Once the parties put Patreon on notice of their claim, Patreon was barred by well-established law from amending the TOS in a way that would foreclose those claims.

The Implications?

If a popular creator were banned from PayPal, could he or she have her backers move for arbitration as well?

That’s a specific question that many lawyers are looking at now.

Patreon, like Door Dash before it, banned class actions before decision that group actions are in fact an inefficient way of resolving cases.

Here is what a federal judge told one tech company who complained about a “loophole” being used by the parties:

DoorDash Ordered to Pay $9.5M to Arbitrate 5,000 Labor Disputes:

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Rejecting claims that the legal process it forced on workers is unfair, a federal judge Monday ordered food-delivery service DoorDash to pay $9.5 million in arbitration fees for 5,010 delivery drivers’ labor demands against the company.

“You’re going to pay that money,” U.S. District Judge William Alsup said in court. “You don’t want to pay millions of dollars, but that’s what you bargained to do and you’re going to do it.”

Of course anything can happen in a court of law, and the judge will be issuing a final ruling in a few weeks from now.

Read my prior coverage here:

Patreon Faces New Legal Peril Under California Law

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CNN’s Brian Stelter Apologizes for Mistake (Good Man)

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UPDATE:

CNN’s Brian Stelter falsely accused a woman of spreading disinformation tonight, in a Tweet Stelte deleted without apology after it was revealed that Stelter lying.

The lie concerned a fire started by rioters in Washington D.C. Katrina B. Haydon reported that St. John’s church near the White House was on fire.

 

 

 

Stelter attacked the woman, baselessly accusing her of lying.

 

Brian Stelter has yet to apologize to spreading disinformation.

Did Brian Stelter lie to protect violent protesters?

Why did Stelter lie?

Is he trying to provide propaganda for violent protesters and domestic terrorists?

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“Burn It Down,” ESPN Writer Encourages Arson of Low Income Housing

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ESPN sportswriter Chris Palmer Martin Tweeted, “Burn that shit down. Burn it all down.” The burning building was a low-income housing area in Minneapolis. (Minneapolis vandalism targets include 189-unit affordable housing development.)

When rioters neared Martin’s home, he called them “animals.”

 

The media has a history of supporting ANTIFA.

 

 

Hoaxed Movie Uncovers the Media’s Relationship with ANTIFA

Watch the Hoaxed Movie Trailer

Where to Watch Hoaxed Movie

iTunes here

Vimeo here

YouTube here

VuDu here

DVDs here

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Arizona State University March 4th

Mike Cernovich will be speaking at Arizona State University on March 4, 2020. This event is open to the public....

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