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Gentle Decline 1/31: Beats & Breakdown
Hello. This record-length issue is by special request: a breakdown of the fiction piece in the previous issue, talking through what's in it in terms of what, in fiction, would be the setting. I find this a little weird to write; I'm very used to breaking down other people's writing to get at the nuts and bolts, and very unused to doing it to my own. If you're not into it, feel absolutely free to skip this issue, and there'll be another one in a few weeks which is not so meta.
Also, since fiction is by nature a very compressed form of showing-not-telling, the actual telling here is long. You have been warned.
[ Gentle Decline is an occasional newsletter about anthrogenic disaster, and how to cope with it. Drew (still unemployed at time of writing) doesn't get paid to write it, but you can throw a coin to your doom-monger at https://ko-fi.com/drewshiel ]
"Miranda ties her shoelaces, taps her watch on the doorjamb, and heads out from work. It's been a shorter day than usual,"
The shoelaces show that not all much has changed; the tap of the watch shows that something has. I'm reckoning here on some kind of system that tracks people's hours. In the kind of setup I'm thinking of, where the bakery in which Miranda works is a co-op, it may be to prevent people from putting in too many hours, rather than making sure they meet a minimum as per Data-Enabled Capitalist Oppression Of The Worker. It's fairly thoroughly automated, though; the hard-to-do-by-accident contact of wrist device and an eye-level-ish bit of the doorjamb is a sufficient user interface.
"... but the summer heat has made it exhausting to be indoors, and all the more so in proximity to the ovens. The late afternoon air is still hot and dry - for Ireland - and she stops at the tap to refill her water bottle before she retrieves her bike."
The climate is different. Not so much so that it's not Ireland, it's still an island in the Atlantic, and thereby more humid than the continent. But there are more frequent heatwaves, and they're dryer than they used to be. Because Miranda is human, she too has Shifting Baseline Syndrome, and doesn't think of this as being exceptional, although the older characters might.
"The handprint-sensor on the cycle station is not quite working; it takes her a few tries to make it unlock. She resolves to send a message to the company that provides it, and forgets the resolution within seconds, as she has done every working evening for weeks."
Tech still flaky, news at eleven. One of the things that drives me nuts in sf is that either the tech works perfectly, or it's a plot point. Tech breaks down all the time, and I feel it's unrealistic to pretend that won't happen in the future. Also, this is some of the highest tech that's used in the entire piece, because it's a future that uses a fair amount of scavenging and recycling. This is a kind of shorthand for the decline of oil; plastic just isn't as available.
"The main road into the village is busier than usual, but it's almost all bike and foot traffic at this time - it's too early for the commuter rush hour, and all the delivery trucks have been and gone. Because the courier depot is on this side of the village, there's the odd van coming and going too."
People are using bikes and walking more. This was very visible during the early days of the lockdown here; there were few and sometimes no cars on the road, and only courier and retail supply vehicles moving when there were. But there were still people moving. Skateboards were pretty noticeable, too, but I'm not willing to commit to them being a longer-term thing; I reckon they'll come and go in waves. Courier services have been centralised or combined, or something - what I'm thinking of here is a sort of parcel arrival depot, from which bikes pick up packages for the last-mile delivery to the recipient. This probably isn't An Post, and it might be the case that one courier company has eaten all the others, but I think it's more likely that it's an effort to cut down on vehicular traffic within the town (which, although it's not stated, is Maynooth, where I live) - a municipally provided drop-off point. Maybe Parcel Motel run it.
"She settles into the swing of the bike, and is coming through the village in moments. A spur-of-the-moment decision makes her jump off at the square and lock the bike into a stand there, because it's an evening for coffee. Iced coffee, specifically."
There is still coffee, but it's not quite the routine thing that it is for us. Bike stands are everywhere, like car parking spaces are now.
"The coffee shop on the square has been there since before she was born; it's been through three pandemics, five recessions - plus the Reset - and three hurricanes, one of which more or less demolished the building next to it. As far as she's been able to see from old pictures in the entryway, it hasn't changed since the 20s."
This tells us Miranda is younger than about 40. I haven't specified further; if I do write more of her life (as has been requested by a few people), I might pin this down a bit. Or not. This also establishes that there have been multiple pandemics, not just the Single Great Pandemic of 2020. I think this is pretty likely, to be honest; COVID-19 is nothing special in disease terms, and the conditions that let it spread worldwide haven't gone away. We had a long run of nearly a hundred years with no easily-transmissible new diseases, too, and now we think that's normal - it isn't.
There've also been recessions. This is Normal Capitalism, mind - the nonsensical waves of boom and bust which aren't connected to any actual real world cause will continue as long as they're allowed, and as long as rich people get richer from them. The Reset is my hypothetical movement from capitalism to an economy that features Guaranteed Employment (of which more later) and Universal Basic Income.
And hurricanes. Of the ten most powerful storms to hit Europe in the last 200 years, five have happened since 1985. They're only going to increase, and postulating three between now and 2060 is probably almost certainly an underestimate. Even a hurricane force storm isn't technically a hurricane when it reaches Ireland; it's an extra-tropical cyclone. But I really don't think that distinction is going to survive in any meaningful way - both Ophelia and Dennis were referred to as hurricanes when they got here. Also, Ophelia isn't even on the list of 10 most powerful storms.
"She notes as she's going in that the IR indicator in the square is slowing pulsing green; no actual warning, but some new cases of something in the area."
There's some artistic licence here. An Infection Rate indicator as a color-and-motion-coded light is probably less likely than something app-based, and I don't think that the oil decline is going to hit hard enough that any significant number of people will not have a smart device. But I also like the idea of the IR indicator going to yellow, and everyone reaching for the mask they have in their pockets, or going red and everyone immediately going home. I do, however, think that we'll start to pay as much attention after a couple of pandemics to this as we do to rain and pollen forecasts now.
"She knows the barista well enough to just say, "The usual, please" as she passes over her cup, and get it. Her account will be debited, assuming the machine doesn't charge her three times this time."
Tech still flaky, news... no, I did that. Theoretically, though, her cup and the coffee machine interact Also, Miranda has lived here for a reasonably long time; she doesn't get coffee every day, but the barista still knows what she wants.
"Coffee's gone down a bit, she notes from the price on the display; if it's still like that tomorrow, she might stock up for home."
People track the price of oil now, and go and fill tanks when prices are low. Not everyone does it, of course, but it's definitely a thing. There were short queues, despite lockdown, when the price went negative a few months ago. Coffee, being energy-intensive enough to grow, likely to be affected by changing weather, and more expensive to import, will have changing prices. Addicts like me and Miranda will need to pay attention.
Tea can be grown in Ireland - I fully expect that many people will have a few tea plants in their back yards, and that there will be commercial growers as both climate and oil decline bite. So there won't be as much of a Tea Price Index, although there will be plenty of informal tea trading.
"Her uncle sometimes compares it to oil prices thirty and forty years ago, but they're mostly an abstraction for Miranda, who has never bought petroleum or diesel, and canisters of gas only a few times, for glasswork. Outside, she drops the cup into its holder on the handlebars, and heads on homeward."
If we postulate that Miranda is about 35, she'll be born in 2025. She'd have no reason to buy vehicle fuel until she's over 18 and can theoretically drive, so that's 2043. She lives in an area that has decent public transport, and I think it's very likely that she'll never have learned to drive - and thereby never have a car. This leaves aside the prospect of self-driving cars, although I'm pretty sure they'll also be self-fuelling. Or maybe electric cars are the norm in 2060.
Natural gas is now used mostly for hobbies, and maybe by posh restaurant kitchens. Because there's infrastructure to pipe gas direct to houses, it'll likely be the last fossil fuel to decline, though.
"The house windows are open, and the meter is at full, which at this time could be from the solar panels, but mostly indicates that someone's been home for long enough to charge up the batteries. In the winter, the teenagers in the neighbourhood earn pocket money by charging them up with their own bikes."
So what I'm thinking here is that every house has its own set of batteries. Big, two-or-three-days-worth-of-power batteries. They're charged by a variety of means - solar, wind, and pedal power. For pedal power, you rack your bike - because everyone has a bike - into the generator slot, and pedal for a while. If you're a teenager, you can pick up a bit of extra cash by pedalling for an hour or two.
You'll note that there's a fair bit of gig economy still going on here. Gig economy is horrible in an era of capitalism, but if there's guaranteed employment and UBI, it reverts to what it "should" be; a small extra income for anyone who has time to spare doing non-skilled work.
"Miranda racks hers in its usual slot, and heads in. She hears music from the kitchen as she takes off her shoes; one of the house founders was Scandinavian, and the tradition of no-shoes-indoors persisted."
This is in part me plugging the take-off-your-shoes-at-the-door-you-barbarians angle, and also the idea that houses, shared houses, households, or whatever you want to call them, are established enough as an idea that a "house founder" is a known concept, and that some traditions get passed down. This derives a bit from student houses I knew in Dublin in the late 1990s/early 2000s, and also from the concept of fraternity houses in US colleges. I think in this case, though, the building is co-owned in some way by the residents.
"Her Uncle Sean - actually her uncle, unlike Martin or Mirza - is responsible for the music, something late nineteenth century and full of growly male voices. He waves in acknowledgement as she passes through."
This is mostly a way of introducing some of the other residents of the house, and also of making many of the readers of this feel old; grunge to Miranda has about the same cultural position as big band music has for me. I think she mostly listens to second-gen wytchwave and ishmoor. Mirza is a Bangladeshi name; I'm hammering a bit on the idea of a number of people from that part of the world ending up here. Did you know that right now, due to catastrophic flooding, about one-third of the entire country of Bangladesh is under water?
"Her pigeonhole has a couple of things in it; online deliveries, a package of soap from her sponsored family in Bognor Regis, and some legal paperwork about the bakery co-op."
Online deliveries still exist, although we kind of established that with the courier set-up. And legal paperwork is only slightly behind death and taxes in its inevitability. The real meat of this line is me throwing shade at the UK. I am, at this stage, pretty convinced that the country has started on the slide into second world status. I'll expand on this again, but the combination of poor infrastructure (have you seen the roads?), heavy concentration on coastal settlement, the departure from the EU, the fairly poor handling of the pandemic, and the continued existence of the Tory party will pretty inevitably wreck it by 2060. At the same time, it's not going to be disconnected from the rest of the world, so we'll start to see the kind of appeals we see from the US now for gofundmes for medical costs, and straight-up appeals to the world for help for individuals in particularly nasty situations.
"She drops those on her bed, and waves on her systems. Apart from the stuff in the house - herb beds, an experimental hydroponics tank, and an algae converter she's been trying to get right - she has monitors all over the garden for soil temperature, moisture levels, and hours of sunlight. Mirza has the horticultural know-how, and she has the tech. Between the two of them, they keep the house in salads, fruit, and a slowly increasing number of vegetables."
I'm looking here at a local instance of what happens when you combine the thinking of permaculture, urban homesteading, and a reasonable level of technological know-how. Some of the components for what Miranda has built here are already very cheap. My thinking for the house here is two semi-detached houses combined into one, possibly with an extension on one side. But that gives a suburban garden and a half or so, with roofs and verticals added. Clever use of mirrors and shades to maintain temperatures can already increase the productivity of a small garden by seemingly vast amounts; a 120% increase isn't unheard of. So it's pretty possible for two people to supply a household as above. Carbohydrates and meat (although I think they've probably cut meat consumption a lot) still come from outside. I debated giving them chickens, but I think intensive precise horticulture and chickens probably don't mix all that well. They probably trade salad goods for eggs with a neighbour.
"There's something not right with today's numbers, though, and after a few minutes she decides that one of the big mirrors on the back of the house is mis-aligned. She's glad she spotted that before getting changed, and she heads out to see if she can fix it. She's also going to have to work out some way of getting this data on her watch, but the app interaction limitations are deeply awkward."
Miranda is a programmer and a techie. Anyone else would have looked at the garden first and checked the numbers afterward. And sometimes very simple and obvious things are hard to do in tech, like getting a decent weather app on an Android phone. As I write, the replacement for the bought-by-Apple-and-discontinued-on-Android Darksky is claiming that I am in Naas (about 22km away), that it is 13C (probably legit) and feels like 27C (completely wrong, and I know because I can still form words, and what kind of hellish conditions could produce a feels-like figure of 27C from a real temperature of 13C?).
"Rose and Chahna are in the sun room; Rose is asleep in one of the shady corners, as she often is now. Miranda checks to see her pillows are in place, and reassures herself that her aunt is still breathing. Chahna is is doing something with clay and ink, which could be schoolwork or could be something else entirely; Miranda doesn't mind as long as the child isn't shrieking. She passes on through and into the garden."
Multi-generational housing will become relatively common again, I think. Repeated pandemics will mean that nursing homes become impractical - they've already been absolute disasters in many countries during the COVID-19 outbreaks - and remote schooling and other home-focused practices will add up to having multiple people of different ages around. So Rose - Miranda's father's much older sister - lives here, and so does Chahna, Mirza's daughter, who is probably around 8 or 10.
"The garden looks like a scrapyard, according to Sean. To Miranda's eye, though, it's a finely tuned food producing machine, with precisely-placed beds, baskets, planters, wall-grids, and all manner of other space-optimising tricks - albeit they're made from salvaged timber and metal, with the wheels and arms that move mirrors and shades and baskets coming from almost anything mechanical. A glance shows her that most things are in order,"
I suspect that this is cutting edge gardening salvage-tech, supported by online groups with lots of videos, and designed to make food production possible in an environment where summer might mean a 35C+ heatwave, or forty days of 20mm of rain, or both, with a hurricane for good measure. So the garden is programmed to adjust to the conditions, irrigating, shading, and moving plants into and out of sunlight as needed. Because so much of it is salvaged, it takes a lot of manual intervention and jury-rigged fixes. Miranda could probably buy a commercial setup to do the same, but at mad expense, such that it would take decades to provide a return on investment. You can see this today in amateur hydroponics setups; they're only practical in parts of the world where you otherwise pay twenty dollars for a head of lettuce.
"... although the rue plants she got from an elderly neighbour aren't settling in yet. Mirza says they're poison, but the neighbour has been eating and cooking with them for decades."
This is my cameo. Eva gave me some rue plants, so that I can cook from al-Warraq properly, and I adore them. Lots of people are allergic to them, though, so they're not safe for general consumption.
"She turns to look up at the main mirrors, and sighs. One of them is not just off, it's skewed almost to the horizontal by a large tabby cat snoozing in it. She retrieves a hose-gun from the rack, checks the settings, and drives the cat out with a few well-placed darts of water. It takes only a few minutes to re-align the mirror; she lines it up with the marks she made the last time this happened."
Cats, amirite? This represents the tendency of stuff to go wrong in unexpected minor ways, which I think is under-represented in future scenarios - it's either everything works, or things are disastrously wrong (although see Becky Chambers and Mary Robinette Kowal for counter-examples).
"Satisfied with the fix, at least until she has to fit permanent cat deterrents of some kind, she heads back to get changed."
MirandasGardenProgram v32.5445a: IF silhouetteDetection == Cat THEN waterSquirt. If I had that, I might have successfully grown carrots and peas this year.
"Several people are coming over for dinner, aside from those normally resident in the house; Mirza's ex-wife Amlika, Sean's friends Josephine and Pierre, and Miranda's own girlfriend, Kath, who spends about half her time in the house anyway."
In the longer term, with the pandemics, and limitations on travel, I think eating out is going to reduce. So where in the 2010s we went out for dinner with friends, I strongly suspect that we're going to see a swing toward eating in - probably with lots of takeaway and other food services, some of it from ghost kitchens and some from literal hole-in-the-wall retail, where the transactional front end of the business is minimised to one hatch-window. There might still be a big glass wall where you can see into the kitchen, but not breathe into it.
"She's emerging from her room as Martin passes by, the old engineer's prosthetics whirring gently. "Ah, Mir," he says, "We've a couchsurfer tonight, could you get down some spare blankets? He's newly in Ireland, and I'm willing to bet he's not used to it being cooler here yet."
"Sure," she says, and goes to do so."
This is, I note in retrospect, the only direct dialogue in the piece. Someone else is going to have to analyse that for you; I can do introspection, but there are limits. Couchsurfer is a slightly dated word even now - I'm sure they're still out there, but I haven't heard the word except when I use it myself for a decade, and being a couchsurfing host sounds kind of terrible in a pandemic. But this story is set in almost-zero-pandemic conditions, and in any case Martin is getting on in years, so it may be a word from his youth. In actual setting terms, we've established that it's hot in Ireland in July in 2060; imagine what it's like wherever this guy is coming from. He's probably not directly from Bangladesh, either.
"Martin lost his lower legs in emergency work in London's docklands, and while he's perfectly mobile on artificial feet - shaped like hooves, since it amuses him - the idea of climbing the ladder to the attic gives him difficulty."
I didn't come up with the hoof prosthetic. Rather ironically in this context, it was invented for amputee climbers. "London's docklands" is a little more shade for the UK, although it's hardly alone in having its financial district near sea level. I do think that we're going to see some of the kind of volunteer-work travel that happened in the 1990s, particularly if UBI comes in, and people are free to do so.
"Dinner is a success. Sean has turned garden produce, some meat from the butchers' co-op, and a few bought ingredients into the kind of meal that people write poetry about, according to the Bangladeshi couchsurfer, Rubel."
The butchers' shop is also a co-op. It's like it's a useful business model for a post-Reset world or something.
"It turns out that he and Amlika knew some people who knew some people - or possibly some places, Miranda isn't entirely sure - in common, and the conversation slips back and forth between English and Bengali."
From what I've heard, Bangladeshis get to make the same joke as Irish people, when asked if they know a random other Irish person: "Look, first, we don't know all know each other, that's a dreadful stereotype. Second, yeah, he's me dad's cousin's best friend's therapist."
"Josephine is working on salvage projects in Dublin's docklands, and has brought a few components and waterlogged computers for Miranda. She'll dry them out and at least get parts from them."
Obviously, Dublin's docklands are not permanently underwater by 2060. But storms, spring tides, and occasional river flooding have made them uninhabitable, and made something of a mockery of the early 21st century development there. There's a relatively orderly process to bring down buildings and recycle materials. Some things aren't deemed of value, and people can take them away. And it's not like there's much use for thirty and forty-year old chips and computer components, unless you're the kind of person who builds a robot garden.
"Pierre is working on the first cutting of the no-longer-new native forestry projects in South Kildare, and is full of the joys of extracting timber from a permanent woodland."
The Dublin Mountains Makeover project was due to start in June of this year, and may even have gone ahead despite the pandemic. I reckon other counties will have done the same soon after, and that thirty to thirty-five years in is the time at which some serious culling of by-then relatively large ashes and other fast-growing trees can happen. These will begin to feed timber and firewood needs, and in some cases will be left to decay in the woodlands for biodiversity purposes. I reckon the main thrust of most Kildare woodlands will be oak, but there'll be no useful harvesting of oak until at least the mid-2200s. This indicates a switch to proper long-term thinking which, to be blunt, I think is really optimistic.
"Kath has been learning Bengali, so follows some of that conversation, and spends some of the time grilling Sean for arcane details of cookery."
Kath learning Bengali is also optimistic. The tendency of host nations to learn the languages of refugees is minimal, at best. Most people in Ireland learning the various forms of Chinese did so because they felt China was on the way to being a world power, but Cantonese is spoken by about 0.2% of people in Ireland, as opposed to Polish, which is spoken by more than 3% of the population, but not learned as a second language by almost anyone. But there'll be a few, and I do think that Gen Z and whatever unnamed generation Miranda and Kath belong to have and will have their own reasons for other languages.
"Sean in turn recounts stories from his childhood, some of which Kath and Miranda regard as doubtful, and Chahna regards as impossible fiction. And Pierre's son Adam, an engineer in the UN Peacekeeping Forces, is stationed in Florida, and has sent a few packets of heirloom seeds for Mirza, which provokes a long and much too political digression."
Having finished throwing shade at the UK, I am here suggesting that the US has descended into being a second world nation, or perhaps 2.5th world, in need of UN intervention. This is the kind of suggestion which causes apoplexy in some Americans, so I apologise to anyone whose head exploded here, and suggest you consider why I think it's likely.
"Later, Miranda and Kath wash up with help from Rubel, who is determined to be useful. He's had a few nights in hostels, and doesn't much want to do any more, so the word of mouth network of couchsurfing is preferable by far. He'd like to stay in Ireland, but isn't eligible for Guaranteed Employment or UBI yet, so odd jobs - nixers, Sean calls them - and scutwork on farms has been all he's been able to get so far."
There are, of course, systems in place to process refugees, and we have in the enlightened 2060s gotten rid of Direct Provision long and ever ago. I suspect that much like food rationing (possibly a thing in the UK and US, though) it hangs around much longer than anyone expected, but I do see it ending. EU citizens are eligible for UBI, which is one income stream, and there's enough stuff that needs doing that Guaranteed Employment - where the government offers work to anyone who will take it, and pays some amount more over the top of UBI - works well. It's a deeply anti-capitalist system, mind. Josephine and Pierre's work is probably GE.
Guaranteed Employment is one of those ideas which makes perfect sense, and only doesn't happen because the world we live in is deeply weird. It was really a default for centuries; if you needed work, you could go to the local ruler or landlord, and there would be work that needed doing. It's only under the artificially maintained supply-and-demand structure that capitalism applies to employment that people can really be unemployed. But in a time when infrastructure needs replacing, timber needs to be cut down by hand (because you can't bring heavy machinery into maturing forests), and the Docklands need salvaging, there's always something to do, and fiat currency means that - as with stimulus cheques and whatever New Zealand did - the money printer can go brrrr.
"It's a story Miranda is familiar with, and she doesn't think it'll be the last time she hears it either. Rubel is bright and cheerful, although Miranda reckons that's something of a front. He doesn't mention family, and she doesn't ask."
You don't ask people with accents where they're from, because what you're saying is "you sound like an outsider". You don't ask refugees about their families because, well, if they're not right there, it's not going to be a happy subject.
"Kath settles in to reading her stream updates; she uses agent tech to filter her incoming items carefully, and barring emergencies, doesn't read anything in the news that isn't a week old and still deemed current or more than five thousand words."
I'm envisioning here a sort of evolved form of social media, with a wide variety of inputs, some of which allow discussion, and others more like RSS feeds. It can be filtered by software to exclude or seek out particular topics, and the advice to not read news that isn't relevant a week later is a really solid way to approach current affairs. This is very nearly possible now, and it's mostly the bigger networks - Facebook in particular, LinkedIn to some degree, Slack quite completely - refusing to have the content on their networks easily readable from outside that prevents it.
"Miranda, who hasn't quite moved on from Sean's teaching on how to read media, does read current news, but tonight she's catching up on tubecasts; a number of her favourite shows are back online after the Atlantic storm season hiatus."
I'm not too certain what age Sean is. He might have been born around 2000, or he might be up into his 80s. But he has an old-fashioned, manual, deeply sceptical approach to media, so it sounds like he at least encountered the Western Media Wars of the mid 2020s up close and personal.
The Atlantic Storm Season can be expected to be downright nasty at this stage, and the infrastructure hasn't quite caught up, such that trans-Atlantic connections are sometimes lost for a few days, and some cities might shut down or evacuate. The physics that throws most of the big storms at the US probably still functions, although the sheer number means a good few will hit Europe, too.
Also, in 2020, the hurricane season runs from June to October. My suggestion that the hiatus is over in July means something has changed. I don't know what, but I think relying on the data from ~250 years of old climate to predict new climate is a bit like expecting butterflies to behave like caterpillars.
"Morning arrives, with light filtering around Miranda's solar panels much too early for comfort. The bedroom gets uncomfortably warm as soon as the sun is out, so she adjusts the airflow to cool it. There's only so much retrofitting that can be done on a late-twentieth-century house, though, and they both vacate the room before seven. Rose is up and awake and making tea in the cool second kitchen, and they spend a pleasant hour there over breakfast before Miranda has to head out. She has the middle shift in the bakery again today, but the next three days off."
And we come full cycle, with Miranda off for the last day of her four day week. The airflow stuff relates to the way in which houses have historically been built in almost every warm climate; aligned with prevailing winds, and constructed to allow and even encourage a flow of air through the building for cooling purposes. With electricity being expensive, this kind of passive system is back in vogue - but when your housing stock is mostly late 20th century, there are limits.
This issue brought to you by several days in the West with friends, the Caves of Keash, a mussel mausoleum, and a number of excellent hagstones. I'm giving up on trying to say what the next issue will be in advance, but I'm taking requests - hit reply to make yours. For those looking for more fiction about Miranda and Kath, of whom there are a few, it'll probably appear eventually.
If you feel that Gentle Decline would be useful to someone else in your life, please forward it on and/or show them the subscription link at https://tinyletter.com/gentledecline - and there's also an intermittently updated Twitter feed at @gentledecline. I'd love to have more people reading this and being, in some sense, better prepared for what's slowly coming. I'm also considering moving the newsletter to Substack, so shout if you have an opinion on that.
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