Paper comparing epidemics of COVID and suppression in many countries & regions published by Burg & Ausubel

Nations and regions which implemented interventions sufficient to block community spread effectively experienced a rapid decline in confirmed cases. However, with lifting of interventions, rates rebounded to the previous high infection rates and attained a relatively stable empirical steady state. For COVID-19, societies so far appear to face a choice between relatively high oscillations involving waves of suppression and infection and lesser oscillations around an endemic setpoint.

Trajectories of COVID-19: A longitudinal analysis of many nations and subnational regions David Burg, Jesse H. Ausubel published 23 Jun 2023 PLOS ONE

Trajectories of COVID-19: A longitudinal analysis of many nations and subnational regions

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is the first to be rapidly and sequentially measured by nation-wide PCR community testing for the presence of the viral RNA at a global scale. We take advantage of the novel “natural experiment” where diverse nations and major subnational regions implemented various policies including social distancing and vaccination at different times with different levels of stringency and adherence. Initially, case numbers expand exponentially with doubling times of ~1–2 weeks. In the nations where interventions were not implemented or perhaps lees effectual, case numbers increased exponentially but then stabilized around 102-to-103 new infections (per km2 built-up area per day). Dynamics under effective interventions were perturbed and infections decayed to low levels. They rebounded concomitantly with the lifting of social distancing policies or pharmaceutical efficacy decline, converging on a stable equilibrium setpoint. Here we deploy a mathematical model which captures this V-shape behavior, incorporating a direct measure of intervention efficacy. Importantly, it allows the derivation of a maximal estimate for the basic reproductive number Ro (mean 1.6–1.8). We were able to test this approach by comparing the approximated “herd immunity” to the vaccination coverage observed that corresponded to rapid declines in community infections during 2021. The estimates reported here agree with the observed phenomena. Moreover, the decay (0.4–0.5) and rebound rates (0.2–0.3) were similar throughout the pandemic and among all the nations and regions studied. Finally, a longitudinal analysis comparing multiple national and regional results provides insights on the underlying epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 and intervention efficacy, as well as evidence for the existence of an endemic steady state of COVID-19.

“Peak Human?” booklet by Ausubel-Curry posted

Based on Jesse’s Nierenberg Prize lecture, Jesse and Alan Curry, who led research on human performance enhancement for the Program for the Human Environment for several years, have created a compact version with about half the visual exhibits in the lecture. We retain the title “Peak Human? Thoughts on the Evolution of the Enhancement of Human Performance.” Thanks to Dale Langford for editorial assistance and the beautiful layout.

Passing of Cesare Marchetti

Cesare Marchetti passed away this morning in Tuscany just short of his 96th birthday.  After meeting Cesare in 1978, Jesse Ausubel became fascinated with Cesare’s ideas about the importance and ubiquity of processes of growth and diffusion captured often in simple form by Lotka-Volterra equations and subsequently coded in our Loglet Lab software.  In the early 1980s Jesse began assisting Cesare on some projects and subsequently worked together on subjects ranging from electricity to travel to human populations and empires (see below).  And of course Leonardo Da Vinci.

Cesare is best known for Marchetti’s Constant that posits that the human time budget for travel is a little above one hour per day, since ever and everywhere, because anthropologically rooted in the dangers homo sapiens faces when outside a protected environment.

Cesare was one of the inventors of geoengineering. His most cited paper is On geoengineering and the CO2 problem (1977).

Around 1970 he was also one of the inventors of the hydrogen economy as described in this 1973 paper: Hydrogen and energy.

A bibliography with links to many of Cesare’s papers from 1952 to 2007 is here.  A second list of publications is here.

Cesare’s explorations of Leonardo are here.

Our group at The Rockefeller University always greatly enjoyed hosting Cesare in New York City, and he reciprocated with marvelous hospitality in Monteloro.

Our joint efforts included:

C Marchetti, JH Ausubel. Quantitative Dynamics of Human Empires [Color Booklet Version, 52 pages].  Adapted from Marchetti and Ausubel, International Journal of Anthropology 27(1-2):1-62, 2012. 2013

JH Ausubel, C Marchetti. Science, Conquering Child of the Church . 2003 Draft prepared for Next 1000 Years meeting, 9-10 October 2003

C Marchetti, JH Ausubel. The Next 1000 Years. 2003 Discussion paper for April 2003 Rockefeller U workshop

JH Ausubel, C Marchetti. The Evolution of Transport. The Industrial Physicist 7 (2): 20–24, 2001

JH Ausubel, C Marchetti, PS Meyer. Toward Green Mobility: The Evolution of Transport European Review 6 (2): 143–162, 1998

JH Ausubel, C Marchetti. Elektron: Electrical Systems in Retrospect and Prospect Pp. 110–134 in Technological Trajectories and the Human Environment, J.H. Ausubel and H.D. Langford, (eds.). Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997 Also appeared in Daedalus 125(3):139-169, Summer 1996.

C Marchetti, PS Meyer, JH Ausubel. Human Population Dynamics Revisited with the Logistic Model: How Much Can Be Modeled and Predicted? Pp. 1–30 in Technological Forecasting and Social Change vol. 53, 1996.

Requiescat in pace.

Loglet Lab 5 beta available for use

For almost 30 years, thanks to Perrin Meyer, Jason Yung, David Burg, and now Albert Strusberg, we have developed and maintained a software package for analyzing logistic wavelets and logistic substitution, LogletLab

LogletLab 5, now in beta version, offers new web-based features for single and multiple logistics.  We welcome feedback.   We plan in the spring to release 5.1 with more fitting algorithms and also logistic substitution. 

Video of Jesse’s Nierenberg Prize lecture on “Peak Human?”

In this 54″ video made 13 October 2022 Jesse Ausubel, awarded the 2022 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest, discusses whether the human species can continue to improve—much like cars, computers, or other technology—or whether our species has reached its peak.

Another podcast with Jesse about peak human and peak humans

Jesse H. Ausubel joins Jason Spiess on The Crude Life to discuss “Peak Human” and “Peak Humans” in a 34-minute podcast and explore new research showing how humans’ minds and bodies may near their limits and even start on a downward curve.  “For 200-250 years humanity has had an incredible run,” Ausubel said. “When you think of your great grandparents, grandparents, parents and you, generally speaking you are going to be better… than they were.”