She scrolls through websites that sell protective face masks while I half-watch a conspiratorial documentary about our hyper-mediated world. The coronavirus is spreading. 150 new cases in Italy. They’ve quarantined a dozen towns near Milan. Meanwhile, 602 people have been diagnosed in South Korea, the disease spreading largely among the members of a clandestine Christian sect. Iran reported eight dead yesterday and Tehran has closed its schools.

The term ‘r-naught’ frequently appears in my feeds. It’s the rate of transmission per person. The common cold has an r-naught of one. The coronavirus might be somewhere between two and six. Waves of anxiety and disaster preparedness wash over my screen, though they remain largely confined to circles of futurists and cryptocurrency traders. Perhaps these people are particularly attuned. Maybe they’re rooting for some kind of acceleration.

I spend the afternoon struggling to recall the name of the concept that likens information to a virus, the shamanistic belief that we are mere hosts for data and ideas. For some reason I refuse to look this up, wanting to remember the word without assistance. Then I see a flurry of memes making fun of our political candidates. Of course: memetics.


Autechre – PIOBmx19

From Garbage | Warp, 1997 | More

A perfect record on loop today. Something about its jittery metronome matches the current gestalt. See also: HyperNormalisation and Shadowy Church Is at Center of Coronavirus Outbreak in South Korea.

Each day in 2020 I'm writing a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I want to etch these uneasy times into my memory before I forget them. Before the world changes completely.

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