Covid-19“The difference between genius and stupidity is, genius has its limits” – Albert Einstein
Graph showing the global infections statistics
This past week has been incredibly eventful; the coronavirus thunders on like a rocket that has a defined path beyond human understanding, many USA cities are in flames precipitated by the death of a black citizen at the hands of the police, the new epicentres of the virus are India and Brazil and right here in sunny South Africa, the Government and its rigid lock down laws are klapped in a court of law. Riveting, no doubt, but there was an event in recent days which should lift the spirits of this nation to stratospheric heights. But before launching into this exceptional story, a moment of reflection for what some outstanding fellow South Africans have invented and achieved for the World in the past. CAT scan.
The Computed Axial Tomography Scan was developed by Cape Town physicist, Allan Cormack and his associate, Godfrey Hounsfield. These clever guys gave the World the technique whereby an X-ray source and electronic detectors can rotate around the body and the resulting data is then analysed by a computer to produce a sharp map of the tissues in that precise
Graph showing South Africa's rising infection trend
cross section of the body. Oil from Coal (Sasol).
Sanctions during the apartheid era cut oil supplies and the Government of the day, backs to the wall, were the first to produce oil from coal. Today Sasol produces 28 percent of the country’s fuel needs. Heart Transplant.
For those of us around in 1967, who can possibly forget what Dr Chris Barnard achieved in Cape Town when one Louis Washkansky was the first person to ever receive a new heart. He went on to perform 10 more heart transplants with one recipient surviving a further 23 years. Kreepy Krauly.
Ferdinand Chauvier from Springs, Gauteng invented the swimming pool vacuum cleaner with the first produced in 1974. Pratley’s Putty.
George Pratley invented this product while trying to create a glue that would hold components in an electrical box. It was used in the 1969 Moon Landing holding bits of the Apollo XI mission’s Eagle landing craft together. Dolosse.
Eric Merrifield created these large and unusually shaped concrete blocks which can weigh up to 20 tons. They break up wave action and protect harbour walls and coastal installations. Q20.
Invented in 1950 by a certain Mr Robertson in Pinetown, Natal. It was
Our micromanaging politicians providing tragic comedy regularly
an effective water repellent and kept rust at bay and eased lots of rusty hinges and so on. He didn’t know what to call it but told his neighbour that it “it certainly had 20 answers to 20 questions.” The secret to Q20; it is heavier than water and its specific gravity can displace water so, when sprayed it sinks to the bottom, where it acts as a water displacer and lubricant on the problem area.
I guess the question uppermost is; so, what does this have to do with Covid-19? Well, nothing really except in the last week another South African has achieved something truly remarkable and it is far more newsworthy than an overhyped virus. On Saturday 30th
May, two astronauts blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on board a SpaceX rocket bound for the International Space Station. SpaceX? This is a private company started by a South African living in the USA by name of Elon Musk.
For those who haven’t heard of him, he is also the founder of Tesla, the first major manufacturer in the World of battery powered motor vehicles. Basically, Musk had this crazy idea of colonizing Mars and life becoming multiplanetary.
SpaceX launches from Cape Canaveral. A moment we can all be immensely proud of.
Timing a bit out as this would have been a really perfect time to leave Earth! This is what he said after the successful launch: “This is a day to be proud of. It’s a fundamentally positive, good thing. We need more positive, good things in this world.”
It was never a straight forward process with many early failures such as rockets exploding in mid air and some that simply tipped over like candles. Musk was accepting of failure and kept challenging his engineering team to test stuff to maximum failure levels and then perfect components beyond that point. This has been a huge incentive for NASA which has the astronauts but their launch failures a few years back curtailed their launch operations. Their primary mandate from the White House is to put humans on the Moon by 2024. So, the Space Industry is set to explode and it is one of our own who is carving his name in history. We have much to be truly proud of.
But then, a reality check when we look at where South Africa is with Covid-19.
Looking at the global infections rate graph above
, nothing exceptional here other than the fact that as at 2nd
June the new cases are still trending upwards. (Click on graphs to enlarge).
On the other hand looking at the South African infections rate graph above
,is interesting graph in the sense that it shows that, until a few days ago, our average infection rate was still increasing. South Africa has not reached a summit beyond which a flattening of the curve would shape as infections declined. Significance? Most countries relaxed lock down regulations after
their projected peak had been reached. We have moved to Level Three before
our projected peak number of infections. All the while Ramaphosa and others in his cabal of micromanaging politicians have been sprouting forth that the “worst is yet to come.” Is this the get out of jail card being played in view of the likelihood of Covid-19 becoming the ultimate blame game in the political arena in the future? There is no doubt that the “collective decision making” will fall apart when these individuals start to see political opportunity. And then to add to the “Command Council’s” dismal ministerial mismanagement of the Covid-19 lock down, the Gauteng High Court earlier this week handed down a hard-hitting judgement that the overwhelming number of regulations are “unconstitutional and invalid.” Judge Norman Davis ruled as follows: “Their (the regulations) encroachment on and limitation of rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights contained in the Constitution are not justifiable in an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom.”
This is powerful stuff and I guess raises a question as to whether any of the 230,000 arrests of citizens breaking some or other “regulation” is legally valid. What of the 11 people who lost their lives due to police or military brutality? The lawyers could be kept busy in the near future! South Africa was also flagged as the country with the most draconian Covid-19 lock downs in the world. In any normal democracy these factors would almost guarantee the end of the road for the political party in power.
Covid-19 has delivered some nasty surprises for society; one of them being the hijacking of social media
. This technology enabled communication phenomenon has from inception had its fault lines. But these have morphed into major crevices. Instead of being an enabler for showing kindness, connecting families, sharing positive information, providing guidance and care and all those good aspects of humanity, the likes of Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook and others have become a platform for a new breed of so-called Keyboard Warriors.
We have all seen it. Outrageous posts by individuals on a wide range of subjects which somehow stir fellow “warriors” out of the trenches and it becomes obvious that in their demented state, it’s a race to the finish as to who can be the most brutal and senseless in their individual posts. And all of this happening behind the comfort of whatever keyboard device is being used. Solution. Avoid them like the plague! “Don’t say anything on social media that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it” – Erin Bury
Tot: 1.632s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 14; qc: 41; dbt: 0.0108s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb