A Healing Crystal for Every Child

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Reportedly the new rationale for mandating Covid vaccines for children is as a psychological measure ‘to help them avoid worrying about the pandemic and learning to get on with their peer group’.

In that case a placebo could do the job without any risk. Placebos are still effective if you know they’re placebos, and possibly even if you don’t actually take them. They also work better if they’re expensive, which is why I clearly need the taxpayer to buy me the most lavish placebo on the market, to tackle my anxieties about getting on with my richer peers.

Plus ça change

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Many estate employees didn’t know the Americans were pulling out until the day they departed.

Not Afghanistan in 2021, but the failure of Fordlandia, Henry Ford’s attempt to create a planned community in Brazil, as described in Bill Bryson’s One Summer: America 1927.

Other topics in the book which audiences on either side of the Atlantic might find familiar include poor economic stewardship (the banking decision that would set off the Great Depression), odd mores and moral panics (‘in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a local law made it an offence for dancing partners to gaze into each other’s eyes’), terrorism (anarchist bombers and the Red Scare) and related suspicion of migrant communities (apparently the Twenties were a rough time for Italians in America as well as blacks and Jews), a concern with what the climate was doing (the oddest of that year’s odd weather being a devastating flood of the Mississippi), grand social projects with unforeseen consequences (Prohibition was ‘easily the most extreme, ill-judged, costly and ignored experiment in social engineering ever conducted by an otherwise rational nation’) and dubious uses of science (the ‘prominent and learned’ ‘coalition of academics and scientists’ behind eugenics).

Save the Leviathan

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Too little influence of environmental philosophy, or too much...?

Sprung Upon Me

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Springer aren’t wrong that their new journal looks germane to my interests, but this is a curious way of bringing its existence to my attention:

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Varium et Mutabile

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This year’s reading includes a novel in which a biologically female character is consistently referred to by the narration and other characters as ‘he’, and one of those characters is described as ‘mansplaining’ to him.