2016 — 14 November: Monday

It seems like only a week ago that I was overtyping "Su" with "Mo"1 in my main heading... And here it is, Monday again.

A second overnight email...

... from Big Bro has confirmed the dire effects of plate tectonics from time to time. A chum tells me that researchers have shown (theoretically) that stealing mobile phone data is possible by using the wifi signal itself as a form of radar to track your finger movements while you enter sensitive stuff. (What kind of idiot entrusts sensitive stuff to a mobile network device of dubious security?) And the comments I read that were appended to a piece of nutritional satire ("reviewing" a book titled "Life-changing Foods") show a surprising number of people who are technologically advanced enough to make comments about an online article are, erm, what's the word? Well, not great eaters of fish, for starters.

And, if George Monbiot's reported anecdote is correct, Friedrich Hayek's 1960 book2...

Hayek book

... is the one that set our sainted La Thatcher ("This is what we believe") on her ruinous journey back in 1975. Theoretical economists have — it seems to me — a lot to answer for despite their propensity to receive Nobel prizes. Or to be made a Companion of Honour on Thatcher's recommendation, for that matter. But what do I know?

Well, I know I need more tea. Already.

Painfully funny...

... and, alas, painfully true. Source and snippet:

"You're downsizing," they pressed. "Your books take up a lot of space." That they did, and do. I was staring at 82 bookcases. It's the reason, I think, that I tolerated the commute and lived in the suburbs, where you can usually find another wall for the carpenter to cover when the last open bookshelf overflows. Downsizing, sure — everything but the books.
"You can't read them all." Of course not. At one book a day, someone pointed out, I'd need to live to 116 just to get through the whole library. That's considerably less than not likely. But I could consult (much less read) even fewer of them when I had a job. I've always thought that if you've read all your books, your library is too small.

Jethro K Lieberman in American Scholar

I am enchanted...

... by the high quality of the analogue headphone output from my external USB Xonar "sound card", with its convenient volume control. And delighted, too, by the way it "just worked" on being plugged into the i5NUC running Linux Mint 18. I'm currently using it to drive my feather-light Sony MDR5a headphones. Audio bliss.

I wonder...

... whether the North American doubts about the morality of atheists reported a few years ago in "Slate" were still reflected in their latest election? I'm more inclined to believe "an evolutionary imperative to care about one's reputation". It appears, I note, that "Slate" characterised homosexuality as a religion. I shall let that one go:

... a majority of Americans say that they would not vote for an otherwise qualified atheist as president, meaning a nonbeliever would have a harder time getting elected than a Muslim, a homosexual, or a Jew. Many would go further and agree with conservative commentator Laura Schlessinger that morality requires a belief in God — otherwise, all we have is our selfish desires.

Date: 2007

Having just "researched" all that I felt I need to about Dr. Schlessinger, I wasn't surprised to learn that Aaron Sorkin had modelled one of Bartlet's classic "West Wing" diatribes against a fictional "Dr. Jenna Jacobs". Mind you, I also wonder — as I polish off the last of my late-ish non-kosher lunch — who can now possibly take opinion polls seriously?

If this isn't...

... a completely brilliant idea, then I don't know what is! I've been hearing programme trailers for this temporary so-called "pop-up" Jazz radio station, and found it on the Android SHIELD Tablet PC BBC radio player 'app'. So I went looking through the iPlayer web interface. Sure enough, you just need to feed the PID programme codes into "get_iplayer" and down comes the music. Marvellous.


1  Maybe because it is :-)
2  General Motors published a cartoon version of his earlier book "The Road to Serfdom". 18 short steps to the imposition of dictatorship! Well worth a look.