Saturday, 7. August 2021
No Berlin Cinemas + 5 short thoughts (German elections & g.p.'s & up-rushing R0, neuralMatch, CCC tropes)

This is the 1-week late July entry...

Berlin cinemas are open, but I am somehow not getting to visit them; once I do, my photo series will continue, promise. There are good movies to be seen, but "catch-up" turn-around is so high, my logistic skills are trumped too often.

Also, I am very sad about what's happening in Afghanistan, esp. to Afghan women & girls. But I am too angry to be able to put it in words (below).

National Velvet

German general elections are coming up in about 7 weeks. These ones are apparently seen to be serious for once; even the typical dumb-U-down posters of the majority party, the CDU, are a little more particular. You can also tell it's all-or-nothing time by the way almost all major parties take part in (other) candidate bashing; whenever a party does that, it becomes non-electable for me. I worry about another demagogic-right party coming in, the "Basis", which is basically the new political arm of the "Anti-Thinkers" anti-vax anti-establishment movement, doing a lot of (maskless (= illegal, BTW)) demonstrating recently.

Stress-tested Berlin G.P.s

General practitioners in the capital are usually not that interested in patients that only have basic medical aid coverage, esp. in a big city where doctors almost always have more patients than they need to bring in a tidy income. And the CoVID phase since beginning of last year has stress-tested their occasionally disorganised practises to an unprecedented degree. My own g.p. has had some kind of hippy takeover in recent months, as note the enfevered statement on their WWW home page; I may just have to "left wing" my bod out of there some time soon. Sad.

An Apple for the Prof.?

Of course I'm a layman re filtering Big Data tactics employed by the big i.t. names (i.a. Facebook, Google) when they dig into uploaded content by their registered users, but when the legendary U.S. watchdog EFF rang the alarm bell on Apple's new "neuralMatch" initiative (which Apple plans to integrate in all its op. systems Real Soon Now, i.e. also on my company iPhone!), I paid attention. Apparently this little patch in your Apple experience allows relatively simple re-parametrisation to let governments into your stuff to filter e.g. for "terrorist" content. A reason to switch off iCloud uploads on your iPhone, i.a., and to look for alternatives to the phone in general, I'm afraid. To all-(better-)knowing giants like Apple I point to the mid-70s writings of a Berlin great, MIT Prof. Weizenbaum on too much "Computer Power", when he warned not to ever give software choosing power over the (further) lives of humans; I include in that neuralMatch's rapid comparison to some central pictorial database, then passing the "stamp this as undesirable" recommendatioon to an over-worked & probably partial tropscommittee somewhere, that just flips through the suspects. Digital stamping of "persons of interest" of any kind longer than a few days is as a rule draconian, and a 1st or (worse) 2nd step toward in-by-the-back-door fascism! X-.

CCC "icy math" 101

Catastrophic Climate Change doubters like me (not a "denier", thanks very much*) are of course in a bit of a bind at the moment, sticking to our "take care re the predictive quality of the data" guns - bad fires due to extensive droughts in Greece & the U.S., once-a-century deluges in West Germany (some weeks ago, well over a hundred folk dead) and Turkey (now), and now the mainly pessimistic new IPCC report). I haven't studied either the summary (often politicised in my experience) or the actual report yet, but already see 2 tropes once more wielded by journalists to emphasise the "catastrophic" part of the theory:

  • Arctic ice cover dwindling at the moment, and adding to the rise in sea level - sorry, but it doesn't. Ice floating on water has already had its "raising" effect (try it out in a glass of water with ice cubes on a hot day, marking the water level before & after having melted). Ice melting off (e.g. Green)land into the sea is another matter, of course.
  • Increase of heat-caused deaths - man, counting the dead is not a pleasant thing to engage in, but I didn't start it. The current reports in that direction in many media basically always ignore the decrease (!) in cold-caused deaths within a 1-year period around that heat high! When more people die of heat than are "saved" by less cold temperatures at other times, let us know! (Otherwise please stop quoting just the one extreme!)

No Friday partygoers for Future viral freedom

Currently the national R0 factor is shooting up & away from the 1.0 value (which means as a rule 1 infected person infects 1 other). It's now above 1.3, and just a few days ago, it was at 1.14. In my layman mind, this factor in essence measures well-behavedness of infected people, who, to give them credit, let's assume, don't yet know of their predicament. If this is true, and since at the moment most infected folk in Germany are twens and teenagers, it means, after seeing how wild similar-age people in i.a. England and the U.S. are currently behaving, usually at big (fun) gatherings, German youths decided to learn the lesson to plunge into the same punky disregard mode, and thus try the CoVID hospitalisation bungee jump. This (also lonely, GenZ'ers!) boomer be not happy, esp. about those of this sub-set that intersect with the other one of people, who used to frequent Friday for Future rallies...

Let's virtually link arms to get to a good Future together. Please.

(* To repeat: Of course I acknowledge that current climate behaviour is weird; but CCC is saying that it will become steadily worse for decades...)

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