This Week in the New Normal #63

Our successor to This Week in the Guardian, This Week in the New Normal is our weekly chart of the progress of autocracy, authoritarianism and economic restructuring around the world.

1. Britain’s “astonishing” rise in heart problems

Three days ago Sky News reports a story on a 50% increase irregular heart beats in the UK, under the headline:

‘Astonishing’ rise in Britons with an irregular heartbeat – these are the main warning signs

Apparently, according to the British heart foundation, “there ha[s] been an astonishing 50% rise in cases [of atrial fibrillation] from a total of one million in 2013”. On top of official figures, the articles warns up 270,000 Britons might have the condition and not even know. This is bad, because [emphasis added]:

Without treatment it can significantly increase the risk of a blood clot forming inside the heart, which in turn means someone is five times more likely to have a fatal or life-changing stroke.

Looks like we can chalk up another explanation for all those heart attacks and strokes.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the word “vaccine” does not appear in the article. Not one time.

2. The Land Downunder that time forgot

Some schools om New South Wales are reintroducing learn-from-home and mask mandates “amid a wave of fresh Covid” cases according to the Sydney Morning Herald:

Almost a dozen public schools have returned to remote learning this week amid COVID-19 outbreaks that have also prompted one Sydney campus to reinstate a temporary mask mandate.

It’s not hard to imagine a not-so-distant future where multiple psychologists and sociologists intently study just what Australia was on during what are sure to be called The Covid Years. A stranger case of collective masochism you will not see. It seems they genuinely want the “pandemic” to continue.

Jokes aside, this is an important reminder of how quickly they can bring “Covid” back – or some other disease – and how many people are now deeply conditioned to just click into “pandemic mode” as soon as they are told to.

I saw this little video on twitter, and it’s darkly apt:

3. Are you ready for “reinvented” cities?

The last few weeks have seen big brand chain stories – WalMart, CVS, Target etc. – announce they are closing stores in major cities, prompting a debate over the cause.

The Right is blaming crime, with multiple viral clips of shoplifting in San Francisco, Portland et al. resulting in some shops locking goods behind glass doors (we covered this in our last TWitNN). The Left are blaming people working from home and shopping online, claiming this means less foot traffic and therefore in-person stores becoming too costly to maintain.

Last week we argued that the stores locking goods behind safety doors will increase the push for digital ID chips, and it will, but there might be another angle to this story – a push to “reinvent” urban layout. According to this piece in CNN, headlined “The real reasons stores such as Walmart and Starbucks are closing in big cities”:

It goes on to describe how, in the future, urban centres need to be “denser”, and ban cars after work and at weekends:

Streets could be blocked to cars on weekends and other hours. […] Zoning laws need to be updated to allow for redevelopment of some vacant office buildings and commercial real estate into affordable housing.

One source argues:

The density of housing that will replace some office and commercial spaces matters…People want to shop just minutes from their homes, and a critical mass of housing is needed to sustain surrounding retailers.

It’s not hard to see where this is going, or marry it up with the “15-minute cities” being tested in the UK.

BONUS: Non-crime of the week

Authorities in Cornwall UK are on the hunt for a phantom repair man. A road had been closed for weeks with a huge pothole, until this week anonymous person (or persons) filled it with concrete.

This is, apparently, illegal, and Highway Chiefs are asking locals to come forward with any information.

Because the repair was “unofficial” and carried out “without consent”, the road is closed again, and will remain so until an official repair takes place.

It’s not all bad…

Some OffG-related good news this week. Those of you who follow us on Twitter will doubtless know that, for around 2 years now, all links to our site posted to Twitter are redirected to a warning that our site might not be safe. It was blatantly dishonest, implying we might be stealing data or infected with computer viruses, when really it was because of what we say…

Anyway, as of today, it’s gone. No more Twitter warnings.

Does this mean you can trust corporations to always do the right thing? Or that Papa Elon IS actually the hero we need right now? Of course not, but it feels like a W for now, and we could do with one.

Also, while not exactly “good news”, this brilliant video compilation tells the story of the “pandemic” in 10 minutes, and I genuinely found it blackly funny:


All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention “lockdown nostalgia” or the G7 summit.

There’s a lot of change in the air, a lot of agendas in the works, if you see a headline, article, post or interview you think is a sign of the times, post it in the comments, email us or share it on social media and we will add it to the next edition.


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