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Covid-19 Testing, Ventilators, and Therapeutic Accelerators

I noticed today morning that CVS has come up with Rapid Testing via drive through, and it is free of cost.

At the moment it is available for Georgia and Rhode Island, but I certainly see this sprouting in all other states of US.

Tesla has a ventilator in making using the car parts. Even if this only a technical demo, I appreciate it, and the language used in the demo was appropriate and careful for the purpose.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the therapeutics accelerator to find the vaccine for covid-19. They are funding almost 8 companies working in parallel and joined by other life sciences companies too.

Companies participating in the collaboration include

  • Bayer

  • BD

  • bioMérieux

  • Boehringer Ingelheim

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb

  • Eisai

  • Eli Lilly

  • Gilead

  • GSK

  • Johnson & Johnson,

  • Merck (known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada)

  • Merck KGaA

  • Novartis

  • Pfizer

  • Sanofi.

Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff took a 8 step pledge, and with few pledges being, No significant layoff for next 90 days and encouraging employees to keep their own hourly workers like gardeners, home cleaners employed with pay. I really appreciate the social responsiblity shown by Marc.

Book Review: The Plague by Albert Camus

The PlagueThe Plague by Albert Camus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The essence of this book is about sympathy. The story is presented through the eyes of a few friends as they witness the plague in the city of Oran. The author, Abert Camus's writing, and the philosophy of the principal character, Dr. Rieux stands out in this Novel. It will probably etch in the mind of the reader forever. It is about sympathy, the qualities of truth, understanding, and comprehension are at the core of it.

IPv6 Login

It is the year 2021, and I logged into one of my servers using IPv6 address. So far I had struggled with using IPv6 address for anything useful. Today, I was able login to a server directly from my home using an IPv6 address. provides servers for USD 2.5 per month, with a restriction that it will only have IPv6 address. But if you can ssh to it, why not get those cheap boxes?

$ ssh -6 root@2001:19f0:5401:129f:5400:02ff:fea8:1fde
The authenticity of host '2001:19f0:5401:129f:5400:2ff:fea8:1fde (2001:19f0:5401:129f:5400:2ff:fea8:1fde)' can't be established.
ECDSA key fingerprint is SHA256:gcWbxG6LHOBJSssYRJdTfCt9IaRznHqn8iuD2bw3uDo.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no/[fingerprint])? yes
Warning: Permanently added '2001:19f0:5401:129f:5400:2ff:fea8:1fde' (ECDSA) to the list of known hosts.
Welcome to Ubuntu 19.10 (GNU/Linux 5.3.0-40-generic x86_64)

 * Documentation:
 * Management:
 * Support:

  System information as of Fri 03 Apr 2020 01:28:02 AM UTC

  System load:  0.08              Processes:           96
  Usage of /:   25.8% of 9.78GB   Users logged in:     0
  Memory usage: 31%               IP address for ens3:
  Swap usage:   0%

0 updates can be installed immediately.
0 of these updates are security updates.

The list of available updates is more than a week old.
To check for new updates run: sudo apt update


Folding@Home for COVID-19

I setup Folding@Home and started contributing computing resources to Covid-19 project.

For Covid-19, the Folding@Home project is trying to find out the structure of covid-19 virus as it comes in contact with human bodies through ACE2 receptor, and how an understanding of this can help build therapeutic antibiotics or molecules that might disrupt the viral interaction.


Folding@Home hit a milestone Exaflop computing speed, which is a billion billion floating point operations per second.

Let's not leave any stone unturned.


Bill Gates Follow up Q/A on Covid-19

Bill Gates followed up with a Live Question and Answer session with TED's Chris Anderson.

  • Testing is the still "key part". We need a way to find to detect who has-virus and who does not. This is done using swabs. All of us, will have to be tested before we resume social interaction.

  • He is still very much concerned about developing countries, like India, Pakistan, and countries in the southern hemisphere, as he perceives, will have more difficulty than developed countries like the US to get this through.

  • Economic Impact can be reversed, but if a life is lost, it cannot be brought back.

  • The idea of building herd-immunity against this virus, in reality, doesn't look like a choice. The numbers don't add up.

Please watch the entire video conversation here:

Bill Gates Q/A about COVID-19

Bill Gates did a Ask Me Anything on Covid-19 on Reddit. The entire AMA is educational, read it in reddit or in Gates Notes AMA

The following question and answers caught my attention in particular.

The Discovery of Radium by Madame M. Curie

This is a short text available for reading in project gutenberg, titled "The Discovery of Radium by Marie Curie"

Some interesting quotes from this book

Covid-19 Exponential Growth Lecture of 3Blue1Brown

3Blue1Brown did an excellent video explaining exponential growth. He took the opportunity to explain Covid-19, growth, trajectory and more importantly pressing question on when this growth will stop using mathematical equations. I was highly impressed. It helped to make sense of the situation, and help with dealing with the situation.

Please watch this video

The video deals with the questions explained in the slide.

Exponential growth means as you go from one day to the next, it involves multiplying by a constant.

In terms of an Equation the exponential growth is represented mathematically like this.

3Blue1Brown says that this data fits in a linear regression model.

Linear regression calculates an equation that minimizes the distance between the fitted line and all of the data points. And if want to find the equation that minimizes the distance between a line and the data point, the most common way is to find "least square regression" .

We will notice that the least square regression ends up with an equation of line \(y = m \dot x + b\) Where m is same as the multiplying factor the exponential growth.

So he uses the data point to track the growth for linear regression.

And finds out \(R^2\) which is a coefficient of determination, a statistical measure of how close the data are to the fitted regression line. We notice that \(R^2\) is close to 1.0 which is a straight line, increasing by a factor, \(m\) each day.

He is making a point with logistic regression that, when a country has 100 times lower cases than another country, the country is not 100 times better, but just 30 days behind!

And following the numbers, if we extrapolate, we will hit a 1 billion cases in 81 days. But that's hardly desirable, and everyone wants to know when we do stop growing linearly and hit a plateau. He notes that "Linear Growth" is a theoretical phenomenon, not a realistic one. Just like, if you were not married last year, and you got married this yea, it does not mean, will you marry every year from now. (Explain XKCD)

But unlike marriage, we are seeing an exponential growth here. We will have to find out the factors that reduce the exponential growth.

So, in reality what we are expecting is a logistic curve where the exponential growth includes damping factor contributed by people who are not infected.

Our whole idea, then becomes to increase this damping factor, that is not get infected by this virus.

What makes the growth factor go down other than maxing out at the total population?
  • Decrease the number of people getting exposed - aka social distancing

  • Decrease the probability of exposure - aka wash your hands completely, maintain hygiene amongst other things.

And important point to remember in this damping factor is, the output decreases exponentially too

For instance with the growth factor of 1.15, we have the first number and reduces significantly, only by 10% decrease in the damping factor.

3Blue1Brown has tried to quantify our worry factor, and give us hope that by social distancing, good hygiene we can reduce the damping factor and control the growth. However, "If we are not worried, that's only thing to worry about".

Related Articles / Simulations

Book Review: Blown to Bits

Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital ExplosionBlown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion by Hal Abelson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bits are Bit. Even if they are transmitted through electrons in copper wires or light in fiber optical cables or via modulation in radio waves. All of these carry bits and run the world. This book covers the intersection between technology, society, the justice system, policies, and politics. It is highly approachable and helps you appreciate technology, not just from a technical standpoint but from a societal standpoint. I really appreciate the concern for fellow human beings put forefront in this book. It opens the reader's mind to care a lot about the political process and be aware that any technology we design is going to have a wide societal impact.

The entire book is available free online: