Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Posts Tagged ‘recommendations

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

with 2 comments

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.

Updates:

  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.

Comments:

  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

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

Blogroll update

with one comment

A recurring theme in my writings has been the benefit of exposing oneself to different opinions and arguments, especially in this time of deliberate attempts by e.g. journalists and some politicians to narrow the information flow to what they consider the acceptable, where anything not agreeing with the Official Truth is condemned as “fake news”, censored, or otherwise disadvantaged. (Cf. e.g. [1]. [2]).

Indeed, more than ten years ago, concerning one of my first blogroll entries, I wrote:

Here Fria Nyheter* plays an interesting role as a news medium which is not bound by political correctness and official truths, but instead often focuses on the spots that the normal newspapers gloss over. I do not always agree with or identify with what it says, but I feel that it could become a very valuable counter-weight to the newspapers—and would like to give a small help in doing so.

*A now defunct (?) Swedish blog/news medium.

I regularly encounter sources of information that I would like to recommend on this basis, i.e. sources where I might only agree with some of what is written, but where the overall is still valuable through exposing the reader to a diversity of opinion*, information that might have been glossed over**, censored, or distorted in regular media, unconventional perspectives, and/or writing that simply digs deeper*** into issues than media tends to do. So far, I have usually been kept back from doing so by the fear that my (semi-)endorsement will be misunderstood.

*Something far more valuable than diversity of ethnicity.

**Not necessarily with malicious intent: there is only so much space in e.g. a newspaper. (But see the next footnote.)

***The simple truth is that much of the problems in today’s world go back to too shallow knowledge, e.g. that historical perspectives are lacking, that motivations and extenuating circumstances are not known, that raw data and claims cannot be interpreted through lack of context, that too little is known to make reasonable comparisons, …

Consider UNZ as a specific example: At the time of writing, I have two individual blogs from the overall UNZ site (Michelle Malkin and James Thompson) present on my blogroll, but I have (so far) chosen not to add UNZ as a whole, despite some other individual blogs being very worthwhile and despite UNZ as a whole being worthwhile—my endorsement is limited by much of the contents being poorly written or poorly argued, and by the many opinions that I do not agree with in the slightest, as with the many anti-Semitic posts and comments.*

*To this note that UNZ is a free speech site, which does not have an overriding theme or “editorial slant”. Opinions are by individual posters and commenters, and the overall spectrum is very wide and not restricted to e.g. “Right only” or “Left only”. Among these posters and commenters there happen to be a few anti-Semites or, on the outside, anti-Zionists.

A particular complication is that the way that a blogroll (as implemented by WordPress, my platform at the time of writing) works, where a visitor merely sees a list of links that are then typically taken to be endorsed on an opinion level.

To work around this, I am adding a separate page, tentatively called “Forbidden readings”,* linked to from the blogroll. Here I will run an additional blogroll, where such valuable-but-problematic sources can find a space and still carry a disclaimer. For this first “release”, there will only be two entries, the aforementioned UNZ and American Renaissance.

*The name is partially chosen too reflect a problem with the debate, namely that certain types of readings are widely considered forbidden, that certain topics are considered untouchable, that even contemplating certain ideas can cause calls of “Racist!” or “Sexist!”, etc. (Which will overlap strongly with the original and, likely, future contents.) However, another partial reason is the (populist) hope of increasing the number of visitors who actually open the page: the rest of the blogroll is present on every page, while this portion is only visible on this particular page, and if the page is not opened, the links will not be seen at all.

The latter is a broadly a “race realist” site, which incorporates contents from many sources on related developments and thoughts. It can play a particular valuable roll at the moment, where the U.S., and large parts of the “West” in general, is taking severe damage under the dual problems of the long disproved “tabula rasa”/“nurture only” claims and the “Whites are evil oppressors and racists” narrative.

In a minor related update, Michelle Malkin, is moved from the temporary to the permanent English blogroll. Since the original addition, I have had the time to look into at least some of her (very extensive) earlier works. While I do not agree with everything that she writes, especially looking at her earlier years, I find a lot of value in her writings—and not just because of their relevance to the disastrous times that we live in.

As an aside, I have since also come to realize that she was considerably better known than I originally assumed.

Written by michaeleriksson

July 29, 2020 at 11:49 am

Blogroll update

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Last October, I added “eigentümlich frei” to my blogroll. Today, I am removing it again.

As I wrote in the linked-to text, I had concerns that “it appears to not be an entirely free-of-charge site”. Indeed, I have visited roughly once a week since then, and have typically lost half or more of the pages opened to a request for money—and typically those most interesting seeming. Today, I opened seven pages, of which all but one required payment. Paywalling can be legitimate and I do not object to the use of this business model;, however, for me to actively recommend paywalled contents, the value would have to be far greater. To this I note that the non-paywalled* contents is almost always re-published from other sources, which makes it fairer that the readers go to the original sources instead.

*The same might or might not apply to the paywalled. For obvious reasons, I cannot speak with authority on this point.

Other negatives include a comparatively slow stream of new content, an unfortunate start page, which makes it hard to get at new content fast, and comments limited to (paying) subscribers. Comments, however, are often a great help in understanding a text in a greater perspective, in seeing the pros-and-cons, and in gaining insight into the overall opinions on a topic. This the more so, the more dissenting the comment is, and even subscribers will be limited as readers, as the proportion of dissenters is likely to be far smaller among subscribers than overall. The restriction is also odd in light of an alleged pro-“free speech” stance.

As to the single non-paywalled page of this week’s reading attempts: It deals with worthy topics around “Wahrheit und Tabu” (“Truth and Taboo”), a recent suggestion to remove the word “Rasse” (“race”) from the German constitution, the Orwellian malpractice of trying to manipulate the people through language, whether this would be likely to succeed, whatnot. However, it does so with a very low information-to-noise ratio and mostly through rehashing what has been said many, many times by many, many others.* Those who already agree will gain little or nothing from reading it, those who might be convinced will likely not get even half-way through,** and those disagreeing on such issues will tend to be unmovable and likely to stop reading even earlier. As such, the value is extremely limited. To me, at least, this week’s visit was a pointless waste of time.

*Looking at the more abstract parts. The recent suggestion to change the constitution, e.g., is an understandably rarer topic.

**But I acknowledge that I should not throw the first stone as far as, at least, length is concerned.

Written by michaeleriksson

July 1, 2020 at 3:21 pm

Blogroll update

with one comment

Michelle Malkin is a relatively new contributor on UNZ.

Some of her writings have been sufficiently good that I had already contemplated adding her to my blogroll. In light of her recent ban from Twitter (as I mentioned earlier today), I will do so as an act of anti-censorship solidarity. This especially as UNZ, as a whole, has already been affected by similar recent attacks, as discussed in a recent text on misguided anti-“fake news” measures.

Her main page has been added to my temporary blogroll. It can be found under https://www.unz.com/author/michelle-malkin/.

Written by michaeleriksson

June 5, 2020 at 10:58 am

Blogroll update

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A significant contributor to alternate and uncensored viewpoints on e.g. world events is UNZ, a platform for free expression of opinion, and I originally intended to include it on my blogroll. Unfortunately, the quality of contents is too varying, and there are a number of both contributors and commenters moving more in the area of “conspiracy theory” than “alternate viewpoint” (even in a generous estimate), including large amounts of the-Jews-are-to-blame-for-X, and others clearly on the Left (or both). This is, obviously, perfectly in order for this type of platform (free speech must be free for everyone—not just those with the “correct” opinions), but it holds me back from an outright blogroll entry. This in part because such an entry could be misinterpreted, especially by a casual visitor, as an endorsement of opinions that I do not endorse; in part because it could prove a waste of the readers’ time.

I would, however, strongly recommend one* particular contributor: James Thompson, whose writings on intelligence and related topics was my accidental original** entry point. For those looking for the true*** scientific opinion on e.g. IQ tests, variation in cognitive abilities, etc., he is a very good source.

*Which is not to say that he is the only quality contributor, let alone that none of the others would be worthy reads to get a different point of view (cf. excursion).

**To some approximation: I have visited this site before, as it has occasionally popped up among search results, but until one visit, a few months ago, I had always just read the text found and then moved on.

***As opposed to what e.g. politicians, journalists, and, regrettably, many social scientists like to claim.

I had originally planned a longer discussion going into a bit more detail on a few of his texts, but my recent cut-down-on-blogging policy has changed that intention (aided by the time gone by, which would force an extensive re-reading). Among the links that I kept, however, a few honorable mentions without detail:

The Ethics of Taboo Genetics, which includes a discussion of the problems with PC intrusions on scientific work and debate.

The 7 Tribes of Intellect, which gives his characterization of the rough abilities of various intelligence groups.

Group IQ Doesn’t Exist, with the apt sub-heading “Smart groups are (simply) groups of smart people.”, well matching my own experiences and skepticism towards group work.

Excursion on guilt by association and related problems:
One reason for my not “blogrolling” UNZ whole-sale overlaps with the problem of guilt by association. Of course, here we have a further problem with censorship, intolerance of opinion, etc.: those with sane-but-unpopular opinions are often forced to seek out forums where they necessarily mix with debaters who have insane-but-unpopular opinions. As a consequence, they become vulnerable to guilt by association. (Of course, this can take more subtle shapes, often in combination with circular reasoning, e.g. that researchers x, y, and z are condemned as racist. How do we know that they are racists? They have received money from the racist Pioneer Fund. How do we now that the Pioneer Fund is racist? It gives money to racist researchers like x, y, and z…)

Excursion on the importance of alternate view-points:
I strongly believe that exposure to alternate view-points (and an open mind towards them) is vital to both intellectual growth and the development of a sound world-view. This includes those that we believe to be wrong. This is a recurring theme both with blogroll entries and in my own writings, as with e.g. [1], [2], [3].

Written by michaeleriksson

January 22, 2020 at 5:19 am

Blogroll update

with one comment

I recently stumbled over the German site https://ef-magazin.de/ or “eigentümlich frei”, and have read several entries that match my own opinions or provide perspective/information that would be valuable to large parts of the population on, at least, a “food for thought” basis.

These include:

A text on misinformation about nuclear power that distort the public opinion. Indeed, one of the greatest paradoxes in current politics, in my opinion, is how the German “Green” party is now reaping the political benefits of a climate crisis that has been severely worsened through the irrational hatred of nuclear power that this party (and many of its international peers) has. For thirty or forty years, this issue has been the likely single greatest item on the “Green” agenda, driving up the use of fossil fuels much further than would have been necessary.

A suggestion to rework the financing of public service TV in light of recent British suggestions. Indeed, for more than twenty years, I have viewed the variations of the “everyone must pay” systems used in both my adopted Germany and my native Sweden as grossly unethical, distortive to fair competition, and bringing very little value in light of the disputable quality of public service. This the more so after the Internet has made much of the original motivations redundant, e.g. through the great availability of free news.

Reporting on hateful Leftist students who grossly unethically and anti-democratically try to silence a lecturer with the “wrong” political opinions, in the same style so often reported from the U.S., e.g. by Minding the Campus. If in doubt, they are not only infringing on the lecturer’s right to freedom of speech and opinion, but also on the fundamental right of other students to form their own opinions—and not to just be force fed the official Leftist truth. This case is particularly perfidious: The victim is a professor* who attempted to hold a lecture on macroeconomics. The rejection stems from his being a member of the “wrong” party and seems unrelated to the actual lecture. In effect, his ability to perform in his profession is now being limited because of his political activity.

*“Hochschullehrer”: Literally, “university teacher”, which could conceivably imply something different than a professor, but I do not want to get bogged down with research and translations.

This site is put on the temporary blogroll. For the time being, I do not use the permanent for two reasons: Firstly, it appears to not be an entirely free-of-charge site. Secondly, the tone of writing is not always as neutral and factual as I would prefer. (In all fairness, it still does better than most Leftist sites and slips in tone usually have a far better reason than among the Left.)

Written by michaeleriksson

October 20, 2019 at 9:00 am

Blogroll update (much delayed)

with 2 comments

It has been a very, very long time since I updated my blogrolls—or even visited most of the linked-to pages.

To improve matters, I have just added three new links and removed a number of others. Note that the “temporary” section is reduced to one entry, due to the excessive time since the last update. (Normally, it would be fixed at three. Cf. my blogroll policy.)

Links that currently appear to be defunct are prefixed with a “#”. They might or might not work at some later time, from some different geographic area, or similar, but do not bet on it…

New:

  1. Minding the Campus deals extensively with problems on U.S. college campuses (and similar settings), notably in areas like freedom of speech and opinion, due process, and damaging PC excesses. Seeing that higher education is an enormously important topic and that the current course is disastrous, this site is one of the most important around.

    Recurring readers might recognize the name from repeated prior mentions.

    (English blogroll)

  2. Academic Rights Watch is a similar site with a focus on my native Sweden (in Swedish, despite the English name). Much of the same applies, but there are some thematic differences resulting from the different Swedish situation and/or different priorities in detail. (The former includes a more homogeneous population, a system that does not involve U.S.-style campuses, and a less intrusive-upon-the-students mentality of the colleges/universities.)

    (Swedish blogroll)

  3. educationrealist writes about practical experiences from teaching U.S. high-school students in a highly informative manner. I have a half-finished draft of a longer discussion that will be published in the near future.

    (Temporary blogroll)

Replaced:

  1. #My own old OpenDiary seems to be defunct. (Without my having been notified…)

    I have changed the link to point to a (complete or near complete) backup on my main web-site.

Removed:

  1. Foundation for Individual Rights in Education currently, in an unethical and visitor-hostile act, blocks access to content with a request that visitors join a mailing list. To boot, the usability of the web-site has otherwise been reduced considerably since the original addition; to boot, the interested reader will find much more information on Minding the Campus.

    (However, the foundation appears to still play an important part as freedom-of-speech and whatnot activists.)

  2. #Feminismus oder Gleichbehandlung leads to a browser-error page.
  3. #Call for a more sensible take on prostitution (German) leads to a server-error page.

    This site was also part of my temporary blogroll, and ripe for removal.

  4. #Länger Einkaufen in Bayern leads to a server-error page (and might have been hi-jacked by some type of squatter, porn site, or whatnot).

    This site was also part of my temporary blogroll, and ripe for removal.

  5. Human Stupidity was part of my temporary blogroll, and ripe for removal.

Written by michaeleriksson

January 5, 2019 at 12:19 am