Hello World, How are you?

Things to think about as we sit staring at the same four walls for weeks on end.

Yes, it is another day here in Texas. I am taking a break from my day job to tell you all hello.

The stories I hear are heartbreaking.  So many good people are succumbing to this plague that was unleashed upon humanity.

I am not going to preach about God or Christianity here.  I respect you all way too much to do that.  I will tell you that there is lots of useful information contained in the Bible.  A book that I find the most issues with is Leviticus.  Still not preaching, I was thinking about the advice of what not to eat.

Some of our friends around the globe eat things that ought not to be eaten.  I am speaking about the wet markets not only in China, but many countries have them.  Whether the market was an accelerant for the virus, created in some lab or it jumped from creature to human there, had they not had this living petri dish of dead and dying animals for sale, we would not be in this fix.

If you think Levitical law was God’s actual words, beautiful.  If you, like I, believe that man had a hand in writing this, fine.  Some of the things in there just make sense.  Take a look for yourself.

Many of you are probably way too young to know who Red Skelton was.  He was a comedian in a time that you could be funny without using four-letter words.  One of his signature lines was..(Pretending he was a child)  “If I do it, I get a whipping…..I do it.”

I am confident that in writing, it loses some of its zing but, he was brilliant, and…there is a lesson there.

Unlike many of my Christian friends, I also believe Darwin knew a thing or two.  If we did not have air travel, those that practice unsafe and unwise habits would just go away.  They die off, leaving the strongest, fittest, and yes, the smartest, left to live another day.

The virus would not have left Wuhan or the Chinese mainland for sure.

Since we have air travel, just possibly, this is an argument for a governing body that supersedes other governments, much like we have in the states.  The governor of the state is elected and can be overruled by the federal government if they act ‘stupidly.’  We have a few right now that need to be overridden and voted out when the next election rolls around.

The wet markets are a scourge and stupid.  Just possibly, we need some international norms to follow if you want to leave your country.

Harsh, I don’t think so.  When this plague is over, ask those who lost loved ones what they think.  Ask the millions of people who are staring at four walls how they feel.  Ask the milllions who are now out of work if they think that things need to change.  How about the small business or large business people who will never recover.  This virus has had an effect on 7.4 billion people!  Ask them how they feel about wet markets.

With international air travel happening all day and night, seven days a week, practices like wet markets and biological manipulations of viruses must be stopped.

You who live in those countries are not who I am addressing.  The leaders of all of the nations are who I am speaking to.

Plagues like this one were avoidable, and if some common sense laws were followed, we would not be where we are today.

Having said that, I am working on a new series of, how to self-publish, that I will be releasing in the weeks ahead.

Many of you would like to give it a whirl, and don’t know where to start.  I have run the gauntlet and have it mastered, kind of.

With over 32 novels in markets around the globe, I must be doing something right.

Hang in there, I am thinking about you and wish you health and happiness.

Much Love -TW

 

 

Airborne?  Cats with COVID?

We really need to know if this thing is airborne.

 

Why do I get a feeling there is so much that they are not telling us?

Several Tigers at the Bronx zoo are infected with this virus, got that?

They say that an asymptomatic worker was infected and gave it to one of the tigers.  That would mean that this person was closer than 6 feet from the animal.  Ummm, was he or she petting it?

We learned that your housecat can get it, but cannot give it to a human.  How do they know that?  The virus, however, can land on the fur, then you pet the cat, and touch yourself and viola you are infected.

What other animals, insects, etc. can get and transmit this virus?  Some versions of the coronavirus have been around for a long time, so we should have some idea how this works.  What is different about this strain or version?

Wild conspiracy theories are floating around.  I am not a tin foil hat person.  I love them as they are fodder for novels, but as for the real deal, I don’t buy into that stuff.  If you read my novel Presidential Assassins, you will get an idea of some of the wild theories I came up with, but what I heard today takes the cake.

Are you ready for this one?

According to the tinfoil hat brigade, the Chinese paid someone in our country to invent or bioengineer this virus to sterilize men.  Let me say that again.  Due to the overpopulation in China, they hired someone here to create a virus or modify one that would render men sterile.

In my book Under Roswell, I came up with that scenario on an alien world which backfired and rendered the entire population of men sterile.

In Saga of the Starduster, one of my aliens modify a virus to attack the cancer cells of our protagonist.  The problem with single-stranded viruses is, they are unstable.  They can and generally do mutate.  While they are great fodder for novels, nobody in their right mind would mess with them, unless they were trying to create a doomsday scenario.  Viruses are not picky about who they attack.

Even if you were stupid enough to create the virus, create the vaccine and then infect the enemy or ‘other guys’ the thing would mutate taking out the entire population. No, this is truly a doomsday scenario.

Some are arguing that it was here much earlier, and that is why many were sick in November.  Ummm, I got sick after taking the flu shot.  Two weeks to the day, I came down with the flu.

Firstly I waited way too late in the year to get it and, I learned a thing or two about the human immune system.

When your body is creating antibodies for whatever strain of flu they think might be prevalent that year, your immune system, much like the shields on the Enterprise or the health bar on your avatar goes down.  The same is true when you donate blood FYI.

When your defenses are low, you cannot fight off the bugs that are in the air or on surfaces.

You might have noticed that one thing all the doctors do say is to take vitamins, eat right, and take care of your immune system—good advice to follow.

Other than social distancing and washing your hands, I don’t see much else that we can do.

I do want them to run some air samples in and around hot zones to see if the damned thing is airborne.

Tweet that yourself with the #askbirx.  I genuinely don’t have any idea how a layperson gets the attention of the task force.  Make this trend.

Stay safe and stay home.

Much love -TW

 

Is this virus airborne?

A mask or other face covering, Why?

 

I am not trying to panic anyone, so don’t think that I am.  We are too much like a herd of animals and spook with the best of them.  I point to the empty shelves in most stores as a prime example of this behavior.

Some things don’t add up.  I want this to get to the task force at the white house.  Retweeting and sharing this with the hashtag #askbirx might do it.

Like all things unknown, the question about mask plagued me (pun intended).   The reasons it bothered me were the ambiguities put forth by the ‘Presidents’ task force.  Should the public be wearing a mask or other face-covering?

Tucker Carlson on Fox News was animate about the question as in his mind; it just made sense.  Yes and no.  They were not forthcoming with their reasoning.

Guess what, unless you can find the surgical kinds of masks the professionals use, you are wasting your time and money.  They don’t want you to ‘find them’ as the healthcare workers need them more than you.  That is part of the reason for the ambiguities, Tucker, here is the ‘rest of the story.’

The virus is too small to be seen with an ordinary microscope.  Bacteria are visible with a compound microscope (barely), but a virus is not.  A virus is about 100 to 120 nanometers or about a thousand times more massive than an atom.  To keep that in perspective, they are much smaller than bacteria (which is a cell.)  Bacteria are ten times smaller than a normal human cell.

Using this analogy might make more sense to you.  If the virus were a coin, it might be the size of a dime and the bacteria the size of a platter.  The holes in your scarf, or weave of the fabric, would look like a football field to the virus.  Got it?

Now, if you understand that, you can take a magnifying glass and see the holes in the weave of your scarf or bandana. A mask used for woodworking and other hobby related activities is still much too porous to protect you against a virus, or bacteria for that matter.

The bottom line is this, a mask or other face-covering might…’ might’ blunt the amount, or distance, of a virus that you shed.   That is the only reason to wear anything.  Any face covering will not replace social distancing, and until we have the facts about the virus’s ability to be airborne, even that is genuinely suspect.

This is why the White House has been putting out such mixed messages regarding the wearing of a mask.  The health care workers need the infamous N95 mask as they are in close proximity to infected individuals.  I have no idea if that mask is effective against the coronavirus.  I do know that it is much better than those masks you find at the hardware store and certainly better than a scarf.

What I am challenging the CDC to do is, put some high-quality mask material on a dustbuster (or several) and capture particulate matter in and around hot zones.  Is the damned thing airborne, and if so, how far away from a hot zone is it in the air? What is the PPM or parts per million of the virus at different distances from hospitals and other areas of patients?

If my suspicions are correct, those folks on their balconies singing to each other in a ‘hot zone’ took risks that might have been fatal.

We need to understand the efficacy of and the ease of transmission of this ‘invisible enemy.’

#askbirx

No kidding; we need this to go ‘viral’ to get it to someone who cares.

If you have a HEPA air filter in your home, I would run it 24X7 especially, if you live in an area with infected people.  It cannot hurt in this allergy season so, why not?

Use common sense precautions, and yes, please wash your hands.

Hang in there, people.  We need answers.

Much Love -TW

 

My COVID Questions

Could this thing be airborne? If so how far can it travel and still be viable?

 

If you have landed here from Twitter, you have no doubt read some of my questions to the administration.

What we don’t know, can kill us.

As a writer of science fiction and yes, some racy novels, don’t let that dissuade you from examining what I put forth.  In some of my tweets, I ask the obvious question.

Can the virus be airborne?

If we were to go to New York or Manhattan where the infection rate is high and set up detectors, what would we find?  My gut feeling is that people shed these viruses at an alarming level.  I would like to understand how long it takes the virus to replicate, and if it replicates logarithmically.  Again my gut tells me that it does.

I am basing that on how long it takes to become ill.

It is possible that even as the virus is compromising its host, the host is shedding it while infecting others.  Why is it more lethal in people with a high BMI or diabetic?  Does it have something to do with sugar or some other nutrient that is higher in fat people or people who are diabetic?

Now, let’s push that theory forward just a little.  This thing is damned tiny, and because of that, much like dust particles can float around for a long time.  If they are not already doing so, they need to have monitoring devices all over the city from the street level to the tops of buildings, counting the numbers of this virus found in a specific period.

Since the prevailing winds would take it offshore in New York, let’s go to New Orleans, where the prevailing winds carry the airborne particulates into the state.  How far?  How far inland do they find it and what is its efficacy?

Houston: same thing.  The prevailing winds carry stench from Pasadena well inland, what about the virus?

We know that damned thing has a ‘shelf life’ much longer than we would like.  I suspect that UV from the hot Texas sun will kill it once it is airborne but, how long does it take to do that? Is that why the flu and other virus-related diseases are seasonal?  Exposure to UV kills them and stops them from spreading?

Speaking of UV light, I happen to know that tanning beds put out copious amounts of UV light.  Why not put PPE stuff into tanning beds to sterilize them?  Not a doctor, but I did work around some of the giants in the industry, not too many years ago.

Summary:

Airborne particulate detectors, to learn if the virus is airborne and how far it travels from a hot zone.

If I am right, we need to figure out a new strategy to keep civilians safe.  That might be going inside and staying there.  Hepa air filters might also be a good idea inside your home.

The hell of it is, we don’t know what we don’t know.  We need to assign someone the task of learning the efficacy of the virus once airborne, and how far it can go and …how long it can ‘live’ just waiting for a host.

While I am trying to write, the thoughts of what so many of you are dealing with, wreak havoc on my creativity.  From the loss of a job, to a loved one just breaks my heart.  Stay safe and stay inside.  We need to encourage our governments to think outside the box and not leave any stone unturned. If this thing is airborne as I suspect it can be, that adds a whole new dimension to the problem.  We need to know, yes or no.  I pray, I am wrong.

Much Love -TW

 

 

 

Feedback #UPS

How many times have you spent an hour doing something that should take two minutes?

Hello my friends, how was your weekend?

Let me start by thanking the many of you who purchased my novels these last few days.  I watch and notice and truly it means a lot when I see them going to places all over the globe.  Thanks so much!

I am one of those who will provide feedback to other authors, a business of different kinds and eating establishments.  Restaurants will get a sunshine letter or complaint letter faster than just about anyone else as what they do can make folks ill.

While we are being nudged as a society into self-service it is incumbent on those companies to have an intuitive kiosk, websites or any other method to complete the transaction period.

UPS has missed the mark in my humble opinion. 

Many of you who follow me know that I am a bit of a nerd.  I admit it, relish in it, and would not change a thing.  I spend my days making people’s lives easier by constructing networks, designing systems that are idiot proof, and secure, as well as teaching and providing business continuity plans and of course disaster recovery strategies.

I have been at it since 1982.  Long before Bill Gates was a household name and Steve jobs was still a criminal, I was twiddling bits.  The OS was CPM or Basic and I remember DOS 1.1…

Moving business forward is often a painful exercise.  We don’t want to be on the bleeding edge of anything.  Let the idiots take the risks.  We don’t want to be on the trailing edge either.

I do this by providing the truth in the way of facts and figures.  Businessmen and women do not make decisions on emotions.  If they do, don’t buy their stock as they will not be around long.

So why is UPS in my crosshairs tonight?

What does UPS have to do with nerdy things or technical things?

UPS, (in my opinion) your website sucks! That is an emotional statement, and a well earned one.

I am prepared to back that up with more than a simple disparaging comment.

Now and then I sell a thing or two on eBay.  It is usually a way to let someone else have something that I have had for some time.  Seldom do I make money or turn a profit.  To me, it is more about something that I cherished and now I am done with it, so I let someone else admire it for a bit.

I screwed up when posting these collectibles on eBay and did not pay close enough attention when picking the shipping options and chose UPS instead of USPS. 

The first item that sold took me over an hour to get the label to print, and I am not so sure that I did not get charged twice.

The website is not intuitive.  You need to get someone who has not seen your site before and have them walk you through the steps that they need to ship an item and then build the backend around them, the customer.  Do this with more than just a couple of users.

Linking it to eBay was easy enough to figure out but, still not intuitive enough.

Pulling up the customer information and the shipping information took several attempts to get it to work correctly, but…after an hour of stopping and trying again I managed to get a package to ship.

This effort took over an hour of my life, wasted, for an item that sold for $1.00 !

Today I sold another item, and it too was on UPS.  Having set up my account, I was in hopes that this would work differently.  I walked through all the steps in less than ten minutes, told it to print the label and the website spits back an error telling me that there was an error, try again later.  FFS!

Starting back at the beginning several times I ended up at the same place with no option to print a label.  I was advised that there was a tracking number but no option to print a shipping label.

Voiding the transaction seemed the logical thing to do and the only thing it appeared that I could do.

I tried to once again start from the beginning, and once again it told me the same information that there was a tracking number but no option to print a label.
Even though I voided the transaction, it was still not annulled.

I have a friend who works in the mail room.  Rang them up and asked them what they thought of my predicament.

“I hate that fucking web site so much; I use Fed Ex whenever possible!”   

I laughed my butt off!  I ended up printing the address of where it will go, and I will now go and stand in the long line at the post office to mail a 3.50 cent sale, rather than waste another moment of my time on crappy websites that don’t work.

No matter the cost, the customer bought it in good faith, and I will get it to them even if I have to deliver it personally.

I will, however, be super careful about which shipping service I use in the future.

How is that for Feedback?

Bill Gates is who he is today because of “the intuitive GUI.” That and he royally screwed the inventor of DOS.

Steve stopped selling blue boxes out of his garage and made his fortune on an “Intuitive GUI” and a different more robust Motorola processor.”  Had he priced his product cheaper, I dare say Bill would have been sucking hind tit.

Now, as a nerd, with over 30 years of experience, if you want to fix it…I charge $125 an hour and let me tell you, my time would be well worth it! I will negotiate if it is a long-term project.

Think Intuitive, and by all means test it with real people.

Best

TW

 

 

Healthcare the Final Frontier

Hate is a poison that you take in hopes that it will affect someone else.

With our somewhat screwed up world, everything becomes a political football. (pun intended)
I am not going to try and figure out the answer for healthcare. Is it a right, privilege or commodity? I would say, (yes!) While we argue about socialism again with political Einsteins like Bernie, our hope seems somewhat lost. Healthcare is a commodity like food, water, electricity and so forth. You want it; you pay for it.

The rub comes when we have large parts of society who are somewhat irresponsible with their resources and misspend them. Working in the ER, we saw lots of accidents or gunshot victims with gold teeth or tattoos, beautiful clothing, packages of cigarettes and no insurance. On top of that when the toxicology reports came back many were full of drugs or “recreational chemistry.”

Folks, if you work two jobs, are dead tired on your feet, and still have the family to take care of, seeing this will piss you off! The people who live in ivory towers are removed from reality. Also, the people who cannot (or will not) find work, are also removed from reality. Their idea of reality is not mainstream.

Reality is working your ass off, watching your paycheck taken from you in fees and taxes, and then seeing the freeloaders calling you a racist for not wanting to pay their way too! That is tough stuff. It is hard not to become jaded. When gaming the system is an art, that we could write a dummies book about, something needs to change.

Here is why…
I have such a friend who worked two jobs and has taken care of families and been there to assist others when they down. “A good person!”
She recently was diagnosed with Cancer.
Cancer is a scary word, and if the body is not treated as a whole, the prognoses can get bleak.  The doctors order test and procedures, and she pushes forward dutifully going to this doctor or that. The chemo makes her sick; the surgeries are painful. Her hair is all but gone, and then she sees yet another specialist.
This doctor wants to do XYZ . The insurance company declines it, and then the ballet ensues. Phone calls are left, and messages and e-mails from you to many who don’t  care about their job are written. They sit in their chair for eight hours and talk on the phone when they have to. Communications go unanswered, and another form letter is pushed out the door, denying coverage.

While your phone call to them is critical to you, where they are concerned it is simply another task that they have to do.  This can be put off until after lunch or Monday or whenever they just are forced to deal it with it.  Your problem is not theirs and they don’t care.

The text from their friend or family or perhaps what is going on with facebook ranks higher than what you need.

Their hope is that you just give up.
Here is the issue. When someone is sick whether it be cancer or some other illness the entire body needs to be treated as a whole thing. Spirits need to be high and the person not only should be kept comforted but, comfortable. They do not need the frustration of dealing with auto adjudicated edicts from the damned insurance company.

Why are they auto?  Becuase the people who have the job to assist you are more concerned with where they are going for lunch or who Jane is sleeping with, on some tv show.

I worked behind the scenes for too many years, trust me; this is life in corporate America.

Hate and anger feed cancer; I am convinced of it. Hate is a poison that you take in hopes that it will affect someone else. Foolish person, hate is killing you.

Frustration with a  stuffed up system breeds anger which breeds hate.
Any time there is a decline in coverage an actual human should be required to look at the original request and see if the nurse or doctor forgot to check some box. Instead of looking for ways to deny coverage, they should be required to look for any way possible to pay for it. I realize that is counterproductive for the bottom line but folks, that is where the problem lies.

So here is another idea I am going to give away!

Someone who knows the healthcare industry and insurance industry should provide a service and sell it like insurance. The service would be the go-between, between your doctor and your insurance company and you. Like we have agents for car insurance we need an actual agent to deal with the insurance company.
You call your agent and tell them; I am going in for testing I may have something wrong.
Your agent then gets involved on your behalf and slogs through the red tape of bureaucracy and employees who don’t want to do their jobs, and is your advocate.

Instead of you fighting with a system that you are most probably ill-equipped to deal with, your advocate does it for you.
Usually, we call these lawyers, but I don’t think we need lawyers. With all of the layoffs in the insurance industry with the outsourcing and ravages left from the Obama Care debacle, there should be a plethora of folks who might want to tackle this and make a company out of it. Maybe the H&R Block folks who might not have work in the near future could take on the mantle of Health Advocate. HA for short.

Look, if you make millions of dollars with my idea, please keep me in mind, at least buy some of my books!

If you are a patient, who needs such a service tell me what you think.
Would something like this work?
I think having an advocate on your side to deal with the crap while you focused on getting better would assist many and possibly cut the cost of healthcare.
Many claims that are denied are simple coding errors, but since a computer looks for every dot to be filled correctly and adjudicates the petition based on human filled in dots, that is where the bulk of the problems arise. It is a simple truth table to the computer. IF A+B=C then everything is a go. One bit out of place, and it is denied.

Many just don’t bother to fight it and guess what, you are fighting for your life, so I get it.

Send this to @RealDonaldTrump about a million times, and maybe he will see it.

We need a little common sense in the industry and a little compassion for those who are dealing with illnesses like cancer. We need to keep the special interest and politicians out of it as they are responsible for the mess we have today. Many are paying thousands of dollars a month for insurance they will never use. If they do need it one has to wonder what it would cover.

Would it be better just to pay your way for the cheap stuff and then not have insurance and go to the ER anyway? That is the current system for many Americans and non-Americans alike. And that is one reason the cost of healthcare is so damned high!

You are indeed paying for the deadbeats and yes that is socialism.   If you can afford to pay for it, you pay in spades.

If a senator has issues, do you think he or she worries about what will be paid for?

To quote Lilly Allen, “It’s not fair!”

Go check out some of my books. If you are a sci-fi person or a romantic kind of person I have it all. If you need a laugh, which we all do, go and check out some of my novels. Warm-hearted romance, to a nude romp through the galaxy in Saga of the Starduster.

Much Love – TW