My stalking case

I think I more or less know what is going on on the other side (whoever that “other side” is), but it makes my life completely unlivable, unfortunately.

I have no idea what to do with it or how to deal with it. I remain victimized no matter what I do or don’t do.

I’ll do some thinking about it.

My life in the UK isn’t worth shit anyway with the bazillion of stigmas you have here (England’s stupid hate-based culture), so within that context, my life being unlivable does not actually make much of a difference any longer, does it?

 

 

Plaatselijke hulp aan elkaar

Ik tik dit op 29 maart.

Tot nu toe heb ik er nog niet veel van gezien. Hulp aan elkaar. Althans hier ter plekke. Er is in het VK en zeker ook hier waar ik woon enorm veel diepe armoede.

Ik heb op Twitter zitten praten over hulp aan de armsten zodat ze internet en telefoonverkeer kunnen houden. Mensen met prepaidkaartjes, die vaak de computers in de bibliotheken gebruiken, die nu allemaal dicht zijn. Openbare wifi, daar kun je nu ook niet bij.

De providers kunnen in hun databases gemakkelijk genoeg zien wie dat grotendeels moeten zijn en ze kunnnen dus ook in actie komen voor als er wat mis gaat, bijvoorbeeld door software-matig in te stellen dat mensen hun een of twee meest-gebelde nummers kunnen blijven bellen als hun tegoed op is en niet is verlengd.

Vanochtend las ik dat de providers inderdaad wat gaan doen.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/29/broadband-providers-to-lift-data-caps-during-covid-19-lockdown

Mij is niet duidelijk of ook de prepaidkaartjes zijn meegenomen in die zorgen.

Op Twitter las ik ook over hulpgroepen. Daar zou men voedsel en dergelijke regelen voor mensen die slecht ter been zijn en dergelijke. Ik ben gaan kijken – misschien zou ik wat kunnen doen, wie weet – en zag hetzelfde gezanik en gezeur dat je hier altijd al hebt.

Dat er ergens een oudere dame in de supermarkt was die stilletjes een beetje op iemand mopperde omdat ze kennelijk de tijd kwijt was en dacht dat het het uurtje was waarin alleen oudere mensen mogen winkelen.

Dat soort onnozele dingen, daar kunnen ze hier eindeloos over zeiken.

(Je kunt dus merken dat ik nogal ben verengelst.)

(Overigens krijg ook ik vaak de “oude oma” behandeling in sommige supermarkten, niet nu, maar in het algemeen, bedoel ik. Kan ik gallisch van worden. Ik word altijd minstens 50 jaar jonger als ik naar Nederland ga, LOL.)

Nou snap ik wel dat veel mensen met ergernisjes zitten en dat iedereen zijn onzekerheid op een andere manier afreageert. (Ik ben laatst zelf op een avond ook boos de woning uit gelopen doordat ik last van gehack had.)

Maar moet dat nou echt in de groep die voedsel voor de zwakkeren in de samenleving zou regelen? Ik zag daar helemaal niets van, overigens.

Ik heb zelf een andere groep opgezet, aangespoord door Avaaz, ook al doe ik niet eens aan Facebook. Twee mensen melden zich aan en waren een dag later weer weg. Ik heb de groep weer opgedoekt. Dit soort gezeik heb ik hier namelijk altijd, altijd dat “rot op, we moeten jullie vreemdelingen niet” en dat geldt voor iedereen die niet in dit stadje is geboren.

Ik zag een andere groep in een klein plaatsje in de buurt waar mensen wel degelijk bezig waren met voedsel regelen voor elkaar.

Ik ken het stadje waar ik zelf in woon dus als vaak heel erg lastig en ook in de rest van Engeland staat deze plaats erom bekend dat de sfeer hier bikkelhard en ongastvrij is, hoewel sommigen het tegendeel beweren.

Gelukkig valt het op straat momenteel erg mee met het venijn. Toch maak ik me zorgen om oude mensjes die in hun eentje thuis zitten. Ik zag sommige van die mensen de afgelopen dagen op straat en je kunt zien dat de meesten zorgen aan hun kop hebben. Wat als je de een of andere kwaal hebt of heel slecht ter been bent? Wie zorgt er voor hen? Geen idee.

Wie zorgt er voor de mensen die normaal al enorm worstelen met eten op tafel zetten? Je kunt niet meer even naar de pandjeswinkel. Ik heb geen idee of de voedselbank open is. Vast wel. Maar die kan lang niet genoeg doen en die zal nu bovendien enorm krap zitten.

Komt bij dat de voedselvoorziening – leveringen aan de supermarkten –  ook in de problemen schijnt te zijn gekomen of schijnt te komen.

Gaan wij hier later net als in Spanje ook veel overleden mensen in hun woningen vinden?

O. Ik vergeet te zeggen dat ik nog steeds niemand ken in Engeland. Ik denk niet dat dat ooit nog veranderd, maar ik ben er nu zo aan gewend dat ik meestal volkomen vergeet dat dat toch eigenlijk niet normaal is.

Maar nadat ik het bovensstaande schreef, las ik dit: “Mr Jenrick said that the first 50,000 food parcels to those who are most vulnerable would be sent out this week”. Dat komt neer op medische, niet per se socio-economische zwakte, denk ik, want de regering organiseerde een systeem waarbij je je als “extremely vulnerable” voor het virus kon registreren.

Dat is dan wel weer heel goed.

Ik had begrepen dat die eerste pakketten nog een hele tiojd op zich zouden laten wachten.

7 days of isolation or 14 days?

That depends on the virus load you’ve been exposed to, so on the incubation period, on how soon you’d start manifesting symptoms (or maybe also on how soon symptoms would either progress or abate if you appear to have symptoms).

So for medical professionals, who get exposed to a lot of the virus, the self-isolation period is 7 days. For people who maybe were exposed to one person with mild symptoms, it’s 14 days.

Because if the latter got infected, there would be very little of the virus in their body and it would take some time for the virus to replicate into great numbers and overwhelm the body.

Does that make sense?

 

A message for staff working in shops and stores

Thanks for being there for us!

That said, can you please take into account that those who are stuck indoors non-stop, often with a very limited choice of food, may not be looking our absolute best right now, esthetically speaking, but that it does not mean anything other than that we are stuck inside our homes non-stop, aren’t getting much daylight and aren’t getting our regular fresh veggies and all that right now?

We aren’t exactly tanning on the beach.

When we weren’t on lockdown yet, the stores were pretty damn empty, remember? So a lot of us are currently getting by on, well, snacks and bits of this and that and we’re getting almost no sunshine and little exercise.

I have a feeling that this may come up increasingly often over the next, eh, two months or so.

I can look in the mirror and see it, so if I see it, you can see it too.

My skin seems to be getting drier or something, but it notably seems to be getting paler. It’s subtle, but these subtle things sometimes speak loudly.

And if I can see something in my face when I look in the mirror, knowing that I am not the only one in this situation, then I also know that I am not the only one who this is happening to.

But it’s not us, it’s nothing to do with us, with who we are or how well or unwell we are. Okay?

Thank you.

I’ll do my best too and I’ll probably start running up and down my bit of staircase soon to stay fit. Social distancing maintained!

PS
Can we please have free tanning beds installed? I am sure that that would help.

Speaking of which. people, keep up your vitamin D levels. Good for your immune system too. Not getting much daylight means that we’re making less vitamin D from sunlight right now.

Het raadsel van de ventilatoren

Ja ja, ik dacht het al. “Waar heeft ze het nu weer over?”

Beademingsapparatuur voor in ziekenhuizen. “Ventilators.”

Er is hier een groot tekort aan die apparatuur.

De Britse regering had mee kunnen doen aan het gezamenlijke EU inkoopprogramma, ook al is het VK formeel niet meer deel van de EU.

“Wisten we niets van” zegt de Britse regering. “Kletskoek” is het commentaar vanuit een verbijsterd Brussel (volgens de Financial Times, en andere media). “Communicatieprobleem, dan.”

Er is hier iets heel vreemds aan de hand. Maar wat?

Het blijkt namelijk ook dat heel wat bedrijven – ook Britse – de regering hebben benaderd, Maar die werden genegeerd.

Tegelijkertijd gaat nu het nieuws rond dat Brexit-supporter Dyson die gaat maken (terwijl hij dat contract nog niet heeft en hij normaal stofzuigers en dergelijke fabriceert en beslist geen beademingsapparatuur voor ziekenhuizen).

Hebben ze – typisch Engels – gedacht dat men in andere landen last had van dit virus omdat het allemaal van die onnozele bananenrepublieken zijn in de ogen van mensen als Johnson? Of dat Britten – Engelsen – een betere mensensoort zijn en die gewoon niet ziek zouden worden?

Dat ze het aanbod van de EU hebben genegeerd is overigens ook typisch Engels. Liever doodgaan dan toe te geven dat je minstens een heel klein beetje ongelijk had met je Brexitdrang en toe te geven dat je nu die vreselijke ander misschien een heel klein beetje nodig hebt.

Hebben ze – helaas niet ondenkbeeldig – gedacht dat ze misschien zo van wat mensen uit de lagere socio-economische klassen af zouden kunnen komen? Maar dat zie ik in de praktijk niet werken, want dan zou je de apparatuur aan sommige ziekenhuizen moeten onthouden, of iets dergelijks, dus dat zal wel net wat te ver gezocht zijn.

En hoe zit het met dat verhaal over Dyson?

Ik betwijfel dat we er ooit achter zullen komen. Maar je weet het nooit. De halsstarrige ontkenning dat er hier geen Russische politieke inmenging was hebben ze tenslotte uiteindelijk ook opgegeven, al is dat grotendeels ondergesneeuwd door het oprukkende coronavirus.

Maar de Britse regering lijkt nu ook China van heel veel dingen de schuld te geven. Verantwoordelijkheid nemen, dat ligt voor Britten heel moeilijk.

Als ik dat zelf doe, word ik daar ook vaak over aangevallen. Men lijkt het principe totaal niet te herkennen, dat idee dat je over de grenzen van je eigen kleine wereldje van het ikje uit kijkt. Men lijkt vaak te verwachten dat ik als een ras-egoïst te werk ga.

https://www.ft.com/content/f9051f66-cfbe-4b36-848e-3980225ae542

Zo

Net even mijn oogdruppels gaan ophalen bij de apotheek. Ook die blijken op rantsoen te zijn. Normaal krijg ik voor 3 maanden, nu voor 2. (Vergipsing. Leek alleen zo. Was niet zo.)

Intussen heb ik me gerealiseerd dat deze coronaviruscrisis misschien het “doel” was van veel van de ellende die ik zelf hier in Engeland heb meegemaakt.

Heel wat keertjes heb ik thuis gezeten zonder elektriciteit en dus zonder licht, warm water en verwarming en dan ook meestal zonder veel eten en zonder (veel) toegang tot het internet. Leven in een compleet isolement is in de afgelopen 15 jaar hardstikke normaal voor me geworden.

(Licht in huis hebben scheelt enorm! Je gaat echt een soort winterslaap in als je lang in een donker huis zit, zeker in de winter.)

Dus nu zie ik veel mensen volkomen van slag zijn, terwijl ik mezelf veel minder druk maak en me juist gesterkt voel door het feit dat nu iedereen in ditzelfde bootje zit.

Dat moet betekenen dat ik een beetje kan helpen om anderen op de been te helpen houden, nietwaar?

De onzekerheid van morgen en overmorgen, die hebben we nu allemaal! Niet alleen de allerarmsten, hoewel zij het natuurlijk niet zijn die hier de koelkasten en diepvriezers vol hebben zitten met zalm en pizzas en sapjes en de gangkast vol met toiletpapier, rijst en pasta hebben gepropt.

De dieren – urban wildlife – vinden het overigens heerlijk dat ze nu vrij spel hebben. Ik zag vorige week een houtduif laag over de middenstreep van een straat vliegen die normaal hardstikke druk is. En zojuist, op weg naar de apotheek bij Boots, zag ik een stelletje ratten ronddansen in het gras.

“Wat is er toch met jullie mensen aan de hand? Zijn jullie allemaal ziek of zo? Het moet wel erg zijn want als wij ons zo terugtrekken, dan denken we dat we gaan sterven, hoewel sommigen van ons dan zelf het heft in handen nemen en gewoon het drukke verkeer in lopen. Enfin, ik hou je wel even gezelschap terwijl jij de afwas doet. Enne, dank je nog voor het ontbijt.”

(Het kwam toevallig zo uit dat ik ook net eten voor de plaatselijke vogels had gekocht toen dit alles losbarstte. Die beestjes vinden nu veel minder te scharrelen want wat wij allemaal op straat laten vallen, op schoolpleinen en bij de Costa Coffee, de Starbucks, de Greggs en de McDonalds, dat is er opeens niet meer. En ik heb twee gevederde vrienden en heel wat gevederde kennissen. Gelukkig gaan de temperaturen binnenkort weer aantrekken.)

Ik besloot even bij Holland & Barrett te kijken of die eindelijk weer sojabrokken hadden. Ja, gelukkig! Maximaal twee van elk product, dus twee zakjes gekocht.

Best wel veel zure gezichten, overigens. Een paar mensen konden nog glimlachen.

Ik wou ook wel, geloof ik, dat sommige mensen er even aan zouden denken dat als je als iets ouder mens een hele tijd binnen zit en je je ook met wat je eet moet behelpen, je er niet op zijn florissantst uit gaat zien maar dat dat verder niets betekent.

Over twee of drie weken schijnt de regering te gaan kijken hoe we er voor staan, maar ze denken dat de situatie nog wel drie tot zes maanden flink van slag blijft, misschien niet de hele tijd inclusief zo veel mogelijk binnen blijven maar wel met minimaal twee meter afstand blijven houden.

Ik baal nog steeds dat ik altijd al veel hoest en proest want dat betekent geheid dat ik veel minder kan (mag) doen dan ik zou kunnen doen. Maar goed, ik heb er voor gekozen om zo even internettegoed bij te tanken dus dat betekent dat ik dingen kan blijven doen.

Ik ga me daarom straks storten op een e-boek waar ik gisteren uren mee zoet was maar waar een fout in bleef zitten, dus daar ga ik even een compleet kaal document van maken en opnieuw mee beginnen. Wat er bij Amazon doorheen komt, komt er op een andere site meestal niet doorheen omdat dat een ander proces is. Dan kan ik het boek wat meer in de markt zetten.

Verder weet ik het ook niet zo 1, 2, 3. Ik heb geen idee of boekhoudafdelingen nog draaien (of facturen nog worden betaald) en onderzoek links en rechts door gaat. Hoe het met het gehack verder gaat, weet ik evenmin.

Maar er gaan absoluut dingen veranderen. Ik ben het zat om ruim 15 jaar nog maar zelden als vol / mens te zijn gezien. Ik ben niet iets smerigs stinkends en rottends dat uit een overvolle vuilnisbak is gevallen, ja! Slaafs een beetje zitten te verpieteren, daar heb ik niet zo heel erg veel mee. En ook al niet met een beetje zitten te zuurpruimen. (Engelsen zijn vaak toch wel enorme zuurpruimen en ze denken dus altijd dat jij ook zo’n zuurpruim bent, zijn trouwens ook de hele tijd op hun teentjes getrapt en dat heb je op een gegeven moment dus over en weer. Uitzonderingen uiteraard daargelaten. Amerikanen zijn in het algemeen toch wel stukken gemakkelijker in de omgang, al zeg ik het zelf.)

Nu eerst nog even waspoeder halen, denk ik. (Tenzij er een rij van hier tot London staat.) Ik ben superblij dat ik laatst een twintubje heb aangeschaft waardoor ik zelf weer de was kan doen en vooral ook: centrifugeren. Dat komt nu supergoed van pas!

En, ook dit: als ik thuis kom, met wat dan ook, dan gaat er even de desinfecterende spray overheen. Die zakjes met sojabrokken bijvoorbeeld. Alles op dit vlak dat momenteel best bezopen voelt, kan geen kwaad. Want hoe meer we dit met zijn allen doen, hoe minder er voor dat virus te smikkelen en te smullen valt en hoe sneller alles weer normaal kan gaan draaien. Nou ja, okee, een beetje normaal dan.

 

Houden mensen zich hier aan de regels?

Redelijk!

Men snapte aanvankelijk niet goed wat er aan de hand was, het hoe en waarom van alles. Dat zal in Nederland ook wel zijn voorgekomen.

Er werd niet of niet goed uitgelegd.

Op dat gebied hebben we echt met zijn alleen gefaald.

Geen handen schudden. En vaak je handen wassen. O, komt dat virus dus uit de handen van mensen? Uit de vingertoppen misschien. Okee, dus ik hoef me verder nergens druk om te maken als ik maar op die handen let.

Binnen blijven. O, maar is het dan zoiets als radioactiviteit of gifgas in de lucht? Hoe zit dat dat dan met dat handenschudden? Ik snap het niet helemaal meer.

Het virus is een enorme gelijkmaker. Opeens moet iedereen binnen blijven, ongeacht salaris en ongeacht of je pa advocaat of dokter was.

Zelf voelde ik me acuur een stuk minder gemarginaliseerd, ook doordat ik met mijn achtergrond van wetenschapper het hoe en waarom redelijk begreep. Het maakt dat je je minder nutteloos, minder weggegooid voelt.

Maar ook op straat zie ik nu dat mensen tegen elkaar glimlachen en met elkaar praten terwijl ze dat een dag of tien geleden totaal niet gedaan zouden hebben.

De supermarkten doen enorm hun best en beginnen het steeds meer te snappen, zo te zien.

Bij de kleine Tesco hier bij mij in de straat staat de beveiliger bij de deur. Hij mept binnen op de knop van de deur als iemand de winkel verlaat. Dan mag er weer iemand anders naar binnen.

Voor de kassa hebben ze kratten neergezet zodat er zoveel mogelijk afstand wordt gehouden en er toch kan worden gewerkt. De mensen achter de kassa dragen plastic handschoenen.

Om de jonge vrouw die ik bij de plaatselijke Spar zag maakte ik me daarentegen wel zorgen. Ze stond in de deuropening iedereen te regelen maar de afstand tot haarzelf kan totaal niet worden bewaard. Iedere keer als iemand de winkel in of uit gaat, moeten de mensen vlak langs haar heen.

Het enige dat ik kon doen is niets tegen haar zeggen toen ik langs haar liep, zodat er geen minuscule druppeltjes speeksel op haar zouden kunnen belanden.

Je weet tenslotte nooit of ik dat virus misschien niet toch stiekem bij me had. Je hoeft helemaal geen symptomen hebben om toch drager te kunnen zijn en mensen te kunnen infecteren.

Je kunt het zelfs overdragen zonder geïnfecteerd te zijn omdat het een paar dagen op oppervlakken kan overleven. Denk aan deurklinken en winkelmandjes. Balies. Ook die plek waar je met je hand altijd tegen de deur duwt zonder dat je dat bewust doet, of die deurstijl die je altijd grijpt. Die trapleuning.

Ook dat allemaal is aanvankelijk niet goed duidelijk gemaakt.

En er zijn nog steeds media die het alleen maar over hoesten hebben. (Ik zie dat af en toe op de website van de BBC. Dat krijg je als teksten worden geschreven door iemand die niet over het nodige inzicht beschikt en die teksten niet door iemand anders worden gecontroleerd.)

Dit alles verklaart een groot deel van waarom dit virus zo kan toeslaan.

De vrouw in de motorenwinkel waar ik naast woon, riep een boze opmerking naar me toen ik mijn best deed om haar hondje te negeren. Dat deed ik omdat ze misschien wel bang was dat haar hondje ziek zou worden (nee) en ook omdat ik via het hondje haar zou kunnen besmetten (ja).

Ze liep vervolgens naar me toe alsof er werkelijk helemaal niets in de wereld is veranderd.

Ze is hoog genoeg opgeleid om iets van dat virus te kunnen snappen en in een vakgebied waarin ook virussen voorkomen.

Maar het blijkt dat ze had kennelijk had besloten dat zij en haar echtgenoot dat virus niet kunnen krijgen en ook niet kunnen overdragen. Dat is vermoedelijk omdat zij vinden dat ze uit een betere klasse komen maar aardig genoeg zijn om door zo’n virus te worden genegeerd. Zoiets.

Of komt het onbewust voort uit angst? Als ik doe alsof het niet bestaat, dan kan ik het niet krijgen?

Hun zaak mag open zijn en ze doen helemaal niet aan maatregelen, voor zover ik kan zien. Gelukkig is het er beduidend stiller dan normaal en komt bijna iedereen achterom. (Hun achterom, dat is bij mijn voordeur. Vandaar.)

Hun jongste personeel mag duidelijk thuis blijven en ik denk niet dat het ook maar een moment in hun hoofd opkomt om iemand te ontslaan. Moet ook worden gezegd.

Bovendien komt de regering hen tegemoet met 80% van de loonkosten, geloof ik, maar dat duurt misschien nog even, voordat dat geld bij bedrijven gaat binnenkomen.

Bij de Lidl stonden we met drie mensen buiten braaf te wachten toen een man aan kwam lopen die besloot dat hij daar niet aan mee wilde doen en gewoon door liep, naar binnen. Hij kwam niet ver. De beveiliger achter de deur floot hem onmiddellijk terug.

Hij kwam achter me staan, te dichtbij. Ik deed een pas opzij. Niet overdreven en ook niet eens zodat er de verplichte minimale twee meter afstand zou zijn, maar genoeg om het signaal af te geven “neem dit nou serieus man, het is geen geintje”. Ik geloof dat het effect had want zijn gezicht werd iets serieuzer.

Hier in huis gaat alles echter prima. Daar ben ik wel blij om.

De buren op de begane grond hebben de vloer schoongemaakt en ik zag hen met handschoenen lopen toen ze vuilnis weggooiden. Inderdaad, de gemeenschappelijke afvalbakken buiten, daar kan jan en alleman bij.

Zelf desinfecteer ik af en toe de trapleuningen en deuren. Ik had toevallig goed desinfectiespul in huis en zo heb ik wat te doen, kan ik een heel klein steentje bijdragen.

Ik baal als een stekker dat ik altijd al veel hoest en loop te snuffelen en snuiven. Dat doet er normaal niet toe, maar in deze tijden maakt het sommige mensen nerveus als ze me zien of horen hoesten, is me niet ontgaan. Er wordt af en toe een blik naar me geworpen die zegt “Ben jij ziek? Moet ik voor jou een beetje oppassen?”

Het is volkomen logisch en het stoort me niet. Integendeel, het wijst me erop dat ik er beter rekening mee moet houden wat er in anderen zou kunnen omgaan. Ik ben me er niet altijd van bewust als ik hoest. Ik hou genoeg afstand maar in deze tijden ontgaat een kuchje niemand meer.

Het betekent dat ik sommige dingen die ik zou willen doen beter niet kan doen omdat ik als ik mensen nerveus maak als ik hoest ik hen geen dienst bewijs, ook al zou ik bijvoorbeeld een balie aan het desinfecteren zijn.

Er was een man die opzettelijk hoestte toen hij op de stoep langs me heen liep. Het was te nadrukkelijk, te doelbewust om spontaan te zijn, te gemaakt. Ik ben een vrouw en over de 35 en “dus” een bange schijtlijster die daarvan enorm “hoort” te schrikken. Zie vorige blogpost.

Maar het is ook, net als dat bezopen hamsteren, een van de manieren waarop sommige mensen wanhopig proberen nog wat controle over te houden. Grip.

De beslissing kunnen nemen om wel of niet opzettelijk te hoesten als je langs iemand loopt, maakt dat je je minder machteloos voelt. Al betwijfel ik of de man in kwestie zich daarvan bewust was.

Ik weet nog niet waar de volgende blogpost in deze serie over zal gaan. Ik schreef de eerste drie in de ochtend van 29 maart, kort nadat ik wakker werd en een paar klokken een uur verder de wereld in hielp.

 

 

Robbery/sexual assault alert! Lockdown-related.

As my asswipe hacker(s)/stalker(s) were at it again, I left the place this evening. I mean, what on earth could I still do? Kill myself on the spot, or what?

I had intended to spend the night on a bench because I am sick of this vicious destructive shit in my own home. But I decided that the asswipe person in question is not worth getting that cold over and went on a walk instead. (That’s allowed as it counts as exercise for me and I don’t think that anyone came as close as within 5 metres of me.)

Right after that, I spotted a guy who was behaving very oddly. He was on the lookout for something. But what? He suddenly started walking, then spotted me and veered toward me to as if to check something or test something. My response? My age? My bag?

So I kept my eyes on him and fucking hell, he was following a woman, so I stayed on his tail. He kept looking behind him, too.

At some point, I saw him cross the road and I thought that that was the end of it and I slowed down, but no, he was merely taking a detour, so I sped up again.

As I came closer, I saw that there was a police car there with four officers standing around it, scratching their balls, as usual. So that was likely why the guy had crossed the road.

I kept on his tail, but by then I was too far behind and I lost both him and the woman after they went around a corner. I looked around for a while and listened for screams and the like, but saw and heard nothing that was off.

I initially thought that the danger was sexual assault but it could as well have been robbery. Or both.

Very few people around right now. Makes it easier to corner someone with nobody noticing.

I did spot a burglary on my way back (of the local LibDem office), but hey, burglary? That is 100% okay in Portsmouth. You’re a villain if you dare report a break-in.

Women, be alert! Because you have to fend for yourself. Nobody will come to your aid. Nobody will stand up for you. That’s just how it is.

With so many people losing their income, there have to be quite a few desperate people out there, but circumstances like this lockdown can also encourage more sinister elements, of course.

(I was still fuming over the hacking incident when I came home. I don’t like being messed with in my own home. It makes me feel violated – stepped on – and not safe.)

How I can help

So, a few days ago, I thought I would contact my GP office and ask if it would be helpful if I hung around to disinfect surfaces in the reception/waiting area every hour or so. So that they can concentrate a bit more on their usual tasks.

Today, I thought that maybe I should walk over to my local Aldi or some other shop and offer to help them stock shelves. (I grew up with this kind of business and I also stocked shelves as a student.)

Would that be silly or not? I have no idea.

Would that mean that I would be pushing someone else out of earnings??? If so, then I wouldn’t want to do that.

I was a little tired today, but tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, I may make some calls and simply ask. I can offer to sign a liability waiver and I can wear a mask.

Phase 2

Now we need to start thinking about the next phase (and keep a good eye on what governments are doing and stop some of them from grabbing totalitarian powers). There is a point at which extreme safety measures to shield against the virus will start to cause health problems themselves.

When people run out of food, lose jobs or even homes.

Poverty (deprivation) causes health problems too, though they are smeared out over a longer time period. There is some protection against that in the UK but not enough and not for everyone. Hard to realize.

(Not to mention that our world has to keep running.)

So it is important to find a healthy balance at some point and swing back toward the middle of the road.

Services will slowly have to start up again, in compromises, such as one day per week, maybe for one person or just a few people at a time.

Will start doing some thinking about that. Brian Earp tweeted about an article that may have some good ideas, but I haven’t read it yet as I wanted to track down some food for myself first. Succeeded! The first three tries backfired and made me feel a bit deflated, but then I ate something first, after which I headed in a different direction in town.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Also, I just heard that some of the British changes made for people who are ill or disabled may be a very good thing to continue, but I have no good overview on what those changes are. (DWP accepting online learning and remote/working from home, which apparently it didn’t use to? Nope, was about this: https://rootedinrights.org/working-and-studying-at-home-shouldnt-be-pandemic-only-accommodations/)

 

Compromises (services in times of Covid-19)

For SOME services that are now closed, opening one day a week only and having good protocols in place on that day might be a solution.

As the virus seems to take up to 4 days to die on surfaces, the 7-day break might be enough to allow opening on one day in the week only.

Provided there is a good protocol on the day that the service is open

How can we support supermarket staff? Etc

Yesterday, I read on Twitter that a guy made someone at a Coop checkout burst into tears just because he thanked the person.

On Friday, the initial flash of emotion on the person’s face surprised me when I said “Stay well” to someone at a reception desk somewhere else. That too made me think few people had been expressing concerns for the people behind that counter.

I am often not great at it either.

Earlier this week, at Aldi, I thought I saw some tension in the person at the checkout, not surprisingly. I wish I could do something about that. When I got home, I noticed that one of the products I had bought had some substance on them and it took me a while to realize that the person at the checkout likely had been using a lot of hand sanitizer.

Although that helps, I don’t think it is enough and there is also the important task of doing things for the sole purpose of reassuring staff (making them feel protected) to help keep their stress levels down.

It kept bothering me.

I looked into what was happening in the Netherlands and read that screens had been placed around some checkout counters at DIY stores, though I haven’t been able to find any photos of it yet. Possibly, this was done to maintain the recommended distance (which protects people against this spray of tiny droplets of saliva when we speak).

(Update: When I looked into it some more just now, I saw that the Albert Heijn supermarket chain will be placing acrylic screens.)(Not sure if this is for the entire chain.)

(Update: I also found a video of a Dutch DIY store placing screens and staff saying they are really happy about that: https://www.nhnieuws.nl/nieuws/264087/spuugsschotten-moeten-caissieres-wormerveer-tegen-het-coronavirus-beschermen)

I think that placing any kind of larger screen around the people operating the checkouts might go a long way toward keeping their stress levels down. (In some supermarkets, the distance between them and the customers is smaller than at others.)

Such a screen could be acrylic (or wood or maybe even cardboard, with a small opening that might be covered with plastic, but even not covering it up but having a screen should already help protect checkout staff somewhat from the teenie tiny small droplets that fly from our mouths when we speak).

Having them wear gloves that they discard during breaks, into bins that have bags in them (liners) and then using new ones might be good but they’d go through a lot of gloves that way. But it would work as a physical reminder for them to stop them from touching their faces, which happens so automatically. (I too constantly catch myself doing things I know I shouldn’t be doing.)

Signs at counters – such as at Royal Mail – need to be at face height for standing people because we look at people first and only notice signs placed on the counter later. (But the signs on the counter may need to stay in place, too, for anyone who uses a wheelchair or mobility scooter.)

If you are working checkouts, also consider doing anything that stops your hair from falling into your face if you’d then automatically would want to push the hair out of your face – and touch your face at the same time.

And if you go to the supermarket, don’t use cash to pay if you can help it so that the cashiers don’t need to touch money.

To help protect supermarket staff. To help make them feel safer.

After customers leave the supermarket, they too should take care and for instance wash hands when they get home, but they’re already doing that, I am sure.

Regular cleaning of the self-checkout tills – to protect staff – is needed as well, but I am sure that that is already being done.

Particularly key people (management, local government) have to start doing things that will feel like total paranoia to them to protect themselves because so many people rely on them in so many ways.

Government officials and key managers may want to look into n-acetyl cysteine and assess whether it might help keep them maintain more functionality should they become infected, even though there are no data on this yet. See for example:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0882401017300505

While I am typing this, it feels like I am exaggerating, being totally over the top, but I only need to remind myself of Northern Italy to realise… no, I am not and the only thing that seems to have been able to stop (which may be merely “slow it down enough”?) the virus is to shut down all contact, the way it happened in China. (What that means for the long term is hard to tell. Delayed peaks, the virus coming back later and all that.)

Yes, I am bored as I have nothing else to do (which goes with my life in England at just about any time) and I like looking for solutions. And, also, I am furious about the weather gods having dropped the temperatures. At least it’s sunny. That’s something.

 

 

If you do catch the Covid-19 virus

For those of you who catch it and may be short of breath:

  • Drink coffee. Caffeine is a bronchodilator that works for a few hours. It can help you a little bit and make you feel more comfortable.
  • Patting your ribcage – percussion therapy – can help you loosen up mucus and get rid of it. It’s called “coupage” in the veterinary sciences. (Thanks, J. It helps a lot.)
  • Listen to your body. Sleep on the side of your body that your body tells you to sleep on, which will likely be on the right or on your belly. 

How do I know this?

I caught viral pneumonia in 2017, or rather, it caught me. There was a virus at the end of 2016/start of 2017 that even forced the British Queen to take it easy for a while.

I noticed at some point that the people around me seemed to be recovering whereas I was not really getting better and had very little energy. It puzzled me. I ran a fever of up to 38.6 degrees C and it was only when I read in an online newspaper that you weren’t supposed to be running a fever with this thing that I realized that I was probably “developing complications”.

One evening, I noticed that I became antsy very soon when I was on my left side and turned around to sleep on my right side. It may have been the following morning when I woke up with sharp pains in my ribcage (in my side, only on the right).

In hindsight, it was as if my body was thinking to itself and tried to say to me “No no no no! There is something going on in the right lung and I don’t want whatever it is to get the chance to end up in the left lung.” Weird? No.

24 March 2020: It’s meanwhile dawned on me that my body was probably (also) telling me that sleeping on my right side made it easier for me to get more oxygen.
Try to sleep on your belly if you find that you’re now constantly waking up. Sleeping on your belly gives your lungs more room to work. It is called “prone position”.

The brain gets lots of input from all over the body. We’re just not consciously aware of it. Sometimes, the brain tries to convey a “warning” to our consciousness via physical signals that we’re not really aware of either. I mean, what does “I became very antsy” mean? I don’t know. For whatever reason, I just really did not want to sleep on my left side. I had no idea at that point that something was going on in my right lung. (My respiratory system has always been my weak spot. I suspect I may have some scarring in that lung from previous colds or something like that. I have meanwhile learned that I always have to work at helping that lung stay clear. It is like brushing your teeth.)

Thanks to the internet, I knew what to look out for and my case proceeded by the book. There was little if anything my GP could have done unless I developed a bacterial infection on top of it, but that did not happen. (Your temperature will usually be a good guideline.)

Now, this Covid-19 thing is new and I don’t want to compare what I had to this new disease, but I did learn from what I had back then.

I felt that I should share it. This new disease is causing a lot of uncertainty and makes people feel that they have no control.

I’ve read that this is why people are stockpiling. Because it is something that they can do. Makes sense to me.

I figured that sharing what I learned in 2017 might also give some people a feeling of control.

Why did I get pneumonia?
It appears that notably or perhaps only my right lung has a tendency to fill up with goo. That makes you vulnerable to pneumonia.

(I’d had a slowly increasing lung problem for years, with my body not even always getting enough oxygen; I had noticed minor changes to the tips of my toes, was often tired and my bloodwork was very slightly off, among other things. The pneumonia helped me identify and put a lid on a few things. I found out that I am slightly allergic to wheat, for example. It irritates my throat, among other things, but it depends on the state that the wheat proteins are in. The flour on flour-dusted bread is particularly bad for me – I have to remove it – and some really yummy breads make my throat scratchy. Overall, I avoid bread. I’d started avoiding bread decades ago and ate mainly rye crackers, but circumstances can sometimes cause you to eat more wheat. Wheat allergies can also cause an asthmatic response. I also seem to respond to barley, perhaps even more. If you seem to prefer rice beers over wheat beers, that may be because you’ve subconsciously learned that wheat is not so good for you if you’re allergic to it. Budweiser, for example, has a lot less wheat in it than some other beers. Many people who have hay fever also respond to wheat etc; that response is mostly restricted to the mouth and throat area and the sinuses etc.)

What can YOU do for your lungs?
1. Aerobic exercise. When I am extremely stationary for a few days, it throws me back because it makes it harder for my lungs to empty. (I later started taking n-acetyl cysteine, which helps me a lot because it thins the mucus and also helps calm down inflamed tissues, but if you don’t have a lung problem, don’t worry about that.)
2. Avoid foods that give you heartburn. You may not notice it at all, but it can cause a lot of irritation and slime production in your esophagus and all that can end up in your trachea. Take MaaloxPlus if you have to or to find out whether you might have this problem with acid reflux/heartburn. (It’s also sometimes called having a hole in your diaphragm or something like that, but you don’t really have a hole in your diaphragm, lol.) Exercising is also good for heartburn because it helps your digestion.
3. Take care to avoid foods that cause allergies. Those too may cause some irritation in your esophagus. They can also cause some swelling in your throat which can make it easier for bits of food and beverages to go down the wrong way, perhaps also caused by excess mucus (slippery slime).
4. Hint: If you sometimes have vague problems swallowing vitamin pills and so on, that may be because of some minor swelling (due to allergies/acid reflux) in that throat area, which could be due to such an allergy. Do you sometimes end up with weird “bumps” on the skin inside your mouth after you eat something? Well, that too could be a hint. And if it happens in your mouth, it likely also happens in your throat, right?
5. Stop smoking.

Percussion therapy (coupage)
This was a tip I got from a friend. It means clapping or patting hard on your rib cage with a cupped/flat hand to help loosen mucus. It works very well. If you do this regularly, you’ll get the hang of it and may even be able to hear whether your lungs are clear or not and you can also often feel the effect in your trachea. If you do this after you get out of the shower (the humidity of the shower is likely to help), then perhaps also blow out air very gently over a long period through pursed lips (akin to blowing long notes/tones on woodwinds), you may find yourself coughing up some goo, telling you that it’s working. Do it three times per day or so. See how it goes. You’ll learn.

Recovery during and after pneumonia
Yes, the pneumonia knocked me out for some time, as anything lung-related tends to do. (Lung-related problems can also make you very cranky because they make it hard/er for your entire body to function well.) Walking shorter to longer distances was hard for a while. When I started to feel better again and started sending myself on walks, I still would sometimes have to pause along the way. (I also used that as a gauge for how I was doing.) I’d sit down if I could or simply stopped and pretended to be busy with my phone for a little while. That was enough.

Already in an earlier stage, pneumonia means that you have to learn to pace yourself. You may have to learn to be gentle on yourself, be patient with yourself. Look after yourself well. Eat well. Nutritious food. Sleep lots, too.

Sleep whenever you feel like sleeping. Listen to your body. I sure slept a heck of a lot and kept needing to take daytime naps for a while.

Please note that I am not saying that you shouldn’t contact your GP or the like! By no means! But before your GP or another medical professional can assist you, there may already be little things that you can do for yourself and that you can continue to do afterwards, too.

For example, if you notice that you’re short of breath in the morning and usually have tea or orange juice in the morning, have coffee instead. It can help ease you into the day a little bit more gently.

These little things can really make a difference and are harmless in themselves (unless, for example, you have some kind of condition that means that you cannot sleep on your right side).

Fingers crossed. Most people who catch the virus seem to be barely affected by it.

Fingers crossed for everyone, also for everyone who does end up in intensive care, of course.

 

PS
No, my GP still doesn’t know. In case you wonder. I’ll tell them if I ever need to because of medical circumstances. I did contact them via the website when I found out that I was not supposed to be having a fever; didn’t hear back, likely because they had just been taken over by a large firm, but I was not worried and as it turned out, had no reason to worry either.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional.

Boris Johnson. Coronavirus. How to talk with your people.

Boris Johnson’s waffling yesterday made a lot of people – me included – angry and I am willing to bet that he did not reassure anyone. You may find some comfort in the video below instead.

Click on settings, then subtitles and then on automatic translation.

This is how his Dutch counterpart (Mark Rutte is his name) addressed the problem. (Not perfect either, but much better.) The first bit appears to be about the confusion this whole thing has sown, also in the Netherlands, where they initially may have thought that Covid-19 wasn’t necessarily going to be a problem other than that it might cause discrimination.

That was grabbed by the horns right away (by the media, including TV, and by the Health Minister) as that response was quite ugly in the Netherlands, but so far has remained entirely verbal, as far as I know. In the UK, the extent appears to have been limited, but its nature was different. (Two physical attacks occurred in London, with both victims apparently requiring surgery.)

Rutte also mentions the herd immunity concept.

He addresses money worries too and lavishes praise and gratitude.

Keep in mind that the Netherlands does not have anything anywhere near the poverty levels that the UK has.

Mark Rutte is right-wing, not a lefty.

By the way, have you noticed that the official NHS information is that none of us need to report it if we fall ill, that we do not need to get tested and that we should only contact the medical profession if our health becomes seriously compromised?

So are they using an algorithm to keep track of the infection numbers, then?

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms

Stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.

Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home.

From https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Inclusive solidarity

Wow.

Covid-19 may not only be teaching us to respect non-human animals – because if we had done that, the disease would not have crossed over to humans – it may also force inclusive solidarity on us.

Because the disease does not care whether you have 5 pounds in the bank or 50 million.

It may turn into a whopping a Zen teacher that shows us that we all have the same needs underneath our appearances and in spite of our accoutrements or lack thereof.

And it’s also accomplished a whopping temporary reduction in air pollution and emissions. There’s gotta be a lesson in that as well, not only because air pollution makes people more vulnerable to this disease.

“Save the children”

But abuse the women?

This morning, I responded to an action call from PETA regarding an organization that wants to support polar bears but does so by selling down coats with fur collars, among other things. Abuse of non-human animals lies at the basis of both the down and the fur.

‘Coyote’ to Protest Polar Bears International’s Canada Goose Coats

Just now, I received something from OpenDemocracy in my inbox, about its apparently still ongoing struggle with Save the Children concerning this:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/feb/20/save-the-children-apologises-to-female-employees-over-ex-boss

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/transformation/at-what-cost-reflection-on-crisis-at-save-children-uk/

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/transformation/courage-of-difficult-women/

9 out of 10 believe that women are defective humans

The Guardian had an article this morning revealing that only in six countries in the world, most people consider women to be defective humans.

The UK – the world’s most openly sexist country – certainly is not among those six (and the UK is not a strong believer in human rights overall anyway).

My small home country is one of the six. So is Andorra. Even in those six countries, the situation is not entirely positive.

Globally, 9 out of 10 women and men see women as defective.
Almost a third of all women and men think that it is OK for a man to beat his wife. 😤😔😞😖😢

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/mar/05/nine-out-of-10-people-found-to-be-biased-against-women

 

Non-human rights: Update on Happy’s case

This is straight from the e-mail I received:

Today, Justice Alison Y. Tuitt of the Bronx Supreme Court today issued a decision in the Nonhuman Rights Project’s New York elephant rights case that is powerfully supportive of our legal arguments to free Happy from the Bronx Zoo to a sanctuary.

While Justice Tuitt “regretfully” denied the habeas corpus relief the NhRP had demanded because she felt bound by prior appellate court decisions in the NhRP’s chimpanzee rights cases, she essentially vindicated the legal arguments and factual claims about the nature of nonhuman animals such as Happy that the NhRP has been making during the first six years of our rights litigation.

Deeply encouraged by Justice Tuitt’s embrace of the merits of the NhRP’s case following 13 hours of oral argument over three days, we already begun working on our appeal.

In her analysis and conclusion, Justice Tuitt agreed with New York Court of Appeals Justice Eugene M. Fahey’s conclusion that an elephant, like a chimpanzee, is not merely a “thing.” Instead, Happy “is an intelligent, autonomous being who should be treated with respect and dignity, and who may be entitled to liberty.” Further, Justice Tuitt rejected the Bronx Zoo’s claim that its continued imprisonment of Happy is good for her, stating that “the arguments advanced by the NhRP are extremely persuasive for transferring Happy from her solitary, lonely one-acre exhibit at the Bronx Zoo” to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

In late 2018, Happy—currently held alone in an industrial cement structure lined with windowless, barred cages (the zoo’s “elephant barn”) while the elephant exhibit is closed for the winter—became the first elephant in the world to win a habeas corpus hearing intended to determine the lawfulness of her imprisonment after the NhRP filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on Happy’s behalf. Such world-renowned elephant experts as Dr. Joyce Poole and Dr. Cynthia Moss supported Happy’s rights case while making clear that the Bronx Zoo cannot meet the needs of Happy or any elephant.

While we lament Happy’s continued imprisonment, we thank Justice Tuitt for breaking ground on the long road to securing liberty and justice for Happy and other autonomous nonhuman animals. Happy’s freedom matters as much to her as ours does to us, and we won’t stop fighting in and out of court until she has it.

Anyone who’s become curious should look into the story of Guida, who’d become so severely mentally ill in her confinement that there were serious doubts about the potential for recovery.

Upon release to the Global Elephant Sanctuary in Brazil (sister of that in Tennessee), Guida bounced back remarkably. When having the choice of taking an easy path toward food or picking a difficult one, she was often observed selecting the more challenging path, which required her to climb up an edge (a small straight cliff), which took some effort.

She rejoiced in having the choice and in being able to conquer the cliff.

(I have seen something similar in a pigeon, to my utter astonishment, the animal setting herself a goal, a challenge. Also, pigeons are able to recognize individual human faces, whereas humans generally have a very hard time recognizing individual pigeons.)

Sadly, Guida is no longer with us, but at least she lived the last part of her life in friendship with another elephant and doing the kinds of things that she enjoyed doing.

In defence of Dominic Cummings…

I never expected to write the above words as I don’t particularly hold Tory sympathies, but The Guardian did such a stupid disappointing mud-slinging job with this article that I feel I have no choice but to speak up.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/feb/19/sabisky-row-dominic-cummings-criticised-over-designer-babies-post

 

First of all, Cummings was thinking out loud. More people should do that as it’s very useful and it’s impossible to have good ideas if you don’t allow yourself to have bad ideas as well. He’d been to an event, in 2014, and he rambled on about what he had heard and what he thought. There is nothing wrong with that per se.

People object to (talking about) “designer babies” but nobody defines it.

I define a designer baby as any baby that is chosen over any other baby or embryo or zygote that would have been viable and would have been able to live into adulthood.

We’ve been making designer babies for decades!

In some countries, people with Down syndrome no longer occur because they’ve been eradicated from the population while they become city councillors and get degrees in other countries.

We used to lock people up and deprive them of normal life experiences because they were different (and we still do, in fact, also in the UK). That kind of treatment would hold anyone back.

“Treat people as if they were what they should be, and you help them become what they are capable of becoming,” Goethe is supposed to have said or, more likely, written a long time ago. Hold someone back and you condemn the person to a life of limitations.

We’ve also seen this happen for women. One of the two founders of the British-born philosophy of utilitarianism considered women “disabled” by society.

Not that long ago, women were not allowed to go to university and not allowed to do many other things, such as have a bank account, own property or run a business.

In March 2017, expert Wendy Savage (a gynaecologist and professor at Cambridge University) allegedly stated in an interview with the Daily Mail that a pregnant woman should always be told the sex of the fetus and should be allowed to abort the fetus if she does not like the baby’s sex.

That too is about designer babies, about picking the pink handbag, not the blue one.

The British celeb who flew to Cyprus because she could pick her baby’s sex (gender) there and was not allowed to do that in the UK, she wanted a designer baby on the basis of her mistaken belief that sex is an either/or switch.

There are several countries in the world in which male children are currently preferably allowed to come into the world at the expense of female children and it’s already changing these countries’ populations too. (That is how we know it is happening.)

Back to Cummings.

At one point in that blog post, he wrote very clearly that he did not have the required knowledge to be able to assess some of what he was writing about:

“There is a great deal of Hsu’s paper – and the subject of IQ and heritability generally – that I do not have the mathematical skills to understand.”

He wrote the word “egg” when he clearly meant “zygote” or “embryo”, and he did not mention that IQ is a relative measure.

But he did mention “junk DNA” which was once mistakenly believed to be just that. Useless junk.

And he also wrote:

“If the poor cannot do the same, then the rich could quickly embed advantages and society could become not only more unequal but also based on biological classes. One response is that if this sort of thing does become possible, then a national health system should fund everybody to do this. (I.e. It would not mandate such a process but it would give everybody a choice of whether to make use of it.)”

He did write:

“The latter will rightly make people deeply worried, given our history, and clearly require extremely serious public debate. One of the reasons I wrote my essay was to try to stimulate such debate on the biggest – and potentially most dangerous – scientific issues. By largely ignoring such issues, Westminster, Whitehall, and the political media are wasting the time we have to discuss them so technological breakthroughs will be unnecessarily  shocking when they come.”

I am sure that there is a lot about Cummings’ thinking that I don’t agree with, but neither am I pleased with this childish article in The Guardian.

All over the world, bioethicists are talking about these kinds of topics and you can’t do that effectively if you don’t consider all the angles.

The old eugenics is still continuing. The new eugenics has been with us for a while but is really accelerating now with CRISPR.

I participated in an EDX course by Harvard Law School professor Glenn Cohen who also heads the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, in which we all (about 200 of us) thought hard about these difficult matters.

I have a course on Udemy in which I also challenge people to come up with positive effects of doing something as well as negative effects, in terms of the new eugenics.

If you want an example of this kind of thinking exercise, then consider that eradicating all women from society would eradicate menstrual pain and the majority of breast cancers whereas others might say that women are defective humans anyway, hence that society doesn’t need women and if you couple the latter with continued technological progress, which would make even the biological requirement for having women drop away, you can see a world without women in the future.

If you find this upsetting, then maybe you should remind yourself that we have had no problem applying the same kind of logic with regard to for example people with Down syndrome.

We need to talk about this because we are all biased by definition and unless we are all willing to ponder and discuss these very difficult topics and from all possible angles and reach a consensus, a handful of highly biased people will make up our minds for us.

That could be people like Julian Savulescu at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, whose ideas may even be more extreme than those of Cummings (which sadly sometimes obscures the fact that Savulescu also occasionally has brilliant ideas that are much more in line with Michael Sandel’s take on these issues).

It’s why I wrote a book about this stuff. Not because I have all the answers but because I don’t.

Instead of criticizing Cummings over this post, people should follow the example of Cummings and start thinking about this stuff and weighing in.

 

Dammit

Read this:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/16/they-yelled-coronavirus-first-british-attack-victim-east-asian-man

He must be in so much pain!

He plays alto saxophone, by the way. Won’t be able to do that for a while. He also plays the piano, but as he was lead alto in a jazz band, he probably focuses on that.

I’ve already posted updates to the petitions, have e-mailed Matt Hancock again. I also just contacted Sadiq Khan, but he’s probably already taken some action.

Update: no, he plays mainly piano these days.