FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Tardigrade Expiration Date ♬♫♪

Good friend (and maven of Arbor Teas) Aubrey Lopatin recently shared this song with me and reminded me I wrote this novella for her and her hubbie roughly one-billion years ago: Expiration Date.

In honor of this Season of Joy and New Beginnings, I offer this free read and song to you, my all my Best Belovéd Readers.

Enjoy!

UPDATE: OMFG! In late December a frozen tardigrade became the first ‘quantum entangled’ animal in history (researchers claim). If you’re a child of the 1970s, you no doubt appreciate the fact that this is the first ever successful creation of artificial extra-sensory perception (ESP) in an animal!!!1!

(Meanwhile, if you are a scientist or someone who read the entire article, you more likely appreciate that these researchers “did not entangle a tardigrade with a qubit in any meaningful sense”—but it’s still neat that they took a tardigrade down to nearly absolute zero and successfully revived it. Hearty lil fellas, right?)

I sorta love local investigative reporters…

… yes, they are cheesy showboats—no doubt—but they are cheesy showboats performing what is likely the ONLY FUNCTION most folks ACTUALLY want out of the Fourth Estate: to warn them about shit that might harm them on a regular day-to-day basis.

A huge portion of “news” focuses on opinion and “analysis” (which is just another kind of opinion) and “commentary” (a third name for opinion).  All of these are technically forms of fiction: a person takes a nugget of reality and weaves whatever the hell they want around it.  (DISCLOSURE: I was an op-ed writer for years. I’ve looked hard and long at how these particular sausages are made. It has lead to me being pretty goddamned disgusted by the prospect of eating any.)

Meanwhile, the easily maligned local TV investigative reporter?  Say what you like about the smarm and histrionic gotcha!ness, but those bastards are speaking facts: they smell something fishy, go and get pics, take samples to a lab, and report the results. God Bless ’em

Pay Toilet Locks—“The Lock Defeated By Feminism”

I sat there behind the wheel of my car, not sure what I should do, wishing I was someplace else, anyplace else, trying on shoes at Thom McAn’s, filling out a credit application in a discount store, standing in front of a pay toilet stall with diarrhea and no dime. Anyplace, man. It didn’t have to be Monte Carlo. Mostly I sat there wishing I was older.

—from Christine, by Stephen King

BURIED LEDE: Given the current state of segregation in the U.S., it may not be possible for us to ever naturally reach “herd immunity” to COVID-19

This simulation is extremely worth your time—even if you think you understand the challenges we’re facing with coronavirus:

Washington Post: A vaccine, or a spike in deaths: How America can build herd immunity to the coronavirus

Sadly neglected here: They do not mention that the previous world record for developing an effective vaccine is four years—not the ~9 months the PotUS keeps insisting is possible, or the “Idunno; maybe about a year?” the rest of us keep saying.

Four years.

That’s the fastest humanity has ever developed a vaccine. The average is more like two decades.

It’s totally possible that the Russian vaccine is safe, legit, and works.

But it’s unlikely.

And it’s likewise unlikely—to the point of impossible—that a nation like ours (where cities within miles of each other have massive racial/economic differences, massively different experiences of this virus, and rarely commingle) will develop herd immunity soon (if ever).

Meanwhile, this virus is killing Americans 10x faster than guns.

You are doing things differently now than you did a year ago. The immediate future looks a lot more like last May than last Christmas. Prepare yourself for that.

A Poem for a Time of COVID-19 Quarantine 🦠

This poem—penned by a UU minister—has been circulating among my Jewish congregation, and I’m inclined to endorse the advice: Take a page from the Jewish playbook, folks. We know a thing or two about surviving long (quasi-)confinement and social distance.

Pandemic

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love—
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

—Rev. Dr. Lynn Ungar (Unitarian minister)

The Michigan House GOP Website is shilling for a term paper mill? #PureMichigan

OK, I need a headcheck, folks. It looks an awful lot like http://GOPhouse.org/

  1. Is the (semi-)official website for Michigan House Republicans (for example, their official Facebook page links to “MiHouseRepublicans.com” which currently redirects to “GOPhouse.org”)
  2. Is shilling for a term paper mill:

Is there something really obvious going on here, like my local DNS being poisoned? Or does the MI House GOP just have a really crappy web hosting situation? Or deeply untrustworthy staff? Or a deeper commitment to the free market and entrepreneurship than I’d previously imagined?

Who do I even call to ask about this? ’cause I’ve gotta believe that the MI House GOP has a better fundraising model than this.

Lil help, Internet?