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October 23rd; Sunday. Hungary remembers the 60th anniversary of its battle with Soviet forces in 1956. One of our contributors alleges Democratic campaigners are systematically skewing opinion polls to create momentum.

October 22nd; Saturday. Our man in Bucharest quotes Bagehot on who the cavaliers & who the roundheads are now.
October 21st; Friday. A clear essay setting Beatrix Potter's mycology hobby in proper perspective. She didn't originate the idea that lichen is two organisms in symbiosis, but she was perhaps the first person in England to see that Schwendener's theory was right: her German was good.

October 20th; Thursday. Fascinating transcript of German nuclear scientists late in WW2 being taped without their knowledge as they learn of the Hiroshima bombing while held captive in an English country house. (1) How likely is it they would not have suspected hidden microphones? Almost 0% likely, one suspects. Now notice (2) how stilted & prepared their responses sound. Meanwhile, a rather detail-oriented article about whether speed fiend Sir Malcolm Campbell was or wasn't a fascist. Wonderfully earnest, the weblog's subtitle is brilliant: "Airpower and British society, 1908 - 1941 (mostly)"
October 19th; Wednesday. Julian Assange, in his Ecuador Embassy refuge in London, has had his internet cut off. Ecuador says this is because US authorities asked it to stop Assange releasing more confidential e-mails of Hillary Clinton and thereby interfering with their country's presidential election campaign. US government denies asking Ecuador to do this. Curious claim that Assange had his internet cut off because he is being prosecuted for paedophilia. Others follow this claim's paper trail.

October 18th; Tuesday. Juci narrates idyllic scenes from central Hungary. Passports were meant to be temporary. Plus a 2015 European borders piece.
October 17th; Monday. Ambient weather mood is now A Bit Chilly. OhMyGod Physics continues to grow as a genre: (1) Our galaxy's black hole might be a quantum computer? / (2) Time crystals seem to be a thing (2013) / (3) Five ways to travel through time. Some sloppiness with the third piece, overlooking several formal proofs that relativity under some exotic conditions allows backwards time travel.

October 16th; Sunday. In conversation with Troy, he shows me this intriguing page suggesting the 12 days of Christmas all symbolise birds.
October 15th; Saturday. Brexit Remaindereds continue to complain about blasphemy against their secular cult. Some near-term uncertainty about sterling compensating for anticipated costs from leaving the EU's tariff-walled garden is forgiveable. But it's also an opportunity to enforce an idea that's been around for a few decades - allowing overnight deposits in the City move against the normal pound as if they were a separate currency (call it the mauve pound, blue pound, whatever), in the process quarantining worries about the financial sector. Normal Britain would benefit from some mild decoupling from the square mile, and the second sterling need never exist outside City capital accounts, like the ecu in the old days. A shock absorber costing nothing to create, imposing zero inconvenience, but with massive upside potential. Irritatingly dark & cloudy outside today, so here's a weblog devoted to photos of Jaques Chirac doing his "smooth pimping, suave gangsterism".
October 14th; Friday. Wake at Peter's in outer Buda, slightly stunned by quasi-country air, perhaps richer in oxygen than deeper into town. We have a lovely breakfast. Streets wonderfully clear as I ride trams down to and over the morning river.

October 13th; Thursday. Dinner with Peter & Endre + late-night conversation, with remarkable first-hand accounts. We cover many topics including geopolitics.
October 12th; Wednesday. Chat with Claudia about this & that.
October 11th; Tuesday. Walking through streets near the national museum at dusk to get to a lesson with Zizi, I see off to one side a solitary but quite heavily foliaged tree looming out from the front of building slightly set back in the dark-bricked row. I was already feeling I was experiencing the texture of life itself. One of those curious moods where everything seems justified and rather gorgeously sad, yet the mystery of it all hides something intensely hopeful just under the surface. The tree has a dark richness a hundred yards off down that street as the fading of the late day sucks all remaining light & colour out of its heavy leaves. This quick sight as I hurry through to the main street gives the mood around me a tightly defined shape for a moment.

October 10th; Monday. More about the experiment to teach horses symbols, and about the German forester who believes trees are social beings.
October 9th; Sunday. Coffee with Dominic and then with Jean-Michel.

October 8th; Saturday. I get to the end of a short book I borrowed from Dr D., 'Road Planning in Europe' (so obscure it has no barcode and isbnsearch dot org cannot find its ISBN), pulled together by Rudiger Rubel & Eva Silbermann. I learn a new word, 'cassation'. It's hard to give a flavour of this conference book (in both English & French) listing how the legal systems of different EU member states handle road-planning inquiries that really does it justice, but this quote about airborne pollutants on page 54 might help: "Thus the question of how far the observation of ambient and threshold values needs to be reviewed by the courts during the planning of new roads is of entirely practical significance."
October 7th; Friday. Damp, dark, chilly. I ask young Lorinc to suggest a tattoo that would suit me. His first choice is a cucumber sandwich. That's his symbol for my people.
If you've ever wanted to know how to get money off technology billionaires: exploit their philosophical naivete. Several wealthy entrepreneurs right now actually believe Nick Bostrom's 2003 argument we are all really living in a computer simulation in the future. So they're paying real money to folk to help us escape it. Bless.

October 6th; Thursday. cloudy, rainy weather. Sky like neon ceiling panels barely glowing through cotton wool. Lesson with Deborah & lovely lunch with Paul. We run into Elie at the tramstop. A wonderfully dismissive 2007 Luttwak piece about the lack of value in engaging with the Islamic Near East that still merits a read, and a more recent deserved dismantling of Slavoj Zizek by Roger Scruton.
October 5th; Wednesday. Attend an evening data-science event with two talks + pizza at an office building nearby. The star guest speaker from San Francisco speaks with quiet confidence & sympathetic humour about prorities in scaling up data storage in a fast-growing firm. He knowingly drops in those cheerful lines like "I think we all know, God's honest truth, that Hive is brutally slow" and "when you have - say, Impala on top of Hadoop, and you need to start productionising" that tell you within seconds you're in the wrong meeting and you can't leave for an hour because you're seated in the 2nd row. Fascinating-looking slides, very cleanly presented, come up with labels like 'Sane join keys' and "Let's suppose S3 is your Source Of Truth". He talks us through what happens when "the jackass who got hold of the admin keys spins up some Cassandra clusters in front of your people" and (gestures at coloured strips on new slide) "We can see someone's being a bad citizen here, probably this blue dude". He must be a very good speaker indeed, because by the end am strangely convinced I understand his presentation.

October 4th; Tuesday. Spoilsport sleuth 'exposes' pseudonymous Italian writer.
October 3rd; Monday. The US breaks off diplomatic relations with Russia over the Syrian conflict. Shoutiness intended to unnerve American voters next month?

October 2nd; Sunday. Worthwhile article suggests perhaps we'd be better off without masses of high-resolution video and millions of IoT washing machines & microwave ovens wired together worldwide.
October 1st; Saturday. At about 2.30am the morning of Sunday I find one of the staff members at the largeish all-night shop mentioned in my article in August dancing slowly with a dark-haired woman. The techno-music radio channel is tuned to another station. The warbling tones of a Hungarian Gypsy woman vocalist fill the small brightly-lit supermarket, singing one of those songs best heard when sad & drunk. Yet everyone in the store is chatting and laughing, especially the two dancers. Back in my flat, even mindful of the New Yorker cartoon that proclaimed "Ask not for whom the fridge hums: It hums for thee", I am leaving the fridge on again at nights. Sometimes it can be soothing, a little bit like a ship's engine - as if my apartment block were slowly steaming somewhere through the darkness.

Recent weblog entries continued:

Who can translate the next 300 words into Korean or Hindi? Contact us and there will be revelry.

Languages dying out each week - who cares?

We do - otherlanguages.org is gradually building a reference resource for over five thousand linguistic minorities and stateless languages worldwide.

Thousands of unique language communities are becoming extinct. Out of the world's five to six thousand languages, we hardly know what we're losing, what literatures, philosophies, ways of thinking, are disappearing right now.


We may soon regret the extinction of thousands of entire linguistic cultures even more than we regret the needless extinction of many animals and plants.

The planet is increasingly dominated by a handful of major-language monocultures like Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Arabic, Indonesian, Urdu, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Swahili, Russian, Cantonese Chinese, Japanese, Bengali - all beautiful and fascinating languages.

But so are the 5,000 others.

These are groups of people?

Linguistic minorities are communities of ordinary people whose native tongue is not their country's main official language. Swedish speakers in Finland, French speakers in Canada, Hungarian speakers in Slovakia - and hundreds more - are linguistic minorities.

And totally stateless languages are the native languages of some of the world's most intriguing, little-known, cultures. Like the Lapps inside the Arctic Circle, the Sards in Sardinia, Ainus in Japan. Cherokee in the US, Scots Gaelic in Britain, Friesian in the Netherlands, Zulu in South Africa. There are only a couple of hundred recognised sovereign states and territories, so 5,000 languages - more depending on how you count - are the native tongues of linguistically stateless people.

How could I help?

You don't need to learn an endangered language - any more than go to live in the rainforest to help slow its destruction.

A good start is to just tell friends about websites like this.

Broader public interest makes it easier for linguists to raise funds and organise people to learn these languages while there's time.

That's right. There are people who love languages and are happy to learn them on behalf of the rest of us, but they need support, just like zoologists, botanists, or historians.

Fewer languages still sounds good to me

Depends what you think languages are for. They're not just a tool for business. We never said you should learn three or four thousand rare languages - or even one. And which ones we make children learn in school, or whether we should force children to learn languages at all, is another question.

Typical scene in a European city; Chances are, folk here speak some sort of foreign language *5

A century ago - before we understood ecology, and when we cared less about wilderness, most educated people would have laughed at the idea of worrying about plants or animals going extinct. Now we understand how important species diversity is for our own futures, we are more humble, and more worried.

In the same way, linguistic triumphalism by English-speakers who hated studying foreign grammar at school is dangerously ignorant as well as arrogant. Few of us know what we are losing, week by week. How many people realise these languages have scientific value?

Scientific value?

You can think of these languages across the planet as beautiful cathedrals or precious archeological sites we are watching being destroyed. That should be motive enough.

But these five thousand languages may also hold clues to the structure of the human mind. Subtle differences and similarities

Wireless radio can be a great comfort to those unable to leave the textbooks in which they live *6
between languages are helping archeologists and anthropologists to understand what happened in the hundreds of centuries of human history before written history. And that is one of our best chances of understanding how human brains developed over the thousands of centuries leading up to that.

Study of the mind and study of language go hand in hand these days. The world's most marginal languages are actually precious jigsaw pieces from an overall picture of who we are and how our species thinks and evolves. Every tiny language adds another brightly-coloured clue to this academic detective story.

Yet researchers have hardly started sifting through this tantalising evidence, and language extinction is washing it away right in front of us.

And worst of all, most people have no idea that there is this fantastic profusion of cultures across our world, let alone that they are in danger of extinction. Even just more people learning that there are still five thousand living languages in the world today (most of us would answer five hundred or fifty) is already a huge help.

We English-speakers hardly notice English - it's like air for us. But every other language is also an atmosphere for an entire cultural world, and each of these worlds has people whose home it is. Each language encapsulates a unique way of talking and thinking about life. Just try some time in a foreign prison, being forced to cope in another language, and you'll realise how much your own language is your identity. That's true for everyone.

Minority languages are a human-rights issue?

One of the most basic.

Dozens of millions of people worldwide suffer persecution from national governments for speaking their mother tongue - in their own motherland.

Many 'ethnic' feuds puzzling to outsiders had as their basis an attempt to destroy a linguistic community. Would the Northern Ireland dispute be quite so bitter if we English had not so nearly stamped out the Irish Gaelic language, for example? Almost nowhere in the world does a language community as small as the few thousand Rheto-Romanic speakers - the fourth official language of Switzerland - get the protection of a national government. Next time you see some Swiss Francs, check both sides of the banknote.

But outside exceptional countries like Switzerland or the Netherlands, speakers of non-official languages have a much less protected experience.

Speakers of minority languages are often seen as a threat by both the governments and the other residents of the countries where they were born, grew up, and try to live ordinary lives.

They experience discrimination in the job and education markets of their homelands, often having no choice but to pursue education in the major language of the host state: a deliberate government policy usually aimed at gradually absorbing them into the majority culture of that country.

Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow, of course *7

Most governments are privately gleeful each time another small separate culture within their borders is snuffed out by a dwindling population or a deliberately centralising education system.

The United Nations is no help. It is an association of a couple of hundred sovereign states based on exclusive control of territory, almost all of them anxious to smother any distinct group or tradition that in any way might blur or smudge the hard-won borders around those pieces of territory.

The usual approach by sovereign states is to deny their linguistic minorities even exist.


Mark Griffith, site administrator / contact at otherlanguages.org

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*1 image from , with thanks
*2 "Al-Araby" in written Arabic (read more)
*3 "What?" in American Sign Language; image from , with thanks
*4 "Big" in written Chinese  (read more); image from , with thanks
*5 image from , with thanks
*6 image from , with thanks
*7 image from 'B?ume', with thanks to  Bruno P. Kramer, and Franckh-Kosmos Verlag


.languages of the world
.Internet free speech
.weights & measures
.5000 English words
.2000+ Chinese char.s
.persian/english dictionary
.currency rates 1 2 3 4 5
.country domain names
.language-learning 1 2
.find old websites
.fine HTML tutorial
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reviews: ................. books {...or films here}

1 metrologie historique
2 postmodernism & the other
3 disaster (news on sunday)
4 money unmade (russian barter in the 1990s)
5 the sleepwalkers
6 e
7 the kruschev era
8 the end of science
9 don't you want me?
10 the carpet wars
11 zelator
12 life of thomas more
13 faber book of science
14 gilgamesh
15 out of it
16 guns, germs & steel
17 words & rules
18 figure in the landscape
19 life without genes
20 bede's history of the english
21 the nothing that is
22 zoology
23 journey by moonlight
24 heavenly serbia
25 ratkay endre
26 the handmaid's tale
27 the selective eye
28 a megismerese epitokovei
29 intention
30 thirty nine steps
31 princess
32 the pyramids
33 the etruscans
34 moonchild
35 paradise news
36 culture of time & space 1880 to 1918
37 szimmetria
38 babel orokeben
39 astro-archeology
40 a history of islamic spain
41 high gothic
42 among the believers
43 the renaissance
44 augustine
45 mcvicar
46 atomised
47 tangled wing
48 da vinci code
49 nature via nurture
50 termeszet szamai
51 decline & fall of roman empire
52 practical cheesemaking
53 the sufis
54 fra angelico at san marco
55 the cryptographer
56 they have a word for it
57 szamok valosan innen & tul
58 artistic theory in italy 1450 to 1600
59 darwin's black box
60 indiai ejszaka
61 cleopatra: histories, dreams & distortions
63 what mad pursuit
64 language, the learner & the school
65 writing the romantic comedy
66 the blank slate
67 dougal & the blue cat
68 diego velasquez
69 horse nonsense
70 a certain chemistry
71 deterring democracy
72 textiles
73 thief of time
74 bloodsucking fiends
75 right ho, jeeves
76 generativ grammatika
77 1st time i got paid for it
78 galapagos
79 othello
80 understanding media
81 mysticism
82 short history of french literature
83 best on the market
84 art of seeing
85 culture & imperialism
86 food of the gods
87 arabic-islamic cities
88 the alchemist
89 verbal learning & memory
90 building a successful software business
91 don't make me think!
92 memory
93 the u.s. & the arab world
94 hard times
95 spells for teenage witches
97 the pig that wants to be eaten
98 encyclopaedia of stupidity
99 seventy eight degrees of wisdom: part i
100 beach watching
101 the ancient greeks
102 brainstorms
103 seventy eight degrees of wisdom: part ii
104 utopia
105 technical writing for engineers & scientists
106 alphabet versus goddess
107 writing on drugs
108 news from somewhere
109 isp survival guide
110 petrus hispanus mester logikajabol
111 art of seduction
112 stet
113 penguin by design
114 the sense of being stared at
115 the golden ratio
116 dinamikus emlekezet
117 margins of reality
118 hopjoy was here
119 bump in the night
120 box of delights
121 color atlas of immunology
122 fashionistas
123 pi in the sky
124 a new kind of fool
125 one man's meat
126 greek fire
127 the buddha in daily life
128 beginner's dutch
129 private life of the brain
130 solar ethics
131 pedant in the kitchen
132 knots
133 the planets within
134 encyclopaedia of ancient & mediaeval history
135 consilience
136 the age of scandal
137 fashion: the 20th century
138 the tipping point
139 design literacy
140 the silent partner
141 hamlet
142 1421
143 the 1890s
144 godel's proof
145 rosencrantz & guildenstern are dead
146 beyond reason
147 little book of music theory
148 q-basic
149 alone of all her sex
150 social studies
151 eternal darkness
152 drawn from memory
154 a guide to elegance
155 medea & other plays
156 the future of money
157 cheese
158 grammars of creation
159 aquarian conspiracy
160 the climate crisis
161 true fiction
162 the making of memory
163 why most things fail
164 genetikai abece
165 finding fulfilment
166 genome
167 the broken estate
168 inigo jones
169 flashman & the dragon
170 from bauhaus to our house
171 100 great paintings
172 kis spanyol nyelvtan
173 the historian
174 tomorrow's gold
175 charting made easy
176 life after life
177 spanyol igei vonzatok
178 the eclipse of art
179 fire in the mind
180 the human body
181 out of control
182 possession
183 simplified chinese characters
184 the generation of 1914
185 intellectuals
186 world of late antiquity
187 riddle & knight
188 informacio kultusza
189 napoleon of notting hill
190 secrets: palm-reading
191 meet yourself as you really are
192 cat's abc
193 intro to spanish poetry
194 rise of christian europe
195 philip's guide to electric living
196 sins for father knox
197 celtic twilight
198 myths of love
199 snobbery with violence
200 just like tomorrow
201 7 basic plots
202 experiment with time
203 vile bodies
204 icons & images: 60s
205 fisher king
206 new jerusalem
207 born on a blue day
208 surveillir & punir
209 trial of socrates
210 how to catch fairies
211 conversations on consciousness
212 mind performance hacks
213 conscience of the eye
214 beau brummell
215 evolution
216 the outsider
217 raja yoga
218 rise of political lying
219 occidentalism
220 colossus
221 secret teachings of jesus
222 blue murder
223 nostrodamus the next 50 years
224 homage to catalonia
225 charity ends at home
226 palace of dreams
227 discovering book collecting
228 beyond the outsider
229 the last barrier
230 that hideous strength
231 indian sculpture
232 small world
233 evolution & healing
234 in search of memory
235 campo santo
236 llewellyn's 2007 tarot reader
237 dream of rome
238 why buildings fall down
239 the empty space
240 england made me
241 greek science in antiquity
242 science, a l'usage des non-scientifiques
243 utmutato tarot
243 hunt for zero point
244 william wilberforce
245 viktor schauberger
246 untouchable
247 the vitamin murders
248 straw dogs
249 elizabeth's spymaster
250 the hard life
251 the god delusion
252 the intellectual
253 undercover economist
254 quirkology
255 chasing mammon
256 early mesopotamia & iran
257 the strange death of david kelly
258 the pilgrimage
259 origin of wealth
260 maxims
261 the finishing school
262 the shepherd's calendar
263 islamic patterns
264 lost world of the kalahari
265 german short stories 1
266 electricity
267 liber null & psychonaut
268 born to rebel
269 wittgenstein's poker
270 will the boat sink the water?
271 romeo & juliet
272 why beautiful people have more daughters
273 the crossing place
274 the turkish diplomat's daughter
275 missionary position
276 lust in translation
277 teaching as a subversive activity
278 how german is it
279 empires of the word
280 warped passages
281 the power of now
282 ponder on this
283 sword of no-sword
284 narcissism
285 blink
286 shock of the old
287 basque history of the world
288 truth: a guide
289 who shot jfk?
290 newtonian casino
291 power & greed
292 the world without us
293 5-minute nlp
294 concise guide to alchemy
295 evidence in camera
296 4-hour work week
297 the rosicrucian enlightenment
298 de-architecture
299 how to lie with maps
300 a book of english essays
301 a time of gifts
302 the occult philosophy in the elizabethan age
303 le pelerinage des bateleurs
304 alchemy & alchemists
305 greenmantle
306 the hero with 1000 faces
307 goethe's parable
308 rhedeyek es fraterek
309 letter to a christian nation
310 the tryst
311 7 experiments that could change the world
312 mill on the floss
313 metastases of enjoyment
314 the isles
315 between the woods and the water
316 secrets of the great pyramid
317 life in the french country house
318 the china study
319 tarot: theory & practice
320 the roger scruton reader
321 alchemy & mysticism
322 picasso's mask
323 the rule of four
324 triumph of the political class
325 arts of darkness
326 neuroscience & philosophy
327 the art of memory
328 mind wide open
329 mud, blood, & poppycock
330 society of the spectacle
331 lila
332 de imaginibus
333 electronics
334 giordano bruno & the embassy affair
335 temporary autonomous zone
336 the human touch
337 the fascination of evil
338 the king of oil
339 dowsing
340 the book of j
341 the west and the rest
342 story of my life
343 plain tales from the hills
344 under the influence
345 modern culture
346 50 mots clefs d'esoterisme
347 giordano bruno & the hermetic tradition
348 development, geography & economic theory
349 das kapital: a biography
350 strange days indeed
351 hegel: a very short introduction
352 reflections on the revolution in france
353 history of sexuality: an introduction
354 why we buy
355 origins of virtue
356 the holographic universe
357 a dead man in deptford
358 obsolete
359 137
360 in your face
361 7 spies who changed the world
362 the noetic universe
363 why beauty is truth
364 imagery in healing
365 the craftsman's handbook
366 futurism
367 in the cards
368 dmso
369 les hommes et leurs genes
370 the franchise affair
371 the decision book
372 les harmonies de la nature a l'epreuve de la biologie
373 kibernetika
374 zuleika dobson
375 l'empire de nombres
376 circus philosophicus
377 some girls
378 number
379 island
380 how to get your ideas adopted
381 drive
382 emergence
383 rfid : la police totale
384 the tempest
385 aspects of wagner
386 view over atlantis
387 world atlas of mysteries
388 art of the dogon
389 genesis machines
390 the sirius mystery
391 the cult of the fact
392 anastasia
393 ringing cedars of russia
394 a whiff of death
395 spirit level delusion
396 wavewatcher's companion
397 the kybalion
398 elegance
399 death in a scarlet coat
400 architecture without architects


1 k-pax
2 very annie mary
3 wasabi
4 gosford park
5 arany varos
6 minority report
7 amelie
8 bridget jones' diary
9 arccal a fo:ldnek
10 monsters' ball
11 cube
12 man with no past
13 talk to her
14 szerelemtol sujtva
15 bowling for columbine
16 matrix3
17 zoolander
18 anything else
19 farenheit 9/11
20 8 & 1/2 women
21 madagascar
22 kill bill 1
23 dude, where's my car?
24 the woman in green
25 the hunger
24 nightwatch
25 de battre son coeur s'est arrete
26 wicker man
27 v for vendetta
28 courage the cowardly dog
29 casino royale
30 power of nightmares
31 charlie's angels
32 full throttle
33 foxy brown
34 paths of glory
35 airplane
36 between iraq & a hard place
37 mutiny on the bounty
38 flashmob the opera
39 octopussy
40 bakkerman
41 kiterunner


September 30th; Friday. Out for a brief bev after dark with Robin, where I meet his friends Balinese-speaking Zita & Hungarian-deaf-language-signing Pal, both in a state of good cheer at a crowded outdoor beer garden. A chill most evenings is just starting to impose itself. Six nights ago, last Saturday, Robin and I were talking at his flat when a muffled 'boff' sounded somewhere outside, too short and discrete to be thunder. An hour later walking home I was trying to get through a closed-off street on foot, policemen everywhere. They stop us walking back out of this traffic-control lobster pot, tetchily refuse to answer questions, and crossly demand to see everyone's papers. I slowly realise these are the only things they know how to do. Eventually we drift off. Dr D on Tuesday three days later told me this was a nail bomb deliberately detonated to (seriously) injure two police constables, so no wonder their colleagues were in a bad mood. Apparently this might be connected with the recent sentencing to 12 years' inside for a Hungarian extreme nationalist called Budahazy. Meanwhile on Monday or perhaps Sunday the Spanish perfume-by-numbers stall in the mall had just vanished, only a yellow folding wet-floor sign to mark its passing. Not even a scratch on the shiny tiled floor to show where it was. Trying to get the hang of Spenser from a book now reading on the tram. A stately, unhurried feel to the poem 'Epithalamium', from which:
    And ye three handmaids of the Cyprian queen,
      The which do still adorn her beauty's pride,
    Help to adorn my beautifullest bride;
      And as ye her array, still throw between
    Some graces to be seen,
      And as ye use to Venus, to her sing,
    The whiles the woods shall answer and your echo ring.

September 29th; Thursday. Alternating hot and chilly days keeping us on our toes. I haven't fallen ill, and am in a wary state of microbe alertness. Norwegian researchers find that horses can learn to read symbols: nicely-designed study. "The researchers also report that the horses appeared excited at being able to communicate with their trainers in such a novel way, engaging eagerly in the training and responding sometimes before being asked." {Dobbin studied the control panel of launch commands, deep in concentration ///}

September 28th; Wednesday. The sound of a pneumatic drill / jackhammer (actually, they're motorised chisels) can be soothing if far away enough. The way distant lawnmowers can resemble buzzing bumble bees on a hot summer's day. Depressing that the world trains hundreds of thousands of anthropologists so they can tell us that men often like to wear ostentatiously practical clothing while women often prefer to wear ostentatiously impractical - even pocketless - clothing. For this Rousseau's find-the-noble-savage project trundles on?
September 27th; Tuesday. Strange rich dreams abound during recent nights. Some concern history. Here's a book review of a tome by Mr Tombs about the English. Elsewhere he describes trying to push England into the Franco-German tariff cartel as a "long-term miscalculation" by the US.

September 26th; Monday. After I ask a couple of American women on the tram how they might vote (for Hillary Clinton) a Hungarian man & I start chatting about the US election. He says he's concerned that Trump might not even understand government. I agree and jest that perhaps the other candidate understands government too well, and he chuckles, appreciating the pairing of opposites. Anyone who feels that it's foolish to avoid television and internet screens might want to look at this mind-control patent for using pulsed magnetic waves emitted by a standard screen to influence the brains of people nearby. Filed over ten years ago.
September 25th; Sunday. Wonderful lunch yesterday with Marion, then coffee with Mr K, Monsieur N, & Mdme O. 2D chart of European societies grouped by former allegiances. Clinical 2009 critique of Nassim Taleb by another financial-risk theorist.

September 24th; Saturday. Webster Tarpley's wild but fascinating claims that Galileo's, Newton's, and Voltaire's careers were all pawns in a multi-century covert battle of ideas waged by Venetian spies & diplomats. Not quite clear where Russell fits in. Don't give up just because the first 5 minutes sound mad.
September 23rd; Friday. Disputed island in Lake Victoria covered in shacks. So why is the bigger one next to it empty? It's clear who taxes them there?

September 22nd; Thursday. Last week's mix from colleague Q + yesterday's radio show from Petrograd DJ Lady Waks #397. They've changed the room they put her in.
September 21st; Wednesday. Nice Twitter account sending out old book illustrations.

September 20th; Tuesday. Some chilly & cloudy days sneaking into the timetable. AI program writes dire song billed as a "Beatles-like tune". Not even close. Not even a crass Wings-style melody - and it had human help. Oh yes, big-budget Hollywood movie written by 4-year-old. So bad it's bad again.
September 19th; Monday. Nifty filmette on quantum erasers: yes, change the past.

September 18th; Sunday. A tune mixed by Dimitri from Paris, who seems have stopped dressing as an airline pilot of late.
September 17th; Saturday. Back on Thursday evening was at Budapest's first virtual-reality/augmented-reality meeting and met some folk attending. Took place at a cafe slightly oddly themed after game known in Britain as Nine Men's Morris.

September 16th; Friday. Two long articles about spooks: the first from 2015 about the Athens Olympics, phone-tapping, and (by the sound of it) murder; the second about a spy looking for the mother he never knew.
September 15th; Thursday. Busy day. Yes, I occasionally have those too. British ambassador to the Saudi kingdom goes native. Unorthodox US commentator Webster Tarpley (audio interview) gives a persuasive run-down on the war against (and for) ISIS/Da'esh in late 2015. Some excellent detail.
Vaguely regretting 4 or 5 days ago not getting phone number off supermarket customer in black dress with magnificent mane of straight brown hair right down her back. Crisply sheared off where it covered half her bottom. Of course she had the gimlet-eyed Impress-Me Glare and was a bit of a titch at perhaps 5'7", but you can't have everything.

September 14th; Wednesday. Why self-driving cars "must" be programmed to kill. Oh dear, oh dear.
September 13th; Tuesday. Finished reading through 'Toynbee on Toynbee', also borrowed from Lorinc, a short book-length transcript from 1974 of a set of radio conversations between the then-elderly Arnold Toynbee (83 years old) and G.R. Urban. Their topic: history, and Toynbee's views on human civilisations past & present, thoughtfully and articulately presented on both sides. Although I read and enjoyed Toynbee's grand book about civilisations back when Mother and I read it in the 1990s, this set of radio talks was instructive. It confirmed me in two thoughts I had the ghost of when reading the earlier book: (1) Toynbee was wonderfully educated, as well as wise and humane, with a mass of useful detail at his fingertips, but (2) while he was moderately clever he wasn't actually very clever. In several places, he makes shockingly silly remarks. He says that the lesson England/Britain learned about staying out of Continental entanglements during the Hundred Years' War had misled Britain over the EEC (later EU), which he regarded as a good thing, and was a "lesson learned too well". Of course, he was wrong there, and in fact the Hundred Years' War lesson was still good value in the 1970s and should have kept Britain out of another Franco-German pact. Elsewhere he makes the startling schoolboy howler of regarding the world's resources as fixed, saying there is no way the poorer countries of the world can get rich without the rich getting poorer. This was in the 70s, with a global population of 3 billion and now we are at 7 billion with fewer people starving, and an unimaginably larger section of the world gallivanting around flying in jet planes, using mobile phones and laptops, working in spacious air-conditioned offices consuming modern medicines and enjoying longer holidays. For Toynbee to get something as basic as elementary economics wrong harshly undermines the value of all that fabulous scholarship he accumulated in other parts of history. Along with his embarrassing zero-sum view of economics is his residual partial respect for Marx (even worse, Mao), making him very much a creature of 20th-century fashion rather than an independent thinker. To grasp that Marx really was just a deluded crank with a genius for guru/prophet self-promotion would have demanded a leap outside convention it seems Toynbee wasn't capable of. So my nagging doubts about his great-civilisations taxonomy now filled out much better.

September 12th; Monday. Weather still hot. Know nothing about whoever it is giving Our Lady of Pleasure the good loving, but heartening to hear a couple of days ago her recognisable cries of approval ring out down the street both at midday and again just after midnight. There have been some early-evening trysts as well. Seems other men on this block still not making much effort by contrast. Perhaps an appropriate moment to ask 'Do We Really Want To Fuse Our Brains Together?'
September 11th; Sunday. 'A Pesszimizmus Haszna' ('The Uses of Pessimism and the Danger of False Hope'), by Roger Scruton and translated into Hungarian by Gabor Csordas. This was the book with the dreary front cover that I bought in Szeged one depressing day last summer. Slightly gruelling to read in parts, given how my Hungarian fluency slumps in the years when I have no local girlfriend to have daily quarrels with, the overall argument is Scruton's calm, wise thesis that utopians in power always become authoritarians. This is, he says, because utopianism is based on misleading optimism about human nature. A late chapter on hunter-gatherers is interesting, because Scruton's thoughts come close to my own ideas about how Hobbes and Rousseau got prehistory wrong, and hence their own philosophies of politics wrong.
Footage from the US reveals the second Clinton Twin Tower collapsing, right on schedule, in New York, at a commemoration of the 9/11 attacks ("overcome by the heat"). This rather overtakes a video from about a week ago where a woman commentator in a stripy red outfit says Trump has "100% chance" of becoming president. Dilbert cartoonist and now freelance analyst of this US presidential election Scott Adams claims Hillary Clinton's hopes are now finished, and looks back at his own predictions last year that she would be found to have a serious hidden health problem.

September 10th; Saturday. Finished Lorinc's copy of 'Point Blanc' by Anthony Horowitz. The second of his Alex Rider novels I've read, featuring a sort of teenage James Bond character, in which our young hero has to penetrate an isolated Alpine lair of classic Bond-villain types plotting evil and world domination. I can see how the twist on the old formula has done so well. Interesting to compare to the adolescent adventures of the Famous Five era, which I'm now thinking I ought to read.
September 9th; Friday. Read 'The Tenth Man' by Graham Greene, kindly lent to me by Lorinc. A text, about novella length, that Greene wrote up in the 1940s for a possible film for MGM, which he claimed to have forgotten about until finding it in a drawer in the 1980s. He also claims in his foreword to prefer it in retrospect to his better-remembered 'Third Man'. An elegant, sparely-told tale in which simple details crisply sketch out distinct characters and then the plot emerges from those. The story, in which a French prisoner of the Germans buys his way out of a firing squad at the price of everything he owns, moves smoothly & naturally to a surprise climax.

September 8th; Thursday. Our Man in Bucharest shares charming plot summary he found of an Italian opera called 'Il Brexito'.
September 7th; Wednesday. Versatile Latvian finance minister & grandmaster takes game off world's no. 1 woman chess player; Petrograd radio show #394; sobering tale of business founder overreach.

September 6th; Tuesday. 1st lesson after summer with Dr D. Meanwhile, Old Lady of Threadneedle Street talks sense on robots-will-replace-us panic.
September 5th; Monday. I think it was the small hours today finished reading Stephen Potter's short book 'The Theory and Practice of Gamesmanship', illustrated by Frank Wilson with wonderfully convincing line drawings. This is what people would now call a spoof text, a pretend guide to a fake field of sports theory, a humour book about psyching out opponents in tennis, golf, bridge, and other healthy pre-war pastimes. In fact, it's a satire about how people have cheated at all of life for all of history. This is the main text that was very loosely, but brilliantly, adapted for cinema in the mid-1950s as 'School for Scoundrels' which I watched with Jeremy & his wife a couple of Christmases ago. There were several Potter books, and I read most/all of them from the library what seems now like several lifetimes ago. Scanning this for signs I'd read it before felt odd. The faintest ghost of half-recognition floated over some pages, but since the Potter books are essentially all the same joke redone in lots of different ways, I could easily be recognising him through one of the other texts. One thing I enjoyed this time were the deliberately awful made-up quotes heading each chapter:
   Chapter II The Pre-Game
      "And now they smile at Paradine,
      Who but would smile at Paradine?
      (That man of games, called Paradine)
      For the Gamesman came his way."
   Chapter III The Game Itself
      "East wind dhu bleow
      En-tout-cas dhu geow."
           Essex saying
   Chapter VIII Lost Game Play
      "--- for the game is one of a series,
      and a fractional loser thou."
This is the first time I've been given a book with orders to destroy it once finished.

September 4th; Sunday. Cloudy skies make you think more clearly.
September 3rd; Saturday. Almost went down to sun-baked countryside yesterday to see Robin & Zsuzsi & Zeno, but 3 cold baths on Thursday plus some squiffiness made me a bit poorly. Glad I stayed in town to rest. Here's a way your computer can be hacked using barely-audible sound. Such fun.

September 2nd; Friday. Childrearing news: a) glowing screens are addictive? b) smacking toddlers helps up to 6?
September 1st; Thursday. Man kidnapped to teach English in North Korea: proper headhunting.

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