Category Archives: Science

#postcorona World in Wuhan and the Nonsense of Tracking Apps #securitytheater

Already a few days old, but still up-to-date about the facts. Tracking apps can’t replace adult behaviour and social distancing. Doesn’t matter if it’s done voluntarily or enforced by whoever that might be – state, reason or fear.

Post-lockdown life in Wuhan is a warning to the world | WIRED UK

“Coronavirus–related tech experiments in Europe are having their own issues. Researchers are torn over how to implement privacy protecting contact tracing. A report on one such app under development in Germany, found it could “only be installed on up-to-date Apple and Android phones, which will reduce its coverage to roughly 60-65 per cent of the general population,” says Sven Herpig, director for international cybersecurity policy at Berlin-based thinktank SNV. People may not want to be part of these infrastructures, or not have the means to join. If apps don’t work and scale, at some point we may have to decide to go non-digital.”

“None of the apps rolled out in China are replacements for traditional epidemic-fighting strategies such as human-led contact tracing – identifying those who fall ill, finding those with whom they have recently been in contact, and quarantining them. Despite the attention given to the health code, the country’s virus mitigation strategies are rooted in boots-on-the-ground management. Tech experiments have been layered over other epidemic-fighting infrastructure, so judging their utility is difficult. Often left out of the conversation is at what point tech applications become useful, and when they are no longer. “We don’t have proof that any of it really worked,” Herpig says.” 

“The health code is far from a silver bullet. Ultimately, what generates a green code is the commitment of individuals to stay at home for 14 days, and residential committees, which manage apartment compounds, to manage their designated inhabitants. But even as a pass to help with reopening, it has returned many to some level of normalcy.”

Challenge unlocked: R>1

Now that was fast. I thought it would take two weeks or more – is there any evidence that maybe Easter is connected to that?

Honestly, I am concerned that Bluetooth-#Corona-Apps are merely #SecurityTheater.

Meine Nachbarn sitzen auf der Couch genau 2 Meter über mir. Wir sehen uns nicht, haben keinen Kontakt. Außer via Bluetooth. Regelmäßig. Sorry, das ist ManagementPorn und SecurityTheater. 

Ich lasse mich gerne überzeugen, aber ich stimme (wieder mal) dem Zeit-Artikel voll zu. 

Technologie in Corona-Zeiten: Eine Corona-App ersetzt nicht die Kontaktsperre | ZEIT ONLINE

Eine Corona-App darf dementsprechend auch niemals Voraussetzung für eine Lockerung der Kontaktbeschränkungen sein, wie es nun auch von einzelnen Politikerinnen und Politikern suggeriert wird. Das wäre hoch riskant und töricht. Denn ob so eine App tatsächlich hilft, wird man frühestens im Laufe des Sommers sagen können, wenn die ersten Ergebnisse ausgewertet werden können – und zu Beginn wahrscheinlich sogar nur für das technikfreundliche Berlin-Mitte. Seitennavigation STARTSEITE

Artificial intelligence is evolving all by itself (sciencemag)

Artificial intelligence is evolving all by itself | Science | AAAS

“While most people were taking baby steps, they took a giant leap into the unknown,” says Risto Miikkulainen, a computer scientist at the University of Texas, Austin, who was not involved with the work. “This is one of those papers that could launch a lot of future research.” Building an AI algorithm takes time. Take neural networks, a common type of machine learning used for translating languages and driving cars. These networks loosely mimic the structure of the brain and learn from training data by altering the strength of connections between artificial neurons. Smaller subcircuits of neurons carry out specific tasks—for instance spotting road signs—and researchers can spend months working out how to connect them so they work together seamlessly.

Time Management: The Eisenhower Matrix

This has helped me so many times: 

The Eisenhower Matrix: Introduction & 3-Minute Video Tutorial

Where does the name come from? Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961. Before becoming President, he served as a general in the United States Army and as the Allied Forces Supreme Commander during World War II. He also later became NATO’s first supreme commander. Dwight had to make tough decisions continuously about which of the many tasks he should focus on each day. This finally led him to invent the world-famous Eisenhower principle, which today helps us prioritize by urgency and importance.

Oh oh … Nucular plants need watering, even during Corona…

How to refuel a nuclear power plant during a pandemic | Ars Technica

Refueling usually takes around a month and involves hosting hundreds of electricians, welders, and other industrial workers who rove around the country refueling nuclear power plants. But not all of these contractors are needed just to top up a reactor. Many are involved with opportunistic repairs, upgrades, and inspections that can only occur while the reactor is offline. To cope with the pandemic, Arizona Public Service made the decision to only conduct repairs that are essential for keeping the reactor running until its next refueling outage in the fall of 2021.

Earth’s magnetic field is acting up and geologists don’t know why

Weird. Look at the map… That sure is something.

In the meantime, scientists are working to understand why the magnetic field is changing so dramatically. Geomagnetic pulses, like the one that happened in 2016, might be traced back to ‘hydromagnetic’ waves arising from deep in the core1. And the fast motion of the north magnetic pole could be linked to a high-speed jet of liquid iron beneath Canada2.