Senseless

February 23, 2021

The front-page of today’s paper carried an article about two trucks that had driven through a flock of gulls in as local city’s parking lot.  A description of the trucks was provided by a couple who were in the lot at the time spreading seed for the ring-billed gulls who had gathered there during the recent ice and snow.  Three of the birds were killed outright and a fourth had to be put down due to injuries.  The police department said they had never received so many calls for one incident.  The two suspects driving the trucks were found and cited for harassing wildlife.  When one of the feeders was asked for comment their emotional reply was, “It was just a senseless slaughter.

The Cornell Lab site describes the ring-billed gull as being comfortable around humans.  They are a migratory species, ranging from Canada in the north to Mexico in the south.  In the interior the gull nests near freshwater.  The gulls are often seen in large flocks into the hundreds and are known to frequent parking lots, garbage dumps, beaches, and fields.  The adult gulls can be differentiated from other gulls by a black band encircling the yellow bill.  Most of the gulls return to the same breeding spot every year, often nesting within a few meters from last year’s nest site. 

The paper’s story on the gulls continued buried back on page six.  The gulls are opportunistic scavengers, which leads them to seek out landfills and other human refuse sites.  This is not their natural food source.  Without human intervention they “feed on fish, insects, worms, grubs, and rodents” they find in the bodies of water or flooded agricultural fields near their nesting sites.  Lyndle Crownover of the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission commented that, “while people may be tempted to feed the gulls when they see them in parking lots, it’s not good for them.”  They are perfectly capable of finding natural food even in the ice and snow conditions we have had.  When humans do feed them, they become a nuisance with their droppings.

Thoughts:  One of the sights I took visitors when I lived in the Bay Area was Pier 39 in San Francisco.  This pier used to be a marina for 11 small craft, but in September 1989 it became the home for sea lions.  The sea lions draw huge crowds that watch them fight for space as they bask in the sun on the floating docks.  Owners of the boats which used to dock complained as the numbers rose, but news coverage brought attention, and the resulting tourist led to abandonment of the docks to the animals.  The crowds also brought gulls who brazenly feast off the trash of humans.  I have seen, and had, gulls take food from my hand when I was not paying attention.  They love the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cones.  Feeding birds in the wild is discouraged because they are rarely fed a nutritious diet.  Instead, they fill up on the junk food humans provide and fail to eat the nutrients they need from natural sources.  When they congregate in flocks, they are a nuisance and humans attempt to drive them off (sometimes with trucks).  Both are senseless acts that harm the birds.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

Normal

February 22, 2021

When I got up this morning the temperature was 45F on its way to 65F.  The snow that had blanketed the ground was nearly gone.  Now we are set for another week of warm weather, including 70F during the day tomorrow, before we drop back into our winter pattern of 50’s in the afternoon and high 30’s to low 40’s at night.  That means I can remove the afghans that have covered the outdoor succulents to protect them from the bitter cold.  This will allow them to breath again and hopefully recover in the sunshine we have predicted.  It seems that our crazy weather is finally going to get back to normal.

The front-page story in my newspaper this morning explained how nature had been impacted by the winter storm(s) we have just gone through.  When it snows the birds are not able to find their natural food sources on the ground and instead rely on bird feeders.  Dr. Ragupathy Kannan is an ornithologist with the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith and explained how the snow impacts wild populations.  One of the species are the “snowbirds” Melissa has loved to watch since childhood.  These are the Dark eyed Junco’s that tend to arrive at yard feeders with the first snowfall of the year.  While I have yet to identify several other prominent visitors, the Carolina Chickadees and Tufted Titmice (along with cardinals and robins I have seen) are also attracted to the feeders during snow.  Melissa and I have both enjoyed the antics as the birds have grappled for control of the seed.  Perhaps now they will get back to normal.

Like so many things, what creates hardship for one class provides a boon for another.  Ryan Pankau of the University of Illinois explained that Insects tend to bury their larva only to a depth to avoid the normal ground freeze.  This allows the insects to survive winter while making it easier for the new adults to emerge from the ground the next spring (I always wondered where they went, and what the Robins were feeding on my lawn during winter).   In Arkansas that is only a few inches.  The intense cold means the ground freezes deeper unless it is blanketed by the insulating snow.  While the birds are hindered, the insects they feed on benefit from the additional cover.  Snow insulates the ground and keeps it from a deep freeze.  This is the normal process of even a human impacted ecosystem.

Thoughts:  I was not surprised to find my feeders empty when I checked this morning.  I have been having to refill them more often during the cold and snow.  While it did not surprise me, I did find it interesting that the number of birds I have been seeing are declined now that natural sources are available.  We have been getting upwards to 50 birds of a variety of species daily, and this does not include the 30-40 blackbirds that descend and eat everything in sight.  When I put out seed today, there were a few birds who were instantly on the feeders, but the frenzy was over.  I have commented on the frenzy feeding that has happened at our grocery during the same period.  I have been pleased to see the relieve (food and water) that has poured into Texas and especially Houston amid their crises.  While we are not able to fly south as easily as the birds, we are able to transport the food and water normally available.  This is part of caring for each other.  Follow the science.  Do the work.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

Ghosting

February 20, 2021

The new norm for social media prior to the pandemic was called ghosting.   Ghosting is a colloquial term used to describe the practice of “ceasing all communication and contact with a partner, friend, or similar individual without any apparent warning or justification and subsequently ignoring any attempts to reach out or communication made by said partner, friend, or individual” (is the definition long enough?).  The term originated in the early 2000’s, and the next decade media reported a rise in ghosting.  This was attributed to the increased use of social media and online dating apps.  Ghosting can be especially hurtful to the one ghosted, causing feelings of ostracism and rejection. Some mental health professionals consider ghosting a passive-aggressive form of emotional abuse.

Employee ghosting is rising in the business world as well as social media.  This began several decades ago as a corporate practice for potential employees.  In days of yore, when you filed out an application you would receive an acknowledgement letter, and if not selected for a follow-up interview, a rejection letter.  This was disappointing, but made it clear it was time to look elsewhere.  With an on-line application response shifted to an automated acknowledgement and a rejection email.  Now, there is rarely anything other than an automated response (if that) to the application and the only follow-up comes if you are part of an interview.  I found an online article by Kymberlie Krieger addressing how ghosting effects reputation.  Ghosting builds distrust between potential employees and employers and could cause a business to miss the perfect employee because of a “ghosting reputation.”  Employee ghosting has gone on for years, with employees ghosting by not showing up to work rather than giving a professional two weeks’ notice.  When employees receive the same treatment from employers, it seems acceptable to return the favor.  This implies the adage, “What’s good for the goose . . . “

In his article, “In Defense of Ghosting”, Alexander Abad-Santos states: “the thing that undermines these diatribes against ghosting is that…[we] do not know what happened with the ghost.”  Clearly, the relationship/job did not work out, but sometimes we just cannot accept the apparent rejection.  Abad-Santos continues that ghosting is as clear as any other form of rejection.  The reason we complain is because we wanted a different outcome.  I rate this one step below the rudeness of breaking up with a text.  I guess I am just old school.

Thoughts:  With all the cold and snow across the country another form of ghosting has taken hold.  Rather than building snow people, families are constructing snow ghosts, using light sticks for eyes.  Preferably you build several of these snow ghosts, and then place the light sticks so they are looking at your neighbor’s house.  With the lights shining in the snow and darkness, this creates an eerie look when they look out their window.  My mom’s response to the trend was, “Best be good friends though.”  Ghosting in social media and business implies the ghoster is not good friends with the ghosted.  Rudeness should not be acceptable in any forum, even as etiquette seems to be becoming a lost art.  Do the work.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

Failed

February 19, 2021

The AP reported Thursday that Texas was “seconds and minutes” away from an even greater catastrophe when the decision was made to bring in what were supposed to be rolling blackouts.  Officials at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said when a winter storm took more than half of its winter generating capacity offline early Monday operators had to act fast to prevent a worst-case scenario.  That scenario would have disabled substations, leaving many Texans without power for months.  Even with the action, so much power generation was knocked offline that the blackouts continue for some.  By Thursday, 325,000 homes and businesses were without power.  When Senior ERCOT director Dan Woodfin was asked how regulators could stop this from happening again, he said one of the biggest problems was natural gas wellheads freezing.  Winterization of the wellheads was recommended after the same thing happened over a decade ago.  Obviously, ERCOT had failed to act.

The intense cold Texas is experiencing is the result of an Arctic Inversion, and the Arctic inversion is related to the snow and ice surfaces in the area.  Melting ice and snow allow the cold air to rush down across North America while warmer air moves north.  Most scientists blame the cause of the melt on rising greenhouse gases.  The US had committed to combat this problem as part of the Paris climate accord of 2016.  The last administration pulled out of the accord, but Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office reversing the previous executive order.  The withdrawal from the Paris accord was announced in 2019 but it did not become effective until Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the election.  The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday the importance of the American re-entry is a “political message that’s being sent.”  So was our failure to act.

At least 27,000 Houston natural gas customers received email notifications Thursday that their CenterPoint Energy bill was ready, and that it was $202,102.16.  The same customers who were trying to survive without heat during the power outage were billed six figures for the heat they do not have.  The utility said the power outage caused a computer problem and assured everyone that the bills were a mistake.  In an apologetic statement CenterPoint said, “Customers do not owe this amount, and it will not be drafted from their account.”  The company failed again.

Thoughts:  While “Failure is Not an Option” is a phrase associated with Gene Kranz and the Apollo 13 Moon landing, he never said it.  It instead came from the script writers for the movie based on the event.   When they interviewed Kranz they asked if there were times when people panicked.  His response was, “No, when bad things happened, we just calmly laid out all the options, and failure was not one of them.”  the writers changed this to, “Failure is not an option.”  Both the utility companies and government had been warned these events would happen but failed to act.  When the freeze happened, the leaders claim it is just a 500-year event.  Texas has faced a growing number of 500-year events this last decade, and they are increasing in intensity.  If we do not take steps now, we are assured this trend will continue.  Failure is not an option.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

Meatloaf

February 18, 2021

I did something yesterday that I never dreamed I would do; I ate a meatloaf sandwich.  While I love meatloaf, the thought of making it into a sandwich always seemed disgusting.  I do recall my dad eating meatloaf sandwiches on the rare occasions where there was any left, but I do not think anyone else in the family did.  When I mentioned my sandwich to Melissa, she said her dad ate meatloaf sandwiches as well.  Melissa also thought the sandwich sounded disgusting.  I have seen this delicacy on the menus of roadside diners I have stopped in along back roads.  It was usually accompanied by fried baloney and spam, also liked by my dad.  Perhaps it is a cultural thing.

I am not sure why I thought the sandwich would be bad.  After all, meatloaf is just hamburger (I like to mix in a half pound of sausage) mixed with onions, crackers for filler, and an egg (salt and pepper to taste and put ketchup on top if you are wanting a recipe).   I once asked my mom whether the crackers were used to hold the loaf together or were added by her to stretch the amount of meat she served.  I was assured it was in the recipe, and every recipe I have seen online includes crackers in the mixture (or breadcrumbs for the “upper crust”).  I used a ciabatta roll with mayonnaise, a slice of Colby cheese, and a pickle on the side for my sandwich (if you want a recipe).  The meatloaf sandwich was excellent. 

I recall going to a friend’s house as a boy and his mom served us lunch consisting of a cold hotdog with a slice of white bread.  I had never eaten a cold hotdog and usually had the warm dog served on a bun.  It did not taste much different than baloney, but it was not what I was used to.  After living as an adult in California for several years I came to visit my brother’s house in Kansas.  When lunch came around, he asked if I would like a sandwich.  I said, “Sure, I could take some ham.”  He responded that he did not have any ham, and that it was baloney or nothing.  Baloney had been my staple growing up in Kansas, but the baloney was not as common in California and costs even more than the processed ham.  By this time in life, I knew it was a cultural thing.

Thoughts:  We have all heard family stories about recipes being passed down from mother to daughter.  The first time I made meatloaf for Alex’s mom she asked where I got the recipe.  Since I rarely use recipes and she did not like things made without one, I told her it was a family recipe handed down from grandfather to grandson.  Had she known either of my grandfathers she would have known that could not have happened (neither cooked).  Her mother taught her to cook using recipes and I taught myself by trial and error.  Most of the problems we experience when interacting with another person or group come from the cultural differences we grew up with.   I have discounted meatloaf sandwiches my entire life.  When I ate my cold hotdog, when I ate the meatloaf sandwich, I found them not too different than what I was used to.  This often happens when we stop and enjoy the variety of life around us.  We find different does not have to mean bad.  Do the work.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

Canada

February 17, 2021

The cold and snow have kept Melissa and I inside for nearly a week.  Since I needed to mail some letters for work, Melissa decided we needed to take the Jeep out to see how well it did on the ice and snow packed roads.  We drove around to several lakes where we fish (frozen over), did some mandatory doughnuts in the parking lots, and drove into the unpaved areas.  When we were leaving, I noticed a large flock of birds sitting on the ice in one of the coves.  I could not tell what they were but took a picture.  When I blew the shot up later at home, I identified them as Canada geese.

When I looked online it said while the Canada goose (Branta canadensis) is native to arctic and temperate regions of North America, its migration occasionally reaches northern Europe.  It has also been introduced to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, Japan, Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland Islands.  Like most geese, the Canada goose is primarily herbivorous and normally migratory, and it tends to be found on or close to fresh water.  The goose is extremely adept at living in human-altered areas.  Canada geese establish breeding colonies in urban and cultivated habitats, which provide food and few natural predators.  These geese are often considered a pest species because of its excrement, depredation of crops, noise, aggressive territorial behavior (toward humans and animals), and a habit of begging for food (caused by human hand feeding).

I lived in a townhouse on a small creek when I was in Utah.  One night about midnight I awoke to a knocking on the sliding glass bedroom door leading to the patio.  Since my bed was only 30 inches from the door, I was alarmed.  I got up and eased the curtains back to see who was there.  The knocking happened again, and I looked down to see a large Canada goose standing on my patio.  It had seen its reflection in the window and was fighting the strange goose who had challenged it.  It decided to take up residence on my patio and washing it off (daily) killed all the grass around my back yard.  I threatened to have goose for Christmas, but it left just in time.

Thoughts:  While I have seen geese sitting on a frozen pond, I have also noticed patches of open water near them.  There is a bit of a question whether the geese purposefully keep the ice open or whether it was just the last patch to freeze.  The best answer I could find was, yes and no.  As the ice freezes the geese are concentrated near small patches of open water.  The movement of the geese stir the water and help keep the ice from freezing.  However, if it is cold enough it will freeze, and the geese will move.  I also found the name of the bird is actually “Canada goose,” not “Canadian goose.”  The author of the article suggested to say Canadian suggests the gooses’ citizenship (ha ha).  We can all continue to learn if we are willing to search for different answers.   Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

Underdog

February 16, 2021

With all the backyard’s focus on the birds during the cold and snow we have experienced, Melissa mentioned how she had not seen the squirrel for almost a week.  I admit, I had been wondering the same thing.  While I used to run them off, giving in and accepting their raids on our feeders has meant we now enjoy their antics as well.  I assured her he was alright.  He was probably hunkered down in his nest munching the seed and nuts he had stored previously.  At least, that was my hope.

I looked online to find out about my squirrel and nesting habits.  A Squirrel nest, or drey, is a compact, spherical structure that is slightly larger than a football.  It is constructed of twigs, leaves, bark, and grass.  Squirrels usually nest solo, but during the height of the mating season (usually the beginning of the calendar year) both male and female squirrels will share a nest for the purpose of mating.  They may also share a nest to help conserve body heat during the coldest stage of winter.  Squirrels do not hibernate and regularly venture out to their food stores for supplies.  I guess my squirrel was just keeping warm.

Apparently either the squirrel’s stores had been exhausted or at least diminished enough, because he came out to help himself to the sunflower seed yesterday.  It still drives me crazy that the corn and peanuts I put out for the squirrel are eaten by the cardinals and jays and the sunflower seeds I put out for the cardinals are the first place the squirrel goes to eat.  He usually hangs upside down on the fence and works his way through as much seed as he can handle.  With all the blackbirds in every feeder he decided to take a new tact.  This time he crawled into the feeder and curled his tail up over his head and back.  The blackbirds were not happy about his presence, but curled up as he was, he seemed immune to their dive bombing.  Instead, he ignored the blackbirds and sat munching away for over 30 minutes.

Thoughts:  I tend to root for the underdog in most situations.  The word ”underdog” comes from the dogfights in the late 19th century.  The loser was called the ”underdog,” and the winner was the ”top dog”.  That has carried over to watching the birds at the feeders.  Initially I was irritated by the squirrel eating all the seed.  Then I saw the jays driving him off and I grew to like him, even giving him his own feeder (not that he uses it).  I do not like the jays much because they drive other birds away and claim a feeder for themselves.  Many movies depict an underdog who rises to the occasion and overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds.  Generally, this is accomplished by forming a rag tag team and working together.  We do not have to be rag tag to overcome the effects of the current pandemic, but we do need to work together.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

GBBC

February 15, 2021

I got a call from my mom on Thursday saying she had come across an article in her newspaper about the upcoming Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC).  While mom did not have the direct link, I had found it online while still on our conversation.  The GBBC is designed to engage bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for at least 15 minutes (or longer) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at birdcount.org.  Each checklist submitted helps researchers at the National Audubon Society, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and Birds Canada learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and their environments.  The 24th annual GBBC was from Friday through Monday (12th-15th).

I downloaded all the necessary apps to participate in the study and signed up with the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  They each provided an identification app for my phone that I added to the National Geographic identification app I already had.  I had filled my feeders on Friday and sat down in front of our bay window to see what might arrive.  The cold weather meant the birds arrived in masse.  I sat for forty minutes and recorded 31 birds and 9 different species.  Later that day I had a flock of 30 Rusty Blackbirds/Brewers Blackbirds (?) descend on the tree line at the back of my house.  I read that black birds of many species often gather in mixed flocks.  That was what I had seen at the wildlife refuge in January.                  

By midnight Sunday morning the GBBC had received impressive results.  More than 60,000 participants had reported more than 5,200 species on over 133,000 checklists.  Sightings had come in from all over the world, including 157 countries.  That left a lot of birdwatching to be done to match or exceed last year’s total tally of 6,942 species.  While I continued to watch, it did not seem right to stay in one place and just keep recording my own backyard.  My winter birds are hunkered down in the trees and bushes nearby and do not change much from day to day.  Still, they are fun to watch as they battle each other for supremacy.

Thoughts:  We got our expected 4-5 inches of snow on Sunday night.  When I put out seed for the birds on Friday, they had attacked it voraciously.  When I got up Sunday there were few birds, and the squirrel feeder (a Cardinal favorite) was empty.  Since it was snowing and wicked cold, I did not go out to check.  When I got up today, I felt sorry for the birds and filled my feeders.  Within 20 minutes they were full of cardinals, sparrows, larks, and the single Blue Jay that hangs around.  An hour later the blackbirds I had seen the previous day were back and filled the feeders.  They are larger birds and drove off even the Cardinals by their sheer numbers.  Size and numbers are generally dominant when species (or countries?) work together.  Humans could accomplish even more amazing things if we could just decide on a focus.  It is time to work together rather than competing for the same resources.  Follow the science.  Do the work.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

Freeze

February 13, 2021

With all the freezing cold weather we have been having the birds have been stripping my feeders on a regular basis.  I have been refilling them every two or three days.  That meant I had run out of all three types of feed I have been putting out.  I purchased a bag of black-oil sunflower earlier this week but decided to make a run to the tractor store yesterday.  I wanted to see if I could find bigger bags for the squirrel mix and the small grain mix.  Sure enough, I found 20# bags of both and they were on sale.  While this was only a savings of $1, it was still half as much as I had paid at the grocery.  Hopefully, this will last until the weather starts to thaw.

Before this week’s freeze warning I had been toying with the idea of getting some early plants and putting them out on our greenhouse porch.  I realize February is too soon to put them outside but thought putting them on the porch might give them a head start on the growing season.  I have some leftover seed and I considered putting it in last year’s tomato buckets to see if I could get them to sprout.  When I got to the tractor store, I found they had several flats of cabbage plants displayed in front of the store.  These were sitting outside in the sun.  The only problem was, it was 20F and the previous rains had frozen over the entire batch of flats.  We are predicted to continue to have freezing rain and snow over the next week.  Perhaps I should wait on getting my early start.

When I mentioned the frozen cabbages to Melissa, she told me they should be ok if they were not frozen for too long.  I was skeptical and looked online to see if this was the case.  The site said frost and freezing generally occurs in the late fall when the temperatures drop and there is more abundant moisture.  While this will damage many vegetables, hardy and semi-hardy varieties can sustain temperatures as low as 20F without being killed. The hardy vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, carrots, kale, leeks, rutabagas, and turnips.  While a freeze may kill the leafy tops of rooted vegetables, mulched crops will survive throughout the winter.  That is unless voles discover your cache and beat you to the harvest. 

Thoughts:  When I went to the grocery store today to prepare for a Valentine’s Day meal, I was not surprised to find many of the shelves bare.  While the milk was fully stocked, the bread and cheese had been decimated.  Many of the carts were filled with bottled water and other staples.  I find it humorous what some find to be essential items during a storm.  I am always amazed (not surprised) how the threat of snow or freeze causes humans to act the same as my birds.  Both of us stock up on food supplies “just in case.”  The news said the local homeless shelters are also preparing for the freeze, vowing “no one will be turned away.”  This announcement must be to make me feel better, as few homeless outside the shelters have access to a TV.  This is always a hard time to be on the streets.   The need for food, clothing, and warmth are year-round, even if intensified during a freeze.  Do the work.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

Common

February 12, 2021

This is an historic week as three Mars spacecraft will arrive in quick succession.  And no, I am not talking about UFO’s landing in Central Park to mark the end of the world.  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Orbiter (named Amal or “Hope”) was the first to arrive on Tuesday and successfully settle into orbit.  This was followed on Wednesday by China’s combined orbiter-rover (Tianwen-1 or “Quest for Heavenly Truth”).  The craft will continue to orbit and then in May the rover will descend to the planet’s surface.  If successful it will become only the second country to land on Mars, along with the US.  The US rover is scheduled to arrive on February 18th and will immediately dive toward the surface.  NASA has landed eight of its nine attempts successfully.  Mar’s surface is littered with smashed Russian and European attempts along with the failed US Mars Polar Lander.

While Melissa and I were watching a documentary on World War I last night it mentioned the trepidation felt as America sent our first troops to France in 1917.  The German U-boats (submarines) had been decimating the cargo ships and it was feared they would do the same to our troops.  That is when the leaders devised a plan to ship the men as part of a convoy, heavily defended by small destroyers designed to find and sink the U-boats and save the ships.  The plan was successful and American troops and supplies were able to turn the tide of war.  Crossing the Atlantic moved from being a death trap to being common.

The countries of the world have made a total of 49 attempts to reach Mars to date.  There have been six countries, along with the European Union, who have launched missions to Mars.  Mars fly-bys were common in the 1960’s with 12 attempts, but only three were successful.  Now orbiting Mars is becoming common as the Chinese and UAB crafts will join six other craft still in orbit: three from the US, two from Europe, and one from India.  These are added to the two working Mars rovers and two rovers set to activate this year.  The Mars exploration program for the US is scheduled to continue until 2033, followed by a crewed phase in 2040–2060.  These crew members would land on Mars and return home.  This will begin the process of making Interplanetary travel common.

Thoughts:  As we watched last night’s documentary Melissa asked a simple question, “Why didn’t they just fly?”   It is amazing to think the first successful flight took place on December 17, 1903, as Wilbur and Orville Wright made four brief flights at Kitty Hawk.  They used a stopwatch to time the duration of the flights.  Just 66 years later the US Apollo 11 landed two astronauts on the moon and two years after that we landed successfully on Mars.  There is only one person in the world still alive at the time of first flight (Kane Tanaka of japan), now few can recall a time when flight was not common.  When the extraordinary becomes common we tend to forget.  We need to remember the turmoil and change of 2020.  If we relegate it to common, we will dismiss the learning gained by our ordeal.  Follow the science.  Do the work.  Change is coming and it starts with you.