It’s too cold for me. I’m a quick-freeze Popsicle. I’m always ready to slip into hypothermia at a moment’s notice. I’m really fast. My record time was five minutes to clinically serious hypothermia in the water at Seward Park in September 1981. Even with the help of the hot water shower on the beach, it took me 20 minutes to stop shaking. That was a big wake-up call. I am never going to be a polar bear. I’m always going to be a naked, hairless, trembling Chihuahua.
I just checked the weather report, and it said the temperature outside this Friday morning is 29 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s minus one and two-thirds Celsius. If you have friends overseas, and you want to share your misery with them, be sure to say that. They might think Fahrenheit is a new Volkswagen slogan. Twenty-nine degrees Celsius would be a nice day in June in Honolulu.
The weather is supposed to be too cold for another four or five days, in the range of freezing or below freezing. By the time you see these words, it should climb back up to a balmy 35 or 36 F. Sporadic snow should give way to bitter, wicked, icy, driving rain, and I will have to buy thermal underwear and a new, thicker comforter.
I hope there’s a moratorium on sweeps in this city until we get mid-40 degree temperatures again, at least. Let’s let people survive for the duration of the cold weather, at least, before we go back to being cruel and heartless, hmm? Just for the cold weather. It shouldn’t inconvenience too many people for too long.
Trying to find news to take my mind off the cold, I noticed the stories about zombie viruses emerging from thawing Siberian permafrost. It’s so nice to know that, in some place in the world, there’s a thaw going on. It’s really cheery news. Except for the “zombie” part and the ancient, reawakened viruses part. The news stories say not to panic — scientists are maybe 80 percent, or maybe even 90 percent, sure none of the revived zombie viruses will ever attack humans. They’re way out of practice. They won’t even attack mastodons, because there aren’t any left to attack. That’s just plain logic.
Some of these viruses have been too cold to bother anyone, not even an amoeba, since before the last Ice Age started. They’ve been at the bottom of chilly lakes. I know how they feel. When I’m this cold, I don’t want to bother anyone either. Not even an amoeba. Maybe while Siberia is melting, we should transplant them here.
Zelensky is saying Russia is weaponizing winter by targeting power plants needed to help Ukrainians stay warm. Meanwhile, the latest news is that both sides are engaged in a full-scale drone war.
I wrote about the inevitability of this years ago. Both sides have the large cruising drones, but more and more they’re making good use of small drones like the ones your next-door neighbor kid might put together from a kit. We’re talking remote-controlled drones, anywhere from 14 inches to 32 inches long with cameras mounted. They’re being used for reconnaissance and target spotting, to pinpoint targets for distant artillery and rockets. They can swarm over troops, detect them and then enable artillery to take them out by surprise.
Ukraine seems to have an advantage because they’re getting donations of drones from all over. Russia has an advantage because Ukraine is target rich as long as Russia hangs back. But the deeper they invade, the more they become targets. Larger drones can fire their own missiles.
Probably the “swarming” I mentioned has been computer directed, and most likely video images from the drones are at times being synthesized in real time to yield 3D images of battlefields.
One of my biggest fears now is that all this technology will find its way to our cities. Police are going to love this stuff. They always love new military toys.
The Senate may have averted a potential Dec. 9 rail workers’ strike by getting them a 24 percent pay raise, but they didn’t get them the sick days they wanted, so I’m wondering if there might not be work slowdowns in the coming months. All of a sudden, there might be a new epidemic of zombie Siberian viruses among rail workers.
Read more of the Dec. 7-13, 2022 issue.