2015 — 17 September: Thursday

Once sleep has gone1 it's invariably back to the delights of BBC Radio 3 and their "Through the Night" programme. (Beats the Farming Report on Radio 4. If we still have enough farmers left to tune in to that.) The untoasty 19.8C hereabouts is being successfully fought, as usual, by the extra-large mug of hot tea. On balance (a code phrase meaning "Now that I'm fully awake") I've decided to relocate my initial musings on Robert Crumb out of my mainstream diary. Bite me.

I was so taken...

... by Ravel's ravishing "Concerto in G" (from the Edinburgh Festival programme on Radio 3 last night) that I confess I searched out and downloaded a double CD's worth of his work:

Ravel piano work

These recordings feature Werner Haas on piano and date from the mid-1960s, but are supposed to be pretty fine. Young Maurice has been only poorly-represented in my little stash of classical music over the years. But I still have no idea why Mr Bezos can only download six music tracks at a time from his Cloudy system to my Linux PC. Most odd. [Pause] I've just played the Adagio again. Sends shivers down my spine. Or is that the briskness of the morning air?

Big Bro's broadband speed...

... barely qualifies as such — his mansion is out in the sticks. He might (or might not) enjoy reading about all the things that gang up to cause problems in high-speed digital connections. Although it majors on hdmi, the ordered list of trouble-makers (time, resistance, skin effect, capacitance, impedance, cross-talk, and inductance) applies just as much to other bits of electric string, and the digital bits they seek to transport.

... when we apply a voltage to a wire, we start a wave of energy propagating 
down that wire which takes time to get where it's going, and which arrives in 
a different condition from that in which it left...

Ain't that the truth?

The key point...

... I take from this entertainingly-nasty book review is simple: Social evolution isn't a falsifiable theory but a succession of ideologies. Source and snippet:

Ridley mentions the incident only to claim that it was the result of "intrusive regulation" and "top-down interference". Considering that the financial crisis was preceded by far-reaching banking deregulation, this is risible as an account of events.

John Gray reviewing Matt Ridley's book "The evolution of everything" in Grauniad

Perhaps Baron Ridley should have concentrated more on his bank chairmanship? I have a lot more time, and respect, for this writer:

SICHA: It seems so dramatic when people burn things like that.
LE GUIN: It is! It's a terrible thing to do. Things get lost easy enough without their own author destroying them. I can actually put some restrictions on publication of things. I think it's terrible when they find an early novel by a famous author and dig it out and publish it as if it were something that he or she would have published, when it clearly isn't. I'm a little conflicted about this whole Harper Lee business ...

Ursula Le Guin interviewed in Interview magazine

Luddite? Me? Surely not. (Link.)

"Mr Muntz? My name's Emily and I'm calling from the National Energy..."
And I'm not interested, but thanks for thinking of me. Goodbye.

(I'm getting more polite.) The Ravel was fabulous, by the way. Nearly time for my lunch date, too.

Just three days after Christa...

... had gone into hospital for the last time, and I'd climbed into the then-new Toyota Yaris for the first time, Amazon delivered their first parcel to me for over 100 days.2 A book: Journals 1952 — 2000 by Arthur M Schlesinger, Jr. in which I was delighted to see him confirm a view I had long held:

On Tuesday, the 25th, Reagan invaded Grenada. An enormous triumph for the republic — a nation of 230,000,000 launching a surprise attack on a small island3 of 110,000. Fortunately we won. This will certainly make the Russians think twice. Reagan obviously hopes to make us the terror of the world but he is more likely to end up making us the world's laughingstock.
I made these and similar remarks Wednesday night before a group of IBM executives and customers. Never have I given a talk that went down with such a dull thud.

Date: 30 October 1983

My emphasis. I met one or two IBM executives who'd clearly had humour bypasses.

We both enjoyed...

... the film "A beautiful mind" (based on Sylvia Nasar's fascinating 1998 biography of John Nash) when it was in cinemas. But there's no denying some of it left you feeling very sad. I've thus avoided it for the last few years. However, I re-watched just the first hour this evening, stopping at the point where his schizophrenia derailed him. Browsing around, I was delighted to discover the set of notes he provided at the time of his 1994 Nobel Prize in Economics.



1  Wherever it is that sleep goes. Not, I presume, to the Land of Nod.
2  Some indication, on no scale described in H Arthur Klein's magisterial "The World of Measurements", of the weirdness of my life during those last precious weeks with her!
3  What's worse, I believe the island belonged to Brenda at the time, didn't it?