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Airport Ceiling iPhone 6S Málaga, Spain Monday, August 28th, 2017.

Airport Ceiling
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Airport Ceiling iPhone 6S Málaga, Spain Monday, August 28th, 2017.

Only for You
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Only for You iPhone 6S Tel Aviv, Israel Friday, September 30th, 2016.

Let the Messiah In
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Let the Messiah In Nokia N95 8GB Tel Aviv, Israel Thursday, November 24th, 2011.

•••

About

Briefs

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

Two interestingly contrarian pieces in the Daily Mail by authorities in their respective fields: “Ja, we Germans are jealous of Brexit” by Alexander Von Schoenburg, editor-at-large of Bild; and “Why woke diets featuring superfoods such as avocado are leading to a surge of distressing gut problems” by Luci Daniels, former chairman of the British Dietetic Association.

Saturday, December 14th, 2019

“Rising Inequality and the Changing Structure of Political Conflict” — the inaugural James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Lecture in Economic Inequality at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics by Thomas Piketty (March 30th, 2018).

Labour is now populism for the lightly-educated middle-classes, argues John Gray with stonking cogency — and, it turns out a month later at the December 2019 election, accuracy. Until 2008 the Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics, Gray has been referred to by one Nassim Nicholas Taleb as “prophetic”.

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

Quite the overview: “The Real Class War” by Julius Krein, editor of American Affairs.

The real class war is between the 0.1 percent and (at most) the 10 percent—or, more precisely, between elites primarily dependent on capital gains and those primarily dependent on profes sional labor.

Sunday, October 13th, 2019

George Friedman on Brexit: it is very likely to happen, as is the painful shift to increased ties with the Anglosphere.

Monday, October 7th, 2019

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

Erdoğan’s Turkey, once again neither winning friends nor influencing people, this time trying it on around the Eastern Med gas fields.

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

Starting from WeWork, Matt Stoller coins “counterfeit capitalism” as the Amazon model: “take inputs, combine them into products worth less than their cost, and plug up the deficit through the capital markets in hopes of acquiring market power later or of just self-dealing so the losses are placed onto someone else.” It is, he argues, terrible for society as a whole.

Monday, August 26th, 2019

It’s a Kentucky Fried Miracle: KFC will sell meatless Beyond Fried Chicken.

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

How the rich differ, according to the currently-popupar Big Five psychological framework. More conscientious, less neurotic, less agreeable, more extravert, and more open to experience.

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Saturday, June 8th, 2019

Monday, May 13th, 2019

A manifesto for the remaining sensible: “Tucker’s Right” by Michael Anton.

Friday, March 15th, 2019

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Chronicling from “below the API line”, as Venkatesh Rao calls it, are Austin Murphy with “I Used to Write for Sports Illustrated. Now I Deliver Packages for Amazon” in The Atlantic and Lauren Hough with “I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America” in The Huffington Post.

The depicted harshness of American work life for so many is terrible not just for those involved but for all. (Also these two share a prodigious unmet need to urinate on the job — is this the top new workplace tribulation?)

Monday, December 10th, 2018

The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success

Albert-László Barabási

♦♦♦

This book seems like one for our times: a self-improvement topic given fresh life by being supported by social science data. There are sufficient surprising results — similar to say Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow — to warrant reading, despite, when stepping back and taking it on the whole, the thing feeling largely self-evident. But it is not, and probably deserves a reread.

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

“Breaking Smart” by Venkatesh Rao. This is the first collection, “Software is Eating the World”, inspired by a residency at Andreessen/Horowitz.

“The Premium Mediocre Life of Maya Millennial” by Venkatesh Rao is the best thing I’ve read on the internet all year. I especially love his notion of being “above or below the API line”.

For more mediocrity theory, see his “Survival of the Mediocre Mediocre”: “Evolution is survival, not of the most mediocre (that would lead to paradox), but survival of the mediocre mediocre.”

Monday, August 20th, 2018

David P. Goldman has been predicting this for years, and now it is happening (nudged along by Trump’s new steel tariffs): Turkey is in a horrible mess and likely to become a Chinese satrapy.

Contrast with George Friedman’s notion that Turkey will become a superpower, which to me seems comically misguided.

That said, Turkey does seem a fulcrum power, a bellweather of who dominates global affairs; if it falls to China’s influence, this is not great for the West.

To me, with my papercut exposure to Turkey, the fundamental problem is this: they are unsatisfied with being a nationstate. Instead, they want to be the local imperium, which cannot be. Turks, I say: apply your justified satisfaction with quotidian life to the national level. That way you will indeed make friends and influence peoples.

Perhaps Look to Britain for this, which once ruled much more than the Ottomans, but harbors no hopeless dreams to revive a moment in history.

Perhaps not coincidentally, both states are currently in some danger of a secessionist crack-up.

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Well, this an extravaganza of an article, practically a short book, on the American 9.9%.

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

Even as the USA is troubled at the national level, it is often flourishing locally, argues James Fallows, who has spent five years criss-crossing the country with his wife.

“America is becoming more like itself again,” he writes. “More Americans are trying to make it so, in more places, than most Americans are aware.”

This is good, it seems to me; better than if the reverse were true.

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

Eric Posner and Glen Weyl provide some diagnosis of and solutions for our new Gilded Age.

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

Jaron Lanier on social media: “We got into this by trying to be socialist and libertarian at the same time, and getting the worst of both worlds … we have to choose.”

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

From 2014: The Economist introduces us to Sebastian de Grazia’s 1962 Of Time, Work and Leisure. Increasingly, leisure is not for the rich but for the poor.

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

A conversation with Kai-Fu Lee at edge.org. He’s an AI researcher who has worked at Apple, Microsoft and Google, and wrote AI Super-powers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order.

He believes SkyNet fears are ridiculous but that much needs to be done to handle the coming massive loss of jobs.

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

On February 19th, Israeli natural gas companies announced a $15b contract with Egypt. These interlocking infrastructure interests enmesh Israel with her neighbors and provide for further possibilities.

Friday, March 9th, 2018

Tyler Cowen has a modest proposal: polarized shopping. “You get better deals from the companies you patronize regularly, most of all from airlines and hotels. It requires only some stretch of the imagination to think that more of those programs could be organized around ideology.”

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Amazon Go physical grocery store opens in Seattle, featuring no check-out.

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

This 1-hour Smithsonian production is a history of America in the Roaring 20s, with amazing newly-colorized footage. Richly effortlessly narrated by Liev Schreiber, it remedies our black & white impression of this not-so-distant mirror. There are things I should have learned about in school but did not, particularly the Greenwood massacre.

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

“Death to the dictator!” #IranProtests. Will this now be the Green Revolution?

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

The guys at The Soul of Enterprise podcast interview George Gilder. I guarantee you he’ll bring you at least some new perspective. It’s about time.

The permanent drop in the US corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% is monumental, reports Forbes columnist Tony Nitti.

Monday, December 4th, 2017

On the EconTalk podcast recorded recently on stage in New York, Simeon Djankov speaks to the global Doing Business Report that he produces annually at the World Bank. This is world-improving stuff by dint of managed competition. It would be cool to see a a canonical BPMN version of each process.

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

Ivan Rogers, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the EU during David Cameron’s tenure as Prime Minister, speaks to the events leading up to the Brexit referendum. There’s so much detail, and we see where Cameron was succeeding, but nonetheless a failure happened here.

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Monday, September 25th, 2017

In a nice interview about his book, the great Yanis Varoufakis reviews what happened during the Greek bailout negotiations.

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

In defending Amazon against Trump’s recent broadside, Matt Seybold in the beautiful Los Angeles Review of Books brings out the literary big guns: he notes that Mark Twain defended Rockefeller’s Standard Oil against Theodore Roosevelt’s trust-busting.

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Those without much money invest in their homes; those with invest in equities.

Friday, July 7th, 2017

What Cuba is like now, after the thawing with the United States. J. S. Tennant in The White Review.

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Anti-fragile: Things that Gain from Disorder

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

♦♦♦♦♦

I’ve been listening to the Commentary Magazine podcast lately, enjoying John Podhoretz’s knowledgeable and intelligent monologues, even if regularly exasperated by their ideological blinkers. This week their discussion reeked of black swan events but they fumbled around for the logic that applies. It was obvious that none of the three speakers had read any Nassim Nicholas Taleb, otherwise they would have had the framework and could have moved on. That made them seem ignorant. Which makes you realize these books are seminal. Yes there are irritations, but perhaps these will fade from a more distant perspective. There are echoes here of the iconoclastic spirit of Nietzsche — can there be higher praise?

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

Francis Fukuyama coins and explains vetocracy. The intricacies are bamboozling—which is the point. Seems to me that fixing this is the first domino.

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

“The press takes [Trump] literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.’ Salena Zito in this September 23 article in The Atlantic. What a thing.

Also Democrats, Trump, and the Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal to Learn the Lesson of Brexit by Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept.

And What I learned after 100,000 miles on the road talking to Trump supporters by Chris Arnade in The Guardian.

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

New British prime minister Theresa May’s first major decision was the nuclear plant at Hinckley Point and it seems she took the easy way out.

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars; it’s where the rich use public transportation.

Petro Gustavo, Mayor of Bogota

Friday, August 26th, 2016

Sports are the linchpin holding the entire post-war economic order together.

Ben Thompson, The Sports Linchpin

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

“The real story of this election is that after several decades, American democracy is finally responding to the rise of inequality and the economic stagnation experienced by most of the population,” writes Francis Fukuyama in Foreign Affairs [requires free registration].

index topics economy economy

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

No matter the screen size, a web site should feel like itself, even if it doesn’t look it. So 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)

Monday, January 27th, 2020

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

Two interestingly contrarian pieces in the Daily Mail by authorities in their respective fields: “Ja, we Germans are jealous of Brexit” by Alexander Von Schoenburg, editor-at-large of Bild; and “Why woke diets featuring superfoods such as avocado are leading to a surge of distressing gut problems” by Luci Daniels, former chairman of the British Dietetic Association.

Thursday, January 9th, 2020

“The Soleimani Killing:An Initial Assessment” [PDF], a study by Hillel Frisch, Eytan Gilboa, Gershon Hacohen, Doron Itzchakov, and Alexander Joffe at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

From “you can’t do anything” to “a severe revenge”: Khamenei fumes regarding “that guy” Trump as US kills Iran’s Al-Quds Force leader Soleimani in a missile attack at Baghdad Airport.

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

In trying to improve the performance of an ExpressionEngine-powered web-based system, I came across the following database fields within MySQL query WHERE clauses that therefore should be indexed but aren’t:

* exp_actions: class, method * exp_categories: cat_url_title * exp_ce_cache_tagged_items: item_id * exp_channels: channel_title * exp_channel_fields: field_name * exp_extensions: enabled, hook, priority * exp_fieldtypes: name * exp_members: in_authorlist, screen_name, username * exp_menu_items: sort * exp_modules: module_name * exp_playa_relationships: parent_is_draft * exp_plugins: is_typography_related

Every little bit helps.

In r/saltierthancrait and posted by u/yellowdawg299, In your opinion, who is the worst character in Star Wars?. Great stuff.

  • “I tell you what, if Rose had killed Leia in TROS and monologued about what idiots the Rebels were for buying her ‘save the people you love’ bullshit, I’d be dragging everyone I knew to the theatre.” —rothbard_anarchist
  • Snoke continues to shrink in intrigue until he is in a fetal position in a jar.” —Wiffernubbin
  • “Replace Holdo with an emotionless machine that locks their escape behind a passcode/override that no one but Leia knows after the bridge destruction, and the story becomes more coherent since that’s a matter of procedure rather than a person making active decisions that contradict themselves and their own goals.” —Hylian-Highwind
  • Jar Jar, because the others aren’t in Star Wars.” —JBlitzen

Etc, etc.

Saturday, December 21st, 2019

Smoother CSS shadows by Philipp Brumm. Simple; excellent. [via CSSTricks]

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019

Matt Layman’s handy Failed SaaS Postmortem — too much tech tinkering; I need to take heed. Plus it’s great he’s getting right back in the saddle.

“A proper understanding of biblical and rabbinic theology might identify a solution to Israel’s constitutional vacuum“. By Michael Wyschogrod in First Things [2010]

Counterintuitive arguments from the redoubtable Ambrose Evans-Pritchard that Boris’s ascension reduces the plausibility of Scottish secession from the UK.

Saturday, December 14th, 2019

“Rising Inequality and the Changing Structure of Political Conflict” — the inaugural James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Lecture in Economic Inequality at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics by Thomas Piketty (March 30th, 2018).

Labour is now populism for the lightly-educated middle-classes, argues John Gray with stonking cogency — and, it turns out a month later at the December 2019 election, accuracy. Until 2008 the Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics, Gray has been referred to by one Nassim Nicholas Taleb as “prophetic”.

Friday, December 6th, 2019

To get into it, just get into it.

ASK

We moderns, we choose our fictions, we choose our frictions.

ASK

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

What a gorgeous country revealed in this photo essay of contemporary life in Iran.

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

VDH provides a bit of actual strategy for the USA on the China, Iran, and North Korea fronts:

The most dangerous moments … are predictable. They follow when one side, arrogant from previously being exempt from any consequences for its aggression, believes it’s starting to lose a conflict that it prompted and cannot afford to lose.

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

Quite the overview: “The Real Class War” by Julius Krein, editor of American Affairs.

The real class war is between the 0.1 percent and (at most) the 10 percent—or, more precisely, between elites primarily dependent on capital gains and those primarily dependent on profes sional labor.

Friday, November 22nd, 2019

The Smithsonian Magazine excerpts Paul Hendrickson’s Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright. Among the gems:

  • “…[Wright’s] 72-year career as an architect and egotist…”
  • “…[Wright buildings] come magically out of the American ground looking for the light…”
  • “…[Wright,] the old shaman…”
  • “…There are certain moments, standing in [Wright homes], if the light is falling right, when it will begin to seem as if Whitman is singing to Emerson, or vice versa…”

Will the author spoil it for me though? Among the crisps are tonal annoyances such as beginning sentences with “Heck,”…

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

Shaman: A novel of the Ice Age

Kim Stanley Robinson

♦♦♦♦

As I return to this a couple of months later to write up this brief review, much of the book unfolds mentally in my head: scenes, characters, the unfolding. Whereas the other couple of books read at the similar time are blanks to me. This book delivered on my hope of a vivid portrayal of the protean human, and was even more vivid than I had expected. KSR is to be congratulated and I’m sure he’s proud of this one. Has anyone else done this so well?

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

A view to the best bit of Bond fan art I’ve seen maybe ever: David Reed’s 007 film title anagrams.

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019

Friday, November 1st, 2019

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

A meditation in The New Yorker on aging.

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

The Tube Ronnies complete with transcript, thanks to the invaluable IanVisits.

Friday, October 25th, 2019

Gadget: 1. Survey [PDF] is a cool history of software milestones “from Smalltalk to Minecraft” Chaim Gingold (2017). When you see these things collected you realize how much progress they collectively represent. I wonder what we’d have been doing otherwise…

Sunday, October 20th, 2019

Dr Alex Joffe notes that while the West’s working classes are still relatively sensible, “in Western social and information environments saturated with virtue-signaling, [grafting BDS onto contemporary concerns and movements is] having some success with members of the image-conscious, predominantly white middle class.

Saturday, October 19th, 2019

Matt Zoller Seitz absolutely loves Toy Story 4.

A Beginner's Guide to Japan: Observations and Provocations

Pico Iyer

♦♦♦

Written aphoristically, long-time Kyoto resident travel writer Pico Iyer provided me with a new view of a major people: that the Japanese exemplify Oscar Wilde’s catechism that style is substance, surface depth. One telling anecdote from his pal the Dalai Lama: when speaking to Western audiences, they perk up at the philosophy and tune out for the rituals; with the Japanese it’s the opposite. There are many more such reflections. One reviewer says the book is profound, and I guess that is the case, yes.

Friday, October 18th, 2019

Dore Gold primes us on why Israel must retain the Jordan Valley. Like the Golan, it’s not only about strategic depth but also strategic height. When driving down the magnificent road along the Dead Sea from Jerusalem to Ein Bokek, I would often loftily complain that one wouldn’t know one has exited Israel proper as there are no signs, just a little roadblock upon entering Ein Bokek (and a much more significant one upon reentering Jerusalem near the city limits). Whenever there’s no sign, it’s a sign that the State has deemed this land integral yet history has not yet ripened sufficiently for declaring it so.

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

Volvo unveils its first full battery electric model, the XC40 Recharge SUV with 402bhp a 248-mile range. Featuring no front grille!

Succession as comedy. Obvious, given its producers, but still, nicely written.

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

Latitudinal psychology? “Like happiness, [individualism and creativity] trend higher as one moves away from the equator.”

A deep dive into the Grand Seiko Snowflake on Hodinkee. “The entire thing seems to have been calculated to create an effect of serenity without boredom; of minimalism without sterility.”

This is actually kind of important: How to select, copy, and paste text in iOS 13 and iPadOS 13. Thanks, AppleInsider. In Notes at least, 3-finger swipe-left and swipe-right isn’t just undo and redo, but an entire history of actions to the document.

Meir Kraus, a fellow at the research center at the Shalom Hartman Institute, sets out challenges, lessons, options and insights for a balanced and feasible option on Jerusalem as part of a wider solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A lovely poster of Frank Lloyd Wright homes “in (nearly) every state” by HomeAdvisor.

Sunday, October 13th, 2019

AutoCar drives the electric Jaguar I-Pace from London to Frankfurt. As recently as two years ago such a journey simply wasn’t feasible. Now, once you have the more expensive car, it’s much cheaper than driving diesel let alone petrol. That said, charging stops are an hour rather than five minutes, and every 200 miles rather than say every 500. But I think there is some good here. Travellers must get out and stretch their legs for a longer while. All in all our automotive future looks improved.

George Friedman on Brexit: it is very likely to happen, as is the painful shift to increased ties with the Anglosphere.

Install bullshit.js as a bookmarklet. Your insides will thank you.

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

ExpressionEngine (EE) is the content management system that until recently I used for building every web property. In November 2018, EllisLab, the producer of EE, was sold to Digital Locations, Inc. (DLOC) and EllisLab owner Rick Ellis joined the parent company’s payroll. The acquisition is detailed in Digital Locations’ Quarterly Report (Form 10-Q) dated August 13th, 2019.

But the Digital Locations acquisition seems downright skeezy. Despite the company’s tagline about Artificial Intelligence, it appears to be nothing more than a holding company for Mr Bill Beifuss. Moreover it looks like he’s scrimping on incorporation fees: the company was founded in 2006 as Zingerang, then became Carbon Sciences for a decade, before morphing again into Digital Locations. It self-reports never having had any revenues.

According to the linked-to Bloomberg profile, Mr Beifuss is also CEO of some other companies: Warp 9 Inc, Coeur D’alene French Baking Co, and Cumorah Capital Inc., none of which appear to provide any actual products or services either.

Rick must have been aware of and a party to this bullshit. With ExpressionEngine he had a great thing going; I wonder what happened. All I can speculate is that he very much wanted to segue EE’s success into enabling him to try other things professionally but that it remained his biggest achievement and he couldn’t bring himself to let go of the golden goose even though it was fading without his hands-on vision. And then at some point last year he suddenly really needed a buyer.

Recently, on October 3rd, 2019, he bought EllisLab back from Beifuss then sold it a week later to development house Packet Tide, that is, Tom Jaeger. So it Rick Ellis has finally let go of ExpressionEngine, even if he held on too long; despite being free EE can barely be be given away now; the technology has moved on.

I’m relieved to have moved away from it onto the Node ecosystem. I really enjoyed meeting the EllisLab team at an EE conference in 2017 — such cool nice folks in person — but for me EllisLab is a cautionary tale.

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

I wish there were something to disagree with in this piece reviewing the fiasco that is Brexit. We see now that due to the United Kingdom’s very make-up — a dominant England, a smaller Scotland, and a Northern Ireland with inherent connections to the Republic of Ireland — Britain needs to be in the EU arguably more than many other European countries do. Surely some game theory simulations would have borne out the current impasse.

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

I’m excited by the Richard Mille Bonbon watch collection. Just fabulous. Crazy expensive but apparently all have been bought, most popularly in Malaysia.

MacStories’ macOS Catalina review seems comprehensive enough to take over from John Siracusa’s famous Ars Technica reviews.

11 Brilliant Ways To Redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles by Spencer Howard at GodSaveThePoints. Most are not actually flying Virgin Atlantic but their partner airlines

Monday, October 7th, 2019

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

Erdoğan’s Turkey, once again neither winning friends nor influencing people, this time trying it on around the Eastern Med gas fields.

Saturday, October 5th, 2019

A conversation on Jewish concepts of sin ABA failure with David Bashevkin that could have gone on a lot longer. Very good stuff for those needing to augment their awareness that we are in the Days of Awe.

 
 

•••

Newsroll

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

experiments in refactored perception

  • How To See Voids

    In this keynote, Sarah Perry explores how to see voids in the environment. You can also read her essay on the topic, Meaning as Ambiguity (published after this talk).
  • Being Your Selves: Identity R&D on alt Twitter

    This is a guest post by Aaron Z. Lewis I grew up in cyber spaces where legal names were few and far between: RuneScape, AIM, Club Penguin, Neopets, and the like. But when I turned 13, Facebook opened up its floodgates to teenagers across America and washed away our playful screen names. My online social […]
  • MJD 58,866

    An idea can leak to the extent it has a name that is meaningful within a larger context. A name is, in a sense, a key that unlocks the significance of the contents of the interior of the named idea in terms of signifiers that exist in the exterior environment. But a name also binds […]