Showing posts with label innovation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label innovation. Show all posts

Monday, February 01, 2021

In The News (13)

The Standing 7-Minute Workout A gentler version of a popular workout keeps you moving while keeping your body off the floor.  

Powerful Snowstorm Expected to Affect Much of the East Winter storm warnings have been issued from North Carolina to New York. Hazardous travel conditions and heavy snow are expected, forecasters said. ............   most of New Jersey Transit’s bus and rail operations would be temporarily suspended on Monday because of the storm. ...........  At the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, which describes itself as the “busiest bus terminal in the world,” all bus service in and out will be suspended on Monday.   

The Forgotten People Fighting the Forever War A devastating incident in Afghanistan shows the perils of relying on Special Operations alone to fight the nation’s battles. ...........  The Afghan army and police, plagued by corruption and poor leadership, had abandoned their posts and left the city to the Taliban with barely a fight.   

The Brazil Variant Is Exposing the World’s Vulnerability Somehow the coronavirus is rampaging through a city that was supposedly immune. ........... Even in a year of horrendous suffering, what is unfolding in Brazil stands out. In the rainforest city of Manaus, home to 2 million people, bodies are reportedly being dropped into mass graves as quickly as they can be dug. Hospitals have run out of oxygen, and people with potentially treatable cases of COVID-19 are dying of asphyxia. This nature and scale of mortality have not been seen since the first months of the pandemic. ................  Data seemed to support the idea that herd immunity in Manaus was near. ........... Although no known variants have been found to pose an immediate threat to vaccinated people, the capacity for reinfection to any significant degree would reshape the pandemic’s trajectory. .............. The new wave of COVID-19 cases in Manaus occurred about eight months after the initial wave. People might have lost some degree of immunity during that window. .............  the variant in Brazil, known as the P.1 (or B.1.1.248) lineage, has a potent combination of mutations. Not only does this variant seem to be more transmissible; its lineage carries mutations that help it escape the antibodies that we develop in response to older lineages of the coronavirus. That is, it at least has a capacity to infect people who have already recovered from COVID-19, even if their defenses protect them against other versions of the virus. .................... the virus’s capacity to cause such a deadly second surge in Brazil suggests a dangerous evolutionary potential. ............. New, dangerous variants are all but inevitable when there are extremely high levels of transmission of the virus. ............ The immune response that the vaccines create is generally more robust than the immune response we get after being infected by a virus .......... vaccines will not be available to more than a fifth of the world’s population until 2022. ........... Ensuring that every human is vaccinated is in everyone’s interest, as global distribution of vaccines is the most effective way to drive down the virus’s capacity to replicate and evolve. The key will be bringing down the global rates of transmission as quickly as possible—not getting any single country to 100 percent vaccination while dozens of countries roil. ..............   In a recursive loop, the virus could come back to haunt the vaccinated, leading to new surges and lockdowns in coming years. The countries that hoard the vaccine without a plan to help others do so at their own peril.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

In The News (12)

Raphael Warnock and the Solitude of the Black Senator The Georgia pastor will be just the 11th Black U.S. senator. His victory came amid an attempt to delegitimize election results — a pattern for more than 150 years. ...........  The expansion of American democracy to accommodate Black participation was interpreted as a threat to those who considered politics to be the divine and exclusive province of white men. .......... The Cincinnati Daily Enquirer’s headline the next day was even more direct: “The Mississippi Gorilla Admitted to the Senate.” ..............  By the time Bruce’s term ended in 1881, so had Reconstruction. With federal troops no longer enforcing civil rights protections, white segregationists’ violent and methodical retaking of the South, where more than 90 percent of Black Americans lived, blocked them by racial terrorism and measures like grandfather clauses, poll taxes and literacy tests from voting booths and elected office, systemically removing Black citizens from the democracy. ............ It would be more than eight decades before the Senate seated another Black member. .............. By the time he left the Senate in January 1979, a political language had emerged that eerily invoked the period after Reconstruction: “law and order,” often a euphemism for maintaining a particular social and racial order; “states’ rights,” as cover for skirting civil rights protections in the Constitution; “personal responsibility,” an evasion of the systemic economic subjugation of Black Americans. ...................  It was only eight years ago that, for the first time in the nation’s history, the Senate had more than one Black member. .............  The echoes of eras past resound in present-day America, where Black Americans’ participation in the nation’s leadership is seen by some not as a fulfillment of its founding ideals but as an existential threat to them. 

Biden’s Nightmare May Be China Think dealing with Mitch McConnell will be tough? Managing a reckless Xi Jinping will be even harder. .......... Xi is an overconfident, risk-taking bully who believes that the United States is in decline. .............  Few expected Xi to pick fights with India on their shared border, as he has several times in the past year, and heaven help us if he is similarly reckless toward Taiwan and sparks a war with the United States. ....................   Biden’s challenge will be to constrain a Chinese leader who has been oppressive in Hong Kong, genocidal in the Xinjiang region, obdurate on trade, ruthless on human rights and insincere on everything, while still cooperating with China on issues like climate change, fentanyl and North Korea ...............  I have had more Chinese friends imprisoned than I can count. I have no illusions about Beijing ............  China is a complex and contradictory place, not a caricature. ........... whether arms control agreements, hotlines and military-to-military consultations can lower temperatures.   

As Biden Plans Global Democracy Summit, Skeptics Say: Heal Thyself First The sense of a dysfunctional, if not entirely broken, democratic system in the United States has foreign rivals crowing — and suggesting that it has no business lecturing other nations. ...............  Mr. Biden should instead hold a democracy summit at home — one focused on “injustice and inequality” in the United States, including issues like voting rights and disinformation. .............  “and in progress on issues like dealing with systemic racism.” ............. who, exactly, would be invited to attend.  

The Silicon Valley Start-Up That Caused Wall Street Chaos Robinhood pitched itself to investors as the antithesis of Wall Street. It didn’t say that it also entirely relies on Wall Street. This past week, the two realities collided. .............  Online brokers had traditionally charged around $10 for every trade, but Robinhood said that customers of its phone app could trade for free. .......... Rampant speculation on options contracts helped drive the rise of GameStop’s shares from about $20 on Jan. 12 to nearly $500 on Thursday — a rally that forced Robinhood to hit the brakes on its own customers.    

A 10-Year-Old GameStop Investor Cashed In. His Return? Over 5,000%. Jaydyn Carr of San Antonio made $3,200 on shares from GameStop this week that his mother bought him in 2019 for about $60. ...............  “I asked him, ‘Do you want to stay or sell?’” .........  Jaydyn decided to sell his shares, earning $3,200 — a return of more than 5,000 percent on an investment of about $60.  

China Wanted to Show Off Its Vaccines. It’s Backfiring. Delays, inconsistent data, spotty disclosures and the country’s attacks on Western rivals have marred its ambitious effort to portray itself as a leader in global health. ........  China’s vaccines, while considered effective, cannot stop the virus as well as those developed by Pfizer and Moderna, the American drugmakers. .............  Sinopharm, a state-owned vaccine maker, and Sinovac have said they can produce up to a combined two billion doses this year, making them essential to the global fight against the coronavirus. .............  Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, their doses can be kept at refrigerated temperatures and are more easily transported, making them appealing to the developing world. ...........  Several world leaders, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, have gotten a Sinovac vaccine.   

Biden Wants the Biggest Stimulus in Modern History. Is It Too Big? Supporters of a ‘hot’ economy see a chance to correct the mistakes of the last recession. Others see danger.  ...........  “Interest rates are at zero, inflation is low, unemployment is high. You don’t need a textbook to know this is when you push on the fiscal accelerator. Let’s go.” ................  but there also might be a painful adjustment with a period of slow growth on the other side of the mountain.”  

Forecast: Wild Weather in a Warming World The polar vortex is experiencing an unusually long disturbance this year because of a “sudden stratospheric warming.” Bundle up. .......... two disruptions of the polar vortex so far this year and, potentially, a third on the way. ........... While warming means milder winters overall, “the motto for snowstorms in the era of climate change could be ‘go big or go home!’ ......... The wild weather has its origins in the warming Arctic. .......   “We’re changing the planet in such dramatic and incontrovertible ways,” she said. “The atmosphere is different now. The Earth’s surface is different now. The oceans are different now. So there must be some connections that are yet to be discovered as we do more research on the stratospheric polar vortex.” ...............  precisely where the snow will fall, and how deep, is difficult to predict ahead of time.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

In The News (11)

Fauci, unchained The government’s leading infectious-disease expert exults in being able to speak frankly ........... Over the months that followed, Fauci was a regular frustration to Trump, given that same prioritization of accuracy and research over gut feelings and platitudes. Eventually, Trump elevated Scott Atlas from doing Fox News interviews to serving on his coronavirus team, on which Atlas advocated a “do-little” approach more in line with Trump’s preferences. Fauci spoke to the media regularly but was clearly sidelined within the White House. ............. “One of the things that we’re going to do is to be completely transparent, open and honest,” he said of the government’s approach to the pandemic. “If things go wrong, not point fingers but to correct them and to make everything we do be based on science and evidence. I mean, that was literally a conversation I had 15 minutes ago with the president, and he has said that multiple times.” ............  The doctor’s repeated references to there being a new sheriff in town did not go unnoticed.  

The pandemic is showing us which friendships are worth keeping and overall her quieter life has felt restorative. “I detoxed from all the social connecting I was doing,” Carlton said recently. “I’ve gotten to crave that time to myself, and I’m so much more aware of when I need it.” .............   once her family is vaccinated and life begins to speed up again, she wants to continue focusing mostly on her besties rather than stretching to see everyone in her circle. Her pod just might outlive the pandemic. .............. Just as working from home has revealed that commuting to an office five days a week isn’t necessary for every worker, some who once tried to maintain dozens of friendships are realizing they’re more fulfilled while keeping up with just their nearest and dearest.............. We don’t have to catch up with everyone. Some friendships won’t survive this time, and that’s okay. .............. people who are prioritizing fewer pals, and are going deeper with them, are feeling more connected. “The pandemic gave us this collective permission to talk about the hard things going on in our lives without shame” ...............   those with friendships that didn’t make the transition to phone calls, texting or Zoom “are the people who are super-lonely right now.” .......... she doesn’t have room for “inauthentic interactions anymore,” meaning connections that feel more like networking ....... Gujral plans to be more transparent with invitations she can’t accept, telling friends or acquaintances that an event would intrude on family time. ............. some people will never return to pre-pandemic levels of party-hopping and calendar-packing.  

CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant to become dominant in U.S.  So far, no variant is known to cause more severe illness, although more infections would inevitably mean a higher death toll overall ........... Scientists both in and out of government have stressed the need for the public to stick to proven methods of limiting viral spread, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding crowds and having good hand hygiene. ...............   the level of pain and suffering in late March, when the new variant is forecast to be dominant, depends on actions taken today to try to drive down infection rates. ............ Scientists say B.1.1.7 has mutations in the “receptor binding domain” of the virus, and this may be enhancing the ability of the virus to bind with cells in the human body. There is evidence it leads to higher viral loads, which in turn could boost the amount of virus that a person is shedding, or prolong the period in which someone can transmit the virus. ........ vaccination, performed rapidly, is critical to crushing the curve of viral infections. Without vaccines, under one CDC scenario, the country could be dealing with even greater levels of infections in May than in January.   

Boris Johnson says British coronavirus variant may be more deadly  among 1,000 men in England age 60 or older who get infected, the original virus would kill 10. The new variant, he said, would kill 13 or 14.  

FEMA would operate up to 100 federally run mass vaccination sites under Biden plan A draft document envisions different models for sites, with the largest capable of handling 6,000 doses a day  ........... The document envisions FEMA, which previously had more of a piecemeal role in pandemic response, fully unleashed. Its mission will be to “provide federal support to existing or new community vaccination centers and mobile clinics across the country.” .............  Biden intends to involve the federal government more directly in the administration of vaccines, instead of leaving the final step of the massive effort to state and local authorities. ............. “FEMA … will mobilize thousands of clinical and nonclinical staff and contractors who will work hand-in-glove with the National Guard and state and local teams to assist, augment, and expedite the distribution and administration of coronavirus vaccines,” the FEMA document states. If requested by states and other jurisdictions, the draft notes, “the U.S. Government would develop, equip, provide information management, and staff and operate the site.” ............. A lack of abundant vaccine supply will remain the most pressing problem, probably through March. .................  The largest, called the “Mega Model,” would be able to administer 6,000 doses a day but require a space at least as large as 15,000 square feet. The smallest would extend across just 2,500 square feet and be able to handle 250 doses a day.  

‘Pixie dust’: Why some vaccine sits on shelves while shortages intensify nationwide Confusion over set-asides for nursing homes and reluctance to order vaccine that might go unused mean some doses remain in warehouses. .......... The bottleneck isn’t just in administering the vaccines; some states are not ordering everything they’ve been allotted. ........... The president’s advisers have said they were left no plan by the Trump administration. But what they inherited this week was more like a black box than a bare cupboard — the result of fractured communication among federal, state and local officials and a juggling act between manufacturers making a new product and thousands of providers, from big hospital systems to tiny clinics, struggling to plan around an unknown amount of vaccine. ...............  comes in a minimum order of 975 doses. Once vials are opened, doses must be used within six hours. ............  there is reluctance to set up vaccination sites and mobilize beleaguered medical workers only to perform a meager number of inoculations. 

People without symptoms spread virus in more than half of cases, CDC model finds The finding underscores the importance of following guidelines to wear masks and maintain social distancing ........... Regardless of whether you feel ill, wear a mask, wash your hands, stay socially distant and get a coronavirus test. ............ The clinical trials for the mRNA vaccines, authorized in December, concluded the vaccinations are highly capable of preventing symptomatic illness. But those trials did not determine whether vaccinated people are able to spread the pathogen. “If they were asymptomatic but equally contagious, then that’s going to have quite an impact on the epidemic,” Menzies warned. That is why it is so important to keep testing people, he said, especially those who were vaccinated and then exposed to the virus.

Yes, people with coronavirus vaccinations should still distance from each other. Here’s why.  experts have repeatedly emphasized that getting vaccinated doesn’t mean an immediate return to pre-pandemic life. ............ “There are many people that think it’s kind of an antidote to it all and that once you’re vaccinated, you won’t have to mask or distance or any of those things,” said Namandje Bumpus, director of the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, who has participated in community calls about the vaccines. “Certainly, all of us getting vaccinated moves us toward that more quickly, but it’s not something that we’re going to be able to do as soon as we get vaccinated. We’re going to have to continue to be diligent the way that we have been.” .................  So far, more than 2.2 million people in the United States have been fully vaccinated ....... But public health officials say at least 70 percent of the population needs to be inoculated for the country to achieve herd immunity and stop the virus’s spread.............   And with the virus continuing to spread rapidly across much of the country, many forms of in-person socializing carry some level of risk, including gatherings among people who are fully vaccinated...............  It is possible that people who are vaccinated can be exposed to the coronavirus and become unknowing carriers .......... The virus can also sometimes just hang around in a person’s nostrils after they are exposed, Barocas said. Then, all it takes is an ill-timed sneeze to potentially transmit it. ............ “The problem with this virus is that it’s incredibly contagious and it’s very easily transmissible,” Shah said. “We’ve seen cases of very minimal exposures and then people getting infected from there.” ..............  “In the short term, life is going to look much the same until much more of society has had a chance to be vaccinated”

In The News (10) READ: Transcript of Amanda Gorman's inaugural poem
The bottom line is if you look at the data, the problem is all along the supply chain. ....... there must be aggressive and comprehensive coordination, at the national level, that covers the entire supply chain. ...... Throughout the pandemic, President Trump threatened to invoke but almost never actually used the Defense Production Act, a Korean War-era law that allows the federal government to mobilize the entire U.S. economy and infrastructure for wartime efforts. ......... That would allow the government to rapidly increase the supply of the vaccines themselves, accessories like alcohol swabs, syringes, and medical-grade glass, and fix whatever other bottlenecks the government identifies. ........ the U.S. vaccine rollout missed the mark and made easily-avoidable errors. ........ the reserve of vaccinations that Trump recently promised to release might not even exist. 
EXPERT: WE COULD VACCINATE EVERYONE ON EARTH AND NOT ELIMINATE THE CORONAVIRUS YOU SHOULD STILL GET VACCINATED, THOUGH.  scientists aren’t yet sure whether the vaccines currently being deployed actually stop disease transmission or if they merely prevent symptomatic disease ............ there’s a chance the vaccine doesn’t actually keep people from catching and spreading COVID-19, but simply makes them less likely to suffer from it. ............ “I think this virus is here to stay”

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

In The News (9)

Why a dawn of technological optimism is breaking The 2010s were marked by pessimism about innovation. That is giving way to hope .......... For much of the past decade the pace of innovation underwhelmed many people—especially those miserable economists. Productivity growth was lacklustre and the most popular new inventions, the smartphone and social media, did not seem to help much. Their malign side-effects, such as the creation of powerful monopolies and the pollution of the public square, became painfully apparent. Promising technologies stalled, including self-driving cars, making Silicon Valley’s evangelists look naive. Security hawks warned that authoritarian China was racing past the West and some gloomy folk warned that the world was finally running out of useful ideas. .................  Today a dawn of technological optimism is breaking. The speed at which covid-19 vaccines have been produced has made scientists household names. Prominent breakthroughs, a tech investment boom and the adoption of digital technologies during the pandemic are combining to raise hopes of a new era of progress: optimists giddily predict a “roaring Twenties”. ..........  The 18th century brought the Industrial Revolution and mechanised factories; the 19th century railways and electricity; the 20th century cars, planes, modern medicine and domestic liberation thanks to washing machines. In the 1970s, though, progress—measured by overall productivity growth—slowed. The economic impact was masked for a while by women piling into the workforce, and a burst of efficiency gains followed the adoption of personal computers in the 1990s. After 2000, though, growth flagged again. ............ Humans are increasingly able to bend biology to their will, whether that is to treat disease, edit genes or to grow meat in a lab. Artificial intelligence is at last displaying impressive progress in a range of contexts. A program created by DeepMind, part of Alphabet, has shown a remarkable ability to predict the shapes of proteins; last summer Openai unveiled gpt-3, the best natural-language algorithm to date; and since October driverless taxis have ferried the public around Phoenix, Arizona. Spectacular falls in the price of renewable energy are giving governments confidence that their green investments will pay off. Even China now promises carbon neutrality by 2060. ............... Such is the market’s optimism about electric vehicles that Tesla’s ceo, Elon Musk, who also runs a rocket firm, is the world’s richest man. ............ The pandemic has also accelerated the adoptions of digital payments, telemedicine and industrial automation ............. Eventually, synthetic biology, artificial intelligence and robotics could up-end how almost everything is done. .......... Ensuring that the whole economy harnesses new technologies will require robust antitrust enforcement and looser intellectual-property regimes. ......... The 2020s began with a cry of pain but, with the right policies, the decade could yet roar.

Biden Treasury pick Janet Yellen says additional stimulus and expanded unemployment insurance will provide the 'biggest bang for the buck'   Yellen emphasized the extent of the economic and human devastation the virus has inflicted on the US over the past year and warned of another recession without a set of fiscal policies to address the issues those most impacted by the pandemic face everyday. ......... Her plans align with Biden's $1.9 trillion relief proposal, which calls for bigger benefits for Americans struggling with hunger and $400 weekly federal unemployment benefits. Yellen called for the government to "act big" when it comes to providing stimulus, going along with Biden's $1,400 boost to the $600 stimulus checks.   ........ She will be the first woman to lead the Treasury in the nation's history. 

China builds massive Covid-19 quarantine camp for 4,000 people as outbreak continues  On Tuesday, China reported 103 new confirmed cases and 58 asymptomatic infections, which are counted separately, spread out across four provinces. Hebei province now has a total of 818 active locally transmitted cases, and more than 200 asymptomatic infections, according to the provincial health commission. Last Wednesday, a patient died in Hebei -- the country's first Covid-19 related death in 242 days. The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 88,557, while the official death toll is 4,635. ........ In an effort to contain the outbreak, authorities placed Shijiazhuang under lockdown on January 8, with all 11 million residents barred from leaving the city. ........ In northeastern Jilin province, 102 cases have been linked to a so-called "superspreader," a salesman who traveled from his home province of Heilongjiang.

What a ‘wrecked’ polar vortex means for winter-starved Americans It’s been an easy winter on the East Coast, but that’s not guaranteed to continue ........... Experts now say that although the bout of unsettled wintry weather is delayed, it’s too soon to count it out. ........ surprises can be in store when the polar vortex is weak and wobbly — as is currently the case. ....... The stratospheric polar vortex is a whirlpool of high-altitude cold air that swirls around a low-pressure area near the North Pole. It’s born as a result of polar night, a months-long dark spell that accompanies the dead of winter in the Far North. The lack of sunlight chills the air, jump-starting the gyrating icebox’s spin every winter. It vanishes once spring returns, only to re-form by September or October. ..........  It’s not guaranteed that each polar vortex disruption or stratospheric warming event will yield unusually cold and snowy conditions, given how unique each event is. ......... The ongoing event, which kicked off in early January, has been complex. “Typically, when you get a large disruption, that’s it,” said Judah Cohen, a polar vortex specialist and director of seasonal forecasting at Atmospheric and Environmental Research. “[But this time] we got a split, then it recovered; it kind of split again, and now it’s displaced, and it could split a third or fourth time.” ........ One of the lobes has already brought extreme cold to Siberia, where temperatures in Yakutia, in eastern Russia, haven’t climbed above minus-40 in more than a month, according to the Associated Press. Delyankir, in northeastern Russia, dropped to minus-73 degrees Jan. 18. The concentrated cold has been fierce and extreme, and looks to remain in place in eastern Russia through at least early next week. ........ the messy split of the polar vortex may be causing it to play out differently than other years when the vortex was displaced. ........ “While the polar vortex has become very stretched out and wobbly, it has not displaced as strongly southward or split as clearly into two lobes as in other events,” wrote Butler. “[That] means it might not be able to influence the underlying jet stream quite as well.” ............... Signs also point to the vortex remaining unsteady and unstable for the remainder of the season. That bolsters the odds of wintry weather in the northeastern United States .......... it’s just too late in the season to expect the polar vortex to regain its former strength. “We will not get to the cold temperatures in Arctic [stratosphere]; the vortex will stay in a weakened warm state.” .......... “If it becomes disturbed enough, it could help nudge the jet stream south, allowing cold air to spill from Canada into the U.S. But this prediction is for a couple of weeks from now, which is still too far in the future for any guarantees.” .......... His gut tells him late January into February could be interesting. “It’s not over,” Cohen said. “I think it’s just getting started.” 

Monday, March 21, 2016

If Robots Can Do Surgery

English: The mdonalds logo from the late 90s
English: The mdonalds logo from the late 90s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If robots can do surgery then becoming a surgeon should be less complicated than flipping burgers at McDonald's. Massive rises in productivity can mean the average wages go up dramatically, granted political innovation keeps pace with innovations in technology.

When you use a computer today, do you do it because you understand how all the machine parts work? Do you care? Do you use it because it is slower than you?

Cars and planes are faster than human beings.

Assume 90% of the products and services are not even here. If the human brain is the pinnacle of evolution, then public policy should treat every human brain on earth like it were a gold mine, which is precisely what it is. I don't see the investment happening right now.

Don't blame robots for failures in public policy.

One person, one vote, one voice is a powerful concept. It just needs to be taken to its logical conclusion.

If racism is a Christian thing (colonization, slavery, segregation) then Christianity, the religion, is nothing to do with Christ. Any message against peace, justice and kindness is invalid in all religions. The temple needs to be cleaned up on a regular basis.

We are to create Heaven On Earth. Massive rises in productivity are to take us there. But Godless "visionaries" throw visions of hell on earth. Instead of an age of abundance they talk about abundant poor and useless people.

Artificial Intelligence can help us achieve one person, one vote, one voice 24/7, it can help us do away with the need for literacy. It can give us the perfect communication that a theoretical perfect market economy needs, one where a monopoly simply can not happen, and there is almost always perfect competition.

Technology is supposed to empower. Instead some prophesy helplessness for the masses. They are wrong.