I moved to the USA 30 years ago. That was 1990, which was three years before the Mosaic web browser made its appearance and the general public became aware of the existence of the internet and the world-wide web. As part of the preparations for my move, I visited my local library in the UK and borrowed a book whose title was something along the lines of: “So, You’re Planning on Moving to the USA (You Silly Sausage).”
It may be that they didn’t actually say “Silly Sausage,” I might be projecting again, although – now I come to think about it – a couple of good old British bangers (sausages) would go down a treat, but we digress…
I don’t remember much about that book, apart from one bit that covered the topic of what to do if an American was so presumptuous as to ask where you came from. As I recall, the advice went as follows: “If you are from England, Scotland, or Ireland, you can feel free to tell them this because (even the) Americans know vaguely what and where these countries are. If you are from Wales, however, then you should answer ‘England’ or ‘Scotland’ or ‘Ireland,’ otherwise you will spend the rest of the day explaining what and where Wales is.”
That’s a little unfair. Wales and the Welsh are famous for many things. I’m sure I could think of some if you gave me sufficient time and I tried hard. The point is that my chum Arthur Smith, who hails from Fair Albion, who is one of the world’s foremost authorities on cosmic rays, and who now spends much of his days as an affable apiculturist, just sent me a link to an interesting article from the BBC News: Coronavirus: The New Inventions Inspired by a Pandemic.
Regarding “Fair Albion,” if this isn’t a feel-good video, I don’t know what is!
This story features three inventions that are coming out of Wales: a low-cost, easy-to-build ventilator, a hands-free door-pull, and – wait for it, wait for it — a virus-killing snood. I don’t know about you, but I would happily buy a bunch of these snoods for my family and friends (and that’s not something you’ll hear me say very often).
But wait, there’s more, because my chum Jay Dowling just sent me a link to an attention-grabbing column on the Tom’s Hardware site: Folding@Home Now More Powerful Than World’s Top 7 Supercomputers, Combined.
The idea here is that anyone can download the Folding@Home application to their home computer, and then share some of the machine’s spare CPU and/or GPU cycles to help defeat the coronavirus. Following a surge in interest, the network is now hurling 470 PetaFLOPS of raw compute power at the task of kicking COVID-19 where it hurts and bringing this little rascal to its metaphorical knees.
And there’s still more, because I just saw another noteworthy article on the DesignNews website: Are Viruses the Black Sheep or Savior of our Human Genome? Featuring a conversation between John Blyler and Dr. Eugene Koonin, this column helps explain the interaction between viruses and human beings.
Last, but certainly not least, just as I was about to put this column to bed, my chum Arthur (the little scamp who started this whole blog off) managed to drag himself away from his beehives to send me a link to a thought-provoking page on the Financial Times website: Coronavirus Tracked: The Latest Figures as the Pandemic Spreads. This page provides graphical representations of the countries affected, the number of deaths, and the economic impact (I did say that it was “thought-provoking,” not that it was “fun”).
Be safe. Be careful. Be caring and considerate. Don’t do anything stupid. Wear Hawaiian shirts, and I’ll see you on the flip side.