Preparation

April 28, 2020

BW photograph of a number of shopping carts pushed together in at the edge of a parking lot.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

In 2015, Bill Gates provided this TED Talk, which addressed the lessons to be learned from the 2014 Ebola outbreak.  Listen for his recommendations for dealing with future pandemics, then think about where we’d be with COVID-19 if these ideas had been implemented.  Contrast that with this history of pandemic planning on the part of the U.S., which goes toward explaining where we actually are with regard to the current pandemic.  Short memories lead to longer lasting problems.

Finally, there is video and text of a recent presidential press conference and the attempt at clarification.

The warning labels on disinfectants are quite clear about the dangers of ingesting them.

Which brings up this extremely important point.  The ability to critically think about issues is a skill that requires nurturing and practice.  Fundamental to that is the need for literacy so one can access info from a variety of sources and have the knowledge and understanding to separate what is truly fact and what is political fiction.  A remarkable comment about our society is that students in Detroit had to finally win a lawsuit to have a “Constitutional right to an education”-please read this. Please also note that this verdict could still be overturned and that is does not address the many other areas in the country with similar educational deficits. It is also important to read the reasons provided for having ruled against the plaintiffs in other hearings. Putting this in the context of those at increased risk for severe complications from COVID-19, and the efforts made at compromising voter rights, creates a powerful indictment of the fundamental nature of our culture.

Be safe and well.

 

Earth Day 2020

April 22, 2020

BW photograph of a discarded full Sunny D bottle of juice.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Today is Earth Day-the 50th anniversary.  NPR had this report on the day’s meaning and current activities in the age of COVID-19.

BW photograph of a sycamore tree's roots.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This video is quite poignant and well worth a watch, especially on this day.  Please also be sure to read photographer Joe McNally’s description that accompanies the video.

Be safe and well.

Gravity

April 20, 2020

BW photograph of rain clouds framed by trees.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Gravity, literally, keeps us grounded…from spinning out of control and flying off into space.  (Not to mention that gravitational forces keep objects in the solar system organized.)  The desire to escape that pull spurs the fascination with aviation and rocketry-to be in the sky and among the clouds.  (Bernoulli’s Principle makes this possible.)  Pink Floyd says it quite well with the lyrics of “Learning to Fly”:  “A fatal attraction is holding me fast-how can I escape this irresistible grasp?”  That is, of course, taking the words literally.  “There’s no sensation that compares with this…suspended animation, a state of bliss.”  Nice thought, eh?

BW photograph looking across a broken tree branch laying on the ground.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Coincidentally, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have a song entitled “Learning to Fly”.  While they, too, sing about being in the clouds, there is (perhaps) a harder message therein: “…but what goes up, must come down”.  Mr. Petty may not have intended this interpretation, but gravity is, after all, a force of nature.

BW photograph looking across a fallen "Y" tree branch laying on the ground.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

That interpretation, though, encapsulates another definition of the word “gravity”:  the word is also used to convey a sense of “seriousness or solemnity”.  We are in a delicate time wherein the desire/need to re-open the economy is being put against the need for continued public safety.   That the U.S. has thus far largely bungled the response to COVID-19 does not inspire confidence going forward.  Lives are at stake and there is much more to be learned.

This is especially important when considering the demographics of those most at risk for dying from COVID-19.  Those pre-existing, long-term, social problems have been accentuated by the latest pandemic.  We have a current administration that has done little to address those issues and a lot to make them worse.  The COVID-19 response must be layered atop that.  A vaccine will not take care of these problems.  One could extrapolate that a future epidemic/pandemic could create similar havoc for those most at risk, which, as we have seen, puts everyone at risk.

To close out, the Foo Fighters also have a song entitled “Learning to Fly”.  Their first verse contains the words “Hook me up a new revolution ’cause this one is a lie…”  It is worth reviewing the platforms taken by politicians with regard to social justice issues and the manner by which they become amplified by social and mainstream media.  That, of course, brings us back to the issue of confirmation and implied bias, topics of this blog on several occasions.  COVID-19, though, makes the problem of having anti-science people in power much, much, more acute.  (The same problem exists with climate change, for example.)

Being a representative democracy, citizens have input in the U.S. as to the leadership.  The manner by which people vote (not to mention who can vote), though, is also being impacted by COVID-19.  Should shelter-in-place and social distancing measures continued to be needed, or re-emerge this fall, what will be the response?  If one has misinformed beliefs about mail-in balloting, then what efforts could be expected should there be a need?

Serious stuff indeed.

Take care and be safe.

 

 

 

Finale

April 18, 2020

BW photograph of a tulip in shedding its petals.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Be safe and well.

Follow-Up

April 13, 2020

BW photograph of the interior structure of a tulip.

2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This is the same tulip from the previous post.  Being in the warmer indoors allowed the flower to fully open.  I will also photograph it once it, too, begins to fade.

This is another metaphor.  With regard to news, it is helpful to follow a story throughout to its natural conclusion.  Too often, once the splash of the headlines fade, the story is forgotten.  With regard to virology, once the pandemic ends, interest in the bug responsible (mostly) evaporates-at least for the general public, politicians, and pharmaceutical companies.  Such appears to be the case with coronaviruses-SARS and MERS preceded COVID-19.  The New Yorker published this, which provides a more detailed history of how such viruses work and the efforts to develop treatment protocols to address them.  The final paragraph of the article, a quote from Dr. David Ho, encapsulates the point.

Please be safe and well.

Spring Holidays

April 12, 2020

BW photograph of a single tulip.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

For those who celebrate the major holidays of Spring (Easter, Passover, Ramadan, Holi, etc.), this year has been unlike what most have experienced in their lifetimes.  The need for social distancing and crowd reduction has greatly impacted the types of communal sharing typical of such holidays.  It is possible to use technology, such as Zoom, to connect, but do be aware of “Zoombombing“.

Zoom is one tool that has allowed for much academic and other types of work to continue.  While social deviance theories would provide explanations for the need that some feel to disrupt this particular coping mechanism, they do not excuse such behaviour.

Please be safe and well.

 

Weather

April 10, 2020

BW photograph of heavy clouds on a windy day.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It has been a bumpy couple of days weather-wise in this area.  In the early morning hours a day or so ago we had torrential rain during a thunderstorm, which was reminiscent of the tornadic activity from awhile back.  The only real difference was the lack of wind-the pounding was all rain.  Yesterday, last night, and so far today it has been high winds-no moisture, just air moving with a purpose.

From an experiential standpoint, it seems as if the winds of March have shifted to April.  The temperatures are more in keeping with March as well.  It will be interesting to see if the rainfall patterns continue.  This seems to be consistent with the climate change-induced predictions for the Mid-Atlantic area.

Speaking of weather, John Prine died “from complications related to COVID-19”.  NPR posted this history based on ten John Prine songs.  A favourite of mine is “Angel from Montgomery”…stormy weather serves as a metaphor in the powerfully evocative lyrics.  The song tells quite a story, poignantly illustrated with the guitars and words.  Mr. Prine dedicates the rendition contained in that list to Bonnie Raitt-her duet with Mr. Prine is also worth a listen.

Ms. Raitt lights it up on this lyric:

“How the hell can a person go to work in the morning, come home in the evening, and have nothing to say?”

Amazing.

Take care and be well.