We're a little crazy, about science!

Well… the US is frozen

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… not in the fun way either. Here in the US we’re almost completely blanketed in freezing weather and in most cases, lots of snow. Which of course means power outages, rolling blackouts, and generally trying to prevent the state from letting me freeze to death. It’s a whole lot of fun, I highly recommend it. When the temperature drops like this I’m reminded of times in my life where I couldn’t find a warm place to stay and that makes me nervous for the people stuck outside right now.

Experiments this week have been canceled! Since the pandemic hit, because I research in a hospital we have only cut back in the number of experiments we do, not stop completely. Got to give credit to the hospital for pushing us along. I mean on one hand I don’t mind it because we’re taking precautions and I really want to graduate on time. On the other hand it feels like we’re expendable and even with the COVID vaccine, there are now variants that it doesn’t protect us from and that’s just not good. However, the weather has halted everything, at least for the few days or maybe for the rest of the week, it’s hard to say for now.

It never ceases to amaze me how we have amazingly accurate forecasting abilities, but the government just doesn’t care enough to properly prepare for severe weather. Even in states I’ve lived in that have reoccuring winter weather problems, it always seemed like a surprise to them that the roads were icy or snow was falling. I just can’t wrap my head around it. I mean, I get it, from the standpoint of the people in charge, the weather doesn’t affect them like it does the rest of us. They can stay home, have expensive backup power systems, etc. Things that the rest of us just don’t have when we can barely afford to have a roof over our heads.

Luckily my heat is gas, which means there is less of a chance for there to be an issue. The downside is I got an email suggesting that the weather is so bad I could see a problem with supply. They recommended that we lower the thermostat to 60ish degrees and basically help conserve gas and electricity so that we can survive, which I did. Apparently no one else is following along because the power companies are reporting record high demand for electricity.

It’s frustrating when we already have the pandemic, which required group action and no one paid attention to it, now we’re literally dealing with the choice between working together to keep the power on or having to deal with it being shut off for us. Whoever thought humans were smart must have been thinking of some other animal, because we’re dumb as shit. Anyway, point being we’re dealing with rolling blackouts that on paper should only be an hour at a time, but in practice has lasted hours. One of my labmates not too far from where I live has lost power and hasn’t had it for eight or nine hours now, so that sounds like a fun time.

I guess my frustration comes from the fact that we knew this was going to happen. We knew what the forecast was predicting, we know what happens when the weather gets to be this cold, yet no one makes preparations to deal with it. States are trying to declare a state of emergency, which it is! However, it was an emergency we saw coming. We could’ve prepared, make arrangements, and made sure people were safe. Weather like this causes people to literally freeze to death all the time and just because I’m lucky and (probably) won’t freeze to death, doesn’t mean I’m not sympathetic to the people who are homeless.

We’ve become so stratified that the people in charge don’t even understand the struggle of the average person, much less the people who aren’t lucky to be average. I’ve been homeless and let me just say even sleeping in my car didn’t protect me from the cold. Or the police who didn’t like me “parking long term” places so I could rest. There were a lot of nights were I had to just pile all the clothing I owned on top of me just to keep warm and the weather during that time wasn’t nearly as bad as it is right now. Unfortunately there’s nothing I can do to help, I’m not in a position of power that could open a building to keep people warm or to force the government to have made arrangements for the horrid weather we’re experiencing.

Basically we’ve built a society governed by people who have more money than they could ever need (with very little exceptions). They don’t understand that people are suffering because they don’t know the value of money. It’s like that viral video of Bill Gates try to guess the cost of food. These people have no clue what things cost or what it’s like to be without heat. I would say we did this to ourselves, but this was generations of racism and classism that lead to where we are now. The lack of empathy and compassion is a feature of the system, not a bug.

In any case, I’m going to end this before the power goes out again. I’ll simply say that if you’re in the US and are affected by the extreme weather, stay safe, stay warm, and if you are in a position to do something, hold the people in charge accountable for their failures.


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