Computer models are not the only models we use. All the models used, the ones in our heads or computers, rely on steady-state patterns. Everything we are, we owe to predictable and reasonably stable patterns. Business, trade, or food production requires predictability. This is why there is such disdain for Chaos. Chaos cannot be modeled. During extended periods of environmental chaos, society at all levels breaks down. Though usually the last to fall, cities cannot ride out a world in chaos that lasts years. Cities are mortal too!
Why the concern about chaos? A menace has been growing yearly under our feet, that may be affecting electrical grids, communications, and weather. The decline of the earth’s magnetic field and the migration of the magnetic poles are accelerating every year. The official line is that there is no reason for concern. Many fear this phenomenon will bring a long period of chaos to our orderly planet of which increased vulcanism, earthquakes, and cosmic radiation being the less worrisome consequences. The questions are: can businesses, cities, and government ride out what may come, and if not, would it not be prudent to take steps to reduce the time it will take for the world to recover?
Two hundred years of voting safeguards are gone. A democracy can not exist if a voters’ choices are known, or ballots are fraudulent. Mail-in and absentee voting bypass all the safeguards established over 200 years to ensure voting integrity and protect anonymity. In-person voting made it most likely that a legitimate voter filled out the ballot, the person voting voted once, and the tabulated votes were accurate. Mail-in voting can not promise the same level of scrutiny or accuracy. Only if the voter and the ballot mailed can be verified that was counted is mail-in voting legitimate. Unfortunately, to verify the voter and the ballot mailed means the candidates and propositions a voter selects are no longer secret. Verification is mail-in votings’ Catch 22. If a voters ballot is kept secret, then there is no way to ensure the ballots cast are legitimate. And, if the voter is not sure the ballot filled out is the ballot counted, the outcome of the voting can not be trusted. Those people are fooling themselves to think otherwise. Mail in ballots and Mail-in voting has destroyed people’s faith in the outcome of any election. It is not funny, America’s democracy has been corrupted not by Russia, but by short-sighted politicians, the news media, and judges. The United States of America is now the Banana Republic.
City, state, and federal bureaucracy and politicians failed to lead. Almost every person in the above groups succumbed to hysteria from incompetency, fear, or both. There was no justification for shutting down the nation for more than three weeks. If China and the WHO had provided accurate information, there would have been no need to shut down the country. All that was necessary was to safeguard those in high-risk groups from catching the virus. For those not in the high mortality groups, contracting COVID-19 was not a death sentence.
Seriously, does anyone think transit ridership is coming back anytime soon?Many changes to buses, subway cars, and stations will be needed to get ridership on subways and buses back to pre-COViD-19 levels. Ventilation to pull air up and out of the vehicle will be required, more subway cars and buses added and kept clean. The frequency between trains and buses will have to be increased to lower crowding. People have told social distancing reduces exposure to the coronavirus. Influenza, pneumonia MRSA and tuberculosis quickly spread on crowded subway cars. Warts, ringworm, and scabies are skin diseases one can catch on a crowded subway. (1) Crowded subways and bed bugs are common (2) Transit authorities have tried to hide all the diseases and parasites one can catch in crowded subway cars and subway stations hidden from passengers.
The fixation academics and bureaucrats have had for decades of making every building energy-efficient while downplaying the negative health consequences of breathing recirculated air to gain acceptance by the public is an example of academic, scientific, and political tunnel vision. The way to fix a long term and complex problem is not to ignore or simplify other variables in the environment that will be thrown out of balance by a simple fix. This short-sighted myopia is exactly what the poorly thought out push to make every building energy-efficient using energy consumption as the only variable in the equation is! Every year new standards and regulations by the very same groups mentioned above are issued to undo problems created by demanding energy efficiency.
Fresh air and natural light were sacrificed on the altar of energy efficiency. Healthy buildings for the people in them took a back seat to BTUs kilowatts and CO2. How many historic, well-built buildings destroyed or turned into sick buildings in the name of energy-efficient? Urbanites now live in energy-efficient tombs that kill. And, as always, the fixes to make buildings healthy will be costly and ultimately use more energy(3).
Too many mayors of cities are deluged by a sea of bureaucrats chasing imaginary dragons as Don Quixote had. It takes a great mayor and support staff to see through the shenanigans of career bureaucrats eager to justify their existence. It takes an even greater mayor and staff to create a city government staffed by capable people interested in the city they serve and not just collecting a salary. Solutions that require multidisciplinary expertise and understanding will be few and far between as long as mayors look to institutions that focus on instant science and solutions.