recentpopularlog in

jerryking : aids   5

Renowned microbiologist Frank Plummer helped fight AIDS and SARS - The Globe and Mail
His list of honours and awards take up more than a full page of his CV, in single-spaced, 11-point font. Among them: the prestigious Canada Gairdner Wightman Award in 2016, the Killam Prize in 2014 and his appointment as an officer of the Order of Canada in 2006.

When asked to describe him, his fellow scientists frequently used the word “brilliant” and referred to his “out-of-the-box” thinking.

Dr. Ronald, for example, said the two first met when Dr. Plummer was completing his medical studies at the University of Manitoba. “He was brilliant and he quickly mastered complex molecular biology that was beyond me,” Dr. Ronald wrote in an e-mail.

Larry Gelmon, his friend and colleague based in Nairobi, said he possessed a creative mind, finding new ways of conducting research and raising questions no one else had asked.
AIDS  biologists  Kenya  molecular_biology  obituaries  out-of-the-box  PhDs  questions  SARS 
14 days ago by jerryking
The need for an analytical approach to life
November 3, 2013 | FT.com | By Rebecca Knight.

Risk analysis is not about predicting events; it’s about understanding the probability of possible scenarios, according to Elisabeth Paté-Cornell, professor at the Stanford School of Engineering.
In her latest research, she argues that expressions such as “black swan” and “perfect storm”, which have become journalistic shorthand when describing catastrophes, are just excuses for poor planning. Managers, should “think like engineers” and take a systematic approach to risk analysis. They should figure out how a system works and then identify the probable ways in which it could fail.
So does a black swan event exist?
The only one that I can think of is the Aids epidemic. In the case of a true black swan, you cannot anticipate it.
And what about ‘perfect storms’?
A combination of rare events is often referred to as a perfect storm. I think people underestimate the probability of them because they wrongly assume that the elements of a perfect storm are independent. If something happened in the past – even though it may not have happened at the same time as something else – it is likely to happen again in the future.
Why should managers take an engineering approach to analysing the probability of perfect storms?
Engineering risk analysts think in terms of systems – their functional components and their dependencies. If you’re in charge of risk management for your business, you need to see the interdependencies of any of the risks you’re managing: how the markets that you operate in are interrelated, for example.
You also need imagination. Several bad things can happen at once. Some of these are human errors and once you make a mistake, others are more likely to happen. This is because of the sequence of human error. When something bad happens or you make a mistake, you get distracted which means you’re more likely to make another mistake, which could lead to another bad event. When you make an error, stop and think. Anticipate and protect yourself.
How can you compute the likelihood of human error?
There are lots of ways to use systems analysis to calculate the probability of human error. Human errors are often rooted in the way an organisation is managed: either people are not skilled enough to do their jobs well; they do not have enough information; or they have the wrong incentives. If you’re paid for maximum production you’re going to take risks.
So in the case of a financial company I’d say monitor your traders, and maybe especially those that make a lot of money. There are a lot of ways you can make a lot of money: skill, luck, or through imprudent choices that sooner or later are going to catch up with you.
So you can do risk analysis even without reliable statistics?
We generally do a system-based risk analysis because we do not have reliable statistics. The goal is to look ahead and use the information we have to assess the chances that things might go wrong.
The upshot is that business schools ought to do a better job of teaching MBAs about probability.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
“Numbers make intangibles tangible,” said Jonah Lehrer, a journalist and
author of “How We Decide,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009). “They
give the illusion of control. [Add "sense of control" to tags]
engineering  sense_of_control  black_swan  warning_signs  9/11  HIV  Aids  business_schools  MBAs  attitudes  interconnections  interdependence  mindsets  Stanford  imagination  systems_thinking  anticipating  probabilities  pretense_of_knowledge  risk-management  thinking_tragically  complexity  catastrophes  shorthand  incentives  quantified_self  multiple_stressors  compounded  human_errors  risks  risk-analysis  synchronicity  cumulative  self-protection  systematic_approaches 
november 2013 by jerryking
Chimp to Human to History Books - The Circuitous Path of AIDS - NYTimes.com
By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
Published: October 17, 2011

Dr. Jacques Pépin, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec, performs a remarkable feat. He documents
Our story begins sometime close to 1921, somewhere between the Sanaga River in Cameroon and the Congo River in the former Belgian Congo. It involves chimps and monkeys, hunters and butchers, “free women” and prostitutes, syringes and plasma-sellers, evil colonial lawmakers and decent colonial doctors with the best of intentions. And a virus that, against all odds, appears to have made it from one ape in the central African jungle to one Haitian bureaucrat leaving Zaire for home and then to a few dozen men in California gay bars before it was even noticed — about 60 years after its journey began.
AIDS  disease  Congo  primates  HIV  viruses  origin_story 
october 2011 by jerryking
Precursor to H.I.V. Was in Monkeys for Millennia, Study Says - NYTimes.com
By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
Published: September 16, 2010 "What happened in Africa in the early 20th century that let a mild monkey disease move into humans, mutate to become highly transmissible and then explode into one of history’s great killers, one that has claimed 25 million lives so far? "
AIDS  history  viruses  HIV  primates 
september 2010 by jerryking
Why all Africa needs Mugabe to go - globeandmail.com
April 12, 2008 column by Stephanie Nolen on the unfolding human tragedy that is Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe  Robert_Mugabe  AIDS  good_governance  Africa  Stephanie_Nolen 
january 2009 by jerryking

Copy this bookmark:





to read