The Middle-Aged Genius’s Guide to Almost Everything 45 – Guide to the Pandemicon
April 2, 2020
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: I had two thoughts to start us off. They’re both related. With regard to pandemics, I see two major trends. Authoritarian governments, they either try to cover it up, delay ‘finding out’ to the rest of the public, or they just spin it in their own favour. That’s expected. The other is theocracies, where religious leaders in tune with the religious public are saying, “Fuck your ordinances, we want to run out and go to our mosque or church and pray. God will protect us. He is our God. Therefore, of course, He will protect us.” It is having devastating consequences on the public.
Rick Rosner: There is a general framing of this. I just saw an article in Nat. Geo. They did social distancing in 1918/1919 with the Spanish Flu. Many cities did it. And the ones who did it longer, did better. Those who went lax, it came back. It got worse. Social distancing works. I am lucky to live in L.A. and California. Both a city and a state that got ahead of it. People are thinking, “We’ll do better when everything plays out.” However, what is going to happen in general is wave after wave of this stuff will travel across the globe, two things stop it, right now. One thing that slows it down is social distancing. What may also stop it may be warmer summer weather, that’s iffier. But not enough of the world and not enough of the 50 U.S. states are practicing social distancing.
So, it is going to slosh around reservoirs of shitty countries and shitty states that will fill up with diseased people. Those people are going to some extent disperse and send waves of renewed infection to even places that have done a good job of shutting it down. It is going to just ping pong around the world for a couple of years. Until, enough people have acquired immunity. It has a harder time gaining a foothold. And some countries are able to vaccinate large percentages of their populations. It is going to be with us for 2 years. It remains to be seen how much time we will have to shelter in place. Also, something like hydroxychloroquine may turn out to knock it down in some percentage of cases, conservatives and Republicans and Republican pundits are placing a lot of hope in that stuff.
Their thinking is probably cynical, not sophisticated. They think that it’ll come in and cure everybody. Very few people will continue to be sick and die. It will end up saving Trump. He will end up not looking like the killer of 200,000 or 300,000 Americans, as he looks to people who do not like him now. But none of the tests taken out now are conclusive one way or the other. That’s pretty much it. We are looking at two years of dealing with it.
Jacobsen: Do you think a lot of authoritarian governments will a) mismanage it or b) try to entrench power?
Rosner: Neither for the most part. If a government was on the verge of collapse, then this could tip it over. But the death rate of 2%, again, it is too early. The number is deceptive anyway because many people asymptomatic and may not know that they have it and may be immune. 2% kills a lot of people, but it doesn’t turn the world into the walking dead world. It fucks up hospitals. It makes hospitals overflow. It makes medical care for everybody much less effective. You’ve got hospitals filled with the dead in body bags filling the halls. Life doesn’t look normal because people are staying home.
It is not you’ve got people dropping dead on the streets in large numbers. It’s not like Atlanta in the first episode of The Walking Dead with cars pulled over and traffic jams. It’s not normal, but it’s not so disrupted that it can dislodge most governments. Probably, sufficiently powerful totalitarian governments can cover up the illness and death by fucking with the statistics and people who report the statistics, a country can practice half-assed social distancing so only 20% of the country get it. Then it takes only 5 or 7 months for 10% of the country to get it. It is only killing 1 person in 500. Those deaths are taking place across 180 days. The day to day disruption, everybody may end up knowing somebody who died.
But it is not so disrupted that it tears society apart. I have huge suspicions about India. Over a billion people, a democracy, all sorts of different beliefs in the country. I’ve seen clips out of India of the police harassing people who aren’t staying inside, but I have no idea whether it’s working at all, in India. How good the nationwide systems for reporting cases are, how good their testing it, it could be raging out of control in India or could be in a month from now. I’m not even sure if we knew about it. Russia, I have suspicions about.
Big swathes of Africa too, I haven’t been tracking those countries. Some have decent governments. Others have terrible governments. It’s going to rage out of control in places. It remains to be seen how much we’ll do than people did 101 years ago with the Spanish Flu. Because the tools that we have turn out to be, in the short-term, not a lot better than the tools they had in 1918. They had news media to tell people to social distance. Maybe, it took 2 days for that idea to travel around the world. Now, in our world, it might take 20 minutes to travel around the world. But the two day delay is not that big of a deal.
Plus, we can spread the disease a lot better because of airplanes and mass transport. Also, we have much more skepticism about the news. I don’t think 1918 had huge chunks of the population who didn’t trust. They may have had huge hunks who didn’t believe who lived away from the cities. But they didn’t have much mobility there. It seems like trade-offs in effectively slowing the virus down between 1918 and now, where it remains to be seen which era is going to be more effective. We also have more than 4 times the world population.
The one advantage that we have is being able to make vaccines. It takes a year or more to happen. That’s enough of that.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
(Updated July 25, 2019)
*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.*
According to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing here, Rick G. Rosner may have among America’s, North America’s, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher Harding, Jason Betts, Paul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Awards and Emmy nominations, and was titled 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Directory with the main “Genius” listing here.
He has written for Remote Control, Crank Yankers, The Man Show, The Emmys, The Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He worked as a bouncer, a nude art model, a roller-skating waiter, and a stripper. In a television commercial, Domino’s Pizza named him the “World’s Smartest Man.” The commercial was taken off the air after Subway sandwiches issued a cease-and-desist. He was named “Best Bouncer” in the Denver Area, Colorado, by Westwood Magazine.
Rosner spent much of the late Disco Era as an undercover high school student. In addition, he spent 25 years as a bar bouncer and American fake ID-catcher, and 25+ years as a stripper, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. Errol Morris featured Rosner in the interview series entitled First Person, where some of this history was covered by Morris. He came in second, or lost, on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? over a flawed question and lost the lawsuit. He won one game and lost one game on Are You Smarter Than a Drunk Person? (He was drunk). Finally, he spent 37+ years working on a time-invariant variation of the Big Bang Theory.
Currently, Rosner sits tweeting in a bathrobe (winter) or a towel (summer). He lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, dog, and goldfish. He and his wife have a daughter. You can send him money or questions at LanceVersusRick@Gmail.Com, or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Founder, In-Sight Publishing
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