Climate Change For Dummies – WIF Mad Science

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Bizarre “Solutions”

to Climate Change

Fighting climate change – a widely-used euphemism for the ongoing climate catastrophe – is humanity’s biggest priority at this point. Or at least it should be, as most governments of the world are simply not bothered with something that may as well be the end of our species. It’s not even like we have to do impossible things to stop it; many scientists are of the opinion that if we just come together and take certain measures (like stick to treaties like the Paris agreement), we could avert the worst effects of it.

Though in usual human style, we’re busy thinking up other creative (and often outlandish) ways of trying to prevent this calamity, rather than actually joining hands and fixing what we’ve collectively broken. Here are some of the most bizarre potential solutions we’ve come up with to the biggest question facing humanity right now: how do we tackle climate change?

10. Blot Out the Sun

There are some definite reasons as to why things have gotten as bad as they are when it comes to ever-rising global temperatures. One of the biggest is greenhouse emissions. Nearly all industries around the world are responsible for it, and if countries like China look like major contributors to it right now, it’s only because the polluting stages of most developed countries are already in the distant past.

There are other culprits, too, though something that’s definitely not responsible is the existence of the sun. In some weird leap of reason, however, some scientists have concluded that it’s the sun that’s the whole problem, and are now looking for feasible ways to block it in order to cool the Earth down. They’re already planning experiments to inject chemicals into the atmosphere to dim the intensity of its rays, and while many other experts have warned against the adverse effects of literally dimming our primary source of energy, it looks like they’re going ahead with trying it out anyway.

9. Smaller Children

Even if the majority of the pollution and global warming is caused by industries, we all contribute to it in tiny ways. Every one of us has a carbon footprint, no matter how many plastic bottles we give up or online petitions against climate change we sign. Of course, our individual footprints aren’t nearly as large as, say, the oil industry, so as long as we do our part in living sustainable, things should be fine.

For some scientists though, the best way we can reduce our carbon footprint is by reducing the size of people themselves. In a research paper, some scientists argue that genetically engineering our babies to be smaller will go a long way in helping the environment. It seems that they came up with this by solving the incredibly complex ‘big people = big pollution’ equation. It may even work, though we think that there might be better ways of doing this without the whole eugenics vibe.

8. Cow Farts as Fuel

Vegans may be annoying, though they aren’t entirely wrong. The meat industry is actually quite a huge producer of greenhouse emissions, and cutting down on our meat consumption may really help with global warming. Some of the animals bred for consumption produce particularly harmful gases like methane, which is much deadlier than your usual carbon dioxide and such. Take cows, who account for 25 percent of all methane emissions in the world. Instead of cutting down on meat consumption, though, some scientists have come up with what they think is a better way: collecting their farts and using it as fuel.

Despite how ridiculous it sounds, it may just be one of the more sensible options on this list, even if we’re yet able to fully figure out the logistics of how it would work. Argentina has come up with a way to equip its cows with backpacks that collect the farts and convert the methane into fuel powder, which can then be used to power various things on the farm. It may be some time before this plan may actually start yielding results, but it may just be crazy enough to actually work.

7. Build Massive Underwater Walls

The oceans are the focal point in our fight against global warming, as they’re consistently growing warmer due to the rising temperature on the surface. What happens underwater affects us in more ways than we realize, or even yet understand. If we had to find a solution to restore the health of our oceans, we’d probably find ways to dump less plastic and oil into it, and limit our greenhouse emissions to cool the Earth down and stop the now-consistent rise in sea level. Though for the scientists who have given up on those solutions entirely, there’s another possible solution: build enormous walls of concrete underground.

We aren’t just talking about walls you build to keep water out of your farm; these would be gigantic underwater structures – starting from the ocean floor – to stop warm water from going near glaciers to halt their melting, and generally isolate the effects of warming to certain sections of the ocean. Who would build those walls? Robots, of course, as humans still aren’t the best at building structures at the depths we’re talking about.

6. Artificially brighten clouds

One of the most alarming parts of the whole climate change debate is how little time we have to be sitting around and having debates about it in the first place. Scientists have given us till 2050 to cut down our carbon emissions to zero if we’re going to even have a chance at reversing its worst effects. And we have the solutions, suggested by those same scientists, if only we could stick to them.

As we can’t really come together to do that, some scientists have more drastic solutions for the problem, one of them being artificially brightening clouds to reflect more sunlight back into the sky (as dark surfaces absorb the heat). There are many proposed ways to do it, like injecting salt into the clouds, or making whole new clouds of our own.

Yes, we’re talking about the same huge floating things found in the sky around the world, and yes, they realize the enormity of the task. It’s a part of a new type of potential solutions to global warming known as sunlight reflection methods (SRM). This is actually one of the more sensible plans, as others include painting the mountains white – instead of, you know, doing something to maintain the natural white of the ice currently melting off of them – or launching massive mirrors into orbit.

5. Cover Buildings with Slime

Even though industries – like oil and mining – are hugely responsible for climate change, they’re only a part of the problem. Modern civilization is inherently built to take from the Earth to thrive rather than coexisting with it, even though there have been many civilizations in the past that knew how to combine sustainability with economic development. Of course, we can take notes from them and start rearranging how we plan our cities and architecture, or we can find ways to keep them as is, with some modifications.

According to researchers from U.K.’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers, one of those ways is covering our buildings with algae. It’s not a bad idea per se, as it’s not like they’d just throw algae on the side of buildings and hope it sticks. It would be contained in huge tubes running throughout the length of the buildings, and could help by reducing CO2 levels in the air with photosynthesis. It’s obviously too expensive to do right now, and they’re looking into ways they could make it cheaper.

4. Sin Tax on Meat

As we said above, the meat industry is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse emissions in the world, and if something could be done about it, it’d go a long way in our fight against climate change. We’re not exactly asking everyone to go vegan overnight, but rather collectively coming up with more sustainable practices that could help reduce that.

Some of those solutions are more radical than the others, though — one of them being a sort of a sin tax on the consumption of meat, similar to what we have on products like tobacco and alcohol. An investor group called Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR) thinks that governments would start considering this sooner than we expect, and has already started taking measures to invest in more sustainable meat-producing ventures.

Other studies have also suggested a similar tax on meat due to its overwhelming contribution to global warming, and we can’t argue with their reasoning: they tried asking us nicely first.

3. Kill the Camels

Different countries have come up with their own solutions to global warming, each according to how rich they are and how they’re contributing to it. Where countries like India and China are drastically reconsidering the way their industries work, other countries at a higher risk of drowning due to rising sea levels – like Malaysia – have taken to being nicer to other nations, in the hopes that we’d do something about the problem a bit faster.

Australia’s assessment of the situation, on the other hand, is rather focused – they think it’s all because of those pesky camels. In case you didn’t know, yes, Australia has camels. It actually has so many that it sends some to Saudi Arabia whenever they’re a bit short. According to an increasingly-popular opinion in Australia, eradicating camels should solve climate change for the foreseeable future, as they’re one of the biggest producers of methane, and are generally looked down on as pests. While that may be true, if we go by that, we should just kill all the animals in the world, as most of them produce methane. The camels need protection from changing climate as much as we do.

2. Turn CO2 into Rocks

Iceland – and Scandinavia in general – has been particularly worried about climate change, as it’s one of the few countries that will feel its worst effects before most other nations due to its proximity to the Arctic. It’s also one of the more technologically advanced countries in the western world, and has been trying to come up with creative solutions to tackle the problem with the tech that it has.

It may sound a bit weird, though from all the items on this list, it may just end up having the most impact. The University of Iceland – along with a bunch of other researchers – has come up with a way to turn CO2 emissions into rocks, and store them underground so it’s never released back into the air. If you’re asking ‘well why don’t we just do that then’, you should know that it’s not easy to do. It takes CO2 emissions from an industrial facility, mixes it with water and sends it to another facility, which in turn dumps it deep into the Earth. The fizzy liquid mixes with the basalt in the ground, and turns into rocks within a few months, and the technology that can do it is expensive and only proven to be effective at one facility.

1. Resurrecting Animals

If a lot of our efforts to stop climate change are focused on saving the Arctic, it’s because of a more pressing reason beyond maintaining the natural ice cover. It’s believed that a lot of greenhouse gases – worse than what we already have in the atmosphere – are buried deep beneath the Arctic permafrost, and its thawing could release them in the atmosphere, further accelerating global warming.

According to a group of scientists at Harvard, the best way to do that would be by resurrecting the woolly mammoth. The ongoing theory is that the mammoths will do regular mammoth things – like running around, trampling trees and shrubs and generally having a good time – which would help increase the grass cover. Grass, as we know, absorbs less heat than other plants, and could theoretically stop the thawing of the permafrost over a long enough period of time. Though to be honest, we really don’t think we have that long, as mammoth resurrection is still quite a bit in the distant future.


Climate Change For Dummies

WIF Mad Science

No Summer, No Vacation, No Fun, No Kidding – WIF Into History

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Global Impact

of the Year

Without a Summer

The year 1816 was the first since the onset of the French Revolutionary Wars in which the western world was at peace. In Europe, the nightmare of the Napoleonic Wars began to fade. In North America, Washington DC began the process of rebuilding after being burned by the British Army during the War of 1812. Global commerce was expected to thrive, unimpeded by the raiding ships of nations locked in a death grip with each other. Farmers expected strong markets for their crops, shippers looked forward to record profits, manufacturers hoped the return of peace would create demand for their products. But then a funny thing happened. There was no summer. As late as August of that year, hard freezes in the farmlands of upper New York and New England destroyed what little crops had been planted during a spring of continuous snow and freezing weather.

1816 was the year of no summer, not just in North America, but across the Northern Hemisphere. Record cold, freezing rains, floods, and frosts occurred throughout the months in which warmer weather could be reasonably expected, given centuries of its showing up more or less on schedule. It did not, and without global communication to understand why, the underpinnings of civilization – farming and trade – suffered across the globe. The year with no summer is now understood to have been the result of a series of geological events which masked the sun with volcanic dust, but to those who endured it, it was simply an inexplicable disaster. The commercial effects continued to be felt for years, as financial markets roiled from the unexpected disruption of trade and investment. For those unconcerned with climate change it remains a stark, though wholly ignored, warning of the power of nature. Here are just a few of its impacts.

10. Thomas Jefferson found his indebtedness increased by drastic crop failures

In 1815 former president Thomas Jefferson, living in retirement at his Monticello estate, offered his personal library as replacement for the losses suffered by the Library of Congress when the British burned the American capital. The sale was a gesture which gained Jefferson some temporary praise, but more importantly to him it provided an infusion of badly needed money. The former president was broke, and the $23,950 (almost $400,000 today) he received alleviated some, but by no means all, of his indebtedness. Jefferson was relying on a strong crop from his Virginia farms in 1816 to reduce his debts further. In his Farm Book for 1816 Jefferson noted the unusual cold as early as May; “repeated frosts have killed the early fruits and the crops of tobacco and wheat will be poor,” he wrote.

Jefferson struggled with the bizarre weather throughout the summer months, recording temperature and rainfall data still used by scientists studying the phenomenon, but he was unaware of its cause. He did lament its effect. Jefferson’s corn and wheat crops were reduced by two thirds, his tobacco even more so, and the former president slipped yet more deeply into debt, as did most of the farmers of the American states of Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, and all of New York and New England. The failure of tobacco crops was particularly devastating, ships which normally would have carried the cured leaves to Europe lay idle, and British tobacconists shifted to plantations in Africa as the source of the weed, in high demand in Europe. During the summer, Jefferson reported frosts in every month of the year in the higher elevations of Virginia, and in every state north of his farms.

9. Prices of grains spiked as the summer went on, and remained high for nearly three years

In Virginia, oats were a crop which was considered essential to the survival of the economy. Oats were consumed by humans in the form of porridge, and in oat breads and cakes, but the grain was also an essential part of the diet of horses. Horses were of course critical in the early 19th century as motive power for plows and transportation. The shortage of oats caused the farmers who produced it to respond to the insatiable demand for the grain by raising their prices on the little they were able to harvest. According to Jefferson and other Virginia farmers, oats cost roughly 12 cents per bushel in 1815, a price already inflated by the demand placed on the crops by the recently ended War of 1812, when armies needed horses for cavalry and as draft animals.

By midsummer of 1816, oats had increased to nearly $1 per bushel, an increase which most were unable to pay. The shortage of grain, (as well as other fodder) meant what horses were available were often undernourished. European markets were unable to make up the shortage, as Europe too was locked in the grip of the low temperatures and excessive rains. In Europe the cost of maintaining horses increased dramatically, and the use of horseback for individual travel became the privilege of the wealthy few. A German tinkerer and inventor by the name of Karl Drais began experimenting with a device consisting of a piece of wood equipped with a seat upon which a person would perch while moving the legs in a manner similar to walking. Called variously the velocipede, the laufmaschine, and the draisine, it was the precursor for what is now known as the bicycle.

8. Temperatures throughout the Northern Hemisphere were abnormally cold, especially in New England

The New England states were particularly hard hit during the summer of 1816 by abnormally low temperatures. In the New England states, which were at the time still mostly agricultural, every month of the year suffered at least one hard frost, devastating crops in the fields and the fruit trees which had managed to blossom during the long and wet spring. On June 6, a Plymouth, Connecticut clockmaker noted in his diary that six inches of snow had fallen overnight, and he was forced to wear heavy mittens and his greatcoat during his customary walk to his shop. Sheep were a product of many New England farms, well adapted to grazing on the hillsides in pastures too small to accommodate cattle herds. Shorn in late winter, as was customary, many died in the unexpected cold, and the price of lamb and mutton reached record highs.

By the end of June, temperatures in New England had begun a rollercoaster ride which they would retain for the rest of the summer, further damaging crops and livestock. Late June in western Massachusetts saw temperatures reach 101 degrees only to plummet to the 30s over the Fourth of July. Men went about in their hayfields harvesting their sparse yields dressed in overcoats. Beans – long a staple crop of New England – froze in the fields. From Puritan pulpits across the region, the weather was attributed to a righteous judgment of God. In August there was measurable snowfall in Vermont, and though winter wheat crops yielded some harvests, the cost of moving the grain to market was often prohibitive. New Englanders, especially in the rural areas, began to forage off the land in the manner of their ancestors, surviving on what game and wild plants they could find in the woods.

7. The lack of summer provided one of literature’s most infamous characters

Most people had no idea what were the scientific reasons behind the bizarre weather in the summer months of 1816. Many of the wealthy, better able to weather the storm, so to speak, went about their business despite the adverse weather conditions. In Europe, a group of young English writers and their guests summered at Lake Geneva, Switzerland. The group included Lord Byron and an English poet named Percy Shelley, who brought with him his wife, the former Mary Wollstonecraft. Housebound by the continuing inclement weather (Mary later wrote that it was an ungenial summer), the group was forced to find ways to entertain themselves. Bored of playing parlor games one of the members, probably Lord Byron, suggested that each member of the group write a story, along the lines of a ghost story, for the entertainment of the rest.

Mrs. Shelley at first balked at the idea, unable to come up with a plot until mid-July, when she confided to her diary that at the group’s nightly discussions she arrived at the idea of “Perhaps a corpse could be reanimated.” She began writing a short story, which grew into a full length gothic novel which she entitled,  “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.” Her husband was later credited with assisting Mary with the work, though the extent of his contributions to the classic tale of horror remains disputed by scholars. Mary Shelley later credited her inspiration to a waking dream which came upon her during one of her long walks in the woods around Geneva, immersed in the gloom of the strange weather that summer. Shelley wrote that while her husband Percy – who committed suicide in 1822 – helped her with technical aspects of the writing, the tale wholly originated with her.

6. The year with no summer coincided with the end of the Little Ice Age

The year without summer is commonly ascribed to the summer months of 1816, though its effects were felt for three years, part of the final months of what is known as the Little Ice Age. Crop failures were acute in the first harvest season of the period, and such continued for at least another two years. Wet and cold weather impeded planting in the spring as well as harvests in the fall, and the size of the harvests from North America to China were insufficient to support the populations. Hunger became famine in many areas, including Europe and China, residents of rural communities migrated to urban areas in search of food through begging, and population density grew those diseases which strengthen among hungry populations, including cholera and typhus. Medicine of the time was inadequate to treat either.

The result was a globally felt – at least in the Northern Hemisphere – calamity, which encompassed starvation, diseases, and popular unrest for a period of three years. Hundreds of thousands of former soldiers, veterans of the Napoleonic Wars, roamed Europe seeking the means to feed themselves and their families. In England sailors who had manned the ships of His Majesty’s Navy found themselves unemployed as warships were decommissioned, and the absence of crops reduced the amount of goods available for international trade. Ships rotted at their moorings. By the summer of 1817 organized groups of former soldiers across Europe were rioting in the belief that government warehouses held grain being kept from the starving people. In the United States, especially in still largely agricultural New England, failed crops caused farmers to pull up stakes and head for the promised lands west of the Ohio River.

5. The Swiss disaster of 1816-1817 was among the worst of the global catastrophe

Over a period of 153 days between April and September, 1816, Geneva, Switzerland recorded 130 days of rain. The temperature remained too cold for the snow in the Alps to melt, which prevented the disaster from being far worse. The streets, and more importantly the sewers and drains, of Geneva were flooded, and Lake Geneva was too swollen with rain to absorb the runoff. Meanwhile local crops were drowned by the incessant chill rains, and the harvest of 1816 was a complete failure, leading to the last recorded famine on the European continent. The lack of fodder led to the demise of hundreds of thousands of draft animals and cattle and oxen died in the waters in the fields and alongside the Swiss roads. Hundreds of thousands of Swiss were rendered homeless, living in the streets and fields unable to feed themselves, as the brutal cold of an Alpine winter settled upon them.

Beginning in early 1817 the death rate in Switzerland, already well above normal due to starvation and disease, increased by more than 50%. Oxen, horses, and cattle dead from starvation and rotting in the fields became sources of food for the desperate populace. Aid from European neighbors was nonexistent, as the harvests on the continent and in England were similarly sparse. France had but recently survived its revolution and the ravages of the Napoleonic Era, it was short of manpower, and its newly restored monarchy was inadequate to the challenges of the disaster which had befallen. As the seemingly unending winter lengthened it soon became obvious to the people of Europe that those of wealth and privilege were better able to cope, and that the burden of suffering was being borne by the urban and rural poor.

4. The Year with no summer was well documented by the educated and wealthy, including Thomas Jefferson

In the United States, former president Thomas Jefferson left behind a record of meteorological events which was so detailed it remains in use by scholars and scientists studying the global disaster two centuries later. In modern times it is compared to scientific data acquired through means not understood in Jefferson’s day. For example, the studies of tree rings cut from trees which were alive during the catastrophe in Vermont indicate that for the period including 1816 there was little or no growth, which corresponds to the notes left by Jefferson in his Farm Book and other diaries, recording observations he made hundreds of miles to the south. Among the observations left by Jefferson are records of rainfalls, which while devastatingly heavy in some areas were scant in others, including Jefferson’s Virginia.

Jefferson wrote to Albert Gallatin towards the end of the summer of 1816 describing the shortage of rainfall which had been prevalent during the ending growing season, as well as the unseasonably cold temperatures. Jefferson, who used the records he had prepared every year since occupying his “Little Mountain” as a basis, informed Gallatin that an average normal rainfall for the month of August was 9 and 1/6 of an inch. Rainfall for August 1816 had been less than one inch; “we had only 8/10 of an inch, and still it continues”. He also noted the continuing cold weather conditions, including the frosts well to the north of Virginia, of which he had learned through his voluminous correspondence. Yet not Jefferson, nor any other student of science or the weather of the time, was able to postulate the global disaster had been due to a natural event, occurring many thousands of miles away.

3. In England, the army was called out to crush urban uprisings of the starving

England, which had been instrumental in the formation of the coalitions which crushed Napoleon, was particularly hard hit by the lack of a growing season. Unable to feed itself with the best of harvests, England found its own crops devastated by the adverse weather and its trading partners unable to provide food in sufficient quantities to make them affordable for most of its population. England had already endured years of shortages as the nation threw its might behind the wars with Napoleon, and the people by 1816 had had enough. As early as in the spring of 1816 food and grain riots were experienced in the west counties. In the town of Ely armed mobs locked up the local magistrates and fought the militia which mustered to rescue them.

By the following spring mobs in the urban centers of the midlands were common. Ten thousand armed and angry people rioted in Manchester that March. The summer of 1817 saw the British Army called to quell riots and other uprisings in England, Scotland, and Wales, while the transports to the newly established penal colonies were increased. Local landlords and magistrates often ignored the pleas of the authorities in London, establishing their own mini-fiefdoms through the promises of bread and grain. In England, as well as on the European continent, demands from the wealthier classes led to an increase in more authoritarian governments and the subsequent loss of civil liberties – such as they were at the time – in response to the international demand for food. On the other side, the suspicion that governments were hoarding food and grain at the expense of the poor led to a rise in radical thought, especially in France and the German principalities.

2. The Great Migration from New England to the west began in 1816

 

Most history books attribute the movement of the American agricultural population to the west following the War of 1812 to the end of the threat from the Indian tribes formerly supported by their British allies. The end of British influence was no doubt part of the mass migration, but it takes more than just the potential of new lands to uproot families from farms held by their ancestors for generations. The catastrophic crop failures which began in 1816 were a large part of the motivation for the movement to the west, as indicated by the massive depopulation of the New England states which began during the Year with no Summer. Particularly hard hit were Vermont and New Hampshire, as residents packed up and left for the west. For many of them, it was a journey away from divine punishment, a new exodus to a promised land, a view encouraged from pulpits.

family from Vermont was one of them, which headed to the west into the lands which are now upstate New York, Indian Territory before the American victory during the War of 1812. The move coincided with a religious revival across America which became known as the Second Great Awakening, a return to the fundamentalism which had protected Americans from the ravages of an angry God, in the view of many. The family which settled for a time in New York were the Smiths, of Sharon, Vermont. While in their new home one of them, a son named Joseph, experienced the visions which eventually led to his discovery of the Book of Mormon. Without a rational explanation for the seemingly apocalyptic weather, divine explanations sufficed, not only among the Smith family, but with thousands of families fleeing what they were unable to understand, in search of an explanation and deliverance.

1. During the global cooling, the Arctic experienced warming and ice melt

As nearly all of the Northern Hemisphere in the climes occupied by humans felt decreased temperatures and abnormal rain patterns, the Arctic, including the ice cap, experienced a sharp increase in temperature which led to a melting of the ice at the top of the world. The receding ice cap allowed explorers, especially those from the United States and Great Britain, to travel deeper than ever before into the polar region, using waterways which until then had been unwelcoming sheets of ice. Since the days of Henry Hudson and the earliest English exploration of North America, the quest for the fabled Northwest Passage had occupied the minds of explorers and adventurers, and the opportunity presented by changing weather conditions was too good to pass up. 1818 was the first year in a new series of English led Polar Expeditions which continued for most of the 19th century.

Among them was an expedition led by Englishman John Ross which included a counter-clockwise navigation around Baffin Bay, which had the salutary effect of opening the waters for the exploitation of whaling ships. Though the Northwest Passage eluded him, as it did so many others over history, the boon to the whaling industry was immediate, and whalers from Great Britain and the United States were soon delivering the fine oil for illumination to ports around the world. By 1820 the effects of the Year with no Summer were relegated to history, a part of family lore in which elders described to children the weather events of the past as far more consequential than those of the current day. Unknown to them, the real effects continued for decades, and in some ways continue to this day.


No Summer, No Vacation, No Fun, No Kidding –

WIF Into History

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #168

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #168

Meanwhile

…To be sitting behind the wheel of a five ton truck is quite different from handling a team and wagon…

September Sunrise by Elizabeth Fraser

But when the sun sets, it also rises. Life picks up where even the most defining of moments leaves off. For some, like Alpha, must Image result for sunrise gifmake their way back to a foreign place, departing from recognized comfort, for the promise of a bright future. For others, like his father, the everyday grind marches on. Not that there is no change, but old habits die hard. Change may be uncomfortable, but necessary.

And if you work for a man like Herbert Love, you can expect to be on the cutting edge of change. To be sitting behind the wheel of a five ton truck is quite different from handling a team and wagon. But to be a teamster, is to be an expert of the transportation of goods, as well as a trooper. Few of these teamsters are yet expert at navigating the inconsistent roadways in these monster vehicles. It can be said that Willy has done a good job of mastering the delicate balance of power and control, although from high in the noisy cab of the Mack truck, motorcars look like darting little rodents. He liked it better closer to the ground.

When Herbert Love decides to expand their territory out to the west, Jackson and Calhoun Counties, another smoking behemoth is to be added, officially making a fleet. Fleet is plural for ____?____… well it is plural nonetheless, which means they must train another driver. Though the job description is pretty clear, just what the qualifications are, is not.

Frank, the dairy pasteurizer, would make a good driver, but who would then keep the bottled milk fresh. Frank’s brother, Clete, who is in bottling, seems to be the next best choice. He is much younger than Frank, perhaps an egg or two short of a dozen, yet is always eager to learn. Eager will get you far in Loves’ world.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Two Eggs Short of a Dozen by Carol Chretien

Two Eggs Short of a Dozen by Carol Chretien

Episode #168


page 157

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #141

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #141

Chapter Eight

DEEDS TO A DYNASTY

…Normalcy, or some semblance of it, has returned to those of Florida involved with that brush with Washington celebrity…

1600 Pennsylvania

Normalcy, or some semblance of it, has returned to those of Florida involved with that brush with Washington celebrity, i.e. William McKinley. With his death, which came after all but Herbert Love and Harv Pearson had returned home, you could say that nothing would be the same.

Tallahassee 12-001

  • The Ferrells, the John’s and James’s, separate once again to their south and northeast venues, profoundly affected by the experience.
  • Doc Ziggy may never regain his faith in his healing contemporaries, still cursing their handling of “his patient”, McKinley.
  • Alpha Campbell has set his young sights on medical school, though at 13 years of age, he first must successfully negotiate puberty.
  • The pharmacist and the teacher, forever lumped together, will proceed from here with an acute sense of mortality.
  • The elder Campbells, whose lives are least altered, because of an uncomplicated mind set, contentedly care for Love properties and watch their second son blossom into someone they can barely fathom.

Even Herbert Love’s world ratchets back to a simpler time. James Wilson has recovered from his lengthy battle with poor health, a reprisal of his role as Secretary of Agriculture within two months of the Roosevelt, Theodore administration installation on 14 September 1901. Wilson’s immune system fights off the Black Plague; there is no amour to protect McKinley from shots fired by an East European anarchist who has no other agenda than to get notoriety by killing a world leader, any leader would do. With the loss of his friend, Love knew that his dalliance with national politics should end and that he can be proud of what he accomplished in his thirteen months. If they need him or his advice, they know where to find him: City Hall, Quincy, Florida.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #141


page 129

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #114

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #114

…When it comes to avoiding bad weather, it is wiser to duck a one-two punch, than stop it with your face…

Acting Secretary of Agriculture Herbert Love and his bride Phoebe have seen more than Sec. of Ag-001enough devastation before they can reach the major Gulf of Mexico port that once was Galveston. The flattened buildings and depopulation are not very out of the ordinary for a storm such as this. You need to know what it looked like before, to understand the devastated after. But as a presence, the Presidential Train and all its trappings are comforting still, though the Loves are not exactly well known.

Herb Love delivers a reassuring speech to those very ready to receive; those who cannot find hope in their circumstances and see him as an answer to earnest prayers of intercession. Beside the presence of the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and a trainload of goods, tents and fresh water, the most tangible evidence that the survivors of the Galveston/Houston area can hold on to is the promise of the Army Corps of Engineers. They are planning to erect a seventeen foot high seawall between them and anything the Gulf of Mexico can dish out.

In addition to a concrete wall, which is designed to manhandle nature, Love tells them about establishing a network of observers for the purpose of reporting climatic conditions, both in the United States and without. The region’s scientific community of countries are banding together, including those unfriendly on other levels, such as Cuba and Mexico; or the misunderstood, including the Bahaman Islands and the British West Indies.

(Sam Rabin Art)

When it comes to avoiding bad weather, it is wiser to duck a one-two punch, than stop it with your face.

Down in New Orleans, they can tell you something about taking two blows on the button. And just ask the good folks of Greater Tallahassee, who have spent the past number of days living and breathing something could have avoided and remained mainly ignored or neglected. But they did not, standing tall in a world where humanitarianism is becoming a lost art.

The Levee at Canal Street

Sure, John Ferrell had a vested interest, a personal agenda, as did those concerned about the well-being of the Tallahassee Junior Women’s Club, but what this grouping of ordinary everyday people has accomplished is amazing.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #114


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #90

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #90

…Da cows givin’ lot less milk, hens ain’t laying right an’ I ain’t seena bird for days… even da dogs don’t come out from da porch…

Animal Panic

“Anything new… down on the farm?” asks the boss.

Willy thinks on it a spell, finally commenting, “All da animals is actin’ differnt, funny.”

“What do you mean.?”

Da cows givin’ lot less milk, hens ain’t laying right an’ I ain’t seena bird for days. Even da dogs don’t come out from under da porch. Animals is smarter than folks give propers for. Too bad they ain’t one of ‘em that can talk.”

“You are so right.” Love has no explanation his own self. “Say, how is young Alfrey doing?”

  “I sees him Tursdees an’ Fridees, you know fo da city load, but he’sa studyin’ da rest of time.” Willy is beginning to accept, perhaps even allowing himself a pinch of pride about the academic leanings of his youngest son. With Hosea off in Atlantic City, involved in who knows what, he knows he best do his best in encouraging Alfrey in what he is good at; not that he could not have learned to make a good cigar. “He’s been learnin’ all summer too, ain’t stopped to play wit da rest of da keeds an’ such, not Alfrey. Ima tinkin’ da teacher is runnin’ out of things ta teach him.”

“I will contact the tutor. He needs to be a child.” The boy is Love’s pet project, never having a son of his own, yet neither has he supplanted Willy’s role of father.

Alfrey Campbell is the recipient of the best-of-two worlds; a father grounded in good old-fashioned values and a father figure with every resource God can bestow to man. “I think he should take ten days off or so. Is there anything you can think of to keep him busy?”

Ziggy-001“Doc Ziggy has bin after him fo stayin’ evree week we’s go to da city. He takes him fishin’ or goin’ doctorin’ fo the ol’ folks thereabouts ‘hassee.”

Herb is used to “‘hassee” sans the Talla-.

“That is a wonderful idea. He has a telephone.” Not everyone does. “I will ask if this Friday would be suitable.”

“Hold up, Mr. Love’” Willy interrupts. “We’va invite here to da Ferrell boy’s weddin’ to Missy Smythwick. We could go maybe an’ just leev Alfrey behind after.”

What a convenience the telephone has become. To arrange this situation a decade ago, you would have had to send a courier, or a mail train, wasting a week or more, depending on how far away the recipient is, as opposed to minutes. The only rub is that someone needs to be within earshot of the ringing box; if not now, maybe later (And to think that people used to marvel at telegrams and organized mail delivery). One must wonder what wonder the twentieth century will bring next.

“Excellent suggestion, Willy. That way you could take Mrs. Love along with you. She did so want to attend, but with me unable to shake my duties, it looked like she would stay home.”

Love does summarize.

“We have covered a lot of ground, Willy. Thank you for your good work and leave the arrangements to me.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #90


page 83

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #89

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #89

…This is me___Willy___is that you?” Willy handles the phone receiver like it is the mouth of a poisonous snake…

Sec. of Ag-001

“Phoebe darling could you round up Willy for me,” asks Herbert Love, making his bi-weekly call from Washington D.C. This couple had never spent any large blocks of time apart and every detail on each end is shared, as September 1900 approaches.

Herb has settled into his civil servant post quite nicely, making national agriculture a serious vocation. His broad-based experience in the “field of fields” has served him well and as an unexpected bonus, President William McKinley has become a close friend. Love is a McKinley kind of guy, a trusted resource whose counsel is sought in areas  that exceeds, surpassing his title of Under-Secretary of Agriculture.

Yet, despite success in his new world, the old one still requires his attention. To that end, he is learning to delegate responsibility. And just as he cannot be on both coasts at once, so must he assign someone to act in his stead.

This is me___Willy___is that you?” Willy handles the phone receiver like it is the mouth of a poisonous snake. Some inventions are intimidating. This talking box is one of them.

“Yes Willy, it is me, Herb. I am calling from our nation’s capitol.”

Loyal Campbells-001 “They got any good cigars there?”

“Only ours, my friend. As a matter of fact I have orders for ten cases of Loyal Campbells. There is lots of puffing and hot air goings on here and they appreciate not having to smoking that Carolina weed.” It is easy for Herbert to talk down the competition, now that he has had contact with many of them. “Everybody asks me: ‘Who is that man behind these beauts?’ and I tell them: ‘That is my cigar master and right hand man’.”

“Gosh, ya don’t havta be braggin’ on my sorry bones,” he says humbly.

“Brag, I will show you bragging. I will go so far as calling you my Operations Manager … for everything–the creamery, cash crops, of course the cigars.”

“You mean like a overseer?”

“Well, I would prefer to call it a foreman, someone to take my place, as long as they need me paycheck-001in Washington. I know you can do it, heck you have been doing it. And you will find we have doubled your pay.”

Herbert waits for a response. None forthcoming, he prompts by saying, “I know that two hundred dollars a month is not a fortune, but it will give you a chance to put some money aside, you know a savings account?.” Love perceives that Willy may be flabbergasted, on the receiving end of this one-sided conversation. “Anything new down on the farm?”


Alpha Omega M.D.

More Tim McGraw (For shits ‘n giggles)

Episode #89


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #84

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #84

…I do not think we have ever had a Herb in the Lincoln Bedroom, it is yours for the duration of your White House stay…

The Lincoln Bedroom

“I will dispatch my train to fetch you this very day–if that suits your schedule. It would reach you tomorrow about this time and would expect Mrs. Love to accompany you. A wife should never be separated from her husband for long stretches of time. God has made them largely frail creatures.”

“That is if you consider the Statue of Liberty frail!” Love corrects.

“Well put, good sir. My dear Ida may not be able to run to my side, but should I get on my high horse, she can turn me around with a mere look, if you know what I mean.”

“I do indeed,” agrees a kindred male spirit, who inquires further, “Shall I make reservations at a…..”

“No, no , no, Herb—-may I call you Herb?”

“Certainly.”

I do not think we have ever had a herb in the Lincoln Bedroom. It is yours for the duration of your visit, though I suggest you start your search for more permanent accommodations in the future. I will assign my personal secretary to aid you in that endeavor. Suites are in short supply here, seeing that most Senators and Congressmen take up residence during legislative sessions.” McKinley continues, “So, I will look forward to meeting you in person, Herbert Davis Love. I am sure I will not be disappointed. You are a man after my own heart and I think will have a productive, if not lasting relationship.”

“I believe so; Mr. President and we will see the day after tomorrow. That would be 14 August, yes?”

“You are a man of detail. I like that.” President McKinley thinks of a forgotten particular on his part. “Oh my, yes, I hasten to add that should pack your formal attire, as we will be entertaining a Brazilian delegation on this Saturday eve. They are a burgeoning producer of agricultural goods. It is a fortunate coincidence that you will be here for me. You can help uphold and protect our interests.”

“I speak very little Portuguese, sir. What I do know, is that Brazilians are quite the entrepreneurs.”

“Shrewd?”

“Like a wise owl.”

The President is impressed. “It is a shame that you were overlooked back in ‘97. Oh well, that is water over the dam, is it not?” This is in light of the fact that James Wilson is no slouch. “I must be going. Ida needs her rest. I will send an attendant for you to assure your safe journey.”

  It is an abrupt ending to a ten minute conversation; a ten minute slice of American history that only four people have intimate knowledge. There are seventy-four million beneficiaries herein, whose bodies know no other needs than food to eat and clothes to wear.


Alpha Omega M.D.

The Promise of America

Episode #84


page 77

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #81

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #81

…”The telephone is a wonderful invention, but I fear that our operator will spread our affairs about faster than you can say—busybody”…

Quincy Telephone-001

It is not every day you get a letter from the President of the United States of America.

Wife Phoebe is right there, reading aloud, matching Herbert word for word. Meeting at the end, she asks, “Well, what do you think of that, Mr. Love?”

He does not answer her immediately, awash in colliding thoughts. When he has composed himself, he explores, “Please tell me that taking this post would not turn our world upside down? What lies beyond the horizon? We have such a comfortable life; I would hate to give it up.”

“God has the plan for our lives, Herb, you know that. We are but a wink in His eternal eye and only become aware of that plan in bits and pieces. Sometimes, He will wait until the last moment to open a door previously unseen through our myopic perspectives.

Love's-001    “Perhaps we should view this as divine guidance. How else would the government of the United States take notice of our Panhandle doings?” Phoebe Love has always been the best sounding board any man can have. She abides now, by grace through faith. She trusts in the Master’s plan, the common behavioral trait of those who believe.

“You are quite a woman, Mrs. Love. You should have been a First Lady, not just a mayor’s wife,” he proclaims with a pinch of humility.

“It’s never too late for the young, Mr. Love. Perhaps a position in Washington will leave you with a taste for greater ambition.” Whimsical as it seems, she has admired first ladies like the current, Ida Saxton McKinley, from afar. Modesty forever squelches those lofty notions. “I believe you should call the President this very minute. Do not allow a lapse in time to interfere with this great adventure… the number is on the very bottom of the telegram.”

Operator

“Millie”

The telephone is a wonderful invention, but I fear that our operator will spread our affairs about faster than you can say—busybody.

“Be kind now, Herb. Millie has a good heart; she merely lacks the art of secrecy.”

“You are too kind, dear. I will simply tell her that if I hear the word Washington from anyone, anywhere, before we make an announcement, I will tell everyone who will listen that she actually pilfered her “famous” fried chicken batter recipe from my mother, yet she lays claim to it as hers, even serving as Sunday dinner for our poor unsuspecting new pastor. He is likely going to be her next victim.”

“You will do no such thing, Herbert Love. Methinks you are the real gossip of the town, not she!”

“The Mayor is above gossip!” he declares, while lifting the receiver off his wall-hung Bell invention.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #81


page 74

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #80

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #80

…It is not every day you get a wire from the President of the United States of America…

After successfully navigating through the murky waters of the Spanish-American War, a one hundred day semi-global skirmish that establishes his country as an imperialistic power, President William McKinley has set his sights on reelection. The war has produced, as they usually do, heroes and the Republican Party chooses the most celebrated hero, Teddy Roosevelt as his Vice-presidential partner, rather than incumbent Garret Hobart. Roosevelt had previously ridden his San Juan Hill popularity to the New York governor’s mansion. Sound reputation and national prosperity virtually assures them victory in November.

But this is August and some smaller issues need to be dealt with. It is Herbert Love who may add yet another title to his already crowded business card; because of a telegram he receives.

It reads:

Mayor Herbert Love

Quincy City Hall

Quincy, Florida, U.S.A.

 

President William McKinley

Washington D.C., U.S.A.

Dear Mr. Love;

My staff and I have been admiring reports of your diverse approach to your agricultural enterprises. This is the sort of expertise a president looks for when he selects his Secretary of Agriculture.

As you likely know, James Wilson has been and will be my secretary of this department, but he has succumbed to dreadful plague while he was in San Francisco. And considering the boll weevil crisis we face, among other issues, such as the total pasteurization of the nation’s milk supply, I feel we need a steady stream of quality leadership for our nation’s farming families.

We feel that you are that man and hope you will be stirred to serve your country and offer  this position in my administration. Your title would be Under-secretary of Agriculture, the first such, but with all the amenities that Mr. Wilson enjoys. Of course I would want you stay on for my second term, God willing.

Please call me at the attached secure telephone line, at your earliest convenience.

  Your President,

 William McKinley

It is not every day you get a wire from the President of the United States of America.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #80


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