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Vine Diving and Contact Tracing

  • 4 min read

Welcome to the State of the Earth — A source for cosmonauts, subterranean mole people, and everyone in between. Each *indeterminate amount of time* the State of the Earth Address will present perspectives on the issues of the day, news from around the globe, and tips on how to be less of a goose (just in case anyone needs those).


December 2020, Somewhere In The World

You wake up bleary eyed, with an ache like a thousand tequilas, but this ache was borne of no mere bender. A weariness took hold about 4 years ago, and has lingered ever since. You check your phone for news – there’s nothing there except discussions on policy and the bureaucratic machinations of some normal-haired local councilperson. You read an entire article about how the waffle weave on towels affects absorbance, and realise you find it interesting. Your Facebook feed is as dry as a Santorinian donkey. All the invective, all the bleating and moaning you’d become so adjusted to has vanished. Your hands, normally busy composing troll posts at this time of the morning, instead hang limply by your side. You look at the sun streaming through your bedroom window and sigh with relief, but also with a touch of sorrow. 

The US election is over. 

“What am I supposed to get pissed off at now?” you wonder to yourself, popping on the final season of Game of Thrones.


Along with everything else, the traditional office Christmas party has taken a hit this year. COVID restrictions obviously differ depending on where you are in the world, but here’s some tips that should help get you through regardless.

  1. Working from home has meant that wearing pants is a thing of the past. When seeing colleagues in person, don’t forget to find your pants, and wear them. We can’t stress this enough.

  2. Face masks are good for preventing the spread of airborne particles, but keep in mind they do not offer complete protection from saying something idiotic out loud.

  3. Dancing may be prohibited in Christmas party venues, so make sure to keep your contorted gyrations to yourself. You can always wow the finance team in 2021.





Meet some of the standouts competing for fame, glory, and a COVID vaccine in 2021.

  • German scientist duo/power couple Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci: advancing a messenger RNA vax, spent their 18th year of marriage bliss inoculating themselves. #couplegoals

  • Pfizer: arguable villain (brownie points for creating Viagra) in a race that presents a chance for evil pharma companies to become heroes.

  • Oxford University: tinkering with something, but who listens to ivory tower elites these days?

  • Late-stage development and wild card Anika Chebrolu, 14: officially pronounced America’s Top Young Scientist and unofficially pronounced an absolute baller, just scooped $25 G’s for her research.

  • Putin: rumoured to be developing a vaccine he will never actually take, but assures us is номер один (number one).

  • Larry from down the street: personally testing his own experimental treatment regimen, being high off his arse for the 267th day in a row, in pursuit of the ultimate social distance- transcendence into an alternate dimension.



We’re all under a microscope right now. Recently, a certain pizza-making Spanish national caused quite the hullabaloo when his COVID status didn't match his movements. Then there were the Germans sneaking across borders. However, thankfully, the truth came out and lockdown was lifted or avoided.

The moral is, don’t lie to Contact Tracers…it ruins everything for all of us. But, now that people know you lied, and the pitchforks are heading for you, here are some handy steps to avoid the raging hoard:

1. Lie down

You're probably infected anyway, so best you stay like this, except when collecting food by whatever pulley system you've rigged up with your neighbours.

2. Keep your identity out of the media

You need to stop putting your name on your socks. If COVID lands you in the hospital, your socks will probably be incinerated anyway.

3. Feel better

The news cycle is so quick these days, your part in a state-wide lockdown & economic recession will be forgotten within 48 hours.

If the anxiety and stress is there, remember MR. KOYA has put together an upgrade for you, a resource bank + permanent space for navigating what it means to be a man in the 2020s.




You’ve heard of bungee jumping, you may have even experienced the ballzy rush yourself. But on the Vanuatuan Island of Pentecost, a tribe of men are pulling off a feat so beyond that of the bungee - ‘Nagol’, AKA land diving.

Going back nearly 15 centuries, the Vanuatu people hold a yearly harvest festival to bless the yam crop and welcome boys into manhood. Where some think a ‘festival’ entails jubilant hoedowns and feasts, for this tribe it means plummeting off a 30 meter wooden structure with only the support of vines tied to their ankles.


How festive.

Because vines have no bounceability, a diver must land shoulder first to brace for impact on the sloped ground as he skims to a halt. Here’s the kicker: each joy ride reaches up to 70 km/h, and any vine length miscalculations lead to calamitous results.

This jump is second nature to Vanuatuan men, who begin at the ripe age of 5. Hey, you should still be proud of your Kiwi bungee trip of ‘08… though 5-year-olds on a little island smack dab in the Pacific Ocean are doing you one better (and keeping us all humble).*

*Please don’t try this at home… your neighbour will not appreciate a 30m phallic structure or a squashed friend in their garden.