Saturday, March 28, 2020

$1200 isn't enough

Disruptive times calls for disruptive ideas, like a universal income, universal healthcare and a reduction of the military industrial complex as this country is now in deep free fall and the political leaders in place either haven't a clue or lack the guts to change things for the better as COVID-19 ravages this once great nation known as America. From education rackets to crony capitalism, this country has been systematically violated and it's time for we the people to take it back. For starters, term limits and forgive the debt would help without question because Germany did it in 1948 with little or no repercussions.

The NYTimes piece titled 'We Have Lost It All': The Shock Felt by Millions of Unemployed Americans describes what it means to become destitute in an NY Second.

To whit:

For the millions of Americans who found themselves without a job in recent weeks, the sharp and painful change brought a profound sense of disorientation. They were going about their lives, bartending, cleaning, managing events, waiting tables, loading luggage and teaching yoga. And then suddenly they were in free fall, grabbing at any financial help they could find, which in many states this week remained locked away behind crashing websites and overloaded phone lines.

“Everything has changed in a matter of minutes — seconds,” said Tamara Holtey, 29, an accountant for an industrial services company in the Houston area, who was on a cruise to Cozumel, Mexico, as the coronavirus outbreak intensified in the United States and was laid off on her second day back at work.

This is like a car accident caused by someone texting, one second you're alive, the next, you're not. Time to change the ethos of this country now before it's too late.

End of rant for now.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Eerie says it all ...

A superb piece from Rolling Stone titled Ask an Expert on the Fall of Rome: Are We F-cked? details the eerie connect between the fall of Rome and the US in ways both disquieting and apt to a fault.

Crises like these — whether it’s a crisis of political legitimacy, or a pandemic that demands response, or some kind of major external war that crops up out of nowhere — the chances are good that whatever snaps under the pressure of that crisis was probably straining already, was probably barely chugging along already. There’s some kind of deep problem that a crisis is going to expose, bring to the fore, and then break very dramatically for everybody to see.

We see the crisis and we see the break — and we equate the two. We’re narrative creatures. That’s how we understand the world. We understand things as a story with a climax, and the break has to be the climax. It’s very hard for us to turn a more analytical eye and see the collection of very small things that lead up to a systemic break. It’s just difficult. But these disasters don’t create these trends so much as they supercharge them.

Rolling Stone

What kind of breaks, systemic failures, and supercharged trends are you seeing with our response to COVID-19? Your point about systems breaking that were already stretched thin reminded me of these reports that somewhere between 90 and 98 percent of our nation’s ICU beds are being used all the time.

Patrick Wyman

That’s exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about. When you have a society that has optimized for some ideal of efficiency or shareholder value, as opposed to redundancy or resiliency, this is the kind of result that you get. From my point of view, that amounts to a break. Something like repeatedly cutting ICU capacity in order to deliver more shareholder profits, that looks like a broken system to me, or at least one in which the incentives are not necessarily aligned with public welfare.

Put on a slightly different scale, if you have an economy that’s set up such that having to reduce consumer spending in order to preserve public health places such a massive strain on it, there’s probably something underlying that’s unhealthy about that system as a whole. If your system of political economy is not healthy enough to withstand a shock like that or respond to that, something’s wrong. If we end up with 20 or 25 percent unemployment, if we end up with large numbers of people who can’t eat, who are going to be paying thousands and thousand of dollars from medical bills if and when they get sick … those are systemic crises that grew out of problems that existed before the coronavirus.

Makes sense does it not and ... read the piece in its entirety. It's the smart thing to do.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

PSA: How to shop safely in the age of COVID-19

How to shop safely in the age of COVID-19. Awesome to a fault.

Look before you leap

Look before you leap is prudent, so is intelligent analysis before doing anything of consequence, something not being done by Trump regarding COVID-19 and what it could mean for America if he opens up the country too soon. 

To this end, The NYTimes has created an interactive chart showing how the numbers play out in terms of people getting infected based on input by researchers who know their stuff regarding pandemics and the viral agents that drive them. 

Look before you leap sounds smart to me don't you think?

Addendum: Another must-read regarding the virus ... Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance depicts in greater detail why Look before you leap is more than just apt. 

Any questions?

Greyscale & then some ...

Of days gone by ...

Into the distance

A touch of yellow

Winter's End

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The n-body problem

Being rather limited in math, to say the least, yours truly follows science and physics from the visual & verbal perspective so when brilliant researchers describe complex issues in ways I can follow, the topic discussed becomes fascinating to the max.

To whit:

The n-body problem is a famous problem in astrophysics. It arises as you add more bodies to a gravitationally interacting system.

The movements of two bodies of comparable size in orbit around a central point are relatively simple to mathematically predict, according to Newton's laws of motion and Newton's law of universal gravitation.

However, once you add another body, things become tricky. The bodies start to gravitationally perturb each others' orbits, introducing an element of chaos into the interaction. This means that, although solutions exist for special cases, there is no one formula - under Newtonian physics or general relativity - that describes these interactions with complete accuracy.

Here's where it gets really interesting.

When running n-body simulations, physicists sometimes return time-irreversibility in their results - in other words, running the simulations backwards doesn't get them to the original starting point.

The three bodies in the system are black holes, and they were tested in two scenarios. In the first, the black holes started from rest, moving towards each other into complicated orbits, before one of the black holes is kicked out of the system.

The second scenario starts where the first one ends, and is run backwards in time, trying to restore the system to its initial state.

They found that, 5 percent of the time, the simulation could not be reversed. All it took was a disturbance to the system the size of a Planck length, which, at 0.000000000000000000000000000000000016 metres, is the smallest length possible.

"The movement of the three black holes can be so enormously chaotic that something as small as the Planck length will influence the movements," Boekholt said. "The disturbances the size of the Planck length have an exponential effect and break the time symmetry."

Five percent may not seem like much, but since you can never predict which of your simulations will fall within that five percent, the researchers have concluded that n-body systems are therefore "fundamentally unpredictable".

How cool is that?

Chaos rules yet again as one cannot retrace exactly the paths
3 or more bodies take in any given length of time.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Uncharted waters ...

In 2008, it was the great recession, in 2020, it's uncharted waters with the distinct likelihood
a depression of unimaginable proportions looms. 

No we have not. 

If the power elites get bailouts like in 2008, a revolution is nigh as it's now life or death with COVID-19 and financial destitution for main street and the middle class. The pols better listen up and do what's right as their future, along with the power elites is in play now. Just ask the French how that went down beginning in 1789. Food for thought, is it not?