Thursday, January 26, 2006

Michael Oakeshott

I always did mean to find out something about Michael Oakeshott.

Bit Torrent clients

PC Magazine reviews Bit Torrent clients. (Source: Slashdot.)


Patrick Crozier seems to have been the first blogger to note the sad passing away of Sir John Cowperthwaite, "father of Hong Kong’s economic boom".

Forget the Northern Ireland assembly. We just need one Cowperthwaite and instead of public sector jobs, we could all have Mercs.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Won't let Britain down

Tony Blair won't let Britain down
Margaret Thatcher, 1997

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Avantages acquis

France loves its avantages acquis, but they become expensive and France is living beyond its means. It has spent more than it has raised in revenue for 29 consecutive years.
says Allan Little. Source: Mick Fealty, star of last week's Norm profile.

The Darwinian origin of art

Denis Dutton is writing a book about Darwinian aesthetics.

Friday, January 13, 2006


The little-known drinks of Eastern Europe.
By far Hungary’s most distinctive tipple is Unicum, a love-it-or-hate-it dark, treacly potion, which Hungarians claim is the reason the Austro-Hungarian empire lasted as long as it did (Austrians say that it was a cause of its downfall).
The sooner I can get this stuff in Sainsbury's, the better.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

John Keegan on Iran

John Keegan is gloomy about Iran. He wonders what can now stop that country's leaders short of the threat of force and goes on:
For if the West is considering military action, so are the ayatollahs. They are the sponsors of much of the insurgency in Iraq and suppliers of the insurgents' weapons. They also have intimate links with most of the world's worst terrorist organisations, including al-Qa'eda and Hezbollah. Iranians may well be the missing link for which MI5 is searching behind the July 7 bombings in London.

Moreover, while Iran has its own armoury of medium-range missiles suitable for nuclear delivery, the ayatollahs are also known to favour the placing of nuclear warheads in target cities by terrorists travelling by car or public transport. This is a bad and worrying time in world affairs.
Is he making a rare overstatement, or are things worse than we imagine?

Birgit Nilsson

Like Derek Bailey, Birgit Nilsson also died on Christmas Day. The Associated Press have this anecdote:

Johanna Fiedler, in her book about the Met, "Molto Agitato," tells the story of Nilsson's unhappiness with the gloomy lighting on which Herbert von Karajan insisted for his production of the "Ring." To register her objections, she appeared on stage during a 1967 rehearsal of "Die Walkuere" wearing a coal miner's helmet with searchlight and wings.

Black helicopters

Black helicopters have been discovered on Google Earth.

L'Orgue Mystique

A massive organ cycle by a composer described as a link between César Franck and Olivier Messiaen.
It contains more than twelve hours of music, and is one of the largest compositions in western music - running to 1300 pages in the published edition.
I can't quite imagine finding the time to listen to it, but I love the idea.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Whitman speaks

The voice of Walt Whitman. (Source: Alex Ross)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Just found out Derek Bailey is dead (source).

This obit of a Soho drinker I found thanks to Guido Fawkes makes great reading.

Monday, January 09, 2006



The agency problem

When Paul Marks wondered why the stock in bookshops has a left-wing bias, Tim Worstall suggested a form of market failure known as the agency problem.

In this case it might be that the interests of employees do not line up perfectly with the profit-maximising interests of the company itself, so they may not choose to stock exactly the books which the market might demand.

More about the agency problem.

Bayesian reasoning

How the mind makes Bayesian predictions using limited data.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Dave Simpson decided to find every ex-member of The Fall.

Joseph Roth discussed by his translator

Through translating many of Joseph Roth's books into English, Michael Hofmann formed a bond with him. He even became a convert to the long-lost cause of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Bizarre or not, I am glad he owned up to this, because reading The Radetsky March and a couple of Roth's other books made me feel the same way.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


With the start of a new year, I've decided to leave my old blog behind and take up over here instead. I intend this one to be more self-indulgent and so should be able to post more often.