ICU Bed Capacity across Orange County has increased since 7/8, but so have the number of occupied beds.
My band, Lounge Diggaz, has been on hiatus for about a year due to my health. But tonight a couple of us got together and recorded an impromptu live performance.
I recently watched the FX-produced “limited series” Devs on Hulu. It stars Nick Offerman (aka Ron Swanson from “Parks & Recreation“) as the “mad genius” and Sonoya Mizuno as the protagonist trying to uncover the secret behind her boyfriend’s sudden and inexplicable disappearance. I might add that Sonoya Mizuno may very well be my new favorite actress. If you’re not familiar with her work, watch this: The Rise of Sonoya Mizuno
The roughly 8 hour show (broken into 8 segments) is the brainchild of writer/director Alex Garland, who also wrote and directed Annihilation and Ex-Machina and wrote 28 Days Later. Garland has been on my radar for several years and has brought some of the most intriguing science fiction to both the big and little screens in recent years. Here’s what I wrote on Facebook after seeing Annihilation a couple years ago:
After being a little late to the game on Devs, and despite the fact that I had seen the name pop up as recommended by several friends…I never went digging enough to find it. I saw it once on Apple TV+ but it wanted me to buy it…then I realized it was on Hulu for free! So I binged all 8 episodes in about 2 Covid quarantine days.
The story goes like this: A russian-born software security developer working for a Silicon Valley tech giant gets recruited by the company’s Founder/CEO, Forest (Offerman), to join an elite team within the company called “Devs”. Shortly after he joins Devs, he disappears and his girlfriend, Lily (Mizuno) suspects foul play, leading her on a journey that weaves international espionage, high-tech, quantum computing, determinism and the concept of a multiverse.
The Multiverse theory is a very real theory that has its roots in ancient Greek philosophy and basically postulates the multiverse is a hypothetical group of multiple universes. Together, these universes comprise everything that exists: the entirety of space, time, matter, energy, information, and the physical laws and constants that describe them. The different universes within the multiverse are called “parallel universes,” “other universes,” “alternate universes,” or “many worlds.”. The ideas of a Multiverse have been debated by physicists and philosophers alike, and has been the subject of many modern science fiction works, including the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Trek, Family Guy, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Chronicles of Narnia…and many, many more.
In Devs, the multiverse is explored as a predictive tool. If every action has a cause, say you drop a pen, the pen will fall to the floor. It’s predictable and quantifiable. Devs takes it a step further by saying that if the pen is already on the floor, you can calculate how it got there, essentially peering back in time to the initial drop. Once you can visualize it being dropped, in theory, you can continue predicting backwards (and forwards) further and further, using massive computing power to predict all possible scenarios and accurately visualize the most likely outcomes.
It very quickly gets sticky and mired in the ethics of this technology…and the concepts of “free will”, determinism and quantum physics are all blended nicely in the Devs Universe. Forest is driven to build this technology due to a great loss he suffered and hopes to use it to recapture what he lost. Lily works for the same company and uncovers the mystery of her boyfriend’s disappearance and the truth behind Devs but begins to question her own thoughts and reality along the way.
The series is visually stunning, filled with religious imagery and themes of death and rebirth. The Devs soundtrack is fantastic as well, with one notable episode starting and ending with a song called Congregation by Low. Every episode starts and ends with a unique song. It’s quite a fun watch, and I highly recommend it. But…could it happen for real??? Some physicists say perhaps.
Excerpts from the article “Physicists Have Reversed Time on The Smallest Scale Using a Quantum Computer“
“It’s easy to take time’s arrow for granted – but the gears of physics actually work just as smoothly in reverse. Maybe that time machine is possible after all?
“An experiment from 2019 shows just how much wiggle room we can expect when it comes to distinguishing the past from the future, at least on a quantum scale. It might not allow us to relive the 1960s, but it could help us better understand why not.”
“The second law of thermodynamics is less a hard rule and more of a guiding principle for the Universe. It says hot things get colder over time as energy transforms and spreads out from areas where it’s most intense.
“It’s a principle that explains why your coffee won’t stay hot in a cold room, why it’s easier to scramble an egg than unscramble it, and why nobody will ever let you patent a perpetual motion machine.
“It’s also the closest we can get to a rule that tells us why we can remember what we had for dinner last night, but have no memory of next Christmas.
“That law is closely related to the notion of the arrow of time that posits the one-way direction of time from the past to the future,” said quantum physicist Gordey Lesovik from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.
“Virtually every other rule in physics can be flipped and still make sense. For example, you could zoom in on a game of pool, and a single collision between any two balls won’t look weird if you happened to see it in reverse.
“On the other hand, if you watched balls roll out of pockets and reform the starting pyramid, it would be a sobering experience. That’s the second law at work for you.
“On the macro scale of omelettes and games of pool, we shouldn’t expect a lot of give in the laws of thermodynamics. But as we focus in on the tiny gears of reality – in this case, solitary electrons – loopholes appear.
“Electrons aren’t like tiny billiard balls, they’re more akin to information that occupies a space. Their details are defined by something called the Schrödinger equation, which represents the possibilities of an electron’s characteristics as a wave of chance.
That’s the fancy title of a new report by Kazuki Takeishi and other scientists who have successfully created miniature human livers from stem cells and put them into mice. I won’t get into the details, mostly because I don’t understand them, but here’s a picture:
You can read the very technical research paper here on Cell.com: Growing Mini Livers
About 17,000 people are currently waiting for a liver transplant in the United States. This number greatly exceeds the amount of available, donated by deceased donors. Meanwhile, organ transplants can be prohibitively expensive. In 2017, patients receiving a liver transplant were billed an estimated $812,500. That includes pre and post-op care as well as immunosuppressant drugs to keep people’s bodies from rejecting the transplanted organ.
I am one of those liver transplant recipients. My donor passed away on May 12th 2020, and in the early hours of May 13th, my dying liver was removed and replaced with the donor’s healthy liver in an operation that lasted about 4 hours. That was exactly three weeks ago, but I could have been much more unlucky. Each year an estimated 2000 people die while on the national transplant list…there are just not enough donated livers to keep up with demand. And you can’t live without a functioning liver…it is one of the most important organs and supports over 500 key body functions.
While the science isn’t quite ready for prime-time, scientists expect that within 10 years, liver donations will be a thing of the past.
You can read a much less science-y version of the story here: Lab Grown Human Mini Livers
I love listening to (and reading) Alan Watts. His unique perspective on the Universe and humanity’s role as part of this thing we call “life” has altered my views on several subjects…from the meta to the mundane. Here is a recent recording of one of his lectures…I hope you’re ready 🙂
So, my battle with my liver has landed me in the hospital once again. I went yesterday to get some routine blood tests and they came back with a dangerously low Hemoglobin Count of 6.3. The normal range for males is 13.5 – 17.5. Because the liver carries out over 500 functions in the body, when it’s not working as designed, it can lead to many other illnesses. One common symptom is anemia, which I have, which basically translates to less oxygen in my blood.
How do they fix it? Blood transfusion. Since this rollercoaster ride began back in September of 2019, I’ve probably been given 15 or more pints of hemoglobin-rich blood to immediately give my system a boost.
So I’m back again…still determined to beat this thing, and hoping that healthy donor liver becomes available sooner rather than later. I was told l would likely wait 1-4 months before the right organ becomes available and we’re just passing into month 3 since I was officially put on the national donor list. Unfortunately a partial transplant from a living donor is not an option in my case, but thank you to the several family and friends that have offered…that’s truly amazing.
Advent Hospital in Orlando is one of the top liver transplant hospitals in the world, and I am lucky to live only a few miles away. My team of doctors, nurses and techs are caring, knowledgable and treat me like a member of their family, so I try my best to keep them entertained (my current leading complaint I tell them that I specifically requested an oceanside view) 🙂
The hospital itself is relatively empty, no visitors due to Covid-19 and they have all of the Covid patients quarantined in a different building. I never ever thought I’d be dealing with liver disease, compounded by a worldwide pandemic. The Universe keeps throwing curveballs at me.
But when life throws you curveballs, you gotta make some curveball-ade!
P.S. Thank you all for your continued support of kind words and gifts of home-cooked meals and my special team of family and friends who check in on me multiple times a day. I feel truly blessed knowing so many people care, which is one reason I try to post updates like this one. You can also help by making a tax-deductible donation at http://donate.diggz.org.
One of the first Radiolab episodes I ever listened to from 2007 features Diana Deutsch, a professor specializing in the Psychology of Music, who could extract song out even the most monotonous of drones. (Think Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller. Bueller.)
I remembered this when I was tasked to create a unique ringtone for Tropo’s Phono WebRTC client. Few actually know that I borrowed the ringtone for Phono directly from this Radiolab episode.
It’s an age old question with some startling results…. do we really see blue? This episode of #RadioLab deep-dives into the concept of colors.
Hello! I am currently hosting online services to perform your Wedding. My ordination from Universal Life Ministries is recognized worldwide now and at reduced rates. Video services include FaceTime, Facebook Live, Zoom and more. I will sign and date your Marriage Certificate. Please email us to schedule and get a free quote.
I never really gave it much thought until facing my own terminal illness. The phrase “Get Well Soon”…it’s everywhere, embedded in the cultural consciousness through greeting cards, balloons and cakes. Sounds great, right?
Here’s why it fails:
As someone with a terminal disease, the phrase can feel flat and almost robotic. I know anytime someone posts that phrase on my page, I would hope they would take the time to say something a little more and think about an alternative phrase. Some suggestions:
- Sending you healing vibes
- You are in our thoughts
- praying for you
- let me know if there is anything I can do, please let me know
- I made a donation on your behalf
- (hopefully you get some of your own ideas out of these suggestions)
This is not to say the intent is missing as anyone who has dealt with a life-threatening illness knows, it’s a difficult thing to deal with, but perhaps take a moment to put some more thought, relay a fond story or memory, say something special that shows they are important.
For more ways to donate to liver transplant patients, tax-free click here