Something for the summer:
Written on 22 May 2016, 08:15pm
The English translation of a match report that I wrote in Romanian for anglofil.ro:
The road towards the stadium smells like the spring. Basel is a very clean city and – even if it’s garbage day – the afternoon rain spreads some refreshing scents. I’m taking the long road the stadium, preferring the residential areas. As I’m telling myself I should never walk alone, I see the first match-goers: 4 LFC fans from London who are asking me if they’re going the right way. They sip from local beer cans and seem to be in a good mood. I ask how they got their tickets and they sigh, with bitterness: Viagogo.
One more mile and the stadium roof becomes visible in the distance. Not for everybody though, since a orientation-challenged or drunk supporter asks us where the ground is.
The fresh spring scents slowly turn into a mixed-smell of beer and tobacco. Smoking is prohibited inside the arena, so people take their last chance. Sevilla fans walk along Liverpool ones. Both of them wear football shirts: some are reading Istanbul 2005, some others read Dnipro, Benfica, Espanol, Middlesbrough. I feel some chills down my spine while I the names of Viduka and Maccarone go through my mind.
A red fan asks where he can buy some vodka. ‘Russia, mate’ – answers another one on a tongue-in-cheek tone.
Written on 20 May 2016, 02:44pm
It seems like we, humans, have the strange ability to worry about little things and to procrastinate or ignore the big, important ones. NN Taleb explains this in his essay ‘The Black Swan’:
What are our minds made for? It looks as if we have the wrong user’s manual. Our minds do not seem made to think and introspect; if they were, things would be easier for us today, but then we would not be here today and I would not have been here to talk about it—my counterfactual, introspective, and hard-thinking ancestor would have been eaten by a lion while his nonthinking but faster-reacting cousin would have run for cover. Consider that thinking is time-consuming and generally a great waste of energy, that our predecessors spent more than a hundred million years as nonthinking mammals and that in the blip in our history during which we have used our brain we have used it on subjects too peripheral to matter. Evidence shows that we do much less thinking than we believe we do—except, of course, when we think about it.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb: The Black Swan – The Impact of the Highly Improbable
Exhibit A: Superbugs
Superbugs will kill someone every three seconds by 2050 unless the world acts now, a hugely influential report says.
A global revolution in the use of antimicrobials is needed, according to a government backed report.
Lord Jim O’Neill, who led the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, said a campaign was needed to stop people treating antibiotics like sweets.
It is the first recommendation in the global plan for preventing medicine “being cast back into the dark ages”.
The report has received a mixed response with some concerned that it does not go far enough.
Superbugs, resistant to antimicrobials, are estimated to account for 700,000 deaths each year.
But modelling up to the year 2050, by Rand Europe and auditors KPMG, suggests 10 million people could die each year – equivalent to one every three seconds.
BBC: Global antibiotics ‘revolution’ needed
Exhibit B: Climate change
In spite of reports, evidence, climate refugees and general consensus in the science world that climate change is starting to affect our lifes, there are still top level politicians arguing that everything is just ‘peer-pressure’ and that ‘everybody is a scientist’:
Ex-Alaska governor promotes Climate Hustle film and calls for intervention to stop the ‘peer pressure’ as world leaders agree global warming is a serious threat.
The former vice-presidential nominee admitted she did not believe scientists about anything any more – and appealed to presidential contenders to intervene, somehow.
The Guardian – Climate change denier Sarah Palin: ‘Bill Nye is as much a scientist as I am’
As a side note, there is a nice response to the statement above.
But unfortunately, we’re doing very little to fight climate change. Hopefully it won’t be too late.
Exhibit C: Colonizing other worlds
I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space (Stephen Hawking)
We should do it soon, because colonizing other worlds is our best chance to hedge our bets and improve the survival prospects of our species. Sooner or later something will get us if we stay on one planet. (Princeton professor J. Richard Gott)
In the long run a single-planet species will not survive (Nasa Administrator Michael Griffin)
Apparently, in this case at least, someone is thinking big. There is hope 🙂