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May 2nd; Monday. For anyone who rates biometrics, see how the FBI makes fake biometric science up out of whole cloth. Entire fake subjects in fact.

May 1st; Sunday. A couple of new (to me) approaches to uniting the pesky quantum things. 1) You can entangle particles over time. 2) Perhaps space & time are made of quantum entanglement.
April 30th; Saturday. Robin & I repair to the snazzily-named Dzzs bar. Almost certainly this address was previously Sixtus, but now thankfully minus the suffocating cigarette smoke. We meet Daniel, maker of this film documentary about Moroccan Beat exile Paul Bowles (catching him on the brink of a lingering death, by the look of the trailer).

April 29th; Friday. Colouring books will release demons, it has emerged.
April 28th; Thursday. Been curious for a few years (no, really) why chain-mail underwear isn't more mainstream. I assume it's uncomfortable, but that's never stopped them. Should have guessed Russian girls might pick up that metallic gauntlet.
Dutch philosopher Bernardo Kastrup uses baking foil to explain how he thinks universal consciousness splits itself into individual minds. All 6 short talks are good, but poor outdoor sound recording makes his voice too quiet on 2 & 4. Mildly annoying plinky music with visual Matrix trope, but not too intrusive.

April 27th; Wednesday. After our lesson today, Dr D. shows me a small exhibition of editorial art downstairs by a one-time labour-camp inmate and New York Times illustrator. An electronic-accessories critic makes slightly heavy weather out of finding the Apple smartwatch a bit irritating. Meanwhile the BBC delicately repositions itself on the climate debate. After the headline that extra CO2 is helping greenery, dutifully balanced against lip-service that rising sea levels are still a terrible & inevitable danger, note how at the end of the article some quiet hedging creeps in as the weakening of the global-warming case continues to sink in.
April 26th; Tuesday. Zsuzsi utters a wondrous oath of emnity against members of her own fair sex she sees as "negative freak maddo bitches". Via Anti-Market-Garden Mark, a rather touching whinge by a "historian". Someone whose book on the superbly-named James Jesus Angleton's career blunders has been foiled by the CIA's Keepers Of Embarrassing Secrets.

April 25th; Monday. Petrograd DJ in her radio show #368 and better-dressed but not quite such good music in show #369.
April 24th; Sunday. 5 times Madonna sucked the life force out of a young musician. So Maxim magazine has words in it too, not just comely maids snapped in their undergarments. Not bad writing.

April 23rd; Saturday. 6 reasons men are avoiding marriage, narrated in airport toilet symbols.
April 22nd; Friday. Young Lorinc, taking a break from "hardcore parkour", makes the fascinating remark that "everything's boring except television." He sketches out a future paradise where people are paid to watch television. Sounds rather like how my utopian friends envisage Basic Income working.

April 21st; Thursday. A bit clever-clogsy as a case, but a nice clear restatement of the evolutionary argument against realism.
April 20th; Wednesday. Why are so many girls cutting themselves? I saw this start and can confirm some of what the slightly repetitive article says.

April 19th; Tuesday. The ragged building across the road is finally having its rendering redone. This started about 2 weeks ago with a funny image. Scaffolding walkways project about 3 feet out from the front which is itself about 3 feet out from the building on the left. Right at that end each level has a short 6-foot-long walkway facing down the street instead of across it. There on each of seven levels one workmen stood on the first day, each directly above the other, slouching, posing, being cool in different positions. Seemingly waiting for something, they made a vertical column of construction lads. A lot like a band of skiffle musicians on a 1961 record sleeve.
Here's how mediaeval adolescents got treated.
April 18th; Monday. A list of 100 strenuously odd books. Seems offering a bizarre plot premise can sell a project. (Title misleads slightly: it's 99 or 98 deviant novels + 1 or 2 collections of strange short stories.) A story about bees, a tale told by a drug, lift operators in a parallel universe, the usual.

April 17th; Sunday. 6 or 7 days ago performed a chore, defrosting the fridge, perfectly timing the on/off phases. So I could on the 3rd day cleanly lever out smooth thick slabs of ice with my fingers from the froster, leaving clean cold metal behind. Not one drop of water on the kitchen floor. An academic who defends methods distinct to the humanities.
April 16th; Saturday. What seemed like a medium-sized scandal about an unmarried member of Britain's government having an affair for several months with a prostitute takes an unexpected direction.

April 15th; Friday. Jewish Chronicle suggests a Muslim mayor of London might be a good thing.
April 14th; Thursday. Garrulous American modern architect & socialite Philip Johnson seems to have had a forgotten pro-Nazi period far more intense than that of the proud & private Mies. I underestimated Johnson's chameleon charm.

April 13th; Wednesday. Depressing (and not so informative) article saying human sacrifice helped create civilisation. Talking of civilisation, Ancient Rome builds.
April 12th; Tuesday. Weather is warm & sunny again. Harsh profile of former Guardian editor.

April 11th; Monday. One person I know ought to read this article: how to stop hash making you paranoid. Meanwhile, famed cannabis smuggler Howard Marks is remembered by Philosophy Magazine because he almost pursued a career in academic philosophy.
April 10th; Sunday. Book review: state involvement in the Victorian economy.

April 9th; Saturday. Two afternoons ago, Thursday, just before meeting Akos, an amusing sight at the H&M store while I walked through the Corvin Plaza arcade. (When I mentioned it to Akos half an hour later, he chuckled and called the security men 'amateurs', explaining that in most shops they carry a remote control for the purpose.) In the second I was walking past the H&M exit I glanced to my right into the store to see a really gorgeous blonde walking towards me out through the theft-detection gates with several bags. Just behind her a security man waved an item looking like a clipboard against the gate and the alarm signal went off. The innocent blonde saw & realised nothing of what happened behind her back. She stopped because of the alarm and the other guard came over and went through each of her bags. She didn't just look lovely, but was perfectly turned out as well. The other guard as he shyly examined all her purchases was obviously smitten by her beauty. Two minutes' delay and she was on her way. A friendly favour from one security-guard lad to another, as Akos agreed when I related the story.
Around half past eleven at night find Robin at the nearby Trafo performance space as he comes out of some more experimental music with space-time sculptress Villo and curator-gallerist diva Eszter. We have quite a long natter with the two art maidens about intoxicants and Faustian creativity.
April 8th; Friday. Events gather momentum.

April 7th; New Moon. Thursday. Akos moves our afternoon lesson to the sun-warmed children's playground of Grund where we feast on cold beer and hot spicy hamburger. Minutes later it goes dark and Robin & Simon turn up outside my flat in a taxi, taking me back to the building-site area behind Grund to attend an experimental-music event by a friend of his at a stylishly shabby little bar called Golya (Stork). I wax lyrical on the lost sensuality of Victorian femininity, praising several Felix Vallotton prints showing tightly-framed moments of bourgeois tenderness: such as this one and this other one, not to mention this, this, and this. Talking of experimental music and femininity, some songs by Canada's favourite sent-down neurology student - Grimes: Crystal Ball; Skin; REALiTi; Circumambient.
April 6th; Wednesday. A brewery in Dundee has created two confusing new products: a marmalade-flavoured beer, plus a beer thick & sticky enough to spread on toast like marmalade. Boardgame Orsolya explains today when we meet slightly more clearly what she means about allowing the cosmic will to overrule our conscious minds.

April 5th; Tuesday. One of our book's contributors reports on how demand for oil is now so low that lots of ocean-going tankers are parked at sea or chugging around looking & waiting for better prices before unloading their black liquid sticky stuff.
April 4th; Monday. This hacked database of offshore accounts (the 'Panama Papers') is going to dominate headlines for a week or two, so here are several links. How Icelandic anti-bank-fraud activists engaged in bank fraud; how someone wrote it up for the Guardian; and, via Mary, how the Americans are taking this grand stash of tax naughtiness dirt. In case all that's just too depressing, here for musical relief is Funki Porcini and 'Zombie' (obviously this has to be the Crippled Dick Hot Wax selection of Jerry van Rooyen remixes - I'm sure you all knew that already), followed by Funki Porcini's Dubble'.

April 3rd; Sunday. More work on proposal. Positively sinister trend in US prisons.
April 2nd; Saturday. Busy working on book proposal, either side of a brief coffee with the charming Kerrie & John. Meanwhile:
(1) Minimum wages increase unemployment;
(2) Smoke too much cannabis and be increasingly unemployed;
(3) Criticise EU institutions and lose your employment rights (Especially if your book accurately predicts how the euro will fail). Surely not!

April 1st; Friday. Authoritarian former Home Secretary Charles Clarke might get his wish at last: no phone-buying without ID. April Fools R Us.

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


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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


March 31st; Thursday. A strange story from last weekend of a French journalist locked up by the war crimes tribunal at The Hague. Meanwhile, was extinction of the bees wildly exaggerated?

March 30th; Wednesday. During my modern-architecture phase aged 9 & 10, I used to sketch endless plans for various Corbusier/Mies-type monstrosities. I was very drawn by sunken courtyards: buildings with more floors of frontage inside an atrium than outside. Here's a chucklesome plan to do that with the whole of New York's Central Park, except proposed decades later by a couple of grown adults.
March 29th; Tuesday. Finish a novel I borrowed on one of Zsuzsi's library cards. The curiously titled 'Prescription for a Superior Existence' by Josh Emmons is the tale of an American man being brainwashed by a mind-control cult (the PASErs), told in the deliberately stiff voice of the central character. Parts are drily funny. "While the terror of this sank in I climbed aboard a crosstown bus and slumped into a cat-clawed vinyl seat beside a tiny old Chinese man wearing a tie-dyed poncho and teal lederhosen, who inched away from me." While the book does well at explaining how a cult works and has some good descriptive passages, it's one of those novels (the majority, to be fair) which has only one convincing character and then only partly, the narrator. Not wholly satisfying, but enjoyable in places.
Aeroplane in Egypt gets hijacked leading to several-hour armed stand-off in Cyprus airport. To stave off boredom, passenger from Aberdeen takes joint selfie together with suicide-belted hijacker. There's hope for Britain yet.

March 28th; Easter Monday picture via John H. New growth! Eggs! Rabbits! Take train back to Budapest from countryside.
March 27th; Easter Sunday. Fra Bartolomeo saying something enigmatic, according to Troy from Glasgow.

March 26th; Saturday. Travel by car with Robin, Letty, Zsuzsi, & Bela down to countryside. We stop off for a hearty lunch once on the Great Plain. Outside, Bela accidentally gives a football to a couple of donkeys in a fenced-off petting zone next to the rustic road-side restaurant (whose chief rival half a mile away mysteriously burned down a year or so ago). I find out what a shock off the electric fence enclosing the donkeys and two furry big-horned cattle creatures feels like: surprisingly mild - I've snapped my hand back before I realise I've been zapped. One of the donkeys starts to eat the football.
Interesting article claims the latest "disruptive" Silicon Valley firm Uber is nowhere near profitability yet.
March 25th; Good Friday.

March 24th; Thursday. Facial expressions on video can now be faked in real time.
March 23rd; Wednesday. Microsoft gives AI deep-learning chat program a teenage-girl profile & Twitter account: within 24 hours "she's" a Nazi pornbot.

March 22nd; Tuesday. DNA adds to doubts over Celtic ancestry. Another odd experience reading a clipped-vocabulary version of a normal English novel, in this case a foreign-learner's abridgement of a Desmond Bagley 1970s thriller 'The Enemy' about biological warfare & spies kindly lent to me by young Lorinc. 4 or 5 strange little monochrome linocut-type images add a peculiar mood to the text. The original plot was just complex and fiddly enough that a lot of detail has still to be left in. Meaning that when compressed and stripped of embellishments, mood, descriptions, the book reads rather like a film treatment.
March 21st; Monday. UK health study says happiness tracks networks of people.

March 20th; Sunday. So now they say moderate drinking not healthy after all.
March 19th; Saturday. Pre-Great-War Swedish occultist painter getting a big exhibition: it seems her abstracts predate Kandinsky's (not that I ever liked his much). Are they good though?

March 18th; Friday. Honey Monster's mafia chums.
March 17th; Thursday. Back in the Fashion-Mag Chateau: proper glares from the servant girls.

March 16th; Wednesday. Rather tidy, cheery weblog about data & numbers: PIN codes / visual cryptography / password-sharing.
March 15th; Tuesday. Take Zsuzsi and Robin to the Foreign Language Library, just by Erzsebet Bridge. She kindly lets me take out a novel on her card.

March 14th; Monday. Review of perhaps good book.
March 13th; Sunday. Article about Detective Maigret, with an interview with Simenon's son. Is Maigret a figure for our uncertain times? Mother said something to me a lot like that over a cardboard box of detective paperbacks the summer we spent in West Africa.

March 12th; Saturday. So, a bit over 20 years ago I ask a woman friend who did well at Cambridge in Medicine if there are any viruses or bacteria that leave a person healthier after infection? (Aside from conferring immunity to that infection of course, some kind of substantial benefit.) I'm just hoping for some kind of thought-provoking, imaginative discussion, but she reacts with silent bafflement. 20 years on, here's a theory that the structure of brain neurons owes something to incorporating old viral structures. It's like swimming upstream sometimes. *sigh*
March 11th; Friday. Woman vanishes (supposedly) off live TV. Someone's having fun with software at least, even if most of us aren't.

March 10th; Thursday. More about artificial intelligence: writer dismisses a number of ideas as "phlegm theories" before advancing a phlegm theory of his own.
March 9th; Wednesday. Better way to grow human tissue in small lab samples.

March 8th; Tuesday. Finally, after over a year of asking him, Dean reports he has been to my Yorkshire house and replaced the roof tile, painted the door bright orange, and photographed the gas & electricity meters. He also tells me the house has been broken into, with copper pipes and the boiler stolen. This of course (to make the house look lived in or at least defended) was why I wanted the front door painted a bright colour three years ago, despite the spiteful sarcasm of the person who agreed to do that and then changed his mind. Surprise surprise, turns out I was absolutely right, again.
Interview transcript about firms pressing not to be restricted from scanning every face & biometric they can.
March 7th; Monday. Well-paid people (obviously) get automated first.

March 6th; Sunday. Interestingly, the cheap disposable razors I bought in Austria in January cut me a little when they were new, but now they are getting blunter with reuse they no longer cut. Isn't it supposed to work the other way round?
March 5th; Saturday. Meet Mohammad again, and we talk about film plots. Nietzsche's fears about education sound prescient.

March 4th; Friday. Boardgame Orsolya suggests I should take some unusual homeopathic remedies. Meanwhile, somewhere on a Swiss hillside, it's --- Goat Man!
March 3rd; Thursday. Go for lunch with Deborah & David, kind friends of Marion. We discuss Hungarian grammar.

March 2nd; Wednesday. Fashion moves in new directions: underlit skirts.
March 1st; Tuesday. Finally have a lesson with Dr D. where I am not struggling against my head cold. We touch on research that finds search engines subtly manipulate elections.

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