Is COVID that bad?

Interesting to see how COVID deaths compared with other causes of death during the second wave in the UK…

As we can see from the chart above, the second wave pretty much peaked in January 2021.

Looking at the ONS data for that month we see:

People keep saying “What about other causes of death?”

They say that we don’t lockdown for other diseases, and they ask why should COVID be any different.

It’s true to say that other causes of death are significant, but they are in a different ballpark compared to COVID.

If there was no lockdown and COVID was allowed to run rampant, it would’ve been much worse…

The enemy of China…

大躍進. The Great Leap Forward (1958-1962)… estimated to have caused between 15 and 55 million deaths…

無產階級文化大革命. The Cultural Revolution (1966-1976)… estimated death toll ranging from hundreds of thousands to 20 million…

八九民運. The Tiananmen Square Massacre (April 15, 1989 – June 4, 1989)… estimates ranged from the official figure of a few hundred to several thousand.

Would seem to be China itself…

Guru meditation

It would seem that someone at Fastly has a sense of humour and probably grew up with a Commodore Amiga.

When the CDN went down earlier today, taking quite a bit of the world wide web with it, slightly cryptic error messages such as this started appearing:

For anyone familiar with the Amiga, and the way it would crash, the words “Guru meditation” might be nostalgic:

This is akin to the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) on today’s Windows machines.

Thanks Fastly for the nostalgia trip!

Password managers

Recently, it’s come to light that password managers may not be as secure as they could be. After reading through the analysis, it becomes apparent that they’re still better than using the same password for everything, or storing passwords in a plain text file on your computer! Additionally there are databases on the internet filled with known pwned passwords.

In an attempt to combat these issues, I have been using keepass for ages now to store all of my passwords, and have found it to be very useful in keeping my life online secure.

It stores all my passwords in an encrypted file, and allows me to have a unique, strong >20 character length, password for each and every website/application.

Yes, there are downsides.

If it is compromised, then that’s all my passwords exposed in one place, so it’s important that the password securing the password vault is secure, and 2 factor authentication is also available. (As passwords alone are not that secure).

Also, if I forget my master password, I’m then locked out of all my passwords.

Ultimately, using a password manager to store unique strong passwords for every website is much easier than trying to remember a unique strong password for every website which requires a password!

Love is love

The bible tells me to love my neighbour, whoever they are… but that doesn’t mean I must agree with them…

…you have made us for Yourself

Tu excitas ut laudare te delectet quia fecisti nos ad te et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in te.

Augustine, Confessions, 1.1.1.

Spurgeon on catechisms

“If you cannot catechise your own heart, and drill a truth into your own soul, you do not know how to teach other people.”

CH Spurgeon

Sinless perfection

A number of times, when talking about sinless perfection, preachers, commentators and others will reference the life of C. H. Spurgeon and his encounters with those claiming sinless perfection. Unfortunately, a lot of the recollections are a little hazy, so I thought I would rummage through Spurgeon’s autobiography to see what actually happened. After a short while I found this:

In striking contrast to those apologists for sin; I met in my first pastorate, as I have often done since, a number of persons who professed to be perfect, and who said that they had lived so many months or years without sinning against God. One man, who told me that he was perfect, was hump-backed, and when I remarked that I thought, if he were a perfect man, he ought to have a perfect body, he became so angry that I said to him, “Tell, my friend , if you are perfect, there are a great many more as near perfection as you are,” “Oh!” he exclaimed, “I shall feel it for having been betrayed into anger.” He said that he had not been angry for many years; I had brought him back to his old state of infirmity, and painful as it might be for him, I have no doubt that it did him good to see himself as he really was.

C.H. Spurgeon, C.H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography: 1. The Early Years (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1962), 228

and this:

Our Wesleyan brethren have a notion that they are going to be perfect here on earth. I should be very glad to see them when they are perfect, and if any of them happen to be in the position of servants, wanting situations, I would be happy to give them any amount of wages I could spare, for I should feel myself highly honoured and greatly blessed in having perfect servants; and what is more, if any of them are masters, and need servants, I would undertake to come and serve them without wages at all if I could but find a perfect master. I have had one perfect Master ever since I first knew the Lord, and if I could be sure that there is another perfect master, I should be greatly pleased to have him as an under-master, while the great Supreme must ever be chief of all. One man, who said he was perfect, called upon me once, and asked me to go and see him, for I should receive valuable instruction from him if I did. I said, “I have no doubt it would be so, but I should not like to go to your house, I think I should hardly be able to get into one of your rooms.” “How is that ?” he enquired. “‘Well,” I replied, “I suppose that your house would be so full of angels that there would be no room for me.” He did not like that remark; and when I made one or two other playful observations, he went into a towering rage. “‘Well, friend,” I said to him, “I think, after all, I am as perfect as you are; but do perfect men ever get angry?” He denied that he was angry, although there was a peculiar redness about his cheeks, and a fiery flash in his eyes, that is very common to persons when they are in a passion. At any rate, I think I rather spoiled his perfection, for he evidently went home much less satisfied with himself than when he came out.

C.H. Spurgeon, C.H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography: 1. The Early Years (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1962), 229

So there you have it, I suspect much less exciting than most recollections of Spurgeon’s encounters with “sinless perfection”, but still apt reminders than no one will be without sin in this life.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

1 John 1:8 (NIV)

It’s been a while

Looking at the last entry, it would’ve seemed safe to assume that this blog was inactive, and until recently, that assumption would’ve been correct.

Until recently, if I found any interesting articles around the web, I’d share that on my Google+ feed.

However, Google’s announcement to shut down Google+ has caused me to rethink the role of social networking in my online presence.

Twitter has become more prominent in how I share interesting links, but it is quite a limited facility.

Facebook is a weird walled-garden which seems to go against everything the web was intended to be.

Of course, any social networking site is ultimately there to make money for its owners, and when that income dries up, the future of the site is called in to question. Additionally, any site has to be funded in some way to function, and if the users are not paying for it, then the user, well the user’s data, is the product.

So… maybe this blog will have a purpose once more… only time will tell.

A jealous God

Q. What are the sins forbidden in the third commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the third commandment are, the not using of God’s name as is required; and the abuse of it in an ignorant, vain, irreverent, profane, superstitious or wicked mentioning or otherwise using his titles, attributes, ordinances, or works, by blasphemy, perjury; all sinful cursings, oaths, vows, and lots; violating of our oaths and vows, if lawful; and fulfilling them, if of things unlawful; murmuring and quarrelling at, curious prying into, and misapplying of God’s decrees and providences; misinterpreting, misapplying, or any way perverting the Word, or any part of it; to profane jests, curious or unprofitable questions, vain janglings, or the maintaining of false doctrines; abusing it, the creatures, or anything contained under the name of God, to charms, or sinful lusts and practices; the maligning, scorning, reviling, or any wise opposing of God’s truth, grace, and ways; making profession of religion in hypocrisy, or for sinister ends; being ashamed of it, or a shame to it, by unconformable, unwise, unfruitful, and offensive walking, or backsliding from it.

(Question CXIII of the Westminster Larger Catechism.)

The name of the LORD

Q. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it?

A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it, contained in these words, For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments; are, besides God’s sovereignty over us, and propriety in us, his fervent zeal for his own worship, and his revengeful indignation against all false worship, as being a spiritual whoredom; accounting the breakers of this commandment such as hate him, and threatening to punish them unto divers generations; and esteeming the observers of it such as love him and keep his commandments, and promising mercy to them unto many generations.

Q. Which is the third commandment?

A. The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Q. What is required in the third commandment?

A. The third commandment requires, That the name of God, his titles, attributes, ordinances, the Word, sacraments, prayer, oaths, vows, lots, his works, and whatsoever else there is whereby he makes himself known, be holily and reverently used in thought, meditation, word, and writing; by an holy profession, and answerable conversation, to the glory of God, and the good of ourselves, and others.

(Questions CX, CXI and CXII of the Westminster Larger Catechism.)

A fly in the ointment

This week’s phrase is from Ecclesiastes 10:1:

Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.

An tiny imperfection which spoils the whole.

And our eyes at last shall see Him…

Q. What is the communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death?

A. The communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death is, in that their souls are then made perfect in holiness, and received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies, which even in death continue united to Christ, and rest in their graves as in their beds, till at the last day they be again united to their souls. Whereas the souls of the wicked are at their death cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, and their bodies kept in their graves, as in their prisons, till the resurrection and judgment of the great day.

(Question LXXXVI of the Westminster Larger Catechism.)

Eat drink and be merry

This week’s phrase is from Ecclesiastes 8:15:

Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.

Enjoy life…

For everything there is a season

This week’s phrase is from Ecclesiastes 3:1:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

The NIV gives a good modern day translation for this one: There is a time for everything…