Pluralistic: 11 Nov 2020

Today's links

Interactive UK covid omnishambles explorer (permalink)

The US and the UK have been locked in a fierce competition since March, to see who can bungle their coronavirus response worse. The US is the clear leader here, both in per-capita deaths and infections and in elevating lethal junk-science to a conservative loyalty test.

But the UK has put in a remarkable showing.

Remember "cumgate" (Prime Ministerial advisor Dominic Cummings' breathtaking violation of his own lockdown rules)?

Then there's Boris Johnson, who beat Trump in the who-gets-infected-first race by months.

For all that the UK has lost most of the events in Infection Olympics to its American cousins, it continues to lead in that most quintessentially English of events: the omnishambles.

Maybe it's the lower population or the high degree of inbreeding in the British upper classes, but whatever the secret is, you just can't beat HMG when it comes to awarding lucrative and vital contracts to bumbling politically connected insiders.

The Tories are so good at this that it's nearly impossible to keep up. That's where Sophie E Hill's "My Little Crony" comes in, being an interactive visualisation tool for tracking and tracing the UK's world-beating incompetence and corruption.

Drawing on public data sources from Opendemocracy, the Byline Times and elsewhere, Hills's visualiser lets you explore the connections between government contracts, political donations and the familial/corporate/social connections that link them.

From shadowy offshore entities to dirty trickster PR agencies to those fun-loving lads and lasses at Serco, Hills gives us the red-yard-and-pushpin version of the mass-murdering, economy-destroying, NHS-worker-applauding Tory response to the virus.

Have a rummage, you'll be furious you did!

Win 6 free sf/f hardcovers (permalink)

Chaos and Cosmos is Tor Books's campaign promoting six new sf/f novels:

  • The Memory of Souls by Jenn Lyons
  • Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston
  • To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini
  • Burning Roses by S. L. Huang
  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab.

As well as my own ATTACK SURFACE, the third Little Brother book.

In addition to online samplers of excerpts from the books and videos in which the authors talk about their process and ideas, Tor's also offering a sweepstakes to win all six titles.

The books come in a handsome tote-bag, and the competition is open to readers in the US and Canada (Tor is not the publisher for these books in other parts of the world, sorry).

The deadline to enter is Nov 20:

This day in history (permalink)

#10yrsago Gutterpunk bluegrass buskers in the French Quarter

#5yrsago The DoJ won’t let anyone in the Executive Branch read the CIA Torture Report

#5yrsago House GOP defends the right of racist car-dealers to overcharge people of color

#5yrsago UK Snooper’s Charter “would put an invisible landmine under every security researcher”

#1yrago Bill Gates just accidentally proved that even “unsuccessful” antitrust enforcement works

Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources: Lessig (

Currently writing: My next novel, "The Lost Cause," a post-GND novel about truth and reconciliation. Yesterday's progress: 575 words (82575 total).

Currently reading: The Ministry for the Future, Kim Stanley Robinson

Latest podcast: Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town (part 22)

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When life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla -Joey "Accordion Guy" DeVilla