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The world ends not with a bang but a PowerPoint presentation

My laptop is still out for repairs. I am preparing for a blow to my bank account. Tips gratefully accepted.

In the meantime, I had one credit left at audible so I downloaded the latest book on the coming zombi apocalypse, The Girl With All The Gifts. I don’t think I’m giving too much away by telling you it’s about zombies. Where would summer be without a zombie beach read?

I won’t get too much into the plot, because I can’t without totally spoiling it for you, but I did find the historical narrative on the apocalypse struck pretty close to what I imagine the truth will be.

The narrator says that after the initial phase of the infection, there was a brief calm and window of opportunity to do some emergency research. But while the pathogen was temporarily quiet, looking for new victims, “global capitalism” was still on a feeding frenzy, tearing the world apart as quickly as it could. Of all the elements of this book, I found this the most believable, I can almost see the suits on Wall Street trying to find a way to corner the market on respirators and disinfectants.

But what was really funny, but not belly laugh funny, unless you’ve been on the receiving end of the MBA masters of the universe bean counting strategy when it comes to research, was the plan that the capitalists, and governments at their mercy, put in place to take advantage of that brief lull to conduct some in the field R&D. They found two articulated buses used by the national science museums and retrofitted them with labs and bunks. Each bus would accommodate 6 scientists each, to be comprised of a mix of biologists and organic chemists. That’s two buses of twelve scientists total to save the world.

One can easily imagine the presentation of this plan and the slick PowerPoint slides to accompany it. On one slide would be the pretty picture of the buses, the next a floor plan where the air locks, microscopes and hoods would be. Then a breakdown of the costs on the next slide:

“The shareholders are prepared to commit $10 million to retrofit the buses, 12 FTE’s for the research. Salaries are competitive with academic research for post-docs at $37,000/year but this is unimportant. If they return, and their experiments are reproducible, we anticipate further renumeration to come from prizes so our costs there are minimal. In essence, this is a self-funding grant. It goes without saying that we will hold any patents and government will fast track approval. Any questions?”

Anyway, the timeframe of the book is years later and the survivors find the buses. No sign of the teams though. It turns out that the pathogen didn’t give them much of a break in the action and those 12 people were just pampered slackers who futzed around with the shareholders’ expensive equipment. Totally unproductive. The MBA’s should have just cut them out all together. What a fricking waste of money.

5 sponges. Highly recommended.

4 Responses

  1. Have you used the public library web site to download/borrow books (Kindle) thru Amazon or OverDrive? I think a lot of people are not real familiar with process. Just use your digital library number and get into Library Web site and browse eBooks. There are several different formats…Kindle, Overdrive, and a few others. But I have read dozens of books this way. You can borrow for free for usually 2 weeks. I just read Ken Follett “Fall of Giants”…..first book of trilogy of the last century. Found it very interesting. Have then downloaded the second and going to start it. Have read many books that I would not have bought. Once I have gotten use to reading on my iPad or Kindle, I love it. Better than a book, I am ashamed to say. I use the Cambria County Library System in PA. Each county may be a bit different. But it is a wonderful service!

    • I have a membership to the Carnegie Library system. I’ve had the audible account for a long time. It’s a teensy, tiny fraction of cost compared to what my laptop will cost. It would take almost three years for me to rack up the equivalent in audio books as it is to fix my laptop now.

  2. I didn’t just mean audio books, but they of course have them to download, but to actually read the book on a Kindle of on a Kindle App on iPad or Laptop. It is all free of charge.
    As far as a new laptop, I use a very inexpensive Samsung 11″ which cost about $300. Works fine but often use my iPad with a bluetooth keyboard. I bought used iPad with 4g, 32gb for less than $300.
    I would love an Apple laptop, but out of my budget. Have you looked into pawn shops? There was one here and saw a number of nice laptops for pretty cheap. Or Craig’s list.

    • The apple laptop is in good hands with the geniuses. I bought it back in 2011 as my last major hardware purchase. I knew I would not get another chance for a very long time. It was a good investment.
      So, no, I’m not going to pawn shops and I’ll switch to Windows over my dead body. The genius said that the laptop will get a complete overhaul for what I’m paying for it.
      That doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting.

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