TTI/Vanguard: Is Covid-19 Over? Sept 4, 2020 Newsletter

If you joined us for the first Tuesday of our September virtual conference, then you know that The Game Has Changed: 2020 already represents the contrasting thinking of 2020 itself. When one speaker declared, “COVID is over”, the chat erupted with a chorus of disagreement. TTI/V prides itself on being anything but an echo chamber, and our speakers and members vigorously proved that point. If you missed the first three talks, the videos, PPTs, and Highlights are posted in our archive. If anyone needs help accessing their User ID or password, Claudia is ready to help.

Remember that we’ll skip this coming Tuesday (Happy Labor Day to our U.S. community members) and will resume on Tuesday, September 15th. Please join us

Some of the most robust discussions on Tuesday came occurred after the sessions. A spirited discussion around - what else - the future of covid-19 included plenty of opinions and plenty of facts. Some of the links mentioned included the below. (Thanks to Dan Gould for sharing!)
Paul Romer: Roadmap to Responsibly Repen America
Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience
Covid-19 Risk Among Airline Passengers: Should the Middle Seat Remain Empty?

Mathematician Ott-Heinrich Keller famously posed a problem about edge sharing when covering spaces with identical tiles. For 90 years, the answer has challenged researchers tackling spaces of various dimensionalities. Recently, 40 computers—along with a creative combination of human and machine intelligence—yielded the answer for the lone dimensionality for which the problem remained unresolved. Unfortunately—at least for human understanding—the proof for seven dimensions lacks clear explainability. (David Gunning, Brooklyn, Jun 2018; Eric Mueller, Austin, Feb 2016) 

Here’s the hypothesis of panspermia: Life—including life on Earth—is seeded throughout the galaxy by microbes catching a ride on space rocks. Then, when asteroids bombarded Earth billions of years ago, life took hold here. Japan’s Tanpopo astrobiology mission lent credence to what might otherwise be deemed science fiction when clusters of bacteria were found to survive for three years, despite exposure to the harsh conditions of outer space. (David Hillis, Madrid, Jul 2003) 

But, despite the interwebs attempting to convince us otherwise, the universe is not conspiring to upend the Nov 2020 elections in the United States. An asteroid will be skimming close to Earth the day before the election, but will inflict no harm, in part because of its small size. (Dan Durda, Washington, D.C., May 2007)

Other than asteroids, what else is flying across our skies? Amazon’s Prime Air delivery drones. They’ve been testing unmanned deliveries since 2013 and have recently earned FAA approval to expand such testing to more clients. (Evan Ackerman, Boston, Apr 2014) 

Google’s AI Quantum team paired a 10-qubit computation on its Sycamore quantum computer with a classical computer when using the Hartree-Fock method to iteratively solve for—and validate—the energies and associated geometries of diazine [(NH)2] as it passed from cis to trans in the presence of H2. (Chris Monroe, Washington, D.C., Sep 2019; Rodney Van Meter, Tokyo, Mar 2017; San Francisco, Dec 2014)

Battery firm NDB proposes using diamond-encased radioactive nuclear waste as an energy source for, say, cell phones. “As the waste product enveloped by the diamond decays, it interacts with the carbon to generate a small electric current.” The upside is a compact fuel source that would last effectively forever. Obstacles remain, however: achieving adequate power density to run the device and overcoming public concerns about toting nuclear waste in their pockets. (John “Grizz” Deal, St. Louis, Sep 2008)

German researchers have developed microbe-repellent biomaterials from spider silk proteins that promise to not only avert infection but also to promote the regeneration of healthy tissue when used for medical applications including implants and wound dressings. (Hu “Tiger” Tao, San Diego, Feb 2015; Todd Blackledge, Charlotte, Dec 2010)

Speaking of implants, Elon Musk’s Neuralink has tested its brain-implantable computer chip in pigs. Musk’s goal is to push back the Singularity by enhancing human capabilities through improved cognitive function. The first step is to hire talented folks to make his proof-of-concept a commercial reality. (Chad Bouton, Brooklyn, Jun 2016; James Barrat, Boston, Apr 2014; Kendall Lee, San Jose, Feb 2012)

Give people more flexibility in their worklife and productivity rises—who knew? (Laura Forlano, Vancouver, Oct 2010)

COVID-19 is a still-new disease, but there are promising signs that protective antibodies are long-lived in people previously infected with SARS-CoV-2. (Dominic Suciu, Seattle, Mar 2020; Anthony Goldbloom, podcast, Spring 2020) 

“The trouble with the future is that it usually arrives before we’re ready for it.”—Arnold Glasow