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*4
June 21st; Tuesday. Good old Christo still chugging along. Now he's doing saffron walkways on an Italian lake (set off by tasteful old architecture of course) so people can "walk on water".

June 20th; Monday. Naughty hardware hacks troubling some. (1) A way of using a capacitor on a chip to set up a backdoor invisible to normal inspection, and (2) less-than-transparent standards in the Intel 'management engine' that controls their chip and can, oh, get round anything really. Time to revive handwritten ledgers.
Early evening, go with Alex to a roughly one-hour presentation on Ethereum at a quite warm, sticky Budapest BitCoin gathering. Rather stretches my very rusty Hungarian, but not too impossible. At one moment, discussing the DAO heist exploit, someone asks for a show of hands on 'hard fork', 'soft fork', 'no fork'. Practically the whole room votes for 'no fork', revealing majority support for the hard-core automated-morality viewpoint mocked in the Bloomberg piece. Afterwards, drink with folk on the slightly cooler pavement outside, including French palace-of-memory researcher & crypto-coin fiend Timothee, event organiser & software security specialist Barnabas, + director from a rival do-everything crypto-currency Daniel. Hear how Gabor & Dalma see Philip Sidney. I go on a bit about why I think Hobbes & Rousseau took the wrong turn in political thought. Both feign interest charmingly.
June 19th; Sunday. Make crucial switch from buying spaghetti to a kind of flat straight ribbon-shaped pasta. The eating experience is totally different. Top left on this diagram, I think. Might mark a major change in my daily life, citizens.

June 18th; Saturday. Back in the world of crypto coins, news breaks that lots of money (80 million USD+ by yesterday) is being stolen in real time from a fund rather mystically called The DAO (Distributed Autonomous Organisation) that is coded to run on the blockchain in the Ethereum currency/language. Such poetry. This arouses fierce debate among the techno-purists about whether anything wrong has been done, since (some say) all the miscreant did was use a legitimate loophole in badly-written code. Short QZ summary / Cool collected response from the Russian programmer who built Ethereum / Slightly sharp, amused piece on Bloomberg getting down to the ethical core of it / Latest update on how it's escalating.
June 17th; Friday. Almost like magic, my complaint/prayer of two days ago has been answered. Suddenly the sickly recorded voices of ickle childerun announcing stops on the 4 & 6 tram have been banished. Eerie powers of this weblog, doubtless.

June 16th; Thursday. Cheerful-looking woman MP gets murdered in Yorkshire and pro-EU groups start to claim that people who vote for Britain to leave the European Union are thuggish yobs disrespecting her martyred memory. Looks like the killing happened just in time from their point of view.
June 15th; Wednesday. For 2, perhaps 3, weeks now the pre-recorded tramstop announcements on the 4 & 6 trams have been voices of small children, one Hungarian, and a range of foreign 6, 7, 8-year-olds (I suppose) for the ones also given in English. I saw one huge squeeee reaction ("Jaj!! De cuki!!") from a teenage girl passenger clearly bursting to have babies, but the effect was pretty cloying already after 2 days of novelty. The Hungarian child overstrains to get the Magyar long-O sound so ends up saying the junction 'Oktogon' as 'Awktawgawn' which probably sounds adorable to adorers of tots. I assumed it was in honour of some non-holiday like European Week of The Spoilt Brat, but am now having the sinking feeling this might be inflicted on us all summer. The cellar supermarket in the nearby shopping mall has had several aisles of shelving taken out in recent days, making a luxuriant empty space in the middle and reminding us it's just a big shed.

June 14th; Tuesday. Some links for The Nigel of Light and Ze Zexy Catheline. Accounts of a couple of studies claiming backwards-causation / retrocausality / precognition (insert preferred term here) seen in psychology & physics experiments on the scale of a few seconds or microseconds: psy 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 | phy 5 | psy & phy 6 | + 3 failed replications of part of the Bem study by sceptical researchers 7.
Plus also for Nigel, sports humour: England as seen by the Dutch.
June 13th; Monday. If EU mandarins are trying to hold the lid on disastrous news until after the British referendum vote on the 23rd on whether to leave The Tariff Cartel, there should be clues. One might be the way shares in the very unwell Deutsche Bank seem to have consistent massive support around 15 dollars, despite clearly wanting to slump much lower. (Click on the one-year '1Y' button to see that graph.) I wonder how much that 15-dollar 6-month floor has been costing the ECB?

June 12th; Sunday. The North of England looks likely to vote heavily for Britain to leave the EU. Article claims that the EEC/EU was originally a secretive project Britain was groomed for without being told. A strange song asking us to stay in the EU from the daughter of a former MI6 chief.
June 11th; Saturday. Oh dear oh dear, research into the sexes just gets more shocking every week. A study suggests that men given extra testosterone become more honest. Surely not! Meanwhile, some wonderfully simple research shows entrepreneurs don't have special personalities, they're born into wealthy families. A fabulously dim AI article plots three axes on a truncated pyramid, or frustum, so that "the singularity" (the coming night when computers will angrily thrust pillows down onto our faces as we slumber helpless in our beds) can occur where two axes have used half their lengths? More proof marketing smothers human intelligence.

June 10th; Friday. Mongolia is changing all its postal addresses to seemingly random bunches of three words - some of them not so flattering. Amazingly, a firm in Britain has found a way to sell this idea.
June 9th; Thursday. The Nigel of Light and I go up to the Castle District and in very hot sun gaze out from under a cafe umbrella at the top of the hill, looking across the vista of the whole city on both sides of the curving Danube. We hurt the feelings of the violinist while trying to be tactful when he asks us what piece he should play and I say (emphasising how well he was playing) if it's all right a few moments of quiet? Say farewell to Nigel as he leaves for the airport. The building across the road is once again a uniform golden-shortbread / vanilla colour, and I was wrong about the Hungarian builders. Mea culpa. Have never quite understood the narrow horizontal zinc strip that goes across old building fronts here, usually just at window-sill level, but as ugliness goes it's nothing compared to the prospect of the white & yellow combo that appeared to be happening last week.

June 8th; Wednesday. Yesterday evening and today for lunch the Nigel of Light kindly takes me out to restaurants. Last night I burbled on over dinner about clan violence, aristocracy, Rousseau, and how historically parochial liberalism is. Today we more enjoy the sunshine and the lovely food. Two very pretty leggy secretaries seemingly have reason to walk past the outdoor tables of this famously swish new restaurant three times in two hours, doubtless the shortest route to somewhere, and back again, and then again. As the long afternoon becomes evening, the sky again fills with chunks of pink and yellow ice cream drifting across indigo sky, long shadows slicing across the crinkly 19th-century street frontages. The scent of (I think) linden-tree or lime-tree blossom has been wafting intense waves of nostalgia and romance across some back streets after dark for about two weeks. A perfume that works like some annual scent clock of the seasons, announcing the time to fall in love and marry. Perhaps why the girls are suddenly out in force again, looking their best, as if they spend every winter lying low in some vast underground hive. Someone else in The Salisbury Review, not me, explains very well the Swiss view on losing sovereignty to the EU. Confoederatio Helvetica voters also resoundingly reject free money ('Basic Income'), their minds it appears still thinking clearly in that brisk clean mountain air.
June 7th; Tuesday. Keith & Dora kindly take me for lunch and tell me some Norwegian jokes about Swedes. On the tram back from my lesson at the Supreme Court later, three quite bouncy girls on the tram ask if I'm a lawyer. The tie might be to blame, but the fact my briefcase has an ID-tag ribbon as a makeshift handle probably should have tipped them off to the lack of a lawyer's salary. Weather is now warm & sunny. Rather lovely journal looks at 19th-century interest in the 4th dimension.

June 6th; Monday. Oddly, I see the workmen painting cream (halfway between white and golden shortbread) over the white ground-floor render. I ask if the whole building will be yellow again and they say yes. Perhaps I was unfair. Later in afternoon, pop out to airport to pick up Nigel of Light who has flown in from London. He is as ever wonderfully tactful about my intensely scruffy flat. We chat & catch up almost continuously, going out later to a retro-70s restaurant to carry on over supper.
June 5th; Sunday. Someone has finally noticed that software and internet start-up founders talk gibberish. If only the broader tendency of almost all software description to be unhelpful bollocks had been criticised 3 to 4 decades earlier, things might be rather easier now.

June 4th; Saturday. Unintentionally entertaining article about a Swiss tunnel alleges Illuminati-style public symbolism instead of blaming an out-of-control artistic director taking himself too seriously.
June 3rd; Friday. Just when the newly-rendered pre-1900 building was looking nice, I see them today painting white over the yellow (but leaving sill stones under windows yellow) on the ground floor. Of course it's now vile, and will be worse once the ground floor render quickly gets dirty. Should have guessed Hungarian restorers wouldn't stop at the one stage the building accidentally looked tasteful. 1 white-painted storey, 2 yellow. Yuck.

June 2nd; Thursday. Sun still cooling, says 2015 model.
June 1st; Wednesday. The building opposite had its cladding and scaffolding off after a couple of hours of clankety-plink noises perhaps yesterday, and today I notice the whole front has been painted a rather mellow biscuity shortbread yellow.


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.

So?

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

useful:

.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
.webhost
.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


films

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


...............................................................................................................................................................

May 31st; Tuesday. A wonderfully sneaky hack right down at the chip level. A funny effect where prime last digits seem to predict last digits in subsequent primes. US law enforcement in San Francisco: hidden microphones in public places.
Oh yes, and my article about the East Bloc view of Brexit goes online.
May 30th; Monday. Some clever folk talking about how far maths is part of human culture: Penrose; Weinberg; yet only Wolfram, & again, seems to tackle it seriously. Here he says goodbye to a colleague who worked both on 2D puzzles and shift-register sequences, which Wolfram compares to cellular automata.

May 29th; Sunday. Long, quite informative piece on strikes and labour unrest in France. Perhaps tactless to mention this?
May 28th; Saturday. US missile systems still use floppy discs. Strangely reassuring.

May 27th; Friday. New claims that mobile phones do cause cancer after all.
May 26th; Thursday. Akos & I discuss US military robots ("You have 20 seconds to comply.") Meanwhile, the Tory leader's former strategist says that if Cameron were not prime minister, he would favour leaving the EU. + Curious story that EU-wide tax numbers are planned.

May 25th; Wednesday. Rahul spurs me with this inspiring snatch of Kipling.
- See you the ferny ride that steals
  Into the oak-woods far?
O, that was whence they hewed the keels
  That rolled to Trafalgar.
And mark you where the ivy clings
  To Bayham's mouldering walls?
O there we cast the stout railings
  That stand around St. Paul's. ---

May 24th; Tuesday. Northern Ireland man traces guns used in several killings. Inquest into 1970s killings hears how young apprentice cried for his mother before being shot in the head by Republicans.

May 23rd; Monday. Nice old story: someone tries to hack speed cameras with number plate in SQL.
May 22nd; Sunday. Chomsky on Newton.

May 21st; Saturday. 2003 child-murder frame-up claims. Forgiveably shouty.
May 20th; Friday. Show Lorinc my goose sketch. Abroad, schoolboy finds lost city.

May 19th; Thursday. Catalans dicing with AIDS? Bit News-of-the-Worldy.
May 18th; Wednesday. Trees have soul: another Schauberger?

May 17th; Tuesday. Last week's Petrograd radio mix quite good: #378.
May 16th; Whit Monday.

May 15th; Whit Sunday, or Pentecost.
May 14th; Saturday. Sugar icings in Urals: stronger, more gloss than puny cake of Western weakness!

May 13th; Friday. Lorinc challenges me to draw a goose. Closer up than this friend's photo, though.
May 12th; Thursday afternoon, Alex & I chat about Ethereum, Chromium, & Russian car-crash videos. After dark Akos breaks the back off my chair 2 by accident after laughing at my chisel work on chairs 3 & 4 not being so good. He's right, really.

May 11th; Wednesday. Weather continues to be wet, dry, warm & cold in unpredictable succession. The trees love it though. Street trees are suddenly big & bulky with thick pale-green leaf. A claim that Britain's economy is doing well.
May 10th; Tuesday. Drop over to Deborah & David's flat for lunch. + Britain's traditional blue letter boxes.

May 9th; Monday. Cruel but fair pastiche of Alain de Botton writing about love.
May 8th; Sunday. Canadian adolescents discover their parents are Russian spies. Deep undercover. While cross-dressing retired British spy helps woman "hide with hippies in the woods".

May 7th; Saturday. Peter encourages me to look at HTML5 with a fresh screen.
May 6th; Friday. Bernardo Kastrup podcast interview: his attack on philosophical materialism + transcript with dodgy spelling. Meanwhile, has your password & account been compromised? Check here.

May 5th; Thursday. Small hours this morning finished a book borrowed from Robin: 'New Art from London' by Chris Townsend. A bit dispiriting as a read, this 2006 book aims to describe what a later wave of artists based there were doing 15 years after artists around Damien Hirst & the Chapman Brothers were making waves in the early 1990s. The socialist viewpoint is so reflexive and taken for granted that every 3rd or 4th page carries a glib reference to "neoliberalism", "the priorities of entrepreneurs", or "global capital", assumed to be the obvious reference for any artistic activity today. After approvingly quoting Habermas on page 180, attacking how "the materialistic West" encounters other cultures, Townsend writes "The catastrophes that afflict the West now (9/11; the Madrid train bombings; suicide bombers in London and whatever else may follow), as well as those massacres that happen daily in Iraq, are largely a sign of the way that this version of modernity works, seeking to subsume other cultures in its materialism, rather than extending a hospitality towards them, a hospitality that, rationally, could acknowledge differences." This quote's clunky style ("a sign of the way that this version of modernity works"), simultaneously evasive and pompous, shows hardened habits of mind. The possibility terrorism might be largely driven by civilisations or forces outside the West never crosses his mind, because any cause outside western 'capitalism' would undermine Marxism's pretensions to explain everything. The idea that the West has in fact been hospitable to other cultures, precisely acknowledging differences, and the idea that this, the West's tolerance for differences and relaxed reluctance to assimilate incomers, might be the real enabler of terrorism - these two thoughts are likewise unthinkable for him. Viewed through his distorting lens, anything would seem drab, but I suspect that Townsend's mental filter is actually quite suited to the leaden irony of the artworks in this book. George Shaw's vaguely glum-yet-elegaic paintings (from photos) of the West Midlands and some of Ori Gersht's photographs of skies are the only works with any visual merit. The art & artists he gives most praise and attention to (the unsatisfying installations of Anne Hardy and Shahin Afrassiabi; the anti-corporate filmed performances of Carey Young; some multi-media work of Ryan Gander; Jo Broughton's deliberately bleak, banal photos of Canvey Island; Helen Barff's felt-covered components; Caroline McCarthy's miniature landscapes of supermarket packaging; the cartoonish debris of David Burrows; Nigel Cooke's paintings of "marginal" spaces; James Ireland's fake miniature landscapes; the rocky chunks of Tania Kovats) almost all seem "richly informed by" (that's to say, shallowly deluded by) dislike of Britain and business. I don't think this is Townsend misrepresenting their work - he's probably describing their aesthetic ideology quite fairly. Even art of the kind the NY-based American-photographer duo The Hilton Brothers do (example) could in his eyes veer dangerously close to the frivolous or decorative, I assume. To earn the approval of Mr Townsend, London-based artists must strive to be dourly unenjoyable, austerely theoretical, & politically didactic. Should take their pleasures sadly, in fact.
Part of the trick with this kind of writing about hyper-ironic retro-beyond-unmodernist post-whatever art is to use indirect phrases which suggest all sorts of clever stuff going on beneath the surface. Tensions are embodied, boundary situations are worked through, "language just isn't that innocent", performances of the self are "recapitulated". Words like 'sedulous', 'haptic', 'inhere' drop in occasionally to add casual authority to the prose. A typical sentence reads "Looking at her cramped, provisional studio space, one can't help seeing the work as an oblique commentary on 'modernity', fashion, and art's role as a catalyst in that process." One just can't help it. Considering the number of remarks Townsend makes about artists gentrifying unfashionable bits of London to the benefit of property developers, a brief mention of Sharon Zukin's detailed 1989 book-length study of just "that process" ('Loft Living') might have raised the bar a little.
Writing about Ryan Gander's project to present a fictional indie music band with mocked-up photos, packaging etc, Townsend adds in brackets "The history of bohemia is in part one where each generation apes the anti-bourgeois posturing of its forebears. In a mass cultural age where bohemia has no spatial or temporal identity, but has itself developed into a brand, it has become a tradition continued in the largely spurious opposition manifested by bourgeois children playing music to annoy their parents." That knowing little explanation, so sure of itself, unwittingly sums up the art & criticism presented in this book.
May 4th; Wednesday. Lovely day out to Vienna with Paul, Deborah, & David. Refreshing! Gorgeous visuals in the Mozart museum.

May 3rd; Tuesday. More from the Dilbert creator who's been predicting for over a year now that The Honey Monster will succeed.
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) Space & time might be made of quantum entanglement.

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