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We are Defenceless

29 Apr

adiaryofapandemicmaster-1

April 29, 2020

Day 39

Went into town today for food and medicine and to pay some doctor’s bills that were in arrears. The pharmacy is still operating with a table blocking the door, the health food and vitamin store is taking orders by e-mail and at the hardware store one is stopped at the entrance and asked what it is that you’re looking for. Luckily, I knew exactly what to tell them and departed from their doorway with a brand new tube of white silicone caulk for the ‘laundry room’ tile job. Hurrah for Level 3!

Went to both grocery stores looking for the best fresh loaves of bread and at the checkout stands of each one I asked through my mask how level 3 was treating them and if everyone was still following all the rules. I was surprised (though I should not have been) by the answers. In both cases the checkers were quick to express their amazement and dismay at the level of idiocy being exhibited by customers after just one day out of Level 4. One of them said,  “Very few people are following the rules and it makes it very hard on us.” The other said that one lady had remarked to her that she thought “..all of that was over with now.” As I drove home it struck me that many people out there are going to relax their guard too early and that the country may pay the price. It’s like the shark has eaten a few people at the beach so everyone figures it’s full and won’t bother them and off they go into the water like nothing ever happened. Surf’s up!

If what I fear comes to pass then we can look for an upsurge in the numbers to match the upsurge in the stupid quotient. Today’s figures still reflect the discipline enforced at level 4.

AAANZCov29Apr

 

2 New cases. 15 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to active cases is 83%. 17% to go. 245 people are still infected.

Will these numbers spike in two weeks as more people are out and about thinking all is back to normal?

Stay tuned.

AAIntelligentlife

 

ADirectiononshampoo

 

AAALostmybrain

 

“Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless.

DIETRICH BONHOEFFER, Letters and Papers from Prison

Don’t Insult the Cook

28 Apr

adiaryofapandemicmaster-1

April 28, 2020

Day 38

First day of Alert Level 3 in New Zealand. The numbers for today are…

AApr28NZCov

3 New cases. 34 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to active cases is 82%. (18% to go.) 258 infected people remaining.

 

ALighthouse

 

Anyone reading this know how to make aspirin? A nail? Plastic? Could you build an internal combustion engine from scratch? Make antibiotics? A solid state transistor? A battery of any type? Paper? Glue? Ink? Could you build a printing press and publish a blog the old fashioned way? Do you know how to grow wheat? Harvest it? Grind the grain into flour? Build a windmill? Make candles? Dress a hog? Tan a hide? Breed horses? Break a horse? Ride a horse? Do any of you know why an airfoil generates lift and how?

One hundred years ago the era of the horse was coming to a close and the era of the automobile was just a quarter of a century old. Humans had been flying airplanes for 17 years and Robert Goddard, one of the fathers of modern rocketry, had just written a letter to the Smithsonian Institution in which he proposed photographing the moon and planets by using fly-by probes. Penicillin was 8 years from being invented and the Spanish Flu Pandemic, during which 675,000 Americans were killed, had been over for a year.

Ten years from now what will people say when they look back at everything that is happening this year? Will the Covid-19 Pandemic that led to the second Great Depression be the lead story? Or will it be the first test launches of SpaceX’s Starship rocket? Will there be a settlement on Mars? Will Taiwan exist as a nation or will it have be violently crushed and then silently absorbed in the greatest act of revisionist history ever undertaken by any nation in the world?

What does the rest of the year hold for us? A gradual return to the way we were? A readjustment of the blinders we grew used to in the previous two decades when we ceded manufacturing to China? Will the food chain of the world be broken? What conflicts will arise out of the chaos and shortages to come? Will the progressives of the world win out as the baby boomers die off? Will socialism rise to prominence until it runs out of other people’s money? Will you be speaking Chinese in a re-education camp?

In fifty years few people will remember witnessing the first landing of men on the moon. Those who do will not be able to say publicly that it wasn’t Chinese taikonauts, but American astronauts who took those first steps. Such behaviour will result in imprisonment, slave labor and ultimately, death, as transplantable organs will still be cheaper to harvest than to grow in labs. The future that I write of will be fact and the past I was part of will be erased. Right now 1,400,000,000 people on this planet are already part of that world. The rest of us are closer to it that we think. Don’t believe this? When you try to boycott China, you’re going to see the extent to which we’ve become reliant on them. They know this. Depend upon it. Their attitude at this juncture in history can best be summed up by an old saying of theirs that goes, ‘If you want your dinner, don’t insult the cook’. This is what we have to contend with now and it is what we will have to contend with should we attempt to reclaim our treasure from the Chinese dragon.

In his novel Time Enough for Love, Heinlein (Yes, Robert Anson again) says, “Human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyse a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

I contend that countries should be able to do the same. The tale of Covid-19 and surviving its aftermath without selling our souls has yet to be written, but if it was, I’m betting the moral of the story will be, for individuals as well as nations, to do their own cooking.

 

AAQuestions

ASomethings bad

AReset

ATicktock

An Unknown Future

27 Apr

adiaryofapandemicmaster-1

April 27, 2020

Day 35

Today is New Zealand’s last day (fingers crossed) at Alert level 4. Total lockdown has been strange, weird, scary, sobering and somehow exhilarating. As I said at the start of this blog, “Nothing concentrates the mind like a sentence of death”. Events in this country thus far have me feeling hopeful, but I am mindful of the nature of the beast and thus will continue to act as though I am still in lockdown and keep on searching the chaff for the wheat.

Robert Heinlein is one of my all time favourite authors. If you haven’t read any of his works, now would be a good time to start.  In The Notebooks of Lazarus Long he says, “What are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history”–what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future, facts are your single clue.”

Thirty-five days into the new normal and there is not much buzz about a cure or even a high percentage treatment and if there is they’re saying it will be later rather than sooner. On the status board of most of the institutions and governments working in that direction is a sign that says, “Don’t hold your breath”. As of this date, as I write, you can wear a mask or a full face respirator, shop at dawn and swim in a vat of hand sanitiser when you’re done, but, young or old, rich or poor, covidiot or pragmatic prepper, whether or not you’re going to catch it and whether or not you’re going to survive unscathed is still a numbers game.

Today’s are as follows.

AApr27NZCov

Minus 1 New cases today. 38 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to active cases is 80%.

20% to go…

 

ALotus

 

 

Darkness Falls

25 Apr

Some of you may have seen that Mauna Kea is in the news lately because of an ongoing attempt by protesters to stop the construction of the Thirty-Meter-Telescope. The issues in question can be found by searching the web carefully, but be careful to research thoroughly as there are many conflicting viewpoints out there. As an employee of one of the existing observatories on the summit, I have been counseled by admin to keep an open mind and be professional in the expression of my opinions. And so I have. This weeks story for Friday Fictioneers is based on my own photo prompt and speaks my mind quite clearly.

It is longer than normal by 58 words and for these I make no apology. I have been spot on for months and will be absent from the mix for some time to come so I hope you will tolerate my overage. If you do not want to read more than 100 words, you’d better stop 68 words ago.

Thanks to all who read on. See you down the road a bit. Aloha, D.

 

Darkness Falls

(Copyright Douglas MacIlroy)

A mob is coming to destroy what might have been their salvation. They listen to reply, not to understand. They want to watch the world burn.

Mauna Kea is sacred. But not for the reasons they claim. The Universe unfolds, light dances eternally and the majesty of Nature gives not a tinker’s damn about man’s gods. The mountain was here long before they arrived, guided, ironically, by their elder’s knowledge of the stars. It will endure long after they are dust.

Mauna Kea is sacred. Unlike the mob, I have learned this through direct experience over five years of glorious sunsets, cold, clear nights and solitary dawns. Cloaked in false pride and righteousness, ignorance is on the march against the inexorable tide of knowledge.

I lock the doors and wait. Someplace has to be the backwater of science and education in the world. It might as well be Hawaii. This will be their legacy.

If you listen carefully you can hear the stars laughing.

 

 

aaaaaaaafondly

To all my followers

Riparian Riddles

10 Dec

100 words for Friday Fictioneers.

 

sticks and stones

 

“What’s the answer?”

“What’s the question?”

“Why do people litter?”

“Why do they have children?”

“To leave some evidence that they existed?”

“See?”

“So is there an answer?”

“Do you really want to hear it?”

“I’m not sure, do I?”

“You just looking for absolution?”

“As if this is my fault?”

“How beautiful would the world be if we worked for the next hundred years to remove all our trash and then voluntarily killed ourselves?”

“Who would know?”

“Who cares?”

“There’s no hope, is there?”

 

 

 

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