8️⃣ Thoughts for the week #08

The fine folks at NASA did something amazing this week. They landed car-sized Perseverance and tiny, super light helicopter (helicopter!!) Ingenuity on Mars. It’s really a phenomenal achievement that defies belief and, frankly, logic. The amount of science, engineering, sweat, and tears that has gone into this is unimaginable. I watched the whole thing live, am not ashamed to say I cried a whole lot when a safe touchdown was confirmed, and loved the presentation NASA put together before and after the live stream.

One person who really stood out to me was Dr. Moogega (무지개) Cooper. She spoke with such passion, knowledge, emotion, and honesty. It could be argued that Dr. Cooper has the most important job of the whole mission – she’s protecting Mars from Earth. Specifically, because part of Perseverance’s mission is to collect and prepare samples of Martian rock (and potentially — hopefully — a lot more than just rock), we needed to make the rover as clean as we possibly could. To ensure that any on-board science, and the hopeful future return of those samples to Earth remain untainted by anything that originally came from Earth, Dr. Cooper and her team had to make Perseverance one of (if not the) cleanest things ever made.

And, because I’m a nerd, I’m happy to share this image below. It was something NASA cooked up a couple years ago – they opened up a web form which anybody could fill out. The promise was that anyone who did so, would have their name converted into 1s and 0s and popped onto the rover. So my name, alongside many others’, is now on Mars. 🚀

a fake aircraft-style boarding card with my name on it which NASA created to signify that my name will be on board Perseverance
I made it to Mars. Sort of.

After Mum got her first vaccine shot a few weeks ago, I was delighted to hear the news that my Dad got his first vaccine shot this week. It was a really weird feeling, though. Relief, for sure, was part of it. Knowing that both of my parents are now partially vaccinated, and certainly safer than they were, especially with the rapid growth of the UK- and South African variants where they live, is a good feeling.

However, it wasn’t exactly as I’d hoped. First, it’s still at least a few weeks until Dad will have a decent level of protection from that first shot, so the anxiety hasn’t subsided yet. Second, it was the AstraZeneca/University of Oxford vaccine that he was given. That one has only shown a max. ~65% efficacy compared to the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer (the one my Mum got) which came in at 90%+. It also has a much lower reported efficacy against the South African variant (to the point that it has stopped being distributed in South Africa).

Is it better than nothing? Absolutely, of course it is. Is it better than a LOT of people will have for quite some time, if at all? For sure, and for that I am incredibly grateful. Will the AZ/Oxford vaccine undoubtably save lots of lives around the world for a cost way lower than the other vaccines? Yep, and that is a truly great thing. Am I showing my privilege for being irked my Dad isn’t getting the best possible vaccine? Undoubtedly. Honestly, even though I try my hardest to be aware of, account for, and act upon my white, male, educated, first-world privilege, I can’t help it. He’s my Dad. I know there’s something out there that could protect him better than he’s been given – my Mum was given it – so of course I wish that he had been offered that. I’ve been struggling with that all week. It’s uncomfortable; just as privilege should be.

An accessible, 1-line of (embedded) JS, image compare component. It’s pretty smart using a range input for this. ↔️

I watched — and loved — Battlestar Galactica (2004), so much so that I went and watched the original 1970s show (which wasn’t quite as good imo). I loved it enough to watch the show 3 times, learning something new each time. Yet, (SPOILERS) Battlestar Galactica Explained in 8 minutes (SPOILERS) surprised me a whole lot. I’m now going to have to watch it a 4th time. Right after I finish re-watching Fringe. 🚀

I got an email from a music label in the UK (DEFECTED) telling me that two records I had added to my “tell me when they’re back in stock list” had come back in stock. I don’t remember adding them to the list, I don’t even remember ever having been to their website before. So this must have happened a while ago. Back when I lived in the UK, I dabbled with being a DJ in my spare time (Chicago house, funky house, disco…house). I enjoyed it, was no more than “ok” at it, but it paid some bills and I got to have some fun with some cool people. One of the two tracks, Don’t Leave Me This Way by Harold Melvin and The Bluenotes is one of my favourite pieces of music of all time. This remix by Tom Moulton is very similar to the unreleased (as a single on vinyl, and my absolute favourite) Dimitri from Paris’s re-edit of the same track. So, along with Jon Cutler’s It’s Yours, I bought the vinyls. And paid for shipping to Canada. I don’t own a record player any more. 🎵

BC COVID-19 Vaccine Count: 3.51% (+0.24%) and 2.65% (+0.09%) Canada-wide. 👩🏼‍⚕️

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