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Yale – History of Epidemics in Western Society

The Pierces have watched the session here on pandemic influenza (Swine Flu) and SARS (corona) pandemics.This episode we are going through is not new.  Somehow reassuring to know how the COVID-19 virus seems to fit in with the others.

About the Course

This course consists of an international analysis of the impact of epidemic diseases on western society and culture from the bubonic plague to HIV/AIDS and the recent experience of SARS and swine flu. Leading themes include: infectious disease and its impact on society; the development of public health measures; the role of medical ethics; the genre of plague literature; the social reactions of mass hysteria and violence; the rise of the germ theory of disease; the development of tropical medicine; a comparison of the social, cultural, and historical impact of major infectious diseases; and the issue of emerging and re-emerging diseases.

Justice: Value of Human Life

Those of you who are sitting at home considering questions about policy and decision-making concerning this virus  thing (and not just using it to further your already entrenched beliefs about which political team to support) may find the below video of some interest. The Pierces enjoy the whole series.

Lecture 3 – Putting a Price Tag on Life
Sandel presents some contemporary cases in which cost-benefit analysis was used to put a dollar value on human life. The cases give rise to several objections to the utilitarian logic of seeking “the greatest good for the greatest number.” Is it possible to sum up and compare all values using a common measure like money?

Silver Lining-Free Opera

And now for some good news.

The put up a new link site every afternoon about 4:30 pm Pacific.

Nightly Met Opera Streams

During this extraordinary and difficult time, the Met hopes to brighten the lives of our audience members even while our stage is dark. Each day, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series is being made available for free streaming on the Met website, with each performance available for a period of 23 hours, from 7:30 p.m. EDT until 6:30 p.m. the following day. The schedule will include outstanding complete performances from the past 14 years of cinema transmissions, starring all of opera’s greatest singers.

The performances are being made available through the Met Opera on Demand streaming service, and are also accessible through Met Opera on Demand apps on all of your favorite devices.


Week 1

Monday, March 16
Bizet’s Carmen
Starring Elīna Garanča and Roberto Alagna, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From January 16, 2010.

Tuesday, March 17
Puccini’s La Bohème
Starring Angela Gheorghiu and Ramón Vargas, conducted by Nicola Luisotti. From April 5, 2008.

Wednesday, March 18
Verdi’s Il Trovatore
Starring Anna Netrebko, Dolora Zajick, Yonghoon Lee, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Marco Armiliato. From October 3, 2015.

Thursday, March 19
Verdi’s La Traviata
Starring Diana Damrau, Juan Diego Flórez, and Quinn Kelsey, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From December 15, 2018.

Friday, March 20
Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment
Starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez, conducted by Marco Armiliato. From April 26, 2008.

Saturday, March 21
Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor
Starring Anna Netrebko, Piotr Beczała, and Mariusz Kwiecien, conducted by Marco Armiliato. From February 7, 2009.

Sunday, March 22
Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin
Starring Renée Fleming, Ramón Vargas, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Valery Gergiev. From February 24, 2007.

Week 2: Wagner Week

Monday, March 23
Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde
Starring Nina Stemme, Ekaterina Gubanova, Stuart Skelton, Evgeny Nikitin, and René Pape, conducted by Simon Rattle. From October 8, 2016.

Tuesday, March 24
Wagner’s Das Rheingold
Starring Wendy Bryn Harmer, Stephanie Blythe, Richard Croft, Gerhard Siegel, Dwayne Croft, Bryn Terfel, Eric Owens, and Hans-Peter König, conducted by James Levine. From October 9, 2010.

Wednesday, March 25
Wagner’s Die Walküre
Starring Deborah Voigt, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Stephanie Blythe, Jonas Kaufmann, Bryn Terfel, and Hans-Peter König, conducted by James Levine. From May 14, 2011.

Thursday, March 26
Wagner’s Siegfried
Starring Deborah Voigt, Jay Hunter Morris, Gerhard Siegel, Bryn Terfel, and Eric Owens, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From November 5, 2011.

Friday, March 27
Wagner’s Götterdämmerung
Starring Deborah Voigt, Wendy Bryn Harmer, Waltraud Meier, Jay Hunter Morris, Iain Paterson, Eric Owens, and Hans-Peter König, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From February 11, 2012.

Saturday, March 28
Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Starring Annette Dasch, Johan Botha, Paul Appleby, and Michael Volle, conducted by James Levine. From December 13, 2014.

Sunday, March 29
Wagner’s Tannhäuser
Starring Eva-Maria Westbroek, Michelle DeYoung, Johan Botha, Peter Mattei, and Gunther Groissböck, conducted by James Levine. From October 31, 2015.


“I clearly remember one sunny afternoon when Cadie, Rory, Robert and Tony were on Kuewa heading back to San Rafael from a quick rounding of Angel Island. Cadie was at the helm from Tiburon all the way past the San Rafael bridge. She quietly took in a little instruction, not much, and yet steered a perfect course for half an hour with almost no input from us. I tried to capture the concentration in these photos. She could barely see over the cabin top.”

Tony Hoff


Brooks Island Race 2020

Congratulations to Rory Pierce for finishing the 2020 Brooks Island Sailboat Race held by the Richmond Yacht Club! Kids as young as 10 years old sail themselves 5.23 miles out of the Richmond Channel, into the bay, around Brooks Island, and back to the club. Most most of them in an 8-foot El Toro sailboat built for one.

What did Rory say?

Before the race: “I need to watch for Kraken and Great Whites.”

After the race:  “That was easy.”