#10 The state of healthcare as an instance of the world at large
It's even worse than you think, but things are also on the verge of becoming unimaginably better than you probably expect.
When I launched the Chroma Sky Portal last summer, I simultaneously announced the temporary closure of Chroma since I had figured out how to eliminate respiratory-disease pandemics and thought that I should focus on that. However, I ended up re-opening early December after learning the painful lesson that the world did not actually care about ending the pandemics (regardless of what they say). Now, had the solution been something unfathomably hard to comprehend, we could give the world a pass, but it was not. In fact, solving pandemics is among the most trivial problems I have encountered that have managed to grab my attention…
Now, for those who might not be aware, Wittgenstein’s ruler is the idea that if you take a ruler to measure the length of a table, but your ruler is inaccurate then the attempt to measure the table will not work. Your ruler will return an incorrect number — but let’s say you know that it’s incorrect (maybe you have a very sturdy stone table with a length you know from hundreds of prior measurements that have been validated umpteen different ways). Then the measure given by the ruler is actually a measure of its own inaccuracy. You have used the table to measure the ruler. The greater precision with which you know the size of your table, the smaller the error in the ruler you can pick up, and if the ruler is extremely inaccurate (e.g. it says that your dining table is 6 miles long rather than 6 ft) just eyeballing the length of the table would instantly tell you the ruler is very far off — you wouldn’t know that is exactly 5,280x off, but you’d be extremely confident saying it is somewhere between 1,000x and 10,000x off.
So if you want to understand the world, turn yourself into a table, insert yourself in the world, and observe the attempts the world makes to measure you. Do not take information at face value. The signal there is noisy. At least that is my approach — the view that most inputs must be sanitized to prevent rogue thought execution.
Setting a Least Upper Bound to the “Elite’s” Intellectual Capacity
Back to having solved the pandemic and how simple it is: first, let’s consider the requirement for a pandemic to continue — it’s an R_0 value greater than 1. That is how growth is defined. It means for every infected individual there will be greater than 1 additional infected individual infected by the time they recover or die. So we can define a solution to the pandemic as anything that brings R_0 below 1. We can add the observation that out of any number of possible diseases that could become pandemic (most of them far more dangerous than coronaviruses e.g. influenza, which has the added downside of evolving faster — COVID only appears to be evolving very quickly because the scale at which the virus is operating means it is going through more iterations per unit time).
Of course, R_0 is not a property of a virus, nor is it a constant at any time, but an average of spread within some field of observation over some amount of time. So to call something a general solution we should expect that it allows us to dramatically reduce R_0 well below 1 such that with some distribution of viruses, we can eliminate a large portion of the ones that would cause pandemics from doing so (and even for the ones that are so virulent R_0 would not drop below 1, that might be the shift between tens of percents of the population dying and what we have now, which is a miniscule fraction of that).
So what impacts R_0? There are some inherent biological underpinnings, but once those are normalized, it is based on interactions and movements of individuals and the environments in which these interactions occur. We know of course that viruses do not jump across wide open oceans and they do not reach people that are isolated. It is in modern dwellings that humans currently interface and this is where almost all transmission occurs. Interestingly, we are back to the modern building posing a health threat to humans — before it was lack of sunlight, and now it is disease transmission.
Among the various mechanisms by which a virus can transmit, it turns out that for SARS-CoV-2, airborne transmission is the primary one. I’ll spare you the details since this is dragging on a bit, but if you want to learn more you can scroll through the Reflow Labs tweet history. Anyway, scientists explained this by the hundreds, including the historical meta-science of how public health persons fail to recognize airborne transmission and how we have plenty of models to understand what was going on. With that information, it is now public knowledge (unevenly distributed, in fact, it was mostly known all the way back in March) that reducing airborne transmission substantially would eliminate this pandemic, and those that are likely to come over the next decade. This airborne transmission has virtually no risk outdoors, but spreads rapidly indoors where aerosols accumulate in the air.
This can be solved with HEPA purifiers or ventilating with outdoor air. Ventilation is problematic since it makes most buildings unpleasantly hot, cold, or both so HEPA is the default — alas, it is costly to have sufficient HEPA purification. This is where my observation comes in: if you don’t have to push air through a dense filter, you can move air more quickly, which means you can move a lot more air. A UVC light with a reflective chamber can then inactivate the virus instead. This means for a fixed amount of air exchange, you need fewer machines, fewer filters, a lot less electricity, a lot less noise, and all around lower costs. Pretty f****** simple, right? I should have had 1000 competitors before I even started, but even to this day, there are none. There are idiots that combine HEPA filters with UVC, which does absolutely nothing since the entire point is to remove the HEPA filter. Moreover, having something in HVAC ducts is a subpar option since it does not localize the clean air flow where it is most needed, including right where people are (personalized ventilation).
So where did people go wrong:
Venture Capitalists: their level of scientific thinking is below that of a smart middle school kid. They do not understand that technology is tied to energy so the idea of something with a lower energy cost did not compute to them. Additionally, they struggled to understand the simple concept of radiated power coming from a lightbulb and passing through air and how the levels of power match the level of powers. Venture capitalists these days are mostly a combination of failed/mediocre entrepreneurs and ivy-league people that have never even attempted to build anything. They are so oblivious to how companies and products work, they do not even understand the difference between a hard or an easy hardware product to build — that they have zero ability to think into the future gives us some understanding of what happens — they take a small amount of revenue and consider it meaningful when in fact, a few million in revenue has zero inherent information. People buy lousy products that don’t scale all the time.
This was the final nail in the coffin of the maybe VCs aren’t all idiots lingering, intrusive thought. I had previously built what we can summarize as the strongest materials in the universe, and VCs failed to fund those, but I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt by thinking it was just advanced technologies and aerospace they struggled with because those things are genuinely hard to understand. I grew up in Palo Alto and used to admire VCs, but this admiration was without evidence.
Corporate/Finance Executives: I only reached out to a small set of people, but enough to identify a major systemic problem that I simply did not want to deal with — executives have limited incentive to actually solve problems because they are hesitant as to whether the steps they take will be acceptable to governments, which drives them to signaling via what is being called hygiene theater. Given this reality, they also do not put together teams of competent people to address this problem. If you think about a lot of large corporations in the food/restaurant industry this is not all that surprising since they don’t have a need for engineers. I found myself talking to a non-engineer responsible for over 7000 eateries worldwide who did not understand to concept of power over some unit area over some amount of time, and how to compare that to well-established research values for viral inactivation of coronavirus, nor could he understand the concept that the inactivation energies did not arise from God as if chosen by a random number generator, but in fact fell on a narrow spectrum across multiple classes of virions such as influenzas, but I digress. This is the person the COO of this private equity behemoth had handed me off to.
Journalists: This group of course has no skin in the game. They make their ad dollars regardless of whether what they say is true or false. Their arrogance toward average people is astounding given that they completely failed to convey the information needed to end the pandemic. Someone from CNBC Advancements actually wanted to feature Reflow Labs, but only once it had some momentum, but that goes back to the institutional failures of finance, and the financialized base of customers.
A common phrase among journalists and the healthcare industrial complex is “vaccine hesitancy”, which is ironic because the hesitancy obviously arises from the gross incompetence at every level. There is the lingering question of how can these people be trusted to figure out something that is complex/advanced such as a vaccine, when they can’t even figure out something as simple as COVID being airborne and the idea that you need more air flow to fix it? (though vaccines are a local optimum that are better than not having vaccines given the reality of societies ineptitude — unlike them, I accept the reality of what we’re dealing with whereas they will imagine a hypothetical world such as one where everyone wears a mask)
Entreprenuers: There are various people selling products, but they face something beyond merely not having an intelligent world to sell into. Their valuation is detached from what they actually do and is maybe 90% just a reflexive mimetic schelling point, except it’s usually not a schelling point because there are many that are doing the exact same thing.
Governments: These entities simply have very high latency and rely on other institutions not failing catastrophically as they did.
Philanthropists: Same problem as Governments. They have a lousy information funnel. I realized that it would make sense to run Reflow Labs as a non-profit focused on selling goods since collapsing margins could allow it to scale faster (one might wonder why this never happens), but emailing as many people as I could on the Giving Pledge, I found that none of them were interested. I find it odd that no billionaire was interested in making ending pandemics their legacy, but it likely comes down to fear since even billionaires are subject to the non-ergodicity that threatens their goals so they typically pursue easy goals.
All of this does not even consider that the Ironforge product would probably cure / eliminate severe cases of COVID given the results of this pilot study. That goes purely into health-industrial-complex territory so I didn’t even bother making much of an effort to have that go anywhere. Abstract from the study: A 57-Year-Old African American Man with Severe COVID-19 Pneumonia Who Responded to Supportive Photobiomodulation Therapy (PBMT): First Use of PBMT in COVID-19
A 57-year-old African American man with severe COVID-19 received 4 once-daily PBMT sessions by a laser scanner with pulsed 808 nm and super-pulsed 905 nm modes for 28 min. The patient was evaluated before and after treatment via radiological assessment of lung edema (RALE) by CXR, pulmonary severity indices, blood tests, oxygen requirements, and patient questionnaires. Oxygen saturation (SpO2) increased from 93–94% to 97–100%, while the oxygen requirement decreased from 2–4 L/min to 1 L/min. The RALE score improved from 8 to 5. The Pneumonia Severity Index improved from Class V (142) to Class II (67). Additional pulmonary indices (Brescia-COVID and SMART-COP) both decreased from 4 to 0. CRP normalized from 15.1 to 1.23. The patient reported substantial improvement in the Community-Acquired Pneumonia assessment tool.
Wild stuff. Of course, when I say “probably is a cure”, I am purely referring to the class of thing of which the Ironforge is an instance — it is observation of physical phenomena, not prescription. Nothing I ever say is medical advice, as I am not of the ordained class. Nothing I sell is intended to treat or cure anything since my products are merely for wellness — if you have medical concerns I am required to refer you to the ordained or people with guns will come for me.
What is the root of this idiocy?
This incompetence does not reflect a lack in cognitive faculty, but rather a functional unintelligence. This is why you can speak to people within these groups and by and large, you could very easily get the impression they are all reasonably smart. The functional aspect to intelligence requires some objective that is being sought from which one can say whether that objective is being pursued intelligently. All of these people in this sense can be said to be locally brilliant, and this is the scale where I could be justifiably called a fool (if you were not locally a fool, one could argue that I could be succeeded regardless, but good systems have good enough error-checking, which is also why I don’t edit this newsletter. Perfect accuracy is very costly. Humans are nhrntly gd at prsng lssy nfrmtin ). And it’s perfectly fine for different people to operate at different levels of abstraction, so long as there is a final settlement layer grounded in hard physics — but what happens when settlement is not only never called for, but fundamentally uncallable by most participants? Well that is exactly the situation we face.
There is only one possible type of shared consensus that one could imagine that might organize human activity in a rigourous way attached to the physics of the universe, which would be a good that attaches to nothing of physicality, lest it compete with that thing itself, and such a thing would have to be finite, final, liquid, durable, informatic, and divisible to all scales. A finite substance that can map to everything that itself never changes is the only way to ensure that we can measure reality, which is to say, everything. Alas, our present co-ordination system does not have these attributes. The present monetary system of dollars and other fiat monies is not a closed system, but an authoritarian system that extracts wealth from everyone to give it to the wealthiest (Cantillon effect) — this of course impoverishes and enslaves people, but it also makes the wealthy functionally retarded (descriptive, not pejorative). They become unable to operate based on reality, but instead they must operate on fiat declarations and forever chase the dragon of the fiat spigot that has an infinite amount of nominal money and never settles.
If only we had an alternative that were forever fixed, then all these problems would begin to resolve as soon as its adoption completed since there would be a settlement layer of eternal truth. Intelligence in achieving something comes from truly wanting the thing itself. When one wants the right thing, the rest can be figured out, but we know desire is mimetic and the mimetic process will be forever broken until we can find an intrinsically useless object to which all scarcity can be attached, and in that process make the entirety of the world abundant, delaying mimetic violence forever, and bringing forth endless, intelligently directed human action. I will leave it to the reader to decide for themselves if such a singular object already exists and what implications that may have on their life.
The shilling part of the newsletter
People have been quite happy with the Chroma Sky Portal, but I wanted to make it more accessible so there is now a lower cost version that does not include near-infrared light in the 2nd channel. Instead, I worked with the diode manufacturer to customize an already high-fidelity white LED for the 2nd channel. This white LED has a boosted r9 value, a number that is not captured in CRI, but is of great importance since it measures fidelity of red hues that are critical to accurately rendering skin tones i.e. it will make you look good on Zoom a bit more effectively than studio photography lights. That version is also available in a smaller size unit with half the power. The sky blue channel remains the same. To recap the purpose of a narrowband sky blue, it has high melanopic lux while having low brightness, which means it is very effective, but not obnoxious the way a pure white light would be — furthermore, the sky blue channel does not include dark blue (the portion of blue that people are concerned about for eye strain on potential long term effects, though research on how harmful that actually is is a mixed bag).
Since I’m moving and won’t have access to some inventory for a while, this week I’m offering a 5-pack 50% discount on Sky Portals. You could do 3 at the desk, 1 by the bed, and 1 for a friend. Also a good option for your employees… how much is their productivity worth to you?
It also seems people really like the near-infrared flashlight I released. Someone messaged me about using it for a knee injury so I went ahead and ran the numbers. Surprisingly, if you have a very localized requirement it actually puts out a decent amount of power. It’s currently backordered so the price is temporarily dropped making it a better value than ever. There are similar items that are sold as “medical” devices and offered by medical “professionals” with a fifth of the power at ten times the cost. Don’t be a schmuck, get the “wellness” device that bypasses the health industrial complex markups or DIY it at an even lower cost. It’s just LEDs.
There is a single White Series Ironforge left and a single Redforge. Those will not be back in stock for at least a few months. Plenty of Nightshades left (best blue-blocking glasses; they let in a bit of violet light to offer a higher gamut with the minimum penalty in efficacy). Nightshades this week are buy-one get the 2nd pair 60% off with code 60glasses.
The more you share this newsletter, the more I’m incentivized to build products, increase their availability, and eventually drive down their costs. At this point, I’ll keep the doors open, but I’m not going to go out of my way to grow things… I’m going to be thinking and writing about that singular object I mentioned (and how it relates to various things) since I expect it will be possible to both implement the solutions to human health at scale, and proceed with the advanced foundational aerospace technologies I was working on — work from which I was ever so rudely interrupted from continuing.
Also, every customer can now become an affiliate. Since affiliate/influencer marketing is kind of BS these days, people must first order something before they can be an affiliate, and once they are an affiliate, they can get a 5.7% commission, but they do not give an additional discount to the customer — why would I want to punish people that organically find out about this stuff rather than through an affiliate? Sign up here if you're already a customer.
Be healthy and get lots of sunlight. The world is about to get much, much better.