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September 10th; Monday. Finish a book at Robin's, 'The Will To Live: selected writings of Arthur Schopenhauer', edited by Richard Taylor. These are essays collected from several of Schopenhauer's works. The most startling thing is how up-to-date he sounds, with his thesis (that the animal will to live is more important than minds or ideas in explaining the world we experience) sounding very much like post-1970s evolutionary psychology (or 'evopsych', as some call it). Darwin is nowhere mentioned since this is the 1830s and 40s, although evolution in some sense was clearly being passionately discussed, with Lamarck being both praised and mocked by Schopenhauer. He actually suggests that Lamarck is foolish to describe a change in animal structure emerging over long periods of time (exactly the feature that we now find so convincing about Darwin), suggesting rather that the will to live is "outside time". His section on women, full of jibes such as the line that men are often professionally jealous of certain other men within their specialism, but women of all other women because "women only have one profession", is startlingly close in some of the claims (if expressed less diplomatically) in evolutionary psychology. The pre-ghost of what Nietzsche and Freud were to call the unconscious fifty years later is here in some brief sections. He describes a kind of hidden will making the individual animal serve the species at its own expense. Schopenhauer makes the shrewd claim that sexual desire is the real mainspring of most human action, even as we lie to ourselves that it is something more lofty. As Freud slowly fades from sight, Schopenhauer's simpler, clearer, earlier claims come back into focus, deeper and sharper.

September 9th; Sunday. Rather like the look of this book. A probably tongue-in-cheek discussion of theology using game theory.
September 8th; Saturday. Interesting account of how a peer-reviewed journal buckled to pressure to repress some unfashionable science.

September 7th; Friday. Men have better sex with emotionally-unstable women? Did they correct for hot/crazy correlation though?
September 6th; Thursday. Christian arrives, escorting Sophia to candlelit dinner at Robin's. Krisztian, however, fails to attend. Spicy sauce cooked by painter Julia.
Meanwhile in Britain, a banned Iranian TV crew somehow films inside a Labour constituency meeting where a "pro-Israel" Labour MP is losing a vote of confidence.

September 5th; Wednesday. Machine to type one-handed. Is it nifty?
Evening drinks outdoors over the river in Buda with Robin, Ernst and his gorgeous chocolate brown vizsla dog, dishy Russian/Greek/Romanian art gallerist Sophia, along with artist Julia and film-maker Erika.
September 4th; Tuesday. Parrots' economic decisions better than socialists'.

September 3rd; Monday. Interesting article about director of 1st three James Bond films, and his links to 'Agent Zigzag'. Still staying at Robin's on Csengery waiting for money to come through for locksmith to open Michael's door across town.
September 2nd; Sunday. Finish a copy of 'The Moon and Sixpence' by Somerset Maugham, a book I remember seeing lying round among Mother's books, and have been vaguely meaning to read for decades. Maugham's first writing success was in the 1890s, and although this followed twenty years later in 1919, it made me realise how much he remained an 1890s writer. Vaguely modelled on several painters - a bit of Cezanne, a bit of Matisse - the life path of the central character Strickland partly follows Gaugin, in that he ends up living on the island of Tahiti. A staid, conventional stockbroker until the age of 40, he suddenly abandons his wife and two children in middle-class London, escaping to Paris to begin living alone and painting, facing a new condition of poverty with steely will and lofty indifference. The book is very much about three women who love him, and Maugham stresses the perverse intensity of women's love, their desire to be mastered in particular, in a way almost impossible to openly write in print already by 1930. From another angle an eerie foreglimpse of the libertarian, romantically individualistic 1960s spirit. Right to the end unsure why "moon and sixpence". Perhaps I didn't read closely enough.

September 1st; Saturday. London busstop ads attack Israel.
August 31st; Friday. In more racist news, turns out haggises are English.

August 30th; Thursday. At 8 in the morning, Zeno the Alchemist insists I must replace the door even though the paint is still soft, so we mount it on the hinges back inside the house, smearing and scraping the once mirror finish. Then I return to Budapest with morning train, teach twice, and find I cannot get into Michael's flat. The increasingly awkward upper lock finally (after some weeks of getting stiffer and stiffer) refuses to co-operate. I spend an hour and a half trying to get in, then walk over to welcoming Robin a mile off, happy to see me even in extremis.
August 29th; Wednesday. Interior wooden door at Robin's farm still not drying as it should, balanced on two stools outside the studio. Zeno shows me that fresh figs are ripening right now on a bush seven or eight feet to the right of the studio door, there years without me noticing.

August 28th; Tuesday. Paint both sides of door. Visit seamstress in next village with shirts to be mended. By a ridiculous piece of bad luck, miss meeting Edina in Kunszentmarton. My pocket watch is one hour behind, and Robin's kitchen clock oddly also one hour behind: I go to meet her exactly 1 hour too late.
August 27th; Monday. Buy paint and brush in Kunszentmarton with Zeno.

August 26th; Sunday. Travel down to countryside to paint door.
August 25th; Saturday. Italian Interior Minister describes EU as "filth".

August 24th; Friday. Chinese banking crisis still threatens.
August 23rd; Thursday. 10 female dancers from an old TV show. Check Pat Davis.

August 22nd; Wednesday. Quasi-Dennettish article about consciousness.
August 21st; Tuesday. Farsighted RAF man warned of EEC/EC/EU danger.
+ good summary of just how odd the investigation of President Honey Monster is.

August 20th; Monday. AI calls for a religion, as if it wasn't one already.
For the first time in a flat where (by leaning out of a window a bit) I could see some of the city-centre evening fireworks that traditionally celebrate today's holiday of Hungary's first Christian king. He's the one whose embalmed right hand in a glass box at the cathedral is the obvious inspiration for The Hand in the old Addams Family TV series, as Nina tartly pointed out when she described Hungary to a friend as "a cross between the Addams Family and 'Twin Peaks'".
August 19th; Sunday. It seems contraceptive pills masculinise women.
More stuff about time travel. And they don't mean reversing ageing.

August 18th; Saturday. Wonderful image for that horrid thing: the headache.
August 17th; Friday. China embraces robot policing.
Poignant piece about coders who regret helping to build Uber and similar firms. Touching, but you'd think they'd have thought of this some decades ago?

August 16th; Thursday. More magical thinking about strong AI.
Take stopping train out to the Balaton to meet Peter D. in his rural summer retreat, a lakeside resort filled with sporty things, and a gorgeous view out across the water. A prow of big hills juts out into the lake, coloured dusty blue by distance, headed by Badacsony the wine hill. The outline of the four hills is very like a tinted wash from the Turner sketchbook. We play three-a-side volleyball in late-afternoon sun (at one point the six people on our court include three different girls all called Panni), then swim in the lake as the sun begins to go down. An extremely generous apricot schnapps pressed on us by the beachside barman before my train back to town leaves the journey back around the big lake vaguely blurred. But I glance up from my train carriage table halfway along the south coast of the lake as darkness falls and almost gasp aloud. Across the carriage is an extraordinary filmic vision of lilac hills against an ink-blue late-evening sky, for perhaps a minute looking like nowhere I'd ever imagined on earth.
August 15th; Wednesday. Or would that count as time travel?
Heat still intense and thick. Wherever the sun is shining, it's like when your mother opens the oven door to get the cakes out. I don't know if the desert with the Nazca lines is a hot place or not, but apparently they're exactly opposite to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

August 14th; Tuesday. Perhaps reversing ageing will help the Pussy Church?
A curious memory from the other week down in the countryside at Robin's where I was outside the house near the entrance. Am suddenly hit by a rich pulse of mint aroma. Half a second later, a red, orange, brown and black cockerel charges angrily into a thick patch of mint plants. When some white hens burst clumsily out of the same thickets of herb one second later it's clear the cockerel is chasing them. Amusing for me, but looked pretty serious for them.
Turns out that the actress who started the media feeding frenzy against that fat film producer with stubble actually paid off a sex-offence alleger of her own.
August 13th; Monday. 'Pussy church' of witches against transsexuals forms in US. Meanwhile, a researcher suggests we all have a psychopath default setting deep in our lizard brains (nice editorial art).

August 12th; Sunday. Physically weak men more often left wing.
August 11th; Saturday. Orban's government has decided to shut down 'Gender Studies' at all Hungarian universities. Another cunning ruse to distress some and cause others merry mirth.

August 10th; Friday. Summer heat still quite formidable, after dark too. Air thick like suet. Go to supermarket about 9pm. Three girls making flutey noises in French come in after me dressed in black shorts and black tops, the un peu sportif, un peu sexy look. I glance them over in what's probably a very ungallant stare, turn round and try again to understand the corner cabinet's strange array of lactose-free cheeses. Suddenly there's a slight extra warmth all down one side. I become aware that the prettiest of the three is precisely next to me, as in less than half an inch from touching, glancing over the same shelves in a vaguely aloof, scientific way. To do this she's somehow crossed about twenty feet of empty shopfloor in a second - it's almost occult, as if I suffered a time slip or black out. I spend the standard two-second window of opportunity pushing lactose and cheese out of my thoughts and pulling up my in-head French-language-remark menu display, by which time she glides off past the cucumbers, radiating cool, disinterested curiosity about other food items. Shaking this odd moment out of my heat-addled mind, I choose some purchases, passing a different lass, boyfriend in tow, leggy with lustrous mid-brown hair cascading down her back like a waterfall. I get into the massive double queue this shop has stretching down two aisles every night from about 7pm to closing at 10pm, a double tube of customers feeding six tills, three along each side wall, resembling a great intestine. After only a few minutes, get to a till, and as I pay for my items literally feel the leggy lass, nowhere to be seen seconds ago, manifesting next to me. The small golden hairs of her bare arm are brushing my bare arm. She's chosen the next till in such a way to squeeze her whole length into a desk gap just a millimetre away from my body, and her boyfriend is the far side of her talking to the cashier. Pesky aftershave.
August 9th; Thursday. Years since I thought of this book cover.

August 8th; Wednesday. A chance to hear some ancient Greek music.
August 7th; Tuesday. Interesting bar chart of how religious denominations voted on Brexit. Muslims & atheists like the EU, Anglicans & Jews not so much: article.

August 6th; Monday. For the first time since the last century I buy and drink a can of Vimto. Remember the pop group I saw performing at college and one of their songs went "He's the man turning water into Vimto", thought they were good, went up to the bass guitarist afterwards to tell him, and he said that just that afternoon before their gig they'd decided to split up. Is that Vimto for me? Surprisingly pleasant taste.
August 5th; Sunday. China's creepy future police state project continues.

August 4th; Saturday. Man in Texas steals baby shark in pram.
August 3rd; Friday. At a Las Vegas hackers' conference, participants break into supposedly-secure voting machines in two hours.

August 2nd; Thursday. Apparently earth's longest maintained set of temperature records, the 'Central England Temperature' dataset goes back to the late 1650s.
August 1st; Wednesday. Early in morning finished one of those short introductory paperbacks rendered in mashed-up historical illustrations with speech balloons. 'Mathematics' The aims are ambitious, to amiably introduce a whole range of topics in the subject (probability, differentiation, logarithms, trigonometry) both in cultural context and without boring readers who are almost certainly not keen on maths (yet). A variety of small scenes cut out of 19th-century novels and prewar schoolboy cartoons are pasted together in a zany manner. In some cases this genuinely makes a concept clearer, but mostly the effect is a manic determination not to be boring. Alongside this, the concern to dethrone European claims to mathematical supremacy and emphasise the algebraic contributions of 10th, 11th, and 12th century Muslims, + some Indian and Chinese thinkers, is probably the strongest undercurrent in the book. Of course to mention that Galois was a republican "in a reactionary era" or that Turing was a gay man who suffered from old-fashioned moral prejudices are good ways to involve readers not immediately interested in the maths. At the same time, hard not to feel the cultural politics are priority 1; enthusing people about the subject and explaining parts of it taking a fairly distant second place.
Meet Jessica off train in Budapest. She pulls a very interesting spread of cards in the cheerfully unspooky environs of the shopping-centre food court.



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.

So?

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

useful:

.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
.country domain names
.language-learning 1 2
.find old websites
.fine HTML tutorial
.webhost
.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 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


films

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


...............................................................................................................................................................
July 31st; Tuesday. Read to the end of 'Turner on the Loire' from Robin's library, a careful reconstruction of what the contents of his sketchbooks tells us about Turner's route up the Loire in 1826. The effect of gazing on painted sketch after painted sketch, with some wonderfully minimal pencil skylines in between, is not only sensuous but also a kind of time travel. The kind of rural France that was already vanishing by the time photography became a mass craft twenty years later is here noted, taken for granted, and seen as normal if interesting. The idea that ten years before the first motorised railway lines in Britain women in different provinces of France quite close to each other wore different headgear (combination hats, caps, whatever you call what nuns and nurses still sometimes wear) is startling really. Yet no odder than supporters of different football clubs today marking themselves apart with insignia, colours, flags etc. Why wouldn't milkmaids or woolworkers or stable girls proudly show allegiance to their valley or district? The catalogue/book says a section of Turner's notebooks were given up to these head-dresses - shame not more given in the illustrations. Many of the scenes are haunting, and show someone in love with the effects of light yet who doesn't see this as part of a political movement the way some in and around French impressionism forty years later did. The writer makes sure not to spare readers knowledge of Turner's argumentative nature, and his habit of always pushing for the highest possible price for his works.
July 30th; Monday. Intriguing back-to-front Indian mirror.

July 29th; Sunday. An unhappy daughter not nagged enough? Headline quote (Steve Jobs told her "You smell like a toilet") not quite as it sounds. Still a sobering read.
July 28th; Saturday. So if you want your daughters to succeed you should nag them?

July 27th; Friday. In the newish lift (1980s or 1990s) in Michael's rather older building I notice what seems to be a dead moth lying on the inch-wide ledge against the glass on the outside of one of the lift windows. Boring, dead, dusty triangle with edges about an inch and a half in length, I first see it travelling down in the morning, then again in the afternoon. By the end of the day dawns on me it might have been there weeks or months. After all, once the lift reaches ground-floor level it's not easy to reach the outside to clean it. On all sides it's hedged in with black-painted metal grillework designed to prevent people falling into the shaft and being crushed. No way to open those windows except by completely unscrewing the frames. Balancing on the bannisters to clean it while at another floor would hardly be safety-conscious. That moth corpse might have been riding up and down dozens of times a day and night with that lift for a decade - perhaps more.
July 26th; Thursday. Today, the largest single-day drop in price of any single share, on any US bourse, ever. The hitherto mighty Facebook/Instagram loses 119 billion US dollars of value in a single trading session. Interesting to note that internet/computing companies suffered the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th largest one-day drops ever to date as well. Are there really larger falls from some other market?

July 25th; Wednesday. Murderer of girl hitch-hikers electrocutes own genitals.
July 24th; Tuesday. Wealthy lady prosecuted over slavegirl cult.

July 23rd; Monday. Rich Kuwaiti woman bemoans servants with passports.
July 22nd; Sunday. Travel back from countryside to Budapest. In the evening, Film-maker Jessica tells me slightly lurid details about the man who created the Wonder Woman comic strip in 1941. Meanwhile, more JFK-assassination documents released by Trump show two separate cases of junior US intelligence officers (one in Scotland, one in France) coming across chatter between spooks in classified cables about the killing of John Kennedy, in both cases a couple of weeks in advance of the event.

July 21st; Saturday. Finished the Julian Jaynes book 'The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind'. Both careful and audacious, this has to be one of the most thought-provoking books I've ever read. Jaynes, writing in the 1970s, claims that what we call consciousness appeared among humans around the year 1000 BC, spread over several centuries. Before that date, he suggests, people directly heard insights and gestalts in their right hemispheres as the voices of gods speaking inside their heads. After that date, man is increasingly conscious and self-conscious, he has a moral sense independent of gods and god-kings, he no longer hears the voices or no longer feels comfortable acknowledging them, and he is haunted by a deep nostalgia for that older and more unified timeless time when the gods still spoke and moved among men. Jaynes writes at length about the medical literature on schizophrenia and also quotes from Mesopotamian, Greek, and Hebrew myth to illustrate his point. Moses is one of the borderline figures between the bicameral minds and the modern minds, and he sometimes cannot resolve his Lord's voice into anything clearer than a pillar of fire. Moses closes a period of history by putting laws down in writing on pieces of stone, excoriating his people for constructing in his absence a traditional dummy god from gold intended to speak inside their heads in the familiar old hallucinatory style. Jaynes sides with the classicists who put the two great epics attributed to Homer several centuries apart, written down by different hands, and actually claims that the Illiad, even with redactions and additions since, is one our last glimpses of the bicameral mind in its raw, preconscious strangeness, while the Odyssey is an early example of the modern mind, just about on our side of the great divide. Some of the old preconscious hallucinators were mass-murdered on the orders of kings, creating an evolutionary pressure for modern consciousness. Jaynes cites specific purges of the old prophets, the hearers of voices, at dates given in the Old Testament.
Jaynes suggests that the strangely effortless Spanish conquests of the Incans and the Aztecs (two and a half millennia after that split between the two Homers) should be understood as confrontations between modern conscious men and entire archaic civilisations of people still thinking with bicameral minds intact, still hallucinating the reality of their gods' voices into their daily reality. The nostalgia of so many, from Hegel back to the author of the episode with the Serpent in the Garden, for some half-forgotten, more ancient paradisical state of innocent completeness, gains immense nuance from Jaynes' extraordinary hypothesis. If he's right, it changes everything. Even depictions of angels with wings and the rise of games of chance are pulled into this vast theory. With implications for a range of controversial topics from hypnosis to theology or archeology, he writes sometimes coolly, sometimes lyrically. "They have called it the Dorian invasions. And classicists will tell you that indeed they could have called it anything or everything, so groping our knowledge, and so dark these particular profundities of past time. But continuities in pottery designs from one archaeological site to another do fetch a few candles into this vast and silent darkness, and they reveal, albeit in flickering fashion, the huge jagged outlines of complex successions of migrations and displacements that lasted from 1200 to 1000 B.C. That much is fact." starts one chapter. Very much recommended.
Amazing thunderstorm keeps me awake much of night in Robin's studio, cloud-reflected lightning rippling through the skies, casting weird shadows inside the high ceiling of the studio itself. Filled with a sense of being close to the heavens, infused with the power of the elements.
July 20th; Friday. It seems horses remember people who smile at them.

July 19th; Thursday. The French sex cult from outer space.
July 18th; Wednesday. Three weeks and one day with no sunspots. Longest break since 2009. Today finished a borrowed book about Einstein's opus magnus called 'The Perfect Theory' by Pedro Ferreira. Nicely readable, this speeds through a century of general relativity going in and out of fashion - eclipsed for a decade or so by quantum physics, then re-emerging with new surprising predictions such as black holes, then again passing out of favour, and so on. Sad stories like Jocelyn Bell being left out of the Nobel for discovering pulsars or Joe Weber getting ensnared in his own calibration errors, convincing himself he had discovered experimental proof of gravitational waves and destroying his reputation, flesh out the human narrative. As much about fifty or sixty great physicists over the century, as the physics.

July 17th; Tuesday. Turns out gene-editing tool CRISPR might create cancer dangers of its own.
July 16th; Monday. Excitement builds in the US impeachment putsch, as 18-month-old claims force an indictment of some Russians. US prosecutors accuse 12. For more, here's a short interview with Mr Nunes, a piece by one of our contributors, zerohedge, alleges Hillary Clinton committed serious treason, and a short interview with veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh on why not to be too trusting of The New York Times.

July 15th; Sunday. Slight pause for thought in the late evening when I realise that Robin, buoyant as usual, intends to drive back to Budapest with a chest of drawers strapped to the car roof. Earlier in afternoon, finish a book about brainwave research into moments of insight when people solve puzzles or have sudden fresh ideas. 'The Eureka Factor' by John Kounios and Mark Beeman does a nice job of spelling out the psychological experiments in their essential simplicity, and balancing this with the overall implications for how creative thinking and problem-solving happens. One interesting discovery is the split-second burst of alpha waves in the brain just before a new solution emerges, as if clearing clutter off a desk, or shutting out distraction for that vital moment like a "blink".
July 14th; Saturday. Drive with Robin down to The Great Plain after a warm afternoon in town, partly to retrieve my cards, and also to fish out of his attic my copy of Jodorowsky's book about restoring the Marseille pack.

July 13th; Friday. My Salisbury Review article: blimp babies battle above London.
July 12th; Thursday. Researcher says facial-recognition systems see gayness.

July 11th; Wednesday. Creepy con woman probably based in Indonesia swindles film industry people out of their savings.
July 10th; Tuesday. Finished off a book kindly lent to me by Robin, dauntingly called 'Eco-Aesthetics' by author Malcolm Miles. Helpfully subtitled 'Art, Literature, and Architecture in a Period of Climate Change' this consists of a review of various art projects, community architecture schemes, and novels that seem to have something to do with alleged man-made warming of the earth's atmosphere since the 1980s. Various anaemic bits of art and more or less pompous episodes are looked at, where "tensions are inscribed" or themes "intervene polemically" or "modes are transposed" in the usual jargon. The book comes to a sudden stop at the end of the community house-building chapter. On page 119 it comes out that he thinks melting Antarctic shelf ice raises sea levels: "Five hundred million tonnes of ice" (Larsen B) "break into icebergs and eventually melts into the southern oceans, where it contributes to rising sea levels" Apparently he has no memory from school of why ice floats in the first place. Overall, dispiriting, vaguely drab. As with the Stallabrass book, nice to get some overview of who is doing what, but depressing to see the miserable and ignorant left-wing paradigm they do those things within.

July 9th; Monday. Is it possible she could do it again?
July 8th; Sunday. An EU-funded wall that is quietly approved.

July 7th; Saturday. Vatican banker has eerie message.
July 6th; Friday. Something for seekers after knowledge.

July 5th; Thursday. Much of day with Robin, helping as best I can with internet problems and paperwork. A brief afternoon break in leafy park in front of his building as we coffee with Bianka and learn of her half-year in the South Sea islands. Then Robin & I natter until late: cabbages & kings, the Gothic novel, luck.
July 4th; Wednesday. Starting around lunch time, Izabella and I help Film-maker Jessica get her flat ready for the Independence Day party. It's duly in shape by time festivities begin in the evening, with lots of alcohol, water, sausages, and potato salad. I meet several lovely people in the mingle. After this ends go with Robin, Krisztian, Zsofi, Tamas to do a couple of Tarot readings outside a cafe in the warm night air facing the big synagogue. Oxana arrives, we decide she should consult the cards also, and she & I end up carousing in a dance-only location several streets away. She leaves her half-bottle of Martini hidden in a potted shrub outside and it's still there when we leave 3/4 of an hour later. A brief discussion about paradise and menthol cigarettes with a man on a bicycle called Gabor, and then at about 3am I'm alone crossing the small korut at Deak where two pretty girls from North Wales accost me, asking directions. I share my cheese with one, and get the other to speak a sentence of Welsh for me.

July 3rd; Tuesday. So there is this standard pack of sliced cheese which formerly cost 379 forints in the supermarket near Michael's flat for 1/4 lb, that is slightly over 1 pound sterling for 4 oz, so around GBP 4.50 to five quid per lb. I bought it sometimes, and then it went up to 489 forints, one day to the next, so I stopped. It brought back memories of people laughing in the early 1970s when critics of the EEC said joining would raise prices of meat in Britain to over one pound per pound (which of course it did). This was sneered at back then as doomsaying hysterical nonsense, and no-one even dared speculate cheese would go above a pound a pound. That was simply regarded as beyond satire. After a while at the nearby supermarket (recall that this is a low-income country which has enough agriculture to feed itself) at 489 the price suddenly went back down to 379 forints once more. Once or twice I bought this 1/4 lb pack of sliced smoked cheese again. 2 or 3 days ago it returned to 489 again, so I stopped again. Some kind of marketing mind-game technique?
July 2nd; Monday. Facebook hiding inaudible messages in TV ads? Nice.

July 1st; Sunday. AI article discusses running artificial online culture histories at increased speeds to develop computer IQ more swiftly. Confident!


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