Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Olde Fashioned Clay Shooting

After several years wandering in the Arabian desert, we are heading home to Canada, via Europe.  Thanks to Covid19 we cannot travel as easily as we want now, but with the shift in location, my hobbies can shift to something more green and less dusty (!?).  At long last, my Slovak permanent resident visa application is in progress with the Foreigner Police.

Since I'm an ex-army officer, I sometimes enjoy making a big noise with guns and other toys and have the bad hearing and tinnitus to show for it.  

The tinnitus is thanks to Oerlikon Contraves 35 mm AA guns and radars - very noisy things with a high firing rate and lots of fun on a large gun range. Three double barrel guns, firing at an airborne target at hundreds of rounds per second, is the ultimate in skeet shooting.  I was workshop officer of a maintenance facility for a while and since then I worked with helicopters...  Ear muffs are for sissies right? RIGHT!?  - A bit too late now...

The road less traveled may be more fun and 

you may learn something new.

An interesting quirk in the firearms regulations of most countries, is that blackpowder muzzle loading guns and rifles are considered antiques (no matter how old, or new they are) and are not as strictly controlled as modern firearms, which make them much less of a legal hassle for someone who is traveling around the globe.   

Therefore, almost anyone can go and buy a perkusni zbrane, get some blackpowder, lead balls and patches and go try to make holes in paper targets, without the need to complete reams of paperwork.  The hardware and ammo also costs a fraction as much as modern arms.  This makes it a viable hobby, of the kind where you buy all the costly kit, play with it for a year or three and then move on to the next fad...

When I was about 12 years old, I made my own blackpowder, crackers and rockets - in the good old bad old days, one could simply buy the ingredients at a chemist - who wagged his finger at me.  I stopped when, after a couple years of experimenting, the little paper tape rockets became too good for my own good.   A big one went straight up: WHOOSH! ...  it just disappeared in a blinding flash-bang - I did not see it fly at all - and then it came down right next to me:  THUNK!!! ...  and that was the last one.  It sure taught me to appreciate O'l Isaac Newton and what tends to happen immediately after something went up. 

I really can't recommend grinding your own powder, but it certainly is possible if you are fool hardy like I was as a kid - at least I was smart enough to use a small brass pestle, so I still have all my fingers.  In the middle ages, that is what the gunsmiths and alchemists in the castles did - they probably also occasionally caused the unscheduled rapid enlargement of the odd dungeon in the process.  I guess I should have been born a few hundred years earlier.  Today, it is better to buy consistent quality FFG powder at a gun store though!

Here is the Blackpowder Book: http://www.blackpowderbook.com

The reason behind the seeming lack of control is obvious: "Hey mate, hold my powder horn and ram rod, then gimme your wallet!" just ain't gonna work very well.

There are kit blackpowder guns for those who like to do woodwork that can go boom: https://www.davide-pedersoli.com/tipologia-prodotti.asp/l_en/idt_68/rifles-muzzleloading-kit-rifles.html


BTW, in my experience it is easier to disarm a mugger with a gun, than to disarm a mugger with a knife.  If you want to know how, go do some self defense classes.  Knowing how to effectively defend yourself and apply first aid (to the wannabe mugger) are essential skills that everyone should have, but simply running away is also a pretty good defense, since even a mugger won't shoot someone in the back - it goes against human nature.

When I was young and handsome, I usually carried a huge stainless steel diver's knife with me and actually pulled it twice to ward off an aspiring mugger, who then was very surprised that mine was way bigger than his and ran off (This is known as the Crocodile Dundee Effect).  Now that I am only handsome, a compact muzzle loading pistol would be more appropriate for self defence.

The thing to bear in mind is that if you can disarm someone so easily, then you can be disarmed just as easily.  So when you find yourself in a bad situation, you need to react fast and decisively and that requires training.

A muzzle loader usually gives you only one shot.  
If you want two shots, get another gun. 

The so called Dueling Pistols were not really for dueling - they were for having a second shot at an oncoming bear or tiger.  Tough and aggressive meat eating animals like human beings, bears and tigers are seldom stopped by a single shot and the kinetic energy calculations at the bottom of this article shows why.

Here is a modern looking Czech made Detonics blackpowder double barrel pistol: https://www.kentaurzbrane.cz/czechgun-gladiator-cal--500-hd-d2-professional/ 

It really doesn't look like a muzzle loader at all.  The trigger cycles between the two barrels, for double the fun.

I really don't want to be on the wrong end of this beauty and stare down those two half inch bores - you can stick your thumbs into them. (I hope that if a mugger has a gun, that he will notice that my half inch barrels are way bigger than his and run off!)

This 0.50" calibre gun is about as powerful as a modern 9 mm pistol, so it packs a good punch and you can load it with bird shot.  With a scatter shot, you are far less likely to miss completely when you are under pressure.  With a close up mugger, the blackpowder flames will cauterize his wounds...

If you want to use a muzzle loader for self protection and don't want to reload it once a week, then you need to seal the barrel with a little bit of beeswax and also seal the percussion cap with wax or nail polish, to keep humidity out of the powder.  If the charge is sealed in the barrel, then it should provide a reliable shot when called upon, just like a metal cartridge.  This is also a good idea when hunting in a wet forest.  Obviously you don't need to do this when you are only punching expensive little holes in paper targets.

Blackpowder burns relatively slowly - therefore a blackpowder gun needs to have a long barrel to reach maximum acceleration of the ball.  Old handguns had 9 inch (or longer) barrels.  Even Rambo cannot stuff one of those in his vest pocket.  The shortest barrel that packs a meaningful punch is about 6 inches, which is still quite big.  The gun size, heft, deep throated subsonic boom, smoke, fire and brimstone (OK, maybe not brimstone...) all contributes to a very fun day at the gun range.  Oh, a simple tip: Don't wear a white shirt when you go blackpowder blasting...

For indoor smoke free target shooting, you can get special propellant caps with a larger nipple and plastic bullets (no powder required).  Then you can have fun in your basement or garage - until the neighbours complain about the noise.

For self defense, I recommend loading your smoke blaster with bird shot.  Over short range, it is equally devastating as a ball, the chances of completely missing the mugger is reduced, while the danger to innocent bystanders and your neighbours in the next house, is very much reduced.

When you go hunting, you only get one shot, since after that shot, everything that can, runs & flies away and whatever stays put, is probably not edible and about to succumb of natural causes.  So hunting with a military style rifle, a bandolier full of cartridges and seven loaded magazines like Rambo, is just for show.  Since you are probably not O'l Sylvester, all that extra ammo will just wear you down and is quite useless.

Where there is smoke,

There is a fire blackpowder gun.

In practice, a dedicated hunter seldom manages to bag a deer, maybe once or twice in a decade, but they will never admit to it.  This is the same as an angler who has lots of stories about the ones that got away and seldom brings a fish home.  Same as angling, hunting is mostly done sitting down on a little wire and canvas stool and waiting, hoping for a deer with a stuffy nose that cannot smell you, to come your way before you are too cold and stiff to pick up your rifle and they seldom do.

So, most actual 'hunting' is done in your garage, cleaning the gun, tweaking the sights, molding bullets and reloading cartridges with great precision, only to go and blast them away on a shooting range at paper or clay targets.  Any Bambis, pheasants or ducks are usually quite safe. (The paper targets and skeets are frequently quite safe as well...)

Since I am not your average army muscle, but rather more of a Gadget Geek, a laser boresight calibration tool is indispensable to me and it saves a whole lot of reloading and calibration shooting to get on target: https://sightmark.com/products/337/sightmark-triple-duty-universal-green-laser-boresight/

Similarly, my guns do not have metal sights, but are fitted with red dot reflex prism sights, which is the kind of thing my great grampaw would have given his last haypenny for: https://www.opticsplanet.com/truglo-red-dot-micro-tru-tec-3-moa-dot-picatinny-pistol-blk.html

With a red dot sight, you keep both eyes open and put the dot on the target.  That is all.  The bullet will then magically convert the red dot into a black hole.  The effect is similar to a scope, but the dot is very much easier to see than cross hairs, since the projection appears in the same focal plane as the target, which seems to be more important the older you get.  I am pretty useless with an old fashioned metal sight and with a red dot, I can actually occasionally hit something.  (I'm a Signaler, and Sparkies don't get to practise shooting much in the army!).

These skeleton prism sights are so small that they can be fitted on a pistol also and then you can ask the mugger where exactly does he want the shot to go... if he wasn't sensible enough to run away already.

For moving targets, a clay thrower is a ton of fun: https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/champion-traps-highfly-string-release-trap and there are no shortage of places to go and practise, without joining a club, since contrary to what the Doomers are saying, Europe and North America are actually reforesting/rewilding: https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/publication/eur-scientific-and-technical-research-reports/agricultural-land-abandonment-eu-within-2015-2030

A problem with shooting clays with blackpowder, is that you cannot always see whether you hit the clay, due to the smoke.  (Actually, you just need to step to the side, to get out of a lingering puff of smoke. It feels like the whole world disappears in the murk, but it is really just in front of your head).  Whether you hit the clay or not though, it is the same amount of fun! 

The best tip I can give a new trap shooter, is to aim under the clay.  Your first instinct is to aim high, since the clay is flying up at first - don't do that - what goes up, will come down.  If you are lucky, you may then actually hit one or two.  If you are just starting, consider shooting at a few tethered helium party balloons first, to get the basics for how to comfortably shoulder a shot gun and aim into the air.  You'll be surprised how difficult it is to actually hit a balloon waving in the breeze.  It can be a very humbling experience.

I would love to build a super efficient clay tosser, but they are so cheap, it is really not worth the effort. Even a second hand thrower on Ebay, tends to cost more than a new one at a gun shop.


Kinetic Energy of Ball Ammunition

Here are some example numbers for the fellow Gunsmoke Geeks out there.

If something is worth doing at all, then it is worth overdoing.  

Therefore my favourite is a 1/2 inch bore.  I don't care much for peashooters!


  • 7000 grain = 1 lb
  • 2.2 lb = 1 kg
  • 15.4 grain = 1 g
  • 1 fps = 0.305 m/s
  • Cricket ball = 163 g
  • A 0.50" calibre long gun can shoot a 250 grain (16.2 g) ball at 1000 fps (305 m/s)
  • An ultra fast Cosmic Ray particle = 8 Joule
  • Speed of sound = 343 m/s = 1125 fps
Weight of a Round Lead Ball:
  • Density of lead = 11,340 kg/m3 = 11.34 g/cm3 = 0.01134 g/mm3
  • Melting point = 600 K
  • 0.50” calibre ball diameter = 0.49” = 12.446 mm (with a 5 mil cotton patch)
  • Radius = 6.223 mm
  • Vol = 4/3 π r^3
  • Vol = 4/3 x π  x 6.223^3 = 1009 mm3
  • Weight = 1009 x 0.01134 = 11.5 g
  • Weight = 11.5 x 15.4 = 177 grain

A slug or conical bullet can be much heavier than a round ball, up to about 320 grain like the slug pictured above, but 250 grain is typical for 0.50 calibre.

A Cricket Ball batted for a six at 100 km/h:
  • 100 km/h = 27.8 m/s
  • E = 1/2 x mass x velocity^2
  • Ecb = 1/2 x  0.163 x 27.8^2 = 63 Joule
  • 8 Cosmic Rays

A 15th century long bow could shoot an arrow with an impact energy of about 100 Joule, so lets see how balls and arrows compare to black powder guns.

A Pistol fired 250 grain bullet traveling at 500 fps:
  • E500 = 1/2 x 0.0162 x 153^2 = 190 Joule
  • 2 Arrows
  • 3 Cricket Balls
  • 24 Cosmic Rays

A Long Gun fired 250 grain bullet traveling at 1000 fps:

  • E1000 = 1/2 x 0.0162 x 305^2 = 754 Joule
  • 7 Arrows
  • 12 Cricket Balls
  • 94 Cosmic Rays

Muzzle velocity is clearly much more important than the ball mass and a longer barrel therefore makes a big difference.

Modern smokeless ammo could propel a bullet supersonic at more than double the speed of a blackpowder gun and could pack more than 4 times the energy, but instead what happens, is that modern guns and ammo are smaller, lighter and easier to handle, for the same punch - and - consequently not nearly as much fun as a huge, booming and smoking, pirate pistol!

Muzzle Velocity

The totally Gadget Geek way to measure muzzle velocity is with a Doppler Radar: https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1016447132

A Labradar may blow your hobby budget though.

You can also measure the average muzzle velocity with a microphone and an oscilloscope, or a laptop computer with a sound recorder, shooting at a steel plate.

Measure Bullet Velocity at the Speed of Sound

For that to work well, you got to get up early and be the first one at the range.  Note that if the microphone is placed halfway, or off to the side in an equilateral triangle, rather than next to the gun, then the exact speed of sound doesn't matter.

Here are a couple of other adventurous geeks with the same ideas:  



It could make a neat Raspberry Pi / Arduino project to calculate and display the Boom-Clang Speed instantly.  Maybe now I finally have a better use for Nixie tubes than a clock...

Have fun!


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Hosts File Junk Filter for a Mac

Take out the trash, don't bring it home.

There are always a small number of people who go out of their way to annoy everyone else.  The result is that state parks, lakes and beaches have much in common with the internet: There is a ton of trash everywhere you go.

You could install an advertisement blocker on your web browser, but those things are usually also spyware in their own way, just less so, than an unprotected network.

A Macintosh is a UNIX machine and it is actually very easy to block most trash on the internet.  Download one of the big hosts files that enumerate most trash sites and save it as file /etc/hosts

Here is a good one, provided by a kind soul: https://someonewhocares.org/hosts/zero/hosts

Instructions and explanations are in there if you are still a bit helpless about this.

It contains lists like this: track.msadcenter.afgz.com track.msadcenter.ajfy.com track.msadcenter.ama.com track.msadcenter.bfy.com track.msadcenter.bvp.com track.msadcenter.cdn.com track.msadcenter.ceio.com track.msadcenter.chpn.com track.msadcenter.cxtv.com

The is an unroutable address and the domain name on the right is the offending party.

You could edit the file and remove a few # signs to activate some more blocks for Microsoft, Google and Double Click, which may affect the operation of some sites which you may never visit anyway and you can also add ones you discover by yourself.

This works, because when the network stack does a Domain Name Lookup, it first looks inside the local hosts file.  If the name is defined there and points to nothing, then the destination becomes unreachable.  

Your internet connection will now work a whole lot faster also, since the requested garbage is simply not downloaded at all.

Simple as that.

Have fun!


Friday, August 21, 2020

RTL-SDR Weather Satellite Preamplifier

I have been playing with the SATNOGS earth observation satellite system for a few years, but since I am still living in the desert, the climate is against outdoor activities, so its been a bit low key. To work on an antenna on the roof, requires a hat, black sunglasses, a wet T-shirt, a wet towel, a litre of water and a big black umbrella and after that I'm broiled for the day...

The few times I tried to download a weather picture, it actually worked, despite having seemingly more noise than signal.  An RTL-SDR or HackRF One receiver really needs to have a low noise RF preamplifier for best results.  There are several solid state, one transistor preamp kits available that one can buy and build in an evening and stick on the antenna cable, but why do something the easy way, if one can do it the hard way?

I recently made a 'simple' (!?) power supply for a Magic Eye cathode ray tube VU meter and the same power supply circuit can be used for a one valve RF receive amplifier.

Small Sovtek 6CW4 Nuvistor
(Whatever you see on your screen is about life size!)

A problem with garden variety glass thermionic valve amplifiers is that they do not work at VHF or UHF frequencies.  The big glass tubes are good for an electric guitar at baseband and shortwave radio, but not much beyond 50 MHz.  However, there are special, low noise metal and ceramic valves, that were designed for this purpose and one can get small triodes that work up to 3 GHz.

Although these parts were in common use for about 30 years in TV receivers, most people don't know about them, because they are small and don't look like a vacuum tube. They look just like a metal can transistor, but with too many leads and instead of a silicon crystal, there is a vacuum inside!

VHF Nuvistor RF Preamplifier

The above circuit should work for a 146 MHz weather satellite, using a 6CW4 Nuvistor triode.  I got a handful from my favourite Electronics Junque Store in Russia.  

Since these tubes are very small, the internal parasitic capacitances and leakages are small.  Therefore, they can be used with either Grid leak biassing, or with Cathode biassing.  They behave almost like a NPN transistor, or a N-channel FET.

Electron tubes are very forgiving - just feed it some lecce and see what happens.  I have never managed to blow up a tube. It would require very special skillz to smoke a vacuum tube.

Circuit design for Audio is different from design for RF.  Audio circuits need to be linear and wide band over multiple octaves at base band.  RF circuits need to be narrow band and reject signals both lower and higher, to reduce the noise and improve the SNR.  For this reason, audio circuits are biassed with resistors only.  Capacitors are used to stabilize the power and provide a slow roll-off to high frequencies to prevent oscillations.  In RF circuits such as for the weather satellites at 136 to 137 MHz, the biassing and feedback are done with tuned circuits, to increase the Q and make the circuit narrow band.

Therefore, there are little coils that you should wind from magnet wire, but don't be scared of that, the designs are not critical.  However, don't put them right next to each other.  Try to keep them a little apart and at 90 degrees to each other, to minimize coupling.

Any RF circuit should be built as small as possible, to avoid problems with parasitic capacitance, inductance and coupling, but there is a limit to what one can do.  This circuit is about the highest frequency that one can still build successfully on a tag strip, but use a single ground point and use as few tags as possible.  A Christmas tree circuit with most parts soldered directly to the nuvistor is the best way to do it.  You will need some thin heat shrink tubing to prevent shorts.

Another way to do it, is to cut some squares in the copper of a single sided PCB with a Dremel cutting wheel and build a blob circuit. Use a square in the middle as the ground, with some smaller lands around it.  Drill some holes for the nuvistor leads and put it on the other side.  It would be best to sketch the physical circuitry on paper before you start.

Wind the RF Coils from magnet wire around a 1/4 inch drill bit and slide it off.  The input transformer matches a low impedance antenna to the high impedance Grid.  Wind the negative feedback RF Coil on top of the 1M resistor - the 500p capacitor  only blocks the high voltge DC.  The output transformer 40T:10T can drive a low impedance antenna cable. If the tube oscillates - remove one turn at a time from the 28T coil on the resistor, till it stabilizes (Less turns = more negative feedback = lower gain).

Be sure to use large 2 W resistors and high voltage capacitors, else you may get smoke signals.

These little triodes were widely used in television sets in the 1960s and 70s, so there are millions of them still available.  The thimble size triodes are good up to about 1 GHz and they are not really any more difficult to use than a transistor - they just need a higher supply voltage and building the PSU keeps things interesting. 

So, instead of the ubiquitous 2N2222 NPN transistor, you can use Nuvistors and amaze and confuse your fellow geeks when you hook a vacuum tube running at hundreds of volts to a Raspberry Pi or Arduino.

Well, now I don't have an excuse anymore and should grab the soldering iron and find a traditional old tobacco tin to house it in...

La voila!


Saturday, August 15, 2020

GI-7b Microwave Triode

I recently obtained an ancient Rusky GI-7b microwave C-band triode.  Packed in an innocent looking styrofoam container (I didn't know they had styrofoam in the bronze age - maybe that is how they floated the pyramid stones down the Nile!), it is quite a monster:

GI-7b Radar Amplifier Triode

This is a radar amplifier tube designed to operate while pulsing at up to 9 kV and 3 GHz.

To digress a bit, contrary to common perception, there are still lots of microwave electron tubes in use,  for example microwave ovens, radars, medical diagnostic equipment and satellites.  Travelling Wave Tubes are popular in satellite transmitters, because they are very efficient, very rugged and small. TWT amplifiers have been manufactured by the likes of Honeywell, Thales and others for over half a century - the frequency band just keeps going up and they now operate in the Ka bandhttps://aerospace.honeywell.com/en/learn/products/satellite-communications/traveling-wave-tube-amplifiers

What I would like to do one day, is build a Thermionic Valve satcom UHF preamplifier for use with a SATNOGS  Raspberry Pi earth observation ground station - just for fun.  I got some small Nuvistor tubes for that.

Really BIG electron tubes and oscillators are made in China by the Bejing Jenerator Co:  https://jenerator.en.ecplaza.net

There is also still a manufacturor of new electron tubes for audio amplifiers, the Xpo-Pul (Reflektor) factory in Saratov, Russia:   http://rutubes.com/category/reflector-tube-saratov-russia/

The big GI-7 tube is supposed to have a vacuum inside - I hope it is still in there and that it didn't crawl out through a crack in the casing - it was designed for use in a battle tank, so it should be OK!

Serious Data Sheet

The Heater and Cathode are at the bottom, the Gate in the middle and the Anode at the top.  It is wired like a simpe Triode - no confusing extra grids as in a Pentode.  I frequently wondered whether the extra grids of a Pentode really do anything useful, or are just there for marketing purposes.  Hey, five are better than three right?

Electron Tubes tend to be very forgiving things and like a little kitten, will usually try their best to please you, if you warm them up nice and cozy and feed them some lecce.  Therefore I'm wondering how it will do at a more pedestrian 335 VDC at 10 kHz baseband, in an audio amplifier output stage.  The biggest problem will likely be the 12 V, 2 A heater current - 24 Watt to do mostly nothing - maybe it will work at half that.

One should not run a tube at kilovolts in your living room anyway, since you can get X-rays and Ozone, which are both not very nice.

Some Audiophile amplifiers have a random tube or two on display and wired such that if you remove the tube, the amp stops working, while it actually doesn't do anything at all, but since I grew up with tube fired radars in the Army, I'll find a way to make it work for real!

Crazy Socket

The socket for this valve is total overkill, so I'll have to make something more aesthetically pleasing.

UHF and Microwave Ceramic Valves are usually quite easy to solder to, since the contacts are silver plated.  So I can run some copper steam tubes around the valve just for show: 

RG405/U - https://www.pasternack.com/semirigid-0.085-rg405-50-ohm-coax-cable-copper-rg405-u-p.aspx

Semi-rigid coax make nice looking steam tubes and shield the signals from 5G Audiophile interference, so you don't need a double layer tin-foil hat when you listen to my amps. https://www.aeronetworks.ca/2015/02/cool-amplifier.html

Here is the complete thermionic valve data sheet:

GI-7b Triode

Microamp per kilovolt - Hmmm...  Keep yer kotton picken fingers in yer pokkets!

What I want to do is far off the left-hand bottom end of all the curves, but it should work anyway.

For now, it will have to rest some more in my Junque Bochs.  

Maybe I'll get to it next year. 

No rush.

The tube patiently waited 50 years already, so it can wait some more!

La voila,


Saturday, August 1, 2020

Covid19 in Alberta Reality Check

It is now Jan 2021 and three new mutations of the SARS-COV2 virus have emerged.   This is inevitable.  Corona viruses mutate rapidly, but people who had the illness before, seem to be mostly immune to the new variants and very few (if any - the tests are too bad to really tell) get it a second time.
The PCR and Antigen tests are as unreliable as ever and positive 'case numbers' are still exaggerated by about 90%.  Fortunately, vaccines are now being rolled out slowly, but with very little effect at this point.  It will take several months of jabbing many millions of people to get the numbers to a meaningful level. 
It is also sad to note that many old people who survived Covid19, end up back in hospital a few months later.  This is also inevitable.  Once you are 80 years old, your probability of dying is 10%.  (The very day I wrote this, Larry King sadly passed at 87, after surviving Covid). Exploiting this reality to advance the Covid scare, is however simply unconscionable.

My analysis below which shows that there are other, far worse diseases that need urgent attention and that we are ruining the economy with disease mismanagement and misspending, is still true.

Another interesting point is that some of the Covid19 immunizations are no better than the Tuberculosis BCG vaccine and give about 60% protection.  So my suggestion of getting the BCG jab, if a Covid jab is unavailable to you, still stands.  It may not prevent you from getting sick, but you should get less severely sick.  I have many African (White, Black and Arab!) friends who all say the same thing: "I probably had Covid, was incredibly sick for four days, but there is no way to know for sure and a childhood immunization probably protected me" - so there you have it, as good a proof as any other 'internet fact'.

It is time to stop the crazy BS, or as Brazil Prez Bolsonaro said: 'Stop being sissies'.
The epidemic was clinically over, when the governments closed the unused emergency hospitals, several months ago (May/June 2020).  Since then, we are playing a weird political game, with nonsensical exaggerated 'case statistics'.
There are far worse diseases that need urgent attention and investment (2018 Canada death statistics):
  1. Malignant neoplasms: 79,536
  2. Diseases of heart: 53,134
  3. Cerebrovascular diseases: 13,480 
  4. Accidents: 13,290
  5. Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 12,998
  6. Covid19: 9,829
More data from the official Statistics Canada government web site: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1310039401 
In Alberta, Covid19 deaths (815 in 11 months of 2020) are almost as many as Opioid deaths (900 in 10 months of 2020).  https://www.alberta.ca/substance-use-surveillance-data.aspx
The Ultimate Question
How many people actually have a problem with Covid 19 and how scared do we really need to be of this disease?

Internet Statistics
A popular statistic bandied about, is that up to 80% of people are asymptomatic and 6% of patients need intensive care.

That sounds very scary, but the 6% only applies to the 20% that actually get sick, so that makes it 1% of the population, which means that 99% of the population need not be worried, but some folks are still worried that they will be the 1% - fair enough.

So much for (probably bogus) statistics off the internet and social networks.

Reality Check
Let's look at the cold, hard, real numbers, of my home state Alberta Canada, straight from the official government web sites:
  • Population: 4,428,247
  • Cases: 10,843
  • Deaths: 196 
  • Percentage of deaths: 196 * 100 / 4428247 = 0.004%
Percentage of Albertans who don't need to worry about Covid19 = 99.996%

To make that number clearer, I made a graph of the Death Rate due to Covid19 in Alberta:

Death Rate Due To Covid19 in Alberta

You cannot see it?  Maybe you need reading glasses...  

I even used a pink sticky note for emphasis, but the result is still decidedly non-scary to me.
Life is not fair - you got to grow up and deal with it.

Reality Check Against Influenza
Lets compare Covid19 to everybody's favourite, last year's Influenza, again using the official government web site data:

Population: 4,428,247
Cases: 6082
Deaths: 30
Percentage of deaths: 30 * 100 / 4428247 = 0.0007%

Percentage of Albertans who don't need to worry about Influenza: 99.9993%
(Provided that you got your flu vaccine!)

Covid19 in Alberta, is about 6.5 times more deadly than Influenza, but Influenza has widely administered vaccines, which make the number better.

The flu vaccine reduces hospitalizations by about 80%  https://www.cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/vaccineeffect.htm

Therefore, Covid19 (without vaccine) and Influenza (without vaccine) really are about equally bad.

However, Covid19 is worse for old people (80%), while Influenza is worse for young people (children and pregnant women).  For young people, the risk of Covid19 (without a vaccine) is about the same, or less than flu (with a vaccine).  

It is only old people who need to worry about Covid19 and for them, a vaccine probably won't work, because old people's immune systems likely will not react to the vaccine, and for young people it won't make much difference.

So, the question about Covid19 vaccines is: Why bother, if it won't help either way?

We need to find different treatments and there already are some, for example Antibody treatments:

Now, after six months, now that it is all over, some people want to make masks mandatory in public:

I'm not actually against masks, since I suffer from pollen/dust allergies and it may reduce the prevalence of Influenza, TB and common colds slightly, but don't expect masks to be much use against Covid19, because it is over already.

It Is Over
In the England and Wales, the Covid19 deaths have gone down for the 20th consecutive week and all deaths, are below the 5 year average:

It is hard to fathom what more proof people need that it is over and that it is time to get back to more important things.

In the USA, after the very vulnerable people sadly passed away, the illness continues to burn through the healthy population, the majority of whom will not get seriously sick, the death rate keeps going down and is now around 1000 per day, which is very low compared to the peak:

In Canada, the death rate is down to about 1 per day (mostly Quebec):

The 'second wave'? There will only be a second wave if there is a second 'new' virus.  This one already had multiple 'waves' and has burned out.  (This actually happened by the end of 2020 - there are now multiple mutations)

Bogus Case Numbers
Ignore the bogus 'case numbers' - they do not reflect reality at all.  The PCR test is effectively a negative test.  If it finds that you are negative, then you can be pretty sure that you are indeed negative.   
However, if you test positive, then you are only 5% to 15% sure that you are positive!
Testing can show any number anyone wants to see, since the vast majority of positive cases, 85% to 95%, are false positiveshttps://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(20)30453-7/fulltext Therefore, if you want a worse number of cases, just test more people, as seen in the below graphs.

No correlation between Cases and Deaths in Canada

It is abundantly clear that there is no correlation between cases and deaths in Canada, unless you think that rising cases means less deaths.  
The testing system clearly doesn't work, produces very large numbers of False Positive results and is therefore mostly a waste of time and money:

As a comedian put it:
If you do more IQ tests, the moron number will also go up.

The only hard number that is difficult to bodge, is the death rate, since we don't usually test people multiple times to make sure...

BS Detectors Needed
A problem that I see is that the good Doctors in charge of the epidemic response are not Farmers, Mathematicians or Engineers and are udderly unable to detect BS projections.  

Budding Epidemiologists should please read this book:
Calling Bullshit
The Art of Scepticism in a Data-Driven World
Jevin D. West (author), Carl T. Bergstrom (author)

BS Example: BC Scary Statistics
Look at this scary graph!  The lines are going up!  We are all going to die!

BS Line Graph:
  • The top two lines are cumulative totals - they cannot go down.
  • The third line is the difference between them.  It is just as useless.
  • The Deaths line is also a cumulative total, designed to scare.
  • The only lines that are somewhat useful, are the bottom two - the deaths and the new cases.
If you look at the bottom line, you will see that there never was much of a peak anywhere - just a little noise ripple barely above zero. 

BC doesn't even publish a graph for daily deaths, because it is mostly zero and currently there are only 3 people in Intensive care.

The new cases number is not really useful, since it depends on the testing strategy and is not the real new cases at all.  In addition, most people never actually get sick (Asymptomatic means that you are not sick!) and most of those that do fall ill, recover in about 7 to 10 days, without going to a hospital, same as with Influenza.

Despite the very scary graphs, the real impact of the disease in BC is very minor, same as in AB.  You just need to ignore all the BS, which is almost everything they publish.

Covid Mathematics
It appears that Covid Mathematics is a branch of Bistro Mathematics, the science behind the Infinite Improbability Drive invented by the late Douglas Adams in his Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy series.  

O'l Douglas postulated that: 
When it is infinitely improbable that something will ever happen, 
it will happen almost immediately.

Here is a good refutation of the predictions of doom:

Dear Lord, please save us from the Crazy Doomers.


However, an old stalwart, the BCG vaccine, seems to be almost as good (about 80% of deaths are prevented) and it is available right now.   A specific vaccine may not be any better that this one, percentage wise, but for individuals where the one fails, the other may help - so get all immunizations.

Luis E. Escobar,  View ORCID ProfileAlvaro Molina-Cruz, and Carolina Barillas-Mury
PNAS July 28, 2020 117 (30) 17720-17726; first published July 9, 2020 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2008410117

The analysis shows that the Covid19 disease mainly affects South Western Europe and the Americas.  The impact on the rest of the world is very minor, probably thanks to the BCG and other immunizations bolstering the immunity of most everybody. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200915-the-mystery-of-why-some-vaccines-are-doubly-beneficial

For example, I had these immunizations:
Smallpox, Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis, Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Pertussis, Diphtera, Varicella Zoster, Tetanus, many Influenzas and possibly one or two more that I can't remember.  West Europeans and Americans would never have heard of most of these illnesses and were never immunized against them.  Bear in mind that all organisms on earth share a whole lot of genes - the horrible single cellular ones also, with the result that some vaccines can provide wide protection.

The above graphs indicate that the Covid19 disease is a failure of primary health care in a part of the world where states under invested in immunizations for the past 100 years and are now reaping the fruits.  Et tu Quebec!

So if you don't have the TB vaccine marks on your left shoulder, maybe you should get it - if you are too old already, then it won't help though: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200708121433.htm  

A little googling will find more results, since several BCG evaluations are now drawing to an end.

Stop worrying and get a BCG vaccine.

MMR and Polio Vaccines
Not only BCG, the MMR and Polio vaccines also help to reduce the severity of Covid19:https://www.parsemus.org/covid-19/

All of these studies indicate why the countries that skimped on primary health care, are doing so badly.

It Really Is Over
With the death rate due to Covid19 down to around 1 per day, Canadians need to get on with their lives.

Ignore the false positive BS case numbers and unscientific exaggerated projections.

Covid19 was only a problem in about 10 countries in the world, which doth not a pandemic make.  It shows that there is a problem with Primary Health Care in these 10 countries, the rest of the world is doing OK.

Type this into Google: "covid deaths slovakia" (or any other European country), then you will get a graph like this one:

That number 6, is really six, not six thousand, or six hundred, just six.  Slovakia is in the exact centre of Europe and is a good example.  Most of the European graphs look the same. (By the end of 2020, there are a few new mutations and the Central Europe numbers are looking worse, but still much better than Western Europe).
The Second Coming of Covid
The amazingly bad Covid19 PCR tests are now causing a false positive Second Coming of Covid - which is all hype and little substance, with about 90% false positive rates.

As a comedian an California put it:
If the first lockdown worked, why are we doing it again?
If the first lockdown didn't work, why are we doing it again?
Look at these scary BS Graphs with vast numbers of false cases.  No matter how hard the hysterical Doomers are crying, the hospitalizations and deaths in the UK, France and elsewhere, stubbornly refuse to go up as bad as the 'case' numbers imply.


There is no correlation between the test results and reality, unless you believe that more cases lead to fewer deaths - if that was true, then please bring on some more.
The 'case load' differences between states may all be due to different types of tests, made by different companies, giving different results.

Clearly, the PCR test results are mostly useless, but you will not see the above graphs in a newspaper, since it will give the game away. (Jan 2021: After almost a year of Covid19, the tests are still as bad as ever.  They give some idea of the problem spread, but the positive numbers are about 90% exaggerated.).
Other Treatments
There is a lot of hyperventilation around the vaccines, but there are other treatments that work for people that are already sick, for example Ivermectin works - together with Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin:

Post Mortem
What really happened?
A horrible Common Cold virus wrecked the world economy.  That is what happened.
Initially, everyone was scared, since it was an unknown killer disease which spread very rapidly.  Inappropriate tests and false statistics made it look much worse.  A disproportionately huge amount of money and resources was invested in combating the spread and finding a cure.  Now, we need to recoup that investment and the only face saving way to do that, is to convince everyone on the planet to pay for the immunization.
There is no need to suspect conspiracy, 
when collective stupidity provides a sufficient answer.

The new Corona virus immunization is not a bad thing - it may help against other Corona viruses as well; and anything that helps against the Common Cold, is good by me!


PPS -The BS Pandemic
It is a very sad reflection on the poor state of education in Canada (and many other countries) that the Covid-19 Pandemic has turned into an absolute farce of nonsensical statistics, fueled by inappropriate tests with ridiculous false positive rates.  Any rational person can look at the graphs and see that it has devolved into a pure BS Pandemic.
I can now smell a pandemic of law suits coming because of this nonsense:


PPPS - Forced Lockdowns
Even the World Hypochondriac Organisation (WHO) now advises against lockdowns, since it doesn't actually do anything to curb the spread of disease:
“Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, 
and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer,”  
-- Dr. David Nabarro of the WHO.

Ozzies are also clueing in:
Sweden, Switzerland and Belarus are now vindicated, but freedom of speech and scientific discussion are still actively suppressed by the (il)Liberal media:


PPPPS - Beware of a Man of only One Book
The tests are not perfect.  Tests provide a statistical result, not a binary Yes/No result.
Slovakia tested 2.5 million people using a fast test.  This test has a 0.4% false positive rate and a 3% false negative rate.  The outcome was that 1% of the people had a positive result.  
Now what does that mean?
It means that of the 25,000 people who tested positive, about half are really sick.
(The other half will be served with divorce papers after sitting at home for two weeks).
Another problem is that among the 2.48 million who tested negative, there may be further tens of thousands who are really sick, but they do not know who.  So who should be quarantined - the 25,000 or the 2.48 million?
Beware of a Man of only One Test

Obviously the politicians demanded that the 25,000 stay home for ten days, but one should not make these decisions with only a single test.  Any simple test strategy can miss the majority of sick people and inconvenience a large number of healthy people.


Please don't let the Hypochondriacs run the Asylum again. 

Ignore the exaggerated BS predictions of the Doomers.

Don't make a mountain out of a mole hill.

Get all available immunizations.

Enjoy life.  


Friday, July 24, 2020

Thermionic Valve Power Supply

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor

I like to tinker with old fashioned thermionic valve circuitry - tubes, for the 'Merrykins.  It is strangely crude and simple and they make a friendly orange glow in the evening.  However, powering the things is hard, due to the high voltages that are required to overcome the vacuum.

The below picture shows how I build these toys.  It happens on the fly.  This is a hobby, so I don't kill myself with design calculations.  The tag strips enable experimentation to adjust things till it works properly.  The VU Meter even has a little transistor in there - sheer desperation!

Transformerless Valve Power Supply

One can use transformers, but they are big, heavy and expensive and shipping hunks of metal around the world make it even more so.  It makes sense to use transformers if you build a high power circuit with multiple valves, such as a guitar amplifier, but a small circuit with only one or two valves presents a problem.  

For a small fun display project using Nixie, Magic Eye or VFD tubes, you certainly don't want a huge box with a heavy transformer.  However, the project should be self contained, with nothing else connected to it.  Also, rather don't put a headset on a valve amplifier - a high voltage on your ears may be a little too hot!

VU Meter Top Panel

This article describes how to build a reactive heater supply and a rectified mains high tension supply, that will not break the bank, or your back, or risk burning your house down.

The problem is that the mains supply is 'dirty'.  The Earth wire sometimes isn't earthed.  The Neutral and Live wires can be swapped.  There can be high voltage spikes caused by air conditioners, industrial machinery and lightning.  So if you want your circuitry to last longer than a few months, then you need to protect it carefully.  You can either use a big hunk of transformer iron and copper to provide the protection, or you can use a few carefully selected specialized components, to do that with a little more finesse.

Circuit Protection

You should combine the two circuits below after the choke.  I drew them separately to make it more clear.

Safety Capacitors
A Safety Capacitor is self healing and self extinguishing.  If it gets zapped by a high voltage spike, then it will carry on working despite the puncture.  Eventually, the capacitor may fail, but while it may smoke, it will not burst into flames and burn your house down.  They are expensive, but rather cheaper than a new house.  It is the big blue block in the picture.

A polymer fuse typically contains little spheres of metal inside a rubber compound.  Normally the spheres make contact and the fuse conducts.  When it heats up, the rubber relaxes and the spheres lose contact, interrupting the current.  When the device cooled down, it will again conduct.  In case of a fault, it will cycle on/off.  In an extreme failure, it will melt permanently and open the circuit.  You absolutely must use a fuse.  You will get shorts, arcs, or blown parts from time to time, when working with high voltages.

Common Mode Choke
A common mode choke will block current spikes that are the same phase on both the live and neutral wires - for example lightning induced spikes.  There are two ways to wind a common mode choke: 
1. Double up some thin hookup wire and feed it through a toroid ten to twenty times, but then it is prone to arc between the two windings - it is easy to damage the wire coating while winding on a toroid with sharp edges (some toroids are really dreadful).
2. Make two separate windings on the 'left' and 'right' sides of the toroid for beter isolation. Start on the outside and dive into the middle - keep going.  It seems to be opposite, but it is not, the two windings rotate the same way. 

To hold the windings, drop the toroid onto a sharpened pencil held upright in a vice, then glue it with epoxy or a drop of varnish.

Gas Arrestors
Place a gas arrestor between both Live and Neutral to Ground.  A gas arrestor is a non-linear device (it is a special neon bulb).  A high voltage spike will cause the gas to form a plasma and conduct. It will continue to conduct, until the voltage subsided.  In the extreme, it will arc over between two sharp points.  This will absorb both common and differential mode spikes on the mains wires.  You can get centre tapped ones and single ones - your choice.  

You can also use two zinc oxide MOVs, but since we are talking about vacuum tubes, gas discharge arrestors are more cool.

Turret Boards and Terminal Strips
I build olde fashioned circuits on olde fashioned Turret Boards and Terminal Strips.  These are authentic early 20th century strips of Bakelite with solder pins or eyelets https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/tubedepot/534-831/2197-534-831-ND/10488281

Building on these strips is error prone.  This time I managed to solder a resistor directly across live and neutral - it made a nice flash.  So it is good to have a self resetting Polyfuse.  If you prefer glass tube fuses, be sure to have a dozen available, since they only give you one shot at a mistake!

Heater Current Supply

The heater supply uses a ballast capacitor to drop the excess voltage, without generating heat as you would with a series resistor. This is a nifty trick which is smaller than the smallest available 6V3 transformer, but your need to get a capacitor that is designed for the purpose and it is therefore much bigger and more expensive than a garden variety capacitor.  They are known as Safety Capacitors, or Motor Run capacitors and can continuously source AC current.

Heater voltage for two valves in series = 12.6 V
Heater Current = 300 mA

(I used an ancient manual CAD program, known as a pencil)

Mains: 220 VAC at 50 Hz
Vdrop = 220 V - 12.6 V = 207.4 V RMS 
(Yankees need to recalculate using 115 V and 60 Hz)

Capacitor impedance = 1 / 2 x Pi x f x C 

4.7 uF:
Z = 1 / 2 x 22 / 7 x 50 x 4.7 x 10^-6 = 677 Ohm imaginary

Assuming that the mains voltage is much larger than the heater voltage, we can ignore the 90 degree phase shift for the following calculations and simplify, just because I'm lazy to punch more buttons on the calculator:
Vin^2 = Vc^2 + Vh^2
Vin ~= Vc + Vh

230 V Supply:
217.4 V / 677 Ohm = 321 mA

220 V Supply:
207.4 V / 677 Ohm = 306 mA

Capacitor: 871-B32926A4475K
Safety Capacitors, 4.7uF, 10%, 350Vac, LS, 37.5mm

Initially, I did not have a 4.7 uF safety capacitor available, so at first I used five caps in parallel for the prototype, which is of course 5 times more expensive and bulky, but it took a while for the next Mouser delivery to get here.

Also put a 1 Megohm 2 Watt bleed resistor in parallel with the capacitor and a 22 Ohm, 5 W resistor in series with the capacitor, to limit the start-up current until the heaters warmed up, because the heaters are non-linear and have a much lower resistance when cold (~6.5 Ohm vs ~22 Ohm).

Test the heater supply with a 22 Ohm (one valve heater) to 47 Ohm (two valve heaters), 10 Watt resistor.  Once wired to the valves, measure the current and voltage and adjust the series resistor if necessary. The green thing next to the blue block in the picture is a 22 Ohm 5 Watt resistor (The schematic above still says 10 Ohm, but 22 Ohm, 5 Watt works better for me!).

Be sure to wire the two tube heaters in series.  When you turn the system on, the current will slowly go down and the voltage will slowly go up, as the heaters heat up and their resistance increase.  Eventually, the tubes should be glowing a nice and friendly orange and the voltage should be around 12V6 AC.  I measured up to 11.9 V AC, which is gud enuff.  If the voltage and current is way out, then you need to adjust the series resistor (don't touch it - it gets very hot!).

High Tension Supply

The high tension for a typical valve circuit needs to be in the order of 100 to 300 VDC.  Valves are very forgiving - when they work, they work - and contrary to popular belief, they last for many years.  Lots of the parts on the market were 'lightly used' in a military installation for 30 or 40 years, half a century ago and they still work!

You can get the HT voltage by rectifying the European mains supply and then drop the excess with a series resistor on the valve Anode.  Use high voltage diodes with a rating higher than the protection circuitry and another safety capacitor to stabilize the voltage.  (If you live in the US of A or Canada with 115 VAC, then you need to make a voltage doubler instead.)

Note that most European plugs can be inserted any which way.  If you live in Europe, then it is probably a good idea to install two fuses, in both the L and N leads and also use a DPST toggle switch.

Mains: 220 VAC @ 50 Hz
Bridge rectifier Vht = 1.414 x 220 V = 311 VDC

Mains: 230 VAC @ 50 Hz
Bridge rectifier Vht = 1.414 x 230 V = 325 VDC

Mains: 240 VAC @ 50 Hz
Bridge rectifier Vht = 1.414 x 240 V = 339 VDC

Diode, 1000V, 1A: 1N4007 (1 off or 4 off)

Capacitor: Electrolytic, 100 uF 450 VDC

Capacitor: Ceramic, 10 nF 1000 VDC

I used a single diode, half wave rectifier and a 10 uF, 350 V DC capacitor for the prototype, till my Mouser order arrived.  That is the advantage of terminal boards - easy to change and fix later.

However, the 10 uF, 350 VDC electrolytic capacitor was a very bad idea.  It self oscillated, thus generating a very high voltage >1000V, with various weird and wonderful things happening as a result, but since the rest of the circuit wasn't built yet, it did not cause further damage.  

Eventually I replaced it with a Ceramic 10 nF 1000 V, paralelled with a Ceramic 1 uF 1000 V,  paralelled with an Electrolitic 100 uF 350 VDC capacitor, which calmed the HT supply down and since it now finally works, I'll just leave it like that.  How this works, is that the X rated ceramic capacitor has the lowest impedance and handles the brunt of the ripple, which is then further smoothed by the 100 uF Electrolytic and the little 10 nF in parallel with it, damps any self oscillations in the Electrolytic capacitor.

Note that you must use 2 Watt resistors to discharge the capacitor bank and drive the Neon indicator bulb, not because of the power dissipation, but because of the high voltage.  A 1/4 Watt resistor will arc and make cryptic smoke signals.

Protection Circuitry

Resettable fuse: 576-600R150-RAR
Voltage: 350 V maximum
Current 300 mA

Gas arrestors: From each mains wire to ground
Gas arrestor: 652-2045-40-BT1LF
Spark over: 400 V

Common mode choke: 10 to 20 turns, double wound
Toroidal core: 80-ESD-R-10E
Size: 10 mm OD, 5 mm ID, 5mm height

Also put a 1 Megohm 2 Watt bleed resistor in parallel with the capacitor banks.  You won't be sorry if the capacitor is safely discharged when you touch the wires...

Test the HT supply with a 33 kilohm, 5 Watt resistor.

Indicator Lamp
What is a power supply without an indicator lamp?  A little NE2 neon bulb with a 1M to 3M3 resistor in series over the 325 VDC supply output will work, but it will be boring.  If you put a 470 nF or 1 uF capacitor in parallel with the bulb then it will flash - a relaxation oscillator.  

The capacitor will never see a voltage higher than about 90 V, but if the neon would ever pop, then the cap may pop too, so it is best to use a 1000 V ceramic or self healing safety capacitor.  

Please don't use a blue LED with valves.  A blue LED in a valve circuit should be illegal - A crime against humanity.

Personal Safety

When you work with thermionic valves, be sure to put a rubber carpet on the floor and house your project in a well insulated ABS, bakelite or wood enclosure, away from curious little prying fingers!

For this hobby, one not only needs a soldering iron, one also needs quite a serious woodworking shop - bench saw, drill press, router, planar, sander, maybe even a CNC machine!

Power on: Over the years, I have had multiple components explode at first power up, so do put a transparent plastic box over the project and stand some distance away when turning it on.  A capacitor may explode, or something may arc and maybe you can see what happened through the plastic shield and smoke...

La Voila!


Monday, July 20, 2020

Its Over!

It is time to stop the crazy BS.  
The epidemic was clinically over, when the governments closed the unused emergency hospitals, four months ago.  Since then we are just playing a weird political game with nonsensical 'statistics'.
There are far worse diseases that need urgent attention and investment (2018 death statistics):
  1. Malignant neoplasms: 79,536
  2. Diseases of heart: 53,134
  3. Cerebrovascular diseases: 13,480 
  4. Accidents: 13,290
  5. Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 12,998
  6. Covid19: 9,829
More data here on the official Statistics Canada government web site: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1310039401 
In Canada, even Stupidity (13,290), kills more people than Covid19 (9,829) 
The Covid19 epidemic is over, but people are so scared, because of the exponentially exaggerated projections, that they now refuse to listen to reason, as explained in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHbwAd5gkMM

A big problem is that the crazy-news media concentrate on the scary projections and ignore the real statistics.  Let's look at the USA CDC Covid19 death count report Table 1 - literally the cold hard facts

Over the hump

After the very vulnerable people sadly passed away, the illness continues to burn through the healthy population, the majority of whom will not get seriously sick, the death rate keeps going down and is now around 1500 per day, which is very low compared to the peak.

Every week, you can go back and look at a new version of this graph and every week you will see that it doesn't go back up, it just keeps going sideways.  It is a very boring graph and in this case, boring is good.

In the US, even the president is not allowed to point out publically on Twitter that children are almost immune to the disease, as shown clearly in the CDC graph above. The whole thing is terribly politicised there and the Democrat mass media controls the narative, science be damned.

The death rate is independent of the infection rates, so loved by the crazy-news papers.  There are no strong peaks in the table when the infection rates climb, NY stopped their lock down, political rallies broke the lockdowns, etc, meaning that all the preventative measures have had little to no effect on the death rate.

Sweden with no lockdown, had lower slopes than the UK with lockdown.

This disease is extremely contageous, it is in the air, it is carried by pets and other mammals.  It is in our food supply https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-outbreak-at-sandwich-factory-as-nearly-300-staff-test-positive-12048597 and the expensive lockdowns were not effective.  It may have prevented some healthy people from being inconvenienced, but it did not prevent old and sick people from getting sick with Covid19 and dying of it.  Deaths are only prevented by medical intervention and treatments in hospital.  

The lockdowns clearly did not 'flatten the curves' - the disease carried on spreading - Sweden's curve is 'flatter' than either Belgium or the UK, while many Central and East European countries have so few deaths, it is in the noise floor (Slovakia with 5 million people, had 30 deaths in total).  The disease is clearly only a problem in South-Western Europe and the Americas - the rest of the world is largely immune to it - probably due to a different immunization regime.

Lockdowns are even worse than not helping, since many people died because of the lockdowns for reasons such as hunger and lack of medical treatment of other conditions:

Graphs for every country in Europe look the same.  The graphs go up steeply and come down slowly, just a few weeks earlier in time, compared to the US.  

In the England and Wales in the UK, the Covid19 death toll decreased for the 20th consecutive week and is below the Infuenza death toll since June 2020

In Europe, Covid19 is fish paper - yesterday's news.

North America is not far behind Europe and indeed,  for the past 3 weeks, deaths from all causes in the USA was also below the expected.  See Table 1, Percent of expected deaths:

These graphs are updated once a week by the CDC.  One cannot argue with this data since it is not predictions, it is real stone cold deaths.  Normally, deaths are dispiriting, but in this case, the contrast is so stark with the wild exponential predictions, that it is actually encouraging and unlike James Bond, people only die once.

Of course, once the death rate bounces back up to normal, the crazy papers will tell of the second coming of Covid, while the near zero bumps in the curves are really because all the vulnerable people died a few weeks/months earlier than they would have without Covid19.

Lately, there is news in Europe about a second wave of infections.  We shall see what happens in two weeks with the death counts, after the Grim Reaper walked by.  My hope is that there won't be many, since this wave is amongst younger people - and guess what, weeks later, the death rate just keeps going down.

More information on real numbers vs scary exponential projections, done by people in the insurance industry, who wanted to know what would happen to their businesses if people really started dying in droves as the projections indicated: https://www.pandata.org.za/

"The death rate is inversely proportional to the amount a country spends on health care."  

This conundrum is due to the disease disproportionately affecting older people (80%).  Poor countries don't have old people - they die young, since they don't invest in health care.  There is also some new research coming in on Covid19 vs age and immune system T-cells (old people have fewer), which may explain the problem and lead to new treatments.
Here is a graph that Americans are not allowed to see.  If you are American, please close your eyes and don't peep:

According to the BBC, more than 50% of Mumbai slum dwellers already had Covid19 and the death rate is about 1 in 2000, or 0.05%, which is so close to zero that one cannot graph it - you will only see the x and y axes with nothing in the graph:

Send the children back to school, they will be fine.  The older teachers may have a worry, but not the children.

Why is Boris Johnson wearing a mask?  He already had the illness.  Apparently he forgot.

It's over folks.  Light a candle for the lost souls and move on.  


The Weekly Virus
According to these BBC graphs, the relationship between the scary case numbers and actual deaths, is clearly very weak.  

The main take-away appears to be that if you need to go to the US, schedule your business over a weekend and you will be safe...
The testing system clearly doesn't work properly, produces very large numbers of False Positive results and is therefore mostly a waste:


Further reading: 
Calling Bullshit
The Art of Scepticism in a Data-Driven World
Jevin D. West (author), Carl T. Bergstrom (author)


Dear lord, please save us from the Crazy Doomers...


Specific vaccines are now in the test phase:

However, an old stalwart, the BCG vaccine, seems to be almost as good (about >80% of deaths are prevented) and it is available right now.  

Luis E. Escobar,  View ORCID ProfileAlvaro Molina-Cruz, and Carolina Barillas-Mury
PNAS July 28, 2020 117 (30) 17720-17726; first published July 9, 2020 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2008410117

So if you don't have the TB vaccine marks on your left shoulder, maybe you should get it: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200708121433.htm  

A little googling will find more results, since several BCG tests are now drawing to an end, but the result is obvious to those who care to look at the death rates in Eastern Europe: 30 in Slovakia, 600 in Belarus, meaning that more people die per day in the USA of Covid19, than in six months in these countries.


BCG Vaccine
Stop worrying and get a BCG shot:

MMR and Polio Vaccines
Not only BCG, the MMR and Polio vaccines also help to reduce the severity of Covid19:

All of these studies indicate why the countries that skimped on primary health care, are doing so badly.


Covid19 was only a problem in about ten countries in the world, which doth not a pandemic make.

Type this into Google: "covid deaths slovakia", or any other European country, to get a nice graph.  Note that Slovakia is exactly in the centre of Europe:

That number 6 is really six, not six thousand, or six hundred, just six.  Most of Europe looks similar.


PS - The Second Coming of Covid
The European and American politicians and news media are all in hysterics about a second wave:

Sorry guys, but it just ain't happening.  Even the weekend bumps have subsided.

The problem is that the unreliable tests created a wave of false positives.  Something may be brewing, but the data is not reliable.


PPS - The BS Pandemic
I can smell a pandemic of law suits coming because of this nonsense:


PPPS - Forced Lockdowns
Even the World Hypochondriac Organisation (WHO) now advises against lockdowns, since it doesn't actually do anything to curb the spread of disease:
“Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, 
and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer,”  
-- Dr. David Nabarro of the WHO.

Ozzies are also clueing in:
Sweden, Switzerland and Belarus are now vindicated, but freedom of speech and scientific discussion are still actively suppressed by the (il)Liberal media:


Please don't let the Hypochondriacs run the Asylum again.

Ignore the crazy unscientific predictors of doom.

Don't make a mountain out of a mole hill.
Get all available vaccines.
Enjoy life.

La voila!