You Vax, You Lose?

It is a good thought experiment to consider that the world is a simulation. You are living in a Matrix and your life is just a program. All your actions and even your thoughts are just someone’s gigantic piece of code. If you’re not living in a Matrix or The Truman Show, then why was 2020 like a movie?

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J

Stay home till it’s cured, they said. Don’t go out yet, it’s still really bad. Try to stay sane, mental health is serious, don’t go mad. So much has already happened, it is indeed a tad bit sad.

I obeyed, duly complied, stood at one place, didn’t move. I understood the implications, nobody had to try too hard to prove. I submitted myself and kept myself grounded. Kept washing my hands every 15 minutes, nobody had to shout as I was self-hounded.

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Stop the jokes right now itself

We still have time. You remember, last time we made jokes about how Indians have strong immunity that nothing can make us sick. And see where we are right now? A new strain has come. From the UK. Another even more infectious has come from South Africa. Even kids are susceptible now. The vaccine might nullify it (or might nullify it in 6 weeks) but who knows? Each joke might be costly. Why jinx it?

Not kidding.

Here’s a plug to my old post which might give you some guidelines.


Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash


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Algorithm isn’t the answer always

In 2009, Pilot Sully landed a full fledged plane in New York’s Hudson river when its engines malfunctioned. Although he saved a lot of lives but he was still criticized for taking such an extraordinary decision. Simulations showed that he could divert the plane to another nearby air strip. But as they show in the eponymous movie, that simulation forgets to take human struggle into account. When the plane malfunctioned pilots kept on trying for at least a minute to get it back on track. They could have panicked, they could’ve gotten cold feet, but instead of giving up, they tried for a minute or so to get the plane working. Simulations later showed that if you added that minute, it was not possible to reach the airstrip. So human mind’s strategy at that time was actually correct and simulation wasn’t.

I am studying Data Science and I work for a company making software for Retail Data Science. Data Mining, predictive modeling, training, etc. are the terms I see and read all day. There are factors at play in the world today which are forcing everyone to find the method to the madness from the huge chunks of data we have at our hands. But relying on data and algorithms is a two edged sword. In fact, whatever I am studying and working with professionally has certain limitations.

We know that Covid Vaccine is now being given to front line workers. In one of the cases, an algorithm was used to find out the order in which the vaccine should be given. The algorithm, which is obviously highly dependent on what we feed as initial parameters, chose some names of the Medical staff. However, it did a mistake which led to actual front line workers to protest. It didn’t chose names of staff who were on ICU duty and who had the real imminent danger of infection.

We should be grateful to the work done by scientists but we forget that an algorithm is as good as what it takes as input, how it is supposed to run models, and how much tested it is. Over relying on it blindly isn’t the answer and it might lead to more problems than it is supposed to solve.

I guess, data scientists and softwares have some tradeoffs when it comes to accuracy and the quality of data fed. And not all works with 0s and 1s. Human emotions aren’t tangible but still play a huge role in almost everything.

P.S.: This.

Phew

About 3 weeks ago, 7 out of 9 people in my family fell sick and the RT-PCR turned positive. 2 had to be hospitalized while others somehow managed at home. Slowly and slowly everyone is regaining their health back and things are now looking better. Hospitalized have returned home. Others who were at home who took an uncountable number of medicines are also getting back to their feet. There are still some vitals that are going haywire but we are trying to get them under control.

Those who say that they can trust their immunity against Covid, have no idea about surviving for a minute when you feel difficulty in breathing. Try walking without breathing for a minute. Those who say that Masks don’t really work have not seen how Glucometer readings go sky high and Oximeter readings touch rock bottom. Bottom line is that, if you have had it and had no symptoms, consider yourself super-lucky because it didn’t even touch you really!

The amount of money spent has gone through the roof. Forget money, the damage it has left behind on health will take months to get back to normalcy. Things have just turned towards better but the fight is still not over. There is a long way to go and a few vital stats might always give a headache.

For those who are still struggling, and while those who couldn’t, all I can say is that I hope we see a better time soon.

Avoid the crowd. Wear Masks. Keep Washing Your Hands. There is no other way possible at the moment. Vaccines are still months away.

I hate to be superstitious but Fingers Crossed.


Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

Highs and Lows, Positives and Negatives

Every day we experience positive and negative emotions. They are amplified with the readings on Glucometer, Oximeter, Blood Pressure machine, and what not.

Some highs are good, some are scary. Some lows are needed, some lows aren’t.

When to give up? Is a question which keeps popping up once in a while each day. But seeing everyone else fighting and somehow winning gives us hope. People at least have tried to stay hopeful despite dramatic drastic situations.

There’s so much around to feel bad about. In loads. We should try to hang on to whatever good is there, I think. Even if good is scarce, we still need to and have to keep trying and hoping that good news would be around the corner.

Do you have it in a different Color?

These days, as part of caregiving to folks in my family, I have to visit the pharmaceuticals shop at least once a day. Everyone is slowly improving, thankfully, but the medicines list is never ending. When I go there, I try to stay as outside as possible while people keep flocking in with, and sometimes without proper masks to buy their own medicines which are also similar versions of what I came for buying. This means that the issue of infection is obviously more prevalent than what newspapers report. Mind you, newspapers are already reporting huge numbers which are jaw-dropping in their own sense.

Anyway, the mask buying thing is pretty interesting. I have seen several people who come and buy the masks as if they are buying vegetables or a piece of clothing. Of course, safety is what they should intend for, but their concern is not how good the mask functionally is. Many people ask for different colors than usual White or Gray or Surgical Aqua Green Blue. They want designer masks. They want masks with sockets in them so that ‘Oxygen can flow normally’. I didn’t see anyone asking if the mask is meeting the specification or not.

Our collective energy is being focussed in trying to curb the virus infection in multiple ways possible. But trying to change public perception regarding Science of the Mask is an art in itself. There have been several animations and videos but we are still far from making everyone understand the importance of a proper mask which is the 1st thing we should have done.

P.S.: Seth Godin reminded us all that Google is not your friend. It is just a tool that was free but might not be future. Today is World Backup Day so why not start here: https://takeout.google.com/


Photo by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash