Six Feet Apart; 35,000 Feet Above
“Yes, we are on a long, lonely trail…” writes the inimitable poet of prophecies Bill Bonner, “wandering around between life and death… between six feet apart and six feet under…”
The heck with that, I decided. Under the guidance of my aeronautical son Richard, I took off for 35 thousand feet over the land on 737 Boeing jets. For brief cherished moments, I could reach altitudes more than five thousand times higher than the Bonner trail. I could wantonly violate social distancing with friends across the country.
My airborne trail took me west to Minneapolis, through bleak wastes of airports sparsely populated with furtive figures in masks, to collaborate on monthlies with my colleague and editor Richard Vigilante.
Together with John Schroeter and Steve Waite, Richard mans and guides our exemplary Gilder Press writing team after some twenty years of investment experience as an executive at WhiteBox Advisors, following his role as editor-in-chief and best-seller alchemist at Regnery Publishing. During my visit, we explored a number of cosmic companies that lead our new paradigm and came up with exciting investments for the next two issues of The Gilder Report.
Meanwhile, the amazing Schroeter, hitherto known as polymathic Mr. X, has been exploring the exotic realms of smaller company innovation and science with Steve Waite for coming Moonshots and Millionaire’s Club specials, with 100X potential.
After a career in such chip companies as Micron and Impinj, “Imagineer” Schroeter is a master of technology. Author of a canonical text on chip design, he is co-author of the award-winning book Moonshots, editor this year of the superb Futurist compendium After-Shock, and holder of several key patents in Radio Frequency identification (RFID) technology of the coming internet of things.
These guys are the driving force behind Gilder Press. But in order to do my reports and prophecies, I have to transcend my lonely Bonner trail between six feet apart and six feet under.
Droughts over the Centuries
Beyond the direct investment realm, my favorite newsletter, the one I tear open every month when it arrives at my door by US Mail, is The Energy Advocate written by Howard Hayden, former Physics Chair at the University of Connecticut and author of several searing books about the use and abuse of science.
Although I do much of my reading online, I have to confess that I welcome the arrival of paper at my door for certain crucial messages, such as Howard’s lucid science update. It represents one part of a bifurcation of Petr Beckmann’s exemplary Access to Energy letter which Petr stopped writing on his death in 1993. Access to Energy remains an important read, but its author Arthur Robinson, Caltech chemist supreme, is now focused on his stirring political races in Oregon, where he attempts to alert his state and the world to the catastrophes of consensus science.
No ideologue, Hayden is all science and education, but even he raised the pitch of his rhetoric in the current issue. Addressing an April 16 New York Times article by Henry Fountain attributing droughts in the Southwest to “climate change,” Hayden pointed out that current droughts are far less extensive and severe than the “megadroughts” of the past, long before the industrial revolution.
One previous drought in the 13th century lasted some 90 years and came between the Medieval Climate Optimum and the rise of the Little Ice Age when the planet was cooling. As for the current Southwestern drought, he publishes a chart from NOAA that shows repeated ups and downs but no perceptible trend in precipitation in the Western US over the last 100 years.
Hayden demonstrates that the mistakes in The New York Times and across the US academy and media largely stem from a reliance on computer models that fail to address obvious historic facts such as the Medieval warming, the Little Ice Age, and the dates of the Industrial Revolution.
As Fountain wrote in revealing prose: “[S]ince the beginning of the 20th century, when large scale emissions of heat-trapping gases began, warming played a role as well. Using 31 [count’em] computer climate models, the researchers estimated that climate change contributed nearly half to the severity of the current drought.”
Hayden points out, “At the beginning of the 20th century, the US used about 8% as much energy as we do now and the world as a whole, most likely used even less…The warming that occurred from then up to the 30s was certainly not caused by the greenhouse effect from… CO2…
Hayden concludes: “You don’t need ‘31 computer climate models’ to look at data from the past. The models are for trying to predict the future, subject to the assumptions you build in.”
Toward the end of the four-page Energy Advocate are a few pithy paragraphs on COVID-19 and the lockdown, the case for which exhibits a similar abuse of computer models. Citing the putative 69 thousand deaths at the time of writing, he observes: “For comparison, during the last ten years, annual deaths from flu have varied from 1200 to 61,000, and hospitalizations have varied from 140,000 to 810,000.”
While medicrat Anthony Fauci warns of more “suffering and death” if we reopen too soon, eminent statistician William Briggs shows that current all-death data does not come close to the records from the fifties and sixties. Fauci is still relying on his announced “worst case” assumptions, stemming from demonstrably erroneous models, which can only lead to constant overreactions and resulting disasters caused by policy rather than pathogen.
Yes, there have been bizarre effects from this flu. Hundreds of doctors who underestimated the effects of intense exposure tragically died. Intubations and ventilators failed to work.
In the thrall of the viral new-mania in Washington, however, National Review correspondent John McCormack has corrupted this leading conservative voice with a morbid cautionary principle, worthy of a climate change cultist. Constantly multiplying mortality rates by possible total infections, he recoils at the big numbers that result. Assume the entire world gets infected under a regime of herd immunity and hundreds of millions die.
But hundreds of millions are always dying. If you want to attribute the deaths to COVID-19, be my guest. Total mortality levels are not historically unusual. Assuming the worst like Fauci, McCormack’s stance prohibits the surprises of human creativity that can prevail only under conditions of freedom.
The lockdown is an attack on capitalism and freedom unprecedented in the world’s leading capitalist nation. It must stop and now or world economic and technological leadership will inexorably shift to communist China. And power in the US will shift toward socialism.
That’s not a computer model. That is the product of direct observation during six weeks of trips to China over the last year. People who imagine that the US can douse its economy for months on end without dire consequences need to look up from their computer screens and contemplate reality.
Editor, Gilder’s Daily Prophecy