is the world ready for an epidemic?

For centuries there have been epidemics. These viral or bacterial outbreaks killed massive chunks of the world population. The first ever epidemic started in 1890, the flu outbreak. Just some time after the Second World War there was a very deadly outbreak. The name of the illness that caused it was the Spanish Flu. Things like hygiene, management and knowledge were so poor, that although many people got infected practically everywhere, nobody knew where it originated from. Its name is not called the ‘Spanish’ because it is from Spain, but rather because Spain was the first country to talk openly about it. Some people predicted that there will be epidemics in the future including Bill Gates. Since Januari a new virus has been breaking news. It is spreading to other countries from the infected countries the whole time. It is also known as the
mysterious coronavirus. Its real name is not the coronavirus, but N-COVID 2019. It is part of the many coronaviruses that exist everywhere. The other coronaviruses are mainly not harmful and only cause coughing. This new kind of coronavirus is very much lethal, but as almost all of the fatalities caused by the virus are to elderly or people that already were sick or had weak immune systems to protect them, statistically it is not that dangerous. It is more deadly than the flu, but really not as deadly as Ebola, the Spanish Flu or smallpox for the people infected. As of February 2020 almost 80,000 people are infected. Mainly in Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus and Hubei. The exact place where the virus had first emerged is unclear, but most sources say it started all on a market in Wuhan because of infected bats. This is not for sure, but it is not impossible. Bats are known to be carriers of illnesses for a very long time. Apparently, the sick Chinese do not stay home when they are sick because they spread The virus to lots of countries like America, Australia, Iran, Turkey, Belgium, Germany, Japan, South Korea and more countries. When that one ill person does after all decide to go a country after being sick and the person infects people there, that person is eligible. There is also the fact that many people do not even know that they have the coronavirus and those people are the most dangerous. Why? Because they do not take extra hygiene precautions, travel unrestrictedly and can come in contact with lost of people in a very short period, practically everywhere. The first case is known since at least 31 December 2019. In only a couple of days has the number of infected people grown exponentially. The government of China could have taken lots of very simple and cheap measures in the begin of the outbreak to completely isolate the first few people that got contaminated. The problem is that they did not do that on time resulting in a quick spread of the virus that is expected to contaminate billions of people. New viruses do not just pop into existence, they have evolved from bits of DNA or RNA that “escaped” from the genes of a larger organism. The escaped DNA could have been originated from plasm these pieces of DNA that can move between cells or molecules of DNA that replicate and move around to different positions within the genes of the cell. This happens all the time and most of the times the result is genetic trash. Sometimes, this shuffle causes the virus to be very contagious and deadly under humans. So by definition, there are no truly new viruses, there are only evolved ones. Preventing new viruses from being made is very much impossible right now and it probably will stay like that in the future. That should not be the goal, the goal should instead be to prevent further spread. If the prevention system fails in the future and there is a dangerous germ, then due to the large population and the big overall population density the earth would see the biggest epidemic ever with lots of casualties. After all, prevention is better than cure.

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These are some of the sources I have been using to write this post:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/20/world/asia/china-coronavirus.amp.html?0p19G=0038

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronavirus

The true cost of llegal fireworks

There are many people that come together and watch fireworks from a distance in great shows by professionals. Those shows take place in Sydney, Poland and everything in between. The people who work with these beautiful fireworks are trained and many times the ignition of the fuses is not even done by hand, but electrically. It is safe to say that that is safe, although it does go wrong once in a while. The professionals do not use illegal fireworks, but individuals in The Netherlands do sometimes.

It is remarkable that in a small country with high punishments for owning or igniting illegal fireworks there is much illegal fireworks.
Just some decades ago there was no habit of igniting fireworks yourself in The Netherlands, but as the prosperity increased it became popular, but nobody knew that the tradition was going to last so long and have big consequences. Some people think the legal stuff is too boring and buy the illegal stuff. The illegal stuff is illegal for a reason, a good reason. Illegal fireworks often contain too large amounts of explosive powder and have too short fuses. People have lost limbs and even their lives because of that. What is even more interesting is that a quarter of all firework accidents are caused by the illegal stuff. Some people would think that they are really expensive, but that is really not true, it is a misunderstanding. In really they are even cheaper than legal fireworks. Most of the times they just make noise, they explode. It is because of that more a ‘explosive’ than a ‘firework’. There are people that know this and buy it to explode things and there are people that do not know the line. Buying those dangerous rubbish is apparently very easy and cheap if you are a criminal. Although it is cheap, buying and selling it is very lucrative because it is produced so widely and close. Buying lots of them is possible with easily forge able documents for a really low price in Italy, where it is produced legally by a company named Di Blasio. It is intended for professional use only, but the majority of the produced fireworks is going to be ignited by amateurs. Often these explosives are imported through drug channels, which are ideal to import them illegally.

The problem with illegal fireworks is easily solvable by banning all fireworks ignited by amateurs and organizing firework shows. That in combination with more police surveillance should really decrease the amount of illegal fireworks by destroying the demand for them and making trade harder.

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Here are some links I used to write this post:

      Politie: illegaal vuurwerk komt Nederland binnen via drugslijnen


        https://nos.nl/op3/artikel/2315616-de-route-van-illegaal-vuurwerk-van-fabriek-tot-garagebox.html

Antimatter as a energy source

Nowadays antimatter is defined as a material with weight made of the anti-version of the corresponding particle. That means that dor a proton is an anti-proton for example. Although it is made each day, it is made in minuscule amounts. If you would add up all the antimatter produced and somehow weighed it, it would only be a few nanograms. Each day it is made at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) for example. It is very expensive; scientists claim that antimatter is the costliest material to make. In 2006, Gerald Smith estimated $250 million could produce 10 milligrams of positrons (equivalent to $25 billion per gram); in 1999, Nasa gave a figure of $62.5 trillion per gram of antihydrogen. Of course these figures are theoretical because if there was a way to create so much the price would drop probably. It is so costly because making it is slow and it takes a lot of energy. In addition storing antimatter is extremely difficult because when it comes in contact with matter both disappear leaving only leaving lots and lots of energy. All the energy is released. One gram of antimatter with 1 gram of matter produces almost the same amount of energy as 43,000 kilograms of TNT exploding. Right now antimatter is far too expensive and inefficient to produce, but in the future it may be a widely used energy source because it is so high in energy/mass. I think that at the end of the 21st century we will at least be using antimatter as some kind of space travel fuel because especially in space it has many advantages.

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Different ways of looking at something

Biofuel is a relatively cheap energy source. It is not that hard to produce and burning it produces less carbon dioxide than burning coal or oil. But to make biofuel land for the sugarcane is needed. To make that space, trees and forests are often cut down. Because trees need to be cut, the homes of the animals that live there are destroyed.    
Orangutans are already losing their homes because of the palm oil plantations.

Economically it is very beneficial.  For nature is it highly damaging. To get a full picture of what is going on you need to look at things differently. Of course there are situations where this is true, but that it is much more complicated.

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A solution to the water crisis

The water crisis. That’s what the newspapers everybody and newspapers like BBC and CNN call it. Right now people in all over the world are pumping water from deep ground aquifers, from Yemen to Australia. Water covers more than two thirds of our planet, and it is easy to think that it will always be enough, cheap and accessible, but unfortunately the world does not work like that. The water we need, freshwater is incredibly rare if you compare it to saline water, which accounts for 97 percent of all water on earth. That means that a mere  3% of the world’s water is fresh water, and two-thirds of that is tucked away in frozen glaciers or otherwise unavailable for use. 

I think it  is clear that we need fresh water. There are several ingenious ways to create it. Way #1, using its formula. It is possible to make water the same way someone makes a peanut jelly sandwich. Only the formula for a peanut jelly sandwich is: bread + jelly + peanut butter whereas the formula for water is: 2 hydrogen atoms + 1 oxygen atom. Extracting hydrogen is relatively easy, hydrogen can be produced from natural gas, coal, biomass and oil. And it can be produced from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and hydroelectric power. Hydrogen can even be captured from waste from industrial processes. More than enough ways to get hydrogen. With so much options it should not be that expensive. After collecting the hydrogen, it is possible to create water by burning it. The only things that burning hydrogen creates are water and heat. Both very needed now. In addition, hydrogen with enough oxygen  catches fire very easily. One spark is more than enough to make the hydrogen explode. Almost all of our current fuels, ethanol, methanol, benzene, methane, propanol and more consist partly of hydrogen atoms. The sun also uses hydrogen for energy. Burning hydrogen could be done in a controlled environment, but there have been accidents in which hydrogen ignited without people wanting it to do so. A famous example is the Hindenburg disaster, a tragedy in which 36 people died.

It happened on May the sixth 1937, 2 years before the Second World War began. That explains why there are Nazi swastikas on the airship that was flying in American airspace.  A great tragedy, but on the bright side lots of water was produced that people now may be using to drink or to flush their toilet.

Because burning hydrogen is clean and it only produces water which is predicted to going to be a shortage of in the future, I believe burning hydrogen for energy is truly the future. Homes can be provided with hydrogen instead of gas and that also can produce their water need. Adding minerals like sodium, magnesium and calcium is needed though. But that should be very cheap because  in one liter of water there is very little of those things. One cheap and safe way to add them is through replacing one piece of the pipe by a special one with magnesium, sodium, calcium and more minerals needed in little stones. A fine filter to both sides should ensure no big pieces leave. Water will corrode those stones resulting in tap water with minerals. After years a sensor can warn the user so they user replaces the stones by throwing  a special pack in it by opening the lid on the pipe. By doing that people are left with very safe water without any toxins like lead and antimony. It even does not need to contain any chlorine. Way #2 is to use reverse osmosis. Reverse osmosis is actually filtering the water. It is easy and relatively cheap. 

I think the first way is better because it just solves more of our problems.

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Here are some some of the sources that I have used in order to write this:

 Hindenburg disaster – Wikipediahttps://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Hindenburg_disaster

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_scarcity

How lead changed history

Lead is a chemical element with its very own special place in the periodic table. There are things most people do not know about lead and one of those things is that is possible to convert lead into gold by knocking of three of the lead’s protons. Also, when you pass electric current through lead, no energy is absorbed or released, apparently this is called the ‘zero Thomson effect. The taste of lead is sweet, it is like a toxic candy without any calories.

Lead was among the first metals to be discovered by humans. About 5000 years ago it was already used in Rome’s water pipes. Because of leads flexibility, malleability and its relatively low melting point, it was popular among the Romans. They poured molten lead into flat clay pieces and then curved it and pinned it. It is ironic that the rich people in Ancient Rome drank from lead vessels, while someone doing that now is considered too poor to buy proper cups. Romans were intelligent people, they had a really advanced civilization with almost everything in it that we have. The downfall of Rome is widely considered to be partly caused by lead poisoning. That is not without reason because even very small amounts, a couple of parts per billion in water is already dangerous particularly to children and pregnant women. A study published in the Dutch Broadcasting Foundation (NOS in The Netherlands) says that children drinking water that is transported through lead pipes have a 2 to 5 points of decrease in their intelligence quotation ( IQ). You would think that after 5000 years people would have learned to not to mess with lead, but that’s incredibly wrong to claim.

In the early 20th century, Thomas Midgley invented Ethyl gasoline, the magic anti-knock gasoline. He advertised is at many places and in all of those advertisements he did not mention a word about lead. He got rewarded for this kind off, he did het several awards including an award from the American Chemical Society. They admired him so much that he became president and chairman of the American Chemical Society. I said kind of earlier  because although he did win prizes and achieve great achievements, his death cause was very unpeaceful.  He  became very ill because of lead and he became severely disabled, so he needed pulleys to till him up from bed. One day that system failed, he got entangled and he got strangled to death, while probably having his life that caused a lot of damage to many people flash by. Must have been awful. 

Enough about Midgley, even nowadays lead is used in pipes, bullets, paint, plumbing and more. Through all of the examples above that contain lead come in contact with humans (contaminated water, bullets piercing in the body, inhaling paint fumes and also water). The water contamination with lead has already been called a ‘health epidemic’ before. A recent example is the Flint, Michigan water crisis. The crisis all started five years ago in 2014. Officially it is still going on right now. It all began when the city switched its water supply from treated Detroit sewage water to Flint River water. Like the Roman Empire their pipes were made of lead. When they switched after some time they discovered that the water contained lots of e-coli, a dangerous bacteria of which 8 of them are enough to make someone sick and the water contained other germs. So they added lots of chlorine to the water. It was supposed to fix that, but the chlorine water corroded little pieces of lead with it. The consequences that it had? 12 people dying from Legionnaire’s disease and another 87 affected by it. The  children with lead-blood levels of 2.5% in the year 2013 had a lead-blood level of 5% in 2015. In just two years the amount doubled. Now the lead contamination is becoming visible in the schools of Flint. It lead to numerous suspensions and resignations. Right now there are still about 2500 lead service lines in place in Flint. Those who do not learn from their mistakes are doomed to make them again.

Here are some of the sources I used to write this post:

https://nos.nl/artikel/2309266-gezondheidsraad-vervang-loden-leidingen-vooral-in-belang-van-kinderen.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Midgley_Jr.

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When is something really a failure?

The definition of failure according to Oxford Dictionary is to ‘not succeed’ and the antonym of ‘failure’ is success. But when are you successful? When you have good marks? If yes, then how high should your marks be? Is someone from the middle class successful in money? Someone poor may think so, but all of the or at least the vast majority of billionaires will say no.

So because succes is sometimes pure opinion really does not mean it is always and that means failure is not always opinion, although sometimes it is. Here are some examples to clarify: example #1, you do not learn for your driving test and you do not pass, then you fail. Example #2, you have a small test next month and you are learning and doing extra research 5 hours a day. When you make the test you realize it is simpler than you thought. The next day after your teacher checked it, your teacher says you have a nine, while everybody else has a 7.5. They didn’t learn at all. Most people in that situation would consider the test a failure, they wouldn’t be satisfied.

In my point of view obvious and factual lacking, causing a consequence is failure. For example when a plane loses its wings and crashes because of that and kills all of its passengers because the maintenance was not done properly, is definitely a failure.

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The future of safety

When you search on Google images for ‘future’ on the internet, you will see the picture of a rapper, but if you search ‘future (vision)’, you will see people looking ahead often with binoculars. I think that’s a very wrong exception, you don’t search for the future, you build it. It is like being hungry and having a delicious sandwich, but just looking at it. Nothing happens, but you expect it to. The sandwich would not eat itself. You can choose to eat it and not be hungry anymore, ore you can throw it away and die of hunger. Of course in reality it is much more complicated. Many things affect how we respond even things in space. In theory if you know the location and the speed of everything, you can now where it’s been. When a ball begins to roll downwards, if you now where it is and what it’s speed is, you can calculate where it will be. Imagine a particle moving in the vacuum in a one dimensional universe, you can easily calculate where it will be in x time and how it will be. The more things, or factors you add to your calculation, it gets more and more complicated. According to Heisenberg’s principle you can not now both the location and the speed of a particle at the same time because when you measure the location, you change the speed and the other way around. So the future is set in stone, but we do not have acces to it. But because we do not know what the future exactly holds doesn’t mean an intelligent guess won’t be effective. I think that the future will involve spaces greatly. The countries who have a head start, China The United States and India for example will probably be the ones who will control space. With the kind of future comes the corresponding safety.

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How things in life are becoming outdated

The whole humanity has always suffered a lot, from too cold winters, famine to long working hours. Just when the problems seem to go away new ones emerge. That way there is always at least some sort of work to be done. Some problems will go away to make place for new ones. And in this post these problems that are going away or changing are discussed. The first example is malnutrition.

Malnutrition 

When the whole world seemed to get richer and finally get close to getting rid of malnutrition, a new problem emerged that was never as widespread as now. What does it mean to be malnourished? When is someone malnourished? It means to have a deficiency of at least one of the following things: minerals, proteins, water, fats, vitamines and carbohydrates. How much you need depends on your specifications; gender, height and age. So its perfectly possible to be fat and be malnourished, when people think of the word ‘malnutrition’ they will more often than not picture someone hungry in a poor country, now that image is changing. And it should because now according to the Telegraph, a reliable british newspaper obesity is killing three times as many as malnutrition. The fear however for hunger is much greater. It’s like the motto is “it’s better to be fat than thin” nowadays. I think it’s hard or impossible to get rid of that prejudgement anytime soon because of the many famines that happened went paired with hunger. But on the other hand a society with   severe obesity will adjust and buy healthy foods. That way people spend more on food to eat more and after they got overweight they buy relatively expensive healthy foods like salmon, pine nuts and raspberries. That way society will profit greatly; the raspberry farmers and shopkeepers will get paid twice as much. Statistically sugar is more dangerous than gunpowder, you are more likely to die from eating too much sugar than being killed by something with gunpowder.

War

A war seems so common, so basic. Many people don’t stand still to think about what war is. When is it a war, and when a  big conflict? Perhaps a better question is what is a war?

War is by definition a live conflict that has claimed already more than 1000 lives. So a war is a conflict with a high death toll. The first war happened thousands of years ago, it was a conflict including the Sumerians. Since that time, 3400 years ago the  humanity has only been at peace for 268 full years. So (3400 – 268) x 1000 =  3132000, assuming each year there was only one war with the minimum number of people that died. The actual number is much higher, estimates estimate that between 150,000,000 and 1,000,000,000, have died from warfare. The difference between the two is very big, we are talking about the lives of  850000000 people, roughly one ninth of the humans alive today.

War not only has influence on the front, when the soldiers are away, time doesn’t stand still. In the first world war  when the men were away fighting, women became doctors, bankers and more things that were thought impossible for women to do. After the war ended and the soldiers returned, things went back to the way it was.

All the armed forces together have over 21 million people. That is over three million people more than all the inhabitants of The Netherlands together. There are over 21 million people that could for example cure cancer instead of  mercilessly killing people and justifying it by saying it is their job. Sure, we need them now in this violent society (we need police officers and soldiers), but when and if the whole world becomes a place with peace and no violence at all, they will get unnecessary. In my opinion we will never come to this point, at most we will get close because in and after those hundreds of thousands of years humanity didn’t manage to get even close; today there are almost 200 countries. If very country united and traded, and had one universal time, imagine what kind of prosperity it would go paired with. Armies who have militaries weaken it, if there wasn’t an army in Sudan, then there wouldn’t be so much people leaving Sudan because of the army and becoming refugees. It’s perhaps not strange of the top 20 largest armies, 14 of them are in countries that are still developing. People are always going to be unhappy about something, it’s always been like that. So perhaps it is not a big surprise that right now there are dozens of wars ongoing. Men have at average a higher height and are more aggressive than women, so it’s maybe not a big surprise that 97 percent of the people who have a job including the military are male. Average citizens regard war as something noble, something that deserves honor. That is also why in the middle ages society was divided in three; clergymen the highest, the noblemen (actually the knights and the son(s) of them) second and the lowest were peasants. A more modern example is from the 21st century. When in Syria Isis came to power, people from different countries fought against and with them. They did that so they would become martyrs. To them it was better to die fast in a war in a foreign country, than live a peaceful full life. Martyrs get respect, from their country, from their family and from their ex colleagues. It is true that they get remembered for the heroic deeds for the fatherland, but for how long?  How long will he or she be remembered? That depends. It could be that a martyr stays remembered for a hundred years and celebrated elaborately, like the unknown soldier, but it could also be that directly after a soldier dies, a revolution takes place leaving the martyr uncelebrated and forgotten at the end , like at the end of the first world war for Russia. 

Some people may ask themselves if war is fair. Spoiler alert: it’s not. It is never fair to steal someone’s right to live, although sometimes you have no choice; if an armed person walks toward you with his or her gun in his or her hand, you don’t really have an option sometimes. But the army of the United States inflicts 10 to 20 times more damage to soldiers of enemies soldiers than the soldiers of the enemies inflict to their army. So after a war there is really no winner. There are only losers. Of course there are losers who lost more than the others. There are exceptions, but those are rare as wars can get out of control and escalate very fast; a good example is world war one. World war  was thought to end very soon, but it became even a bigger war and the result were many casualties. 

Some countries spent money on their army like they are in a live war. The United states spent almost 6 trillion dollars on developing nuclear weapons while spending only two trillion on health care. It’s interesting that while many citizens support war From the year 1900 to the year 1990, so including the world wars, the Korean war and many other wars 43 million soldiers died. But at the same time 62 million citizens died because of the consequences. Its strange that the citizens never learned that war is one of the worst things that could happen to them. Now weapons have gotten more dangerous for citizens; a nuclear weapon is designed to bring harm to the most people as possible in a very large radius.

I think that in the future the unlikely, but possible wars will unfortunately still happen due to the possible new weapons and the overpopulation, estimates estimate that by the year 2100, there are going to be almost 11 billion people on earth and people have conflicts faster because it will be more crowded (people will get on their nerves faster when it’s busier) and because its busier a possible war will take more lives.

Our current problems

In the (near) future our previous problems (levels of prosperity, health and harmony) will have likely reached high levels and likely our next targets will likely be things about  immortality, happiness and divinity.

For modern people death is a technical problem we are currently solving. So in a way equality is going to be likely outdated, and immortality in because humans will very probably move on.

Here are the sources I used to write this post.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/9742960/Obesity-killing-three-times-as-many-as-malnutrition.html

    – Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari. 

     –https://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/06/books/chapters/what-every-person-should-know-about-war.html

World population growth is expected to nearly stop by 2100 …https://www.pewresearch.org › fact-tank › 2019/06/17 › worlds-population-is-projected-to-nearly-stop-growing-by-the-end-of-the-century/

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The magnitude of the possible consequences of climate change

Climate change. It’s often the headline title of newspapers. People like Greta Thunberg the minor climate activist are drawing attention by putting the whole society under pressure by saying that everybody is responsible when something irreversible happens, because it is clear that there are going to be consequences. Actually there are clear consequences already; the earth gas warmud up a couple of degrees, the sea level has risen, ice caps are melting, corals are dying and there are animals changing their current permanent location; the super tick emigrated and was found in the Netherlands a couple of times, even though they originally live very far away in Central Africa. There are films that show how the near future will end and one of them is called Downsizing. Downsizing is a film in which a Swedish scientist discovers a way to make humans very small, so their use and needs also become very small. The reduced humans lived in great prosperity; they had big houses (to them because in real life their houses would be considered tiny), great food and cheap and unlimited transportation. That way the Swedish scientist tried to stop climate change, however transforming every human on earth is a very big job. In the end of the film humanity becomes doomed because of the methane gas escaping from the melting sheets of ice. The escaping methane warms up the atmosphere and the ice even melts faster. The tiny people isolate and build a underground community which is closed from the outside; no one can come in or out. Their plan was to have future generations re-emerge from the ground in a couple of thousands years when the earth has restored. In a certain way the climate change is like a disaster in reality, but it is treated already like a death; people process and respond differently. Some get angry, skip class, fly with the airplane to England to sail with a boat to New York and think they have done a great job, while some may try to buy carbon offsets to get rid of the feeling that they are guilty, but most don’t realize that carrying out the these offsets by helping to turn a city to green energy for example often expels green house gases; to make wind turbines greenhouse gases are expelled. Some people rely on the carbon footprint, a rough set of calculations, but their footprint is often higher than they think one of the possible causes is the fact that some people can be helping let’s say a company by donating, funding or paying rent and the company is using their money to engage in all kinds of polluting activities, they could be burning toxic waste and making and burning an Easter fire or they could be paying rent to a bank that supports a petrol station by investing in it. The people who invested in the company don’t know it and they don’t have bad intentions, but in the end it’s their money that helped to damage the environment. The nature really doesn’t care who did it, it doesn’t make a difference if company A did it or company B. Although people knew that burning things produces carbon dioxide and that in turn warms up the globe for a long time, they didn’t stop it. The consequences of an atomic warhead exploding is known and clear, no one will profit from a nuclear war with tons of radioactive debris in the air, but with climate change it’s different. The Netherlands for example will be half under water in 2100 if emissions continue and no higher dykes are built. In that case The Netherlands only can hope to stay safe by building higher dykes. Either way The Netherlands is going to go through financial losses. Greenland on the other hand will benefit. When the kilometers of ice caps melt, the many resources of Greenland become accessible. Greenland is a goldmine, iron ore mine, diamond mine, and many other mines with a timer. That is exactly why Trump wanted to buy Greenland from Denmark. For the same reason Russia also may profit of climate change. Climates change has already killed people by causing  droughts, which lead to famine and famine is deadly. I think that climate change is a real threat, but it’s unlikely humanity gets wiped out, it’s definitely not the first huge challenge people have had.

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Here are some of the sources: 

Exploiting Greenland’s natural resources | Register | The Times https://www.thetimes.co.uk › article › exploiting-greenlands-natural-resource…
https://www.vn.nl/rising-sea-levels-netherlands/

Letters from government need to be easier in The Netherlands

In the Netherlands the government sends a lot of mails, both the electronic ones and the paper ones. The subject or subjects of the letters could be anything; it could be a fine, tax reminder, or a congratulation. The goal of a letter is to inform by carrying information, that is why they were invented for and are still used to this day. The problem is however that the language used is relatively advanced. Not only is that very hard for the 2.5 million people who are low literate, for the average Dutchman it’s also not easy sometimes. The government of The Netherlands is currently trying to improve this, but sometimes they just make it worse; for example the police department tweets in street language sometimes and sometimes they make jokes that most people do not see the humor. There are dangerous criminals in The Netherlands, shouldn’t they put their energy in chasing them rather than making silly jokes on Twitter? One good example is from the police officers in Rotterdam. Roughly translated the tweet says: heat alert, leave no children or pets in the very hot car like the days before, your stepmom however is alright. Lots of people became angry. Not only is it inappropriate and insulting to some people, it is a joke from the 1950s. So the more people would take it seriously. When more of this joking happens, the line of where to believe and not to believe a police officer gets more and more vague, until at some point impossible to tell. Some people asked them and they said that they are trying to bring the police closer to the inhabitants, but in my opinion they are just wasting their energy and destroying the image of the police by talking like criminals themselves; they are just bringing the police closer to the criminals, in a bad way. In my opinion they should where possible talk in normal language, but when it’s serious they could better talk in advanced Dutch to make clear it’s important and not a joke.

You can read the newspaper article that brought this up here.

By using this link you can see the tweet of the Dutch police officers .

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Oak processionary causes safety issues in The Netherlands

The oak processionary is an insect. The caterpillars grow into moths. Each moth lays 200 to 300 eggs. These eggs then turn into larvae and then into caterpillars. By looking at the oak processionary, you can see that it has a lot of long white hairs. The long white hairs are not the ones that are dangerous, the invisible hairs to the human eyes under the white hairs are. The hairs are dangerous because they can cause serious rashes, inhaling problems and blindness. A girl had been cycling under infected trees and she reported that a stone came into one of her eyes. Her mother could not see anything let alone a stone. Her eye became swollen and inflamed. A general practitioner said that everything was fine and that there was nothing to worry about. The general practitioner gave her antibiotics. After using the antibiotics the problem only got worse. She visited an eye specialist. Although the eye specialist removed many hairs, now she only can see 40 percent of her original eyesight and that number is still dropping steadily.

The dangerous hairs are only two millimeters wide. When the caterpillar feels that the situation is dangerous, then the caterpillar will fire those dangerous hairs like a hedgehog does. The dangerous hairs can also come loose when the caterpillar dies. The hairs are transported by the wind because they are very light. In the Netherlands most of the oak trees are infected by the oak processionary. Most of the infected trees have several nests. An adult oak processionary has hundreds of millions of little dangerous hairs. The average oak tree has thousands of these caterpillars and that means that the average oak tree has billions of dangerous fire hairs. If you distribute the fire hairs evenly of just one of an average oak tree, each person in The Netherlands get hundreds of fire hairs.

 It’s called the processionary because each night the caterpillars go out of their nests in procession searching for something to eat. In the Netherlands there often red ribbons around infected trees. The ribbons are supposed to caution the people there. The ribbons do not really prevent contact with the fire hairs because the hairs can be transported hundreds of meters to somewhere where the people do not see the tree at all. In The Netherlands there are about 944 million trees. You can see trees everywhere. Of that 944 million trees are millions oaks. The oak processionary is not even from The Netherlands, the caterpillar came originally from Southern Europe; it was transported here by trade. The oak processionary causes very big damage. This year England and Ireland are not going to buy the oak wood from The  Netherlands. 

When you sum up the extra health costs, the damage to the oak trees, the fact that The Netherlands lost its oak wood client and the costs of removing the oaks you can safely say the damage is not less than a couple of million euros. There were many problems reported to the general practitioners. The government tried to solve this problem by making a website called ‘eikenprocessierups.nu’. It was visited from 79 countries. The website says what to do when you live near an infected oak for example.

I think it is really strange that the municipality chooses to hire people to take away the caterpillars, which costs about a hundred euros a tree with a vacuum instead of spraying poison before the eggs actually come ou, which is much more cheap. I also think that we in The Netherlands have way too many oak trees.  Removing them does not per se mean economical damage. If they cut down the oak trees and sell them and plant sugar maple trees, then they will get a lot of money for the oak trees and much more for the sugar of the maple trees. Then there is not any climate change; we have a win-win situation. There are some  people who  say that removing the caterpillars causes harm to the biodiversity. That is not true because there are a lot more than is normal even in the places where they originated from. I think that this situation clearly shows the downsides of trading. The oak processionary is not the only animal that migrated to The Netherlands by trade, special kinds of ants and korean tiger mosquitoes also immigrated. 

Here you can read on the website the goverment made. It is in dutch.

If the hyperlink does not work copy and paste this:

eikenprocessierups.nu

The airplane that disappeared and was never found

It  was already night when the passengers and crew of the Boeing 777-200ER of the fleet of Malaysia Airlines entered the plane. The pilots started the engines and started taxiing towards the runway to get to Beijing Capital Airport the next day.

Everything went smoothly, at least there were no problems reported. The plane took off. Soon it was above the South China Sea. An hour after take off, at a bit after one o’clock there was no contact anymore and two minutes after that the plane disappeared from radar. And then— no one knows what happened after that. The air traffic control saw immediately that something was wrong with Malaysia Airlines flight 370. But because it was very early in the morning and it was dark the search for the plane began just after dawn. The search for the plane was very big. Many nations searched for the wreckage. It soon became a high cost search, in fact in the end it was the most expensive aviation search history. The South China Sea has a surface area of about 3.5 million squared kilometers. By itself skimming every bit of the South China Sea is a lot of work, but they also skimmed the Gulf of Thailand, the Strait of Malacca and the Andaman Sea.

Analysis of satellite communicationsbetween the aircraft and Inmarsat’s satellite communications network concluded that the flight continued until at least 08:19 and flew south into the southern Indian Ocean, although the precise location cannot be determined. Australia assumed charge of the search on 17 March, when the search effort began to emphasize the southern Indian Ocean. On 24 March, the Malaysian government noted that the final location determined by the satellite communication was far from any possible landing sites, and concluded that “Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.” From October 2014 to January 2017, a comprehensive survey of 120,000 squared kilometers or about 46000 squared miles of sea floor about 1,800 km or about 1,100 miles southwest of a place called Perth, located in the west of Australia, yielded no evidence of the aircraft.

A couple of  pieces of  debris from the ocean was found on the coast of Africa and on Indian Ocean islands off the coast of Africa—the first pieces were  discovered on 29 July 2015 on Reunion. That is about a year after the presumed crash. The pieces have all been probably pieces of Flight 370. A big part of the aircraft was never found, causingmany theories about what happened to pop up. Some suggest that the plane was hijacked, some suggest that it was burned and some suggest that the plane did not even crash and was to land on a secret island. There are even theories that state the plane ended up in a black hole. None of these theories are actually confirmed. Nobody really knows what happened to that flight. A little bit debris was found on the coast of Africa and islands in the Indian Ocean.

I think that all the money used to search for the wreckage on the South China Sea could have been used more efficiently to search the Indian Ocean instead. I think that stopping the search for the plane was a wrong thing to do because that way the problem will not be solved. Searching for the wreckage and solving the problem is an investment, if you can prevent it from happening again because of that reason then in the future you will safe a lot of money and perhaps more important, reputation.

Although I can not be very certain, I think that the theory stating that the plane was hijacked and landed somewhere else is the most probable because when an airplane  at relatively high speed crashes in a body of water, the water acts like a massive body of concrete. A plane crashing in a massive body of concrete tears in thousands or perhaps millions of pieces. If that was the case, there would have been more debris stranded on the shores of the islands in the Indian Ocean and the shores of Africa.

Here you can read more about what happened to the airplane on Wikipedia

or copy and paste the following link:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysia_Airlines_Flight_370

Drone smuggled into prison in Curaçao

When someone does something that is not legal and the police sees that (s)he gets arrested, will get a warning or (s)he will be fined. Assuming (s)he gets arrested, the judge then decides what the punishment will be, or will not be. If the judge decides that the person will form a hazard to society and if the person does not live in countries with the death sentence, then the punishment can at most only be a lifetime prison sentence. There are a lot of people in prison in the world. As of 2016, there are over 2.3 million inmates in the USA alone. Prisons have four major different purposes. These purposes are retribution, incapacitation, deterrence and rehabilitation.

Retribution means punishment for crimes against society. Depriving criminals of their freedom is a way of making them pay a debt to society for their crimes. Incapacitation refers to the removal of criminals from society so that they can no longer harm innocent people. Deterrence means the prevention of future crime. It is hoped that prisons provide warnings to people thinking about commiting crimes, and that the possibility of going to prison will discourage people from breaking the law. Rehabilitation refers to activities designed to change criminals into law abiding citizens, and may include providing educational courses in prison, teaching job skills and offering counselling with a psychologist or social worker. 

When drugs and phones are smuggled into the prison by drones, then all the four major purposes are sabotaged. The prisoner playing games on a phone will not be justified as much as a prisoner who does not have a mobile phone.  The second purpose, incapacitation will also be sabotaged when the prisoner has a phone. The prisoner can then call all his criminal friends to do his crimes for him. The third purpose also known as deterrence, is intended to stop inmates from doing crime after their sentence expires. This too will be less effective, as the criminal will not learn his or her lesson (as much). Considering the fourth purposes that too will not be very effective because drug users tend to have  often many mental illnesses. 

I think that prisons are very important for a safe society and that this is totally unacceptable. This could have been solved by installing anti-drone systems, or by checking the bedrooms of the prisoners more often and more thoroughly. I also think it is strange that the prisons do not communicate with each other as much as they should because then they can solve this problem and many other problems as well.

You can read more about prisons here

or if the hyperlink does not work copy and paste the following link:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison

You can read about what happened to the prison in Curaçao here .

China Airlines flight 120

It was a sunny day in Dayuan, Taoyuan, Taiwan. Airport workers had fueled the plane and the pilots were ready to enter the Boeing 737 to fly it to Naha Airport, Japan. The rest of the crew and the passengers arrived later. After some time when all the passengers were present and all the luggage was loaded in the pilots began taxiing the airplane to the runway. The plane rook off without having any problems or showing any abnormalities. The plane began heading towards Naha Airport. It was not a very long flight as it took only a couple of hours. The pilots prepared the plane for landing as the plane was nearly there. The descent and the landing went very smooth. There were still no abnormalities spotted by the pilots or the airport workers.

Everything went well and the pilots were taxiing the plane towards a parking place in Naha Airport. The pilots turned off the plane and waited for every passenger to leave the aircraft first. Everything was still normal, pilots are supposed to wait for the passengers go leave first. Suddenly the passengers saw the wings bursting into flames before they left. The passengers were evacuated very fast thanks to the fast and professional work by the flight attendants. The pilots also evacuated. One of the two pilots evacuated by climbing off a rope. The other one tried to do that too, but he fell on the ground while trying it because of an explosion. A flight attendant was also trying to leave but at the moment of the explosion the flight attendant fell on her face. She survived to tell the tale though. Four people in total were injured. Two were sent to a hospital to check if they are okay. The luggages of all the passengers burned with the wreckage. The passengers got a compensation of up to a couple of hundred Dollars. Apart from the fact that China Airlines lost a valuable plane from its fleet, the accident itself did not have much impact on China Airlines at all. China Airlines even continued to use the flight number ‘120’. Which is unusual after an accident.

Because the accident could have ended up dramatically there was an elaborate investigation. The investigators spoke with the airport workers, the pilots and listened to the audio recordings from the black boxes. They did not see anything abnormal. So their conclusion was that the plane did not have any problems, at least not until it touched down, started taxiing and then caught fire. After further investigation the investigators concluded that a small bolt of a couple of centimeters in diameter had punctured the kerosene tanks and had let kerosene to leak on the glowing engines. The bolt came from the right wing. Fire needs three things to burn: fuel, heat and oxygen. The fuel was the kerosene the heat was from the glowing engines and the oxygen was from the air. The fire spread to the whole plane. After the fire was extinguished by the fire brigade the plane was completely destroyed; the Boeing 737 was in half a dozen pieces.

It’s true, nobody died. The pilots, crew, airport workers and flight attendants had a lot of luck. If the bolt had fallen of the wing during takeoff, then somebody would have died almost certainly. Many planes caught fire during takeoff. Some during takeoff, some in mid air and some during landing. Especially when planes catch fire during takeoff and landing the crashes which often occur tend to be deadlier. Although nobody died, it is necessary to solve the problems before they cause fatal accidents. 

The passengers must have thought that they had arrived safely without any problems and that they were as safe from the dangers of flying as they could be. But no, they weren’t as safe from the dangers of flying as they could be. On the contrary, they were going to be in some serious danger.

I think that it is really remarkable how well and professional the crew of the plane acted. If they did not, then maybe China Airlines Flight 120 would have been a fatal one. I also think that this crash symbolizes the fact that something very small can have very big influence.

If you want to, here you can read about this accident on Wikipedia.