Gongol.com Archives: March 2024

Brian Gongol

March 1, 2024

News Everyone's bearing something

To the dedicated observer, human nature barely changes over time. To observe and acknowledge that isn't a matter of fatalism, either: It's hopeful. A staggering amount of time and emotional energy are lost to the illusion that much of anything truly meaningful in life is really new and novel. ■ That matters because, if a person really likes their fellow human beings, they ought not want to see people extend or exacerbate their own unhappiness when there are so many good examples available of other people who have struggled with similar (or even identical) problems before. ■ One can barely look anywhere without seeing commentary about problems like social isolation or despair -- or seeing persuasive real evidence of them. But it seems too easy to convince ourselves that there are institutional answers to those problems. History doesn't bear that out. ■ An epidemic of unwillingness to consult history is in the air. And it's leading at least some people to believe the most extreme interpretation of events. If events seem extreme, then people sense justification in responding in extreme ways. Rarely does that end well. ■ But we should indeed consult history. The Talmud, for instance, offers this advice, many centuries old: "Blessed is he who meekly bears his trials, of which everyone has his share." The "meekly" part may be a religious judgment, but the "everyone has a share" part is merely human nature. ■ People often frame the advice, "You don't know what someone else is going through" as a call to kindness, which one might suppose it is. But even more than that, it's really a call to have humility and a sense of perspective. ■ Kindness mostly faces outward. Humility starts and mostly faces inward. We're all imperfect, and our actions imperfectly work to bring us closer to better things, if we're trying hard enough and with the right sense of goodwill toward the world. People who insist on perfection might put on displays of outward kindness, but if the kindness isn't matched by humility, they might just make themselves (and others) miserable along the way. ■ Everyone is "going through" something. Everyone has always been "going through" something. Embracing that fact gives us license to accept and accommodate human struggles instead of lamenting that the world isn't a utopia.

Health CDC to roll Covid-19 guidance together with flu and RSV

The respiratory diseases will all be lumped together for most intents and purposes

Weather and Disasters How warm was February 2024 in Iowa?

Enough so that the mean daily high was at the far tail end of the historical normal distribution for daily highs. In other words, the average day was a statistical outlier.

News Nuclear power sector anticipates growth, but can't find workers

One part of the problem? People fail to think of nuclear power as being a "green" industry.

Threats and Hazards Cybersecurity breach affects 90% of US pharmacies

Ransomware once again on the attack

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