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Supercourse Newsletter's Forum


2022 Newsletters:    Happy Thanksgiving!     Remembering Ron LaPorte 

             2022 Fall Seminar Series honoring Ronald E LaPorte


2021 Newsletters:    Ron's Legacy    Season's Greetings 


2020 Newsletters:    Covid-19    WHO CC letter, 5/3/2020   Doomsday, Armageddon... 


2019 Newsletters:  Sprechen sie deutsch: Multilingual Science


2018 Newsletters: Multilingual Science


Newsletters from 2002 to 2015 Library of Alexandria web page



Happy Thanksgiving! Newsletter:

Sent: 19. november 2022 18:05
Subject: [Supercourse]
Happy Thanksgiving!


Dear Friends, 


A year ago, we said goodbye to Ron, but his work lives on in his students, colleagues, and Supercourse network collaborators from over 170 countries of the world. The Department of Epidemiology at Pitt Public Health has an ongoing seminar lecture series honoring Ron’s contribution to epidemiology and global health. Recordings of these seminars are available through the main Supercourse site at www.pitt.edu/~super1.  New Supercourse lectures are still donated by the Supercourse collaborators including Wen-Ta Chiu, who recently donated COVID and other Pandemics updates, accessible at https://sites.pitt.edu/~super1/COVIDpandemic.htm 


Ron has been active in research all his life. His last article in collaboration with his colleagues in Yemen aimed to calculate a 30-year incidence rates of type 1 diabetes (T1D) in Sana'a city, Yemen during peace and wartimes, just came out and accessible at https://doi.org/10.1111/pedi.13318


Halloween just passed which was always highlighted in Supercourse Halloween newsletters: “Halloween is about here.  How delightful,  ghosts, goblins and superheroes come to our door. What if Spanish Students say Truco o trato?  Would you give them a treat? Clearly translation is important in all of our neighborhoods in the...world.” (Supercourse Halloween newsletter 2019)


On October 25, 2022 we also said goodbye to Ron’s PhD advisor Dr. Lewis Kuller. 

 “A visionary scientist and researcher who never stopped learning, Dr. Lewis H. Kuller built a top-notch Department of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh as its chair for three decades.” (Full obituary is accessible at https://www.post-gazette.com/news/obituaries/2022/10/30/lewis-h-kuller-doctor-chair-university-of-pittsburgh-pitt-epidemiology/stories/202210300127 ) One of Ron’s favorite stories about Dr. Kuller was about the time when he met Dr. Kuller for the first time back in the late 1970’s and became concerned that Dr. Kuller would soon retire before Ron would be able to finish his dissertation. Dr. Kuller always looked the same and maintained tremendous productivity up to his last days. 

(...Many of the leading epidemiologists in the world owe their career and friendship with Dr. Kuller. If it were not for him, there would be no Supercourse. I and we all owe him so much... Supercourse Newsletter, Nov.19, 2013)


Ron and Lew will always be in our hearts. 


As we approach Thanksgiving holidays, we would like to thank Ron for all his contributions to public health and also for the impact he had on the lives of his students. 

From Ron's Supercourse Newsletter, Nov.19, 2012:

.....Thanksgiving is perhaps the nicest holiday of the year in the United States. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving_(United_States). We have the opportunity to see and thank our family and friends, and eat a big dinner of Turkey, Mashed Potatoes and Pumpkin Pie... It is during this time I think back about all my friends world wide, and how thankful I am about what we are doing. We have had a remarkable year with over 5400 lectures that are teaching millions. We started several brand new adventures with the mVETs, helping the homeless veterans, help desk, central Asian collaboration, teaching the world the WHO definition of health, establishing a scientific journal and many other works. This was not what our group in Pittsburgh has done, it is the work of all of us, and it is most appreciated. I am very proud of our global Supercourse team....


Happy Thanksgiving!


Faina, Eugene, Tom for Supercourse team



Happy Thanksgiving! FORUM:


from: Shiv Chandra Mathur 
date: Nov 26, 2022, 11:28 PM


Highest regards to the pious soul of Ron,
May he rest in peace!

Shiv Chandra Mathur
Professor of Preventive and Social Medicine
SMS Medical College, Jaipur, India



From: Mammo Muchie
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2022 07:49:11 +0000

African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development, Volume 14, Issue 6 (2022)


28 research articles are published.. kindly share them to all engaged in science, technology, innovation and development research


from: Babu L Verma 
date: Nov 20, 2022, 1:13 AM


Thank you very much for your kindness. I have been associated with Supercourse Group, particularly with Ron and Faina. I thank both of them very much. I wish to continue my association with you. Kindly send me your correspondence regularly including the Supercourse Newsletter.
Please convey my regards to Faina
Yours Sincerely
Babu L Verma



from: Orchard, Trevor J 
date: Nov 20, 2022, 4:27 AM


Thanks Eugene, Tom and Faina,

What a touching and timely tribute to both Ron and Lew!

To adapt your quote from Ron’s newsletter exactly one year ago it is a time to “.. think back about [Ron’s} friends worldwide, and how thankful we are for what they are doing”. Thank you all for being a part of Ron’s orbit- it has had, and continues to have, an enormous impact worldwide!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and best wishes for his family in his native Buffalo, which is now under 4+ feet of snow!!





From: Ib Christian Bygbjerg
Date: Sun, 20 Nov 2022 08:55:07 +0000

Dear al, thanks very much for this. Speaking about Sana’a I cannot help mentioning an explorer, who I think shares many of the skills and qualities of late Ron, namely Danish Carsten Niebuhr (honestly born in Germany). He was a keen observer and scholar, knowing how to get into contact with locals and from kings to poor guides. Learning Arab and English on his way and dressing like the locals made him survive, as the only of the expedition. Here is a small extract of a paper on him. He left a great collection now at the University of Copenhagen and Danish National Museum, and 2 volumes with detailed observations, maps, drawings etc a total of > 1200 pages. Greetings Ib

the expedition continued to push deeper into the Yemeni interior. As they reached the mountains, they found relief from the heat, and when they at last rode into Sana’a on July 16, 1763, they were surprised to discover running water and shady streets—it was paradise. They secured a comfortable residence in one of the town’s picturesque buildings and were given a private audience with His Royal Highness the Imam, who sat on cushions beneath an arched roof, surrounded by fountains. Ct at Carsten Niebuhr and the Danish Expedition to Arabia - AramcoWorld




Remembering Ron LaPorte Newsletter

date: Oct 31, 2022, 12:19 AM
subject: Remembering Ron LaPorte


Dear Friends, 

Supercourse developers just conducted 
Ron's Supercourse seminar in the frame of 
This seminar series is dedicated to his memory:
Links to the rest of recorded seminars will be available at Ron's Supercourse 
Remembering Ron LaPorte
Supercourse developers

Remembering Ron LaPorte. FORUM:

From: oadsag
To: Supercourse Help <supercoursehelp@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Super11] Remembering Ron LaPorte

Sent from Android device

2022 Fall Seminar Series honoring Ronald E LaPorte Newsletter

from: Supercourse Help supercoursehelp@gmail.com
date: Sep 1, 2022, 12:26 AM

Dear Friends, 

The late Dr. Ronald Laporte, an emeritus Professor of Epidemiology, had a
unique and lasting impact on Epidemiology in general and much more
beyond. From pioneering research of Type 1 Diabetes and physical
activity, his influence spread internationally with the establishment of an
internet-based ‘supercourse” in Public Health, available to all free of
charge, and the development of the Modern RM Library of Alexandria. His
work embraced many other topics along the way including care for the
homeless and the study of geoglyphs from space. He was a faculty
member in Epidemiology for 35 years and trained 35 PhD students who
now hold many leadership positions in academia, industry and the
government. This seminar series is dedicated to his memory.

12 Seminars will be held at 12 noon SPH Auditorium G23 (Starting September 1, 2022)
Department of Epidemiology
School of Public Health
University of Pittsburgh

List of all seminars (Poster already available!) and links to recorded seminars will be available at Ron's Supercourse Front page at https://sites.pitt.edu/~super1/

Ron's Supercourse seminar scheduled for October 27 
Supercourse developers


2021 Newsletters:


Ron's Legacy  (November 5, 2021)

Dear Colleagues, 

It is with great sadness that we pass on the news that Ron LaPorte, Ph.D., Former Director, WHO Collaborating Center, and Professor Emeritus, Uni. Pittsburgh,  passed away peacefully October 30, 2021

                     Please find below the funeral arrangements for Ron:


Arrangements will be provided by Schellhaas & Sons Funeral Home at 1600 Stone Mansion Drive in Sewickley.  Visitation will be on Monday, November 8 from 6-8 PM and on Tuesday, November 9 from 2-4 PM & 6-8 PM.  A memorial service will be on Wednesday, November 11 at 11 AM.  The full obituary and guestbook are available here: https://www.schellhaasfh.com/obituary/dr-ronald-laporte. Photos can also be uploaded at this link.

Supercourse developers will continue work with Supercourse and additionally will post Ron's Legacy materials at Facebook and at Youtube

Please share this newsletter with your colleagues as widely as possible as Ron always stated in his newsletters...


Forum for Ron's Legacy Newsletter:


I stress that the passing of Ron is only in the physical world. At an emotional level, his memory is now part of us, and for our community, his creativity will be part of the fabric of our Community Culture.

Like other great philosophers, Ron showed us that to be happy and productive. We don't need the best of everything. Instead, we need to do the most of everything we have.




In Memoriam:

Ron Laporte

30 October 2021


Always smiling, always brimming with new ideas, always questioning why we could not make this a better world.  Always laughing at the boldness, not to say the craziness, of his own ideas. Ron always had the confidence that, somehow, by working together we could make it happen…


Endless energy. He would write emails at all hours. 24/7.  Always inventing something new to do, always reaching out to friends, old and new.


Ron Laporte was a much-loved friend for me and for many of those who got to know him and a teacher for others.  He embraced you and, only to a slightly lesser extent, the whole world, and made you and the whole world feel like family…  He would take you to his beloved Jan and their home in Pittsburgh, which was, as he said, his favorite place in the whole world. And I was flattered to know that he considered the Library of Alexandria his second favorite place in the world!


Ron passed away on the 30th of October…

May he rest in peace, and our thoughts and prayers to Jan. 

To all his extended family of friends all over the world, I know that, like me, you will always keep his presence alive in your heart and in your mind.

Ismail Serageldin



...Ron was leading some terrific work called the Global Health Network. The Q&A in Pittsburg inspired Ron and me. Ron believed research was critical to gaining the data we need to solve the world’s biggest health challenges. Ron wanted The Global Health Network to drive faster progress by sharing more effectively. I was able to confirm his view the Internet would be the key to make this happen. I got the chance to meet some wonderful and creative people who were collaborating to improve the health of the world....John Patrick


I am terribly sorry to hear about Ron’s passing.  I did not know him well, so I read his obituary with great interest and enjoyed viewing the video tribute.  What I do know about Ron is that he show great interest in our health literacy innovation, and was most gracious in offering assistance to complete strangers for one override purpose—to help mankind.  He also demonstrate a selflessness in his desire to help you in your endeavors, in a far off land. 


I wish we could have gotten to know one another better, and I extend my deepest condolences to you and all of Ron’s colleagues, friends and family.

Jeff Greene medencentive.com


Dear Friends and Family of Ron LaPorte,


We are so sorry to hear of the loss of Ron LaPorte.

Please accept my heartfelt condolences.


The Greek Chapter


Professor Emeritus E. J. Yannakoudakis


Jibril Ibrahim Moussa Handuleh 

Fri, Nov 5, 2021, 11:20 PM

Grieved to learn about the sad demise of Prof Ron Laporte. Please accept my heartfelt condolences and sympathies on his death. I am positive his contribution will be remembered for a long time.May his soul rest in peace. Prof Shridhar Sharma 


I am very sorry.  Alessandro Martelli


Dear Dr. Dorman and the Supercourse team,
I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Ronald LaPorte.
He was a great contemporary epidemiologist, and his contributions, over many years, have been memorable and remarkable. His founding of the Supercourse, to share free lectures from volunteers worldwide, was extraordinary. His exceptionally kind and generous nature stood out in all his correspondence. How lucky to have been one of his graduate students.
He will be greatly missed by everyone who had the slightest personal knowledge of him.
Anthony R. Mawson, MA, DrPH
That's so sad. 
Such a great man, and mentor.
He will be missed!  J. Irani 

Dear Colleagues, a great inspirator, researcher and collaborator across boundaries has sadly – but peacefully – passed away. But his ideas and spirit will remain with us. Yours Ib Bygbjerg

Very sad news, 
Dr Ron was very Kind man. He worked hard for spreading of science and research around the word through supercourses portal. His soul rest in peace.
Dr Mohammad Asif Alokozai 


Dear Supercourse colleagues, my name is also Ron and I'm from Costa Rica, currently living in Paris and working for the OIE. Please transmit to Ron's family my deepest sympathies during this very difficult time. Because of his vast legacy, I'm sure his flame will not be easily extinguised throughout the years. I'm really sorry for this terrible loss and I will keep everyone close to Ron in my prayers. For those who believe, there's hope beyond death. 
Keep doing a great job, this is the best possible way to honor him. 
Ronald Mora


he will be missed ….andrea


May his soul rest in peace. He was a good man. I never met him but the
impact he had on me was very great. I will really miss him especially
his advice and encouragements he always provides in term of networking
and writing proposals.
Erhabor Igbinosa Norris
University of Benin, Nigeria.


Dear Friends

Another Great loss for the BA..
Ron did not only contribute so
much for the BA , but he was a good friend and adviser and he will be missed dearly
May he rest in peace .
Aïda Khalafalla Ph.D

May his soul rest in peace with the Lord Jesus Christ

Dr. Onukwube Alex Alfred Anedo

Dear Friends and Family of Ron, our sincere condlences German Chapter   Fahima Nokraschi

Please convey to Ron's family our great sadness! Annica and Hans


Ron Laporte leaving us physically.

It is a very sad news for us. He was an era in epidemiology and public health. Salute to him.

We pray to Almighty to rest Ron's soul in peace and enable the family to bear the loss.
Takvani and family



I am crying. My heart Is painful. In the glory Is Ron. Nicolas


Ron's Birthday Kudoboard:

and videos



Season's Greetings

Dear Friends,


The Supercourse developers would like to wish you a Happy holiday season and a very productive new year. This is the first holiday season the Supercourse network is spending without Ron. Thanksgiving and Christmas were Ron’s favorite holidays when he wrote some of his most creative newsletters. Right before COVID-19 pandemic began, Supercourse team was exploring innovative ways to deliver the Supercourse content in multiple languages. New AI developments are bringing us closer to Ron’s dream of sharing science in all languages of the world. As of November 2021, Google Translate supports 109 languages at various levels.


As everybody knows, Ron always called the Library of Alexandria in Egypt his favorite place to be after his home in Pittsburgh. The Library of Alexandria houses very impressive internet archives that Supercourse members got to see over the years. Recent article describes the efforts to archive the internet and some of the current challenges of these efforts



Ron was really proud of his work with the Library of Alexandria and he was always proud of his students. If you would like to train with any of Ron’s students, please contact the Supercourse team.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Mita, Faina and Eugene for Supercourse Team 

Please share this newsletter with your colleagues as widely as possible as Ron always stated in his newsletters together with Supercourse 2022 Calendar available at https://sites.pitt.edu/~super1/Calendar2022d.pdf and main Supercourse page https://sites.pitt.edu/~super1/ 

Season's Greetings Forum:

Thank you for the holiday greeting.

I am so proud of what Ron and all of you have created. For me, you are the prime example of what ultra caring and smart people can do... Confirming the best of humanity!
Please count me in as an ongoing  subscriber and huge fan!
Happy Holidays to you too,


Esteemed Organisers of Supercourse,
Thank you very much for your season's greetings,   It gives me a great pleasure to reciprocate the same!
We feel equally grieved with you that 2021 snatched from us a distinguished academic leader like Ron.
May you all enhance your capacity to carry forward his mission from 2022 onwards!
Best regards,
Shiv Chandra Mathru
Professor of Community Medicine (Ret'd)
SMS Medical College, Jaipur

Thank you and have a Merry Christmas!


Thanks guys!  This really keeps Ron alive!

Thanks again!


PS: Seasons greetings and a happy New Year to each of you and your families…


Dear Ismail! 

   Thank you very much! Yes, we lost Ron, but not our Supercourse, Science Supercourse
and not the desire to make education better through communications!
Thanks Again!


Dear Eugene, Faina et al

Thank you for such beautiful memories. Ron will always be in our hearts


I wish you all  Merry Christmas and a happy new year


Warmest regards



Thank you for sharing this. I followed Ron's updates on the Library because I think it's such a fantastic project. I miss his emails...
Darlene Buffington


2020 Newsletters:


Covid-19 Newsletter, April 2020


The world is in fear of the silent killer known as Covid-19.  A group of us who are World Health Organization Collaborating Centres (WHO CC) have banded together to educate the world about Covid-19

World Health Organization collaborating centres are 800 global health leaders designated by WHO to help attain the goals of WHO and aid in national and international collaboration. Our center in Pittsburgh has been a WHO CC for 30 years, for example. The WHO CC have just recently been networked together.

 Coronavirus is threatening all countries. We have therefore built a Supercourse Coronavirus web site with state of the art lectures from WHO CC and global health leaders. We encourage that you tell teachers, faculty and students about this site. We have gathered over 350 lectures.  If you have a lecture on coronavirus, we would appreciate if you could share this with our WHO CCs and the world. (please contact Eugene Shubnikov, M.D. (eugene.shubnikov@gmail.com.  All are top quality lectures and available for free


This Collaborating Centre  Coronavirus web site consists of various components.

1.    Overview of research methods in epidemiology, infectious diseases and statistics

2.   PowerPoint lectures about Coronavirus for use in classroom setting

3.   Youtube presentations about Coronavirus

4. Materials about coronavirus from Africa

Please join our global health Coronavirus efforts

Ronald E. LaPorte, Ph.D. (ronaldlaporte@gmail.com) Pittsburgh, Ismail Serageldin, Ph.D. Library of Alexandria, Egypt, Eugene Shubnikov, M.D. Supercourse, Novosibirsk Russia

Covid-19 Forum:

Dear friends,

As former Vice-president of TWAS for Latin America and the Caribbean I share many of the concerns related to COVID-19, especially how the pandemic will affect the low-income countries. Please share the following scientific work on translational ("bench to bedside") aspects of the pandemic.


"While We Wait for a Vaccine Against SARS-CoV-2, Why Not Think About Available Drugs?"

By Francisco J. Barrantes is now available at:

Please convey my personal regards to Prof. Serageldin, whom I know from TWAS and visits to the Library of Alexandria.
Best wishes  Prof. Dr. Francisco J. Barrantes



WHO CC letter, 5/3/2020

“I believe, we can create a better world, a better tomorrow, if we work together. Don’t you?” (Broast)

We have had a WHO collaborating centre for over 30 years.  It has been an incredible honor for us, as we are sure it has been for all of you. We became friends, and worked together to improve global health.

“Individually we are one drop; but together we are an ocean.” (Satoro)

Isn’t it about time that we  WHO CC join forces again.  Here we outline two potential WHO CC projects. We would like your thoughts and for you to propose other joint WHO cc projects

WHO CC What is health?  project 

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (WHO)

Здоровье является состоянием полного физического, душевного и социального благополучия, а не только отсутствием болезней и физических дефектов (in Russian)

When we asked medical and public health students in Pittsburgh for the Definition of Health, less than 20% could provide a definition.  Eugene and I took it upon ourselves to teach students the WHO Definition of health from August 2011, and every year we shared the definition with medical schools, nursing schools and public health schools world wide. All students in the field of health should know the WHO Definition, but most do not. Some of you may have already joined this effort.
Eugene Shubnikov, M.D. from Russia developed a beautiful multilingual poster which presents the WHO Definition.  Please share this with the members of your Collaborating Center.  http://www.pitt.edu/~super1/globalhealth/What is Health.htm

WHO CC Covid-19 web page  

We are very pleased as to the progress of the Coronavirus Web page  developed, by you and WHO Collaborating centres world wide.  We have close to 400 lectures. Here is an excellent example by Dr. Fernandez in Spain.

The Spanish Experience of COVID-19 lecture by Núria Fernandez (Infectious Disease), María José Soler (Nephrologist), Hospital del Vall d´Hebron, Barcelona, Spain. This is a wonderful lecture which describes the experiences of Covid-19 in Spain.  Please free to share this  http://www.pitt.edu/~super1/lecture/lec56531/index.htm

We will continue to collect powerpoint and youtube lectures from the directors of the WHO Collaborating centers. We would like to give exposure to your CC. Please send to Eugene (eugene.shubnikov@gmail.com) the URL for your WHO CC website.

“We can see that all the desirable experiences that we cherish or aspire to attain are dependent upon cooperation and interaction with other sentient beings.” – Dalai Lama. “

"Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

Ronald LaPorte Ph.D. Professor Emeritus, Former WHO CC Pittsburgh,   Ismail Serageldin, Ph.D. Librarian Emeritus, Library of Alexandra, Egypt,  Eugene Shubnikov, M.D., Supercourse, Novosibirsk Russia


Doomsday, Armageddon,  apocalypse, end of the world, judgement day (April 6, 2020 newsletter)


In the past few weeks we have heard Coronavirus likened to Doomsday, the end of the world, and that it could wipe humanity off the face of the world.  Many of our Epidemiologic colleagues have been very pessimistic. We see them on Television and in Magazines indicating that the virus will not be containable and that 70% of the world would be infected. It sounds like doomsday is right around the corner In the media, the greater the doomsday prediction, the greater the news coverage. Many in our field are “glass half empty” epidemiologist


We however, we are “glass half full epidemiologist”, where we do not believe that the apocalypse

First of all, what we are examining now probably is not a doomsday disease.  One should examine the 6 plagues that shaped the world where over 50 million people died.  Clearly we do not what any person to die, but Plague, Smallpox, 1918 influenza were indeed global doomsday plagues, but even these were not Armageddon for human existence. Up to 50 million died in the Plague for example. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_epidemics


Second, Diamond Princess cruise ship statistics

The Diamond Princess  and other Cruise ship are perfect petri dishs to study the behavior of the novel coronavirus.  Close interaction among people, inability to practice social distancing, and long time confined primarily elderly population. However, only 21% developed coronavirus under the most perfect conditions for infection spread. This may be the maximum to which we could a population infected under the ideal circumstances for infection spread. It is hard to imagine in the general population across the world would have these optimal  conditions for infection spread.  Therefore, it is likely that the maximum infection rate would be hovering at under 20%. Estimates of 70% of the world being infected appear to be inflated.


Third, The strange consistent epidemiology of Coronavirus. The NYTImes presented a fascinating set of data examining new cases by day of coronavirus in different countries across the world. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/03/world/coronavirus-flatten-the-curve-countries.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage

Please examine this we would like your input.    First is the remarkable consistency of the infection curves.  Probably 80% of the countries started at about the same time, the peak was about 14 days later, then we are seeing for many a plateau and a decrease in cases.  These countries are wildly different, with different public health approaches, yet the pattern is virtually identical.


This has all the characteristics of a very interesting and amazing global common source epidemic.  In a common source outbreak epidemic, the affected individuals had an exposure to a common agent. If the exposure is singular and all of the affected individuals develop the disease over a single exposure and incubation course, it can be termed a point source outbreak. (CDC). What is fascinating is that the point source epidemic was world wide, starting for the most part within a day or two in each country.


Our optimism leads to the idea that all of our countries will go the same route as China and Korea, a few cases, a spike in cases a few days later, and then a rapid decline.  Disease with the most rapid spread likely will exhibit the most rapid decline


What can we do to help?  Eugene Shubnikov, M.D. was at WHO EMRO to discuss what we can do.  We recently updated our list of WHO Collaborating center directors (WHO has designated centers of global health excellent from around the world to help them.  We were a WHO Collaborating Centre for 30 years). We just recently contacted the collaborating center and are building a WHO Collaborating Centre Coronavirus web site, and we already a have 9 lectures from WHO CC centers and others.  This started with Dr. Chotani  and his just in time lecture. The wonderful just If you would like to join us in the search for great coronavirus lectures, please write to Ronald LaPorte (ronaldlaporte@gmail.com) and Eugene Shubnikov

April 5, 2020 Newsletter Forum:


This is a remarkably misinformed email, demonstrating an extraordinary lack of understanding of both basic infectious disease epidemiology principles and the specific (published) data surrounding the virology and transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV2. Currently we have a clearer (albeit still incomplete) understanding of asymptomatic vs presymptomatic infection, with the realization that most individuals previously categorized as asymptomatic do go on to develop COVID-19. This was also shown in the follow-up data from the Diamond Princess. Indeed, your "petri dish" example has gone one to provide the data to show the exact opposite of what you posit. Approximately 70% went on to become infected. The second, and equally dangerous, piece of misinformation you put forward here is that this is a "point source" outbreak. This is nothing short of absurd and again demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of ID epidemiology. SARS-CoV2 spilled over to humans from an animal reservoir, probably a horseshoe bat, possibly with an intermediate host. Following the spillover, human-to-human transmission became possible and we now have droplet and direct/indirect transmission, and possibly airborne although the data supporting the latter are tenuous. The bottom line is that SARS-CoV2 is fundamentally transmitted between people, and thus the strict social distancing measures that form the basis of the primary public health intervention right now. This is essential.
The content of your email is exactly of the type I would typically ignore. As one of the epidemiologists working in and on this pandemic, I find there are much more pressing issues to address. However, I felt compelled to respond to this because of the tremendous reach that Supercourse has and because it has for a long time been an excellent resource for open access public health information and education. It's international reputation can be undermined very quickly by spreading this kind of misinformation.
I think Supercourse could be a very good medium with which to teach about SARS-CoV2 and COVID-19, but you must employ those with the requisite expertise to do this appropriately. We find ourselves in a time when we need to be guided by science, so please lead by example.
-Michael Walsh

Thank you for your comments

Ronald LaPorte


A flaw in these predictions, especially the 20% rather than 70% infection rate, is that most countries have not pursued widespread testing. This makes it impossible to estimate the infection rate.

The cruise ship ‘experiments’ are problematic as ‘predictors’ for the general population because of the unique age of cruisers and the lockdown imposed on these ships that restricted contact between passengers. What the latter tells us is that, on board a ship, restricting predominantly seniors to their rooms, with only occasional, controlled time in more common areas, does not stop the spread.

Eleanor Maticka-Tyndale, PhD


Res. Dr. Ronald Laporte
Kindly guide, how I can read or hear the lectures for management of  Corona virus epidemic.
Thanking you,
Dr. Mandar Akkalkotkar


Hi, Ron,
This was so informative. Thank you!


2019 Newsletters:


Sprechen sie deutsch: Multilingual Science Newsletter

from: BASupercourse Help Desk basuperhelp@gmail.com
date: Aug 27, 2019, 1:16 AM
subject: sprechen sie deutsch: Multilingual Science

Please share with faculty whose Native Language is not English

Supercourse Newsletter

Multilingual Science and Access to scientific materials

Многоязычная наука и доступ к научным материалам (Russian)

Less than 3% of the scientific articles come from Developing countries.  We are attacking 2 major barriers to scientific equity, and hope you will join:

Barrier 1:  English Dominating Science.  In the early 1900s about 25% of all research articles were in English.  In 2005, 93% were in English.  English thus has taken over science, we plan to change this with your help.

Budding scientists in Senegal face a daunting task.  The native language is French, but in order to compete in science, they need to spend 2000 hours learning English.    In the past 2 years, there has been a leap forward with AI-based Neural machine translation systems.  Machine translation, is approaching Human Translation.  It is now possible to read English Language Scientific Papers, in your native tongue of German, Arabic, Persian, Russian, French, Hebrew. Ten years ago language was a Berlin Wall of science, now it is becoming a “Speed Bump”. In addition, one can teach or present a talk with your PowerPoint slides translated into many languages. 

Eugene Shubnikov recently built an example of Multilingual translation. http://www.pitt.edu/~super1/MultilingualTranslationButton.htm. Please take a look.  If Eugene as a Physician and I as an epidemiologist can do this, then even a caveman can be multilingual We would love to have you make your scientific work translatable. Please contact Eugene Shubnikov - supercoursehelp@gmail.com. We would like your comments - supercoursehelp@gmail.com.

Barrier 2: Access to scientific literature:

An active scientific program in developing countries cannot develop without access to scientific literature. A student of molecular biology in Chad cannot generate ideas about CRISPR with literature that is 15 years old.  We are helping to provide access to the scientific literature for Developing Countries.

We are collaborating with Joseph Hamilton at the Library of Congress and Maha Abbas at the library of Alexandria.  We are providing free access to the scientific literature using Interlibrary loans from the LOC and BA to your library. There already are 25 libraries that have joined.

Joe Hamilton at the LOC can enroll your library into this program. (Jhamli@loc.gov).  If you would like further information please contact me, Ronald LaPorte (ronaldlaporte@gmail.com)

What is health? It is surprising that most students in Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, and even public health worldwide do not know a definition of health. Now as many students return, we suggest that your students be taught a definition from WHO. We have a “What is Health" definition in 80+ different languages.

"Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". (WHO)

Health definition poster:  http://www.pitt.edu/~super1/globalhealth/What%20is%20Health.htm

We ask you therefore to:

1.      Consider making your scientific web site and PowerPoint lectures multilingual (it is very easy)

2.      Ask your library to contact the Library of Congress to be able to request free scientific materials

3.      Tell your students a definition of “What is Health”

Ron, Ismail, Eugene, Faina, Francois, Vint, Gil, Eric, Nabil, Maha, Rania, Noha, Pervine, Youssef, Diana, Amira, Passant, Shalkar, Musa, Francis, Ali, Takvani, Soni, Eman, Samar, Abu, Mahmoud, Saeed, Hend, Lamia, Mary, Marwa, Wen-Ta, Fritz


2018 Newsletters:


Multilingual Science Announcement


Multilingual Science 

There are 6500 languages in the world, but only one language of science, English.  The Library of Alexandria and Scientists in Developing countries  aim to change this.

"Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". (WHO)


"الصحة هي حالة من الصحة البدنية والعقلية والاجتماعية الكاملة وليس مجرد غياب المرض أو العجز"(Arabic)


Here is the WHO definition of Health in English and Arabic.  In the next 5 years, all journals can become multilingual


The  Library of Alexandria is ushering in a new era of multilingual science.  Reducing the burden of translation, indeed  promotes openness and scholarship.


“We build too many walls and not enough bridges” (I. Newton)

One of the major walls of science is one of different languages.


We are writing to you with a simple idea. In 2006 Vint Cerf (the father of the Internet) told us about google translate, and we were excited to build a  language translator into our Supercourse, and the Library of Alexandria.  However, much of it produced was Gibberish.  We tried again five years ago, and google translate captured the “gist” of the materials, however, it was still a bit messy.  In the past few months we have seen a major improvement in translation capabilities with a new approach called Google Neural Machine Translation which produced marked improvement in accuracy, and we feel is now acceptable to build multilingual science world wide.

Multilingual Translation of Science

We propose to establish a beta version of a translation button to be made available to all journals for free.  We would capture metrics of usage, and concerns of translation. We would like to have you join, We are planning a 6 month beta version, after which we will decide whether to continue. We will help you add the button to your journal and site.


Please contact Ronald LaPorte, Ph.D.

(University of Pittsburgh)

Ismail Serageldin, Ph.D.

Library of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt



Supercourse Newsletters from 2002 to 2015




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