What I see are people practising protesting for the big one. It’s just that the big one is an unknown, or not clearly seen, or unthinkable.
One thing that social media has done is to enable people to coordinate protests and protesters. There are plenty of things to protest about, of course. And there are many protests that make me think that people are begging for something to protest about.
Take what happened yesterday in London. People were protesting against a Winston Churchill themed cafe, encouraging customers to boycott the place because it glorifies Churchill, a man the protesters see as an imperialist and a racist.
I don’t criticise people for protesting about Winston Churchill. I know there are some things about him that don’t represent the best of humanity. But come on – did he not do anything worthy of more positive consideration?
The world is full of serious here-and-now issues worthy of protest. And each dubious protest clouds the issue for the issues that are worth protesting about.
The thing is though that I see it as people practising protesting for the big one. I think they are practising getting good at protesting. It’s not that they don’t think the things they protest about are significant or meaningful. It’s just that they are often or usually, not the big picture. They are scraps of something incompletely defined.
I imagine there will come a time when the big picture emerges and the protesters find themselves in a mass movement of protest.
As and when that time comes, the protesters will be quite good at protesting because they have been practising for quite a while.
Has somebody got it in for Boots the chemist?
There was a BBC investigatory programme a couple of weeks ago which tried to make out that Boots mixes up prescriptions horrendously.
In fact, as the programme showed and couldn’t help but show, Boots’ record of correct prescriptions versus wrong prescriptions is better than at any other pharmacy.
In fact, Boots make such a good job of it that the incidence of wrong prescriptions is tiny. It’s minute.
Of course, it is serious when a mistake is made. But is also serious when no mistakes are made.
And now on the BBC news today there is another incident at Boots which is given publicity that relates to a mixup in prescriptions.
Has somebody got it in for Boots?
In a different world, I wouldn’t think about it. But now, with the attempted destruction of the National Health Service – I am suspicious of a drive to smear Boots as a prelude to something else.
Is it an attempt to stop Boots filling NHS prescriptions?
Is it connected with the fact that Boots is now owned Walgreens, an American company?
Something is going on.
Daniel Burd was a Canadian High School student who in 2008 isolated two bacteria (Sphingomonas and Pseudomonas) that at the correct temperature ate almost half of a plastic sample within six weeks.
He won the first prize at the Canada Wide Science Fair and a $20,000 scholarship.
In an article in The Record (the article no longer there), Burd is quoted as saying:
The inputs are cheap, maintaining the required temperature takes little energy because microbes produce heat as they work, and the only outputs are water and tiny levels of carbon dioxide – each microbe produces only 0.01 per cent of its own infinitesimal weight in carbon dioxide.
I have googled repeatedly for Daniel Burd since then and haven’t found anything more.
Daniel Burd, where are you and what has become of your discovery?
They broke it
so that they did not care so much
when it was destroyed
Little by little
animal by animal
specie by specie
they killed it
Then like murderers
they hid the bodies
in a graveyard
made of the world
Hawaii is the latest in a series of island chains reaching back millions and millions of years.
The chain that is above the water now is like the latest pearl in a string that stretches back to the north-east of Russia near the Baring Straits.
As I understood it, a weak spot in the plates leads to an eruption that forms a set of islands, with the first of them being formed many millions of years ago.
Then the plate moved slowly to the south east, cutting off the source that fuelled the formation of the islands.
Over time those islands wore away until they were beneath the sea. Meanwhile, another island chain spurted out of the weak spot hundreds of miles further along the path which the plates were taking.
And now with sonic pinging, we can see the remains of these islands – bumps in the sea bed – stretching like a necklace many hundreds of miles across the Pacific – recording the passage of events that have happened over millions of years.