Sunday, November 15, 2020

Deer hunting after-action-report

No pictures.

The rain was coming down sideways. Lightening was flashing every 45 seconds. We were wet because the rain was coming through the gun-ports.

If we were hungry, we would have stayed out. We were not hungry.

Belladonna and I threw in the towel at 10 AM. We saw four antlerless deer.

Driving out before sunrise Bella saw 16, including a nice buck bedded down about thirty feet from the road.

Winds predicted to be 15mph tomorrow morning.


One of our hunting party works in healthcare.

He works for one of the large, corporate healthcare providers. He said they are getting hammered with absenteeism. And since the call-ins are Covid they anticipate an average of 14 days before the workers come back. The capacity issues they have/anticipate are related to absenteeism.

In a way, you would expect healthcare workers to be on the front-end of the wave. Sick people go to doctors and hospitals and drugstores. There are lots of virus and germs swimming in hospital air.

Systems resilience

It is hard to run a hospital when any one function gets monkey-hammered by illness. Because of regression-to-the-mean effects, systems are more vulnerable in their smaller departments than their larger ones. Can you run a hospital without food-services? Food-services is not a huge department and it is easy to overlook. There are hosts of small, specialized functions in a hospital.

Robert Heinlein once wrote "Specialization is for insects." Specialization makes systems fragile when people cannot flow into different jobs to meet needs.

About a decade ago Lansing had an ice storm and power was out for a week in several neighborhoods. The Lansing Board of Water and Light's response was reviewed by outside auditors and one of their findings was that internal labor rules hamstrung the response.

One specific "rule" was that LBW&L required TWO spotters for electrical workers. The national standard is ONE spotter when working near a road.

LBW&L established the rule because they had to justify the number of workers on payroll. They had beefed up exactly for emergencies like the one they screwed up. Since they had so many workers, they created rules to "utilize" them.

Then, when the emergency happened, they had qualified electricians directing traffic. If they had the insight and agility, they could have dropped back to the national standards and increased the number of crews by fifty percent.

Food security

I like to eat. My recent foray into farm economics suggests that farmers are likely to keep churning out grain as long as nobody hacks the proprietary software on the equipment.

But there are boatloads of other players in the value-adding-chain between the farmer's field and the moment the consumer slides a forkful of food into their mouths.

Some parts of the chain are agile and will shift smoothly. If the XYZ Cereal Company can make and ship more tons of breakfast food cereal per employee by running just shredded wheat, then they will make more shredded wheat. Consumers will buy it if it is the only cereal on the shelf.

Other parts are more fragile. What happens if/when all of the Federal inspectors in meat packing plants call in sick? The answer is that they will shut down and a price shock will echo through the supply chain.


  1. On RFDTV that I get on satellite I record some weekly programs two of which are US Farm Report and This Week In Agribusiness. They are about commercial farming, food processing and markets and are set up on the same format. Seemingly programs that should be a duplicate. However when you watch them back to back like I do early on Sunday morning the different perspective of the hosts and the usual guest commenters would make you think they are from different countries or random re-runs from years past. Like all "news" anymore there is a lot of spin and bias even in reporting news that seems like it should be quite cut and dried. I guess my point here is that farming and food processing and grain sales isn't all that straight foreword either. ---ken

  2. So, beginning of deer season and health care employees are taking advantage of the ChinkyPox to get two weeks off to go hunting?

    1. Maybe, but most folks don't hunt any more.

      I think there is a +95% percent chance the info is no-spin, exactly as retold.

      Good thought, though. Who benefits? And how?

    2. Haven't seen much gaming that system where I work, either, but folks who do get it, or have merely been exposed to someone who has it, get to spend two productive weeks at home with pay. I suspect there will be more gaming going on before it's over.

  3. Probably going to hunt early next month. Thought we had a slot this weekend, but that didn't pan out.


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