Worth reading

This blog post fell onto my twitter yesterday, and it’s worth a read.

Public debate on highly contentious issues is now careering out of control. Tragedy is being hijacked by political agitators. Facts are being junked for ignorance, misrepresentation and misleading hearsay. A culture of hyperventilating emotion and licensed resentment means that those trying to articulate dispassionate judgment, justice and compassion are being vilified as unfeeling brutes.

It might seem – it might even be – harsh to speak out like this now, in the immediate aftermath of the Grenfell Fire and in the midst of the tremendously emotive Charlie Gard case, but there’s never going to be a easy time to bring this unpopular but necessary sort of viewpoint forward. The longer it’s left unspoken, the more accepted and acceptable it becomes. And it’s clearly already a problem.

These are faint cries in the wind. Reason, objectivity and disinterestedness are now being howled down by an angry and resentful mob. Emotion and ignorance now rule instead. Observe, and shudder.

There are some difficult truths spoken and some very good points made in this post.
Do go and read it.

It’s only words

…and words are all I have. To take your heart away.

What? No. Nothing like that. Calm your loins, pet.

Linguistics. Linguistics and language, and this introduction:

Some data visualizations tell you something you never knew. Others tell you things you knew, but didn’t know you knew. This was the case for this visualization.

to this data visualization:

from prooffreader.com.

And yes, when you look at the individual letters and think about where you might be most likely to find them in words, you realise that you knew all this already, it’s just that no-one had ever presented it to you in data visualization form. Just like the quote at the top of the page.

There are several (or more) other interesting data visualisations on the prooffreader site, if you have some time to spare.

A Day In The Life

As I point out fairly regularly on here, I’m hardly a full time blogger. I do blog every day, but it’s not my job and I certainly don’t make a living from it. [cries internally]

There are, apparently, some similarities between me and a full-time blogger though. I saw this post earlier, and I noted the chord that was struck by his 10am and 10:15am comments. (I left the 9:30am one in because, you know, I’m still always hopeful.)

Of course, because this isn’t my full-time job, when I can’t think of anything to blog, the only loser is you, the reader. I’ll stick up a photo that I took in 2008 if I have to fill the space, and it does neither me nor my bank balance any harm.

And hey, you might get lucky and get something (only) a little more imaginative, like this.

But I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Born on the…

…4th July?

Not me. But America was, and they celebrated their 2017th birthday just yesterday.

Incidentally, the 5th July is Tynwald Day, so the Isle of Man is celebrating its birthday today. Who would have thought that two such great – yet completely different – nations would be born just one day apart?

Amazing.

The Manx are typically understated in their celebrations, but of course the Yanx are known for their excessive weight exuberance, and they have fireworks. Here’s a great timelapse of just how that looked last year over Los Angeles – which is basically their version of Port Erin:

Some trippy moments from 11 seconds onwards, but stick with it – you can afford the forty-nine seconds that it takes to get through. The aircraft heading in and out of the local airport only add to the effect, although the camera’s focus on them is rather LAX.

I’m so sorry.

Happy American Independence Day and/or Laa Tinvaal Mie – whichever one is more relevant to you.

 

Yes, I know about American Independence and the history of Tynwald. 

Religion and the Knysna fires

Busy day for me today, so I’m going to direct you elsewhere (although obviously please come back once you’re done there).

Herewith then, an article by Ivo Vegter (you may remember him from such posts as The Lion, The Bitch and The Ecophobe and Ivo backs me, rubbishes Christine’s Brilliant Idea) about the recent devastating fires on the Garden Route.

As ever, Ivo takes a different angle on the situation, lamenting the hypocrisy and dichotomy of some religious individuals and their reaction to the disaster.

At no time since the start of the tragedy did enough rain fall to make much difference to the fires, but when the occasional few drops did fall, Christians cluttered up the chat groups to thank their god. When the fires burnt out or were successfully fought, they praised the lord.

It’s clearly the writing of an very angry man, albeit that you get the impression that his professionalism is keeping his true feelings somewhat in check. Although (as he notes), his feelings will fall upon stony ground when it comes to the Christians:

We will be told it’s a matter of faith, not reason. That has the merit of being true, at least. There is nothing reasonable about any of this.

It’s an impassioned, yet controlled rant, clearly written in very difficult conditions – and it’s one of the best things he’s done in ages. I urge you to go and have a read.