Was another animal killed in Portsmouth to spite me – or was this a mere coincidence?

Yesterday afternoon, I found a dead animal on my path.

Was still warm. So had just been put in the curb by someone. Along Kingston Road in Portsmouth, along the left curb if you head out of town, a little south of Kingston Crescent.

(Not that far from where a certain someone appears to be own a house, come to think of it. Closer to his place than to mine.)

So if this was not yet another local act of animal cruelty to spite me, can the person whose car hit the animal and who laid it down in the curb – which must have been around say 2 pm – please contact me?

(We’ll have to set up a video call.)

I’d really appreciate that. Thanks.

Because there has been a lot of anonymous animal cruelty in this town just to get at me. Also IN my flat, while I was out.

And there’s nothing hilarious about it.

Yesterday, when I found this dead animal, I assumed that the animal had been hit by a car. I laid it down in a planter, also to stop cyclists from tripping over it and flying off their bicycles.

But I am no longer very sure that the animal’s death was a mere accident.

Are you feeling miserable?

Then you are likely living in an area where a lot of people are miserable.

The good news? Positivity spreads much better than negativity.

This means that while your environment may be making you miserable, you have the power to change your environment just by being who you are and remaining true to who you are.

Don’t let the grouches win their battle against the good stuff in life.

That said, if watching the death of people like George Floyd makes you miserable even before you begin to imagine how anyone related to him in any way must feel when they watch it as well as how he must have felt when he was being killed, then it’s just about you having a normal heart and soul. It’s okay to cry and/or to hug someone when you’re feeling shitty over that.

It would have been an atrocity too if it had happened to a white-skinned person, but the sad fact is that this kind of thing is done to people who don’t have a white skin much more frequently in some societies.

Similar things are also done too often to other people who are a little bit different from the “standard white male” in other respects, such as men who are deaf or autistic.


Police violence and racism in the US

That’s a serious issue in the UK too.

I had been so turned off by all the idiotic headlines about Dominic Cummings that I stopped following all news.

I mean, jeez, I don’t think I saw more than one headline about Nigel Farage’s violation of the lockdown rules so that he could go catch dangerous migrants at Calais, but all of a sudden, all news sites had at least six items about Cummings, for days.

My point? Because I stopped following the news, I missed what happened in the US.

That’s why I didn’t understand why someone suddenly responded to one of my tweets about an earlier incident, a few weeks ago, in NYC.

When I saw the headlines yesterday, I wanted to cry. I feel like crying while I am typing this. Why can’t people get along?

On the other hand, I also know that a lot of really bad crap can be the precursor for a major change toward the better.

There is a big discussion about diversity going on in my home country at the moment too, possibly sparked by the pandemic, as it unleashed a lot of animosity against Asian-looking people there. The latter has also occurred in the US and in the UK.

I used to live in a city in the US in which police killed a young black man after which riots followed right when I had just returned to the Netherlands. It was normally a very peaceful environment to live in, much safer than the UK, generally speaking.

Cycling down streets there and observing people as well as having a few innocent remarks misinterpreted taught me how marginalised some people felt there. And the further north I cycled, the whiter and creepier the neighbourhoods became.

One of my marine science colleagues there saw nothing wrong with showing me his home and introducing me to the cats I was going to look after while he was on vacation, commenting that the house next-door was empty at the time and adding that he hoped no black people would move in as it would make the value of his property go down.

He said it as if it was the most normal thing in the world to say. I was too stunned and still too unfamiliar with this kind of thing to know what to say. I said nothing, sadly. I no longer remember the guy’s name. Probably for the best.

The university department was lily-white too. (I also noticed that people from Puerto Rico were often thought to be foreign. They are American. I am not sure what this misunderstanding means.)

To anyone in the UK thinking that this kind of thing is “typically American”, I say “No, it ain’t”. It happens a lot in the UK too. Police violence against people because their skin isn’t lily-white is common in the UK as well.

But it seems to raise fewer protests here.

(If any…)

Just like Brits see themselves as human rights champions, while they aren’t at all, they also often see themselves as highly tolerant when they aren’t at all. What we grow up with and are accustomed to, we see as perfectly normal. That doesn’t mean that it is perfectly normal when you look at it from a different angle.

So please, don’t point the finger at the US too quickly.


Excellent COVID-19 resource for decisionmakers at various levels

I started attending various webinars some time ago, like lots of people, and like lots of people, I also got a little webinar fatigue at times.

A great series continues to be organised by the National Academy of Medicine and the American Public Health Association in the US, looking into many topics such as the science of the virus, finding vaccines, health inequalities and so on.

Today’s session, on mitigating direct and indirect impacts in the coming months, was excellent for decisionmakers at all levels – also in the UK! – because it addressed a lot of practical aspects and many angles of the pandemic.

It mentioned the need to provide free wifi, talked about telehealth (telemedicine) and developments expected to take a decade suddenly being realised in a mere three weeks, about the complications food deserts pose, about the politicizing of the pandemic, about how to cope with emergencies such as hurricanes and related evacuations, how to remedy the impact the pandemic is having on non-Covid-related healthcare (such as people with heart attacks not seeking help out of fear of catching the virus), the healthcare clinics getting into financial difficulties as a result (as, I think, we saw earlier with those two doctors in California who owned a small chain of facilities and saw their turnover drop so dramatically that they resorted to unorthodox action), the challenge and need to communicate well and perhaps have ambassadors explain the purpose and reasoning behind social distancing, the massive impact social distancing has on the infection rate and the risk of people that people will no longer observe distancing when lockdowns are relaxed and developing a false sense of safety, and so on and so forth.

Here is a link for a model (simulator) that people can play with to explore the effects of lifting lockdowns: https://budgetmodel.wharton.upenn.edu/

The video recording of the webinar will be online soon, at covid19conversations.org:

The slides have already been uploaded, but not all presenters used slides and the Q&A of course is not online yet either. I’ll post the unedited transcript below.

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Are you ready for an epic win?

I don’t know about you, but I stopped paying attention to the news media a few days ago. I got fed up with all the stupid gossip and mudslinging. The headlines. So childish. In Britain, immensely much more time seems to be wasted, certainly right now, on silly bickering than on accomplishing something positive. 

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I just received a welcoming e-mail from a bank where I opened an account some years ago.


I also seem to have missed a lot of postal mail again. This has happened ever since I moved into this address. On one occasion, a package of mail items for me covering several months was apparently found in the mud somewhere and handed in at Royal Mail who packaged it in plastic and handed it over one day. I’ve also had local postal mail arrive about a year after it was sent etc.

COVID-19 makes me lucky

This morning, I read that there appears to be a genetic connection between dementia risk and severity of COVID-19, here:

That makes me very lucky, should I catch it, if it hasn’t already caught me at some point without affecting me.

Dementia most definitely does not run on either side of the family that I come from. Neither does heart disease, by the way.

Cancer does, but as I’ve already survived almost all of those relatives who succumbed to cancer I have little to worry about. I have already lived ten to twenty years longer than they did.


And you, where do you stand?

In my inbox just now

That was a nice surprise! And it includes Mindi Abair, with whom I have a town in common.

Here is one of her older pieces, but one that I quite like because it has that big band build-up feel, really cheerful. And I can, ahem, almost play it somewhat. I tried to get someone to study this with me, person plays clarinet, but felt too rusty, I guess.


How to get as much as you can out of everything you’ve got

Thinking is a high-energy activity. It takes a lot of energy to think.

That’s why it is vital to stop tolerating that so many millions in Britain live in poverty, that millions of children in Britain don’t get proper nutrition (400,000 in London alone, so I understand) and why we cannot let vouchers that replacing school meals right now supply food that does not meet nutritional requirements (which applies to 95% of them, so I understand) and why the last thing we need is yet more data, yet more studies about child poverty and food insecurity in Britain (we already have an abundance of those).

I’ve come up with an unusual idea that would definitely work – it’s delightful – but hey, I don’t know anyone in Britain, so I can’t get it started as it’s of such a nature that it can only work if no publicity is given to it.

A news article about something that happened in Italy in combination with some of my own experiences suddenly gave me the idea.

I then contacted someone about it, someone I don’t know, but the person did not respond. (That’s a completely normal experience for me, people never responding to my communications.)

Maybe that is all it takes. Me contacting complete strangers who share a certain interest. Who’s to say that they don’t read my messages and don’t start thinking about what I wrote, after all?