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About A.steve

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    I live on HPC!

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  1. The problem with that idea is that one would then need to value everything everyone owns. What is the value of this priceless picture of "The Fallen Madonna With The Big Boobies by van Clomp"? If we assume market values for assets, and we know that holding the asset will attract a 5% tax, then the value of the asset falls by 5% - but that establishes a new market value... and that will attract a 5% tax - and so on... over and over again. This will wipe out the collateral that underpins the financial system... resulting in economic collapse. The winners will be whoever gets to arbitrarily decide what everything is worth - their ability to charge fees will be the stuff of legends. I'm not concerned, at all, by a 5% tax on cash. This is equivalent to ~5.3% inflation... which (given below target inflation in recent years) would have a similar effect as a successful implementation of the 2% CPI target - when considered over a few years. When taxes are levied uniformly, so as to avoid market distortions, they have no effect beyond nominal prices. Taxes are disliked because they do introduce market distortions - and not everyone likes the particular distortions they cause. I don't think any of this is very likely. I think a budget on 6th July 2020 will reflect that the UK knows if there will be an extension to the withdrawal implementation phase past 31st December 2020.
  2. OK - then how can I construct "a nucleic acid sequence" to meet a specification I can generate as string of characters? I accept that anticipating the consequences of a particular sequence is hard - but, I'd expect, finitely hard - relative to the complexity of the sequence and the complexity of the environment into which it is placed?
  3. I've always been interested in time... so, maybe, I see references to it more than others do. "Scientists" tend to treat it as a dimension and gloss over the fact that we only know how to travel this dimension in one direction (which, curiously, precludes a scientific investigation of time itself.) Time, as a contemporary of Data, is criticial for information (i.e. data with established relevance). Time and Frequency are intimately related - and seem to be the foundation of physical processes. Time, at another level of abstraction, is the most critical aspect of controlling a narrative... where sequences of individually minor announcements guide a larger overall effect. The most interesting thing about time is that our understanding of it doesn't seem to have advanced much in millenia. The geopolitical ramifications of this virus - to my mind - vastly eclipse any plausible medical/health consequence for mankind. It is definitely a complicated picture... but I get the feeling that I am witnessing a grand illusion - where it's all to easy to focus on the prominent but irrelevant details - while failing to notice a critical slight of hand.
  4. Again, while I still feel as if I'm acting as the infant who demands "Why?" to every explanation... I find myself thinking, if the flu is such a simple virus - what, if anything, lends credibility to this particular flu being treated as so much more infectious and dangerous? Of course, if this virus were 'harmless' - this would account for why small children aren't affected by it... and elderly people (especially those with other terminal conditions) die "with" the virus - but no-one credible says "from" the virus. Your idea of a virus that reduces infertiity is also insightful. I'm reminded of Red Dwarf and the "Luck Virus" - where those who contract it start to experience an avelanche of implausibly improbable positive events. My understanding was that Chronos was about progression through chronological time... while Kairos is about opportune moments... while Aion is about cyclical, or eternal, time. From my own perspective, the present does feel very timey-wimey... and not only in the way the Epoch times suggests. My hat goes off to Peter for recomending the Wikipedia article. I read the special edition Epoch Times that I was sent... it was extremely anti-CCP (as, in my opinion, is Trump). I had not expected the connection to the Falun Gong... with their dislike of collectivist communism... which they seem to express by dressing identically and taking group exercise. I also hadn't expected the link to Robert Mercer - the man from the (extra-ordinary) hedge fund "Renaissance Technologies" - who went on to invest in Cambridge Analytica and Breitbart News. What a funny-old-muddle we have... and some unanticipated links among the players.
  5. I know I'm using a completely different (i.e. the 'wrong') language to describe things... but I think I follow your explanations. My interests cause me to want to think at different levels of granularity to the common ones for the domain... then I butcher all the terms. I'm being unruly because I've two interests. One is trying to see if software techniques could apply to engineered biological systems (because that science-fiction idea appeals to me) and the other is trying to see what could justify this specific RNA virus being significantly more infectious than other RNA viruses. The idea that the "R" value is derived empirically does not sit well with me... however could one determine an effective, practicable, strategy to reliably measure R for a novel pathogen? Cummings' blog talks about applied mathematics - and I think he has interests in Machine Learning... and the related cutting-edge statistical techniques. It doesn't seem too outrageous to think that, if this virus is "genuinely novel" - that there must be something substantially different about it... and, as nature has had billions of years without finding a more lethal Coronovirus than the Flu... it seems unlikely that an unsanctioned bat, snake and pangolin managed this feat in 2019. I can believe that (one of many) 'nasty flu' viruses emerged naturally - but I can't see how the naturally-occurring narrative justifies the global government hysteria. I also can’t see any plausible explanation for why this flu is a substantial threat to those who are vulnerable because they are elderly – but not to infants who are vulnerable because they necessarily have immune systems that have not fully developed. This trait, in which we’re asked to believe, is very unusual – isn’t it? Somewhat unrelated: Would it be too wacky to ask if this entire panic is really about Chronos playing the part of the Boogyman while dressed in the virtual garb of the grim reaper? I was recently surprised to have delivered (for free, without my address on it) a glossy magazine… The title of the publication is “THE EPOCH TIMES” subtitled “TRUTH AND TRADITION” – with a “SPECIAL” banner. The lead story is titled “How the Chinese Communist Party Endangered the World” – which alleges a cover-up by the CCP caused the pandemic. The thing leaves me feeling weird resonances. EPOCH - A period of time in history TIMES - The indefinite continued progress of existence and events CHRONOs - The personification of time in pre-Socratic philosophy (Greek). Does it feel, to anyone else, like timey-wimey words have become contagious? I’m aware that the “Epoch Times” existed before it sent me this magazine… but I am perplexed by the motivations of whoever decided to pay to send me their ideas on dead-tree… the magazine says that it was funded by a charity “Epoch Times London” – but, to me, the material seems more aligned with promoting a particular geopolitical perspective than the sort of things I associate with charitable work. Did everyone in the UK get this publication? Does anyone know who controls the charity?
  6. I think the misunderstanding was all mine. I misintrepreted the scope in which you used the word "viable". I may have also misinterpreted 'unstable' - it seems you're suggesting that only the replication is unstable - but, once successfully replicated, the viron itself is stable - in the sense that mutation (possibly to something non-viable) is only a risk when it is being replicated by a cell. I assume virons must also degrade over time (in any environment where they can not replicate)? If so, what factors affect the rate of degradation for virons? [Appologies Computer-Scientist-Centric bit...] If, by 'not viable' - we mean "does not replicate to something that can replicate" - then the software analogy is a block of non-executable machine code. If some RNA sequences are not viable, while others are viable... roughly what proportion of RNA sequences (that could exist temporarily) represent viable virons (if we assume I were able to hook up an RNA sequence printer to a random number generator)?
  7. That makes sense - though, I guess, if I were to continue fearlessly with the software analogy... I'd need to consider the Protein as something akin to the microcode in a processor or an HDL description for an FPGA. From my own (non-biological) perspective, it seems completely naural to have one 'machine' (which can be implemented as software) define the behaviour of the 'software' incident on it. The mutual dependency of the software and hardware is what I'd expect from the analogy - and would not think of either as having no meaning... I assume I read the mainstream story correctly: COVID-19 is supposed to be an RNA virus? Has anyone credible explained why this one is assumed viable?
  8. I have zero relevant experience - but have read some things that might, or might not, be accurate. I had previously understood that RNA viruses mutate frequently - and this is what made viruses with a large 'R' value the most transmissible, but also the least stable (and, statistically, the least fatal). I come from a computing background... and I've always been fascinated by the idea that one might be able to 'program' DNA or RNA... conceptualizing the genetic sequence as if it were machine code - and anticipating what a macro-assembly language might look like. Whenever I've stumbled across someone with relevant credentials, I've asked, how would one go about constructing a DNA/RNA sequence at the lowest level? Is this completely fanciful - i.e. is it so far from reality that my programming analogy is unhelpful?
  9. I don't diagree with you saying that populism wants there to be simple explanation with a specific person/idea to blame. It's a mental short-cut that avoids one having to think too deeply about complicated situations. I am curious about what you mean with the above. Do you mean that, if you wanted a pathogen that is merely distinct from those that are known, that you'd just look "in the wild" until you found one... Or... do you mean that you could 'engineer' a specific new type of pathogen (with specific traits) in the wild? I'm not sure what you mean.
  10. Yes - the recent edit was what made the otherwise bland blog post interesting. It shows that Dominic Cummings is pushing the idea that the cause is (an unintentional?) release of an engineered pathogen from a lab... but without presenting any relevant corrobrating evidence. This seems relevant becase the official government line is that it was not engineered in a lab - but occurred naturally. What's supprising (to me) is that - if the government believed it to be an engineered virus... then saying so would have bolstered political credibility with respect to the lockdown - so would have been expedient. If the government believed something else - surely the blog post (presenting no counter-evidence of substance) would be 'pissing against the wind' - to use a yachting euphemism. I remain to be convinced that any relevant pathogen was engineered in a lab... I can't prove the negative - but I am ready to consider any credible evidence that runs counter to this initial assumption.
  11. Yes - that's a very interesting tweet. Not only did I find the article that was mentioned in the press conference, but also found that it had been updated on 14th April 2020. So... I fed it into the wayback machine... and, it seems, a change was made to the substance of the article between 9th April 2020 and 3rd May 2020 - plausibly on the 14th April - as the tweet suggests. The following 2 paragraphs of information were added: While I think Dominic should get his wrists slapped for altering an article without amending its publication date... that isn't what stands out to me most about this new text. One assumes "GAO" is the (US) Government Accountability Office - but more puzzling is the specific phrase "the GAO report". This new paragraph is the first time the articile mentions either "GAO" or "report" - but the new paragraph suggests that there is a specific, especially relevant, GAO report... though the readers of the blog aren't treated with a helpful reference. Does this suggest that the paragraph was inserted before showing the article to someone who would already know what is meant by "the GAO report"? Also odd is that the article suggests that there was "a well-publicized incident" that spanned "12 years"... Here, "incident", used as it is, as a noun, contradicts my definition of incident. These anomalies don't fill me with confidence that this blog post is credible. Perhaps this is intentional? On a little more reflection... I realized that the 'elephant in the room' oddity was also intriguing - "Barnard Castle". I doubt I'm alone in having thought first of Dominic in his anorak and trainers - slouching around at a medieval fortress... but, now, I know Barnard Castle's largest single employer is GlaxoSmithKline which has a manufacturing facility on the town outskirts… From Google Maps, it seems a sizeable affair – and some witty souls have already started adding jokes about Dominic's eyesight to its marker. It is probably just a weird coincidence - but GSK emerged from a merger of Glaxo-Wellcome and SmithKline-Beecham... and SmithKline-Beecham from a merger of SmithKline Beckman and Beecham... Aside from branding popular Coronovirus remedies (Beecham Flu Powders - etc.) Beechams also bought Thomas & Evans Ltd - who produced Corona (the temperance movement's darling soft-drinks company) in 1958 (securing, one assumes, the trademark.) In some sense, GSK could easily be painted as "the place to go" if you want to know more about the world's latest obsession. I wonder if that was why Domnic "randomly" chose to see if he could drive to Barnard Castle?
  12. When I watched (most of) Dominic Cummings' press conference today... One thing lept out at me among a sea of the predictable. Cummings said that he had written a paper about the dangers of coronavirus pandemics. (I understand him to have suggested that this was authored prior to this pandemic.) I'd like to read that paper - if it is public. Does anyone know if it is?
  13. Right now, I'd expect zero cars at auction... but, I anticipate, once car forecourts are open for business... there will be a glut of cars that had been taken on 3-year terms... but where the keepers did not opt to extend their lease or buy their own car. I'm less sure where I'd look to find such a glut - if, indeed, there is going to be one.
  14. And Thanks both - you sort-of confirm what I already thought. I assume these auctions are not currently running? This would suggest a glut of cars going to auction when the auction eventually re-opens? Are there published auction prices - to assess wholesale price trends?
  15. I've known this about brand new cars for a while. There is, however, a bit I don't get. If the prevelant mindset is "my car costs me £xxx per month - and I can afford that, so it is fine" - then it makes sense while the car feels new... say for the first 3 years. After that time, with that mindset, I can't easily see why keeping that car makes sense... why not move to a new one? So, I'd expect a lot of financed cars to be disposed after (say) 3 years. Now these cars won't tend to be sold on monthly prices, will they? After a few years, we're not talking about a unit of a known-quality commodity - are we... every car has different minor marks and milage. How are these cars disposed of? Are they all the cas on Autotrader? Are they sold at big 'trade-only' auctions?
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