Tuesday night.

That Old Man’s Sky game never ceases to surprise me. One random planet I just landed on is filled with dinosaurs. It’s also highly radioactive, so good luck to all the promo-mammals out there. You’re gonna need it, little dudes. Oh, and the overabundant flying killer robots aren’t helping either, but hey – it’s a planet full of dinosaurs, and that makes up for a lot of things. I’ve established my latest base (conservatively named “Dino World!!!”) out there, and just the sheer entertainment value will be enormous as I explore that new world.

That game came out five years ago, and it’s still amazing – at least to me. It would’ve been the height of science fiction just 20 years ago. And 15 more years from now… I can’t even imagine. We might not get holodecks, but what fascinating new directions will the video game industry take, I wonder? Haptic-feedback bodysuits, as featured in Ready Player One? More versatile and less bulky VR headsets? Something entirely different? Between advances in small drones, 3D printing, and gaming, we’ll probably get a lot of really cool stuff in the coming decades – assuming we don’t get more pandemics and get out of the semiconductor bottleneck. (Oh yeah – if you’re reading this in the future, the supply lines for high-tech components have pretty much collapsed.)

My impromptu (and entirely self-imposed) house arrest is made mildly more bearable by the crappy, chilly weather outside my window. The occasional person coughing their lungs out just underscores that the outside world isn’t really all that great right now. Still, I look forward to being able to go on a long walk, or partake in my usual Tim Hortons meal… It’s really minor, considering all the huge societal changes that have occurred during the pandemic, but wow, I’d never thought that fast food, of all things, would become the meal I’ll look forward to the most. After my second vaccine, and after yet another two-week house arrest/quarantine, and if they allow restaurants to reopen… I can’t wait to have the first proper meal in well over a year. I fetishize the sensation of holding a menu and contemplating the overabundance of choices that won’t come from my instapot. I salivate even now as I imagine the crunchy, juicy, texture-filed sensation of a cheeseburger…

This line of thought is not helping my house arrest blues.

In covid news, there’s an interesting interview with Dr Michael Warner, the head of critical care at a nearby Toronto hospital and a formidable social media presence. His stories are chilling… More importantly, he claims the ICU shortage is so severe that they had to clear out their pediatric department to make more space for sick adults. He claims the exponential growth is turning Toronto into the same nightmare as New York and Italy a year ago. When an expert of his caliber speaks, we should all listen. One of the factors he explicitly mentions is Doug Ford’s refusal to even consider paid sick days in Ontario – as if it were some political issue and not a vital necessity. Ford is a college dropout and an idiot, but other people aside from him, around him, ought to have realized how exponential growth works. There are more low-key headlines about Ontario potentially switching to triage when ICUs completely run out… It’s tempting to say that we should let mathematicians run things to prevent future nightmares like this one from happening ever again, but that’s not a perfect solution either. Robert McNamara was a great mathematician, for example, but he had zero understanding of psychology or politics, which is why he failed to win the Vietnam War despite clear numerical superiority. Will we as a society ever be able to find a good compromise between electing idiots and nerds?

In other news, the US is recommending a “pause” for the Johnson&Johnson vaccine. That follows six cases of blood clots in women, one of whom died. The CDC is investigating that, while the FDA is claiming the pause would probably last just a few days. More than 6.8 million doses of J&J have been administered in the States, which means the odds of blood clots are less than one in a million. Even so, when people realize that mRNA vaccines have no such associated risk (as far as I know, at least), they’ll likely rush toward them instead. Scientists can – and do – change their minds as they get more data, but average people are far less flexible. The media is having a field day with this… If you listen to their reporting, you might walk away thinking people are dying of blood clots left and right. This is a shiny new story for them, and they’re squeezing it for all it’s worth, all the while generating vaccine hesitancy and prolonging this pandemic as a byproduct. If they’d spent nearly as much energy and enthusiasm to describe how horrifying it must be to die of covid and never wake up after getting intubated… Well, we might have had far fewer cases, let’s put it that way.

…it’ll be so bizarre to be among the few fully vaccinated Ontarians if the local healthcare system gets overrun… Like a time traveler going back to some medieval plague outbreak. I really, really hope it doesn’t come to that.

Good night, y’all. Stay safe out there.