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!

2020 Day 3: In the Wormhole of Consumption and Creation

The sun is just now rising over the trees to the east of my garden window. I am using my iPad to create this post instead of consuming content with my iPhone. Actually, strike that because I’m now using my Mac Book Pro while my iPad updates it’s software. I must mention a synchronistic experience I had before upgrading my iPad software. When I tried to surf to google.com, my Safari web browser told me it could not form a secure connection to the website. The same thing happened when I tried to surf to the web domain yahoo.com. I was able to surf to other websites, including wordpress.com.  This was both unexpected and meaningful to me. The meaning I gave to it was a confirmation that the closing of the wormhole of consumption was at least partially successful! It will be interesting to see if these consumption domains are still blocked after I upgrade my iPad operating software.

I like that Apple is now showing me my screen time.  Yesterday, I used this information to make note of the 90 minutes of consumption of financial content I was performing each day. I decided to use this as the center of the consumption side of the wormhole that I want to use to travel to the creation side of the wormhole. I’m noticing now that my future self already recognized this as a successful wormhole center and my past self was able to subconsciously feel this and post about financial content, providing the initial openings of this wormhole. Words are limiting to describe all of this and so please forgive my use of a wormhole metaphor. Please also don’t focus too much analysis on the mechanisms of how one’s future self can communicate to one’s past self. The point of this post is for me to describe my synchronicities and how I’m visualizing the anchoring of the wormhole between two sets of different universes, consumption universes and creation universes, between which I’m attempting to travel. There are other ways in which one could describe “replacing old bad habits with new good habits”. I’m using the wormhole analogy here because it fits in well with other universe surfing metaphors.

So for my wormhole, I have it anchored with consumption of financial content on one side and creation of financial content on the other side. Other anchors I wish to add to keep this wormhole open are around news, Facebook, and youTube.  I think converting each of these from consumer to creator will help surround me with my more preferred set of universes.

For my own anchoring, it feels important for me to put a bit of financial content creation into this post.  I manage my own retirement accounts and primarily invest in individual stocks. For 2019, I was blessed to have AAPL and AMD as my top two investments. I hedged these growth stocks with some value stocks (IBM, WETF, DS, SFM, and NOK) which also provided a bit of diversification. I sold some AAPL and AMD to rebalance my portfolio for 2020 and plan to now only check my portfolio monthly. Because I view reality through a multi-dimensional lens, my stock buy/sell decisions are also made with this same lens. I don’t consciously use any universe surfing “tricks” to make the stocks I buy go up or to select the stocks I buy or sell. If I do anything magical, I attempt to channel Warren Buffet and imagine what stocks he would purchase based on the company’s market and share of that market, the company’s leadership and trustworthiness of that leadership, and the company’s financial fundamentals. Actually, I do use one analysis process that is related to universe surfing – I sometimes consider the probability of different outcomes and weight these as I would if I were gambling.  As a simple example, I may estimate that worst case a stock will drop half over the next year and that best case it will double in price. I may then give a 30% chance it will drop in half, a 50% chance it will stay roughly the same, and a 20% chance it will double. Using these estimates, and assuming a current price of $100, I predict a future price over the next year of 30%($50) + 50%($100)+ 20%($200), which is $15 + $50 + $40 = $105, or a 5% return. If my choice is to invest in this stock or pay off some of my car loan that has a 6% annual interest rate, then I choose to pay off my car loan. If instead I estimated that there was only a 20% chance it would drop in half and a 30% chance it would double, then using the same analysis I would get a future predicted price of $10 + $50 + $60 = $115, or a 15% return.  In this case, I may choose to buy the stock depending on the faith I had in my estimates (which would be another level of probability analysis).

I feel complete now for today. I’ve spent about an hour on the post and have spent less than 30 minutes consuming financial content.  I had to check my visa statement for southwest airline ticket charges because I had been in a universe where I was sure I bought a ticket and now there was no evidence of such a ticket being purchased. While Amazon’s “one-click” purchase may not seem like a patentable idea, from a universe surfing perspective, adding an additional confirmation click to the process does result in two sets of universes, and unfortunately in one of those sets your intended purchase does not happen.  Maybe southwest airlines should license Amazon’s patent to sell more tickets.  I’m wondering now if there’s a patent for “one-click purchase with second-click undo”.