Ebola Ultimate

As panic theory, this text is high art. Crunched for maximum alarm-intensity:

There are a lot of very lethal viruses in the world, and Ebola is not the most lethal or most easy transmittable, but the main thing which makes me worry about it is the steadiness of its exponential infection curve. … The main stunning feature of it is that the curve is moving straight forward (small downward bump in May-June may be explained by the efforts of existing medical services in Africa to curb the epidemic before services had been overwhelmed). This exponential growth must be stopped, or humanity will face a global catastrophe, and it may start a downward spiral towards extinction; moreover, some estimates suggest that pandemic doubling time is actually two weeks (because of underreporting of actual cases), so in five months, seven billion will be infected: total infection, by July 2015. … Such catastrophes may not mean total human extinction, as only around 70% of people infected currently die from Ebola (and even less because we don’t know, or share, asymptomatic cases), but still, this means the end of the world as we know it. This virus is the first step towards the road of full extinction … If the virus will mutate quickly, there will be many different strains of it, so it will ultimately create a multi-pandemic. … Some of the strains may became airborne, or have higher transmission rates, but the main risk from multi-pandemic is that it overcomes defenses provided by the natural variability of the human genome and immunity. (By the way, the human genome variability is very low because of the recent bottle neck in the history of our population. …) … We are almost clones from the view point of genetic variability typical for natural populations. […] The Human race is very unique – it has very large population but very small genetic diversity. It means that it is more susceptible to pandemics. […] Also, a large homogenous population is ideal for breeding different strains of infection. … If the genetic diversity of a pathogen is bigger than human diversity, than it could cause a near total extinction, and also, large and homogenous populations help breed such a diversity of pathogens feeding on the population. … [embedded link] … “The Ebola virus can survive for several days outside the body” [link] … “It is infectious as breathable 0.8 to 1.2-μm laboratory-generated droplets” … “Also many of the greatest plagues mankind has ever known were not airborne: e.g. smallpox.” …

… Another problem is the lack of adequate responses from global authorities; they are half a year behind the situation. You can’t react to exponential threats “proportionally”. You must be several steps ahead. […] Everything they do now should have been done half a year ago. […] Unlimited exponential growth is a mark of potential global catastrophe: self-improving AI; nuclear chain reactions; self-replicating grey goo from nanobots; all examples are especially dangerous in a naïve environment. A large human population without immunity to Ebola, or any other Marburg style viruses, is fuel for exponential viral growth. … Ebola is mostly transmittable only in hard cases when a person shits and bleeds uncontrollably, but it is also contagious from non-symptomatic people, so Ebola is not naturally selecting for mildness; it may do just the opposite. It may be selected for extreme and “fluid-like” dying. … Also Ebola seems to influence behavior zombie style, as late stage patients attack medical personal, run from quarantine or even bite someone — it happened in Nigeria and Liberia — the same can be said of rabies and toxoplasma. … Here we also should mention the meme aspect of the Ebola virus, which is the psychological stigma and fear associated with the disease. The fear has led to riots in Liberia, which additionally helped spread the virus. (See for example rumors that dead Ebola patients had resurrected [link]) … So Ebola is also mimetic [sic] hazard, and the fear of it prevents rational control of the epidemic: people flee it, destroy hospitals, or they live in denial of it.

If Ebola slaughters most of the human population, hundred of millions of people will still survive the pandemic itself (if it will not become multi-pandemic with many different strains of Ebola-like viruses). […] It will end technological civilization as we know it, and it probably start the self-sustainable process of destruction, which is the consequent failure of different institutions and technologies as well as wars and general disorder. It may be a long term degradation process, which has its own logic and its bottom may be very far from now.

Many more links at the original.

So to summarize this argument: Ebola really is a zombie plague, it could sweep the earth in under a year (with ~70% lethality), human evolutionary history adds peculiar biological vulnerabilities, its virulence might be far higher than commonly understood, and the catalytic global process thus unleashed has the potential to cascade forward all the way to full X-risk. There might be a way to mash down harder on the ‘scream’ button, but right now I’m not seeing how.

Seizing the opportunity for an Ebola fest (doubtless already behind the curve):

It could already be in Britain.

Turning it into a national security issue has made it more dangerous.

Libertarian responses from Stefan Molyneux and Ron Paul.

The mathematics of contagion elucidated by Gregory Cochran.

Racism is the real threat.

ADDED: Institutional Breakdown in a Time of Ebola. (Epic.)

ADDED: Quality Ebola commentary from SoBL, Dampier, and Thompson. Dreher on Castillo. Escalating concern at Nature and the NYT. Chris Brown and 8chan try to be helpful. Dialing it up another notch. Where next? Polls, preparations, protocols, politicsBlame the Bilderbergers.

October 13, 2014admin 33 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Contagion

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33 Responses to this entry

  • timothy Says:

    I’m dubious of Ebola becoming an extinction level event, but as a Black Swan event it could have WWI level implications. If so, I hope something sane rides the wave to establish a new paradigm, and not something that makes the Cathedral look like King Arthur in comparison.


    Posted on October 13th, 2014 at 3:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • R7 Rocket Says:

    Civilization didn’t end when the Black Plague hit High Medieval Europe, but it certainly led to the end of the legitimacy of the Medieval System.


    Posted on October 13th, 2014 at 5:01 pm Reply | Quote
  • Dark Psy-Ops Says:

    Just when you thought the alienating, whispered uncertainties of horrorsville couldn’t get any more anxiety-inducing then come ear-splitting half-sobbed shrieks of live mortal terror…

    Practically speaking, existential risks such as the above can act as an impetus toward strategic coordination. However, timing is difficult near the point of resignation in regards to effective mobilization against an exponentially threatening epidemic such as Ebola. The game runs as follows: in the likely (non)-event that the outbreak simply runs its miserable course through the pitiable bodies of a few thousand long-suffering wretches before terminating, naturally or via organised containment, far short of apocalyptic endangerment of civilization, any anticipatory preparation courts humiliating irrelevance (see: Andrea Castillo’s daring new – and no doubt charming – all-body medical gear). Of course, the other ‘side’ of the moebius-like gamble is the small possibility of immensely damaging consequences due to heedless fatalism (or myopia). An intensified level of paranoia in the very first stages of the epidemic would likely have led to its careful isolation and quick curtailment, but nobody panicked enough.

    Well, even if one is determined to stoically thwart hysteria, this commenter recommends stealing some last kisses from your loved ones before their final screaming, thrashing mutation into blood-spewing cannibals.


    Posted on October 13th, 2014 at 5:51 pm Reply | Quote
  • Ebola Ultimate | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on October 13th, 2014 at 6:41 pm Reply | Quote
  • Michael Says:



    Posted on October 13th, 2014 at 6:45 pm Reply | Quote
  • Kgaard Says:

    Well the Cochran piece you link to makes far more sense. He’s basically saying the whole thing is a non-starter, which is what my research suggests too. This Ebola outbreak is basically like all the others — which probably have been going on for millions of years — only in a new west african rathole rather than in one of the west african ratholes where it is normally found.


    R. Reply:

    Can you predict what strains may arise if this infects millions of people? IIRC, the entire country of Sierra Leone has been given up on – meaning no one is going to keep isolating people, instead they are going to leave the inhabitants to do that themselves.

    All it’d take for Ebola to go from this to higher levels of infectiousness would be a mutation that would attack the upper respiratory tract and cause people to cough a lot..

    I’d not write Ebola off, just yet.


    Posted on October 13th, 2014 at 7:29 pm Reply | Quote
  • neovictorian23 Says:

    @KgaardThe major difference as I see it is that this outbreak is taking place is an age that celebrates victimhood, and especially racial victimhood. So let us not waste a good crisis!


    Posted on October 13th, 2014 at 8:35 pm Reply | Quote
  • Craig Hickman Says:

    What’s always uninteresting about doom and gloom is its predictability.

    Why do we continue to put such manifestations into an outmoded metaphysics? Ebola is what it is, but it’s not the end of the world, just the end of this particular idiocy of progressive-modern-secular-machine world. And, possibly the human agents that went along for the ride.

    Yet, I’m sure those elites and religious powers during the Black Plague were probably thinking the same thing during their age, too.

    The biggest threats are deforestation and energy resource depletion of non-renewables. Continue taking out the jungles: no air… caput; and, other unknown side-effects. Over the next several hundred years as we use of fossil fuels, invent new and terrible wars to fight over the remaining resources, who knows… maybe the survivors will be a little tougher and at least crueler than we are. I go with the Nietzsche, in that we need to be a lot more spiritually cruel and merciless. Those old Christian propagandists were wrong, it want be the “meek who will inherit the earth” it will be those cruel and mean enough to survive, or the roaches. There can be no third.

    But, as usual avarice and greed will vie until the end over the few biomass remnants. Most of these power elites could care less if a few hundred million are taken out of the game as long as they are safe. The new Game of Thrones is already begun…


    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    I hope it kills the undying optimism too


    hughdecroft Reply:

    Reminds me of a line from the season opener of The Walking Dead: “You’re the butcher, or you’re the cattle.”


    R. Reply:

    Over the next several hundred years as we use of fossil fuels

    There’s several reputable institutions that seem quite convinced they know how to build a useful fusion reactor .. and are promising to do it soon.


    Lesser Bull Reply:

    The biggest threats are deforestation? Or else the angry sky god will choke our breaths to punish us for our impiety?

    Way to shrug off those outdated metaphysics, champ.


    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    When they start cutting into the taiga (1/3 of the land) then I will be worried


    Wen Shang Reply:

    “meek who will inherit the earth”

    So I’m pretty sure you are interpreting what is meant here by “earth” incorrectly by a long shot. There are clear normative qualifications of that which is worthy of inheritance. Disagree or not, who cares, point is your critique here is a bit of a category error. It’s like saying that virtue ethics are invalid because they fail to meet the criteria of consequentialism and leaving it at that.


    Posted on October 13th, 2014 at 9:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • Thales Says:

    T-Shirt Slogan:



    Posted on October 13th, 2014 at 9:23 pm Reply | Quote
  • hughdecroft Says:

    I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.


    Rasputin Reply:



    Posted on October 13th, 2014 at 9:27 pm Reply | Quote
  • ivvenalis Says:

    Even if every single human on Earth were infected, and the fatality rate truly was 70%, there would still be over two billion left alive. It would be a disaster, but it wouldn’t threaten extinction. Hell, Uruguay lost 90% of its male population 150 years ago. As best as I can tell, there was a thirty-year period where basically nothing happened and no good records were kept (although I found some unsubtantiated second-hand reports that the Catholic Church in that country granted a dispensation regarding polygamy), and then things pretty much went back to normal after a generation.

    Some esoteric knowledge would be lost and a lot of newly excess or cutting edge infrastructure would rust (I suspect that people would stop sending probes to Mars or designing new high-performance aircraft) but most day-to-day necessities would probably stick around; you’d live off the surplus created by depopulation until you got the power plants back online. Why the hell would there be a series of pandemics? A gigadeath plague would be enough to convince the survivors that no, the vague bad feeling you get from giving orders to Africans probably wasn’t worth it. Even if it isn’t, the Africans themselves aren’t that dumb.


    timothy Reply:




    Alat Reply:

    You probably mean Paraguay, not Uruguay, and, as far as I can tell, its experience c. 1865-1900 only proves that males are really, really expendable.


    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    Multi-pandemic means, even if you Survive Ebola A, Ebola B still also has ~70% kill rate, plus Ebola C, Ebola D, etc.


    Tom Reply:

    Note that the fatality rates depend on the economic, medical, human personnel resources available to treat those infected. The more people infected, the fewer such resources available, the higher the fatality rates.


    Posted on October 13th, 2014 at 9:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • NRx_N00B Says:

    I’m reminded of a quote in Derb’s “Four Billion Africans” and can’t help but think a cure to Ebola could be a very bad thing—wiping out 90% of the planets most populated areas might be an extremely positive development.

    “Write off Africa’s big animals. Lions, leopards, cheetahs, servals, and caracals are all going to get wiped out. Ditto the African elephant, cape buffalo, rhinoceros, giraffe, hippo, pygmy hippo, wildebeest and zebra. Wild areas are already shrinking as rapid human population growth means more farms, bigger cities, more logging, more poaching.”


    j. ont. Reply:

    Yes, funny how this ebola thing comes on the heels of that article, and that study(?) in general, which basically posed a problem that ebola now stands poised to solve, so to speak.


    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    To be quite frank, I’ve nothing against the Africans but as I understand it, their cities are basically giant slums. It is hubris to think such a thing is stable, Ebola or no. A house of straw for sure.


    Posted on October 14th, 2014 at 12:13 am Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    Paul – “private airlines have a greater incentive than does government to protect their passengers from contagious diseases. ”

    But Firestone – acting as the local government – is a private citizen that through the Liberty of Quarantine stopped the spread of Ebola in it’s Liberian facility.

    Everyone of you who voted Paul please be responsible: Chop your dicks off. Speaking of spreading contagion.

    *Hey that Firestone reference was valuable however. More research needed.


    Tom Reply:

    Neither Ron Paul nor libertarianism more generally opposes quarantines, border controls, etc. Quite the opposite.

    What is your point?


    Posted on October 14th, 2014 at 11:44 am Reply | Quote
  • Lightning Round -2014/10/15 | Free Northerner Says:

    […] breakdown in the time of Ebola. Related: The incompetence of health experts. Related: The ultimate Ebola scare. Related: Leave the volunteers in […]

    Posted on October 15th, 2014 at 5:01 am Reply | Quote
  • forkinhell Says:


    Just saying…


    Posted on October 18th, 2014 at 10:11 pm Reply | Quote
  • Wlad Spany Says:

    There were only around 12 doses of Zmapp to begin with, at least three of which were given to Liberian nationals in Liberia.

    The very limited supply was long gone by the time Duncan arrived in Dallas. Those treated since have generally received plasma when a suitable donor was available.

    Duncan was given one of the drugs mentioned in the article that will be tested in Africa.

    At least two people who received Zmapp died. If I recall correctly, at least one of those who received the drug and died was elderly.

    Those aged 45 and older suffer a case fatality rate of around 90% versus the overall rate of around 70%, so while those who received Zmapp and recovered generally reported the conviction that the drug helped tremendously, age could have been a factor in the death of those who received the drug and died.

    Duncan, incidentally, was 42 so his chances were perilously slim. Perhaps the drug he received will prove effective in a wider group.

    Let’s hope so. Given the abrupt drop in survival rates of those in their early 40s and older, Ebola is creating a large number of orphans.



    Arian Machinechrist Reply:

    a dunk in the jordan


    Posted on December 19th, 2014 at 8:02 pm Reply | Quote
  • Arian Machinechrist Says:

    We´ve got a little outbreak of e-cryptocuckoldry here a gain.
    Best ruffles muhs with some out-broken English.


    Posted on July 29th, 2016 at 5:42 pm Reply | Quote

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