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August 24th; Wednesday. In a ridiculous situation with money waiting for me in a UK bank account I cannot withdraw from unless (having no phone credit) I phone them up. Kindly Ilan over the river helps out. He greets me at his door gloomily sneezing with a heavy summer cold that has laid him low. He gives me a copy of an old Stephen Potter book about sly tricks to get ahead in life so cynical it has shocked and outraged him. "When you feel like returning it to me, please burn it," he mutters darkly as we pad into his kitchen for an espresso.

August 23rd; Tuesday. It must be about a year since the supermarket installed glass doors on the dairy cabinets, cannot remember. I let that milestone slip past. It's also been a year or so I think since they changed receipt paper so as to have a big red logo on the back, making the till receipts less useful as handily-sized scraps of note paper. Then about 2 weeks ago (or 3?) the old friendly ones with faint blue writing only on the back returned! Also a better paper for scrap lists, with a more matt surface taking ink better. Now I see they're using cash-register rolls of both types intermittently, sometimes the nice blue-print semi-blank matt ones and sometimes the ones less suited for scrap paper (or papier mache) use due to red logo & shinier finish.
August 22nd; Monday. My latest article at The Salisbury Review weblog is up: in favour of hereditary peers returning to the House of Lords. Wonderful dinner in the evening: Robin & I go to Goran's and meet delightful company.

August 21st; Sunday. Japanese art-school animation on vimeo involving bits of cut-out paper with some wonderfully splodgy colours. Strenuously low-fi.
August 20th; Saturday. Hungary has its national day, with the usual firework display in the evening. On my quiet street, the night sky in that direction is blocked out, so I can only hear the bangs and the excited squeals of two girls a few balconies away who seem, judging by the timing of their wheeee noises, to be able to see the coloured lights. They might be foreign or Gypsy or under-5s because the general reaction of Hungarian adults watching firework displays is a grave uncanny silence without even an ooh or an aah. Apart from the two girls the street is as silent as if no-one lives here.

August 19th; Friday. British mind-control cult (2003) that influenced Cherie Blair.
August 18th; Thursday. In the Olden Days Department, a description of a heatwave in 1911 which had some people in New England committing suicide the weather was so hot; a curious decline in men's arm-and-hand grip strength which suggests testosterone levels really are falling; and an obituary of an impressive woman researcher into British espionage before the 20th century.

August 17th; Wednesday. Radio interview with Peter Levenda, an articulate & balanced-sounding conspiracy theorist. Ticks all the far-out boxes for those curious about secret Nazis, spacecraft, ceremonial magic, the usual.
August 16th; Tuesday. Ringing the street doorbell of a student I'd already for an hour sensed wouldn't be in for this morning's lesson, I look up at the slot of deep blue sky between the 19th-century building fronts in bright sun, with a mass of wispy white clouds scudding across that slot, and feel a surge of good cheer, how things are turning out well after all, and how kind people are. Lunch later with Heikki and then briefly meet Zoe on the steps of the cathedral. Here's a slightly eccentric top-100 French-film list. 99 looks fun.

August 15th; Monday. Lovely impromptu dinner with Zoe & Mark in town for a very short visit. By chance we sit at an outdoor cafe table under a TV screen relaying an Olympic event: women's waterpolo between Hungary & Australia. We touch on whether some people's love of the EU reflects middle-manager/jumped-up-clerk resentment of traditional class structures built round national loyalties.
August 14th; Sunday. My landlady's fridge's stiff plastic ice-cube mould is cracking a bit more each time I twist it to pop out cubes of ice during the hot weather. I should make my own, designed to mould ice chunks in jolly shapes. Means creating a .stl file for a 3D printer, printing it somewhere, and then finding the right tool-and-die bod on an industrial estate to redo that in some kind of soft synthetic rubber. Not impossible.

August 13th; Saturday. The oft-repeated (and rather odd) claim that almost no-one in Classical civilisation read text without moving their lips.
August 12th; Friday. Worthwhile piece on newly-discovered links between the brain and the lymphatic system. Mind you, anyone who's known a few doctors shouldn't be too surprised that physical evidence of lymph nodes connecting to the brain could, during centuries of exhaustive anatomy classes, careful dissections, and intensive lab research, simply go unnoticed.

August 11th; Thursday. Nice introduction to cellular automata.
August 10th; Wednesday. An interesting article on Rousseau very very weakly pegged on the Honey Monster's campaign for president. Tragic this is the only way people can find to talk about someone as important as Rousseau. And again, here is Trump tenuously imagined as Norse trickster god.

August 9th; Tuesday. After lesson with Simon, Jessica from San Fran suddenly appears in his kitchen, and kindly invites me for lunch at the Kadar eatery. In the evening, I finish 'Turkey: A Short History' by Norman Stone, lent me by Robin. Brisk, entertaining prose leads us through the centuries of the Ottoman empire, into the post-WW1 Kemalist state, right up to the rise of Erdogan in 2010. Stone is at pains to decouple the Ottomans from militant Islam, suggesting (slightly implausibly) that the 1453 conquest of Constantinople was in some sense a preservation of the Eastern Roman Empire, not an end to it. Conflict between rulers and the army seems a constant theme through the centuries, right up to 3 weeks ago.
August 8th; Monday. Vaguely depressing six-minute cartoon from 1946: a Salvador Dali & Walt Disney collaboration.

August 7th; Sunday. As we chat into the evening, Robin mutters with firm resolve that "Tonight I've really got to be disciplined and get to bed before 5." Finally, a realistic plan. I suggest I might make some Platonic solids to go on his balcony. Meanwhile, a man in London claims the city's leylines have been altered by newer office blocks.
August 6th; Saturday. Photographer turns movies into long-exposure stills.

August 5th; Friday. Handy little chart being regularly updated with each new fresh poll for those following the current US presidential contest: Mrs Hillary Clinton versus Honey Monster.
August 4th; Thursday. Important history update on magical death ray device.

August 3rd; Wednesday. Another article of mine up at Salisbury Review: my song of the dying swan for Budapest's dwindling all-night shops.
August 2nd; Tuesday. I'm sure now: the Sankt Peterburg devushka chooses a better mix of records when her radio show is live {#389} than when she pre-records one. Not so surprising, I suppose. We all try a bit harder when we're live.

August 1st; Monday. Worthwhile 2014 Atlantic profile of Russian PR shapeshifter linked to Putin. A Belfast writer now in Paris working for Charlie Hebdo half-echoes Stewart Lee's famous 'gentleman bombers' monologue: what's tricky about talking to Al Qaeda, Da'esh et al. Meanwhile, a ghost writer describes his job doing world-ends-in-2012 books.

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
.minimalist websites

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


July 31st; Sunday. Somehow I missed the moment when the strange inner keep at the supermarket vanished, and an area of half-built shelves was once again to be seen. Two weeks ago? The lighting was still turned down in that area, but after another day or two it was once again standardly lit, and almost impossible to see any difference from before. I think the shelving racks in that section now end in semi-circular shelving modules enabling items to be stacked all the way round the end of each stand on every level - but don't quote me on that.

July 30th; Saturday. A couple of days ago a French Catholic priest in his 80s got his head sawn off by a couple of Islamists while performing mass in his church in Normandy, and a friend showed me this image of Saint Denis suffering a similar fate. Thoughtful Telegraph response.
July 29th; Friday. Turns out most Scots don't want to leave the UK & stay in the EU after all.

July 28th; Thursday. Delicious dinner at Martin's flat with friends I haven't seen for ages, like Edith, Jeff, & Klara. In other developments, Artificial Intelligence still clueless about everything: non-shocker.
July 27th; Wednesday. In more Dr Moreau news cockroach milk is yummy & (2015) Russian scientist injects self with paleo-germs.

July 26th; Tuesday. Interesting details about The Honey Monster's links to Russia.
July 25th; Monday. One of odd things about this apartment is how quiet (yet also loud) the whole street is. The deadly quiet makes it worse when there's noise like drilling upstairs: no background hum for noise to sink into. Some nights here it's quiet enough to hear the sound of individual bubbles popping in a drinks can. Yet when two people stand outside having a conversation, it's as if they're being played on loudspeakers. 2 or 3 times a fortnight during the hot months each year when all the windows are open, one quite noisy girl somewhere nearby voices her carnal pleasure, keeping us all informed. Foreign visitors have remarked. Although each session is decently prolonged, I'm a bit concerned about her down-time. Not to mention, once you start to ponder it, the silent hundred-plus other women in this street. Surprisingly few crying babies as well.

July 24th; Sunday. Clear handy overview of the post-Ottoman Near East.
July 23rd; Saturday. This crypto-coin seems lottery-like - unless you're a moderately sleek girl with a social-justice vanity job. Mind you, Steemit test might be good material somewhere paying more social-justly. Meanwhile, BitCoin in the Caribbean is filling real banking needs.

July 22nd; Friday. 1) Bonobo monkey in captivity now makes fires with matches and cooks own food; 2) Seemingly another case of censorship in Britain; 3) Another radio show #388 from Madame Waks in Sankt Peterburg; 4) Surprisingly simple statistical solution to an old puzzle about the beasts of the land and the fowls of the air.
July 21st; Thursday. Meet John M. for a leisurely late lunch. We discuss the haunting, compelling visions of the insane.

July 20th; Wednesday. Apparently after Erdogan's crackdown in Turkey (leading to speculation that he let last Friday's putsch happen, or even encouraged it) thousands of insufficiently Islamist teachers, lawyers, soldiers are being arrested or suspended from jobs and then prevented from leaving the country. Austrian political journalist Gregor was already telling me at Saturday's early-evening party on the boat that the most significant fact, just hours after the Turkish coup failed, was that Erdogan had dismissed over 2,700 magistrates. As others have spelled out, his speed of response shows he had lists of people he disliked ready for use. Turks are, reports say, now spray-painting in public places the DNS numbers ( and, since you asked) needed to get round Erdogan's censorship of Twitter (but how?).
July 19th; Tuesday. Finish writing up synopsis. Perhaps just over two weeks since the silly modernist knob came off the cold-water tap in the bath. This means each time I run a cold bath or shower (several times a day in this heat) I must use a pair of pliers to twist the spindle on and off. Off course the pseudo-"functional" rounded triangular shape of the knob is hard to grip when wet, and considerably less functional than the old Victorian rounded-cross knobs you could easily get your fingers round. This happened one time before a few years ago. Trying to remember what I did that time. Something pretty simple like superglue the knob back onto the spindle. There don't seem to be anything as sensible as screws to hold it in place. Here's a claim about growth in new jobs under different prime ministers which could do with some qualifying footnotes. Might be nice to see on that graph where each new PM was in the business cycle when coming into office.

July 18th; Monday. Whole day chatting with Martin.
July 17th; Sunday. Some counterintuitive psychology results.

July 16th; Saturday. Pours with rain all day. Meet Martin who is briefly back in Budapest from South America (1st time in his flat in 5 years?) to accompany him round town. We visit a series of underpass tunnels and metro stations where homeless people camp out, to hand out the hundred or so food parcels he generously decided to make and distribute. After that we repair for a coffee in a bar then walk to the jetty in more rain where Marion's boat party will be, discussing Titmuss and polyamory on the way. On the boat there is Marion's wonderful party. I meet lots of delightful people while we chug up and down the Danube several times as the evening turns into night.
July 15th; Friday. Attempted late-night coup against Erdogan, Turkey's president. Who or why remains unclear. Putsch fails.

July 14th; Thursday. More sad tales of Deutsche Bank's woes.
July 13th; Wednesday. Interesting 2013 article arguing that bombing Nagasaki in 1945 wasn't what got Japan to surrender days later.

July 12th; Tuesday. Seems that Theresa May is now British prime minister. She appoints some unusual ministers, including Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary and David Davis to oversee leaving the EU.
July 11th; Monday. Daniel Hannan sums up how words have been twisted.

July 10th; Sunday. In Dr Moreau news, here's a cyborg stingray.
July 9th; Saturday. Last week's radio show from Petrograd: #385.

July 8th; Friday. Today or yesterday finish Robin's rather wonderful, lushly illustrated copy of a 260-odd-page exhibition catalogue about 'The Tale of Genji': 'In Search of Prince Genji'. Courtesan Lady Murasaki's thousand-year-old Japanese novel about the handsome courtier and seducer of women Genji was treated in the Budapest 2015 museum show as the focus of centuries of illustrations, games, trinkets, and decorative objects. Added on is how the novel served as a slightly more obscure inspiration to two living Hungarians, a novelist and a photographer. The novelist Laszlo Krasznahorkai wrote a book playing with ideas from 'The Tale of Genji' which was a great success when translated into Japanese. The English text of the catalogue is clear and informative, with only a few small errors (like "rights of passage"). Some of the material is extraordinary, including a popular game played over a couple of centuries with scented pieces of wood, where players used the mixtures of scent to recall and compare episodes in the famous novel. What the catalogue, the book it describes, and the milieu of art & court culture enabling the book most drive home is what certain lifestyles and eras in history achieve. A few, like scattered islands of free discussion liberated rather than restricted by elaborate manners, allow the cultivation of discernment and delicacy of sensitivity. These (usually court-based) cultures often it seems turn to contemplating the transitory bitter-sweet qualities of life in refined detail. One section explains how a certain Oriental view, that culture has a duty to approach the qualities of nature, is part of this. It clearly takes a special conjunction of factors like leisure, peace, wealth, social stability to allow a critical culture this sophisticated to emerge and persist for any period of time. The notion of 'refinement' seems especially unfashionable these days.
July 7th; Thursday. A self-driving car has killed someone? Surprise, surprise.

July 6th; Wednesday. Three interesting Aeon articles: Frans de Waal says that philosophers overrate the link between thinking and language - very much what I thought was wrong with linguistic philosophy while studying it / a poignant effort to smear free-trade economics by pointing out that early-18th-century French economists used the slave trade as an example of a trade which grew with deregulation / a discussion of Christian views on pagans as a lesson in tolerant concern for people outside one's favoured ideology.
July 5th; Tuesday. 2 thoughtful articles about the British EU exit vote: 1st / 2nd.

July 4th; Monday. Some wonderful pre-Great-War illustrations (scroll down) to one of those confusing fairy tales which seem to mean something, but really hard at this distance to say what. The Nielsen images somehow part-Beardsley, part-Rackham.
July 3rd; Sunday. An article about the authoritarian Theresa May which got pulled from the Telegraph after pressure from her campaign to lead the Conservatives. An American psychiatrist who also sees some cases of demonic possession: an unfairly neglected diagnosis in our secular times.

July 2nd; Saturday. I passed that doorway 4 more times, listening carefully each time. 3 times it was tweeting, once not. So perhaps it's an intercom fault after all? Jeans ripped at the knee are very fashionable again. Is the spiral of trend repetition getting quicker and tauter? Microbes which eat electricity - haven't seen updates on that slime they found inside the Chernobyl reactor that seems to feed on gamma rays.
July 1st; Friday. Clear-minded presentation about Fermat's general-purpose peer-to-peer network by its founder (who also did this). Beer! Pizza!

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