Imac issues

My Imac has a problem: the screen has started to go blank, randomly at any second. It’s obviously getting old. Luckily my parents have helped me order a new one, but until that arrives and is properly set up, I’ll probably be stuck writing hurried little blog entries, hoping to get it published before the screen goes blank again. Bear with me – my normal half-assed political and social commentary will resume shortly.

The Adams Event

According to this rather fascinating Guardian article, a group of scientists now think that the flipping of the Earth’s magnetic poles about 42,000 years ago may have caused, among other things, the extinction of the Neanderthals. “The Earth’s magnetic field acts as a protective shield against damaging cosmic radiation, but when the poles switch, as has occurred many times in the past, the protective shield weakens dramatically and leaves the planet exposed to high energy particles. One temporary flip of the poles, known as the Laschamps excursion, happened 42,000 years ago and lasted for about 1,000 years.” The effects of this flip were quite severe, and the only way humans survived was to shelter in caves. Rather worrying, though, is the fact that they are due to flip again sometime soon – ie, in the next few hundred years – causing catastrophic damage to our electricity network. When I read that, my first thought was that that really would be all we need right now.

American oddness

Given that America is so full of Evangelical Christians, you might think that one of the worst Coronavirus death rates on earth, together with the worst snow storms for years would give at least some people pause for thought about the idea of an all-powerful, loving God. It strikes me as very odd how so many people can cling so fervently to an obvious delusion when faced with so much contrary evidence. Oh well, maybe all the intelligent Americans just work at NASA.

Touchdown For Perseverance

This is without doubt the picture of the day.

Jezero crater

I was watching the footage of the landing on Mars last night, and got very excited. To pull off such a complex landing is an awesome achievement, both for NASA and humanity itself. What is even more exciting, though, is the fact that last night was only the beginning: as incredible as the landing was, as the Beeb notes here, Perseverance has two years of research and exploration ahead of it. I can’t wait until the real data starts coming back.

Blogging about (not) blogging

I reckon blogging has driven me a teensy bit mad. Ever since I started keeping a weblog, it has been a personal rule to upload an entry at least every two days. I know how lazy I can be, so I told myself to make an effort to keep it up. An entry every couple of days seemed reasonably regular. The thing is, you may have noticed that I usually blog every day; this is because, whenever I skip a day, on the second day I get rather anxious at the thought of knowing I must do an entry, so to avoid that anxiety I blog every day. It’s kinda crazy: I know nothing bad will happen if I don’t keep my blog updated – nobody will take my blog away from me. Yet this has been the state of affairs for about eighteen years. I try my best to blog and get anxious if I don’t, resulting in entries about all sorts of random things – even about getting anxious about not blogging.

Rage and Hate

I am starting to worry about how angry I get sometimes. It had been a nice day until about an hour ago: I had had a lovely walk through a couple of the local parks (I even found a new one) before buying lunch and coming home at about three. Looking for something interesting to get into for the rest of the afternoon, I thought I’d check for news about next year’s Brexit Festival. There”s still not much detail about it, and I didn’t find anything interesting; like most people, I’m still convinced it will be a complete waste of money. However, on Youtube I came across a political vlog about it. The video struck me as ambiguous, and I couldn’t quite tell whether the chap who made it was for or against the festival, so I thought I’d watch another of his videos.

This turned out to be about Brexit, and again the vlogger’s stance seemed hard to discern. I had no problem with it at first, but then it showed footage of someone I’ll name only as NF. I instantly began to get angry: NF is one of those people I cannot abide the sight of. He is a charlatan whose baseless, arrogant views have done so much damage to the country, if you ask me he should be denied the right to voice them. If he had his way, he would do away with the open tolerant society I hold dear and turn the UK into a backward-looking neo-victorian hell. Airing the footage he produces only panders to him and facilitates him when he should be ignored as the irrelevant embarrassment to human civilisation he is. I instantly felt my body tense up and shake with rage; even the merest sight of this person or sound of his loathsome, self-important voice is enough to reduce me to white hot anger. I know how illogical getting so angry is, but for a few moments I felt an intense, burning hatred: I wished with every fibre of my being that the pestulent scumbag on the screen would die a slow, agonising death for all the damage his lies have done.

Such thoughts horrify me: capital punishment is never acceptable, and one should never wish such ill on anyone. Yet I can’t help thinking such things, as if for a few moments I become so angry that I lose all perspective. In the end I had to turn the video off and move away from my computer. In my bedroom looking out of my window, I could feel my heart beating. I know many people with Athetoid Cerebral Palsy experience this kind of lack of emotional control, and that it is connected to the brain damage we suffered at birth. It only lasts a few moments before I calm down. Nonetheless, to hate someone so intensely, to begrudge him every breath he draws into his chest, and to feel so angry that you lose control of your limbs and have to consciously stop yourself putting your fist through your computer screen, is truly frightening.

A job I would love to apply for

I’ve never really considered applying for a job, but I just saw this story on BBC evening news. “The European Space Agency says it wants to recruit someone with a disability as part of its call for new astronauts. Esa will be accepting applications in March to fill four-to-six vacancies in its astro corps but it wants this draft process to be as inclusive as possible. The search for a potential flier with additional functional needs will be run in parallel to the main call.” The Trekkie in me really, really wants to apply. I’ve always dreamed of flying into space, exploring the galaxy and boldly going where no one has gone before. Then again, it might not be such a good idea: would I be able to look after myself in zero G? And given I can barely control my powerchair sometimes, who knows what damage I’d cause if the ESA let me loose on a multi-billion Euro rocket.

Not Fit People To Be In Government

I may be going out on a bit of a limb here, but I’m going to come out and say that I seriously do not think that anyone who believes a person’s ability to make money is as important as our security from a deadly virus is a fit and proper person to be anywhere near the government of this or any other country. It makes me furious to hear that a group of Tories is now lobbying to get the Coronavirus restrictions lifted as soon as May. They argue that the risks to public health must be weighed against the damage lockdown does to the economy, as if the two should be somehow perceived as equal, and the ability of individuals to make money is just as important as peoples right to live long, healthy lives.

Do such people not care that lifting restrictions too soon practically invites a third, even more severe wave? Do they not see that the sudden return to normal they crave would mean everyone coming out and mixing, transmitting the remnants of the virus, leading to many more deaths? Of course they don’t: all that matters to these Tory monsters is their ability and the ability of people like them to make money. The way they see it, who cares if others are dying as long as the economy is on the mend and they’re getting richer. After all, an improving economy makes the government look good.

Theirs is a selfish, arrogant worldview which values the greed of the few over the welfare of the many. A country should be governed for the good of all. Thus, given that their views pose such an obvious danger to our health, I seriously think that the members of this group of tories (no doubt the same despicable charlatans who conned the country into voting to leave the EU) should be forced to resign immediately.