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Recommended reading

Thank you all for your kind and caring words as I’ve shared the beginning of my grief journey after losing my daughter, Rana. I expect that I will write more about it from time to time, as I expect it will take me a couple of years, more or less, to come fully to terms with this loss. But it feels like time to do normal things again, like create my weekly Recommended Reading list.

7th & Wabash, Terre Haute
Nikon FA, 35-70mm f/3.3-4.5 Zoom Nikkor, Kodak T-Max P3200, HC-110 B, 2022.

💻 Kevin Drum searched for the best data on mask effectiveness he could find, and shares it. It’s disappointing how ineffective cloth masks turn out to be. I switched to surgical masks not long ago, and they’re better, but they’re by far not perfect. Read Revisiting masks: Here’s how different face coverings perform against COVID-19

💻 Have the good times we’ve experienced in the US since World War II made us all soft? Is our softness about to lead to bad times? Daniel Miessler considers this. Read Is This the Most Important Civilizational Pattern?

💻 It sometimes seems like things are getting worse in the US, and maybe they are. Perhaps the US is descending while other nations like India and China are ascending. But there is opportunity in our descent, says Aaron Renn, if people like you and me purpose to bring the change necessary for the next phase of our nation’s growth. Read Welcome to the Descending World

💻 Sometimes when I review an old camera here, I give its price when new, and the price adjusted for inflation today. Timothy B. Lee explains why an adjusted-for-inflation price doesn’t tell enough of the story about anything’s cost or value. Read Why Agatha Christie could afford a maid and a nanny but not a car

📷 arh reviews the Pracktica L, a clunky but capable East German 35mm SLR. Read The PrakticaL Praktica L

📷 Kodak is discontinuing 24-exposure rolls of Kodak Ultramax 400, aka Kodak Max 400, their first film discontinuation in eight years. Bill Manning has the story. Read Ultramax Maxed Out?

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13 thoughts on “Recommended reading

  1. Andy Umbo says:

    When it comes to masking, I’ve always worn at least the nurse mask if I can’t find the N95. I remember when I got my first covid shot of the series, having a nurse offer me a free cloth mask, which I refused! She asked why, and I said I had a lot of experience mixing powered chemistry, and it was no great leap of genius to shine a flashlight though the material and be able to see many open holes, large enough to see the light through visually. Unacceptable. Even the simple nurse mask when a light is shown through, you cannot see open holes with the light shining through, just a soft glow from the whole area. Not a scientific method, but pretty easy to see why the cloth material wouldn’t be acceptable.

    When it comes to inflation and pricing, I love to check actual prices “back in the day” compared with what that amount of money would be today, BUT, the true “tell” is what that vintage price would be against your vintage salary, vs. what the “todays money” would be against todays salary. Almost every time I’ve done this exercise, the vintage price was less of my vintage salary than the inflated price (or even todays price) against my recent salary. as far as I can tell, this means it was far more affordable for me 35 years ago than today!

    • I have some wispy cloth masks that I used early in the pandemic, and some three-layer ones I bought later — the three-layer ones are about as good as a cloth mask can be. But I’m happy to switch to surgical masks now. Margaret wears KN95s.

  2. Schmitt says:

    Partly due to you, I am working on starting my own blog / series of essays. Early days yet, but maybe this year I’ll be on your Saturday list sometime.

    Thank you for being an example of writing about what you want and doing it day in, day out, no matter the rewards.

  3. Masks: the data has always been the same. Some are more effective than others, and the operation of them is different. To start with we were using masks as deflectors because the virus was aerosolized and interrupting the flow of exhaled droplets was the best way to reduce the chances of spreading it to someone else. They have finally admitted this latest strain is airborne, so the deflection method is not as effective against spreading it. Masks on the whole are pretty poor at filtering viruses, and thus the best of the bunch is the N95 range – and it is no guarantee you won’t breath in the latest mutation that can multiply to highly infectious levels even in people who are vaccinated. Thanks to the “freedom” idiots, we now have an unsolvable problem that masks and other restrictions do little to ease. And yes I do understand this stuff. So does every real doctor on Earth. But unfortunately we put morons in charge of running things and they do not understand anything beyond how to stuff their pockets with your tax dollars.

    • I have a few N95s here from when I did a big woodworking project and didn’t want to breathe in sawdust. Good Lord, but do I hate wearing those things. So uncomfy. Margaret has some KN95s that look a lot more comfortable. I ought to buy from the same supplier she uses.

  4. Ultramax is getting hard to buy here in Korea. Most places only allow one roll per customer because of supply chain issues. My local lab has lots of Fujifilm C200 but he sells a lot of it to local students and he’s worried about running out. Some less popular films like Kodak ProImage 100 are easy to find. Same with the higher quality films like Portra and Ektachrome. Black and white films are readily available. I guess it’s not as popular as colour negative film.

    • Wow, film rationing!

      I was in Chicago not long ago and stepped into Central Camera. They had plenty of film, but the color was marked way up. I bought some HP5 because it was under $6 a roll, which seems like a fair price to me.

  5. DougD says:

    Descending world was interesting.
    I’ve told a longer version of this story to JPC, but one of my good friends is an American ex-pat. He hadn’t seen his family in Michigan for 1.5 years because of Covid, they told him things are getting worse, the country is going to pot.
    So finally last summer he could cross the border and he visited for a few weeks. As far as he could tell the only difference in their lives was they were now listening to and watching people who were every day telling them the country was getting worse and going to pot, and they should be angry about it. And they were, but their lives were no different by any other metric…

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