Category: Activities (page 2 of 17)

Lower East Side Wandering – November 27, 2018

Happy Wanderers Lower East Side Wandering is on for Tuesday
November 27, 2018

The Wanderers will be exploring the Lower East Side of New York City on
Tuesday, November 27, 2018. Included in this wandering will be libations
at the dive Bar Milano’s, a tour of the Tenement Museum and Lunch at
Katz Delicatessen.Its expected to be a windy and chilly day so be warmly
attired.
Board the 8.36 am train to Grand Central from Darien or the 8.39 am train
from Noroton Heights.Upon arrival at Grand Central, congregate at the
Information booth in the center of its Great Hall.
Contact: Sunil Saksena, 203-561-8601 ssaksena44@gmail.com

HIKING MIANUS RIVER PARK, STAMFORD THURSDAY, November 8, 2018 10.00 am

HIKING MIANUS RIVER PARK, STAMFORD
THURSDAY, November 8, 2018
10.00 am
Mianus River Park is a 400 acre urban forest which straddles the towns of Stamford and
Greenwich and is owned jointly by them.At this time of the year the park is at its beautiful best.
While the hiking here is not difficult, the trails are strewn with leaves and roots and occasional
rocks, so you need sturdy shoes and a good sense of balance. We will hike approximately 4
miles and, starting at 10am, be done by about 12.30 pm. As usual, participation from spouses,
significant others and friends is welcome.

The hike will be followed by lunch at the Madonia Restaurant at 1297 Long Ridge Road, Stamford.

Directions
We will be meeting at 10 am at the Stamford entrance of the Mianus River Park which is near 68
Merriebrook Lane, Stamford. Do not go to the Greenwich entrance which is on Cognewagh
Road. Best directions can be had by googling 68 Merriebrook Lane, Stamford. There is a
parking lot on th right just across the street from mailbox for 68 Merriebrook.
Contact: Sunil Saksena
ssaksena44@gmail.com
203-561-8601 cell

INTO THE RAGING SEA by Rachel Slade

El Faro, a 790-foot container ship, sank in 2015 off the coast of the Bahamas in Hurricane Joaquin. All 33 people on board died. It was the greatest American maritime disaster in 40 years, and the ship’s final hours were captured in remarkable detail on the ship’s voyage data recorder, a nautical black box. “The transcript of these conversations, as well as (one-sided) electronic communications among the captain, mates, engineers, able seamen and people ashore, runs to 500 pages,” Douglas Preston writes in his review of Rachel Slade’s“Into the Raging Sea.” “It is the most detailed live record of a maritime disaster ever created — and what a story it tells.”

 

Recommended by John Podkowski

Wandering: East River Water Ferry Tuesday, October 16, 2018

This year saw the re-emergence of water transportation on the East River linking Manhattan to Brooklyn and Queens.

We thought it would be interesting to retrace the history of water ferries by picking one of the more vibrant destinations known as Brooklyn’s DUMBO for Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass.

To start out, we will take the train leaving Darien at 8:35 a.m. and Noroton at 8:38 a.m. and gather at the Grand Central Station Information Booth on the upper level.

From there, we will take the Lexington Avenue subway to 34th St. and walk east to the 34th St. ferry terminal to purchase tickets for the East River route, boarding either the 10 a.m. or 10:40 a.m. ferry to DUMBO.

We will then proceed to the Fulton ferry landing and go to the Brooklyn Historical Society Museum to watch an eight-minute film on the history of the area. Our wandering will include a beverage stop and later lunch at the Sugarcane raw bar.

For the return trip, there are ferries at 2:29 p.m. and 2:59 p.m. going back to the 34th St. ferry terminal, where we will retrace our steps to Grand Central in time for the 4:08 p.m. or 4:33 p.m. train home.

Contact: Mark Shakley, cell 203.945.9624, mshakley@aol.com

Book Discussion: An Odyssey : a Father, a Son, and an Epic by Daniel Adam Mendelsohn,
October 10, 2018

When eighty-one-year-old Jay Mendelsohn decides to enroll in the undergraduate seminar on the Odyssey that his son Daniel teaches at Bard College, the two find themselves on an adventure as profoundly emotional as it is intellectual. For Jay, a retired research scientist who sees the world through a mathematician’s unforgiving eyes, this return to the classroom is his ‘one last chance’ to learn the great literature he’d neglected in his youth–and, even more, a final opportunity to more fully understand his son. But through the sometimes uncomfortable months that follow, as the two men explore Homer’s great work together–first in the classroom, where Jay persistently challenges his son’s interpretations, and then during a surprise-filled Mediterranean journey retracing Odysseus’ legendary voyages-it becomes clear that Daniel has much to learn, too: for Jay’s responses to both the text and the travels gradually uncover long-buried secrets that allow the son to understand his difficult father at last. As this intricately woven memoir builds to its wrenching climax, Mendelsohn’s narrative comes to echo the Odyssey itself, with its timeless themes of deception and recognition, marriage and children, the pleasures of travel and the meaning of home. Rich with literary and emotional insight, An Odyssey is a renowned author-scholar’s most revelatory entwining yet of personal narrative and literary exploration.”

 

Notes by Tom Igoe

Book Discussion: Destined for War : Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? by Graham T Allison, Nov 14, 2018

CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES ARE HEADING TOWARD A WAR NEITHER WANTS. The reason is Thucydides’s Trap, a deadly pattern of structural stress that results when a rising power challenges a ruling one. This phenomenon is as old as history itself. About the Peloponnesian War that devastated ancient Greece, the historian Thucydides explained: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” Over the past 500 years, these conditions have occurred sixteen times. War broke out in twelve of them. Today, as an unstoppable China approaches an immovable America and both Xi Jinping and Donald Trump promise to make their countries “great again,” the seventeenth case looks grim. Unless China is willing to scale back its ambitions or Washington can accept becoming number two in the Pacific, a trade conflict, cyberattack, or accident at sea could soon escalate into all-out war. In Destined for War, the eminent Harvard scholar Graham Allison explains why Thucydides’s Trap is the best lens for understanding U.S.-China relations in the twenty-first century. Through uncanny historical parallels and war scenarios, he shows how close we are to the unthinkable. Yet, stressing that war is not inevitable, Allison also reveals how clashing powers have kept the peace in the past — and what painful steps the United States and China must take to avoid disaster today.

 

See entry about Thucydides Thucydides

 

Two pieces shared by Tom Igoe

Graham-Allison-Opinion-in-Weekend-Financial-Times

The-Crisis-in-U.S.-China-Relations-WSJ.pdf

The Myth of the Liberal Order

The Truth About the Liberal Order

 

Dynamic growth of China’s GDP.

 

 

Book Discussion:The Spy and the Traitor : the Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by Ben Macintyre, Dec 12, 2018

Oleg Gordievsky was a spy like no other. The product of a KGB family and the best Soviet institutions, the savvy Russian eventually saw the lies and terrors of the regime for what they were, a realization that turned him irretrievably toward the West. His career eventually brought him to the highest post in the KGB’s London station-but throughout that time he was secretly working for MI6, the British intelligence service”-

Book Discussion: Bad Blood : Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup John Carreyrou, Jan 9, 2019

The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos–the Enron of Silicon Valley–by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end in the face of pressure and threats from the CEO and her lawyers. In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in an early fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: the technology didn’t work. For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When Carreyrou, working at the Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits. Undaunted, the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos articles in late 2015. By early 2017, the company’s value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors. Here is the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley

Current Affairs: International Trade, October 18, 2018

Discussion leader: Harris Hester

International Trade – It’s complicated

Foreign Affairs.  Three Cheers for Trump’s Foreign Policy: What the establishment misses by Randy Schweller

Foreign Affairs & Trade

China’s Small Share of an iphone

China’s Share of iphone

This is a brief fact check on the relationship between the federal deficit and the trade deficit.

http://www.crfb.org/blogs/did-trade-deficit-cause-20-trillion-debt

This is a more in depth analysis of the same thing.

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/us-trade-deficit-not-debt-repay

 

41-Straight-Years-Of-Trade-Deficits-Yet-America-Still-Stands-Strong

 

 

Current Affairs: Single Payer Healthcare, Nov 15, 2018

Discussion leader: Charlie Goodyear

Summary :

SINGLE PAYER HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS
USA Healthcare System
-17% of GDP (was 7% in 1971) vs. 9% Canada,10% UK, 10% Germany
-Coverage :
+50% Employer (155 million people, cost $20,000/family, employee pays
$5000)
+14% Medicare (+/- 55 million people)
+12% Medicaid, Veterans, Native Americans (+/- 50 million people)
+ 7% ACA purchased (+/- 20 million people)
+ 8% Emergency Room, Other
+ 9% Uninsured (+/- 30 million people)- 80% US citizens
-Drug costs : $1000/per person/year vs. OECD $500
-Estimated 100-130 million people have “pre-exsisting conditions”
-Life expectancy below OECD countries, Infant mortality higher
-Reasons for higher costs vs OECD countries :
+ Technology and drugs ( eg more MRIs per capita, no drug price controls)
+ Obesity (35% vs 19% OECD) and chronic illnesses (32% of Medicare costs
cover the last two years of life)
+ Much higher administrative costs (4% of GDP), double the staffing vs Canada
-Healthcare costs a major factor in personal bankruptsy( !0 million have bills they can’t
pay )
Canada Healthcare System
-Single payer system covering 100% of the population -no co-pays or deductables
-Doctors and hospitals privately owned and managed within system rules
-Managed by Provincial governments who pay all doctor and hospital charges
-System funded 50/50 with Federal government
-Provinces set prices and proceedures that comply with Federal requirements
-No private insurance allowed except for drugs and dental not covered by System
-Heavy involvement in drug pricing and approval, cost benefit analysis
-Essentially no US type media drug advertising
-Doctors earn about 2/3 of what US doctors earn/year
-Lower availability of medical devices (eg. 75% fewer MRIs per capita than US)
-Open heart and transplant surgery restricted
– Major problems: waiting times for referral to specialists (+/- 16 weeks ), doctor
choice limited, long delays for elective surgery
United Kingdom Healthcare System
-Single payer system covering 100% of the population-no co-pays or deductables
-Doctors are government employees and hospitals are government owned
-Managed by major regional authorities (ie Britain, Wales,Scotland, etc)
-Drug prices controlled by the government, strict cost/benefit analysis. No US
type media drug advertising
-Drug prescriptions cost about $12/ each, free for children.

– No dental coverage for adults
– Doctors earn about 2/3 of what US doctors earn
– Individuals may purchase insurance coverage with doctors in private practice
– Major problems: Long wait times (+/- 10 weeks for general surgery), limited availabiliy
of new(expensive) or experimental treatments, cost/benefit analysis, lack of mental
health services, very long delays for elective surgery
-Per capita costs $4K/year vs US $10K/year
-Many say “Underfunded but not broken “
Germany Healthcare System ( An alternative to “single payer” ??)
-An insurance based system with non profit and for profit insurers
-Covers 90% of population- required participation for all but highest earners
-Funded by 50/50 contribution by employers and employees -15% of earnings
up to about $70K/year (2014 data)
-Private doctors and hospitals but highly regulated
-No deductables and low co-pays -children are free
-Managed by regional authorities via “sickness funds” that are used to control
total costs
– Drug prices are controlled, cost/benefit analysis, no US type public advertising
– Doctors earn about 2/3 of US doctors/year
– Per capita costs less than 1/2 of US
– Surveys indicate significantly higher public satisfaction with the system vs US,
Canada or UK
( The relationship between the insurance companies, doctors, hospitals ,employers,
employees individuals and the regional government bodies is unclear and needs
further analysis and understanding)

Comparisons of Health Care Systems in the United States, Germany and Canada

https://dpeaflcio.org/programs-publications/issue-fact-sheets/the-u-s-health-care-system-an-international-perspective/

https://theconversation.com/why-market-competition-has-not-brought-down-health-care-costs-78971

https://theconversation.com/medicare-for-all-could-be-cheaper-than-you-think-81883

Single Payer Healthcare

Universal Coverage

The article below on drug cost shows how complicated healthcare is to understand, much less manage.  Factors such as age of population, availability of new drugs, the number of insured, etc. all interact.

Still, negotiation is an important factor.  The article states that many western countries (all government run healthcare) will only pay for improved outcomes.
But it’s not purely rational.  If some exotic drug will save your life, it’s worth a lot to you but maybe not so much to society if it starves other healthcare services.  The payers are subject to political pressure from interest groups.  Not simple.

The False Promise of ‘Medicare for All’

Cost is only part of the problem. Single-payer systems create long waits and delays on new drugs.

 

 

 

Current Affairs: Global Warming, Dec 13, 2018. Now 1:00 today

Discussion leader:Jack Neafsey

Discussion outline:

1-CYCLICAL TEMP/CO2 FLUCTUATIONS OVER THE PAST
       MINI ICE AGE FROM 1850 TO 1925
2-SCIENCE- NO HARD SCIENCE-ALL BASED ON MODELS DEVELOPED IN LATE 1980’S–MODELS HAVE BEEN         PROVEN TO BE WRONG
3-IMPACT- CO2 IS A FERTILIZER-15% OF CURRENT OUTPUT DUE TO CO2
   IMPACT ON THE ECONOMY–COST OF ALT FUELS W/O SUBSIDIES
4- PARIS ACCORD/ KTOTO PROTOCOL- US IS VIRTUALLY ALONE
       WORLDWIDE COAL USE IS INCREASING

Global Warming
What we probably agree on by Bob Baker:
Atmospheric CO2 levels are now at the highest of the past million years. This has occurred while CO2 emissions have risen since the start of the industrial revolution.

Current atmospheric level of 410 ppm compares to 280 ppm at start of industrial revolution
For the past 4-5 years CO2 emissions have leveled off at about 100 million tons per day.
This compares with about 60 million tons per day in 1990, when temperatures were rising.

Global temperatures have an erratic yr. to yr. change but have risen since 1950 by about .7 degree C at sea level and about 1 degree C at land surface.

In 1990, the temp. increases were at about their midpoint, such that if CO2 emissions were to drop to the 1990 level, we would not expect any decline in the rate of temperature increase.

The growth in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels has resulted from the consumer choice for consuming these fuels vs alternatives. The added cost for alternatives is not known.

What is at issue is the target in the “Paris Accords” to limit global temperature rise to 2.0 degrees C (but with a preferred target of a 1.5degree rise) in some target year. No agreed level of global emissions has been set; any reduction of atmospheric CO2 will need “CO2 capture and containment” which has not been demonstrated as feasible on a large scale. Lowering CO2 emissions does not lower atmospheric CO2 levels.

Estimated costs for meaningful reductions in fossil fuel use are huge, with the assumption that these will offset future costs of higher world temperatures.

About a billion persons do not have access to a reliable supply of electricity. What is the optimum method/cost for meeting this demand?

Several humanitarian uses for large expenditures can be identified which can yield with near-term results. (Between and one and two million persons die each year: lack of clean water, malaria, HIV and malnutrition).

What is the best use of huge mandated expenditures?

What’s with this wild weather? Blame an ‘extreme’ jet stream pattern.
The Washington Post

“Even veteran meteorologists with decades of experience are astounded,” said Capital Weather Gang’s severe weather expert.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2018/07/25/extreme-jet-stream-pattern-has-spurred-a-week-of-wild-weather-in-u-s/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.36353023b7f0

More from the Washington Post

WSJ – Economics of Climate Change

California’s Death Valley Will Have the Hottest Month Ever Recorded on Earth
Gizmodo

July has been one for extreme heat around the world, but every locale pales in comparison to what’s going on at Death Valley in California. Already one of the hottest places on the Earth, the heat has gone into overdrive this July. Death Valley is in line to set a record for the hottest month ever recorded on Earth.

https://earther.gizmodo.com/californias-death-valley-will-have-the-hottest-month-ev-1828001766

Startling new research suggests even faster rate of global warming
The Washington Post

More than 90 percent of global warming ends up in the oceans.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/energy-environment/2018/10/31/startling-new-research-finds-large-buildup-heat-oceans-suggesting-faster-rate-global-warming/?utm_term=.28e9db8bea88

The Climate Won’t Crash the Economy

A worst-case scenario projects annual GDP growth will be slower by 0.05 percentage point.  WSJ 11/27/18

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-climate-wont-crash-the-economy-1543276899?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=1

Climate Change Is Affordable

A new assessment allows us to think about good policy without panicking.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/climate-change-is-affordable-1543362461?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=6

You should read this.note the comment that U S emissions are declining and are now 14% versus China’s 27%. China’s are growing rapidly.how does the pact deal with China and India?   https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/climate/greenhouse-gas-emissions-2018.html

A paper by Carolyn Holmes Coffey (Joe Holmes’ daughter)

Wandering-Roosevelt Island, Astoria Queens, Oct 2, 2018 (postponed from Sept 18)

Tuesday, October 2, is the first Wandering of the 2018-2019 program year.

The Wanderers will journey to Roosevelt Island in the East River and to Astoria, Queens.

We will take the 8:35am train out of Darien and the 8:38am out of Noroton Heights.  The group will gather in Grand Central Station at the information booth on the upper level.

 

We will take the subway to the 59th Street station for the Roosevelt Island tram, cross to the Island and walk through Four Freedoms Park and the FDR Memorial sculpture display.

 

 

 

Then, via the East River Ferry, we’ll go to Astoria, Queens.  We will walk by many of the local landmarks associated with the earliest days of the motion picture industry in the United States, through Socrates Sculpture Park and several other sights, and finally have lunch.

We will return by subway in the afternoon to Grand Central for the train ride home.

If it rains Tuesday, we will not go.  A new date will be announced at our regular weekly meeting the next day,

Contact: Joe Spain, 203.655.1264, jhspain@sbcglobal.com

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