Wednesday, July 08, 2020

The ideal guest …

… John Banville - The Pragmatist’s Progress | Literary Review | Issue 488. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Robert Silvers, editor of the New York Review of Books, once asked Isaiah Berlin who his ideal dinner guest would be. Without hesitation Berlin exclaimed, ‘William James!’ … James’s very soul rebelled against the notion that we are little more than robots, fixed in a groove that determines our behaviour and actions to the nth degree, and rejected it with typical and endearing insouciance: ‘My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will.’

Hmm …

Authors are canceling events at a Philadelphia library over its mistreatment of Black workers. | Literary Hub.

I never managed to notice any of this myself. But the proves nothing either way. Certainly the fellow I worked with most closely there, Andy Kahane, is in no way, shape, or form racist.

Disgraceful …

… Marquette University threatened to rescind student’s admission over pro-Trump TikTok video | The College Fix 

I doubt if Père Marquette would approve. This university is a disgrace. And I am a graduate if Jesuit university.

Good riddance …

… The Politics and Disorder of Philadelphia's Camp Maroon. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

In the deep, unwritten wisdom of life there are many things to be learned that cannot be taught. We never know them by hearing them spoken, but we grow into them by experience and recognize them through understanding. Understanding is a great experience in itself, but it does not come through instruction.
— Anthony Hope, who died on this date in 1933

Blogging note …

I have an appointment to get some cortisone shots to tide me over until the SynVisc injections are approved by insurance. So I won't be blogging much until sometime this afternoon.

Contrasting views …

 Sweden Has Become the World’s Cautionary Tale - The New York Times.



Guest Blogger @HaraldofW – All you ever wanted to know about Corona Sweden.



(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Lost in the stars …

… Stargazing under lockdown | Spectator USA. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

People making foolsof themselves …

 Ironic: Names are dropping off letter decrying an intolerance of opposing views because of opposing views – twitchy.com.



You read a letter and you sign it because you agree with it. Then you find out who else has signed it, some of whom you don’t like. So you don’t agree with it anymore? Pathetic.

Hmm …

… Don’t hide from the sins of St. Louis | America Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Moreover, this is not about protesters’ integrity. It is about ours. If there is one thing a church facing a catastrophic sexual abuse crisis needs, it is willingness to admit the sins of our heroes. If our first instinct is to defend “the church,” not to defend the truth or the victims, have we really learned the lessons of the abuse crisis?
I’m all in favor of admitting to “the sins of our heroes.” After all, Jesus came to call sinners, not the just (whoever they might be). But I don’t think that requires not honoring their virtues. If you are going to take down a statue of St. Louis in St. Louis, Mo., shouldn’t you also change the name of the city? And won’t this eventually come to not honoring anyone, because we are all flawed creatures? There is just something utterly irrational about revising, editing, and censoring history. 

Just so you know …

 A Letter on Justice and Open Debate | Harper's Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Appreciation …

… Morning’s Canvas: Rereading McCullough.

Hmm …

… We are all prisoners of groupthink - UnHerd. (Hat tip, Bill Regnery.)

I get the feeling the Village is very much where the elite institutions of our society want us to end up — a progressive, international community with no past and no sense of place, where we celebrate continually, avoid debate and difficult facts with mantras, reward non-conformity with ‘re-training’, and punish ‘Unmutuals’ with mobs. There is a large, and growing, blob of pure Village throughout our public life, and it’s seeping into our private lives too. Can you trust everybody in your DMs?


I don't think we are all prisoners. Just those who choose to be. Unfortunately, there seem to be a lot of those.

Music and the season …

… The sadder side of summer | Norman Lebrecht | The Critic Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



The archetypal summer composer was Gustav Mahler who, working full time at an opera house, had only June to August for symphonic thoughts. In 1893, Mahler took rooms at an inn on the Attersee in northern Austria and built himself a shed at the edge of the lake. “No need to look up there,” he told Bruno Walter, who was admiring the mountains, “I have composed them all away.” Seldom has a composer revealed a more sensitive secret. In order to touch his unconscious, Mahler needed to take physical possession of a landscape that resembled his childhood environment.

Monday, July 06, 2020

RIP …

… Charlie Daniels, of 'Devil Went Down to Georgia' fame, dies at 83.

In defense of civilization …

… Neal Ascherson — Warrior Librarians: Cultural Pillaging —  LRB 2 July 2020. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Archibald MacLeish, a well-known poet appointed Librarian of Congress by Roosevelt in 1939, was at the centre of these expeditions. He warned that time to save European culture was running out, ‘not like the sand in a glass, but like the blood of an opened artery’. The ‘common culture of the West’ was being destroyed by book-burning and the exile of European intellectuals. Librarians could no longer be merely custodians. War was being waged against ‘the records of the human spirit ... the keeping of these records is itself a kind of warfare. The keepers, whether they wish so or not, cannot be neutral.’
Many today, I suppose, would not have bothered.

A poem for these times …

… Amy Barone – OVUNQUE SIAMO.

A singular man …

… Andrew O’Hagan — Self-Hugging: A Paean to Boswell — LRB 5 October 2000. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Boswell’s way of talking about himself can seem to us very modern: pre-Freud and pre-tabloid, he talks in a shockingly open way about the nature of his own (and other people’s) desires, affections, tribulations and thoughts of death. He also suggests the quality of his own delight. He is a self-watcher and a self-hugger. And his way of looking at other people – including Johnson – reveals him to be a harbinger of the documentary techniques and psychological modes of enquiry we now take for granted. In his excitement at the prospect of the examined life Boswell invented modern biography. He wrote like hell, and the full fragrance, the authentic buzz, of his own life and period, such as it was, rises with Flemish exactness from every other sentence he chose to write down.

Dissent …

… My professors tried to convince me that America is racist. I refused to buy into it. | The College Fix.

I proudly look at myself as an American and nothing more, no hyphen, no preceding identity. However, I was told during college that as a so-called student of color I had to think a certain way, vote a certain way and believe certain things about my country and its duly elected officials.

Hmm …

… America's cultural revolution is just like Mao's - UnHerd.

To my father, and indeed to many of his contemporaries, the answer is clear. They had lived through it, and although they cannot put their finger on the why, they can feel a certain febrility in the air which reminded them of the events of half a century ago. But with their accented English and unfashionable politics (few, for some reason, are especially well-disposed toward the western Left), they have been largely excluded from the conversation. Or they could be biased, as western Marxist academics used to say of the testimonies of eastern European refugees who had been in Communist prisons.

For your listening pleasure …

… Just because: Frederick Fennell conducts John Philip Sousa | About Last Night.

Q&A …

… The Apocalypse of Wordlessness: An Interview with Alexander Theroux – The Collidescope.



We live in an age of supreme scruple as far as political correctness goes. Problems are now ‘challenges’; garbage collectors are ‘sanitation engineers’; caretakers are ‘site engineers’; vomiting an ‘unplanned re-examination of recent food choices’. We must avoid all passive, victim words. Christmas and crippled and manpower are now forbidden. Euphemisms are a comfort to the dumb and the diffident. Using the word ‘genius’ is considered unfair. A hospital consultant was recently accused of sexism after praising a father for “manfully” stepping in to bring his daughter for an appointment when his wife was unavailable. Nowadays the word impact is almost always used incorrectly, same with hopefully. All very fine. But at the same time, we are living in one of the crudest, least articulate periods in all of world history. It was once the case that newspaper reporters or TV and radio broadcasters would be embarrassed – mortified – to appear biased. Now it is standard operating procedure. What about gender madness? It is almost a cartoon world in this department, right out of Jonathan Swift. I have never seen manners and mores and mercy so widely disregarded by so many.


Amen, brother!

Aname is born …

… Morning’s Canvas: Samuel Clemens becomes Mark Twain.

Betrayal …

… For Batavia's Muckdogs, the fireworks might finally be over | Columnists | buffalonews.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Major League Baseball is not only betraying Batavia and Minor League Baseball, they're not do ing themselves any favor, either. Think of all those minor league fans who make sure to go to a major league game when they're in the neighborhood of one. Minor League Baseball is really fun to watch. But the baseball honchos spinelessly gave in to the Covid-19 hysteria. What a bunch of wusses this country has become plagued with. (I know, I know — I am insufficiently afraid of Covid-19. Well, too bad.)

Something to think on …

The most important thing is insight, that is to be - curious - to wonder, to mull, and to muse why it is that man does what he does. 
— William Faulkner, who died on this date in 1962

Sunday, July 05, 2020

The book, not the movie …

… Musing on ‘The Princess Bride,’ by William Goldman | Brandywine Books.

I only know the movie, which I love. I didn’t even know there was a book.

Something we need …

… Morning’s Canvas: History lesson on U.S. border problems.

Interesting …

… Is Earth Just A Pale Blue Dot In A Hostile Universe? – HillFaith.

Permanent things …

… First Known When Lost: How To Live, Part Twenty-Nine: Some Things Never Change.

Given the clamor of catastrophe and crisis we human beings are so fond of (2020 is no different than any other year in the history of humanity in this regard), an awareness of the World's continuity is not a bad thing.  It's not as if the World hasn't seen it all before.  Each of us has seen it all before as well, unless we haven't been awake.  
I am grateful to be reminded of this.

Time, place, and poetry …

… Sean O'Brien - Hull Revisited | Literary Review | Issue 488. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Larkin’s work, however ‘beat-up’ or peculiar its author may have been, survives in the collective memory, and if people have a reason to imagine Hull, they will often do so through Larkin’s evocation of the place. I’ve long since ceased to be able to distinguish the city from the poems.

Something to think on …

It is easier to tear down a code than to put a new one in its place.
— Frederick Lewis Allen, born on this date in 1890

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Revealing numbers …

… (6) el gato malo on Twitter: "6 states with one bad policy of forcing cov patients into nursing homes to "spare hospitals" have been 55% of US deaths and have 18.7% of US population. over 5X the deaths per capita. that's not going to happen again. https://t.co/kXdXo6UyJ7" / Twitter.

(Hat tip, Dave lull.)


It was bound to happen …

… California Unveils Lions' Den For Christians Who Sing In Church | The Babylon Bee.

Birthday …

… Morning’s Canvas: Hawthorne and his obsession with guilt.

Good choice …

… Redskins Change Name To 'Lizard People' To Better Represent Population Of Washington, D.C. | The Babylon Bee.



True, it's disrespectful of lizards.

Experientia docet …

… Seattle Protesters Get Hit on the Freeway.



You block a freeway, and you're surprised this happens. You also want to abolish the police, but the first thing you do is call 911.

A pretty complicated dude …

… Morning’s Canvas: The private correspondence of an illustrious figure.

A philosopher whose time has come …

… Arthur Schopenhauer: The West’s Nondual Sage - SAND. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… now we have a new opportunity to rediscover what is ours, for the benign influence of eastern nonduality in the West may have opened the space and created the receptiveness necessary for the recognition of Schopenhauer’s message; it may have finally given us the tools—the language—to fathom and appreciate a line of reasoning and insight that has eluded presumed experts for decades. For the sake of the West’s own sanity, we must grab this opportunity and reconnect with our own roots, recover our own western spiritual identity.
I just pre-ordered the book. 

Strange bird …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Phoenix (Hokusai), Sonnet #518.

FYI …

… Artery-clogging saturated fat myth debunked.

Not your usual politician …

… Nigeness: Gladstone's Library: A Great Good Thing.

This ia a real eye-opener …

… The Ghislaine Maxwell I know | Spectator USA.

… she stands accused of serious crimes allegedly committed a quarter of a century ago. Like every other arrested person, she must be presumed innocent. Many in the public however, will presume her guilty because of the portrayal of her in the Netflix series about Jeffrey Epstein. But no one should believe anything they saw in that series, because it was based largely on the accounts of two women with histories of making dubious accusations.
To put it mildly.

Mere anarchy is loose …

… Minnesota Madness | City Journal.(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

It is prima facie highly implausible that life as we know it is the result of a sequence of physical accidents together with the mechanism of natural selection.
— Thomas Nagel, born on this date in 1937

Friday, July 03, 2020

This will certainly dismay some people …

… Post-Pandemic Americans May Be Done With Taking Orders – Reason.com.

Good question …

… Instapundit —  WHY DO THE LEFTISTS WANT PEOPLE TO DIE???? …

 Column: Lincoln Statues Must Go, Margaret Sanger Stays? | Newsbusters.



Well, she won't stay when they learn that one of the reasons she promoted birth control was that it would prevent abortions. Trained as a nurse, Sanger didn't approve of abortion: “I do not approve of abortion, nor can I give the address of anyone who will perform this operation.”

Hmm …

… Opinion: Since we're canceling people for racism, can we talk about Charles Darwin? | Disrn.

Even by the most generous of measures, the intellectual and philosophical heritage of Charles Darwin is one of the most hideously racist legacies one can fathom. And yet, his inherently racist dogma is not only presented in public schools across America, it is state and federal policy that every student in America demonstrate proficiency in understanding and applying his dangerous ideology.

Listen in …

… Rupert Sheldrake & Mark Vernon on David Bohm & Infinite Potential – Mark Vernon.



I plan on watching the film, too.

Listen in …

 Christopher Lydon, Robert Pogue Harrison discuss our “worldwide theater of imitated desire” | The Book Haven.

“We have this illusion that there’s nothing more proper to my inner self than my own desires,” said Harrison – but Girard challenges that assumption, showing that our desires are the result of imitation. No coincidence, then, that Facebook was “a worldwide theater of imitated desire on people’s personal computers,” he said. Certainly his former Stanford pupil Peter Thiel, an early investor in Facebook, understood the importance of Girard’s legacy when he said: “I suspect that when the history of the 20th century is written circa 2100, he will be seen as truly one of the great intellectuals, but it may still be a long time till it’s fully understood.”

A haunting parable …

… Morning’s Canvas: The town that forgot how to breathe.

Regarding those models …

… Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Self-Flattening, or Will It Grind Relentlessly on? – Reason.com. (hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Last week, a global team of researchers issued a compelling manifesto in Nature outlining five ways to ensure that models serve society. Modelers, they argue, must take care to frankly assess the uncertainties and sensitivity of their models; avoid obfuscatory complexity; make clear the normative values chosen by the models' developers; avoid spurious precision, and acknowledge their ignorance. "Mathematical models are a great way to explore questions. They are also a dangerous way to assert answers," write the authors. "Asking models for certainty or consensus is more a sign of the difficulties in making controversial decisions than it is a solution, and can invite ritualistic use of quantification."


Here is the piece from Nature: Five ways to ensure that models serve society: a manifesto.

Mathematical models produce highly uncertain numbers that predict future infections, hospitalizations and deaths under various scenarios. Rather than using models to inform their understanding, political rivals often brandish them to support predetermined agendas. To make sure predictions do not become adjuncts to a political cause, modellers, decision makers and citizens need to establish new social norms. Modellers must not be permitted to project more certainty than their models deserve; and politicians must not be allowed to offload accountability to models of their choosing2,3.

Something to think on …

Atheism is a crutch for those who cannot bear the reality of God.
— Tom Stoppard, born on this date in 1937

Yes …

… Nigeness: Cue Music.

Too bad they waited …

… until he was dead: John Prine Named Illinois' First Honorary Poet Laureate - Rolling Stone. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Gone, but not forgotten …

… Morning’s Canvas: Sailing from Byzantium.

… without Byzantium - an empire that fluctuated dramatically in its size, power, and influence during its relatively brief history - a great deal of our world would now be quite different: the separate cultural worlds of the Italian Renaissance to the west, the medieval Islamic empire to the south, and the Slavic cultures to the north would have been radically altered in their respective developments and successes.

Hmm …

… AMAZING: Florida Sheriff Threatens to Deputize All Local Gun Owners to Put Down Riots.

A physician’s view …

… The Coronavirus Credibility Gap - WSJ.

Political leaders and health officials have often invoked “science” to justify decisions manifestly guided by their personal preferences. That costs them credibility. Restoring public confidence will require acknowledging their role in politicizing the pandemic, yielding to accommodations and sensible alternatives in the areas of greatest controversy, and focusing on the widely supported goal of not overwhelming hospitals, rather than less meaningful metrics such as increases in Covid-19 cases.

Q&A …

… A Conversation with Diane Glancy - Image Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


Check it out …

… One critic’s summer reading list: From a scandalous memoir to obscure literary journalism - The Washington Post.

Last week the mail brought “Haiku for Business Travelers,” a slender volume of “writing, photography, conversation.” In it, the versatile Gil Roth prints some of his poems and mini-essays, but half the book consists of extracts from an interview with the late poet and editor J.D. McClatchy. I knew McClatchy a bit, and we shared an enthusiasm for the remarkable and now somewhat underrated Thornton Wilder. Roth himself is the host of “The Virtual Memories Show,” a weekly podcast in which he entices creative folks to talk about their work as novelists, literary scholars or comic-book artists. He’s even interviewed a few journalists, among them one who reviews books each Thursday in these pages.

Very nice …

… An Adieu by Florence Earle Coates - Poems | Academy of American Poets. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



Florence Earle Coates was born on July 1, 170 years ago.

Appreciation …

… Thomas Sowell, An Intellectual Giant | Hoover Institution. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Our galaxy …

… Unforgettable Images of the Milky Way by Top Photographers. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Two poems

… Paris Review - Poem to My Yellow Coat.



Bouquet.



(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Hmm …

… Homeschool requests overload state government website – The North State Journal.

RIP …

…  Famed Chicano author Rudolfo Anaya dies at age 82 | KOB 4. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Certainly worth considering …

A timely idea from the late Auberon Waugh. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Just so you know …

… Every Great Writer is a Great Deceiver: Vladimir Nabokov's Best Writing Advice | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …



We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being.

— Hermann Hesse, born on this date in 1877

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Haiku …

That violet leaf
Seems glorified by sunlight
As if touched by God.

Our feathered friends …

… Nigel Andrew - Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Gyrfalcon | Literary Review | Issue 488. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Yesterday, while I was sitting in my garden, three sparrows lined up on the fence between my garden and my neighbor’s. The perched there looking at me. The suet and seed cake that had been hanging nearby had been devoured. There was a seed bell hanging there still, but they like that less. I got up and hung another suet and seed cake. Moments later the were feeding away. The birds in my garden have grown rather friendly. They routinely join Debbie and me when we dine on the patio. They often perch just a couple of feet from us. They certainly know who it is hangs up the food.

I must get Jennifer Ackerman’s book.

Talk about white privilege …

 (5) Ian Miles Cheong on Twitter: "White BLM activist assaults black man for tearing down Black Lives Matter signs. Woke. https://t.co/8IyRo5qR9e" / Twitter. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)




Take down …

DiAngelo isn’t the first person to make a buck pushing tricked-up pseudo-intellectual horseshit as corporate wisdom, but she might be the first to do it selling Hitlerian race theory. White Fragility has a simple message: there is no such thing as a universal human experience, and we are defined not by our individual personalities or moral choices, but only by our racial category.


It takes a special kind of ignorant for an author to choose an example that illustrates the mathematical opposite of one’s intended point, but this isn’t uncommon in White Fragility, which may be the dumbest book ever written. It makes The Art of the Deal read like Anna Karenina. 

Remembering …

 Morning’s Canvas: Old Man of the Mountain crumbles, but stamps remain.



I had forgotten he had crumbled.

For your reading pleasure …

… Better Than Starbucks Seven Poems by A. M. Juster. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

July Reviews/Essays at North of Oxford …

… Sojourners of the In-Between By Gregory Djanikian. (This one is by yours truly.)

 Audubon’s Sparrow by Juditha Dowd.

… The Elvis Machine by Kim Vodicka.

… Refuse by Julian Randall.

… The Minor Virtues by Lynn Levin.

… A Draught of Vintage by Bryon Beynon.

… Dearest Nature by James E. Diamond.


Picturing the lockdown...

...in the United Kingdom

Contemporary journalism …

… The Story Forbes Censored, Exploding The Myth Of Climate Crisis Alarmism - The Lid.

All the news that fits the narrative.
Here is piece I wrote about climate back in 2014, which appeared in The Inquirer.

When TV was a vast wasteland …

… Snapshot: a TV interview with Thornton Wilder | About Last Night.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Hmm …

… Ozymandias Laughs | The American Spectator. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I live in a suburb of Minneapolis, the city where the whole madness began. At the beginning, I had a lot of sympathy for the protesters. I still feel for them. I expect the black people who actually live in the burned-out neighborhoods weren’t looking for that style of urban renewal. But the neo-Khmer Rouge took over, exploiting our toxic media to divide us in a way unseen since Hans Heg was riding off to war.

And the winners are …

… Winning Poems for 2020 May : IBPC.



The Judge’s Page.



(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Symmetry and reliability …

… Morning’s Canvas: Shakespeare & Co.

This may explain me …

… and why I’ve never had the flu: Immunity to COVID-19 is probably higher than tests have shown | Karolinska Institutet Nyheter. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

RIP …

… Johnny Mandel Dead: Composer Who Wrote ‘MASH’ Theme Song Was 94 – Variety. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

By Frederick Douglass …

… Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln - Teaching American History.

Friends and fellow-citizens, the story of our presence here is soon and easily told. We are here in the District of Columbia, here in the city of Washington, the most luminous point of American territory; a city recently transformed and made beautiful in its body and in its spirit; we are here in the place where the ablest and best men of the country are sent to devise the policy, enact the laws, and shape the destiny of the Republic; we are here, with the stately pillars and majestic dome of the Capitol of the nation looking down upon us; we are here, with the broad earth freshly adorned with the foliage and flowers of spring for our church, and all races, colors, and conditions of men for our congregation — in a word, we are here to express, as best we may, by appropriate forms and ceremonies, our grateful sense of the vast, high, and preeminent services rendered to ourselves, to our race, to our country, and to the whole world by Abraham Lincoln.

About time …

… Momentum Building in States to Require Campus 'Intellectual Diversity' | RealClearInvestigations.

After leaving Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., in 2017 amid a clash with woke activists, progressive academic Bret Weinstein has often felt like a lonely voice on the left warning about the dangers of campus intolerance and unrest spilling out into the real world.

Happy birthday…

… Sowell on Writing - Econlib. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Today is Thomas Sowell’s 90th birthday. I am sure many celebrations of Sowell will be published. Not in Europe, I am afraid: in spite of his renown in America, Sowell is virtually unknown in Europe. I suspect this is at least partially due to his choice to concentrate on writing and to eschew conferences and public gatherings. He never got on the conference circuit, so to say.
It is a pity. Sowell is admirable for a number of reasons. His courage. His productivity. His work.
Read the whole thing.

Something to think on …

Religion used to be the opium of the people. To those suffering humiliation, pain, illness, and serfdom, religion promised the reward of an after life. But now, we are witnessing a transformation, a true opium of the people is the belief in nothingness after death, the huge solace, the huge comfort of thinking that for our betrayals, our greed, our cowardice, our murders, we are not going to be judged.
— Czeslaw Milosz, born on this date in 1911

Monday, June 29, 2020

This looks significant …

“A 107-page roar of outrage” - The Lancet's Editor-in-Chief on The Covid-19 Catastrophe

The global response to the Covid-19 pandemic is the greatest science policy failure in a generation. We knew this was coming. Warnings about the threat of a new pandemic have been made repeatedly since the 1980s and it was clear in January that a dangerous new virus was causing a devastating human tragedy in China. And yet the world ignored the warnings. Why?
In this short and hard-hitting book, Richard Horton, editor of the medical journal The Lancet, scrutinizes the actions that governments around the world took – and failed to take – as the virus spread from its origins in Wuhan to the global pandemic that it is today. He shows that many Western governments and their scientific advisors made assumptions about the virus and its lethality that turned out to be mistaken. Valuable time was lost while the virus spread unchecked, leaving health systems unprepared for the avalanche of infections that followed. Drawing on his own scientific and medical expertise, Horton outlines the measures that need to be put in place, at both national and international levels, to prevent this kind of catastrophe from happening again.
We’re supposed to be living in an era where human beings have become the dominant influence on the environment, but Covid-19 has revealed the fragility of our societies and the speed with which our systems can come crashing down. We need to learn the lessons of this pandemic and we need to learn them fast because the next pandemic may arrive sooner than we think.

Where he lived …

… Morning’s Canvas: Mark Twain here and there.

Discovery …

 4 More “Lost” Dorothy Parker Poems Uncovered | Dorothy Parker Society. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

And here’s some more …

… CDC Antibody Studies Confirm Huge Gap Between COVID-19 Infections and Known Cases – Reason.com.


These results confirm something we already knew: The COVID-19 infection fatality rate—deaths as a share of all infections—is much lower than the crude case fatality rate—deaths as a share of known cases. That is bound to be true when testing is limited and a virus typically produces mild or no symptoms. At the same time, the CDC's antibody studies imply that efforts to control the epidemic through testing, isolation, quarantine, and contact tracing will not be very effective, since they reach only a small percentage of virus carriers.

Comparison and contrast …

… Glad Midsommar! Covid comparison in six charts: Sweden and UK - InProportion2. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

He seems qualified to comment …

 (5) Ivor Cummins on Twitter: "Nobel Prize for Science winner Professor Levitt of Stanford - one of the few who called this thing correctly back in February - with a population fatality rate of 0.04 to 0.05%, largely regardless of lockdown Now calls it again - on how science has let us all down dreadfully: https://t.co/LrUA7t4rhv" / Twitter. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


Who said it ?

… I’m Drunk, But I’ll Get Over That Soon. You’re a Fool and You’ll Never Get Over That – Quote Investigator. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

Ah, you miserable creatures! You who think that you are so great! You who judge humanity to be so small! You who wish to reform everything! Why don't you reform yourselves? That task would be sufficient enough.
— Fréderíc Bastiat, born on this date in 1801

Anniversary …

… Happy Birthday, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry | The Sheila Variations.

Fascinating …

… The Big Bang | by Freeman Dyson | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The queerest and maddest part of the evening came at the end. People were then trying ineffectively to dance in the constricted space available. I was suddenly seized upon by an absurd and very drunken little woman, who ordered me to dance with her. As she is a pathetic-looking creature with a disfiguring scar on her face, I could not decently reject her. So I danced around with her for about twenty minutes, she evidently not minding how badly I danced. At the end of this she was getting so wild and jumping about so that it made me very uncomfortable, and I finally succeeded in returning her to her husband. The husband, who is a solemn and frightened-looking little man, was standing around by himself miserably while all this went on. He did not seem to talk to anybody all the evening. It makes me feel sick just to think of the horror of the lives these two people may be living. Evidently the reason the wife seized upon me for a partner is that I am the only one of the young men at the party whom she had met before. The name of the husband (I wonder if you guessed it) is Kurt Gödel.
The horror of this scene was real, but Adele Gödel was rarely drunk, and she was a good wife for Kurt when she was sober.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Being, when magical …

… Plum Tree Tavern: Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

The religion of Christianity vs. the religion of politics …

… Jesus Won't Let Us Use Him for Our Politics | Thinking Christian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 First, Jesus was not a “person of color” in any sense that matters. He wasn’t a minority race member. He was a member of the local dominant race and religion, whose leaders had him executed. His killing had nothing to do with race, everything to do with authority conflicts (from an earthly perspective) and God’s purposes (from the wider point of view).

Second, police shootings are not “state-sanctioned violence.” Many are justified actions, the police defending themselves or innocent civilians from imminent danger of being killed. In the small number of exceptional cases the state sanctions nothing; the officers are charged and tried for murder.
 We should never let our politics control or even influence our view of Jesus. But we can certainly let our view of Jesus influence our politics. We cannot try to get him on our side, for our purposes; but we can certainly try to set ourselves on his side, for his purposes, as long as we remember he’s completely in charge.
When last I checked all humans were members of the species homo sapiens. I was taught that all are made in the image and likeness of God. I have behaved accordingly.