Holy hot dogs! For the first time since World War II, the State Fair of Virginia has been canceled. Thanks to COVID-19, there will be no Ferris wheel, no crowds of people strolling the midway, no pig races or deep-fried Oreos. “We really tried, we just cannot make it work this year,” said Pam Wiley, director of communications for the Virginia Farm Bureau, which operates the fair. While we understand the necessity of the move, we will miss the event. It is one of our favorites and a Richmond tradition. Wiley says the only other time before the war that the fair was canceled was during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. She promises that the State Fair will be back in 2021. We fervently hope so.
Most Americans, sick and tired of the coronavirus, say they are willing to take serious measures to get it under control. According to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 3 out of 4 Americans now favor requiring people to wear face masks when they are away from home. The survey shows that most people report washing their hands more often and avoiding crowds. And, thankfully, most people no longer are panicking, and hoarding food and cleaning supplies. We all need to do our part by acting responsibly to avoid a mandatory return to sheltering in our homes.
However, there might be a silver lining to the coronavirus. According to The Wall Street Journal, countries in the Southern Hemisphere are smack in the middle of winter. But doctors and epidemiologists throughout the region who were expecting a double whammy of COVID-19 and flu say they are seeing “far lower numbers of influenza and other seasonal respiratory viral infections.” In fact, several nations report that the flu seems to have virtually disappeared. Health experts say the phenomena can be directly attributed to measures people are practicing to avoid contracting COVID-19 — mask use, frequent hand-washing and restricted air travel. So, if observing the preventive measures that health care professionals long have urged us to practice do keep the flu at bay, then it stands to reason they can help keep this newest pandemic at bay. Fall will arrive in the Northern Hemisphere before we know it. This report of a reduction of flu cases is good news indeed. Masks and good hygiene practices work. Use them both.
Don Lutes Jr. found a 1943 penny in his high school cafeteria that he kept in a safe for seven decades. Pennies made in the United States that year were supposed to be made of zinc-coated steel to conserve copper for wartime needs. The penny Lutes found was one of a handful of bronze pennies made in error. Lutes, a coin collector, finally decided to sell the penny in 2019. The coin ended up going for $204,000. Experts say that 1943 bronze Lincoln penny is known as “the most famous error coin in American numismatics.” The odds of finding one are tiny. Only between 15 and 20 of them are accounted for by collectors, but there possibly are a few still floating around. And there are plenty of other coins that are considered rare — either because only a few were made or because there was an error during the minting process. Those coins jingling in your pocket or languishing in a penny jar on a bedroom shelf could be worth a fortune. During these dog days of summer when you are stuck at home anyway, why not take the time and go through your coin collection? If you see anything interesting, check it out. Otherwise, help alleviate the coin shortage and turn them in for paper currency. You might be surprised how much money has been sitting in that jar all these years.
A new study suggests that the age-old question of what defines “consciousness” — one’s state of awareness — might come down to a matter of vibrations. In a recent article posted on EarthSky.org, Tam Hunt, a University of California Santa Barbara visiting guest, says he and UC Santa Barbara psychology professor Jonathan Schooler have developed a “resonance theory of consciousness.” The two suggest that resonance — synchronized vibrations — “is at the heart of not only human consciousness but also animal consciousness and of physical reality.” Because everything in the universe constantly is in motion, everything also is vibrating. In fact, the two researchers claim that all of nature is vibrating. And, when two different things come together, they eventually “sync up” and begin to vibrate at the same pulse. The study suggests that all things, from electrons to humans, interact according to these pulses. While interesting, it’s not surprising that a couple of California researchers are picking up on good vibrations.
— Robin Beres