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30 things I learned in April 2021

1: I’m a bit obsessed with Max Richter’s 2012 recomposition of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at the moment. Particularly, and unseasonably, Winter 1.

2: “In 1989, Shell Oil announced it was redesigning a $3-billion North Sea natural gas platform that it had been developing for years. The reason it gave: Sea levels were going to rise as a result of global warming.

“The original design called for the platform to sit 30 meters above the ocean’s surface, but the company decided to raise it by a meter or two.”

3: The economic generational divide in the UK is something that has played on my mind a lot over the years. It was one of my early pitches for inclusion in the CMO’s annual report, but as the health impacts are mostly in the future, it wasn’t something that was readily visible in surveillance data as yet.

We’re sailing toward an unprecedented crisis, with the burden of paying for the health and social care of the unusually large number of people born from the mid-40s to the early-60s likely to result in an unprecedented liability on those of working age: it’s simple maths.

Yet the same simple maths precludes an easy fix: there isn’t a democratic mandate for rationalising the approach as the median age of voters in the UK is 53.

This Propsect article gives a good overview of recent developments in how this has played out.

During the pandemic, 88 per cent of covid-related job losses affected Britons aged 35 and under, while employment among the more vulnerable over-50s rose.

It takes an average of 19 years to save for the deposit on a first home compared with three years in the 1980s.

“Deaths of despair” (those from suicide and addiction) strike each successive generation at a younger age, and their numbers are increasing. The proportion of young people with diagnosed mental health problems is roughly equivalent to the proportion of over-65s who are millionaires: one in five.

I think it is inevitable that this will lead to social unrest. It is surely impossible to avoid while choices such as triple-locking the basic state pension paid to millionaires while funding cuts mean that student leave university an average of £50,000 in debt. But social unrest only adds to our list of problems.

I have no idea how we can fix any of this. Even if older voters (and politicians) can be persuaded to propose and support politics against their immediate best interests, those very cuts might end up making this generation less healthy and (paradoxically) more costly: four in five aren’t millionaires, and even those who are don’t necessarily have liquid assets.

It’s hard not to imagine that this, along with privacy and climate change, will prove to be one of the dominant long-term societal challenges of the first half of the 21st century.

4: Murder in outer space would be a legally knotty affair.

5: On top of the Scottish independence referendum which looks near inevitable in the next few years, an Irish unity referendum—guaranteed by the Good Friday Agreement—also looks highly likely.

6: It sometimes feels like we’re in an extremely turbulent political period, but on one measure it is remarkably stable: in my lifetime, there have only been handovers between Prime Ministers from different parties twice (John Major to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to David Cameron). We haven’t had a similarly stable period in this regard since the 1700s.

7: “During one of those recurring leak panics, somebody in Whitehall revealed to a journalist that a cabinet minister was lying. In the uproar that followed, a civil servant was challenged to confirm that she owed unconditional loyalty to her minister. But she demurred. ‘At the end of the day, I answer to the little lady at the end of the Mall.’”

8: “‘Everyone has the right to realise their full potential.’ Quite apart from the now common inflation of the quasi-legal language of ‘rights’, there is a curious emptiness to this claim. It seeks to be at once egalitarian, relativist and positive. ‘Everyone’ has this right; no one can say what another’s ‘full potential’ might be; ‘realising’ it, whatever it is, on this universal scale will be a good thing. Yet has anyone ever realised their full potential? Could it be that in realising my potential, I might get in the way of you realising yours? And what if my potential is to become the most successful mass murderer in history?”

9: “I don’t have remorse and won’t acknowledge failure,” said President Macron in March. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a senior politician sound more like a DSM-5 entry.

10: “In 1937, the 16-year-old Philip walked through German streets for his sister’s funeral as onlookers gave Nazi salutes. His grandson Harry, meanwhile, married a biracial American actor, moved to California, and launched a podcast.

“The 20th century was a hell of a ride, and one in which men’s expectations for their lives changed as dramatically as women’s. No one encapsulated that quite as strangely, or as remarkably, as a man who lived for nearly a century himself.”

11: Jonathan Rothwell’s blog post about the London mayoral election has sent me into a bit of a spiral of thought. “It does rub me the wrong way that there appears to be so little choice—and when there is more than just a binary choice between two ancient political parties, neither of whom appear to have your best interests at heart, the machinery of national politics is willing to snatch even that away.”

It makes me worry that I’m part of the problem. I have no desire at all to get involved in politics: I struggle to imagine anything worse than spending my time having to constantly defend my basic interpretation of reality. It makes me think of heart-sink meetings with anti-vaccine councillors. I completely understand the importance of having those conversations and explaining the science to people who are making local policy decisions, but I it isn’t something I’ve ever enjoyed. The idea of a professional life that involves a lot of that is unappealing. Adding a layer of party politics, in which one has to defend positions one personally finds indefensible simply because it is the ‘party line’, just makes the prospect even grimmer.

And yet: does this not make me part of the problem? If I’m not willing to engage, why should anyone else bother? Are people who enjoy party politics really the people we want making decisions on our behalf? Shouldn’t we all engage more for the good of society? Is “I don’t want to” just a selfish whinge? How can things improve if we leave politics only to those who can be bothered? Aren’t decisions made by those who show up?

12: Work has brought a surprising amount of discussion of stevedores recently, which is a delightful crossword word.

13: It feels like there must be a story behind the placement of this sign.

14: Last week, the MHRA and DCMO used some excellent slides from the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication (David Spiegelhalter’s stomping ground) to illustrate the risk of serious harm associated with receiving the AstraZencia covid vaccine.

This got me thinking: how does the risk of the vaccine itself compare with the risk of participating in the programme as a whole? In particular—given that most people live “within 10 miles” of a vaccination centre—how does it compare with a 20-mile round trip by car?

After much searching through evidence, my boring conclusion is that they’re focusing on absolutely the right bit of the programme, and the risk of serious harm associated with the journey is orders of magnitude smaller and probably negligible, even at this scale of rollout.

I should have known better than to doubt them!

15: The last Routemasters have run in passenger service.

16: From Concretopia, I learned about Cumbernauld town centre, one of Britain’s most hated buildings. I’m amazed I haven’t come across it before.

17: Derwent Reservoir is spectacular in the spring sunshine.

And as though to prove that it’s spring, here are some ducklings.

18: People often talk to me about books, because they know I’m interested in reading and they follow me on places like Goodreads. I find these conversations difficult, never quite knowing what to say or how to say it. I had a moment of stunning clarity this week when talking to a colleague about this: their suggestion was that it’s easier to write about books because books themselves are written-word.

I think there’s something in that. I’ve always been useless at dictating because speaking isn’t the same as writing, and they need different parts of my brain. In the days when I did clinics, I was far faster at typing my own clinic letters than dictating for a secretary.

For the same reason, I got more confident at public speaking when I stopped trying to write presentations out and relied on freely talking around the key points instead. And, probably for the same reason, I find it hard when I phone a company and they ask for a security word (or whatever) that I’m used to typing instead.

So why wouldn’t the same apply to talking about books?

This conversation came back to me this morning as I read Courier Weekly: “One of the best parts about reading a book is getting to talk about it with other people.” Mmm, maybe not.

19: Fran Lebowitz says that “your bad habits will kill you, but your good habits won’t save you.” It’s possibly the most accurate public health aphorism I’ve ever heard.

20: The news that some teams want to play in a new football competition is dominating the papers and bulletins to an extraordinary extent—and no matter how much I read about it, I’m continue to struggle to understand what the problem is, mostly because I’m not really familiar with how football competitions work at the moment (and struggle to care).

21: I’m still a promising thirty-something.

22: The Government has changed its mind about holding daily televised press briefings, seemingly for reasons which were perfectly obvious from the start. I’m sure that spending 13 times more on refurbish a room for these cancelled briefings than on helping 15,000 displaced Commonwealth citizens affected by a volcanic eruption is entirely justifiable.

23: “If it occurred to the home secretary, Priti Patel, or the minister for ‘immigration compliance’, Chris Philp, that an army barracks wasn’t the best place for refugees who might well have been detained and tortured in such places, it didn’t trouble them for long. Nor did they see any problem with housing four hundred men in 28-bed dormitories with two toilets and two showers in the middle of a pandemic.”

24: That Yes Minister bit about who reads which newspaper is older than I realised.

25: “The prime minister was careless with the facts and too willing to gloss over the complexities of Northern Ireland in his rush to ‘get Brexit done.’ He applied a reckless ‘have your cake and eat it’ approach to an area where the cake had already been painstakingly shared. The irresponsibility is astonishing, and it is not as if the prime minister was not warned.”

26: One needn’t be a doctor to become one of the US’s Top Doctors.

27: “On Monday, three major news organisations – the BBC, ITV News and the Daily Mail – did something unprecedented in recent times. Despite the PM’s outright denial on camera, all three reported that sources familiar with the conversations had heard Mr Boris Johnson say, last autumn, that he would rather see ‘bodies pile high’ than take England into a third lockdown.”

For all the hand-wringing about President Trump’s destruction of any form of trust in Government communications, it seems no lessons have been applied to the UK government. When the judgement of the UK media is to disbelieve statements from the Prime Minister’s spokesperson and from his own mouth, we’re in a bit of a sorry (if entirely predictable) state. And, just like Trump, the liar remains popular with the public.

28: Starbucks has on the wall of one of its branches the claim that 99% of its coffee is ‘sourced ethically.’ I’ve been slightly reeling ever since I saw it: Who decided that acting unethically 1% of the time was boast-worthy behaviour? It seems like an active admission of guilt, which obviously doesn’t come as a surprise with that chain, but it still seems amazing that some corporate communications team signed it off. I half expect to see a ‘we’re proud to intentionally overcharge just 1 in every 100 customers’ sign in the next branch I venture into, or perhaps ‘99% of our baristas are paid in full.’ Baffling.

29: The Dixons brand of electronics stores is about to disappear for good, a little over fourteen years after I wrote that Dixons was “to stop selling anything. To anyone. Ever.” You heard it here first.

30: I have seen film posters with the line “in virtual cinemas now”—and I’m really not sure what that means. I thought it probably just meant available to stream, but then an ad for Truman & Tennessee said “in virtual cinemas and on demand now – book now” which seemed to rule that out.

This post was filed under: Posts delayed by 12 months, Things I've learned.

31 things I learned in March 2021

1: “The NHS is ponderous, idiotic and wildly inefficient, and anyone who condemns it for being so is missing the point. Photosynthesis, after billions of years of evolution, has an efficiency of perhaps 5 per cent. People and their organizations are not so simple. Calls to reduce healthcare inefficiency should be treated with contempt unless they are detailed, specific and achievable.”

2: Annie in Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal is a resuscitation dummy.

3: “The author is not a very good person to quiz about a book. I try to avoid talking to authors about their books. I’ve been writing here in Britain for decades now, and I have no idea which of my author friends has ever read me or not, because there’s an understanding that you just don’t mention such things. It’s not polite conversation.”

4: “You are the result of a very complicated puzzle, consisting of thousands and thousands of pieces, and you’re only half-assembled.”

5: The national curriculum is blamed for primary school lessons being filled with jargon and acronyms.

6: Hotter summers mean wine has more alcohol by volume due to “the build-up of sugar in grapes, which yeast converts to ethanol.” And ABV labelling has wide tolerances, which means that “a wine with 12.5% ABV on the label could be anything between 11% and 14% in reality.”

I was surprised by the wide tolerance on alcohol labelling, but I really shouldn’t have been.

When I did my ready meals research a decade ago, I was surprised at the wide tolerance on nutritional labelling, which makes anything other than broad-brush calorie counting utterly pointless.

At that time, there was a legal tolerance of +/-20% in calorie labelling, meaning that someone could stick rigidly within their (say) 1500kcal daily target according to the packaging and still be a couple of Mars bars over their target.

Yet even that is an overstatement of accuracy: the tolerance of 20% could in fact be applied to the unprepared ingredients rather than the product as sold, so food could in fact be way more than +/-20% by the time they reached our stomachs.

So it really would be impossible for anyone to count calories accurately, just as it now seems it’s pretty hard for people to monitor their alcohol intake with precision.

7: “Good doctors (and good nurses) are self-effacing, humble, endlessly patient, full of common sense, constitutionally incapable of boredom. However, eminent and influential doctors – ‘key opinion leaders’ – are usually vain, arrogant, impatient and ambitious.”

8: There’s a special exemption to the rules for carrying liquids in hand luggage for pesto.

9: “No 10 introduced a new and innovative form of avoiding difficult questions yesterday, with the Downing Street spokesman telling journalists that the PM would address the royal news at the coronavirus press conference, only for the PM to show up and say he did not want to comment.”

10: “England’s test and trace programme failed to make a ‘measurable difference’ to the spread of the pandemic despite an outlay of £23bn, an ‘unimaginable’ level of expenditure, a parliamentary spending watchdog has claimed.”

11: The British people have “widespread admiration and affection” for Boris Johnson. It’s baffling to me that someone as respected as Allegra Stratton would chose to take a job where she’s having to debase herself with nonsense like that.

12: Airlines have their own trademarked scents: for example, ‘Calm’ for Delta, ‘Landing’ for United and ‘Ocean Citron’ for Alaska Airlines. Verizon has a trademarked ‘flowery musk’.

13: A book I thought was rubbish has been made into a film the NME thinks is rubbish. I think I’ll give that one a miss.

14: Some English schools think it appropriate to use a teaching resource “that tells girls their role is to be ‘receiver-responders’ in their relationships with men, that discourages the use of contraception, and tells young gay and lesbian people that there is no way for them to marry or express their love for another person”. And the Government’s response is that “it is for schools to decide which resources they choose to support the teaching of RSHE”.

15: “The Covid-19 pandemic has been like a barium meal for the body politic—and what it has revealed about the innards of our society has been far from pretty. To start with, it has shown how basic public services have been hollowed out by a decade of austerity, leaving the country ill-prepared for a crisis and those dependent on such services exposed.”

16: “Environmental resource economist Marshall Burke says there is a proven link between poor air quality and premature deaths linked to breathing that air. ‘With this in mind,’ he said, ‘a natural—if admittedly strange—question is whether the lives saved from this reduction in pollution caused by economic disruption from COVID-19 exceeds the death toll from the virus itself. Even under very conservative assumptions, I think the answer is a clear ‘yes.’’ At just two months of reduction in pollution levels he says it likely saved the lives of 4,000 children under five and 73,000 adults over 70 in China alone.”

17: Yo-Yo Ma gave an impromptu performance after receiving his second dose of the covid-19 vaccine.

18: Counting isn’t always helpful. I’ve been frustrated recently by a circular conversation about covid-19 “outbreaks”. I’m often asked to enumerate the current number of “outbreaks”: but defining individual “outbreaks” in the context of widespread community transmission is fairly arbitrary. Cases generally have multiple sites of possible disease acquisition, and may pass on their illness in a number of settings. There isn’t a point source to eliminate, nor is the disease rare enough to identify with a high degree of confidence chains of transmission.

So the only logical response is to ask why someone wants the figure, so that I can help them define the measure that best answers their question: the measure will be different, for example, if one is interested in pressure on the public health response, than it would be if one is interested in a proxy measure of the number of sites of community transmission. The answer, repeatedly, seems to be “the reason for the measure is not your concern, just count them!”

And it feels like the only two possible responses to that are 🤬 or 🤷‍♂️.

19: Laughter is important. I laugh a lot, especially at work. This is something I never really realised about myself until it was pointed out to me: I am someone whose first reaction to corporate nonsense is most likely to be belly-laughter, with frustration only tending to set in later. I often revel in the absurdity of the world of work, and I know I need a break when I stop seeing the silliness in the world.

20: I was thoroughly depressed today to see adverts up around Newcastle telling men not to ask women for directions and to cross the street to avoid walking near women.

This is such a tangled web of a situation. It is horrific to hear of the violent attacks that people inflict on other people. It’s horrendous that women live in fear every day. It’s awful that many men live with similar fears but are unable to express them. It’s upsetting that people’s level of fear—high or low—is often divorced from the statistical risk they face. It’s hard to explain the lack of focus on male/male violence, which some experience as victim blaming or as men being expendable.

Most of all, it’s regrettable that fear stemming from inhumane violence is allowed to drive a wedge between us and make all of us a little less human as a result.

21: What’s the point of London City Airport? I’ve used it a couple of times and—it seems— liked it more than Jonathan, but it is hard to argue that perhaps it’s an idea whose time has passed.

22: In my experience, most people who work in health—and especially in public health—have a deep-seated passion and drive to do the right thing for patients or populations. Opinions on what “the right thing” is vary, of course, and that can be a source of profound disagreement.

Today I was reminded that some don’t share that passion: some have a natural focus on processes, not people. And those are important people to have around because processes are important, and—from the perspective of the patient-focussed people—robust processes support good outcomes for patients.

Nevertheless, the cognitive load of talking things over with someone who approaches their work from such a different angle is high, and it’s hard not to give into a cognitive bias that nags away suggesting that the other person just doesn’t get it… particularly when they are in a more senior role.

23: Times New Roman appears on the face of some luxury watches.

24: In what may be a new world record, the National Institute for Health Protection has been abolished before it even existed, replaced by the UK Health Protection Security Agency.

25: Some days, my job appears to involve making YouTube videos at home. Does this mean I’m an influencer now?

26: “If you are moved by a rapper that you listen to on YouTube, it’s really not a big deal. You shouldn’t have to apologise for it in literary environments. The same is true if you love a classical poet. It isn’t the case that you need to approach lauded works on bended knee. The pool of influence you draw from does not have to meet the approval of an academy or an institution, or be bound by the parameters of a genre, sub-genre or ‘movement’. Listen to everything. Read as much as you can. Try to stay present and connected with whatever you’re engaging with when you’re engaging with it.”

27: “We should not be afraid to note some potentially positive side effects of the epidemic. One of the lasting symbols of the epidemic is passengers trapped in quarantine on large cruise ships. Good riddance to the obscenity of such ships say I, though we have to be careful that travel to lone islands or other resorts will not once again become the exclusive privilege of the rich few, as it was decades ago with flying. Amusement parks are turning into ghost towns—perfect, I cannot imagine a more boring and stupid place than Disneyland. Car production is seriously affected—good, this may compel us to think about alternatives to our obsession with individual vehicles. The list can go on.”

28: “The technology to construct modern skyscrapers existed long before the skyscraper became modern; the problem was the number of stairs. Stepping would have replaced office work as the office workers’ chief activity. Once the lift had released time into tall buildings it made its way into shorter ones, where more important than its production of time is its ability to render marginalised sections of society publicly visible.”

29: Here’s some advice that has become commonplace: don’t sleep with your phone next to your bed. Picking up a screen first thing in the morning it not good for anyone’s mental health, but some people need a phone by the bed for emergencies. There’s no need to use the alarm on it, though.

I started using my phone as my alarm clock when I first got a Blackberry, which required daily charging and even came with a ‘nightstand’ dock which turned it into a bedside clock. I stopped about a decade ago, when I realised how much I valued a couple of minutes of allowing myself to wake up without that sort of input: we got a clock radio instead.

These days, I’m woken by FiP on our Sonos system, because in 2019 the feverish radio chatter about Brexit became too much to handle first thing. At first, the timechecks being an hour ahead made it a little more… alarming! Though we ended up enjoying it so much, we now listen in the kitchen in the morning too. Contrary to common speculation about immersion in other languages, I can confirm that our French hasn’t improved.

30: This thoughtful reflection on the Oprah/Meghan interview is worth reading. Possibly more so than the interview itself.

31: Richard Wilson, the former Cabinet Secretary, says that one method of dealing with the initial stages of a crisis is to announce a COBRA meeting for later in the day, giving the impression of seizing control while allowing time to gather information and get ducks lined up. This is, more or less, the same approach I’ve long used to scheduling Incident Management Team meetings at work.

This post was filed under: Posts delayed by 12 months, Things I've learned.

28 things I learned in February 2021

1: Lego streets have become worse for pedestrians and cyclists over the years, not least as cars and roads have widened at the expense of footpaths. But things are looking up.

2: I have long believed that TV detector vans were essentially distractors for more basic modes of TV detection such as looking through windows, but I was wrong: they had proper kit in them which could detect TVs and support applications for search warrants.

3: It might be time for those who peer review papers for publication to rebel.

4: One of the fundamental principles in outbreak management, and in incident management, is having clear lines of accountability. If I’m managing a multiagency outbreak, I have a little spiel on the topic that I give at the start of each incident management meeting, accountability for decisions is clearly documented in minutes and a section on “legal considerations” appears on every agenda for good measure.

And yet, when it comes to the national response, “we have not been able to identify who [in the Department of Health and Social Care] was accountable for major decisions, particularly where PPE is concerned.”

5: I walked past this van and thought: “What on earth is futsal?”

I inevitably ended up perusing the Wikipedia entry, and—having got a few paragraphs down—GCSE Spanish lessons, which often seemed to mention futsal, came flooding back.

6: There’s a line in Shuggie Bain about the smell of static electricity from TV screens, something I haven’t thought about in years. It reminded me of the unique power of olfactory memories.

7: Denis Norden, presenter of It’ll Be Alright on the Night, was the person who came up with the title Auntie’s Bloomers for the rival BBC show.

8: “The physician’s duty is not to stave off death or return patients to their old lives, but to take into our arms a patient and family whose lives have disintegrated and work until they can stand back up and face, and make sense of, their own existence.” It’s a few years since I read Kalanithi’s book; this blog post reminded me of the emotional experience.

9: Some people are making their own homemade covid vaccines. I wouldn’t recommend it, but it is a curious reminder of the full range of human responses to the offer of vaccines, from outright refusal to desperate home-brewing.

10: With knowledge of the treacherous frozen slush to come, it’s sometimes difficult to feel positive about snow. Yet there is something particularly beautiful about a fresh fall, and especially about the wintery quality of light it brings.

11: “A No 10 spokesman said: ‘Going on holiday is currently illegal.’”

There are moments when a simple sentence can just tip over into crystallising a bunch of feelings into something more like thoughts, and this Government line has proven to be one of those for me.

By nature, I’m quite libertarian: I don’t really like forcing anyone to do anything. This is quite an unusual proclivity in my specialty of health protection, but one which is shared (to a greater or lesser extent) by most of my immediate colleagues. I think better results are generally achieved through persuasion than through force, though of course a public health emergency like a pandemic is always going to require a multifaceted approach.

A little over a year ago, I was nothing short of astonished when returnees from China were (to all intents and purposes) forced to quarantine at Arrowe Park hospital: I remember suggesting in conversation with colleagues that this would turn out to be a “resignation issue” for the Secretary of State. Of course, I said, we should offer people supported quarantine. Of course, we should ask all returnees to quarantine at home at the very least. But of course we can’t force people. I was wrong.

So much has happened since then, much of it to my mind ethically questionable: do we really have informed consent from all care home residents for routine covid swabbing? If not, is it really in the best interests of each individual? Are we really sure we haven’t slipped into making “best interests” decisions on behalf of populations rather than individuals?—a slippery slope indeed.

We all now live under a level of legal restriction unprecedented in modern times, perhaps concordant with an unprecedented emergency. More than a hundred thousand people have died.

And yet: there is still something which sits discomfortingly about governments using on-the-hoof extreme restrictions as opposed to established ‘emergency’ approaches such as the Civil Contingencies Act. This is even more true in an era of populism and governments who have a history of riding roughshod over constitutional convention and legal limits on executive power.

Will we really find it simple to put the genie back in the bottle?

12: I know I’ve said it already, but would you look at the quality of the light?!

13: Both this podcast episode and this book make, in passing, a very clear argument about emissions being by far the most important ecological consideration of our times, and both, in passing, unflatteringly compare with the impact of most recycling. I’m really pleased to see clear communication on this, instead of a plethora of actions referred to as ‘sustainable this’ or ‘green that’ in a way that treats every action as roughly equal. I was also pleased to see that carbon offsetting, which I do all the time, is more effective than I imagined it to be!

14: When standing before the 1777 marble statue of Armand-Thomas Hue at the Frick Collection in New York, “try as you might, you absolutely will not be able to meet his eyes. I wonder if this was Jean-Antoine Houdon’s subtle aim, as it ultimately says more about his subject and is almost more of an artistic accomplishment than what he managed with Madame His—and also because it’s what most of us spend our lives actually doing.”

15: There are tens of roads named “Bow Street” in the UK, but it seems that the BBC considers the best way of writing about a Bow Street in Wales is through reference to one of the Bow Streets in London. It’s not hard to see why coverage like this is often judged to be inappropriately London-centric.

16: Copying and pasting between Apple devices is built-in.

17: Richard Smith reckons there have been 20 re-organisations of the NHS since 1999… and he ought to know. I haven’t even tried to keep count.

18: Energy efficiency ratings for household appliances are changing.

19: On hope so much depends.

20: The Government has broken the law again.

21: How Daft Punk’s robot outfits were made.

22: Daft Punk have split. 😱

23: Spectacularly failing to learn a lesson from promising a Christmas easing of restrictions a month in advance, the Government has chosen to make itself a hostage to fortune once again by promising an easing of restrictions even more than a month in advance.

24: “Every love story is a potential grief story. If not at first, then later. If not for one, then for the other. Sometimes for both.”

25: “It will pass. All the epidemics of the past have passed. Nobody is yet clear about the effect this will have on our lives, how disruptive it will be, how much it will cost each of us. Perhaps we will review some assumptions about the free market: even the most strenuous defenders of the total freedom of the market today cry out: “The State should help us! In times of difficulty, it becomes clear that collaborating is better than competing. My secret hope is that this will be our conclusion from the current crisis. Problems are best solved together. Humankind can survive only if we work together.”

26: “Nothing can deceive like a document.”

27: Pigs can play computer games.

28: Brexit means Brexit “Your parcel is delayed due to a Brexit related disruption. We are adjusting delivery plans as quickly as possible.”

This post was filed under: Posts delayed by 12 months, Things I've learned.

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