Wednesday. More evidence Chomsky's wrong. If it wasn't obvious anyway.
Tuesday. Might be worth noting this claim mobile-phone radiation is harmful? Still keeping phone-against-ear time to a strict minimum.
Monday. Take lunchtime train to Erd, and trek along its quasi-village streets. Warmed by lemon-coloured winter sun I carry my briefcase and a four-foot strip of see-through plastic board across town. I find the firm that imports the see-through boarding (after their helpful closure of their Budapest office) and the man cheerily explains he has no tape measure at work with him today, so he cannot measure the sample I brought in. He asks me to e-mail him the measurements once I am back in Budapest, after quoting a "possible price" for three four-foot boards which is about double what I paid in total for twenty such boards 6 or 7 years ago. I keep forgetting: the customer must always apologise.
Finished Michael's book 'Epicurus: An introduction' by J.M. Rist, and very enjoyable it was. Once you get over the constant switching between discussion of sources and debates over what exactly it was Epicurus argued (unavoidable with much ancient philosophy) an interesting picture emerges. He seems to have been very ambitious intellectually (perhaps an effect of deliberately avoiding politics) and comes over as a curious mix of what we might now call phenomenologist, utilitarian, quietist, empiricist, and hedonist. He asserts that pleasure and ethics are more important than physics, yet also has a theory of the physical world. He attacks the atomists but has an atomic theory of his own. The curious idea that images of distant objects are smaller than the original objects because passage through the air atoms has rubbed away the edges of the image - or somehow deflated them - sounds bizarre now, but might seem saner in the original Greek. The famous "swerving atoms" Epicurus uses to save free will suggestively prefigure Penrose's attempt to save free will in the 1990s with "quantum tubules". The biggest quandry of Epicurus, as Rist gently explains, was to reconcile his rather generous and noble conception of friendship (one of the great topics of life in the view of many philosophers then) with his explicitly hedonistic & self-centred view that we should all aim to be safe, keeping our self protected from harm.
Sunday. One of our contributors, 'Tyler Durden', explains how the FBI are now stating that a Russian man in the US, founder of the RT news channel, "beat himself to death in his hotel room."
Saturday. Lucid article about 3 eras when "snowball earth" almost froze solid.
Friday. Clear piece about the left's racist tradition.
Thursday. Lunch with Zizi. Suggest she try Eckhart Tolle.
Wednesday. Michael persuades me to stay up late and watch this superb silent film set to a fairly new musical score. His allegation Ken Russell copied lots of it into his much noisier, more cluttered 'Devils' is very convincing.
Tuesday. Georgia a world hotspot for phage therapy?
Monday. Global poverty still falling, global inequality drops.
Sunday. Narrator with serious-sounding Northern accent describes Conan Doyle's conflicted views on the supernatural, but leaves out 'The Lost World'.
Saturday. Irish woman marries pirate ghost.
Friday. Latin American metal bands mapped by population. Meanwhile, Brazilian man lives in sandcastle.
Thursday. Cunning scheme to rescue BitCoin from logjam.
Wednesday. Oxford exams extended to raise girls' scores in maths.
Tuesday. The weak claims against Woody Allen.
Monday. Belgium closes its 171-year-old telegram service / MIT researchers bring us glowing trees / Pessemistic claims about Brexit were wrong, economists admit / Labour Party member in Manchester cheerfully says she'd help hang an anti-Corbyn MP from a tree / Film shows GCHQ forcing Guardian staff to destroy hard drives.
Sunday. Poignant archeology news: grave of a young child in Siberia from 4,500 years ago discovered, complete with the child's toys.
Saturday. Australian bird that deliberately spreads forest fires.
Friday. Michael persuades me that some Jacques Brel fits current circumstances. I struggle to recall where I oh so distantly
from. Has to be mother again trying to give me, as usual at some weirdly early age like 7 or 8, her mixture of high culture & bohemianism.
Thursday. Quite heavy but interesting piece on spiritual darkness.
Wednesday. Encryption firm's random numbers from lava lamps.
Tuesday. Interesting map of European countries where insulting someone is an offence punished by state prosecution.
Monday. After the year's first meeting with Dr D., and a quick midday visit to Robin's just opposite the old secret-police headquarters, go out to IKEA with Film-maker Jessica, where she kindly invites me for lunch at the fabulous canteen they have upstairs that I knew nothing about, serving wonderfully cooked pork and even dead Bambi (not available in most US department-store cafeterias, she assures me). Unfortunately, the lamp she wanted I could have helped carry is out of stock.
Sunday. Seven new academic papers predict global cooling.
Saturday. British Labour campaign group against expelling antisemitic members expels antisemitic members.
Friday. Absent Friend visits and sings praises of the Isle of Wight.
Thursday. Hear of Meltdown & Spectre hardware hacks from Michael.
Wednesday. Neglected Italian intellectual someone wants us reading.
Tuesday. Rather disturbing study says we can spot if people grew up poor from their faces in seconds.
Monday. Jessica comes over to my scruffy flat to tell me about the spiritual elite of Szeged while I cook her some ghastly pasta dish. She's adorably tactful about whatever it was I put on her plate.
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