Educating Roger


Times have changed… Roger Scruton, former editor of The Salisbury Review, pays a visit to the Michaela Community School in Wembley. Photo posted on Twitter by the school’s headmistress, Katharine Birbalsingh (alias @Miss_Snuffy).

Posted in Education | Tagged , , ,

Twitter fakes

There’s a 31 percent likelihood that even he is a bot, apparently.  James Gleick on the rise and rise of not-so-human online voices :

Because the Twitterverse is made of text, rather than rocks and trees and bones and blood, it’s suddenly quite easy to make bots. Now there are millions, by Twitter’s own estimates—most of them short-lived and invisible nuisances. All they need to do is read text and write text. For example, there is a Twitter creature going by the name of @ComposedOf, whose life is composed of nothing more than searching for tweets containing the phrase “comprised of.” […] Readers of Isaac Asimov’s many robot books, beginning with I, Robot in 1950, or viewers of Blade Runner, Ridley Scott’s 1982 movie based on Philip K. Dick’s story, might have expected the androids to make their entrance with more fanfare; but this is how the future really happens, so ordinary that we scarcely notice.

Posted in Social Media, Technology | Tagged , , , ,

He saw it coming

J.G. Ballard writing about social media before it even existed. From an article in Vogue magazine, 1977:

ballard quote

[HT: Suzanne Heath]

Posted in Literature, Social Media, Technology | Tagged , ,

The Greek Minister of Awesome


Another angle (slightly rude) on the Eurozone crisis. German satire rules!

[HT: Tyler Cowen]

Posted in Comedy, Money, Politics | Tagged ,

Re-write, re-write

For World Book Day, a page from the manuscript of “Nineteen Eighty-Four. Big Brother Is Watching You. (Apologies for the grainy quality of the image.)

orwell 1984 big brother

Posted in Literature | Tagged ,

Kanye West: having his cake & eating it

Consumerism is the enemy, sort of. From his speech to students at Oxford earlier this week:

kanye luggage latest

Posted in Education, Money, Music | Tagged , ,

Raising morale

lena horne tuskegee

Lena Horne with Tuskegee airmen, 1945. [HT @musical_posts]

Posted in History, Photography, Race | Tagged ,


News in the papers of poor Norman Mailer’s breakdown.  One headline said, “Author Mailer Stabs Wife.” Don misread this as, “Arthur Miller Stabs Wife,” and said to himself, “Why don’t they mention Marilyn Monroe?” We agreed that,  if it had really been the Millers, the headline would have been, “Marilyn Stabbed By Mate.”

Christopher Isherwood, diary, November 23 1960.

Posted in Literature, Media, Notebook | Tagged , , ,

Selling Sergio Leone

sergio leone poster once upon a time in the west

“Play Me the Song of Death”. East German poster for “Once Upon A Time in the West”. [Via @HistoryNed]

Posted in Film | Tagged ,

Will the robots eat our jobs?

 Intelligence Squared are playing host to Walter Isaacson & Co in Westminster tonight, debating whether the age of automation is going to liberate us or wipe out whole professions. (£30 seems a lot to charge for a ticket, but maybe that’s my fault for not being a denizen of Silicon Valley.)  John Lanchester, writing in the London Review of Books, definitely belongs to the glass-is-half-empty school:

lanchester on driverless car

Posted in Economics, Politics, Technology | Tagged , , , ,