Archive for March 2020

The Pandemic of 1918

There are various causes of deadly new novel viruses, as I have recently learned, along with many of you. One of them is climate change, so we can be sure we'll be seeing more of them. But whatever the reasons for the fatality rate of Covid-19, we do know why the last global pandemic, the so-called "Spanish Flu" in 1918 was so extremely deadly. It was a pandemic caused by the particular conditions of the trenches of World War 1, and the movements of troops around the world at the end of the war. This war virus ultimately killed more human beings on planet Earth in six months -- in every corner of the globe -- than the carnage of World War 1 caused in four years.

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1492: The Alhambra Decree

On March 31st, 1492, the new Catholic monarchs of the kingdom of Spain, now that they had consolidated power and had some form of Catholic control over the entirety of Spain.  The first thing they did was to announce that the Jews of Spain had three months to leave the country or be killed.  What happened to them?  I'll tell you.

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1976: Land Day

On March 30th, 1976, Palestinians held a rare protest against ongoing theft of their land by Israelis. For daring to hold a peaceful protest, they were massacred by Israeli troops. This was the sort of response they thought likely, which is why such protests were so unusual back then.

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If you've ever traveled to the Middle East then you have seen how the more civilized societies have been maintaining personal hygiene in a way far superior to the comparatively grimy European diaspora -- water. If you don't have a hose attached to your toilet like they do all over the Arab world, you can use a simple plastic squeeze bottle.

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The Biggest Windmill Went Online

On March 26th, 1978, Tvindkraft, the world's biggest windmill, went online, after years of research and construction. A crowdsourced project involving thousands of participants, once the technology was proven effective, the patents were made open source for anyone to use. Thus the Danish windmill industry was born.

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Once This Pandemic Is Over

What everyone who seems to understand the gravity of the situation we are facing with this pandemic keeps saying -- specifically in relation to countries like the United States, so unready to meet this challenge -- is society will never be the same. I sure hope they're right.

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History will look back on which parts of the world managed to contain the new virus, and which parts didn't, and why. Society in the countries that failed will never be the same.

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1968: My Lai

During the course of March 16th, 1968, US troops in the village of My Lai, Vietnam, systematically massacred several hundred people, mostly women, children, babies, and the elderly. The reason the outside world even knows that this event occurred is due to the helicopter crew under the command of pilot Hugh Thompson, who happened upon the scene while there were still a few villagers left alive, and intervened to save their lives.

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Viral Solidarity

Particularly in countries with governments as bought-off and incompetent as ours in the US, how society copes with the current moment will depend primarily on our ability to support each other -- mutual aid.

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Are these the plagues, swarms of locusts, floods, fires, famines, wars, and pogroms they were talking about...?

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