Waiting for the plague to arrive

Life in London and places like it is, just now, strange. It is not now like this:

But will it soon become like this?

That’s a photo taken just over a century ago in Seattle. The Shorpy caption reads:

Ca. 1918-1919. “Precautions taken in Seattle, Wash., during the Spanish Influenza Epidemic would not permit anyone to ride on the street cars without wearing a mask. 260,000 of these were made by the Seattle Chapter of the Red Cross which consisted of 120 workers, in three days.”

Coincidence that they just happened to be posting that, earlier this month? Presumably: not. (Here is a clutch of recent Coronoavirus links.)

Shorpy, one of the many things photographic that I have learned about from Mick Hartley, is now a regular www destination of mine.

Creature tweets

Lost of animal stuff on Twitter lately, as always, with much of the stuff I liked best involving dogs.

First, a dog’s unique way of getting past a gate.

Next, a reunion.

I looked up “cats and dogs” on Twitter, to see what epic confrontations would materialise, but instead found my way to #Dogandcat, which is full of dogs and cats getting along with one another, although some of the cats seem to be getting a bit irritated. Dogs, on the other hand … There’s just nothing they won’t do to oblige their humans. They’ll even like cats, if the humans tell them to.

I also learned of Dog and Cat, which is a TV show from the seventies about two humans called that. A young Kim Basinger is involved, presumably playing Cat. This never made it to England, first time around.

Moving away from dogs, horses are reminded not to overstep boundaries.

Next, because I know you’ve always had your doubts about this, ostriches:

… do not bury their heads in sand to hide from danger. They actually dig holes to bury their eggs and the myth came about from people seeing ostriches putting their heads in the holes to turn the eggs to ensure they are evenly heated.

Final full stop added there. Twitter is great for animal videos, but is ruining punctuation.

Finally, news from a fox. Well, actually a Fox:

A Twatter pile on I can deal with.

Extremely painful upper left molar, not so much.

Oh dear god, the agony.

Lots of suggested remedies follow. I trust the agony will abate soon.

The Chinese government shoots itself in the social media

Glenn Reynolds, writing about the Chinese government’s handling of the Coronavirus outbreak:

The Chinese government continues to censor news and social media. This not only keeps the rest of the world from knowing what’s going on, it also makes it harder for the government itself to keep track of what’s really happening, as opposed to what underlings are reporting to their superiors.

Interesting way of looking at social media, I think. What this is saying is that the government in the world that is most keen on mass surveillance has totally crapped all over the world’s greatest ever system of mass surveillance, and rendered it useless for that purpose. Ironic, when you think about it.

FaceID

Back in my Alternative Bookshop days, I and my libertarian pals used to joke about things that were both compulsory and illegal. It would appear that face masks in China are pretty close to being that, because of the conflicting demands of plague protection and facial recognition.

But at least, according to this report (at the top of which appears the above photo), I have (when displaying photos like these ones here) been getting how “FaceID” does and does not work approximately right:

Most complaints are about unlocking mobile devices. Apple confirmed to Quartz that an unobstructed view of a user’s eyes, nose, and mouth is needed for FaceID to work properly. Similarly, Huawei says that its efforts to develop a feature that recognizes partially-covered faces has fallen short. “There are too few feature points for the eyes and the head so it’s impossible to ensure security,” explains Huawei vice president Bruce Lee, in a Jan 21 post on Weibo.”We gave up on facial unlock for mask or scarf wearing [users].”

Or have I? The software used by mere people, for unlocking their mobile phones, may not now work if you are wearing a face mask. But what if the governments of the world have graciously permitted themselves to use far better software, which can easily see past a face mask?

Laughing at the plague

TRIGGERnometry:

Last night on our live stream we made some jokes about the Corona Virus. Now some people are upset.

We would like to apologise sincerely to anyone who might have been given the impression by our comments that we care in any way about you being offended. We don’t. Have a nice day

I am offended by the lack of a full stop at the end of that. I think it was this:

The Corona Virus is so toxic it’s probably a Straight White Male.

This is a podcast, and now they are talking about tattoos, like they are both Theodore Dalrymple. They sound like two old geeezers. But they are young. Oh, now they just made a crack about someone designing a virus that only wipes out old people. That’s me told. I am offended.

Corona says:

Everyone stop fucking asking us about the virus.

Says commenter Alan:

It’s okay, they’re rebranding:

I find all this very, very offensive. And quite funny.

As I recall Dame Edna Everage once upon a time saying:

I’ve always had the ability to laugh at the misfortunes of others.

Haven’t we all. No question mark there, because it’s not a question.

Misery me

I don’t have many engagements, but I had a couple lined up for tomorrow, and I just cancelled both.

Flu, I think. Worse, that particular sort of flu that means that when I cough, the whole of my head and half my neck hurts horribly, in a great self-induced surge. Normally my head only hurts a bit. So there’s that, my head hurting a bit, and in addition to that, I mustn’t cough, even though I really want to, all the time. (“Healthcare” is the nearest category I can find in my list to: being ill, and just waiting for it to stop. Which fellow sufferers tell me it eventually will, in about a fortnight.)

I am also inclined to cancel this engagement, the one that says I have to blog here today. I couldn’t go that far, but the above is why I am confining today’s blogging to this perfunctory piece of self-pity. However, at various times for the next few days, things might go silent here. You have been warned. (Although, they may not. I promise nothing.)

Tomorrow, I do want to vote, beacause things in my constituency could get close, and because I am very clear in my mind which of the two potential winners I detest a bit less than the other. It isn’t far to go, thank goodness.

Wish me well.

Happy birthday

Happy birthday to me, that is, because today has been my 72nd birthday. Several emails have arrived noting that various Facebook friends have been wishing me a Happy Birthday. I find Facebook baffling and useless as a means of personal communication, so am unable to access any of these messages on my Facebook feed, where I can detect no sign of them. So let me say here, to Robert L, Bjorn, Tim, Rob F, among others: thanks for all the good wishes.

In this computerised era, everyone is prompted by their various machines to do this, but it still means something that they actually do it.

Also appreciated were various phone calls. It tells you something about the experience of Getting Old (see the category list below) that all of these conversations included, in among the birthday greetings, medical discussions of various bodily malfunctions and of the efforts of the NHS, such as they have been, to correct these. My various friends and family are also Getting Old, you see. Older, anyway.

The general lesson from these medical conversations seems to be: if you want the NHS to start being properly on your side, get yourself classified as an emergency. Let me clarify this. You need to be threatening to die. Then, the NHS seems to stir itself into action. But if you are merely rather damaged and you are able to get worse before death looms at all threateningly, the NHS can’t seem to persuade itself to be that interested. It focusses its attention instead on manipulating the various queues it puts you in, in order to made its statistics look better than they actually are. Basically, it tries to keep you in a queue before it allows you to join the actual Official Queue, the one it wants to keep short, and thereby make itself look good. One of the friends I spoke with today said he had recently photoed a bench in a hospital corridor with the words “SUB QUEUE” attached to it.

Birthdays, when you are rather old, remind you that you are Getting Old. Which might explain why, to celebrate my own birthday, I have, by way of giving myself a present, chosen to have a good old grumble.

BMNB Quota QotD: And the winner is …

Today I want to be very busy doing something else, and I don’t want to be fretting about not yet having put anything here. So, I just trawled through Twitter for a LOL quote, and here is the one that made me LOL the loudest, from some lady called (somewhat scarily) Olivia Mace:

My period tracker apps the same colour as the trainline one. Just showed a bemused inspector that I’m ovulating.

The twenty first century, eh? Problems, problems.

Fitness vehicle

Yesterday, being ill made me think of food, because I wasn’t eating any food.

Today, what I am most feeling the lack of is body fitness. So, this:

Spotted by me in Stoke Newington last week.

As you can see, there’s a website. Interesting how she says that it’s a “sports industry”.

I assume that Lana wants to be noticed, or why would she should drive about in such a very noticeable vehicle?

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog