Word from the Dark Side – pilots sleep, Unabomber freaks, army weeps and whales napping in the deep

I Feel Love by Donna Summer, 1977

Ethiopian Airlines flight misses Addis Ababa Airport because both pilots were asleep:

Instead of starting the descent, the aircraft continued its flight plan on autopilot until it flew over 37,000 feet altitude to its final destination, when the autonomous system was turned off and the warning signals would have roused the pilots.

Eat Pray Love Is Now… Colonial Oppression?

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Friday Finance – charting the 4% rule

I’ve been meaning to post this priceless table for a long time and today I finally got around to it:

Success Rates for different SWRs, by equity share and retirement horizon (1871-2015) HT

I put it right at the top so that those who already understand the chart don’t need to read the article if they don’t want to. It’s all there.

For the rest of us:

Wot dis?

‘Dis’, as you so vulgarly put it, is an estimate of how long your money will last in retirement depending on how much you withdraw each year and the proportion of shares vs. bonds.

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Word from the Dark Side – vexx is rough, Cambodia’s tough, nuns up the duff and rope enough

How Soon is Now? by The Smiths, 1984

Reuters saves us from misinformation again:

Fact Check-Study of Thai teenagers did not find one third experienced heart effects after COVID vaccination:

A study of 301 teens in Thailand found mild and temporary heart rhythm changes after a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine among one in six teenagers, not one-third as social media posts claim. The study also saw possible signs of heart inflammation in just seven of those teens with rhythm changes and confirmed myocarditis in only one of the seven.


Lockdown effects feared to be killing more people than Covid:

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Who is drawn to mass movements?

Book review of The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer.

Over the last few years, I have been compelled to curiosity about the nature of mass hysteria. I previously reviewed Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay.

The True Believer focuses on who gets involved in movements before they become established institutions – Bolsheviks in 1920, Nazis in 1925, Christians before Constantine and so on.

That’s a motley collection of mass movements, so I must add that Eric claims he does not see mass movements as necessarily bad. This book is mostly read as a warning about how extremist movements get started but it could equally be read as a how-to guide for getting a noble cause off the ground. Keep that in mind as we continue.

Eric’s main assertion is that true believers are, for the most part, unsuccessful and unhappy people:

. . . people with a sense of fulfillment think it a good world and would like to conserve it as it is, while the frustrated favor radical change.

Discontent is not enough. There must also be a sense of power to change things. An extremely poor peasant with no rights is unlikely to join a mass movement unless something convinces him it may succeed, perhaps a charismatic leader who seems infallible or firm belief in a doctrine.

The true believer seeks to join a movement primarily as a way of escaping himself.

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Word from the Dark Side – illegal flag, kids don’t shag, prayer room snag and fungal swag

Anyone remember this one? Low by Cracker, 1993

British Veteran Arrested for Causing ‘Anxiety’ by Displaying LGBT Flags as Swastika:

“Mr. Brady is British Army Veteran and they were trying to extort him for money by making him pay around £80 for educational course so he could downgrade from a crime to a non-crime, which would still show up in a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.” ( . . . )

When the police returned, they placed Brady in handcuffs after he informed them of his decision not to attend the “re-education” class and pay the fine, prompting Fox to begin filming the arrest, which has since gone viral.

Judge who OK’d Mar-a-Lago raid Obama donor once linked to Jeffrey Epstein:

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Word from the Dark Side – the dragon wakes, teambuilding mistakes, rural population breaks and Rolex headaches

Mama Luba by Serebro, 2011. HT commenter PrinzEugen from this post

Pulling apart a Salon agitprop piece about the Ukraine war:

Russia has lots of heavy bombers. Where are they? Also, didn’t the Jewish Comedian just recently fire half his command staff? I know they just deployed the closest thing we will ever see to the literal 45th Mechanized Hairdresser Battalion — those snazzy unicorn patches must really be bucking up the guys at the front — but… you know.

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The Secret History of Taiwan

Taiwan Aboriginal skull wall. Source

I’ve been meaning to write a post on Taiwan for a long time. I decided to rush one out before it’s too late.

The intention of this post is to correct common misapprehensions about Taiwan’s fascinating history. It is not to argue that the island does or does not belong to the PRC. That is to be decided by their willingness and ability to defend themselves. As Stalin supposedly said of the Pope, how many divisions does historical truth have?

The common, misleading version of Taiwanese history goes like this: Taiwan was once a province of China. Toward the end of the Civil War, Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist forces fled there and that’s how it ended up out of CCP control.

The real history goes more as follows. Obviously this must be a brief summary so pipe up in the comments if you think I’ve missed something vital or just interesting. I’ll also get things wrong because this is partly from memory.

In the beginning

Taiwan was ruled by warring Aboriginal tribes almost until modern times. Many made a custom of headhunting and decorating their villages with impressive skull walls as pictured above. Other tribes along the coast were more peaceable and lived by fishing.

Small groups of Chinese and Japanese sometimes visited the coast, often pirates hiding out from their respective governments. At this time, Taiwan was considered a wild and barbarous place by Chinese authorities and they had little interest in doing anything with it. Han imperial expansion went in every direction but east.

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