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A wilding

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  1. That was a very big assumption on their part. As yet we still have very little idea of the numbers and types of moons in the galaxy. Back then we were only guessing about extrasolar planets, let alone moons.
  2. I have been reading Q by "Luther Blissett". (Luther Blissett is apparently actually a pseudonym for a group of Italian authors who co-wrote the book). Nothing to do with QAnon thankfully, this is a rather odd fiction book, somewhat reminiscent of The Name of the Rose. The story takes place over several years and multiple locations in Reformation Europe. It drops you right into the period in an impressively detailed and immersive way. Nearly all of the characters are real people (often quite obscure ones) shown doing what they actually did in real life - for example a "history with dialogue" account of the Münster rebellion plays a significant part in the story. As with Umberto Eco's books, there is also a good deal of philosophy included. Theological obviously, but also political, and a fair amount of what felt like some sort of Marxism (though I am not an expert). Lastly, there is a central plot, involving a Protestant reformer character becoming gradually aware of the long running machinations of a Catholic spy (the titular "Q") but it is oddly low key and ends with something of an anticlimax, I assume deliberately so. Worth reading for anyone interested in this period of history.
  3. About now I think, and definitely before they start beginning to grow leaves. Just not while it is literally freezing. The trick is to preserve their root balls intact and to do the transfer with the soil still round them. We have just transplanted a sapling ourselves that had self seeded in an entirely unsuitable place. We had expected it not to last, but after it had survived for several years and had reached almost 5 foot high reaching upwards for some light I felt it deserved a chance. We have moved it to a friend's field. and will see how it does there.
  4. Yes, but politicians lie to get ahead. And when some big event comes out of left field it can then suddenly turn out that they also have principles and insist on declaring their previously concealed belief. Or possibly even newly formed belief. I know of one situation where a local government candidate suddenly went anti-vaxxer over the Covid vaccinations during the pandemic. He was rapidly deselected, but that did not stop him making a big fuss and gifting other parties a stick to beat his party with.
  5. This just about counts as history, as the author is nearly a generation older than me. Spider Woman by Lady Hale, the autobiography of the judge who shortly before her retirement became briefly famous. As President of the UK Supreme Court she got to read out their unanimous verdict that then PM Boris Johnson's unilateral suspension of the UK Parliament was illegal and null and void. I met a fair few people of her type over the years and it was interesting to get more insight. The very first generation of UK women able to forge themselves a career (her 8 years older sister had to put up with being a secretary). A brainy village grammar school kid (the only one from her school to pass the 11+ in her year) who by careful planning and lots of hard work got into Cambridge and made good, in her case very much so. The very essence of a "girly swot", as she herself points out. I was struck by how much she was the polar opposite of Boris Johnson. A serious work ethic, a mind that clearly delights in problem solving, a wish to do what she could to improve the world, and the desire to give something back. And I am prepared to believe her protestation that her wearing that spider brooch (£12 from a high street store apparently) was a complete coincidence, and that she had never heard of the Boris the Spider song. Though one thing I had not known was that, because of the Daily Mail headline calling named and pictured judges "enemies of the people", the judges and their families got protection after she read out their verdict. Thankfully unneeded.
  6. And the further problem with this is the same as with the 99% reliable driverless cars with a driver responsible for handling the 1% of cases where the AI gets it wrong. Someone whose job is to check the AI is going to be less motivated and less skilled than someone who does the job from scratch. There will be the ever present temptation to just nod stuff though. On top of that, the management team is going to view the role as an overhead to be done as cheaply as possible and to be done away with entirely as soon as there is any excuse to. The usual scenario of looking good by reducing costs and making sure you have moved on before the impact is felt.
  7. For primary sources, try The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. He was a wealthy amateur who got himself onto Scott's last expedition, proved his worth on it, but was so broken he never did much afterwards. Amongst other things he found Scott's body.
  8. So they have started a police investigation into the Post Office scandal. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-67899189 About time. Though I am sure that only an underling or two are ever going to end up in the dock.
  9. But that is the point. We have a culture of all too frequent abusive behaviour by our politicians (not to mention within other powerful UK organisations). It has been also well argued that there is a very widespread attitude amongst them that abuse is not something to take seriously, and that this contributes to a minority thinking that their abusive behaviour is acceptable or, at the very least, something that they can get away with doing. In the light of this it is telling that the Home Secretary felt able, in a large semi official gathering, to joke about using a date rape drug. And that he did so on the very day that his government had launched one of their "initiatives" to address drink spiking! In my personal opinion, this is absolutely news, for all the pearl clutching about politicians needing safe spaces to let their hair down off the record.
  10. I was also musing about the repeated use of the phrase "in private" above. To me "in private" means something like "at home with your family" or "having a meal with a few friends". It does not mean "at a large tax payer funded event in a government building".
  11. Nice goalpost move. But to answer that: do you understand that people might have issues with requiring omerta from journalists over a male politician with the ultimate responsibility for law enforcement making jokes in a large crowd about date rape drugging women?
  12. Because it was made at a Number 10 party for journalists with many journalists present?
  13. Maxwell had, by many accounts, a screwed up childhood. She supposedly had a close but dysfunctional relationship with her father, a domineering and very successful crooked businessman who ultimately killed himself (probably) when his frauds began to catch up with him. This may well be a factor in her behaviour.
  14. I have been reading a history of my local town and was very much struck by one chapter that is sort of relevant to this thread. In the mid 19th century the town was desperately in need of piped water and a sewage system. Life expectancy in the town was years less than it should have been, and there were frequent disease outbreaks. Proposals to build such a system were made, cue resistance such as: Outrage at the mere idea that town residents should be taxed for any purpose whatsoever. Rubbishing of the science demonstrating the link between poor sanitation and disease ("sanitation science is yet in its infancy ..."). Demands that reports on disease outbreaks were edited to remove any mentions of links to insanitary conditions. Packing town hall meetings with opponents to the scheme. Various rule bending political manoeuvres. I guess nothing changes. But it is perhaps hopeful that, with the need for action increasingly stating them in the face, all this only caused a delay of about 10 years.
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