Friday, September 30, 2022

3rd Covid Booster Plus Flu Shot On Same Day? Maybe I'll Rethink That Strategy In Future

 After learning of 200,000 Covid deaths thus far this year (a month ago) I was determined to get the 3rd Moderna booster.  But then learned supplies were near zero here in Colo. Springs.  My wife suggested the Pfizer option instead, but it meant signing into the UCHealth system and getting it at a clinic there. Since nearly 80 % of the total deaths from Covid so far this year - reported in the WSJ - were people 65 and older, it was a literal 'no brainer'.

The other lurking viral scourge is the H3N2 flu virus which, according to reports wreaked havoc in Australia during its fall and winter with over 100,000 cases - many hospitalized.  Given I'd already had a 'run-in' (a bad one) with this version of flu before,. i.e.

I wanted no part of a repeat, especially after being diagnosed with bronchiectasis, e.g.  

 So not wanting to wait overly long, including getting one shot then the other days later, I opted to get both - one in each arm.   That was roughly 4 hrs. ago, and the main precaution was I had to wait 15 mins. after the Covid booster to make sure there were no ill effects, adverse reactions.  The nurse conveyed me into a small cafe area where she invited me to grab all the snacks I wanted, as well as juice and water.  I settled for just the H2O.  

 On the way back home I did tell Janice the only reaction was of feeling slightly 'punch drunk', like I had one too many bourbon and cokes.  As for the pain in the shot arm - which I did get from the Moderna shots (like being hit with a line drive from the Brewers' Christian Yelich) -  that hasn't materialized, yet.  The RN at UCHealth did tell me that the Moderna vaccine typically packs more of a punch - because of the higher dose- so I was unlikely to feel anything like I got from the earlier boosters.   Anyway, so far no big deal, though I do plan to snatch a nap to see if the semi-inebriated sensation wears off.   

What I do believe is that everyone over 65 owes it to themselves and their family to get this booster (and that assumes you got the earlier ones) and choose deliberately to "not be stupid", in Janice's words.


The nap lasted 3 1/2 hrs.  Didn't wake up until 7 p.m.  Totally blotto, still felt hung over and barely able to summon the energy to scrape together a tuna salad sandwich.   Wasn't even able to make this update entry until just now at 9: 45 p.m.  As I told Janice, I still feel mildly achy - the Covid shot arm especially - but not as painful as a Yelich line drive. More like the hit off the bat from a college softball. Still, all in all, not as bad as it might have been after two vaccines. 

By an hour later realized I'd spoken too soon, and needed 1000 mg Tylenol, to deal with aching all over, slight nausea and wondering what the hell I was thinking when I started this post.  Bold caromed into 'bowled over' within about 3-6 hrs.

But never mind me.  Get the shots - Covid booster and flu shot - on different days then.  Definitely, every manjack and 'girljack' ought to be getting the flu shot too.  Whether you choose to get both Covid and flu shots the same day is up to you, but get them NOW - whichever way you roll.   

See Also:

New coronavirus subvariant BA.2.75.2 tops concerns as officials gear up for potential winter wave



CDC officials describe intense pressure, job threats from Trump White House


The H3 N2 Flu - Are We Ready For The Onslaught? 

How Helioseismology Has Extended The Research Dimensions Of Solar Physics


                                Doppler image of Sun reveals motion on its surface

A computer-generated image of some of the 10 million modes of acoustic waves on the Sun (red indicating receding wave fronts, and blue approaching).

The dedicated measurement and interpretation of solar oscillations evolved into a new field called helioseismology , mainly developed in the last fifty-four years, but few lay folk are aware of it.. However, plumbing the Sun's depths to investigate its different modes of vibration allows hitherto unknown tools to be applied to many types of solar  predictions.  

Helioseismology began more or less formally in the 1960s when Robert Leighton and colleagues discovered oscillations on the surface of the Sun. Leighton was actually looking at specific wavelengths associated with solar granulation. e.g.

 And expected as the images got further apart in time they'd exhibit less coherence. But instead he found that after 5 minutes they were back in phase, i.e. reinforced.  This marked the discovery of the 5 minute oscillations.  

A few years later John Leibacher and associates theorized the origin as acoustic waves trapped in a cavity just below the solar surface.  These were generated by blobs of hot gas at the top of the Sun's convective zone. This led to the first reckoning of non-radial oscillations ca. 1968 with  two-dimensional plots of wavenumber vs. frequency or (k -w) diagrams. In typical k -w diagrams, we have frequency  w along the ordinate and k along the abscissa. One would then see the p-modes in the upper left lying above  w ac     and the g-modes (gravity modes) at lower right below a dotted line for N. Another line given is for ckh which represents the Lamb waves or f-modes.   

Several peaks of amplitude were found and it was suggested that these corresponded to the fundamental and first overtones for the solar envelope. Interestingly the patterns of solar oscillations - namely the acoustic or "p-modes" resemble those detected on drum heads by computer holography.  The regions for p and g modes are depicted in the artist's diagram below:

The Sun is clearly not a drum head, but it seems to behave like one in terms of its oscillations.  Solar physicists are particularly interested in what are called p, g and f modes given they are resonant modes of oscillation.  The p-modes are basically associated with acoustic or sound waves, the g modes are for internal gravity waves and the f modes are for surface gravity waves.   

The waves as noted above, have been found to have  a roughly  5-minute period, and solar physicists have discovered about 10 million modes for the waves - with roughly one million of these shaking the surface at any one time. A computer- generated image of some of the waves is shown at the top of this post. How is 10 million arrived at?   This has to do with the spherical harmonic mathematics which we will get to.  For now, we note the key function for all distinct  (n, ℓ and m)   p-modes, is specified by y nℓm

Let’s take n first. According to diagnostic diagrams showing “ridges” for oscillatory power at each frequency,  e.g.

at least 20 have been observed. In the diagram shown, the spikes or ridges for the p-mode represent the first harmonic and the baseline smooth curve from which they project is the fundamental. This leads to a maximum radial order of n = 20 for the p-mode associated ridges.. Now, for each of these n values, at least 500 angular degrees ℓ have been observed. We also know that for each such ℓ there are at least 2 ℓ values (actually 2 ℓ + 1). So in this case: 

2 ℓ = 2(500) = 1000. 

Then the total estimated modes at any given time works out to:

T n ℓm   =  20 x 500 x 1000 =  10 7

    Or, ten million modes, all overlapping in time and space

 Like the seismic waves that affect Earth, often before earthquakes,  the Sun's waves have important diagnostic capabilities.  We know, for example, that as the waves travel into the Sun they're refracted toward the surface by changes in temperature, density and composition. Individual waves, then, are re-directed differently depending on the foregoing properties at the given location, as well as the path of propagation through the Sun.  A careful analysis of the waves thereby provides a detailed look at conditions deep in the Sun. Helioseismology, in fact, is the only know way to see deep inside our star. 

It has been Dopplergrams making use of the Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) that have given us the best observation portal on the rising and falling super cells known as supergranules.   In the Doppler image shown at the top the dominant motion is for solar rotation, so we see the eastern side of the disk is blue shifted, while the western side is red shifted. (Moving away from us). Waves at the surface create the fuzzy appearance of the disk overall. 

 The necessary wave analyses, of course, entail mathematical methods that make use of already well-known functions applicable to similar physical systems.

Enter the spherical harmonic function, which is also peculiar to atomic physics, but here is most applicable to the p-modes . In  the solar oscillations context,  the key function, as I noted,  is given by:

y nℓm  =  R n (r)  Y ℓm (q, j) exp (w t)

Here, R n (r) is applicable to radial patterns (with n the radial quantum number) whereby for a given value of n we elicit a pattern of radial nodes, for which the position is determined by the exact pattern of the function  R n (r)   The rest of y  gives the surface pattern as a spherical harmonic of the oscillation. The spherical harmonic, e.g.

 Y ℓm (q,j), 

determines the angular (q,jdependence of the eigenfunctions and hence the surface distribution of the oscillation amplitudes, i.e. as seen by an observer. The letters n, m and ℓ denote numbers whose meanings should be further clarified. The first is the radial order or the number of nodes in the radial direction. The second is the harmonic degree or azimuthal order which indicates the number of nodes around the equator on the three dimensional spherical surface. 

Finally we have the angular degree or the number of nodes from pole to pole, e.g. along longitude or meridian lines. The difference  (ℓ  - m) is also of interest as it yields the lines corresponding to parallels of latitude. Any given combination of the numbers n, m and   allows a unique frequency n to be computed. For example, if we have n= 14, m = 16 and ℓ = 20 one gets a period of 340.61 s or:

n =  2 p/ T  =  2 p/ (340.61 s) =  2.935 x 10 -3 /s

 Radial oscillations alone have ℓ  =  0 and we see in this case the associated Legendre function P ℓm (q ) has:

P ℓm (q )  =  (1 – z2) m/2 / ℓ! 2   d (ℓ+m) / dz(ℓ+m)  (z2   -1)

Recall m= 2 ℓ + 1 = 2(0) +1 = 1


P ℓm (q )  =  (1 – z2) 1/2 / 0! 20   d / dz  (z2   -1) 0

=  (1 – z2) ½  =   (1 – cos 2 q)½   =  (sin 2 q)½     = sin q

For q = p/2  , P ℓm (q )  =  1

And: P ℓm (q ) exp (i m j)  =  (1) exp (i (1) 0)  = 1

If  n nℓm =   1 c/s  then:  Y ℓm (q,j) = 1 and y nℓm  =  R n (r) 

 The degree ℓ of the spherical harmonic can assume any integer value, i.e.:

ℓ  =  0, 1, 2, …….

At each such ℓ the azimuthal number m assumes a 2 ℓ + 1 value, i.e.

 m= - ℓ, (-ℓ +1)....0......( ℓ - 1), + ℓ

Meanwhile, the frequency of a particular mode is given by the azimuthal eigenvalue m, and the meriodonal eigenfunction ℓ - together with n. Since m= 2 ℓ + 1, then the spherical surface is split into 2 ℓ + 1  regions.

Hence, there exist   values of  q  for which the function  P    (m )  vanishes. The zeros occur on specific  parallels of latitude on the sphere. All odd-numbered harmonics vanish at the equator given they contain the factor  m  =  cos q.  Hence at the equator q    = 90 degrees so cos (90) = 0.  In like manner, P m ℓ   (m) vanishes along (ℓ  - m) parallels of latitude.  The associated functions vanish at the poles (m = +1) when m > 0.   The zeros at the poles are of order m/2 because of the factor :         

(1 -  m m/2  in the general equation.[1]

The first few zonal harmonics are computed  using an alternative form of Rodrigues’ formula, 

ℓ  (m) =  1/ (2 l    ℓ!)  d / d 2  ( 2   -   1)  l 

   Then:  P  =  1                                                                              

P   =   

 =   3 m 2  /2    -   ½

This, alas, is about as far as we can go without getting "too much in the weeds."  Let me just end this post by noting that in 1981, Leibacher and Stein showed that if one treated the Sun as a resonant cavity one could expect the relationship between period, T and frequency, w :

T = (n + ½)p / w

 In other words for the condition at which the sound speed equals the horizontal phase velocity (w/k h ) one expects acoustic wave reflection. Duvall and Harvey [2] reinforced this work by measuring the frequency spectrum of this » 300s  oscillation and found it applicable for ℓ-modes less than 140, and radial modes R with order n = 2 to 26. Posing the degree ℓ- in terms of  the reflection radius r:

ℓ =  -1/2  +  [ ¼ +    4p2 g2 r2 / c2 ]

The modes were thus established as being deep in the solar interior by matching all the modes in a series of data using the above equation.


[1] Menzel, Donald H.: 1959, Mathematical Physics, Dover Publications, , Eqn. 17.17. 

[2] Duvall, T.L. and Harvey, J.W.: 1984, Nature, 310, 19.


Suggested Challenge Problem:

    Explain the appearance of the spherical surface shown below if it describes m= 5 and ℓ = 5. Thence, find the associated Legendre function: P ℓm (q ) and also Y ℓm (q,j) assuming q = p/2: (Assume  n nℓm =  1 /s)

Thursday, September 29, 2022

"A Nation Of Quitters"? Methinks WSJ's Andy Kessler Doesn't Have The Complete Picture.


The WSJ columnist Andy Kessler is on the warpath against "quitters"  ('A Nation of Quitters',  p. A15, Sept. 26).  Specifically he wants to know 'Where did everyone go?' And he's demanding all unemployed guys ages 25 to 54 get off their keysters and stop playing 'Fall Guys' 15 hours a day.  Oh, and binge watching the new 'Power of the Ring' series on Amazon Prime.  Nope, Kessler would rather these "quitters" and "under-achievers" (i.e. bums) get up, get out and actually work in an Amazon warehouse.  There they would have to wear Depends as they race back and forth under Bezos' all -seeing electronic monitors that count every movement and pause. No time for bathroom breaks, as Heike Geissler, whose book (Seasonal Associateexposed, including the frenzied work pace after one particular day of drudgery, e.g.

"You replace the Band Aids on your hands. Your thumbs, forefingers, middle fingers  on both hands now have long hangnails from all the reaching into totes and boxes and from cutting and folding cardboard. Harmless irritations but they make every movement harder."

But Andy Kessler is unimpressed as he writes:

 "The unemployment rate was 3.5% in July, the same as in February 2020, but the U.S. has three million fewer workers. Where did everyone go? This in an economy with 11.2 million job openings. It’s mostly men 25 to 54 who haven’t come back to work. Now a McKinsey study suggests that 40% of workers are thinking of quitting their jobs. Does anyone want to work anymore?"

Well, maybe they do, but not in the severe corporate conditions exposed -  with spying on their every movement and using digital productivity algorithms to track every keyboard entry.  Also, not if  - say under Amazon's merciless electronic tracker - every hour is "spent forcing hapless, low paid 'pickers' to spring down cavernous stacks of consumer stuff to fill online orders, pronto." (In the words of columnist Jim Hightower, 'The Reality of Worker Hell', COS Indy)  No wonder these guys want no part of it, realizing they'd be hard- pressed to even take five minutes for a dump - without being docked 50 bucks or put on notice for goldbricking.  Or worse, it might well be seen as a form of quiet quitting which has also been portrayed on this  TikTok.

Kessler continues:

"Everyone has an explanation for the Great Resignation: extended unemployment benefits, eviction moratoriums, baby boomers retiring, work-from-home complacency, anxiety, long Covid.  Sure, all are reasonable excuses. Here’s my theory: Too many got a taste of not working and liked it. A lot. Until recently, many people could make more money by not working and became glued to screens, Insta- TikTok-ing and living the easy life by sponging off the rest of usWhat’s not to like? "

Hey, whoa there, Bub!  Can you prove all that blarney? How do you know these guys are all 'glued to screens' or 'Tik-Toking?'   They might be off on gig jobs in between chilling at home, but these go unreported in Labor Dept. stats.   Maybe poor Andy missed the well-researched WSJ op-ed from Dan Alman ('See No Labor', p. A17) that these "absent" workers  (6 million according to Alman) didn't just “vanish” from the labor force.  As Alman wrote:


"They didn’t just vanish. Many found ways of working that expose a blind spot in government policy while transforming the economy. They signed up for flexible working apps such as DoorDash, Amazon Flex, Trusted Health and the one from my company, Instawork— apps that match hourly workers with local businesses on a shift-by-shift or task to task basis."

The problem, as Alman pointed out, is that Trump's Labor Dept. had not been publishing any stats on flexible work, despite the Instawork app popularity.

 Kessler at it again in his rant:

"What’s not to like? Parisians called those with unconventional lifestyles “Bohemians.” Now we have unemployed, perpetually plugged-in, dopamine-addled Cyber Bohemians—let’s call them Cy-Bros. Before you send me hate mail, I’m only talking about the underachievers, including those who traded crypto and NFTs and lost all their stimulus and unemployment money after the crypto crash. Now Cy-Bros, with nothing better to do, are streaming away, including the first five of an eventual 50 hours of Amazon’s new “Lord of the Rings” show. ....I’ve also discovered that a huge idle couch-bound class spends its days playing the battle-royale videogame “Fall Guys,” the latest craze, with 50 million players. It’s nonviolent, almost cuddly, and—be warned—ridiculously addictive fun."

Hey, Kessler, maybe they are just between gig jobs. And how do you know they're spending "50 hours a week" watching Amazon's new series.  Oh wait, his important qualifier was "eventual"  so that by the end of the series this year it may amount to a total of 50 hours. Well, wifey and I have been watching it and so far it's barely 1 hour each for the first 4 episodes, a total of 4 hours over 4 weeks.  That's nothing.  But the way Gessler portrays it, it's like they're all glued to screens.

Let's also bear in mind there is a component of people - mainly males, true  - who are just tired of the 9 to 6 daily grind in one place - whether office or warehouse. Especially when it means constant electronic monitoring of all they do - or don't do.  I mean consider this fact: Delivery drivers and warehouse workers are already tracked relentlessly. Ditto now for Kroger cashiers, UPS drivers and millions of others.  White-collar freelancers like designers, writers, copyeditors, transcribers and other office workers are often asked to use “time management programs” that not only track down to the second how long you work on a task but will detect and deduct “lag time” by monitoring whether your keyboard or trackpad is being used.  Eight of the 10 largest private U.S. employers track the productivity metrics of individual workers, many in real time, according to an examination by The New York Times

This relentless tracking, the HR Dept. will tell you, is to make sure that the contractor who is probably already underpaying you doesn’t have to pay for the three minutes you went to the bathroom.  After all, you are only paid for the hours and minutes the assorted electronic monitors and computers see you in action. Why pay a minister for "counseling" if there's little actual action recorded, only blabbing?  Why pay an oncologist if all the monitor detects is him yakking to a patient? Many employees, whether working remotely or in person, are subject to trackers, scores, “idle” buttons and other means for constantly accumulating and assessing "work" records. Any pauses can lead to penalties, from lost pay to lost jobs. (Some radiologists in the midst of reading x-rays, CT-scans etc. can see scoreboards showing their “inactivity” time by the minute.)

If anything, this kind of software forces workers to make constant useless gestures toward productivity – banging arrow keys and swirling cursors around just to keep their pay from being docked.  And lord help you if a honcho happens to catch you with eyes closed! "Can't stay awake there, fella?"  So it's little wonder the phenomenon of quiet quitting has exploded, as well as the inclination not to want to be under the thumb of these slave drivers 40 hours a week or more.  

What's more, the pernicious corporate paranoia embodied in the tracking obsession has now spread like a virus to other workers. Architects, academic administrators, doctors, nursing home workers and lawyers described growing electronic surveillance over every minute of their workday. They echoed complaints that employees in many lower-paid positions have voiced for years: that their jobs are relentless, that they don’t have control — and in some cases, that they don’t even have enough time to use the bathroom

So the men targeted in Kessler's caustic diatribe are not "quitters", they are mainly just trying to reclaim a measure of their humanity. Effectively sending the message to the Corporatocracy that 'we will no longer be your mechano-bots or slaves'.     It's easy for Andy Kessler and the other complaining WSJ hacks (e.g. Kim Strassel, Holman Jenkins Jr., Dan Henninger) to write their attack lines while sitting in cool, air-conditioned comfort.  And so so while pulling down a half mil a year each for spouting opinions. But one wonders how these morons would fare in an Amazon warehouse racing to sort, shuffle and pack dozens of items every hour in non - a/c conditions. 

Until each of these trolls can work one whole day doing the job of a Heike Geissler (and not using Depends either), they need to put a sock in it.  

See Also:

Gen Z workers demand flexibility, don’t want to be stuffed in a cubicle