Easing Back into Normalcy

Happy Friday, all. Apologies for the lack of posting yesterday, I wasn’t feeling well and sitting in front of my computer typing stuff up wasn’t happening. But now the weekend is nearly upon us and to get in the mood I wanted to share this great dot plot from xkcd. It captures something I’ve definitely been thinking about.

Hopefully crossing most of these off in the next few weeks/months.

For example, on 3 March 2020, I had a friend over to my flat for drinks and to watch the Super Tuesday Democratic primary results come in. Tomorrow, if all goes according to plan, will be the first time I’ve had company over in 15 months.

In essence we have check boxes of the normal things we did in the before times and we’re just checking them off one by one until we can feel normal again.

Just please don’t contract a novel bat virus again.

Credit for the piece goes to Randall Munroe.

The Month That Lasted a Year

Two Fridays ago I received my second dose of the vaccine. In other words, I’m fully vaccinated and can resume doing…things. Anything. And so this piece from xkcd seemed an appropriate way to wrap up what has been a horrible, no good, terrible year.

The longest month of our lives.

Credit for the piece goes to Randall Munroe.

Party Time Post-Vaccine

If all goes according to plan, your author today will receive his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, the Pfizer variety for the curious. As such, it feels appropriate to share this recent piece from xkcd.

Also looks like some funky bar chord notation.

All joking aside, it should be said that, and as this graphic illustrates, just because you receive your first dose, doesn’t mean you should be out socialising and seeing people later that night.

You are not fully vaccinated until two weeks after your second dose, or the first if you received Johnson & Johnson. And so while I may be receiving my first dose this afternoon, it is going to be close to a month and a half before I’m able to leave my household unit and socialise with others. Probably three weeks for my second dose and then another two weeks for the vaccine to fully take effect.

Doesn’t mean I won’t be counting the days, though.

Credit for the piece goes to Randall Munroe.

But What About Pluto?

Damn you Neil deGrasse Tyson (but not really though)!

Because, you know, he advocated for de-planet-fying Pluto back in the oughts.

Which I mention because of this post from xkcd, which corrects common images of planets in the solar system accounting for their population.

Still, though, no Pluto?

Credit for the piece goes to Randall Munroe.

The Mars Rovers

Perseverance landed on Mars on 18 February, almost a month ago. The video and photography the rover has already sent back has been stunning. We all know she is the most capable rover yet landed on the Red Planet, but what we all want to know is how cute is Perseverance compared to her predecessors?

Thankfully for that we have xkcd.

Still a big fan of Spirit and Opportunity. Designed to last 3 months, it trekked on for over 14 years.

Credit for the piece goes to Randall Munroe.

No, Your Vaccine Is Now Fully Operational

Another week is over, and for the past few years I’ve often said we all made it to the end of the week. When in reality, for the last few months, thousands of people were not. We’ve started using Monday to sort of recap the state of the pandemic in a select region of the country. And then we moved straight into how the New York Times addressed the US reaching the grim milestone of 500,000 deaths.

So I want to end this week with a little story told over at xkcd that tries to explain these new mRNA vaccines. Who doesn’t love science, science fiction, and humour woven together into a narrative? True, this isn’t really data visualisation, but it dovetails nicely into the work we’ve been doing and reviewing of late. Plus, levity. We all need levity.

These are not the cells you’re looking for.

You’ll want to click through to read it all.

Credit for the piece goes to Randall Munroe.

Appliance Matrix

Well, it’s Friday. And in the Northeast that means another snowstorm. In normal times, that would mean a nice half-hour walk to the office wherein my overcoat would likely become covered in snow and my trousers soaked in disgusting, salty, slush water. In other words, I’d need to wash and dry my clothes. But what household appliances should I use?

Thankfully, over at xkcd, Randall Munroe tackled that very problem with this helpful matrix.

Of course my aforementioned scenario is entirely moot, because like so many of you, I haven’t seen my office nor really left my flat in 11 months now. But here’s looking at you vaccines.

Credit for the piece goes to Randall Munroe.

The Earth Is a Bit Bumpy

Last Friday I shared an xkcd post about the relative smoothness of the Earth. This week he posted an illustration but a slightly different scale. You can see more of Earth’s jagged edges.

Gotta love the Star Trek reference. I’m betting he used the length of the Kelvin timeline Enterprise, which I personally dislike, as it’s significantly larger than the prime timeline Enterprise of Shatner and Nimoy.

Anyway, Happy Friday, all.

Credit for the piece goes to Randall Munroe.

The Earth Is Actually Quite Smooth

At scale. Not quite as smooth as a billiards ball, as is often claimed. But still, with the majority of the Earth’s surface covered by water, the highest mountains of Everest and K2 make for mere fractions of differences in height relative to the Earth’s size.

But that did not stop xkcd from making a scale model of Earth.

Credit for the piece goes to Randall Munroe.