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Economy And Diseases

South China Morning Post is an excellent resource for international news coverage of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They publish an up-to-date statistics of confirmed cases around the world. I have been following it for some time.

covid-19 2020-03-19
COVID-19 Statistics (SCMP)

One pattern jump out to me. The most affected countries in the top of the chart, with the exception of Iran, are all developed, G-7 kind of countries. The initial origin is China. The next affected is South Korea. Now all Western European countries are following. US and UK are lacked by two weeks or so but their are steadily catching up. Keep scrolling down the chart, you will find the rest of the entire world with relative low number of cases. Big countries like Indonesia and Pakistan rank quite a bit behind. Bangladesh has 17 cases and Nigeria has 2. What does this pattern tells us? Is it counter-intuitive that rich countries are ravaged but poor countries are spared?

Skeptics may believe less developed countries simply don't test enough subjects and produce inaccurate number. This might be a factor. it might only be a matter of time when the diseases hit poor countries in a big way. My hope is this grim prediction will not turn out to been to be true.

What I believe is infectious diseases is the Achilles' heel of economic development. The movement of people within and to and from developed countries is an important driver of economy. It connects them into a big market and allow them leverage a large pool of human resources. But this is also a vector of spread of diseases. The better the connectivity, the faster it spreads. Urbanization improves productivity and innovation. Yet living close together is also risky from epidemic's perspective.

Less developed countries seem less affected for now. There are less movement of people to and from economic hub or within. The populations are more rural. This slows down the spread of diseases relative to big cities.

Developed countries also has the most to lose in economic break down. Since they produce more, the same percentage of reduction in productivity would have more effect than in other countries. How to develop a vibrant economy but at the same time minimize the risk of epidemic? Human interactions are crucial for modern economy. Yet this also make us vulnerable to outbreak. COVID-19 will not the last epidemic. Looking back in the past decades we have seen many large one. The future of our economy depends on strategies to mitigate epidemics that are to come.

2020.03.19 comments

 

COVID-19 Has Arrived

For the most part, US was relatively removed from the coronavirus outbreak in China. Despite a small number of cases, most of them related to recent travel to China, officials assured people the risk of low epidemic here was low. When the case of Solano County patient was discovered, she has no history related to traveling and has been carry the disease undetected for days, it was a sign that our perceived immunity is over. Within two weeks, cases of virus inflections were reported all around Bay Area. Events, businesses and schools were scrambling with closures. Everything exploded. Now we are in full fledge pandemic.

I have been making all the hygienic and health precaution's, keep educating myself about the science of the disease and its social impact. It becomes obvious to me that the virus will soon touch all of us. Many of us will get sick. Some people will die. It is still inconceivable to think it will kill people we know, or even you and me. But there will always be a possibility. Vigilance is important. Young and healthy people have lower risk. But we shouldn't make too much assumption. No one is fully immune.

Seeing the inevitability of the spread, I feel strangely at peace. I stopped stressing out every time when there was a new case reported around us. I know the trajectory and how things are going to go. This is the time of a global pandemic. I want to live through it in the best possible way.

2020.03.15 comments

 

The International Development of China

(Repost of my comment about the preface of The International Development of China by Yat-sen Sun as part of the course world of Creating Modern China on edX.)

Reading Sun's aspirational development plan for the China has aroused me. For an ancient empire in long and deep decay, Sun looked beyond the victimhood from the Qing era. To develop China and improved the livinghood of Chinese people is of utmost importance. But Sun's vision is even beyond that. In his words, "China (is to) be developed internationally under a socialistic scheme, for the good of the world in general and the Chinese people in particular".

In line with all the humanistic thinkers before him, the development should be socialistic one for the benefit of the people. The development of China is not in exclusion of foreigners. Instead, there is an ocean of prospects that has room for both Chinese and international interest. In fact, the need for development is so vast that it necessitates international participation.

The specific development idea may or may not still be the best when viewing with 100 year of hindsight. While I think it is putting too much emphasis on centralized economic plan, using state led infrastructure projects to stimulate development is still a good strategy today. Peculiarly, Sun's vision is becoming realized by the Chinese communist government today. The infrastructure is developed in a breakneck pace. For the first time in the modern era, there is a remarkable and broad based improvement in Chinese people's livinghood. Chinese is even pushing this development model aboard to Africa and parts of Asia. One might hope that this will bring development and prosperity beyond China to other parts of the world.

Perversely, the populist's movement in today's Western world is pushing for an opposite model. In their view, the individual nation states are each for itself. Perhaps not unlike China in the past century, during stress, some people adopt an xenophobic view in reaction. For more than a century, they were resisting change, hoping for a return to the glorious past in futility. Sun's vision is an aspiration for China to build itself. Let's hope it will also be a vision for all to a better future.

2019.09.28 comments

 

Is it not a blessing

This afternoon I was laid off by Uber. After taking care of a few things, I went out for a walk. I wandered in Golden Gate Park and checked out shops on the 9th Ave. I walked into Green Apple bookstore to browse. A short book by Thich Nhat Hanh caught my attention. His writing is easy yet insightful. I found this story about "Good Luck or Bad Luck", a parable about fate is often not what it seems. A misfortune can well turn out to be a blessing. I was familiar with the original story 塞翁失馬,焉知非福, which has made it into a proverb in modern Chinese. How fitting it was to my apparent bad luck today. How lucky I would come across this when it was most relevant. I looked up the original story and shared it here.

近塞上之人有善术者。马无故亡而入胡。人皆吊之,其父曰:“此何遽不为福乎?”居数月,其马将胡骏马而归。人皆贺之,其父曰:“此何遽不能为祸乎?”家富良马,其子好骑,堕而折其髀(读音bì,股,大腿)。人皆吊之,其父曰:“此何遽不为福乎?”居一年,胡人大入塞,丁壮者引弦而战,近塞之人,死者十九,此独以跛之故,父子相保。故福之为祸,祸之为福,化不可极,深不可测也。——《淮南子·人间训》

I was sipping boba tea in a neighborhood shop and reexamining the old classic text. I felt contented.

2019.09.14 comments

 

Mock Suit Case Accident

Mock Suit Case Accident

2019.08.02 comments

 

Uber IPO

IPO Bell Ringing
IPO Bell Ringing

I was so excited to see Uber go public last Friday. On the NYSE podium were our CEO and longest serving executives. We were also joined by a few drivers and business partners. I felt quite sentimental of the moment. Many of us has gone through all the trials and tribulations for so long. Among the team is our CTO Thuan, whom through all these years have been the inspiration and driving force for the engineering team. Together we build the technology platform from the ragtag system that constantly fails into the much more stable and sophisticated platform we have today.

The stock market reception since the IPO is humbling. Much more is still needed to be done to prove ourselves. I look forward to the exciting work ahead of us.

2019.05.13 comments

 

Transit News

This morning I have received three transit news update, one good news and two bad news.

Richmond to San Francisco ferry service has began. First riders are cheerily. Ridership of the new line seems promising. This is the latest addition to Bay Area's resurgent water transit.

The bad new is Chariot shuttle service to shut down. They provides customized bus commuting to San Francisco and other city since a few years ago. But the business is not sustainable after all. It was an interesting option to other mode of transport. Sadly the experiment is coming to an end.

The second bad new is Skip announced a 60% price increase. I already find its current price too high for regular use. Under the new rate schedule, a 15 minutes rental now costs $5. A small convenience does not worth $5 for me. Looks like I'm done with Skip. With the other company Scoot essentially unavailable, the scooter phenomenon is practically ended in San Francisco again.

2019.01.11 comments

 

Clear Sky

San Francisco Clear Sky
San Francisco Sky

The air was super clear on the New Year's day. From the mountain top, I saw Point Reyes, Farallon Islands, Mountain Diablo, San Jose. Everything was in clear view.

2019.01.01 comments

 

Skip Scooter

Last week, I have tested Scoot, Jump Bike and Muni. Today, I got a chance to try the other scooter provide Skip. Sign up was quick. You will need to enter your credit card number and let them take a picture of your driver license using the app. Skip's app is bare bone. The only function is to show you locations of nearest scooters and to unlock one in front of you by scanning the QR code. [more...]

2018.10.26 comments

 

Bike vs Scooter vs Bus

The electric scooter come back to San Francisco street this week. The two companies that's licensed are Scoot and Skip. Today I needed to make a shopping trip to SOMA. Scooters seemed ideal. I was excited to try them out. [more...]

2018.10.18 comments

 

No More Tempered Glass Screen Protector

I have finally removed the tempered glass screen protector from my phone. Shortly after I installed it, I noticed a fine crack appeared. I did not drop my phone. The touch surface remained smooth and there was no problem to use. But the crack looks unnerving. I wasn't sure if the crack is on the protector or on the screen beneath it. [more...]

2018.07.22 comments

 

SF Hill Run 2

I took on the San Francisco Hills again this morning. Besides the usual assualt of Twin peaks and Mt Davidsion, I added Buena Vista Park and Edge hill. The uphill sections are half run and half walk. I chickened out of Mt Sutro. I don't know if I have the stamina to tackle it next time. My legs were on the verge of clamping toward the end. It was a fun morning. [more...]

2018.06.03 comments

 

Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities

The pace of technology-driven innovation from the private sector in shared transportation services, vehicles, and networks is rapid, accelerating, and filled with opportunity. At the same time, city streets are a finite and scarce resource. [more...]

2018.03.23 comments

 

REI stop selling major outdoor brand with NRA ties

REI, Mountain Equipment Co-Op, stop selling major outdoor brand with NRA ties. It announced that it would no longer be ordering CamelBak, Bell, Giro or any other of the 50 Vista Outdoor brands to sell in its stores. [more...]

2018.03.03 comments

 

Long Now Member

Long Now Member

I have been meaning to do it for a while. Now I finally become a paid member of Long Now. [more...]

2018.02.16 comments

 

Awesome Jump Bike

I made my first trip with JUMP bike last night. Their bikes are AWESOME! I'm a hardy bicyclist. I ride all over the city and charge up hills with gusto. I own another electric cargo bike myself. It makes it practical for me to carry my child to Presidio and conquer the hill in the middle. [more...]

2018.02.02 comments

 

Reading Backlog

books

I gathered a whole stack of books in front of me. These are a selection of books I have bought but have yet to read. There are also a handful of books I want to re-read. My new year resolution is to make significant deduction of them in a year. [more...]

2018.01.06 comments

 

Anti-intellectual

Here is a great quote from Bertrand Russell. His target is the French philosopher Henri Bergson, but it just as applicable to anyone from the anti-intellectual fraction. [more...]

2017.10.08 comments

 

2017 SF Marathon

5am on Embarcadero, the still dark boulevard was bustling with athletics preparing for the run. It took 30 minutes for my middle wave to propagate to the starting line. There the bell ringer ringed the ceremonial cable car bell. Ding. Ding. Ding. Off we go. [more...]

2017.07.29 comments

 

Street life abound in Mandalay, so long if you aren't killed by traffic

I have taken a short walk in the streets of Mandalay. The busy street were full of activities. Open air food stalls are all over the place well liked by locals. The streets are lined with all kinds of small businesses. Motorcycles crisscross the streets carrying people to all the places. [more...]

2017.06.14 comments

 

past articles »

 

BBC News

 

Jeffrey Epstein ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell arrested by FBI (02 Jul 2020)

 

US firms create record 4.8 million jobs in June (02 Jul 2020)

 

Why Texas is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases (02 Jul 2020)

 

Dozens of countries to be exempt from UK quarantine (02 Jul 2020)

 

Hundreds arrested as crime chat network cracked (02 Jul 2020)

 

Hachalu Hundessa: Ethiopia singer buried amid ethnic unrest (02 Jul 2020)

 

Hong Kong: US passes sanctions as nations condemn new law (02 Jul 2020)

 

Mexican drug rehab centre stormed by gunmen (02 Jul 2020)

 

Putin strongly backed in controversial Russian reform vote (02 Jul 2020)

 

Myanmar jade mine landslide captured on video (02 Jul 2020)

more »

 

SF Gate

 

Ship traffic, July 2 (1 Jul 2020)

 

Ship traffic, July 1 (30 Jun 2020)

 

Ship traffic, June 30 (29 Jun 2020)

 

Ship traffic, June 28 (26 Jun 2020)

 

Ship traffic, June 27 (26 Jun 2020)

 

Ship traffic, June 29 (26 Jun 2020)

more »


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