Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Posts Tagged ‘Blogging

Fully reopening this blog

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For the time being, I am fully reopening this blog. This for two reasons:

  1. I have had a long period of continual losses of my Internet connection, which has added an ever-increasing number of three-quarters-or-more-done texts to my backlog.* I want to have the ability to publish these at those times when everything works, instead of (as per previous policy) be limited to one** text per week.

    *Note that the problems are not limited to “cannot post”. More important is “cannot check this-and-that while writing”, which causes each text to have TODOs that I do not necessarily have the time and energy to work on once the Internet connection is back again—especially, knowing that the one-text-per-week policy prevents publishing in the immediate future anyway.

    **Not counting the texts on Nazism, which are exempt from this policy.

  2. The deteriorating situation in (mostly) the U.S., with all kinds of anti-democratic, anti-rechtsstaatliche, and possibly illegal or unconstitutional* behaviors from the paradoxically named Democrats. The latest is the anti-Trump raid, which shows the extent of the abuse of the legal system and the absurd persecution of dissenters that has become the norm. I want to keep the option open of writing about these issues without a limitation on posts.

    *There are many candidates. Specifically the J6 pro- and persecutions are virtually certain to fulfill the claim of being unconstitutional—an absolute and utter disgrace.

    Indeed, the situation is so bad, in the sum of anti-Trump/-Republican persecution, the judicial activism and judicial double standards, the abuse of schools for indoctrination into far-Left hate-ideologies, COVID-insanities, etc., that legal prosecution must be called for—but not against Trump, where there is little or no proof or even true indication of illegal activities, but against the likes of Joe Biden and Merrick Garland. There are norms for what political leaders may and may not do in a functioning democracy, in a Rechtsstaat, in a country claiming to follow the Rule of Law, etc. The current Democrat party, its leaders, and many of its supporters, are so far off the reservation that they must no longer be tolerated by civilized society. They are well past the point where the rest of the world can pretend that their behaviors are within the even remotely acceptable, tolerable, and conscionable. Should the current trends continue, even a ban of the party, it self, might be justified, to prevent the transformation of the U.S. into an outright far-Left totalitarian dictatorship on the level of the Soviet Union or Nazi-Germany. And, yes, unlike Trump the current Democrats have quite a few things in common with the Nazis.

How often I will publish, I leave unstated. The main point is to have the option.

Written by michaeleriksson

August 15, 2022 at 2:31 am

Redesigning for the worse / Blogroll update

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Last October, I added the Daily Sceptic to my blogroll. Today, I have decided* to remove it again. This in part due to a lower relevance and (my subjective feeling of) less, and less valuable, content as the COVID hysteria, countermeasures, whatnot have subsided.** The main reason, however, is a disastrous redesign.

*I do not currently have access to my WordPress account, and there might be a delay before the actual removal takes place. (This due to various notebook crashes and reinstalls, as discussed in earlier texts. To post on WordPress, I only need my email account.)

**Should they flare up again, I might revisit the decision.

To first look at the big picture:

I have been on the Internet since 1994, and it seems that web design tendentially has grown worse, year by year, that almost every individual redesign of a website makes it worse than before,* and that bigger organizations and organizations with more money tend to have worse websites than smaller ones.

*Indeed, this is not the first time that I abandon a site due to a misguided redesign.

A key issue here might be that web design is best kept simple, while there is a drift towards the more complex, e.g. because the more complex might, in some shallow sense, look fancier (at the cost of usability), that a design firm might be hard-pressed to charge money for something less fancy (even if more usable), that an executive/manager/product-manager* might push for the more fancy looking, etc., etc. As a special case, there seems to be a great unwillingness to accept the “default look” of HTML, which leads not only to excessive CSS-customizations but also, often, a reduced readability or usability, be it because pages from different web-sites look unnecessarily different** or because the default look was superior to begin with.***

*As a software insider, I can attest that many of the problems that the outsiders blame on the software/web/whatnot developers are actually caused by others. Developers usually have little say on topics like “user experience”, “look and feel”, what workflows are available and how they are structured, etc. (Which is a shame, because the developers are often better qualified and more insightful on such topics than those who do make the decisions.) Then there is the complication that the visual design of e.g. a website or a software is often done by others than those who implement the design.

**Which, sadly, appears to be seen as an advantage by the decision makers: Who cares about usability? The main thing is that we can push our unique corporate look/identity/whatnot! We need to stand out! We need to be unique! Besides, the visitors are not supposed to read and be informed, they are supposed to look at pretty pictures and be impressed!

***Fiddling around with the look of various control elements is particularly ill advised. For instance, some modern designs make it hard to determine whether a checkbox is actually checked, because no check mark is present. (Does that non-standard, specific to this one website, change of color mean that the checkbox is now checked or that it is now unchecked?) One extraordinarily idiotic website (I do not remember which one) had designed a radio-button to look like a checkbox.

A particular sub-issue could be that some individual designers want to experiment with various features, display their technical skills, whatnot, rather than favoring usability.

How to do good web design? Keep it simple, stupid!* Focus on readability and usability, not looks. Be user-driven, not design-driven. Do not make assumptions about the user (especially, that he is an idiot) or his wishes—ask him. Etc.

*This “KISS” principle applies very much to software development (and many other areas) in general. It is often one of the first things taught—and one of the first things forgotten. (And, possibly, is rarely taught to non-developers, e.g. product managers.)

Looking at the Daily Sceptic in detail:

Between my discovery of the site and the redesign, the main-page layout consisted of a long list of entries, somewhat like on a regular blog, most of which contained either own contents or a lengthy/article-sized quote from elsewhere (with some minor own comments), while a once-a-day entry contained a “news roundup” with a list with links to and one-sentence descriptions of texts from various other websites and news services. (This “news roundup” was (is?) the main source of value.)

The site was by no means perfect, but except for three things, this worked very well and was highly usable. All three things would have been easy to fix within the old design, and the second was easy for the user to work around (once wise the problem):

  1. The site had not made up its mind whether, for the individual entries/pages/whatnots, it should follow the “give the entire text in the list, with the option of opening it in a separate page to, e.g., give a comment” paradigm or the “give a taster in the list, and let those interested open the full text in a separate page” paradigm.

    Instead, the site combined the disadvantages of both systems, by giving a long-but-incomplete version of the text in the list. Those wanting to skim forward to open interesting seeming texts in separate pages were hampered by the length; those wanting to read the text without using separate pages could not do so, because the whole text was not present.

  2. The internal system, contrary to most blogging platforms, seemed to have two pages for the same text, one reflecting the abbreviated contents of the list and one reflecting the full text.

    In order to get the full text, the user had to scroll down to the end and click “Read More”, after which he was lead to the full version. However, what most experienced users are likely to do was to read a paragraph or two and then, if interested, click on the heading. (Or, on a site with a sufficient proportion of interesting texts, click on the heading in a blanket manner.) Unlike other platforms, however, this did not bring the user to the full version, but only the abbreviated version already seen in the list.

    (During my first few visits, I was highly annoyed to find, a “Read More” at the end of what should have been the full text, forcing me to another page visit. With time, I just scrolled down to the “Read More” of the original list in the first place.)

    Moreover, the lengthy/article-sized quotes ended with a “Worth reading in full” and a link to the original text. If the text is worth reading in full, why am I not? Either the actual full text should have been provided or I should have been linked to the full text to begin with.* This half-measure just wastes time. (Also see excursion.)

    *The semi-pointlessness of this approach is demonstrated by the same text often occurring both as a quote and as an entry in the news roundup.

    (Again, highly annoying during my first few visits, but something that I later worked around by just scrolling down to the “Worth reading in full”, while ignoring the Daily Sceptic’s version entirely.)

  3. Like many other sites, the comments were not immediately accessible even on the full version of a text. This is a near incomprehensible error, especially with an eye at how common it is. Show the bloody comments by default!

    Specifically, do so without a requirement to register and/or log in. Such a requirement might be acceptable for writing comments, but not for reading them.

The new design?* So bad that I will stay clear of the site for the time being:

*As observed during today’s (2020-06-06) visit. The statements need not be true at the time of reading.

  1. That very useful list is gone.
  2. The news roundup has been moved to a separate page and, it appears, a separate page per day, implying that I cannot just go to the same page every day, but have to go to the main page and pick out whatever the current day’s page is.
  3. The (new) main page is poorly designed, wastes space, and has replaced the original list with a much shorter two column list.

    The “shorter” implies that further pages must be visited to find all entries of the day (or since the last visit)—which is not possible without JavaScript. At the end of the page there is a “Load More” button, which should (a) have been a link, (b) should have loaded* more. Instead, it unnecessarily uses JavaScript to do something or other.** General rule: Never, ever use JavaScript for something that can be done with a regular HTML link.

    *Or, better, switched to a “page 2”. I have not investigated the details of Daily Sceptic here, but a common issue with other sites that use formulations like “load more” is that the new page begins with a repetition of the original contents, for a major waste of time—I want more contents, not the same contents again.

    **Presumably, to load more, but I will not activate JavaScript for any random site—especially one with foreign and, therefore, untrusted-even-should-I-trust-the-site contents. Correspondingly, I cannot test this.

    The two columns are a worsening relative a straight list, and columns are usually a bad idea in HTML to begin with—an attempt to imitate a paper design without a feel for the actual medium. (Generally, adopting something from the one medium to another can be highly sub-optimal. Even in good cases, adaption (note spelling) is necessary and often not even that gives a good result.)

  4. The comment issue has not been fixed. Arguably, cf. below, it has been made worse.
  5. On the upside, the site has now made up its mind on the two aforementioned browsing paradigms, settling on short descriptions with a full page view. The “Read More” issue seems to have disappeared as a side-effect. However, the “Worth reading in full” issue remains. Indeed, it has grown worse, because I cannot now jump from the main page directly to the original article. Instead, I have to first visit the Daily Sceptic’s version, and then jump to the original article.
  6. There are now three (!) highly intrusive requests for donations at the bottom of each (!) page.* By all means, ask for donations if you need money (running a popular website can be expensive—I understand that), but be polite and discreet—no-one likes to have a begging hand shoved in his face every two minutes.

    *There might be some discussion whether this should be considered design or content. As they seem to appear without variation on all pages, I consider them design for the purposes of this text. Similar points might apply elsewhere.

    This is the more annoying, as the site provides comparatively little own contents. The main benefit was always the news roundup with contents from other parties; and of the other entries, only roughly half were own contents, with the other, and often more interesting, half being the lengthy/article-sized quotes from other parties.

    Moreover, the third of these intrusive requests contains an inexcusable “We ask for a minimum donation of £5 if you’d like to make a comment or post in our Forums.”:

    Not only is this amount utterly and entirely out of proportion,* but the site is effectively punishing visitors for contributing value to the site.

    *Really, £5! Compare this with what can be had for the same amount elsewhere.

    (Generally, it is absurd, utterly absurd, how many websites seem to think that they are doing their visitors a favor by allowing them to contribute, while it is often these contributions that give the site value in the first place. This obviously in forums, many wikis, and sites like Youtube, but at least sometimes on other websites, blogs, whatnot. Steve Sailer is, again, a great example of a blog where almost all the value comes from the commenters.)

  7. According to an announcement there will now be advertising. Their choice, but it will worsen the “reader experience” and it will make me even less likely to visit.

Excursion on general technologies and trends:
I am often tempted to blame such problems on developments in technology, e.g. increased use of JavaScript (should be minimized) and CSS “position: fixed” (should never have been invented and should never be used). However, the Web has a long history of idiocies and over-use. For instance, Flash was long a problem, but is now almost gone. For instance, one of the early banes of web design was frames, and they have been very rare for at least a decade, maybe even two.

Moreover, at the end of the day, technologies can make it easier to make poor designs, but the blame ultimately rests on the designer (and/or whomever gives the orders).

A partial exception to this is responsive web design (and, maybe, adaptive web design), which pretends to solve a problem that does not exist,* and causes enormous increases in efforts, complexity, JavaScript use, etc. Another partial exception is a drive to design exclusively or primarily for smartphones, which often leads to pages that look like shit in and wastes space for a desktop browser, while, typically, not being very impressive on a smartphone either.**

*Or, rather, would not exist, if the design was solid in the first place. Design well, and the exact same page will look good in both a desktop browser and a smartphone browser without dynamic adaptions. Indeed, in the days of yore, where “mobile versions” were common, a flawed redesign of the “desktop version” often moved me to use the “mobile version” on the desktop too—as it was usually better designed for desktop use than the redesigned desktop version…

**Yes, there is an apparent contradiction of the previous footnote. From memory, I would say that the old “mobile versions” used a look-and-feel which was simply a less complex version of a regular desktop version (cf. the above comments on keeping it simple, etc.), while the modern try to additionally use an Android- and/or iPhone-inspired look-and-feel, including ideas like removing links in favor of big buttons or button-like constructs and preferring many low-information pages/screens/whatnot to fewer high-information dittos. (As an aside, I would welcome it, if the smartphone OSes looked and behaved more like desktops, to the degree that screen space and lack of keyboard/mouse allows it.)

Excursion on earlier writings:
I have a number of older texts dealing with both web design and software development on my website proper.

Excursion on “Worth reading in full”:
To quote and discuss portions of a text, in conjuncture with a “Worth reading in full” (or something to the same effect), is not wrong. I have certainly done so myself. In the case of the Daily Sceptic, there are at least three problems: (a) that this is done on a very large scale, (b) that the link to the original only comes at the very end,* and (c) that the own comments, analysis, whatnot are small in comparison to the quoted text—and usually quite superficial. There simply was not much point in reading the Daily Sceptic’s version over going straight to the source.

*Without checking, I suspect that I have always or almost always linked at the beginning of such texts—and I certainly will try to remember it for the future.

Excursion on utter idiocies:
To illustrate how far some idiots can go, there actually are websites that try to impress the user by playing music when he visits, or accompanies the main page with a spoken message. (This disregarding both that most users will not hear the music/message in the first place, that those who do might be pissed off, and that third parties might be disturbed.) A very common problem is the use of overly large, utterly uninformative, and constantly switching images, which do little but annoy the visitor. (This as part of the deliberate design. Advertisements can have a very similar effect, but are a separate issue.) Generally, overly large and utterly uninformative images, even when not switching, appear to be a staple of corporate web design.

Written by michaeleriksson

June 6, 2022 at 4:09 pm

Semi-re-opening this blog

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In August 2020, I rather abruptly closed this blog. The result was a considerable drop in texts, but nowhere near the complete stop that I had intended. This for reasons like urgent and important topics, e.g. the 2020 U.S. elections, the ever recurring wish/need for an update on an old topic, the occasional “I must write something about this to relieve my annoyance load”, and similar. (And this even while foregoing a great many updates, potentially interesting new texts, etc.)

In addition, one of the ideas behind the closure was to give me incentives to actually get my website back running, which has yet to happen. (Apart from the work needed, there have been obstacles and annoyances every time that I have begun the attempt that killed my motivation. For instance, my ISP, in the year 2022, still has no SSH access to the server, insisting on FTP or rsync, while my model works by having a version-control repository from which the updates take place. This alone causes extra effort, e.g. throw needing FTP-mounts—and highly avoidable effort, had the ISP been more professional. But then we have issues like FTP-mounts not working as they used to, forcing trouble shooting, and a version drift in the repository software breaking readability, forcing a conversion to a new version/format, and this conversion failing. I have neither the time nor the energy.)

Another complication is that my use of writing as an outlet for the many irritations in life have been diminished, as I have been more limited in topics than before.

As a result, I have decided to try something new: I re-open the blog with the constraint of no more than one text a week. (Not counting occasional corrections/extensions/whatnot, e.g. of the “I forgot to mention” kind; and not counting the current text.)

Written by michaeleriksson

March 24, 2022 at 8:45 pm

Terminology and active vs. passive use / Follow-up: Various

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As I have written on a few earlier occasions, I sometimes have trouble with terminology, e.g. in [1], where I note “a weaker knowledge of words for everyday items (or, more generally, a knowledge that varies with the domain)”.

Recently, I have seen two examples (“virulent”, “takeoff”) that appear to be less an issue of domain knowledge and more an issue of active use (writing/speaking; as opposed to a passive understanding). This possibly with three sub-issues, namely (a) that the brain might process input and output differently, (b) that the inexperienced active user might grab the wrong word without realizing it,* and (c) that the passive input might be perceived to be understood correctly (but is not) and/or that the passive input is only understood correctly due to surrounding context**. I also suspect that true awareness of a particular word often only arises with the active use, somewhat similarly to the nectarine phenomenon.

*This is what I believe happened with “takeoff”, and it might well have played in with “cartoon” in [1].

**Consider claims like “the assassin stabbed the king with an asdferrf” vs. “this is an asdferrf”. In the first case, sufficient context might be present for the reader to understand all that he needs to understand. (With a less silly word, he might not even reflect on his lack of deeper understanding.) In the second, his ignorance might well be a critical obstacle.

More in detail:

In a recent text on Vaccines, myself, and defamatory politicians ([2]), I claimed e.g. “For instance, the new omicron variant seems to be more virulent than the prior variants—but also less dangerous.”, which seems paradoxical if we apply the standard meaning of “virulent” (harmful*). The paradox is easily resolved, if we go by my actual intent, namely “likely to spread”. which might have been better stated with “infectious” or “contagious”. But how is the reader to know my actual intent, when the words do not match that intent?

*To give a one-word oversimplification of what Wiktionary says. In fact, “very harmful” might match Wiktionary even better, which would make my original formulation extremely far off its intended meaning.

Re-reading an older text about a Finnair flight, I spotted some very incorrect uses of “takeoff”.* I try to give more sensible-than-current limits for when a passenger should do this-or-that at the latest, and write e.g. “be at the gate no later than fifteen minutes before takeoff”. This would be optimistic indeed, but replace takeoff with my actual intent (“departure”) and I stand by the claim.**

*I also use both “takeoff” and “take-off” to discuss my adventures. I have not tried to verify which of these references are correct. An inconsistent spelling, however, is also something more likely to occur when active use of a word is new.

**At least, to some approximation. If e.g. some sub-group of passengers, say those in wheelchairs, must allow a larger margin for a legitimate reason, not just the convenience of airline or airport, I have no objections. It might also be that larger airplanes (than I am used to) might require different rules.

Excursion on other errors/my age:
To avoid errors, it also helps to have slept well. That this was not the case when I wrote [2] is clear from the claim that I am 47. Right now, I am actually 46. (I suspect that this was influenced by some earlier, private, contemplations about my own current age vs. those of my parents and grand-parents at various events, where I rounded my own age to 47 for a fairer comparison, rather than using 46 and swallowing almost 11 months.)

Written by michaeleriksson

December 8, 2021 at 10:44 am

Blogroll update (Brownstone Institute)

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I have been a strong critic of the approach taken against COVID from virtually day one*—and an ardent critic of the inexcusable way that debate and dissent has been crushed with “Fake news! Fake news!” instead of factual arguments.

*Indeed, my first text is dated 15th of March, 2020.

Adding the Great Barrington Declaration to my blogroll has been tempting, but I both found the overall site, basically a single declaration, too uninformative and have been skeptical about the long-term value based on the natural lack of updates. (The authors have clearly and early on stated that the declaration reflects a plausible opinion based on what was known at the time, likely in October 2020. While the ideas behind it have remained sound, the details might be different, had it been written today, more than a year later.)

Recently, I have encountered a strong alternative, a “spiritual child of the Great Barrington Declaration” (per about page) in the Brownstone Institute. Indeed, two of the main authors of the declaration, Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, are driving forces behind the Brownstone Institute.

Here you can find a steady stream of up-to-date articles in the same spirit, many very well worth reading. for instance, today, Jay Bhattacharya’s testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives on the enormous information problems, distortions, and acts of censorship that have followed COVID—often from exactly the same people who cry “Fake news! Fake news!” when someone tries to start a fair debate. (On my own behalf, I would like to stress that the problems are by no means limited to COVID, but increasingly include any opinions that are not sufficiently far Left, regardless of topic.)

The articles page of the Brownstone Institute is added to my English blogroll. (At the time of writing, the nominal start page is less interesting.)

Written by michaeleriksson

November 18, 2021 at 7:43 pm

Corrections to blogroll update / Nobel Prizes / COVID

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In my latest blogroll update, I mention a non-blogroll link with:

I have recently encountered one of the most interesting texts on COVID that I have read so far: It Was Always a Con: The COVID Debacle.


While this and the following claims are not necessarily incorrect, I suspect that had my mind on a different text and/or conflated these two overlapping texts into one in the time between reading and the update: https://www.juliusruechel.com/2021/09/the-snake-oil-salesmen-and-covid-zero.html.

As both texts are fairly long, I will not attempt to straighten the details out, but I recommend both and caution that what I say about the one might (or might not) be more applicable to the other.

Elsewhere in the update, I claim that the Nobel Prize in “Physiology or Medicine” had been awarded “to two Armenians”. In fact, only one of the two was Armenian.

(The texts that I have written during construction noise appear to contain more errors than usual. Reader beware …)

Written by michaeleriksson

October 16, 2021 at 8:30 am

Blogroll update / Nobel Prizes / COVID

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A few days ago, I read that the 2021 Nobel laureates for “Physiology or Medicine” were soon to be announced. For a moment, my blood ran cold—it would be Fauci and the science prizes would go down the drain, just like the non-science prizes.

This fear turned out to be unfounded (for now!), but I ended up with an in-my-head text that I probably would have written down, had he won, and a strong urge to update my blogroll.

As is, it will be a blogroll update and some minor comments on other issues.


  1. Ron Paul is added.* Ron Paul is one of the U.S. politicians whose opinions are the closest to my own, and he has been a prominent critic of much of the COVID nonsense.

    *In the UNZ incarnation. Note that his blog is widely published, and that a separate Ron Paul website is available. I base my choice on my own typical access.

    Similar statements to apply to Rand Paul, and the addition has a secondary aspect of indirectly pushing him too.

  2. UNZ’s Aggregated Newslinks is added. Here third parties can suggest news articles (and similar items) that are particular interesting, and a moderator-approved listing is provided. There tends to be at least two or three entries per day that find my own interest and/or approval (among others who do not), and this makes it a good source of news and awareness of other sites. (Indeed, I probably first found the next entry over this listing.)
  3. The Daily Sceptic is added. This is a highly informative site with alternate news on, mostly, COVID, as well as links to interesting articles in regular media. (The site originated as Lockdown Sceptics, but has been renamed in light of broadened content, with e.g. occasional articles anti-CRT.)
  4. educationrealist is removed. The blog has been on my temporary blogroll for a good long while; I intend to put the temporary blogroll on ice, for the time being; and the value provided feels insufficient to warrant a move to the permanent blogroll (this especially as his activity has dropped drastically in the last year).
  5. Philadelphia Statement is removed. Similar reasons apply.


  1. Steve Sailer also speculates on Will the Hard Science Nobels Finally Go Woke?, but from a very different angle, based on the actual award (to two Armenians). As usual, the more interesting contents can be found in the comment section. (Sailer will never make my blogroll, with his weak reasoning and approach of quantity-over-quality, but he does attract many interesting commenters.)

    These comments include speculation that the 2020 Chemistry award (to two women; I have remarked on the rarity before) “for gene editing is conscious neglect of two males, especially Mojica and Lithuanian scientist Siksnys [spelling ‘Anglified’ for technical reasons]” and “in biology almost all Nobels now are awarded to managers, not actual discoverers or people most responsible for the biggest insights”. (The word “biology” presumably intending “Physiology or Medicine”.) I do not vouch for either being true, but these are interesting perspectives and the type of ideas that allow us to learn something new, if and when we do additional reading in the area.

  2. I have recently encountered one of the most interesting texts on COVID that I have read so far: It Was Always a Con: The COVID Debacle.

    This text goes through a large number of well-known (to the independent reader/thinker) problems with the COVID situation and pushes some interesting ideas, especially from an evolutionary perspective, where I have no more than toyed with ideas like “what if natural immunity countries like Sweden fall victim to vaccine immunity countries like Germany”. This toying of mine went more along the lines of vaccine countries allowing an extended survival of the virus variants, which could at some point invade Sweden with a particularly dangerous strain. The linked-to text goes much further, with speculation that e.g. mixtures of “leaky vaccines” (and the vaccines are indisputably leaky) and lockdowns can give more dangerous strains an enormous leg up relative a natural-immunity-no-lockdowns world.

    Indeed, I had so far assumed that COVID would go down the road of successful diseases and adapt to keep its victims more inconvenienced than threatened. The linked-to article speculates on the exact opposite—again, as a consequence of the ill advised countermeasures.

    And who needs one of those pesky immune systems, when a handful of overpriced injections per year can provide almost as good safety? (Until, that is, something sufficiently dangerous and fast working appears that the medical industry cannot provide an updated product in time.)

  3. As a partial explanation for the prior item: It is fundamental to understand that a successful disease is almost always one that does as little harm as possible to its “hosts”, while allowing the infection of new hosts. (And exceptions often include some unusual characteristic. AIDS, e.g., has an extremely long incubation time, which gives the host the opportunity to infect others over years, before the, absent medicines, deadly damage does follow.)

    The common misconception that e.g. big killer diseases would be the super-diseases has puzzled me since I was a teen: The Ebola strategy is not made for success—the common-cold strategy is.

  4. I strongly contemplated adding a few links on the absurdities around the alleged Capitol riots, where an obvious and absurd overreach against the “perpetrators” is taking place (while e.g. true terrorists of Antifa and true rioters and looters with and around the BLM movement are untouched by the law), and where a Black police officer, Mike Byrd, is getting away Scot free for killing a White woman, where he would have rotted in jail, had the standards been used that applied to Chauvin (White police officer, with a Black victim or, quite possibly, “victim”).

    For now, I will not. While there are many worthy individual articles, I know of only one sufficiently dedicated source for a blogroll entry (American Gulag)—and my visits to this specific site have been far too superficial to allow me a recommendation in good conscience.

    Nevertheless, I cannot stress enough how grotesque the situation is, how the law is increasingly becoming just a political tool for the oppression of those who do not bow to the Left (and increasingly far or very far Left, at that).

Written by michaeleriksson

October 5, 2021 at 6:33 pm

A hard to close blog / Follow-up: Closing down this blog (extraordinary post)

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While this blog remains closed in principle, I have to add another type of exception: unusually relevant follow-ups.

Of these, I have two in the pipeline that I intend to publish today or tomorrow, depending on what time allows.

Unlike with an earlier exception and the current text, I will not mark further exceptions with “(extraordinary post)”, as this is clear from context and as the phrase could be misunderstood to imply some other type of “extraordinary”.

Written by michaeleriksson

October 25, 2020 at 4:40 pm

Closing down this blog

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I have decided to (almost entirely) close down this blog, effective immediately. The decision has two motivations:

Firstly, blogging is currently a hard-to-shake distraction at a time when I cannot really afford a distraction, between my professional writing and a number of other tasks that I have to perform. This especially as there are limits not only on my time and energy, but also on my fingers. which are currently in need of some recuperation. (Note that an official “closing the blog” declaration will be harder to violate than an informal promise to my self.)

Secondly, WordPress is a shitty platform on a number of counts, including usability and traffic (cf. a number of prior posts), while the mere ability to publish here reduces my incentives to fix my real website. I hope that the incentives will shift sufficiently that I do get around to it, after which I will be much better off.

At some point between today and eternity, I will likely publish on my website again. When the time comes, I will post an update. Following that, I might or might not post occasional updates on texts published there (especially, when it comes to my backlog and future texts that I have already mentioned that I wanted or intended to write.)

I will leave the comment function on for the time being, but beware that I might only moderate comments irregularly or with great delay. (Not that there have been many comments in recent times.)

Written by michaeleriksson

August 28, 2020 at 4:35 pm

Blogroll update

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Earlier today, I encountered the Philadelphia Statement. The website is atrociously poorly designed and the contents are thin (possibly, because it is a new site; possibly, because it is strongly focused on the “statement”, cf. below).

In today’s world of censorship and intolerance of opinions, it and its many signatories make a valuable contribution by taking a firm stances for free speech. The document is well worth reading in full and is so compactly written that it is hard to cherry-pick instead of just quoting the entire document. However, in an attempt at such cherry-picking:

Freedom of expression is in crisis. Truly open discourse—the debates, exchange of ideas, and arguments on which the health and flourishing of a democratic republic crucially depend—is increasingly rare. Ideologues demonize opponents to block debates on important issues and to silence people with whom they disagree.

Our liberty and our happiness depend upon the maintenance of a public culture in which freedom and civility coexist—where people can disagree robustly, even fiercely, yet treat each other as human beings—and, indeed, as fellow citizens—not mortal enemies.

A society that lacks comity and allows people to be shamed or intimidated into self-censorship of their ideas and considered judgments will not survive for long.

The American tradition of freedom of expression […] trains us to think critically, to defend our ideas, and, at the same time, to be considerate of others whose creeds and convictions differ from our own.

Common decency and free speech are being dismantled through the stigmatizing practice of blacklisting ideological opponents, which has taken on the conspicuous form of “hate” labeling. […] Even mainstream ideas are marginalized as “hate speech.”

These policies [against hate-speech, e.g. in U.S. colleges] and regulations assume that we as citizens are unable to think for ourselves and to make independent judgments. Instead of teaching us to engage, they foster conformism (“groupthink”) and train us to respond to intellectual challenges with one or another form of censorship.

If we seek to change our country’s* trajectory; [etc.] then we must renounce ideological blacklisting and recommit ourselves to steadfastly defending freedom of speech and passionately promoting robust civil discourse.

*I.e. the U.S.’s. A flaw with this statement, albeit an understandable one, is the focus on the U.S. while the problem is present in a good many other countries, including my native Sweden and adopted Germany.

It is added to my temporary blogroll for now.

Written by michaeleriksson

August 16, 2020 at 8:58 pm