On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff
THIS WEBSITE STARTED on August 13, 2012, with “1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata.” Things were a lot simpler back then.
There have been occasional anniversary celebrations since. “A Year in Review” recognized the website’s persistence a year later. We missed celebrating in 2014, but returned with “Son of the Sequel” in 2015 and yet another annual review in 2016. What with one thing and another, there were no annual reviews in 2017-2019.
Today’s Year in Review. Here’s a selection of Simanaitis Says articles during the past 12 months; not just my favorites, per se, but also those I’m especially pleased to have researched and composed.
A Story As Timely As… The “Ungodly Gods” piece, November 6-7, 2019, was particular fun to research. Those Greeks and Romans make Trump and his cohorts look like low-life do-nothings.
A Wacko Craft. The tale of “A Steam Punk Zeppelin Buster,” June 14, 2020, is so deliciously wacko it was a ball for me on multiple levels: researching the aircraft and its designer as well as building my own GMax/Microsoft Flight Simulator version. What’s more, designer Noel Pemberton Billing made earlier appearances here as “An English Eccentric,” February 26-27, 2020. Only “Eccentric”?? Wherever did I acquire such understatement?
Etymological Fun. My series of Etymologies for Our Times reached a reductio ad absurdum in “Etimologia Per I Nostri Tempi,“ March 11, 2020. Words included Narcisistazia, Petulanzia, and Esbizia, (“constantly seeking the spotlight”). Does anyone in particular come to mind?
Covid-19. I’ve had an informative source of pandemic information in Science, the weekly magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Initiated several months ago, its daily Member Community online site is a vibrant look at science taking place.
And, yes, since the first news of coronavirus emerged early this year, there has been evolving knowledge of its cause, detection, treatment, and prevention. As an example, at first, there was mask advice focused on protecting health-care workers; today, given our enhanced knowledge of the disease’s transmission and better supply of protective equipment, there’s overwhelming recommendation of masks for everyone’s use.
Unlike other things or people that come to mind, science is self-correcting.
I counted 11 Covid-19 articles here at Simanaitis Says. Topics include “Covid-19 and the Seasons—Preliminary Scientific Thoughts,” March 29, 2020. The conclusion back then: It was too early to tell whether warm weather would help.
Subsequently, it became tragically clear that the disease wasn’t going to disappear miraculously.
“Countering Covid-19—Worldwide Tactics,” April 2, 2020, listed what has helped countries to control the pandemic, to one extent or another: social distancing, testing, contact tracing, and quarantining.
“Covid Exit Strategy—The Numbers to Watch,” May 1, 2020, introduced us to R0, “R-naught,” the number infected by an average infected individual. My use of the term became subsequently more precise: An R0 less than 1 implies a disease on its decline. An R0 of 2.5, say, implies a raging epidemic. There’s also R, the effective reproduction number, defined as the average number an infected person goes on to infect in a population where some people are immune.
“A Glimpse at SIR Modeling Part 1,” May 30, 2020, offered a DIY “Susceptible/Infectious/Recovered” model to those familiar with spread sheets. Paul Taylor, Professor of Health Informatics at University College London, was my source in his London Review of Books piece.
More recently, “Epidemiological Tidbits from AAAS,” July 25, 2020, stressed the AAAS Member Community’s overwhelming view: “To protect others and yourself, wear the mask and continue social distancing.” It also discussed the concept of “herd immunity,” that once enough people catch and survive a disease or are vaccinated against it, the disease’s impact diminishes. (Polio, for example, has become rare in much of the developed world).
“Covid-19 Algebra,” July 31, 2020, offered a straightforward relationship between R0 and herd immunity, together with its algebraic derivation.
“Humor in Adapting to Covid-19,” April 29, 2020, collected several beneficial countermeasures to the horrors of the pandemic.
“School Daze?,” August 6, 2020, addressed the advantages and disadvantages of kids resuming conventional schooling. Briefly, it’s more complex than a presidential dictum.
Trumpery. “Our National Addled Uncle,” March 26, 2020, shared my evolving view of Donald Trump. He’s not only a narcissistic, mendacious, egotistical buffoon, he is also willfully ignorant of matters harming us all.
November 3, 2020, cannot come soon enough. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2020