LIGHTS OUT

August 11, 2020


I retired from General Electric in 2005 after joining the Roper Corporation in 1986.  GE bought Roper in 1987 to get the Sears business for cooking products.  It was a good marriage; some say very good. Long-term Roper employees eligible for retirement came away with a significant nest egg.  Quite a few retired as a result of the company buyout.  One of my carpool buddies let me look at a check from GE.  It was a little over thirty thousand dollars with more on the way.    That was history.

I just read an article in the publication “Assembly, summer 2020, indicating that GE has sold the lighting division to Savant Systems Inc. Savant sells home-automation technology.  GE Lighting will remain in Cleveland, Ohio and its seven hundred (700) employees will transfer to Savant, which will also get a long-term license for the GE brand.   This one hundred and thirty year (130) old lighting business goes back to the very core of the company, which once used the line “GE: We bring good things to light” in its advertising. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a tiny deal, amounting to just $250 million, according to The Wall Street Journal (actual deal terms weren’t disclosed).   This move is a much bigger statement than the dollars involved suggest.  

What remained of lighting was largely consumer-focused, an area that GE no longer really plays in.   Lightbulbs are just the latest in a long list of things—toasters, fans, radios, televisions, plastics, adhesives, motors, mixers, locomotives, computers, cooking products, that GE no longer makes.  GE sold the cooking products to the Hairer Group, a Chinese firm.   Lighting is a relatively low-margin business that adds little to the top and bottom lines. From a strategic perspective, it was time to finally sell the business, even if it didn’t bring in much money. More important, perhaps, the move helps set the tone for the future. 

The General Electric Company has changed and is changing.  The following graphics will show the transition of the conglomerate from 2007 to 2020.  It’s possible that slimming down the company’s portfolio will pay off for Flannery and for GE. Selling some (OK, most) of the company’s divisions will offer management the opportunity to streamline the corporate structure and reduce costs. The company’s outperforming healthcare division is likely to be attractive to buyers, which should help Flannery shore up GE’s balance sheet, as will the sale of its stake in Baker Hughes. 

But once the dust settles, GE is going to be left with a winning aviation engine business and an energy turbine business in desperate need of a turnaround, with no clear path to overall growth. Maybe GE will continue to radically reshape its portfolio over the next ten (10) years through acquisitions — or maybe it will stick with the current simplified structure. Either way, though, outperformance is uncertain, and there are probably better places for your money.  Right now, GE stock is selling for $6.82 per share. Jack Welch “lived” with Wall Street and nursed the stock day in and day out.  It was critical to Dr. Welch the “market” was satisfied with the numbers.

CONCLUSION:  Things change but, in GE’s case, there must be a reason.  There are very strong opinions on this subject.

Former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, the scandal-plagued leader who was ousted after years at the helm of the company, is responsible for destroying the sprawling, multinational conglomerate, according to Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone.  “He had a big steel ball on a crane and he destroyed it as if he was tearing down an old building,” Langone said on Friday during an interview with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo.  Immelt was handpicked in 2001 to take over the company by legendary CEO Jack Welch, but in August 2017, Immelt was replaced by John Flannery, who was removed as CEO on Monday and replaced with H. Lawrence Culp Jr., effective immediately.

In January, sources told FOX Business that Welch’s assessment of Immelt’s tenure was “scathing,” and that he’d privately conceded one of the biggest mistakes he made in his wide-spanning career as chief executive was appointing Immelt as his successor. Immelt came under fire last October when it was revealed that he would fly with two private jets when traveling in case the one he was riding in had “mechanical problems.”

I just hope this giant of a company can at some point rebound and redefine itself.  Time will tell.

INFLUENCERS

June 6, 2020


Some of the most remarkably written articles are found in the publication “Building Design + Construction”.  This monthly magazine highlights architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) describes building projects and designs around the world.  Many projects underway are re-construction and/or refurbishment of existing structures; i.e. schools, churches, office buildings, etc.  The point I’m trying to make, the writing is superb, innovative and certainly relevant.  The April edition featured INFLUENCERS. 

If you investigate websites, you will find an ever-increasing number of articles related to Influencer Marketing.  Influencer marketing is becoming, or I should say, is a significant factor in a person choosing one product over another.   One of our granddaughters is an influencer and her job is fascinating.  Let’s look.

DEFINITION:

  • the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his or her audience.
  • a following in a distinct niche, with whom he or she actively engages. The size of the following depends on the size of his/her topic of the niche.

CLASSIFICATIONS:

There are various classifications depending upon circumstances.  Those are given below.

Mega-Influencers Mega influencers are the people with a vast number of followers on their social networks. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Utube, etc. are social instruments upon which influencers ply their trade.  Although there are no fixed rules on the boundaries between the different types of followers, a common view is that mega-influencers have more than 1 million followers on at least one social platform.  President Donald Trump, Kim Kardashian, Hillary Clinton and of course several others may be classified as Mega-influencers. 

Macro-InfluencersMacro-influencers are one step down from the mega-influencers, and maybe more accessible as influencer marketers. You would consider people with followers in the range between 40,000 and one million followers on a social network to be macro-influencers.
This group tends to consist of two types of people. They are either B-grade celebrities, who haven’t yet made it to the big time. Or they are successful online experts, who have built up more significant followings than the typical micro-influencers. The latter type of macro-influencer is likely to be more useful for firms engaging in influencer marketing.

Micro-Influencers Micro-influencers are ordinary everyday people who have become known for their knowledge about some specialist niche. As such, they have usually gained a sizable social media following amongst devotees of that niche. Of course, it is not just the number of followers that indicates a level of influence; it is the relationship and interaction that a micro-influencer has with his or her followers.

Nano-InfluencersThe newest influencer-type to gain recognition is the nano-influencer. These people only have a small number of followers, but they tend to be experts in an obscure or highly specialized field. You can think of nano-influencers as being the proverbial big fish in a small pond. In many cases, they have fewer than one thousand (1,000) followers – but they will be keen and interested followers, willing to engage with the nano-influencer, and listen to his/her opinions.

If we look further, we can “drill down” to the various internet providers hosting the influencer packages.

Bloggers— Bloggers and influencers in social media have the most authentic and active relationships with their fans.  Brands are now recognizing and encouraging this.  Blogging has been connected to influencer marketing for some time now.  There are many highly influential blogs on the internet.  If a popular blogger positively mentions your product in a post, it can lead to the blogger’s supporters wanting to try out the specific product.

YouTubers—Rather than each video maker having their own site, most create a channel on YouTube.  Brands often align with popular YouTube content creators.

Podcasts— Podcasting is a relatively recent form of online content that is growing in great popularity.  It has made quite a few household names now, possibly best epitomized by John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneurs on Fire.  If you have not yet had the opportunity to enjoy podcasts, Digital Trends has put together a comprehensive list of the best podcasts of 2019.  Our youngest son has a podcast called CalmCash.  He does a great job and is remarkably creative. 

Social Posts Only— The vast majority of influencers now make their name on social media.  While you will find influencers on all leading social channels, the standout network in recent years has been Instagram, where many influencers craft their posts around various stunning images.   

Now, if we go back to “Building Design + Construction”, they interviewed five influencers that apply their skills to the AEC profession.  I will give you, through their comments, the thrust of their efforts:

CHRISTINE WILLIAMSON— “My goal is to help teach architects about building science and construction.  I want to show how the “AEC” parts fit together.”

BOB BORSON—He is the cohost of the Life of an Architect podcast which gets about two hundred and sixty (260) downloads per day.  He would be a nano-influencer.  “Influencer” is a ridiculous word.  If you have to tell people you’re an influencer, you’re not”.  His words only.

AMY BAKER—Launched her Instagram account in 2018 and is the host for SpecFunFacts.  She discusses specifications and contracts and has around one thousand (1,000) followers.

CATHERINE MENG– Ms. Meng is the host of the Design Voice podcast. 

MATT RISENGER—Mr. Risenger hosts “Buildshownetwork”.   He first published Matt Risinger’s Green Building blog in 2006.  This was the manner in which he publicized his new homebuilding company in Austin, Texas.   To date, he has seven hundred (700) plus videos on YouTube.  Right now, he has six hundred thousand (600,000) subscribers.

CONCLUSIONS:  From the above descriptions and the five individual influencers detailed in the AEC magazine, you can get some idea as to how influencers ply their trade and support design and building endeavors.  Hope you enjoyed this one.


I’m probably the last person on the planet to have read “Where the Crawdads Sing”.  Well I’ve been busy of late but this COVID-19 has demanded that my family and I stay locked down for a period of time.  Other than painting every stationary object in our house, i.e. woodwork, doors, baseboards, etc etc, I’ve had time to do some reading.  

This book presents a story of fiction and survival and what the depth of loneliness feels like when a young girl is abandoned first by her mother, then her four siblings. Kya ( (Catherine Danielle Clark). Kya is ten years old in 1952 when she is deserted by all the members of her family and left to make it alone in the marsh country of North Carolina.  They leave one-by-one due to a very abusive alcoholic father who takes out his many failures on his wife and his five children, Kya being the youngest.  Kya’s mother is the last to leave after she is beaten by her husband for no apparent reason.  What she doesn’t understand is why they left her behind. She remains alone while her father comes and goes until one day, he doesn’t come back at all. It was gut-wrenching as she sits on the beach with the gulls, not wanting them to fly away and leave her too. Heartbreaking how she is neglected and abandoned, remembering the beatings, trying to figure out a way to eat.

 Kya is absolutely on her own and forms a significant attachment and great understanding of the environment around her, which becomes a necessity for survival in the marshlands of Barkley Cove.  She definitely works that to her advantage by literally living off the land. She learns to fish, cook and clean just by remembering how it used to be and what her mother taught her over the years. Barkley Cove is a very small community and where she goes for groceries and gas.    An all-purpose store in that small town is run by an extremely kind and generous couple who have lived on the marsh their entire life. She exchanges mussels and smoked fish for gas for her motor and a few groceries. Two very kind individuals, Jumpin and his wife Mabel, give her used books, shoes, anything that she can get donated. They were her only friends for a period of time.  Then she met Tate.    Tate, who was once a friend of her brother, finds her alone and begins to offer help and company. He teaches her to read and then her life begins to take a turn toward something more than isolation and running barefoot through the woods.  He teaches her to read and write and from there she becomes a human sponge for discovering facts about the environment she is forced to survive in.  She inhales books on birds, flowers, tides, trees, and the marsh itself.  All self-taught.

Let me give you a very quick summary of the major characters in the book.

  • Kya (Catherine Danielle Clark)
  • TateA very good friend of Kya’s oldest brother Jodie.
  • Chase Andrews—Not a good guy but he does become a love-interest in the book.
  • MaKya’s mother.
  • PaKya’s drunken father.
  • JodieKya’s oldest brother.
  • JumpinAn extremely kind colored man who helps Kya greatly. Jumpin keeps Kya alive by buying muscles and smoked fish from here. 
  • MabelJumpin’s wife.
  • Sheriff Ed JacksonThe sheriff of Barkley Cove.
  • Miss Pansy PriceMiss Price calls Kya “swamp trash”.  That phrase never leaves Kya.
  • Mrs. Singletary—The wife of the grocery owner.
  • Ms. Culpepper—The truancy officer in Barkley Cove.
  • Scupper—Tate’s father.
  • Sunday Justice—The local jail house cat.

There are other characters in this book and each is described in a rich fashion.  It’s amazing to me as to how the author weaves them into the narrative and how they react and respond to events occurring in Barkley Cove. 

Now, one thing you really need to do is study the map given at the very first few pages of the book.  That map, shown below, is key to understanding the “lay-of-the land” in and around the marsh.  This is a marvelous book and one that has been on the best seller list for many months.  You need to check it out.

INFECTIOUS DISEASES

April 10, 2020


My wife and I are well into our “senior years”; consequently, we are now “stay-at-home” parents and grandparents until COVID-19 is a thing of the past.  That is, if that’s possible.  We only go out to the grocery store and the pharmacy.  We order from a delivery service if we want to experience something other than a home-cooked meal.  I think most people are doing likewise because it is the most prudent thing to do.  Let’s take a look at the twenty-seven (27) most devastating infectious diseases. 

A VERY BRIEF WORD ABOUT PANDEMIS HISTORY VS DEATHRATE:

Overall, the death rate from infectious diseases dropped from about eight hundred (800) deaths per one hundred thousand (100,000) people in 1900 to forty-six (46) deaths per one hundred thousand (100,000) people in 2014, the study found. The death rate declined almost continuously from 1900 to 1950, except for a spike in deaths in 1918 due to an outbreak of influenza known as the “Spanish flu pandemic.”

The rate has been relatively level since 1950, but there have been some ups and downs. For example, from 1980 to 1995 — around the time of the HIV/AIDS epidemic — the overall death rate from infectious diseases increased from forty-two (42) deaths per one hundred thousand (100,000) people to sixty-three (63) deaths per 100,000 people, the researchers found. [27 Devastating Infectious Diseases.

Many are looking to historic pandemics to find answers about the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak that has much of the world ground to a halt under quarantine and social distancing mandates. But “public health” wasn’t even a concept before one European crisis forced authorities to act: The bubonic plague or Black Death.

Let’s take a look at several diseases that have plagued the world over the past one hundred years or more.

DISEASES AND PANDEMICS:

The new coronavirusIn COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”. There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. Using available preliminary data, the median time from onset to clinical recovery for mild cases is approximately 2 weeks and is 3-6 weeks for patients with severe or critical disease.  This is definitely a pandemic with 1,429,516 cases reported, 85,711 deaths and infections in two hundred and twelve (212) countries.  These numbers are as of 9 April 2020 and 1400 hours.

SmallpoxBefore smallpox was eradicated, it was a serious infectious disease caused by the variola virus. It was contagious—meaning, it spread from one person to another. People who had smallpox had a fever and a distinctive, progressive skin rash.  Most people with smallpox recovered, but about 3 out of every 10 people with the disease died. Many smallpox survivors have permanent scars over large areas of their body, especially their faces. Some are left blind. Thanks to the success of vaccination, smallpox was eradicated, and no cases of naturally occurring smallpox have happened since 1977. The last natural outbreak of smallpox in the United States occurred in 1949.

  • Plague– Plague is a zoonotic disease affecting rodents and transmitted by fleas from rodents to other animals and to humans. Direct person-to-person transmission does not occur except in the case of pneumonic plague, when respiratory droplets may transfer the infection from the patient to others in close contact.
  •  Bubonic plague is the form that usually results from the bite of infected fleas. Lymphadenitis develops in the drainage lymph nodes, with the regional lymph nodes most commonly affected. Swelling, pain and suppuration of the lymph nodes produces the characteristic plague buboes.
  • Septicaemic plague may develop from bubonic plague or occur in the absence of lymphadenitis. Dissemination of the infection in the bloodstream results in meningitis, endotoxic shock and disseminated intravascular coagulation.
  • Pneumonic plague may result from secondary infection of the lungs following dissemination of plague bacilli from other body sites. It produces severe pneumonia. Direct infection of others may result from transfer of infection by respiratory droplets, causing primary pulmonary plague in the recipients.  Without prompt and effective treatment, fifty to sixty percent (50–60%)

 of cases of bubonic plague are fatal, while untreated septicaemic and pneumonic plague are invariably fatal.

Malaria– Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite. People with malaria often experience fever, chills, and flu-like illness. Left untreated, they may develop severe complications and die. In 2018 an estimated two hundred and twenty-two (228) million cases of malaria occurred worldwide and four hundred and five thousand (405,000) people died, mostly children in the African Region. About two thousand (2,000) cases of malaria are diagnosed in the United States each year. The vast majority of cases in the United States are in travelers and immigrants returning from countries where malaria transmission occurs, many from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Influenza Influenza is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system — your nose, throat and lungs. Influenza is commonly called the flu, but it’s not the same as stomach “flu” viruses that cause diarrhea and vomiting.

For most people, influenza resolves on its own. But sometimes, influenza and its complications can be deadly. People at higher risk of developing flu complications include:

  • Young children under age five (5), and especially those under twelve (12) months
  • Adults older than age sixty-five (65)
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Pregnant women and women up to two weeks postpartum
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People who have chronic illnesses, such as asthma, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease and diabetes
  • People who are very obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of forty (40) or higher

Tuberculosis– Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but they can also damage other parts of the body. TB spreads through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks.  In a person who has a healthy immune system, the body usually fights the infection by walling off (encapsulating) the bacteria into tiny capsules called tubercles.

HIV/AIDS– HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV can only infect human beings (H), weakens your immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection (I), and, as a virus, can only reproduce itself by taking over a cell in the body of its host (V). HIV is a lot like other viruses, like those that cause the flu or the common cold, except that normally, your immune system can clear most viruses out of your body. With HIV, our bodies can’t get rid of it. Once you have HIV, you have it for life. The good news? With proper treatment, called antiretroviral therapy (ART, sometimes referred to as high active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART), you can keep the level of HIV in your body low, so it is considered undetectable.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. AIDS is acquired (A) – it’s not something you inherit from your parents. A person acquires AIDS after birth. AIDS involves the body’s immune system (I), which includes all the organs and cells that work to fight off infection or disease. A person with HIV is diagnosed with AIDS when their immune system has reached a certain level of deficiency, or isn’t working the way it should. Lastly, AIDS is a syndrome (S), or a complex illness with a wide range of complications, symptoms, and signs of disease.

Cholera– Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the toxigenic bacterium Vibrio cholerae serogroup O1 or O139. An estimated that close to three million (2.9 million) cases and ninety-five thousand (95,000) deaths occur each year around the world. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe. Approximately one in ten percent (10%) infected persons will have severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these people, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.

Rabies Rabies is a zoonotic disease (a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans), caused by the rabies virus, of the Lyssavirus genus, within the family Rhabdoviridae. Domestic dogs are the most common reservoir of the virus, with more than ninety-nine percent (99%) of human deaths caused by dog-mediated rabies.

The virus is transmitted in the saliva of rabid animals and generally enters the body via infiltration of virus-laden saliva from a rabid animal into a wound (e.g. scratches), or by direct exposure of mucosal surfaces to saliva from an infected animal (e.g. bites). The virus cannot infiltrate intact skin. Once the virus reaches the brain, it further replicates, resulting in presentation of clinical signs from the patient. There are two clinical manifestations of rabies – furious (classical or encephalitic) and paralytic. Furious rabies is the most common form of human rabies, accounting for approximately eighty percent (80%) of cases.

With the exception of Antarctica, rabies is endemic on all continents. Of the tens of thousands of deaths occurring annually due to rabies, ninety-five percent (95%) of cases are reported in Asia and Africa.

Pneumonia– Pneumonia is a common lung infection caused by germs, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It can be a complication of the flu, but other viruses, bacteria and even fungi can cause pneumonia. Anyone can get pneumonia, but some people are more at risk than others. Pneumonia and its symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Treatment depends on the cause of your pneumonia, how severe your symptoms are, and your age and overall health. Most healthy people recover from pneumonia in one to three weeks, but it can be life-threatening. The good news is that pneumonia can be prevented—by getting an annual flu shot (as flu often leads to pneumonia), frequently washing your hands, and for people at high risk, getting a vaccine for pneumococcal pneumonia. Learn about causes and symptoms of pneumonia, how pneumonia is treated, ways to prevent pneumonia and more in this section.

Infectious diarrhea– Diarrhea caused by enteric infections is a major factor in morbidity and mortality worldwide. An estimated two to four (2–4) billion episodes of infectious diarrhea occur each year and are especially prevalent in infants. This review highlights the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying diarrhea associated with the three classes of infectious agents, i.e., bacteria, viruses and parasites. Several bacterial pathogens have been chosen as model organisms, including Vibrio cholerae as a classical example of secretory diarrhea, Clostridium difficile and Shigella species as agents of inflammatory diarrhea and selected strains of pathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli) to discuss the recent advances in alteration of epithelial ion absorption. Many of the recent studies addressing epithelial ion transport and barrier function have been carried out using viruses and parasites. Here, we focus on the rapidly developing field of viral diarrhea including rotavirus, norovirus and astrovirus infections. Finally, we discuss Giardia lamblia and Entamoeba histolytica as examples of parasitic diarrhea. Parasites have a greater complexity than the other pathogens and are capable of creating molecules similar to those produced by the host, such as serotonin and PGE2. The underlying mechanisms of infectious diarrhea discussed include alterations in ion transport and tight junctions as well as the virulence factors, which alter these processes either through direct effects or indirectly through inflammation and neurotransmitters.

Ebola– This rare, infectious—and often fatal—disease was discovered in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) near the Ebola River. Scientists believe that bats are the most likely carriers of the Ebola virus. Symptoms include the sudden onset of fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and in some cases, bleeding. People can catch the Ebola virus through close contact with the blood, organs, or other bodily fluids of infected animals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease spreads from person to person through direct contact—via broken skin or through the eyes, nose, and mouth—with the blood or body fluids of someone who is sick. People remain infectious as long as their blood and body fluids, including semen and breast milk, contain the virus. Men can still transmit the virus through their semen for several weeks after recovery from illness.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease– Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a prion disease that was first described in 1996 in the United Kingdom. There is now strong scientific evidence that the agent responsible for the outbreak of prion disease in cows, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or ‘mad cow’ disease), is the same agent responsible for the outbreak of vCJD in humans.

Marburg Marburg virus was first recognized in 1967, when outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever occurred simultaneously in laboratories in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany and in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia). Thirty-one people became ill, initially laboratory workers followed by several medical personnel and family members who had cared for them. Seven deaths were reported. The first people infected had been exposed to imported African green monkeys or their tissues while conducting research. One additional case was diagnosed retrospectively.

The reservoir host of Marburg virus is the African fruit bat, Rousettus aegyptiacus. Fruit bats infected with Marburg virus do not to show obvious signs of illness. Primates (including humans) can become infected with Marburg virus, and may develop serious disease with high mortality. Further study is needed to determine if other species may also host the virus.

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)– Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is an illness caused by a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Most MERS patients developed severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. About 3 or 4 out of every 10 patients reported with MERS have died.  Health officials first reported the disease in Saudi Arabia in September 2012. Through retrospective (backward-looking) investigations, they later identified that the first known cases of MERS occurred in Jordan in April 2012. So far, all cases of MERS have been linked through travel to, or residence in, countries in and near the Arabian Peninsula. The largest known outbreak of MERS outside the Arabian Peninsula occurred in the Republic of Korea in 2015. The outbreak was associated with a traveler returning from the Arabian Peninsula.

Dengue Dengue is fast emerging pandemic-prone viral disease in many parts of the world. Dengue flourishes in urban poor areas, suburbs and the countryside but also affects more affluent neighborhoods in tropical and subtropical countries.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection causing a severe flu-like illness and, sometimes causing a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue. The incidence of dengue has increased 30-fold over the last fifty (50) years. Up to fifty to one hundred (50-100) million infections are now estimated to occur annually in over 100 endemic countries, putting almost half of the world’s population at risk.

Severe dengue (previously known as dengue haemorrhagic fever) was first recognized in the 1950s during dengue epidemics in the Philippines and Thailand. Today it affects Asian and Latin American countries and has become a leading cause of hospitalization and death among children and adults in these regions.

Yellow fever Yellow fever is a viral infection transmitted by a bite from infected mosquitoes most commonly found in parts of South America and Africa. When transmitted to humans, the yellow fever virus can damage the liver and other internal organs and be potentially fatal.

The World Health Organization estimates there are 200,000 cases of yellow fever worldwide each year, resulting in thirty thousand (30,000) deaths. Yellow fever appears to be on the rise internationally, due to a decreased immunity to infection among local populations, deforestation, climate change, and high-density urbanization.

Hantaviruses Hantaviruses are a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents and can cause varied disease syndromes in people worldwide.  Infection with any hantavirus can produce hantavirus disease in people. Hantaviruses in the Americas are known as “New World” hantaviruses and may cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Other hantaviruses, known as “Old World” hantaviruses, are found mostly in Europe and Asia and may cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS).

Each hantavirus serotype has a specific rodent host species and is spread to people via aerosolized virus that is shed in urine, feces, and saliva, and less frequently by a bite from an infected host. The most

Anthrax Anthrax is an infectious disease that’s caused by bacteria. It’s very rare in the United States, but it can be very serious.

It usually only affects farm animals like cows and sheep. But it’s possible to become infected if you’re in contact with infected animals or products that come from them. Anthrax has also been found in people who have injected heroin. Others at risk for anthrax include people who work with anthrax in a lab or those exposed to it because of bio-terrorism.   Anthrax isn’t contagious, so you can’t spread it to other people.

MRSA “superbug“– Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a strain of staph bacteria that is resistant to the antibiotics normally used to treat such infections.

In the 1940s, some sixty (60) years after the discovery of the bacterium S. aureus, doctors began treating staph infections with penicillin. But the overuse and misuse of the drug helped the microbes evolve with resistance to penicillin by the 1950s.

Doctors then started using methicillin to counter the growing problem of penicillin-resistant staph infections, and the new drug quickly became the common treatment for S. aureus, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

In 1961, British scientists discovered MRSA; the first case of this “superbug” in the United States occurred in 1968. Over time, strains of MRSA developed resistances to other penicillin-related antibiotics.

Pertussis Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. In many people, it’s marked by a severe hacking cough followed by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like “whoop. Before the vaccine was developed, whooping cough was considered a childhood disease. Now whooping cough primarily affects children too young to have completed the full course of vaccinations and teenagers and adults whose immunity has faded. Deaths associated with whooping cough are rare but most commonly occur in infants. That’s why it’s so important for pregnant women — and other people who will have close contact with an infant — to be vaccinated against whooping cough.

Tetanus– Tetanus is a serious illness caused by Clostridium bacteria. The bacteria live in soil, saliva, dust, and manure. The bacteria can enter the body through a deep cut, like those you might get from stepping on a nail, or through a burn.   The infection causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to “locking” of the jaw. This makes it impossible to open your mouth or swallow. Tetanus is a medical emergency. You need to get treatment in a hospital.   A vaccine can prevent tetanus. It is given as a part of routine childhood immunization. Adults should get a tetanus shot, or booster, every 10 years. If you get a bad cut or burn, see your doctor – you may need a booster. Immediate and proper wound care can prevent tetanus infection.

Meningitis Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes (meninges) surrounding your brain and spinal cord.  The swelling from meningitis typically triggers symptoms such as headache, fever and a stiff neck.  Most cases of meningitis in the United States are caused by a viral infection, but bacterial, parasitic and fungal infections are other causes. Some cases of meningitis improve without treatment in a few weeks. Others can be life-threatening and require emergency antibiotic treatment.

Syphilis Syphilis is a bacterial infection usually spread by sexual contact. The disease starts as a painless sore — typically on your genitals, rectum or mouth. Syphilis spreads from person to person via skin or mucous membrane contact with these sores.  After the initial infection, the syphilis bacteria can remain inactive (dormant) in your body for decades before becoming active again. Early syphilis can be cured, sometimes with a single shot (injection) of penicillin. Without treatment, syphilis can severely damage your heart, brain or other organs, and can be life-threatening. Syphilis can also be passed from mothers to unborn children.

SARS Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral respiratory illness that first emerged in China in November 2002, and later spread through international travel to twenty-nine (29) countries worldwide causing large outbreaks in Hong Kong; Taiwan; Singapore; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Toronto, Canada. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), from November 2002 to July 31, 2003, there were eight thousand ninety-eight (8,098) cases of SARS; of these, seven hundred and seventy-seven (774) died.

On October 1, 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported that there were 164 probable and suspect SARS cases in the United States, of which only eight had laboratory evidence of SARS. There were no deaths due to SARS in the US. Most of the U.S. SARS cases were among travelers returning from other parts of the world with SARS. There were 11 suspect and probable SARS cases investigated by the Minnesota Department of Health; many of these individuals had an alternative diagnosis that could explain their symptoms.

Leprosy– Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes. Leprosy is known to occur at all ages ranging from early infancy to very old age. Leprosy is curable and early treatment averts most disabilities.

Measles Measles is a very contagious respiratory infection. It causes a total-body skin rash and flu-like symptoms. Measles is rare in the United States thanks to widespread immunization. But millions of cases happen worldwide every year.  Measles (also called rubeola) is caused by a virus , so there’s no specific medical treatment for it. The virus has to run its course. A child who is sick should drink plenty of liquids, get lots of rest, and stay home from school or daycare to prevent spreading the infection

Zika Zika virus is similar to dengue feveryellow fever and West Nile virus. Carried by infected Aedes aegypti mosquitos, Zika is largely transmitted through bites, but can also occur through intrauterine infection.  If a woman is bitten by an infected mosquito and becomes infected, Zika can cross into the placenta and affect the fetus. While anyone can contract Zika, pregnant women are the most at risk due to the potential for fetal microcephaly and other neurologic abnormalities. Sexual transmission of this virus can occur. Transmission has been reported from infected men and women to their sexual partners. The virus can be transmitted through anal, oral or vaginal sex.

THE FARMHOUSE INN

April 16, 2019


Have you ever just happened upon and experienced a serendipity moment?  A period in time or circumstance that made you say, “why have we not done this before?”  Where have we been.  Well, that happened to my wife and I this past weekend.  We visited Madison, Georgia and stayed at the Farmhouse Inn.  The pictures you will see were taken by me as we walked the grounds.  Let’s first see just where Madison, Georgia is.

MADISON, GEORGIA

Madison is located about an hour and one-half from Atlanta as you go east on Interstate 20.  According to the 2000 census, it is a town of approximately four thousand permanent residents and is the county seat for Morgan County.

The first town lots in Madison were sold in 1809 so this is an old town.  As the cotton economy of the county expanded, so did the population of Madison. Many of the wealthy plantation owners who lived in the county began building town houses.  Many of these Antebellum homes have survived and can be seen on the walking/driving tour of the historic district. In 1844 the first of three great fires struck the community. The county courthouse, begun in 1809 and finally completed 15 years later, burned to the ground. However, most of the county records were saved. In 1869 the entire business district burned after fire broke out in Albert Shaw’s furniture store on South Main Street. Twenty-six (26) businesses were destroyed. The heat was so intense that many of the salvaged goods placed in the middle of the street burned also. In this fire, the city hall and all the town records were destroyed. The community began rebuilding immediately; however, it took ten years before all the lots burned in the fire had buildings on them.  Madison’s Antebellum homes and Victorian homes, as well as its tastefully restored downtown, offer a wide range of shops, tastes, sights and services that delight visitors from this country and abroad, as they travel along Georgia’s Antebellum Trail, the Georgia Antiques Trail and the Historic Heartland travel region.

FARMHOUSE INN:

The description above gives you a very brief understanding of the town itself. Now let’s take a look at where my wife and I stayed.

As you approach the facility you can certainly see the one hundred (100) acres that constitute a working farm.  Cows, chickens, goats, turkeys, a peacock, and most of the animals you would expect on a farm.

This is the driveway as viewed from the guest house.

I know the picture below looks very rustic but the interior was clean, comfortable and “up-to-date”.  The owners of the facility completely renovated an actual farmhouse barn and constructed a dining area, kitchen, common space and rooms.  I have no idea as to how much money they spent on the reconstruction and refurbishment of the overall complex.  I would say close to one million dollars.

There were two rooms in the barn and twelve rooms in the “Common House” adjacent to the barn.  The two JPEGs below will show the main guest house and the walkway to the guest rooms.   These digitals will give you some idea as to the layout of the overall complex.

No farm would be complete without a garden, or gardens.

No garden is complete without a scarecrow.

On the grounds of the Farmhouse Inn is a Baptist Church established in the early 1800s.  It is still a “working” church with services every Sunday morning and Sunday evening.  The view below is looking at the church from the garden.

The interior is just as you might expect, Spartan, but with air conditioning.

The exterior of the church.

One HUGE surprise, was dinner that night at the 220 Restaurant in downtown Madison.  We were tired but hungry.  As you can see, the dining area is absolutely exquisite with every detail being considered.  The food was gourmet—absolutely gourmet.  This was really a surprise coming from such a small town.  I expected BBQ, fast food and meat-and-three diners.  Not Madison, Georgia.  Great dining and we did not break the bank.  They also had a marvelous wine selection.

CONCLUSIONS:

You never know what you might find when you take a long weekend but this time, my wife and I were certainly surprised.  We will definitely go back.  I would love to have your comments.

 

 

HERE WE GO AGAIN

April 6, 2019


If you read my posts you know that I rarely “do politics”.  Politicians are very interesting people only because I find all people interesting.  Everyone has a story to tell.  Everyone has at least one good book in them and that is their life story.   With that being the case, I’m going to break with tradition by taking a look at the “2020” presidential lineup.  I think it’s a given that Donald John Trump will run again but have you looked at the Democratic lineup lately?  I am assuming with the list below that former Vice President Joe Biden will run so he, even though unannounced to date, will eventually make that probability known.

  • Joe Biden—AGE 76
  • Bernie Sanders—AGE 77
  • Kamala Harris—AGE 54
  • Beto O’Rourke—AGE 46
  • Elizabeth Warren—AGE 69
  • Cory Booker—AGE 49
  • Amy Klobuchar—AGE 58
  • Pete Buttigieg—AGE 37
  • Julian Castro—AGE 44
  • Kirsten Gillibrand—AGE 52
  • Jay Inslee—AGE 68
  • John Hickenlooper—AGE 67
  • John Delaney—AGE 55
  • Tulsi Gabbard—AGE 37
  • Tim Ryan—AGE 45
  • Andrew Yang—AGE 44
  • Marianne Williamson—AGE 66
  • Wayne Messam—AGE 44

 CANDIDATES NOW EXPLORING THE POSSIBILITIES:

  • William F. Weld—AGE 73
  • Michael Bennett—AGE 33
  • Eric Swalwell—AGE 38
  • Steve Bullock—AGE 52
  • Bill DeBlasio—AGE 57
  • Terry McAuliffe—AGE 62
  • Howard Schultz—AGE 65

Eighteen (18) people have declared already and I’m sure there will be others as time goes by. If we slice and dice, we see the following:

  • Six (6) women or 33.33 %—Which is the greatest number to ever declare for a presidential election.
  • AGE GROUPS
    • 70-80: 2              11 %
    • 60-70: 4             22 %
    • 50-60: 4              22 %
    • 40-50:  6              33 %
    • Younger than 40: 2         11 %

I am somewhat amazed that these people, declared and undeclared, feel they can do what is required to be a successful president.  In other words, they think they have what it takes to be the Chief Executive of this country.  When I look at the list, I see people whose name I do NOT recognize at all and I wonder, just who would want the tremendous headaches the job will certainly bring?  And the scrutiny—who needs that?  The President of the United States is in the fishbowl from dawn to dusk.  Complete loss of privacy. Let’s looks at some of the perks the job provides:

  • The job pays $400,000.00 per year.
  • The president is also granted a $50,000 annual expense account, $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment.
  • Former presidents receive a pension equal to the pay that the head of an executive department (Executive Level I) would be paid; as of 2017, it is $207,800 per year. The pension begins immediately after a president’s departure from office.
  • The Presidents gets to fly on Air Force 1 and Marine 1. (That was 43’s best perk according to him.)
  • You get to ride in the “BEAST”.
  • Free room and board at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
  • Access to Camp David
  • The hired help is always around catering to your every need.
  • Incredible security
  • You have access to a personal trainer if so desired
  • Free and unfettered medical
  • The White House has a movie theater
  • You are a life-time member of the “President’s Club”
  • The President has access to a great guest house—The Blair House.
  • You get a state funeral. (OK this might not be considered a perk relative to our list.)

The real question:  Are all of these perks worth the trouble?  President George Bush (43) could not wait to move back to Texas.  Other than Air Force 1, he really hated the job.  President Bill Clinton loved the job and would still be president if our constitution would allow it.


We all wish for our children and grandchildren the very best education available to them whether it’s public or private.  Local school districts many times struggle with maintaining older schools and providing the upgrades necessary to make and keep schools safe and functional.  There have been tremendous changes to needs demanded by this digital age as well as security so necessary.  Let’s take a look at what The Consulting-Specifying Engineer Magazine tells us they have discovered relative to NEW school trends and designs that fulfill needs of modern-day students.

  • Technology is touching all aspects of modern school systems and is a key component of content display and communication within the classroom. Teachers and students are no longer static within the classroom.  They are very mobile and flexible which creates the necessity for robust, flexible, and in most cases wireless infrastructure that responds to and does not distract from learning.
  • Multiple-purpose use facilities with large central areas which can serve as cafeteria, theater and even gymnasium are key to this trend. Individual classrooms are quickly becoming a thing of the past. The mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment must be flexible for the many-purposed uses as well as being able to quickly transition from one to the next.
  • SECURITY is an absolute must when considering a new school building. Site access must be limited with movement throughout the building being secure with in-service cameras and a card access.  This must be accomplished without the school looking like a prison.
  • Color tuning, a new word for me, is accomplished by painting and lighting and creates an atmosphere for maximum learning. These efforts facilitate a more natural atmosphere and are more in line with circadian rhythms.  Warmer color temperature paints can increase relaxation and reduce stressful learning.
  • IAQ-Indoor Air Quality. According to the EPA:
    • Fifty percent (50%) of the schools in the U.S. today have issues linked to deficient or failing IAQ.
    • Deficient IAQ increases asthma risk by fifty percent (50%)
    • Test scores can drop by twenty-one percent (21%) with insufficient IAQ.
    • Schools with deficient IAQ have lower average student attendance rates
    • Cleaner indoor air promotes better health for students and teachers.
    • Implementing IAQ management can boost test scores by over fifteen percent (15%)
    • Greater ventilation can reduce absenteeism by ten (10) absences per one thousand students.
  • School administrators and school boards demand facilities that are equipped with sufficient lighting and sufficient fire protection. Heating and air conditioning as well as the electrical systems necessary to drive these pieces of hardware must be energy efficient.  Emergency generators are becoming a basic requirement to facilitate card readers and emergency door access.
  • Voice evacuation fire alarm and performance sound and telecommunication systems must be provided and must be kept active by emergency generators if power failures occur.
  • More and more high schools offer advanced placement generating college credits required for admission to universities and colleges. State-of-the art equipment facilitates this possibility. We are talking about laboratories, compressed air systems, medical and dental equipment, IT facilities, natural gas distribution systems, environment systems supporting biodiesel, solar and wind turbines, and other specialized equipment.  Many schools offer education at night as well as in the daytime.
  • All codes, local, state, federal and international MUST be adhered to with no exceptions.
  • Construction costs account for twenty to forty percent (20-40%) of the total life-cycle costs so maintenance and replacement must be considered when designing facilities.
  • Control systems providing for energy savings during off-peak hours must be designed into school building facilities.
  • LED lighting is becoming a must with dimmable controls, occupancy/vacancy sensors and daylight harvesting is certainly desirable.
  • For schools in the mid-west and other areas of our country, tornado shelters must be considered and certainly could save lives when available.

These are just a few of the requirements architects and design engineers face when quoting a package to school boards and regional school systems.  Much more sophisticated that ever before with requirements never thought of before.  Times are changing—and for the better.

MATILDA MIDNIGHT

March 23, 2019


If you follow my posts you know I love to talk about Chattanooga.  Chattanooga, or Ross’s Landing, as it was known in the days of the Cherokee Indians, is in east Tennessee and situated on the Tennessee River.  My home town.  One of the great things about Chattanooga is the amazing number of events the city offers and hosts AND the great number of really unique home-owned restaurants.  My wife, shown below, and I visited one of those unique restaurants this past Friday—MATILDA MIDNIGHT.  Let’s take a look.

Matilda Midnight is located in the Dwell Hotel at 120 East 10th Street—right downtown.  From the Dwell, you can comfortably walk to just about any location in Chattanooga including the Northshore and the Southside.  Both are rapidly growing areas hosting retail shops, wonderful dining and events at Coolidge Park, the Walnut Street Walking Bridge, Riverwalk, and other really interesting venues in the downtown area .

A picture of the Dwell is shown below.

Three very interesting and unexpected facts about The Dwell Hotel let you know you’re entering a facility that is wholly original: Colorful treats prepared by an in-house pastry chef magically find their way to your room each day; the hotel’s  sixteen (16) rooms all feature a unique design complemented by vintage furniture and curated art pieces; and the hotel is the realization of a dream that has lingered in the mind of owner Seija Ojanpera since she was a little girl, the evidence of which can be found in journals from her youth. Today, that young girl is a first-time hotelier who is ensuring that guests have a truly unforgettable experience in her dream-come-true property. Chattanooga’s first luxury boutique hotel presents an interior which exudes the energy of Old Hollywood and South Beach, while its exposed brick and limestone outer shell gives a gentle nod to Chattanooga’s industrial heritage. The result is a swanky take on midcentury modern that creates a luxury-meets-retro feel, with each room evoking a journey into another era. Meanwhile, nightlife now thrives at The Dwell thanks to its boldly imagined cocktail bar, Matilda Midnight.

Shown below is the small lobby where a guest checks in and discover information about the city.

My wife and I went directly to the bar where tapas are served from four P.M. till well into the evening each day.  The bar is fairly small with somewhat limited seating but extremely well stocked as you might expect, or at least hope. One thing very evident is the number of paintings and sculpture located within the bar area itself. You can see that from the JPEG below.

You can get a better idea as to the size by the following JPEGs.  I might note, we always eat fairly early, and we were there about 5:10 in the afternoon.  When we left around 6:45, the place was full with just about every seat taken.  Definitely a meeting place for after work individuals.  The empty seats in the digital pictures really gives you an incorrect impression.

Seating is very comfortable and quite intimate.  Areas shown below are duplicated within the bar itself.

I mentioned paintings.  They are numerous.

 

The alcove area below is a very comfortable place for guests to relax and “chill” as my grand-kids might say before going out on the town.

The menu is REALLY interesting with the fascinating cover as shown below.

The wine list is completely adequate as are the dishes or “cravings” shown on the right side.

You never outgrow you need for a 5:30 P.M. hamburger.  That’s what I had and it was “fully loaded”. My wife had four (4) wrapped chicken rolls with curry sauce.  They were equally delicious.

One distinctive thing about the Dwell, it’s tucked away on an unobtrusive, somewhat narrow, very quiet street. One would never know it was there.  That’s one of the charming things about the Dwell.  You will find other boutique hotels in Chattanooga such as the new Moxy and the new Edwin.  All located in areas that most non-tourists would never realize exist.   Both the Moxy and the Edwin have marvelous bar areas and great food just as the Matilda.

YOU REALLY NEED TO VISIT CHATTANOOGA.

 


Okay, there will be a test after you read this post.  Here we go.  Do you know these people?

  • Beyoncé
  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Mariah Cary
  • Lady Gaga
  • Ariana Grande
  • Katy Perry
  • Miley Cyrus
  • Karen Uhlenbeck

Don’t feel bad.  I didn’t know either.  This is Karen Uhlenbeck—the mathematician we do not know.  For some unknown reason we all (even me) know the “pop” stars by name; who their significant other or others are, their children, their latest hit single, who they recently “dumped”, where they vacationed, etc. etc.  We know this. I would propose the lady whose picture shown below has contributed more to “human kind” that all the individuals listed above.  Then again, that’s just me.

For the first time, one of the top prizes in mathematics has been given to a woman.  I find this hard to believe because we all know that “girls” can’t do math.  Your mamas told you that and you remembered it.  (I suppose Dr. Uhlenbeck mom was doing her nails and forgot to mention that to her.)

This past Tuesday, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters announced it has awarded this year’s Abel Prize — an award modeled on the Nobel Prizes — to Karen Uhlenbeck, an emeritus professor at the University of Texas at Austin. The award cites “the fundamental impact of her work on analysis, geometry and mathematical physics.”   Uhlenbeck won for her foundational work in geometric analysis, which combines the technical power of analysis—a branch of math that extends and generalizes calculus—with the more conceptual areas of geometry and topology. She is the first woman to receive the prize since the award of six (6) million Norwegian kroner (approximately $700,000) was first given in 2003.

One of Dr. Uhlenbeck’s advances in essence described the complex shapes of soap films not in a bubble bath but in abstract, high-dimensional curved spaces. In later work, she helped put a rigorous mathematical underpinning to techniques widely used by physicists in quantum field theory to describe fundamental interactions between particles and forces. (How many think Beyoncé could do that?)

In the process, she helped pioneer a field known as geometric analysis, and she developed techniques now commonly used by many mathematicians. As a matter of fact, she invented the field.

“She did things nobody thought about doing,” said Sun-Yung Alice Chang, a mathematician at Princeton University who served on the five-member prize committee, “and after she did, she laid the foundations for that branch of mathematics.”

An example of objects studied in geometric analysis is a minimal surface. Analogous to a geodesic, a curve that minimizes path length, a minimal surface minimizes area; think of a soap film, a minimal surface that minimizes energy. Analysis focuses on the differential equations governing variations of surface area, whereas geometry and topology focus on the minimal surface representing a solution to the equations. Geometric analysis weaves together both approaches, resulting in new insights.

The field did not exist when Uhlenbeck began graduate school in the mid-1960s, but tantalizing results linking analysis and topology had begun to emerge. In the early 1980s, Uhlenbeck and her collaborators did ground-breaking work in minimal surfaces. They showed how to deal with singular points, that is, points where the minimal surface is no longer smooth or where the solution to the equations is not defined. They proved that there are only finitely many singular points and showed how to study them by expanding them into “bubbles.” As a technique, bubbling made a deep impact and is now a standard tool.

Born in 1942 to an engineer and an artist, Uhlenbeck is a mountain-loving hiker who learned to surf at the age of forty (40). As a child she was a voracious reader and “was interested in everything,” she said in an interview last year with Celebratio.org. “I was always tense, wanting to know what was going on and asking questions.”

She initially majored in physics as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. But her impatience with lab work and a growing love for math led her to switch majors. She nevertheless retained a lifelong passion for physics, and centered much of her research on problems from that field.  In physics, a gauge theory is a kind of field theory, formulated in the language of the geometry of fiber bundles; the simplest example is electromagnetism. One of the most important gauge theories from the 20th century is Yang-Mills theory, which underlies the standard model of elementary particle physics. Uhlenbeck and other mathematicians began to realize that the Yang-Mills equations have deep connections to problems in geometry and topology. By the early 1980s, she laid the analytic foundations for mathematical investigation of the Yang-Mills equations.

Dr. Uhlenbeck, who lives in Princeton, N.J., learned that she won the prize on Sunday morning.

“When I came out of church, I noticed that I had a text message from Alice Chang that said, Would I please accept a call from Norway?” Dr. Uhlenbeck said. “When I got home, I called Norway back and they told me.”

Who said women can’t do math?

SMARTS

March 17, 2019


Who was the smartest person in the history of our species? Solomon, Albert Einstein, Jesus, Nikola Tesla, Isaac Newton, Leonardo de Vinci, Stephen Hawking—who would you name.  We’ve had several individuals who broke the curve relative to intelligence.   As defined by the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language, IQ:

“an intelligence test score that is obtained by dividing mental age, which reflects the age-graded level of performance as derived from population norms, by chronological age and multiplying by100: a score of100 thus indicates performance at exactly the normal level for that age group. Abbreviation: IQ”

An intelligence quotient or IQ is a score derived from one of several different intelligence measures.  Standardized tests are designed to measure intelligence.  The term “IQ” is a translation of the German Intellizenz Quotient and was coined by the German psychologist William Stern in 1912.  This was a method proposed by Dr. Stern to score early modern children’s intelligence tests such as those developed by Alfred Binet and Theodore Simin in the early twentieth century.  Although the term “IQ” is still in use, the scoring of modern IQ tests such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale is not based on a projection of the subject’s measured rank on the Gaussian Bell curve with a center value of one hundred (100) and a standard deviation of fifteen (15).  The Stanford-Binet IQ test has a standard deviation of sixteen (16).  As you can see from the graphic below, seventy percent (70%) of the human population has an IQ between eighty-five and one hundred and fifteen.  From one hundred and fifteen to one hundred and thirty you are considered to be highly intelligent.  Above one hundred and thirty you are exceptionally gifted.

What are several qualities of highly intelligent people?  Let’s look.

QUALITIES:

  • A great deal of self-control.
  • Very curious
  • They are avid readers
  • They are intuitive
  • They love learning
  • They are adaptable
  • They are risk-takers
  • They are NOT over-confident
  • They are open-minded
  • They are somewhat introverted

You probably know individuals who fit this profile.  We are going to look at one right now:  John von Neumann.

JON von NEUMANN:

The Financial Times of London celebrated John von Neumann as “The Man of the Century” on Dec. 24, 1999. The headline hailed him as the “architect of the computer age,” not only the “most striking” person of the 20th century, but its “pattern-card”—the pattern from which modern man, like the newest fashion collection, is cut.

The Financial Times and others characterize von Neumann’s importance for the development of modern thinking by what are termed his three great accomplishments, namely:

(1) Von Neumann is the inventor of the computer. All computers in use today have the “architecture” von Neumann developed, which makes it possible to store the program, together with data, in working memory.

(2) By comparing human intelligence to computers, von Neumann laid the foundation for “Artificial Intelligence,” which is taken to be one of the most important areas of research today.

(3) Von Neumann used his “game theory,” to develop a dominant tool for economic analysis, which gained recognition in 1994 when the Nobel Prize for economic sciences was awarded to John C. Harsanyi, John F. Nash, and Richard Selten.

John von Neumann, original name János Neumann, (born December 28, 1903, Budapest, Hungary—died February 8, 1957, Washington, D.C. Hungarian-born American mathematician. As an adult, he appended von to his surname; the hereditary title had been granted his father in 1913. Von Neumann grew from child prodigy to one of the world’s foremost mathematicians by his mid-twenties. Important work in set theory inaugurated a career that touched nearly every major branch of mathematics. Von Neumann’s gift for applied mathematics took his work in directions that influenced quantum theory theory of automation, economics, and defense planning. Von Neumann pioneered game theory, and, along with Alan Turing and Claude Shannon was one of the conceptual inventors of the stored-program digital computer .

Von Neumann did exhibit signs of genius in early childhood: he could joke in Classical Greek and, for a family stunt, he could quickly memorize a page from a telephone book and recite its numbers and addresses. Von Neumann learned languages and math from tutors and attended Budapest’s most prestigious secondary school, the Lutheran Gymnasium . The Neumann family fled Bela Kun’s short-lived communist regime in 1919 for a brief and relatively comfortable exile split between Vienna and the Adriatic resort of Abbazia. Upon completion of von Neumann’s secondary schooling in 1921, his father discouraged him from pursuing a career in mathematics, fearing that there was not enough money in the field. As a compromise, von Neumann simultaneously studied chemistry and mathematics. He earned a degree in chemical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute in  Zurich and a doctorate in mathematics (1926) from the University of Budapest.

OK, that all well and good but do we know the IQ of Dr. John von Neumann?

John Von Neumann IQ is 190, which is considered as a super genius and in top 0.1% of the population in the world.

With his marvelous IQ, he wrote one hundred and fifty (150) published papers in his life; sixty (60) in pure mathematics, twenty (20) in physics, and sixty (60) in applied mathematics. His last work, an unfinished manuscript written while in the hospital and later published in book form as The Computer and the Brain, gives an indication of the direction of his interests at the time of his death. It discusses how the brain can be viewed as a computing machine. The book is speculative in nature, but discusses several important differences between brains and computers of his day (such as processing speed and parallelism), as well as suggesting directions for future research. Memory is one of the central themes in his book.

I told you he was smart!

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