Dismantling police forces

Police forces no longer serve a useful role in society and have become a source of pain and crime and destruction, of historic untouchable lawlessness, in almost all countries.

They set the wrong example across the board.

I agree with Black Lives Matter’s initiative to defund police. One major American city has already decided to do away with its police force. I applaud that decision.

We shouldn’t merely reform police forces. We have to dismantle them and start over from scratch, applying what we’ve learned.

CNN about racism in the UK

Today:

 

Yep, I’ve also run into repeatedly that my objections against abuse were considered a mere expression of something being wrong with me. We are the most tolerant people in the world so if you disagree with that, then that’s simply because there is something wrong with you.

 

https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2020/06/europe/britain-racism-cnn-poll-gbr-intl/

Having people like Boris Johnson in charge makes matters worse. Finding people who are willing to listen and help change things can make a big difference. They do exist.

It’s not “just” about racism. It’s all connected.

How we treat each other, how we treat others that look or behave slightly differently and also how we treat non-human animals.

I am not saying you have to be infallible. We’re all only human. We all have our bad days.

Jumping to conclusions

This morning, I went to Pets At Home, was asked whether I had a card. “No.” (I used to have one.) “I used to have lots of pets but now I only rehab.” That earned me an oddly inquisitive look.

On the way back, someone wished me a good morning. Closer to home, I saw two neighbours chatting. I realised that one of them might have Treacher-Collins syndrome. Or not.

Why I am no longer talking about COVID-19

Simple.

I’ve found out just about everything that I wanted find out, for myself. The NAM/APHA webinars have also started to repeat themselves. I don’t think they already know everything there is to know about whether getting infected confers permanent immunity, but we’ll learn that in due course.

There is a massive effort underway to develop vaccines and treatments and the huge sums of money that are being pumped into it means that the development process is sped up immensely. I saw a graph last week that illustrated that very well.

I regret that animal models – proverbial “lab rats”- are still being used to test treatments and vaccines. A truly sophisticated society would have no need for that.

When I am in “scientist mode”, I tend to forget that me feeling that there is nothing left for me to contribute in this area – I mean, people have finally caught up on the droplet stuff and the purpose of wearing face coverings – is not necessarily true in a broader sense.

(I like being on the cutting edge of developments and like having momentum, so I have a tendency to transfer momentum to something else once the momentum in one area runs out. A very practical example of that is not getting bogged down by the various hiccups we experienced during the installation of an ICP-MS in a new lab, years ago. I couldn’t just sit down, wait and do nothing. It occasionally meant we were stuck. I transferred the momentum. I arranged for the lab’s Mac to get an upgrade. I had a different card installed which was also very useful, but the kind of thing that easily gets ignored when you have something much bigger in focus.)

There will still be people who I can help by translating some of the science into plain English, for example, or with whom I can walk through a building to identify bottlenecks with them and find solutions.

I could do this in a Skype, Zoom or Telegram video session or I could travel to places like Basingstoke, Littlehampton, Andover, Salisbury and Winchester.

One way of dealing with COVID-19 measures is to turn them into positive experiences. What do I mean by that? Supermarkets and other places are already supplying hand sanitizer etc. If you have a long waiting line, why not get a busker to entertain people? Not all the time, but say, between five and six every day. This could be any kind of busker, does not have to be a musician. Someone to entertain your customers and put a smile on their faces.

You don’t catch COVID-19 from smiling. 

Worse, I’ve been dreading the end of lockdown measures because during the strict lockdown, people were much friendlier and much more considerate. The occasional jackass who pretended there was no line quickly got sent to the end of the line and his loud muttering ignored by everyone who was waiting to be allowed into the supermarket. Aggressive behaviours were suddenly not done. Bliss!

Let’s keep some of that, shall we? 

Supermarkets could also have a few umbrellas to hand out to people standing in line in the rain. (Yes, disinfection needed.)

I also remind people that cleaning is not needed of any surfaces that go unused for 7 days or longer. So instead of cleaning, in some cases, you may be able to set up a rotation system, with for example objects being used by one (different) person only each day and different objects for each of the 5, 6 or 7 days of the week that get stored for a week. In some cases, in which cleaning might be complicated or simply too much work, this may be a solution.

This could be a solution for libraries, for example, to allow limited lending again. It is hard to clean books swiftly without damaging them. Patrons would not get access to the lending materials, but staff would instead collect items from the shelves and hand them over. Any materials that are returned can be left on a cart for a week to be returned to the shelf without risk to staff after that week.

 

Shame and embarrassment

That seems to be a huge part of what it is like to live with NPD. Powerlessness, too. The inability to change what happens in your brain, that thing that determines what you behave like. Who you are.

Is that truly who you are? In a spiritual, cosmic sense?

No.

It would be a bit like saying that snow is “bad” rain.

Rain is only rain and not snow or hail because of an external factor that rain can do nothing about. Temperature.

Shame and embarrassment.

That feeling that you will never ever be good enough. If only people knew what you were really like, eh?

Well, what you are really like is a perfectly good human being.

But you need other people’s eyes to see that for you.

 

 

The corona virus crisis. COVID-19

Do you still know what you are allowed to do and what not at the moment? Yeah, me neither.

Although I’ve been relatively quiet about it for a little while on this site and I find myself behaving a little bit more relaxed about it all, the topic hasn’t slipped my mind.

Being more relaxed about it all makes me feel that I am sloppier about it all, but perhaps social distancing is merely becoming an automatic habit now.

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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.

 

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:
https://covid19conversations.org/webinars/summer.

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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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?

Whoa

Greece: 150 deaths
Population: 10.5 million

The Netherlands: over 5,000 deaths
Population: over 17 million

Canada: almost 5,000 deaths
Population: almost 38 million

UK: over 30,000 deaths
Population: 63 million

Vietnam: 0 deaths
Population: 97 million

US: over 75,000 deaths
Population: almost 329 million

Conclusion: Important lessons to be learned and applied. Because these differences cannot be explained – although some might wish – by some of these countries’ populations being in better health.

I should add population density next.

Another COVID-19 resource, on vaccines

By STAT

  • Part 1: Antibody drugs that target the coronavirus: A conversation with George Yancopoulos, the co-founder, president, and chief scientific officer of Regeneron, on their antibody drugs in development to treat Covid-19.
  • Part 2: Fighting on multiple fronts: A discussion with Mikael Dolsten, the chief scientific officer of Pfizer, on the multiple routes the company is taking to fight Covid-19.
  • Part 3: Vaccines — can they come soon enough? With a sponsor introduction by Clem Lewin, Ph.D., associate vice president of R&D strategy for vaccines at Sanofi, as well as Tal Zaks, chief medical officer at Moderna and Matthew Herper, senior writer, medicine, and editorial director of events at STAT