Issue #007 — If everybody minded their own business..
The President Got COVID and What the Hell is Going On Over There?!
Just a few hours after I sent out Issue B5L #006 news broke that President Trump had tested positive for COVID-19. Much media hand-wringing ensued.
There has been a lot written about the President's recent diagnosis. Firstly, there is some confusion over when he was diagnosed, and specifically whether he knew he had tested positive at the first (and only, it looks like) candidates' debate, but chose to proceed in the hopes of acting as a bioweapon incarnate.
Yep - that possibility has not been ruled out. So very 2020.
There's also some confusion over whether his miraculous bounce-back has left him immune to the virus thanks to his not-yet-peer-reviewed 'protective glow'.
But the best stuff I've read on the President's recent diagnosis isn't actually about COVID at all, but rather the potential for his health scare to distract from information in his recently leaked tax returns. Some suggest his positive diagnosis has served as a welcome distraction from the damning information in those returns.
What is money laundering, exactly? Say I’ve got $10 million in illegally earned cash. What am I going to do with it? Buy a condo? Uh, no, the IRS will sniff that one out. So I have to find a way to hide this cash; to mix my dirty money with some clean money; to launder it. So I give my $10 million to a clever guy I know. I don’t want to buy anything from my pal directly. I want him to buy something else with my $10 million that produces a steady flow of clean money, such as a golf course that brings in $2 million a year in revenue. Every December, my pal takes $100,000 of that revenue for himself and sends me $900,000; the golf course keeps only half its income. Voila! I’ve turned my $10 million of dirty, un-spendable money into $900,000 of clean, beautiful cash flowing into my account, every year. Also, because the golf course is sending out 50 cents on every earned dollar to a couple of crooks, it’s going to look like a terrible business.
I'm still shocked each day as I remember President Trump sits in the highest executive office of the United States. And I'm battening down for some more surprises to come next month.
Hamish Got Some 'Splaining To Do...
In B5L #005 we all went on the rollercoaster ride that was Mitsy-Goes-Missing.
Well some bloke on Twitter went through a similiar adventure with his pet hamster, Hamish. Except that adventure is likely to last another 18 years (what's the legal age of adulthood for a hamster, anyways?)
Fighting in a Grocery Store
While I'm linking to stuff I found on Twitter, I think you should check out this evolution of the upcoming musical number, 'fighting in a grocery store'. I thought the bloke playing the role 'can of soup #1' was particularly good.
I don't really get how TikTok works, but if you click on the link below you can hopefully go through the full thread to see how the number was developed.
In the 'Thanks, Science' category, I enjoyed this article considering whether it would be possible to hitch a ride into space onboard the SpaceX Cargo Rideshare Program.
He scrutinized SpaceX’s user’s guide and approached the thought experiment as an engineering challenge. Within my designated cargo area, I’d have about 150 kilograms, or 330 pounds, before the price of my ticket begins to climb. As an act of self-care, I haven’t weighed myself since the pandemic began. But Combs suspects that I would have enough weight left over to fashion a sort of mini cockpit, complete with a chair and restraints, so that I could align myself properly and protect myself from the potentially lethal bumps and whiplash associated with a trip to space.
The Trolley Problem
Are you familiar with the Trolley Problem? If you're a fan of the initially-excellent-but-soon-jumps-the-shark Netflix Series 'the Good Place' you're probably sick of hearing about it. But for those that haven't heard of it before the short version is as follows:
Imagine you're walking along and you come across some train tracks. I don't know why - you come up with your own backstory.
You look down the line and you see there is a fork in the tracks and along one path there is a single person tied to the tracks but along the other path there are five people tied to the tracks.
You can see currently the tracks are set along the path with the five people.
But next to the fork is a lever that will swap the tracks over to the path with the one person.
Ok. Now imagine a train is coming and you have the opportunity to pull the lever.
Do you pull it, and condemn one person to die but in so doing save the lives of five others? Or do you choose to stand aside and do nothing, taking comfort in the knowledge that you haven't been involved (directly, at least) in anyone's death.
Tricky? Well this two-year-old has come up with a novel solution that I've not heard before.
I note this week will likely mark the end of my using 'Alice in Wonderland' quotes as subject headers. We had a good run.
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