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Timothy cooper, US Novelist on contemporary social crisis.

     1. The perfect viral storm: Covid-19. Or should I say a recombinant RaT-G13 comes the world's way via a coal mine in China and a possibly leaky-BSL-4 lab in Wuhan.

This terrific and frightening article posits a thesis for why we are, where we are today and how we may have gotten here. All of which may have been caused by 1) carelessness and 2) the unintended consequences of well-intentioned experiments with extremely deadly viruses undertaken in earnest by grant-seeking scientists in insecure laboratories seeking to make "gain of function" advances with the world's worst viruses in order to wait for it-- "make the world safe from pandemics". Only to have found, very conceivably-- that they had inadvertently caused one.

From understanding, Ralph Baric's "no-see'm method" of

infectious cloning--that is, a technique for making man-made alterations in genomic manipulations  indistinguishable from natural mutations and therefore undetectable--to probing the intentional and by all accounts successful "gain of function" enhancements in the RaTG13 coal mine bat virus first found in Mojiang, China and thereby possibly making it much more transmissible in human-to-human contact, this piece scans the horror story that is modern-day virological research gone wrong: research that gins up an already deadly but natural virus and turns it--mutates it--turbo-charges it--into a global pandemic in just a few short years. A few Dr. Strangelove years. Or should I say, Dr. Man-made virus years?

             2.   We knew it unofficially, but now we've heard it from a U.S. official who was actually battling on the front lines: at least

 450,000 lives were needlessly lost because of the Trump Administration's inept, slovenly and corrupt response to the 2020 pandemic.

According to a new NYTs article, Dr. Birx said, “I look at it this way.... [the] first time, we have an excuse. There were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original surge. All of the rest of them,” she said, referring to almost 450,000 deaths, “in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially” had the administration acted more aggressively."  Unspeakable tragedy. I mean really.

             3.  The end of economic growth by 2040? Possibly. Civilization may have only a decade or two to get its global house in order before destabilizing economic collapse. By 2040 civilization may have superceded its natural carrying capacity and maxed out its access to critical resources. Accordingly, a new global sustainable economy is key; that and good governance.

"The best available data suggests that what we decide over the next 10 years will determine the long-term fate of human civilization. Although the odds are on a knife-edge, Herrington pointed to a “rapid rise” in environmental, social and good governance priorities as a basis for optimism, signalling the change in thinking taking place in both governments and businesses. She [said that] perhaps the most important implication of her research is that it’s not too late to create a truly sustainable civilization that works for all."

 (TIMOTHY COOPER’s  first novel is "World One”, a story of nuclear war “My Name is Jesus Christ and I'm Running for President" is Timothy Cooper's second novel  He is also a composer and pianist. He recently released his CD, "Global Skies." He is also an internationally recognized human rights advocate. He is currently working to help low-lying nations grapple with the existential threat of global sea-level rise. )