the lucky generation?

We were lucky because we came into the world in countries of advanced capitalism at a time when there was unprecedented economic growth, near ‘full employment’, relatively low inequality of wealth and income, access to education, no shortage of food and no war.

So here we are. Only a few months ago I said to my wife that we are the “lucky generation”. We were lucky because we came into the world in countries of advanced capitalism at a time when there was unprecedented economic growth, near ‘full employment’, relatively low inequality of wealth and income, access to education, no shortage of food and no war. 


My German granddad lost a leg in the second-world war and even though he passed away when I was very young my grandma filled in the blanks for me. I pretty much remember all the stories about the Nazis, the bombings, food shortage and other horrible things.

As Yuval Noah Harari wrote in his book Homo Deus: “We have developed the means to defeat famine, decease and the effect of war…we are more likely to die from obesity than hunger…war is an exceptional occurrence rather than a given, you are more likely to die from diabetes than war and even the Ebola crisis killed “only” 11000 people.”

But here we are.

Humankind is now facing a global crisis. Perhaps the biggest crisis of our generation. The next few months will probably shape the world for years to come. They will shape not just our healthcare systems but also our economy, politics and culture.


I look at my two boys and am pretty scared. Not panicky scared but really scared. Yes, this crisis will pass and we will survive but we will inhabit a different world. We are no longer the lucky generation. Nor are my kids in the lucky generation.

Who knows how this all will impact them. Mental illness and suicide rates are predicted to go through the roof, some Governments including the Australian and US government scare the shit out of me. 


A five and a thirteen-year-old boy died in the UK of Coronavirus, Germany today has 800 infected kids in the age group 0-4 and 1600 in the age group 5-14. Australia doesn’t show any numbers and I suspect that’s due to the fact that kids are not tested because they don’t show any symptoms.

Of course, these numbers are a tiny drop in the ocean compared to car accidents or the “normal” flu. To be honest, the next person that comes up to me with that braindead explanation I’ll… never mind. Car accidents don’t jump on the plane and go viral in another country. Get a f&%*ing perspective and do some reading on how serious this is.


What is totally beyond me is why in Australia childcare centres and schools are still open? Both are hotbeds of infections at the best of times and even though the kids “show little to no symptoms” they are can very well be infected, carry the infection and pass it on. Like every other human being. Whether they actually die from this (well they seem in the UK?? Hello!!!) is totally irrelevant, they should be in self-isolation as every adult. In our case, the boys have been kept from school for the last 4 weeks starting with the first news from Italy.


Please don’t come to me with the “essential service workers” won’t be able to go to work if they have to look after their kids. There are solutions for this and I can tell based on my litmus test of 7 doctor friends, they have had their kids at home before you even knew about the virus. Of course, doctors and nurses are not the only essential workers. That includes cleaners, postmen, truck drivers, grocery store workers and so on but please, there are super-easy solutions for this such as dedicated childcare workers or centres for essential workers. It is pretty straight forward, more importantly, everyone gets tested (kids and carers) going in/out. There you go.


I am super angry and had to write this down. I currently live in Australia and am extremely unhappy with how the Government is dealing with the crisis. I am a big fan of Bill Gates, not for his achievements with Microsoft but this guy has single-handedly eradicated Polio off the face of this earth, was in involved in helping with the Ebola crisis and even warned about this current crisis 5 years ago (see video below) and he says (with a focus on the US) “if we do it right, we’ll only have to do it once for six to 10 weeks, but it has to be the whole country,” on the complete lockdown of the US. The same is true for Australia but I fear the exact opposite is going to happen. We are not in full lockdown at all and given the decreasing numbers of daily increase of new cases we will soon see a softening of the self-isolation rules. I do not believe this is over yet and we have not done enough testing. A second wave as predicted and active in man countries is highly likely. 


The weird thing is, Australia has the unique advantage of space and distance. Our major cities are wide apart making a lockdown and detailed monitoring much much easier than in any other country on this planet. 
And for everyone talking economy here’s my take: we can bring an economy back to life, dead people not so much! And please don’t be so shortsighted. We are part of a global economy even, even if Australia was all hunky-dory tomorrow we have umbilical cords to economies like China, UK and US, plus the rest of world that send tourists to Australia. Australia’s  Service industry comprises over 70% of the GDP. It dominates the economy, which employs over 79% of our labour force! That’s the tourism, media and entertainment, healthcare, logistics, education, and finance sectors. Without the other world economies being well again we will have no economy!

Let’s be safe rather that sorry. 

March 2015 – Bill Gates

go, and self isolate!

21.03.2020

I have to write this down. Even if it is just to keep a historical record.

At the time of writing this the SARS COV-2 virus (covid19 or Coronavirus) has infected 1072 Australians and claimed 7 lives.

Source: https://www.covid19data.com.au/

This number has been doubling every 2-3 days for the last two weeks and it’s exponential trajectory towards doubling every day. By that time we are in deep shit. That time is not in 10 months but in 10 days!

With that in mind I do not understand why Australians (never mind the government) are not self isolating?? Yesterday Bondi beach welcomed over 1000 people happily frolicking on the beach, tonight on my walk through the park I passed restaurants full of people.

Why do I have an opinion on this?

Two reasons really. One is primary school maths. 1700 on Monday, 3400 on Wednesday or Thursday, 7-8000 by next weekend, and thats only the tested numbers!! The true number is a multiple of this. Primary school maths. No magic fairy will bring that down. We are 14-20 days behind Italy. Believe in maths not magic.

Second reason. I am no Virologist or epidemiologist – no, but I worked for 18 months as an advisor to the UK pandemic Influenza preparedness Programm. All we did was simulate and develop responses to such an outbreak. I remember some of the outcomes. Even though theses were only Excel models.

Oh, there is a 3rd reason. LOOK at what it is happening in Italy, France, Germany… how dense can you be and think this will go away? It won’t.

If the numbers end up as predicted we WILL RUN OUT OF MEDICAL help! Australia has 2230 ICU beds. That’s Intensive Care Units beds. 874 in NSW. Guess how quickly they are full? Not to mention the exhausted doctors and nurses and all other helpers. Why do you think they are posting photos like this? For fun??

In Italy 627 people died today.

Let’s not become a second Italy. Please stay home. Look after yourself and stay safe.

planet bbq

Time is always moving on, Nothing can stop it. The question is whether we use our time properly or not. We can’t do anything about the past, but what happens in the future depends on what we do now. Dalai Lama

If you, like me, live in Australia you will have noticed that we have a few fires going on here at the moment. Bushfires, not BBQ fires. If you don’t live in Australia you will have come across the global media coverage, unless you live on the moon that is.

Continue reading “planet bbq”

brainblurb – the most useless product

Warning. This is a rant post.

Today is one of those few days where it actually rains in Sydney.

In case you would like to know, Sydney has 236 days a year sunshine. The remainder being days with rain. However, a shower only ever lasts 30-60 minutes.

With that and the general environment in mind I would like to introduce to you the most useless product ever invented. At least in my opinion.

Drum roll.

Here comes the umbrella bagging station usually found at entrances of larger offices, banks or shopping Centers.

If it is raining and you enter the building you are supposed to fold up your umbrella and bag it in one of those long plastic cover condoms.

To avoid water dropping from your wet umbrella onto the precious floor. Yes.

What an utter bullshit. Such a waste of money and resources. Especially following the plastic shopping bag ban you now get a free plastic bag for your umbrella; which you’ll use for 15min and then dispose of 👍

Anyone giving me any of this, “yeah but this is about safety, someone might slip and break their neck because of your water drops…” bullshit, please consider this: you just managed to walk through the rain without falling on your face.

If you ever met my grandma you know how to properly shake an umbrella dry before you enter a building.

Rant over.

PS – don’t use these things.

humans eat plastic

Humans don’t run on information.
Humans don’t make decisions on facts.
Humans don’t spend money based on data.
Humans run on feelings.

It has always been like this and will never change. Never.

Much more intelligent people than me figured this out. Dead and alive. Freud, Bernays, Plotinus, Socrates…

Here is only one example why the above is true.

The majority of the people in first world parts on this planet are aware of the fact that we have too much plastic in our oceans. That in itself is pretty uncool. 

You know the swimming in plastics, poor fish and turtles dying and so on. Then you add the fact that micro-plastics make their way from the ocean (via fish, rain or drink water) into the human food chain and you know that plastic in general is a pretty crap product.

At this very moment the majority of the people mentioned above will be shopping for plastic wrapped products and carry them home in plastic bags.

Humans don’t run on information.
Humans don’t make decisions on facts.
Humans don’t spend money based on data.  

Humans run on feelings.

book: “everything is f*cked…”

Another book I finished this week is Mark Manson’s “Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope“.

This one follows his mega bestseller “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck” which I also read.

These type of books sell very well at airports. Colourful cover, right on the POS table next to the cash till. The title obviously does its thing.

This one I like.

Some of his stuff is very well researched, some not so and seems a bit oversimplified. Still I like his writing style.

Mark mixes philosophy, literature, opinion, self-help, inappropriate jokes, and thought experiments through the chapters.

He defines what he calls “The Uncomfortable Truth” and takes you through an explanation of the Thinking Brain vs. the Feeling Brain.

7/10

book: “the happiness paradox”

Just finished Richard Eyre’s “The happiness paradox”.

The book argues that the very things most of us chase — control, ownership and independence — are making us unhappy.

To be happy we need to shift to a happiness paradigm in which these three “joy thieves” are traded for three “joy rescuers.”

Good read, well written, although a bit repetitive, chewing on about same things towards the last third of the book.

Slightly confusing is the flip format, paradox and paradigm parts start on opposite site of the book (cover) and there is no indication where to start.

6/10

the education revolution

“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth learning can be taught.” (Oscar Wilde).

This is the core of Greek learning or paideia. The goal of education is not mastery of subject matter, but of one’s person. Continue reading “the education revolution”

and the oscars go to…

Wow, 2018 was a tough year, really tough. I can’t say 2019 started much better and just the simple fact that I am writing this list near end of March shows how much time has already passed.

Such list is usually best written at the beginning of the new year because it covers the previous year but I simply didn’t have enough time.

Continue reading “and the oscars go to…”

future of education is changing

Educational outcomes will become more predictable

The writing is on the wall. Education providers will have to change their approach to how they deliver content and personalise the learning experience. They will most likely be able to deliver much higher results based on such an individual approach to education. Historically, no one could predict the outcome of any educational program but providers start shifting the focus from groups of students to each individual student, conduct ongoing individual content alignment more often and select suitable mentors according to the student’s personal goals. Knowledge and skills obtained in this way will become much more predictable.

Continue reading “future of education is changing”

brainblurb – the fools of alexander

The fools of Alexander is the derogatory name used by scholars to describe anyone who has wasted time searching for buried treasure in Alexandria, Egypt.

It is said that in Alexandria everybody has a theory about Alexander the Great and the location of his coffin of “hammered gold”. In most parts of the world, people buy lottery tickets. In Alexandria, they buy shovels.*

(more…)

brainblurb – why we keep the lights on?

The advantages of IOT in large buildings are pretty obvious – when heating and cooling systems, lighting, elevators and security are connected and controlled by a centralised solution, the potential returns on investment — in time and money saved, in more efficient usage, and in environmental impacts — are great. Continue reading “brainblurb – why we keep the lights on?”