On living in interesting times

Far-called, our navies melt away; On dune and headland sinks the fire: Lo, all our pomp of yesterday Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! Rudyard Kipling, “Recessional“ Everyone, of course, has heard of the Chinese curse, or the supposedly Chinese curse. And it’s hard to deny that the times we’re going through will make interestingContinue reading “On living in interesting times”

On taking the first step

Houston, we have a problem. Jim Lovell (attr.) It is a truism, although nonetheless true, that the first step towards dealing with a problem is acknowledging that it exists. We know this because a very large fraction of adults in the industrialised world are either in an addiction programme of some sort, have been inContinue reading “On taking the first step”

On denial

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed Everybody knows that the war is over Everybody knows the good guys lost Everybody knows the fight was fixed The poor stay poor, the rich get rich That’s how it goes Everybody knows Leonard Cohen, “Everybody knows” There is rarely much pointContinue reading “On denial”

On being unreasonable

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman It is not often that you’ll find me in agreement with David Icke, especially when it comes to the role ofContinue reading “On being unreasonable”

On the failure of political leadership

Everyone stay calm! This is not happening! King Arnulf in Erik the Viking by Terry Jones Anyone who has been paying the slightest attention to current events in, say, the last couple of years will be aware of at least one crisis besetting the industrial world. We have, of course, had the Covid-19 pandemic, whichContinue reading “On the failure of political leadership”

On the latest IPCC report

The scale of recent changes across the climate system as a whole and the present state of many aspects of the climate system are unprecedented over many centuries to many thousands of years. IPPC AR6 WG1 Headline Statements from the Summary for Policymakers I don’t propose to go into the ins and outs of theContinue reading “On the latest IPCC report”

On my favourite Tarot trump

It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations If you know nothing else about the Tarot, you will have seen this card. It is the one that the gypsy fortune-teller always picks out in every cheesy horror film or TV show since theContinue reading “On my favourite Tarot trump”

On being overwhelmed

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. Wilkins Micawber in Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist This is where we are: we have a wide range of urgent problems which all need to be solved, and the resources toContinue reading “On being overwhelmed”

On death

Tʜᴇʀᴇ’ꜱ ɴᴏ ᴊᴜꜱᴛɪᴄᴇ, ᴛʜᴇʀᴇ’ꜱ ᴊᴜꜱᴛ ᴍᴇ. – Death, in Terry Pratchett, Mort Death has become rather topical these days, what with the pandemic. At the time of writing, it’s difficult to assess the actual level of excess mortality globally, given the paucity of data and the variability from country to country in such data asContinue reading “On death”