A prank they didn’t know how to finish.
August 30, 2011 § 2 Comments
So the Virginia earthquake and the worst of Hurricane Irene are behind us, and we can go back to talking about foreign natural disasters. Because let’s be honest: foreigners give their natural disasters way better names.
China and other China-adjacent countries are having their own Hurricane Irene-like problems, but theirs is called “Typhoon Nanmadol.” I’m not sure what a typhoon is, but it looks rainy. The governments of the typhoon-stricken nations are doing their best “NYC Evacuation 2011” impression: canceling flights, suspending public transit, encouraging people to seek high ground, and generally battening down various hatches. (Discussion Question: How does one “batten” a “hatch”? Discuss.). So some people have died and boats have disappeared and many, many people are getting aggressively moistened by Typhoon Nanmadol, who is as big a jerk as Hurricane Irene was. I hope that everyone in China and in other Nanmadol-affected China-adjacent nations finds a safe place to weather the storm, and can find some hatches to batten. Apparently the biggest problem with typhoons is that they cause landslides, and people are losing their houses. Typhoon Nanmadol is a total asshole.
Historically speaking, Mother Nature has repeatedly been a jerk to us, and I don’t just mean hurricanes and typhoons and earthquakes. Let’s not forget humanity’s old friend: The Plague.
A bunch of Canadian scientists went to London and dug up some bodies that were buried in a mass Plague grave. Their goal? Let’s identify the bacteria that causes the Black Death! Huzzah! So the scientists exhumed a hundred or so 14th century bodies who had died from the Black Death, and took their teeth. They dug into the 700 year old teeth and extracted some ancient tooth gunk. Historians already know that the Plague was passed by fleas (Xenopsylla cheopis) that lived on rats (Rattus norvegicus), but nobody’s been sure what bacterium actually killed all those poor medieval people. But now we know! The culprit is Yersinia pestis! The good news is that Yersinia pestis is extinct, so you don’t have to worry about having to call in to work sick with the Black Death. The Canadian scientists who did the exhuming and tooth-drilling claim that they did it to help us understand virulent diseases so that there will never be another global pandemic. It’s my opinion that they were actually just a bunch of bored Canadians who got drunk in London and started a prank that they didn’t know how to finish.
If they were smart, they would’ve gotten drunk in Italy, where the wine is better and the weather is a little more agreeable. It’s important to note, though, that if you visit the town of Filettino, you’ll have to trade in your Euros. That’s because the Filettines (is that what you call people from Filettino?) have decided to mint their own money.
Italy is in some financial troubles. They have announced “emergency measures” that require towns with less than 1000 residents to merge with their neighbouring towns, as a cost-cutting measure. I don’t understand how that cuts costs, but I don’t speak Italian. So Filettino, a town of 598 residents, has begun minting its own money (called the “fiorito”), and they’re trying to take a page out of the book of South Sudan, and declare independence from Italy. The mayor wants to install a monarch and strike out as its own country. And just so as you know, the fiorito, if it becomes legal tender, will be worth 1/2 of a euro, or about 75 cents.
And here is a Cuban dude with a bunch of extra fingers.
Try not to freak out.
(Alternate title for this article: “Call in to work sick with the Black Death.”)
Keep a good heart; the worst is yet to come.