Category: Ideas and Reflections

Notes from the End of the World

I am taking a short break from my boatload of work, as I try to design inescapable e-classes on the fly, all the while knowing that this form of education is inherently second-rate. And how better to enjoy a few peaceful moments away from the grind than to reflect on the accelerating descent of civilization in the grip of the most suicidal mass...

Notice to Readers

Dear Limbo Friends, This is just a quick note to let you know that I haven’t abandoned you, or gotten sucked into the Evil Pandemic Vortex. Well, let me correct that: Yes, in a sense I have gotten sucked into the Evil Pandemic Vortex. I am in voluntary self-lockdown, trying to finish preparing a pile of online teaching files for the beginning of...

Daily Life Disrupted, and Other Good News

A headline I just read: NY calls in national guard to help curb outbreak Seriously. And what is the national guard going to do? Round up viruses and take them to FEMA camps? Another headline I just read: US coronavirus cases pass 1000, at least 28 dead So now the media and the anonymous online experts can tell us that the American “mortality...

“Daddy, do something! Aaahhhhh….”

Today, I saw a headline on my MSN homepage: “Coronavirus keeps spreading as governments clamp down.” The headline linked to a New York Times (wouldn’t you know it?) item about the new draconian measures being implemented by the Italian government to basically prevent anyone from going anywhere out of his or her home without explicit government permission, in hopes of curtailing the coronavirus...

We’re all gonna die! (truism)

I see that the head of the World Health Organization is quoted as saying of the current coronavirus outbreak, “This is not a drill.” Very helpful, I’m sure. Apparently, a lot of people out there thought this was a drill. That wisdom to one side, I shall carry on with my concluding unscientific postscript on the current Pandemic That Ate a Planet: A...

My Favorite Things

One of my least favorite things in the Sound of Music, which is itself one of my least favorite things in the Rodgers and Hammerstein catalogue, is the hokey and saccharine “My Favorite Things.” As performed in the 1965 film version by Julie Andrews, the thing is enough to send you screaming from the twentieth century with your hands over your ears. But...

Reasonable Doubts: Part One

Today I begin what will surely become a series of observations on the many dangerous psychological certainties running wild through our modern world, behind our age’s thin, self-congratulatory veils of relativism, nihilism, and skepticism. That is to say, we are an era of unquestioning true believers and romantic dogmatists, particularly with regard to our comforts and pleasures, and yet we continually market ourselves...

The Rise and Fall of Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson, Canadian professor of clinical psychology cum politically incorrect lightening rod cum global celebrity self-help guru, has, unfortunately, fallen prey to the demons of fame, self-importance, and the sense of irrational urgency — “it has to be me, it has to be now” — that attends the sudden explosion of unexpected praise and mass admiration in the life of a thoughtful but...

The Science of Worst Case Scenarios

Over the past week, I have seen a number of alarmists online — some of them accredited scientific experts with big degrees and fancy job titles — comparing the current coronavirus pandemic to the “Spanish Flu” outbreak of 1918. One such scientific expert is Dr. Bryan Lewis, a professor at the Biocomplexity Institute at the University of Virginia, who has stated publicly (though...

Dispatches from the Front on Coronavirus

I see that I am overdue for an update on conditions here in the new global front in the war on the coronavirus outbreak.  As of Wednesday morning, March 4th (Korea time), this country has 5,186 confirmed cases of the virus, with 32 deaths. That makes a mortality rate of around 0.6% — which, again, must be measured against the extreme likelihood that...