Hating Music

Following on from yesterday, I had the thought that hatred starts with dislike or disapproval. In fact, hatred is perhaps simply strong disapproval.

Is dislike or disapproval a bad thing? Are we supposed to like everything? Isn’t it actually necessary for us to like some things and dislike others. If we didn’t dislike getting physically hurt, we wouldn’t worry about whether we got injured doing something. I once read (I can’t promise that it’s true) that one of the effects of the disease of leprosy is that it diminishes sensations of pain, and the result was that lepers who banged their feet or hands against objects like walls or steps didn’t feel any pain, and ended up after multiple collisions with deformed hands and feet. If they’d felt pain, they’d have taken better care of themselves. So pain helps to regulate us, keep us in line.

Also I like some music, and don’t like others. Or, more usually, I warm to some kinds of music, and am left cold by others. The music at the top of the hit parade is just music that a lot of people like.

I very seldom actually hate any particular piece of music. But there was one piece of music that I did get to hate. And that piece of music was Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” is a song by the British rock band Queen. It was written by Freddie Mercury for the band’s 1975 album A Night at the Opera. It is a six-minute suite, consisting of several sections without a chorus: an intro, a ballad segment, an operatic passage, a hard rock segment and a reflective coda.

It wasn’t a piece of music that I instantly disliked. In fact I first thought it was quite clever. It was, I thought, a pretentious parody of opera. It was a piece of music that was, I thought, poking fun at a different genre of music.

But for me the joke soon wore off. Because, being 6 minutes long, it was twice as long as most other pop music. But unfortunately it became a big hit:

Upon being released as a single, “Bohemian Rhapsody” became a commercial success, topping the UK Singles Chart for nine weeks and selling more than a million copies by the end of January 1976. It reached number one again in 1991 for another five weeks when the same version was re-released following Mercury’s death, eventually becoming the UK’s third-best-selling single of all time. It is also the only song to be the UK Christmas number one twice by the same artist.

There were times when I’d walk into a pub, buy a beer, light a cigarette (you could do that back then), and then ten seconds later hear the damn thing start up on the juke box, and know that I was going to endure it for the next six minutes, with gritted teeth, trying not to listen. Except that I couldn’t not listen.

I think I even walked out of a few pubs when I heard it start playing. Because I came to utterly detest Bohemian Rhapsody. And I detested it because for a while it was always playing everywhere, and there was no getting away from it.

And maybe that’s how antismokers feel about smoking.

It was everywhere, and they couldn’t get away from it, and they ended up hating it with a passion. Is it really very surprising that antismoking began to become prevalent after the end of WW1 and WW2, during which everyone had been furiously smoking, and some people had got to really, really hate smoking.

If so, then most likely smoke-hating antismokers will start dying out once smoking has been banned everywhere for long enough. After all, it’s been a long time since I heard Bohemian Rhapsody, and if I heard it playing again somewhere, I think it might even sound to me like an interesting new piece of music, and I might even get to like it a bit.

These hatreds flare up, but they usually eventually fade away. Old enemies quite often become good friends.

But sometimes one hatred breeds another. After all, after enduring 12 years of antismoking hatred since the UK smoking ban, I’ve come to hate antismokers. It’s a simple counter-hatred. They hate me, and I hate them. Once you start hating me, for whatever reason, I’ll pretty soon start hating you. And when push comes to shove, pretty soon we’ll have a war going.

And right now, all over the world, we seem to be seeing mild disapproval first ramping up into strong disapproval, and then strong disapproval becoming burning hatred, and hatred breeding hatred in multiple different ways. And perhaps all of it over something as trivial and unimportant as a piece of music like Bohemian Rhapsody.

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Hating The Smoker

Something that has crept into mind recently.

Back in January 2007, the Guardian published a piece by Deborah Arnott with the title: Don’t hate the smoker. I keep a link to it in the right margin, because in the piece she wrote:

When the smoking ban comes into force in England in July smokers will be exiled to the outdoors.

She was quite right. On 1 July 2007, we smokers were indeed exiled to the outdoors. And I for one have remained there ever since. That exile has had an enormous impact on me. It made me into a different person than the one I was before.

But all that aside, it’s the title of the piece that I’ve been thinking about:

Don’t hate the smoker.

This may not have been her title. After all, newspaper editors tend to write their own headlines for pieces written by contributors. But regardless of whoever wrote it, it’s a revealing title, because it’s really saying:

Hate the smoker. Don’t.

It’s referencing hatred of smokers. And enjoining people to not hate smokers, because…

If smokers are marginalised in our society there is a danger that they will begin to see their habit as a badge of honour.

But what’s implicit in it is the fact that some people hate smokers. There’s a real hatred of them out there.  And in my right margin I keep a copy of Michael McFadden’s Wall of Hate, which is made up of hundreds of expressions of hatred and contempt for smokers of a kind that are often found online in comments.

And this hatred of smokers was also present in the title of the 2007 Deborah Arnott piece, albeit as a warning against such hatred.

But the plain fact of the matter is that antismokers are filled with exactly this hatred. It’s a hatred that I first encountered in the house of Dr W, the very first antismoker I ever met. The last time I ever saw Dr W, he was speaking on television on behalf of the BMA. And that means that this hatred of smoking and smokers is found in the highest ranks of the medical profession.

We’re not dealing here with science or medicine or reason: we’re dealing with hatred. We’re dealing with a hatred as deep as hatred of Jews or any other social group. Antismoking is exactly like antisemitism. It just has a different object of hatred.

Another reason why we may know that we’re faced with hatred is because everything that is done to smokers is invariably nasty. The smoking bans are nasty. The taxation of tobacco is nasty. Bullying messages on “plain” packaging are nasty. Smokers are driven outside, and then they are driven further outside. There’s never any consideration for smokers. And there’s no consideration because all these actions are driven by nothing but hatred.

Where does the hatred come from? I don’t know. There seems to be a lot of hatred around these days. Antisemitism has been on the rise in recent years. I don’t know why.

And what is it that many people feel about Donald Trump?

Hatred.

Some people really, really hate him.

And, as far as I can see, they hate him for no reason whatsoever.

Which is also how it is with both antismoking and antisemitism.

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about hatred. Today is just the day when I noticed the barely-concealed hatred in the title of a piece by Deborah Arnott that I had read many times without seeing it.

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Working on updates 0%

My Windows computer periodically needs to install updates for my Windows 10 operating system. I never know what the updates do, but I generally suppose that they’re actually all spyware updates for use by the NSA, CIA, FBI, MI6, GCHQ, and GRU, to name but a few intelligence agencies who might want to see what I’m up to, and maybe even stop me getting up to it.

And last night my computer was pushing to do a new update, so eventually at about 8 pm I gave in, and let it start doing the update.

The updates can sometimes take a long time. Several hours. And the new update was clearly one of the long ones, because when I finally went to bed around midnight, leaving the computer on, it had a spinning Busy symbol in the middle of the screen, and the words:

Working on updates 0%

Which I took to mean that it was trying to install updates, but had got nowhere after 4 hours.

And when I got up this morning at 8 am, the computer was still showing the spinning Busy symbol, and the words:

Working on updates 0%

So it had got nowhere with the updates after 12 hours. And it wasn’t likely to get anywhere in the next 12 hours either. There was nothing for it but to turn off the computer. Which you’re not supposed to do, because it also says on the screen:

Do not turn off your computer

So I turned off the computer.

And I didn’t immediately turn it back on again, because I thought that it probably wouldn’t work. After all it had probably spent the last 12 hours stuffing updates into every nook and cranny of the computer.

Of course it wasn’t going to work.

I needed mugs of tea and multiple cigarettes to ready myself for the experience of it not working.

The best I thought I could expect was that it would come up asking me if I wanted to use Safe Mode, which is a sort of minimal version of Windows.

Eventually I decided to bite the bullet and turn it back on.

The hardware manufacturer’s logo came up on screen like it usually does, and then instead of the Windows 10 start screen appearing, there was a brief flash of a window in the top left, before the screen went black, and stayed black.

That’s it, I thought. That’s probably the most I’ll ever get out of this computer again. It’s been killed by an update.

But then to my surprise, the little spinning Busy symbol re-appeared in the middle of the screen, along with the words

Undoing changes made to your computer

I wondered how long it was going to take to undo all the changes that had been made over the last 12 hours. It seemed very likely that it could take another 12 hours to undo them all.

But to my surprise, after a minute or two, the Windows 10 start screen appeared, this time a nice photo of a Venetian canal.

It was all working again!

It felt like seeing a self-driving car come off the road somewhere, and then 12 hours later reverse along its tracks back up onto the road, and carry on from where it came off.

It’s the first time I’ve ever turned off a Windows computer while it was installing updates. It’s worth knowing what’s quite likely to happen, at least with Windows 10: it’ll automatically undo changes and go back to its previous version.

I’m not a great fan of Windows, but I was quite impressed with it this morning, how it recovered from getting its knickers in a twist.

Maybe there’s hope for us after all.

Should’ve added this:

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I Hope Michael Gove Isn’t Our Next Prime Minister

The Conservatives are having a leadership contest to replace Theresa May. One of the candidates is someone called Michael Gove:

Tory leadership hopeful Michael Gove has said he was lucky to have avoided going to prison for cocaine use but denied allegations of hypocrisy for criticising “middle-class professionals” who took drugs and wanted them to be legalised.

The British environment secretary said “drugs wreck lives” and his cocaine use was a “mistake which I profoundly regret”.

The British cabinet minister has admitted taking the drug on several occasions about 20 years ago when he was a journalist.

Asked if he should have gone to prison, Mr Gove told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: “I was fortunate in that I didn’t, but I do think it was a profound mistake and I have seen the damage drugs do.”

In my experience, there did seem to be a lot of cocaine used by middle-class professionals that I once knew. I used to regularly get offered lines of it, which I regularly refused, for the simple reason that it had no effect on me whatsoever. And I could never understand why anyone used it, or what effect it was having on them.

I suppose that this is the same attitude of many antismokers to smoking: why are the smokers doing it?

To be quite honest, I really couldn’t give a monkey’s whether Michael Gove used to snort coke in industrial quantities or not. Or for that matter whether he used to smoke pot. Or smoke cigarettes. Or drink beer. Or wear chinos or cufflinks or patent leather shoes. I don’t judge people by such things.

But I find it quite disturbing that he now feels it necessary to now declare that his coke habit was a “profound mistake.” Why couldn’t he just say, “Well, that’s what we used to do back then, and lots of people did it, and still do”? He comes across to me just like one of those ex-smokers who has become an virulent antismoker. He sounds like someone who will go whichever way the wind is blowing. And so in our prohibitionist era, he has become a prohibitionist.

And he also seems to have become a global warming alarmist as well, according to James Delingpole:

Gove’s speech rehearses the usual litany of man-made climate doom stories. He claims that sea level rise is accelerating, ice sheets are melting, flora and fauna are migrating to escape inhospitable climate, low lying atolls are in danger of inundation, combating climate change won’t affect prosperity, climate catastrophes are increasing, the Sahara is growing, hurricanes are worsening, weather is getting more extreme…

Ice sheets are always melting. Just yesterday I was demonstrating them doing so. They’re also always having new snow added on top.

Also, in the last leadership contest, which Theresa May won, Michael Gove seems to have started out as Boris Johnson’s campaign manager, before throwing his own hat in the ring, forcing Johnson to withdraw. So he seems to be a back-stabber as well.

All in all I think I can declare that one person I don’t want to see winning this leadership contest is Michael Gove.

Or is the Conservative leadership election going to descend into forcing everyone involved to confess their past drug habits?

Boris Johnson must give ‘clear answers’ about his drug use, Tory rival says

I couldn’t give a damn about Boris’ drug use either. Or the drug habits of any of the rest of them.

What I want to know about anyone is whether they keep their promises, pay their debts, and all that sort of thing. I want to know about their character, not their habits.

But perhaps that’s the difference between me and antismoking killjoys. They judge people by their habits and customs, and probably also by their clothes and hairstyles and shoes. They’re primarily concerned with appearances, and with keeping up appearances. Character is unimportant. Appearances are everything. And cleanliness is next to godliness.

P.S. It also seems that Gove might not implement Brexit:

Mr Farage pointed out that some candidates including Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, and Esther McVey were vowing to deliver Brexit on time, while others including Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, and Rory Stewart questioned whether it was viable at all.

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A 280,000 Year Long Ice Age

UK weather forecast:

UK weather forecast: Britain to be hit with torrential rain for THREE more days

At least it isn’t snow.

I’ve been continuing with the development of my glaciation simulation model. It’s a model of heat flow up a geological column from the hot centre of the Earth through its surface and out into space. At the surface of the Earth the heat flows are very low: only about 70 milliWatts per square metre. But over many thousands of years this small heat flow adds up to sufficient heat to melt overlying sheets of snow and ice several kilometres deep.

I’ve now extended the model to have 18 radial geological columns at 5 degree intervals from the equator to the north pole.

And I’ve then been having snow fall continuously on all these continental geological columns at the same rate (about 10 centimetres per year) for tens of thousands of years.

The sequence of images below show the build-up of snow on the surface of the Earth at all latitudes from 0 to 90ºN over a period of 280,000 years, and the gradual heating of the surface rocks beneath the snow, and the consequent melting of the overlying snow. In the equatorial regions where snow doesn’t settle, the surface rocks cool slowly.

In this sequence snow never settles for long south of about latitude 30ºN, but at higher latitudes the snow settles and deepens quite rapidly. Surface rock temperatures rise highest beneath the deepest snow. Maximum snow depth at 90ºN reaches about 1200 metres.

The snow at the base of all these snow sheets is continually slowly melting, but because there’s snow continually falling on top of the snow sheets, they initially gradually get deeper, until the surface rocks beneath the snow have warmed up enough to melt the overlying snow faster than the rate at which new snow is being added, at which point the snow sheets begin to slowly thin.

So over 280,000 years the snow sheets first grow, and then dwindle back down to almost nothing. And that is the same sort of order of magnitude as the last 100,000 year long ice age, that only ended 12,000 years ago.

The snow sheets in this model extend as far south as 30ºN, which is the latitude of Cairo in Egypt. Most discussions of past northern hemisphere glaciations seldom show them extending further south than about 50ºN in Europe. Evidence of these ice sheets is found in unstratified gravel produced by the friction of ice sheets on rocks beneath. But there must need to be a considerable depth (several kilometres) of ice for this to happen, and it’s unlikely that relatively thin layers of snow will produce similar moraines and drumlins, or indeed any of them at all. And in my model the snow is mostly only about 100 metres deep between latitudes of 30ºN to 50ºN.

I’ve been wondering whether these relatively shallow snow sheets extended over the entirety of Europe, as well as Spain and Italy and Greece, and that the reason human civilisation first emerged in Egypt and Mesopotamia and only later in Greece and Rome is that for a long time the latter remained under snow as the glaciers gradually retreated northwards.

I’m hoping next to get almost all the snow to melt and produce an almost completely snow-free interglacial period during which the hot surface rocks gradually cool back down, eventually allowing a new period of glaciation to commence.

In the meantime I’m hoping that all the CO2 that’s being added to the Earth’s atmosphere will raise air temperatures enough to forestall the re-glaciation of the northern hemisphere any time soon. It’s one of my future projects to try to find out if CO2 can do this.

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No Predestined History

A couple of transcripts from things I was listening to yesterday. The first is Robin Aitken talking to Peter Whittle about the culture of the BBC:

RA 9:50: It’s what I call cultural Marxism. I think that what the progressive left in the UK has taken from Marxism is the idea that history is a one-way ticket and there’s no getting off the train, that the end destination is a progressive destination – their definition of progress, by the way – and that this is an ineluctable process, so there’s no stopping it. And so in this mindset we will arrive in a federal Europe; we will arrive in a country which is completely atheistic and a country which has lost all sense of natural patriotic pride in itself. All that is to be subsumed in a greater self. That’s what I mean by cultural Marxism, the idea that that is a destination which is certain to arrive at some point.

I think it’s nonsense, actually. I don’t believe in the Marxist interpretation of history. I think that any rational observer of history over the past 200 years can see that there have been sudden jolts, sudden turnings in the road, and that’s the way history is: it doesn’t go in a straight line to a predestination.

Is there anything particularly Marxist about the idea that history has a destination, and proceeds much like a train along a railway line, and all aboard the train know that it left Paddington station half an hour ago, and has just left Reading, and next stop is Swindon in 20 minutes time?

There seem to be a lot of people who think like this, and very few of them are Marxists, as far as I know.

And yet everyone has had the experience of being on a train which comes to a halt, and remains halted for hours, and so is well behind schedule.

Remainers are people who fully expected, like passengers on a train, to arrive at the next scheduled stop, and to arrive on time. But now, with the train having stopped, and indeed slowly reversing, nobody knows what’s going to happen next, and there is no predestined history.

The second transcript is of Martin Durkin in conversation with Brendan O’Neill, and is again about Brexit and the EU and its regulations:

MD 4:30:  …The intelligentsia. And we don’t like talking about the intelligentsia for the most part in Britain and America because it sticks in the craw, the idea that there is a group of people in society who do the thinking on behalf of the rest of us. They feel much more comfortable in Europe. They’ve got a tradition in Europe of having a class of intellectuals who have power and do the thinking and regulating on behalf of everybody else. It’s this intellectual class that forms the Brexit class, and they define themselves against the market in many ways. The market is vulgar and commercial and yucky… They’re above all that. And a large part of then derive their income and their power from the State. They’re in jobs that are paid directly or indirectly by the State and they are jobs which are indirectly or directly related to regulation and planning and organising. Regulation is their job, so they see regulation as a good thing, and that is regulation of the rest of us, because they see themselves as above us. And they are very snotty about people who have St George flags outside their houses and who drive white vans… They see the free world beyond the reach of their organisations and their jobs as messy and anarchic and in need of ordering – by them. And for them the EU was their project. The EU was this vast regulating body made up of people like them who have very nice incomes and who are largely beyond accountability from the masses, whose job is to look after the masses, to look over them, to regulate them, and so on and so forth.

Once again this is about things being expected to go according to plan. The planners draw up timetables, schedules for when things are supposed to happen, for when the train is supposed to arrive in Swindon.

And the world seems to be divided into people who plan everything they do, sometimes for decades in advance, and people like me who hate making plans, and feel that plans impede the free flow of events, It was one of the things I hated about school, that it had a strict timetable of classes, and between these classes there was a strict timetable of meals and compulsory games and church services, usually with bells signalling the start and end of them. School holidays, by contrast, were largely devoid of scheduled events, if I could arrange it, and they were bliss.

It was Brendan O’Neill who remarked, somewhere in this conversation, in response that he thought that the Liberal Intelligentsia were neither liberal nor intelligent.

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Supply and Demand

I stopped watching TV after the UK smoking ban, because nobody smoked on TV, and nobody spoke up for smokers on TV. On TV I saw depicted a world to which I didn’t belong, and to which I didn’t want to belong. And also I had to pay to watch TV.

I stopped reading newspapers and magazines for the same reason. I had to pay to read them as well. Why should I pay to watch or read people I don’t like?

And also I rejected the global warming climate alarmism that accompanied the war on smoking that the mainstream media were prosecuting, and in which only one point of view ever got presented.

It seems it isn’t getting any better:

Woke Doctor Who fans have had a Doctor Who writer removed from a short story collection because he holds incorrect views about transgender issues.
Why am I not surprised?

I’m so old that I can actually remember a time when Doctor Who was a children’s TV programme rather than a political indoctrination class for budding Social Justice Warriors.

But, as we know, that Tardis flew long ago.

Even as long ago as 2005, Doctor Who was eagerly introducing us to possibly UK kiddy TV’s first out bisexual — Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman).

Then, it went a step further by explaining to us that actually Captain Jack is not really bisexual because in the future everyone has realised that sexuality is just a social construct so people can date whoever they want…

I think the idea behind it all is that the mainstream media can be used not to reflect public opinion, but to shape public opinion, and that if you can populate it with antismoking transgender climate alarmists the general public will follow their lead, and everyone will become antismoking transgender climate alarmists.

But I don’t think it works that way. I think that if you do that, people will just stop watching, or stop reading. After all, that’s what I’ve done.

Radio and television are powerful media, but they’re not that powerful.

I want to watch and read people who have similar opinions to mine. I want to watch people who are like me. I don’t want them to completely agree with me about everything, but simply agree about quite a lot.

And the interesting thing is that such people have been appearing in recent years. Only they haven’t been appearing in the mainstream media. Instead they’ve been appearing online, talking on video or radio, expressing their own dissenting opinions.

I’m thinking of people like Alex Jones and Michael Savage and Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh and Jordan Peterson and Brendan O’Neill and Mark Steyn and Victor Davis Hanson and Stefan Molyneux and Douglas Murray. Some of them have been around for ages. They mostly never appear in the MSM. And they are increasingly getting banned on social media. Alex Jones is banned from YouTube. And Michael Savage is even banned from Britain. And they’re banned because they say the wrong thing, they don’t toe the politically correct line, and because they’re interesting. And there seem to be more and more of them.

It’s really just another example of supply and demand. People want to hear new voices, new ideas, new opinions. And so new voices emerge to meet the demand.

A recent discovery has been New Culture Forum:  So What You’re Saying Is. Here’s their very first video, on How BBC Bias Works:

What I’m find rather intriguing about this is that just at a time when the MSM are becoming increasingly completely one-sided, a flood of new voices are emerging online, and they’re the only people I ever listen to. The BBC has no influence over me whatsoever, but people like Peter Whittle and his guests on the New Culture Forum do.

So it seems to me that the attempt to use the mainstream media to shape opinion is completely backfiring on them, and has instead resulted in a new underground aristocracy of thinkers emerging, all of them usually expressing politically incorrect views. The MSM are slowly killing themselves.

My only complaint about these new people is that none of them smoke. Or if they are smokers, none of them are actually ever seen smoking. And to that degree they continue to be as politically corrrect as the MSM.

And perhaps my other complaint about them is they all really want to be on mainstream TV and radio. They (e.g. Alex Jones) create flashy studios which look like BBC or Channel 4 or Fox studios. They don’t look like authentic living rooms.

But I am myself, in a very small way, one of these new voices. I speak up for smokers on my blog, and I can be found in the online Smoky Drinky Bar at 10 pm on most Fridays, in the company of people who are smoking in their own authentic living rooms.  And also I don’t want to appear on mainstream TV or radio. I get the occasional invite, but I always turn them down. Why should I want to appear somewhere where smokers like me aren’t welcome?

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