The Independent reports on plans for the re-establishment of Nalanda. It has all the markers of a ‘flagship’ project that will mainly serve to fluff politicians’ egos and divert large amounts of money towards elites. Still, I can’t bring myself to be


grudging about it.


“purportedly, Bolano used to write for 20, 40 hours at a time before passing out and then waking up and doing it all over again”

[source otherwise uninteresting]

and from a profile in the NYT — nicely-crafted but again underwhelming:

His subjects are sex, poetry, death, solitude, violent crime and the desperate glimmers of transcendence that sometimes attend them. The prose is dark, intimate and sneakily touching


Cute Cthulhu is the scariest Cthulhu of all:

Part of this horrible obscenity lies in the ability of cute to undermine human reason and agency. The return of the Great Old Ones will reduce every human being unlucky enough to be alive to utter helplessness. But so too do we all become drooling sock-puppets of mammalian algorithms when confronted with furry exteriors, chirpy voices, disproportionately large eyes and heads, charming reductions of scale, and goofy facial expressions.

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Colorless green ideas sleep furiously

What I don’t understand about this, is why Chomsky chose such a lousy phrase to make his point. Only somebody who’s never had a nightmare could deny the possibility of sleeping furiously, while you could easily describe the output of some environmental think-tank as ‘colorless green ideas’. On another tack: what is Cthulhu, if not a ‘green idea sleeping furiously’?

257 is 257 + 0

A python gotcha I never knew of before:

Python 2.6.5 (release26-maint, Aug 20 2010, 17:50:24)
[GCC 4.4.3] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> 0 is 0 + 0
>>> 256 is 256 + 0
>>> 257 is 257 + 0

radio reviews: where to find

Radio 4 has a lot of radio plays — some good, some not. I’d love to sometimes listen to them — but only the good ones. Where can I find reviews, to help me manage this?

More generally: where can I find (presumably online) reviews of (spoken word) radio programmes?

Atelier Überall

This month I began working in a little place called Atelier Überall, which pretty close to my concept of the ideal place to live and work. I’m writing this as people gradually arrive for a video/dance/performance-art party that’s promising to multiply nervous influxes to over-saturate and over-load me. i.e. just about the right level of creative shamelessness* for me.

The rest of the week there’s also almost always _something_ else happening: gatherings of VJs, flamenco classes, video filming, artists using it as a studio, musicians practising in basement, in addition to the Berlin-standard assemblage of designers, writers, illustrators and the occasional geek. It’s possibly the


place I’ve ever worked — but somehow in a non-distracting way. It’s pretty wonderful being able to spent a couple of hours focussed on work, and know that when you look up _somehing_ interesting will be happening. Doesn’t hurt that, by and large, they’re


at what they do, or at least seriously dedicated to it, which all works together to make it a place I totally trust.

* I’m tempted to write ‘pretentiousness’, because that’s the only word I can think of in the vicinity. But I hate the implications of dishonesty or social climbing. What I really mean is people being sufficiently self-confident and true-to-themselves to create things regardless of the likelihood that some people will snigger. There doesn’t seem to be a word for that.



Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn’t violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway — and no reasonable expectation that the government isn’t tracking your movements.