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The greatest letter ever written. What a rollercoaster ride.

A great anecdote in the paper about Douglas Bader, the double-amputee English WWII fighter ace.  

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Even worse than that. Estimated 75-200 million at a time that the world population was 450 million in the mid 1300's. It took 200 years for the population to recover. And severe outbreaks continued periodically to this day; the last major outbreak was in India in the late 1800's killed 3% of the population. But even with modern antibiotics the mortality rate is over 10%.

And earlier than the outbreak in the 1300's was the plague of Justinian in the mid 500's - again killing half the world's population. All due to the Yersinia Pestis bacterium carried by rodent fleas.

By "world" that means Europe, the middle East and Asia at that time.

Bring out your dead!

 

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Also, it hasn't disappeared.  Cases still pop up from time to time.  What we have are vaccines.  My father was career USAF officer.  We were transferred to Guam in 1965.  During the 3 months before the transfer, we went through a series or shot and vaccinations against things like small pox, yellow fever, cholera, typhus, typhoid and, yes, bubonic plague.

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Carl Sagan in 1994 after Voyager took a similar image from even further away:

"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."

Looking at the numbers, Voyager at the time of the Pale Blue Dot image was 1.5 times the distance to Pluto away, 5.5 light hours distant, 4.5 time further way than Saturn.

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Astonishingly 43 years after they were launched, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are still alive and broadcasting back to earth. NASA have progressively turned instruments off that are irrelevant at the enormous distance they are now is at - 17 light hours for 2 and 20 light hours for 1 - to conserve energy. It looks like the power sources (radioactive) will eventually peter out in the next year or two.

They are based on early 1970's technology, to the extent that the data store is a tape recorder!

Of course since the *nearest* star to us is 4.3 light years distant, the Voyagers would take 75,000 years to get there (even if they were headed in that direction). 

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I dunno where else to post this.  I woke up today thinking of this song.

Nation of Millions was a huge part of teenage years, particularly this track.  I didn't know it at the time, but I was hugely fortunate to go to school during the "golden age" of hip hop.

This might come as a shock to some on here, but I'm kind of obsessed with 90s electronic music. /s  Tricky's work has always been a mixed bag, but his high points are the stuff of legend.  His cover of Black Steel is downright magic.  He doesn't improve on the original, but he makes the song completely his own.  What a mad idea, a UK hip hop artist (at that moment in time, arguably the most famous one) doing a female vocal hard rock cover of a militant hip hop original.  It's brilliant (in both the US and UK sense.)  The song and video are 25 years old at this point and could have been recorded yesterday.

Cool story bro: in the 90s, when the internet was primarily text based, I had a .plan (I know some HCers remember plan files) that was nothing but the lyrics to the Tricky version of Black Steel.  I had it that way for a 2-3 years.  I got an email from a college friend of mine whom I had not heard from in years saying "Dude I can't believe your plan is Black Steel.  Also, why is it the Tricky version?"  The internet was a lot cooler before all the normies got on it.

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