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December 21st; Sunday.

December 20th; Saturday.
December 19th; Friday. Meet Paul from Romania, though somehow we miss each other off the night train. He tells me some excellent stories about life in Bucharest. In the early evening, Boardgame Orsolya explains that conventional fatalism and free will are not the opposites they seem. Her view: personhood is a mistake, and thinking either that a) you have to be a person to act responsibly, or that b) not being a person allows you to act irresponsibly, creates a false dichotomy. Working with what she calls the free play of universal consciousness is, it appears, not something like either orthodox free will or orthodox determinism. Perhaps like swimming with and against various currents. I had that view decades ago but couldn't articulate any better.

December 18th; Thursday. For everyone out there called something like Chelonis or Spektre or Remo. People with normal names aren't allowed to make tunes like this.
December 17th; Wednesday. Along with oil prices (since the semi-secret US/Saudi oil-production-increase deal) the ruble is collapsing this week. Has Putin been foiled, as they used to say? One friend says this week that ISIS/Daesh is a better arch-enemy wheeze than bin Laden because "he was just one dude, now they've got a whole legion of dudes".

December 16th; Tuesday. Markets make fun of investors. Statisticians fight back against noise.
December 15th; Monday. Junior RBS employee writes open letter to Russell Brand. Amateur humourist better at humour than amateur economist is at economics.

December 14th; Sunday. Naughty cheat where someone sings a supposedly authentic ancient Babylonian song despite having only lyrics yet no pitch notation, so the tune is made up. Quite pleasant - again a bit Dead Can Dance in feel - but I'm sure if the same reconstruction had been tried in the 1950s, the tune would have been guessed at totally differently. Meanwhile, here is the little-seen earlier version of Mona Lisa / Giaconda by da Vinci. She looks perhaps a decade younger, sweeter, and the background landscape's better too. Somehow cleaner, sharper.
December 13th; Saturday. Are swingers in open relationships happier than other folk? Seems unlikely, but these researchers think so.

December 12th; Friday. Fresh from viewing Esoteric Veronica's riverfront office some distance south in the 22nd district, glittering in strangely bracing, uplifting winter sun, I pick up the 2nd batch of prints from the printer and then find Harry outside his stylish fitness gym at 4.30pm, the streets by then completely dark.
December 11th; Thursday. Photo records Apollo space project lead software engineer + code.

December 10th; Wednesday. According to The Register, the US has the world's 2nd biggest welfare system, meaning biggest per person. North Korea, however, has the planet's largest submarine fleet.
December 9th; Tuesday. How could we forget the Daddy of the MacDaddy so quickly? After a flyby ale with the glamorous Kirsten, a wonderful surprise outing with Franc & Viki where, emboldened by a cherry-themed Belgian beer and a divine dinner, I ramble on about chivalric diplomats, lost civilisations, lesbians: the usual.

December 8th; Monday. Meet a charming illustrator for a drink and finish a text from Robin's library called 'The City of Florence' by R.W.B. Lewis. This is a curious combination of Florentine history, architecture, and anecdotes by a US writer who recounts how he first saw Florence as an army officer during World War Two, and came back again and again as an academic during the postwar years. There are episodes from the last 700 years. The book is rich in descriptions of the more recent centuries, visits late in the 19th century by American writers, and finishes strangely with write-ups of various much-loved shopkeepers and restauranteurs in several districts of the city. In places an awkward mix, there are nonetheless fascinating moments which other histories of Florence (once seeing itself as the new Rome) tend to leave out. The floods, the public debates about the placement of famous statues, the philistine dynamiting of the mediaeval city walls in the 1860s, its brief spell as the capital of the newly unified Italy, some family gossip of remarkable citizens who begat other remarkable citizens. Doesn't quite work as a book, but some fine bits.
December 7th; Sunday. Met up again with Esoteric Veronica, her friend Ili, and Slovak Magyar Tarot reader Eva for some interesting discussion about the full moon and various turning points. Here an American conservative defender of public transit points out that cars and roads grew at the expense of bus and rail early in the last century due to massive government subsidies to road-building, combined with taxation of rail-based tram networks.

December 6th; Saturday. Today joined Esoteric Veronica for a very enjoyable rock/classical spectacular thing she invited me and her friend Ili to at the large indoor stadium. Big music, big songs, big emotions: an audience of perhaps 12,000 was thoroughly entertained. The pianist at the centre of it clearly has the sure instincts of a proper showman. Light shows, dancers, video on a big screen all accompanied a programme of rousing orchestral numbers, ethnic song drum & dance pieces, intercut with a couple of quiet piano items for variation. A video back screen showed starry nights, orange clouds of fiery explosions, and slow-motion splashes of primary-coloured paint during one number where a woman singer seemed to be chant/singing (I might be wrong) "I'd-die-for-rock-and-roll-I'd-die-for-rock-and-roll-I'd-die-for-rock-and-roll---" at full belt. There was some Liszt and probably lots of other famous melodies, it all being too well blended and me being too ignorant of the classical canon for me to be sure, all put together with quick, well-rehearsed precision. The crowd applauded with sincere enthusiasm at every break. The overall effect was of Hollywood thriller climax tunes crossed with the Last Night of the Proms, plus a smidgeon of Dead Can Dance sprinkled over the top. A swelling, Proms-like ending had backscreen video speeding over valleys of sunflowers while black and white balloons descended on the audience.
Not so different, on the subject of emotional film scores, last night watched 'District 9', the imaginative 2009 alien-sci-fi film set in the Johannesburg slums. Some wonderfully convincing details, such as the way the South Africans refer to the ghetto aliens as 'The Prawn'. Hilarious and horrifying by turns, the bureaucratic back story is especially well sketched. If there is a flaw it was in placing the story 20 years into the future. 6 years, or 11, would have been fine for the tale to work. But, most unusually for sci-fi, a character persuasively undergoes real emotional change.
December 5th; Friday. Yesterday was complex. Today more teaching. 2 articles about Putin & Russia: odin / dva.

December 4th; Thursday. Remains of a big Norman palace have been found under Old Sarum, an odd hillock I've had my eye on for some time.
December 3rd; Wednesday. More dreary weather. I'm told plusher suburbs of the city had trees so iced up with freezing rain that heavier branches broke off and downed some power lines in the last day or two. Three different musical groups from sunnier climes or times that called themselves Something Continentals, evidently once a choice name that seemed to promise fame & fortune. The Continentals; The Continental Cousins; The Fabulous Continentals.

December 2nd; Tuesday. On train back to Budapest am able to get power socket in my carriage to work. Exult in the small victories, citizens. American radio broadcaster Ira Glass talks engagingly about The Arabian Nights, about two ways in which his post-radio television appearances changed his life, and about how he became an atheist endearingly sympathetic to Christians' beliefs. Here Glass gives excellent advice on making good radio or television documentaries.
December 1st; Monday. Tedious grey skies and drippy rain continue while I snuffle with a cold. Spend yesterday afternoon and all of today toiling over some 15-page business-plan document for a friend. Zsuzsi makes a nice piquant sauce with what's left of the red pasta.

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

other web diaries:

.a political refugee from the global village
.enigmatic mermaid
.rainy day
.diaries abroad
.samuel pepys

also useful:

.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 numbers
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


November 30th; Sunday. Zsuzsi returns from the big city, and we all celebrate Joli's birthday again with more cocoa liqueur & tasty food. During a mid-meal discussion we check, through the wonders of the internet, if the French really do say "My little cabbage" as a term of endearment. Perhaps not.
November 29th; Saturday. Damp grey misty weather on the Great Plain. Robin & I have a lovely lunch in the Transylvanians' kitchen of free-range chicken and tiramisu. Lacko shows us some paper-folding tricks, and I get squiffy on a very tasty liqueur Joli made from cocoa & alcohol. Here's a sweet film of some clever Swiss engineers making small objects hover in mid-air, sitting on sound waves.

November 28th; Friday. More news from the we-knew-it-all-along department. So renewable energy isn't that good after all. Artificial intelligence still looks completely misconceived. And when men & women disagree over whether women were really flirting, a study finds the men aren't in fact deceiving themselves with wishful thinking: the women are lying. Late evening towards midnight Robin & I speed out of town through almost-fog.
November 27th; Thursday. Yesterday at Lorinc's I find he has a round fluffy Angry Bird in his room. Takes me five attempts to throw it on top of some tall cupboards he cannot reach so we can get the lesson started. Much hilarity.

November 26th; Wednesday. Last Thursday, so six days ago, had a good idea - even by my high standard of nifty wheezes - on the tram coming back from teaching Jake & Viktoria. More recently, I think the night of Sunday into this Monday, another different moment of insight. Can this really be down to watching that Youtube video recommended by Oz Priestess Vanese? The video of a rather sweet Canadian girl talking to camera for 12 minutes about how to decalcify my pineal gland and open my third eye? Certainly very restful to watch.
November 25th; Tuesday. Although my translucent green plastic wristwatch persists in running late, I was optimistic about the blue-strapped, orange-dialled plastic wristwatch kindly lent to me by Lorinc, my youngest student. The dial has, above the small slot where the digital time appears, a rather alert, cheerful-looking plasticine snail about his business. Noting that the green watch always lagged it, I assumed this one was on time. However, now realise Lorinc's watch runs fast, about 2 minutes ahead a day. More than usually perky in his picture, the snail turns out to be speedy.

November 24th; Monday. Girl in pink metallic wig has one of those days.
November 23rd; Sunday. Topsy-turvy art thing.

November 22nd; Saturday. Now this sounds like a book worth reading: "a groundbreaking study that challenges our understanding of what it means to be alive." 'Quantum biology'.
November 21st; Friday. Surprisingly thoughtful article about a Star Trek episode where some aliens have an odd made-up language. Meanwhile, the story that grammar shapes thinking drifts back into fashion. Esoteric Veronica is back from her course, talking about getting the Dali Tarot pack. We look up the star alignments of the Swiss Confederation constitution of 1848.

November 20th; Thursday. Real journalism. Magneto Boy!
November 19th; Wednesday. Carefully-written article suggests some people, even police officers, fear that wheelchair-bound physicist Stephen Hawking is being abused & beaten inside his home.
Read a short book borrowed from a student's parents: 'Paper' (Building Great Designs With Paper) by Lesa Sawahata. Have long found it odd that people in the paper business refer to weights, not thicknesses, as a way to classify paper and card. This book gives lots of examples of graphics work (business cards, restaurant menus, branded stationery, company prospectuses) which make use of paper colours and textures as well as typography, imagery, embossing etc. This is a nice idea, but one sad flaw in the book is that almost every single piece of graphic work it contains is ugly or tasteless. There are lots of yellows, oranges, creams and browns, along with cluttered designs, bad lettertype choices, and fussy, banal visual ideas. Close-ups of the paper types, enlarged images of other weights and thicknesses visible in the photographs, would have been nice. But best of all would have been crisp, smart graphic work that wasn't nasty.

November 18th; Tuesday. Interesting suggestion that living at high altitude both depletes seratonin and raises dopamine levels. So happy alert people get happier in the mountains. Sad anxious people feel worse.
November 17th; Monday. In the late morning Mr X tells me a woman who has found a good man understands that "I am where he wants me because that's what I want." Explaining his point, he continues "A woman is meaningless and boring until a man sprinkles magic dust on her. Then he has to yoke her." This might be a moment to mention research showing women who are on contraceptive pills when they meet and marry a man seem to often fall out of love with him once they come off the pill. Sounds as if the magic dust might be pregnancy-induced oestrogen.

November 16th; How can small nations attract high-net-worth individuals? Suggestions welcomed.
November 15th; Am now on the Tsu network.

November 14th; Friday. Late-eve speed down slightly misty motorways with Robin.
November 13th; Thursday. Last week's radio show & the current magazine article about #biometric identity linked to here.

November 12th; Wednesday. Persian vampire movie!
November 11th; Tuesday. The dangers of simulated worlds & intriguing piece by Robert Bauval about Egyptian archeology's curious "hall of records".

November 10th; Monday. On his nifty little laptop Robin & I watch both two films, 'In Bruges' and 'Young Adult', fairly much back to back, as we media moguls phrase it.
November 9th; Sunday. Catch the stupid germ & be thick at work.

November 8th; Saturday. I like coffee, you like tea.
November 7th; Friday. Last night's radio show here. I was wonderful, citizens.

November 6th; Thursday. Weather slightly sunnier & warmer. In their incredibly temperature-responsive way, sharply-dressed Hungarian girls appear on public transport as if from nowhere.
November 5th; Wednesday. Sex with over 20 women reduces a man's likelihood of getting prostate cancer. The less said here the better, probably.

November 4th; Tuesday. Geneticists proposing to release modified organisms into the wild very politely want to ask the rest of us first; Nassim Taleb, he of Black Swan fame, says bioengineering is dangerously risky.
November 3rd; Monday. Find Solero the stallion at the gate again, wistfully watching a horse and cart out beyond the next field. Only his snuffles into my glass of cold coffee interrupt yearning gazes at distant fellow beast clopping along main road.
Turkish man builds weird new musical instrument.

November 2nd; Sunday. Interesting maps show Germany is still divided.
November 1st; Saturday. I take the train to Kecskemet at lunchtime. In the station cafe the rock chick is serving again, wearing this time a salmon-coloured high-necked sports hoodie and preppy black-framed glasses. Once again I'm not allowed to read her shoulder/upper-back tattoo. I relax there a while with coffee & drinks, Robin and Zeno having been mysteriously delayed in a small country town somewhere south of Bugac. Zsuzsi, Letty, and Bela pick me up from the station cafe in the mid-afternoon. Two questions I get asked while we drive are 1. what do theologians do? and 2. why are some films called spaghetti Westerns?
Here's a wonderful article by Theodore Dalrymple / Anthony Daniels about Marx & Turgenev. He uses the fact that both were born in 1818 and both died in 1883 to make the comparison - how two different yet in some ways similar men both felt about the plight of poor or oppressed people. Everyone should read this.

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