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Plague Doctor

Meh, I’m probably not going anywhere with this. I just had it stuck in my head, the resemblance between Medieval plague doctors and all those guys in hazmat suits.

I’m a big fan of pandemics. Have I ever mentioned that? Black Death, Spanish flu, polio. Been reading up on them for years, only in part because we’re overdue for another big one.

Ebola is probably — probably — not it.

Cons: it isn’t all that easy to spread (maybe. I think). We’re close to a vaccine, and a treatment.

Pros: it’s nasty. It’s virulent. We’re months away from a tested treatment, and a proper supply of it. And our officials — all of them — are proving themselves to be utterly incompetent boobs.

So. Don’t lose sleep over it. But, you know, if you see cans of tuna on sale, pick up a few. Goes good with saltines, just saying.

p.s. this Enterovirus D68 is giving ebola competition. Leaving aside persistent rumors that it came across the border with this year’s children’s crusade, it’s an evil customer in is own right. Goes for the kids. Half a dozen deaths, and at least one outbreak later resulted in polio-like muscle weakness several weeks later. One to watch.

p.p.s. have a good weekend!

October 17, 2014 — 8:50 pm
Comments: 9

Oh, *those* WMD. Sure, there were some of *those*

Okay, that NY Times article about chemical weapons today. Help me out here. They put this together from a bunch of Wikileaks stuff and some FOIA requests. It shows that US soldiers were finding chemical weapons regularly from 2004 and 2011 and some were hurt by them.

And the Times is scolding the government for downplaying the danger and significance of chemical weapons? WTF happened to “Bush lied, people died”? Yeah, they’re describing them as a bunch of old crappy weapons (and of American design, woooo!) but isn’t that entirely in line with what we expected to find and were told we hadn’t? Tens of thousands, by the sound of it.

And why did the military downplay this? Why did the government?

And why is the Times doing a bunch of original reportage on this now? Could it be that ISIS is closing in on this stuff and they want an alibi when the bad guys start lobbing chemical weapons around…?

October 15, 2014 — 9:21 pm
Comments: 16

Real headline from a fake newspaper

I don’t know if Ace or anybody picked up on this reeking gem last week, but I’m still trying to wrap my braincell around it. It’s from the Daily Telegraph — once the best center-right newspaper I know. Brace yourselves. Ready? Here we go:

How the Nobel Prize has favoured white western men for more than 100 years

Complete with helpful maps and graphics.

Let’s leave aside for a moment that Alfred Nobel was a white western man. He might have called this thing “a prize for people who are a whole lot like me.” He could have called it “white western men who do white western man things awesomely well.” His money. He could’ve done.

But I’m sure he’d have been happy if people from other places invented lots of amazing things. Even people from brown places. Gosh, even the ladies.

Who doesn’t look at the actual results and think, “wow — white western men kick all kinds of science ass!”?

How did we get to a place where you have a contest with clear winners and clear losers, first reaction is the winners must have cheated and the losers must be victims?

October 14, 2014 — 9:21 pm
Comments: 13

We’ll know by morning

Welp, the Scots are at it today. If you’re wondering why you haven’t seen much speculation yet, there’s a very tight embargo on election results until the whole vote is in. The announcement is expected in the morning, around 7:30 or before. That’s in the wee hours for most of my readership.

I’m going to go out on a limb and predict the No vote will win — not because I’m terribly confident, but because occasionally it’s fun to post something that will be definitively proven right or wrong within a few hours. It’s like playing Internet Pundit Chicken.

I base that on the fact No has been ahead all along, and still is. Just. Though Yes has had a tremendous last minute surge, it’s mostly among the yoot. And we know young people are excitable and love change but don’t turn up reliably at the ballot box. Still, they’re rounding people up and turning them out to vote, so I could have it wrong.

Had Scots politicians handled this better, they would end up in a stronger position, no matter how the vote turns out. Everyone in the UK is pissed off at Westminster and feels powerless, poorly represented and condescended to by that small bunch of snot-nosed mediocrities in government (of all parties). They could have capitalized on that and parted but stayed friends.

But no. Scots politicians are also snot-nosed mediocrities of the same general political class and they ran this thing on a lot of lefty anti-Tory bullshit and traditional bad feelings. If Scotland stays in the union, they may find Dave has promised them a whole bunch of stuff he can’t deliver, on account of all-around fuck-off-Scotty feelings in England (in fact, the one awesome silver lining is a tiny chance this referendum could ultimately topple Cameron).

If they opt out, things will get very chilly indeed. Lots of bruises and bad ideas. A commenter on Hot Air described this outcome as Venezuela with haggis.

Not too smug, though. The financial turbulence could be rough on the only constituency that matters — Badger House.

p.s. Re: the French caption. In the days of the guillotine, a favorite tattoo among French career criminals was a dotted line around the neck and “coupé ici”. I just. I dunno. Thought it was. Funny. I guess.

September 18, 2014 — 7:55 pm
Comments: 11

Hurrrr

NATO is meeting in Wales at the moment, so this doof is over our side. It was reported on the radio this afternoon that so many things are happening in NATO’s territory, there’s a chance the meeting will hold Obama’s interest this time. That, ordinarily, he finds these meetings so boring, he sends his aids out to buy crossword puzzle magazines to get him through.

I shit you not. It was a straight news broadcast, so maybe I…surely I misheard…?

You know, if everything bores you, it isn’t an indication that you’re extra super smart. If the most important job in the Western world seems beneath you, you aren’t a sooper genius. You’re a malignant narcissist and borderline retard.

So, anyhoo, changing the subject…RIP Joan Rivers. The way they were reporting the story sounded bad to me — like, it doesn’t sound as if she ever recovered consciousness — so I’m not in the least surprised.

Time enough to queue it up — Tomorrow, 6WBT, Dead Pool Soixante Neuf.

September 4, 2014 — 9:25 pm
Comments: 28

spectators

You know that itching, burning, apocalyptic feeling? Yeah, me too.

Not our leaders, though. It’s not just Obama — Call Me Dave is on vacation, too. And it’s just grand to see snaps of him on the beach in the middle of this unholy shitstorm.

I get the feeling these guys think if they act like this is no big deal, it won’t be. Because if they act like it’s a big deal, it will be obvious how badly they’ve misjudged the ‘Arab Spring’ from the beginning. And that would be too, too embarrassing.

As part of a radio feature about WWI the other day, the BBC reeled off all world’s current war zones. With the exception of Ukraine and the Koreas, every single one of them was a case of Islamists versus the world.

They got around having to admit this explicitly by blaming ISIS in one place, Israel and Hamas in another, unnamed Islamists in another, Boko Haram in another, “separatists” in another, “militants” in another. Without ever acknowledging what all those fights have in common.

Odin help us all.

August 11, 2014 — 9:39 pm
Comments: 27

Sophisticated

I’m going to recommend another egregious lefty entertainment product to you: A History of the World in 100 Objects. It’s one hundred handy fun-sized fifteen-minute BBC podcasts based around objects in the British Museum and it’s very cool.

The series ran daily for twenty weeks starting way back in January of 2010, but the whole thing is still available (at the link) for downloading. Also, have a look around the website — it’s cool, too, and includes much more than a hundred objects, in part because they solicited listener submissions. I’ve talked about this series before, but I’m currently re-listening to it from the beginning.

The objects are awesome, but the bias is unmistakable from the beginning. The narration was written and read by the curator of the BM, a lefty cunt-whistle named Neil MacGregor.

Take the above object. It’s a little sandal tag carved out of hippopotamus ivory for Den, one of the earliest Pharoahs of Egypt. Wikipedia says: “Den is said to have brought prosperity to his realm and numerous innovations are attributed to his reign.” Which is the sort of observation we used to make about kings.

MacGregor says this object shows that powerful men have used war and the propaganda of war to control their own people from the beginning of civilization. He called it sadly familiar. To support this contention, he brought in an editorial cartoonist (bound to be from the Guardian, though I was too lazy to check) who said yes, indeedy, he also sometimes drew important people larger than ordinary people. So there you have it.

I’m not reading too much into this, I promise. 2010 was Peak Butthurt over the Iraq War, and he was very clearly calling out Bush’n'Blair.

The BBC is all but unavoidable in this country. We often bitch about it, Uncle B and I. The steady drip-drip-drip of cynical lefty worldview gets into your head no matter how hard you push back. I think it was Melanie Phillips who first described the modern Left as an auto-immune disease: us bad, not-us good. Over and over, all day long. It works its way into the dispirited bones of the unwary.

To this day, they can find a George Bush joke in the gardening program.

Just saying. Listen to the podcasts anyway. Despite everything, there are some wonderful objects and fascinating facts in there. And fifteen minutes is the perfect chunk size for doing doing chores.

July 14, 2014 — 11:23 pm
Comments: 9

Rule by ignorant busybodies

For many purposes, cadmium is banned in the EU. An exception has been made, repeatedly, for artists’ pigments because quantities are tiny (it’s hella expensive!) and the kind of cadmium used for colors doesn’t get into the human body that easily. The cadmiums are an important and pretty irreplaceable of light-fast series opaque reds, oranges and yellows (I use them only in the tiniest concentrations, but I’m not sure what I’d substitute).

Once again, they are considering applying the ban to colors, as well.

Not a big deal on its own, but of a piece with the EU Experience. I cannot tell you how nagged and nannied we have become. Just in the time I’ve been here — oh, the weed killers and pesticides and cleaning products that have been whisked off the shelves. Not on the advice of the experts, but by diktat of “ZOMG It’s A Chemical!” green ignoramuses in Belgium.

Beg pardon. I say Belgium. Richard North of EU Referendum makes a very good case that many of the most obnoxious impositions that we blame on the EU actually are imposed on the EU by the UN. North is a bit of a Mikey-Hates-Everything, but he does his homework.

Global governance via the UN. I know, I know. I see you over there reaching for your Reynold’s Wrap chapeau.

But if you don’t believe in a de facto, shadowy world government, lemme ask you a question: how y’all liking those twisty light bulbs?

July 7, 2014 — 10:20 pm
Comments: 20

Hillary feels ya

Dear posterity: current events reference here (warning: Slate link).

June 11, 2014 — 10:08 pm
Comments: 17

The weakest of weak tea

So Obama delivered a few bland, wet remarks about Scottish independence at a press conference for the G7 summit. It was a classic Obama “on the one hand this, on the other hand that” nothingburger.

Douglas Alexander, the shadow Foreign Secretary (that means the party out of power) noted, “His clear statement of support for the UK staying together will resonate with many of us here in Scotland.” Which is a hilariously (an hilariously?) inapt description of his few weak, mumbled lines.

I don’t know how to break it to anybody here, but we have never had an American president who gave less of a small wet fart about Britain, Europe…the whole of Western Civ. Dude is an African/Indonesian/Hawaiian Muzzy simp with a side order of Pok-e-stohn.

p.s. by the way — go Scottish independence! If they break away, Britain will never have a Lefty government again.

June 5, 2014 — 10:44 pm
Comments: 17