ClownStrike, redux
It's funny that people are drawing exactly the wrong lesson from ClownStrike. The lesson people draw: 'Windows shit, Linux/macOS wonderful', followed by the inevitable stupid fight about which exactly of Linux and macOS is the most wonderful. The lesson people should draw: 'if you allow the clown privileged access to your systems you are a fool who should not be running a brick'. 'Ah', pipe up the chorus of smug neckbeard *nix weenies, 'but you see we never do that, because the architecture o...
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ClownStrike
298 of the Fortune 500, 538 of the Fortune 1000, 8 of the top 10 financial services firms, 7 of the top 10 manufacturers, 8 of the top 10 food & beverage companies, 8 of the top 10 auto companies, 43 of the 50 U.S. states, 6 of the top 10 healthcare providers and 8 of the top 10 technology firms ... use a product which can automatically download an update which will render their systems catatonic1. Or, you know, an update which gives a bad person free access to them: rendering the systems ...
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It isn't really clear
whether what happened on Saturday were the first shots of the second American civil war. But I think they probably were. ...
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Immunity
If Biden were to order Trump to be assassinated, he would be immune from prosecution. If he were to order the assassination of any or all of the Supreme court judges he would be immune from prosecution. I'm not saying he should do these things. But he could, and doing so might be better than the alternative. The rule of law in the USA is dead. In a few months, democracy in the USA will probably be dead. It's over. ...
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The beginning of sorrows
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. ...
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The trouble with the three-body problem
I started off loving this: the first couple of episodes were just brilliantly clever and although the kind of timescales aren't plausible for real three-body stellar systems, you can forgive them that. Then it just dropped the ball by introducing magic: how do the aliens talk to us? Oh, right, they have superluminal communications technology. Which is magic, not science, and if it did exist would mean they could send information into the past and thus solve the prediction problem they have. ...
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Come on, people
So I have an iPad and an iPhone. Both are running the most recent version of iOS / iPadOS. The phone is a few feet away from me, on charge, and has lots of signal. They are signed in to the same Apple ID. I am in a hotel in a major city in a first-world country. This is not some weird left-field scenario. Using the iPhone as a hotspot for the iPad works ... mostly. Like, quite often you have to reboot one or both of them. It almost never works for long enough to watch a movie. Often you...
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Extremism
Extremism is the promotion or advancement of an ideology based on violence, hatred or intolerance, that aims to: 1 negate or destroy the fundamental rights and freedoms of others; or 2 undermine, overturn or replace the UK’s system of liberal parliamentary democracy and democratic rights; or 3 intentionally create a permissive environment for others to achieve the results in (1) or (2). So that's the tory party then, right? ...
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Did you ever
want to set someone's head on fire? Because I did. ...
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Throw the switch Igor
Throw the fucking switch ...
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STERILIZED INNARDS
I was driven away, let me remind you, by things like sickness, hate and the death of truth. ...
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Rishi Sunak is not a fascist
He's just, you know, fascist adjacent ...
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How to make things worse
Californian regulations forbid insurers from using the latest climate models to set prices, since protection would become more costly. Premiums must be based on the average payout over the past 20 years, rather than the latest science. Shying away from ambiguity is understandable. Sticking your head in the sand is plain foolish. – The Economist, 15th July 2023 ...
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Two novels
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs. – John Rogers ...
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Apocalypse technology
The apocalypse can come along any moment, and here at Tesla we have the best in apocalypse technology. – Elon Musk I wonder if it has ever occurred to Elmo's giant intellect that, when the apocalypse comes, charging arrangements for your 3-tonne penis-extension are going to be, shall we say, difficult? No, of course it hasn't: that would require thinking, which is not really Elmo's strong point. ...
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Dr Death, aka Rishi Sunak
On Thursday, the Covid inquiry was shown a private WhatsApp exchange between Dame Angela and Prof Edmunds, sent at the time of the meeting, which refers to Rishi Sunak as "Dr Death, the Chancellor". BBC Is there anything more to say? ...
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Cynical
Hamas: commits unforgivable atrocities on a large scale against Israeli citizens, killing many people in a very public and awful way. Israel: reacts the way the US did to 9/11 or even worse, causing very large numbers of deaths in the Gaza strip and committing war crimes such as attempting to starve the population and so on. And people who are already quietly antisemitic are suddenly publicly antisemitic, and people who were already publicly antisemitic start doing things other than merely spe...
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Blue-haired feminists
Barbie was released this July and is the highest-grossing film of the year, with no sign of being surpassed. Its global box office total stands at $1.43bn (£1.17bn) – about 10 times its budget. Among the records the film has broken are the best-performing film ever made by a solo female director; the 14th highest-grossing film of all time; and the most lucrative cinema release ever for Warner Brothers Turns out the people whining about it were just what they sounded like all along: a tiny num...
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Yeah don't visit waiting
tricolic psalterium Hainai accede metrocystosis unteased swaggerer Wellingtonia cryptogam chondroglossus maucherite alroot crossjack sheetage unpoignard vaccinifer Tecoma buttonless unpining obsequy hydrofluoride tottle respirability ceramographic exopod errant postvaccinal differentiant troctolite cryptovalence Ishmaelite paleolatry scolecid fascinative phthor refrigerating thirsting tracheolar carpometacarpus interstadial sclerotome obdurately ent...
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ceratocricoid smitham Moorish more
PFUV TJC7 GXFY XN31 9NQ9 UDVN FLHI EK5M 6UQV BN7I 52VC 2F92 MYNR DPFS 1SMH R6CV JYKG JR8G X5O5 E9C5 ZKKD YKZ1 9FQ4 WXGQ ZP3S 1MX4 P4OV IVAC IAIZ PNM7 AP8W 6Q8V VQCS N5NO QDKS W9N3 Y0PW BUYY BBAD 442U Q8KB O8R4 J4U9 OS37 37YD HC4G PJ10 J54N JR2H FQMW IA3D JA6U 66AK 5KSU NH3J 6Y5C 467D HKIW UBW9 MQLL GU4N UUBS 2RCR LKRM PT3G 76B7 JXLZ LMF9 J5F1 F97F FJFQ 53H1 RIK5 CU5A MEIW UV0Y J4OD 1ASK 4SHC INF2 4KV7 AUEL VEVP A2XS IH29 TGXR 9AYS 3KPU NW8Q VFH9 084G T7H9 RULY 2RIX MK69 GAE8 U0SL X8U6 VJS7 VSE3 ...
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talahib Caractacus monochromous archiepiscopate
U0CH X1WO IQ98 SJ0Q WOCX 9P13 L5VZ 9CYX D418 62FS VAPW V4KR 6SJP 8FSM WYF4 711G 2P5U 5TGP 0D82 MILL T95H 552T DYU5 HYP8 N1ME BZI8 74OX NYFX DFMP GJBK XB30 52A1 WHWO Y790 L7ZO KUNR 10GQ KOJY RWCE O0XT ECCC SAZ2 0GQW X1H4 4TR5 BNQL 3L3O S7N6 DVY7 5TT1 0B7F 2AEZ CRIB U12T FKCL G902 DZGA A5X4 UZY8 UII2 GYVM 2BGC SFU8 02D6 PT2R M9LE MDS0 GLI0 E1JJ YQCX EASZ GA5E 0NSU H9YU 5SW9 FVJJ VLHI FOUR 55GG UTRL LDZX BIRT IKYI LIN0 8A0W EDJK JNI9 RB9A I7K1 6W4O 92CT 52M4 5ZIS 5Y6N 0ZJ2 T3EO WEI3 XKY6 C37N NJ0Q ...
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misanthropy iotacist smuggling mainlander
6AW6 WX11 GA5Z MYSN XBCZ CR1J 54RP GVE2 27KT QNE4 ZEI1 1UGM MT5K K7B5 O2C8 9XJQ Z6JS O9KW TWAA B0WC F2QR 182Y S32D Q9GL 1F78 ZKJQ 5CZW EORZ 0LOS 9MYE O6W9 PB4W Z29I JVK5 WDDA 0STQ ADIX HKI4 RYD9 L45Q KWLV ZEIZ 19DQ M3LX IJ6Q EHEL GCGI XUJR S40T 8Q5B SS0M F9W0 5O7J D997 7AXM 7AMP G8QN NVTJ 2TAX DWYU YODN 2KJT 13C6 3V3Z IQ68 I9BU VPNK YMPL I10F TBM3 OHA2 1BWC 361T 3VE8 A5X7 WGY8 TF7T I3IU VW57 NPOZ J824 V1QP B3BX NH41 N4SX KVRS J3J5 0EQT M4P8 D3MH YU0W PTJB R0ML BEAU CNE6 W2QD T8KX ADUM H2XI KJ5G ...
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The vision of Rishi Sunak
What Rishi Sunak said. I'm interested in setting out my vision for the country, and people can make their own judgement. What I would say is, you’ve got to take a stand on things. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on everything, but people will have a clear idea of what I believe, what I stand for, and the direction in which I want to lead the country What he thought. I see a vision, yes, a vision. A barren, polluted wasteland where the people I have allowed still to live, covered ...
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Fuck the UK government
Here is a quote from this BBC news article: The government said its plan would: Review guidance on 20mph speed limits in England, to prevent their use in "areas where it's not appropriate" "Amend guidance" on LTNs "to focus on local consent", and weigh public support for those already introduced Stop councils implementing "15-minute cities", where essential amenities are always within a 15-minute walk Seek to reduce the hours where cars are banned from bus lanes Target "overzealous" enforcem...
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Assume Rishi Sunak is to blame
From now on, whenever some new climate-change-related catastrophe happens, I'm just going to treat it as if it was Rishi Sunak's fault. It's not entirely true, but it's close enough and it makes me feel better. Greece is on fire – Wow, thanks, Rishi! Half of England is underwater – Good work there, Rishi! Thousands of people have died in the latest heatwave – That's certainly going to help NHS waiting lists, Rishi, well done! It's probably useful to take the same approach to othe...
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Affirmative action
A survey of selective universities in six states found that they enrolled roughly 20% fewer black and Hispanic Americans in the years immediately after the bans than would otherwise have been the case. The number of black and Hispanic students admitted to California’s two most coveted public campuses—University of California, Los Angeles and University of California, Berkeley—dropped by around 40% (the Hispanic share has since recovered strongly). [...] A recent study of 19 universities in st...
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Twitter is dead
A few days ago, Twitter started requiring people to be logged in to view tweets: not to post tweets, simply to see them at all. This requires you to do two things: you must have an account on Twitter which means that Twitter know things about who you are; you must be logged in to that account which means that Twitter know things about exactly which tweets you are viewing; Obviously such information will be used to profile you and, in the best case, to force advertising down your throat. It...
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Kleptocracy
When the English and Welsh water companies were privatised in 1989, the government took on their debt, about £5 billion in, I presume, 1989 pounds: so about £13 billion today. What that means is that the citizens of England and Wales (and probably Scotland as well) paid off this debt out of their own pockets. Since that time the water companies have paid about £72 billion in dividends to their shareholders: presumably considerably more when corrected for inflation. Today they have debts of £5...
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That musky odour
He talked about electric cars. I don't know anything about cars, so when people said he was a genius I figured he must be a genius. Then he talked about rockets. I don't know anything about rockets, so when people said he was a genius I figured he must be a genius. Now he talks about software. I happen to know a lot about software & Elon Musk is saying the stupidest shit I've ever heard anyone say, so when people say he's a genius I figure I should stay the hell away from his cars and rocke...
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Vacuous 3
Opinion | Peace? Complexity is the law of tomorrow. The issue of freedom of speech is not black and white. How will you navigate the complexities of this volatile cultural climate? Discover what you can do with the law of tomorrow, today at mishcon.com Mishcon de Reya Group It's business. But it's personal. – Advertisement in The Economist, 22nd April 2023 ...
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Vacuous 2
Discover new paths with truly integrated logistics. What if we said getting lost for a second could lead to new profitable solutions within logistics, would you believe it? What we can tell you is that a new path has appeared. Where it leads is for you to discover, but it starts at maersk.com/newpaths Maersk: all the way – Advertisement in The Economist, 1st April 2023 ...
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Vacuous 1
Our conviction is that responsibility is an opportunity to shape and share solutions that serve people, businesses and communities Infosys: Navigate your next – Advertisement in The Economist, 18th March 2023 ...
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National conservatism: what were they thinking?
Because everybody else is thinking 'national conservatism, that will be like national socialism but, you know, more right wing'. Perhaps that is what they were thinking. Pretty sure it's what Suella Braverman is thinking, anyway. ...
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A call to arms: the UK's online safety bill
The attempt by the UK government to effectively disallow end-to-end encryption in the online safety bill is an illiberal and deeply stupid idea. People who support it are either acting in bad faith or have an education so poor that they don't understand what they are proposing. It is alarming if not surprising that the UK's security services are acting in such bad faith, and that our politicians are both acting in bad faith and have such low educational attainment. Makers of end-to-end encryp...
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Wednesday, 3 May 2023 at 17:30
Bixby (Felix) cat: mid 2020 to 3 May 2023. He deserved more life than this and I would gladly have given mine that he could have had it. Nothing is fair. ...
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Everything everywhere all at once
I have, finally, seen this. There is a lot to say about the Asian diaspora in the US, about relationships in multigenerational families, about parents and grandparents accepting their children's and grandchildren's sexuality. But this film didn't bother with any of that. After ten minutes of really obvious scene-setting – oh look, she feels like a failure / her husband wants a divorce maybe / her daughter is gay and she's using her father as an excuse not to come to terms with that herself – ...
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Nigel Lawson is dead: good
I don't know how many human lives his fuckwitted global warming denialism, for which he was no doubt well paid, will eventually cost: however many is too many. ...
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People in the UK are setting muslims on fire
But this, somehow, is not terrorism: of course it is not, how silly of me to think it is. ...
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Tom Verlaine, 13th December 1949 to 28th January 2023
His guitar lines sounded like a forlorn alien who's fallen in love with the rain – comment to obituary ...
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It's not power that corrupts
it's being a god. ...
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Poor Elon Musk
He thought he was a god, but he was just another rich, entitled, fuck who got lucky in the dot com boom. ...
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Filmhouse
How can it have died? I spent half my life there thirty years ago: I suppose 'thirty years ago' is why. Nothing that has happened in the last five years makes me think we're not in the final years of civilization. ...
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Poor, poor Elon Musk
It must be so hard to face the reality that are not the golden god you believed you were, but just another entitled fuck born into money, the same as all the others. And that the castle of mud which you built turns out to to be unable to bear the weight of your monstrous ego. We will all enjoy your self-pitying public whining as it dissolves under you. ...
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The report
The report is the 13th edition in an annual series that provides an overview of the difference between where greenhouse emissions are predicted to be in 2030 and where they should be to avert the worst impacts of climate change. The report shows that updated national pledges since COP26 – held in 2021 in Glasgow, UK – make a negligible difference to predicted 2030 emissions and that we are far from the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C, preferably 1.5°C. Policie...
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Bird
Elon Musk, a narcissistic idiot with a substance-abuse problem who thinks he can magically solve Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine, now controls Twitter. This is going to end so well. ...
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Cosplay
Liz Truss is a person who does not understand that cosplaying Margaret Thatcher is not the same thing as being Margaret Thatcher. ...
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spattlehoe abstentionist unitedly frenular
1GLA PVPM 2FVA WO0K QU6V 17E7 UKOY RXE7 26EY WWHX 92GI OKAB IAV7 8IFS YOTW QOCZ VDL4 8NWQ AMJR CH6Y 0P0I O9MV ZA1T 8O0N AER8 0WNO 6FCQ 4JKP JTZL A6G6 F5A4 XPQQ 82CM OB4R SR5L XXK2 6UDR PTMY PO6A YINT GI7C J6US QMLB PC3Q V53M RWI7 MT3P 4FVP 5KF5 P920 ENDT B8MY OX0C FENX WP1R 441B 0SXL G68H 7ANU M30H CTR4 YXNT 5FPQ 7T4L 6EM8 ZSO5 DUMG TE4O 0NLU 4ZU6 IJ7X YP9E VS05 V66B 23KE HK6Y JWIN 12G8 6MN4 9W9L PJJE F6D5 VZJ0 CF10 BWWA K9J6 VOSX Q1M9 QO7R RITT 999A 0K7S A0S6 2TSI 8J3P PIZY RTNQ 02CM GY2L C3G2 ...
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Liz Truss: a stain on the United Kingdom
Liz Truss will not allow King Charles to go to COP27. Charles, then Prince Charles, gave a speech at COP26, and is well known to be very concerned about climate change and other environmental matters. But Liz Truss isn't: not content with fucking the UK economy, she wants to make very sure she sends a message that she wants to fuck the entire future as well. The world would be a better place if Liz Truss had never been born. ...
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Bonus
Kwasi Kwarteng, a former investment banker now chancellor of the exchequer, has removed the cap on bankers' bonuses. The current government stands no real chance of winning the next election1 and when it loses he will, very probably, return to investment banking. How very convenient that all will be for him. Unless it has successfully subverted democracy by then, which is very possible. ↩ ...
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London bridge has fallen
An era has ended ...
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Declassified
Trump claims that the documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago were declassified as, while he was president, he had the right to do that. That's true: he did have the right to do that, although there seems to be no evidence he followed the process for doing it. So, all that needs to happen now is that one or more expert witnesses who are familiar with the content of the TS/SCI documents should testify that, if they were to be declassified, this would cause significant harm to the national interest ...
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Giant brain
The Giant Brain speaks. Net Zero has nothing to do with fighting climate change. I see. Stopping net greenhouse gas emissions will not prevent a process caused by the emission of greenhouse gasses. The Giant Brain speaks, and we must listen. Never mind that climate scientists tell us otherwise: they are merely experts, not Giant Brains. Many of them are, you know, members of the hidden elite: do not trust them. It cannot have any effect unless the big countries get onboard; China, Indi...
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Vilify
If Rishi Sunak is the next prime minister he will, apparently, make 'vilifying Britain' a terrorist offence. You know what? Fuck Britain. I was born here and have lived most of my life here and just fuck it: any country that can end up with a choice between Rishi 'plutocrat' Sunak and Liz 'moron' Truss as prime minister is a country which I want nothing to do with. I'd like to say that these prople were cryptofascists, but they're not: they're fascists, and England (which is what they mean wh...
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James 5 1-6
Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. / Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. / Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. / Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into th...
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NHS
The NHS has a really serious staffing crisis. This is, obviously, partly a result of brexit, and was widely predicted. But in the fantasy world we all now live in – the world where our next prime minister will be a plutocrat or a moron, and probably the moron because she's white1 – we are not allowed to say that. Because truth now counts less than slavish adherence to ideology, and we must all dutifully believe that the catastrophically bad brexit deal Johnson and 'lord' Frost2 arranged for u...
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Death cult
In the real world the UK is in the middle of a heatwave and may record the highest ever temperature seen here. In the real world climate change will cause events like this to become increasingly common. In the real world, people will die, in significant numbers because of this. In the real world, it is really fucking obvious that addressing climate change is an urgent problem. Meanwhile, in tory-wannabe-leader fantasy world, they're saying that, well, net zero may be too expensive. Because...
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Family
Candidate: "FAMILY its about family you see yes family. Traditional values yes family." Person with brain: "But candidate what about net zero" Candidate: "Oh no none of that green hippy nonsense no. FAMILY its about traditional white FAMILY yes. Send the immigrants home burn the gypsies and the wogs. FAMILY." Person with brain: "But, candidate, unless we deal with climate change, which means net zero, then most of our grandchildren will die. That's not 'family' is it?" Candidate: "Yes ...
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Giant brain
Suella Braverman wheels out her giant brain: In order to deal with the energy crisis we need to suspend the all-consuming desire to achieve net zero by 2050. If we keep it up, especially before businesses and families can adjust, our economy will end up with net zero growth. Right, right. let's burn the entire fucking future on the altar of the present, shall we? ...
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It can get worse
Johnson is at last on the way out. And Johnson was awful: a dishonest, incompetent, narcissist who was and is quite willing to sacrifice anything at all on the altar of his own glorification. A man caused tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths, who has probably destroyed the tory party and who has at least badly damaged and possibly destroyed democracy in the UK, and perhaps the UK itself. But that's all he was: Johnson was simply a machine for making more Johnson. For him nothing else matt...
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Like furniture
Boris Johnson is like a vast bit of unwanted furniture in Downing Street. No-one wants him there any more, but the only way to remove him is pretty clearly to saw him up and take out the bits. ...
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Fighting for the future
Johnson is not 'fighting for the future': he's fighting against the future. He is directly damaging the futures of billions of people in order that he might spend a little more time feeling all big and important. Every fucking day we spend staring at his shitshow is another day we spend not paying attention to climate change, not paying attention to what is happening in Ukraine, not paying attention to what the US supreme court is doing to women's rights, not paying attention to anything but Bo...
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In the name of God, go
It is not fit that you should sit here any longer. You have sat here too long for any good you have been doing lately. In the name of God go. – Cromwell ...
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Shitshow
When I checked the BBC news a few hours ago, the top five stories were about various aspects of Johnson appointing Pincher, whether he knew (hint: he knew) and so on and so on. In the meantime, while Boris Johnson's fuckwittery and lying distracts us, the US supreme court, not satisfied with removing women's rights over their own bodies, has ruled to greatly reduce the US government's ability to limit carbon emissions from power generation. Between 2016 and 2020 we all watched in horror and am...
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Chris Pincher
The allegations against Chris pincher are not that he drunkenly groped two men. They are that he sexually assaulted two men. It's not groping or fondling – it is sexual assault Using euphemistic language downplays the severity of an offence and enforces a dangerous message: it isn’t a big deal, and victims won’t be taken seriously Numerous high-profile cases of sexual violence and abuse have have been exposed in recent years, with the same words cropping up again and again: "groping", "fondl...
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All you need to know
All you need to know about the legal theories at work in the current supreme court is that if states want to restrict your ability to carry a handgun, they are grotesquely exceeding their powers, but if states want to outlaw abortion, well, it is only fair that states have that power. – Hamilton Nolan ...
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A vast, white, pulsing worm
Johnson 'will listen to voters', he says. The only person Johnson has ever listened to is himself. For Johnson it could not be otherwise: he has only the vaguest notion that people other than himself exist, how could he listen to their vague, distant cries and murmurings over the vast, warm, glutinous sound of his own wonderful voice. For Johnson, the world is only Johnson: a vast, white, pulsing worm consuming all it encounters to turn it into more segments of itself. ...
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Politically neutral
Boris Johnson intends to defend the plan to deport refugees to Rwanda to Prince Charles. Prince Charles is reported to have called the policy "appalling". And of course the johnsonites are up in arms about this, because members of the royal family are meant to be politically neutral. Like Putin's Russia, Rwanda is a corrupt dictatorship wearing the clothes of a democracy, except that in Rwanda the process has gone further: Article 101 of the constitution had previously limited presidents to...
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Fascism arrives in fancy dress
I sometimes fear that people think that fascism arrives in fancy dress worn by grotesques and monsters as played out in endless re-runs of the Nazis. Fascism arrives as your friend. It will restore your honour, make you feel proud, protect your house, give you a job, clean up the neighbourhood, remind you of how great you once were, clear out the venal and the corrupt, remove anything you feel is unlike you... It doesn’t walk in saying, "Our programme means militias, mass imprisonments, transpo...
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Lest we forget: the johnsonists are racist shits
The exodus of Ukrainians exceeded 2.2m, making it the fastest-growing refugee surge in Europe since the second world war. More than 1.3m have entered Poland. Britain told refugees to apply for visas, and made it bureaucratically difficult for them to do so. The European Union is allowing all Ukrainians in for a year, no questions asked. – The Economist, March 12th, 2022 ...
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Perfidious Albion
The johnsonites have announced plans to abandon some bits of the Northern Ireland Protocol, a protocol they agreed to as part of the brexit arrangements but now find inconvenient. This will break international law. They say it will not but they are, yet again, lying. Fuck Boris Johnson and his enablers. ...
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The world Zuckerberg is building
Recently I went to visit people I once new, in a city I lived in for more than twenty years. I spent time walking through all the new building that had happened since I left a decade ago, and some that had already happened before I left. And it was not awful. But, also, it wasn't anything at all. It could have been similar developments in London ('more London', or most of Canary Wharf) or just anywhere really: identikit expensive-modern bland sameness, with no sense of place at all. The cit...
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Fatally wounded
Now we can all look forward to watching Johnson slowly bleed to death before being finally torn apart, still living, by the vampire hyenas who surround him, hungry for blood and power. We can hope that his meat will be sufficiently poisonous that many of them die from its consumption. The real risk is that, just as for Putin a world without Russia has no purpose, so for Johnson a world without Johnson has no purpose. Thus there is no length he will not go to to survive: no policy too grotesqu...
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Whatsoever things are honest
Boris Johnson read from Philippians 4 at the Queen's platinum jubilee thanksgiving service. From which: [8] Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Why don't you think on those things then Boris, you lying, stealing narcissistic fuck? ...
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... into fascism
Today, Johnson rewrote the ministerial code to say that ministers who break it won't lose their jobs. He also [...] blocked his independent ethics chief, Christopher Geidt, from gaining the power to launch his own investigations, and rewrote the foreword to the ministerial code, removing all references to honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability. It is not a coincidence that he has been guilty of multiple breaches of the ministerial code, as well as worse things: he is rewriting ...
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Sleepwalking ...
He wasn’t even honest towards his most intimate confidants [...] In my opinion, he was so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth. Who wrote this, and about whom? ...
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I am the law
Similarly, judges, lawyers, and the law were among the things HitlerJohnson most despised, and his regime was one long assault on the rationality, predictability, and integrity of the law. Adapted from The Death of Democracy by Benjamin Carter Hett ...
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Strong central power
Authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by the rejection of political plurality, the use of strong central power to preserve the political status quo, and reductions in the rule of law, separation of powers, and democratic voting. – Wikipedia ...
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What miserable drones
What miserable drones and traitors have we nurtured and promoted in our country who treat us with such shameful contempt. Will no-one rid us of them? ...
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Rapture is coming
In the 185 days to 1st November 2022, UK retail energy prices will probably rise by a factor of more than two. Food prices will go up dramatically. And Boris Johnson will preen and lie and do nothing. People in the UK will start to starve and die of cold in large numbers, and Johnson will lie and drink and rut and lie again, while his enablers cheer him on and the heaps of dead rot in the streets. It is time be done with them: time to obliterate them all, time for a new start. Rapture: rapt...
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It is better
It is better to look away. It is not good to see too much in this more beautiful, happier England ...
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England's dreaming
Don't be told what you want And don't be told what you need There's no future When there's no future, how can there be sin? We're the flowers in the dustbin We're the poison in your human machine We're the future There is no future In England's dreaming ...
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Rapture is coming
CPI inflation in the UK is 9%. Interestingly CPIH inflation – inflation for homeowners – is only 7.8%. That tells you something interesting right away: people who don't own their own homes are doing significantly worse than people who are. The bag of components of both CPI and CPIH is described here. And of course what they're not saying is that people who are actually poor are not well-represented by the components of the CPI, conveniently. If you look at this chart, well they tell you that...
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Boris Johnson is not Hitler
In the early 1930s German politicians thought they could strike a bargain with the nazis. That didn't turn out too well. In 2019 tory politicians thought they could strike a bargain with Johnson. That didn't turn out too well. Johnson is not Hitler: Hitler had beliefs – extremely unpleasant ones, but he did have beliefs – while Johnson is simply a Johnson-maximising machine. Hitler hated the Jews: Johnson will hate the Jews if doing so will make more Johnson. ...
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Not dead yet
Q - What do votes for women, the abolition of slavery, legalisation of trade unions and the decriminalisation of same sex relationships have in common? A - None of them would have happened if people hadn’t protested in a way that the Tories want to make illegal. – Peter Grant, MP for Glenrothes and Central Fife Democracy in the UK is not dead yet. But it's getting there. ...
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Members of parliament
They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. ...
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A beacon of democracy
A reasonable prediction is that 1.1 million people will not cast a vote at future parliamentary elections as a result of this reform, unless there is major outreach work. There was scant evidence of voter fraud to justify it. And we need more voters, not fewer. – Democracy undermined ...
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Hard difficult jobs
And again we will hear, in due course, a plaintive chorus of MPs saying they suffer all sorts of hateful things at the hands of the public while they're just doing their jobs, which are so hard and difficult and thankless. Jobs which involve a lot of sitting around and talking, something we all find hard and difficult. Jobs which are so hard and difficult that, somehow, a lot of you have quite a lot of time time left over for second jobs to scrape even more money out of the system. Jobs which...
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While we weren't watching
Peaceful protest in the UK is now criminalised. British citizenship can now be removed with no notice. You need ID to vote. The Electoral Commission is now under the control of ministers. But, you say, the johnsonites were elected: that makes this OK, doesn't it? In 1933 the nazis also were elected. The johnsonites are of course not nazis. Yet. ...
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Ben Wallace and the cows
Ben Wallace says The problem in the House of Commons is ultimately the overall culture of long hours, bars and people sometimes under pressure and after all of that, that can create a toxic mix that leads to all sorts of things. or in other words No no no, we're not bigots and misogynists, not at all. We just work terribly long hours you see and drink a lot you see and that makes us into bigots and misogynists, you see. Yeah, right. Here's the thing, Ben: being tired and drunk all the ...
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Katharine Birbalsingh is very, very stupid
When asked why so few girls progressed to physics A-level, despite outperforming boys at GCSE, she said: "I just think they don’t like it. There's a lot of hard maths in there that I think they would rather not do." The research generally ... just says that’s a natural thing," she added. "I don’t think there’s anything external." – Katharine Birbalsingh, the government’s social mobility commissioner, who is a French and philosophy graduate. What the fuck? How can the social mobility commiss...
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Worming
Of course the tapewormJohnson certainly supports initiatives to get people to return back to pre-pandemic [levels of attendance in the office] Because this means that commercial landlords – rentiers – will not suffer losses, and commercial landlords are much more important to the tapewormJohnson than the mere workers, who will have to spend endless hours commuting and some of whom of course will die because of this, because commercial landlords are rich you see, and rich people provide money...
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World-leading
Mr Johnson is the first serving prime minister of the UK to be sanctioned for breaking the law. – BBC news ...
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Selfish and stupid
The johnsonites are not a death cult: they're just extremely selfish and rather stupid. Think of it from the perspective of Rishi Sunak, say: he's 41. His period life expectancy in the UK has him dying in 2062, but he will have access to very good health care, so let's give him until 2070. So let's assume we do basically nothing about climate change (the likely scenario, and certainly Sunak's likely scenario). Well, things will be bad by 2070, but the worst things won't have happened by then...
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Rentier
rentier /rã-tyā/ noun A fundholder A person who has, or who lives on, an income from rents or investments Kevin Hollinroke, a johnsonite MP, said this about non-dom status on the BBC's Today programme: This is not a tax dodge. It is a deliberate policy to attract wealthy people from other countries around the world to the UK on the basis that they create jobs and create wealth in the UK that benefits everybody. [Quote via The Guardian.] Hollinroke is, unsurprisingly, dissembling, or per...
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Tapeworm
Rishi Sunak is dissembling when he says that people pointing out that his wife is using tax-avoidance strategies available only to the very rich is an 'unpleasant smear'. Firstly it's not an unpleasant smear: it is merely true. Saying a thing which is true about someone is not smearing them. Secondly it is not an attack on her at all. If I was as rich as his wife I'd certainly be getting and perhaps taking advice on how to avoid paying taxes: we all like to say we wouldn't but we almost all ...
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A plutocrat problem
So the Chancellor of the Exchequer is dismissing scrutiny into his wife’s use of tax avoidance strategies as 'unpleasant smears'. These strategies are, of course, available only to very, very rich people. And they help them avoid paying taxes which could make no possible difference to their personal well-being: if you are managing to avoid paying £20m in tax then you are very, very wealthy whether or not you pay it. Indeed you are probably paying more money for the advice which helps you avoid ...
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The atrocity exhibition
What is happening in Ukraine is utterly horrific, and nothing can excuse it. What Putin might do in Donbas is absolutely terrifying. I lose sleep at night wondering hopelessly what I can do, and then remember how lucky I am that all I am losing is sleep. But I think that although it's uncomfortable we have to face three things. Firstly this is not just Putin: the people who are committing these atrocities can't be let off the hook: it's easy for us to say that it's just Putin, but it's not: ...
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The slow death of democracy in the UK
Although it is wrong to compare the Johnsonites and the state of the UK today with, for instance Russia under Putin, Hungary under Orban, or even the US under Trump, I think it's now very clear that this is almost certainly the early stages of the slide of the UK into a corrupt autocracy with the end point being something like Russia. The UK under Johnsonites is not like Russia under Putin, yet: but unless they are stopped it will be. Mechanisms which might place bounds on the power of the go...
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The Dyson Zone is a weapon
The Dyson Zone looks like the sort of overpriced toy a few rich people will buy to show off. It's not: it is a weapon1. In particular it is a way of weaponising COVID for the very selfish. What it does is to filter air, and then blow a stream of it at the terrorist wearer. That air then gets mixed with their outgoing breath and actively spread, with no further filtering and under pressure from the fans, into the environment around them. So imagine someone with COVID (or some other disease s...
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Useful idiot
Boris Johnson has compared Ukrainians fighting to defend their country against Russia's invasion with people in Britain voting for brexit. Because fighting for your country and your life against the armed forces of a fascist1 dictatorship, who are actively and intentionally murdering civilians in large numbers is just the same as turning up to a referendum to vote, apparently. Because the EU is exactly like Putin's fascist regime, and making that equivalence is not at all offensive. Because t...
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Declaring victory
The EnglishUK government has relaxed all1 CV19 restrictions, is ending free testing and is removing funding for programmes which keep track of infections., which will, conveniently for them, degrade and artificially lower reported infection rates. Meanwhile infections are going up, of course. In due time, Putin's puppetsupreme leader Johnson will no doubt declare his own glorious victory over CV19 for the captive press. Just out of sight, smoke will rise from the ovens burning the corpses of...
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Food
Russia and Ukraine together account for about 10% of traded food calories. There is going to be serious trouble. ...
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Humanity
We will not give up, and we will not lose. We will fight to the end in the sea, in the air. We will fight for our land, whatever the costs. We will fight in the forests, in the fields, on the shores, in the streets. – Volodymyr Zelenskiy, 8th March 2022 ...
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Inhumanity
Priti Patel, Boris Johnson and the rest of the johnsonist government feel horrified about what is happening in Ukraine. Just not horrified enough to let more than a tiny number Ukrainians into the UK. They are, after all, foreigners, and the johnsonists, like the people who voted for them, do not like foreigners very much. It's very sad, they say, but it is better to watch children and old people slowly freeze to death in a queue in Poland than to allow them to come here. After all, they ar...
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Volodymyr Zelenskyy
If you are British it is not possible to compare Volodymyr Zelenskyy with Boris Johnson and his enablers, and particularly the awful Priti Patel, without feeling a deep sense of shame: how did these entitled, bullying, bigots gain power if not because much of the population of the UK also consists of entitled bigots and bullies? That is all. ...
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Sophie Scholl
'How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause. It is such a splendid sunny day, and I have to go. But how many have to die on the battlefield in these days, how many young, promising lives. What does my death matter if by our acts thousands are warned and alerted.' ...
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Ukraine
Putin has achieved two things: he has united many governments and peoples against him and people like him; and he has shown us all that the people of Ukraine have a nobility and a courage he could never understand. ...
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Men-children
Putin is putting his nuclear forces on special alert. From televised comments by Putin: Senior officials of the leading Nato countries also allow aggressive statements against our country, therefore I order the minister of Defense and the chief of the general staff [of the Russian armed forces] to transfer the deterrence forces of the Russian army to a special mode of combat duty. Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic sphere, but top offi...
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Long ago
When I was a child in the 1970s I used to have terrible dreams about nuclear war. Eventually as I grew up and the world seemed to become safer, the dreams faded and stopped. Now I have those dreams again. ...
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Small mercies
The only thing to be thankful for about Russia/Ukraine is that it didn't happen when Trump was president. Biden may not be great, but he's not Trump, and fortunately brexit has ensured that no-one outside the UK has to care what the johnsonites, who are heavily compromised by Russian money, think or do. ...
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Londongrad
The United Kingdom, in particular, has become a major hub for Russian oligarchs and their wealth, with London gaining the moniker "Londongrad." Uprooting Kremlin-linked oligarchs will be a challenge given the close ties between Russian money and the United Kingdom’s ruling conservative party, the press, and its real estate and financial industry. – Center for American Progress ...
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The yellow god
The idiot yellow god drinks and gurns and brays and lies and drinks again and lies, again. Around him the shadows he calls friends: the people he has not yet betrayed. Far away, out of sight and mind, other people are waiting to die alone: with tubes forced down their throats they fight for breath without hope, without friends, without family, forsaken. And the tin god cares nothing for them: why think of the little people dying, when he can drink and blare and grope? Their purpose was only ...
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Is it wrong
to say that I am more worried about the trees we are losing this winter than some of the people? I don't think it is. ...
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Disinformation
Let's say this again: if lateral flow tests stop being free then very many people who do now test will no longer test. Especially people for whom getting a positive diagnosis means they cannot work: people who work in proximity to other people and are the people most likely to pass on the virus if they have it. This means two things: the rate of infection will be higher than it otherwise would be, and the available statistics on infections will be degraded, and in particular will almost certai...
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Confer
Downing Street staff have been told not to confer with each other when answering a Metropolitan police questionnaire about potentially Covid rule-breaking parties – The Guardian Because, obviously, if anyone has broken the law, they will be scrupulously careful not to conspire with other people who have broken the law to invent a plausible-sounding story, will they? You can, after all, trust criminals to behave honestly at all times. Oh, yes, that's exactly what they would do. That's why ...
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Oliver Dowden
When Oliver Dowden and his like talk about 'woke culture' it's important to always remember that what 'woke' means to them is 'treating other people decently'. So what he is, in fact saying is that treating other people decently is weakening the west And you know what: he's right. There is, in fact, a cost – a considerable cost – to treating other people decently. You only have to look at Britain in the 19th century to see this: if you treat, say, the inhabitants of the Indian subcontinen...
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Silver and gold
In early 2021, Neil Young sold half of the rights to his back catalogue for $150 million1. This, conveniently, values the rights to his entire back catalogue at $300 million. Spotify had non-exclusive, revocable (clearly!), rights to stream that catalogue. Being very optimistic those rights might be worth $30 million: 10% of the value of all the rights to Young's entire catalogue. More realistically they were probably worth single-digit millions of dollars. In mid 2020, Spotify signed an ex...
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Free speech
I support free speech. I have never been in favor of censorship. Private companies have the right to choose what they profit from, just as I can choose not to have my music support a platform that disseminates harmful information. I am happy and proud to stand in solidarity with the front line health care workers who risk their lives every day to help others. – Neil Young ...
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The Gray report
The Metropolitan Police have asked that 'minimal reference' should be made in Sue Gray's report, in order to 'avoid any prejudice to our investigation'1. The entrances to Downing Street are guarded by officers of the Met. If, as seems almost certain, illegal gatherings happened at Downing Street or elsewhere during lockdowns, then there are two options: either the officers guarding the entrances were doing their job so incompetently that they did not notice, or they knew. If they were so inco...
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An open letter to Spotify
To: office@spotify.com I see that you have decided that hosting podcasts where people spew anti-science nonsense is just fine, if it makes you and your shareholders more money. And not just any anti-science nonsense: anti-science nonsense that will kill people. But that's fine, of course: making yourselves even richer than you already are is far more important than a few lost lives. They are only, after all, other people's lives, little people's lives: who, really, cares about them? How many ...
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The narcissist's prayer
The prayer Boris Johnson that didn't happen there were no gatherings & if it did, it wasn't that bad & if there were they were not parties & if it was, that's not a big deal & if they were parties I did not know they were parties & if it is, that's not my fault & if I knew they were I did not know the rules about parties & if it was, I didn't mean it & if I knew the rules about parties then they did not apply to me & if I did, you deserved it an...
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Endgame
The johnsonites have declared war on the BBC, at least partly to protect their idiot clown leader. This means there is no longer a source of obviously unbiased news in the UK: while the BBC may, in fact, be unbiased they will always now be suspected of somehow being opposed of the johnsonites who have declared their intent to raoe and murder the BBC. So there is now no source of uncontested factual information in the UK, just as there is no such source in the US. If you disagree with the john...
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They promised us global Britain
but what they have given us is little England ...
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A sincere sense of remorse
Oliver Dowden, a man who has abandoned whatever few principles he might have once had to support a clown fascist, says that The prime minister has a sincere sense of remorse over what happened. So Johnson has a 'sincere sense of remorse'? Yeah, right. The only sense of remorse Johnson has is that he's been caught: the only sense of remorse any of these halfwit fuckers have is that they've been caught. ...
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Bubble fascists
When the cryptocurrency bubble bursts1 there are going to be very many white crypto bros who have just lost their idiot 'investment' in a 'currency' and are now very very cross and who are they going to blame? Of course we know this: the liberals, the intellectuals, the people whose skin is not white, the gypsies & the Jews: anyone but the people really to blame: themselves. This will not end well. No, not if: when. ↩ ...
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Tulips
Bitcoin is tulips. Except that tulips absorb CO2 and turn it into tulips, while bitcoin absorbs ancient tulips and turns them into CO2 and bitcoin. ...
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Decline and fall
We often say that the Roman empire fell in 476: but almost certainly no-one who was alive in 476 thought that the empire had fallen, or probably that it ever would fall. If there are historians in 2400, what date will they give for the moment when America fell? Perhaps the 20th of January, 2017, or the 6th of January, 2021? Or perhaps the 15th of August, 2021? ...
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The idiot revolution begins to eat itself
Apparently David Frost has resigned. One reason seems to be that measures to save large numbers of lives and prevent the collapse of the NHS somehow offended him. Another seems to be that the cost of measures to reduce carbon emissions also annoyed him. Yes, indeed, it is going to be the case that keeping people alive over the next few months and years is going to involve tradeoffs, and ensuring our children and their children have a world anyone might want to live in is also going to be quit...
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Hope
The tories have held North Shropshire for almost two centuries. They've held it since it was a constituency. They have just lost it, heavily, due to the vast corruption and dishonesty of the johnsonite tory party, and probably also due to the awkward truths about the impact of brexit on agriculture finally sinking in. There is hope. ...
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Comedy fascists
Not funny, and also, you know, fascists. ...
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Translation
Wokery and political correctness – a slur used by bigots to mean 'treating other human beings decently, whoever they are': something they don't like doing. ...
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Murder
The Metropolitan Police have repeatedly refused to investigate the multiple well-attested breaches of lockdown by Johnson and his entitled fuckwit friends. Together with Johnson's repeated lying about them those breaches are going to weaken compliance with restrictions this time around (I mean: if the rules don't apply to Johnson then why, actually, should they apply to me?). That's going to kill people. Probably a lot of people. But the police don't think it's worth investigating, even thou...
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remedial overrise kharouba Microhymenoptera
6VCP DXQO 6U9L AVU6 CVOH 5VTI 06I2 79YX TB5K MFQS M4W7 X9T2 DYDI 952X 9112 V1C4 XXGP W1TO OXS7 OGZL ZE7A LNWK 5Z1G OSWN FWI2 OLD4 BM3U NYSJ XVIF 6YTY VKXY 985R 5OIL 92SB YMRJ J7G9 44I7 V9S2 T9XV DHS1 W1QH STC4 EG2O 8SWY 0ZGK PK10 2V60 KSXN JTGJ DABB ZWTD RNSZ LNYK 162Q RGYJ G8Q5 VRHW W6L3 7MYI KA4Z S57T GDLY SBYD G3HW IQ56 GS7M VWVX 9RU3 XESS X8BJ 59ZV 86UM S6H8 PV9O S7VE WUF0 KONZ 2RD5 93BS IAR9 J7R6 3CDY MW16 L6YM MM9E LREW SD2V TKXR 3UK7 8284 ROAT K9A3 NPIC BFSR P29F 3E7X FF9Q 1S1F 9O6A Z0TG ...
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100
one hundred haiku almost all extremely bad well, it is done now ...
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99
a virus of lies burning hope for the future consuming the truth ...
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98
it is not over it may never be over so get used to it ...
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97
endless facile lies meaningless optimism the johnsonite creed ...
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96
is there any point? we are ruled by a death cult we'll all end in pits ...
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95
let's all have parties just ignore the scientists make merry and die ...
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94
it is all burned down it is ashes, smoke and dust nothing now remains ...
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93
I must now answer what is my country now, and does it still exist? ...
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92
better never born than this endless half living a dead thing, dreaming ...
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91
lost in memory drowned in an imagined past better forgotten ...
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90
all those years ago but almost every day I still think of her ...
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89
inevitable but still somehow a surprise to those who should know ...
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88
now the world has changed we still think it's all over it never will be ...
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87
did we know today? inevitably it comes there is no way out ...
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86
like a messiah while money is to be made he will rise again ...
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85
what happened today? a trip to the cinema before new terror ...
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84
backdated again yesterday's new ideas oh, well never mind ...
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83
beautiful city so vast and yet so fragile the sea will take you ...
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82
basking in late sun he knows the world is ending but cats do not care ...
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81
thirty daffodils only an hour to plant them how many will grow? ...
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80
parasitic wasp consuming a living host you know who I mean ...
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79
is there more to say? I do wish I could still tell but things fade away ...
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78
tiny dappled cat I will pretend your biting makes me love you less ...
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77
of course they are brown and worship another god inevitably ...
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76
did it fail? well, no although it did not succeed no one will thank us ...
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75
keep burning coal then eat your own unborn children a delicate taste ...
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74
I cannot prevent the rise of the tinfoil god or the loss of hope ...
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73
the language of birds of angels, of trees, of stones is not spoken here ...
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72
the brightest and best an idiot coward king and a court of fools ...
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71
of course it has failed fine statements will be written but nothing was done ...
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70
take a private jet to a dinner with your friends and lie that you care ...
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69
'blue-haired feminists' you will get what you deserve if you think like that ...
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68
we would respect you if you would just stop lying how hard can that be? ...
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67
what is he hiding that he tried to change the rules to protect himself? ...
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66
tories are not scum no, but the johnsonites are fuck them, fuck them all ...
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65
wallow in your filth as you destroy your country I hope you all rot ...
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64
when they fail again and we want a world and time what should we then do? ...
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63
can you promise me if the idiot clowns fail you will eat their shoes? ...
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62
it's more important to win a made-up fish war than to give us hope ...
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61
hope? was there once hope? and there once was a future so long ago now ...
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60
a new year zero a thousand-year reign begins the clown god rises ...
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59
change your name to hide you are so very meta but you're still a shit ...
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58
be optimistic! the sunlit uplands beckon burnt to dust and ash ...
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57
panting and gasping an endless struggle to breathe in this dying world ...
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56
a heat pump: 'too hard, it won't fit, it costs too much' so: burn your future ...
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55
not at once, not now perhaps tomorrow instead and we dig more graves ...
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54
you chose not to care to be selfish, to kill those others who did care ...
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53
'a personal choice' choose to vomit virions and choose not to care ...
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52
a fairy story the lie we tell each other to run from the truth ...
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51
this is when we learn that there will be no future your words mean nothing ...
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50
should we all pretend everything will be all right when it will not be? ...
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49
hope fades as we watch: the clown spews his pretty words or just more hot air ...
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48
an end to hatred an end to stirring up hate that would be a start ...
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47
though I disagree with almost all he believed I am horrified ...
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46
one more day wasted another eight hours tapping plastic keys, oh well ...
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45
so, the foreigners conveniently are at fault and where will this end? ...
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44
he is stupid, yes we laugh at the yellow clown but he does not care ...
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43
the first winter frost enough almost to drive out the fools and liars ...
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42
smiling and waving the yellow clown stands taller on the heaps of dead ...
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41
each new morning comes another stupidity a new kind of shame ...
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40
like a metal worm it devours from within human minds its host ...
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39
we are not to say that your idiot plan is an idiot plan ...
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38
we are not to say that your pretend glory rests on mounds of the dead ...
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37
we are not to say that tens of thousands are dead through your carelessness ...
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36
we are not to say our wonderful leader cares nothing for us ...
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35
we are not to say that our splendid police also rape and kill ...
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34
we are not to say that our glorious past was built on horror ...
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33
one third completed and now I know for certain I am bad at this ...
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32
now it is butchers did we know we needed more? can we blame the French? ...
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31
oh, behind again keeping up is very hard when you are asleep ...
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30
meaningless nonsense a jumble of confused words And Oslo, erased ...
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29
the sunlit uplands now seem to be on fire oh well, never mind ...
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28
rain washed morning sky a waning moon in the west almost seem normal ...
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27
another crisis and more poor people will die still, not your fault, eh? ...
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26
we edit the past the awkward truths of empire now never have been ...
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25
rewrite history a convenient past glory who cares about truth? ...
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24
a mark on the earth the footprint of a dead god sixty million years ...
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23
in a world of mud I pick glittering fragments from a lost future ...
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22
dann sind wir helden I remember that moment so long ago now ...
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21
the girl with blue hair your dark eyes over the mask I will forget you ...
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20
moon over the sea pretend that this is normal nothing is the same ...
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19
the future's weight hangs like a small child in a sling to hold, or to drop ...
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18
reshuffle them then pick very stupid people for the clown fascist ...
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17
so it's not over it will never be over wave, then wave and on ...
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16
almost no time left but still there is hope, you say I wish I believed ...
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15
kestrel, escaping the seagull three times her size to watch the shoreline ...
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14
a sad past glory an imagined lost empire that was never real ...
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13
we wave splendid flags and pretend it is your fault welcome to England ...
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12
'terrorism failed' in Afghanistan, the dead perhaps disagree ...
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11
discarded plastic lines the verges of the road the blight of humans ...
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10
jaco, jaco, why? last I checked you were alive well, I have lost track ...
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9
impressionistic mine are not at all like that they are bad haiku ...
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8
voter ID means that fewer young and poor will vote: how convenient ...
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7
ghosts of the vanished look out from the book's pages you deny this too ...
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6
an army of ghosts waiting by the mountain path vanish in the light ...
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5
I remember her gold skin, dark hair, blue-grey eyes half a world away ...
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4
New York is drowning but still: of course it's a hoax made up by elites ...
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3
the gold of autumn winter's long night, but also the colours of spring ...
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2/100 terrible haiku
now hope fades from us our dreams burn on your greed as leaves in autumn ...
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1/100 terrible haiku
twenty years wasted how many young people died once the moon was yours ...
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What this means
Not all the people who helped the US, the UK and other powers in Afghanistan will be evacuated. Some of their contact details were left lying on the ground when the British embassy was abandoned1. It seems likely that many of those people will be killed, probably in horrible ways. So the message here is very, very clear, isn't it? If you plan to help the US, the UK or probably anyone else in a situation where you might later depend on them for your safety, don't: they will leave you to your ...
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Apollo
The Apollo programme cost $156 billion in 2019 dollars. Between 2001 and 2021, the U S spent between $800 billion and a trillion dollars1 in Afghanistan. One of these programmes put a human on the Moon: the other seems to have achieved, at best, nothing. The Economist says 2 trillion dollars, so a trillion seems pretty conservative. ↩ ...
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Consequences
Brexit has occupied 25,000 civil servants in the UK for several years, as well as, presumably at least thousands of civil servants in the EU for several years. It will continue to occupy a large fraction of UK government resources for many years to come. So: that's effort that isn't going into the enormous changes which would need to be made if we wanted to avoid seriously catastrophic global warming. Which we are not, of course, going to avoid. Oh well, who really cares if billions die and ...
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Being wrong
I was extremely cynical about the UK's reopening plan. Although, based on all their other incompetence, I very much doubt whether the johnsonites either knew what they were doing or cared whether they killed a lot of people, it looks as if I was wrong. CV19 is not over, but it looks as if many of my fears were wrong. Looking at the cases per million shows that there was a significant spike but things are now getting much better. The UK is still very poor compared to, say, Europe, but things ...
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Silver and gold
Rishi Sunak has told people that working from home may hurt their career. Or in other words 'In my day we had to spend three hours a day travelling to and from work where we would get bullied until we became senior enough to bully others in our turn, and I am too stupid to realise that the world has now changed and people will no longer want to live the shit life I have lived. Always remember that money is all that matters: spending a fifth of your waking life rammed into a metal box is as not...
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Pingdemic
Apparently there is now a 'pingdemic', caused by the various CV19 proximity apps sending out large numbers of notifications. This term is dangerous: If the proximity apps ever told people anything useful about their exposure, they still do: the virus is not in the business of listening to the Johnsonites when they declare the pandemic over. So if the apps are pinging a large number of people that's because a large number of people, in fact, have been exposed. 'Pingdemic' implies that, someho...
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Freedom
just another word for nothing left to lose ...
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Isolation
Sajid Javid has CV19, despite having had both his vaccinations. Perhaps because the AstraZeneca vaccine is not very effective against some variants, and in particular it's probably not effective enough to get R below 1 even if everyone is vaccinated1. And of course Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have been notified by the NHS app that they should self-isolate, since they've been in meetings with him (obviously they don't use Zoom like everyone else in the world). But they're not going to self-i...
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Freedom day
The johnsonists are now all about 'freedom day'. Yesterday I went to the cinema, and I've been a few times since cinemas have reopened, because people wear masks, there are capacity restrictions etc etc and I can do the maths and it all was safe enough. And I had plans to go to some events to, finally, try and take some photographs again which I really haven't done since March last year. Because, both by being outside, and with sensible precautions in place, I can do the maths again and they a...
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Aid
Whatever noise the Johnsonists make about aid, remember that the aid cut to the UNFPA is likely to kill a quarter of a million women and children. The aid to the UNFPA has been cut from about £154 million to about £23 million, yielding a cost per life saved of £524. UK annual GDP is about £2 trillion (source: ONS), so the total cut in aid from 0.7% to 0.5% of GDP will be about 0.2% of that, or £4 billion. If the cost per life saved is about the same as this, then the cut will kill about 7.5 mil...
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Knowing
Some people say that reducing the sensitivity of the NHS contact-tracking app is necessary to keep people using it. This is rubbish. There are two things the app does: it gives you an indication that you may have been exposed to CV19; it tells you what you should do if so. The virus does not care how sensitive the app is: it does not magically become less likely to infect you because the app has been made less sensitive. Lowering the sensitivity of the app simply reduces the amount of kno...
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Murder
Grant Shapps says that the sensitiivity of the NHS contact tracking app may need to be reduced. Here's the thing: the virus does not care what Grant Shapps thinks1 – if an infection is likely at a separation of d for s seconds from an infected person today, it is just as likely tomorrow. Reducing the sensitivity of the app will reduce its ability to protect its users and other people. Doing that will kill some people. Doing that intentionally will kill some people, intentionally. There is a...
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Freedom day
When face coverings become optional in the UK on 'freedom day', the 19th July 2021, organisations may choose not to enforce it on their premises. Since masks protect other people as much as the wearer, then if a vulnerable person wants to visit such an organisation, their risk is raised unduly because other people won't wear masks. Spaces such as cinemas, galleries and so on will also no longer have to enforce social distancing, further increasing the risk, especially to vulnerable people1. ...
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Choose your masks
Face coverings will be optional in the UK from 19th July 2021. That is, perhaps1, reasonable: the rules have to be relaxed sometime, summer is better than winter, school holidays is better than term time. But, given the trivial inconvenience of wearing a mask, and given how effective they are, anyone who cares about other people at all will obviously continue to wear one. And that is what competent people are saying. Rishi Sunak won't, of course. And he's happy to say that in public, even t...
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George Cross
The NHS has been given the George Cross by the Queen. Will that stop the Johnsonites taking it over, so they can fuck it up even more than they fucked it up during the CV19 epidemic? Of course it won't. ...
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Blank space
Police officers are playing copyrighted music to prevent people uploading videos of them to YouTube &c. This has been going on for a while and it's really hard to think of a good reason they might do this: it's almost certainly, almost always, an attempt to prevent evidence of wrongdoing existing. How hard is it to strip audio from video before uploading it1? Is there an app that will do this? Why not? This would reduce the value of the uploaded video as evidence of wrongdoing, bu...
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Extra precautions
So wait: Johnson says 'extra precautions' may be needed after 19th July. What he means is a little different1: We now know that if everything is relaxed on the 19th of July a lot of people will die. I don't care about that, obviously, except insofar as it might make me less electable and thus reduce my wealth & glory. And I'm certainly not about to admit that I was wrong about the date: admitting being wrong is for the little people, not for me. So I'll talk about slightly vague 'extra...
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Corrupt or stupid?
Matt Hancock seems to have used a gmail account for a fairly large amount of government business1: The minutes record that David Williams, the department’s second permanent secretary, had warned about Hancock’s conduct, saying that he 'only' deals with his private office 'via Gmail account'. He stated that 'the SOS [secretary of state] does not have a DHSC inbox' [from the above article, indirectly via The Guardian]. This was presumably so there were no government records of his corrupt deal...
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Is there hope?
Matt Hancock has resigned. I think it's a safe assumption that he had no intention of resigning yesterday: either he simply is so stupid that he did not understand the consequences of his actions (quite possible by all accounts), he simply did not care about the consequences of his actions, or both. Also: No10 had stressed that it had been Mr Hancock's decision to go and that he had not been pushed out by the prime minister. [From above article] So Johnson quite explicitly does not care: a...
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A liar and a thief
Matt Hancock has refused to resign after breaching the social distancing rules he set by groping a woman. We must suppose he hired her only in order to make such groping easier as she doesn't need the money. Boris Johnson has refused to sack him. This is the same Matt Hancock who said of Neil Ferguson, after he had resigned for visiting his lover, that his actions were 'extraordinary' and that he 'took the right decision to resign'. The same Matt Hancock who said that it was 'just not possib...
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Hancock
So Matt Hancock is having an affair with Gina Coladangelo, who he appointed a non-executive director of the health department last year. That's just little tiny bit questionable, you'd think: reputable organisations tend to frown on people having affairs with people whose employment they control. But he doesn't, of course, work for a reputable organisation, he works for the Johnson government. So no worries there: grope who you like, why don't you? Seriously, it's all just fine: a government...
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Literae humaniores
Or: the most useless degree a 21st century politician could do. Boris Johnson read Literae humaniores at Oxford, a degree often known as 'Greats' and now officially as 'Classics'1. Classics (Literae Humaniores) is a wide-ranging degree devoted to the study of the literature, history, philosophy, languages and archaeology of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. It is one of the most interdisciplinary of all degrees, and offers the opportunity to study these two foundational ancient civilisation...
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A rough winter
So the NHS will have a 'rough winter'. This won't be in any way related to the derisory pay offer for nurses in England causing many of them to quit, will it? Still less to the number of NHS staff who will quit after having watched people who never needed to have died dying in droves because Boris 'megamind' Johnson and his elite army of mighty brexit brains were too busy lying, rutting and stealing to bother keeping them alive. And certainly not to all of the non-UK-origin staff deciding they...
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Electoral commission
Apparently the electoral commission is to have its power to prosecute removed. How very odd that this should happen after it investigated Boris Johnson. ...
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Sunlit uplands
The sunlit uplands turn out to be a desert. There is sun, yes, and some parts are quite high up. The bleached skeletons of unfortunate people and animals, picked clean by johnson-birds, are a notable feature of the landscape, along with the tattered remains of what might once have been flags. It is impossible, now, to make out the colours, long faded by the endless sun. ...
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Chilled meat
David Frost, who apparently we must now refer to as 'David George Hamilton Frost, Baron Frost' or 'Lord Frost' for short, is appealing to the EU for extra time to negotiate an agreement on the Brexit protocol and avert a trade war. David Frost was the UK's chief negotiator during the brexit process. What the fuck did he do during that process? What the fuck did the whole UK government do in the four and a half years between the the brexit vote and the end of 2020 that required them to start ...
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Lessons from Trump: truth is optional
One of the important lessons that Donald Trump's presidency has taught is that lying is acceptable. Trump made about 30,573 false or misleading claims over the course of his presidency, lying at a rate which seems to be approximately exponential. During October 2020 he averaged 126 lies a day: presumably only limited by his ability to talk fast enough to enough people. Democracy is built on truth: if politicians can simply lie with no consequence they can subvert democracy to their own ends. ...
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The English nationalist party
The tory party, as reconstructed after 2016, is now the English nationalist party. I like not to believe in the 'people who voted for brexit are stupid' idea. In general I find the notion that 'people who disagree with me are stupid' rather offensive in fact. One of my brothers (I suspect) voted for brexit and he's definitely not stupid. Dominic Cummings is not stupid. So I choose to believe that the people who drove the requirement for a brexit referendum within the tories and who have since ...
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Against woke history
Because the convenient lies about an imagined past glory we were told as children must never be tainted with the truth of what that past rested on. Because the horrors inflicted on the people we would like to forget do not matter. Because the people we would like to forget do not matter at all. Because the truth does not matter if it interferes with our glorious self-image. Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it – Winston Churchill 1948, stolen from George Santayna ...
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The ship of the dead
The UK has cut its aid to the UN's family planning system by 85%, reducing its aid from £154 million to £23 million. This cut will probably lead to the deaths of a quarter of a million women and children. Now the Clown Emperor has announced a magnificent new ship will be built so he can parade himself around the world in suitable splendour. The imperial yacht for the imperial Johnson, if you will. This ship will cost an estimated £200 million. This ship will be built from the bodies of a q...
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The thousand-year reign
So there is no institutional islamophobia in the tory party. Of course there isn't. If some people said vile things about Muslims, why they deserved it, didn't they? And so we march on, waving our idiot flags furiously, to the thousand year reign of the glorious johnsonite nationalist (but, you know, a little bit socialist too) party. ...
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Not a fascist
Boris Johnson is not a fascist. But he's also not really a person. It's possible to theorise endlessly about what made Johnson what he is: was it being born into a privileged class? reading a subject at university (inevitably Oxford) which might have been designed to instil a vastly inflated sense of self-worth in students who largely already saw themselves as innately superior, all while teaching them nothing useful about the last fifteen hundred years of history? was it some pop-psychology p...
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hecatomb antiabrin kelectome kitchenware
F9JQ PKMV A64O USZC 6CQG 9UBH US4S SMV2 CP8P UPKE HD66 C6QL YJ24 QO1M QL8A UXLB 8NLP 2LTB K7LU 8BJW E6LK 2X7L GCXX I7A1 XYAW 8B5R GKUW WLK0 1YK3 N8P7 GJLG OSXK MI5D 87U9 DLJQ ODS4 5B2R 12FY E7TN H6BB OYEP EBGA BMSP QTPX 302I 4Z4F QIK5 8WIY OAVF ZYIX QNLD IGOE J8ZE 4LXD XA6Z D8RC 8BDN 7LSI V435 Y25H JCEE JEJ6 IC0I 7YMA 8JKO UQT7 GQ8Y 1DBF TDB7 ZJH4 33GW RPDV F0CA 8BXK HDM3 3V78 BBJG BD07 56I5 I5W1 XYRC 9OW0 1SXD 7OB1 HD45 7VSZ U00J MJNZ 6W7W 72JG 8W0W Y1AS 6O1V C4IJ XN6L RKJT YKB0 ZZAU BFDB HJZE ...
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Edwin Poots
Edwin Poots will be the new leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. He believes the Earth was created about 6,000 years ago. And of course he doesn't believe in climate change, and of course he has loathsome views about gay people. A man slightly less clever than my cat is now leader of the DUP. ...
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How democracy will be dismantled
There will be an inquiry into the UK's handling of the CV19 pandemic. If this is not compromised it will find very bad things about the johnsonite government's behaviour, which has certainly resulted in tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths in the UK1. But the inquiry will not be until the spring of 2022, which will give the johnsonites plenty of time to obfuscate what they did and otherwise to compromise the independence of the inquiry. How convenient for them. And, even more conveniently...
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The impairment of democracy in the UK
The UK's johnsonist government is planning to impair democracy in at least three ways: A Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill will get rid of the fixed five-year period between general elections and return the power to call early elections to the prime minister Plans to force voters in Great Britain to to prove their identity when they vote at general elections will be introduced in an Electoral Integrity Bill A Judicial Review Bill will set out the government's plans to change how its...
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Voter suppression
The johnsonist government of the UK is planning to require photo ID to vote. This is voter suppression: it will reduce the rate of voting particularly amongst the poor, young people, ethnic minorities and other marginalised groups: the exact groups least likely to vote for the johnsonists. This is how the republican party in the US behave, and it is how authoritarian governments who want to retain a veneer of democracy behave everywhere. This is not the start of the transition of the UK from ...
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The hereditary Johnson
So the UK government is going to require photo ID to vote to 'combat fraud'. In the 2019 general election 164 cases of fraud were reported. 47,587,254 people voted so this is a report rate of 0.0003%. There was a single conviction related to the general election, which gives a conviction rate of two millionths of one percent. Electoral fraud is a non-problem in the UK: There remains no evidence of large-scale electoral fraud in 2019. – The Electoral Commission So the UK, government is lyi...
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Mainstream
So the far right did really very badly indeed in the UK's various elections on the 6th of May. That's a good thing. Except, perhaps it's not. If you were a person who hates foreigners and who believes in an imaginary white, male history of England who are you going to vote for in 2021? That's right, you're going to vote for a populist party – a party which gives you facile, wrong answers to complicated questions – a party which is unashamedly English nationalist (but, you know, a little bit ...
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The 6th of May 2021
So, the fascists Johnsonist Tories are probably going to do rather well in today's elections. At what point do we finally admit to ourselves what the lesson of the years since 2016 really is? This isn't 'poor stupid-but-essentially-good people fooled by Trump/Farage/Johnson/whichever-clown-fascist-is-winning-today': this is 'very large numbers of people are loathsome bigots who are completely happy for brown/female/queer/gypsy/anyone-not-them people to end up gassed'. Humans are loathsome. We...
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A reckless and irresponsible second referendum
I think that most people in Scotland, most people around the whole of the UK, feel that this is not the time, as we’re coming forward out of a pandemic together, this is not the time to have a reckless, and I think irresponsible, second referendum. – Boris Johnson For which read: I don't give a fuck about what the referendum might do to Scotland or England, any more than I give a fuck what that previous one I was a little involved in did to them. No: it would be reckless and irresponsible...
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Corrupt politicians are levers for bad people
The idea that the very obvious corrupt behaviour of Boris Johnson does not really matter because it's only a tiny amount of money compared to, say, the sums involved in dealing with CV19 and its fallout is false. It's false because politicians, especially senior politicians, are force-multipliers, or levers, and this means they must behave far better than other people. Let us imagine that I am in charge of some country which I run in a rather nasty and authoritarian way – no, I'm not Boris Joh...
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An interesting thing
boris-johnson.com is a website which appears either to belong now, or to have belonged, to our noble leader. It has quite a large number of articles written by him. Except ... well, look at this defanged text (what were links are bold, targets indicated following them, my elisions marked as [...]): The programme seems to be far more thrilling, to the younger generation, than Men and Motors, or the Playboy Channel. It is called Takeshi’s Castle. It comes from Japan, and there is nothing like ...
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Mass murder
The UK has cut its aid to the UN's family planning system by 85%, reducing its contribution from £154m to £23m, and going back on a promise it had previously made. The UK was previously the largest national donor to the UNFPA. These cuts will be devastating for women and girls and their families across the world. With the now-withdrawn 130 million GBP (180 million USD), the UNFPA Supplies Partnership would have helped prevent around 250,000 maternal and child deaths, 14.6 million unintended p...
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breakout deadbeat tanglewrack slone
CUQ4 DTH5 K9Z1 EAMV 30XM TTPP 1TGS SJKF L6F0 H5KC YW71 H005 GTC5 WPF5 OQ36 P98K 80FC 5PZ2 3Z0V 2FOY 7ZDJ W0IU FKB6 BFLG R2L9 H4AJ YY61 ZYMZ 5S91 B3PY ZNVA 9UOD JC79 0ETI LMI3 A7GC 8YR8 JPX8 UR3Z GU4Q ZNSX BCZL LRMQ WLO8 4B35 QBSL S516 TWUO 08MH 79W5 IIE3 X6JQ 8F1B B0U4 KL4W I17E 1PZE YJRK 7YW9 OEC0 RP1Q J6C3 SB5U 57CQ EHXZ ASSB UN57 6RQ4 3AKN 0QCW 0MG3 85QY 0FB5 BS1P 78AM J3AD TH32 T56F M52D 3WMA 1TR9 024P 4O9X VDEV 9F9D VK9S WKWD OMER 2U3V TRYB 0HTS K6AW FIT5 D10G ZL9I B3KC ZZMY DIPD BHS5 SFWD ...
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Living in a skip
Sarah Vine, who writes for the Daily Mail and is, coincidentally, married to Michael Gove, a conservative politician said, in an interview for the BBC's Today programme this morning: The thing about the whole No 10 refurbishment thing is that the prime minister can’t be expected to live in a skip. Let's look at that. The prime minister is allowed to claim £30,000 each year for decorating his flat. In the year to March 2020, UK median household income was £29,900. So the prime minister can...
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Less clever
Boris Johnson is like a cat: everything he does, and everything he says is done with the sole purpose of glorifying himself. Unfortunately he's not as clever as a cat. ...
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Better dead
Boris Johnson has denied that he said no more fucking lockdowns: let the bodies pile high in their thousands. When Boris Johnson denies something, especially something that would be even momentarily inconvenient to him if it were true, you know it's true. ...
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Man bites dog
Entertainingly, Dominic Cummings has turned round and bitten Boris Johnson1. I have no time for Cummings: I think he's a person with quite nasty politics and morals who is not nearly as clever as he thinks he is. But you don't have to be very clever to be cleverer than anyone in the current government, and Cummings certainly is that. And he's also not visibly corrupt. Probably Johnson should have thought twice before picking Cummings as his squirrel. Sadly, he is a man who is not even capab...
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Whistleblowing is bad
So, what is this? Someone has leaked information about Boris Johnson behaving corruptly1. So, of course, the cabinet office is going to launch an enquiry into the matter. But wait: they're not launching an enquiry into the corruption, no, they're launching an enquiry into the leaks. Because, obviously, the corruption is just fucking fine so long as no-one knows abouti it. And 'some in No 10' (for which read: 'almost certainly our Glorious Clown Emperor') are suggesting the person who leaked...
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hawkbill monose augurous smilacin
5J87 C02U H1OC 2XW9 3V5F 2LXT DPCR 1JU8 84DV EUH9 SELP 4CA1 FA9F VR4N QRTF 8IVE 7F0H 2CAY BVX8 E9S2 R6EL 4EQB B9Y0 L3O1 DYAD G9HK B2VS W0QU QIXK 9RMM TAIG LGRU CTJV 3BOY TZ37 OHRZ OWAM GPVU 61J0 G23G 6FOP BFP0 UR1T EY1P FOGT VUCM NEZH MG2Z NEDA 8E0A 3D2A IUUE 81RR CP6F QRB4 84J3 37SU ITU4 NBII EAOY TURX ER17 EI65 1SYE EHEY 4GIQ F8GS DA6R FFZQ SK9J ON1B KO7L K18K NR1M 2ZMI YCET Z6YD IJKQ 01HI VXZA WNDS NPI4 UDIU XCFC ZLO5 AN9O 9WYZ 3ERJ TWUA IUN6 6R38 AZBO PA11 0W7H HX8P O5DB G000 TON1 HNLU CWF0 ...
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Monasa mesion knower thiocyanic
8M7A AJAO MJHX SIU6 GIDI N6MV 0QMH M79T GOWQ 5JDS EBC8 UST4 A1VS VJUK 6ZX9 QTZ2 ABRA VZ8Y 8ENE XO1K G8MD EX2Y 51G6 CF6Q 08NL 2M52 MI1L O9U5 D7VZ 2EZR 5UIM 8GPZ JY5N K3EN YVF1 05AZ GTPJ 65B4 HMC8 1G79 U8J9 XZ9A 153T PLAC JVII C49E CUEV H1QE QNLU 9Z78 9IT3 44M7 5NF7 Z6TB C3E2 DB5Y MQ0U DUYN 094G BBIW G0GS ZLYU A6ND 8LMJ 9IMH JECX 008P E6QZ FH18 XVCI LDDY XIIQ MO6X W2ZV YJG1 3W5A GEDL 54LM I6B8 P08X DYIJ PC17 6ISN V1ZM CCPI CF81 JEA6 UV1W 85Y2 PMZ0 ROL9 01PK HM9G OZQO 5ZUD CLO8 UOT0 0AQB 8OED FJMV ...
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unprecluded subeditor madrigalian Libellulidae
AJO1 26DR 42QH D00M AH9F QSP5 ASVY V3FM ME73 V0U1 LU2Z S3QP NQMD SY0O BQ0V 2F1X PXRC 7LBL 0SZX 122T P2FT J702 A7OV YNE7 MKNK O6Y6 18MI NOUE 9YTM 8ORD 5V4Y TE0F U2S3 TBUU QOZX 8BIE HY4U 1U00 SGLV 97SK RET1 0S45 J83L UAQ6 W7NS JPXN PPKQ YGQY G3LO XC48 34YK O7JF MJYH QBWF 2FP4 M0OD CDYL X57K 6985 P9Y5 ASVW QSZS ICE6 A05J YIMD 3CY3 LQRQ KH4Z VX5Y BH5D 02R6 BQYM FV5O AR38 WTXP VZGS L0LF Q25U TJLO F8JB F1W7 4IK0 1DMV HBND 9075 020P MYMO TCFM CPI0 1V9T BYUA ILXK 7NY3 9MPM IOFF TWO8 UIDN 7O6E 4EPL MNHG ...
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Crony
So the cronyism watchdog thinks the system needs urgent reform. What a surprise! It's not as if, you know, we have a government which is entirely about funnelling money out of the taxes we pay to their mates, is it? It's not as if there have not been multiple obvious occurrences of corruption, is it? Of course there will be an enquiry which, conveniently, will be headed by someone conveniently close to the government, and which will find that there was no real case to answer. How surprising...
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proreservationist heterotopous schlenter muliebria
8SAO K12Q 3WHC 123D OUVZ VUWU Y698 1HQ1 A7MI AIXH 572U 0TCP MI5W P61Z W8AA H8EI LM3R SNLU 3YYP XVO4 7UA2 1GRM UTQH G0IQ 3X0X CQ3V RU2Q CPXL JCAK RFA2 6NWC 6JJN EQDA 4Y9X 2I1O Q1D9 GB6W VO8M RJ1G TUSS R1EU USPI O0UE YCAU DWJ0 DBS9 EIID 0PJM CPRF 7JC9 9I8X JXXP KLQB 41UX C6KC 4U06 IO16 GV5S XHHY 7DLF SZZH EF87 SSV3 ACXY 2KL7 E9RB 4OIJ XBMU N5EW EZ1R SBWS YP0M 906I IN6V 1SGU NJ6F RLXL AXNS YEAV F10Z 9PRI 2HQT ERST 11KV 1HX3 XD19 4TFR DJ1P KDJ0 2ROB 3DPW LCLL K8PW NRWH Q5KI XAD3 HDKH DKGH WGE2 L4JY ...
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schoolboydom neurenteric phyllogenous gallet
BUE7 PPAS MTA9 F2Z4 2YB1 F3RS 7QZY 2ULY VDIV ZYRY S69S KM3Q JTEA Z6KP H89L YNZN PUF1 QS07 30GN XXQW R8FU VWVP 2CLB 7NOV KPVQ 4Z1S QEEL MIT2 MS1R QLLJ 9KUF RK1I 8FWL TCK5 MMDW TPVI 5ZKV MJAM YRGC L0GV DTEX ONLX N3VM 1S2D 0MGV 0VOU 1QAB 7S95 XFPA WWN6 G1Z1 19N0 MUO5 7K7M YXO6 BRJN Y05Z XBBI L4OP 82W5 J3DF D80E MSV1 UBUA WHT5 M5N0 EJXL ZXT6 MGO1 SR51 JSFY 389N C635 4XKE DHAC ZE64 VRHV 309Y PAI7 DXSW DUC7 QHIL A3SN S9GW T658 CRQ6 DP4N MFGM QNBE QXHQ FO4U SOM7 62OF KGO1 Q20E T4DC 07LQ 29ZQ 477R K2LT ...
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Bitcoin
So, the bitcoin ledger is both immutable (it can only be extended) and available to everyone: if it's not immutable then something is horribly wrong with the underlying cryptography, and bitcoin also fails at one of its main purposes; if it's not available to anyone then only the privileged elite to whom it is available can check and make transactions, which means they control bitcoin and again bitcoin fails at one of its main purposes. And the bitcoin ledger consists of bits, which can enco...
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Remember this
She had come to stand and remember Sarah Everard, a woman who was abducted and murdered while walking home at night, for which a serving member of the metropolitan police has been arrested and charged. The vigil was outside, she was wearing a mask. And she ended up pinned to the ground by two, male, members of the metropolitan police. Somehow, of course, it was not their fault: this small woman had been so threatening that they had no option but to force her to the ground. Somehow, of cour...
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So the UK media is not bigoted, apparently
If we are to believe The Society of Editors The UK media is not bigoted and will not be swayed from its vital role holding the rich and powerful to account [...] Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, said it was untrue that sections of the UK press were bigoted. Remind me, which UK media organisations did Katie Hopkins work for? You know, Katie Hopkins: the person who compared migrants to cockroaches and who lied that a photograph of a dead Syrian boy on a beach had been...
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The blame game
So, inevitably, David Frost1 wants us all to know that it's the EU's fault that brexit has not been quite as smooth as we were led to believe it would be2. Of course it is: because it's never our fault, is it (especially not if our name is Johnson, Gove or, well, Frost)? There always someone else to blame, isn't there? The Europeans, the judges, the liberal elite, the intellectuals, socialists, the Gypsies, the Jews. Always, it is their fault, never ours. This leads where it has always led:...
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A mess
Lots of people like to attack those of us who think that brexit was, at best, a bad idea by saying that we are uncritical admirers of the EU who ignore any inconvenient flaws, rather in the way groups of people once admired the Soviet Union. Well, let me then say that, while I don't fully understand what happened, the EU have clearly made a very serious mess of their CV19 vaccination programme and the recent threats over the Eire / NI border were just fucking stupid: that's not acceptable behav...
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The clown emperor visits Scotland
Yes, Boris, of course you must travel hundreds of miles to visit Scotland, while the people you laughingly pretend to govern can't go outside more than once a day, because of course achieving your political ends is essential, or, if not quite essential, certainly more important than the lives of a few more peasants. And, if those peasants decide that, well, if you can do it, they can do it too, well then, some of them will probably die as a result. But what of that: they are but serfs. Their l...
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Rodney and Ekaterina Baker are loathsome parasites
Rodney and Ekaterina Baker, who are Canadian, chartered a private plane to the Yukon. There they masqueraded as local workers and got vaccinated against CV19. Those vaccines were intended for, among other people, elderly members of the White River First Nation. For this they have been fined C$500. As they're the kind of people who can afford to charter a private plane they are probably not very worried about that. These people are living where they do only because their ancestors committed ...
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Biden / Harris
This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. – Winston Churchill, 10th November 1942 ...
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The NSA is either useless, compromised, or both
In the month leading up to Trump's idiot coup attempt on the 6th of January 2020, the phrase 'storm the Capitol' was used 100,000 times on various forums. The NSA's job is [...] global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign and domestic intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, specializing in a discipline known as signals intelligence (SIGINT). The US national intelligence program appropriation for 2020 was $62.7 billion: the NSA and related agencie...
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The end of a bad relationship
There's that moment when, suddenly, you realise that you're done with all the bullshit: it's stopped meaning anything and all that's left now is to leave. Well, that's just happened with England1 and me. When the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016 I was, like many other people, heartbroken: the choice to burn the future of the nation's young people, and hence of the nation itself, on an alter of bigotry and invented nostalgia for a glorious past that never existed wasn't completely surprising, b...
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The nightmare after Christmas
So, two medical journals, the Health Service Journal and the British Medical Journal, have jointly written an editorial saying that [...] Rather than lifting restrictions over Christmas as currently planned, the UK should follow the more cautious examples of Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. [...] This joint editorial is only the second in the more than 100 year histories of The BMJ and HSJ. We are publishing it because we believe the government is about to blunder into another major error...
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Terrorists
What's the difference between a brexiteer and a terrorist? You can negotiate with a terrorist. ...
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Arecibo
It seems appropriate that the national science foundation of a nation that, 51 years ago, put two humans on the Moon, is now proudly attaching its logo to footage of parts of the scientific infrastructure of the nation collapsing as a result of long-term neglect. What could be done at Arecibo can not be done anywhere now. If, in due course, another installation is built which can do what Arecibo could do, it will almost certainly be at FAST, in China. And Americans will continue to stare at thei...
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Test and trace
As with everything to do with the UK's wonderful government and its glorious leader – a man who, if not actually Churchill reborn for our times, certainly wants to be him – it is appropriate to compare current events to the second world war. The UK entered that war on the first of September 1939, woefully ill-prepared for it. Ten months later they fought, and won, the battle of Britain. If we choose the start of February, 2020 as the date that it became clear that the CV19 pandemic was very ser...
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The last chance for us all
If Donald Trump wins in November then this is clearly a disaster for world – whether he wins legitimately or, as seems more likely, by dismantling democracy. His victory will not only be a disaster in itself: it will also accelerate the slide from democracy to authoritarianism elsewhere in the world. But, well, this has happened before, hasn't it? The free world did succeed, eventually, in defeating the Nazis, and it at least seems plausible that it1 will defeat this latter-day incarnation of...
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Last post
My first post was on 1st May 2020, so this post marks 5 months of daily entries, most of which were done without faking the dates later. That seems like enough, for now: it's been an interesting experience, but I don't think I have enough to say to justify a daily entry, and it's becoming repetitive. ...
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20200929
It's just time, now: just waiting for the end. ...
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20200928
Of course he paid his taxes; of course he doesn't owe half a billion dollars to the Russians unknown people, who now control him. ...
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2020927
I really don't think there is. ...
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20200926
Is there anything useful more to say? ...
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Receipts
From A new American Manifesto: a 2020 adaptation of something else. He is lawless. He has no respect whatsoever for the rules of this country. He has interfered with state Governors’ abilities to take care of their states in times of crisis, constantly breaking promises and being unreliable, just to wear them down so that they will do whatever he wants and then neglects them even when they do it. He has abused the powers of the Presidency, leveraging people’s rights for business purposes. He...
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Get rid of the ballots
Get rid of the ballots and we’ll have a very peaceful – there won’t be a transfer, frankly – there’ll be a continuation. – Donald Trump Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus. Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable. – Mitt Romney, Republican senator ...
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Note 7
This was an answer to a Stack Overflow question that got closed. (define-syntax nloop* ;; Nested numerical loop (syntax-rules () [(_ () form ...) (begin form ... (values))] [(_ ((variable lower-inclusive upper-exclusive) more ...) form ...) (let loop ([variable lower-inclusive]) (if (< variable upper-exclusive) (begin (nloop* (more ...) form ...) (loop (+ variable 1))) (values)))] [(_ ((variable start...
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Ten thousand
I think that there is a lot to be said for the idea made famous by Malcolm Gladwell, that it takes about 10,000 hours. As with the equally famous idea about walking 10,000 steps a day, this seems to be something pulled out of a hat as well as being a conveniently round number. But in both cases the numbers are actually very reasonable. For 10,000 steps: well, I walk at about 100 steps/minute and I suspect this is fairly average. So 10,000 steps is about 100 minutes of walking per day. This ...
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Nature
Our knowledge of our immediate surroundings – of 'nature' – is declining. The reason for this decline in knowledge of the environment (and not just some idealised 'nature': cities are full of fascination as well, if you only take the time to walk through them) is simple: time. A human childhood, to age 15 and allowing 12 hours a day, is about 65,700 hours: the amount of time a child has to spend on anything is limited by the amount of time they have to spend on everything else. In 1913, when ...
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Clown
28th August 2020: People will again be encouraged to go back to the workplace in a government ad campaign starting next week. 19th September 2020: PM considering new restrictions amid second coronavirus wave Because it obviously wasn't possible to foresee that happening, less than three weeks ago, was it? Well, obviously it wasn't possible if you're an entitled clown with a degree in showing off, guided by a crank. ...
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Bad wolf
The Doctor showed me a better way of living your life. You know he showed you too. That you don't just give up. You don't just let things happen. You make a stand. You say no. You have the guts to do what's right when everyone else just runs away, and I just can't ...
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Conspiracy
The scale of the climate change conspiracy really is breathtaking. The hidden superiors who benefit from the obvious hoax of global warming being real must be an enormously powerful elite. Consider that they must convince people who work on climate but who aren't in on the hoax and who don't stand to benefit from it -- drones like me and the thousands like me -- to keep earning our meagre wages working 'for the good of humanity' rather than making the financially and socially preferable choice...
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Cold war
The vast naïvity of the people who declared that the cold war was over, and the west won never ceases to amaze me. Did they learn nothing from history? Did they pay any attention to what happened to Napoleon in 1812 and what happened to the Germans between 1941 and 1945? The Russians are really, really good at retreating further than their attacker thinks possible, taking losses greater than their attacker thinks possible, and then winning. The cold war is not yet over, and the west is not winni...
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Silicon valley ethos
People talk about the 'silicon valley ethos' as if it'a a good thing. So, let's remember what the silicon valley ethos actually is. It's the ethos that gave us techbros, gamergate and female participation in open source projects sitting at 1 or 2% (who knows what black participation is, but I expect it is very, very tiny). It's the ethos that drove down female CS & IT graduation rates in the US from 38% in 1984 to 18% in 2011. It's the ethos that gave us (male, white) people explaining that...
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A theory
I'm still very puzzled by what the UK junta government is trying to achieve. Here's a theory. While I think it's safe to say they have no long-term plans because they're not smart enough to do long-term planning, they do have the standard fascist authoritarian populist short-term plan, which is simple: blame other people. Blame foreigners, blame the gypsies, blame the Jews or the Muslims, blame remainers, blame experts, blame intellectuals, but blame someone else. So they need someone to ...
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The rule of law
If I see the rule of law being broken in a way that I find unacceptable then, of course, I will go. – Robert Buckland, UK Justice Secretary So if the law is broken in a way you find acceptable, why then, that's OK is it? I'll bear that in mind, then: in future I'll only break the law if I think that I'm doing it in a way that I find acceptable. ...
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Theory of mind
As recorded, [Trump's statement that he wanted to 'play down' CV19 early in 2020] reads like a cold-blooded confession that Trump intentionally concealed deadly knowledge at a time—February and March—when that knowledge could have saved lives. But you can reach that conclusion only if you believe that Trump knows things the way fully rational people know them: as statements about reality that exist independently from the speaker. Trump’s mind does not work that way. He does not observe the worl...
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Their law
The English UK government is intentionally breaking the law. But of course it will expect the people it governs – especially those who are not English – to obey the rules it sets for them: not because they are laws, which count for nothing, but simply because it has power over the people it governs. There is a name for this form of government: tyranny. ...
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Rule by idiot
In 2016, Donald Trump's Twitter password was yourefired: two English words with no substitutions and in a single case. Two English words which would be rather easy to guess for anyone who knew anything about him. This is known because of the 2012 Linkedin leak: Donald Trump has (or had, in 2012) a Linkedin account, and the unsalted SHA-1 hash (07b8938319c267dcdb501665220204bbde87bf1d) of his LinkedIn password was included in the leak. It is easy to verify that the password above hashes to thi...
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Rule by toddler
The UK government admits that it is planning to intentionally break international law. It is staggering to see a British minister brazenly admit to Parliament that the government intends to breach international law. Yet that is what Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, did this week – even if he sought to qualify the move as "very specific and limited". [...] As EU leaders are already asking, how can they do a trade deal with a country that is talking of ripping up a treaty it agree...
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A bit of smoke in the air
The skies are orange in California, but it's 'just a bit of smoke in the air', right? CV19 is a much worse problem. It's not. CV19 might kill 1 person in 100 as a plausible worst case, so 70 million people. And it will go away: there will be a vaccine almost certainly (and there will be other pandemics of course, and they will kill people too). Climate change as a plausible worst case might kill 9 people in 10 – more than 6 billion people – and that 'bit of smoke in the air' is an early s...
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Tantrum diplomacy
So the UK has apparently not just torn up the legal agreement it made with the EU. For which read: the UK has, in fact, just torn up the legal agreement it made with the EU and shown the world exactly what its word is worth: nothing. Populist governments: the spoiled three-year-old children of international diplomacy. ...
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What do they want?
The UK's government is driving the UK off a cliff. What do they think they are doing? In the case of Trump this is easy to answer: he wants to be dictator, for his family to rule after him, and given his vast corruption he is completely terrified about what will happen to him if he loses power and the protections that come with it. For the UK the conspiracy theorists' answer is that Cummings, Johnson and the tories wish to simply extract all of the money from the UK as the tories ever have ...
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The myth of the lone genius
One of the reasons why Stephen Wolfram's crankery is taken seriously by reviewers is the myth of the lone genius: the idea of some brilliant man – and it is always a man, of course – who spends years toiling in seclusion to come up with a theory which changes the world. The exemplar of this is Einstein: didn't he work, alone, on relativity while doing a day job as a patent clerk, only to publish the theory out of the blue in 1905? Well, he did work as a patent clerk, but that's the sort of thi...
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Stephen Wolfram is a crank
There is no doubt that Stephen Wolfram is extremely clever1. Sadly there is also no doubt that he is a crank. He may, in fact be the best example I know of why cranks are not just stupid people who think they are clever: cranks can be – and very often are – clever people. As I wrote yesterday cranks don't realise when they don't understand something: for cranks, there are no known unknowns, all unknowns are unknown. [...] One group of people who very often become cranks are narcissists. I...
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What it means to be a crank
Cranks are not just stupid people who think they are clever: cranks can be – and very often are – clever people. The important thing about cranks is that cranks don't realise when they don't understand something: for cranks, there are no known unknowns, all unknowns are unknown. The reason why this definition works is that when a crank approaches some field which they don't understand in some critical way then they fail to recognise that they don't understand what they are doing, and blunde...
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Godwin
I remember when Godwin's law was a new thing1, and how clearly right it was: how obviously stupid and offensive it was to compare people and injustices to the monstrous horror that was fascism and the Nazis. We should all, instead, be thankful that the horror was in the past, and use language more carefully for the relatively tiny horrors of the late 20th century. And suddenly not. Suddenly calling people fascists is not stupid hyperbole, because there are real fascists – there are possibly f...
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Analytic
Analytic functions are both infinitely differentiable and have a Taylor series which converges in some neighbourhood of every point. I think it's possible to argue that the functions of physics should not only be sufficiently differentiable, but analytic. The reason for thinking this – well, the reason I think it – is that I think these approximation techniques correspond to the measurements we can make: you can measure the position of something, say, and then by measuring the change in positi...
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What are the chances
that the US election on November 3 happens without serious violence or worse – perhaps much worse? I guess not zero, but not much more than zero. ...
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Run from the future
One of the great dreams of the internet is that people who do office jobs will be able to, by and large, work from anywhere. I don't think it was clear in March that the infrastructure or the people were ready for this dream. But, wonderfully, it turns out they were: the great dream came true and now many millions of people in the UK will be able to work from anywhere once CV19 is over, and won't need to spend hours a day commuting. Enlightened companies will soon realise that they can provid...
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Chaos and hardship
Holidaymakers will face 'chaos and hardship' if coronavirus quarantine measures are reintroduced for those arriving in the UK from Portugal, a travel industry leader has warned. – BBC news Forgive me for being heartless but you chose to go on holiday during a pandemic and not only that but you chose to go on holiday abroad. Obviously, when you chose to do that, you decided that the risk of getting quarantined on your return, or even stuck in Portugal, was something you were happy with. Cer...
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The biggest lie
While claiming to be the 'law & order' president, Trump is, of course, intentionally trying to cause a breakdown in law & order so that people will vote for him to restore it. On whose watch did that breakdown occur? ...
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Only following orders
Yes, quitting from Facebook, or Twitter, or Google will mean you have to find another job or be poorer than you are now, or both. But not quitting means people will die: this should not be a hard decision to make, should it? And you have all these really desirable skills, after all: you know how to build hugely scalable computing systems, how to do all this fancy AI-big-data cleverness: you're not going to be out of a job for long, are you? Of course, you won't quit. You might tell your frie...
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Just quit
At what point do we take responsibility for enabling hate filled bile to spread across our services? Anti semitism, conspiracy, and white supremacy reeks across our services. – Facebook employee Here's the thing: if you, a Facebook employee, want to stop this evil then fucking quit already. How hard can it be? If you don't quit, you are supporting what Facebook stands for, which is white supremacism and worse. And if you support racism, you are a racist. Stop whining, just fucking quit. ...
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The least bad
Facebook has apologized to its users and advertisers for being forced to respect people’s privacy in an upcoming update to Apple’s mobile operating system – and promised it will do its best to invade their privacy on other platforms. – The Register Does this make Apple the good people now? No, it doesn't. But it might make them the least bad people. Apple have what I call a first-order business model: you pay them for their expensive hardware and expensive services, and in return they wor...
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Plain text again
I realised that there is an easier way of describing the difference between the several versions of 'plain text' email. Three definitions of 'plain text' What people want to transmit by email is generally some sequence of graphemes, possibly together with ancillary data, such as how they are to be laid out, related images, sounds, and so on. Graphemes are mostly the same as characters, but not completely so: to understand this requires understanding Unicode, which I suspect almost no-one does...
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Plain text
Sarah Novotny is worried about the reliance of the Linux kernel development process on plain text email. Inevitably a lot of people are sniping at her1, because 'it's easy to configure email clients to use plain text'. She is, however, right. The reason that she is right is that 'plain text' now has two different meanings. The first, newer, meaning is now the most common one, which is that 'plain text' means that the you can only type text – there is no support for tables, boldface or anyth...
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MRAP
I didn't understand this until today. In some of the more recent wars the US has lost fought, there has been a serious problem that people kept blowing them up using improvised explosive devices. To deal with this problem they built 'Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected' vehicles, or MRAPs. These are designed to make IEDs survivable, and they probably do so. MRAPs weigh from approximately 14 to 18 tonnes and they're around 3 metres high. They cost an enormous amount of money: from $500,000 and $...
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Ten years too late
We live in a world where we have to have a huge fight to persuade people to take some trivial action to reduce an immediate and very obvious risk to them and others, and even then a lot of them refuse to wear masks because, oh I don't know why because. What's the chance that we're going to persuade people to take some fairly non-trivial action to reduce a risk which will kill mostly their children and grandchildren, about whom they only pretend to care. And the people it's killing now? Well t...
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While we were distracted
The ice caps are melting, and California is on fire, again. If we had done nothing, CV19 would kill perhaps 70 million people. If we do nothing, climate change will kill perhaps 5 billion or more people. And nothing is what we are doing. But we don't need to worry about climate change: It will, almost entirely, kill only future people, not us. And the people it's already killing? Well, they're just poor people with skins the wrong colour who live far away. Of course we pretend to care abo...
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He has no principles
All he wants to do is appeal to his base. He has no principles. None. None. And his base, I mean my God, if you were a religious person, you want to help people. Not do this. – Maryanne Trump Barry ...
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Hard to remember
That, although it is getting there, it's not dark yet. And, just possibly it may not get dark. ...
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Johnson
omnium consensu capax imperii, nisi imperasset – Tacitus ...
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Biden
He's not perfect, obviously. But when the alternative is Trump and a descent into authoritarianism and, probably, fascism then, really, there is no alternative. ...
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Dunning-Kruger government
The UK is governed by a malign Dunning-Kruger government: a group of people so incompetent that they don't realise how incompetent they are, led by Dominic Cummings: a low-level crank who has persuaded both himself and them (easy to persuade them) that he is a genius. Because they are so incompetent their useless plans – or lack of plans – fail, predictably and repeatedly. Because they think they are brilliant, or at least that they are led by a genius, this makes no sense to them: the great C...
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'The youth of today can't write' & other lies
In the past 20 years, over 60 billion words of fan fiction have been written and posted on Fanfiction.net, the world’s largest repository. The site’s 10 million members have collectively authored a corpus about three-quarters the size of the entirety of published English-language fiction. This outpouring of creativity has been generated primarily by young people, with a median age of 15.5. – Cecilia Aragon, MIT Technology Review Yes, you read that right: people with a median age of just over...
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The war against fascism
If I am right and the only effective way to defeat Trump will be to vote in person as he will have destroyed the USPS, then defeating Trump means that many people will die. This is a terrible cost to pay to win an election, and it is a terrible choice for people to make, especially as the risk you take by voting in person is mostly a risk to other people. To defeat the person who cares only about himself people have to behave, for a moment, like people who care only about themselves. But it's...
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An awkward choice
Probably, a good way for people who don't want Trump to steal the election in November to do so is to vote in person. Which, of course, will kill people. ...
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Why Trump will win
I think that Trump will win in November. He won't win democratically: he will win by openly subverting democracy. He is already doing this by refusing funds to the USPS with the explicit aim of preventing people voting by post1. Together with his successful campaign to downplay the dangers of CV19 to his supporters, this means that, while most Trump supporters will vote in person, Biden's supporters will be far less likely to do that, and thus fewer of their votes will count. This strategy wi...
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((compose old-physicists dunning-kruger-effect) hard-problem)
Old physicists Physicists1 – usually old physicists – are famous for turning up in other fields and assuming that, because physics is hard and they – as physicists – are therefore smart, those other, lesser, fields must be simple and the people who work in them mere buffoons, labouring in the dark and unknowingly waiting to be enlightened by the great power of physics and the great intelligence of physicists. This does not endear them to people who work in these other fields: partly bec...
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Robust and fair
Gavin Williamson is worried that adjusting exam grades will result in people being promoted beyond their competence. People who have been promoted beyond their competence is something of which he has deep personal experience, being part of a government composed almost entirely of such people: notably him. If only he was smart enough to realise this. The UK is so fucked: the only thing that prevents us being the laughing-stock of the world is the US. ...
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Wagner
So, OK, the operas are not explicitly antisemitic. Not explicitly. But, you know, it just might be the case that operas about Germanised versions of Norse gods are at least a little bit problematic for some people. And, just in case you weren't aware, that kind of mythology has been used by people who were extremely antisemitic to put it rather mildly, and that mythology is still still used by such people today (just do a few searches ... but do them in a private browser because you really don't...
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We can't both be right
http://n-gate.com/software/2017/07/12/0/ Quite. I also make jam, which I sell to people in unsealed jars. I mean, it's sterile when it leaves me: I can certify this: my jam-making systems are most secure. And the whole installing-a-lid thing is really a pain to do and takes fractions of a second per jar. After all, it's really not my problem if opportunistic nasties sneak in and breed in it in transit so that what reaches people is not jam but some horrid bacterial stew. Anyone who cons...
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An unpopular opinion
Years of education are not fungible: if a person misses a year of education when they are, say, 6 then they can't really make it up when you are 8, because 6-year-olds and 8-year-olds are hugely different. This disadvantage generally goes down with age. So if CV19 means that children – especially young children – miss significant amounts of education, the consequences will be severe for them, and some of those consequences will last the whole of their lives. The consequences of missing formal...
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Stasis
The nice thing about exponential processes is that everything stays the same. If, a year ago, I could assume that processing power would double during the development of my bloated application, I can assume that now as well, so long as processing power keeps increasing exponentially with time. This is why it's so hard for people to deal with the ending of exponential processes: they son't deal with change very well. It's also why the whole 'singularity' thing is junk: exponential processes d...
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Disinformation wants to be free
'Information wants to be free'1 is a glib lie with horrible consequences. Let's take the example of journalism. Journalists need to make a living. Since what they produce is information, in the form of journalism, they need to get paid for the production of it, somehow. The information they create is, in fact, not free to create, and when people refuse to pay for it this means that the journalists don't get paid for what they do. Well, perhaps they can get paid some other way? Perhaps, for...
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Conflict of interest
It's kind of depressing that I've just spent a couple of hours working out just which toxic googlebook cookies I need to temporarily allow in order to get the site of a newspaper which regularly campaigns against the awfulness of these companies to allow me to log in. ...
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Good pictures
A good picture may well be worth a thousand words, but on the internet even a bad picture costs tens of thousands of words. (Paraphrasing Erik Naggum) ...
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Autology
A word is autological if it describes itself. 'Autological' is autological. All words are either autological or heterological, except one. ...
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Choose populism
Choose populism. Choose fear. Choose blame. Choose Facebook, Google and Twitter instead of thinking. Choose a fucking big car to make yourself feel less inadequate. Choose to hate cyclists. Choose antisemitism, racism, spitting at gypsies and watching abusive porn. Choose leaders who tell you the lies you want to hear. Choose to believe that they say. Choose not to vaccinate your children because fuck them. Choose a house in a gated community to keep out anyone different. Choose frien...
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The dream of England
Coronavirus: England highest level of excess deaths (BBC) / Covid-19: England had highest excess death levels in Europe by end of May (Guardian). This is England, not the UK, the country which voted most strongly for brexit. country excess deaths brexit result England 7.5% 53.4% Scotland 5.1% 38.0% Wales 2.8% 52.5% Northern Ireland 2.0% 44.2% United Kingdom 6.9% 51.9% Well done, Boris & Dominic: you must feel proud of yourselves. If I believed in hell I would wish you and ...
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Getting away with murder
One of the many tragedies we are living through is that even though it is now obvious that populism is a disaster, they have got away with it. Populist regimes build their appeal on offering simple and appealing, but wrong, solutions to difficult, complex problems, and get away with it because either people don't notice that those solutions don't work or they can lie copiously enough that people believe the solutions did in fact work but somehow were foiled by the fiendish enemies of populism (y...
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Run away, run far away
Highly-educated British people are fleeing to the EU: if that surprises you then you probably haven't been paying attention. ...
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Truth decay
It's kind of funny that the RAND project on truth decay has a Twitter hashtag (#truthdecay). I mean, point people at one of the big agents of truth decay so they can read lies about your project on truth decay: that makes sense. If you care about the truth, stop wasting your time on Twitter and Facebook: delete your accounts and never look at them again. While I'm here: If you work for Facebook, quit. It is morally indefensible for you to use your skills to make that company more powerful....
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The forgotten dream of brexit
It is now easy to forget that the whole brexit thing, before it became cancerous, was built on this pretend idea of a bucolic, rural, white England which existed just beyond memory and to which we could somehow return, sloughing off the present like a bad dream. And maybe it even did exist for some small minority of people. My mother, who was born just before the second war as a Wiltshire farmer's daughter, lived in a world a little like that I think: thatched farmhouse, almost certainly an Ag...
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ES-175
Just a machine made of wood, metal, paint and bone. In fact not even a particularly good example of such a machine. But I would risk my life to rescue it in a fire, because secretly I know that it is made of wood, metal, paint, bone and magic. ...
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Herd immunity
It's pretty easy to see that the number of people that a given infectious person infects is the product of1 the number of people they meet while infectious; the proportion of those people who are not immune; the chance of infecting each person. As the proportion if people who are immune goes up this number decreases, ultimately to below 1at which point the epidemic dies out more-or-less quickly: this is herd immunity. If this number is initially around 2, then herd immunity requires about h...
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What Trump wants
is to provoke something that is frightening enough to his natural supporters1 that enough of them will vote for him to keep in him power2. Black people marching in paramilitary uniforms look pretty fucking terrifying if you are a white racist who is very frightened of black people. This is what the things happening in Portland & elsewhere are about: he is baiting people enough that they do something he can portray as really, really terrifying to people who are already scared out of their m...
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An encounter with greatness
A while ago my wife and I were staying in one of a pair of fairly isolated cottages by a lake: I had stayed in the same cottage as a child, at which time it had still been lit only by gas. In the other cottage a man and a woman were staying, both a fair bit older than us, the man somewhat stout and clearly a child of the 1960s in dress sense. We no more than nodded to them while we were there. The man played the guitar, and occasionally we would hear him playing quietly, very well indeed. I st...
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What frightens Trump
While he is president, Trump can get away with things that anyone who is not president can't. He has explicitly said that As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, [...] – Donald Trump Because the Republican party – for reasons which I don't really understand – seem willing to support him to the edge of the cliff and beyond, he is essentially unassailable while he is president: he can do anything and get away with it. But this ends once he ...
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The end of hyperbole
hyperbole /hī-pûrˈbə-lē/ noun A rhetorical figure which produces a vivid impression by extravagant and obvious exaggeration For a long time people have accused other people of being fascists and talked about fascism in a way which was clearly hyperbolic and offensive to people who suffered at the hands of actual fascists. What is happening in Portland is the moment when it stops being hyperbolic to talk about fascism: there is a very real chance that this is the beginning of a fascist regime...
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TYC 8998-760-1
Here is a photograph of a star – quite like the Sun, but much younger – and two gas giants orbiting it. Not one, but two exoplanets, directly imaged. Paper describing the discovery. ...
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Cold war
Now that we know we will be ruled over by crank dictator Dominic 'spent several years in Russia but of course not in the pay of the Russians at all' Cummings and his idiot sidekick Boris 'not in the pay of the Russians even a tiny bit' Johnson for the foreseeable future, both of them owing allegiance to the yellow clown emperor Donald 'very definitely in the pay of the Russians' Trump, it's time for some long-overdue correction to a confusing episode in history: when did the cold war end and who...
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ISC / Russia
The ISC has publshed their report on Russian interference in UK democratic processes, after nine months: the report, and a summary1. Here is the Government's response. Here is an excerpt from the ISC report: [47.] We have not been provided with any post-referendum assessment of Russian attempts at interference, ***. This situation is in stark contrast to the US handling of allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, where an intelligence community assessment was pr...
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The ruins of a mind
'The plan is to have no plan' is not a strategy, really. Nor would I call it a policy. It has a kind of logic to it, but this is different from saying it has a design – or a designer. Meaning: I do not want to be too conspiratorial about this. To wing it without a plan is merely the best this government can do, given who heads the table. The manufacture of confusion is just the ruins of Trump’s personality meeting the powers of the presidency. There is no genius there, only a damaged human bein...
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Probability
What is the chance that the US will be a democracy a year from now? ...
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Rules of patch cables
The first rule. When doing any kind of music recording using hardware, for any new device then no matter how many patch cables you have, you always will be missing at least one of the ones you need. The second rule. The first rule remains true even if the device comes with suitable cables. ...
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Second amendment
Unidentified people in uniform, operating from unmarked vehicles, are taking people from the streets in the US. In America, not some far-off authoritarian state, and today, not some half-forgotten long-ago. What is it that all the people who support gun ownership in the US so busily say? Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms. [...] the right of the citizens to bear arms is...
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More words
I wonder what proportion of the people who so busily argue that 'master', 'slave', 'blacklist' and so on could not possibly be offensive terms when used in computing are black? In May 2020, Google reported that 3.7% of their employees and contractors were black. That number covers more than just programmers: it covers, presumably, cleaners and catering people for instance. Perhaps the proportion of black people is much higher among programmers ... don't be silly, of course it's not: it's lowe...
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Towers
Very tall towers become exponentially wide in their lowest levels, and how high they can be is bounded by the strength of the rock on which they rest. This also places a bound on the height of mountains: tall enough mountains sink into the crust of the planet. ...
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Don't use Uber
Uber are a deeply, deeply shitty company. There's Facebook shitty, and then there's shitty: I think that government said that they made a mistake. It's a serious mistake. We've made mistakes too, right, with self-driving... So I think that people make mistakes. It doesn't mean that they can never be forgiven. – Dara Khosrowshah, CEO of Uber The 'mistake' he's talking about is killing a journalist by cutting him up with a bone saw. And apparently that is forgivable. Here's a clue: no, it's...
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Blacklist
The maintainers of Linux are making changes to discourage words with unfortunate connotations following some recommendations. Words like 'blacklist', 'whitelist', 'master' & 'slave'. And of course a lot of people are up in arms about this: Would these SJWs please take Etymology 101 before banning every other word in English. Blacklist has nothing to do with ethnicity or BLM or IOU or WTF, etc. Stop the nonsense. Well. Perhaps people should also study some linguistics, where they will ...
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Geometrical units
The mass of the Sun is about 5μs or about 1.5km. ...
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Planet 9
There's a fairly mad theory that planet 9 (which probably does not exist) is a primordial black hole, in this case meaning an object far too light to have formed from a collapsed star. I suspect primordial black holes may not exist, and we've already done measurements which show they are at least scarce if they do. Well, here's an experiment which will tell us if any exist in the outer Solar system. In the likely case that it finds none we have another data point which puts an upper bound on ...
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History is written by the winners
if they can write: if they can't, then it is written by the losers. ...
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reStructuredText: how not to do it
reStructuredText manages: to be very painful to write compared to, for instance, Markdown (why double backquotes around code? I mean, seriously, what purpose does that serve?); to be complicated enough that you often need to look things up, and end up using it in inconsistent ways ('what's the right syntax for a reference to a method in another class again?, oh, I'll just use ``...``: it's wrong but it will do'); to not be expressive enough that it becomes second nature in the way (La)TeX doe...
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Cars
I feel sorry for all the people whose sense of well-being is so dependent on them having a car, people whose thinking is driven by the mindless fear of change and the complete inability to reason about, well, anything. I feel sorry for the people whose tiny sense of self-worth is so threatened by cyclists1: I always suspect because people who cycle a lot get to look kind of fit and attractive, instead of like blobs of dirty grease2. It must be horrible being them. Well, ten years ago I used t...
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Words matter
People argue, endlessly, repetitively and in enormous detail, that changing terminology doesn't matter, and indeed is just a waste of time1. Changing language does matter: language is an enormously important part of what it means to be human – our use of natural language is arguably our single defining characteristic as a species. The choice of language is really important to humans at an extremely basic level2. If you haven't read a book which makes you cry or makes you really angry I feel ve...
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Winter is coming
BERT is a natural language model built by Google. It was trained using a corpus of more than three billion words of English text1. If a human could read at 200 words a minute, 12 hours a day, every day, it would take a little less than 60 years for them to read this much text, once. BERT has more than a third of a billion parameters. This is nothing like how humans learn a language, which they do in a few years with a relatively minute amount of data. The current AI hype cycle is built on t...
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A shocking development
Sometimes, even very rich people have to obey the law. 'We were treated as if we were criminals, it's not fair' they say. Yes, you were treated like a criminal because you are a criminal, fucker and, just sometimes, even loathsome parasites like you get to obey the law, however much you whine and bribe. I know, this almost never happens. ...
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Sand
The underlying argument of many climate-change skeptics1 is anthropogenic climate change is frightening, therefore it must not be true and the evidence for it must be faked. It is entertaining to apply this argument in some other places to see how well it works: bankruptcy is frightening, therefore I cannot be bankrupt and the nasty demands for payment people keep sending me can be ignored. Or: cancer is frightening, therefore I do not have cancer and the red stuff I am coughing up is ...
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Our noble masters at work
So Dominic Cummingsthe very wonderful UK government is in the process of buying a stake in OneWeb1 with the money of his slavesits taxpayers because, among other things, it [...] hopes the network could also work as a replacement for the loss of access to the EU's Galileo sat-nav system. Because, of course, it is trivial to repurpose satellites, some of which are already in orbit, to do what GPS does. Because, of course, they have sufficiently accurate clocks, and their radios work on the s...
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Perhaps not
A little while ago I pointed to an amazing paper which argued that there's a black hole in a naked-eye-visible star system, about 1000ly from us. There may not be: Is HR 6819 a triple system containing a black hole? – An alternative explanation A stripped-companion origin for Be stars: clues from the putative black holes HR 6819 and LB-1 The nearest discovered black hole is likely not in a triple configuration So, that's sad, but it's also a good example of science doing its job: someone cl...
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The fiendish hun
So, Germany has offered to help the UK with their contact-tracing app An app which is deployed, whose source code is publicly available, with all the commit messages being in English and with at least some English internationalization already complete (and, I think, all of it). The British, of course, spent £11 million on an app that they basically knew could never work. And of course they will now refuse Germany's help because it's not British, and only British is good. Better Dead than NOT...
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Doing nothing
If you think we are doing something about climate change, you're wrong: almost without exception we are doing nothing. One group of people sign agreements which makes everyone feel good and pretend that this is doing something, which it's not. Another group of people pretends that it isn't happening or that, if it is happening it is someone else's fault, and this is not doing anything either, but is worse in other ways (see below). There are a minute number of people who might actually make a...
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So, OK
In case you had any doubt about whether Trump was a racist, he's just made it very clear: of course he is. I've said this before: Trump is a racist, and supporting racists is racism. That means that the people who support Trump are racists. The whole claim that somehow they are good people who don't understand who they're voting for is insulting their intelligence: no, they're not too stupid to understand that Trump is a racist, rather they voted for him because they understand and support wh...
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It's always both
So, Donald Trump is doing so well at dealing with CV19: so far more than 125,000 people have died, and the true number will be significantly above that both because they won't be counting properly and also because they'll be busy suppressing the information. But, but: the mortality rate is about 2.3 times higher for Black Americans than for other groups1. If you're a racist who does not care about taking a few casualties along the way that's very convenient, isn't it? One comforting thing ab...
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Sunlit uplands
Because of course Boris Johnson was stealing a phrase from Churchill, because of course brexit is like the battle of Britain. Or, at least, pretending it is lets us all wallow in nostalgia for a time only a tiny minority of us can remember. Except this time, the nazis are on the other side. Perhaps that should be a clue: if you find yourself on the side of the nazis you are on the wrong side. ...
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The end of history
Famously, history has not ended. Except it is ending: you don't get to have exponential processes with a physical component which run for ever without hitting various walls. Humans have run several such processes for hundreds of years and we're now hitting the walls. If we don't do anything about it then the walls will kill most of us: there's going to be an awful lot of history for a century or so and then none at all for a very long time. And, of course, rather than solving the fucking pro...
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Not Mars
If you assume that sending a person to live on Mars requires about as much fuel as sending three people to stay the Moon for a day or so did, then each person we send to live on Mars requires about 770 cubic metres of RP-11. Burning this fuel produces about 1.9 million kg of CO2. If we assume that the production and other costs associated with a launch double this2 then each person we send to live on Mars results in about 3.8 million kg of CO2 being emitted. This is entirely negligible if we ...
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Torque and energy
I've always been confused about why the units of torque, which are force × distance (in SI base units N×m) are the same as those for work: why, in SI units, is torque measured in joules? But it's obvious, because torque really is work: if you turn something through 1 radian exerting a torque of 1Nm, then you do 1J of work on whatever it is you are turning. The units of torque are really joules per radian, but radians, of course, are dimensionless. I don't know why it took me so long to unders...
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Narcissist
If you are a narcissist and someone offers you help, you assume it's because you are so wonderful, not because they have something to gain by it. This makes narcissists very vulnerable to political influence operations: they genuinely do not realise what is going on because their understanding of what motivates people is so badly damaged. ...
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A machine for manufacturing the future
CERN wants to build a new collider, and inevitably people will say that we should use the money for something more useful. There is nothing more useful than what CERN does. If we're going to have a long-term future as a civilisation ('long-term' being more than a human lifetime ahead), we need two critical bits of technology (we need others, but we need these two). The first is really good batteries. Well, you carry around with you a machine which pretends to be a communication device but is ...
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Aid
So, for a long time, the UK has at least tried to give aid to people who need it: people who were starving, for instance. Now we're going to be giving it to people who will help our foreign policy objectives. People in eastern Europe who are not starving, but who might help us fight the pesky Russians. So the people who we could have saved will now die. So Dominic Cummings has killed some more people: how many thousands of deaths is he responsible for now? ...
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Not long ago
One of my grandparents was born in 1887. He died just before I was born. If he had been American and black (he was not either) there's a good chance his parents would have been born as slaves. If he'd lived a little longer as well I would have known someone whose parents were born as slaves. Certainly people alive today knew people whose parents were born as slaves. This is not ancient history. ...
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Contact tracing
So the UK is finally going to switch to the Apple-Google model for its contact-tracing app. Although they didn't tell Apple this: even though Downing Street1 said the government had worked closely with Apple and Google Apple commented it is difficult to understand what these claims are as they haven't spoken to us. Matt Hancock2 also said we've agreed to join forces with Google and Apple, to bring the best bits of both systems together to which Apple commented we don't know what ...
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Götterdämmerung
I've just been looking at my copy of Misner, Thorne & Wheeler. There is a spooky footnote in the introduction which must have been added late in the publication process, saying As of April 1973, there are significant indications that Cygnus X-1 and other compact x-ray sources may be black holes. When they wrote the book there were no known black holes, and I don't think everyone even thought they were physically plausible. I bought it in 1985, Hawking conceded his bet that Cygnus X-1 was...
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Competence (2013)
This now seems alarmingly prescient. I think this is more evidence for what is probably the NSA's biggest problem: competence. We already know that they were not competent to prevent a fairly junior person having access to an enormous amount of sensitive data, and walking off with it, which does not say anything good about their internal security practices. Now we know that this person successfully used a really obvious social-engineering attack on other people in the organisation: you don't ...
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Spiral
In the beginning, something happens – a banking crisis perhaps – which makes a lot of people poorer. So, well you could fix the problem – by regulating the financial system properly for instance – and accept that some of it was because of your own stupidity and greed – the housing market isn't a machine out of which money pours for ever, it turns out. But understanding that require some basic numeracy, and no-one really wants to take the blame for their own misfortune anyway: it's always easie...
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Extreme
The biggest advantage of extremism is that it makes you feel good – because it provides you with enemies. Let me explain. The great thing about having enemies is that you can pretend that all the badness in the whole world is in your enemies and all the goodness in the whole world is in you. Attractive, isn't it? – John Cleese, apparently, but probably just reading a script ...
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COBR
There hasn't been a COBR meeting since the 10th of May. After all, it's not like we're living through an emergency or anything, is it? And those awkward people disagreeing with the plans laid down by the mighty Cummings: we can't have them, can we. Jolly good, what? ...
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Statuary
I don't know what to think about this. Obviously a lot of statues commemorate horrible people, and those statues should not be there1: no-one needs statues of people whose importance is that they got rich from the slave trade. The people defending such statues are either racists, stupid, or both2. But what about Churchill? Clearly he had some views which are repugnant. But so did almost everyone: I was alive in the 1970s and even then many, many people had really repugnant views (probably i...
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Moral theatre
Moral theatre doing or saying something which has no good consequence and quite possibly a harmful one but which appears to have a good consequence on casual inspection. Generally done to impress people with the virtue and purity of the person performing the act, often also because the act, although meaningless, 'feels good'. See also virtue semaphore, security cinema. – First Encyclopedia of Tlön, 23rd edition, 2049 ...
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Global
In 1990, about 1.9 billion people were living in extreme poverty. In 2015 about 730 million were1. The number of people living in absolute poverty has gone down by a factor of about 2.6 in a generation: the number of people living in extreme poverty in 2015 was less than half of that in 1990. But that's not really the right number: in 1990 the world's population was about 5.3 billion people: about one person in 2.8 was living in extreme poverty in 1990. In 2015 the world's population was abo...
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The conservative party
has changed beyond recognition they say: once it was a party of, well, conservatives – people who would prefer that things stay the same if possible – who had no time for people who whine or people who regarded themselves as victims; today it is a party of whining self-declared victims who want to tear everything apart. Except not so much has changed, has it? The conservative party has always been known as 'the stupid party'. It still is. ...
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Priti Patel: the gift that keeps on giving
So, Priti Patel again: I have already said repeatedly there is no place for racism in our country or in society. So why are you pushing legislation which targets Roma? Because there's a name for that, and that name is 'racism'. Just because you aren't white, and just because you were the target of racism, does not mean you aren't a racist. If you do things or say things which are racist, or support people who do or say such things, then you're a racist. And, Priti Patel, the things you d...
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Priti Patel
So Priti Patel thinks that the removal of a statue commemorating a slave trader is 'utterly disgraceful'. Of course she does. After all, it's important to commemorate slave traders, isn't it? Let's just remember that Priti Patel is also the person who wants to make being a gypsy illegal: an act which would be explicit ethnic cleansing. I'm half-surprised she'd not campaigning to bring slavery back. Perhaps she is. She's really a piece of work: a bully, a liar, a bigot and, if that wasn't e...
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Protest
Protests about the brutal way the police treat black people are pretty obviously going to make CV19 worse: saying they won't is just implausible. But on the other hand, saying 'the police can kill people and you are not allowed to protest because CV19' is clearly opening the way for some very nasty behaviour indeed. 'How convenient that there is an epidemic,' the authoritarian thinks, 'now we can say that people are not allowed to protest while we round up people we don't like and ship them of...
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'Our position is these officers were simply following orders'
Exhibit 1: Our position is these officers were simply following orders from Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia to clear the square [...]. – John Evans, president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association Exhibit 2: There is a need to draw a line between the leaders responsible and the people like me forced to serve as mere instruments in the hands of the leaders [...] I was not a responsible leader, and as such do not feel myself guilty. – Adolf Eichmann, Nazi ...
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Zoom
Corporate clients will get access to Zoom’s end-to-end encryption service now being developed, but Yuan said free users won’t enjoy that level of privacy, which makes it impossible for third parties to decipher communications. 'Free users for sure we don’t want to give that because we also want to work together with FBI, with local law enforcement in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose'. – Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom, 2nd June 2020 So that's just fine, then. ...
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James Mattis
Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people – does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past g...
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Delete your Facebook account
Don't read this, just delete your Facebook account. Violet Blue: New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose spotted that the "top 10 stories on Facebook over the past 24 hours" were all from Fox News, "Blue Lives Matter," and similar sources. Meaning: the slant of all stories in FB's "top 10" (surfaced to the masses) were pro-police and Trump's agenda. Roose documented that FB's daily specials were "about Trump declaring antifa a terrorist group," he wrote. "One is a feel-good story about a t...
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And you will know him by the trail of dead
I'm interested in how many people will die because of what Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson have done: Cummings by treating the lockdown rules as something that apply to other, lesser people, and Johnson by demonstrating that doing that is just fine. The result will be that people take lockdown and social distancing less seriously, and some of them die as a result. So I wrote an epidemic simulator. It's fairly simple-minded, but it does the susceptible / infected / immune-or-dead thing. An...
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If we could only move on
from the 1950s and design technology around people. We could have programming editors which treat code as a structure which can be dynamically reformatted depending on the window width the person editing or reading the code wants, and programming languages designed to accommodate that. Well, in the late 1980s I will use an editor like that and it will be fine, although somewhat curiously constructed, as things written by the fae often are. But none of that will exist until the late 1980s: thir...
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Intelligence
And of course, the eugenicists also like to make claims that various groups have more or less innate intelligence. And of course it is always the groups that they don't like which turn out to have lower innate intelligence: how convenient for them. And, of course, when you actually look, you find that measured intelligence in given groups has changed enormously over periods of less than a century. Which is far, far too short a time for any genetically-driven change to happen. Because, of cou...
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Eugenics
Sometimes people will say that the reason we're all doomed is that stupid people outbreed smart people. For this to be true you need three things: intelligence can be defined in a useful way; intelligence is largely genetic; more intelligent people have fewer children than less intelligent people. Let's just assume all those things are true, and see where it leads us. A little bit of maths will show you that, if there are two groups, where couples from one group have on average cs children...
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A banner drenched in blood
I am the one, Orgasmatron, the outstretched grasping hand / My image is of agony, my servants rape the land / Obsequious and arrogant, clandestine and vain / Two thousand years of misery, of torture in my name / Hypocrisy made paramount, paranoia the law / My name is called religion, sadistic, sacred whore I twist the truth, I rule the world, my crown is called deceit / I am the emperor of lies, you grovel at my feet / I rob you and I slaughter you, your downfall is my gain / And still you pla...
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If we'd known then what we know now
What Cummings did will kill people: probably hundreds or thousands of people as people think that if he can ignore the rules, so can they. Johnson did not sack Cummings. Dominic Cummings is more important to Boris Johnson than the deaths of hundreds or thousands of people. ...
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Drive blind
So Dominic Cummings has said that he drove to Bernard Castle (having previously lied and said he didn't I think) to test his eyesight. Because that's what you do if you're worried about your eyesight: you get in a car, with your wife and young child, and you drive 30 miles. Risking your life, your wife and young child's lives, and the lives of anyone you hit along the way if it turns out that your eyesight isn't so good after all. Something seems to be terribly wrong with his mind: if he th...
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Collateral
Collateral [mass noun] something pledged as security for repayment of a loan, to be forfeited in the event of a default: she put her house up as collateral for the bank loan. What does Cummings have over Johnson? It could be just that Cummings is Johnson's brain: Johnson is not very smart, may have been brain-damaged by CV19 and without Cummings he's in quite deep trouble. But it could be more. The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament delivered its report into allegations o...
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The little people, like ants below us
Victims? Don't be melodramatic. Tell me: would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax – the only way you can save money nowadays. [...] You're just mixed up about things in general. Nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments ...
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Dominic Cummings: Boris Johnson's brain
So Cummings, his wife and young child, drove from London to Durham while both he and his wife were infectious. If his child didn't have CV19 at the start of the journey they did at the end, after 5 hours in a car with two people who definitely had it. And, again, it's a 5 hour journey, with a small child in the car: they definitely stopped on the way at service stations, and definitely took the child to the loo, probably infecting lots of other people. And they made this trip so his parents c...
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With golden ears they came
So, I've just discovered that some of the more silly1 Hi-Fi people use valve2 amplifiers with valve rectifiers, because they are, apparently higher fidelity. I have no problem with valve stereo amplifiers – I own two, one of which I made – although I would hesitate to call them 'high fidelity': they sound wonderful, but so do records (records played through valve amplifiers sound even better), but they both sound wonderful because they have significant distortion. 'That warm sound' ... is dist...
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The road to truth
is paved with good experiments. ...
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The cool river gleaming before him afar off
I’ve spent my life trying to build elegant tools to solve hard problems. Now I am old and tired and somehow I find myself in a world of mud where the only tool is a club with nails hammered into it, used by swinging it wildly about, spattering the ground with fragments of skull and brain of friend and enemy alike. The nails, formerly rusted iron, are now stainless steel scavenged from a vast, broken needle made of strange metals: no-one now remembers it was once a spacecraft. This is the sum of...
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Because of the eyes without gold
It may not work well, but I wonder. But when other worlds exist and even when they are almost forgotten, there are still debris in this world. At least I think it's important to recognize that the other world already exists. ...
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Consenting to terms & conditions
When you sign some agreement to get an account with a social media company, do you read the terms & conditions? I'm pretty sure almost no-one does. This is not the social media company's fault: if you sign a document you have not read you're a fool (and almost all of us, therefore, are fools). But there's a more interesting question: what proportion of people who agree to terms & conditions understand them? I think that proportion is approximately zero, for two reasons: the terms &a...
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Magic
So, you disbelieve all of the good evidence – all of the scientific evidence – about audio right? You think that you need to listen to 50s & 60s jazz recorded on tapes with, on a good day, 60-odd dB of dynamic range (say 12-bits worth – 72dB of dynamic range – to be optimistic) using 24-bit files – 144dB of dynamic range – despite all the maths and experimental evidence that say this is just not true. Because magic. But that's all the science you disbelieve, so that's OK. When some anti-v...
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Against conspiracy
It's tempting to think that the world is now run by a conspiracy of very rich, very selfish people: people who care only about themselves and who are happy to burn their own children. But I don't think it is: conspiracies are extremely hard to maintain and I don't think they've ever really tried to conspire. Rather they've just done their evil in full view. And this works for a simple reason: the difference between the rich people – the people who can fund the politicians who drive brexit &am...
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Black holes
Having grown up in a world where people were just beginning to realise that black holes were not just mathematical curiosities, it is just astonishing to be alive in one where we not only know that they're just everywhere, but we have heard them colliding, we have pictures of the immediate surroundings of one, and now we can see, without a telescope, stars which are in a system including a black hole. We live in a golden age for astronomy and astrophysics. ...
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One-bit thinking
One-bit thinking is a common error made particularly by computing people. The error is to treat something which needs to be represented by a real number (a continuum of values) as if it was either true or false, and if it is not completely true, it is completely false. In other words something which needs a real number has been replaced by a single bit: a boolean value. For example, let's say you're trying to make the computing security of your organisation better. Pretty soon you discover t...
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No excuses
When people vote for someone with well-documented views then they are supporting those views, and supporting racist views is racism: there just is no way around that. If you vote for a racist, you are a racist. You don't get to say 'oh, I voted for Trump but I'm not a racist', because you are. And you don't get to say 'all those people who voted for Trump are not racists': yes, yes, those people are racists. There are a very large number of racists, it turns out. ...
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If you think this is bad
Then you have not thought hard enough. The reaction of politicians to an epidemic which, unchecked, might kill half a million people in the UK and has probably already killed over a hundred thousand people in the US is that, if letting more people die will improve their chance of keeping power then they will do that: they do not care, at all about anyone but themselves. So what do you think their reaction is going to be to climate change: a problem which, unchecked, will kill billions of human...
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Always remember
Successful politicians1 do not care about you: they care about themselves. Boris Johnson cares about Boris Johnson, and that's the only person he cares about; Donald Trump cares about Donald Trump & that's the only person he cares about. Smarter politicians are better at pretending that they care about other people: Johnson might fool you that he cares about the splendid people of England2 in their fight against the fiendish foreign European foreigners with their dangerous elite liberal way...
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We're all physicists now
Physicists are well-known for wading into other fields assuming that they're essentially simple, and studied only by people too stupid (in other words: not by physicists) to realise that, often completely missing all the subtleties which mean that, in fact, they are not simple at all. This is particularly true for fields where there is a lot of inherent complexity. Physicists tend to be very good at approximating complex systems by much simpler ones1: sometimes this works brilliantly, quite ...
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Some numbers which mean something
Yesterday I wrote that the important thing when looking at COVID-19 deaths is the death or infection rate: how many people are dying or have been infected per million, or equivalently what a given person's chance of having died or having become infected is. And I said that the right way to compare various approaches to dealing with the epidemic was to look at these rates – at the numbers normalised by population rather not the raw numbers of people dying or being infected. This is, eventually,...
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Some numbers which mean nothing
[This is almost entirely wrong: pay no attention to it.] It is obviously complicated to know what the important statistics are for COVID-19, not least because the situation is rapidly changing, there are exponential processes involved, different countries are not always counting things the same way and are not all as good as each other at counting things at all. But I do know what the wrong statistics are: any number which is of the form 'n per country' is almost always meaningless and often a...
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Vampires: a hidden tragedy
I was very much hoping for splendidly gothic vampires when we moved here – the kind who are never seen except in immaculate late-19th-century evening dress complete with silk-lined cloak (the linings red for the men, very dark blue for the women). The kind who prey exclusively on impressionable young county tories. Sadly we only get the shamblers: the kind who will drain a sheep if they can't find a human. Perhaps that's because, even here in deepest ruralshire, there are insufficient young tor...
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Genius & craft
We all worship geniuses, but while we might respect people who are really good at some craft we also kind of sneer at them. What they're doing is only a craft after all: some kind of lesser skill which you learn through an apprenticeship and long practice rather than at university, the way proper geniuses learn. But genius and being really good at a craft are much more similar than people often like to admit: one of the most important characteristics of being a genius is the ability to put in ...
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How to kill a lot of people
Or: the UK's contact-tracing app. If Google, a company whose entire business model is based on surveillance, are not supporting the model you want to use because it's too privacy-invasive, then you kind of know you're making a bad decision. If you find yourselves dealing with Palantir as part of providing the app, then you kind of know you're making a bad decision. (Dealing with Palantir is like that meeting where you realise that the chief sales person has eyes which glow a dull red and horns...
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Languages & dialects
אַ שפּראַך איז אַ דיאַלעקט מיט אַן אַרמיי און פֿלאָט / a shprakh iz a dialekt mit an armey un flot – Max Weinreich A programming language is a dialect with a standards organisation – tfb ...
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Cranks
Arguing with a crank is like fighting an octopus: whenever you think you’re winning there’s another tentacle to deal with. But the cranks are now in power: the octopus now has an infinite number of tentacles, and a flamethrower. ...
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The barefoot contessa
To make a hundred dollars into a hundred and ten dollars – this is work. To make a hundred million into a hundred and ten million, this is inevitable. ...
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Conversations between astronomers and other scientists
Other scientist I had this clever idea that you could do something like [...] only of course the engineering considerations would make it completely impractical: maybe in a century. Obviously you will credit me with the idea. Astronomer Oh, yes, we used to do that, but we worked out that [...] would be better. Of course what we do now requires [obviously completely absurd engineering even in theory], but we got it all sorted out in the end. Other scientist [gives up science, becomes co...
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Reality-based community
The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community’, which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. [But] that’s not the way the world really works anymore’. – Ron Suskind ...
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