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College passageway by Frank Lloyd Wright iPhone 4S Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida Friday, April 19th, 2013.

If you need a horoscope to tell the future, you HAVE no future.

Jim Goad

Belong to Glasgow
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Vertical
No
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Belong to Glasgow iPhone 6S Glasgow, Strathclyde, Scotland Wednesday, August 25th, 2021.

Sailing
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No
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Sailing iPhone 6S Glasgow, Strathclyde, Scotland Wednesday, August 25th, 2021.

Kelvinside, Glasgow
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Yes
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Kelvinside, Glasgow iPhone 6S Glasgow, Strathclyde, Scotland Wednesday, August 25th, 2021.

Frith on the Hills
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Yes
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Frith on the Hills iPhone 6S Keswick, Cumbria, England Monday, August 23rd, 2021.

A Lake, a Path and Some Hills
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No
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A Lake, a Path and Some Hills iPhone 6S Keswick, Cumbria, England Monday, August 23rd, 2021.

Planned Meander
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No
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Planned Meander iPhone 6S Stanmer Park, Brighton, East Sussex, England Sunday, July 18th, 2021.

Postwar Dignity
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No
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Postwar Dignity iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Wednesday, May 5th, 2021.

Dripping Edifice
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Yes
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Dripping Edifice iPhone 6S Littlehampton, West Sussex, England Sunday, May 2nd, 2021.

Handsome in Ditchling
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Yes
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Handsome in Ditchling iPhone 6S Ditchling, East Sussex, England Wednesday, April 14th, 2021.

Marina Take All
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Yes
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Marina Take All iPhone 6S Brighton Marina, Brighton, East Sussex, England Friday, April 9th, 2021.

Choices
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No
y
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Choices iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Wednesday, March 10th, 2021.

How Brighton Usually Feels
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Yes
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How Brighton Usually Feels iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021.

Winter Procession
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Winter Procession iPhone 6S London, England Thursday, December 31st, 2020.

Fully Appreciative At Last
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No
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Fully Appreciative At Last iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Tuesday, September 29th, 2020.

A Brighton Blesssing
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Yes
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A Brighton Blesssing iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Tuesday, September 15th, 2020.

Somber Vista
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No
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Somber Vista iPhone 6S Isle of Wight, England Thursday, August 27th, 2020.

Home is Where the Moka is
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No
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Home is Where the Moka is iPhone 6S East Sussex, England Tuesday, July 28th, 2020.

Cow Cafe
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No
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Cow Cafe iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Sunday, June 7th, 2020.

Infrastructure Overview
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No
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Infrastructure Overview iPhone 6S Monday, January 20th, 2020.

Digestive Building
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Yes
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Digestive Building iPhone 6S Highlands, Scotland, London, England Saturday, November 23rd, 2019.

Gay Decay
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No
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Gay Decay iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Saturday, October 12th, 2019.

Oh, Toadstools
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No
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Oh, Toadstools iPhone 6S London, England Friday, October 4th, 2019.

It Adds Up
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Yes
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It Adds Up iPhone 6S London, England Friday, October 4th, 2019.

Moment
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No
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Moment iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Monday, August 26th, 2019.

Crossing Pink
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Yes
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Crossing Pink iPhone 6S Portsmouth, England Saturday, August 10th, 2019.

•••

About

Good bonkers, I’m Adam S Khan, the S being for Samuel.

I live in Brighton, England with Irit and our kids and right now no dogs.

Thanks for dropping by — it’s my pleasure to have you.

Briefs

index homepage

Arab Insanity Eroding

What shame, to have tainted with one’s own madness such benevolent bodies as civil aviation, non-combatant status in war — even United Nations human rights bodies.

Denver Met

My intent here is not only to participate in a conference but to suck up myriad Americana as a thirsty exile catapulted back in for a primer.

Yes

It’s a Somewhat Rauschenberg World

I don’t like this use of animals, like Damien Hirst’s. The artist could not have asked the goat for permission so should not have assumed it was granted.

Black Tracks the Presidents

The great virtue of Conrad Black’s Flight of the Eagle is its steady track across the entirety of the nation’s history, treating each president equally under its own law and order.

Homepage Design 2016

Even if a web site appears differently at different screen sizes, it should still feel like itself. On a larger canvas more expression abounds; distill this into the smaller screen and get more personality; do “mobile first” second.

Yes

From iPhone 4S to 6S: An Appreciation

The increased size, something I was so hesitant about, feels fine to me now. And because it’s thinner it feels less obtrusive in my pocket.

Spectreview

With the villain’s quasi-sibling bond to the hero, 2015’s 007 movie deflates to an incestuous Möbius Strip.

In Gaza, Israel Should Own its Terrible Tactic

Although such excoriating labels as “collective punishment” and “state terrorism” aren’t entirely wrong regarding Israel’s application of the Dahieh Doctrine in Gaza, history does suggest that the method is effective in fighting a fundamentally defensive war.

Go Deny Yourself

This four-letter little word undermines our modern values of tolerance and presumption of innocence.

Some Consumer Affairs

I’ve tried to enjoy schlepping water, thinking that it serves to keep us to some human roots.

Yes

From Nokia N95 to iPhone 4S

Annoyances and upsets with the iPhone 4S have been more than offset by its screen, the silkiness of its surfaces, the camera, and the third-party market for both software and hardware.

2001: A Space Odyssey: Dry, Juicy, Linear, Luminous

The dancers in the ape-suits; how they move is an incredibly energetic output for us. Contrast their physical reaction when witnessing the monolith to that of the astronauts in the newly-minted 21st century.

The Mouse and the Cantilever

Steve Jobs we lost at the age of 56; when Frank Lloyd Wright reached that age it was 1923, the time of merely his second comeback with Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel.

Friendship is for Weenies

It’s amazing, given the adulation he enjoyed elsewhere, that the Israeli public knew from the start not to trust US President Obama.

Before the Setup

It’s 1983: Go for the Apple IIe with 64k that could be opened up as a hobbyist machine? Or the smaller, sleeker and newer IIc with double the memory but a closed case?

At Modi’in Mall

There’s nothing else around here except empty desolate pretty hills. The Israel Trail passes by a bit to the west. The shops are mostly franchises, almost all homegrown: Super-Pharm, Aroma, Tzomet Sfarim, Cup O’ Joe’s, LaMetayel, Mega, Fox, Castro, H&O.

Yes

The Israel I Love, the Bad So Far

If the signage were a bit more effective, the staff’s diction and demeanor more professional, then we might have avoided this testy altercation.

Shanghai Europe

So, finally, we stopped yesterday; the Israeli assault on Gaza of late 2008/early 2009 is over. With it, Israel lost moral purity and made vital strategic gains.

Yes

Panning for MacBook Pro

Even if it did nothing, was just a prop in a futuristic movie, the MacBook Pro would be impressive; it’s like a sculpture of my previous computer, the MacBook, except it’s actually an improved computer!

Stop Yesterday

Is the goal of Israel’s current assault on Gaza to discourage Hamas from firing rockets or to render them incapable of doing so? These are two quite different projects.

Short-circuiting Place-based Longing

If there’s one tangible benefit to having lived in a variety of places it’s that it furnishes evidence of the futility of longing to be elsewhere.

A Crawl Across Crawley, Part 1

Irit, the Jam and I walk from Brighton to Gatwick Airport.

Clash of the Midgets

I was annoyed to have my sauna moments despoiled and dominated, reverberating with this old geezer’s most naff yap.

Yes

Israel’s Greatest Victory Since Osirak?

If Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza was part of a masterplan to staunch the damage done by the victory of the Six Day War in 1967, then today we see another step in its unfolding.

The Small Adventures, Part 2

There in the empty restaurant by the water at Dieppe I had toast with foie gras, a carafe of red wine, a huge plate of mussels and chips, and finally a crème brûlée. Somehow, though I’ve eaten in restaurants hundreds of times, I felt grown up.

Yes

The Small Adventures

Late for the 11pm train to Milan, we enquired frantically among the taxis for one who’d accept the two dogs and take us to Termini Station so I could begin our journey to Britain.

Tony Blair and the Four-State Solution

Ariel Sharon’s disengagement policy reflected an understanding that ownership of the Palestinian issue is shared with Egypt and Jordan. If Tony Blair were to acquire this view, perhaps he really could help facilitate an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A Restoration and Return

There she was, sitting outside the apartment block! How did she do it? Dogs—or at least Jam—must have some sort of navigational sense we don’t understand.

Curs to Fate

Yesterday I lost Jam in Villa Borghese, the central park here in Rome, some five miles from Talenti, the neighborhood where we’re staying. She has not turned up since.

Yes

Jam and Bread, Jam and Bread!

My dog Jam has spent over a third of her time here in Italy as her fixtures have fallen away—first Maddie, then me. But now I’m back!

Yes

This Trip’s Last Day

I went to Astor Place Haircutters. I crossed Manhattan Bridge on foot. I walked west along Canal St, seeking a bamboo steamer.

I, Thou and Pastor Bob

At the Calvary Church here in Fort Lauderdale the Biblical locations feel so far away that they can be abstracted and spiritualized. There is religious energy here.

Yes

The Big and Easy

The American stage is grand, as are the achievements and ambitions, but daily life seems lamed by a compulsive denaturing.

A Drop in Time

The camera hit the ground lens first, bashing it in so that it would no longer wind in and out, and couldn’t switch on. Without it, my perception of an important personal era was degraded.

A Ride to Gatwick Airport

Airports. They’re so charged, so symbolic, and so empty once you’re at one; I dream of them so often.

Only the Rustle in the Trees

Grief, loss — these are the great teachers surely. What one has will pass.

A Cabaret, Old Chum

It’s a last bastion of civility, being allowed to drink at Penn Station, Brian mused ruefully as we carried our beers to his train home to Great Neck.

Fatahland and Hamastan

Now Israel has a dog in a real Palestinian fight: the nationalists rather than the Islamists.

Yes

Stars, Stripes & Superlatives

Here in Los Angeles I am bombarded with superlatives. Daniel’s record collection. The Bikram Yoga College of India world headquarters. Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. All mixed in with the most ravaging mediocrity.

Shite on Brighton

“Like many provincial towns,” the Private Eye reviewer stabs, “Brighton, as depicted in this hacked-together tribute, defines itself more by what it isn’t than by what it is. It’s not London, for one thing.”

Daily Yin

For my first test of the day as day, I open the back door and step outside to the little patio to see the sky and feel the air. I realize not everybody does this, so if people tell me I’m a miserable bastard then perhaps this little habit will correct their impression.

Mind the Dream

Dreaming about our passed companions as if they are alive requires tricks to the dreaming mind to overcome what it believes and knows to be true.

The Dharma Tits

Buddhism is the philosophy and psychology closest to Cognitive Therapy and vice versa.

Yes

Still Got the Jam

Jam was one of Maddie’s nine puppies, the one who remained after the others were all taken. That was always my plan, to keep the runt.

Such a Tramp

Maddie, who died 18 months ago today, was a mangy mutt and stank, but she was also among the most beautiful dogs I’ve ever seen and for me the longest, richest, widest, deepest streak of feeling lucky.

So You Noticed

I have had something very flattering: a request. Juan Carlos has asked me for comments on Casino Royale.

Reminds Me of Tel Aviv

You get to a stage in life where you are already formed by the past. Thoughts and dilemmas about place are either central questions or a distraction from real issues.

Fly the Blag

Ryanair has brought wretchedness to the skies. Rather than existing on a privileged plane, you stew in a poisoned atmosphere.

Approaching Infinite Justice

Immediately after 9/11, the burgeoning war on terror was named “Operation Infinite Justice”. Within days it was renamed “Operation Enduring Freedom”, but is the new name a mere cloaking of the first?

On the Seventh Day

The Mrs is skeptical of David Allen’s Getting Things Done self-management system because it eschews the rigors of time management in lieu of what feels right. But GTD is about informed feeling.

Don’t Panic!

An academic romp through Jewish American comedy starts out as a veritable rollercoaster ride, but grinds to halt with its obsession with one Bob Dylan.

Photographing a Handsome Old Man

I want to get people in my pics, but it’s tougher when you’re no longer a wide-eyed teenager, because people generally don’t like to think they are a spectacle.

The Beauty of Rain

Rain makes the rocks shine. It puts in motion things that are otherwise static. It illustrates gravity most prettily.

Ode to Salame

It’s supposed to be the arsehole of Tel Aviv, Salame Street, running east-west at its southern tip, but it always does me darn good.

I Love Laundry

How pleasing it is to have my own washing machine. If all isn’t right with the world, not even in my world, at least the laundry cycle is functioning.

Lovely Scenery, But Walks Getting Boring

Unless I drive somewhere new, it’s not much fun to just step out the door and wander. But driving to go for a walk seems a tad ridiculous.

For Love of Economy

It disturbs me to be driving a car that gets fewer kilometers to the shekel than did my previous.

Shinui and the Seven-Year Itch

How refreshing to see Asian faces out shopping in Tel Aviv, or Africans riding the bus to Ra’anana. With them Israel is given fresh wellsprings of culture.

Allah Help the Jackals

While it’s obvious that overplaying your power can result in a downfall, it’s less obvious that underplaying it also leads to trouble. America did this in the 1970s under Carter. Israel seems to have done it almost perennially.

Yes

For Tel Aviv, Better a Skylift Than a Subway

Rather than copycatting a transportation system from the 19th century, Israel could inject into its civic planning the same audacity and resourcefulness that it has historically brought to agriculture and defence.

Yes

Canada Obscura

There’s not a patch of water to be seen—the most liquid thing is the word “Coffee” on one of the low-slung strip-mall buildings. It’s a scene more artful than art itself.

Tour of Kitchen Duty

There was yelling and spray and I raced to keep up. One can enjoy, briefly, the company of men.

Shiny Bright Toadstool

In Israel’s case, burgernomics don’t add up because significant factors contribute to the 30%-odd surcharge on a Big Mac.

The Fresh Jewels of Spring Mound

Quality of life in Tel Aviv is fundamentally enhanced by two simple factors: trees are everywhere, and so are apartments.

Independence Park Up for Grabs?

To this day men of many ages walk these bushes, they delicately lurk these bushes, and stand in places odd to choose.

We Tri Harder

A land could be governed not only by the three separate arms of government, but by three sovereign states.

Yes

Tira Saunters

The one-lane road is empty; down below is the Sharon Plain, looking vast. Israel may be a small country but we’re still speaking here of land.

A Call to Thumbs

When you hitchhike it’s out of your hands, and that’s therapeutic. Paradoxically, you also see how much control you do have.

 

Briefs (cont’d)

Thursday, December 9th, 2021

An interview with Vivian Gornick, distinguished New York essayist.

I spend my life trying to produce sentences, as a pair of academics once put it, as “clear and simple as the truth.” The emotional truth, that is. For me, only the accumulation of lucid sentences will deliver on that. Now every writer—poet, novelist, essayist—is aiming for the same thing, putting emotional truth on the page, only each does it using language differently. In the end, I believe, all are aiming for what I am calling clarity.

New York is still the city of letters, and there are still letters.

Sunday, December 5th, 2021

Because the Marvel intro music is replaying in my mind’s ear (composed I believe by the great Michael Giacchino), I went to YouTube and found Every Marvel Intro. Turns out the first time we heard this intro was Dr Strange.

Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

Well goodness me, what a delight: Blank on Blank is short audio clips from celebrity interviews with animations, from Frank Lloyd Wright to Neil Young.

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

All the keyboard-powered culture wars bullhonky is merely a distraction from the world’s most important problem: the impoverishment of the American blue-collar worker. Because without a prosperous American nation, there is no Pax Americana. In Newsweek, Hazmat truck driver Cyrus Tharpe writes:

Our jobs are essential because they are rooted in manufacturing and delivering goods, the underpinning of every major economy on the planet. And unlike politicians, we materially improve the lives of the American people.

And yet, this “essential” job pays a garbage wage. The median annual income for a truck driver in this country is less than $40,000 a year. For many of us, 50 percent of our take-home pay immediately disappears to cover rent.

Monday, November 29th, 2021

Ehud Yaari reports for Israeli TV that Iran claims it can build offensive atomic weaponry after all. Yaari doesn’t understand why this u-turn is not a global headline.

Thursday, November 25th, 2021

Happy day: rivals British Airways and Virgin Atlantic flew synchronized flights from London to New York to mark the end of Covid-based travel restrictions to the USA, reports Airline Geeks.

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

Apple has disabled its shopping cart in Turkey, the Mac press is reporting, including MacRumors. This could be the mother of Turkish crises, and Turkey is a pivotal enough country that this may affect others. [Update 2021 Nov 30: Sales have been restored at a 25% increase.]

David P. Goldman has been writing about a Turkish economic implosion for years — by 2018 he was already examining some consequences.

RIP Ray Kappe, creator for himself of arguably the world’s second-greatest home.

The house is open yet staggered, as set by the Los Angeles hills on which it sits. The resulting complexity provides repose for civilized minds. I pray it becomes a museum — though perhaps it would be better for the greatest of homes to divide their time between serving as museums and short-term rentals, so that the more dedicated can experience them fulfilling their original purpose.

It’s sad but American national institutions are crumbling; I’m not sure I fully trust David Brooks any more. He is reporting his experience at the National Conservatism Conference and concludes:

There is something extremely off-putting about the NatCon public pose. In person, as I say, I find many of them charming, warm, and friendly. But their public posture is dominated by the psychology of threat and menace. If there was one expression of sympathy, kindness, or grace uttered from the podium in Orlando, I did not hear it. But I did hear callousness, invocations of combat, and whiffs of brutality.

His piece is for The Atlantic, which while not quite in New York Times nor New Yorker territory, is on the way. I can’t help but feel that he is toeing their editorial line, and if this was a piece say for the New Criterion, his tone would be friendlier towards the event. It’s sad to say that; if you can’t trust David Brooks, who can you? Well, at least the title isn’t his; the word “terrifying” doesn’t appear even once within the article. But this is a man who surely has the clout to have editorial control or at least strong influence on the titles of his pieces.

[Update: More straightforwardly, Arnold Kling reaches a similarly worried conclusion and actually explains himself.]

Sunday, November 21st, 2021

“I love Shivan, I love Tom, I love Greg.” The increasingly tolerable Russell Brand celebrates Succession, his favorite TV program for a while.

Friday, November 19th, 2021

Thursday, November 18th, 2021

At Starter Story, Ed Baldoni, founder of Concrete Countertop Solutions, tells the story of how his business has reached $1.1m in monthly revenue.

I was a developer/ home builder for over 40 years. As a builder, I was always looking to stay ahead of the curve and offer new ideas to my clients … Our Z Counterform System for countertops and Z Poolform System for concrete pool coping are the go-to solutions for cast-in-place concrete forms. With a small but dedicated team, we grew this business from an idea to over $12M in revenue in 10 years.

Exciting story, exciting product.

Tuesday, November 16th, 2021

In American Affairs, my man David P. Goldman argues once again that the United States must step up its basic technological research if it is to avoid losing preeminence to China — and we are all to avoid falling prey to a rather less liberal hegemon. Spengler’s point:

The definitive inventions of late twentieth century technology — laser-powered optical networks, fast and light integrated circuits, and the Internet — all came out of Defense Department projects whose originators could not have foreseen the impact of the new discoveries … All the elements of the modern digital economy — integrated circuits, laser-powered optical networks, sensors, and displays — were invented at the behest of NASA or the Defense Department.

“A society not roused to gall by the planned annihilation of newborns is not as advanced as it tells itself,” Stephen Paisley writes in The Spectator a few days after the botched bombing of a maternity ward in Liverpool.

I’m pleased to see this — Fathom, the organ of BICOM, the British-Israeli thinktank, has a series of articles under the rubric UK-Israel 2021. They are:

I want bilateral histories.

Sunday, November 14th, 2021

In The Telegraph, columnist Janet Daly hopes for a wake for Woke in The Telegraph:

Maybe it is the secret that explains why British life is not torn asunder by culture wars in the way that the United States so often is. Instead of taking up arms against the advancing guard of combatants who threaten to dismantle your social values, and fighting to the death (often literally) in the streets as Americans are inclined to do, the British take a softly-softly, appeasing tone — giving a bit here, offering a bit there to the angry mob, without ever losing their sense of irony. Until — almost without warning — the onslaught grows so overblown and overconfident that it becomes patently, stupidly, undeniably crazy, self-contradictory and, most important, risible.

Saturday, November 13th, 2021

Last month Harvard put on a performance of Macbeth “designated to be an exclusive space for Black-identifying audience members”. Horrible, yes; illegal, surely?

Friday, November 12th, 2021

In this fun review of the Succession episode “Lion in the Meadow” (though surely a better title would have been “King Kong Comes to Dance”), Andrew Gruttadaro quotes the episode’s closing line “a timely fucking Evian”. Having watched that scene a few times over last night, I thought, no, there is no adjective between “timely” and “Evian”. But rewatching the scene, I’m wrong — I didn’t even hear the fucking word, that’s how much we’ve debased it.

A timely Evian; like everything else in this episode, what a great line! And this review transcribes much of the juiciness. The author also has a short Twitter thread on one of its great set-pieces, Adrien Brody’s Josh Aaronson’s layers.

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Monday, November 8th, 2021

Just -pinterest.

Saturday, November 6th, 2021

Nice appreciative review at Cult of Mac of the latest Foundation episode, “The Missing Piece”.

This week’s episode gave him the Lee Paciest showcase any of your finer Lee Paces could hope to deliver. Appearing to be on death’s door yet radiating immortality, staggering through the desert with red, peeling skin and dirty feet, a false messiah nearly killing himself to gain even more power. This is the kind of thing that simply has to be seen.

Lee Pace for James Bond. Or Scaramanga at least.

A note from the MetaCompany:

On October 28th, 2021, Facebook decided to commit trademark infringement and call themselves “Meta”. They couldn’t buy us, so they tried to bury us by force of media. We shouldn’t be surprised by these actions — from a company that continually says one thing and does another. Facebook and its operating officers are deceitful and acting in bad faith, not only towards us, but to all of humanity.

The Sabus in Himeji is a Japanese bus sauna. Hot.

Friday, November 5th, 2021

Vue core team member Ben Hong discusses using Nuxt 2 with Notion. Nuxt is the web dev tool I chose, Notion a major new Web platform. Exciting. Then Notion goes down in the middle of the livestream, handled by Hong with aplomb. Code Zen indeed from this “developer / psychologist hybrid”.

Walter Russell Mead points out that the USA and EU are progressing towards trade deals at the expense of China. This is a grand thing, a major story, that I’m not seeing reported anywhere else at all.

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021

Anybody with a serious interest in Israel’s ongoing regional conflicts should watch this serious panel, moderated by top-flight journalist Eli Lake, JINSA Gaza Conflict 2021 Assessment: Report Release. Now JINSA is a thinktank with the slogan “Securing America, strengthening Israel”, but think of this not as bias but seriousness.

Strong, strong piece by David Collier reminding us — with a list that just goes on and on — of how the Palestinian national movement is a corrupting force.

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021

The proper dosage of hierarchy is just barely enough to vitalize a very large collective.

Kevin Kelly, The Inevitable

I agree: There is something endemic to online communication that exacerbates the dislike of and frustration with people with different values, writes Michelle Goldberg. And there’s nothing like a simple study, as stark as a thought experiment, to sharpen the mind:

[The Polarization Lab] recruited 1,220 Twitter users who identified as either Democrats or Republicans, offering to pay them $11 to follow a particular Twitter account for a month. Though the participants didn’t know it, the Democrats were assigned to follow a bot account that retweeted messages from prominent Republican politicians and thinkers. The Republicans, in turn, followed a bot account that retweeted Democrats.

“Nobody became more moderate,” said Bail. “Republicans in particular became much more conservative when they followed the Democratic bot, and Democrats became a little bit more liberal.”

This piece by Sarah Zhang in The Atlantic articulates what I’ve been feeling the last few months: we don’t know what to do next re Covid.

On the ground, the U.S. is now running an uncontrolled experiment with every strategy all at once. COVID-19 policies differ wildly by state, county, university, workplace, and school district. And because of polarization, they have also settled into the most illogical pattern possible: The least vaccinated communities have some of the laxest restrictions, while highly vaccinated communities—which is to say those most protected from COVID-19—tend to have some of the most aggressive measures aimed at driving down cases. “We’re sleepwalking into policy because we’re not setting goals,” says Joseph Allen, a Harvard professor of public health. We will never get the risk of COVID-19 down to absolute zero, and we need to define a level of risk we can live with.

Monday, November 1st, 2021

The alienness of artificial intelligence will become more valuable to us than its speed or power.

Kevin Kelly, The Inevitable

Sunday, October 31st, 2021

Finally, someone comes out and clearly states the most important truths about UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson — that he wins and will be in power a long time.

Eccentric, optimistic and fundamentally humane, he personifies the very best British ideals, and that’s why the public loves him.

Saturday, October 30th, 2021

After googling Jordan Hoffman, I see his Every Episode of Every ‘Star Trek’ Series Ever, Ranked (all 695 of them) from 2014, for Playboy no less.

By Brooklyn-based freelancer Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian‘s spoiler review of No Time to Die is nicely done, with some good entries in the comments section, such as SanFranFerg’s stolen artwork angle:

Prominent art thefts in the real world regularly appear in Bond movies, but none to such stunning effect as the recently nicked Duke of Wellington by Goya that showed up in Dr No’s evil lair in the first movie. The theft from the National Gallery had been huge news only a year before the film’s release. Connery hams up his surprise magnificently. It’s worth Googling.

The final, and largest, stolen piece in the movie hasn’t yet been stolen in the real world. This movie’s evil lair is being redecorated with Monet’s Waterlilies, clearly in their Paris Orangerie incarnation. They’d better check their alarm systems.

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

Hijinks for the practicing intellectualoid: Mansfield on Machiavelli, acknowledging the Florentin’s modernity paternity.

Saturday, October 16th, 2021

David P. Goldman blames the Web technocracy for the end of the American era, comparing it to how Britain lost dominance through the corruption of empire: by eschewing the true wealth creation of manufacturing.

Britain’s best and brightest left Eton and Harrow and went into colonial service, and made fortunes on the sale of British textiles to India, Indian opium to China, and Chinese tea and silks to the West. Britain’s country houses were built on the quick money to be earned from empire, and the British upper class eschewed the dirty work of manufacturing in favor of the faux-aristocracy of the nouveau riche masquerading as landed gentry.

The estimable Goldman is somewhat wrong here I think; web software is much more about conjuring up something from nothing, albeit an intangible digitized something, than it is just shunting stuff around at gunpoint, as he says late-Empire Britain did.

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

I think that if we were told 40 years ago that Bill Shatner would actually go into space at age 90, we’d think things turned out pretty well.

Monday, October 11th, 2021

National treasure David Mitchell knocks it out the park with his (SPOILER WARNING) review of No Time to Die.

The main spoiler is: they’ve spoiled it. The producers of No Time to Die have spoiled Bond – either a bit or totally, only time will tell.

Another darn piece that expresses perfectly what I was thinking and that I didn’t write myself. This is one where I feel: no matter what, I couldn’t have done it quite this well, this straightforwardly.

Friday, October 8th, 2021

I had to read this snooty bit of exhibitionism at Gawker (must the devil have all the good web design?) slowly to keep track of what and whom the reader is supposed to consider virtuous versus vile. One through-line that helped was, like in a Hollywood movie, the bad guys have British accents.

Regarding the author’s complaint of British transphobia, one possible cause: due to cultural proximity and thirst, the Great Leap Forward emanating from the USA arrives first at Britain’s more grounded doorstep, with the resulting crockery-dropping rejection most clearly heard when ricocheting back across the pond.

Thursday, October 7th, 2021

Human egalitarianism was a social revolution within the primate order.

Sarah Chayes, Everybody Knows: Corruption in America

Geoff Boeing at Department of Urban Planning and Spatial Analysis, USC, on the griddiness of cities — what an awesome topic for a rigorous paper!

All 16 cities with the lowest entropies are in the US and Canada. Outside of the US/Canada, Mogadishu, Kyoto, and Melbourne have the lowest orientation entropies. Surprisingly, the city with the highest entropy, Charlotte, is also in the US. São Paulo and Rome immediately follow it as the next highest cities. Chicago, the most ordered city, has a φ of 0.90, while Charlotte, the most disordered, has a φ of 0.002.

Venice, Mogadishu, Helsinki, Jerusalem, and Casablanca have the shortest median street segment lengths (indicating fine-grained networks) while Kiev, Moscow, Pyongyang, Beijing, and Shanghai have the longest (indicating coarse-grained networks).

From the bubbling, dexterous mind of Venkatesh Rao we have two rich essays posted within two days: “Storytelling — Cringe and the Banality of Shadows” and “Remystifying Supply Chains: Supply chains are TV for matter”.

The supply chain crisis is in some ways more unprecedented than Covid itself, given that containerized supply chains, and the world of distributed, networked, computationally coordinated production they enabled, are only a few decades old.

This is the first crisis of this magnitude to hit them.

To find a comparable crisis in history you have to go back to World War 2, with U boats sinking transatlantic shipping. And that was in an era when global trade was less than a third of today’s levels if I’m not mistaken (as a fraction of GDP) and still in the ancient mode of breakbulk shipping.

Angry divides over cultural and identity-group issues often mask—in fact may be deliberately used to mask—unanimity at the top of the system when it comes to condoning or participating in corruption.

Sarah Chayes, Everybody Knows: Corruption in America

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

Criminalizing the criminalization of politics is akin to the wonder performed by Aeschylus’ Eumenides, which turned revenge into law—high statesmanship.

Angelo Codevilla, The Ruling Class

Monday, October 4th, 2021

Sunday, October 3rd, 2021

Leaked papers reveal King Abdullah of Jordan has spent some $106m on Anglospherian homes. While it’s nice he chooses Malibu and London — and why not — might the story spur domestic unrest?

 
 

•••

Newsroll

A quarterly magazine of urban affairs, published by the Manhattan Institute, edited by Brian C. Anderson.

  • Learning to Love Growth

    Somerville, New Jersey, marries density to commercial vitality.
  • Predictable and Preventable

    Columbia’s leadership failed students by humoring their anti-police demands.
  • Closures and Consequences

    Politicians in both parties, but especially Democrats, need to understand just how unpopular school shutdowns are with parents.
  • All for Show

    De Blasio’s eleventh-hour vaccine mandate is motivated by politics, not public health.
  • Correcting Maine’s Error

    In Carson v. Makin, the Supreme Court has a chance to reaffirm that the Constitution does not permit discrimination against faith-based schools.

experiments in refactored perception

  • Thinking in OODA Loops

    I’ve been meaning to turn my OODA loop workshop (which I’ve done formally/informally for corporate audiences for 5+ years) into an online course for years, but never got around to it. So I decided to just publish the main slide deck. This deck is 72 slides, and takes me about 2 hours to cover. It […]
  • Jumping into Web3

    I’m kicking off a new blogchain to journal my explorations of Web3: the strange world of NFTs (non-fungible tokens), DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations), domain names ending in .eth, and so forth. I wasn’t going to get into it quite yet, but events in the last week dumped me unceremoniously into the deep end. I’m chronicling […]
  • Ghost Protocols

    A ghost protocol is a pattern of interactions between two parties wherein one party pretends the other does not exist. A simple example is the “silent treatment” pattern we all learn as kids. In highly entangled family life, the silent treatment is not possible to sustain for very long, but in looser friendship circles, it […]