Saturday, February 24, 2024

The Grinch Who Just Might Save Christmas 2021

While government Grinches steal more and more of Christmas 2021, there are so far no edicts that restrict the topics to be discussed at the tiny gatherings in Who(else is fed up?)ville.

Smaller gatherings, in fact, may set the stage for deeper, more meaningful discussion of contemporary matters … which will either spell disaster, or opportunities for intellectual growth.

As you feast, feast, feast on your pudding and rare roast beast, we at BIG Media shall play the role of the metamorphosed Grinch with a 3x enlarged heart (editorial fact check confirms that the condition was a side effect of feeling love toward others; not an adverse event following immunization). It has been tough sledding, but we have steered past many obstacles, just in time to deliver the gifts of knowledge and guidance on how to navigate particularly perilous predicaments.

As if draping a string of lights to illuminate a 6-foot Scotch pine, we lay out a series of comments that you may face, each followed by a prescribed response to defuse the situation and avoid an all-out food (or worse) fight at Christmas dinner. We stuff your stocking with at least one link to a relevant article for each scenario …

Family member: “So how about that Omicron variant – looks like a global disaster is imminent.”

Your response: “Well, fortunately this variant so far is behaving more like the common cold than a catastrophic killer. Hospitalization and death rates, to date, have not risen with the pace of new cases, and hopefully that trend continues. However, it is early days, and Omicron’s rapid spread gives us all reason to watch closely.”

Ontario vaccine effectiveness nosedives amid surge in new cases

FM: “Can you believe that Billy showed up even though he is unvaccinated?! He is endangering all of our lives!”

YR: “Actually, if you look at the second chart in an excellent article presented by an accomplished BIG Media data scientist, you will see that Omicron does not seem to pick on the unvaccinated. In fact, the majority of cases – and an increasingly high percentage – are vaccinated … so let’s give Billy a break. It’s also important to keep in mind that COVID is not the same threat to everyone, and that the primary focus should be on protecting the vulnerable.”

 Ontario vaccine effectiveness nosedives amid surge in new cases

Assessing the relative lethality of COVID-19: a Canadian case study

FM: “But the data shows vaccination is highly effective in reducing severe COVID outcomes.”

YR: “Yes, that is true to date, but Omicron is a different animal, and it does not seem to care if you are vaccinated or not. For now, if Billy has no symptoms, and especially if he has antibodies from exposure through natural COVID infection, there is no reason that he should not enjoy the festivities with us … as long as he remembered to shower this time.” 🙂

Study shows natural infection superior to vaccination in long-term viral defence but authors note high risks of contracting COVID

Mounting COVID frustration is no reason to abandon fundamental principles

FM: “Well, at least we can agree that it’s important that everyone should get the flu shot, right?”

YR: “Actually, the data does not indicate much – if any – reason to get a flu shot this year. It all comes down to your health and your personal choices. Being well informed will help you make the decision that is right for you.”

Is flu vaccination important this year?

FM: “Billy says that COVID has never been anything more than a flu. Do you think that is true?”

YR: “That is definitely not true. In Alberta, a Canadian province of about 4.4 million people, COVID killed more people in one year than the flu did in the previous 19 years (2001 through 2019) combined.”

COVID-19 is definitely not the flu

FM: “How about that climate change – can you believe that some people still don’t see it as an existential crisis?! Sea level is rising at a catastrophic rate, glaciers are disappearing; humans have destroyed the planet!”

YR: “I understand your concern, but it’s important to put things in context. There is no need to panic and sell your Seattle home that is 2 blocks from the ocean. Sea level has been rising, and overall glacial mass has been shrinking since the last glacial maximum (ice age) about 20,000 years ago. There are many benefits from climate change, which has been happening naturally for many millions of years. I, for one, appreciate living on land, as opposed to the kilometres-thick sheet of ice that used to cover much of North America. That said, we should all do our part to reduce consumption and emissions as much as possible.”

Funeral for a glacier

Sea level is rising; should we be worried?

FM: “But people are dying in droves, and carbon from the fossil fuel industry is what is causing this catastrophic climate change.”

YR: “First, carbon is a building block of life, so obviously not a bad thing. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced by human activity are, indeed, adding somewhat to a warming effect in the atmosphere. In terms of deaths from severe weather-related events, as renowned author Alex Epstein wrote, ‘In the last 80 years, as CO2 emissions have risen from an atmospheric concentration of .03% to .04%, climate-related deaths have declined 98%.’ “

 Climate change and energy: context for the great debate

Putting global emissions in perspective

The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

FM: “But there is scientific consensus on these issues. We need to trust the science!”

YR: “I am not a scientist, but BIG Media has accomplished scientists who have written insightful articles on what science is all about. You might want to visit BIG Media and sign up, so we continue to build on the great discussion that we enjoyed today.”

 Science – there is method to the madness

Manipulating science – activism and advocacy

Science and morality – ethics and judgment

Do you ‘believe the science’? How about starting with understanding the science?

Welcome Christmas, bring your cheer

Cheer to all Whos far and near

Christmas Day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp

Christmas Day will always be

Just as long as we have we

Welcome, Christmas

While we stand

Heart to heart

And hand in hand

– The Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Rob Driscoll
Rob Driscoll
Rob Driscoll is co-founder and president of BIG Media Ltd. He is a writer and entrepreneur who is deeply committed to elevating the level of coverage of our society's most pressing matters as well as the level of respect in public discourse.
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