UFOs, conspiracies, a missing mojo, an asteroid and more kindnesses

3 May 2020

UFOs exist:  videos of UFOs that were leaked in 2007 and 2017 have been officially released by the Pentagon.  They show what the Pentagon describes as “unexplained aerial phenomena” and the crew’s comments can be heard in the video.  What is less satisfactory is that the videos both stop while the UFO was still in view.  What I want to know is what happened next.  Did the UFO suddenly disappear or fade from view, or did little green aliens make radio contact to tell the USAF to bugger off, or was it just a lump of bird poo on the windscreen that slid up into the slipstream?

Another interesting conspiracy theory gained ground this week when Donald Trump implied he’d seen evidence that Covid-19 had been created in a virology laboratory in Wuhan.  American intelligence agencies had already agreed with the consensus view of scientific experts in the field that the coronavirus was “not man-made or genetically modified” and, to nobody’s surprise, Trump hasn’t yet produced this evidence.

However, the conspiracy theory was boosted over here by Alan Sugar who tweeted a claim that a Japanese scientist, Tasuku Honjo, had said Covid-19 was man-made.  The real Nobel prize-winning Tasuku Honjo, who has been a professor at Kyoto University since 1984, then released a statement through the university saying “I am greatly saddened that my name and that of Kyoto University have been used to spread false accusations and misinformation”.

After the independent fact-checker Full Fact had also disproved the claims, another Twitter user suggested that Sugar should “concentrate on removing fake news from [his] feed” and Sugar (whose less than charming personality I have mentioned before) replied with his own irrefutable counter-argument “Shut your face.”

A parallel theory claims that the virus was created by China to strengthen their economy and increase its bargaining power with America.  Since the pandemic started, China’s economy has fallen by some 20%.  Whoops!

Talking of paranoia, Trump lost his rag this week with Brad Parscale, his campaign manager who had just given him some poor poll numbers, and threatened to sue Parscale, saying “I’m not fucking losing to Joe Biden.”  He’d obviously never heard the advice, attributed to Sophocles, that if somebody gives you bad news, “Don’t shoot the messenger”.

His vice-president, Mike Pence, had nobly attempted to distract attention from his guvnor’s stupidity with some of his own by refusing to wear a face mask when visiting the Mayo Clinic’s facilities in Minnesota.  Pence’s office later explained that he’s tested regularly for Covid-19 so he doesn’t need to wear a mask.  I wonder how many others he could infect if he picks up the coronavirus on his way home from a test and doesn’t know he has it until his next test.

However, he is the leading evangelical Christian in the Trump administration so he’s got God on his side and, as Bob Dylan said in his early cynical phase, “you don’t count the dead when God’s on your side”.

In the UK, Matt Hancock was stupid enough to have set himself the unattainable target of testing 100,000 people a day by the end of April and, when it became obvious, he wasn’t going to make it, he suddenly included 39,000 test kits that had been distributed to homes and ‘satellite’ testing locations.  Then, although he actually had no idea how many of those kits had been used, he congratulated himself on having achieved his “audacious goal”.

This was after 300 ventilators arrived from China on 4 April, when Michael Gove thanked the Chinese for sending them before the doctors who tried to use them  discovered they didn’t work and junked them.

But Boris is back.  He doesn’t look well, still breathless and wearing a suit that’s now too large, but that’s hardly surprising after his close brush with death.  He should really be taking things easy for a month or two yet if he wants to recover his mojo, which was so obviously missing from his first performance at a daily briefing.  He went through the motions – “we did all the right things at all the right times and we’ve managed the pandemic brilliantly” – but his natural ebullience had gone and you could tell that even he knew this was all bollocks.

The good news is that an asteroid more than a mile wide passed the earth at a distance of just under 4 million miles, which is about 16 times as far as the moon and too far to damage our failing planet, but scientists got terribly excited when they identified hills and ridges on the asteroid’s surface.  It’s coming back in 2079 when it will be closer to the earth, but I’ll be dead by then so good luck y’all.

And here are some of this week’s kindnesses.

My wife’s older daughter is head of an infants’ school near a large teaching hospital and they kept the school open during the Easter holidays to care for children of parents who are essential workers.  At the start of the new term, her school received a huge box of chocolates from NHS staff to thank them for taking care of their children during the holidays.

And Captain Tom Moore has become a national hero.  He was 100 on Thursday and has been walking round his garden in attempt to raise £1,000 for the NHS;  he’s now raised £32m.  To recognise his achievement, he’s been promoted to an honorary Colonel of the 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment and there was a fly-past by a WWII Hurricane and a Spitfire.

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