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Category: rambling

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.


Hypocrisy

The Christian church is one of the few organizations in the world that requires a public acknowledgement of sin as a condition for membership. In one sense the church has fewer hypocrites than any institution because by definition the church is a haven for sinners. If the church claimed to be an organization of perfect people then her claim would be hypocritical. But no such claim is made by the church. There is no slander in the charge that the church is full of sinners. Such a statement would only compliment the church for fulfilling her divinely appointed task

R. C. Sproul


8 years ago!

I was listening to some mp3 files on my phone recently and this popped up. I can’t believe 8 years has passed since I did this!

Dvorak Sonatina IV


MDCXI – MMXI

Almost four-hundred years ago on May 2nd, 1611, one of the greatest influences on the English language, the Authorised Version (AV) of the bible, was published. It wasn’t the first translation of the bible into English, and it certainly isn’t the last. However, along with the works of Shakespeare and the Oxford English Dictionary, it has been instrumental in forming the English language into what we use today. To celebrate the quadricentennial of the AV, every week this year, I plan to tweet a bible verse which has become a well-known phrase.


…bacon tastes good. Pork chops taste good…

After a lunchtime conversation with my work colleagues about the price of meat, I thought I’d have a look to see how much different meats actually cost per kg. The prices are a snapshot of the prices at Tesco on 24-Nov-2011.

Beef Mince £3.28/kg
Burgers £4.39/kg
Stewing steak £5.19/kg
Casserole steak £7.50/kg
Shoulder joint £7.50/kg
Rump Steak £8.61/kg
Rib roast £9.88/kg
Sir loin £15.47/kg
Fillet steak £22.98/kg
Chicken Whole chicken £2.43/kg
Legs £2.96/kg
Thighs £3.62/kg
Breast quarter £4.16/kg
Breast fillet £9.63/kg
Fish Mussel meat £4.45/kg
Seafood sticks £5.00/kg
River Cobbler £6.46/kg
Whole trout £6.99/kg
Haddock fillets £7.96/kg
Cod fillets £8.70/kg
Plaice fillets £9.17/kg
Cooked and peeled prawns £9.53/kg
Raw king prawns £13.96/kg
Salmon fillets £16.89/kg
Trout fillets £18.19/kg
Scallops £18.75/kg
Tuna steak £19.98/kg
Lamb Mutton mince £3.18/kg
Shoulder £5.00/kg
Mince £6.73/kg
Leg £8.99/kg
Shanks £8.99/kg
Steak £11.34/kg
Shoulder fillets £12.50/kg
Chops £14.15/kg
Pork Shoulder joint £2.19/kg
Leg joint £2.99/kg
Pork mince £3.00/kg
Ribs £3.36/kg
Belly slices £3.78/kg
Shoulder steaks £3.89/kg
Boneless Streaky slices £4.78/kg
Trimmed rib rack £4.99/kg
Pork chops £5.97/kg
Smoked back bacon £6.88/kg
Loin Steaks £7.71/kg
Fillet £7.99/kg
Escalopes £11.67/kg
Medallions £11.67/kg

Psalm 84

For the director of music. According to gittith. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD Almighty!

My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.

Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
Selah

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty;
listen to me, O God of Jacob.
Selah

Look upon our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.

Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.

O LORD Almighty,
blessed is the man who trusts in you.


For The Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

Poppy Appeal