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Gonna Get Down in that Sunny Southern Weather iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Monday, November 30th, 2015.

Top
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Top iPhone 6S London, England Monday, November 27th, 2017.

Who am I?
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Who am I? iPhone 6S Denver, Colorado Thursday, October 12th, 2017.

Darwin Garden
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Darwin Garden iPhone 6S England Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017.

Darwin’s Farpoint
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Darwin’s Farpoint iPhone 6S England Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017.

Brothers in Hotels
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Brothers in Hotels iPhone 6S London, England Friday, April 21st, 2017.

Achieved
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Achieved iPhone 6S Tel Aviv, Israel Saturday, April 15th, 2017.

Foot
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Foot iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Saturday, October 22nd, 2016.

Brighton Station 2016
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Brighton Station 2016 iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Monday, October 10th, 2016.

The Inspector
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The Inspector iPhone 6S Kiryat Ono, Israel Sunday, October 2nd, 2016.

Lobby by Armani
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Lobby by Armani iPhone 6S Tel Aviv, Israel Friday, September 30th, 2016.

Drunk on Media
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Drunk on Media iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Monday, September 12th, 2016.

Science-fictiony
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Science-fictiony iPhone 6S England Monday, May 30th, 2016.

Nice Seaside Desktop
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Nice Seaside Desktop iPhone 6S Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel Monday, May 23rd, 2016.

Tower Bridge from Thames Clipper
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Tower Bridge from Thames Clipper iPhone 6S London, England Monday, May 2nd, 2016.

Straight In
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Straight In iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Wednesday, March 30th, 2016.

Gonna Get Down in that Sunny Southern Weather
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Gonna Get Down in that Sunny Southern Weather iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Monday, November 30th, 2015.

Troncrete
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Troncrete iPhone 4S Brighton, East Sussex, England Sunday, July 19th, 2015.

Triangle Sunset
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Triangle Sunset iPhone 4S Brighton, East Sussex, England Tuesday, June 30th, 2015.

Grid of St Pancras
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Grid of St Pancras iPhone 4S London, England Monday, February 16th, 2015.

The Future’s at Atidim
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The Future’s at Atidim iPhone 4S Tel Aviv, Israel Friday, April 11th, 2014.

World’s Gooeyist
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World’s Gooeyist iPhone 4S London, England Saturday, June 29th, 2013.

Goodbye on Israel
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Goodbye on Israel iPhone 4S Israel Tuesday, May 21st, 2013.

Down to a Frank Lloyd Wright public toilet
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Down to a Frank Lloyd Wright public toilet iPhone 4S Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida Sunday, April 21st, 2013.

Thomas Edison’s Back Garden Jetty
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Thomas Edison’s Back Garden Jetty iPhone 4S Fort Meyers, Florida Saturday, April 20th, 2013.

Glory of St Pancras
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Glory of St Pancras iPhone 4S London, England Monday, November 19th, 2012.

•••

About

When does the contemporaneous start? What is modern? Why a topic?

I suppose because something expresses or furthers modernity, which I value.

Briefs

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

“Respected journalist” Joel Golby has pulled off this rather spectacularly impressive series of mini-essays for Vice in Choose Your Own Adventure: Friday Night Edition!. More relevant for people say a quarter of a century younger than me but one can appreciate.

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

A savvy 69-year-old Dutchman who “identifies as 45” aims to legally reduce his age.

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Species eradication and wiping out animal populations seem to me a more dire problem than mere climate change. It should be our environmental priority.

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Friday, October 12th, 2018

An interview at the impressive Fathom Journal with Lyn Julius, author of Uprooted.

The Jews were intrinsic to the rhythm of life in the Middle East. It all ended in the space of a generation. Some 850,000 Jews fled 10 Arab countries; most found refuge in Israel, where over half the Jewish population has roots in Arab or Muslim lands.

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

Now that’s a web site: New York City tree map — every last one, including street view, species, diameter. [via Kottke]

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.”

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

Lesbians protest transsexuals at London Pride. The group is called Get the L Out. The event and the media condemned them but they seem to have some sympathy in the discussion on mumsnet.

Sunday, June 17th, 2018

Michael Chabon on Finnegan’s Wake [2012].

As my year of diving languorously into the murky waters of the Wake wore on, I came to feel that it was this failure, this impossibility, this grand futility of the Wake, that constituted its secret theme, its true aboutness.

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

The US Supreme Court has ruled 7–2 in defence of Colorado baker Jack Phillips who refused for religious reasons to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple who subsequently sued him.

Justice Anthony Kennedy: “The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.”

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

The Dawn of Day

Friedrich Nietzsche

♦♦♦♦

This is a delicious book to pick up in spurts — BMW punchy as Emerson is Rolls-Royce bubbly — but I couldn’t say what it’s chiefly about, where it starts, where it ends, how it fits in with Nietzsche’s other books, nor whether I’ve even read it before (I do remember particular points but perhaps they’re also mentioned in the other books). As usual this 19th-century giant sounds as if he writes… this morning.

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

From February 2016 to February 2018, global average temperatures dropped by 0.56 degrees Celsius, reports Aaron Brown in Real Clear Markets. He notes that “none of this argues against global warming” as “the 1950s was the last decade cooler than the previous decade” but worries that “statistical cooling outliers garner no media attention”.

Friday, April 27th, 2018

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un enters South Korea for a summit with President Moon Jae-in. They jointly plant a tree and sign a friendly declaration.

This review of The Jewish Joke: An essay with examples (less essay, more examples) has examples.

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Of course they should do it, what are they waiting for? Venice mulls charging for day-trippers — again.

Saturday, April 21st, 2018

We have entered an uncanny valley of algorithmic culture. I believe it’s still easy to step out of, but even easier not to. And maybe it’s merely a speeding up of how things have always worked.

Friday, April 20th, 2018

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.

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

In this interview Ursula K. Le Guin provides a rather thorough little course on the craft of fiction, covering present vs past tense, first-person vs omniscient narration, conflict as action.

“Henry James did the limited third person really well, showing us the way to do it. He milked that cow successfully. And it’s a great cow, it still gives lots of milk. But if you read only contemporary stuff, always third-person limited, you don’t realize that point of view in a story is very important and can be very movable. It’s here where I suggest that people read books like Woolf’s To the Lighthouse to see what she does by moving from mind to mind. Or Tolstoy’s War and Peace for goodness’ sake. Wow.”

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

For a variety of reasons, in many countries around the world, dishwashers are not popularly used appliances.

Here in Britain, they’re considered a luxury not a necessity. Some 20% of Americans report that they don’t use their dishwasher.

I remember reading that Shimon Peres said he liked doing the dishes — it was his thinking time. Is that what everybody’s doing?

Otherwise, why not a dishwasher if you live in an economy where they are affordable and not in a city where you eat out every meal? It’s more economical, it’s less work; it seems a no-brainer. To stand for an hour or so every evening manually scrubbing? Not as arduous as washing clothes but still something that the machine’s been doing a lot better job of for decades. Huh.

Sunday, April 1st, 2018

Michael Rubin at aei.org: Yes, Turkey has definitely become a rogue regime.

From my brief travels I came across the standard blue/red divide, but it’s more virulent in Turkey due to the revolutionary power of the local religion.

Friday, March 30th, 2018

When Galileo looked up at the night sky with his new-fangled teslescope one profound effect was the dislodging of the nonsensical metaphysical notion from Aquinas of the perfection of the stars.

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.

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

It’s Tim Ferriss’s most soulful interview yet: Jack Kornfield, a guru who talks the talk, walks the walk, sat the sit. With a great selection in the shownotes of links and people mentioned.

As these two leaders discuss morning practices, I’m struck by how many of the perspectives and attitudes they hope for are nicely handled by the Jewish morning prayers.

Saturday, March 24th, 2018

On artists with jobs. “That’s job jobs, the kind you hear about in stump speeches.” Speaking personally, I believe I knew a long time ago that this is a good path but I lacked the gumption to maybe be bored some of the day.

Friday, March 23rd, 2018

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

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.”

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

Everything for the ride, the game, the thrill, perhaps the rugs. Paul Manafort, American Hustler in The Atlantic.

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

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

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

If you read one brief op-ed piece this year, surely it must be Of Crudeness and Truth by Andrew Klavan in City Journal. “For Nurse Ratched, read Hillary Clinton, CNN, The New York Times, Yale University, Twitter, and Google/YouTube —— all the tender ministers of polite silence and enforced dishonesty. If Donald Trump’s boorishness crashes like a bull through the crystal madhouse of their leftism — well, good. It’s about time.” Like other forms of tyranny, at first we found political correctness amusing. One consequence of it: this risky presidency.

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

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.

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Power may skip over the Gen Xers directly from the Boomers to the Millennials, Matthew Hennessey worries in the redoubtable City Journal. There’s a related podcast episode “Generation X, Millennials, and Technology” (which, when googling “city journal millennials”, ranks above the article).

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

Thank you Bjorn Lomborg for the courage to articulate the problem that is the climate change distraction. The immediate fallout from fixations is their opportunity costs.

Now that it’s over, time to tell the neo-medievalists: hurricanes are not new to Florida. Nicely researched and written piece by a chagrined resident.

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

In this adaptation from Esther Perel’s forthcoming book The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, the argument goes that extra-marital affairs are often about self-development.

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

Enjoy this superb little series on contemporary American commercial aviation by Slate, from security theatre to the pilot shortage.

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Where man could not unravel he learned to create.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Dawn of Day

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Peggy Noonan opens and shuts the case on statues. To me it’s all very Taliban.

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

There are unsettling but persuasive parallels between liberal democracy and communism. A review of The Demon in Democracy by Ryszard Legutko, Polish professor of philosophy, government official and European parliament member. [via the treasure that is aldaily]

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

InspireConversation is the parenting blog of, together with his wife, Jason Greenblatt. He is the presidential envoy who accompanied Israel’s Head of Security Services to Jordan to defuse the recent Israeli embassy crisis there.

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

Robots don’t eat chocolate. James Meek weaves a rich tale of Cadbury’s moving its chocolate factory from Bristol in England to Skarbimierz in Poland. We get EU politics, British commercial history and contemporary Polish politics. It’s a microcosm of the economic game of musical chairs happening in our era. [via Tyler Cowen’s marginalrevolution.com]

index topics modernity modernity

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)

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

“Respected journalist” Joel Golby has pulled off this rather spectacularly impressive series of mini-essays for Vice in Choose Your Own Adventure: Friday Night Edition!. More relevant for people say a quarter of a century younger than me but one can appreciate.

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

The more you keep your mouth shut, the more fertile you become.

Saul Bellow

If you don’t give literature a decisive part to play in your existence, then you haven’t got anything but a show of culture.

Saul Bellow

Saturday, November 10th, 2018

According to The Secret Anglo-French War in the Middle East by Prof. Meir Zamir, British Intelligence provoked the Arabs to invade Israel in 1948. The link is to an episode of the Tel Aviv Review podcast featuring Zamir.

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

A savvy 69-year-old Dutchman who “identifies as 45” aims to legally reduce his age.

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

Concentration without effort is the heart of the thing.

Saul Bellow

America and I, both exceptional, would together elude prediction and defy determinism.

Saul Bellow

The degree to which you challenge your own beliefs and expose them to destruction is a test of your worth as a novelist.

Saul Bellow

Telling all is the function of intellectuals.

Saul Bellow

The historic task of a civilization is to remake the world in its own image.

Saul Bellow

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

In this survey of Palestinian opinion conducted 25-27 October 2018 in the West Bank and Gaza [.doc] by the Center for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies at An-Najah University, there’s a drop in support for “the creation of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders as a final solution for the Palestinian cause” from a mere 34.6% to a meager 16.4% if it includes “some land exchange”. But if they don’t want this, what do they think they can achieve that’s any better?

Important to consider: despite choice fatigue, users do benefit from some symbolic choices, this piece argues.

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Species eradication and wiping out animal populations seem to me a more dire problem than mere climate change. It should be our environmental priority.

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

British influence in the EU has been far greater than recognised, this piece argues. If this was better understood in Britain — and if, say, the BBC had devoted a couple of hours a week to pure Europe news — I’m guessing Britons would be much more pro-Europe today and the Brexit own-goal would not have occurred.

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

The 1953 Bergren Residence, on the market for $2m, is a pretty Wrightian Lautner, especially around the fireplace.

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

itshello.co — clientless, open-source video chat in the browser.

Sunday, October 14th, 2018

You’re ♬ never ♫ too old ♬ to ♫ be young. “The Average Age of a Successful Startup Founder Is 45” in the Harvard Business Review.

Saturday, October 13th, 2018

I’m with Thomas (now Giselle), as robust as it blimmin’ gets with his Empire for Liberty.

My own sort of wacky view about it is that the American Revolution was basically a dispute over the course and direction and ground rules of the Empire.

Friday, October 12th, 2018

Worrying that you’re late is one of the signs of a good idea.

Paul Graham, How to Get Startup Ideas

Hussein Agha, senior Fatah member, discusses at some length — and it seems to me with honesty — the prospects of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

When Palestinians are close to reaching an agreement and are genuinely faced with giving up 78 per cent of their homeland, they feel surrender, so they recoil. Whenever Israelis find themselves at a similar point and try to justify giving up material assets in return for mere words, i.e. promises about future conduct, they recoil.

An interview at the impressive Fathom Journal with Lyn Julius, author of Uprooted.

The Jews were intrinsic to the rhythm of life in the Middle East. It all ended in the space of a generation. Some 850,000 Jews fled 10 Arab countries; most found refuge in Israel, where over half the Jewish population has roots in Arab or Muslim lands.

Try to do things that would make your friends say wow.

Paul Graham, “How to Do What You Love”

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

Now that’s a web site: New York City tree map — every last one, including street view, species, diameter. [via Kottke]

Monday, October 8th, 2018

Friday, October 5th, 2018

The Power of Pull

John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, Lang Davison

♦♦

The core ideas are repeated so unabashedly often that distaste for the repetition makes me want to reject the ideas. Perhaps though repetition is deliberate, like in television commercials, working under the rhetorical theory that the reader will be irritated into remembering the message?

At any rate, the book posits three steps to getting anywhere: find the resources you need, attract others to your vision, and move at the appropriate pace to implement it. Crossing these three steps is the idea that innovation tends to occur not at the heart of things but at the edge, and so there must be an interplay between the incumbents and the hungry marginal outsiders. And the current business paradigm of digital transformation pumps up these perennial dynamics to where they must now be utilized as a framework.

The book’s blurbs are so hyperbolic and from such high-powered people, perhaps its simplicity is its power and the repetition worked on me: I dismiss the book merely because I understand it, and I understand it due to the repetition. And my understanding the book proves it a good one.

Since a few years have now passed since publication, some of the enterprises cited as exemplary wonders in the making, like Shai Agassi’s Better Places, have collapsed, giving further if unintentional insight into the topic.

You could argue that I missed the point entirely, in that I don’t even mention here the concept of “pull”. But that’s because to me it gradually lost any meaning, they used the term so often, and became a stand-in for “good”.

Saturday, September 29th, 2018

Tim Berners-Lee announces his startup Inrupt to support and popularize Solid, a platform to enable people to regain control of their own data.

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

In case anyone else was mildly traumatized by the way fonts appear on MacOS Mojave due to the disabling of subpixel antialiasing, here’s the solution by Github user alexanderyakusik:

defaults write -g CGFontRenderingFontSmoothingDisabled -bool NO

Also, in System Preferences > General, check Use font smoothing when available.

Then reboot.

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

More incredibleness: sefaria.org, a beautiful bountiful platform of the Jewish texts. What an accomplishment.

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

John Gruber’s Daringfireball reviews — no, essays — on The iPhones XS and Apple Watch Series 4 are a pleasure worthy of their subject matter. They feel informed, informal, thoughtful. “Series 4 is to Apple Watch what iPhone 4 was to iPhone,” Gruber writes. “The model that takes the original design to a new level.”

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

How did I not know about ribbonfarm all these years; truly I’ve been living under a rock for ages. Thoughtful, concise, erudite, relevant: Tendrils of Mess in our Brains by Sarah Perry.

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Million Dollar Consulting

Alan Weiss

♦♦♦

This most renowned book by the engaging Alan Weiss has a tone of practical, optimistic advice. Its title however is unfortunate as the first part may come off as cheesy while the second part comes off as only applying to consultants. Its subtitle, “The Professional’s Guide to Growing a Practice”, is more accurate; I was talking with an old friend who now has his own one-man legal practice and realized that pretty much all the book’s advice applies to him.

Although famous for advocating value billing rather than hourly, perhaps the book’s dominant concept is that you should invest your marketing energy in becoming a thought leader — in speaking and writing.

Weiss is a bit of a minor national treasure (despite hovering sometimes on the edge of bad taste — and I believe he is way sophisticated enough to understand exactly what he’s doing) and despite becoming slightly cranky in his more recent musings (not that I disagree with where he’s coming from, but political musings may be off-putting to others). He is a gifted writer in that having read his book you feel he is your friend looking out for you.

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Premieres for the Rams doc by Gary Hustwit (of Helvetica) are being held all around America. The only cities where it’s sold out are: NY, LA and SF.

Monday, September 10th, 2018

When Judaism curls into something surely bonkers and even deleterious: Orthodox Jewish women shamed for long wigs. Ah, to cover one’s hair with… hair.

Saturday, September 8th, 2018

Never mind it being yet another acronym, this method humanizes selecting colors for the web: On Switching from HEX & RGB to HSL by CoDrops explainer extraordinaire Sara Soueidan.

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

I miss the days of forums, when any issue about a product was discussed on its own site and nowhere else. I do believe issues are better resolved online with posts, not chats.

Inappropriate use of chat software erodes mental health, at least, mine. Here’s a fun articulate essay on why the author hates Slack (and you should too).

And Slack is proprietory. I just scrolled up and was stopped and told I need a paid plan! And Discord: why?! Trendiness happens.

Monday, September 3rd, 2018

Trump the Shibboleth Marauder: On August 31st, the State Department announced that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNWRA, the UN agency that has served to perpetuate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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.”

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Spotting the Golden Ratio in the wild: At the end of their hairbrained Federation Plan for Israel and the Palestinians (minus Gaza, which would spoil the math), the authors state: “Jews and relatives of Jews, in this estimate, would comprise 62% of the population, while Muslim and Christian Arabs would total 37%.”

Monday, August 27th, 2018

Adventures of a Bystander

Peter F. Drucker

♦♦♦♦

Beloved creator of management, recipient of 25 honorary doctorates, Peter F. Drucker wrote his autobiography in the form of vignettes of spectacular individuals whom he encountered throughout his fabulous life from privileged childhood in Vienna, through journalism in Germany, banking in London, and over to America. It’s a book of overflowing humanity.

Friday, August 24th, 2018

“Modelling Process Intensive Scenarios for the Smart City” [PDF]. In this paper by professors at the computer science department at the University of Camerino in Italy, the authors discuss BPMN (and bpFM, which I’d never heard of before) in the context of municipal services, specifically bike-sharing.

Another perspective on bike-sharing, this time re usability, by mobile-first thought leader Luke Wroblewski.

“Service Design 101”, a primer by the Nielsen Norman Group.

Jake Shears at Concorde 2. Bloody missed it, is all.

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

Pinhas Inbari sheds new (to me) light on the roots of Palestinian nationalism, arguing that the similarities to Syria’s schisms are more than parallels but in fact the same issue: pan-Arabism (Fatah, Ba’athists) vs pan-Islamism (Hamas, ISIS).

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018

Impressive mobile usability thought leader Josh Clark shares the tools he uses, from pen to Piwik (now Matomo).

This Globes article reports interesting stats re Israeli air traffic. After the domestic carriers, Wizz Air is the top airline by flights, Turkish Airlines by passengers. They’re followed by EasyJet and Aeroflot. Nasty rhetorical exchanges between the national leaders notwithstanding, the Turkish national carrier will soon operate 10 flights a day to Israel!

 
 

•••

Newsroll

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

experiments in refactored perception

  • Refactorings Roundup 10/07/18 — 11/12/18

    One of the interesting realizations I’ve had curating these links from a crowdsourced firehose is that the web looks subtly different from the perspective of a weakly interacting read/write crowd with a semi-permeable boundary, like a Mastodon instance fed by a hyperlocal blogosphere neighborhood. It is neither as incoherent as Twitter, nor as echo-chambery as a Facebook […]
  • May You Live in Epic Times

    At most times, in most places, history is busy rhyming with itself. The same holds true of the future: at most times, in most places, the future is busy rhyming with itself. There are always golden and dark ages in the past. There are always utopias and dystopias just beyond the horizon. The fact that […]
  • Treasure Hunting

    In 1861, Abraham Lincoln nominated Orion Clemens to the post of Secretary of the Nevada Territory. Clemens’ brother, a Confederate deserter who would later be known as Mark Twain, went with him to Nevada as his assistant. Roughing It is Mark Twain’s account of his time in the Nevada Territory, an epistemic potpourri of lies, […]