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hubskier for: 4194 days

Writes/Directs for Theatre/Screen; occasionally bits of literature.

recent comments, posts, and shares:
Complexity  ·  1386 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: PSA: We are in the midst of a Hubski experiment.

A curious time to check in here.

mk, how do you recognise thoughtful comments and thoughtful posts when you see them? How do you recognise their opposite?

I know there's a more in depth thread discussing motivation which I should likely read more carefully. In block universe time, I already did.

Complexity  ·  1559 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski COVID-19 Round-Up #1

Well, good weather forecast for Saturday and all my school teaching gigs have been cancelled. If you want a socially distanced meet up in one of the nicer parks, hit me up. (But feel free to sit out London indoors, too. Everyone else is taking things faaaaar too laid back here.)

The recent governmental announcements have the pubilc furious. They "urged" people not to go to pubs, theatres, cinemas etc but despite admitting they had the powers to do so, they did not legally compel them to close. Which means they carefully sidestepped legal responsibility for insurance claims. Certainly not surprising for this government.

Complexity  ·  1559 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski COVID-19 Round-Up #1

Took a pandemic to get me to post here again, huh?

I was in Spain briefly before the country started to take things seriously. The first few consumer tells had begun to register in supermarkets: shelves mysteriously empty of hand santiser, a shortage of antibacterial wipes (really?). Fortunately there was no sign of TPSDS (toilet paper shortage delusion syndrome).

The news was on televisions in local bars; Italy was already happening; yet still the older generation were still shrugging and wondering what the fuss was. Schools remained open. Event closures were being discussed but nothing enacted. A right wing political rally and a march for International Women's Day both went ahead.

When I left, the airport was a little quiet. Many Asian passengers were wearing masks. I improvised one for the flight. I won't lie, I modelled a low risk seat in the cabin and sat in it.

(Yes, I isolated once I got back to the UK, for the good of the species. No symptoms thus far.)

Then, things happened very quickly. The Spanish goverment shut schools, then brought in a state of emergency (only the second since 1978). They have now shut everything but supermarkets, petrol stations and pharmacies. People are being asked to stay indoors except for urgent travel.

Meanwhile, back here in the UK, everything continued as if nothing were happening. Restaurants full, concerts ongoing, just the odd mask wearer on public transport.

Here in the UK, there have been panic buys, starting with toilet paper and now moving on to pasta. The epidemiology of nervous middle class shoppers' actions is surely a field for study.

I think this is partly due to the timid messaging from the government which leaves a vacuum that social media is starting to fill.

The UK is enacting a very strange strategy, quite at odds with the rest of Europe (of course) but also seemingly at odds with WHO recommendations. (Offered by the same team who fought and learned from Ebola.)

Instead of a heavy-handed total lockdown, or even focused messaging on establishing a cordon sanitaire in a coordinated way following a South Korean model, the conservative government here has decided it wants to allow as many people to become infected as possible before restricting movement. I know, to the untrained layman, or one who might dabble in global epidemiology, that might sound fucking insane, but hear them out. One explanation they have given is apparently to achieve herd immunity.

Now, my understanding of herd immunity is that it results prophylactically from innoculations, rather than letting a disease with a 2-4% CFR ... you know, kill people. But, please, continue...

Part of the justification is that they feel the British public will tire of being in lockdown and, just as transmission begins to decline, will start back up with their lives and cascade another wave.

We are quite clearly in the second phase of their plan, on from Containment (we did not) to Delay. As part of this plan, the new guidance for testing suspected cases is not to do so unless admitted to hospital. And generally you are not admitted unless you are in the 20% of severe cases.

I know, that does sound a little like it would make tracking accurate infection rates, how you say? impossible. But maybe we can extrapolate it. Obviously it would be spectacular if we put in the same kind of open data effort Singapore has, which might help the rest of world too, but why bother, eh?

So, yes, we are in the Delay phase and yet we have not officially asked people to enact NPIs like social isolation etc. This is because it is all part of the UK's plan to allow lots of people to become infected. Remind me why this is a good idea, again?

Another explanation is to suggest that this will allow us to "time" the stress upon the health services, in order to allow it to reach 95% capacity, then control further intake by restricting movement. Presumably this will also balance damage to the economy by keeping things ticking over, rather than slamming on the brakes as in other more sternly responding countries. It is certainly a tricky and vital balancing act. It does look a little like trying to control the behavour of mulitple, intertwined, self-modulating feedback loops with a fucking dimmer switch but let's give it a go, eh?

The trouble is, none of these explanations are really clear since the government messaging and communications has been typically Nanny-state British. The public doesn't need to know, just let us get on with it as we know best.

The government hasn't revealed the modelling that led them to this decision either, although it has been pressured into doing so and apparently will comply this coming week.

Into this hazy space flows conspiracy theories about a greedy right wing having already squeezed the country financially through austerity hoping to kill off its older population so it doesn't need to pay their pensions.

Whatever the justification, the action is going ahead. Unless it doesn't. Because, you know, they're not exactly engendering faith in their steady-handed control of the situation.

Considering the UK's per capita hospital bed ranking is below that of both Spain and the USA (it's 35 of 40 just above Canada) this is a very interesting strategy which I urge you all to keep your eyes on. And by interesting I mean that ancient curse "may you live in interesting times" interesting.

I am getting quite tired of hearing expert scientists repeat variations of the phrase "We can avert X, as long as we act urgently and with determination and coordination" about every single species threatening crisis, only for our goverments to fuckorate it all sideways through the usual cocktail of incompetence, ignorance and greed.

Anyway, Vitamin D is indicated in reducing pulmonary infection rates by 30%, zinc ionosphores like chloroquine might be a cheap, easily accessible tool in fighting viral replication, you can control infection rates without lockdowns as South Korea has demonstrated and getting lots of sleep, eating well and not stressing too much is great for your immune system.

How are you all doing?

It was me, yes. I wonder where the rest of the books are.

I took The City And The City to be a parable about Israel, specifically Jerusalem, and the close quarters within which different faiths and hatreds nevertheless are drawn to live due to a shared attraction to the holy city.

Complexity  ·  2584 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski Book Club: Watchmen Discussion Part 1 [final discussion March 1st]

Ah yes, it's been long enough for them to have revived the play this year in London. Will add a link to the video shortly.

Complexity  ·  2701 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Trump executive order: Refugees detained at US airports

Yup. Meanwhile our resident grinning cadaver Theresa May, who's not unknown to tear refugees from their families through legal extradition, slithered her way over to the States to hold hands with the psychotic narcissist like a giggling schoolgirl cum fascist quisling and comments not about this turn of events.

British citizens, including a member of her own government, are now banned from visiting the US. But she speaks not a jot.

More incidents.

Complexity  ·  2797 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Fans of cool watches: YES is selling Lunas for $165.

Aww, man, I killed the second module in my Zulu this year by swimming a little too deep in salt water with - likely - a badly seated backplate. Teach me to repair the thing myself. I'm starting to get ashamed of sending it back to Bjorn for TLC.

Equilibrium looks amazing though and the addition of a compass is interesting. Using the hour hand to calculate a heading was okay. Tricky on a cloudy day.

100% of the population can be classified into two types: those who enjoy being simplistically categorised and those who don't.

Complexity  ·  2837 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Laptop buying help? /SOLVED

Apple just offers three simple choices at the same price point with upgrades urged every 3 - 5 years in order to maintain their cashflow.

That said, I'm editing 4k film in ProRes422 with sync sound on a late 2013 8GB 2.5G i5 Macbook retina (Final Cut Pro X / Avid Media Composer) so your option 2 should be more than enough for the next few years.

Are you wedded to the Mac OS? You could get a PC and hackintosh it.

If you're not wedded, the XPS13 running Windows 10 is a lovely little machine and can equal my i5 8GB Mac in specs for around $1100. Very small, light, great battery (best battery life is on the non-touch version).

What do you mean by social suicide?

Complexity  ·  2912 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why the Brexit is even shittier than you think

Oh man, if only that were the worst of it.

Currently the headline figure in the Leave campaign (Boris) apparently only campaigned to leave as he felt it would bolster his leadership bid until he realised in terror that he accidentally won. Partly by choice, and partly by being denounced by his campaign running mate Gove, he ruled himself out of the leadership campaign. Gove himself, a human glove puppet who is known by fans of children's TV over here as Pob, has spent the last few years going on the record denying he has the capacity, skill or desire to lead, and now has thrown his hat into the ring along with four others.

Of those four the only credible frontrunner voted remain, before changing her mind once she tasted a whiff of a chance of power. She's fun. A while back she campaigned to repeal the EU convention on human rights. She implemented a selection of draconian immigration laws. Whilst this naked scramble for power happens on the right wing, the left is undergoing an internal coup which is tearing their only viable party apart.

I'm starting to think that voting to leave was a much more inventive act of civil disobedience by underrepresented strata of society than veen's cited 2011 riots.

Complexity  ·  2912 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why the Brexit is even shittier than you think

2011, when people made off with mad swag and certainly didn't implicate themselves on social media for later arrest.

Complexity  ·  2916 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Test post pls ignore

On it...

Complexity  ·  2916 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Test post pls ignore

Hi. What's going on in here and how can we, as the British nation, attempt to separate ourselves from it whilst causing the most domestic and international damage as we can?

Complexity  ·  2918 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: After Brexit Vote, The British Ask Google: 'What is the EU?'  ·  

I was there last summer.

To enter, we walked over the border where our passports received a cursory inspection from the British agents. Then we crossed the runway of the airport which cuts perpendicular across the rock. We were told we could cross at any time, just to watch out for landing passenger jets.

And then we were in, immediately confronted by guy with a barely controlled pit bull that was savaging a plastic road bollard, much to his amusement. Ah, a taste of England.

We were thirsty. We found the least objectionable bar beside the dock where the casino-hotel boat is permanently moored and navigated our way through the crowds of touts offering boat tours to see the dolphins. (The strait is a migratory route.)

And we sat and drank cheap beer and stared at a menu that without irony offered beans on toast and listened to the English news and the English football chatter and the quips of the English barman with his dour, self-deprecating humour and we could have closed our eyes and been on the Thames.

There are other pubs around the rock. They are cut-and-paste copies of the sort of beer stained, urine scented, dilapidated, lackadaisically tended drinking holes you'll find in the East of London except unencumbered by the attentive, enthusiastic staff that operate London pubs thanks to a healthy immigrant community. They serve beer, and chips, and scotch eggs.

The old town is a bit like a seaside village, except filled with jewellery shops, electronics goods stores and off-licenses. It's a huge shopping mecca, thanks to the tax breaks. We walked the town for a couple of hours and had seen it all by then.

I had to be there for an appointment later in the week so we decided to tour. You can tour best in the tiny buses that leave from one central point and take around twenty minutes to reach anywhere on the island.

There's one reasonable beach in the north, which serves a hotel. The water is greasy and laps at the shore with apathy. The view is of the shipping lanes. We got into a conversation with a couple who were planning to move there. He was in IT, she was a nurse. They cited the financial incentives, the weather, the smart money that had established financial trading businesses there. He pointed out that huge international gambling businesses operated out of Gibraltar. He was German, she was English. They seemed like a nice couple.

We like walking. We tried walking along the coast from the beach, despite various military notices warning us not to. After five minutes we found we'd reached the impassable tunnel that allows traffic through the north of the rock. There's no way for pedestrians to pass. We turned back.

We thought we should have high tea. We made our way to the colonial hotel, all painted white, perched overlooking the industrial docks. The interior was sumptuous, subdued, staffed by impeccably dressed elder waiters who treated us with the reverence one expects of an establishment found in 1930's india or any fading colonial outpost upheld by a misty-eyed reverence for the past. We had our high tea. Scones, tiny sandwiches, tea in a silver pot. We rounded it off with gin and tonics.

Then the rock. I'm sure you know the history and the military significance and so on. Perhaps you're aware of the modern business models that house financial trading hardware in parts of it. Archeologically it was the last stronghold of the Neanderthal. That's all interesting reading. We took the funicular to the top, in order to make the "breathtaking" descent down the "historically significant" walking paths and we came to know litter, drifting in the wind, catching in the branches of this purported UNESCO world heritage centre. We came to know the plastic bottles tossed beside the path, the piss-reeking military ruins, the unevocative suchness of the place.

And the apes. The poor apes, blinking at the tourists being shuttled up the narrow, switchback roads in taxis which didn't park but just sat, engines burbling, coughing out leaden fumes, as their passengers rolled out and took selfies, and offered the apes the lumps of food under the dozens of signs asking them not to. They're smart, apes. We watched a feckless couple park beside the road, open their trunk to take out a bit of picnic and offer it to the cute ape making eyes at them as several other, powerful members of the troupe concealed in the trees edged closer, sizing up the situation, stalking the open car.

Three days of this, as I waited for my meeting.

In the end, all done, we walked out, alongside the Spanish workers who commute in by foot every day to run the jewellery shops and staff the hotels, alongside the cars of tourists bringing back as much cheap alcohol as they can pack into the trunks of their cars, waved through by the Spanish border control who took more care examining our passports.

It was as if it had never happened. A strange dream of a capsule of the past. It's worth your visiting if only for someone to tell me I misapprehended the place.

Complexity  ·  2918 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Anger over 'Bregret' as Leave voters say they thought UK would stay in EU

Devac, I was going to post with a heavy heart an album of screen captures of reports of abuse and actual physical violence that has begun since the morning of the results but I decided it just makes for depressing reading.

There are roots of bigotry concealed in the country from which, thanks to privilege of wealth, education and geography, I have been insulated from and never inherited. They have been nurtured over the last 20 years by domestic economic policy and this week bloomed into an ignorant, malformed flower.

It's from a very tiny minority. It's no excuse. I've been away from that place for 15 years now. I returned, recently, for work. I'm disgusted with the ongoing sociological disaster. I've no idea if I will stay.

Complexity  ·  2919 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Anger over 'Bregret' as Leave voters say they thought UK would stay in EU

The damage is done.

FTSE crash.

Sterling crash.

Financial repercussions across the world.

EU leadership calling for “a swift resolution” to the exit negotiations (quite rightly, to protect the union). They don’t want us any more and want to make an example of us to other EU states.

Right wing EU parties calling for their own referenda. We legitimised that.

US voicing a clear reluctance to favouring trade negotiations with UK over the larger and more efficient EU trading bloc.

Our Prime Minister resigns. No viable replacement.

Our EU Commissioner (who was a euroskeptic but changed his views over his career) resigns. No envisioned replacement.

(These two would have been instrumental in any informed or strategic negotiations.)

Edit 27/6/16: Virtually the entire shadow cabinet resigned or fired citing vote of no confidence in the opposition leader.

Key promises from Brexit campaigners withdrawn literally the day after (Part of the platform was: a reduction in immigration, now rephrased as a reexamination and implementation of a points based system; the £350mm paid out to the EU channeled into NHS, the privatisation of which was a sore point in the UK for years, that promise now considered "a mistake". I mean, that one they had printed on a campaign bus.)

Scotland calling for another separation referendum, will probably get it and will probably separate whatever happens.

English society now philosophically and morally split across wealth (more so), age (will take a generation to heal) and race (between closet racists and settled immigrant nation).

Cryptoracists posting notes through Polish immigrants' letterboxes demanding the "Polish vermin leave". Gove, a man so devoid of charisma one may now Google his name and accidentally fear one typed "Mr Bean", reviled for a late campaign quote "we've had enough of experts" now calling to hire hundreds of experts. Exit interviews with voters who thought their call to leave would prevent Syrian refugees migrating illegally in rubber boats but had "no problem with Europeans" living and working in the UK, or misunderstood that voting to leave might secure a result to leave.

I mean as divine comedies go, it's certainly diverting, but I rather wish I'd stayed home and watched a drama on Netflix.

Complexity  ·  2919 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: After Brexit Vote, The British Ask Google: 'What is the EU?'

I'm not sure how much they would enjoy it if they make the move, given that the very day after the referendum, Spain took the trouble to get back into a conversation about shared ownership of that grimy, litter covered ape habitat.

Complexity  ·  2920 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Brexit looks likely.

The other chart I'm trying to track down is voter turnout by age, which made for depressing reading.