Ham Talk Live! Episode 209 - How Hams Can Help COVID-19 Research

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by WB9VPG, Apr 21, 2020.

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  1. WB9VPG

    WB9VPG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Two guests will be on Ham Talk Live! this week (4/23) to talk about two different ways hams can help with research to fight COVID-19. Dr. Scott Wright, K0MD, will be here to talk about how plasma donations can help with a project he is overseeing at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Then, Sam Rose, KC2LRC, will be here to talk about Folding@Home, a way to help researchers make virtual molecular models of proteins to better understand diseases. Folding@Home has shifted all their distributive computing resources to COVID-19 research. Learn how you can install a simple program on your computer(s) to donate use of the processors in the background to help find a cure.

    Tune into Ham Talk Live! Thursday night at 9 pm EDT (Friday 0100Z) by going to hamtalklive.com. When the audio player indicates LIVE, just hit the play button!

    If you miss the show live, you can listen on demand anytime also at hamtalklive.com; or a podcast version is on nearly all podcast sites a few minutes after the live show is over. Some sites include Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, SoundCloud, and iHeart Podcasts; and it's also available on YouTube. A replay is also broadcast on WTWW 5085 AM on Saturday nights at approximately 6:30 pm Eastern.

    Be sure to CALL in with your questions and comments by calling 859-982-7373 live during the call-in segment of the show. You can also tweet your questions before or during the show to @HamTalkLive.

    Scott.jpg Sam.jpg
  2. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Help find a CURE?? Not just a treatment...? Good luck with the ever growing mutational forms of COVID-19. There is no scientific basis to assert that Folding@home will find a 'cure'.

    There are now hundreds of groups worldwide that are doing the 'optimization' problems that 'Folding' seeks to do. Google, in particular, is doing an amazing job. They have value, but none claims a 'cure' to my knowledge.

    The main CON to distributed-via internet activities is the huge use of power across many,many thousands of computers. This is simply NOT 'free'. And frankly, users NEED to be assessed on the power useage (that is, 'cost') per month by the SYSTEM, not just THEIR laptop (for example).

    To power all those 'in the background at night' computations....How many barrels of oil? How much CO2 generated? How many trainloads of coal?

    Keenly, we need to know what 'Folding @HOME' plans, or is doing, that is either unique in its approach, or is only duplicated in effort less than a handful of times by the many, many, other efforts across the globe. Replication is good, but too much is a waste.

    If you want me-- a generic user-- to 'feel good' (and maybe even donate money) about Folding@home, then tell me its value versus its cost (see above) .

    And PLEASE don't make claims about a CURE. There is NO reason to believe that will be the outcome.

    Chip W1YW
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2020
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  3. N0KEW

    N0KEW Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Cool. something to run while WSPR is going.
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  4. VE7JMR

    VE7JMR Ham Member QRZ Page

    As some of us live off hydro-electric power, I would not endorsing all the sentiments of W1YW. However, I would mention that due to efficiency considerations, Folding@Home is not an activity for everyone. The biggest benefit for Folding@Home is volunteers with high-performance PCs, especially the graphics card. What does high-performance mean? There's an old meme in the PC enthusiast community - "But can it run Crysis?", which means "Is it the best possible hardware?" This should be the mindset of would be Folding@Home volunteers.

    Details of what Folding@Home does:

    My EOC F@H stats:
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2020
  5. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Folding@home does not do 'cures'. It does not SUGGEST 'cures'. It does not TEST 'cures'.

    That is the main issue: LOOK AT THE OP of this THREAD...."help find a cure."

    It in no way produces C-U-R-E-S.

    AT best, it 'suggests', by analogy , and when it works, how your golf ball is wound up by elastic. It will not predict the best golf ball you can make from elastic, nor how far it will fly.

    AND let's get real: the percent of 'citizen scientists' running Folding@home 'off grid' is... 1%? less than 1 %? 1/10 of 1%?

    Any way you spin it , it still is a huge aggregate user of energy, and not a direct path to ANY cure.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2020
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  6. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here's what happens when unsubstantiated 'cures' for Corona are promulgated....

    From the lead story on CNN--

    "According to a federal criminal complaint filed Thursday and obtained by CNN, the FBI launched an undercover operation and made contact with the doctor in early April after receiving a tip from the public indicating Staley was attempting to sell "Covid-19 Treatment Packs" to the public.

    In an advertising email message reviewed by the FBI, Staley's purported medical package included dosages of hydroxychloroquine, antibacterial drug Azithromycin, antianxiety treatments, intravenous drips, and the use of a medical hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Staley offered to sell the items as a family pack for $3,995, according to the criminal complaint.

    During the recorded phone call with an FBI agent posing as a customer, Staley indicated the drug hydroxychloroquine "cures the disease" associated with coronavirus, according to the complaint."
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  7. WB9VPG

    WB9VPG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    My apologies. Treatment. I shouldn't have used the vernacular.
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  8. WN1MB

    WN1MB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

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  9. VE7JMR

    VE7JMR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I live in a part of the world where power primarily comes from hydroelectric sources, so no off-grid generation involved. (However, I am 100% solar power for Field Day.) Apparently 16% of the planet is powered from hydroelectric sources (Worldbank), so more than the 0.1 - 1% that you suggest.

    Not quite sure the source of your vehemence regarding this topic. Folding@Home is not claiming to have any curative product for sale. To quote from the Folding@Home COVID-19 page (my emphasis):
    "Our specialty is in using computer simulations to understand proteins’ moving parts. Watching how the atoms in a protein move relative to one another is important because it captures valuable information that is inaccessible by any other means. Doing so can reveal new therapeutic opportunities. We are also collaborating with other labs and groups outside the Foldingathome Consortium to solve COVID-19 asap."​

    If someone is not comfortable with the value proposition of these simulations, they have the freedom to not participate.
    GM4BRB likes this.
  10. G8FYK

    G8FYK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Watch yourself with that cough! It just might be ...?

    Actually I agree with what W1YW has said so far. The Press is absolutely riddled with false claims of cure and treatment, all unfounded.

    I seem to remember around yr 2000 there was something like this "distributive computing" (or more correctly, "distributed processing") for some other exercise that in that case required large scale number crunching, but that was back in the days when the average computer was a Pentium 4, and very powerful computers were RISC. Computers for analysing molecular structure and displaying 3D models have moved on a VERY long way since then!

    I fear someone (or company) somewhere is looking for notoriety, and with something that is not actually needed because it's already well catered for (thanks mainly to the intense research into the AIDS virus - it's interesting how computer technology advances to keep up with its requirements!).
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