We didn’t see this coming…

I’m not annoyed at our scientists, or politicians, or anything for not seeing COVID-19 coming. Scientists had always said this was a possible scenario, and many governments had some sort of contingency plan. But I have to say; where were the astrologists on this one? Why wasn’t everyone’s horoscopes starting to suspiciously align a few months ago? Were peoples tarot readings warning of the coming isolations? Were people’s psychics giving them a heads up to include a few extra rolls of toilet paper for the coming weeks?

I mean they really dropped the ball on this one.

Its almost as if all of that stuff is a whole lot of bullshit…

COVIDSafe App Thoughts

COVIDSafe app | Australian Government Department of Health

Some quick thoughts I chucked up on Facebook to get peoples opinions on the new COVIDSafe app released by the Australian government, and my ultimate decision.

Original post:

Ok everyone, give me your point of view on the Coronavirus tracking app.

I am most likely going to get it, because I feel like this is an important way for us to tackle the health emergency we are all living through.

I get that there can be privacy issues, but considering the amount of my data already being mined by corporations, I am willing to give up a bit more for the good of our nation’s health. And if there ever is a push for this data being used elsewhere by the government down the track, we can always delete the app. And if that becomes a problem (i.e. we are forced to keep the app), then this is a whole new battle for a different day.
I mean I know it is a lot to trust the government with, but at this point in history if we don’t put this kind of faith in the government, then we are in trouble. If we step up and take on this duty, perhaps our government will step up and earn it.

What is everyone thinking?

I got some good replies, with I think a lot of people like myself who are cautious, but willing to do what they feel is the right thing. Overall I was glad to see so many rational thoughts on the subject, and no conspiracy theory rants and anti-government tirades.

My final thoughts as posted in reply:

Thanks everyone for your comments. At the end of the day I see the trade off I am making by getting this app as being more positive than the negative. While I see the risks in giving out more data to a government that has not been good at managing our data in the past, they are also the only government we have at the moment, and this is the moment in history we find ourselves in.

Furthermore, as far as i can tell, this app doesn’t actually track your location, but instead simply logs contact between other users of the app and reports these to a central database, so that these contact points can be utilised down the track to follow any infections. And this reporting is also something that you op in to. So the data isn’t even as significant as being able to track where you are, or have been, and seems to be quite voluntary in its dissemination.

And if the worst case scenario simply means that we have to be vigilant for any future changes or overreach, I am fine with that; keeping an eye on what our government is doing is kind of our job as a populus anyway.

So I am going to get the app. I would encourage you to as well, but I understand if you don’t. This isn’t like social distancing, where I think you have a moral imperative to take this action, or proper washing of hands, where it is just stupid not to join in. This is more of a ‘if you want things to get better quicker, do this’ kind of thing.

But hey, I am an introvert anyway, so social isolation is suiting me quite well.

Anyone else have any interesting takes? I would love to see them try and release this kind of app in the United States with their current government/electorate.

MM

Keeping an Eye on the Democratic Primary

When Trump was elected, I would keep an eye on his Twitter feed daily, fascinated by the bizarre spectacle taking place in American politics. But it didn’t take long for fatigue to set in, until I got to the point that even Stephen Colbert’s monologues couldn’t keep me interested (only Bill Maher has staying power for me, because at least he swears and gets properly frustrated with things).

So I have been interested to watch as Bernie Sanders has been rising in popularity, and eventually taking over as the front runner for the Democratic Primary. I would love to see what Bernie could do with the presidency, and to see America start to take the lead in world issues again would be great. But I am still pessimistic of his chances.

Here is the current forecasting from FiveThirtyEight; lets see how the South Carolina primary changes things tomorrow morning:

Before SC

 

January 07, 2020 at 10:48PM

One of my challenges for 2020 is to produce a decent piece of artwork by the end of June. So I figured I would post each weeks progress as I start to try and develop my artistic skills.
I have never been much of a creative sketcher, and was always better at technical drawings, or imitations. So this weeks bit of art is a copy of a mouse photo I found online. Not too bad for my first attempt.
#2020ArtProject #musmusculus #amw from Instagram: https://ift.tt/2QugsKu

January 06, 2020 at 03:36PM

Sometimes I ask people if they know about some fact only to find they have absolutely no idea what it is (the example today was the Chernobyl disaster), and I am amazed they don’t know about it. I wonder how it is that someone has gone their whole life without knowing this seemingly basic fact of the world, or history. You see similar videos on YouTube where general members of the public are quizzed on the street (usually on current events, history, or geography), with the aim being to show how ignorant people are, and then more ‘educated’ people lament the populations ignorance.
But really, it just makes me think: “Geez, what are all the things that I don’t know that other people would be amazed at my ignorance of?”. What whole sections of human experience am I not aware of my own limited understanding of. It makes me more enthralled at the enormity of the human experience, rather than despair at people lack of certain knowledge.
Just a random thought.
#randomthoughtforarandomphoto #amw from Instagram: https://ift.tt/2sSdnux

November 11, 2019 at 08:54PM

Book 56 for 2019: The Wisdom of Wolves.
I have read a couple of books on wolves lately, American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West, and The Last Wolf. Both were great books about these animals, both in their reintroduction into Yellowstone, and then a reflection on their lost place within Scotland.
This new book delves into an experimental observation of a pack of wolves living with a couple of American documentarians, and portrays the inner lives of these animals. Warning; you may get the feels… #2019inBooks #wolves #amw from Instagram: https://ift.tt/2q4okYu

November 04, 2019 at 11:48PM

Book 55 for 2019: Charles Darwin – Autobiographies.
Just starting this book tonight. I have yet to delve into Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle, but figured this little book might be a good appetizer.
It is strange to read a book where the publishers introduction has to spend so much time trying to justify the printing of the book, when it seems pretty clear that Darwin didn’t want these writings to reach the public eye. Rather he wanted some of his inner story put down for his family to read in the future; something he wishes he had to peer into the mind of his famous grandfather.
#2019inbooks #charlesdarwin #reluctantautobiographer #amw from Instagram: https://ift.tt/36x97zL

November 03, 2019 at 09:33PM

Book 54 for 2019: Rive Out of Eden.

It has been a while since I read a Richard Dawkins book. When I first discovered his scientific writing back in 2006 I was amazed at how he was able to bring evolutionary theory alive; how thanks to his writing I was able to take evolution as something I simply understood to have taken place, and transition it into something I had a deep understanding of how it actually takes place.
More recently his books have swerved into other directions, focusing on biography and atheism. Which is fine no doubt; his The God Delusion was an amazing book and did a lot to ‘normalise’ atheism, at least from an unbelievers point of view. And yes, he may be more controversial these days with Twitter and all that (then again who isn’t?), but either way it was great to go back to one of his evolution focused books and remind myself why I loved the man’s writing so much.
Yes there are the usual jibes at religion in there (and given the state of things, as well there should be), but this book is once again a fascinating journey into the way that life functions, and how evolution as its guidance force can be used as a tool of great explanatory power.
Plus the audiobook is narrated by Dawkins, whose accent I love, and his wife Lalla Ward. Which is lovely.
#2019InBooks #RichardDawkinsIsAwesome #riveroutofeden #amw from Instagram: https://ift.tt/2r6hqlL

October 28, 2019 at 10:19PM

Book 53 for 2019: The Hidden Life of Trees. (Audible)
I have been wanting to read this book for ages, so I guess listening to it is the next best thing. This is one of those books whose influence I felt coming from many directions over the past few years, whether it be in articles talking about plant communication, tv shows discussing the possibility of plants moral rights, or documentaries about the life of plants. There has been a growing trend in tree based facts drawing me closer.
Not to mention that working closely with an arborist for years has helped give me a better appreciation for trees as living things, rather than just the backdrop for nature documentaries (thanks @fat_tony73 ).
This book was a real eye opener (a theme for a few of my books this year). I never knew how complex trees lives were, how social they were, or how advanced their physiology was. Trees can tell what time of year it is, count the number of days over a certain temperature, communicate with their neighbours, and share nutrients with their family members. Trees raise their young, and foster relationships with other plants, funghi, and animals.
If you want to start delving into the world of trees, I definitely recommend getting a hold of this book.
Also, if you love a good bit of Sci-Fi, take a look at Semiosis by Sue Burke. Its set on an alien planet where the human colonists have to work with a local intelligent plant to survive, and much of the learnings from The Hidden Life of Trees is represented within the story (though with the usual science fiction extrapolations).
#2019inBooks #hiddenlifeoftrees #TurnsOutTreesArePrettyBadass #JustFoundOutThereIsASequelToSemiosisThatCameOutThisMonth #amw from Instagram: https://ift.tt/2pjg5aM