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Saturday, February 13, 2021

US Covid-19 pandemic a full year out

A year ago I began posting on what became the Covid pandemic. Where we are now:

Daily US new cases ("incidence") are finally abating subsequent to Q420 (charts updated thru Feb 14th). US fatalities now approach 500,000—139,000 since New Year's Day 2021 through Feb 14th. Notwithstanding that daily new US cases are in decline, there were still 7.54 million from New Year's Day thre Feb 14th.

90% of all of this misery avoidable, in my view.

I've not left the house since Feb 7th when we got our first Covid shots (Moderna). Getting a lot of reading done, and loving being the "Graycare" staff for our now-13 month old utter delight grandson Calvin.

From a Science Magazine review:
In a digital, global world where information is projected to double every 12 hours, the memorization of facts will become less of a commodity than the ability to think, find patterns, and generate new ideas from old parts. Thus, a cradle-to-career approach to educating children must be mindful of how children learn to learn, not just what they learn. Combining insight, scientific acumen, and exquisite narrative, The Intellectual Lives of Children allows readers to peer into the minds of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers as they explore and learn in everyday moments, emphasizing what constitutes real learning.

Children are bursting with playful curiosity. By age 3, they ask questions about everything they see—Why does a tree have leaves? Why does the Sun come up each day?—and by age 5, they pose even deeper questions, about God and morals. These questions not only provide fodder for knowledge, they help children discover the causal relationships among things—all with adult mentors by their side.

Children also need time to explore. One child might collect dead things like worms and slugs, and another, assorted leaves of different shapes and colors. These collections, Engel argues, become treasured resources for the discovery of patterns, and they invite even more inquisitiveness. Indeed, the adults who guide this exploration by asking questions themselves reinforce curiosity and innovation. Hidden in these playful encounters are rich opportunities for learning…
UPDATE: Just finished it. Excellent. News Grandaddy Can Use.
I'll be cross-referencing it with this one.


Imagine this: instead of sending a four-hundred-pound rover vehicle to Mars, we merely shoot over to the planet a single sphere, one that can fit on the end of a pin. Using energy from sources around it, the sphere divides itself into a diversified army of similar spheres. The spheres hang on to each other and sprout features: wheels, lenses, temperature sensors, and a full internal guidance system. You’d be gobsmacked to watch such a system discharge itself.

But you only need to go to any nursery to see this unpacking in action. You’ll see wailing babies who began as a single, microscopic, fertilized egg and are now in the process of emancipating themselves into enormous humans, replete with photon detectors, multi-jointed appendages, pressure sensors, blood pumps, and machinery for metabolizing power from all around them.

But this isn’t even the best part about humans; there’s something more astonishing. Our machinery isn’t fully preprogrammed, but instead shapes itself by interacting with the world. As we grow, we constantly rewrite our brain’s circuitry to tackle challenges, leverage opportunities, and understand the social structures around us.

Our species has successfully taken over every corner of the globe because we represent the highest expression of a trick that Mother Nature discovered: don’t entirely pre-script the brain; instead, just set it up with the basic building blocks and get it into the world. The bawling baby eventually stops crying, looks around, and absorbs the world around it. It molds itself to the surroundings. It soaks up everything from local language to broader culture to global politics. It carries forward the beliefs and biases of those who raise it. Every fond memory it possesses, every lesson it learns, every drop of information it drinks—all these fashion its circuits to develop something that was never pre-planned, but instead reflects the world around it…

Eagleman, David. Livewired (p. 3). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

David Eagleman rocks.


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