Thursday 20 January, 2022

Evening in Arles

Quote of the Day

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”

  • Samuel Johnson

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Zoë Conway and John Mc Intyre | Faoiseamh a Gheobhadsa (I Will Find Solace)


Extraordinary song, extraordinary location for a recording. Lyrics and translation from the Gallic here.

Long Read of the Day

Cory Doctorow’s review of Saul Griffiths’s  Electrify: An Optimists Playbook for Our Clean Energy Future.


For Griffith, the roadmap is pretty straightforward. From now on, every time we replace a vehicle or renovate a building or swap an appliance, we should be buying electric. Every new roof should include solar panels. New housing should be energy efficient and shouldn’t even have a gas hookup. All of this should be financed with low-cost, long-term loans comparable to the government-backed mortgages that created the post-war middle-class (but without the racism that created Black housing precarity and poverty).

No more fossil-fuel plants should be built, period. Existing extraction and refining programs should halt, now. Existing plants should be decomissioned and replaced with renewables and batteries. This should be federally funded, as should the new jobs for fossil-fuel-sector workers, whose labor the electrification project can handily absorb, with room to spare for every un- and under-employed person in America.

The stuff we’ve been told is impossible with renewables – like maintaining base-load – is revealed as a largely solved problem (big batteries, which will get smaller and cheaper over time).

I came away from the review adding Griffiths’s book to my reading list.

Thanks to Andrew Curry for spotting it.

Lucy Mangan on ‘Ghislaine, Prince Andrew and the paedophile’

A bracing review of the ITV documentary which was screened on Monday.

I didn’t watch it because I was usefully employed on other things, but I found this passage — about Maxwell’s friendship with Prince Andrew both revealing and unsurprising.

Maxwell’s relationship with (no longer His Royal Highness) Prince Andrew. They first met when she was at Oxford University and moving in circles that included prime-minister-to-be Boris Johnson. During the years she was with Epstein, she had – according to Andrew’s former protection officer Paul Page – such free access to the palace that his team assumed she and the prince were having “an intimate relationship”.

Page also reveals that the prince keeps “50 or 60 soft toys” on his bed and a laminated photo of them at his bedside. If the maids don’t put them back in exactly the order shown, he shouts, screams and becomes “verbally abusive”. You could argue that this is not relevant to the claims mounting against him as a result of his friendship with Epstein, of course. That’s the friendship (as we are shown again in a clip of the infamous interview with Emily Maitlis, which becomes no less excruciating with the passage of time) Andrew claimed endured after Epstein’s conviction for child abuse because of “my tendency to be too honourable”. On the other hand, what could be more relevant than such glaring proof of how deep the childishness and sense of entitlement runs in the man?

Yep. That’s what being in a royal family does to people.

Cyber Insurance Will Not Cover Cyber Attacks Attributable to Nation-States

Well, well.

Major insurance firm Lloyd’s of London has issued a bulletin indicating that its cyber insurance products will no longer cover the fallout of cyber attacks exchanged between nation-states. The insurer said last week that damages from “cyber war” between countries would no longer be covered, and that this definition extends to operations that have “major detrimental impact on the functioning of a state.”


Chart of the Day

Welcome to Appworld: a parallel universe.

Source: App Annie’s annual report

My commonplace booklet

A Grand Unified Theory of Buying Stuff

So you’ve acquired a new thing. And now you want accessories. Ask yourself: Will the potential experience be worth the cost to the supply chain?

Nice short piece by Paul Ford.

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