When I was a kid, I loved playing with radio-control planes. It took a while to build them, but it was always worth it to see them take off and fly around. Not a single plane survived, but that’s ok… the crashes were inevitable. Then, I’d salvage the electronics (batteries, servos) and just build them into the next model. For me, and the way I flew those things, that was just part of it.
What wasn’t inevitable was how I lost a couple of helicopters… those, I didn’t build. But I did try to figure out how far away I could fly them before the radio control lost contact.
When you think about it, there’s really no good way to figure that out… it works, it works, it works, it doesn’t work. Oh. Then you watch it drift off into the distance. Modern drones will fly back to their home point, but not these old cheap plastic things. They landed on some distant rooftop or tree, never to be seen again.
What was I thinking? I was a kid, so don’t judge too harshly… flirting with that edge of possibility was part of the fun.
Similarly, Dr. Henry and Minister Dix gave one of their comprehensive updates today; lots to digest, but the summary of it is that things are pretty good… and that, as usual, it’s entirely up to us with respect to how things go from here.
On the “it could go this way or it could go that way” projections, we’re right at the edge. It’s actually flirting with that “out of control” tipping point much the same as the anchor brakes I talked about yesterday… and much the same as the helicopters mentioned above. Perhaps the range is 500 feet… and at 490 feet away, it’s flying perfect under control. And then it ever-so-gently drifts out to 510 feet and I give it a little right-turn nudge on the stick but nothing happens… and now I give it full-right, full-left, oh shit, up, down, engine off… etc etc, no response… and I watch it drift away, till it’s nothing but a little dot in the sky, lost forever.
If you look at the epidemiological (thank you auto-correct/spell-check) modelling, there are always these various lines… in this case (slide 20 on today’s presentation, available on the BCCDC website), you can see the effects going forward with respect to infectious contact percentages. At 50%, things go down. At 70%, they rise sharply. At 80%, they blow out of control. Floating around 60%, which is roughly where they’re at, they’re growing, but not crazily. And if we can nudge it down to 50%, we’d be in great shape. And all it takes is for the vast majority of us to follow the guidelines which we’re all very familiar with by now. And if you’re not, especially since a few (work spaces and schools) have been updated, brush up on it… on what’s ok and what isn’t.
Model helicopters, boat anchors, pandemics… what on earth do those three things have in common? They all have a tipping point, and the tipping point is entirely under the control of the single human (model helicopter), small group of humans (controlling dropping the anchor) or general population (pandemic control) – upon whom the outcome relies. It’s up to me, it’s up to us… and it’s up to all of us.