Whooping Cough is making a comeback
As a child I spent one Christmas in hospital, in an oxygen tent, with “Whooping Cough”. Having experienced that, I’ve been thrilled for decades that the disease was more-or-less gone. I’ve been happy, on the rare occasion when the disease was referenced among people my age to have them laugh at the foolish, and old-timey, sounding name. It enrages me that the stupid anti-vaccination trend is bringing it back.

Bertrand Russell – Face To Face

The internet today brought me this Youtube clip, which shows old Bertie being interviewed in 1959 (and therefore at the age of 87) on a BBC show called “Face To Face“.

I quite like his advice for people a thousand years hence.

As goes the myth…

It shouldn’t be any surprise to you that I often agree with Paul Krugman–I’m both rational and occasionally shrill. For instance, I see a lot of sense in the compressed argument Krugman makes here, in his recent editorial: And right now, by any rational calculation, would be an especially good time to improve the nation’s infrastructure. We have the need:… Read more →


Sarah and I recently made our way through the first Barnaby Grimes book: Curse Of The Night Wolf. We quite enjoyed it and will probably seek out others, by the way. However, I had to do some deep background explanations on the concept of the various quack medicinal tonics of the time period, as Sarah isn’t really up on her historical snake oil salesmen. I was able to do it, with some helpful reference to Pete’s Dragon, but it took some explaining. When I saw this vintage ad for Melachol, my immediate thought was to show it to her as an illustration of the concept. Fortunately my parenting brain did kick in before I did that, and suggested to me that I might be better off not having to explain “functional impotence”, “irregularities of menstruation”, or “perverted secretions” at this time. (Actually, I’m not sure I could explain that last one.)

An eclectic bit of bookery

It’s been a while since I closed the various “book stuff” tabs, so let’s take a run through those, shall we? I came to this by the Lord Dunsany connection, but I don’t think you need to be on that page at all to enjoy H. E. Gowers’ HASCHISCH HALLUCINATIONS, posted over at the blog of master-designer-and-artist-of-the-eldritch John Coulthart. I’ve… Read more →


Why yes, I do believe I will be showing my daughter the cool videos from AuroraMax. Nice to see (a tiny, tiny slice of) my tax dollars at work for something cool.

Up there with Obi Wan

I was recently pointed at an article in the Telegraph about how Druidry has just been recognized as a religion in the UK. The article ran with headline “Druidry recognised as religion in Britain for first time” and subhead “Druidry has been recognised as an official religion in Britain for the first time, thousands of years after its adherents first… Read more →


Now that I have learned of it, I will be desperately searching for appropriate places to work the phrase “if-by-whiskey” or “if-by-whiskey fallacy” into my everyday communications. Also, the canonical example of it is pretty great. (And apparently old men in Mississippi don’t mind having a nip in the morning.)

The Great Red Eye

One the great myths–in the sense of “stories we tell ourselves to understand the world”, not in the sense of “lie to be disproven”–of the Internet is how connectivity and open access to data enables all kinds of things to happen. One of the great myths of science is that sharing data allows for the pool of knowledge to continue… Read more →

He should have talked to Kubrick

I have just lost a couple of hours to a suicide note. And I barely dipped my toe in. Here’s the background on the young man who killed himself after spending a huge amount of time preparing a 1900+ page suicide note that works out a philosophical justification for suicide based on a kind of existential nihilism. But if the… Read more →

As a “face man”, I find this comforting

So, did you see that recent paper in Evolution and Human Behaviour1 about the different ways that men and women evaluate attractiveness in potential long- and short- term partners? You’d remember the title: “More than just a pretty face“. If you didn’t, or don’t want to follow the link, here’s the abstract: Studies of physical attractiveness have long emphasized the… Read more →


Speaking of governmental douche baggery, don’t think that my lack of constant complaint about Harper and almost EVERY DECISION he makes means I’m not constantly enraged–I’m just deep in outrage fatigue at this point. Everywhere I turn there are utterly reprehensible decisions. Sending Canadian citizens to serve time in US prisons for things that aren’t crimes in Canada, refusing to do anything to help Canadian citizens threatened with death or torture in other countries, pushing terrible copyright legislation, pretty much everything about the G20 handling, indefensibly stupid action on the census (oh, and Tony, if one citizen’s complaints are enough to change government policy, well, I’ve got a LOOONG list for you), Lysenkoist interference with science, and… well the list goes on. Can we kick these bums out yet?

What the hell, Obama?

If you’ve read here over the last year, you’ll know that I’ve pretty much lost all hope that Obama is going to fix things–I’m willing to live with “won’t make it worse”, and clearly he was a better choice than the alternative, but I am labouring under no illusion now that he’s going to actually undo all the evils of… Read more →

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada
This work by Chris McLaren is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada.