Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Did the MCU get the repercussions of "the snap" wrong?

I just binged The Falcon and the Winter Soldier after watching Wandavision (and watching Hawkeye as it comes out), and I have to say I'm disappointed by how the Disney+ Marvel shows have been handling "the snap." 

(SPOILER ALERT) If you haven't seen Infinity War or Endgame and don't want spoilers, stop here. Otherwise, if you like to talk about sci-fi "what ifs" like I do, read on.

If "the snap" were real and half of all people (and probably half of all animal life) disappeared and then reappeared five years later what do you think would happen?

Imagine half of all drivers, pilots, doctors, mothers, fathers, children, teachers, employers, employees, customers, consumers, politicians, home owners, business owners, guards, homeless people, billionaires and so on disappearing in an instant but leaving all their stuff and half of all other people behind. 

Imagine situations where there's only one of the person who disappears (single-parent households, for example). Imagine situations where there are two. In a quarter of cases both would disappear, in a quarter of cases none would disappear, and in half of all cases one would disappear. 

Now imagine the initial implications, and how society develops over time until all the people snapped away return five years later. 

Let's start with one example: pilots. When half of all single-pilot planes lose a pilot, that plane crashes killing or injuring all left onboard, as well as possibly people on the ground. Any car traveling at speed will behave like a plane with a single pilot. A pilot and a co-pilot means that 75% of those planes should land--provided they don't collide with a falling or already crashed plane, the pilot doesn't panic, and there are still enough people handling air-traffic control and not panicking themselves. If it's possible to rescue people on the ground, half of all the firefighters, ambulance drivers, EMTs, doctors and nurses will have been snapped away, and because of all the out of control cars and abandoned cars on the roads, it probably wouldn't even be possible for a rescuer to get to the victims or get the victims to the hospital on time. 

How many would permanently die or suffer permanent injuries just from the missing drivers and pilots alone? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? Each of those deaths and injuries will have long-term repercussions. They can't be snapped back. And that's just drivers and pilots.

Now imagine the affect on families with young children. (I'm going to assume that pregnant women and their babies are treated as one person by the snap, because anything else is unthinkable.) 3/4 of all remaining children would have lost one parent, and at least 1/4 would be completely orphaned. What would be the affect of having 1/4 of the world's children orphaned? And if they were passengers in cars or buses when the driver was snapped away, how many would not only be orphaned but injured? And imagine all the parents returning after the snap to discover what had happened to their kids. Some would have grown up and be relatively okay, some would have died, some would have been permanently traumatized, some would have been injured, some, particularly those under ten, wouldn't even remember their own parents, some would return to find their kids with new parents, their spouses with new spouses...

I don't think the Disney+ Marvel shows got the implications of "the snap" right? Do you?

Leave a comment with your thoughts. I want to know what you think.

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Book Depository's international free shipping is a lie

Ads from Book Depository claim "FREE DELIVERY" on all books mailed internationally--but it's not really free. 

Here's one example: Amazon says the retail cost of this book is $14.95, and the Amazon price is $13.46. If you spend $49 worth on qualifying products (including this and most other new books) at Amazon, shipping to Israel is FREE.

Meanwhile, Book Depository offers "FREE" shipping on the same book but sells it for 95 shekels, which is about $30. That's about $16.50 you pay for "FREE" shipping, or $15 above even the retail price. 

How is this sort of false advertising even legal?

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Have a problem? Here's the best way to find a solution

No matter the problem, the answer can be found by asking questions. 

When I run into a problem, I ask myself several questions that almost always help me find a solution. 

1) Why did I start this thing?
2) What did I expect to get out of this thing?
3) Am I getting that with this thing? If not, am I getting something else out of this thing?
4) What is this thing costing me (time, emotionally, etc)? Is the reward for this thing (see 3) worth the cost?
5) What are alternative ways to get what I wanted to get out of this thing and what are their costs? Out of the alternatives, which one offers the greatest reward for the lowest cost?
6) When weighing the rewards and costs of what I'm currently doing versus the rewards and costs of the best alternative, which one offers the greatest reward for the lowest cost?

I've done this analysis with classes, jobs, and all kinds of big life decisions, and it's never steered me wrong.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

All the helpful information about Covid in Israel: lockdowns, coronavirus case tracker, regulations, vaccine distribution, and more

I tried to post a shorter version of this post in the Secret Jerusalem group on Facebook. It was deleted supposedly because it didn't mention Jerusalem. So I posted the post below mentioning Jerusalem, and the post was locked because it supposedly went against the rules mentioned in a non-existent pinned post. Gaslighting. Here I was trying to help people find the most useful information - information with the potential to literally save lives, and they hit me with lies and gaslighting. 

So here's the post for anyone looking for answers to questions about Israel's lockdown, vaccination rates, and anything else involving coronavirus in Israel. Better here where anyone who wants can have access to this information rather than a closed Facebook group.


I'm mentioning Jerusalem now and adding a Jerusalem specific graphic to this post to appease the admin who removed this post from the Secret Jerusalem Facebook page on the grounds that it didn't mention Jerusalem. (Even though that rule apparently doesn't apply to questions about when will Ben Gurion open, when Ben Gurion isn't in Jerusalem.) 

Unfortunately, there's no Jerusalem specific graph showing new cases and deaths, just for Israel in general, but I've added the map of coronavirus cases in Jerusalem. 

As you can see, it's all red except for Ramat Rachel. Red means the rate of transmission of the virus is over 7.5%. (Jerusalem is currently at 8% on January 31, 2021.) You can find the updated version of this map on the Jerusalem municipal website here:

People keep asking when the lockdown will be lifted, so I hope the following answers the question once and for all:

Below is the current graph of daily deaths in Israel since the start of the pandemic. You can find it by Googling "Israel coronavirus statistics deaths." It's updated daily. (As I said, there is no Jerusalem specific graph, however, Jerusalem has had the highest number of deaths in Israel in recent weeks.)

People are dying because there are too many severely ill patients to take care of them all. Hundreds are currently intubated, and thousands of medical personnel are currently in quarantine because they have been exposed to Covid. The graphic below shows that, as I write this, Shaarai Tzedek in Jerusalem is 96.93% full and has 105 members of staff who are in quarantine. 

This information and lots more can be found here:

The lockdown won't end until the hospitals can handle not only the patients they have now but also the patients they're likely to get if the lockdown is lifted.

We can all help lift the lockdown by following the guidelines of the health ministry and staying home as much as possible. If we don't, the alternative would mean death to hundreds, possibly thousands more.

I'm following the guidelines, because I know my kids need me alive, and I love them. If you knew now that one of the people likely to die is you or someone you love, wouldn't you follow the guidelines for them? Wouldn't you want others to do it too?

ADDED after the moderator said that if he allowed the post above he would have to allow multiple similar posts a day:

Then pin a single post with all the relevant links to the top of the page and write in the pinned post that it's where all the info can be found so there's no reason to post it again or to ask questions that are already answered by the links in that pinned post.

Otherwise, it looks like you're deliberately hiding helpful information that would allow members of the group to find answers to questions they keep asking over and over so they can make informed decisions.

"When will the lockdown be over?" (Already asked again today.) Check out the ministry of health here:

"Why is Jerusalem under lockdown?" Find Jerusalem on this Covid tracker here:

"Is my neighborhood safe?" See where the red zones are here:

"What is the traffic light plan?" "When will Ben Gurion be open for passengers?" (Already asked again today.) "Where can I find information on contact tracing?" "Who's in quarantine, where, and what are the rules for that?"
The answers for all of that can be found here:

 And finally information in English can be found here:

You could make it easy for people to answer their own questions once and for all with one pinned post at the top of the page, but what would I know? I'm only a former consumer columnist from the Jerusalem Post.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Looking for photo references, and then I remembered I had this...

Sorry for the rambling. I'm considering making a graphic novel with stories from my mom's, my grandmother's, and my great-grandmother's lives, and I realized I had a very special resource for photo references. This is a volume from 1947-1948 of the newspaper my grandfather published in Jerusalem. The modern State of Israel was born in 1948, when my mother was 12 years old.

I get nervous in front of the camera, hence the rambling.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Disney Pixar's Soul: a review

Saw Soul, and while I like all Pixar movies, this one is at the bottom three of the list for me. 

Pluses: it's so beautiful, especially in 3D, and Tina Fey is hilarious. I liked Moonwind and the Jerrys, too, and their interactions with Terry were fun. I also really liked 22 and could understand what she was going through. Heck, I'm at a loss as to why she wasn't the main character. I would have loved to see her story from the start.

Negatives: I couldn't relate to Joe or his selfish quest, which I'm just now realizing is an issue I have with the main character of another Pixar movie, Cars. In addition, for a movie centered around music, it's weird that I can't remember a single piece of music from it. I recognize the music from Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Cars, and Brave, so I know Pixar can do better in this regard. 

Don't get my wrong, it's still a good movie. It's just not as good as it could have been.

Thursday, January 07, 2021

Who Decides What We "Can't" Do?

When someone says women "can't" or "shouldn't" - or that boys "can't" or "shouldn't" because "that's for girls" - I always remember these photos. 

That's Katherine Switzer, the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon. She had to hide in the bushes near the starting line so no one would stop her before she even started, and when a race official noticed that a woman was running in the marathon, he physically assaulted her. 

Katherine Switzer in this photo is every woman who was prevented from doing what she was fully capable of doing, because a man said she couldn't. 

She's me when an agent implied (repeatedly) that he was ready to take me on as a client until he discovered I wasn't a man. She's every female author whose chances of publication went down 70% because her name was Katherine or Sarah or Joanne, instead of JK. Sadly, she's every woman at some point in her life.

Because it's not that a woman "can't." It's that there are men who believe it's their right to choose what women - and therefore girls and even boys - are allowed to do. 

What makes matters worse is that too many women buy into this. Who says women can't be political leaders? Who says girls can't study engineering? Who says boys can't enjoy dancing? Who says there are "boy books" and "girl books," and boys aren't allowed to read "girl books?" Who says, and what gives them the right?

I think a lot of what we've seen since 2016 comes down to these men not wanting to give up the right to decide who gets to do what, a right they never deserved and never should have had. I hope things will change starting in 2021, because it has to. 

It has to.

Monday, January 04, 2021

"Do you have graphic novel recommendations for a precocious five-year-old girl?"

A mom asked me for graphic novel recommendations for her young daughter who likes Calvin and Hobbes, and Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novels. 

Here's my answer:

Avatar graphic novels are great, and so is Calvin and Hobbes. 

Based on those, I recommend Squirrel Girl, Marvel Rising (it's a very young version of Marvel comics focused mainly on Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl), Diana: Princess of the Amazons, Baby Blues, Lightfall: The Girl and the Galdurian (unfortunately, only the first book is out and it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger), Phoebe and Her Unicorn, Mutts, maybe The Prince and the Dressmaker, maybe The Deep & Dark Blue, maybe Bone, Zatanna and the House of Secrets, Amulet, El Deafo, and maybe All's Faire in Middle School (the last two are realistic). 
There's a bunch of other semi-autobiographical graphic novels for kids, but I'm not sure if she'd like them because they're not fantasy, but they include Sisters, Smile, Guts, and Stargazing. 

Doodleville is very popular with little kids, and it's very cute, so I'll add that, though it didn't really appeal to me. 

And I once attended a library panel about graphic novels for kids where the librarians said kids couldn't get enough of Lumberjanes. It's great, but it's the same creator as She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, so use that as a guide to whether it's a good fit for your daughter. 

And Zita the Spacegirl. 

Hope that's not too many. I just love graphic novels. 😁

EDIT: Someone else asked for comics for a five-year-old girl, and while I directed him to this post (and to ask the comic-book store for their kids section), I realized I left out a bunch of comics from this post. 

I didn't mention Power Pack, My Little Pony, Teen Titans Go, and a bunch of other comics. If she has a favorite cartoon, there's probably a comic book for that. Ryan North has done a bunch of kid friendly Adventure Time comics, and both Ryan North and Chip Zdarsky have written kid friendly Jughead comics. There are loads of comics for little kids. You just need to know who to ask. 

A good children's library section will also have loads of graphic novels. Just ask the children's librarian for recommendations.

EDIT: I would also add the Witch Boy series by Molly Knox Ostertag to this list. It's wonderful.

The Okay Witch is also great, but it might be better for slightly older kids. Parents should read it before deciding if their kids are ready for it. (There's a bit of a Romeo and Juliet situation with the main character's parents. It doesn't end in death, but some kids might still not be ready for it.)