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March 19th; Monday. Despite photographs of ballot-box stuffing, Vladimir Putin is again confirmed as Chairman Of All The Russias in yesterday's election. A brief word on his behalf a decade ago: "I Crush You".
March 18th; Sunday. Catch a bus to the now-enlarged Kunszentmarton cake shop for a coffee with Linguist & Folklorist Edina for the first time since her return from Azerbaijan. Pouring rain in both directions slightly dampens things.

March 17th; Saturday. Ewan Morrison calmly dismantles the dangerous mirage of intentional communities. On the other hand in Robin's rural cell of good living out on the Great Plain, wonderful cooking by Zeno the Alchemist, together with the mass of home-laid eggs and home-slaughtered meat, makes every meal a candelit feast.
March 16th; Friday. A woman entrepreneur who was the darling of Silicon Valley turns out to have committed fraud, and to have been seriously out of her depth running a biotechnology start-up. Pre-war, a now-largely-overlooked aristocratic woman was prescient in warning both of the darkness of both communism and of nazism, sounding the alarm before male politicians.

March 15th; Thursday. Bridge collapses days after completion, killing six. Turns out the building firm is proud of its women engineers & managers, and was given minorities-diversity preference during the construction tender.
I still have no flat to go to, but must move out. Robin swoops to the rescue, and drives me and my first 8 boxes out to his place in the countryside by night.
March 14th; Wednesday. China's sinister online 'social-media' network moves into a creepy new phase.

March 13th; Tuesday. Julia, Erika, & Krisztian come to see me in the Croatian pirates' bakery. Suggesting I might move into the spare room of a mutual friend, Richard, Krisztian waxes eloquent and waves his hands around: "Both you and Richard are intellectuals! You and he can enjoy a common life of the mind!" The two girls nod happily at this idea.
March 12th; Monday. Last night finished a book kindly lent by Mr Saracco, 'Life 3.0', by Max Tegmark. This is a very reasonable attempt to give an overview of what "machine superintelligence" might entail, and how we might be wiser to fear AI competence rather than AI malevolence. Strikingly, the cheery and thoughtful narrative is undermined by some blithe assumptions Tegmark doesn't think to question: for example that humans have mastered animals purely through intelligence. At one point he says that man has mastered tigers through cleverness, not through force, which is clearly wrong. Humans largely avoided tigers for centuries, and sometimes fought them not with cleverness but with spears or fire, which can be counted as forms of cleverness, but also required physical force, strength, courage. It's hard, for example, to imagine a race of super-intelligent mice overcoming tigers on the same timeline, or even being free to develop tools & technology while being constantly predated on by larger animals. Even worse, the idea that minds can be uploaded into machines, or that machines can become self-consciously intelligent and purposive, is also taken for granted with the exception of one sentence. Here the assumption is that physics is the supreme subject, and somehow from this Tegmark deduces that intelligence must be substrate-independent, that silicon (or some other substance) must be as able to carry a thinking mind as the fatty, meaty tissues of some mammals. Again, this completely fundamental problem with AI is just assumed away.

March 11th; Sunday. Still feeling weak, I finish a paid translation. I've slowly become myself again as the hours pass since Friday night's sickness.
Suddenly warmer the last evening or two, I go for a walk around 3am hearing spring-themed birdsong: yet more bachelors looking for a wife. One small tree behind the all-night grocer's has a very dark brownish bird, like a double-sized sparrow with an orangeish-yellow beak, warbling away in hope of companionship. I watch it from 4 or 5 feet off. Realise I've never been this close to a bird while it sings its song before. Seems unbothered by me.
Ways to infect a computer through the printer.
March 10th; Saturday morning. A bathroom sink filled with cold sick perhaps not the best welcome to the weekend, but at least my stomach feels less poisoned. Never before have I had vomiting where each heave made me involuntarily shout or bark like a dog the second before the puke comes up. Dignified! But such are the wondrous powers of our bodies as they defend us from harm.

March 9th; Friday. I get food poisoning. Really not a good night.
March 8th; Thursday. Communism was helped, not harmed by the west.

March 7th; Wednesday. Royal secret ritual. Part-return to form from the Mash.
March 6th; Tuesday. An academic wants to drug Germany. Not very encouraging.

March 5th; Monday. Yesterday's election in Italy shows big shift by voters against the EU lobby. Very high turnout at 73%.
March 4th; Sunday. A good discussion of Socrates, Plato, and the big lie.

March 3rd; Saturday. Frigid sort of weekend weather. I've been going easy on the one-shirt look, making sure to wear a shirt and pullover so as not to attract stares.
Interesting article from the BBC suggests life is mainly about luck.
March 2nd; Friday. Book review of superbly barmy-sounding AI tome. Review is readable and charming. I suspect unhinged tome will be fascinating.

March 1st; Thursday. Some rather lovely ley-line-type talks about esoteric landscape stuff. Landscape Zodiacs / The Belinus Line / The Arrow of Apollo.
February 28th; Wednesday. Data shows migration from high-tax to low-tax US states.

February 27th; Tuesday. Intriguing senior EU creep manoeuvres into power.
February 26th; Monday. More confirmation that Antarctic ice is growing. Researchers warn of coming mini-ice age.

February 25th; Sunday. 20 new studies claim earth's climate is overwhelmingly solar-driven. With Film-maker Jessica to see the mildly ridiculous but quite sweet 'Black Panther', apparently already in the top-ten-grossing films list. Wakanga!
February 24th; Saturday. Sweden has a Viking forest language of 3,000 speakers?

February 23rd; Friday. Creepy & mildly witty portrayal of the all-seeing city.
February 22nd; Thursday. Trendy academic Jordan Peterson on tragedy & evil.

February 21st; Wednesday. Another radio show from Russia. #467.
February 20th; Tuesday. Very interesting claim that the original amendment creating a US right to keep and bear arms explicitly related to keeping a lid on slave rebellions. That slave-recapture gangs were what the "well-regulated militia" bit referred to.

February 19th; Monday. One of the more interesting accolades I've received in recent weeks: "the most financially sophisticated poor person I've ever come across". Should I be flattered?
February 18th; Sunday. Asha Puthli's eerie voice singing 'Space Talk', + remix.

February 17th; Saturday. Meet brother of Serb next-door neighbour, an interpreter at the war-crimes court at the Hague. We go down in the lift together. I ask if he interpreted for Milosevic or Mladic, and he slightly cagily says he translated for "six individuals". Glue the broken magnetic street-entrance thing back together again with my key ring, so I don't have to wait outside on the street for someone to let me in if I leave the magnet thing in my flat. Also one or two weeks ago re-attached my landlady's cold-water tap on bath using fragments of dry pasta to jam the thread tight with glue. So that didn't take me long.
February 16th; Friday. A student firmly refers to a relative of his who walked out leaving his girlfriend to raise two of his children as a "bad man". Quite right too. Talking of people who neglect their offspring, there's Percy Shelley, and a decent article about his wife's famous piece of early sci-fi. A man-made orphan, perhaps.

February 15th; Thursday. Czech government archives reveal Jeremy Corbyn was a low-level asset for Czechoslovak secret-police agents in the 1980s.
February 14th; Ash Wednesday. Readers will be thrilled to learn that some time in January, perhaps even this month, the display cabinets in the dairy aisle at the nearby basement supermarket changed again. The cheeses, butters, creams, and yoghourts are now underlit with a brighter, colder, bluer light. This makes them look fresher and more appealing. Boston Dynamics robots can open doors now.

February 13th; Shrove Tuesday. Fairly sane-looking technical predictions in gold.
February 12th; Monday. What might be a good light-hearted Hollywood caper, unless the trailer (using my mother's favourite Sinatra tune) turns out to be all that's good in the film. Sadly can happen.

February 11th; Sunday. Portraitist of Mr Obama also paints proud warrior negresses beheading people against Victorian pub wallpaper. Meanwhile, over in Glasgow, other exciting envelopes are being pushed!
February 10th; Saturday. Finish a curious, intriguing book moments before seeing, in my first cinema outing in many moons, Ildiko Enyedi's 'On Body and Soul' with Film-maker Jessica & her Internations chums. Very good, though a bit puzzled by the Sexy Psychologist subplot. Still think Enyedi's older film 'Simon Magus' is even better. Borrowed from Robin, 'The Fourth Dimension' by C. Howard Hinton is a wonderfully earnest and odd book, packed with lovely line drawings. From 1906, it patiently and carefully explains, in well argued steps, how to thoroughly visualise a 4th spatial dimension. It does this using some small coloured cubes which can be made from cardboard following the book's instructions. A quite difficult read if you don't actually build the models, which I shall have to soon. One chapter digresses to relate this to Kant, and another section suggests some puzzles about electromagnetism are solved if we imagine them as 4-dimensional relations "hiding behind" 3-dimensional perceived reality.

February 9th; Friday. 20-lb rat beings chew through California.
February 8th; Thursday. Over lunch with Zizi, she shows me a review of Gwyneth Paltrow's strange cosmetics brand.

February 7th; Wednesday. High-frequency programs force-retire hedgefunders.
February 6th; Tuesday. Piece with paywall, about how the good old days of the NHS involved experimenting on people without telling them.

February 5th; Monday. 2 good paired book reviews - Wright Brothers & Elon Musk.
February 4th; Sunday. Chinese scientists building ginormous mega-laser thing.

February 3rd; Saturday. The mystery of my blue plastic ice-cube tray continues. One chamber seems to leak, sometimes, but I cannot find even a tiny hole. This chamber which is empty the next day seems to also roam around the tray on different days, to add some excitement.
February 2nd; Friday. Early evening get off the underground train and sit on the bench by the platform for a few minutes. A train comes and goes, and then another arrives. Two late-teenage girls, perhaps 20, of quite normal looks but slender & leggy get off and walk swiftly down the platform. Instead of swerving away from my leg jutting out as they pass me, the nearer girl, without breaking stride, lets her hanging left hand cup the toe of my shoe in her palm, stroking four fingers over it, as the two of them walk past. Both look resolutely ahead. A hundred paces further on they glance over their shoulders back at me to see if they had an effect. Suppose it's now officially pre-spring.
Here is that memo from current US politics. People thought it would show collusion between Trump & the Russians. In fact it seems to show collusion between the Democrats & the Russians.

February 1st; Thursday. Tests of the appeal of high heels. Still not sure they have all the reasons. Maps to understand Britain. How to read a poisonous book.

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
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.find old websites
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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


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


January 31st; Wednesday. More evidence Chomsky's wrong. If it wasn't obvious anyway.

January 30th; Tuesday. Might be worth noting this claim mobile-phone radiation is harmful? Still keeping phone-against-ear time to a strict minimum.
January 29th; 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.

January 28th; 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."
January 27th; Saturday. Lucid article about 3 eras when "snowball earth" almost froze solid.

January 26th; Friday. Clear piece about the left's racist tradition.
January 25th; Thursday. Lunch with Zizi. Suggest she try Eckhart Tolle.

January 24th; 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.
January 23rd; Tuesday. Georgia a world hotspot for phage therapy?

January 22nd; Monday. Global poverty still falling, global inequality drops.
January 21st; Sunday. Narrator with serious-sounding Northern accent describes Conan Doyle's conflicted views on the supernatural, but leaves out 'The Lost World'.

January 20th; Saturday. Irish woman marries pirate ghost.
January 19th; Friday. Latin American metal bands mapped by population. Meanwhile, Brazilian man lives in sandcastle.

January 18th; Thursday. Cunning scheme to rescue BitCoin from logjam.
January 17th; Wednesday. Oxford exams extended to raise girls' scores in maths.

January 16th; Tuesday. The weak claims against Woody Allen.
January 15th; 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.

January 14th; Sunday. Poignant archeology news: grave of a young child in Siberia from 4,500 years ago discovered, complete with the child's toys.
January 13th; Saturday. Australian bird that deliberately spreads forest fires.

January 12th; Friday. Michael persuades me that some Jacques Brel fits current circumstances. I struggle to recall where I oh so distantly remember him 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.
January 11th; Thursday. Quite heavy but interesting piece on spiritual darkness.

January 10th; Wednesday. Encryption firm's random numbers from lava lamps.
January 9th; Tuesday. Interesting map of European countries where insulting someone is an offence punished by state prosecution.

January 8th; 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.
January 7th; Sunday. Seven new academic papers predict global cooling.

January 6th; Saturday. British Labour campaign group against expelling antisemitic members expels antisemitic members.
January 5th; Friday. Absent Friend visits and sings praises of the Isle of Wight.

January 4th; Thursday. Hear of Meltdown & Spectre hardware hacks from Michael.
January 3rd; Wednesday. Neglected Italian intellectual someone wants us reading.

January 2nd; Tuesday. Rather disturbing study says we can spot if people grew up poor from their faces in seconds.
January 1st; 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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