2020 Day 10: 3 miles in 27:20

Over the holidays my cousin was in town with her husband, who happens to be a runner. With the new year approaching, I took up his challenge to run 3 miles with him. Having not run much over 2018, and having only run up to 2.5 miles when I did, I knew it would be a challenge. We ran the first mile in 7:45, the second mile in 8:15, and then I dropped back on the third mile to run all three in around 27:20. Today I decided to run the 3 miles again. I ran the first mile in 8:00, the second mile in 8:00, and then I found myself tired and finished all three in 27:20 again. In 2020, I’ve now run 3 miles more often than in the prior 20 years combined. My fastest time in running 3 miles is 19 minutes and 80 seconds. I like to remember it that way because it sounds faster 🙂 and because it helps me remember the year I ran it. I realized recently that my fastest time of 19:80 is actually 20:20. I wonder if the fact I have remembered this time has significance for me in 2020. Why else would I have remembered it? In addition to writing more in 2020, I want to run more in 2020. So far, I have run 3 times – each time 3 miles. I know there are universes where I run 3 miles at an 8-minute mile pace. I visited one earlier in the week. I plan to surround myself with universes where I run 3 miles at an 8-minute mile pace.

In other news, it’s 15:40 and I have my MacBook Pro back with a new battery at 100%. Six hours later, the battery is at 67% without much usage – in fact the notebook was closed much of that time. More analysis of the battery to come later.


2020 Day 9: New Strain of Coronavirus found in Wuhan, China

Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province in central China. I stopped in Wuhan a year ago instead of Hong Kong on a flight between Austin and Bangkok. The flight on China Southern was half the price of flying other airlines, like Cathay Pacific. The problem I noticed was that the weather in Wuhan was much colder than in Austin or Thailand, and so I needed to pack warmer clothes just for the layover – not ideal. Also, on the return flight through China, even though my ticket showed a single stop, the airlines ended up making a second stop and everyone had to get off the plane and wait for a couple hours to go through a customs-like search. I remember one passenger shouting during this time how annoyed he was for this surprise experience. While I was also annoyed, I also found amusement in seeing another example of the multiverse working it’s magic. I could feel the universe where we didn’t have the unexpected stop, and also the universe where the ticket displayed correctly the extra stop. I saw the universe I was experience as one created by the interference pattern of these two other universes.

Today it is being reported that the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak “mystery illness” that has infected 60 people in the last 2 weeks is caused by a new coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a species of viruses blamed for such deadly illnesses as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses (HIV-1 is also an enveloped virus), which means they have an outer phospholipid bilayer membrane that includes some viral glycoproteins. The viral glycoproteins act as Trojan horse to gain entry into a host cell and also help the virus hide from the host immune system. Coronaviruses have a single-stranded, positive-sense, non-segmented, RNA genome which is the largest of all RNA viruses at around 30,000 bases. Because it is positive-sense and also contains a 5’ cap structure and 3’ poly (A) tail, it can mimic mRNA and be directly translated by the host of the replicase polyproteins, which are encoded by the approximately 20,000 base replicase gene. The replicase polyproteins assemble to form a viral replicase complex that, as you may guess, makes copies of the virus. The remaining 10,000 or so bases encode structural and accessory proteins. The four main structural proteins (all encoded within the 3’ end of the viral genome) are the spike, membrane, envelope, and nucelocapsid proteins. The spike protein has an N-terminal signal sequence that allows it to gain access to the host cell endoplasmic reticulum where it is heavily N-linked glycosylated. Three spike proteins join together to form a club-shape spike projection. These virion projections give the virus the appearance of a solar corona, from which their name derives. For a size perspective, the diameter of the coronaviruse virion is about 125 nm, so a meter long thin straw of diameter 125 nm filled with the virions would contain 8 million virions. For comparison, a single nucleotide is 0.33 nm long and so 30,000 bases has a length of 10,000 nm! Imagine fitting that into a 125 nm diameter virion.

Four identified coronaviruses (HCoV-229E, HCoV-NL63, HCoV-OC43, and HCoV-HKU1) are endemic in humans and cause up to 30% of respiratory tract infections worldwide each year. HCoV-NL63 has been associated with acute laryngotracheitis (croup). Coronoviruses have different tolerances to genetic variability with some (i.e. HCoV-229E) having little genetic variability worldwide and primarily isolated in humans and others (i.e. HCoV-OC43) showing high genetic variability across time and location. Most cases of coronavirus infection are self-limiting and will naturally run its course.

I’ve been sick with a respiratory infection for about two weeks. A few days ago I tried out my video-doctor health plan and got a prescription for Amoxicillin antibiotics. I also went to Accupuncture and purchased some Chinese herbs. I didn’t pick up the antibiotics prescription and I tried the herbs instead. That night I didn’t sleep well and I felt my body releasing a lot of toxins. My throat was still feeling scratching in the morning with nasal drip collecting in the back of my throat. Once I spit the thick yellow mucus out each morning, I felt fine. I decided to treat myself with water and rest over the next couple of days. I felt the universe where I was taking the antibiotics. I felt the universe where I had continued taking the herbs. I felt the universe where I was drinking more water and resting (and taking a zinc lounge now and then for good luck). Right now I still feel like I have a swollen throat, but it isn’t sore. I didn’t have much mucus this morning. My nasal passages are mostly clear. I expect the three universes to merge together tomorrow and I will feel infection free. Now if I could just find a way to clear the cedar pollen out of the air!

REFERENCE: Methods Mol Biol. 2015; Pehr and Perlman, Coronaviruses: An Overview of Their Replication and Pathogenesis

2020 Day 8: Consumption and Creation

I’ve noticed over the last few days that as my time spent creating posts has decreased, my time spent consuming content has increased. I was able to go about a week before my old habits came almost back to full strength. As I try to restrict my attention to world and financial news, these both start shouting louder for attention. For instance, one of the stocks I am invested in, Drive Shack (DS), had a large daily up movement because their large competitor, Top Golf, was in the news regarding an IPO. In world news, hopefully the tit-for-tat between the U.S. and Iran will end and Congress will reassert it’s authority to declare war.

I volunteered for the Bernie campaign last night. The Iowa Democratic caucuses will occur Feb. 3 and will be brought to you by the letter “B”, for Bernie, Biden, and Buttigieg. Alphabetical order is a reasonable prediction of caucus results for these top 3 candidates.  Super Tuesday is a month later on March 3, after which it will become clear that Buttigieg is the odd man out as Biden hangs on due to strong support from the Democratic Party establishment. What happens next is likely to follow a similar path as 12 years ago when Obama and Hillary ran against each other.

2020 Day 7: 88% Charge

I’m at the Apple Store to investigate why my battery on my 2014 MacBook Pro looses charge so quickly. I remember it dropping quickly from 100% down to 50% and also quickly from 50% to 0%. I remember the battery icon telling me that my battery is damaged and needs immediate replacement. However, I now appear to be in a universe where my notebook battery is ok. Diagnostic testing of the battery now shows it is fine at 84% of new status. I’m testing it now myself to see how fast it discharges. In the last 20 minutes, with only Safari opened, it has gone from 88% (at 14:15) down to 78%.

My understanding of battery technology is once a battery is degraded, it doesn’t magically get better. If it were possible to improve degradable batteries by just surfing to a universe where they were not as degraded, then I imagine at least one classical law of physics would be broken in the process.

Officially, my MacBook Pro battery should last 10 hours for normal web browsing. This does appear to be degraded as I type this because the charge is down to 68% at 14:50, so down 20% in less than 40 minutes.

2020 Day 6: Earth2 (a.k.a. TOI 700 d) Found 100 light-years Away

It was announced today that data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) predicts the first potentially habitable Earth-sized exoplanet located about 100 light-years away from Earth.  In a set of realities, this exoplanet and our earth were seeded with life by an alien species at around the same time (from a reference point midway between). In a infinitesimally small subset of this set of realities, the life evolved in roughly the same way on both planets and on this second Earth it is being announced today that data from their own exoplanet survey satellite predicts that our planet is potentially inhabitable. The appropriate thing to do now is begin sending communication signals toward the other planet and to mark our calendars for 200 years from now when we hopefully receive a response!

2020 Day 5: “You are praying for my son, aren’t you?”

On the last day of the year 2019 I was eating in Whole Foods and struck up a conversation with a woman. We didn’t discuss politics, but we did discuss patriotism. During our conversation she shared that her son was being deployed to Baghdad soon. She saw the look in my eyes as I took a moment of silence and asked

“You are praying for my son, aren’t you?”

“Yes”, I said, with tears slowly streaming down my face.

I didn’t understand then why I felt so much emotion. With the drone strike of two days ago, I am beginning to understand the significance of her question and my tears.

So tonight I pray for those in command of the armies around the world to resonate with world peace and to make decisions consistent with pushing away the approaching universes filled with war.

2020 Day 4: Undone and Time Travel

A couple days ago I binged watched Undone, a animated TV show on Amazon.  I relate with Alma. I’ve tried before to “move my keys” and other items using my “superpower”. I sometimes experience time as moving backwards – effects occur earlier than their causes. It was difficult for me to associate Alma with someone with a mental illness. There is definitely a part of me that wants to not write about my thoughts and experiences around the nature or reality because I may begin believing things that are not true or my mind fractures into way too many parallel universes.  A bigger fear is that the mind of someone else would fracture into too many parallel universes.  So far, I feel pretty ground myself but I can see how easy it would be to become ungrounded.

I highly recommend watching Undone!