Category: Environment

CoVid-19 Corona Virus Pandemic: Benefits

I am trying to stay positive amidst a terrible CoVid-19 pandemic, which started in China and has ravaged the most parts of the world. This highly infectious virus continues its march through out the human race. There is a lot of negative, but not much of an acknowledgement of the positive.

In all situations in life there are benefits which might not be easy to accept, but over time will be very good for us in the long run.


  1. Family is closer: The virus has brought our family closer together. We got along well before, but now know that we can live together in the same house. Thankfully we have a house, which is plenty large enough to accommodate us in relative privacy.
  2. Revenge of the Introverted: Introverts, once scared and nervous in large crowds of gregarious people, are having a field day. They are more relaxed, living at home, and in small bubbles. It seems very natural for them, and now there’s a great excuse to not crowd together.
  3. Be more self-sufficient: We can no longer rely on a simple pop out to stores to buy something, or to find a service. Eating at home, finding a solution yourself, all these solutions are safer now than asking other people to enter your home.
  4. Infection Risk is Always there: There has always been an infection risk when going out and seeing people. Pre-March 2020 this was much less as to be minimal. Yet there was always a risk of infection when going out to stores. The pandemic has reminded us of this risk, and to calculate a risk-reward before we enter a store. Often this risk-reward is not worthwhile. The risk has always been there, will continue to be there now and for all infections, pandemic or not, in the future.
  5. Mask Wearing is a Public Health tool: A mask is not a social statement but a health tool. If you are sick you can protect others by wearing a mask. This has been known in Asia for a long time. We in the West should adopt this practice as well.
  6. Live for the Here and Now: Enjoy the present. Our pre-March 2020 life was so much different from now. It seems like a cruel hand has snatched our lives away from us, leaving us with the crumbs. Unfair, perhaps, but that is reality. Enjoy what you have now right now.
  7. Long Term Care/Retirement Home Conditions are Terrible: This has long bothered me, but Canadian society does not treat the elderly very well. When they become frail we lock them away in specialized homes and spend as little funding as possible on them. During the Pandemic it was clear that they were neglected and left to die. As nursing staff became sick there was very little to back them up, the system fell apart and more of the elderly died. It did not have to be this way, but it is. The pandemic has shone a light on our shoddy system. Good for the virus to show us our faults.
  8. Minorities are not as important: Blacks and Latinos die more than Whites. Why? There is inequality in society. The lowest of society are more susceptible and die first. While this is difficult to change, the Pandemic has highlighted this for all to see. What we do with this information I do not know. Hiding inequality is no longer possible.
  9. Selfishness is Abundant: While here in Canada most of us still feel a duty to help each other, there continues to be the selfish minority that will not even wear a mask, a simple face mask used to protect others and to protect yourself. What happened to the moral code of “I am my brother’s keeper”? It went out the window. We need to readjust our moral compass, as perhaps we are a little too comfortable with ourselves. The Pandemic has riled up the selfish and they have paraded down our streets in protest of their right to not wear a mask.
  10. Wealth Gap is Huge: The Pandemic has chased us into our homes to hide. Those that have the means can do this. Those that do not are forced to venture out and risk contracting the virus. The Pandemic has made this very clear that we do not take care of those that are on the edge of society. There is no hiding this from our conscience. To see and acknowledge this, I thank the Pandemic.
  11. Work from Home: As the Pandemic progressed governments asked companies to send their employees to work at home. previously most companies were very hesitant to do this, thinking productivity would fall. For anyone that has worked at home, you know that home workers work longer hours with less distractions. Productivity actually increased. Huh! who would have thought that! So now we know. This will allow companies to reduce their expensive office space footprint and even move their offices to cheaper locations. There is no need for a downtown office. I expect that this trend will continue.
  12. Preparation for Future Panemics: If nothing else, at least most of the world, excluding the US, is much more prepared for the next wave of CoVid-19 or any subsequent pandemic. We have learned, changed our lifestyle, practice mitigating steps, have masks. We are now used to social distancing and the need for air circulation. We are ready.

Opening Schools and the Pandemic Highlights the Lack of Infrastructure Funding

Kids need to go back to school, this is not in doubt. When kids return to school their parents can return to work, thereby helping the family as well as the economy in general. Getting our lives back to normal is difficult during this 2020 CoVid-19 pandemic. This virus is highly contagious and unforgiving. The need to prepare for school openings puts mankind against the virus. With proper preparation we can safely open schools, but there is so much the West has not done in school buildings that makes school openings very dangerous. In Ontario masks are not even required below Grade 4.

Returning to School in the Pandemic, Toronto, Canada

The CoVid-19 pandemic has walloped us in the head, in an obviously direct way. We, as a species, probably needed this kind of wake up call, as it seems no other method would get our attention. Starting from China, CoVid-19 has spread throughout the world. This, after 5 months of near lock down here in Toronto, is no longer news. Now we are faced with a new school year, the possibility that kids will return to their elementary school classes, become infected, and bring the virus back to their parents and grandparents. While we are still learning about this virus, what is clear is that it is highly infectious and no one is immune.

Bread Making: Bread Math, Poolish and Scaling a Recipe

I have really gotten attached to using a poolish as the starter for sourdough bread. Using a poolish is really easy. You just mix flour, water and starter, and set it aside to ferment for 12 hrs. It is technically called a preferment.

There are disagreements between the definitions of poolish, biga and a sponge. It seems like the poolish is 100% hydration, or 1:1 flour:water. The biga is 1:0.7 flour:water, and a sponge is 1:0.4 flour:water.

Puquio System for Water Management, Peru

These puquio holes in the area famous for Nasca lines, Peru, are interesting. With no written text to explain, someone, Rosa Lasaponara of the Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis, in Italy, finally figured it out: They channel wind into underground tunnels, which brings ground water up to the surface for people to use. From a barren desert that can see no rain for years, to a livable habitat. This is brilliant.

The ancient Peruvian mystery solved from space Smart people.

The Puquios water system, Nasca region, Peru, used wind to push ground water to the surface, providing water for their people, and making a desert livable. Brilliant.

The Puquios water system, Nasca region, Peru, used wind to push ground water to the surface, providing water for their people, and making a desert livable. Brilliant.

Sweden’s Herd Immunity Response to CoVid-19: Thoughts

For the CoVid-19 response, Dr Anders Tegnell, a Swedish epidemiologist, advised the Swedish government to remain open, and allow Swedes to auto-inoculate, what is called “herd immunity”. The resulting death toll would be much higher, but there would be more natural immunity in society. It was a bold step that countered the rest of the world, who locked down their societies.

Dr Tegnell is now saying that his response could have been better, with other politicians ready to criticize him. His response was a brave outlook in an experiment that has yet to end. Death rates aside, there is still as yet no vaccine.

Exercise as the Savior to Chronic Health Problems?

CEO Greg Glassman, CrossFit, started in 2000

CEO Greg Glassman, CrossFit, started in 2000

Sometimes you need to recognize that a system is broken and not as helpful as our expectations. The Western medical system is one such system. Yes, we are living longer, with viruses and bacteria largely at bay. As we progress to better health, chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes and obesity have become much more prevalent. These chronic diseases show little abatement with current guidelines. “Lose weight, reduce salt intake, exercise more” may be medically valid advice, but the words are much easier to say and harder to implement.

China Air Quality Terrible for Xian, Beijing and Some Cities: 2018 Dec 02

Yet again, some of China’s air quality PM 2.5 readings are off the chart. Literally, and this is really terrible for people’s health. PM 2.5 measures air pollution particles smaller than 2.5 microns, which when inhaled are too small for the body to remove, so they stay there forever.

China needs to do much better to protect the health of citizens. Pollution report

Air Quality PM2.5 2018 Dec 02 10:00 Toronto time, readings for China: Xi'an 592, Beijing 268 vs Toronto at 17. Terrible for your health.

Air Quality PM2.5 2018 Dec 02 10:00 Toronto time, readings for China: Xi’an 592, Beijing 268 vs Toronto at 17. Terrible for your health.

It is 2018 September 05 and Toronto is 34C!

Usually Toronto is moderately warm in June and hot in July and August. By the time September rolls around the weather cools down considerably. This was untrue this summer, where we have had a very hot June through to August. And today, on 2018 September 05 we are experiencing yet another super hot day. Wow. At least our PM2.5 air quality, at 55 moderate is not too terrible.

Hot Toronto 34C weather 2018 Sept 05. Very unusual

Hot Toronto 34C weather 2018 Sept 05. Very unusual

Toronto Air Quality is 55, still at Moderate. This is good.

Toronto Air Quality is 55, still at Moderate. This is good.

Damn Good Idea: Using a Lake as a Battery

Using the Hoover Dam as a battery by pumping water upstream during the day, thus reducing electricity generation.

Using the Hoover Dam as a battery by pumping water upstream during the day, thus reducing electricity generation.

I had heard about this idea before, and think it requires further study. The problem is that we cannot easily store electricity. Any electricity generated needs to be used immediately, or we risk blackouts.

California has a lot of wind and solar power generation, but also has hydroelectric power generation from the colossal Hoover Dam. If operated at the same time there might be too much power during the day, when wind and solar contribute, and not enough power at night, when wind and solar do not generate electricity. Excess generated electricity cannot be stored.