2013 — 12 January: Saturday

My subconscious1 obviously said to itself "Let the ol' chap sleep in this morning, after all it's pouring with rain". Thanks for that, although it does mean it's now heading for 09:45 at a rate of knots. And there's a whole chunk of Brian Matthew heading out into the Solar System without my having heard it.

Is it my imagination...

... or do annual demands for home and contents insurance renewal come round more than once a year? And generally trend upward? And now add a £250 "loss of water" excess even though the only water 'stored' in the house is (I hope, safely) contained in the heating circuit pipes and radiators since the unlamented departure of both hot and cold water storage tanks in the wake of the Great Central Heating upheaval of 2010? Still, paying the JLP fee with my JLP card earns me a chunk of points, and we all know what points mean.

I need a cup that soothes. And a biccie to dunk in it.

And a 1950 essay on the Simple Art of Murder to read :-)

The realist in murder writes of a world in which gangsters can rule nations and almost rule cities, in which hotels and apartment houses and celebrated restaurants are owned by men who made their money out of brothels, in which a screen star can be the fingerman for a mob, and the nice man down the hall is a boss of the numbers racket; a world where a judge with a cellar full of bootleg liquor can send a man to jail for having a pint in his pocket, where the mayor of your town may have condoned murder as an instrument of moneymaking, where no man can walk down a dark street in safety because law and order are things we talk about but refrain from practising; a world where you may witness a hold-up in broad daylight and see who did it, but you will fade quickly back into the crowd rather than tell anyone, because the hold-up men may have friends with long guns, or the police may not like your testimony, and in any case the shyster for the defense will be allowed to abuse and vilify you in open court, before a jury of selected morons, without any but the most perfunctory interference from a political judge.

Raymond Chandler in University of Texas archive

There's more good stuff here.

Can a brain...

... ever understand a brain?

Well, we're all at the mercy of the power man. I am quite concerned that we're becoming hyper-fragile as a civilization, and we're becoming so dependent on technologies that are not as reliable as they should be, that have so many conditions that have to be met for them to work, that we may specialize ourselves into some very serious jams. But in the meantime, thinking about the self-organizational powers of the brain as very much like the self-organizational powers of a city is not a bad idea. It just reeks of over-enthusiastic metaphor, though, and it's worth reminding ourselves that this idea has been around since Plato.
Plato analogizes the mind of a human being to the state. You've got the rulers and the guardians and the workers. This idea that a person is made of lots of little people is comically simpleminded in some ways, but that doesn't mean it isn't, in a sense, true. We shouldn't shrink from it just because it reminds us of simpleminded versions that have been long discredited. Maybe some not so simpleminded version is the truth.

Daniel Dennett in Edge

Not just a Beach Boys track

Crikey. A quality UI?

Some products, of course, never make it to market — Bechthold cited one that went through over a year of testing before it was finally rejected.
He compared some of the design problems he faces with those experienced by cellphone manufacturers: fine tooling, thermal specification, and wireless control. Cellphone manufacturers have it easier, though, he said, citing the unique problems that a wireless We-Vibe has. "Put two hot, warm salt bodies together, and let's cover up the antenna. Bit of a challenge there. Suddenly a dropped cellphone call seems small compared to a dropped orgasm."

Rik Myslewski in El Reg

Is Tolkien Hobbit-forming?


I suspect...

... there's an upper limit to the number of MP3 files you can meta-tag and check in any one day. I further suspect I'm approaching that limit, as it's now 21:03 and I seem to have been doing little or nothing else. Enuf!

I was getting so...

... thoroughly exasperated recognising the voice, but not being able to name, the unseen actor who (as "The Lawyer") has been cropping up throughout the gripping new Ryan Gosling film "All Good Things" that I simply had to pause playback while I consult the IMDB. It is (of course!) John Cullum, whom I mostly know from that wonderful TV series "Northern Exposure" back in the early to mid 1990s. And who is now over 80, for goodness sake. It only goes to show...



1  Clearly more intelligent than I am.