As we try to look past the abysmal reporting on the evacuation from Afghanistan, one of the things that strikes me is the inability or unwillingness of reporters to visualize what is required to make things happen in the real world.
An evacuation takes coordination among an enormous number of entities – getting the right people in the right place at the right time, along with the airplanes and their fuel, which involves other airports, air controllers, logistics people keeping track of where the planes are, and the military personnel helping out – MPs are in almost every photo of those planes full of people, for example. And then there are the State Department people who are checking identities and preparing paperwork to get refugees into the US. I suspect that people from State are also helping to coordinate moving people to the airport from various locations.
Vladimir Putin has proudly announced that Russia is developing superweapons that will get around the American missile defenses he sees as destabilizing the nuclear standoff.
Poseidon, also known as Kanyon and Status-6, is an uncrewed underwater vehicle that can carry nuclear weapons. Putin has threatened that it could cause a radioactive tidal wave that would destroy the east coast of the United States. It is said to be nuclear-powered, so that it can loiter around the seas and be brought into action rapidly.
The 9M730 Burevestnik, also known as SSC-X-9 Skyfall, is a nuclear-powered cruise missile. Like Poseidon, it is said to be able to loiter in the sky to be ready for its mission. Now it looks like Burevestnik has undergone, or is about to undergo, another test. Jeffrey Lewis kindly posted a Twitter thread explaining how they found the evidence.
The National Nuclear Security Administration, the part of the Department of Energy that designs and builds nuclear weapons, promised some time back that they would be able to build up to 80 new plutonium pits a year for nuclear weapons by 2030. In June, the administrator admitted that this won’t happen. Maybe by 2035.
The troubles that Los Alamos and Savannah River continue to have in dealing with plutonium suggest that it could be much longer than that, maybe never.
I’ve had a vision of writing a magisterial series to clarify everything about the mathematics of the pandemic, but it looks more like I will, hit-or-miss, do one issue at a time.
I’ve worked with mathematical models for chemical reactions. The math is identical to that of a pandemic – coupled differential equations describing the transformation of one set of things into other things. In the case of the pandemic that transformation is
susceptible people -> infected people -> immune or dead people
Sets of coupled differential equations have become popular for such things since we have gotten enormous computing power. Solving them isn’t easy to do by hand. Epidemiology (and chemical kinetics) grew up with simpler equations to model their processes. And those simpler equations can be good for some things!
I’ve wanted to understand the breakdown of the unvaccinated. How many are hard-core antivax and how many just haven’t gotten around to it for some reason? And who is in each category?
Here’s a source whose data I trust, but they’ve arranged the data in a particularly unhelpful way for my question.
They define a wait and see group, who want to “wait until it has been available for a while to see how it is working for other people” before getting vaccinated and a definitely not group. The wait-and-sees are 12% of American adults, and the definitely-not 13%. The wait-and-sees have been decreasing, but the definitely-not have stayed at 13%.