This is the damage a tiny speck of space debris can do at 15,000 mph

This:

I did a piece a while back for Samizdata about that foolish equation people sometimes still make between “the age of exploration” that happened about five hundred years ago, when Europe, until then a backwater, globally speaking, started to connect itself with the rest of the world out there, and space exploration now. Like I said, rather foolish.

The above is one of the many ways in which space travel, unlike those early sea voyages, is profoundly different from anything before attempted by humans. Not saying we shouldn’t do it. Am saying: watch out for very big surprises, often very nasty ones.

I have had that tweet open for over a month, and it refused to let itself be closed. Too interesting. Too dramatic. Too destructive.

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.)

Something by me at Samizdata about feminism and skyscrapers

I have had one of those blogging days. The day was all available for blogging, but instead of me consequently quickly shoving up three or four fabulous little postings here, I got stuck on the first one. So, I eventually let that be and switched to doing another one, a quickie. But that also grew quite a bit, and turned into a piece called On why feminists ought to be glad about skyscrapers. It grew because I found myself also writing about one of the men who designed this place.

At which point, it made sense for me to bestow this piece upon the mass media, my version of which is Samizdata. So if you want something of substance from me today, you will either have to wait and hope, or you’ll be satisfied with merely reading this, or you’ll follow the first of the above links and have a go at reading that.

To answer the question I know you’re asking: yes, there is a big old cock joke in it.

Switching from here to Samizdata

Inspired by this Daniel Hannan tweet, I just did a piece for Samizdata entitled It was the New Deal which put the Great in the Great Depression.

I began it as a piece for here, but I then reckoned it should go to there. Making that switch was helped a lot by the fact that Samizdata is a blog powered by WordPress, and so, now, is mine.

What writing for Samizdata should now (for me) mean

This is another of those “memo to self” postings. Well, really, all the postings here are memos to self, but this one is more than usually of that sort.

Earlier today, I managed, at last, finally, to do a Samizdata posting, after a gap of well over a month. It seems to have been quite well received, which is very nice, but really the big thing for me now is that I have done it, well received or not.

And in the course of doing it, I think I have identified an error in my thinking about how I should be writing for Samizdata. I think I was in the grip of what “writing for Samizdata” was supposed to be, for me, and what writing for Samizdata was supposed to be was writing one or nearly one Samizdata posting per day. And then, there came a time when I was unable to do this. And since I couldn’t do it, I pretty much stopped doing it. By aiming at too difficult a target, I was failing, day after day, and that made me just give up totally. That is very silly. But that, I think, is part of what was happening.

But now I think the time has come (in fact the change is long overdue) to revise my model of what writing for Samizdata should now, for me, mean. Me writing for Samizdata means not that I post something on Samizdata pretty much every day, but rather, that I work on my next Samizdata posting, pretty much every day. This means, for example, that by close of play tomorrow, I should have made some headway, not necessarily very much headway, just some headway, towards doing another posting there. The sequence of events will be: decide what to write about at Samizdata, and then start. Make some headway every day. Work at it. Polish it. Try to make it good. When it is good, or seems so, then publish. And if that takes a week, it takes a week. The idea of doing something once a day survives, but not in the form of a finished blog posting once a day, just some work on a blog posting, every day. Believe it or not, I took several days to concoct this latest posting, coming back to it again and again. And that felt like the way I should now be doing it.

The thing is, posting something here every day is quite easy. Not a total breeze you understand, but quite easy. This is because my standards here are very low. When I say something, I do mean something, aka anything. But Samizdata demands stuff that is better than that. It demands stuff that has been polished, worked on, really thought about. In 2005 you could shovel any old junk onto Samizdata and get thousands of readers, and we did, and actually it was pretty good stuff because we had all spent the previous quarter of a century thinking about it, and because we knew that thousands of people were reading it, and commenting in their hundreds. Now, that doesn’t work, or not for me. I now feel that Samizdata, unlike this place, needs better than just any old thing if it is to compete with the mainstream internet media, as it now does.

We shall see.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog