I just googled “casedemic”

A significant slice of my most recent traffic has been coming to these two postings, both of them involving that word. Casedemic. So, I’m giving the public what it wants and doing another such posting. You cannot now switch on a news channel without being told about a surge in “cases” of The Plague, but you are liable to wait in vain to learn how many people are actually dying of it, or even if any great number of people are even seriously ill. I don’t doubt that both numbers are now somewhat more than zero, but there’s a lot of difference between not zero and a lot. I am not the only one to have been noticing this. I’m not the only one who can interrogate the Internet about such matters.

Today, I did what I have been doing each morning for a while now. I googled “casedemic”. And there seems to have been surge in that statistic as well. It has suddenly jumped from around 30,000 to around 170,000. I know extremely little about what a search result statistic like that means in any detail, just as I know very little about what it really means to “test positive” for The Plague itself. But it feels like this could mean something.

Bottom line: When this Plague first became a public Thing, everyone I know was genuinely scared and genuinely anxious to do all the right things, both to protect themselves and to avoid making things worse for others. Now, people are more scared of being set upon by officials, and by people who enjoy tormenting strangers, for failing to go through the correct motions – not muzzling themselves or not staying apart from each other. They aren’t scared of the actual Plague any more.

When I got my hair cut recently, I realised, after the guy had finished, that I hadn’t muzzled myself. I said I hoped this had not been a worry. Oh no, do as you please, was the answer. I cannot even remember if the guy himself was muzzled or not.

Perhaps equally tellingly, I am now suffering in a very mild form a few of what could conceivably be symptoms of The Plague, as one does from time to time. Cough, mild headache, slight aversion to morning coffee, that kind of thing. But, if I were to get tested for The Plague, and if I “tested positive”, then I would perhaps be interrogated about all my social contacts during the last fortnight and obliged to cause trouble for all of my closest friends, friends who have lives they are already struggling to keep on track or to get back on track. Also, I might be put under house arrest. Probably none of that would happen, because the people whose job it might or might not be to inflict such processes don’t have their hearts in this stuff either, not any more. But why take the risk? So, I’m just waiting to get better.

It’s not – repeat not – that people are merely “tired”, as in tired of the actual Plague. Most of Britain’s civilian population were tired of World War II by 1941 at the latest. But, horrible and dispiriting though it was, that was a war that made sense to almost all of the Brits, all the way through, from the day it started in 1939 until the day it ended in 1945, and for that matter ever since. It is – repeat is – that nobody any longer believes that this Plague has been what they first said it might be, and we are tired of being mucked about by people who seem more concerned to retro-justify their earlier panic than to be doing the appropriate thing now. Which would be to say, okay everyone panic over.

By the way, I do think they panicked. I don’t think there’s been much in the way of conspiracy, and certainly not to begin with. Sean Gabb has done a good piece about his, which I noticed because it was Quotulated. Read, as we bloggers say, the whole thing.

LATER: Now (1pm in Britain) the number has gone down from 170,000 to 48,000. So maybe what I caught was what had piled up in one day. Nevertheless, there does seem to be a big uptick, from 30,000 to 48,000.

Pavlova reflected … twice … and now here

One of the things I have learned from my stats page, which has been operating since the end of April of this year, is that quite a few of the people who come here like to rootle around in the archives. This makes sense. Much of goes up here doesn’t date. A pretty photo is a pretty photo, no matter when it was taken.

So, every so often I do a burst of transferring stuff to here from the old blog, making you liable to bump into it here. (At the old blog, you’re liable to be bombarded with “not secure” propaganda.) And yesterday, I was mostly been concentrating om Pavlova. Some of the postings at the other end of that link have been here quite a while, but several went up here yesterday for the first time.

And my favourite Pavlova photo that I copied across was, this one:

Which originally appeared on the old blog in July 2015.

I liked that photo in July 2015, I like it now, and I believe I’ll like it in 2025. And I hope something similar applies to you, if not with this photo, then maybe with some other photo, or some other bit of verbals, from way back.

The Tower Hotel could benefit from Magic Paint

One of London’s more impressive architectural survivals from the Brutalist era is this building:

That’s the Tower Hotel, with Tower Bridge in the foreground. I am fond of this edifice, not only because of its Brutalism, but also because of its impressively cluttered upper reaches, which look like this:

Both of the above photos were photoed by me in 2016. (What is that VW sign doing there? Never noticed that before.)

I love the combination of orthodox Brutalism in the main body of the building and anarchy on the top of it. (See also this splendid edifice of the same architectural vintage.)

I also recall that this hotel played a prominent support role in the final scene of a long ago movie called Sweeney!, which was a movie spin-off from the TV show of that name. A sinister villain played by Barry Foster is being put on a boat by British spooks, after he’d stayed the night at the Tower Hotel, which then looked quite new and “modern”, not dated at all. But Regan (John Thaw) showed up and arrested the Barry Foster character for making money off of immoral earnings, and the Barry Foster character was immediately shot dead, by two other villains in a taxi, to stop him spilling any beans about even more sinister villains. (Regan was angry with the Barry Foster character because he had had a prostitute (Diane Keen) killed, and Regan wanted revenge.) All of which took place on the river bank between the Tower Hotel and the River. For some reason, this scene had a big effect on me, and a lot of the reason for that was the Tower Hotel.

The reason I mention this building is that it is a fine example of the sort of building that might go up in public estimation if it were decorated with the Magic Paint that I mentioned-stroke-invented in this earlier posting about Colourful architecture in the past and in the future. This was about how various ancient buildings, now as dreary in colour as the Tower Hotel has always been, used to be a lot more colourful, and about how similar effects might yet be contrived again, with … Magic Paint. (Magic Paint is paint that can take on any painted pattern at the flick of an electronic switch. Inventors: get busy!)

And the reason I mention this earlier posting about Magic Paint, colourful gothic cathedrals, and the like, is that someone on Facebook with quite a following has recently linked to this old posting, causing a rather gratifying spike in traffic here during the last few days. But, all I can learn from my traffic analysing page is that the link comes from somewhere on Facebook. It could well be someone I know, or know of, and therefore someone that some of my readers might know, or know of. Anyone? Maybe you, sir or madam, have just come from that very Facebook location of which I write, and can tell me who it was. That’s if you feel inclined.

Remembering a happy birthday choral music experience

I’m now concocting a posting based on some photos I took in the South of France while visiting GodDaughter2’s family. This visit was in January of this year (which now feels like about five years ago), and I was accordingly looking for whatever other postings I had done about that expedition, so as to link back rather than repeat myself.

And, while looking for such postings, I also encountered this posting which I posted thenabouts, which also concerned GodDaughter2.

This was not a perfect piece of writing, but it was an adequate piece of writing (given that I was hungover when I wrote it), which described a perfect experience (at the party that caused the hangover). Accordingly I now give it a qualified recommendation and declare it to be worth a re-read, or, just as likely, a read in the first place. (Reader numbers here are now rising, and some people reading this blog now were not reading it then.)

Particularly recommended to those who enjoy good choral singing and who consequently find bad choral singing particularly painful to listen to.

Covid-19 is all over bar the “Casedemic”!

I got to this ten minute video lecture by Ivor Cummins via a Facebook posting by David Ramsay Steele. Steele had earlier written a piece which I half noticed a few days ago, as a result of someone mentioning it on my Twitter feed and me happening to be paying attention to Twitter at that moment. I have just now got back to that piece by Steele.

Steele argues that respiratory epidemics like Covid-19 cannot be stopped, and probably not even slowed much in their spread. The point is to get herd immunity (which Cummins calls, rather poetically, “community immunity”), and meanwhile to protect the vulnerable as best we can. (I seem to recall this being argued right at the beginning of all this, in Britain.)

Steele also links to and agrees with this blog posting by J.B.Handley.

Me going into further details is pointless. Follow the above links if you are interested.

I believe that the way to find out the truth about anything is to have a huge argument about it. Roughly speaking, the truth consists of a “model” which most closely describes reality. Eventually, the most accurate model wins. Not all “models” are wrong. But most models are wrong.

If I had to place a bet on which Covid-19 model will win, that is to say: be acknowledged more widely than any other model as the truth of things, then I would now bet on this Cummins/Handley/Steele model.

There is just one detail of this argument I will pick out. Trump and Trumpists have been saying that if the Chinese government had told everyone faster then the worldwide spread of Covid-19 could, perhaps or even definitely, have been confined to China. This is, says Steele, “hogwash”. I mention this merely because I have been a Trumpist about this, but will now have to find some other way to denounce the Chinese government for its handling of matters Covidic. Shouldn’t be hard.

LATER: Following.

Quotulated on the subject of responsibility

It’s always a pleasure to be Quotulated. That particular Quotulation being from a posting I did for Samizdata entitled Jordan Peterson on responsibility – and on why it is important that he is not a politician.

Here’s another bit from that Samizdata piece that was not Quotulated, but which gives you a flavour of it:

But getting back to what Peterson says about “responsibility”, the deeply refreshing thing about how he uses this word is that, because he is not a politician, he separates the benefits to me of me choosing to live responsibly from the idea of him deciding what he thinks these responsibilities of mine should be, and then compelling me to accept them whether I judge them to be wise or appropriate or meaningful for me or not. The process he wants to set in motion in my mind is of me thinking about what my responsibilities should be. He is arguing that I should choose my own cross, as best I can, and then carry it as best I can, because this is what will be best for me. He is not telling me which cross it should be, in a way that he calculates will be advantageous for him.

Because this Samizdata piece was done quite a while back, I began reading the bit of it that the Quotulatiousness guy Quotulated from it knowing only that it was a Quotulatiousness QotD, by somebody or other, and that it concerned Responsibility. I began reading it, and thought: This is not bad. I like this. I do like it when I read something I like, and then find out that I wrote it myself.

It doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes you read something you know you wrote, because your own name at the top was the first thing you clocked, and then you think: This is bollocks. (In this paragraph, for “you” read “I” throughout.)

Giant creatures

Via David Thompson, some giant creatures.

I like 5, a big snail:

And 9, a big rabbit:

All hail The Internet.

There are fifty photos altogether, but the best ones, I think, are of regular pet type animals or animals we are all familiar with, like the snail and the rabbit. That an oceanic manta ray turns out to be a giant oceanic manta ray is not a giant surprise to me.

When I say I like the big snail, I think what I really mean is I like how she’s holding it. Although, to be clear: rather her than me. The big rabbit, I just like.

Big red bike

I seem now to be following the rule here, for the duration of You Know What, of two postings or more a day rather than just the one. So, here is a quotor, to adapt a word, motorbike.

I think we can all agree that this motorbike, the one on the right of the two, is a Honda Goldwing:

I photoed this motorbike in the town of Vannes, on the south coast of Brittany. The French do love their giant midlife crisis motorbikes, and I do love to photo these motorbikes.

My family used to holiday at a place called Saint Gildas, which is near to Vannes, so I visited Vannes a few tunes as a kid. When in Quimper in 2014, I went back to see it again.

See also the first comment, from Rob, at this posting, which included a yellow version of the above, that I encountered in London in 2013.

Quite a lot of links to Steve Stewart-Willams creature tweets

Steve Stewart-Williams does great tweets, and his animal tweets are especially appealing. If you just want cute, there’s plenty of that. But if you want to tell yourself that you are also learning some science, he often lets you do that too.

So, here are links to a big clutch of recent SS-W creature tweets, starting with how ape brains compare to the human brain, what with humans being apes of the particular sort that understand the universe.

Apes a like humans in all sorts of ways. Young chimps laugh when being tickled. Gorillas trying to keep dry behave just like humans trying to keep dry. Another chimp fact: underneath all that fur they are ripped, in the manner of some humans.

The Portuguese man o’ war is not even in a single creature. Each one is a colony of creatures. Also weird is this gender fluid stag beetle.

Humans and other apes play, but so do other creatures. Here is a dog playing on a slide. But is this dog playing on the slide merely to oblige its human? Could be. So, how about this crow playing on a seesaw? Crows don’t care about obliging humans. Do they? Maybe some crows do.

More bird tweets. Here is a silly bird, pecking at the flowers on a lady’s dress. Here are peacocks. You often see pictures of peacocks showing off to peahens. Less common are photos of peacocks fighting each other. Follow that link for both. And click on this next link to see a bird’s nest woven into a leaf.

From birds to a gecko. Here’s a gecko trapped in amber, 54 millions years ago.

A feline tweets now. From this one, about cats negotiating obstacle courses, I actually learned something. When cats walk, their back legs go exactly where they front legs have just been. So, if they choose where to put their front legs carefully, then that obstacle course is successfully negotiated.

And here is another feline tweet, concerning how a a kitten turns into a cat. That kittens turn into cats I already knew. Hard to pass that off as science.

Tarantulas can swim. I didn’t know that, so that is science. Also, the laws of physics don’t apply to goats, which must be science because physics.

And finally, back to a human, in this case Sitting Bull. He makes the cut because Sitting Bull was human, but bulls are creatures. Someone has done a picture of Sitting Bull with dice.

I hope you have been having a nice Friday.

BMNBQotD: William Befort on the bourgeois virtues

William Befort comments on this Instapundit posting, which links to and quotes from this posting by David Thompson.

“Equity” now seems to mean that the bourgeois rewards must be evenly distributed even if the bourgeois virtues aren’t.

Having recently been recently linked to by David Thompson (to this), I can vouch for how well his blog is now doing.

And come to think of it, “They Sell Failure” (the title of Thompson’s posting about all this evil nonsense) is a pretty good quote too. The only problem with “They Sell Failure” being that, on it’s own, it isn’t self-explanatory. But it’s the heading of a blog posting, so all is duly explained. I note that Instapundit started his blog posting with those same words.