Dr Fauci testified before Congress today, via videolink. He urged caution (as always), and said there would be no vaccine by the start of the school year in September.
Just today California State University, the nation’s largest four-year public university system, announced the cancellation of in-person classes for the fall semester. That system comprises 23 campuses, with more than 480,000 students!
When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows Lies the seed, that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes the rose
– first recorded by Bette Midler for the soundtrack of the 1979 film The Rose, lyrics by Amanda McBroom
The April jobs report pegged the US unemployment rate at 14.7%, a cataclysmically bad figure* .. and one that will almost certain be even worse for May.
*The only figure on record that’s worse, was the 25% unemployment recorded during the Great Depression in 1933.
One can argue that some – most, hopefully? – of these jobs will come back in a few months, but absolutely not all of them. There is a small business die-out in progress in the United States. Stores, restaurants, bars and entertainment businesses are taking a severe hit.
The last supermoon of 2020 is out tonight, and its color was a rich cheesy yellow, from my vantage point here.
Here is a pair of pictures that I found on Twitter, of the International Space Station transiting against the Sun, and against the Moon.
The scales of the pictures are the same! .. our Sun is gargantuan, of course — its diameter roughly 400 times that of the moon —but it is also 400 times further away from Earth, than the moon.
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.
I found these beautiful poppy flowers in a scruffy back alley here on Capitol Hill.
From Wikipedia: Ancient Egyptian doctors would have their patients eat seeds from a poppy to relieve pain. Poppy seeds contain small quantities of both morphine and codeine, which are pain-relieving drugs that are still used today.
This little pot-bellied thrush came and sit on my garage roof last night at dusk. It sang a song or two before leaving. I believe it is a hermit thrush (Catharus guttatus). In French: grive solitaire, the lone thrush.
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?
‘So no, the Koreans are not ‘magic’, and are not dealing with a loaded deck. They saw the problem, and confronted it rationally and deliberately, and the U.S. can certainly do the same, once rational people rise up and start removing their irrational leaders‘, concludes Kelly Mac in an article on Medium.
The writer dispels some of the myths around the amazing success that South Korea has had at mitigating the impact of the corona virus. (They worked hard at it, and it should also be noted that they operate at ‘half-normal’, says the writer).
Screen shots below are from the Medium article. Korean tracing app: It has GPS permissions, phone number verification, and Passport number (verified in person by immigration)- the traveler can delete after 2 weeks. If you fail to self-report during the 2 weeks, a health official may call you to find out why; the QR code can be used for fast entry to hospitals. (Dyspnea means difficult or labored breathing).
gerund or present participle: gas·lighting
1. manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.
2. Trump & his White House staff, talking about the corona virus pandemic.
Jared Kushner had the ba*** to say today that the federal government’s response to the corona virus outbreak is ‘a great success story’. That is a vile and infame lie.
Anyone that knows anything, knows the response can only be described as an abysmal failure. Obama’s team (that had sent 10,000 troops to contain the Ebola pandemic in Africa in 2014), briefed them in 2017 at the hand-over. What did Trump do? He dismantled the pandemic agencies in the federal government.
Trump wasbriefed extensively in January & February 2020 by the intelligence agencies about the coming pandemic. He dismissed their concerns. At least – what? 50%? of the 60,000 deaths that have now been recorded, could have been prevented. More Americans have now died of the virus in three months, than the casualties of the Vietnam War. That war ended after three decades on Apr. 30, 1975.
Here’s a tulip from my walk around the block tonight.
It might be a broken tulip: one infected with a plant virus called a potyvirus. The virus infects the bulb and breaks the single color in the petals. Bars, stripes, streaks, flames or feathers of different colors can be the result.
Unfortunately the virus is not benign — it eventually kills the bulb. The Semper Augustus with its fine red and white stripes was a broken tulip, famous for being the most expensive tulip sold during tulip mania. It is now long gone, and growing broken tulips (except under supervision) is illegal in the Netherlands.
We had gusty winds on Saturday. The wind blew a robin’s nest out of the tree in front of my house – at least I think it’s a robin’s nest. Other birds lay blue eggs as well. As far as I can tell, there were no chicks that came down with the nest.
I saw this YouTube clip from a 2018 Jimmy Kimmel Live show for the first time today. Several people are shown a big world map with the countries outlined.
Were they going to be asked to point out an obscure country such as Nepal, on the map? Maybe a more obvious one such as – uh – Australia? China? Canada? No. Four or five people were asked to choose and correctly point out any one country whatsoever on the world map. Couldn’t do it.
To save Kimmel’s audience from utter despair, the clip ends with a young boy ticking off the countries in South America, on to Mexico, USA, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Australia, New Zealand and .. correctly pointing out Papua New Guinea.
I broke one of my Noritake (Japanese porcelain) dinner plates last week in spectacular fashion: I made it explode on my gas cooktop with a loud bang!
(I accidentally turned on the gas burner underneath the plate for a few minutes).
Lucky for me, there were no flying pieces of porcelain, just the broken pieces on the cooktop to clean up.