2016 — 22 April: Friday

My sleep debt has been repaid1 and I have just about time for cuppa #1 before nipping out on a foodie top-up ahead of today's lunch date. Busy busy.

Having greeted...

... the only IBM Hursley ex-Lab Director I have so far encountered in Waitrose — intent (like me) on getting out of the place before it became overcrowded, but working from a much longer list and thus pushing a well-stuffed trolley — I got home in time to hear most of the Hungarian Sketches for orchestra (Bartok, naturally) as I unpacked my singular bag of goodies. I regret to say I discovered I had made a grievous parity2 error on the cheese front.

Still, I found some nice Alaskan smoked salmon and picked up a pack of pancakes with plenty of time left on the "Best Before" clock. They go very nicely with the "Summer Berry Compot" that (were I to admit it to my hygieneist) would probably join cranberries on the "strongly deprecated" growing list of nice stuff that she keeps nagging me about.

Even as a grizzled pensioner I still don't have a clue about the greater mysteries of Life, but I can't imagine being nagged by a "slip of a girl" about my fruit intake is something to bother too much about. Meanwhile my (filthy) car is being gently rinsed by the drizzle. Perhaps I should go and stand beside it for a while?

I do like...

... a nice bit of previously-unseen Mencken in my diet from time to time. Here's one demolishing the prose style of Warren Harding:

He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of tosh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash.

Michael Dirda in Washington Post

Truth? What's that?

Google knows! "The discoverer of an art is not the best judge of the good or harm which will accrue to those who practice it." Now ain't that the truth?

However, Google truth is highly situational and epistemically fluid, since the same post [regarding the Pope's annual salary] showed up in second place when I looked two weeks later. Perhaps it's a reflection of crowdsourced belief, or it could be as simple as a bot (or some troll) pushing it to the top of the list. But whatever the cause or motive, it is an algorithm that ultimately decides placement — and that algorithm has been able to erase, in some people's minds, the entire history of the Roman Catholic Church.

Patricia J Williams in The Nation

Question is, how come I don't have a copy of Neil Postman's "Technopoly"?

Next question is, what shall I make for my evening meal?

I've been listening (why?) to...

... UK politicos spinning a simple, unambiguous, statement made today by the North American chap currently in charge of that interestingly-diverse and politically-fractured country. Obama suggests the UK would necessarily be at the back of the queue when trying to negotiate trade deals should our tiny little backwater post-Imperial country not then be still part of the EU. Fair enough, surely?

Much as I despise various aspects of the boy Dave's guvmint policies, I still feel he's on the correct side of the "Brexit" question. And for BoJo to fling an accusation of "hypocrisy" at, well, anybody strikes me as beyond satire. Likewise for Farage to impute a Kenyan-based grandfatherly grudge to the removal of a bust of Churchill is rich, but not in a good way.

I would ask politicians to listen before they speak. And to speak (preferably) only of what they know. But (a) they are uniformly unwilling (unable?) to listen and (b) all too often both ignorant and blinkered. I would seek to remind them of the value (zero, or less) of an uninformed opinion.

A word...

... to the unwise. When running a NoMachine Remote Desktop session on Machine A (BlackBeast, in this case) to control Machine B (my NUC, in this case), do try to resist the temptation (even if merely innocently trying to provoke the NUC's level of NoMachine to upgrade itself in the way that Blackbeast's had just done) to connect "back" from the NUC to BlackBeast by starting up a new NoMachine Remote Desktop session on the NUC (remotely from BlackBeast).

Unless, of course, you actually want to trigger an interestingly-recursive set of NoMachine sessions displayed on BlackBeast, running gawd-alone-knows where, but in 1024x768 windows (nested, too) and "blown up" to fit the 3440x1440 of the Dell screen. The sensation is much the same as looking at yourself in a mirror with another mirror directly behind you. Now, of course, I have to dig out the Charles Addams cartoon that played with that theme.



1  With greater interest than my bank now offers.
2  I like to alternate cheddar with red Leicester, but now have my second red Leicester. Oops.