why the fuck is every nursery rhyme about people dying
- the london bridge is falling down and probably crushing pedestrians
- ring around the rosie pockets full of posie ashes ashes we all get obliterated by the black plague
- it’s raining it’s pouring the old man is snoring he bumped his head and fucking died
and fucking died
humpty dumpty committed suicide
jack fell down a hill and cracked his skull
A BABY FELL OUT A TREE
Look, I made a gif of this most awesome wizard at the Leaky Cauldron!
DUDE IS READING ‘A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME’ BY STEPHEN HAWKING
I NEVER REALIZED
are you serious
I always assumed wizards just ignored science, because the fact that “magic” exists, can explain anything. But there are MuggleBorn wizards, ones who, until they were eleven, lived in the real world and learned science and things. Did they all just abandon that normal, muggle knowledge, like Harry did? It’s always been there, itching in the back of my mind.
FOUR FOR YOU SCIENCE WIZARD
YOU GO SCIENCE WIZARD
can we point out that he’s doing wandless magic too
like voldemort couldnt even do that
molly weasley couldnt do that
who are you
Quick, somebody write a book series about the adventures of Magic Prodigy Science Wizard!!!
PLEASE SOMEONE JUST DO IT
Alan Baker had no use for wands, of course. If one were to Prior Incantato his outdated, duct-taped rod of walnut wood and dragon heartstring, its most recent use would have been the enchantment of the long-lived neurons in Alan’s own mind. This enchantment, possible only for those who were capable of seeing themselves as a complex amalgamation of neural impulses, allowed him to bypass both wands and words. Alan did this, not for show, not for power, but because wandwork distracted him from his reading.
Unfortunately, there was no legal spell to get rid of barflies.
“Hey- hey mate, you gotta- gotta minute to-“
Sobrius, Alan thought, placing one hand on his neighbor’s forehead without looking up. He pondered whether or not to cast a silencing barrier, even in violation of the Leaky Cauldron’s safety code.
“Thanks,” said the now-sober man, “Readin’ more of that Muggle trash, I see.”
Alan closed his eyes and counted to three, but when he opened them, the man was still there. Alan lowered his “muggle trash” in defeat, meeting the baggy, bloodshot eyes of the wizard sitting across from him.
Alan leaned forward, placing his hands steeple-like on the table. “Mr. Fletcher, do you know why time turners don’t send you into space?”
“The sky, y’mean? Cause they’re fer time turnin’, not apparation.”
Alan had to take a deep breath. “No,” he replied, “If time turners weren’t anchored to anything, the Earth’s rotation alone would be enough to ensure a time traveler’s demise. But someone at the ministry was clever enough to anchor them to a carefully guarded object that never moves relative to the Earth.”
“Fascinat’n,” slurred Mundungus, whose eyes had glazed over once it became clear that Alan didn’t actually have a time turner on him.
“But time turners are still very limited,” continued Alan, more to himself than to Mundungus, “They can’t go more than seven hours back, and not forward at all, and only in increments of one hour, and they only work on Earth… no, they’re very clumsy, if one truly pauses to think about it.”
“What’s yer point?”
“My point is that while wizards are slowly stagnating in their backwards remnant of the Dark Ages, Muggles are making progress, ever reaching for the light. Do you know that they don’t need magic to craft a hand of living silver?”
“Bah,” was Mundungus’s only reply, “You’d be best mates with that Weasley nutcase at the ministry, you would.”
Alan stood up, silently casting an infantes gelata to check for paradoxes. “I don’t know why I bother with you,” he sighed, “you’ve just wasted another two minutes of my time. Perhaps I bother because I have time to waste.”
And he twisted, as if to apparate, but instead faded out of existence with a distinct vworp. The air swirled in the wake of his departure, blowing back Mundungus’s straggly ginger hair.
“Muggleborns,” the short wizard muttered, then turned back to his drink.
Thirty minutes earlier, Alan lounged contentedly within his quieting barrier, stirring his cup of tea absently and rereading one of his favourite Muggle books. He wondered, vaguely, which planet held the nearest sapient life, and what their magic would look like…
This rereading, however, would be slightly shorter than the last. Even within the barrier, the presence of another at the table tickled at Alan’s consciousness. He set down his book (rather forcefully, he had to admit,) and looked up. The bloodshot eyes of Mundungus Fletcher didn’t meet him when his own rose.
“Hello,” mouthed the man. Finite Incantatum, thought Alan.
“Hello,” he answered, “Can I help you?”
“No, not really. Well, maybe. Well, probably. Have you seen anything strange lately? Disappearing cats, people moving backwards, variances in the time vortex causing precise and intentional reversal of the course of events?”
Alan couldn’t help but stare. “Er…now that you mention it, I was just…” he trailed off as he glanced out the window and did a double take. There was a 1960s-style Muggle police telephone box in the middle of Diagon Alley. “…Is…is that a telephone box?”
“No. Yes. Recreation. Mock-up. Don’t worry, nobody will notice,” the man said, waving his hand dismissively even as he pulled on a pair of what appeared to be cheap 3-D glasses. “What I want to know,” he murmured conspiratorially, “is what’s giving you that floaty, aurary, bizarrey stuff all over you, because that should not be happening to a human. Person. I said person”
Alan’s eyebrows furrowed. “First of all, this is Diagon Alley. Most people out there wouldn’t know a police box from a pillbox, especially given it’s bright blue. Second of all, those glasses shouldn’t give you the ability to see what you’re seeing. And thirdly, Expelliarmus.”
“Expelliwhat?” the man squawked, just as a long, chunky metallic object with a blue tip shot out of his jacket pocket and into Alan’s hand. A quick Identification spell told him all he needed to know.
“Fuzzy logic neural interface configured for ease of use, limited nonverbal manipulation of mechanical and electronic objects…Interesting. And leaps and bounds beyond anything wizards or Muggles can conjure up. What are you?”
The man stared at him for a few minutes before breaking out in a wide smile. “Hello. I’m the Doctor. Let me tell you a little bit about the universe…”
IT GOT BETTER
Ways to Die: The Great Smog of London
Just Another Pea-Souper
When it happened, it seemed almost normal - after all, dense, pea-soup fog often descended over London, and since the Industrial Revolution, that fog had often been riddled with coal dust and particulate matter from the factories. Charles Dickens was so familiar with it that “Pea Soupers” was even in his dictionary of city life. People had seen it all before. London was famous for its fog.
On December 5, 1952, an anticyclone descended upon Southern England, and the often-blustery city became almost windless. Combined with the atmospheric “cap” of warm air that the anticyclone provided, the chilly air of the city’s fog was trapped in one place. It wasn’t blown away, and it couldn’t rise into the upper atmosphere. By that evening, visibility was down to five yards.
For four more days, conditions deteriorated, until you could not see your hand in front of your face. The buses that had been guided by police with torches came to a standstill by the evening of December 8. The wall of haze was penetrated only by the huge, snowflake-like chimney soot crystals. Apart from the London Underground, there was no transportation within the city. Even ambulances no longer went out, after a record number of collisions during the first night of blindness.
But there was no panic. Those who could stay inside, did. If you could make it to the chemists, you would buy a smog mask and remember not to wear your good clothing while you shuffled slowly and carefully down the street. By the morning of December 9, 1952, the atmospheric inversion lifted, and the smog began to rise. By the next day, the winds were back, sweeping away the rest of the pea-soup haze.
The toll that the smog took on the city was not realized until nearly three weeks after it occurred. Four thousand had died during those five days. Tens of thousands sought health care shortly after, for ongoing respiratory distress. The death toll in the city remained significantly elevated through Christmas, and people with ongoing health effects continued to die in the coming months and years, as a direct or indirect result of their exposure to The Great Smog. The final death toll is estimated at twelve thousand dead, and 25-40,000 with significant chronic health effects.
Though it was not realized until long after the smog had passed, and the Clean Air Act of 1956 had gone into effect, there were more killers in the smog than were understood back then. The hidden killer was not the coal soot that fell like dark snowflakes, or the staining, acid-forming smoke from household chimneys. While those caused significant expenses and damages to buildings, and some deaths from outright hypoxia (lack of oxygen - in this case, from asthma or obstructive coughing fits) they were not the deadly, bronchiole-irritating, pus-causing killers that so many succumbed to.
The real culprits in many deaths, especially those caused by the strangling pus of bronchopneumonia, or acute purulent bronchitis, were the ultrafine particulate matter floating within the smoke. Sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, heavy metal molecules, and more, were known to be components of smog, but prior to the 1960s, it was not realized how truly deadly these invisible particles were. While the body has many defenses against larger particulate, ultrafine particles can reach the deepest recesses of the lungs, and cause irritation of the bronchioles and alveolar sacs. These fill with fluid or pus, often allowing infection to take hold, and the victim is strangled from the inside.
A Slow Reform
Despite the thousands of deaths that were brought to the attention of Parliament by the Ministry of Health, the government of England did not truly accept that there had been an environmental disaster right on their doorsteps, fearing the economic ramifications of any meaningful reform. They invented an “influenza epidemic" and claimed it spread during that time. Historical data and autopsy reports prove that no increase in deaths from influenza was concurrent with the Great Smog.
Despite reforms passed by the Clean Air Act of 1956, there was another deadly pea-souper, exactly one decade later, in early December 1962. Continued reform throughout the 1960s meant that no standout disasters were visible for all to see, but pollution in the city continued to kill hundreds every year, well into the 1970s.
The Continuing Fight for Clean Air
While we may not have smoky coal or sooty buildings to contend with in the Americas or most of Europe, ultrafine particulate pollution (in the United States, caused primarily by automobiles) is still a major threat to health, and its invisible nature means that no major disasters like The Great Smog will come around to slap us in the face about its importance. But every year, thousands still die from the effects of living in areas where they cant escape the constant exhaust from vehicles. Millions more have chronic health effects due to the same toxins.
It might not seem like one person doing one thing can help much, but this Earth Day, take a walk instead of a drive. If you’re going down the street, ride your bike, not your car. Not every trip has to be by foot, andsometimes a vehicle can be necessary, but why put more toxins and deadly fumes into the air (that you have to breathe, too!) than you absolutely have to?
We may not have the coal and diesel exhaust of 1950s London, but doesn’t that make getting out of the car that much nicer? It’s a beautiful world out there. Take it in, and help keep it that way.
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