Sunday, February 16, 2020

Plagiarizing the narrative

It's not a mystery. Fiction authors don't predict events, the crisis manufacturers simply rip off their narratives from them from time to time:
The Eyes of Darkness, a 1981 thriller by bestselling suspense author Dean Koontz, tells of a Chinese military lab that creates a virus as part of its biological weapons programme. The lab is located in Wuhan, which lends the virus its name, Wuhan-400. A chilling literary coincidence or a case of writer as unwitting prophet?

In The Eyes of Darkness, a grieving mother, Christina Evans, sets out to discover whether her son Danny died on a camping trip or if – as suspicious messages suggest – he is still alive. She eventually tracks him down to a military facility where he is being held after being accidentally contaminated with man-made microorganisms created at the research centre in Wuhan.

If that made the hair on the back of your neck stand up, read this passage from the book: “It was around that time that a Chinese scientist named Li Chen moved to the United States while carrying a floppy disk of data from China’s most important and dangerous new biological weapon of the past decade. They call it Wuhan-400 because it was developed in their RDNA laboratory just outside the city of Wuhan.”

In another strange coincidence, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which houses China’s only level four biosafety laboratory, the highest-level classification of labs that study the deadliest viruses, is just 32km from the epicentre of the current coronavirus outbreak. The opening of the maximum-security lab was covered in a 2017 story in the journal Nature, which warned of safety risks in a culture where hierarchy trumps an open culture.
Sometimes they get away with it, sometimes they don't. For example, the keyboardist/DJ in Psykosonik "borrowed" a techno riff for the post-chorus for one of our songs from dance groove he liked to spin by a little-known European techno group. Not a big deal, that's something that techno and house groups do all the time and is generally considered homage, not plagiarism. We did find it a little embarrassing, however, when that initially-unknown song somehow blew up into a stadium anthem that is regularly heard to this day.

Ironically, both songs made the Billboard Top 40 club chart, at numbers 14 and 37, respectively.

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Blogger Brett baker February 16, 2020 6:17 AM  

A European techno group created the virus!

Blogger Thad Tuiol February 16, 2020 6:23 AM  

That’s probably a nerd scientists dog whistle, to prove that it’s a psyops exercise

Blogger Dan in Georgia February 16, 2020 6:59 AM  

Don't think I read Koontz's book, but it sounds like an homage to "The Andromeda Strain by Michael Chrichton, with a bio-weapon instead of the space bug. Of course Stephen King ripped THAT off with the Captain Trips virus in The Stand.

Blogger kapy53 February 16, 2020 7:09 AM  

I'm guessing it was either Sandstorm or Zombie Nation.

Blogger McChuck February 16, 2020 7:15 AM  

History doesn't repeat, but it does rhyme, and authors often use real events as the basis for their stories.

Hikers dying under mysterious circumstances with possible military connections:

Blogger Fuzzums Wuzzums February 16, 2020 7:17 AM

>1666 death toll

Deepstate can't meme.

Blogger English Tom February 16, 2020 7:31 AM  

But, but the Simpsons!

Blogger Jack (LJCSOGHMOMAS) February 16, 2020 7:41 AM  

"Fringe conspiracy theories that the coronavirus involved in the current outbreak appears to be man-made and likely escaped from the Wuhan virology lab have been circulated, but have been widely debunked. In fact the lab was one of the first to sequence the coronavirus."

Well that proves it then, they couldn't possibly have created it if they were the first to sequence it.

Blogger Uncle Maffoo February 16, 2020 8:37 AM  

Corona: Y'all ready for this??

Blogger Johnny February 16, 2020 8:46 AM  

There is enough circumstantial evidence to safely assume the bug came from Institute of Virology. China is pressuring other nations to not come to that conclusion, so I doubt we will see it widely supported. But the evidence is there. The thing is the product of gene sequencing, not nature. I don''t know how certain it is, but some think the core material, at least some of it, came from Canada and was pilfered by the Chinese.

The guy who runs the Black Pigeon website thinks that Japan is more likely to be the power in the region than China. Watching the Chinese bungle through this episode makes me think that he just might be on to something. It took a whole set of screw ups for the Chinese to get to where they are with this disease.

Blogger RobertDWood February 16, 2020 8:54 AM  

So long as they don't start using any Correia stories as foundational material humanity can endure.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan February 16, 2020 8:57 AM  

Dawkins upset the narrative with a pro-eugenics tweet, now Dawkins is trending at about 4k of hate and eugenics at about 25k of hate. My off topic comment kind of goes with Koontz's book about a genetically engineered Golden Retriever that could communicate via spelling blocks to humans versus another genetically engineered not so nice creature.

Blogger Rhino Bear February 16, 2020 9:10 AM  

When 9-11 happened, i couldnt get “Debt of Honor” out of my head.

Blogger Troushers February 16, 2020 9:42 AM  

I can't tell if the Wu flu was engineered, but I'm damn sure no-one will admit it, as it would likely compromise the compliance with authority which is somewhat keeping a lid on disease.

Blogger Dave February 16, 2020 10:09 AM  

Ironically, both songs made the Billboard Top 40 club chart, at numbers 14 and 37, respectively.

That's wild, the songs from both Psykosonik and the European techno group made the charts? At the same time? Did they ever try to raise a stink about it?

Blogger Doktor Jeep February 16, 2020 10:26 AM  

Maybe Koontz had access to Trump's time machine, the one his uncle was sent to Tesla's house to find.
Perhaps a side effect of time travel is it turns your hair orange.

Blogger Section 8A February 16, 2020 10:40 AM  

Zika 2.0

Blogger Submitted2Christ February 16, 2020 10:42 AM  

Who knew Corona-chan was such the opportunist... governments struggling to stop the worldwide protests now have a legal reason to detain and quarantine the protesters.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd February 16, 2020 10:48 AM  

Uncle Maffoo wrote:Corona: Y'all ready for this??
Ready? I've laid in a supply of lemon wedges. I'm ready!

Went to Home Depot yesterday. The sign on the shelf said ``Limit 10 masks.'' The shelves were bare, except for the sign.

Blogger Uncompliant February 16, 2020 10:56 AM  

OT but this deserves some notice; we have talked about Western birth replacement statistics; USA and West not having enough babies, etc. I have wondered whether there are differential replacement rates within countries ... Seems there are.

Hat tip to AnonConser. for the link.

Based on the simple math comparison in the linked article, Republican/red state replacement rate is 2.08 while DemoRats are at 1.47

Wonder if there are state-by-state statistics and religion-by-religion. How is Utah doing compared to New York? How are the Amish doing compared to Catholics?

Blogger Jeff aka Orville February 16, 2020 11:23 AM  

Zerohedge has an interesting article today about the US's long involvement in germ warfare from a Jap version of Paperclip, even speculating that the US is behind the Wu Flu. I'm not sure about that, since never ascribe to evil what can be explained by stupidity.

I still think it was an accidental release from the Chinese bio-lab.

Blogger VD February 16, 2020 11:37 AM  

That's wild, the songs from both Psykosonik and the European techno group made the charts? At the same time? Did they ever try to raise a stink about it?

Yes. No. No, of course not. It was just a short riff in the post-chorus, there were no other similarities between the songs. Every house anthem uses the same three-chord riff and half the songs in the dance clubs use Chuck D's "bass" sample.

Blogger Cy True February 16, 2020 12:39 PM  

Is it plausible that the virus was planted there?

Blogger RedJack February 16, 2020 1:00 PM  

Lol. Yeah, that would be an interesting day

Blogger Unknown February 16, 2020 1:04 PM  

20 Uncompliant. In our neighborhood the Amish average 7 children. This is SW Wisconsin. Lots of 'only 5' and lots of 10-12. They come from PA with cash from the sale of their home place and but a large farm here. Then as children grow up they get a piece of the farm. Many of the children are getting out of farming and doing carpentry, large scale gardening for market.

Blogger English Tom February 16, 2020 1:18 PM  

@Jeff aka Orville

Check on YouTube, the anglo saxon mission from 2010 which stated China would have a flu like virus inflicted on it which would then go worldwide.

There are also theories which will warm the hearts of most here which states this virus is targeting old people so no pension crisis in the future. Dont know what to make of that one@

Blogger Dave February 16, 2020 1:33 PM  

Vox, as a lyricist, you might appreciate this radio interview of a fellow lyricist; a self-described straight A, comic book nerd. The whole interview is fantastic, but if pressed for time I would def listen from around 17mins thru 28:00

Blogger Gregory the Tall February 16, 2020 2:49 PM
Something that might actually help the affected patients is being tried out in China: 24 g Vit C i.v. per day. Of course no one reports it. Also worth mentioning: Zinc helps prevent pneumonia.

Blogger Warunicorn February 16, 2020 3:33 PM  

"Watchers" is my favorite book by Koontz, because Einstein is a good doggo. (I'm a sucker for stories featuring dogs.)

Blogger Hammerli 280 February 16, 2020 4:22 PM  

@13: Yes, vividly. I had the same thought on 11 Sep 01...that we'd fallen into a Tom Clancy novel. Except that his heroes were actually competent patriots, not the bumblers we were left with.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash February 16, 2020 4:26 PM  

Ominous Cowherd wrote:

Went to Home Depot yesterday. The sign on the shelf said ``Limit 10 masks.'' The shelves were bare, except for the sign.

Home Depot voluntarily suspended delivery of all the face masks they had ordered from China weeks ago, on the basis that the Chinese need them more. All that are available from them are those manufactured in the US and Mexico. Those are more expensive and are going fast.
Another reason foreign supply chains are a bad idea.

Blogger Uncompliant February 16, 2020 5:56 PM  

@25 ... thanks for the input. Something along those lines would have been my guess. I live near Amish country too, so have a sense of their big families. I hear that Mormons are similar. If you ever have a stopover/connecting in the SLC airport, it is just full of kids and families unlike so many other airports.

Anonymous Anonymous February 16, 2020 6:29 PM  

In Australia construction supply chains are delayed as steel fabrication and exteriors come from China. Food companies exporting food to China are failing as their exports are no longer accepted in China as the markets are all closed.
@31 Another reason foreign supply chains are a bad idea.

Blogger xevious2030 February 16, 2020 6:32 PM  

37 was familiar, thanks for explaining. What a story.

Blogger Joe February 16, 2020 6:52 PM  

" I'm not sure about that, since never ascribe to evil what can be explained by stupidity."

That's backwards. Evil is perfectly capable of pretending to be stupid.

Blogger JovianStorm February 16, 2020 7:41 PM  

The Black Pigeon guy is just 1 more white dude that thinks he's smart because he lives in Japan. We're lousy with smug Americans preaching on their smartness over here and the worst people in this country are the foreigners who live here to accumulate white people clout.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Blogger Akulkis February 16, 2020 9:59 PM  

"The guy who runs the Black Pigeon website thinks that Japan is more likely to be the power in the region than China. Watching the Chinese bungle through this episode makes me think that he just might be on to something. It took a whole set of screw ups for the Chinese to get to where they are with this disease."

The Japs have always held themselves to higher standards than the Chinks.

Chinese import technology, and replicate it with monkey-see, monkey-do. The Japanese import technology, and immediately work to understand it so thoroughly that they can contend for, and even win, Nobel prizes. While both cultures push conformity, they do so for different reasons. The Japanese push conformity to reduce social friction; they still prize the non-conforming genius. In contrast, the Chinese push conformity to make it easier to rule over the populace; they view the non-conformist as a threat to the power structure, ESPECIALLY if he is a genius -- They'll kill the genius, take his stuff, pretend that he never existed, and only if his invention is useful for the government will it ever be allowed to see the light of day, with no credit given to the inventor. This is so severe that the Chinese have produced no significant inventions in over 1000 years. Just like the Hindu culture (problem? just dump it all on the untouchable castes rather than solving it), any sort of creativity outside of crime was removed (In India, by apathy; in China by violence) centuries upon centuries ago.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd February 16, 2020 10:03 PM  

Gregory the Tall wrote:Something that might actually help the affected patients is being tried out in China: 24 g Vit C i.v. per day.
That was successful in ending virus infections in the US 100 years ago, per the old medical literature. Might need more than 24g/day.

Blogger Akulkis February 16, 2020 10:20 PM  

"Is it plausible that the virus was planted there?"

Of course it is. However, unless this was a LONG set-up with stories planted about Chinese virus and microbiology espionage for the sole reason of later turning up in web searches, I think it's safer to go with the Chinese, with their typical disregard for safeguards and precautions before something goes wrong, plus typical Communist governmental demands for "results no matter the cost!" is far more likely the culprit here.

Having not developed the science, methods, or anything themselves, nor made any real advancements in the field (other than compiling data using methods invented by others), and the complete lack of any culture of inventiveness in Chinese society, they're not very good at gaming out, even mentally, the risks of foresaking safeguard X (beyond the threat of personal misfortune) rather than following it. And since X costs time and money, X gets ignored.

I wonder how many Chinese "scientists" (reality: technicians) from the Wuhan facility ended up getting infected by this coronavirus. And how many, of those who manage to dodge the virus, or survive infection by it, will end up being killed off in a mass execution by the CCP in a "guilt by association"/ bill of attainder sort of condemnation, if for no other reason that when Wuhan is restaffed, EVERYONE will watch everyone else to make sure nobody screws up, because the precedent will have been set: if your buddy screws up and you don't stop it, then you'll be executed just the same as if it was your own screw up.

The Japs at least have a culture where the man in charge takes responsibility (for, if nothing else, insufficient oversight and supervision) and commits suicide. The Chinese have nothing close to the equivalent... in fact, if anything, it's more of those responsible for a disaster looking among subordinates for scapegoats to take all the blame (much like we see in the U.S. Navy).

Blogger Akulkis February 16, 2020 10:27 PM  


" I'm not sure about that, since never ascribe to evil what can be explained by stupidity."

Why are you so willing to let evil get a pass for evil actions? Especially since in nearly all of these "stupid accidents" the person or people who cause the accident almost always get away without so much as a scratch, while others are mutilated/crippled/killed, or driven into financial ruin.

Blogger Westfork February 16, 2020 11:31 PM  

In wikileaks there is an interesting exchange where a "Stradfor" official reviews "former" CIA agent Barry Eisler's thriller.

Who is "we" and what are we trying to do better?

> Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2011 12:48:47 -0600
> From:
> To:
> Subject: book
> John, I read The Detachment by Barry Eisler. Good read, but we could do
> better. Fred

Blogger Pierre February 17, 2020 2:11 AM  

Chinese scientist warns that there is a virology lab located only 280 meters away from Wuhan seafood market and this could very well be the origin of the disease, considering said lab was working on bat viruses too...

Blogger God Emperor Memes February 17, 2020 3:58 AM  

It's easy to tell the difference: if the acting party is merely stupid, at least *some* of their actions will result in good.

Blogger God Emperor Memes February 17, 2020 4:03 AM  

This makes me think of when I read Debt of Honour, *after* 9/11.

Blogger Akulkis February 17, 2020 5:07 AM  

"We" is Stratfor - a well-known commercial intel organization. For a good look at the intel business, read Statfor's glossary of intel terms.

Blogger Wolfman February 17, 2020 6:08 AM  

Personally I'm never going to stop making bat soup jokes.

That said China is acting like this an accidental release it is the very 'unusual' behavior of the Western media that has me worried. Almost like they had a script pre-written and set aside for this sort of event.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 17, 2020 7:24 AM  

"if the acting party is merely stupid, at least *some* of their actions will result in good."

That also happens if they're clever, for instance the Yakuza and other crime syndicates often get heavily involved in disaster relief and the building of schools and hospitals. Why? Because it buys them a lot of goodwill and favors from the populace, and those are the things that keep them from being easily rooted out by the dominant enforcers.

Blogger FUBARwest February 17, 2020 7:39 AM  

How is no one else interested in what song became a stadium anthem?

Blogger Newscaper312 February 17, 2020 1:00 PM  

@13 re Clancy's Debt of Honor -- I was always aggravated after 9-11 when some of the standard CYA rhetoric was that the plane attack was somehow unforeseeable (as a concept). When I was in AFROTC in the mid 80s the various cadets and midshipmen generally loved them some Clancy, so know way do I buy that the mere idea was not widely out there. FWIW I am NOT a Truther, although it is clear there was a whole lot of not letting a crisis go to waste opportunism in certain quarters.

re: Japanese vs Chinese -- I dealt with the former a fair amount in my first carer in electronics manufacturing. Did get to go to Japan once on business. I was always struck by the strange dichotomy of pretty severe conformism at least in their corporate world, enough that you would think a somewhat creative Sony or Honda or Nintendo could never get off the ground. But somehow they did -- of course Samsung has eaten Sony's lunch now, but still.

More generally, both China and Japan are shame/reputation cultures rather than guilt/internal scorecard cultures, but the Japanese do have more of a sense of honor even though it is different than our own.

Another indicator -- so many, many more industrial and other accident videos out of China on Liveleak vs from Japan. When you see the dumb crap Chinese ppl do, it is odd but inescapable to conclude that they don't just not value human life the way we do -- they don't even value their *own* lives the way we do. re videos of pedestrians blindly going out in traffic, etc.

Blogger Newscaper312 February 17, 2020 1:01 PM  

"if the acting party is merely stupid, at least *some* of their actions will result in good."

Never ignore entropy or Murphy.

Blogger Akulkis February 17, 2020 5:10 PM  


>> if the acting party is merely stupid, at least *some* of their actions will result in good.

> Never ignore entropy or Murphy.

You're right smack dab in the middle of quadruple face-palm territory there.

Blogger Newscaper312 February 17, 2020 8:45 PM  

Sorry my point was more subtle. Stupid errors will skew toward bad outcomes, re entropy/Murphy, so maybe a bit harder to spot stupid vs evil by that metric.
Not disputing the basic point.

Blogger Westfork February 17, 2020 11:01 PM  

The author of the email is Fred Burton, former and always spook. Burton is known for his work in relation to the first bombing of the World Trade Center. As a high official in Stratfor, he is exactly the type of person who could be part of a group who could manufacture a crisis. Here he is passing commentary on a work of fiction which is written by a former CIA agent. He could be passing judgment on the book for a number of reasons, some benign and some on point for the subject of the post.


"When legendary black ops veteran...tracks Rain down in Tokyo, Rain can’t resist the offer: a multi-million dollar payday for the “natural causes” demise of three ultra-high-profile targets who are dangerously close to launching a coup in America.

But [he will need a] detachment of other deniable irregulars..

From the shadowy backstreets of Tokyo and Vienna, to the deceptive glitz and glamour of Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and finally to a Washington, D.C. in a permanent state of war, these four lone wolf killers will have to survive presidential hit teams, secret CIA prisons, and a national security state as obsessed with guarding its own secrets as it is with invading the privacy of the populace."

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