My friends and I celebrated the nice spring weather (70 °F/ 21 °C) with a little bike ride today.
Some restrictions on outdoor activities here in Washington State have also been lifted, as of today. Golf courses are now open, and some State parks for day use.
Welp. Washington State stays home for now, until May 31. Some restrictions are expected to be lifted by mid-May, though (go to Phase 2 of 4 phases).
Phase 2 allows –
• All outdoor recreation involving fewer than 5 people outside one’s household (camping, beaches, hiking trails and so on);
• Gather with no more than 5 people outside one’s household per week;
• Limited non-essential travel within proximity of one’s home;
• Non-essential businesses can open, such as manufacturing, construction, domestic services, in-store purchases allowed with restrictions, professional services (but teleworking is encouraged), hair and nail salons, restaurants < 50% capacity & table sizes < 5.
What should happen as States open up, is to go back to Square One.
Do lots of testing, especially of symptomatic people, and do contact tracing for persons testing positive.
It looks like testing remains an insurmountable challenge in America, though. The Senate will resume business in Washington DC this coming week .. but the Capitol Hill physician says there are not enough kits to test each Senator. How in the living daylights, in the month of May, is this possible?
Denis Hayes, who coordinated the first Earth Day 50 years ago, April 22, 1970, was a graduate student at Harvard at the time. These days he is president and C.E.O. of the Bullitt Foundation, wdenbis hayes hich funds environmental causes in Seattle. He is chairman emeritus of Earth Day 2020.
Hayes wrote in an essay in the Seattle Times, saying that ‘Covid-19 robbed us of Earth Day this year. So let’s make Election Day Earth Day.’ He wants his readers to participate in the ‘The Most Important Election of Your Lifetime’. ‘This November 3,’ he wrote, ‘vote for the Earth.’
More robin pictures. I took these on Sunday, and the tree is the Douglas fir in my backyard.
I spotted two little rabbits here on 17th Ave tonight. Below is a picture of one of them.
Can rabbit populations grow exponentially, as well? Yes, sure can. A female rabbit can give birth to several litters in one year, with up to 12 baby rabbits per litter. Yikes.
We have had an unusual stretch of sunny days. The daytime high reached 70 °F (21 °C) today, a first for the year.
I don’t wear a mask when I go for a walk. Maybe I should, to get used to having the thing on my face!
Here are the ring-tailed lemurs at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, enjoying their Easter treats (strawberries .. and ‘Was that all?’ they seem to ask).
Lemurs are classified as neither monkeys, nor apes: they belong to a group called prosimian primates. Prosimians have moist noses, and rely on their sense of smell to determine what is safe to eat — and to distinguish between individuals in their social groups.
‘Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.’—Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and a Stoic philosopher
To help keep my sense of time and seasons intact, I drew up a little timeline of the 9 months that still stretch ahead of Seattle and the world in 2020.
Major sport events in the world have now been cancelled through July (including Wimbledon tennis at the famous ‘All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club’, and the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics).
Tulips were coveted in the late 1500s in Europe, for their saturated, intense petal color — that no other cultivated plant had at the time.
At the height of Tulip Mania in the Dutch Golden Age (February of 1637), tulip bulbs sold for some 10,000 guilders: enough money to buy a mansion on the Amsterdam Grand Canal.
The market for tulip bulbs collapsed soon after that.
It has been beautiful outside this week, so I went for a few walks around the block a few times — but definitely avoiding people on the sidewalk. Yes, I’m steering clear of you. Don’t care if you are offended .. it’s good for both of us.
I find going to the grocery store harrowing*, and maybe I will get supplies for a whole month with my next trip.
Of course: I can always order from Amazon or even online, from the grocery store, as well.
*The last time I went, there was a woman with a persistent, bad cough in the store. So you absolutely had to come into the store? I thought.
• WHO declares COVID-19 disease a pandemic (at last)
• Seattle district schools closed for two weeks, as are gatherings of 250+ people, or smaller – if people are going to be ‘packed in like sardines’
• Italy closed for business (except drug stores & grocery stores)
• Stock market falls further; Boeing stock slumps a stunning 18% just today
• NBA league games cancelled, nationwide
• St Patrick Day’s parades cancelled in Boston & NYC
• Crowds at political rallies cancelled • Stock market falls further; Boeing stock slumps a stunning 18% just today
• Late Wednesday, Trump read something from the teleprompter in the Oval Office that bans foreigners arriving from Europe for 30 days, excluding the UK
My friends and I debated if we should go out for our Wednesday night beers. In the end we said: let’s go eat, drink and be merry.
Who knows what tomorrow, next week and next month will bring?
‘If you do the math, it gets very disturbing’, said Inslee. ‘In 7 to 8 weeks, there could be 64,000 people infected in the State of Washington if we don’t somehow slow down this epidemic. And the next week, it’s 120,000 — and the next week, it’d be a quarter of a million’.
– Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, Tue. Mar 10, 2020.
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee will announce tomorrow that all gatherings of more than 250 people, are banned in the Seattle metro area. The current coronavirus numbers may seem small: a total of 267 infections in Washington State (24 deaths).
The trouble is — 1. the real number might be a lot bigger, and 2. if left unchecked, infected persons can each infect between 2 and 3 others, making for exponential growth in the number of infections.
Check out the graph below: my own rough calculation starting with the 267, and repeatedly multiplying by 2.5 each week. We know know that an infected person will typically start to show symptoms some 5-6 days after exposure.
The US still has by far the most billionaires in the world (585, compared to China: 373, Germany: 123, Denmark: 6, South Africa: 6, if Elon Musk is counted in that 6).
So are billionaires to blame for income inequality? Are they, indirectly so? How does one stop a country’s economy from producing billionaires? (Probably something like a marginal tax rate of 90% above $5 million of annual income).
Anand Giridharadas (political commentator, TIME Editor at large), says this 2020 Presidential election in the United States will be a referendum on wealth and capitalism, that has gotten a little out of control/ completely out of control, in the United States of America.
It was another beautiful day here in Seattle.
I wanted to get a clear view of Mt Rainier, and the observation deck of the Water Tower here in Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill was a good place to go to get that. And hey, no entry fee: it’s free of charge.
I followed some of Bernie Sanders’s stump speech that he gave in the Tacoma Dome tonight. A seasoned campaigner, he has it down pat, of course: denouncing income and wealth inequality, the corporate owners of the media, and advocating for free healthcare, college education, and so on.
‘And by now, the Democratic establishment should be getting nervous as well’, he also said. (I think they are very nervous. I like most of what he says, but I’m kind of nervous as well). As he left the stage, Neil Young’s ‘Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World (1989)‘ played.
The Wikipedia entry for the song explains its background: ‘The lyrics negatively reference the George H. W. Bush administration, then in its first month, quoting Bush’s famous ‘thousand points of light’ remark from his 1989 inaugural address and his 1988 presidential campaign promise for America to become a ‘kinder, gentler nation.’ The song also refers to Ayatollah Khomeini’s proclamation that the United States was the ‘Great Satan’ and Jesse Jackson’s 1988 campaign slogan, ‘Keep hope alive’. The song was first performed live on February 21, 1989, in Seattle with The Restless, without the band having rehearsed it’.