As a neophyte stoic I fantasize about my own death quite regularly. Wait… does that sound morbid? I suppose it could also come across as suicidal. Really, I am none of those things, in fact, other than I think life is largely pointless I am quite a cheerful mf’er. I guess I just appreciate that the end point of life is death and I’d like my death to be done right. If possible. I mean I realize we often don’t get a say in these things. That’s why its important to prep (and consider) these things waaay in advance.


In any event. THIS… has now been added to list of possible end-game scenarios. Ha ha.

Why nations fail…


I wish I knew more about this picture. My spidey sense tingles ‘staged’ because of the bristling irony contained within… but you never know. It would make me happy to know it was all real. I adore genuine irony over the contrived iteration. A south Sudanese flag, Muslim garb, (what looks like) an Israeli made Galil, crate of empty booze bottles, a considered look while reading ‘Why nations fail’. Ha ha ha. Kudos to you sir.

Deadly peanut

Have you ever, or would you ever, attempt an emergency tracheostomy?


Hmm. I’m not particularly squeamish so I’d probably take a stab at it. (if there was a danger that death was exceptionally imminent and no one else was stepping up to the breach I mean). I’ve always been of the opinion that what I lack in skills I make up for in enthusiasm.

In the ‘for’ column I’d like to submit many (hellish) hours spent languishing on the sofa watching Greys Anatomy. A punishment I endured as the archetypal boyfriend in the hope it would (later on) get my thing wet. I’d like to think this time wasn’t wasted and that I now appreciate at least the basic precepts of your run-of-the-mill medical procedures. I feel I also have a pretty good idea about the general vicinity in which to perforate a temporary airway. Just like in Real estate its probably all about location, location, location.

I also come standard with many sharp accoutrements (of questionable hygienic value) that can act as as entry tool. Although, in all, honesty post laceration I would be loathed to use my MontBlanc to facilitate oxygenation. So unless someone is willing to loan me a cheap ballpoint you’re probably going to die there. Perhaps we should do a quick inventory of writing implements before going directly to the puncture wound? I wouldn’t want for this to get awkward.

Maybe we should ALSO do a quick frisk for an EpiPen and not necessarily (with morbid fervor) opt for the most invasive recourse right off the bat?

Fuck it.

Hand me that spork. I’m going in.

Always look on the bright side of (the black) death…


Personally I’ve always been quite partial to those beak masks worn by plague doctors. I thought they were quite stylish.

Plague doctors wore a mask with a bird-like beak to protect them from being infected by the disease, which they believed was airborne. In fact, they thought disease was spread by miasma, a noxious form of ‘bad air.’ To battle this imaginary threat, the long beak was packed with sweet smells, such as dried flowers, herbs and spices.

The modern surgical mask worn en masse on Japanese subways (for example) is infinitely less cool. When the time comes I’m opting for a more traditional look.

Oh… and apparently the time might actually be coming. Since… well… human beings continue to grind out the miles on their death march.


Although having now read a little about this (on the internet, so standard disclaimers apply), this seems more like a good news/bad news kinda gig. The good news is that not all pathogens could survive being frozen and then reheated as the permafrost thaws.

Bad news is anthrax definitely can.

In fact in 2016 in Siberia, a twelve year old boy died and at least 20 people were hospitalized after being infected with anthrax.  The theory is that seventy five years ago there was a massive outbreak of anthrax among the local reindeer population and that one of these reindeer died, was covered in snow and muddy slush and remained intact in the frozen soil until a heat wave in 2016 exposed the carcass again as the permafrost thawed.

We’re not sure about a whole bunch of other pathogens.

Spanish flu RNA was found in the frozen tundra of Alaska. Small pox and bubonic plague also in Siberia. Scientists are not entirely sure if those can come back from the dead just yet.

Apparently the problem is that permafrost is, as you might imagine, layered. The more melting, the more older… and more deadly stuff could be uncovered further down. The newer stuff… while deadly, we might have some immunity or resistance going on… maybe. But the older stuff… *cue scary music*…

NASA scientists successfully revived bacteria that had been encased in a frozen pond in Alaska for 32,000 years. The microbes, called Carnobacterium pleistocenium, had been frozen since the Pleistocene period, when woolly mammoths still roamed the Earth. Once the ice melted, they began swimming around, seemingly unaffected.

To quote evolutionary biologists Jean-Michel Claverie

“Following our work and that of others, there is now a non-zero probability that pathogenic microbes could be revived, and infect us,” says Claverie. “How likely that is is not known, but it’s a possibility. It could be bacteria that are curable with antibiotics, or resistant bacteria, or a virus. If the pathogen hasn’t been in contact with humans for a long time, then our immune system would not be prepared. So yes, that could be dangerous.”

Scientists, ha ha, with their non-zero probability. Totally adding that to my daily vernacular.

Unintended consequences

The air in a man’s lungs contains 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms, so that sooner or later every one of us breathes an atom that has been breathed before by anyone you can think of who has ever lived – Michelangelo or George Washington or Moses.

– Jacob Bronowski


I mostly dislike this quote. And while I appreciate that it is likely true and that this should, I suppose, fill me with a sense of wonder and connected-ness to all of humanity, it also means I’m breathing in the same atoms that have traveled the pulmonary veins and arteries of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong, to name just a few of the previous century’s more charming individuals. This obviously fills me with less awe and instills in me instead the deep desire to take ammonia hydroxide and a wire brush to the surface area of my alveoli. Which was likely not the intention of the speaker.

Also, Michelangelo, George Washington and Moses are your go-to paragons of the human race? I mean I realize this is quite a subjective thing and that everyone of us has their own weightings they use to ascribe value…  but Moses? The man, wondered round a desert for 40 years. A relatively small desert at that. Color me generally unimpressed.

Finally shouldn’t it be ‘in a persons’ lungs (as opposed to a mans). I like quotes to include the lesser and more maligned gender too. I mean if your point is inclusivity.  Although maybe girls use less oxygen. And therefore are less likely to have inhaled tainted atoms.

This kinda makes sense to me.



Let me fix this for you CBSNews. Aaron Tucker skips job interview, takes shirt off his back to save car crash victim. 

Thats better.

I resist the urge to go off the deep end about this since I’ve already done my TL;DR post for the day. So let me just say, ‘Kudos to you Mr. Tucker’.

No true Scotsman

No true Scotsman or appeal to purity is an informal fallacy in which one attempts to protect a universal generalization from counterexamples by changing the definition in an ad hoc fashion to exclude the counterexample.


Buddhism has a lot to teach us, you know. It has been shown to have real psychological and cognitive value. You mean like those Buddhists monks who helped the Burmese Army ethnically cleanse the Rohingya to the point of genocide? Oh, but they weren’t proper Buddhists. – The Four Horsemen, Foreword by Stephen Fry. (I think he’s quoting the above from somewhere, but I’m not sure of the source)