Link blog: covid19, uk, politics, influenza

Here’s What The UK Government Was Told By Scientists, Said In Public, And Did On The Big Coronavirus Issues
“Much of the evidence to the government has been made public, and it means we have a level of insight into where the government’s words and decisions, and the advice from the experts, come together — and diverge.These timelines explore five of the biggest issues: mass events, social distancing, school closures, isolation, and testing.”

Via the ever-interesting @TomChivers
(tags: pandemic uk sage government covid19 science)

The problem with our response to Covid-19 wasn’t that we didn’t have a plan – it was the opposite
“People make plans, but plans exert power over people. Covid-19 is not a flu virus but something new for which we don’t yet have effective medications, and it is more infectious than Sars and Mers, the other two coronaviruses to have emerged since the turn of the century. Faced with the novel problem of an untreatable, highly transmissible virus, the government’s current advisers seem to have found it hard to break with the plan they had – now unfit for purpose – and think anew.”
(tags: covid19 uk politics influenza flu)
Fatal exceptionalism and lack of humility to learn from the Asian example
“Covid-19, or how the West was undone by its assertion of civilizational difference bordering on provincial narcissism”
(tags: covid19 korea china politics epidemic)

Link blog: politics, identity-politics, ken-macleod, humanism

For American pundits, China isn’t a country. It’s a fantasyland. – The Washington Post
“Whenever I want to be cheered up about the future of my adopted country, I turn to American pundits. The air here might be deadly, the water undrinkable, the Internet patchy and the culture strangled, but I can always be reassured that China is beating America at something, whether it’s clean energy, high-speed rail, education or even the military. Over the past decade, American audiences have become accustomed to lectures about China, like a schoolboy whose mother compares him with an overachieving classmate.”
(tags: china america politics)
Ken MacLeod – Socialism and transhumanism
“The challenge for humanists and liberals in the face of a transhuman future is daunting: to replace the socialist project — or to revive it. Without something like it to underpin a sense of common human identity and common human interest, people will divide on the basis of other identities. Many on the left, of course, have found in identity politics a replacement for the universalism of their past. But identity can also be seized on by the far right. It can feed a resentful indifference to the plight of others that comes from having one’s own plight disregarded.”
(tags: socialism politics transhumanism ken-macleod identity-politics humanism)

Link blog: google, nsa, paranormal, jesus

UFOs, Ghosts and a Rising God
Chris Hallquist’s debunking of the stories of the resurrection of Jesus is now online. It’s a good read. It’s mostly a response to popular apologetics on the subject (Habermas, Craig, McDowell and so on) and an argument that the evidence is worse than that for more modern paranormal events which we justly reject (the ghosts and UFOs of the title).
(tags: history william-lane-craig christianity jesus resurrection apologetics scepticism ufo paranormal chris-hallquist)
Do try not to get your penis stuck in a toaster. A message from the fire brigade | Dave Brown | Comment is free | theguardian.com
"Our #FiftyShadesofRed campaign is designed to remind people we should be attending fires, not tambourines on heads or yet another handcuff incident."
(tags: fire-brigade bdsm sex funny)
Edward Snowden’s not the story. The fate of the internet is | Technology | The Observer
"The fact is that Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are all integral components of the US cyber-surveillance system. Nothing, but nothing, that is stored in their "cloud" services can be guaranteed to be safe from surveillance or from illicit downloading by employees of the consultancies employed by the NSA. That means that if you’re thinking of outsourcing your troublesome IT operations to, say, Google or Microsoft, then think again."
(tags: nsa google xkeyscore cloud edward-snowden security internet china)