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  1. #576
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    We have been getting hammered by thunderstorms every night this week. Lots of lightning, not much stargazing.


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  2. #577
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    We are having another gully washer now.


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  3. #578
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    Yeah... outside of last night... we’ve been dodging those storms hitting Kitz. Crimeny with this heat... I’d almost welcome a thunderstorm
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  4. #579
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandZagFan View Post
    Yeah... outside of last night... we’ve been dodging those storms hitting Kitz. Crimeny with this heat... I’d almost welcome a thunderstorm
    I saw the most amazing video in a tweet the other day of this massive long lightning strike against the statue of Liberty and the guy wrote "Steven Miller has to stop G-Damn it!"
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  5. #580
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandZagFan View Post
    Yeah... outside of last night... we’ve been dodging those storms hitting Kitz. Crimeny with this heat... I’d almost welcome a thunderstorm
    Out on the West Coast, the high was 68° here. Lovely. Can't imagine the hotbox the rest of the country is in. I remember those humid summers in Chicago. Never again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kitzbuel View Post
    We have been getting hammered by thunderstorms every night this week. Lots of lightning, not much stargazing.


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    We have too! Usually in the evening and then early morning we've had to jump out of bed, stumble around and take the fans out of the windows. We usually get a 20 second heads up between "it started to rain" and "water is pouring out of the sky like Niagara Falls," it's been...fun.

  7. #582
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    The star cluster closest to Earth is in its death throes
    Stars in the Hyades are moving so fast it will disintegrate in 30 million years


    Using the Gaia spacecraft to measure velocities of stars in the Hyades cluster and those escaping from it, researchers have predicted the cluster’s demise. “We find that there’s only something like 30 million years left for the cluster to lose its mass completely,” says Semyeong Oh, an astronomer at the University of Cambridge.

    “Compared to the Hyades’ age, that’s very short,” she says. The star cluster, just 150 light-years away and visible to the naked eye in the constellation Taurus, formed about 680 million years ago from a large cloud of gas and dust in the Milky Way.

    Stellar gatherings such as the Hyades, known as open star clusters, are born with hundreds or thousands of stars that are held close to one another by their mutual gravitational pull. But numerous forces try to tear them apart: Supernova explosions from the most massive stars eject material that had been binding the cluster together; large clouds of gas pass near the cluster and yank stars out of it; the stars themselves interact with one another and jettison the least massive ones; and the gravitational pull of the whole Milky Way galaxy lures stars away too. As a result, open star clusters rarely reach their billionth birthday.
    "Death throes" means thirty million years in astronomy. We simply can't relate. Whatever is around on Earth then, it won't be humans (probably cyborgs) humans have evolved from some kind of tree thing in 30 million years. Whatever may be around as an ancestor will be far more evolved, probably have far bigger brain and eyes, more lean healthy muscle, maybe two hearts. But scientists are starting to think that the next "human" evolution is inevitably to a more bio-silicon networked interface.

    It terrifies some, some think it's just not that big a deal, they'll have emotion, ethics, all that, if infused with consciousness.

    But that's what happens over what scientists call "deep time" - the lengths we can't wrap our minds around.
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  8. #583
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    Ancient DNA suggests Vikings may have been plagued by smallpox

    Seems timely: Forget going to the moon, smashing atoms, or sequencing genes, when smallpox was eradicated from the globe it was considered the greatest human scientific achievement. Perhaps anti-biotics now replaced it at the top. But we still can't kill viruses like we can bacteria.

    Researchers collected DNA from viruses in the remains of northern Europeans living during the Viking Age, some of whom were likely Vikings themselves, and found that they were infected with extinct but related versions of the variola virus that causes smallpox, the team reports in the July 24 Science. The new finding pushes back the proven record of smallpox infecting people by almost 1,000 years, to the year 603.

    Researchers had previously discovered ancient traces of variola virus DNA in a mummy from the mid-1600s, which put the common origin of modern strains in the 16th or 17th century (SN: 12/8/16).

    It is still uncertain when the virus that causes smallpox first began to infect people. The disease is estimated to have killed as many as 500 million people and is the only human pathogen to have been eradicated globally.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
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  9. #584
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    Would it be morally wrong to bring back extinct species, or the right thing to do? Personally, we probably should focus on not extinguishing the ones we got.

    Discover Magazine
    :

    Would you like to see a real, live wooly mammoth? Or how about a Tasmanian tiger in the flesh? Scientists have already finagled a few ways to resurrect extinct species from their evolutionary graves. Even muckier than the scientific methods themselves, though, are the social, ethical and legal ramifications of so-called de-extinction.

    In Science today, two Stanford researchers tackle this tricky topic to parse out exactly what we have to gain and lose from de-extinction technologies. Using the passenger pigeon as a thought experiment, another paper in the same issue looks at the fears and excitement of leaders in the field of genomics.

    There are three main ways of bringing back extinct species, according to the Stanford researchers: backbreeding, genetic engineering, and cloning. With backbreeding, scientists use a living species that is genetically similar to the extinct species, and selectively breed it for the traits of the now-extinct species. Genetic engineering depends on existing DNA samples of the extinct species; scientists could bring them back to life by targeting and replacing specific genomic sequences in a closely-related living species. Finally, if viable cell nuclei from the extinct species are available, it can be cloned using a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer — a tested but as-of-yet unsuccessful method for extinct species.
    Do these scientists not go to movies anymore?
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
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  10. #585
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    Default The Tragic Physics of the Deadly Explosion in Beirut

    Fascinating article on the physics of the ammonium nitrate explosion in Beirut. What a tragedy. Beirut has long been known as the "Paris of the Middle East." Been there many times, and also in range of that blast in the last few years where that crap was stored. It angers me to no end, as it could have been my family in the center of that disaster. I can't say enough about the generosity and hospitality of the people, the food, and the pride of this nation, particularly coming from an average, white American that doesn't speak Arabic. Lebanon has been through so many horrific problems in the last couple of years.

    https://www.wired.com/story/tragic-p...losion-beirut/


    In 1917, an accidental detonation of 6 million pounds of hodgepodge high explosives in the harbor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, left a swath of wreckage that, at least until Tuesday, was the largest nonnuclear explosion ever created by humanity. As we learn more about Beirut, which could possibly challenge that record, the story of Halifax tells us what we might expect to learn about the ensuing trauma, and the modern cell phone videos, along with the blast physics gleaned by scientists in the intervening century, tell us why those patterns of trauma occurred in quite the way they did.

  11. #586
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    Quote Originally Posted by caduceus View Post
    Fascinating article on the physics of the ammonium nitrate explosion in Beirut. What a tragedy. Beirut has long been known as the "Paris of the Middle East." Been there many times, and also in range of that blast in the last few years where that crap was stored. It angers me to no end, as it could have been my family in the center of that disaster. I can't say enough about the generosity and hospitality of the people, the food, and the pride of this nation, particularly coming from an average, white American that doesn't speak Arabic. Lebanon has been through so many horrific problems in the last couple of years.

    https://www.wired.com/story/tragic-p...losion-beirut/
    That was fascinating. I didn't know the difference between pressure and shock waves.

    I have never been to Lebanon (never even been across the Atlantic), but I have heard the Paris analogy, and I read tweets from people all that week about various strangers helping them out in the streets. It is hard to believe that such a massive public health threat could be allowed to fester there. I heard from a guy who had lived through the Texas City refinery explosion who said it changed his life.

    Thank you.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
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  12. #587
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    Listened to this, it's like a podcast. Pretty well done.

    A lot about Europa and how NASA might explore it.

    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
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  13. #588
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    I wanted Cad and everyone to see this, new from Science.org, the people who published the neck-gaitor study aren't happy with how it's being publicized as if they're worse than masks, they're not, or at least not necessarily. LINK: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/...droplets-study

    A new study has spurred numerous headlines declaring that neck gaiters may be worse than wearing no mask at all for controlling the spread of COVID-19. But the actual study, published August 7 in Science Advances, isn’t that conclusive, nor was it designed to be.

    “The headline that neck gaiters can be worse is totally inaccurate,” says Monica Gandhi, an infectious diseases specialist at the University of California, San Francisco. Publicity like this is worrisome because “it can turn people off of mask wearing, which we know can protect both the individual wearing the mask and those around them,” she says.

    1. The study tested how to test masks, not which masks are best.
    Masks have emerged as a crucial, science-backed tool for slowing the spread of COVID-19 (SN: 6/26/20). Since most people don’t have a personal stockpile of surgical masks, many have gotten creative, fashioning masks from T-shirts, bandanas or neck gaiters. But there hasn’t been much published research weighing whether some of these makeshift masks work better than others (SN: 4/9/20).
    Martin Fischer, a chemist at Duke University, and his colleagues set out to develop a cheap and easy way that many labs could test the relative effectiveness of masks. In their setup, a masked person in a dark room speaks into a wide laser beam. Droplets spewed from the person’s speech show up neon green in the laser beam, moving like tiny meteor showers. Video captured on a cell phone is used to calculate the number of droplets.
    Cad, would love your thoughts on models showing upticks come flu season. It seems to a lot of us like we're primed to get hit very very hard and there is a model that went through the WH showing a big uptick in late Sept.



    There is more at the link.
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  14. #589
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    Quote Originally Posted by DZ View Post
    I wanted Cad and everyone to see this, new from Science.org, the people who published the neck-gaitor study aren't happy with how it's being publicized as if they're worse than masks, they're not, or at least not necessarily. LINK: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/...droplets-study
    That's a good article. It exemplifies how various confounding factors can play into a study, and that many (generally science naïve) journalists don't comprehend the outcomes of studies well (plus they hype them for clicks and eyballs). It's often why coffee is good for you one day, and worse than arsenic the next. We definitely need more educated writers when it comes to science topics.

    A lot of the effectiveness from masks clearly relies on the type of materials, the layering, and the fit. Multilayered seems to work better than single-ply. One layer should be nonwoven (the shop towel or vacuum bag materials as replaceable layers is a good example). A bendable nosepiece helps with fit and keeping glasses from fogging.

    The paperlike surgical masks with earloops have decent effectiveness, but they often don't fit well on smaller faces, particularly at the sides. There's a great trick with those, though! Take the whole earloop and tie a regular overhand knot as close to the upper corner of the mask as you can. Same with the other side. There will be some extra mask on the sides that stick out, which you simply fold inward toward your cheeks. It makes a super snug fit, and it works really well for teens and kids if the masks are too big.

    I'll get back to you on the modeling in another post.


    Edit: I found a video of exactly what I was describing above with surgical masks:

    Last edited by caduceus; 08-16-2020 at 08:24 PM. Reason: Added video

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    Cad, would love your thoughts on models showing upticks come flu season. It seems to a lot of us like we're primed to get hit very very hard and there is a model that went through the WH showing a big uptick in late Sept.
    Yeah, models. Some are better than others. An ensemble of models actually performs the best (just like we see with weather forecasting). Also like with the weather, the further out you look, the less precise your modeling is. Right now, Washington State's virus reproductive rate (Rt) looks 4th worst in the country at 1.11, BUT I think it's wrong due to the fact that the state has had a reporting problem for the past several weeks, only reporting positive cases and no negatives. That makes the positive rate really high, and thus skewing Rt.

    Models rely on these data, so your modeling results are only going to be as good as the data that's been input. Clearly small errors can have a large effect on the modeling results. Not to mention that there are assumptions that have to be made in these models, adding to the fog. To add to that, societal and cultural factors play into modeling, like how mobile people are, whether school will be in-person, bars/theatres open, etc., etc.

    So a model probably won't necessarily replace the experience and wisdom of good epidemiologists and public health officials.

    That said, models do have their place, and when you put multiple models together as an average (ensemble), they do pretty well. You can compare the historical performance of various models here: https://covid19-projections.com/abou...al-performance

    Both UW's IHME and Covid-19 projections have a good track record (the latter being the best so far in terms of accuracy). You can fiddle with the graphs and see various outcomes based on their respective models.

    At this point, the issue of school reopening and how that will play out could be a huge factor in what happens into the fall. IHME says easing mandates will result in over five times as many deaths nationwide between now and Nov. 1, compared to if we had universal mask usage. The CDC's Dr. Redfield says this could be our worst fall ever. Everyone knows what Fauci has to say (and he has guts to speak truth to power in the face of personal threats to him and his family).

    Influenza will complicate things. Both are respiratory viruses and it'll be a challenge to differentiate the two without good testing. Hopefully, most people will get a flu vaccine (and early). That will help yourself, and everyone around you. The FDA says that less than 45% of people get one annually. They're aiming for 60+% this year.

    Looking forward, I have serious concerns when there is more in-person school, and when the weather turns and more people start going back indoors. And I think the hopes for a vaccine in the next few months is a pipe dream, and even then, distribution will still take more time. I hope It's sooner rather than later. From a personal perspective, everybody should mask up, take distancing seriously, avoid large crowds (especially indoors), and get a flu shot. Pretty simple. Everyone. We can do this. I think 2021 is going to be a mixed bag, probably worse than better early on. We have a real shot at normalizing life toward the latter half and into 2022 if we all work together.

    Signed, you board's grim reaper (to some). Stay safe.

    =cad=
    Last edited by caduceus; 08-16-2020 at 08:38 PM.

  16. #591
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    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill cancels in-person classes after just one week, goes all online, after over 100 new cases reported in just over a week. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/lo...245014185.html

    UNC-Chapel Hill will move all classes online starting Wednesday after reporting 130 more students had tested positive for coronavirus last week, the university announced Monday.

    The university’s updated numbers follow weekend alerts about four clusters of COVID-19 cases in dorms, apartments and a fraternity house. UNC has reported 324 positive cases since February, according to its online dashboard, including 279 students and 45 staff.

    Those numbers may not reflect all the cases related to campus. Health officials have said students who provide an out-of-town home address or don’t self-report a positive test at a non-UNC-affiliated testing site are not immediately counted in Orange County.
    Meanwhile New Zealand noted a new uptick in cases. Nine new cases reported in the entire nation.
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  17. #592
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    This is a variation of an experiment first organized by Carl Sagan, who used the Galileo spacecraft in an effort to detect "life on Earth" from a satellite:

    Updated, from today's Sciencenews.org, they used Hubble to try the same thing using only light waves passing from the Earth's atmosphere in a lunar eclipse: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/...tive-exoplanet


    To practice searching for extraterrestrial life, researchers have run a dress rehearsal with the one world they know to be habitable: Earth.

    While Earth was between the sun and moon for a lunar eclipse in January 2019, the Hubble Space Telescope observed how chemicals in Earth’s atmosphere blocked certain wavelengths of sunlight from reaching the moon. That observing setup mimicked the way astronomers plan to probe the atmospheres of Earthlike exoplanets as they pass in front of their stars, filtering out some starlight.

    “We basically pretend we’re alien observers looking at our planet,” says Giada Arney, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

    Using Hubble, the researchers focused on spotting the effects of atmospheric ozone. Because ozone is both a chemical by-product of oxygen produced in photosynthesis and a shield that protects life from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, astronomers think atmospheric ozone could be a key indicator that a distant world is habitable. During the lunar eclipse, Hubble examined sunlight that had passed through Earth’s atmosphere and reflected off of the moon for signatures of ozone

    Here is the original Sagan experiment summary from Google:

    Nearly 30 years ago, the Galileo spacecraft flew past Earth on its journey to Jupiter, prompting astronomer Carl Sagan to develop a novel experiment: to look for signs of life on Earth from space. The spacecraft found high levels of methane and oxygen, suggestions that photosynthesis was occurring on Earth's surface.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
    Mark Twain.

  18. #593
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    This is fascinating. Fitbit is finding its devices can be potentially used for early COVID-19 detection.


    https://blog.fitbit.com/early-findings-covid-19-study/


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    - Gandalf the Grey

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  19. #594
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    Quote Originally Posted by kitzbuel View Post
    This is fascinating. Fitbit is finding its devices can be potentially used for early COVID-19 detection.


    https://blog.fitbit.com/early-findings-covid-19-study/


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Wow.

    It does make some sense that it would be able to pick it up. People have talked for years about there soon being a "health monitor" that we all wear that alerts us to small changes and gets them checked out.

    There is a writing program that we use called "Grammarly" that tracks how much we're writing, the uniqueness of words, and other efficiencies. Out of curiosity, 3 months ago when we tried a couple new meds for a mild condition I have, I went back and checked and there was a 5-10% drop in productivity in the first 2 months over the previous six months before starting the new program. Nothing strong enough to be a direct link but it was interesting.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
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  20. #595
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    Quote Originally Posted by DZ View Post
    Wow.

    It does make some sense that it would be able to pick it up. People have talked for years about there soon being a "health monitor" that we all wear that alerts us to small changes and gets them checked out.

    There is a writing program that we use called "Grammarly" that tracks how much we're writing, the uniqueness of words, and other efficiencies. Out of curiosity, 3 months ago when we tried a couple new meds for a mild condition I have, I went back and checked and there was a 5-10% drop in productivity in the first 2 months over the previous six months before starting the new program. Nothing strong enough to be a direct link but it was interesting.
    I was thinking this morning (always a dangerous thing) that I would love an app for cell and land lines that when you answered the phone, a timer started. If it was a 'hacked', a call with no one there, or a number of other potential items...when you hung up you can verify it to be a wasted bit of time. The timer started would be attached to a CC, and the phone company would be billed for your time, based on what a normal hourly rate is for you.

    Maybe that would be incentive enough for them to stop the flagrant abuse of telephone numbers...I have received phone calls, at home, from my home phone number showing on the caller ID. Caller ID showing local calls that are from out of the country, and more.
    Make the phone company care.
    It's not funny.

  21. #596
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    A weirdly warped planet-forming disk circles a distant trio of stars




    In one of the most complex cosmic dances astronomers have yet spotted, three rings of gas and dust circle a trio of stars.

    The star system GW Orionis, located about 1,300 light-years away in the constellation Orion, includes a pair of young stars locked in a close do-si-do with a third star making loops around both. Around all three stars is a broken-apart disk of dust and gas where planets could one day form. Unlike the flat disk that gave rise to the planets in our solar system, GW Orionis’ disk consists of three loops, with a warped middle ring and an inner ring even more twisted at a jaunty angle to the other two.

    The bizarre geometry of this system, the first known of its kind, is reported in two recent studies by two groups of astronomers. But how GW Orionis formed is a mystery, with the two teams providing competing ideas for the triple-star-and-ring system’s birth
    Pretty cool.
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    A quantum strategy could verify the solutions to unsolvable problems — in theory



    I do not for the life of me understand the basis for any of this but the people that do can unlock the secrets of some very powerful stuff. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/...roblems-theory

    Imagine meeting omniscient beings who claim to have the solution to a complex problem that no computer could ever solve. You’d probably be at a loss to check the answer. But now, computer scientists report that quantum mechanics provides a way to quickly verify the solutions to an incredibly broad class of problems, including some that are impossible to solve in the first place.

    Although the result doesn’t have obvious practical applications, its theoretical ramifications have had a ripple effect, answering unsolved questions in physics and mathematics, scientists report in a paper posted January 13 at arXiv.org. “It has so many implications for all these areas. It’s a huge deal no matter how you look at it,” says theoretical computer scientist Scott Aaronson of the University of Texas at Austin, who was not involved with the new study.
    Imagine, for example, that you have a friend who claims to have deduced how to tell the difference between Pepsi and Coke, even though you can’t distinguish between the two. To confirm this claim, you — the verifier — might prepare a cup of either Pepsi or Coke and query your friend — the prover — on which one it is. If your friend consistently gives the right answer to such questions, you’d be convinced that the cola-identification quandary had been solved.

    Known as an interactive proof, this strategy can reveal additional information that would allow computer scientists to verify solutions to problems that are too difficult for a computer to convince the scientists of independently. Still more powerful interactive proofs involve multiple provers. That scenario is a bit like a police interrogation of two suspects, isolated in separate rooms, who can’t coordinate their answers to trick an investigator.
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    Also, I'll just quietly post this here since it's the only place on GUB I feel safe saying anything about COVID, but my daughter went to school for 2 days this year and the next morning: "Your Child has been exposed to COVID-19 in a classroom with a "teacher/student/administrator/coach" and you should call ..."

    She is out till the 21st. I appreciate the staff being on top of it and professional about it. Just FYI this is going to happen all over.

    We have a bit of a wild week ahead hoping no one gets a cough or fever.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
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    Stay safe, DZ. Warm wishes. My sister and her family just tested positive. She and hubby are suffering significantly (both athletes, now gasping to get enough oxygen). Their son (who has been careless) introduced the virus in the span of 24 hours, coming home from summer work before heading off to college (of which the institution lasted all of a few days before going online only). He's been quarantined until yesterday. His friends have another week or more to be shut in.

    I fear that those getting exposed now feel free to go about their daily routines. There's no evidence yet that the infected can't infect others, or be reinfected. Post-infection is not a license to book a cruise.

    I've said it before, but enjoy this relative calm of August/September. IT. WILL. GET. WORSE, come October/November. Get prepared. Get a FLU SHOT NOW. Take your vitamin D3 (recent studies suggest a substantial reduction in getting infected if you have good Vitamin D levels). Stock up. All the models say we're in for trouble in the next few months. Most states are literally ignoring it wholesale. We are lucky here in Washington that most people are taking it seriously. The numbers are looking relatively good here. But dropping our guard when people think it's time to open up again is the biggest threat we face yet in what remains of 2020. Important note: There will be no substantial vaccine availability until mid 2021. Testing is all we got for a good long while.

    UW's IHME forecasts the number of U.S. dead will double between now and the end of the year if we don't intervene. That's as many dead in three months as we had in the last six months. Another wave is likely coming. Don't be stupid and think this is anyway over.

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    Quote Originally Posted by caduceus View Post
    Stay safe, DZ. Warm wishes. My sister and her family just tested positive. She and hubby are suffering significantly (both athletes, now gasping to get enough oxygen). Their son (who has been careless) introduced the virus in the span of 24 hours, coming home from summer work before heading off to college (of which the institution lasted all of a few days before going online only). He's been quarantined until yesterday. His friends have another week or more to be shut in.

    I fear that those getting exposed now feel free to go about their daily routines. There's no evidence yet that the infected can't infect others, or be reinfected. Post-infection is not a license to book a cruise.

    I've said it before, but enjoy this relative calm of August/September. IT. WILL. GET. WORSE, come October/November. Get prepared. Get a FLU SHOT NOW. Take your vitamin D3 (recent studies suggest a substantial reduction in getting infected if you have good Vitamin D levels). Stock up. All the models say we're in for trouble in the next few months. Most states are literally ignoring it wholesale. We are lucky here in Washington that most people are taking it seriously. The numbers are looking relatively good here. But dropping our guard when people think it's time to open up again is the biggest threat we face yet in what remains of 2020. Important note: There will be no substantial vaccine availability until mid 2021. Testing is all we got for a good long while.

    UW's IHME forecasts the number of U.S. dead will double between now and the end of the year if we don't intervene. That's as many dead in three months as we had in the last six months. Another wave is likely coming. Don't be stupid and think this is anyway over.
    Thank you on the advice for Vitamin D - I'm going out to get some, now. And I also heard (this is anectdotal, totally) that ER doctors regardless of age were taking a baby aspirin every day, convinced it helps. I am near 50 and no GI issues so it's not a bad thing for me anyway.

    I am on the way to the store now.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
    Mark Twain.

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