Life in a rudderless world
"The truth of the world is that is is chaotic. The truth is, that it is not the Jewish banking conspiracy, or the grey aliens, or the twelve-foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control, the truth is far more frightening; no one is in control, the world is rudderless."
I've been thinking about that quote a lot lately.
In the month or so since my last post I've been basically keeping my head above water and trying to live as productive a life as possible. It's easier than it sounds, oddly, but it costs a lot in terms of mental energy. Even with phamaceutical assistance living with depression isn't easy, especially when living in the third year of a pandemic. It's nice not having to go into work every day because I have a couple of spare hours in the day, but being stuck at home day in and day out because I don't want to get sick (or make my family sick) is a constant drain.
Regardless of the data, regardless of the death toll, regardless of the possibly life-long side effects of long COVID we're no closer to stopping the spread of the disease and its myriad variants. As if that weren't enough the latest guidance from the CDC was published last week, and it's lackluster to say the least.
On top of that there's an outbreak of monkeypox and, no surprise, the United States just had to be number one in everything, including cases. As if that weren't sufficiently distressing they're going right back to the AIDS media playbook from the 1980's by making it out to be a gay disease only. What they're not saying, and this is the important part, is that contact with any bodily fluids, including respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze, possibly including said aerosols landing on your skin, without any intimate contact. When you take into account so many people not wearing masks anymore it's looking scary, to say the least. There is a vaccine but good fucking luck getting it.
I know full well that I should add a case tracking network to my exocortex but I really can't bear to watch the stats.
As if that weren't enough, as if there wasn't enough to worry about there are outbreaks of polio - fucking polio - godsdamned polio - around the world. I really don't.. I just don't. I don't have any words for it. I don't understand it. I guess this is what happens when they don't teach history or critical thinking anymore. I don't even know why I bother keeping that link around, we're well past the point where it means a tinker's dam.
A couple of years back I read one of John Brunner's more recent books, The Sheep Look Up (affiliate link (because Amazon makes you disclose that these days)).The environmental and anthropogenic climate change themes aside, a major part of the story is the rapid proliferation of disease and variants thereof as well as antibiotic resistence being the norm. Years prior to that I read another book, The Coming Plague by Laurie Garrett (affiliate link) in which she writes at length about the spread of disease and the trend of antibiotic resistence (a relatively minor trend at the time) in bacteria. I kind of wish I hadn't these days. I'd sleep a lot better.
My therapist advised me a couple of weeks ago to cut back on my news intake. To that end I disabled a large number of agents that comprise Edison, my news gathering and analysis construct. It hasn't really helped. Word of the next damned thing always manages to sneak through, even through emergency security bulletins at work. I may have to go on vacation at some point to get completely off the grid and decompress.
As if the world wasn't spinning fast enough out of control Donald Trump's estate of Mar-a-Lago was raided by the FBI last week. The warrant issued (local mirror) specifically included, and I quote, "Information, including communications in any form, regarding the retrieval, storage, or transmission of national defense information or classified material." That includes information about nuclear weapons. They confiscated 20 boxes of classified material as evidence across what seems the entire spectrum of security classification. True to form Trump claims that he declassified them, but the Atomic Energy Act (local mirror) explicitly says that no presidents can do such a thing:
"Documents containing RD1/FRD2 are exempt from automatic declassification and must be reviewed by DOE3 prior to release."
For the record, mishandling SECRET information is a 10/10 felony: Up to 10 years in federal prison and a minimum of a $10,000us fine. Mishandling TOP SECRET and TS/SCI (Sensitive Compartmentalized Information) is a 20/20 felony: 20 years in federal prison and a minimum of a $20,000us fine. If you or I did something like this, the applicable technical term would be "utterly fucked."
In other news, just about of which has sucked, Alberto Gaitan of HacDC passed away at the age of 67 in late July. Alberto was one of the first people I met when I was hanging out at HacDC, and one of the nicest people I've ever met. I still don't know how to take this.
Earlier I was going to write about some projects I've had going on around the house in my copious spare time, but I don't think I have the compute cycles for that right now. Maybe in another post.
RD - Restricted Data, a specific government classification including but not limited to the design and manufacture of nuclear weapons. ↩
FRD - Formerly Restricted Data, a specific government classification including but not limited to the locations where nuclear weapons are stored and deployed. ↩
DOE - US Department of Energy ↩