March 30, 2020

At the Sunrise Cafe...


... you can talk all night.

AND: A closer look:


Daybreak after the rain.


This morning, at 7:06.

"An Australian astrophysicist has been admitted to hospital after getting four magnets stuck up his nose in an attempt to invent a device that..."

"... stops people touching their faces during the coronavirus outbreak. Dr Daniel Reardon, a research fellow at a Melbourne university, was building a necklace that sounds an alarm on facial contact, when the mishap occurred on Thursday night.... 'I had a part that detects magnetic fields. I thought that if I built a circuit that could detect the magnetic field, and we wore magnets on our wrists, then it could set off an alarm if you brought it too close to your face. A bit of boredom in isolation made me think of that.... I accidentally invented a necklace that buzzes continuously unless you move your hand close to your face.... After scrapping that idea, I was still a bit bored, playing with the magnets. It’s the same logic as clipping pegs to your ears – I clipped them to my earlobes and then clipped them to my nostril and things went downhill pretty quickly when I clipped the magnets to my other nostril.'"

The Guardian reports.

"The USNS Comfort arrived in New York on Monday, bringing a massive Navy hospital ship to help relieve city hospitals overwhelmed by coronavirus patients."

"The ship departed Saturday from Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia. It was undergoing maintenance when President Donald Trump pledged to deploy it to New York, which was expected to take two weeks but was sped up to eight days."

Politico reports.

Here's Rachel Maddow, doing what she could to keep our spirits down, on March 20:

"There's no sign that they'll be anywhere on site helping out anywhere in the country for weeks yet. The president said when he announced that those ships would be put into action against the COVID-19 epidemic. He said one of those ships would be operational in New York harbor by next week. That's nonsense. It will not be there next week."

It's just pictures to give you an idea of what it might be like... fake but accurate...

"Hey, team Biden is Joe and I’m sitting here in Wilmington, Delaware. It’s a scary time. A lot of people out there confused things are changing every day, every hour."

"So I wanted to have this conversation with you now if we could, why am I doing this? Well, first so we can keep talking with each other or we can’t hold rallies anymore, but we’re not gathering in large public spaces.... And a, the second reason is I think this podcast could offer some really helpful information. I’ve seen these kinds of crises before and uh, and I’ve sat in the situation room in the oval office and we’ve grappled three crises from Daniel outbreak to the Iran nuclear deal to the auto industry rescue. And, uh, during that time I’ve been able to work with some pretty accomplished experts, women and men who have steered us through epidemics and demic.... [T]he young people who think they don’t have to worry about social dissonance distancing I should say. You know, do it for older people in your life.... You know, I have overwhelming faith in the American people when the American people have never, ever, ever, ever, ever let their country down when faced with a challenge. Never. And they’re smart. I am so darn proud. It sounds corny to be an American. How, look how we’re pulling together.... And, uh, you know, my heart goes out to all those folks who have lost somebody or have someone in the hospital who’s suffering. It just, it’s an enormous, enormous burden. And, uh, but, uh, we’re thinking about you. I really mean it and I, all Americans are pulling together, so we’re going to get through this... And, uh, in the meantime, everybody stay healthy, stay safe, and, uh, I’ll be talking to you regularly. Thank you so much."

That's Joe Biden, from a transcription of a podcast from the Joe Biden for President Website. I've added ellipses where I've taken things out, but I haven't changed anything else. You can also listen to the audio at that link.


Rick: "What is a Daniel outbreak?"

"If he's going to run, that's fine. I wouldn't mind running against Andrew. I’ve known Andrew for a long time. I wouldn't mind that but I'll be honest..."

"... I think he’d be a better candidate than sleepy Joe. I wouldn’t mind running against Andrew; I don’t mind running against Joe Biden. I think probably Andrew would be better. I'm telling you right now, you know, I want somebody [for] this country that's gonna do a great job, and I hope I'm going to win."

Trump said, this morning, quoted by NBC News.

I like the acknowledgment that he could lose, and if he does, he wants a good President for the country. He doesn't want a weak opponent. I mean, maybe he does, but that's not what he's saying, and I like that.



The eastern view, at 6:50 a.m.

"Social distancing in India."

Social distancing in India from r/nextfuckinglevel

UPDATE: At Reddit, it says: "Sorry, this post was deleted by the person who originally posted it." The post showed a street with numerous lanes painted for pedestrians, and perhaps 6 feet of space between the lanes. People walked single file keeping what might have been 6 feet after each person. I think there were 3 lanes going one way, and 3 going the other way, and all of the lanes were full, continuous lines of people walking forward.

"There's a statue in Russia..."

What a great way to show them some respect from r/nextfuckinglevel

"One day, we might look back at the coronavirus pandemic as yet another societal cataclysm that shaped a young generation of Americans, like 9/11 or the Great Recession."

"Perhaps the hardship will make them heartier, or maybe more anxious. Or the long lens of history will reveal this as a time when teens’ addiction to social media and virtual communication – the focus of such parental angst — brought unexpected salvation. But for now, we’re all still in the woods, amid school closings and canceled graduations and proms, the fresh demands of distance learning and the persistent drone of children whining to be with their friends. The fault lines of modern parenting that separate those who can draw a firm line from those loathe to say 'No' have never been more exposed. Elisa would say 'No' if she felt it would matter, but her son’s nature isn’t going to change overnight. Julian loves people and the outdoors. ('Adrenaline rush, that’s my kind of thing,' he says.) Plus he’s impulsive — a trait of his ADHD — and boyishly 'hard-headed,' said his mother, despite him turning 18 in October."

From "He’s 18 and wants to hang with 'his boys.' His mom hasn’t been able to stop him" (WaPo).

"In the 1980s, Escobar decided to make his own personal zoo on his palatial estate in Antioquia, Colombia, illegally importing... four hippos."

"When Escobar died in 1993, the government removed the animals to zoos and wildlife sanctuaries. Wrangling the grumpy hippos, however, proved too big a task. So there they remained without any natural predators, ready to breed like crazy. Today, Escobar’s herd has grown to upward of 100 strong. To residents, they are a threatening menace, but among scientists their presence is the source of spirited debate. Are Escobar’s hippos 'invasive'? Or are they 'introduced'? Are they threatening the local ecological community? Or are they helping to 'rewild' the area? The answer is far from clear, but the debate could change the way we think about preserving habitats.... [Hippos graze on land and] defecate in the water... and many scientists worry they could dramatically affect the ecosystem.... [But] South America was once home to many large herbivores, including a semiaquatic rhino-like creature known as a notoungulate. It was also home to the giant llama, which was similarly responsible for grazing and nutrient recycling in the ecosystem. But those megafauna disappeared thousands of years ago, largely thanks to humans.... 'We should be interrogating our conception of nature,' said Erick Lundgren, lead author of [a] study. For Lundgren, the point is not to say that hippos 'belong' in South America but to recognize that 'belonging' is a values-based concept created by humans.... Human intervention may make conservationists uncomfortable, but given the scale of our biodiversity crisis, it seems foolish to dismiss a tool that could help."

From "The great conundrum of Pablo Escobar’s hippos" (WaPo). A lot going on in that article, not much reflection. It seems foolish to dismiss a tool that could help... that's an inane way to sum up a problem! Yes, it's "foolish" not to give something any thought at all, but that's saying just about nothing. The comments over there are all over the place — some in the childish "I love hippos" category, some saying what about the poor people who live there, and others dragging Trump into it (as if life is a matter of: First person to make a Trump wisecrack wins).

Angelic sunrise.


This morning, at 6:50.

I was going to say something like this about MSNBC, but Scott Adams has put it so well.

"No one wants to be the first person to break the silence or say they’re sorry. This tension is constantly there..."

"... in everything that we do. I left a plate in the sink last night from a late dinner and she left me a Post-it note on the sink that was like, 'You’re a grown ass adult, please pick up after yourself.' So, yeah, it’s a little rough. Every single day I am more and more certain that we will be filing for divorce. I would rather be alone right now."

From "5 People on Being Isolated With Their Exes" (NY Magazine) — answering the question what would it be like if you had to shelter in place with a partner you were just about to leave and now  you're stuck with for the duration of this war.

That quote is from a 33-year-old woman, talking about her wife. Here's another quote, also from a woman. She's 33 and talking about a male partner:
One of the hardest things right now is knowing I will not see my friends in person for a long time. The only people I trust right now have to stay six feet away and we can’t even go out for drinks to talk shit about him. That is killing me. And it’s only just begun...
There's not much need to feel sorry for these people, but perhaps this is a prompt to look for the good in whatever relationship you have in your life, including the relationship called solitude.

"So you’re talking about 2.2 million deaths. 2.2 million people from this. If we can hold that down as we’re saying, to 100,000..."

"... it’s a horrible number — maybe even less, but to 100,000, so we have between 100 and 200,000, we altogether have done a very good job. 2.2, up to 2.2 million deaths and maybe even beyond that? I’m feeling very good about what we did last week.... [Easter] was just an aspiration.... Easter... could be a peak period... We had an aspiration of Easter, but when you hear these kind of numbers and you hear the potential travesty, we don’t want to do anything where, you know, we don’t want to have it spike up. We don’t want to do it soon and then all of a sudden you go down, you’re coming down, and then you start going up again, because we discussed that could happen, and we don’t want that to happen. We’ve gone through too much....  I said, 'It would be a great thing if we could do it by Easter,' and we know much more now.... Unfortunately, the enemy is death. It’s death. A lot of people are dying, so it’s very unpleasant. It’s a very unpleasant thing to go through, but the level of competence, the level of caring, the level of love, I just think it’s brilliant and it’s possibly happening in other countries, possibly. I don’t know, I can’t speak to other countries, but I can speak to the United States of America, and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I am very proud to be your President."

Said President Trump, at yesterday's coronavirus transcript.

2.2 million is a number — a number of deaths — that the experts were citing in the task force discussions. The continuing lockdown is portrayed as an effort to keep the number down to 100,000 deaths. You can see that when Trump said 100,000, he paused to declare that a "horrible number," because it is horrible to hear now, but 100,000 compares favorably to 2.2 million, which is the number he was told would die if we did nothing. As Trump put it:
[B]efore we heard the 2.2 million people... we had a lot of people were saying maybe we shouldn’t do anything, just ride it. They say ride it like a cowboy. Just ride it. Ride that sucker right through. That’s where the 2.2 million people come in. Would have died maybe, but it would have been 1.6 to 2.2, and that’s not acceptable, but there were a lot of people that said… I thought about it. I said, “Maybe we should ride it through.” You know you always hear about the flu.... You’ll have 35, 36, 37,000 people die, sometimes more, sometimes less. This is different....
Ride it like a cowboy. Just ride it. Ride that sucker right through.... That was the alternative. Ride it like a cowboy... to 2.2 million deaths.

Perhaps the metaphor of the cowboy came from the notion of getting — as quickly as possible — to "herd" immunity. But we are not cattle.