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Science In Practice (Editorial – Jan 2021).

January 3, 2021 | By | Reply More

Hello everyone,

Seeing science working is kind of scary for a lot of people, despite the fact that they rely on science for much of their lives, not just in your home but many other things. In fact, you would have to wonder how those who have an element of fear of science get on with transportation, cooking and using the likes of mobile phones. There is so much interconnection of so many different sciences to make them all possible. Hardly surprising that we have made so many advances in the past two centuries in all manner of things from foundations that have been lucky breaks to calculated and verified checks.

Yet for all this reliance on science, for some people, as long as they aren’t reminded of this, aren’t keen on science. It can’t be pure Luddite because they use the technology created by science. Do they lack the geekiness most of you reading this here want to know what makes things tick. Very probably. Users only.

Even so, the fact that such people use and fear technology does seem contradictory. It’s almost as though they would like science to stay static and not evolve any further, fearful that they can’t keep up. With significant changes in the past 20 years, you would think people would be used to change. That’s not to say I’m for all change to be good. I mean, on-line, I still think MS’s new Edge has far too many flaws to make it as good as their original Internet Explorer. Change has to be for the better in anything after all.

With the current rapid development of the various covid-19 inoculations, the entire world has had a rare opportunity to see how different laboratories have approached their treatments and see medical science in action. Each taking different approaches rather than the same way as there was a need to not duplicate treatments and for each lab to examine the results of the others. Quite a rare achievement in scientific circles. None of them were looking for one working but for them all to work. The world population is 7.8 billion and one or two inoculations alone wouldn’t be able to cover such a number so quickly. Enough different inoculations and if any prove problematic with any of the covid-19 variants, we are not putting all our egg mediums (sic) in one basket. Any nation that does that is asking for trouble.

Science In Practice

In many respects, seeing the development of an inoculation in such a short period of time is a demonstration of science. You devise a solution to a problem, you manufacture it and then test it on a blind test ie test subjects with the inoculation or a placebo, getting them in an infection state and see if they are infected or not. With a preventive rate of at least 96%, the ones revealed so far are doing better than flu inoculations that tend to be effective 60% of the time. I did raise question marks about the 6-8% failure rate but it turns out to be more of muscle aches and headaches than it not working at all. Even so, in any population there are bound to be some people who have physical problems with any inoculation.

I haven’t figured out how an agoraphobic with medicine and food intolerances will cope but the most I worry about is the medium its carried in and hope it’s not an egg base but there should be plenty of choices. To read the statistics of people who don’t want any inoculation reminds me of someone hanging off the ledge of a cliff or skyscraper as they aren’t helping themselves when a double inoculation will return social freedom. For those who don’t, then I guess we’ll see an active proof of the survival of the fittest.

The only thing that isn’t certain is how long the immunity will last before it needs another inoculation but as this is a choice between vaccination now or waiting a few years, I doubt if there would be much argument there. That and the literal hope that covid-19 doesn’t mutate into a variant that any of the inoculations can’t cope with. From a scientific point of view, we can only presume some of the teams will be either looking at covid-19 and playing with improving their vaccines. I doubt if anyone is going to sit on their laurels after the immediate hard work done. As I pointed out earlier, it is better for science to evolve than to stand still. So you’re essentially seeing practical science in action. If ever there was an argument to ensure investment was made in all the sciences, this is it.

Even so, there has to be an awareness of at least 6 weeks or even 3 months of mask and distancing before that can be dropped. Saying that, I wouldn’t be surprised if these precautions are going to be kept up until a larger proportion of the population is inoculated. As I commented last time, how do you tell who has and hasn’t been inoculated without some form of identification?

Unless people obey the instructions they have received for the past year, chaos and infection will be persisting until next year this time, not to mention more deaths. This is really only the start not the end of the pandemic. To be complacent is not the way to go but at least you should be able to spot some light at the end of the tunnel. It’s up to us whether it’s a candle or a torch. The only current problem is getting the majority of the Earth’s population inoculated is going to take longer than we should expect and, frankly, I think a lot of our current distancing and masks will still be in use the next December this time. On that note, happy new decade.

Thank you, take care, good night and staying safe is a means of survival.

Geoff Willmetts

editor: www.SFCrowsnest.info

A Zen thought: Life is more precious than death simply because its shorter.

What Qualities Does A Geek Have: Ask awkward questions. Someone has to even if not everyone likes the answers.

The Reveal: Money can’t buy you love but it can give you a moderately good time.

Observation: Considering how Stanley Kubrick insisted on props and such from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ were to be destroyed so they wouldn’t appear in other films, the same couldn’t be said for illustrations as the renamed Discovery into Countdown appeared in the Century 21 comicbook publication of the same name and photos in their ‘Project SWORD Annual’. Just in case anyone dares to remind me, one of the spacesuits with a new paintjob appeared in ‘Babylon 5’s first season ‘Babylon Squared’ and season 3’ two-parter, ‘War Without End’.

 Observation: Maybe its just me, as a non-mobile phone user, but based on too many adverts overkill, but why do people give a fig about getting a new mobile phone’s appearance when there is a limit to 5G in the UK at the moment??

 Observation: Is it just me but adverts showing sentient carrots going to put children off eating them. Probably not, because they would also have stopped eating a candy coated sweet by now. It does show there are limits of sentience to what children will eat.

 Observation: Watching the original 1966 ‘Thunderbirds’, its amazing how the Fireflash aircraft fleet, the Ocean Pioneers ships and the Crabloggers are regarded as nuclear hazards and have to protect their crews from its reactors, let alone anyone near should they crash or explode. If you think about it, this version of the future is really hazardous. One would have to wonder what would have happened if the growth hormone theramine had been introduced to animals’ diet and passed into humans when eaten.

 A Thought: Outside of maybe ‘The Flintstones’, you never see people wearing a wristwatch grandfather clock and especially not while running.

Credo: With most problems, always consider that you probably aren’t the first to have it, so look around on the likes of the Net first and see how other people attempted to solve it. If nothing else, you can pick out the ones that didn’t work and avoid them.

 Feeling Stressed: A common problem these days. Share but don’t get too close.

Submissions:-

I did think that having a lot of text about submitting material to SFCrowsnest would attract those with a compulsion to read and understand things the geek way. The main problem with the Internet is that it tends to encourage less reading, so time to take a different approach. The original notes will be left on July2009 editorial although the links aren’t likely to work.

With your cover email, tell me something about yourself so I don’t work in a vacuum. The boss in the tower, also called Stephen Hunt, describes me as a ‘Dutch Uncle’ in that I’m good with advice and can explain when I see something that is wrong. Egos should be left at the door as I’m only interested in your talent and how to improve it. If you need something to do in the lockdowns, you might consider becoming a reviewer.

Reviews:-

I always have a clarion call for new reviewers and if you have the yen to learn, you’ll quickly get the ropes if you’re never done it before but you must show me a sample, especially if you can follow my guidelines. We can usually get paper-based books in the UK but if you live abroad, then you might have to stick with ebooks. If you’ve picked a book we haven’t reviewed, then it stands a better chance of being used so use the SFC search engine to see first but I need to see how you would write for us.

The obvious qualification is a desire to read regularly and like to tell others about the book without giving away too many spoilers. The benefit is access to free books for the price of a review.

I want to give you the opportunity to get things right so look up the Review Guidelines link: https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/so-you-want-to-write-reviews-for-sfcrowsnest-what-you-need-to-know-by-geoff-willmetts/

Fiction:-

Although we can’t pay for submissions, what we do make up for is exposure. Only the Sci-Fi Channel gets more hits than us so it’s worthwhile getting us on your writer’s CV. Please avoid samplings from book’s you might be writing or have had in print elsewhere as I do check. New original work is best and whether I accept or reject, you will be told of any problems I see so you look your best and a grammar check that is equal to the pro-world. Even the boss finds me scarily accurate.

Flash or One-Page Fiction:-

Speaks for itself. The shortest fiction possible is also the toughest to write as no word must be wasted.

Link here for details: https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/one-page-stories-or-flash-fiction-submissions-instructions-by-gf-willmetts/

Short Stories:-

The definition of a short story is anything up to 30 pages and then it becomes a novella. Bear in mind you want other people to read it on-line, stay somewhere between 5-20 pages. At least digitally, you don’t have to go double-line as HTML will do that automatically but think about being concise. If you want to send an attachment with these, then ask first and send as a TXT file as it removes most tetchy virus codes.

Look up the Short Stories Link by linking here: https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/so-you-really-want-to-write-an-sf-story-an-update-by-gf-willmetts/

Finally:-

The worse problem I see any samples is poor grammar. Although I don’t want you to think I seek perfection, the less work I have to do, the easier it is to focus on other problems you might have. It will also serve you in good stead if you ever approach paper-based publishers because they will send back any bad grammar samples because it’s not worth their time.

Good grammar is the tool of any writer. Don’t just depend on what you remember doing at school. There are plenty of decent grammar books out there, so remind yourself of the rules. If you think there are far too many to remember, get the major ones right before moving to the next so it becomes second nature.

This link, www.sfcrowsnest.info/the-guide-to-better-grammar-from-the-harrowed-hand-of-gf-willmetts/ will show you the common problems.

To submit, use our email address by joining the spaces as shown here: letters @ SFcrowsnest.info and use the subject matter as to what you’re submitting.

If you have any pastimes that can be used to pass the time in captivity, let me know and we’ll see if it can be turned into an article.

Comments directly to reviews should still work as before.

Good luck

Geoff

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Category: Culture

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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