Phil 3.20.20

Yesterday, I looked at the confirmed cases from this dataset. Today, I thought I’d look at the death rates. These are actually from yesterday. Maybe I’ll update at the end of the day. Everything is in a logarithmic scale because it’s impossible to tell the difference between one crazy exponential rate and another (It may be small-world power law as well, as per here). This is also with China excluded:

I mean, that’s not a good picture. I can see why California went on full non-essential lockdown today – we seem to be on the same trajectory as Iran, assuming the difference in slope is not related to manipulated or poorly-gathered information. South Korea, as per reports, really has appeared to adjust the trajectory. Note though, that the adjusted curve still seems to be exponential, but at a lower value.

My sense right now is that the economic impacts (however those would be charted) are going to look similar, with some kind of time delay that relates to spare capacity, like savings. My sense is that this is going to be bigger than the 2008 financial meltdown, but maybe in some kind of slow motion?

Since I can work from home, and work on government contracts, I’ve been sending money to food banks and similar charities. Hopefully, the best ways to contribute will become clear as the situation settles into the new “normal”. For some more thinking on the economic impact, there’s a short interview with John Ioannidis, who wrote in this article:

One of the bottom lines is that we don’t know how long social distancing measures and lockdowns can be maintained without major consequences to the economy, society, and mental health. Unpredictable evolutions may ensue, including financial crisis, unrest, civil strife, war, and a meltdown of the social fabric. 

“A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data” – StatNews, 3/17/2020

I tend to agree that the world at large is focusing on one, large immediate problem when it needs to be focusing on two large immediate problems. And that’s probably too much to expect.

8:00 – 4:30 ASRC GOES

  • More interesting use of ML to enhance simulations: NeRF: Representing Scenes as Neural Radiance Fields for View Synthesis
    • We present a method that achieves state-of-the-art results for synthesizing novel views of complex scenes by optimizing an underlying continuous volumetric scene function using a sparse set of input views. Our algorithm represents a scene using a fully-connected (non-convolutional) deep network, whose input is a single continuous 5D coordinate (spatial location (x,y,z) and viewing direction (θ,ϕ)) and whose output is the volume density and view-dependent emitted radiance at that spatial location. We synthesize views by querying 5D coordinates along camera rays and use classic volume rendering techniques to project the output colors and densities into an image. Because volume rendering is naturally differentiable, the only input required to optimize our representation is a set of images with known camera poses. We describe how to effectively optimize neural radiance fields to render photorealistic novel views of scenes with complicated geometry and appearance, and demonstrate results that outperform prior work on neural rendering and view synthesis. View synthesis results are best viewed as videos, so we urge readers to view our supplementary video for convincing comparisons.
  • Let’s see if we can get InfluxDB working in Docker and start to generate and store data
  • I found a wonderful thing! It looks like you can change the default settings for where applications and their data are saved! Here’s a screenshot of where in the settings:

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