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February 3rd, 2009

09:54 pm - Without fear or favour

I love the Financial Times.  Unlike pretty much all other newspapers, it doesn't use weasel words and is immune to populist hyperbole.  I also love the way it briefly abandoned these qualities on its front page today, with a line that beats anything comparable that the Daily Mail or the Daily Express could ever dream up:

Yet many critics call the singularity dangerous.  Some worry that a malicious artificial intelligence might annihilate the human race

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January 23rd, 2009

08:53 pm - Can you hear me Lord Selsdon? Your boys took one hell of a beating!

Frenchman speaks non-stop for 124 hours to set speech record

Lluis Colet broke the world record for the longest speech after rambling non-stop for 124 hours about Spanish painter Salvador Dali, Catalan culture and other topics.

Bow tie thought to enhance charisma

I bet his speech was a right load of old bollocks.  Thankfully I don't have to transcribe it, but if I did, it would take me about 1,400 hours.  But I might cut a few corners here and there. 

Generic gag

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December 8th, 2008

06:46 pm - Have your say and eat it

The following comment is from the BBC's "Have Your Say" page on today's Stansted protests.  I think I disagree with it, but the more I read it, the more I am convinced that it is the most articulate and persuasive contribution to that page. 

If their solution is in short stop beathing then they really haven't strained too much. It's not so easy problem. But if costs of protest will be covered without delay, then maybe world will be impressed.

passenger, eu

Say, listen fellas...

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December 1st, 2008

06:55 pm - You see that Londoner of the 1850s...

Seeing this report about loneliness has reminded me of Herzen's description of London of the 1850s, which I shall quote once more for the benefit of strictlytrue and as part of my anti-London jihad:

"There is no town in the world which is more adapted for training one away from people and training one into solitude than London.  The manner of life, the distances, the climate, the very multitude of the population in which personality vanishes, all this together with the absence of Continental diversions conduces to the same effect.  One who knows how to live alone has nothing to fear from the tedium of London.  The life here, like the air here, is bad for the weak, for the frail, for one who seeks a prop outside himself, for one who seeks welcome, sympathy, attention; the moral lungs here must be as strong as the physical lungs, whose task it is to separate oxygen from the smoky fog.  The masses are saved by battling for their daily dread, the commercial classes by their absorption in heaping up wealth, and all by the bustle of business; but nervous and romantic temperaments - fond of living among people, fond of intellectual sloth and of idly luxuriating in emotion - are bored to death and fall into despair." (Alexander Herzen, My Past and Thoughts, trans. Constance Garnett (London: University of California, 1982) 447.)

And this from a Muscovite.

I done told y'all before

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November 26th, 2008

08:15 pm - Warum?

Today's LJ question is typically inane.  It has inspired me to ask you, my readers, an inane question of my own.  Why is Germany known by so many names?  The Germans call it Deutschland, the French Allemagne, the Polish Niemiec and the Estonians Saksamaa.  Why?


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October 30th, 2008

02:55 pm - Andrew Sachs: Father of the nation

Sachs is the master strategist of our age.  By brilliantly not bothering to turn up and then not really doing anything else, he has brought utter ruin upon the heads of his enemies.  Bravo!


Sachs asks for time to spend with family

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October 8th, 2008

04:01 pm - I command you to listen to this

In 1993, MIT researchers identified the "the smallest perceptual time unit in music", which they dubbed the Tatum, in honour of Art Tatum's other-wordly virtuosity.  It is a convention among jazz fans to speak of Art Tatum only in awed tones.  I am happy to observe that convention.  However, I propose that any subdivision of the Tatum be named after the cymbalom player Toni Iordache, a clip of whose utterly astonishing "Ca La Breaza" may be heard here

Makes Squarepusher sound like a hopeless ponce

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October 2nd, 2008

07:23 pm - Sub editors stumped for headline ideas

From Yahoo:
A US woman will spend the next month in prison after chasing terrified children through an Ohio town dressed as a cow.

Michele Allen was hired to wear the outfit to promote a local "haunted trail" theme park in Middletown, but got drunk at work on the Saturday evening and caused chaos, chasing kids and bringing traffic to a halt.

She also urinated in a nearby yard during her rampage, police said.

Allen refused to calm down once taken to the local police station and according to police was yelling and challenging people to "suck her udders".

The 32-year-old, who was wearing nothing underneath the costume, was forced to wear it in a cell over the weekend and for her first court appearance, when she pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

Man sorry for merely cutting and pasting news item


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August 24th, 2008

12:26 am - English men sing with forked tongue

i_jobot and I are going to Borneo for a month next week.  There's an outside chance that some of our hosts will sing for us and, in turn, expect us to sing for them.  Neither of us are are singers, but could, I am sure, stagger to the end of a tune.  However, every song we think of seems too funky, too stylised, too suggestive, too mawkish, too melodramatic or too much of a nursery rhyme.  Could anyone suggest something that's relatively easy to struggle through and which also satisfies all our criteria exactly?  Cheers.


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June 20th, 2008

02:08 pm - Do you like my pomposity?

Lots of people understandably find the intrusion of state functions into private life disconcerting, all the more so since their misgivings, being based on nothing more than a disinclination to being scrutinised, imply limits sanctioned only by custom and precedence.  

However, the parents of a 13-year-old who drowned in a public baths in 1971 would probably have preferred a fuller explanation than the one Keith Joseph offered:

"1 boy aged 13 years—Got into difficulties”.—[Official Report, 28 May 1971; Vol. 818, c. 271W.]

Sir Keith Joseph 
(Began process 1918; Encountered problems 1994)

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