I have been looking at the brighter side of things but also been pragmatically thinking about the future.
First of all, I do think we are talking about a long run on covid19, I suspect it will be Q3-4 when the vaccines actually become available to everyday people (people who are not at high risk, on the front line or anything like that). Pinning our hopes on things going back to the old normal is not going to happen. Heck even my mum the other day said this to me on our last family call! We already prepared ourselves to not spend the festive season together.
The festival season also brings to the UK, the harsh ramifications of Brexit. Something a lot people have blocked out of their mind as they focus on Covid19. Don’t even get me started about the this as its deeply upsetting and really encourages me to just leave this country.
However as Noam talks about in his speech, the elephants in the room (I would say blackswans but they are not because we are very aware of these, or at least we should be!).
- Global nuclear war
- Environmental collapse
Its clear if Trump wins another term as president of America, the countdown to both global nuclear war and environmental collapse will be so much closer than we can imagine. The election is a concern for many reasons but nuclear war and environmental collapse is something we should all be aware and thinking about; and I don’t mean disappearing into our escape pods.
We already passed the point of no environmental change but we are actively increasing accelerating things including future pandemics. Imagine pandemics are simply a side-effect of our environmental impact. That I feel gives it the real scope of the challenge in front of us.
This can all be a harsh reality kick in the teeth. But honestly see it as a kick up the ass for us all. Together we can do it but we all have to acknowledge the reality and look beyond the current pandemic.
…except I’m sure from the 24th July we are likely to see similar scenes in the UK.
I have talked about the system of racism over the last few weeks, but I didn’t even think about this aspect. (although its an American view, I wouldn’t be surprised if similar policies existed in the UK)
In US news and current events today, Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law author, continues his lifelong mission to debunk the myth of de facto segregation and explain how modern day segregation is enforced by US law and policy. Insidious tactics like redlining have contributed to modern day segregation, and it leads to modern school segregation, modern housing segregation and housing discrimination, and so much more. De jure discrimination didn’t end with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, it simply became more insidious and baked into the housing, lending and education systems that have prevented Black Americans from earning and keeping wealth. Modern segregation is no less immoral and unjust than explicit segregation, and the entire system needs an overhaul if we are ever to reach true equality and assert that Black lives matter.
There has been many signs of the current pandemic which is upon us now, in retrospect. Bill gates talk from TED is a popular one people mention. But there has been many more including this one, Fowl plague from how we get to next.
One of the questions in the FAQ is spot on.
At this very moment the USA has surpassed China with the most amount of people infected. It doesn’t take a lot to see the problem of a pandemic with no public health care system.
Has a case has been made for universal health care providing a better defense against pandemics, as people are less likely to stay away from medical treatment over fears of the costs involved?
The case for universal health care was made in the years following the Spanish flu in 1918, when more people died at the hands of avian influenza than in both world wars combined. This event made it abundantly clear that, in the midst of a pandemic, it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, insulated by health insurance or not: Everyone was at risk unless society was treated as a whole. This is, I believe, the strongest possible argument for universal health care; by definition ideas of individualism disintegrate in a pandemic scenario.
When I mention public health that extends to sick leave too as Vox’s video also explains so well.
Talking of Bill Gates, just this week TED did a follow up interview.
I was reading why America is the World’s First Poor Rich Country by Umair and was pretty much agreeing with everything he wrote.
The crux of his blog is about the basics of life which you need to pay for in America.
In Europe, Canada, and even Australia, society invests in all these things — and the costs of basic necessities societies don’t provide are regulated. For example, I pay $50 dollars for broadband and TV in London — but $200 for the same thing in New York — yet in London, I get vastly more and better media for my money (even including, yes, American junk like Ancient Aliens). That’s regulation at work. And when basic goods like healthcare or elderly care or education are provided and managed at a social scale, that is when they are cheapest, and often of the best quality, too. Hence, healthcare costs far less in London, Paris, or Geneva — and life expectancy is longer, too.
So if you are earning $50k in America, it is a very different thing than earning $50k in France, Germany, or Sweden — in America, you must pay steeply for the basics of life, for basic necessities. Thus, incomes stretch much further in other countries, which enjoy a vastly higher quality of life, even though people there earn roughly the same amount, because they pay vastly less for basic necessities. Americans are rich, but only nominally — their money doesn’t buy nearly as much as their peers does, where it matters and counts most, for the basics of life.
I remember many friends moving to America and reporting the wages they were getting as a result.
One friend for example said he was earning 6 figures as a contractor and I replied great, are you paying health insurance? He replied no, he will be fine. I said GET health insurance because one slip and you are so screwed.
America is pioneering a new kind of poverty. The kind of poverty that’s developed in America isn’t just bizarre and gruesome — it’s novel and unseen. It isn’t something that we understand well, economists, intellectuals, thinkers, because we have no good framework to think about it. It’s not absolute poverty like Somalia, and it’s not just relative poverty, like in gilded banana republics. It’s a uniquely American creation. It’s extreme capitalism meets Social Darwinism by way of rugged self-reliance crossed with puritanical cruelty.
Its a big deal and Umair is right. I do have a worry that the UK is sleep walking in the same direction too!
Dave Mee sent me a link to the New York times piece on the new league of giga coasters.
Just How Tall Can Roller Coasters Get?
This is not a rhetorical question these days..
Theme parks have engaged in a dizzying quest for height in recent years that has spawned a number of roller coasters as tall as skyscrapers. Altitude rather than velocity has become such a defining characteristic that rides that take advantage of their soaring heights have been given a name befitting a mammoth frame: the giga coaster.
Enthusiasts use the term to apply to a roller coaster with a drop of 300 to 399 feet, meaning that its riders fall the length of a football field. (Anything beyond 400 feet and you’re in strata coaster terrain.) Four of the five giga coasters in the world are in North America, at theme parks all owned by the same chain, Cedar Fair Entertainment (the fifth is in Japan).
On the face of it, I was thinking wow this looks like a good ride… But then I looked into the actual facts.
|Fury 325||Carowinds (USA)||March 25, 2015||325 feet (99 m)|
|Millennium Force||Cedar Point (USA)||May 13, 2000||310 feet (94 m)|
|Steel Dragon 2000||Nagashima Spa Land (Japan)||August 1, 2000||318 feet (97 m)|
|Intimidator 305||Kings Dominion (USA)||April 2, 2010||305 feet (93 m)|
|Leviathan||Canada’s Wonderland (USA)||May 6, 2012||306 feet (93 m)|
Fury 325 is only a few meters taller than Millennium Force and Steel Dragon 2000 (which I had the pleasure of going on while in Japan). I trust its a great ride but hardly anything to shout about. Its also 15 years afterwards!
Loved Steel Dragon 2000 and the big one at Blackpool but for me its about doing more with less space. You only have to look at the Nemesis or the late Smiler. Heaven knows how they were able to fit 14 inversions in the space usually reserved for a duck pond in most American theme parks.
Everytime I hear about Ferguson, I grow that little more angry. There are literary no words I can say which sum up the feeling of unease, worry, fear and anger. While most of the people around me carry on their lives not really thinking about the massive injustice which is happening again over the ocean, I wonder about the progress we have and have not made. I wonder about the corruption and how we are going to tackle that? Boycotting Black Friday is a start I guess.
I wasn’t going to write anything because I couldn’t really put it down (The closes thing I could compare it it to was the killing of Stephen Lawrence, something which keeps on giving) and there is so much better people to hear from.
But then after watching the guys behind singleblackmale.org talking over email, I needed to break the silence on my part and join the rest of the people in solidarity… As Dr J writes…
None of the bloggers on this blog have been immune to interactions with police officers. Most, if not all of us have encountered white police officers in our travels. What troubles me about this issue is that I’d like to think that our police officers are here to keep us safe. What we know now is that isn’t always the case and it’s not an exaggeration to say we feel like feeling safe is a minority opinion for Black men in this country…
…People always ask me how I’m doing and my response is the same, “Given my circumstance, the best that I could be.” That holds true today. Now brothers and sisters in the fight; Black, white or indifferent please channel your efforts positively or at least effectively…
Celeste Little’s email caused me to breakdown for a bit while reading it on my phone.
…All I could think about, as I was walking along 7th avenue with the 1600 other people who were hurt and appalled by the decision, was my grandmother.
She was born in Mississippi into a family of sharecroppers and when she witnessed President Obama’s 2004 win, she was thrilled, to say the least. She died several years later, and as she was passing all she talked about was how she was happy all of her children and grandchildren were well taken care of.
That’s what all of our ancestors have prayed and wished and died for– that we would be better taken care of. And it is absolutely suffocating to think that, after all this time, we might not be.
So I wrote this…
I wanted to share a little perspective from outside the America.
I was really shocked and appalled to hear what happened, I didn’t know what to think really and what can a foreigner bring to the table what you guys don’t already know?
Nothing much, but there has been a whole discussion about police with cameras and using technology to aid solutions in the British media.
Every time I hear this my hand gets a little tense, as using technology to aid or solve human problems is not a good idea.
Its far too easy to turn off cameras and get around systems which are only there to keep those who play by the rules.
You only have to look at piracy to understand this.
Talking of rules, what makes things worst is the rules don’t seem to apply to the police in the states.
You don’t think a police officer which has no problem gunning down innocent black men, wouldn’t break the camera lens, remove the power or find another way?
Technology can help but only when people are willing to be helped. Its like an addict, you have to admit you need help before you can be helped.
The police are clearly not willing, the courts are clearly not willing and the system just backs them up.
Lawrence Lessig a Stanford lawyer turned his head to understanding the endemic corruption and although not directly applicable is worth thinking about when talking about what’s wrong.
I’m not saying the UK is any better but the system out there is so corrupt and so broken, something has got to give…
Keep on fighting the good fight people and never give up.
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What is it with the United States of America and the “beautiful” game of Football?
I like many others always wondered why American’s just don’t get football. Interestingly on the eve of the World Cup, those freakonomics guys explores the issue with some substantial depth and some things I never really considered… Well worth a listen.
With the 2014 World Cup getting underway in Brazil, we’ve just released an episode called “Why America Doesn’t Love Soccer (Yet).”
A variety of TV networks now broadcast European club matches all year long. MLS, or Major League Soccer — the U.S. and Canadian professional league – continues to grow. Next year it will add a twentieth team,NYC-FC, or New York City Football Club, which is co-owned by the New York Yankees and Manchester City,which has won England’s Premier League two of the last three seasons.David Beckham, the sport’s biggest star of the past few generations, is trying to start another MLS team, in Miami.And indeed, if you take a look at a magazine rack this week, it’s hard to find a magazine without the World Cup on its cover. Every four years, we hear the same mantra: this time, soccer will really take root in the U.S., the way it’s taken root elsewhere in the world. But let’s be honest. It probably won’t. Many of the people who are most fanatical about the sport in the U.S. have some kind of ties to Europe or South America or Africa.
My own experience also has me puzzled.
When I first met Sarah, I went to the states in 2002 and besides the mild culture shock. The lack of news about Football was shocking. You got a major world wide event and there was little to no mainstream coverage! Heck the funny thing was, America actually made it to the quarter finals that world cup. But no one in America seemed to be aware or cared. I think I actually found out more about the American team in Wired magazine at the time.
Also during the London 2012 Olympics, there was very little interest. I think the female football may have gotten more support than the male one? Of course they then went on and won the female football competition… Will Football one day make up America’s top 5 sports? Maybe but its going to be a long while before I can see that happening. Which seem a bit of a shame…
The BBC a long while ago did some research into people and tv sport. There were a few different groups, and the group I recognized myself in was the ones who get caught up in big sporting events like the worldcup and olympics. I feel the universality of it really unites and ignites something in most people around the world. Even those who don’t normally follow sports.
Solomon DUBNER: Well, it definitely unites the whole world because it’s in some ways it’s a universal language. Almost everywhere in the world plays and follows football, in every country pretty much. And it just unites everyone somehow, it’s kind of crazy.