2016 — 24 October: Monday

My (natural) antipathy towards Mondays1 disappeared as soon as I retired. I wonder why? :-)

Now, very nearly ten years on, this Monday is even sweeter than usual — my first smidgen of State Pension is due to arrive, quivering with eagerness to be spent, in my bank account... However, the new flatbed scanner and NAS box have already managed to look after that side of things this month. I shall content myself with snaffling the weekend's batch of good listening from the BBC. And another cuppa.

At a current bitrate of 321.5kbps after conversion to files of type "m4a", the quality of this downloaded music is quite beyond reproach.

I note the death of Steve Dillon, the graphic artist who so memorably took on "Preacher". Both Junior and I enjoyed that.

Paving the way...

... for our robotic overlords! Almost worth reading just for the title alone — "Investigating the effect of the reality gap on the human psychophysiological state in the context of human-swarm interaction".

I find I'm increasingly stumbling into the "reality gap" in our frenetic world.


Oh, not to be young! I blush to admit Flaubert has completely passed me by. And will almost certainly continue to do so. Source and snippet:

In 2015, a YouGov poll found that 60% of British people would like to be an author. Those 38 million people might find some useful advice in Flaubert's correspondence. Live like a bourgeois and think like a demigod. Recite your sentences at the top of your voice to test their harmonies and cadences. To impart an erotic shimmer to your romantic scenes, first write a brazenly pornographic version and then purify it. This process, akin to burning the brandy off a Christmas pudding, seems to have worked well in Madame Bovary: its author was prosecuted for obscenity, but then acquitted.

Graham Robb, reviewing Michel Winock's biography in Spectator

Though I've long agreed with the bit about reading your stuff aloud to "test" it. Works for me.

Dipping back...

... into a delightful well I visited four years ago:

Recently on Science Friday, we talked about the theory of dark matter. This is one of the spookiest topics out there. Everything you see around you in the world and what we see out in the universe is only 4% of what actually exists. The other 96% of the universe is "dark," or unobservable. Dark energy makes up 70%, and another 25% or so is dark matter. So here we are in the twenty-first century, thinking we know how the world works, but we don't understand what 96% of the universe is made of. It's kind of humbling, but it's cool.

Ira Flatow in Humanist

As I said last time: Nice chap. [Pause] Well, it's 10:30 and Gmail still seems to be having a spot of bother when dealing with Thunderbird's outgoing mail. Pity. I don't much care for the web interface. But in cheerier news, my pension landed as predicted.

Look what's just shown up

Koestlerian, or what?

TV version of Preacher

Ever had...

... one of those days where you spend longer than it takes for a steaming mug of tea to become stone cold while trying to scan a satisfactory image from an unsatisfactory (muddy, badly-printed, ill-registered) Blu-ray cover before giving up, rescanning the corresponding DVD artwork, and simply "cheating" some of the details with some image overlays and a spot of typesetting?

BD of Midnight

You have? Then join the club. The front (above) was OK, but all the detailed info on the back was a shoddy disgrace. But then who reads the fine print these days?

Despite my...

... multi-layered approach to life here in Technology Towers, I've found it necessary to twitch the heating thermostat up by 1C to 21C and, one hour later, things are just that little bit toastier. Nice.


1  If you recall the hit song by a popular beat combo of the unlamented 'punk' era.