A Cure is Here

Given my intense irritation recently at the Anti-Safety, Pro-COVID-19 propagators in the news and their public defiance of intelligent, virological Social-distancing and Stay-at-Home Orders—while coronavirus infections continue to rise in alarming numbers—I thought it would be fantastic to post some remarkable, positive humanitarian news in the area of science and medical therapies in the fight against cancer! After all, we reasonable, well-educated people have been in need for an exciting story that reinforces the enriching necessity for expert, scholarly science, breakthrough medical science especially that ushers hundreds and hundreds of happy results, happy recoveries, and lengthy remissions! Ah, every so often something good does come out of Texas! It’s good to be proven wrong sometimes.

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Dr. Allison, the 2018 Nobel Prize Co-Winner in Physiology or Medicine, is the subject of a riveting documentary that shows the spotlight on his groundbreaking work and serves as a stark, prophetic reminder of the obligation for extensive science in the year of COVID-19. Perhaps COVID-20 as well.

Last night I was fortunate to catch the broadcast by PBS’ Independent Lens the documentary film Jim Allison: Breakthrough. Boy was it a much needed encouragement and frequent cheer-leading shouts of “YES, OH MY STARS & GALAXIES,” and “I LOVE YOU SCIENCE” that I needed right now. Watching too much current news can really begin to dampen and darken your spirit for life. Your levels of endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin can suffer from too much prolonged cortisol.

From our own University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center website on Dr. Allison’s astounding research and work. I highly recommend reading the entire webpage:

Immunotherapy innovator Jim Allison’s Nobel purpose, some excerpts

Jim Allison, Ph.D., chair of Immunology and executive director of the immunotherapy platform, pioneered a revolutionary cancer treatment that frees the immune system to attack tumors.

“By stimulating the ability of our immune system to attack tumor cells, this year’s Nobel Prize laureates have established an entirely new principle for cancer therapy”

[…]

Allison showed that the protein CTLA-4, which is found on the surface of T cells, acts as a brake — a type of immune system checkpoint the body uses to avoid a dangerously over-reactive immune response. He then developed an antibody to block CTLA-4’s “braking” action, freeing T cells to attack cancer.

His work and determination led to the development of Ipilimumab, the first in a class of drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors. In 2011, the drug — commercially named Yervoy — was approved for late-stage melanoma by the Food and Drug Administration. It has yielded unprecedented results. Twenty percent of patients with advanced melanoma who took the drug now live for at least three years, and many live 10 years and beyond.

[…]

Crucial funding for his research over the years has come from the National Institutes of Health, particularly the National Cancer Institute, the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Cancer Research Institute, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Stand Up To Cancer and PICI.

Toward the end of this documentary film Dr. Allison is reading a letter he received from a lady, a wife, a total stranger. I am not going to spoil it for you, but it is definitely a moment that all we human beings with a grateful, compassionate, unselfish heart must hear/read more often than not. Perspective needed. This is unprecedented news in this daunting, beautiful life we’ve been privileged to live, inside this tiny minuscule space in time, on one tiny, tiny pale-blue rock among billions and billions of other stars and planets in our ONE little galaxy… among billions or trillions of other galaxies. It is called the Overview Effect. Get some.

Share any thoughts below you might have once you’ve watched the film, or not watched if you’re already familiar with this man’s phenomenal work and dedication over many decades of incessant persistence. It is truly a man, a scientist, and story to greatly admire. I do.

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always — Stay Curious!

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Cash-worshipers vs. COVID-19

The madness, the sheer ignorance, or insanity of this modern life, of complacency and certain human logic often cannot be fathomed, not in the least. Today I am beside myself.

A wealthy women’s Republican organization took to the grounds of Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas Tuesday, April 21st, 2020 demanding businesses reopen and workers return to their jobs immediately. Their demands came in the wake of still rising confirmed infections of COVID-19 cases of 2,602 (90 more cases) on April 20th from 2,190 on April 15th, including 9 additional deaths in those five days. Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Dallas County are still rising according to the Dallas County Health and Human Services.

PCRW protest Dallas

The Park Cities Republican Women is a political club of wives and women from two of Texas’ most wealthiest urban municipalities within Texas, University Park and Highland Park combined, and second only to Collin County consisting of opulent towns like Plano, McKinney, and Allen, Texas. These two counties are the bulk of the wealthiest Republican seats in North Texas for the last 25-30 years. Some of the nation’s richest billionaires live in three of these four Dallas neighborhoods. At one time in recent history these neighborhoods all barred non-whites from entering these areas of residence.

Park Cities Republican Women Board

Dallas Park Cities Republican Women Executive Board

Researching and digging into these ladies’ current occupations and their husbands’ and those business ties and ventures certainly yielded a very clear bias leaning to DFW mega-businesses in sectors like but not limited to real estate, financial-wealth management, and mass media corporations. That digging also resulted in determining that several of these women on the “Executive Board” are not native Texans or even more than 3rd-4th generation Texans. It soon begs the question, How many times have these ladies gone to and spent significant time in Dallas’ most impoverished areas (Pleasant Grove? Wynnewood or Beckley Club Estates?) for simple charity or stimulus packages/plans for critically needed improvement in basic, public socio-educational programs?

Aside from these protester’s political associations and postures the more pressing, more critical question to be asked is what is required to stop and reduce COVID-19 infections and subsequent deaths. After all, is it not human life, the unnecessary loss of innocent lives that are most important, most morally responsible that is the top priority? Isn’t that the highest importance as if it were your own child or your own parent? Is that an overreaction by anyone who’s own child/parent might be infected with COVID-19?

Overreaction? Seriously!? What planet do you live on!?

No. It is anything but an overreaction people. As of today, April 25, 2020, there are 2.79-million people infected by COVID-19 around the world. To date there have been 196,000 deaths from coronavirus; over 52,400 in the U.S. and rising still. All one need do is examine Italy’s COVID-19 crisis in March 2020.

italy_newplot

From a March 23rd Vox article:

What’s scary about Italy’s experience is that Italy wasn’t exactly passive in its response to the virus. The country did act, quarantining a dozen towns in northern regions on February 23, urging the public to engage in social distancing, and ordering the closure of all schools nationwide on March 4.

The reality, however, of wisely and scientifically managing one of the worst, most devastating pandemics this country has faced since January 1918 with the Spanish Flu pandemic, is that there is a very specific, safe plan to slowly ease out of Social-distancing and Stay-at-Home orders that were ordered to save lives. It is simply called public health and protection of American lives directed and implemented by our elected government officials, on all necessary levels. That’s the theory anyway.

The plan has several phases: Phase one is slowing the spread through social distancing, while ramping up testing capacity, and ensuring hospitals have the equipment they need. In phase two, social distancing restrictions ease while public health workers continue to track and isolate cases.

But it will take a lot to get there. The authors argue these decisions need to be made on a region-by-region basis: Phase two should only begin after 14 days of sustained case reductions in an area, and only after testing capacity is dramatically increased.
Resnick, Brian, “How to safely end social distancing,” Vox.com, accessed April 25, 2020

There is still so much that is unknown, undetermined about the COVID-19 virus, how it spreads so easily, so quickly, and how it is quickly detected. We just learned that six more symptoms have been added to the original 4-5 symptoms. On top of this new evidence there are people in China and Japan that after recovering from infection they have become reinfected with COVID-19. The fact is there is simply not enough collected data and research to determine with certainty whether these new cases were in fact positively infected the first time (U.N. announcement). Therefore, with a known incubation period of at least 14-days before COVID-19 symptoms manifest in patients, it is much more safe for medical professionals and the general public to err on the side of caution.

Remarkably there is still push-back from many Cash-worshipers. The Park Cities Republican Women’s club is not the only protesters voicing their defiance. Lulu Garcia-Navarro hosts NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday and she along with Kirk Siegler talked with former Salt Lake City, Utah police officer Eric Moutsos who has become overly vocal since being put on administrative leave from the SLC police department:

In my opinion, not being able to provide for your family is a hundred times bigger health crisis than any virus.

Quarantine is for sick people. It’s when you lock sick people away. But when you lock healthy people away, that’s tyranny.

Moutsos is not alone in his self-made celebrity status. Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has already made controversial remarks against the sanctity of life for all Americans by stating senior citizens were more concerned about money, paychecks, and the economy. From NBCnews.com:

“And what I said when I was with you that night, there are more important things than living. And that’s saving this country for my children and my grandchildren and saving this country for all of us,” Patrick said Monday night.

He went on to say that he didn’t want to die but that “we’ve got to take some risks and get back in the game and get this country back up and running.”

On the contrary, reality according to epidemiologists and virologists around the world is that too many Americans are underestimating how long COVID-19 disruptions will have to last. They blame much of this false hope on the Trump Administration’s erroneous information and timelines disseminated in Press Conferences:

…but quickly reopening businesses or loosening shelter-in-place rules would inevitably lead to a new surge of infections, they said.

“The administration has consistently shown a desire to underplay the severity of whatever is coming. And they’re constantly adjusting that — as it becomes harder to deny the reality will be worse than what they’ve conditioned people for,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development.

But experts say that, even if some restrictions are relaxed, it’s unlikely life as normal will resume in early May.

“Decisions to reopen society should not be about a date, but about the data,” Frieden, now president and CEO of the global public health initiative Resolve to Save Lives, said during a briefing Wednesday for journalists. “How well and how quickly we do these things will determine how soon and how safely we can reopen.”

Still A Small Minority

Fortunately, these protesting Cash-worshipers represent a small minority in the U.S. as well as Texas. The Texas Tribune’s Brandon Formby and Ross Ramsey write:

Two-thirds of registered Texas voters agree with decisions by Gov. Greg Abbott and several local officials to suspend nonessential business operations. And more than three-quarters of voters support orders to stay home except for essential activities. The poll’s findings come as Abbott says he will soon announce plans to reopen a wide range of Texas businesses.

According to Politico.com only 30% of Americans say getting the nation’s economy up and running is a first priority despite what some news media corporations promote. Here is what Gallup Polling states:

The average American is unequipped to make scientific judgments on virus-related matters. Americans are better able to make judgments on the financial and economic impact of the shutdowns.

While other Gallup data show that a majority of Americans (55%) say they can continue following social distancing practices without significant financial hardship for “as long as is necessary,” 8% say they’re already experiencing significant financial hardship, and another 14% say they will within a few more weeks.

[…]

58% of respondents in the survey chose… “the United States will move too quickly in loosening restrictions and the virus will continue to spread with more lives being lost.”

As of today, the majority of Americans do not want to risk more extended restrictions of Stay-at-Home orders by foolishly and prematurely reopening. This is clear.

Will American History Repeat Itself?

Assistant Director of the Center for the History of Medicine at Michigan University, Alex Navarro, detailed the historical accounts of the 1918 Spanish flu in 43 cities:

“There was a lot of pressure in pretty much all of these American cities to reopen,” said Navarro, whose research was done in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “When they removed those restrictions too soon, then many cities saw a resurgence in cases.”

Government authorities in California and much of the West Coast in 1918 – 1919 were doing everything right, they were ‘flattening the curve’ as repeatedly told by doctors and scientists of virology and epidemiology. Sadly, by November and December 1918 too many business leaders and moguls put huge pressure on government officials to reopen and return our struggling economy to normal. Those Cash-worshipers then used the press to further promote and propagandize their declining riches.

San-Francisco-influenza-1918

A congregation praying on the steps of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, where they gathered to hear mass and pray during the influenza epidemic, San Francisco, California, 1918 — Hulton Archive / Getty Images

But three weeks after that celebration of removing their masks, the city saw a dramatic resurgence. Officials at first rejected the idea of reopening the city and suggested residents could voluntarily wear face coverings.

But shortly after the New Year in 1919, the city was hit with 600 new cases in one day, prompting the Board of Supervisors to re-enact the mandatory mask ordinance. Protests against the mandate eventually led to the formation of the Anti-Mask League. The detractors eventually got their way when the order was lifted in February.

And as PBS’ poignant Frontline documentary Coronavirus Pandemic proved this past Tuesday, April 21st, the American economy is not just taking a blow from COVID-19, the nation’s economy is suffering directly because of Washington D.C., the White House, and specifically our incapable fake President who delayed and downplayed the seriousness of the virus. He has never been a true leader prior to or during his Presidency or one who proactively or consistently shows compassion, sympathy and empathy for all Americans, or much less the ability to admit publicly when you’ve truly f*cked up. Has the man ever taken full responsibility for his f*ck ups as the country’s incapable leader? The truth doesn’t get any simpler nor more clear.

Nevertheless, getting back to the real issue: the science, when your country’s top, foremost doctor of infectious diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci states If it looks like you’re overreacting, you’re probably doing the right thing then even a preschooler understands what must be done no matter how badly your pocketbook is hurting. Duh!

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Addendum 4/28/2020 — this is an excellent interview by Michel Martin of PBS’ Amanpour & Company called “Former Sen. Bill Frist on the President’s Pandemic Response.” It is well worth watching:
https://www.pbs.org/video/former-sen-bill-frist-presidents-pandemic-response-h6futh/

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always — Listen to Experts

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In-Your-Face Independence, Texas Style

I could easily write eight to ten, 5,000-word blog-posts explaining to my readers extensively and factually why many/most modern Texans are stubbornly, ferociously audaciously proud to be from Texas or to be a born-n-bread Texan. Foreigners on other continents may not be aware of how many Americans in other states basically know or know all too well how very boastful modern Texans can be. Since the advent of radio, TV broadcasting, and the internet we Texans have built-up for better or worse—frequently worse in my opinion—a national, if not international, reputation of having large things in Texas. It is true. There is no shortage of BIG in the Lone Star State.

I for one, as an 8th-generation Texan, am often sickened and nauseated by this “big” attitude. It is audacious self-promotion. And here is the BIG reason why I feel this way.

A bit of Texas history about one of its earliest flags. In my header above the flag on the left is a well-known and long taught highlight in Texas schools’ Social Studies classes between 4th-grade and 12th-grade. The spirit of that independent rebellion against Mexico, before being annexed by the United States only a few years later, represents how BIG Texans boast of their freedoms and liberties, even against Washington D.C. and a liberal United States. But calm down, don’t worry, the history of our long embedded (or inbred?) arrogance is for another later five or ten blog-posts. (wink)

In my local newspaper The Dallas Morning News, they reported yesterday how Dallas residents, as well as the DFW Metroplex are contributing to slowing or “Flattening the Curve” and eventually stopping the deadly COVID-19 pandemic:

What happens when a percentage of the population ignores government lockdown decrees or pleas for social distancing?

“It’s true that under normal circumstances, you’ll have a lot of people who are resistant to government dictates and control,” said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University. “Under emergency conditions, those people become dangerous.”

“But if you have people who are talking about a ‘deep state,’ or socialism or a government takeover — while we’re trying to cobble together from the local level to the national level a response to an absolutely unprecedented pandemic — those people are not just foolish,” Jillson said. “They are dangerous.”

Government leaders have to “be as straightforward and direct and truthful as possible with the American public,” Jillson said. “So that the 90 percent of the public that is reasonable can rally to those instructions and bend the curve on this virus.”

White Rock Lake in Dallas on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

White Rock Lake in Dallas on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 – image by Smiley N. Pool / Staff Photographer

I must be fair, however, about over-generalizing and faulty identification of who is “Texan.”

Since 1963 and more so the last decade and a half Texas has been one of the fastest growing populated states in the country:  currently #2 in GDP and #4 in economy size. This means over the last decade or so many currently living in Texas were not born here. Because of three attractive, compelling reasons non-Texans move here or have recently moved here years ago. Those are 1) many new corporate businesses move and headquarter here, i.e. jobs, 2) no state income tax, and 3) cheaper housing by national comparisons. The point being that anyone living here who wasn’t born here are obviously not natural Texans. Consequently, I shouldn’t include those non-Texans in our long history and why we are so audaciously, arrogantly proud, right? Yet, in the big picture of our current world-wide, deadly pandemic, where one was born or how many multiple generations preceded you here is irrelevant. Or is it?

Despite the measures, the city received at least 853 calls about large gatherings in the past week. According to the mayor’s office Tuesday, authorities gave out 150 violation notices, which are similar to warnings before a citation is issued.

The U.S. Surgeon General warned Monday that rebels and scofflaws of social distancing put their fellow Americans at risk.

“I want America to understand — this week, it’s going to get bad,” Dr. Jerome Adams said on NBC’s Today show, denouncing those not obeying social distancing guidelines.

“This is how the spread is occurring,” Adams said.

flatten the curve diagram

Flattening the Curve – Image: © CDC

Any rational, well-educated person with a solid grasp of medical sciences in microbiology, virology, methods of airborne infectious diseases, and how highly contagious those are shown repeatedly throughout humanity’s post-classical and modern history, would ask and should ask these flouting rebels, skeptics, and deniers What the F*CK are you doing and thinking!? Apparently they’ve forgotten or ignored America’s 1918-1920 Swine Flu or Spanish Flu that was also an airborne, highly contagious virus like COVID-19 and in one single month killed 200,000 Americans. In the end, it claimed 675,000 Americans and an estimated 50-million world-wide. Perhaps our President should keep mentioning those 50-million victims of “The American Virus” in his press conferences? Pompous Texans should too.

Why are so many Texans ignoring the factual, confirmed histories of deadly, fast-spreading pandemics? Did those preceding generations of your Texas family not pass down the horrendous details or show you the actual death-certificates from your family tree?

Outdoor concerts and festivals are banned in most locations. And those restrictions weren’t sitting well with Rev. Horton Heat, a popular Dallas-based rockabilly band, which posted a livid message on its Facebook page about a week ago.

“Reverend Horton Heat is NOT cancelling ANY gigs because of COVID-19.”

The band made it clear that it wasn’t their call to cancel its gigs, and encouraged fans to “push back,” in a post trumpeted on its Facebook page.

“I encourage everyone who lives in a jurisdiction where local governments are restricting rock and roll to push back,” the band said. “Write emails and call your local government agencies to remind them that we have the right to assembly. They can’t stop rock and roll!”

TX motto t-shirt

Widely popular meme in Texas, especially by Sons & Daughters of the Confederacy

Co-founder and current member Jim “Reverend Horton” Heath guitarist and lead vocal of the band is a native-born Texan. He does indeed represent that audacious, arrogant historical Texas rebel pride.

But it isn’t just three-generation, five-generation, or six-generation native Texans flouting their rebel disobedience to county and state authority, it is even our Lt. Governor Dan Patrick as well, who like all of the Bush’s is not a native-born Texan!

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick agreed, saying Monday the country should go back to work, suggesting “grandparents” like him, who are at higher risk of contracting severe cases of COVID-19, should sacrifice to keep the country out of economic trouble.

“My message is that ‘Let’s get back to work. Let’s get back to living. Let’s be smart about it,’” Patrick told Fox News host Tucker Carlson. “And those of us who are 70 plus, we’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country.”

I am both stunned by the medical-virological ignorance and denial here, and yet at the same time not too surprised by many fellow Texans showing off their cockiness in the face of ‘too much government intrusion,’ a popular opinion over the decades by most established Texas families and businesses making up this Red-state.

There are factual data-sets in several parts of the world—not just in New Orleans, Louisiana—supporting those restrictions ordered by government leaders listening to and heeding epidemiologist’s desperate warnings and admonishments to why it is critical to social-distance as well as follow all washing, disinfecting protocols while at home. As reported by Sky News yesterday, this is what happens when citizens, businesses, entertainers, and governments do NOT take epidemiological science serious. The headline:  Coronavirus: Champions League match a ‘biological bomb’ that infected Bergamo, experts say.

That match was between Italian club Atalanta and Spanish club Valencia. As a result, not only did Italy become the epicenter of COVID-19 infections and deaths, but Spain is now experiencing the same and soon will catch Italy’s mortality rates. The Sky News article goes on:

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t have known. No one knew the virus was already here. It was inevitable.”

More than 7,500 people have died after contracting coronavirus in Italy, where there are more than 74,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

More than 650 people have died in the last 24 hours in Spain, taking the total past 4,000.

Cases there rose by more than 8000, bringing the total to more than 50,000.

To the overly proud rebels, skeptics, and deniers in Texas by Texans, if you don’t care to believe the actual medical data, science and virology, or the long repeated world history of known pandemics and the hundreds of thousands of deaths from plagues, or how highly contagious and lethal airborne flu viruses are then perhaps it will only take the death of an immediate family member, perhaps your own child or parent, to wake you up to reality. Why even risk it? Why… when by all your rebellious behavior all of you could easily cause are hospitals overflowing beyond capacity, the supplies and medical items which raise your safety and your loved ones’ safety… run out? Or the oxygen-breathing machines to fight the deadly pneumonia from COVID-19 are all in use and no longer available for yourself, your children, or parent like many are experiencing right now in Italy and Spain? Why?

Why chance it? To prove what a proud, independent, Come Take It From Me, cocky native Texan you are? How would that epitaph look on your gravestone or your 8-year old child’s or one of your siblings? There quickly comes a point when self-absorbed ignorance and pride can never outweigh a loved one’s life, premature life when you were informed in time of avoiding it. Imagine that regret for the rest of your life.

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Supplement March 28, 2020:
Crowds Flood Dallas Trails During First Weekend of ‘Stay Home’ Order — Allie Spillyards, NBCDFW.com reporting (the actual camera footage in the news video is not just astounding, but very disturbing as well; watch it)

Supplement April 3, 2020:
With visitors still bunching up in parks, Dallas officials plead: Don’t make us shut them down — “It looked like a Mardi Gras party.” Hayat Norimine and Obed Manuel, Dallas Morning News reporting

Some Businesses Using Loopholes To Stay Open During Coronavirus-Related Shutdowns — Ginger Allen, CBS Local.com reporting

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Oscar Winners of Science

Beginning in 2012 eight scientists, philanthropists, and business entrepreneurs founded an international awards ceremony called the Breakthrough Prize. It is similar to the annual Nobel Prize ceremony, but with a bit more flair, showmanship, and business ventures to attract a different, wider viewing audience and consumer than strictly traditional one of dull academics—an event of more limited exposure and much less profitable potential. After all, factual science developed through renown institutions over years or decades does not sellout theaters, online customer streaming ques, or make lucrative, marketable products and services as the high-tech dramatic, fantastical entertainment industry does. Modern Asian and American consumers demand awe and wow spectacular optics and mind-bending fiction as the entertainment drug-of-choice with multi-billion dollar box-office and streaming subscriptions that draw FAT bottom-lines. This is the proven, indisputable consumer trend the last 10-15 years.

This past November 3, 2019 nineteen winners were announced at a televised gala in three areas of science: Mathematics, Life Sciences, and Fundamental Physics. Each winning Laureates receive $3-million in prize money and the televised ceremony detailing all the remarkable achievements hopefully inspires many young future scientists. Following are this years 2020 Breakthrough Prize winners and their extraordinary achievements that must be recognized and understood in a world rot and overwhelmed with popular superstitions.

In Fundamental Physics

The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration
Collaboration Director Shep Doeleman of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics will accept on behalf the collaboration. The $3 million prize will be shared equally with 347 scientists co-authoring any of the six papers published by the EHT on April 10, 2019.
Citation: For the first image of a supermassive black hole in the Messier 87 galaxy, taken by means of an Earth-sized alliance of telescopes from several observatories around the globe simultaneously.

In Mathematics

Alex Eskin, University of Chicago
Citation: For revolutionary discoveries in the dynamics and geometry of moduli spaces of Abelian differentials, including the proof of the “magic wand theorem” with Maryam Mirzakhani.

In Life Sciences

Jeffrey M. Friedman, Rockefeller University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Citation: For the discovery of a new endocrine system through which adipose tissue signals the brain to regulate food intake.

F. Ulrich Hartl, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry and Arthur L. Horwich, Yale School of Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Citation: For discovering functions of molecular chaperones in mediating protein folding and preventing protein aggregation.

David Julius, University of California, San Francisco
Citation: For discovering molecules, cells, and mechanisms underlying pain sensation.

Virginia Man-Yee Lee, University of Pennsylvania
Citation: For discovering TDP43 protein aggregates in frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and revealing that different forms of alpha-synuclein, in different cell types, underlie Parkinson’s disease and Multiple System Atrophy.

New Horizons In Physics

Xie Chen, California Institute of Technology, Lukasz Fidkowski, University of Washington, Michael Levin, University of Chicago, and Max A. Metlitski, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Citation: For incisive contributions to the understanding of topological states of matter and the relationships between them.

Jo Dunkley, Princeton University, Samaya Nissanke, University of Amsterdam, and Kendrick Smith, Perimeter Institute
Citation: For the development of novel techniques to extract fundamental physics from astronomical data.

Simon Caron-Huot, McGill University, and Pedro Vieira, Perimeter Institute and ICTP-SAIFR
Citation: For profound contributions to the understanding of quantum field theory.

New Horizons in Mathematics

Tim Austin, University of California, Los Angeles
Citation: For multiple contributions to ergodic theory, most notably the solution of the weak Pinsker conjecture.

Emmy Murphy, Northwestern University
Citation: For contributions to symplectic and contact geometry, in particular the introduction of notions of loose Legendrian submanifolds and, with Matthew Strom Borman and Yakov Eliashberg, overtwisted contact structures in higher dimensions.

Xinwen Zhu, California Institute of Technology
Citation: For work in arithmetic algebraic geometry including applications to the theory of Shimura varieties and the Riemann-Hilbert problem for p-adic varieties.

Breakthrough Prize Junior Challenge

The Junior challenge is an annual competition for students, ages 13-18, to share their passion for math and science with the world! Each student submits a video that explains a challenging and important concept or theory in mathematics, life sciences, or physics. The winner receives a $250,000 college scholarship. The winning student’s teacher and school also benefit: $50,000 for the teacher and a state-of-the-art $100,000 science lab for the school. Jeffrey Chen is a senior at Burlingame High School in California. He won the global award because of his video entry designed to inspire high school students into creative thinking about fundamental concepts in the life sciences, physics, and mathematics. Here’s his video:

I must admit that in many ways this award ceremony is such a very positive promotion and inspiration for future scientists, mathematicians, intellectuals, and physicists to improve human life and our planet’s survival until as a supposedly intelligent species (hopefully) we can colonize another Goldilocks Planet to literally save ourselves and as many animals on Earth from total extinction. Here’s to hoping and here’s to factual, truthful, authentic, confirmed hardcore science and eventually the purging of all superstitions! 🙂

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Want To Time-Travel?

I just have to share this! Quick time-out during my Black Underworld, Inc. series.

This fascinating time-traveling machine or rather software app actually doesn’t travel forward into the future, but it will take you as many as 750-million years into the geologic past from our current Holocene period to the Cryogenian period from any known address on Earth. Dial up your time-destination on the Delorean circuit-board, pull down your welding goggles, and fasten your seat-belt. It’s off to Pangea we go.

I can think of a number of blogging friends that might enjoy fiddling around with this cool app:  John Z, Arkenaten, IBTD, Nan, CommonAtheist, SecularJurist, Steve, Tildeb, Swarn, and perhaps too the magnana-wonderous Lady Esme and a few others and maybe (if my message in a bottle reaches him 😉 ) just maybe the castaway Hariod. I also know of some bloggers who would not enjoy the app or its implications—it flies in the face of their Young Earth and Creationist delusions beliefs. Oh well, can’t please everyone, huh? WHAAH… WATCH OUT! That Velociraptor is trying to eat your baby in the manger! 😱

Silliness aside. On to the science. With the address, region, or city you type in the interactive Ancient Earth tool will inform you of nearby dinosaur fossils from that geologic period. You can also select particular organisms-of-life periods such as the “first insects,” or “first dinosaurs” or “first multicellular life.” As you select one of 26 different time-periods you can watch the shorelines move inland or out based upon sea levels relative to glaciers and the polar ice-caps at that time. I discovered this app by my email subscription to Smithsonian.com and arts-science journalist Meilan Solly writes:

Ancient Earth, the tool behind this millennia-spanning visualization, is the brainchild of Ian Webster, curator of the world’s largest digital dinosaur database. As Michael D’estries reports for Mother Nature Network, Webster drew on data from the PALEOMAP Project—spearheaded by paleogeographer Christopher Scotese, the initiative tracks the evolving “distribution of land and sea” over the past 1,100 million years—to build the map. […]

To switch from one time period to another, you can either manually choose from a dropdown menu or use your keyboard’s left and right arrow keys. Start at the very beginning of the map’s timeline, Michele Debczak advises for Mental Floss, and you’ll see the planet evolve from “unrecognizable blobs of land” to the massive supercontinent of Pangea and, finally, the seven continents we inhabit today.

Take about 10-minutes and go play around at Ancient Earth and get an approximate intriguing visual of just how our tectonic plates have evolved and just how much NOTHING on this planet stays the same for one year or one minute. It hasn’t for at least the last 4.5 billion years!

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