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Encouraging Signs

Last episode I was comparing our yearning for some good news about the virus to a sailor struggling to "round the Horn." There are better analogies for people who live through east-of-the-Rockies winters. They yearn for the first sight of spring. In some places, blooming crocuses might do the trick. But lately it has been encouraging to see other people become more normal -- perhaps a certain ennui has set in, and they have turned the television set off. Have you noticed all the plexiglass windows popping up at the checkout counters? Some look improvised, while others look quite professional. What a sensible idea! These windows save the checkout person from being coughed on by a customer three feet away. I hope the windows remain in place after this virus panic is over. It surprises me when something practical, sensible, and affordable is done in the USA.  I think those little pieces of tape on the floor, that tell you where the 6 feet distance is, are also a good ide

"Rounding the Cape" for Corona

It is spring in New Mexico. So the central fact of physical existence is not sunlight -- as newbies might suppose -- but rather, horizontal gravity. Try leaving a building supply store with a 4' X 8' sheet of something! If you walk exactly into the wind, you might make it. But if you get 5 degrees off, you will "broach to," in nautical lingo. Then your load will fly horizontally into somebody's car. On such a day recently celltower workers chose to climb the mast, all the way up to the crow's nest. I decided to park on the other side of the parking lot. Imagine what it was like to be on the lookout for land in the crow's nest of a clipper ship, especially when the ship was heeled over at a 45 degree angle, and the length of the mast amplified the pitching and rolling of the ship. I am usually careful to park my camper's bow straight into the wind, to reduce the side-buffeting, and to ensure the side entry door is slammed shut by the wind, in

Chance to Replace Handshakes and Kisses

I am no epidemiologist, but why hasn't there been draconian government restrictions against kissing? Isn't kissing a particularly unsanitary habit? A dentist once told me that if you used a cotton swab to take a sample from the human mouth, and did the same with the anus, and put each sample in a separate petri dish, you would find the mouth-petri-dish far more disgusting in a few days. Perhaps if kissing was on lockdown, the birth-rate would fall precipitously nine months from now. (And who would object to that?) The human male is in a hurry to get past time-consuming preliminaries like kissing, and get down to 'business' ... maybe that is why kissing hasn't been put on lockdown, yet: the restriction would favor male pigs. Hand-shaking is the next thing I would like to eliminate. As a boy I loved shaking hands because it made me feel so grown up. But it does seem unsanitary. What year was it that American blacks began to give other "bro-s" a diffe

Panics as Asymmetrical Warfare

I've got to read up on asymmetrical warfare. (Where?) The virus panic shows how effective panic can be in destroying the economy of an enemy. Why bother with planes, ships, bombs, and bullets anymore? Even the most potent "boom" weapons need expensive delivery systems to get them to the enemy. But delivering a virus is free -- you just let the economy and normal travel habits do it.   I wonder if we ever will know who is responsible for this virus. If weapon-researchers screwed up, the information will be classified. Will the world get serious about international treaties that prevent this kind of mistake in the future? Even if it did, some future president might come along, and, like Bush and Trump did with nuclear missile and the Iran treaties, pull out of the treaty.  We are used to thinking of nuclear weapons as the final chapter in military history, but the world has gone through many radical changes in military tactics and weapons before.  So we shouldn'

Predictions About Post-Virus World

How much you wanna bet that after the virus-panic is over, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) is elevated to a cabinet-level department? It will waste more money than the Department of Homeland Defense, the monstrosity that was born after the panic of 9/11. Five years after the Department of Disease Control is created, it will be working on a labyrinth of regulations about how many chocolate chip cookies you are allowed to eat per month. It will expand its mission into automobile safety -- at least 6 hand sanitizer dispensers will be built into dashboards and the backs of seats. If they aren't used each time you get into "your" car, beepers and alarms will go off, and the car will be locked in the off position. But it would be enjoyable to visualize some beneficial changes to our institutions, brought on by this panic.  From Just think of the improvements possible if we abandon fast-food outlets and Starbucks. Maybe Wall Street will be fundamen