Friday, March 27, 2020

Death and the Fair

When I saw this combined headline from Minnesota Public Radio on Facebook, I laughed:


And it reminded me that a week ago, there were still funny jokes about the coronavirus, even though we all knew they were of the "whistling past the graveyard" variety. Now, I don't think I'm seeing jokes anymore, whistling or not.

One that I liked from back in early March was from writer Saladin Ahmed on Twitter:

the one good thing is now authors can't hold their chins pretentiously in photos
And then there was this thread about the intergenerational struggle and rewriting song lyrics about the pandemic... a very Twitter moment. It started with this:
Boomers: the Coronavirus is important, because it kills people over 60, let's close the borders

Millennials/Gen Z: It is called COVID-19 and its spread shows how connected the world is, how health is a social justice issue.

Gen X: Too ra loo ra too ra loo rye aye. COVID-EILEEN
Media critic Jenn Pozner got in the first set of "COVID Eileen" lyrics in response:
Covid 19
Oh, I swear I'm still clean
But in a moment
You'd ruin everything
Your germs I confess
Have me under duress
I will not touch
ANYTHING...
 But now, instead of jokes, it's all death and Mafia Mulligan lies and no fun at all on the way to the death State Fair.

Who can blame us.


Thursday, March 26, 2020

Fauxcard

It's a sad day when you get a postcard, ostensibly from the federal government, and you can't tell if it's really from the government or if it's a campaign mailing for the president, pretending it's from the government:


President Trump's coronavirus guidelines? What?


I decided after examining it, particularly the back, and the .gov URL on the front, that it probably is from the government rather than the Trump campaign, but it's still a close thing.

Would President Obama have sent out a card with a headline like this? I don't believe he would have. It just sounds wrong in my ears. I don't think the guidelines belong to the president: It's just not how we talk about things in this country.

This national and international pandemic is an extreme situation, and mailing a postcard in the first place is pretty extreme (and kind of silly, since it's in just English... have these folks seen the outreach pieces created by the cities and school systems of our country?). Turning it into something that doubles as a campaign piece in an election year is unacceptable.

It could have said important guidelines or national guidelines or CDC guidelines. Do they not know that more than half the country will do the opposite of anything that has Trump's name on it, or do they want to kill us through reverse psychology? (Kidding. Of course, we are not that stupid.)

Did you get one of these postcards? Were you happy to see your taxes at work this way?

_____

 
If you don't already know the WAFA hat, here is the explanation.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Zeynep Tufekci on Masks

Looks like it's another COVID-19 day here at Daughter Number Three. Today, I want to share a long Twitter thread from techno-sociologist and writer-thinker Zeynep Tufekci, professor at University of North Carolina and writer for places like The Atlantic and the New York Times.

Her original post is full of links to articles illustrating its points, so visit it, but this gets the main points across:

For the New York Times, I wrote about why health authorities telling people they didn't need masks, and, besides they wouldn't wear them right, misfired and maybe even fueled hoarding. There will be many painful truths, and we need to learn to talk about them.

One big reason we don't have enough masks is that not only did China stop exporting them completely after COVID-19, China went and "bought up much of the rest of the world's supply." We should have ramped up domestic production in January but we didn't.

Sadly all those (well-meaning) posts from healthcare experts on how masks won't work for ordinary people because they won't wear them correctly likely encouraged hoarding even more. That was never a message that would work. No wonder I'm constantly seeing online ads for masks!

This is so obvious that it's painful. I know my piece will upset some, but learning to deal with painful truths is one of the skills we really need to learn, especially as there are so many of them exposed now.

Not forgetting that the Chinese government unleashed this pandemic in the first place with initial lies and cover-up: not racist. Claiming that universal mask wearing in Hong Kong and Taiwan (where it is mostly under control) was just superstition? Yeah.

Authorities say Don't wear a mask unless you're sick but DO wear a mask if you are. How are you supposed to know? Plus, see key paper: many have mild, undetected illnesses but are infecting others. Universal mask-wearing *would* have helped. Painful truth is we don't have enough.

Also, everyone who wrote...articles [claiming Asian mask-wearing was based on superstition], please rethink the harm of this message. The weird claim that people in Asian countries (where this pandemic is much more under control) with the deep experience of SARS wore masks out of superstition is part of the reason we are here.

New paper: Hong Kong has not only contained COVID-19 for the moment, they've drastically reduced flu rates with social distancing, hygiene and near universal mask wearing. (Note: their government is unpopular and wasn't on board. The people acted anyway.)

Taiwan also quickly ramped up domestic production of masks and had a sensible plan to curb hoarding while ensuring access. Along with other sensible and non-draconian measures, they also contained COVID-19 for the moment despite a lot of travel with China.

This is another important point. The "flatten-the-curve" urgency will eventually lead to "life must go on while we wait for vaccines/herd-immunity" and some form of mask-wearing may well be necessary for the transition.

Yep. That's why we can't just say "wear masks only if you're sick." Besides the fact that we're not testing enough so people can't know if they're sick, and that many can be infectious without any symptoms, it just creates a stigma around wearing a mask.

We are eventually going to have to release people from lockdown, and universal mask wearing (not N95, but surgical masks) is one way to do it with less harm. (She then links to a doctor's thread on asymptomatic people.)

Folks don't @ me BUT do it: arrange locally to allow people to donate N95 masks to hospitals, maybe exchange with surgical masks. Hospitals are out of N95s; CDC is telling them to use surgical masks instead; people are sitting on N95s but I'm hearing some willing to donate/exchange.

Washington Post published another masks are superstition oped, so I’ll just put this here instead. (Screen snapshots of skeptical WaPo tweets.) The tragedy of this kind of top-down misinformation is when we are done with the shortage, how are they going to tell everybody to mask up? As they have to if we are to get through this? (Folks don’t hoard and donate N95s now).

I'm going to say it outright. It's crystal clear that we'll have to adopt universal mask wearing as soon as we're over the shortage for healthcare workers. People still saying masks don't help, people won't know how to wear them, they can be harmful etc. are doing real harm.

Not admitting the obvious fuels mistrust and hoarding more. People aren’t idiots. And once the shortage is over, it’s going to be tough to switch to universal mask wearing, which is obviously a requirement to get through the next year.

Local friends, UNC hospitals need donations of N95 masks and other supplies. It's a travesty we can't protect our healthcare workers despite months of warning. Also, if you needed proof any mask is better than none: they will accept homemade masks as well.

The sooner we stop misinforming people about the need and efficacy of universal mask wearing, the better. Not telling the truth now will make it harder to pivot after the mask shortage. Also people can see through the bullshit and mistrust fuels hoarding.

This top-down mask misinformation will cause another crisis: other critical workers (stores, pharmacies, delivery) will stop showing up because lack of masks means they are at high risk. Yes, hospitals first but then everyone at the front line and then all of us need to mask up.

Great overview of the evidence on masks. Notes that review of SARS studies (same family of virus as the one causing COVID-19) found that "face masks were the most consistently effective intervention" (though keep washing your hands). Read it yourself!

Hong Kong is the densest city in the world. It has a tiny fraction of New York’s cases. Almost everyone wears masks though and they take the distancing seriously.

Future generations will be driven batty by the amount of concern over contamination from cardboard boxes—a tail risk: porous surface, exponential decay—compared with protecting the pathways to OUR RESPIRATORY SYSTEM WITH MASKS FOR A RESPIRATORY ILLNESS WITH ASYMPTOMATIC SPREAD.
Mask-wearing was part of the picture in the article I featured yesterday as well. I'm convinced.

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And a cartoon from the Star-Tribune's Steve Sack, about misinformation of a different kind:






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If you don't already know the WAFA hat, here is the explanation.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

It's Not Density: Figure It Out and Bend the Curves

It has been another long day here in the salt mines of my house. Please read Bill Lindeke's new post, called It's not density that's driving America's pandemic. Like me, he's a fan of The Ghost Map (though I guess you could say he's a professional fan, being an urban geographer).

I adore this graph he used from ourworldindata.org:


Check out those parallel curves... Italy paralleling  the U.K. paralleling the recent U.S. paralleling the recent Germany, with Spain at an even more extreme upcurve.

And notice, of course, that these arcs are on a logarithmic scale, with each horizontal gray line representing a new order of magnitude: .01 to .1 to 1 to 10 to 100 (not shown but just out of sight). South Korea has flattened out at just a bit above 1 death per 19 million people (well, not quite flat, and not quite 1), but compare that to those other arcs that rocket up the scale, with Italy approaching 100 deaths very soon and Spain on track to catch them not long after.

And that's without testing much of anyone in the U.S. except rich people, whether in prison or the Senate.

Oh, and compare the effect of having a governor who pays attention to epidemiologists (Kentucky) and one who doesn't (Tennessee):


Which state would you rather live in?

Meanwhile, since Mafia Mulligan started spewing at his daily-rally-cum-press-briefings, his approval rating for handling of the COVID-19 crisis has somehow improved significantly.

My only hope for this country, when it comes to that fact, is that it was only one poll.

Monday, March 23, 2020

No Words

No words from me today, when my governor is in self-quarantine, my lieutenant governor's brother has died of COVID-19, and one my senators' husbands has been hospitalized with it.

Instead, I'm linking to this interview with Michael Osterholm, Minnesota's former state epidemiologist, who's internationally known in the field. When asked why it was so hard for governments and everyday people to take the risk of the coronavirus seriously, he answered like this:

...we tend to lack creative imagination unless it’s something about a video game or a movie. None of this was really that difficult. It was pretty straightforward right in front of us. People who knew health care knew that health care [had been] carved down to the bone for which there was no resiliency of any substantial nature, no excess capacity, no monies to stockpile large volumes of protective equipment.

[There has been] no real understanding of the vulnerability of this country outsourcing all of its drug supply manufacturing to places like China. And when you don’t understand all that, or elect to neglect it, it’s easy to say another day went by and nothing happened.

I was asked often, what’s the chance of this really happening? I would always reply back, “It is going to happen. I just don’t know if it’s going to be on my watch.”
I confess that, despite that beginning to the interview, I have not had time to read the whole thing myself, but I will any minute. And here's a personal dispatch from my sister in central New York.

She's the CFO of a county hospital, located in the county seat of a rural area. They have been commanded by the state to make twice as much room for incoming patients but given no money to do it, and no equipment or supplies.And on April 1, the state is going to cut Medicaid reimbursement rates statewide. Meanwhile, their ER is suddenly about one-third as full as it was two weeks ago because people are staying away, probably fearing they will catch the virus there, and the hospital's rooms are occupied about two-thirds of average. (I'm not sure if they have been told to cancel "elective" surgery, or if that's just the New York City area.)

In some ways, it sounds just like the ocean going out right before a tsunami hits.

Here's what's coming in Minnesota. See what's coming in your state here. I don't know why my now-quarantined governor hasn't ordered us to stay the F home.


March 25 is Wednesday (for posterity, today is Monday).
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Okay, so I was mistaken about the No Words from me. I guess I wrote a few words.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Good Night

It's amazing how exhausting staying at home "not working" can be. I haven't had time to open my two daily (Sunday) newspapers yet and I can barely keep my eyes open at 10:45.

This is one exhausting virus even when you don't have it.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Stop the Gish Gallop, Green New Deal from January on

A couple of posts from two of the "good men" on Twitter today.

First, media critic Jay Rosen, discussing the need to stop covering Mafia Mulligan at the White House daily "press briefing" on the COVID-19 catastrophe (all emphasis added by me):

It is believed by many people who follow me that tougher, more confrontational questions — and more determined follow-ups — are the answer to press briefings on the virus that allow Trump to elude accountability.

I disagree. It's is one of my least popular conclusions.

In my view, the lens through which we should interpret the briefings is how to increase the supply and circulation of good information about the virus and what has to be done, and decrease the spread of misinformation, strategic distraction, magical thinking, etc.

From this point of view, a key point to begin at is that Trump at the podium and on TV is the single most potent force for misinforming Americans about the dangers of the virus and what needs to be done now. Yet he is also the star and central figure in the briefings. See the problem?

It is very widely believed — among people who talk to me on this website, but also among journalists who report on politics — that tough questions and determined follow-ups can prevent the president from using the briefings to inject falsehoods into national discourse.

From their point of view he can be "made" to answer the question by determined journalists who will not back down. It just takes balls! And some solidarity. If he evades or dissembles, follow up. If the follow up fails, the next reporter has to insist. Keep insisting until he answers!

To me this a fantasy. A malignant narcissist greets even the slightest challenge as a personal attack and evidence of the challenger's bad character. And Trump is wired differently from me and you in that he lacks the gene for being shamed into good conduct. On top of that, he generates momentum by drawing censure and criticism from those whom his supporters love to despise. The White House press and the show hosts back at the studio sit atop the list of hate objects for soldiers in the Trump movement. All the incentives align toward attack.

But here's the bigger problem. If you try to "grill" him about a false statement his reply will typically introduce three new falsehoods without responding one bit to your original. Now you have four things you need to "grill" him about, your time is up, and he's moved on.

Another way to put it: the questions proceed in linear way, but when they are put to Trump the lying and disinformation increase exponentially. And remember, our aim is to increase the supply of reliable information and slow the spread of falsehood and strategic distraction.

When I point this out to believers in tough questions and determined follow-ups, they often revert to a logic I grasp, but do not share. They say that provoking a confrontation with Trump will lead to a meltdown or rage fit that will finally show Americans who this guy is.

This is another fantasy, a longing for a Joseph Welch moment. Remember him? He was the lawyer who in American mythology is said to have destroyed Joe McCarthy in 1954 with the famous lines, "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

There is no Joseph Welch in the press corps who is going to "destroy" Trump. And anyway that is not a legitimate aim for journalists who report on him. Accountability IS a legitimate aim, but only a politician with a sense of shame can be held accountable by tough questions.

Also: It's become clear to me and many others that the daily briefings on the virus are morphing into substitutes for the rallies Trump cannot hold under social distancing rules. Now imagine if at one of those rallies there was a Q & A session with reporters in the media pen.

Picturing that? Because better than any argument I can construct, such an image explains why in my new post I recommend withdrawal from the briefing room, suspension of normal relations with the Trump government, and a switch to an emergency setting.

Finally, I have to observe... People who think that confronting Donald Trump more forcefully with facts he cannot deny will produce some kind of accountability must never have lived with a malignant narcissist.

It does not work.
As I've said before, Trump is the Gish Gallop incarnate, and now I have the Jay Rosen seal of approval for that designation. And now I think we can also say he is a human virus.

Then, there's this from Cory Doctorow, who is always thinking of the larger solution:
The current situation has revealed deep cracks in our system: replacing public transit with gig economy drivers who don't get health care or sick leave; the gig economy itself; the lethal inadequacy of private-sector broadband and private-sector health-care, and beyond.

The fact that we can simply abolish data-caps (without networks falling over) and the liquid ban (without planes blowing up) reveals that these supposed existential threats were, in fact, arbitrary, authoritarian, rent-seeking bullshit.

The people who've spent 40 years convincing us that we're just not free-marketing hard enough continue to insist that all of these problems are merely the result of not having fully dismantled the state (so much for "state capacity libertarianism"):

They're licking their chops for a 2008-style reboot: eviscerating public services, immiserating workers, fattening plutes and dissolving regulatory safeguards. It's a playbook developed by Milton Friedman: the scheme to have "ideas lying around" when crisis strikes.

But as Naomi Klein reminds us, the Shock Doctrine cuts both ways. The manifest failures of plutocracy in the Great Depression got us the New Deal and the "30 Glorious Years" of shared prosperity and growth.

We haven't been idle since 2008. We have "ideas lying around," too. Ideas for a just and resilient society that reorients human life around sustainable and just practices.

Motherboard's editorial staff gave us a manifesto for that society, so that this crisis doesn't go to waste, called The World After This. It includes:
  • Free and universal healthcare ("healthcare is a basic human right" –B. Sanders)
  • Abolish ICE and prisons ("ICE is now a public health hazard")
  • Protect and empower labor ("Without these protections, everyone’s safety and health is put at risk")
  • A healthier climate ("If the 2008-09 financial crash is any indicator, carbon could shoot right back up as soon as the crisis is over")
  • Fast, accessible broadband ("Community owned/operated broadband networks, long demonized and even prohibited by law are looking better than ever")
  • Smash the surveillance state ("This pandemic mustn't be used to infringe on the civil liberties and privacy of millions")
  • Billionaire wealth ("They're sending people to work while jetting off to luxurious doomsday bunkers, getting Covid-19 tests while normal people can't, and also singing "Imagine" from bucolic getaways.")
  • Public transit that works ("Congress is poised to prioritize bailing out airlines and the cruise industry before it takes a look at public transit")
  • The right to repair ("Right-to-repair has become a matter of life and death.")
  • Science for the people ("We were caught flat-footed by a fixation on 'innovation' and lack of public options")
The future will not be like the past. Whether it is worse or better is our choice to make. It is in our (well-scrubbed) hands.
I woke up this morning thinking about how to call my senator Tina Smith to talk her into supporting — becoming a leader on — the Green New Deal, as a segue from the coronavirus crisis. That we can't bail out casinos and cruise ship companies (or oil companies, banks, airlines) when people, nonprofits, and small businesses are all going under. And that when we rebuild after this (whenever that is), it's an opportunity to rebuild a country adapted to both the climate crisis and equity.

And there was Cory's thread, waiting for me.

_____

 
If you don't already know the WAFA hat, here is the explanation.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Resign Now, Go to Prison Later

I was off all social media and news yesterday until late, and when I finally checked in around 9:00 p.m. the story that overwhelmed all else in this cacophony we live in was that multiple U.S. Senate Republicans had used insider information from a Congressional briefing on the coronavirus back in January to sell and buy stocks to benefit themselves. One of the senators also gave a private briefing to rich donors.

Not only did these Senators know the coronavirus would be bad, but they took that knowledge to make money for themselves (and sometimes their donors).

Richard Burr (North Carolina 202-224-3154, in case you want to call and tell him to resign) is chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee (!). He sold $500,000–$1.5 million in stock — including multiple hotel chains — in February, about a week before the market started to tank. This was as much as three-quarters of his equity holdings. He then gave a private warning about the virus and its impact to a N.C. big whig club on February 27. At that point there were 15 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and he was publicly saying he was confident the government could fight the virus. He told the donors

It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history… It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.
He specifically warned them that schools would have to close, that European business trips should be cancelled, and that the military might be mobilized.

But the public got a different story from Burr. On February 7, for instance, he cowrote an opinion piece for Fox News that said the U.S. is “better prepared than ever before” to deal with something like the coronavirus. “Better than any other country” too, of course! Reading the NPR story linked here, his crimes are almost the worst because he clearly understood what the problem was and did nothing except bail out his own financial position and give a warning to rich constituents. (Burr accuses NPR of producing a “tabloid-style hit piece”… you be the judge.)

In 2012, Burr was one of three senators who voted against a bill that banned Congressional insider trading. Sources: opensecrets.org and NPR.

Kelly Loeffler (Georgia 202-224-3643) sold somewhere between $1 and $3 million worth of stock starting on January 24, the same day she and Burr had an all-Senate briefing on the virus. And she bought stock in Citrix, which owns Go to Meeting, a virtual meeting platform. Gee, I wonder why she thought that stock would be going up?

Not only all of that, she went on the offensive for Mulligan's coronavirus efforts on Twitter, writing this on February 28, 2020:
Democrats have dangerously and intentionally misled the American people on #Coronavirus readiness.

Here's the truth: Donald Trump & his administration are doing a great job working to keep Americans healthy & safe.
She continued to downplay the risks with similar language on February 28, and then on March 10 (!) wrote:
Concerned about #coronavirus? Remember this: The consumer is strong, the economy is strong, & jobs are growing, which puts us in the best economic position to tackle #COVID19 & keep Americans safe.
Oh, and get this. Loeffler was appointed to the Senate just 18 days before she did this insider trading. She didn't make any stock trades after her appointment until the day of the briefing. She was appointed to her seat by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, the same former state attorney general who stole the election from Stacey Abrams through voter suppression. Loeffler's husband is president of the New York Stock Exchange. With a net worth of half a billion dollars, it appears Loeffler is the richest member of the Senate. She's on a subcommittee that oversees futures markets. I'm sure she can be trusted with that job, which gives her a direct role in overseeing her own and her husband's financial interests. Yes, that's who we need to have in the U.S. Senate. Salt of the earth. You can't make this stuff up, as they say.

Sources: rawstory.com and thedailybeast.com

On top of those two most egregious examples, Ron Johnson (Wisconsin) also dumped $5–25 million worth of ownership in his family's manufacturing company on March 2, according to the official Senate financial disclosure site. He then voted against the Senate coronavirus relief bill, like all the other Republicans from Wisconsin in both houses.

As with Mafia Mulligan, whose actions — crimes — are 10 or 100 times worse than Nixon's, these actions are orders of magnitude worse than what Martha Stewart did in insider trading (and she was sentenced to 5 months in prison and 2 years of supervised release, plus fines), and that doesn't even get into the the way some of these "public servants" openly lied to the public about the coming disaster, causing delay in trying to prevent it.

These people are all, I imagine, self-proclaimed Christians, who think they are going to get into heaven, despite that eye of the needle crap in the Bible. I don't imagine heaven is where they're going, but come the revolution, there are some handy walls to be up against.

Oh, and one more thing. Is anyone other than me interested in seeing what the Trumps and Kushners were doing with their stock holdings in January and February?

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A side note for history's sake: The Senate coronavirus briefing on January 24 happened DURING the Mafia Mulligan's impeachment hearings! Loeffler and Burr were sitting side by side during those hearings. You can never be too busy to save a few million dollars in your stock portfolio. Source



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Update: Two more senators, James Inhofe (Republican of Oklahoma, he of "snowballs prove climate change isn't real fame) and Diane Feinstein (Democrat of California), also sold substantial stock after the briefing. I have not looked into the details on either one. Both can also resign as far as I am concerned. I don't know that either one went the extra mile to vamp for Mulligan about the impending disaster, though. Inhofe may have, given his track record; it's doubtful Feinstein did.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

There's a Metaphor in This Name Somewhere

It's a little hard to read, but the name of the business emblazoned across the back of this van is American Water Damage:


Which I think qualifies as a name that's bad for business, kind of like Endwell Animal Hospital.

Why does it seem bad to me? I guess because when you put your country's name at the beginning of a company name, it implies you're proud of the words that come after it. And in this case, the words are "water damage."

Is there a business called American Ice Dams? American Potholes?

Maybe.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

A Corvid (Not Covid) Fact

The birding column in today's Star Tribune contained a fact I never new about corvids, or crows:

Q. I recently noticed two crows out in the street feeding intently on something but there didn't seem to be anything obvious in the road. Were they eating the salt in the road or what else might they have been doing?

A. I'll bet they were eating the road salt, not so much for the salt but for the molasses mixture that many public works departments add to coat the salt. This makes the salt stick to the road better and makes it less corrosive. The molasses in those blue-green salt pellets would have a sweet taste, and this appeals to crows. In other cities, cheese brine or beet juice is added to the road salt, either of which might also be tasty to crows.
Of course, there are all sorts of people who already know salt is coated this way and who would be amazed that every person doesn't already know this.

What a varied and complex world we live in.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Ghost Map, Looking Back, Around, Ahead

Our pandemic has me thinking back on Steven Johnson's great book The Ghost Map. I wrote about it in the first year of this blog and included these two quotes, which I remember to this day, and they both seem particularly relevant lately:

The initial symptoms [of cholera] would be entirely indistinguishable from a mild case of food poisoning. But layered over those physical symptoms would be a deeper sense of foreboding. Imagine if every time you experienced a slight upset stomach you knew that there was an entirely reasonable chance you'd be dead in forty-eight hours (pages 32–33).
And:
From our vantage point... it is hard to tell how heavily that fear weighed upon the minds of the individual Victorians. As a matter of practical reality, the threat of sudden devastation -- your entire extended family wiped out in a matter of days -- was far more immediate than the terror threats of today.... Living amid cholera in 1854 was like living in a world where urban tragedies on [the scale of 9/11] happened week after week, year after year (page 84).
It would be an exaggeration to say we are feeling that level of terror about COVID-19, but it may be the closest that mainstream culture has come to feeling that way from a disease in modern history. Gay men in the 1980s and ’90s felt that way, I'm sure. 

Back when I posted about the book originally, I also wrote this paragraph about Johnson's discussion:
In the final chapters of the book, Johnson expounds on what the cholera outbreak and its aftermath have to tell us about our present situation [climate change]. We need urban density, he says, to make our level of population sustainable on the planet (because city dwellers use substantially fewer resources than rural inhabitants), but at the same time urban density makes us vulnerable both to purposeful attack (nuclear or biological) and unintended pandemics. If density comes to be seen as deadly, people will flee the cities. And then where will we be on a global sustainability level?
Unintended pandemics indeed. And here we are, with people putting six feet of "social distance" around themselves, going to drive-throughs for every need in order to stay away from other people, and avoiding mass transit. Being farther apart is not what we need as a culture or a people.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Hat in a Hellbasket

Every day that goes by, I know more and more there needs to be a hat like this:


What do the letters stand for? A few hints:

1. The hat is green because that color is opposite red on the color wheel.

2. The letters are analogous to the acronym made famous by someone who shall remain nameless, but who goes by the initials MM on this blog.

3. The third word in the acronym's phrase is a vulgarism I would never have said as a child or even a teenager, but now this phrase is what comes out of my mouth whenever I hear MM speak.

Best guesses in the comments.