OPEN THREAD 20200311

Basically, all legal free speech is allowed. We will assist the authorities in dealing with illegal speech. You are each other’s moderators. Have fun. And don’t forget to MAGA at nuclear levels.

After going through the elements, we now enjoy a sequence of RANDOM somewhat pseudo-random topics that will be thrown out for investigation and commentary on each open thread. At some point, in a way something like composite numbers, I will accidentally hit a second occurrence of one of them – that’s just normal.

Have fun!

Citizen U

(a.k.a. W on the OTHER site)

Day 126 – the 3-1-1 community service number

21 thoughts on “OPEN THREAD 20200311

  1. I dunno much about the 311 community service number, but I do know that the dark corridors of phone service are numerous, deep, and wide. Of course, I don’t even answer my phone these days……

    The Fiancee and I were noticing, a couple of years back, that we were CONSTANTLY getting BS spam calls from people we didn’t want to hear from. We’d innocently given our number to somebody three years ago, and it had been sold six times to increasingly disreputable organizations, and we were now receiving more spam calls than “good ones”.

    Being an accountant, I then did a study. Over the two week study period, we received an average of three unwanted phone calls per day (this was obviously not an election year). In the same period, we received precisely ONE phone call from a number we might want to hear from……and it was the Fiancee’s sister…..doing a butt-dial (we never actually conversed).

    So, we set a policy — ignore all incoming phone calls except from known-welcome caller ID’s, and/or silence ringers. Keep “missed calls” log of unknown numbers. Review voicemails left. Three calls per week from unknown number, add to call block list on phone system.

    Somewhat amusingly, I was looking into internet firewalls at the time. In times of old, you’d get things like “TCP 15,43,60 ALLOW IN; DEFAULT DENY” in your internet rules. Modern practice is “TCP 15,43,60 ALLOW IN; DEFAULT DROP”. Answering the phone to say, “bugger off” increases the value of your connection because it is now known that someone is there. It is better with both phone and internet connections to just not pick up.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Going back to phone system magic… one point, we were building a new house and actually shared a phone number between the old house and the new one, and we were told about a “magic number” that was valid across American phone systems that you could dial and then hang-up, and it would ring all phones with that number. Even though our two houses were across town from each other, we could call that number, answer on the third ring (or after it stopped ringing), and talk to the other house. If anyone called us from outside, whichever answered first would get the call.

    There are a bunch of “magic numbers” that do weird things on phones. They were initially conveniences for phone installers, but quite a number are convenient for other folks. There’s probably documentation out there if you look for it, but be prepared to find it in several places. It’s quirky stuff. You used to be able to simulate being a coin-op pay phone and call Istanbul, and all sorts of other weirdisms…..Jobs and Wozniak’s first product together was for phone system manipulation. “Captain Crunch”, “Phone Phreaking”, and “Blue Boxes” can lead you down some interesting byways.

    I knew more about it way back when, but have been more involved with the vicissitudes of video and the internet for 40 years. Which, BTW, has seen a large part of what I knew become as useless as an appreciation of leather grain in buggy whips [e.g. “sync tip to peak white” — ].

    Liked by 2 people

      1. The standard NTSC scheme for color television is black-and-white (so B&W TV could play on color TVs), plus a vector on a color wheel as to what color the “white” should be. It is so far away from RGB [this dot is this much R, this much G, and this much B] that it might as well be inscriptions in ceremonial Martian.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. After a venerable career of endless, stellar successes the greatest director who ever lived is in his prime and preparing for his most ambitious project ever when he unexpectedly dies and is called home to heaven. St. Peter meets him at the gate.

    “So sorry about your untimely death,” he tells the director. “But God himself has called you home. You see, God wants you to direct a movie for Him.”

    The great man is humbled, “God wants ME to direct a film?”

    “Yes,” St. Peter tells him. “And we’ve arranged to have the best of everything made available to you. For example, the script is by William Shakespeare.”

    The director is stunned, “An original screenplay by William Shakespeare?”

    “Yes,” St. Peter assures him, “And it’s his greatest work ever.”

    “Wow!” says the Director, awe struck.

    “Your Production Designer will be Michaelangelo. We’ve got Leonardo Da Vinci doing the sets, your musical score will be an original work by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and your cast includes a young Laurence Olivier and the greatest actors of all time in supporting roles.”

    The Director can’t believe it. “This is incredible,” he says. “This will be the greatest movie ever?”

    St. Peter kind of shuffles his feet. “Well,” he says, “we do have one tiny little problem.”

    “Problem?” says the director. “What kind of a problem?”

    St. Peter puts his arm around the director’s shoulder, “Ya see,” he whispers, “God’s got this girlfriend…”

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hmmmmm…..more to the Mystery of the Wolf…..

        William Randolph Hearst kept trying to put his girlfriend, Marion Davies [he was married to Millicent Willson until his death] in movies — particularly major dramatic roles…..when she was actually pretty good in light comedies. This frequently involved his buying her way in — and actually forever tainted her career. At one point, someone commented to Hearst that there was a lot of money in cinema — to which he replied, “much of it was mine.”

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Attending a union convention in Las Vegas a union lighting man decides to visit a bordello. He goes into the first place, the ladies are lovely, and he asks the Madam, “Is this a union establishment?”

    “Why, no, it isn’t,” the Madam replies.

    “Well,” the Union Man asks, “what percentage of the take goes to the girl?”

    “We split the money, 20 percent to the girl and 80 percent to the house.”

    Feeling that wasn’t a fair split the man left and went to another establishment. Again he asked the same questions and received a similar response. Although not a union house the split rate at this one was 30 percent to the girl and 70 percent to the house.

    He continued his trek for some time until, finally, he came upon a Union House. “That’s wonderful,” he says to the Madam, “and what’s the split?”

    “We give 80 percent to the girl and keep just 20 percent for the house.”

    The Man is overjoyed. “Fantastic,” he says, finally satisfied. Immediately he spots an attractive young blonde and indicates her to the Madam. “I’d like to have her please,” he declares.

    “Oh, I’m sure you would,” the Madam replies, but she instead redirects him to an aging, overweight woman in the corner, “But I’m afraid Ethel here has seniority.”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. After a difficult day a struggling actor returns to his neighborhood and is shocked to find a cadre of police and fire trucks surrounding the smoldering remains of his house.

    Explaining who he was he asks “What happened?”

    “Well,” one of the officer’s says, “It seems that your agent came by your house earlier today and while he was here he attacked your wife, assaulted your children, beat your dog and burned your house to the ground.”

    The actor is struck speechless, his jaw hanging open in disbelief… “My agent came to my house?”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Morty the producer dies and goes to purgatory. The agent behind the counter says “So Morty, what’s it gonna be Heaven or Hell?” Morty asks, “What’s the difference?” Sid says “Take a look at the monitor over here.”

    Morty goes to the monitor and sees scenes of heaven where people are quietly floating on clouds and playing harps in serene bliss. Morty turns to Sid and says “Well that’s nice. Pretty boring but nice. What’s Hell like?”

    Sid tells him to look at the other monitor. Morty does and sees scenes of young people having sex and dancing and smoking and drinking and laughing and singing and generally having a great time.

    “This is great!” says Morty. “I think I’ll try Hell.” Sid directs him to the elevator and instructs him to push the down arrow. Morty does so and waits for the elevator to take him to hell.

    When the car stops at hell the doors spring open. Morty looks around from the elevator doorway and is shocked at what he sees. Everywhere are people burning in agony, screaming in pain, drowning and suffering. There are laughing demons with pitchforks piercing their skin. Its horrible, disgusting. Morty presses the up button and goes right back to Sid.”

    “What is this!? Hell is nothing like you showed me on the monitor! It was awful down there!”

    Sid says, “You mean that monitor?”

    “Yes,” says Morty.

    “Oh, well, that was just the pilot.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. OK – sorry to interrupt the cerebral crowd here at the utree but I (a VERY none math person) just crunched my own numbers … and am absolutely astounded! I knew there were some bumpy times and it was growing but I MUST be wrong,..right?!

    WuFlu in the US began only 7 weeks ago:

    First infection known in US
    1/21 – 1

    Listed by Sundays…grew mainly via incoming from China and a few person to person infections
    1/26 – 5
    2/2 – 11
    2/9 – 12
    2/16 – 12
    2/23 – 14

    WA community spread began to happen and emerged in the nursing home first. Obviously, it had been in the community for a week or more before the cases began to show symptoms and be detected.

    Italy #s began to explode as did Iran and other countries from which travelers were not monitored or the travelers themselves realizing they needed to isolate and self monitor. Began to spread quickly through stateside contacts and within communities:

    2/26 – 15
    2/28 – 19
    2/29 – 24 (+5)
    3/1 – 42 (+18)
    3/2 – 57 (+15)
    3/3 – 85 (+28)
    3/4 – 111 (+26)
    3/5 – 175 (+64)
    3/6 – 252 (+77)
    3/7 – 352 (+100)
    3/8 – 495 (+143)
    3/9 – 643 (+148)
    3/10 – 932 (+289)
    3/11 – 1,198 (+266)

    I am actually expecting the numbers to take a jump as we have more testing and then cont. at a particular pace but below is going on the approx. pattern I see above…doubling about 3 days.

    12 days – 15 known cases to 1,200 known cases and expecting about 400+ cases to be reported by tomorrow.
    So, by 3/14, in 2 short weeks we will be 24 – 2K?! Is that right?!

    3/14 – 4K
    3/16 – 8K
    3/18 – 16K
    3/20 – 32K
    3/22 – 64K
    3/24 – 128K
    3/26 – 256K
    3/28 – 500K
    3/30 – 1 million

    Is this right? So from 2/29 to 3/30 we go from 24 – 1 Million!!!???!!!!
    With a complication rate of 10% and a death rate of 1% of these cases, we would have 100K in the hospital in a little over 2 weeks from now. Is this really true? I just can’t hardly grasp this…if the rate continued at same pace isn’t this true?

    And that leaves us in April with instant disaster of being in the Millions…3.5 weeks from now!

    4/2 – 2 million!! etc.

    I have to be wrong as this scenario is crazy. Even if off by 2 or 3 weeks, if it slows…still HUGE…!!!!

    Even if I am off by weeks…it’s still headed that way, right? Hopefully, canceling schools, taking schools online, stopping hospital & nursing home visitors, canceling big events, companies moving as many as possible to working from home as they increase their infrastructure/bandwidth to handle the telecomputers…Hopefully, all of this will completely slow down the trajectory! and then let it die out and be gone!

    Plus if we do all the canceling that is happening + reducing international travel so new incoming infections end we can investigate and get ahead of the community spreading.

    Update: I called my husband in and showed him … his reply was Exactly. And then went on to discuss various aspects and implications. I still think I must be wrong…can’t be true!! Too hard to absorb. And I have been one saying that it is serious and trying to get others to pay attention … and I still didn’t get where it was headed until I did this on scrap paper with my own calculated. I guess there is a difference between knowing and really “getting” it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The numbers look good at first, and they hold that pattern well, for the same reason that the capitalism of the free market works so well at the beginning, when there are few companies for some product or service and they are small, but fails toward the end into the capitalism of monopoly. You have a closed, finite system, and worse than that, you have one that changes behavior.

    The numbers continue a progression like what you are showing in an “infinite population of hosts”, which is not the actual situation. In your scenario, there is no microscopic or smaller-scale or localized change in the reaction, so it proceeds explosively by the same methodology until it consumes everything.

    The curves can be flattened, and that is what we are doing. We are also selecting who will generally get the disease and who won’t, by our own concerns and behaviors.

    Bottom line, the numbers transition into a bell curve. Wait for it. Flatten it. Make it burn though those it can’t kill easily – not those it CAN kill easily.


    1. Oh…like the initial death rates slow because initially the most vulnerable catch it first and die and then those are stronger begin to recover? the weakest die first and quickly and prior to strong efforts being made to stop the growth.

      Example: In TN, nursing homes and hospitals are shutting down…no visitors, thus protecting the weaker population and slowing/preventing the spread to the vulnerable, thus flattening the curve.

      the extreme measures being taken will affect the growth rate, hopefully significantly and quickly. interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

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