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Links for 2022-08-15

  • Some Light on Long Covid

    Eric Topol on some recent research publications regarding Long Covid:

    I’m going to briefly review here the new reports on (1) prevalence; (2) mechanisms and biomarkers; and (3) potential treatments […] Much new information for Long Covid was reported in a matter of days. It would be great to keep up this momentum, now that we are pushing onto 3 years of the pandemic. I have many colleagues who have been severely affected, and have seen multiple patients in my clinic in recent weeks who are debilitated. I wish I had something to offer them, but hopefully over time we’ll build on this recent spurt of knowledge. While we have no treatment or biomarker, the CDC relaxation of Covid guidelines is totally unhelpful— staying Covid cautious is the right move, and we desperately need better tools to block infections and transmission. There’s some hope that the first completed 4,000 participant nasal vaccine randomized trial could be the start of patching up the leak of vaccines against the Omicron subvariants (currently BA.5). Prof Iwasaki and I have called for an urgent Operation Nasal Vaccine initiative. There’s only one surefire way to prevent Long Covid: not to get Covid.

    (tags: long-covid covid-19 treatments health medicine research)

  • The Junkyard Datacenter

    I love this idea — repurpose ancient phones as a DC for energy efficiency:

    It requires significant energy to manufacture and deploy computational devices. Traditional discussions of the energy-efficiency of compute measure operational energy, i.e. how many FLOPS in a 50MW datacenter. However, if we consider the true lifetime energy use of modern devices, the majority actually comes not from runtime use but from manufacture and deployment. In this paper, then, we suggest that perhaps the most climate-impactful action we can take is to extend the service lifetime of existing compute. We design two new metrics to measure how to balance continued service of older devices with the superlinear runtime improvements of newer machines. The first looks at carbon per raw compute, amortized across the operation and manufacture of devices. The second considers use of components beyond compute, such as batteries or radios in smartphone platforms. We use these metrics to redefine device service lifetime in terms of carbon efficiency. We then realize a real-world “junkyard datacenter” made up of Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 phones, which are nearly a decade past their official end-of-life dates. This new-old datacenter is able to nearly match and occasionally exceed modern cloud compute offerings.
    (via the Environment Variables podcast)

    (tags: climate datacenters hardware phones nexus emissions)