My experience of Irish government state employees at the ‘border’ is that they aim to be the antithesis of ‘hostile’. It is not a bad USP. Passing through Dublin or Cork is an enjoyable experience: “Welcome home Jonathan’, is not the most formal salute; or, in the case of my wife, “Lisa — from Mulfulira—I remember you”. But this aside in the Economist, brings a little of the Flann O’Brien to the party.
In the 1970s, when contraceptives were still banned in the Irish republic, a family-planning campaigner went south with 40,000 condoms in his station wagon; his insistence that they were all “for personal use” was met with good-humoured banter by an Irish police patrol.
The Border: The Legacy of a Century of Anglo-Irish Politics. By Diarmaid Ferriter. (reviewed in the economist)
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Noting that 1,500 people had travelled to Davos by private jet to hear David Attenborough talk about climate change, he said he was bewildered that no one was talking about raising taxes on the rich.
I noted that he seems to be one of the leading thinkers in the push to rebrand STEM as STEAMED (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math, and Everything Delightful).
A well argued and evidence based article like this will get you nowhere. This is Britain. Better to put some bollox on a bus.
A comment from the ‘Swedish Chef’ on the FT.
She crossed to his desk and shook his hand. Noticed the telltale transplant plugs dotting his scalp, sprouting hair like little tufts of yellow grass in a last desperate stand of virility. That’s what you deserved for marrying a trophy wife.
[from Body Double; Tess Gerritsen]
Yep, that time of year. This is how Irvine Welsh puts it. Remember: art is not a mirror; art is a hammer.
I’m generally pretty relaxed and very rarely suffer from stress. I see my role as more of a “stress enabler” in others. The last thing I would do if I was stressed would be to read a book. I’d rather write one.
Well, the excellent FT series says this — “The Fairytale of New York”, by the Pogues with Kirsty MacColl — is the Christmas song for people who hate Christmas songs. I dissent. I like Xmas records, but agree this is maybe the best. And cynicism is necessary at this time of year, too.
“I could have been someone.”
“Well, so could anyone.”
But cynicism only gets you so far into the human condition. If you need to laugh, check out the Christy Moore version ‘Live at the Point (‘I was looking for the Shannon..’).
JLR has been seriously mismanaged in recent years.
Agreed. But this one is about the car manufacturer rather than yours truly.
A few words from Melvyn Bragg about his radio programme ‘In our time’
He insisted that the programme should be “never knowingly relevant” and jumped wildly from the gin craze of the 18th century to the Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum. He expected to be out of a job in six months
In times like ours, not a bad motto to live by.
To punish me for my contempt of authority, Fate has made me an authority myself.
This is a validated Einstein quote (many claims of what he did say, appear mistaken).
I do not like the term mentor. It is a perfectly fine word, it is just that I have a suspicion of the people who tend to use it. I prefer to think about people I would like to be like; or not. And think about how some people can help me; or hinder me. But the following exchange between Nassim Taleb and Tyler Cowen is fine.
TALEB: I don’t know, but I know how to find inverse mentors.
COWEN: How do you do that?
TALEB: People — you know they’re doing something wrong, and you figure out what makes them do something wrong. There’s a fellow I worked with, and I knew that he was a complete failure but a nice person. When he would do something wrong, he was always caught into details. I realized that there’s only one set of details. You cannot get into more than one set of detail. So that’s one thing I learned.
Also, I find inverse role models, people you don’t want to be like when you grow up.You pick someone and you go with it. You have an instinct to know what you don’t want to look like. Look at what they’ve done, what they do, and then you counter-imitate. You do a reverse imitation, and it works.
Some tidy words from a Master
When I was at the National all those years ago, I knew I had something in me,” he says, “but I didn’t have the discipline. I had a Welsh temperament and didn’t have that ‘fitting in’ mechanism. Derek Jacobi, who is wonderful, had it, but I didn’t. I would fight, I would rebel. I thought, ‘Well, I don’t belong here.’ And for almost 50 years afterwards, I felt that edge of, ‘I don’t belong anywhere, I’m a loner.’ I don’t have any friends who are actors at all
As the joke goes, everyone hates millennials until they need to convert a PDF document into Word.
Facebook accounts hacked? I thought that was the feature not the bug.
Carrot weather — the weather app with attitude.
A day in court for Kit Kat. The European Court of Justice will deliver a verdict on Nestlé’s long-running attempt to trademark the chocolate bar’s shape—”four trapezoidal bars aligned on a rectangular base.” Competitors like Mondelez, Cadbury, and Milka cried foul at Nestlé’s move.
Which is not as obscene as the attempt to patent the space within a shape of a defined size.
I posted this awhile back, but it still makes me smile. I wrote:
Well my knowledge of Neanderthals is rather limited to the work showing that some of them would likely had red hair. But now a reviewer (Clive Gamble) in Nature of a book on Neanderthals states that
Wynn and Coolidge conclude that today, Neanderthals would be commercial fishermen or mechanics, based on their enormous strength and ability to learn the motor procedures needed. Their capacity for empathy might even have made them competent physicians, the authors say, although a lack of mathematical ability means that they would never have been able to graduate from medical school. Neanderthals would also make excellent army grunts, with their high levels of pain tolerance, and would be good tacticians in small combat units. They would never rewrite the tactical manual — although tearing it up, however thick, would not be a problem.
Great story. Only true.
Schrems sent the complaints to the Irish data protection commissioner in Portarlington, a town with a population of 8,000. From a modest office above a supermarket, the Irish DPC was responsible for regulating all the tech companies that nominated their Dublin-based subsidiaries as “data controllers”. Despite its role protecting millions of EU citizens, the commissioner had just 26 staff at the time.
This all reminds me of that wonderful scene in the film Local Hero when the visitors from the US mega corporation discover that the same person (played by Denis Lawson) runs the bar, hotel, office, professional services etc. in the small Scottish village where it is set.
BTW: instead of the mandatory GDPR corporate training, can we just not watch Local Hero again?
Stalin, Krushchev and Brezhnev are riding on a train when it suddenly stops. Stalin says “Comrades we must execute the driver to motivate the others”. The poor driver is dragged out into the snow and shot. the train still doesn’t move. Krushchev says “Comrades, we have made a dreadful error. We must set this thing straight and rehabilitate the poor driver.” So the driver is posthumously rehabilitated. Still the train doesn’t move. “Listen”, says Brezhnev, “The solution is obvious. Let’s pull down the curtains, bounce up and down on the seats and pretend the train is moving”.
And third, the internet is disrupting death as it has life. Comparison sites shed light on funeral providers’ services. And though not many bereaved relations yet “bring their own coffin”, a quick browse online gives people a far better idea of what it should cost. Startups are offering more radical disruption: rocket-launches for ashes; QR codes on graves linked to online tributes; new ways of disposing of bodies besides burying or burning.
I like that you can now go ‘direct’. Purgatory is now optional.
“It’s hard to keep a straight face and conduct professional conversations about finite element modelling or soil strength profiles when I’m in a site office surrounded by pictures of naked women.”
From a review of: Built: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Structures, Roma Agrawal Bloomsbury, 2018. 308 pp.
Dr. Santos speculated that Yale students are interested in the class because, in high school, they had to deprioritize their happiness to gain admission to the school, adopting harmful life habits that have led to what she called “the mental health crises we’re seeing at places like Yale.” A 2013 report by the Yale College Council found that more than half of undergraduates sought mental health care from the university during their time there.
Well, what would you expect of a fellow ectodermist. The story in the FT is about Nick Park refusing to sell Wallace and Gromit.
Yes, I say. “And teeth”, I add. Those Beano characters, like so many Park characters (except of course the mouthless Gromit), had such maniacal teeth. That’s so British, isn’t it? Look what Hollywood did when it wanted to create a funny British secret agent. Austin Powers. Gave him terrible teeth.
I used to say similar things about the prevalence of acne amongst medical students in different countries. But as Miroslav Holub wrote, in a poem that we had to find a dentist to read, at my wedding:
Teeth are rather ridiculous remains of the outside inside
But teaching bright young adults also teaches one a lot about the law – and quite a lot about how to spot liars.
Lady Hale: ‘Studying law? Make sure you have the stomach for it’ | Law | The Guardian
In the US, “belief in work is crumbling among people in their 20s and 30s”, says Benjamin Hunnicutt, a leading historian of work. “They are not looking to their job for satisfaction or social advancement.” (You can sense this every time a graduate with a faraway look makes you a latte.)