" While the book does well at explaining how a cult works and has some good descriptive passages, it's one of those novels (the majority, to be fair) which has only one convincing character and then only partly, the narrator. Not wholly satisfying, but enjoyable in places.
Aeroplane in Egypt gets hijacked leading to several-hour armed stand-off in Cyprus airport. To stave off boredom, passenger from Aberdeen takes joint selfie together with suicide-belted hijacker. There's hope for Britain yet.
Easter Monday picture via John H. New growth! Eggs! Rabbits! Take train back to Budapest from countryside.
Easter Sunday. Fra Bartolomeo saying something enigmatic, according to Troy from Glasgow.
Saturday. Travel by car with Robin, Letty, Zsuzsi, & Bela down to countryside. We stop off for a hearty lunch once on the Great Plain. Outside, Bela accidentally gives a football to a couple of donkeys in a fenced-off petting zone next to the rustic road-side restaurant (whose chief rival half a mile away mysteriously burned down a year or so ago). I find out what a shock off the electric fence enclosing the donkeys and two furry big-horned cattle creatures feels like: surprisingly mild - I've snapped my hand back before I realise I've been zapped. One of the donkeys starts to eat the football.
Interesting article claims the latest "disruptive" Silicon Valley firm Uber is nowhere near profitability yet.
Thursday. Facial expressions on video can now be faked in real time.
Wednesday. Microsoft gives AI deep-learning chat program a teenage-girl profile & Twitter account: within 24 hours "she's" a Nazi pornbot.
Tuesday. DNA adds to doubts over Celtic ancestry. Another odd experience reading a clipped-vocabulary version of a normal English novel, in this case a foreign-learner's abridgement of a Desmond Bagley 1970s thriller 'The Enemy' about biological warfare & spies kindly lent to me by young Lorinc. 4 or 5 strange little monochrome linocut-type images add a peculiar mood to the text. The original plot was just complex and fiddly enough that a lot of detail has still to be left in. Meaning that when compressed and stripped of embellishments, mood, descriptions, the book reads rather like a film treatment.
Monday. UK health study says happiness tracks networks of people.
Sunday. So now they say moderate drinking not healthy after all.
Saturday. Pre-Great-War Swedish occultist painter getting a big exhibition: it seems her abstracts predate Kandinsky's (not that I ever liked his much). Are they good though?
Friday. Honey Monster's mafia chums.
Thursday. Back in the Fashion-Mag Chateau: proper glares from the servant girls.
Wednesday. Rather tidy, cheery weblog about data & numbers:
PIN codes /
visual cryptography /
Tuesday. Take Zsuzsi and Robin to the Foreign Language Library, just by Erzsebet Bridge. She kindly lets me take out a novel on her card.
Monday. Review of perhaps good book.
Sunday. Article about Detective Maigret, with an interview with Simenon's son. Is Maigret a figure for our uncertain times? Mother said something to me a lot like that over a cardboard box of detective paperbacks the summer we spent in West Africa.
Saturday. So, a bit over 20 years ago I ask a woman friend who did well at Cambridge in Medicine if there are any viruses or bacteria that leave a person healthier after infection? (Aside from conferring immunity to that infection of course, some kind of substantial benefit.) I'm just hoping for some kind of thought-provoking, imaginative discussion, but she reacts with silent bafflement. 20 years on, here's a theory that the structure of brain neurons owes something to incorporating old viral structures. It's like swimming upstream sometimes. *sigh*
Friday. Woman vanishes (supposedly) off live TV. Someone's having fun with software at least, even if most of us aren't.
Thursday. More about artificial intelligence: writer dismisses a number of ideas as "phlegm theories" before advancing a phlegm theory of his own.
Wednesday. Better way to grow human tissue in small lab samples.
Tuesday. Finally, after over a year of asking him, Dean reports he has been to my Yorkshire house and replaced the roof tile, painted the door bright orange, and photographed the gas & electricity meters. He also tells me the house has been broken into, with copper pipes and the boiler stolen. This of course (to make the house look lived in or at least defended) was why I wanted the front door painted a bright colour three years ago, despite the spiteful sarcasm of the person who agreed to do that and then changed his mind. Surprise surprise, turns out I was absolutely right, again.
Interview transcript about firms pressing not to be restricted from scanning every face & biometric they can.
Monday. Well-paid people (obviously) get automated first.
Sunday. Interestingly, the cheap disposable razors I bought in Austria in January cut me a little when they were new, but now they are getting blunter with reuse they no longer cut. Isn't it supposed to work the other way round?
Saturday. Meet Mohammad again, and we talk about film plots. Nietzsche's fears about education sound prescient.
Friday. Boardgame Orsolya suggests I should take some unusual homeopathic remedies. Meanwhile, somewhere on a Swiss hillside, it's --- Goat Man!
Thursday. Go for lunch with Deborah & David, kind friends of Marion. We discuss Hungarian grammar.
Wednesday. Fashion moves in new directions: underlit skirts.
Tuesday. Finally have a lesson with Dr D. where I am not struggling against my head cold. We touch on research that finds search engines subtly manipulate elections.
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
markgriffith at yahoo.com