The history of the world, for a long time, was the history of great people. Mostly great men. It focused on singular individuals and seldom mentioned common people. Preferring to recount historical events from the perspective of leaders.
Continue reading “Virus From Below”
August 16th 1665Samuel Pepys (1633 – 1703)
It was dark before I could get home; and so land at church-yard stairs, where to my great trouble I met a dead Corps, of the plague, in the narrow ally, just bringing down a little pair of stairs – but I thank God I was not much disturbed at it. However, I shall beware of being late abroad again.
And ‘late abroad again’ it seems the people of Melbourne can’t be for some time. The Premier of Victoria introduced stage four lock-down restrictions last night. Residents will be subject to a curfew for the next six weeks. Banned from travelling more than 5km (3 miles) from their home.
Continue reading “Late Abroad Again”
Today was quite the red letter day. For the first time since gyms shut due to the Covid pandemic, my local reopened and I was able to train again. Though vowing to take things easy as I pulled on my sweats, it seems my body has lost what little fitness it had. Consequently, doing nothing more than going through the motions of a workout was enough to provoke bucking hysteria from my muscles. The other thing which took me by surprise, the way in which my local community seems to have completely forgotten about Covid. This got me musing on the power of the snub.
Continue reading “The Power of the Snub”
I learn today that a poll, of over 30,000 students from around the world who are intending to study abroad, has showed 57% are experiencing disruptions to their study plans. This number is up on the 46% returned when QS ran a similar survey in April. Given the effect Covid is having on day to day life, the only surprise here is that the number facing disruption isn’t higher.
Continue reading “Cold Calling Students”
I learn today a manuscript of Isaac Newton’s is being offered by Bonhams.. The two page manuscript is based on Tumulus Pestis [The Tomb of the Plague] by Jan Baptist van Helmont, a Flemish physician who treated victims during the Antwerp plague of 1605. Van Helmont’s writing on chemistry was not only influential on Newton and Robert Boyle, but he invented the word ‘gas’ and demonstrated that other gases exist which are distinct from atmospheric air.
Continue reading “The Case of the Dangling Toad”
In his seminal 1920 book Liberty and the News, Walter Lippmann warned:
Continue reading “Airbrushing Memory”
[those] who have lost their grip upon the relevant facts of their environment are the inevitable victims of agitation and propaganda. The quack, the charlatan, the jingo . . . can flourish only where the audience is deprived of independent access to information.
As a boy I clung tight to Wicket the Ewok, my childhood companion from the forest moon of Endor. Given my affection for this furry friend, it would be remiss of me to let May 4th pass without making a Star Wars reference:
Continue reading “May the Third be with you”