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    Covid19 – important article just in from a friend

    Subject:Please read this 4- minute article by an epidemiologist carefully.

    Jonahan Smith is a lecturer in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases and Global Health at Yale University School of Public Health. His research focuses on infectious disease transmission dynamics. He is an affiliate of the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute and founding director of Visual Epidemiology, a non-profit organization seeking to combine academic discourse with personal narratives.

    “As an infectious disease epidemiologist, at this point I feel morally obligated to provide some information on what we are seeing from a transmission dynamic perspective and how they apply to the social distancing measures. Like any good scientist I have noticed two things that are either not being articulated or not present in the “literature” of social media. I have also relied on my much smarter infectious disease epidemiologist friends for peer review of this post; any edits are from that peer review.

    Specifically, I want to make two aspects of these measures very clear and unambiguous.

    First, we are in the beginning of this epidemic’s trajectory. That means even with these distancing measures we will see cases and deaths continue to rise globally, nationally, and in our own communities in the coming weeks. This may lead some people to think that the social distancing measures are not working. They are. They may feel futile. They aren’t. You will feel discouraged. You should. This is normal in chaos. But this is normal epidemic trajectory. Stay calm. This enemy that we are facing is very good at what it does; we are not failing. We need everyone to hold the line as the epidemic inevitably gets worse.

    This is not my opinion; this is the unforgiving math of epidemics for which I and my colleagues have dedicated our lives to understanding with great nuance, and this disease is no exception. I want to help the community brace for this impact. Stay strong and with solidarity knowing with absolute certainty that what you are doing is saving lives, even as people begin getting sick and dying. You may feel like giving in. Don’t.

    Second, although social distancing measures have been (at least temporarily) well-received, there is an obvious-but-overlooked phenomenon when considering groups (i.e. families) in transmission dynamics. While social distancing decreases contact with members of society, it typically increases your contacts with family members / very close friends. This small and obvious fact has surprisingly profound implications on disease transmission dynamics.Study after study demonstrates that even if there is only a little bit of connection between groups (i.e. social dinners, playdates/playgrounds, etc.), the epidemic isn’t much different than if there was no measure in place. The same underlying fundamentals of disease transmission apply, and the result is that the community is left with all of the social and economic disruption but very little public health benefit.

    You should perceive your entire family to function as a single individual unit; if one person puts themselves at risk, everyone in the unit is at risk. Seemingly small social chains get large and complex with alarming geometric speed. If your son visits his girlfriend, and you later sneak over for coffee with a neighbor, your neighbor is now connected to the infected office worker that your son’s girlfriend’s mother shook hands with. This sounds silly, it’s not. This is not a joke or a hypothetical. We as epidemiologists see it borne out in the data time and time again and no one listens. Conversely, any break in that chain breaks disease transmission along that whole chain.

    In contrast to hand-washing and other personal measures, social distancing measures are not about individuals, they are about societies working in unison. These measures also take a long time to see the results. It is hard (even for me) to conceptualize how on a population level, ‘one quick little get together’ can undermine the entire framework of a public health intervention, but it does. Ipromise you it does. I promise. I promise. I promise.

    You can’t cheat it. People are already itching to cheat on the social distancing precautions just a “little”- a playdate, a haircut, or picking up a needless item at the store, etc. From a transmission dynamics standpoint, this very quickly recreates a highly connected social network that undermines all of the work the community has done so far.

    Until we get a viable vaccine this unprecedented outbreak will not be overcome in one grand, sweeping gesture, rather only by the collection of individual choices our community makes in the coming months. This virus is unforgiving to choices outside the rules.

    My goal in writing this is to prevent communities from getting ‘sucker-punched’ by what the epidemiological community knows will happen in the coming weeks. It will be easy to be drawn to the idea that what we are doing isn’t working and become paralyzed by fear, or to just‘cheat’ a little bit in the coming weeks. By knowing what to expect, and knowing the importance of maintaining these measures, my hope is to encourage continued community spirit, strategizing, and action to persevere in this time of uncertainty.”

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    what colour is the soul?

    NEWSLETTER #7

    what colour is the soul?
    what colour is…
    By Ellyn Peirson
    Photo book

    I’ve created a photobook on the colour of the soul. If you’d like to visit it – it’s rather lonely in its new spot on the web – just tap the image above (on the red print) … enjoy your meeting!

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    How old are Britons?

    RECOMMENDATION: a Natural History Museum – the website of which is an incredible time traveller:
    http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/first-britons.html

    Excerpt: First Britons
    By Lisa Hendry
    First published 15 December 2017

    Britain, with its rich history of monarchies, industry and culture, holds a lesser-known story in its past.

    It’s the story of how people came to be here at all and their struggle for survival in a dramatically changing environment. It begins nearly one million years ago.

    Britain’s unique location – between the Atlantic and continental Europe – means that it has experienced the fullest extremes of climate.

    Over the past million years, its climate has fluctuated from balmy Mediterranean-like conditions to long stages of cold with large ice sheets covering much of the land.

    Landscapes changed accordingly, with coastlines and rivers shaped by water and ice. Britain’s inhabitants had to adapt too, although sometimes they vanished altogether.
    Humans in ancient Britain

    Investigations such as the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain (AHOB) project have provided new insights.

    This 13-year multidisciplinary collaboration between the Museum and other research institutions has transformed what we know about the earliest Britons and the world they lived in.

    Prof Chris Stringer, Museum human origins expert and Director of AHOB, says:

    ‘Traces left behind by Britain’s earliest inhabitants are scattered across the landscape.

    ‘By combining evidence from animal and plant fossils, tools and other artefacts, we have been able to build quite a detailed picture of the lives of these early Britons and the conditions they faced.

    ‘Our research has revealed that there were at least 10 separate waves of occupation, as people were repeatedly driven out by extreme changes in the environment.’

    This is so worth exploring!

    And might I also recommend a book I’m reading at the moment for a fascinating look at the evolution of church out of clan life in later Britain:

    Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Penguin Classics)
    by Amazon.com
    Learn more: https://www.amazon.com/dp/014044565X/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_ne6VCb8Y8K3E5

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    particles and collisions

    ha! thirteen billion year old lightbulb,
    microwave background of the
    universe, harvesting and brewing
    bluegreen primordial soup and throwing in
    our galaxy’s cosmic curds – why do they
    curdle?

    bang!

    who is the master chef at the ‘antediluvian light’?
    who the sous chef?
    who manages, listens, watches, stirs, directs?
    temperature, stages, benign neglect, love applied and
    withheld – all brought together in
    precision to encourage the curdy bluegreen muck
    to gain mass and volume and shoot off clusters of
    newborn irradiated galaxies stewed by
    the sun.

    bang!

    hallelujah! shout the archangels while
    the heavenly host fly and sing to the
    music of the spheres!

    bang!
    all, not merely a few, must see this and
    abandon fear and whatifs – what if
    i die?
    what if
    the planet dies?
    drop fear and soar – there are so many
    places to visit when
    we leave.

    hallelujah!

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    Breaking News: Black Holes

    “Black holes are where God divided by zero.” Albert Einstein (1879–1955)

    I am so happy about yesterday that I am declaring April 10 – BLACK HOLE DAY!  I’m going to talk politicians into having schools, businesses, government agencies, etc., devote the annual holiday to learning more about black holes.  That will give everyone something to do on April 10 for eternity.

    THANK YOU, ALBERT EINSTEIN, for your humility, your brain, your quirkiness and your manifold gifts to science and us.  And thanks to everyone involved into giving birth to yesterday!

    Let’s get on this transporter, folks, and off what we’re fed about our planet – and we’ll SAVE EARTH… with a nod and thanks to the younger generation’s exciting advancements!