HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Celerity » Journal
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 104 Next »

Celerity

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: London
Home country: USA/UK/Sweden
Current location: Stockholm, Sweden
Member since: Sun Jul 1, 2018, 07:25 PM
Number of posts: 12,299

Journal Archives

Our Minds Aren't Equipped for This Kind of Reopening

As states ease restrictions on businesses, individuals face a psychological morass.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/reopening-psychological-morass/613858/



Reopening is a mess. Photographs of crowds jostling outside bars, patrons returning to casinos, and a tightly packed, largely maskless audience listening to President Donald Trump’s speech at Mount Rushmore all show the U.S. careening back to pre-coronavirus norms. Meanwhile, those of us watching at home are like the audience of a horror movie, yelling “Get out of there!” at our screens. As despair rises, the temptation to shame people who fail at social distancing becomes difficult to resist. But Americans’ disgust should be aimed at governments and institutions, not at one another. Individuals are being asked to decide for themselves what chances they should take, but a century of research on human cognition shows that people are bad at assessing risk in complex situations. During a disease outbreak, vague guidance and ambivalent behavioral norms will lead to thoroughly flawed thinking. If a business is open but you would be foolish to visit it, that is a failure of leadership. Since March, Americans have lived under a simple instruction: Stay home. Now, even as case counts spike in states such as Arizona, Florida, and Texas, many other states continue to ease restrictions on businesses, and suddenly the burden is on individuals to engage in some of the most frustrating and confounding cost-benefit analyses of their life.

Pandemic decision making implicates at least two complex cognitive tasks: moral reasoning and risk evaluation. My academic subspecialty is the psychology of judgment and decision making. The foundational experiment in this discipline began with the prompt: “Imagine that the United States is preparing for an outbreak of an unusual Asian disease.” (The glibly xenophobic use of “Asian” as a shortcut to inducing fear and confusion is a subject for another article.) The experiment asked participants to choose between two public-health policies: In option A, one-third of the population survives for sure, but no one else makes it; in option B, there is a one-third chance that all survive, but a two-thirds chance that none do. For some participants, these options were described in terms of how many lives would be saved; for others, how many would die. Participants consistently chose option A, which offered certainty, if they were thinking in terms of potential gains (saving lives) but option B, which involved more risk, if they were thinking about potential losses (dying). A weighty decision was swayed dramatically by the semantic framing. (This observation earned one of the experimenters the Nobel Prize for economics.)

The cognitive-science canon is replete with uncanny predictions relevant to the coronavirus era. Researchers have studied the human tendency to discount preventable harms that arise from nature and to overreact to harms that arise from human action. The literature predicts that people will take comfort when a coronavirus fatality is attributed to “underlying conditions”—for instance, a patient’s age or chronic maladies—that they do not share, and they will be tempted by the quick dopamine hit associated with shaming those who fail at social distancing. Cognitive scientists even have experiments to explain the “declining marginal disutility” that people associate with others’ deaths—the feeling that the difference between no deaths and one death is really bad, but the difference between 110,000 and 111,000 deaths is negligible. Evocatively termed “psychophysical numbing,” this confounding juxtaposition of the mathematical and the existential is where Americans live now. As states gradually reopen, seemingly simple judgments are likely to grow more fraught. What does six feet between people look like? The literature suggests that I am more confident I’m six feet away from a friend than from a stranger, that I’m more likely to blame people not of my race for standing too close, that I overestimate my compliance with public-health guidance but underestimate yours.

Humans have difficulty calculating exponents, which is particularly crucial to understanding the speed of disease spread. They struggle to estimate the correct answer to a problem without drifting toward the answer that best serves their own interest. With more freedom of movement, Americans also have more opportunities to make judgments of others—who always seem to be doing it wrong. How can people be sitting in groups, chatting, at an outdoor bar? Who would take their kid to swim in a public pool? Are you inviting those people inside your house? Even when shamers have the risk calculus right, social-distancing shaming is still useless or even harmful to society. Each judgment is a chance not just to get the math wrong, but to let indignation outstrip empathy. Living in a dense, diverse city, I know that I place moral and practical value on playgrounds, parks, and, indeed, protest marches that I might have viewed as indulgences were I still living in my hometown in rural Maine. Individual citizens—citizens facing a range of permissible options, receiving confusing public-health messaging, triaging competing ethical commitments—are not the best targets of our practical and moral concern. Even within academic psychology, scholars are prone to focusing on individuals who make suboptimal choices—workers who do not save, or employees who choose bad retirement investments. In the pandemic, this urge is a red herring; it is too easy to focus on people making bad choices rather than on people having bad choices. People should practice humility regarding the former and voice outrage about the latter.

snip

Crypto Community Seeks an Edge With Mind-Bending Designer Drugs

They could replace your morning coffee, so the saying goes on morning show broadcasts. Nootropics, sometimes called smart drugs, are a class of performance-enhancing supplements that are seeing widespread use in the tech and crypto sectors, and prompting much skepticism everywhere else.

https://www.coindesk.com/crypto-community-seeks-an-edge-with-mind-bending-designer-drugs



Bio-Hacking

The thousands of chemicals that could conceivably fall under the category are bought and sold online and in stores – coming in a pharmacopoeia of varicolored powders, pills and drinks – and are marketed by their ability to improve memory, mental acuity, boost energy and help users enter flow states. Though the term nootropics literally means “mind-bending,” the point is less about discovering untapped reserves of creative potential or losing inhibitions than to impose focus. “For most of nootropic history, it’s just been drug nerds sharing ideas, science and experiences with one another as a community,” CryptoDog, a crypto consultant popular on CryptoTwitter, said. But increased marketing, media reports, late-night advertising, Gwyneth Paltrow’s line of luxury Goop and an active internet subculture are thrusting these supplements into the spotlight.

Apart from college-aged students looking to balance curriculum and social life, CryptoDog thinks it’s a class of drugs designed for the modern, ultra-competitive corporate landscape. “If you don’t work extremely hard, you won’t make it into the top 1%. And as the world becomes increasingly less easy in comparison for the 99%, there’s more pressure,” he said. High-achieving executives, developers and traders in the crypto industry take these neuroenhancing drugs to achieve more, process more information and work longer hours. It’s become part and parcel to an industry that seeks the disruption of all others. “Being in frontier tech means you’re (a) more exposed to new ideas and tools, (b) in a community where experimentation is normalized and widely and openly discussed and often encouraged, and (c) more willing to try new things,” Meltem Demirors, CEO of CoinShares, said in an email. “And so many investors and entrepreneurs dabble with new tools like nootropics.”

CryptoDog was first exposed to nootropics about a decade ago through online forums, and since taking time off from a pharmacy PhD program – at a leading, though unnamed U.S. university – has started his own nootropics and wellness business. “I split my time between crypto and my nootropics startup,” he said, calling from Hong Kong at 1 a.m. his time. In addition to managing the U.S.-based nootropics startup, CryptoDog said he has done consultancy work for data analytics firm Glassnode as well as the crypto exchange OSL, among others. It’s a hustle that probably wouldn’t be possible without his “stack,” or personalized cocktail of nootropics, which includes L-theanine, alpha GPC, huperzine A, theacrine, beta-hydroxybutyrate and caffeine. “I think everyone is trying to get ahead because we all constantly feel behind,” he said.

Stacking

CryptoDog’s interest in nootropics and crypto pair well, and not just because he discovered both at about the same time in his life. “We’re tinkerers. Biology is just the living version of computer science, DNA is just code.” Like the hacker ethos that runs through crypto, nootropics users believe that the human brain is a piece of software that can be improved upon through chemical upgrades. “The body is just a really complex computer that we’re writing code for, writing molecules that can come in and change how it operates,” he said. Taking this metaphor further, the key to both industries is to do your own research, or DYOR. Different people will respond in different ways to different substances, to say nothing of the rampant scams – from miracle pills to get-rich schemes – that pop up in any emergent field. “You read as much as you can, figure out as much as you can, and if you are brave, you try it out and see if it works for you,” CryptoDog said.

snip

Trump is unravelling live on telly. He is insane. Every statement is either a lie, or an attack or

both.. He even said that American history started in 1492 when Columbus discovered America!

He is batshit cray.

Week in charts : The pandemic's relentless advance





It is astonishing how rapidly the pandemic has spread, despite all the efforts to stop it. The world is not experiencing a second wave: it never got over the first. Texas, for example, has become the centre of a viral wave sweeping America’s South and West. Worldwide, more than 10m people are known to have been infected. It took more than three months for global cases to reach a million; the last million came in less than a week. But even as the virus is rampaging through developing countries, people in the West are worried about a second wave. Data from the first wave show how important it is for governments to respond quickly. In many countries, including America, Brazil, Russia and Iran, politicians have lost the trust of their people through their handling of the pandemic. A vaccine remains the best way out of the emergency. To find one, governments are pouring money into what has become a more urgent version of the space race. Oxford University seems to be ahead.



In America the relentless spread of covid-19, added to nationwide protests and an unfolding economic calamity, have pushed Donald Trump even farther behind in opinion polls on voting intentions in the presidential election in November. Much of course could change before then. But at the moment, Joe Biden, his Democratic challenger, is in landslide territory. The Democrats may even secure a majority in the Senate, opening up the chances of a highly productive presidency. Reassuring and popular, Mr Biden boasts a more ambitious policy agenda than is often realised. He stands a good chance of being a surprisingly activist president. But his party is changing. In primary contests, self-proclaimed progressives (many of them African-American) are ousting moderate incumbents all over America.



Vladimir Putin, too, seems to be shaking the faith of some of his supporters. Russia’s president has been able to stage a rigged referendum, declare victory with 78% of the vote and secure constitutional backing to stay in power well into the next decade. It was less brazen than rolling tanks into Red Square and declaring a coup, but only just. Abroad, Mr Putin is suspected of sowing mischief, most recently in an alleged scheme to pay bounties to Islamic militants to kill American and allied soldiers in Afghanistan. But at home the economy is tanking, not helped by a world of low energy prices which, in America, have brought the bankruptcy of a pioneer of the shale-fracking revolution.



China, in contrast, has become a big international creditor. It lends more to many poor countries in Africa and elsewhere than all rich Westerm countries combined, even though new research suggests its total lending is smaller than had been believed. Some critics accuse China of creating unsustainable debt burdens as a way of accruing power. But its experience in Pakistan, an “all-weather friend” and neighbour lurching from one economic crisis to the next, suggests the limits to this approach. And abroad as at home, China’s Communist Party has shown again this week how it would rather be feared than admired. The new security law China has imposed on Hong Kong is more sweeping even than feared. The territory has already felt the chill.

snip

Covid-19 is here to stay. People will have to adapt



The world is not experiencing a second wave: it never got over the first

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/07/04/covid-19-is-here-to-stay-people-will-have-to-adapt



It is astonishing how rapidly the pandemic has spread, despite all the efforts to stop it. On February 1st, the day covid-19 first appeared on our front cover, the World Health Organisation counted 2,115 new cases. On June 28th its daily tally reached 190,000. That day as many new cases were notched up every 90 minutes as had been recorded in total by February 1st. The world is not experiencing a second wave: it never got over the first. Some 10m people are known to have been infected. Pretty much everywhere has registered cases (Turkmenistan and North Korea have not, though, like Antarctica). For every country such as China, Taiwan and Vietnam, which seems to be able to contain the virus, there are more, in Latin America and South Asia, where it is raging. Others, including the United States, are at risk of losing control or, in much of Africa, in the early phase of their epidemic. Europe is somewhere in between.

The worst is to come. Based on research in 84 countries, a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reckons that, for each recorded case, 12 go unrecorded and that for every two covid-19 deaths counted, a third is misattributed to other causes. Without a medical breakthrough, it says, the total number of cases will climb to 200m-600m by spring 2021. At that point, between 1.4m and 3.7m people will have died. Even then, well over 90% of the world’s population will still be vulnerable to infection—more if immunity turns out to be transient. The actual outcome depends on how societies manage the disease. Here the news is better. Epidemiologists understand how to stop covid-19. You catch it indoors, in crowds, when people raise their voices. The poor are vulnerable, as are the elderly and those with other conditions. You can contain the virus with three tactics: changes in behaviour; testing, tracing and isolation; and, if they fail, lockdowns. The worse a country is at testing—and many governments have failed to build enough capacity—the more it has to fall back on the other two. Good public health need not be expensive. Dharavi, a slum of 850,000 people in Mumbai, tamed an outbreak (see article).



Treatments have improved, thanks to research and dealing with patients. Although mass vaccination is still months away at best (see article), the first therapies are available. More is known about how to manage the disease—don’t rush to put people on respirators, do give them oxygen early. Better treatment helps explain why the share of hospital patients who went on to be admitted to intensive care fell in Britain from 12% at the end of March to 4% in mid to late May. And economies have adapted. They are still suffering, of course. J.P. Morgan, a bank, predicts that the peak-to-trough decline in the first half of the year in the 39 economies it follows will be around 10% of gdp. But workers stuck in Zoom hell have discovered that they can get a surprising amount done from home. In China Starbucks designed “contactless” ordering, cutting the time customers spend in its coffee shops. Supply chains that struggled now run smoothly. Factories have found ways to stagger shifts, shield staff behind plastic and change work patterns so that personal contact is minimised. Now that nationwide lockdowns are done, governments can make sensible trade-offs—banning large indoor gatherings, say and allowing the reopening of schools and shops. Sometimes, as in some American states, they will loosen too much and have to reverse course. Others will learn from their mistakes. The problem is that, without a cure or a vaccine, containment depends on people learning to change their behaviour. After the initial covid-19 panic, many are becoming disenchanted and resistant.

Masks help stop the disease, but in Europe and America some refuse to wear one because they see them as emasculating or, worse, Democratic. Thorough handwashing kills the virus, but who has not relapsed into bad old habits? Parties are dangerous but young people cooped up for months have developed a devil-may-care attitude. Most important, as the months drag on, people just need to earn some money. In the autumn, as life moves indoors, infections could soar. Changing social norms is hard. Just look at aids, known for decades to be prevented by safe sex and clean needles. Yet in 2018, 1.7m people were newly infected with hiv, the virus that causes it. Covid-19 is easier to talk about than aids, but harder to avoid. Wearing a mask is chiefly about protecting others; the young, fit and asymptomatic are being asked to follow tedious rules to shield the old and infirm. Changing behaviour requires clear communication from trusted figures, national and local. But many people do not believe their politicians. In countries such as America, Iran, Britain, Russia and Brazil, which have the highest caseloads, presidents and prime ministers minimised the threat, vacillated, issued bad advice or seemed more interested in their own political fortunes than in their country—sometimes all at once. Covid-19 is here for a while at least. The vulnerable will be afraid to go out and innovation will slow, creating a 90% economy that consistently fails to reach its potential. Many people will fall ill and some of them will die. You may have lost interest in the pandemic. It has not lost interest in you. ■

House passes massive infrastructure bill, Senate Majority Leader calls it 'nonsense'

The $1.5 trillion package includes investing in clean energy, public lands, and transit systems and focused less on building new roads.

https://www.nationofchange.org/2020/07/03/house-passes-massive-infrastructure-bill-senate-majority-leader-calls-it-nonsense/



While the climate-friendly infrastructure bill that would upgrade the United States’ crumbling infrastructure passed the House of Representatives in Wednesday, it has little chance of making it through the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed the bill will “die” upon arrival.

The bill, H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, passed 233-188 as Democrats “did not try to garner Republican involvement in crafting the bill because they said they were convinced that Republicans would not go along with the emissions reductions measures they wanted, which are sprinkled throughout the bill,” Politico reported. The $1.5 trillion package includes investing in clean energy, public lands, and transit systems and focused less on building new roads, Sierra Club said in a press release.

“This bill offers much-needed modernization of our infrastructure, from transit systems to our energy grid, to create millions of good jobs, reduce pollution, and build a more accessible and sustainable public transportation system,” Michael Brune, executive director of Sierra Club, said. “Its investments in public lands would spur job creation where it’s needed most and ensure cleaner, more accessible landscapes for all. And it finally begins to address the lead pipe water crisis that communities across the nation—particularly communities of color—have been fighting for years.”

The bulk of the money, $494 billion, would go to “re-authorization of surface transportation programs like roads and bridges,” Politico reported. The bill will also dedicate money to building schools, hospitals, housing, broadband, drinking water, storm water, the energy grid and vehicle safety. McConnell called the bill “nonsense,” “absurd,” and “pure fantasy,” while collectively, Republicans said it’s a Democratic wish-list. The Trump administration said it would veto the bill if passed by Senate.

snip


Archie Bell & The Drells - Strategy [The Reflex Revision]



Label:
Philadelphia International Records ‎– 428 3701
Format:
Vinyl, 12", 33 ⅓ RPM, Single
Country:
Jamaica
Released:
1979
Genre:
Funk / Soul
Style:
Soul, Disco







Tinie - Whoppa (feat. Sofia Reyes and Farina) [Official Video]



• Premiered 8 hours ago


Do Americans Understand How Badly They're Doing?

In France, where I live, the virus is under control. I can hardly believe the news coming out of the United States.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/america-land-pathetic/613747/



I returned to Paris with my family three months after President Emmanuel Macron had ordered one of the world’s most aggressive national quarantines, and one month after France had begun to ease itself out of it. When we exited the Gare Montparnasse into the late-spring glare, after a season tucked away in a rural village with more cows than people as neighbors, it was jarring to be thrust back into the world as we’d previously known it, to see those café terraces overflowing again with smiling faces. My first reaction was one of confused frustration as we drove north across the river to our apartment. The city had been culled of its tourists, though it was bustling with inhabitants basking in their reclaimed freedom. Half at most wore masks; the other half evinced indifference. We were in the midst of a crisis, I complained to my wife. Why were so many people unable to maintain even minimal discipline? Glued as I am to the news from the U.S.—where I was born and grew up and travel frequently— I couldn’t shake the feeling that France was also opening up recklessly early. But I was wrong to worry. As Donald Trump’s America continues to shatter records for daily infections, France, like most other developed nations and even some undeveloped ones, seems to have beat back the virus.

The numbers are not ambiguous. From a peak of 7,581 new cases across the country on March 31, and with a death toll now just below 30,000—at one point the world’s fourth highest—there were just 526 new cases on June 13, the day we masked ourselves and took the train back to Paris. The caseload continues to be small and manageable. America, however, is an utter disaster. Texas, Florida, and Arizona are the newest hubs of contagion, having apparently learned nothing from the other countries and states that previously experienced surges in cases. I stared at my phone in disbelief when the musician Rosanne Cash wrote on Twitter that her daughter had been called a “liberal pussy!” in Nashville for wearing a mask to buy groceries. That insult succinctly conveys the crux of the problem. American leadership has politicized the pandemic instead of trying to fight it. I see no preparedness, no coordinated top-down leadership of the sort we’ve enjoyed in Europe. I see only empty posturing, the sad spectacle of the president refusing to wear a mask, just to own the libs. What an astonishing self-inflicted wound.

On June 26, a day when the U.S. notched some 45,000 new cases—how’s that for “American carnage”?—the European Union announced that it would loosen some travel restrictions but extend its ban on visitors from the United States and other hot-spot nations. On Tuesday, it confirmed that remarkable and deeply humiliating decision, a clear message that in pandemic management, the EU believes that the United States is no better than Russia and Brazil—autocrat-run public-health disasters—and that American tourists would pose a dire threat to the hard-won stability our lockdown has earned us. So much for the myth that the American political system and way of life are a model for the world. We didn’t stay long in the city. Although the chance of contagion in Paris is minimal, the thought of unnecessary risk unnerved me, and so we left again for another round of self-imposed confinement. But this was a choice. I think of my mother and father trapped in New Jersey, in their 70s and 80s, respectively, and at the mercy of a society that is failing extravagantly to protect them. And it is failing to protect them not from some omnipotent enemy—as we believed in March and perhaps even as late as April—but from a tough and dangerous foe that many other societies have wrestled into submission.

I think of my father, whom I realize I may not see this calendar year or possibly even the next, and I picture him housebound indefinitely, unable to experience a pleasure so anodyne as bookstore browsing. I think of my mother, who is missing her grandchildren’s birthdays and watching them grow tall through FaceTime, and I imagine her leaving the house at dawn to arrive at the grocery store during its early hours for seniors. I am infuriated. I am also reminded once again of the degree to which so many other countries deliver what is, in real terms, a palpably higher quality of life by any number of self-evident measures. America is my home, and I have not emigrated. I have always found the truest expression of my situation in James Baldwin’s label of “transatlantic commuter.” I have lived in France off and on since the early 2000s, and it has been instructive over the decades to glimpse America’s stature reflected back to me through the eyes of a quasi-foreigner. If the country sparked fear and intense resentment under George W. Bush and mild resentment mixed with vicarious pride under Barack Obama, what it provokes under Trump has been something entirely new: pity and indifference. We are the pariah state now, but do we even see it?

snip

Maldini of dogs

https://twitter.com/TrollFootball/status/1278280244147847168
We could use him after the horror show our centre backs had versus West Ham.
Go to Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 104 Next »