Open Thread Friday 4-3-2020
Seasons come, seasons go and the cycle continues. Most of Americans life revolves around seasons defined by the market place and man-made events. What wrapping paper message in on the boxes of chocolate in the stores. Is it Easter, Christmas, Valentine or Happy Halloween? Which sports season? I became confused as they began to overlap. Is it flu or allergy season? What should I be celebrating or complaining about?
It all stopped. A virus came along. Our carefully constructed illusion of mankind controlling the enviornment is under attack. Mother nature just gave us a time out.
Look at the small patterns to learn about the big
Study the big patterns to understand the small
The bright yellow slime mold, dubbed Physarum polycephalum, is a brainless organism that produces networks of slimy tendrils which can somehow 'solve' spatial problems that are surprisingly complex. By studying its growth patterns, researchers have produced oddly accurate models of the wider universe.
Previous models based on this particular mold have solved mazes, calculated the shortest distance between two points and reconstructed the entire Tokyo rail system – no small feat, by any stretch of the imagination.
Inspired by the work of German media artist Sage Jenson, the UC Santa Cruz team created three-dimensional models and fed in the coordinates of 37,000 galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) – a group collectively known as the 'Local Universe' – into the algorithm.
Then the magic happened on a celestial (but digital) scale, as the algorithm churned out a visualization of what the scaffolding which holds the universe together might look like.
I did my monthly grocery and feed shopping this week. In spite of seeing news reports of shortages it was still unsettling to see so many empty shelves. Have not seen the empty space since childhood grocery store visits when winter roads over mountain passes were not always open to keep the shelves fully stocked. Fortunately there are a number of grocery and feed stores within a short distance and I was able to replenish by supplies.
This pattern of extended gaps between grocery runs may be our reality for a while. I am going to share some of my practices and if you have something to contribute please do. Some of these ideas may seem insignificant or too obvious, but wasn't able to ask for feedback while writing and someone may benefit. Late summer and fall is the traditional season to stock up. In spring plants are ready to grow and need to watch closer for spoilage or sprouting.
Vegetables: Fresh vegetables with the least processing and not over hydrated will stay unspoiled for a longer time if handled properly. Get them out of the shipping plastic and into oversized bags for air circulation. Lettuce add a paper towel to stabilize moisture, squeeze out when gets too wet. Vegetables traditionally kept in a root cellar or in the ground with a mulch over winter are the easiest to keep for a while before using. For example, whole cabbage last longer than lettuce. For both plant remove broken or cracked leaves before storing. Peel off leaves as needed to cut, tear or chop. The partial heads can last three to five weeks in the refrigerator. If the head is cut with a knife it will start to spoil on the cut edges. If edge is discolored cut about 1/4 inch of and discard that portion.
Restaurants offering lettuce salads included with a meal narrowed our definition of salad. Salads have a rich history of using all kinds of fruits and vegetables with different types of dressings. Don't limit your imagination.
Radishes, carrots, beets and turnips with green stem trimmed to 1 to 2 inches will keep themselves in a state to start growing again and the greens damaged in shipping do not spoil. If only using part of summer squash and cucumber trim 1/2 piece off bud end and use toothpick to seal cut.
Frozen has a better nutritional value than canned. Harvest is generally coordinated with processing, often better nutritional value and flavor than several day old fresh vegetables. Cut a corner off a bag and pour out what you need, or buy a variety pack and sort out what is needed for the recipe.
Keep your potatoes stored in darkness to prevent greening. Green skins and flesh are toxic, trim and discard. The rest of my vegetable and fruit trims goes into dog and chicken food.
Fruit: looks good, then spoils quickly and spreads to other pieces. After awhile you can recognize the odor and salvage some of the piece.
Dairy: Real sour cream, cottage cottage cheese and yogurt without stabilizers are cultured products with beneficial bacteria that prevent mold growth. When Carrageenans, gaur gums, acacia gum and xanthan gum area added mold can grow easier in these products.
Sources of yeast prior to individual packets. (9.17 min)
Continuing the Journey into Chinese Medicine
Chinese medicine has been receptive to incorporating new ideas over the centuries. Technology is now widespread in their medical model of providing national health care. It was an integral part of the COVID-19 response. There are many valid discussions we can have on privacy concerns, market manipulation, abuse for profit and changes in patient care. The scope and speed of implementation changes our health care environment.
China stopped the epidemic by combining conventional public health measures with the largest application of information technology to public health in history, including locational tracking of likely carriers, identification of probable nodes of infection, continuous monitoring of the vital signs of a large proportion of its 1.4 billion people, and the use of smartphone apps to regulate the quarantine of individuals.
But this isn’t a “propaganda offensive.” It’s a technological paradigm shift. Chinese propaganda as usual is crude, culturally myopic and unpersuasive. But China’s accomplishments in public health are real, according to the world’s largest pharmaceuticals firms. On March 30, for example, the German pharma industry leader Boehringer-Ingelheim announced the opening of a second digital laboratory in Shanghai. A company statement explained, “The concept of BI X is to use digital innovation to accelerate the development of healthcare solutions and to help discovery of breakthrough treatments for humans and animals. Since its start in 2017, BI X has delivered many projects with a strong impact worldwide. Using iterative processes and continuous development, Scrum Masters, Data Scientists, Engineers and UX Designers working at BI X test and prove new applications within months.”
Michael Schmelmer, a member of Boehringer-Ingelheim’s board, added, “With this step we are strengthening our footprint in a market that is very strong in digital innovation in healthcare and has a unique technological landscape. The close proximity to our Chinese patients and customers will enable us to develop better disruptive products for them and tap into the high digital capabilities in China.” The company has annual sales of over US $20 billion.
Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment firm, has spent years developing AI applications to health care. In 2017 it signed a joint venture with the Dutch electronics firm Philips “to build a new, cloud-based healthcare solution for deployment in China,” Healthcare magazine reported. “The country is becoming home to an increased aging population and limited resources, which has seen the need for the healthcare industry to become increasingly digital and patient centric. The use of digital technologies will therefore deliver increased accuracy within diagnostics and analytics and enable the ability for medical professionals to provide exceptional medical treatment surrounding chronic, long-term condition. Testing surrounding Huawei and Phillips’ healthcare solution has now been completed, at which the project is now looking towards a future where cloud and machine-learning will digitalize and disrupt the healthcare vertical with unprecedented speed and reach.”
In an October 2019 interview, Huawei’s Chief Technology Officer Paul Scanlan told me, “This is what we mean by the ‘control point.’ We don’t want to do everything ourselves. If you are a pharmaceutical company, you won’t have to duplicate our investment in AI. You simply rent time on the Cloud using our AI servers and obtain access to our data. The key is gathering and porting the data to servers where it can be put into usable form. That’s our contribution. We don’t want to control everything. We want partners who are best in class in every field. ”
By providing the medical data and the capacity to manipulate it, China has become a magnet for the world’s leading pharmaceutical firms.
All topics are welcome for discussion.