Thursday 11 November, 2021

Quote of the Day

”My face looks like a wedding cake that has been left out in the rain.”

  • W.H. Auden

He was right, as you can see here! But good for him.

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Ry Cooder | My Girl Josephine


Long Read of the Day

 Shortage nation: why the UK is braced for a grim Christmas

Nice explainer by Tim Harford on why we run out of petrol when supplies are constrained rather than just putting up the price of a gallon (as economists would recommend).

In the textbooks, a “shortage” doesn’t mean dry pumps or empty shelves: it means that prices spike. They might double or triple. Some will find it impossibly expensive to drive, and others might find their finances ruined because they have no choice but to buy fuel they cannot really afford. But there are no queues; there is always petrol available to those who are willing and able to pay.

Ah, those dreamworld textbooks. The real world is a different place.

An instructive read.

More on Alexis Madrigal’s experience of Covid

Andrew Brown (Whom God Preserve) was not impressed by Madrigal’s experience (mentioned in yesterday’s edition). He writes:

Madrigal’s piece gave off such an extraordinary vibe of terrified Eloi wandering too close to the Morlocks. He and his entire family are vaccinated. He caught something that affected him no worse than a bad cold as the price of a fun fancy weekend in New Orleans. And yet we get paragraph after paragraph of freakouts, and the whole family panicking, because of this enormous catastrophe which disrupted his life for a whole week. Right at the end, he asks the only interesting question, which is how will society cope when Covid becomes low-level and endemic: the only possible answer is “better than you did, chum.”

Someone I know who lives in Hong Kong has just sent me pictures of the building opposite where he lives cordoned off by police, and everyone in it tested because someone who lives there tested positive. That’s the price of zero covid and Chinese societies can pay it, for the moment. But there is no way in hell America could be run like that. Poor people just aren’t part of their health planning. So the Eloi are going to remain in a state of ineffective terror while the disease, presumably, slowly loses virulence as it spreads through the Morlocks.

An honest government ad


Nice surprise appearance by Greta Thunberg at the end.

H/T to Andrew Curry — who, incidentally, warns that it’s “not safe for work”. Can’t think why. Readers of this Blog are hardened viewers, surely.

Chart of the Day

Every year, Knight Frank releases data on what it takes to join the 1 per cent in different countries. I always find this data and the disparity between countries to be fascinating. In the UK, $1.8m gets you into the top 1 per cent. Compare that with $280,000 in Brazil or $60,000 in Indonesia.

My commonplace booklet

Eh? (See here)

Hand-build wooden Apple 1 goes on sale

Anyone interested in an Apple I hand built by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak circa 1976 has until 11:30 am PST today to make a bid as the rare computer goes up for auction at John Moran Auctioneers outside Los Angeles, California.

The vintage machine is one of the few Apple-I versions encased in koa wood, from the Acacia koa tree that is endemic to Hawaii and was fashionable in the 1970s. The computer was made during the company’s garage start-up days and is only one of six known remaining Koa wood case Apple-I machines in existence.


Oddly enough, my maternal grandfather was a John Moran. And he was also an auctioneer, among other things. He never sold anything like this, though.

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