Thursday 29 September, 2022


Halfway through our walk.

Quote of the Day

”The belief that one can start with ours observations alone, without anything in the nature of a theory, is absurd.”

  • Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations

I’ve always found this to be a profound insight, but I have a vague recollection that he also expressed it more succinctly somewhere as “All observation is drenched in theory.”

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Oscar Peterson | C Jam Blues


Long Read of the Day

The Lost Ecological Paradise of the English Fenlands

Lovely essay by Annie Proulx on what was lost when Vermeulen & Co drained the fens.

I wanted to know how humans interacted with wetlands in the past and the present. The old image of an infinitely complex “web of life” holding the world together is still serviceable, but the web’s self-healing gossamer has been torn by humans in so many places it no longer functions. I found the story of the English fens was a story of the tearing-apart.

Worth your time, especially if you like the Fens.

Trump’s Heartless QAnon Embrace

Extraordinary NYT column by Michelle Goldberg about how Trump is now exploiting Qanon believers.

The title of the Reddit post this month seemed almost too shocking to be true: “My Qdad snapped and killed my family this morning.”

The post — by Rebecca Lanis, a 21-year-old from Michigan — was on a forum dedicated to people who’ve lost loved ones to QAnon, the sprawling conspiracy cult that imagines that Donald Trump is waging a secret war against blood-drinking pedophiles who run Hollywood and the Democratic Party. As The Detroit News would soon report, Lanis’s father, 53-year-old Igor Lanis, had indeed gone on a murderous rampage.

Lanis described how her father had fallen down the QAnon rabbit hole after the 2020 election. He wasn’t violent, however, until the morning of Sept. 11, when he shot her mother, her sister and their dog, and was then killed in a shootout with the police. Lanis’s sister, despite being shot in the back and legs, survived. Her mother and the dog did not…

The era when conspiracy theories were harmless has long gone.

Edward Snowden is granted Russian citizenship

From The Register

Snowden has been living in Russia since 2013 when the US charged him with espionage and he flew from Hong Kong to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport with the help of WikiLeaks and ended up stranded in Russia with a canceled passport. He was granted asylum in Russia and temporary residency until October 2020, when he became a permanent resident. He and his wife Lindsay reportedly applied for citizenship the following month.

My commonplace booklet

It’s not often that one comes across an ad that strikes a chord — but this Heineken one — which is about polarisation but of course also about beer — fits the bill. It’s 4 minutes 25 seconds long.

Thanks to Charles Arthur for spotting it.

This Blog is also available as a daily email. If you think that might suit you better, why not subscribe? One email a day, Monday through Friday, delivered to your inbox. It’s free, and you can always unsubscribe if you conclude your inbox is full enough already!