Future Studies and Pandemics

The Black Death

In the mid-2000s I attended courses in Future Studies at the University of Hawaii. Jim Dator, one of the founders of Future Studies in North America was there, and he had some useful, if soft, methods for going about understanding different futures.

This is relevant to the latest pandemic because it is one of the few ways to get a grip on the possibilities that are unfolding in front of us. The future is, after all, unpredictable by definition. However, one can become sensitive to certain scenarios.

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Prehistory and Post Apocalypse

The thing about history is that there is a lot of it. And prehistory, well, so much more. The highlights: carbon/methane sequestration 50mya seas and temperatures Return of the wooly mammoth Arctic resources Emigration for the next 1,000 years O Canada Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) At least since 1997, the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum has become ... Read more

10 Trillion x 100 Billion

10 trillion galaxies times 100 billion stars. One trillion squared. That's what we are talking about. In addition, the universe is possibly 250 times larger than the observable universe. Mind boggling. First Observed Interstellar Object 'Oumuamua is possibly a lightsail object sent for observation, and in any case is definitely from outside the solar system ... Read more

Mnemonic Devices and Learning

On January 1, 2009 CNN published an article on memory. Now would be a good time to review and expand on that article, in the hopes of improving our own memory. It may be useful to conceive of the Art of Memory as having four broad application areas, a set of techniques (often called mnemonic ... Read more

The Next 40 Years

This is the sort of post that generally makes me laugh out loud. No one can predict anything like 40 years out. I myself routinely mock anyone who tries to do such a thing. However... However, it is possible to draw out trend lines, even though we can be certain they will shift. And in these trend lines, like so many fate lines creased within our palms, like so many tea leaves, we can see a vision of a changed future. It is this act of imagination, along certain known trajectories, which can bring insight.

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Mars, Musk, and the BFR

I watched most of the latest long video presentation done in Australia a few days ago, which is 90% boring, and 10% mind-blowing. The main point is that they are going to focus on BFR which is way bigger than Falcon Heavy. Techcrunch has more details on the project. Mars Launch Dates Note that the ... Read more

Ten Million Years

When one wants to understand what the most sigificant digits are regarding courses of action, it is vital to have the appropriate time-scale. What can be done in 1 day is a much more constrained problem than one can be done in 1 year, 10 years, 1,000 years, etc. Ten million years is sufficiently large to rethink pretty much everything. As Peter Brannan writes in The Anthropocene is a Joke:

Unless we fast learn how to endure on this planet, and on a scale far beyond anything we’ve yet proved ourselves capable of, the detritus of civilization will be quickly devoured by the maw of deep time.

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Air Purification – Air Purifiers

Air Purification has a myriad of purifiers. There are roughly two kinds: - Organics (formaldahyde, etc.) - Particles (pm 10, pm 2.5, pm 1.0) Resources The effect of surface charge, negative and bipolar ionization on the deposition of airborne bacteria Air Quality Index (AQI) Basics Air Inoizer Ozone generators sold as air cleaners

Childhood Fever

> There is no evidence that fever itself worsens the course of an illness or that it causes long-term neurologic complications. Thus ... improve the child's overall comfort rather than focus on the normalization of body temperature. - Pediatrics research article