Free Ebook Giveaway September 29th

As it is written in another place:

In honor of the first presidential debate there is a free giveaway of Stephen Kellat’s two ebooks on Tuesday, September 29th. It will run from 12:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time until 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time. Find the two books on Amazon’s Kindle platform, which doesn’t require one of their reader devices even, here:

After the dumpster fire the debate will likely be you will probably want any sort of escapism you can find. I can at least provide something in that respect.

Innumerate Fools

We are well past the two hundred thousand mark for coronavirus fatalities in the United States of America. Ashtabula County finally advanced from Yellow to Orange on the alerting system due to a rise in non-congregate case counts as well as a rise in outpatient visits related to coronavirus issues. Things are starting to get bad again.

This is why I find it sickening to see people parrot the line that coronavirus is nothing to worry about since it has a survival rate purportedly exceeding ninety-nine percent. Heck, I can get that in the Sunday sermon at church! USA Today has an initial explanatory piece up as to why that view is incredibly deceptive. For the most part it is very wrong.

The better way to look at it is in the context of war casualties. USA Today talked about that too. It took four years during the Civil War of brutal warfare for the forces on the Union side to suffer 140,000 deaths. Again, that was four years. The coronavirus has caused 200,000 deaths in the United States in only six months. We may have lost just under a total of 300,000 troops and sailors in World War II but that took four years instead of the six months it has taken in the coronavirus crisis to lose 200,000.

Big numbers are hard for human beings to grasp. Ashtabula County’s entire human population is estimated at roughly 100,000. We’ve lost the equivalent of Ashtabula County’s population twice over in just six months. That’s more death happening in a short time than we’ve seen from any war or natural disaster in the history of the United States of America.

Perhaps the systems collapse on the part of Google Thursday reported by the New York Times isn’t such a bad thing if more services join them in downtime. Connecting the human population so closely so frequently can be a bad thing at times.

Brief Hits

In no particular order:

  • In roughly one week I have to face a meeting of the county broadband task force to discuss the proposal for a virtual television station. Stakeholder participation at this early stage is elusive.

  • Coronavirus case counts are increasing to a small degree for Ashtabula County. This was bound to happen. The dashboards provide all sorts of nasty data.

  • The county by county dashboard as to demographic breakdown of coronavirus cases in Ohio is disturbing insofar that the numbers do not match the rhetoric. At least in northeast Ohio the biggest confounding factors are Cleveland Clinic and University Health Hospital System.

  • How to avoid possible Chronic Kidney Disease problems? Lose weight. How to avoid possible complications of coronavirus if unlucky enough to get infected? Lose weight. How to cut down on snoring? Lose weight. Going into 2021 what needs to be an overriding project? Hmm. I’m pretty sure that’s not going to be answered correctly by many people even though that non-surgical intervention is being pushed by the United Kingdom and other countries at the population level. Getting the country’s average Body Mass Index back within the healthy range would certainly reduce the lethality of coronavirus as well as other maladies.

  • I need to break down and do some fiction writing. The story is started but I am stalled.

  • Church has been weird. Governor Mike DeWine’s press conference for September 22nd had a nice discussion of indoor air quality and coronavirus risk as we head into the colder months here in Ohio. The church building is relatively old. The leadership are coronavirus denialists even after a member of the congregation was afflicted by it and had to be quarantined. After the enactment of House Bill 272 churches cannot be closed for any reason in Ohio by public officials without further legislation being passed by the General Assembly. While we never closed the churches in this state most churches had enough sense to not hold services when things were getting out of hand initially in terms of spread. If things get that way again as we head through autumn into winter it’ll be interesting to see what the leadership at church does if anything.

  • Sample ballots are up on the board of elections website. I need to ask the board office if I get to be a precinct elections worker or not. According to the data presented by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose they’re merely 350 short.

Middle of September 2020 Notes

”A person is praised for his insight, but a warped mind leads to contempt.” – Proverbs 12:8 (Common English Bible)

It has been a while since I have written anything that might appear on Planet Ubuntu. Specifically the last time was June 26th. That’s not necessarily a good thing.

I have been busy writing. What have I been writing? I knocked out a new novelette in Visual Studio Code. The print version was typeset using the novel class using LuaLaTeX. It is a bit of a sci-fi police procedural. It is up on Amazon for people to acquire though I do note that Amazon’s print-on-demand costs have gone up a wee bit since the start of the planet-wide coronavirus crisis.

I also have taken time to test the Groovy Gorilla ISOs for Xubuntu. I encourage everybody out there to visit the testing tracker to test disc images for Xubuntu and other flavours as we head towards the release of 20.10 next month. Every release needs as much testing as possible.

Based upon an article from The Register it appears that the Community Council is being brought back to life. Nominations are being sought per a post on the main Discourse instance but readers of this are reminded that you need to be a current member either directly or indirectly of the 609 Ubuntu Members shown on Launchpad. Those 609 persons are the electors for the Community Council and the Community Council is drawn from that group. The size and composition of the Ubuntu Members group on Launchpad can change based upon published procedures and the initiative of individual to be part of such changes.

I will highlight an article at Yahoo Finance concerning financial distress among the fifty states. Here in Ohio we are seemingly in the middle of the pack. In Ashtabula County we have plenty of good opportunities in the age of coronavirus especially with our low transmission rates and very good access to medical facilities. With some investment in broadband backhaul an encampment for coders could be built who did not want to stick with city living. There is enough empty commercial real estate available to provide opportunities for film and television production if the wildfires and coronavirus issues out in California are not brought under control any time soon.

As a closing note, a federal trial judge ruled that the current coronavirus response actions in Pennsylvania happen to be unconstitutional. A similar lawsuit is pending before a trial judge here in Ohio about coronavirus response actions in this particular state. This year has been abnormal in so many ways and this legal news is just another facet of the abnormality.

Second Novelette Done And Posted

Back in March the first novelette went up on Amazon in both print and Kindle formats. Six months later the second novelette is up on Amazon in both formats as well. The print versions of both were typeset using the novel class from the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network. The Kindle versions were manually converted.

I’m not sure what the third story will be about. A goal is to get that done before the National Novel Writing Month. At that point I might write an actual novel of some sort. At a minimum of one thousand words per day in November and ignoring the chaos of the aftermath of the election I presumably could have a proper novella per SFWA length standards written.

Why write? It is therapeutic at this point in these bizarre times.

Readings To Review

”A person is praised for his insight, but a warped mind leads to contempt.” – Proverbs 12:8 (Common English Bible)

Well, things appear to be getting a bit screwy. This is a list of things that need to still be read.

Bird, S., Segall, I., & Lopatka, M. (2020). Replication: Why We Still Can’t Browse in Peace: On the Uniqueness and Reidentifiability of Web Browsing Histories. Sixteenth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS 2020), 489–503.

Brookbank, M. (2020, September 2). Uptick in COVID-19 patients under 19 in Medina Co. Caused by social gatherings, health officials say. WEWS.

Carter, J. (2020, August 30). The metamorphosis of Loopy Loop. Jonathan Carter.

Cimpanu, C. (2020, August 31). Mozilla research: Browsing histories are unique enough to reliably identify users. ZDNet.

Collins, E. M. (2020, September 3). IT Modernization – The IRS’s Reliance on Antiquated Technology Poses a Continuing Risk to Tax Administration. NTA Blog.

Feldmann, A., Gasser, O., Lichtblau, F., Pujol, E., Poese, I., Dietzel, C., Wagner, D., Wichtlhuber, M., Tapiador, J., Vallina-Rodriguez, N., Hohlfeld, O., & Smaragdakis, G. (2020). The Lockdown Effect: Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Internet Traffic. ArXiv:2008.10959 [Cs].

Ford, D., Storey, M.-A., Zimmermann, T., Bird, C., Jaffe, S., Maddila, C., Butler, J. L., Houck, B., & Nagappan, N. (2020). A Tale of Two Cities: Software Developers Working from Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic. ArXiv:2008.11147 [Cs].

Frenkel, S. (2020, September 1). Russians Again Targeting Americans With Disinformation, Facebook Says. The New York Times.

Giorgi, S., Guntuku, S. C., Rahman, M., Himelein-Wachowiak, M., Kwarteng, A., & Curtis, B. (2020). Twitter Corpus of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement And Counter Protests: 2013 to 2020. ArXiv:2009.00596 [Cs].

Goul, M. (2020, August 26). Mayfield football team sidelined after two positive coronavirus test results. Cleveland.Com.

Himes, L. (2020a). Director’s Order for Facial Coverings throughout the State of Ohio [Director’s Order].

Himes, L. (2020b). Director’s Order that Provides Mandatory Requirements for Entertainment Venues [Director’s Order].

Himes, L. (2020c). Director’s First Amended Order that Provides Mandatory Requirements for Youth, Collegiate, Amateur, Club and Professional Sports [Director’s Order].

Kaiser, B., Wei, J., Lucherini, E., Lee, K., Matias, J. N., & Mayer, J. (2020). Adapting Security Warnings to Counter Misinformation. ArXiv:2008.10772 [Cs].

Kosich, J. (2020, September 2). Gov. Mike DeWine focusing on Ohio’s economy, not on calls for impeachment. WEWS.

Kruspe, A., Häberle, M., Kuhn, I., & Zhu, X. X. (2020). Cross-language sentiment analysis of European Twitter messages duringthe COVID-19 pandemic. ArXiv:2008.12172 [Cs, Stat].

Laakso, M., Matthias, L., & Jahn, N. (2020). Open is not forever: A study of vanished open access journals. ArXiv:2008.11933 [Cs].

Lai, K., & Yanushkevich, S. N. (2020). Machine Reasoning to Assess Pandemics Risks: Case of USS Theodore Roosevelt. ArXiv:2008.11040 [Cs].

Nelson, M. L., & Van de Sompel, H. (2020). A 25 Year Retrospective on D-Lib Magazine. ArXiv:2008.11680 [Cs].

Olejnik, L., Castelluccia, C., & Janc, A. (2012, July 13). Why Johnny Can’t Browse in Peace: On the Uniqueness of Web Browsing History Patterns. 5th Workshop on Hot Topics in Privacy Enhancing Technologies (HotPETs 2012).

Olejnik, L., Castelluccia, C., & Janc, A. (2013). On the Uniqueness of Web Browsing History Patterns. Annals of Telecommunications - Annales Des Télécommunications.

Patel, K., Caragea, C., Phillips, M., & Fox, N. (2020). Identifying Documents In-Scope of a Collection from Web Archives. Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries in 2020, 167–176.

Paul, A. M., & SusanThomas, S. (2020). Multifaceted COVID-19 Outbreak. ArXiv:2008.12127 [Cs].

Pelzer, J. (2020, September 1). Ohio lawmakers pass bill limiting Gov. Mike DeWine’s power to change elections, close houses of worship. Cleveland.Com.

Richardson, S. A. (2020, September 1). Donald Trump leads Joe Biden in tracking poll of Ohio likely voters. Cleveland.Com.

Riddell, A., & Bassett, T. J. (2020). What Library Digitization Leaves Out: Predicting the Availability of Digital Surrogates of English Novels. ArXiv:2009.00513 [Cs].

Sandrick, B. (2020, September 1). All 80 North Royalton High School band members quarantined after one reports COVID-19 symptoms. Cleveland.Com.

Sharma, K., Ferrara, E., & Liu, Y. (2020). Identifying Coordinated Accounts in Disinformation Campaigns. ArXiv:2008.11308 [Cs].

Zahrah, F., Nurse, J. R. C., & Goldsmith, M. (2020). #ISIS vs #ActionCountersTerrorism: A Computational Analysis of Extremist and Counter-extremist Twitter Narratives. ArXiv:2008.11808 [Cs].

Floating On The Island

”We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other.” – Romans 12:4-5 (Common English Bible)

The infamous newsletter had the following written in it:

Currently out of 88 counties in Ohio my very strange county is 8th from the bottom in the league table for occurrence of COVID-19. Either we are not testing or our ridiculously low population density is acting to prevent spread. Nobody is quite sure in that regard. Reading the slides from Tuesday is likely profitable.

Counties far smaller than Ashtabula County in terms of land area as well as population have far higher incidence of coronavirus spread. We are at the lowest risk possible in the state for the eighth week running on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System tracker. People disbelieve coronavirus out here in major part as it is barely spreading except in congregate care settings where we’ve had two nursing homes hit extremely hard as well as the state prison.

With those prefatory remarks said I should explain what I need help with.

Hollywood is having quite a hard time trying to produce anything due to coronavirus outbreaks still happening. We have plenty of open space out here in Ashtabula County as well as a regional film commission based in Cleveland willing to back work in setting up production spaces. Setting up something akin to "Made In Georgia" or the like out here would provide some societal benefit.

The big problem is that that is something I cannot do alone. I don’t have sufficient capital and also need other people to work with me on such an endeavor. There is not a local talent pool that I could dip into to make this work. The financial capital simply is not there.

I am not trying to simply make a remote Hollywood studio out of nothing. If I can set up something to produce online content that is even moderately or minimally successful then that would work nicely. Setting up a linear video on demand channel serving the community would be another heroic project to undertake with something like OpenBroadcaster but I would need a team to make that happen.

Hurricane Laura might make a great excuse for people to move out of Texas. There are plenty of possible refuges here at decent prices.

I should mention a bit about the infamous EB-5 immigrant investor visa. USCIS has a big page in the matter at According to the Ohio Development Service Agency’s files, Ashtabula County qualifies in its entirety as a rural county under the heading of "targeted employment area". That means that lowered investment amounts are permitted for people seeking EB-5 visa if they decided to investment here compared to investing in New York City. The minimum investment is only \$900,000 in United States Dollars which converts as of current spot rates to just over 680,000 pounds sterling, 1.3 million Australian dollars, roughly 1.2 million Canadian dollars, and 1.3 million New Zealand dollars. Clicking any of those links will give you up to date rates. In short, though, anybody from Commonwealth realms that wanted to act as reverse missionaries from Stone-Campbell settings would have some nice opportunities out here.

We have very little economic growth happening in Ashtabula County. When the Ashtabula County Commissioners gave out support grants this week from CARES Act dollars most of the money went to restaurants and lawn care companies. If I was able to get the help I think securing a large enough plot in the southern reaches of the county would give enough space to start production for something. Whether online content or traditional content there will be a need as new content starts drying up.

Reruns will start getting old once we start hitting winter. Even if it is a spoof of Big Chuck And Little John it would be something new. Somebody may well buy that to air. There seems to be a niche to exploit but I can’t do this one alone.

With as screwed up as things have gotten thanks to lockdowns, protests, and worse the ability to go out and seek partners as well as help just isn’t there like it once was. Going to a film festival would have been the way to have sought support in the past. There are no more in-person film festivals now, though. As a start I will at least get this blog post up and then move forward from it.

The One That Did Not Get Sent

”The righteous heart reflects before answering, but the wicked mouth blurts out evil.” – Proverbs 15:28 (Common English Bible)

This should have been a newsletter installment of The Interim Edgewood Stratagem posted during this week. That never happened. Instead it is posted to the blog instead. Next week is another week.

This week did not turn out as expected. This should have been solely a recap of good free media outlets online. Instead I will try to catch up on circumstances that seem to have gotten away from me.

The Curious Case of Kanye West

The Associated Press reports Mr. West did not qualify for the presidential ballot in Ohio in November. reported that both Illinois and Wisconsin also tossed him from their ballots this November as well.

Forbes reports he did not make the ballot in Montana either.

The big question to ask now is what to make of all of this. He will be on the ballot in a few states. There is no conceivable beat path mathematically to outright victory for him, though.

The text of the twelfth amendment to the United States Constitution is extremely relevant at this point since it governs how the President and Vice President are elected except for some bits about when the term of office begins as the twentieth amendment changed that. The twelfth amendment states with the inoperative portion shown italicized:

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;–The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;–The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. [And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.–] The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

Mr. West has no chance of winning the White House. He has every chance of throwing the election to the House, though. That could lead to the perverse outcome of Joe Biden as President and Mike Pence as Vice President. As you might imagine I have been playing with 270ToWin a bit much lately.

Coronavirus Vaccine & Obesity

Did I ever mention there would not be math in this? Well, MathJax does not render in e-mail whatsoever. That means I am reduced to the least easily understood form of math which is the “story problem”.

Body Mass Index (”BMI”) is determined by a fairly simple formula. It gets slightly more complicated when you have to convert from imperial measurements to metric. The basic formula in metric terms is:

BMI = Bodyweight in Kilograms / (Height in Meters) Squared

Reports have come out that the current candidates for a coronavirus vaccine may be ineffective in the “obese”. There is even discussion of encouraging weight loss as part of responses to the pandemic. The last article I could find showed the average BMI for the United States as being just a hair under 30 which is the cut off for “obese”.

I keep putting obese in quotes as BMI lets us quantify things. A BMI of 18.5-24.9 is “normal”. In the 25-29.9 range is “overweight”. Once you hit 30 and beyond you get into different gradations of obesity.

If we target the upper limit of normal and start to rearrange the equation we get this:

24.9 = Bodyweight in Kilograms / (Height in Meters) Squared

Since we are dealing with two variables and are more concerned about the bodyweight one, we solve for that which gives us this:

24.9 * (Height in Meters) Squared = Bodyweight in Kilograms

That gives you the function of what an upper bound for optimum weight would be relative to the current coronavirus situation apparently. To convert an American’s height from inches to meters the following formula should be followed:

Heights in Meters = Height in Inches * 0.0254

To work an example using a height of five feet and eight inches which is to say sixty eight inches we would see:

Meters = 68 * 0.0254

Meters = 1.7272

We would then take this result and plug this into our upper bound function which gives us this:

24.9 * (1.7272)(1.7272) = Bodyweight in Kilograms

24.9 * 2.98321984 = Bodyweight in Kilograms

74.282174016 = Bodyweight in Kilograms

As we are not done with all the floating point math we should still convert from kilograms to pounds before rounding off. That conversion function appears this way:

Pounds = Weight in Kilograms * 2.2

Pounds = 74.282174016 * 2.2

Pounds = 163.4207828352

We can round that off to 163 pounds then. It took a bit to show the work but that gives a rough idea of where things stand. An adult male standing 68 inches tall with a body mass index of 30, the lowest cut off for being classed as obese, would weigh 197 pounds. There would be a bit of a challenge there to surmount in these interesting times.

None of this constitutes medical advice, mind you. Go talk to your doctor! Whether it is scheduling a telehealth consultation or going in to being poked and prodded now would be a very good time to be seen. I know I will have tons of questions at my next appointment with someone from my general practitioner’s office.

Various & Sundry

There has been so much weirdness going on. With Identica presently crashed I have been stashing links as quick notes to my OneNote account. One thing I have noticed about Microsoft’s various online tools is that while they might not be as popular as Google’s at large they do seem to not suffer catastrophic crashes. Yes, I do need to get back to reading Microsoft Azure for Dummies admittedly.

In no particular order:

In Closing…

Hopefully the coronavirus situation calms down elsewhere. Columbia University’s Earth Institute did some modeling of what would happen to COVID-19’s spread if a hurricane forced an evacuation in Florida. The situation report is a bit scary.

Amidst all the doom and gloom we cannot lose hope. There will be a new dawn.

Until next time, I will say that I am up to the second episode on Nebula-75. Hopefully you find something good as traditional media starts drying up in terms of new releases. A goal for next week is to do a recap of good free media outlets online.



Snakes And Drain Cleaner

Why do we have Christian folk going to strange places relative to the coronavirus? Most likely Mark 16:16-18 explains it which is rendered in the Common English Bible in this fashion: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever doesn’t believe will be condemned. These signs will be associated with those who believe: they will throw out demons in my name. They will speak in new languages. They will pick up snakes with their hands. If they drink anything poisonous, it will not hurt them. They will place their hands on the sick, and they will get well.” The “snakes and drain-o” passage doesn’t appear in all the original manuscripts of the book of Mark so various translations indicate that it might not have appeared in the original. In fact it is shown often as an “ending likely added later”.

What does this mean? We must not forget the snake handling cults of Appalachia. USA Today even reported on it way back when. The Appalachian diaspora within the USA results in such beliefs flowing outward and changing somewhat. Combining that obscure strain of offbeat religious thought with the amplification provided by today’s social media gives us a bit of a recipe for disaster.

Too many folks in academia have been trying to attack this matter from a quantitative perspective. It doesn’t come down to numbers. It is a qualitative matter that is rooted in messier things. History matters.

Keeping all that in mind makes this Facebook post by Nino Vitale far easier to understand unlike a report by WKYC.

Outside the United States of America the COVID-19 situation is not really a matter of faith. It is just a matter of virology. New Zealand just celebrated 100 days of containment. I don’t think we will be anywhere near that for some time in the USA regardless of who occupies the White House.

Things are going to be bad for some time to come perhaps.

Situational Report

”Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.” – Philippians 2:4 (Common English Bible)

I will keep this brief and state that very little is well. There is a sense of being without aim or direction on my part that is apparently quite common in these strange times. Something has to change but I am not sure what may be the way forward.

This blog is powered by ikiwiki and serves the purposes of Stephen Michael Kellat, the proprietor of Erie Looking Productions. Watch out for falling anvils!

BOFH excuse #205:

Quantum dynamics are affecting the transistors