Categories
Current Events

The week that was

Field hospital tents were set up in New York City’s Central Park in anticipation of an expected surge of Covid-19 patients. The last time this happened was during the Civil War. Later in the week, the naval hospital ship Comfort docked in New York harbor.

Comfort’s sister ship, the Mercy docked in Los Angeles harbor and was later attacked by a reality-challenged individual who attempted to ram the ship with a train.

The National Symphony Orchestra was let go by the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Their last paycheck will be on April 3.

Kobe Bryant’s used towel from his last game with the Los Angeles Lakers sold at an auction for $33,000.

Home from school and stuck in social isolation, students from UPenn, BU, UCLA, Northwestern, Oberlin and other schools worked together to re-create their campus, online, in Minecraft. Many of these projects will now serve as a virtual stage for commencement ceremonies.

President Trump announced that Navy ships will be deployed near Venezuela to beef up counter-narcotics operations. A Venezuelan Navy offshore patrol vessel sank after ramming a cruise liner in the Caribbean Sea. The cruiser, which had a reinforced hull to sail through ice-filled waters, suffered minimal damage.

The coronavirus has taken out of commission one of the largest ships in the US Navy. The captain of the ship was later relieved of duty.

Tragedy struck as a truck carrying thousands of rolls of precious cargo crashed and burst into flames.

The New England Patriots flew their team plane to China to pick up a load of 1.2 million N95 masks and bring it home to hospital staff in Massachusetts.

A New Jersey paper delivery man took it upon himself to bring more than just the daily news and is now taking orders to deliver much needed groceries to his homebound, at-risk clientele.

The Pentagon confirmed that it’s working to provide FEMA with 100,000 “pouches to address mortuary contingencies.”

A group of MIT scientists have designed a ventilator that can be made from readily available hospital gear for about $500. Open Source communities are sharing designs for ventilators and masks.

A 104 year-old World War II veteran from Oregon became the oldest survivor of the coronavirus.

Categories
Current Events

Can’t keep us down

The human spirit is irrepressibly creative.

Three mates stuck in their apartment Barcelona hit a chord with their bit, Stay Homas and have now become an internet sensation with their own YouTube channel and a profile in the New Yorker.

When British sportscasters get bored.
Daniel is a Flyers fan when he’s not parodying Broadway
Categories
Current Events

Exponential Growth

I found this video and accompanying visualization of exponential growth on a logarithmic scale helpful, if not terrifying.

Animated plot of selected nations does not bode well for the United States. When looking at the growth along a logarithmic scale you see the United States and Italy shoot up and to the right like fireworks – racing past South Korea and China.

Singapore took quick action because of their experience with SARS but you can see the number of cases creeps back up but they are still below the trajectory of other nations. Japan and Finland have also managed to keep slightly below the trajectory of most nations but I think it’s too early to tell why.

Categories
Current Events

Group Play

Stuck at home, the world’s symphonies are using technology to play, together.

Rotterdam Philharmonic plays Beethoven’s 9th

I learned later that each of the Rotterdam musicians did their bit without practice.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra plays Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring
Orquesta Sinfonica de Castilla y Leon plays Beethoven’s 9th symphony
Jerusalem Street Orchestra plays Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
Students at Berklee College of Music play Love Sweet Love
Categories
Current Events

Fever Hotspots

Smart thermometer company Kinsa allows users of its product to upload their temperature readings along with their location via an app. In normal times, the US Health Weather Map is used to predict influenza trends and compare outbreaks to previous years.

But this year is not normal. Kinsa is suggesting that the Atypical tab on their map might be useful as a predictor for where the next Covid-19 breakout may occur.

As you can see on the map – it looks like the next hotspots after New York and New Jersey are the beaches of Florida (remember the Spring Breakers?) and, for some reason, two counties in Colorado.

Overall trend data for the United States also shows something is amiss.

Based on our data, influenza-like illness levels in the U.S. are higher than what we’d expect at this time of year. (Kinsa)

I’ll be watching this page and update when appropriate.

Categories
Current Events

Remote Teaching

Tyler is home from school. Boston University closed its dorms for the semester and his part time internship is on indefinite hiatus so he was forced to beat a strategic retreat back home.

As his fellow students rub their weary, time-shifted eyes to tune into yet another Zoom University class, there is also this perspective from the teacher’s point of view. What is it like to teach to an empty classroom?

“Welcome back from spring break,” Abrams booms, looking out at the rows of empty rust-colored seats. “To those of you in California, to those of you where it’s 3 am, you are my heroes, thank you for coming. It’s pretty lonely here in Boston. I miss having you in class. You have no idea how weird and empty this is.”

Remote Teaching and Learning in a Time of COVID-19

We live in interesting times. I still don’t know if that’s a blessing or a curse.

Categories
Current Events

Shelter in Place

Categories
Current Events

Goodbye Super Tuesday

Big day yesterday with Bloomberg dropping out this morning, all eyes looking to see what Warren will do and everyone wondering why Tulsi Gabbard is still hanging in there.

More details at The Race.

Categories
Current Events

Gif Peanut Butter

The limited run is already sold out on Amazon. From the listing:

  • Limited edition jar with double-sided JIF/GIF label.
  • Perfect for sandwiches, baking, and shutting down internet debates.
  • Contains about 34 servings of peanut butter, and 0 looping images.
Categories
Current Events

Coronavirus and our Dystopian Future

Due to mandatory quarantines across China, people have resorted to using new and old technology in new ways to serve their needs that has hints of a dark, post-apocalytic, sci fi world. A few examples;

So people do not have to touch potentially infected elevator buttons, many have set out containers of disposable toothpicks which can be used to press the buttons and then discarded.

Sending out a remote-controlled car to get food.

Drones are used to spray neighborhoods of disinfectant, remotely take temperature reading of apartment block residents, and disperse pubic gatherings.

Empty movie theaters are forced to sell their snack inventory online.

Many museums are livestreaming events and tours and nightclubs are streaming home party mixes.

With schools in extended shutdown, teachers have resorted to streaming their classes.

Online maps show outbreak clusters in real time so the healthy can avoid going nearby. Apparently several location-based apps (such as your mobile wallet) stop working once you leave the quarantine zone, limiting movement.

Farmers, unable to sell their crops in the market, are selling via live-streaming and shipping direct to customers.