Now affecting every corner of the globe except Antarctica, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic threatens to destabilize governments and sow economic chaos for months, even years to come. Across the planet, cities, provinces, even entire countries are on lockdown, with businesses shuttered and citizens told to “shelter in place”, ultimately restricted to house arrest except for essential errands for food, medicine, gas and assistance to dependent family members. A death toll count is pointless; even at the speed of internet publication, such figures are immediately outdated, but as of March 18th, global casualties approach 10,000. Millions are likely to follow.
Coronavirus received its first celebrity “spokespersons” on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, when actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, announced they had tested positive for the virus. Thankfully, the couple was in Australia for the filming of Hanks’ latest movie, giving them access to adequate testing facilities unavailable in the US. Both had been feeling unwell, tired and achy, with Ms. Wilson also experiencing chills and slight fever.
At long last, some sanity! Joe Biden’s virtual sweep of the Super Tuesday primary contests on March 3rd was stunning to behold, coming from so far behind, and left most political pundits scratching their heads in wonder, scrambling for an explanation. But not here at AAA – we foresaw the likelihood of a Biden nomination last November, when that startling “victory stellium” appeared on the Ascendant of his Solar Return, portending a successful year. We’re not exactly tripping over Accurate Prediction Trophies here, so you’ll forgive me if I crow a bit, like Maurice the rooster.
The coronavirus continues to spread globally, with the first deaths in the United States, Australia and Thailand, all announced within a 12 hour period on Leap Day. Genuine awareness of the economic threat it poses seemed to sink in during the prior week, manifesting as a panicked sell-off on Wall Street to the tune of 3600 points, some 11% of its volume, the worst week since the financial crisis of 2008. February 27th saw the largest single-day drop in Dow history, shedding 1191 points. Of course, Fearless Leader says it’s just a hyped-up conspiracy by the Fake News Media to discredit him, the Dow drop occurred because investors were depressed by the paucity of viable candidates in the Dem primary (but shouldn’t that make these alleged Trump-lovers happy?), and coronavirus will just “disappear one day … like a miracle.”
It only happens every four years – Leap Day! Carved from the monotony of the calendar by the cosmos’ refusal to divide itself evenly into neat 24 hour increments just to suit human constructs, Leap Day provides us with an extra day, the opportunity to do whatever we like. Well, in theory.
This year I’m using my Leap Day to publish some random musings on the intricacies of the celestial sphere with additional asteroid research that really doesn’t fit into any category. I encounter these points haphazardly, and don’t always have a chance to thoroughly investigate them at the time.
On October 15, 2019 at 3:15 AM EDT, a crew of Verizon workers raised a heavy iron manhole cover in the Columbus Circle section of Manhattan, to be assaulted by a putrid smell. Investigation into the vault below found the badly decomposed body of a man, partially consumed by rats, who had clearly been dead for some time. The mystery of how the corpse got under the 300 pound manhole cover, which normally takes two people to lift it, was resolved by examination of surveillance footage of the area.