Adam Piggott notes that the middle kingdom is treating Australia as a client state. The British used to practice gunboat diplomacy: it is now the turn of the Peoples Liberation Navy. The implication is that China considers Canberra to be as weak as the Ming Dynasty. Probably correctly. The Chinese are using an economic wedge here — they are Australia’s primary trading partner — trying to subvert the ANZUS alliance, as the more progressive parts of the USA freeze Chinese students out of schools because of diversity. Anyone who has studied Chinese history knows the best response to any Chinese government is to avoid them. Be far away.

From weekend trip.

The US goverment is launching antitrust investigations against social media, leading to share price drops. Social media share prices were a bubble anyway: they have a burn rate (well most of them) greater than income.

To remind you: Take facebook off your phone. Delete Twitter. If you have to facebook (and no organization needs it) then use a computer. It cuts down the dopamine spike of approval and likes, and allows you to work. Far better to go for a walk. Your life is not digital, it is analogue. If you have to use facebook messages (and for some people, it is the only way to contact them) use a standalone app

Our cats are analogue

Matt Briggs was an atheist. He has two essays worth reading, one on the conflict of interests medicos get into — particularly when acceding to the fashions of this time and this day, regardless of the evidence — and on recovering from what he calls the naturalist delusion. I’m quoting from the second one.

Now there is no such thing as unbelief per se: everybody believes in something about the purpose of life, even if these beliefs shift and bounce around in time. I bounced. I went from Catholicism, to embracing for many years the Naturalism Fallacy, to grasping that fallacy and so coming home. This experience at least gave me insight into a common form of atheist typically found in and around universities and in the lower-upper levels of organizational life.

Naturalism is a radical philosophy. Thinking about it, really understanding its implications, can scare most atheists straight. That’s what worked with me. Grasping the universe can’t explain itself, that if naturalism is true then there is no good or evil, that there is no self, that there is nothing if naturalism is true is sobering. Because none of that makes any sense.
This is why only 30% of American atheists strongly agree that the universe is “ultimately meaningless”: Brazil is the highest at 47%. If the universe is ultimately meaningless, so then is the phrase ultimately meaningless. Indeed no phrase has any meaning. Everything is not only not opinion—opinion would be an improvement—but nothing at all.

Matt Briggs.

It appears that Mac has gone for the high high end with its new MacPro. Thom Hogan, who is the best photographer adviser I know of, says that you don’t need a mac pro no more (unless doing massive video files) … many photographers I know use Windows monitors and calibrate them, and I do the same in Linux. You don’t need MacOS now. But we have to have our finned Cadillac period of computery. Getting this signed off by the accounts would be a challenge: I don’t know of sole businessmen who would buy this when a imac or macpro can do the same job, or you can use Darktable on Linux and spend half as much on hardware.

This is a powerhouse machine designed for those that a) need macOS and b) need extreme levels of power, such as creators working with graphics, 3D CAD modeling, editing 4K or 8K video, audio. It starts at $5999, and guesses are open for the price for a maxed out spec device. And yes, it looks a bit like a cheese grater.
That’s expensive, but Apple isn’t taking shortcuts here, offering server-grade parts and high-end hardware at the top-tier offerings, although the base-model GPU isn’t great.
It’s not a consumer, or even prosumer device but a true enterprise/server-level computer. It’s the kind of thing offered at a business where the IT spend is in the millions each year.
There’s also a new monitor, called the Pro Display XDR, which Apple says is “the first 32-inch Retina 6K display ever”.
It matters because Apple is selling it not as a great monitor for creatives but as a professional reference display, which is a completely different category and means it’s not really for you unless you’re at Pixar working on the color precision in Toy Story 4 – or something.
Hilariously, the monitor doesn’t come with a stand, and Apple has a “Pro Stand” it sells as an extra for $999. This announcement caused a stir: the audience audibly gasped and laughed after this detail, even from the pro-Apple audience sitting in the keynote

Android Authority.

The Register is more cutting: it calls it the idiot tax. I can do most of what I need on an ARM machine. But then, I don’t do video — if I did, or had to do a lot of stats, I’d get one of the Dell Linux machines, which are still cheaper. . I’m sure some monitor makers will have alternative calibrated screens available. With a stand.

On local news: the storms that hit the North of New Zealand — we have tornadoes, in winter — missed us, though the snow has come to central and it is very cold, again. We have four seasons: the one I dislike is the cold one.

Those numbers are in Celsius, and yes, but North American Standards they are not that cold. However, you don’t need to wear a sweater in an office in North America. You do here.