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Showing posts from May 10, 2020

Black and White

Lockdown reflections 1.2

It's not easy to spell the adjective "manichaean". The word that has ended up meaning "black and white thinking" has its origin 17 centuries ago.  At the time, it was not that simplistic.

I think it is definitely worth looking into Manichaeism, the religion founded in the 3rd century AD by a Persian prophet and the idea of a battle between light and darkness.

Modern use of "manichaean" is pretty much divorced from the ancient belief system. Rarely employed in writing, it has the undertone of a rebuke. These days, it is not exactly a compliment.

Could it be that we are so in love with nuances? There's always a "but..." dangling from the end tail of a sentence.

To be more precise, there used to be a "but", before all nuanced conversations went out of the window. Or were rather locked down.

Duality in its strictest, most dogmatic form is reigning supreme. It's an either/or situation,  no middle ground,…

The new normal is the old normal

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Lockdown reflections 1.1.

It started with the frequency of phone calls and messages. Everyone was worried.
Interest in other people's welfare took on an unexpected turn. "Are you alright"?  became a magic phrase.

The speed of sharing immunity tips increased. There was a definite fervour around any bit of new information. Some became suspicious that others may know something and hide it.

The spurt of activity on various channels was matched by what happened in the media and to a more significant degree on the internet.

The two spheres, the personal and the public one, were in synch up to a point only. Then some sort of fatigue started gnawing away at individual hyper-communication.

Phone calls became less frequent. Text messages turned into forwarding funny videos and memes, mostly. Family members and friends, let alone acquaintances, settled back into their usual routine.

The new normal, under lockdown, reverted to the old normal, and it's a comforting conclusion. N…

Crowdsourcing the Virus

CROWDSOURCING THE VIRUS QUESTION
The Virus does not deserve a photo. Just words, mainly arranged in questions.
As signing up for an online course in virus genetic sequencing is not a priority right now, let's first stick to popular science. 
Even better, to what every possible outlet has written about its appearance: spherical, with leech-like tentacles. 
No idea how the crown analogy came about. I looked long and hard to find any connection or identify the spiky crown that gave it its name. That blob we all now recognise is full of spikes, true, but that's about it.
Anyway, it has a name which is not necessarily its important feature, IMHO. The package is far far more important. 
It is made of fat, "an envelope", as it's called.
Have all similar viruses a layer of fat?  Apparently yes, but why fat and not something else? Is it because fat is such a good preservative (think of meat kept for months in lard) ? Is it then a survival technique for the Virus, this in…