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Rolla Peace News

February 23, 2021
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In this newsletter is:

2. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) Nature Bats Last: Case Study: Texas Under Winter Storm Uri
          b) Collapse and Extinction: Two from the Past
          c) Health Outcomes: Two More from the Past
          d) Vaccine Hoarding



We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office, THIS THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25, FROM NOON TO 1:00 PM (and most subsequent Thursdays until Peace is established). Please join us this Thursday in saying NO WAR AGAINST IRAN or any other country. The temperature is predicted to be in the 40s. If you do not feel comfortable standing with us in front of the Post Office, please consider driving by and showing your support for our message by honking your horn and flashing a peace sign.

Note 1: Since there are so few of us, generally 2 or 3, no need to cancel; but let's maintain social distancing.

Note 2: In case of inclement weather, vigils may be canceled or terminated early.

Note 3: Last Friday we began our 15th year of weekly vigils for Peace at the Rolla Post Office.

2. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) Nature Bats Last: Case Study: Texas Under Winter Storm Uri
          b) Collapse and Extinction: Two from the Past
          c) Health Outcomes: Two More from the Past
          d) Vaccine Hoarding

Nature Bats Last: Case Study: Texas Under Winter Storm Uri
“The earth seemed unearthly. We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there—there you could look at a thing monstrous and free. It was unearthly.”
—Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness)

Question: What's the Difference between Human-Induced and Natural Disasters?

Answer: There may not be any. They blend so seamlessly into each other. After all humanity is a part of Nature.

But let's take Texas under Winter Storm Uri as an example:

Without human-induced global warming would Uri have hammered Texas so badly? Probably not. A warmer climate causes a weakening of the jet stream which keeps the winter cold air bottled up in the far North. Texas, with its fossil fuel industry is certainly responsible for more than its share of global warming.

Then there are human factors: Failure to winterize critical infrastructure. Failure to connect to a larger grid. A rate structure that allows utilities to raise rates in real time as demand goes up. All designed to maximize profits while minimizing resiliency. Why, indeed, spend profit preparing for unlikely events like Storm Uri?

And all the pollution, including methane and other greenhouse gases, generated as the oil and gas refineries hastily shut down. These only add to global warming and increase the chances of yet another devastating disaster looming on the horizon.

The storm has passed. As Texas warms up and attempts to recover in the wake of Winter Storm Uri, we would do well to recall another line from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness:
“And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect.”
Collapse and Extinction: Two from the Past

I've been working on reorganizing my website, rereading old articles I wrote long ago. Here are two oldies particularly pertinent to year 2021.

Over the Edge, an article written in 2012, discusses Collapse of civilization. Strange, much of what I read today assumes that things will eventually get back to the old normal. I don't think so.

And here is a poem on Extinction from 2014, also very pertinent.

Health Outcomes: Two More from the Past
“An isolated incident is business as usual that has been detected.” —Fred Reed
In response to the post from January 2020 that I quoted last week:
“humanity is ripe for a major epidemiological catastrophe” and the United States is “perhaps particularly vulnerable [to SARS-CoV-19]. We've gutted our public health infrastructure in favor of for-profit health care. When people are afraid to seek medical help because they might end up paying for it for the rest of their lives, how are we to keep contagious disease from spreading?”
A reader wrote to me about her difficulty and the expense of trying to get her family medical insurance. This brought to mind two articles from 2018:

Here's one about a woman with her leg caught between the train and the platform screaming at bystanders NOT to call an ambulance because she couldn't afford it.

And here's a video about a hospital in Baltimore dumping a mentally ill patient on the street in a hospital gown in freezing weather.

And people wonder why the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has been the very worst of all wealthy countries. (And there is plenty of competition. But, no, you can't blame it all on Donald Trump)

Vaccine Hoarding

While wealthy countries rush to vaccinate their populations against COVID-19, 130 of the World's poorest countries have not received a single dose of vaccine. Frontline medical workers in Zimbabwe are dying for lack of protection, while “lawmakers” and hospital administrators in the United States cut to the front of the line. Israel is vaccinating its entire population while ignoring the needs of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation for over half a century.

I think I'll pass on getting vaccinated. Send my vaccine to Zimbabwe or Palestine instead.


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Wage peace,

yushasager (at) yahoo.com