Google and the DOJ

Google is the defendant in an anttrust case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice

I have been following the case, and now it has been revealed that Apple gets 36% of the Revenue Google generates from the Safari browser.

That’s estimated at $18 billion a year that Google pays Apple for putting Google as its default search option.

If Google loses the antitrust case, then Apple could be pushed into allowing customers to choose a search engine option when setting up an Apple device rather than having Google set as the default.

Or maybe not, because the case isn’t against Apple and Apple says it chooses Google as the default search engine because it is the best around.

Meanwhile Apple is developing its own AI-powered search engine.

Where Are The Trees

A letter in The Week describes the number of trees Britain consumed before the 19yh Century.

“Cost of our colonial past

To The Daily Telegraph

It is difficult to overestimate how many trees were needed before iron and then steel replaced wood for shipbuilding in the 19th century in Britain (“Colonial shipbuilding nearly wiped out native bat”). It took an astonishing 6,000 mature oak trees to build a single ship of the line.
In the 1860s it was estimated that Britain needed 400,000 acres of timber annually to build the ships needed for defence and commerce.
So, the development of iron shipbuilding and steam power saved what little forest we had left from further plundering for ships. This came at a cost, of course, that we are only now starting to pay.

Dr Paul Stott, Newcastle University

Eichmann’s Rodomontade

I came across the word ‘rodomontade’ in Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann and The Holocaust‘, a book that Tamara gave me as a Chanukah gift (one of several gifts).

I had never heard the word before:

rodomontade (n.) – 1600s “vain boasting like that of Rodomonte,” a character in Ariosto’s “Orlando Furioso”

Arendt uses the word to describe Eichmann, who boasted of accomplishments, including about those that were not his. And, she says, it was his rodomontade in Argentina after the war that led to his capture.


Something else to worry about in the unstable world.

From the 2nd December issue of The Week

“An end to détente: Pyongyang’s launch of a spy satellite last week, in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, has breached the military deal that was struck between North and South Korea in 2018 to reduce tensions along their shared border. The launch – likely facilitated by technical help from Moscow, as a quid pro quo for North Korea’s recent provision of arms – is being seen as a boost for its intercontinental ballistic missile programme (and its ability to launch nuclear strikes). In response, Seoul has made good on its threat to restart aerial reconnaissance, flouting the agreement’s ban on military manoeuvres close to the border. Pyongyang has made clear it will ditch the agreement, and Seoul said this week that the North’s troops had been seen rebuilding guard posts and stationing heavy weapons along the border.”

I Am An Influencer

For me to be an influencer, you should think I am important and worth emulating, and that in so doing my magic will rub off on you and you will be more than you are now. Our desires must be aligned for that to happen, but you do not need to have original desires because I will supply these to fill you. And you will buy those desires because I am an influencer.


It seems to me that great observations hold a mirror up so we see the reality of what we want to think of ourselves and the truth of what we are. But at the same time they do not say there is no way out. They leave room for aspirations.

A blanket observation that there is nothing beyond absurdity is necessarily directed as those who believe otherwise, and is destructive.

Of course if it is directed at the pompous – at those who say one thing and do another – then it is satire.

Reflections on absurdity put us all in the same boat. Reflections that single out a group is akin to ridicule and is sadistic and possibly prompted by jealousy.

What We Love Will Ruin Us

In an issue of the print magazine The Week, for which my wife Tamara has a subscription, I noticed this in the ‘Memorable Quotes’ section:

“The surest way to work up a crusade in favour of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behaviour righteous indignation’ — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.” Aldous Huxley, quoted in The Spectator

Quite a quote.

A statement about man that we mostly want to pretend isn’t true.

But dig under the ideology of this man or that and we find that the ideology serves the man and not the other way around.

We might hear a person in his innermost being say “Give me an ideology that fits my needs and desires — for me, not for the benefit of anyone else.”

Yes, quite a quotation, and naturally it interested me to know exactly where Huxley said it, in what book or article or pamphlet or interview.

So I googled for the origin of the quote.

Most search results that came up — and there are a lot of them — do not give an origin for the quote but merely repeat it.

Some reported where the quote was quoted, but still not where the quote originated.

Some, however, say it is in Huxley’s book Crome Yellow.

I bought the Kindle version of the book for pennies and searched.

And the quote is not there.

I found an online HTML version of Crome Yellow from Project Gutenberg and searched it as well, just in case. And the quote is not there.

I searched for bits of the quote, picking out salient words such as ‘maltreatment’ and ‘righteous indignation’ and ‘moral treats’.


I thought maybe it was in Huxley’s novel ‘Island’ — so I bought a Kindle copy and searched.

Still nothing.

So I asked Bard — Google’s AI tool — and this is what it says:

The quote “To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior ‘righteous indignation’ — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.” is attributed to Aldous Huxley, but the exact source of this quote has been debated.

Some sources suggest that it comes from Huxley’s 1932 novel “Brave New World,” while others claim it is from his 1962 essay collection “The Doors of Perception.” However, neither of these works contains the exact phrase in question.

The earliest known appearance of the quote is in a 1966 book called “God Running” by John S. Hall. Hall attributes the quote to Huxley, but he does not provide a specific source.

It is possible that Huxley did utter the phrase at some point in his life, but there is no definitive evidence to prove it. The quote has certainly been widely circulated since the 1960s, and it is often used to criticize hypocrisy and self-righteousness.

So did Huxley ever say it at all?

Is it not indicative of the modern world and the casual brushes with the truth that The Week copied the quote from The Spectator and used it and neither publication checked whether the quote was in fact a quote.

The Spectator describes itself in its ‘About’ as follows:

The Spectator was established in 1828, and is the best-written and most influential weekly in the English language. Our writers have no party line; their only allegiance is to clarity of thought, elegance of expression and independence of opinion. Our writers’ opinions range from left to right, their circumstances from high life to low life. None make any pretence at being impartial: our motto is “firm, but unfair”.

We are a member of IPSO, the independent press regulator, and abide by the Editor’s Code. We also uphold strict standards of accuracy.

But Wait, There’s More

If this was all I have to say, then I would think I had made a poor effort.

But here is something that Neil Postman wrote about Huxley and George Orwell, that is worth reflecting on in these times. And I leave you with this:

On Orwell and Huxley’s vision of our future/present:
Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.
As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.”
“In 1984”, Huxley added, “people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure.”
In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us. ~Neil Postman

By the way — did Neil Postman actually write this? Yes he did — in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death.