M.I.T. Predicts in 1973 that civilisation will end by 2040

Open Culture

Interesting predictions that should give us all pause for thought.


Life (2017)

Plays like a scientifically accurate version of Alien (1979). There’s a sequel in there somewhere but the nihilistic ending makes it more 28 Weeks Later (2007) than Alien 3 (1992).

Tactical choices

I agree with Tom Quinn’s analysis in The Conversation about the Independent Group, their “likely endpoint is another merger” with the other centrists party, the Liberal Democrats. In the same way as the SDP merged with the Liberal Party in the 1980’s, it’s the logical outcome of a binary political system.

The Conversation

I voted to remain, and Chuka Umunna is my MP, so theoretically I should vote for his pro European platform, and return him to Parliament at the next election. I’m not sure I will. For me the only way forward is the solution offered by the Labour Party. We leave the European Union but maintain a strong trading partnership, that includes free movement, and regulation parity.

Labour and Corbyn have been criticised for their stand, accused of propping up right-wing Tories. I don’t think that’s what is happening. I think Corby is using our exit of the European Union as a way to further the manifesto promises of the last election.

I still think leaving the European Union is an act of social and economic madness, playing Russian roulette with five rounds in the six shot cylinder. The chances of us emerging alive on the other side are slim, but I am equally disturbed by the neoliberalism of European Union.

Two things come to mind when I think neoliberalism. The first is Thatcherism, a system of “dog in a manger” economics, obsessed with the vagaries of the market and privatisation, and a property owning democracy that either revels in Boomtown, or sleeps rough when the economy hits the skids.

The second thing that comes to mind is something said by Ken Loach. The European Union is a club for bosses. It may offer workers rights, minimum safety standards for consumer goods, free movement of goods, services, and of course workers, but all of those benefits are designed as much to enrich the wealth of the bosses, as mollify its citizens

Given a choice between a revolver with five rounds in the chamber, and cheaper food, I’m going to choose cheaper food. But if our food is going to be more expensive, perhaps that can be offset by cheaper utility bills, and cheaper transportation, when those industries are nationalised under a Labour government.

Just a thought.

Watched Beautiful Boy (2018)

How far is any of us from this kind of behaviour? We may not charge at the touch line, but we certainly make a lunge for the goal. Be it sugar or alcohol, nicotine or heroine, money or fame, we all try to change our realities, trying to morph one into another, as if one is inherently better?

Political bias from The Guardian and BBC

This article by Mattha Busby presents a deeply confused piece of opinion conflating wrangles over Brexit with John McDonnel’s view of Winston Churchill. As if characterising Churchill as a villain could somehow negate any position, let alone the Labour position on Brexit.

The Guardian

Laura Kuenssberg injects a squirt of capsaicin into the conjunctiva with her comment on Twitter, “these remarks at @politic event could stir a lot of trouble”, especially when framed by partisan political editors.

Laura Kuenssberg

Both Kuenssberg and Busby misquote McDonnel. He actually said Winston Churchill was “more villain than hero”. A subtle but substantial difference. Yes Churchill was a great wartime leader, but there are many more situations in which his actions could, at best, be described as villainous.

Both Kuenssberg and Busby could do worse than listen to an episode from season two of Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast, “The Prime Minister and the Prof”. They might also benefit from taking a few minutes to read Tom Heyden’s article for the BBC “The 10 greatest controversies of Winston Churchill’s career”. What are the odds both know Churchill’s history but choose wilful ignorance of the bad stuff.

Both Gladwell and Heyden offer a very different view of Churchill. Yes he did great things for this country, but he also had some very unsavoury attitudes, and took some “villainous” action. To wilfully ignore and misrepresent this aspect of Churchill is an act of “villainy” all of its own.

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’

The Guardian

Damian Carrington’s piece in The Guardian warns “Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature'”.

Reading this makes me sad, scared, but most of all angry. We have the worst kind of self-serving politicians trying to isolate us from Europe under the guise of trade with, who knows? What they should be doing is finding ways to integrate, and partner with other countries to do something about this.

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