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.
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.
Friday. Turns out most Scots don't want to leave the UK & stay in the EU after all.
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.
Wednesday. In more Dr Moreau news cockroach milk is yummy & (2015) Russian scientist injects self with paleo-germs.
Tuesday. Interesting details about The Honey Monster's links to Russia.
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.
Sunday. Clear handy overview of the post-Ottoman Near East.
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.
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.
Thursday. Meet John M. for a leisurely late lunch. We discuss the haunting, compelling visions of the insane.
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 (220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168, since you asked) needed to get round Erdogan's censorship of Twitter (but how?).
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.
Monday. Whole day chatting with Martin.
Sunday. Some counterintuitive psychology results.
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.
Friday. Attempted late-night coup against Erdogan, Turkey's president. Who or why remains unclear. Putsch fails.
Thursday. More sad tales of Deutsche Bank's woes.
Wednesday. Interesting 2013 article arguing that bombing Nagasaki in 1945 wasn't what got Japan to surrender days later.
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.
Monday. Daniel Hannan sums up how words have been twisted.
Sunday. In Dr Moreau news, here's a cyborg stingray.
Saturday. Last week's radio show from Petrograd: #385.
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.
Thursday. A self-driving car has killed someone? Surprise, surprise.
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.
Tuesday. 2 thoughtful articles about the British EU exit vote:
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.
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.
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.
Friday. Clear-minded presentation about Fermat's general-purpose peer-to-peer network by its founder (who also did this). Beer! Pizza!
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
markgriffith at yahoo.com