2015 — 22 May: Friday

If I want to beat the local vultures1 it will soon be time to set off.

The current "height" of my barometer asserts that the current drizzle is implausible. At best. Still, Mother Hubbard's filled storage cupboard (fridge/freezer, technically) now allows me to face the oncoming culinary onslaught of the weekend with equanimity.

I've long been...

... fascinated by colour, perception, 3D image systems, and such like. Not to mention computerised visual analysis systems. It's a little worrying to realise just how poorly-understood these concepts are. Click the pic for more:


Good article. Where "good" is some value that makes my brain hurt.

Saints preserve us!

I may be wrong to lack any form of religious faith. So be it. But were I to sit down to "choose" a belief system to, erm, believe in... I doubt I'd start with any that promulgate the obscene notion of "original sin".

Still, it remains shocking to modern sensibilities, as it was for many people in earlier times, to think that a just deity would damn a newborn simply because no water had touched its forehead. To help make this horrible doctrine somewhat more palatable, the Catholic Church eventually promulgated the idea of limbo, an afterlife realm where unbaptized infants dwelt in a kind of bland contentment, since they were ineligible for the bliss of God's presence in heaven. Limbo, however, was rescinded in 1992.

Michael Dirda, reviewing a book by James Boyce in Washington Post

Why not rescind hellfire while you're at it, Mr Pope?

As one who...

... was once described by Prof Dwight Stevenson of Michigan as wielding a machete (when editing) I read this New Yorker piece about the late William Zinsser with interest. He was a fine writer. (Link.)


... the editor's greatest fear these days is not a claim of plagiarism, or a libel writ; it's those four pitiless letters in the comments section: TL; DR (too long; did not read). And so webmasters worldwide have launched an emergency austerity programme, pruning, paring, compacting everything possible in a frantic attempt to spare our readers a few precious seconds.

Andy Bodle in Grauniad

I seem to have missed that memo. And the one on sentence length / paragraph length. Oops.

It's 13:08 or so...

... and I've just got back from a little expotition to my bank to pay in two of the jigsaw pieces that make up dear Mama's worldly assets in the wake of her recent death. Despite these both being cheques from long-established and 'reputable' names, my bank still allows itself until next Friday (given the Bank Holiday coming up this Monday) to regard them as being "cleared" and I thus can't do more than marvel at those parts of our antiquated system that still respond so sluggishly. Paying Bri the plumber electronically for his most recent work on my wireless thermostat last week hit his account before he'd even driven home across the village.

Still, it all generates interest for our friends in the Financial Services sector. And if we didn't work, how would they eat?


... this is entirely reasonable entertainment. Source and snippet:

There are lots of deep cultural explanations, though myself I blame LSD as much as anything. It gives people a kind of provisional attitude to reality which is hard to shake off, and fairly catching. So people are able to enjoy myths without wondering too much about whether they are true. They work. Some of the more popular myths we play with are ideas of character, or personality, and of soul. None of them are wholly satisfactory: indeed the crisis in the idea of the soul is one of the root causes of the difficulties for religion at the moment. It wouldn't be a difficulty if we didn't have souls, or at least something for which soul is the best world. But we do, as a matter of experience, and we can't work out how they can exist when they are transparently not things.

Andrew Brown in Helmintholog

Virtual, case 4, anyone?

A mis-matched...

... but (I hope) equally entertaining pair of new arrivals:

Book and DVDs

I'm steadily filling in the gaps in my (can you believe?) four-decade-plus growing collection of "Parker" thrillers. When I started buying them in 1972 they cost (generally) 30p each. Today's second-hand omnibus cost £2-24 though its cover price in 2009 was £8-99 — do the maths! (Zero percent inflation. Yeah, right!)



1  Scavenging the shelves of Waitrose.