Weather – Verticals Community Center – Math and Physics
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We are in a SW Pennsylvania cold snap. We get blasted for two or three weeks every January. The day that Sidney Poitier died, the temperature was 6F outside. It is too cold to fly drones safely. The batteries could become damaged.
The omicron strain produces record-setting infections. It dips into all demographics. So, every day, again, as before the vaccine in 2020, celebrities die in the headlines. Writ small, too, are the poignant absences experienced in my own community.
I am a substitute teacher. One of my students is grieving a sibling who died Christmas Eve, zounds. She died of Covid and asthma, her grieving sister had told me. The day I learned this, last Friday, I felt fine. I was upbeat. I found out later that evening that my son had been in contact with someone who got Covid. The next day, a rapid Covid test cleared me for a return to work, though that requirement does not exist. I am looking at these students, and I listen to the stories of death and grief. Those are hard to bear. I understand much of this suffering is avoidable if people simply:
- Get Vaccinated! The vaccine keeps you from getting so sick you end up on a ventilator in the hospital. but it cannot lay you out. Covid causes hypoxia and cytokine storms. These can clog your kidneys, lungs, and liver with flowing rivers of dead blood and arterial tissue. The hospitals are full of unvaccinated Covid patients on ventilators.
- Social distance – Minimize critical proximity, exposure within crowded and unventilated spaces, be wary of common touch points, and keep track of your movement to help others determine pathways of infection for those who may be much more vulnerable than you. Covid is an aerosol.
- Stay healthy – Comorbidities prefigure heavily in outcomes, so try to limit booze, excess sugar, and other toxins associated with increases in mortality due to heart disease. People dying of strokes and heart attacks more often in a shorter duration than in an average year make you wonder if it’s Covid, makes your shredded nerves a bit raw. Get outside, get into a natural setting, get grounded in the physical living world. If you are stuck indoors, check out an eagle cam.
- Wear a respiratory barrier. Also, wear underwear. Thanks.
What are these children to think of us after this pandemic passes? How will they remember us? How are they internalizing this profoundly abnormal yet perfectly natural event? When the next pandemic hits, will they remember the crucial mistakes we are making this time around? I am reminded of the outcome of H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds. The Martians died from germs. Now the germs are colonizing us! WE are the Martians.
Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.– H.G. Wells (1898), The War of the Worlds
I am reminded that Wells helped kickstart the imagination of children who would grow up to build rockets. Szilard and Goddard were acolytes of science fiction. Wells wondered what Martians would do if they acted like British Imperialists when they arrived on Earth. Science fiction, the best of it, deals with deep ethical imbroglios that will come to pass. We try, we fail, we learn, we try again. The veils fall, one by one. We tried the James Webb trick twenty years ago, but we crashed Genesis after it deorbited from L1, all spicy with ions streaming from the Sun. We learned. We try again. Where is Webb?
Verticals Community Center
I have some news this week about the drone program at Verticals. They might use me through February, maybe. I got stacks of maybes next to my shoulda coulda woulda collection. It is beyond my control. I want to coach a drone application class, but I need money to pay bills, so I take necessity by its hand.
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Math and Physics
I have been reading up on some math and physics topics. I am studying some stuff that is difficult and boring to describe. There are a dozen tabs open to research papers on my laptop. I wish I had more time to write today. Where is Webb?