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Wednesday. Mad Love
(Amour Fou), by Gavinco, more hypnotic & dreamy than wild or passionate, but that's probably the point.
Tuesday. Another of those on-and-on-and-on tunes: "Ltj" and Hot Groovy 014. 14th in a series of 999, presumably.
Monday. Women start
turning into their mothers aged 33, says boffin.
Sunday. US army says autonomous robot tanks really
nothing to worry about.
Saturday. A few evenings recently, walking through the shopping plaza that got built in the years I lived nearby, my nostrils detect an odour clearly being piped into the air-conditioning. Something to do with vanilla and burnt caramel, it's so strong at both ends (absent bakeries or food outlets) that it's clearly being put into the air to make people feel appetised and happy to purchase. Or at least ready for some major cake action.
Friday. Finish a book kindly lent to me by Paul: 'Fifty Key Medieval Thinkers'. Well-organised, brisk, and with an excellent introductory essay, this handy guide takes the reader through a thousand-year range of thinkers, largely theologians in the Western Church. What is perhaps lost is a little subtlety in explaining their ideas. If the book had given an extra half page on 12 to 15 of the figures, people like Abelard, Duns Scotus, Nicolas de Cusa, it could have been really good. But someone always has a complaint about a compendium like this - never possible to do both breadth and depth.
Thursday. At work on Crypto Hill, find a giant inflated number 8 inside the lift. Think last night's birthday party for a partner's daughter was for an 8-year-old until I see the silvery helium-filled 1 lurking in the restaurant later. Here's the IMF on why phasing out cash suits them.
Wednesday. US government accidentally sends journalist weird mind-control documents. Meanwhile, interesting lecture from someone who claims he investigated the curious killing of Jo Cox that so nearly swung the 2016 Brexit vote the other way. In other news, crystal meth now social drug of choice in North Korea.
Tuesday. Russian ships have vomit-inducing ray-guns? Want one, now.
Monday. How French Revolution got the modern death-camp era started.
Sunday. New Statesman says that May's supposedly amended 'Withdrawal Agreement' is in fact the earlier document reformatted but with identical text, down to the very last comma. Top humour from the EUnuchs! Estonians now regretting cryptocurrency hub idea.
Saturday. Perky sounds of the swinging Orient: Yali Yali by 70s singer Nese Karabocek remixed, and Turkey's dancer Didem, looking sweet in 2011. Note vital quorum of Moustachioed Men in Suits.
Friday. Moscow scientists reverse flow of time. Finally.
Thursday. Surveyor says Welsh border in wrong place since 1880s.
Wednesday. 2 intriguing synaesthesia poem/films from Dex.
Tuesday. The EU's finest hacks hunt down hidden crimes: Europe's Glass Eel Mafia and its "subtle emergence". "Open get-away cars"!
March 4th; Monday. From beguilingly named early-70s French hippie-commune movie 'Le Mariage Collectif', the wonderfully Moogish 'Sexopolis', pleasantly giddy with mid-60s jazziness.
March 3rd; Sunday. Japanese firm makes headpieces to help terrify your pet. Flynn Effect now reversing, claim IQ-ologists. Research shows women ignored in films.
March 2nd; Saturday. Willie Hutch is an interesting case: lush funk tracks for early-70s blaxploitation films about crime & sleaze bring the best out of him, then he collapses into a career of sentimental slushy ballads once he gets a following. The early photos show a suspicious bitter young man, later on as he grew older a face filled with happiness & gentleness: a real suggestion of the redeeming power of love. Yet the music loses all edge and drama once he doesn't need to write about ghetto violence, money, sex any more.
Theme of The Mack /
Mack Man /
You Sure Know How to Love Your Man /
Mellow Mellow /
Friday. The Register worries about El Trumpo & Huawei.
Thursday. Michael arrives back from magical kingdom of Wakanda. Sadly, some of the old romantic folk skills such as filing seem to be dying out.
Wednesday. Asha Puthli spacing out again.
Tuesday. Just after I promised Michael two nights ago that nothing major had changed at the Szervita square hole-in-ground building site, this morning there's something new. A big green machine is helping the big yellow machine today, and a small stack of 3 or 4 portakabin container-sized offices has appeared. The green is the dark-leaf green that railway locomotives used to be painted in, not the fluorescent highlighter-green of another crane/digger I saw there a month ago.
Missing CEO with 150 million USD in crypto dies in fake-death zone.
Monday. Pop over to Robin's flat, natter with Bela & Letty.
French law now to use Parent 1 & Parent 2. No more mama/papa nonsense.
Sunday. Curtis Mayfield warns: If There's a Hell Below...
Saturday. Brain snooping on the way.
Friday. The fake that launched a thousand shills.
Thursday. Euro currency's bail-out frailties.
Wednesday. Chinese pills made of powdered baby.
Tuesday. EU copyright "law" augurs chaos and confinement.
Monday. More on the fake-face generators.
Sunday. AI creates fake people. New face, every click.
Saturday. Aeroplane seats spy on you.
Friday. Apparently face-recognition software gets sexes wrong.
Thursday. Today: the day of lurv.
Wednesday. Feeling a bit like Secret Santa - what's the equivalent? Undercover Valentine?
Tuesday. Brilliant, even warm, morning sunshine pours exactly down Petofi Sandor street turning it into a slot of liquid gold compared to still cold shadowy side roads. This rod of sun just misses the golden hoop floating over the head of Mother Mary atop her 18th-century stone pillar. Later, walking across the beautifully sun-glittered Szell Kalman square to catch my bus up to Crypto Hill, I see a bus with a symbol on its electronic forehead I haven't seen before. For about a decade the electronic number board on the front of the tourist bus that tours the Castle District has had a little lit-up castle-shaped silhouette, and the bus that goes to the airport has shown a generic aeroplane. Now a third one. Picked out in the orange dot-matrix display above the windscreen of the parked vehicle, are the Hungarian words for "Waiting for mechanic", next to an adorable little spanner pictured at a jaunty angle. We can rebuild him!
Meanwhile, the EU goes
Monday. Mild weather very much with a feel of spring. A quick reminder of how wonderfully odd Japan is.
Sunday. Two useful cryptocurrency articles: first
Saturday. Rather sad confirmation from Finland: free money means people don't work. Just as the dismal science predicts.
Friday. A strange day of being given books. Marion at lunch lends me a copy of Simon's second book to read: Sweets From Strangers. Then in the mid-afternoon I pick up a whole box of books from kind Bianka, including Stamboul Train from Greene, and then in the evening over to Robin's, where a review copy of Parables for the Pouring Rain by Paul Sutton has arrived for me.
Thursday. German woman's love affair with aeroplane.
Wednesday. Should creator of the early global-warming data be prosecuted for fraud?
Tuesday. A few days ago the cute little lift in the office on Crypto Hill was restored to operation. It broke down a fortnight before Christmas. Now once again, papered inside with cocktail-cabinet cigar-box veneer, it can connect the four floors. It chugs up and down, through the barely noticeable central column of the seemingly endless spiral stairs of cappuccino-coloured marble slabs, like a covert coffin. It claims to fit four people. Two adults can just about share this lift without becoming sexually intimate. Two more adults would have to be circus acrobats pinned across the ceiling. A notice in magical-kingdom English on the ground floor sternly enjoins users not to "jiggle or make smoke", and to take care with the "fixenings", among other poetic prohibitions.
Monday. Here is a handy list (thanks, Diane!) of some candidates so far seeking the Democratic nomination for the US presidential campaign in 2020.
Sunday. Rather lovely snow phenomenon seen in Wiltshire.
Saturday. Cheese reduces chances of death, claim boffins.
Friday. Find myself trudging around the 14th district trying to find an audition, mistakenly going to two of Katalin's old offices before finding the newest one. Walking along Rona street under cloudy skies (a street one building's porter insists has a bus route along it, but doesn't) was strangely interesting. I kept being reminded of slightly bleak bits of suburban Manchester such as Princess Parkway when rain seemed imminent. New gates, low buildings, random strips of grass all had this odd suggestion of some alternative reality humming, shimmering just beneath the surface of things. Banal surroundings peculiarly infused with transcendent freshness. I get to the audition, Katalin is very kind about my lateness. We read through it but I can sense not a role I'll get.
Recent weblog entries
Who can translate the next 300 words into
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
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?
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
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.
Wireless radio can be a great comfort to those unable
to leave the
textbooks in which they live *6
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
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
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 /
*1 image from , with thanks
back up to top of page
*2 "Al-Araby" in written
*3 "What?" in American Sign
Language; image from , with thanks
*4 "Big" in written
(read more); image from , with
*5 image from , with
*6 image from , with
*7 image from
'B?ume', with thanks to
Bruno P. Kramer,
and Franckh-Kosmos Verlag