A few reflections, now that I’ve gathered my thoughts.

Read More · 25 June 2016 · Comment · Politics



23 June 2016 · 1 Comment · Politics

A Nightmare Before Brexit

Say Brexit breaks it.
Boris’ll fix it?
Will he, bollox.

Read More · 22 June 2016 · Comment · Politics

Seven Days

Owen Jones: On Sky News last night, I realised how far some will go to ignore homophobia.

A time capsule of the unpresidential things Trump says. Republican leaders cower as Trump burns down their party.

Our refugee system is failing. Here’s how we can fix it.

Brexit voters are almost twice as likely to disbelieve in manmade climate change.

The pitfalls of Brexit negotiations with the EU.

If you inject enough poison into the political bloodstream, somebody will get sick.

Calls not to “politicise” the assassination of an MP are weasel words by the architects of hate.

17 June 2016 · Comment · Politics

Without knowing it, I posted yesterday’s entry around the same time MP Jo Cox was being shot and stabbed in Yorkshire by a right-wing extremist. I first heard the news later in the afternoon, and hoped against hope that she would pull through; it was awful to hear the police announcement of her death on Radio 4, and her colleagues being asked for their reactions moments after they heard that news themselves (they were in the studio to talk about the attack). The presenter sounded just as upset.

Read More · 17 June 2016 · Comment · Politics

One Week in Europe

A week or so before a referendum seems to be when I finally steel myself to post about it here. As my comments over the years have made clear, I’m as pro-EU as they come, which none of the pro-Brexit arguments I’ve read has changed; most are driven by native-born British or English feelings I don’t share, by stereotypes of the EU that misunderstand or misrepresent how it works, by arguments for democracy that dismiss any evidence of EU democracy and ignore any evidence of problems with British democracy, by notions that saving a few pounds a week per household on EU contributions will give us untold riches to spend elsewhere without making any allowance for what those few pounds buy us, by a misguided sense that the struggles of austerity are the fault of EU immigrants or bureaucrats, or by, in some ugly cases, outright racism. I’ve appended some links that rebut these points better than I have time to do here today.

Read More · 16 June 2016 · Comment · Politics

Overdoing the Fake Tan

Family chooses different dog than reincarnated grandfather.

Trump’s conflict-of-interest problem. Who he?

Bionic leaf surpasses efficiency of photosynthesis.

How Silicon Valley nails Silicon Valley. Its real-life models.

The Great Barrier Reef: a catastrophe laid bare.

Seagull turns orange after falling into vat of tikka masala.

Paris floods, 1910 and 2016.

Frontiers of peace.

Britons demand to live in medieval village surrounded by a wall.

12 June 2016 · Comment · Weblog


It’s too long since I’ve had a new photo gallery here, so here’s an easy one to (re-)start with: some photos of spring blossoms and cow parsley, taken in and around the Meadows in Edinburgh over the past few weeks.

7 June 2016 · Comment · Journal

Sounding the Conch

A petitition is circulating to save Pacific Studies at the Australian National University from erosion through underinvestment. I signed it with the following comment:

I was a PhD student at ANU precisely because of the Pacific expertise concentrated in RSPacS/RSPAS, and benefitted enormously from spending time with staff who had studied the region for decades. In the early 1990s there was already concern that Australia’s attention was turning away from its Pacific neighbours, but at least ANU remained a crucial repository of knowledge about them. Climate change promises to bring Pacific concerns back to the forefront for Australia, and arguably already is. It would be incredibly short-sighted of ANU to lose its position in Pacific studies at that very moment—not to mention disheartening to those who have devoted much of their lives to maintaining it, and younger scholars who were hoping to.

31 May 2016 · Comment · Journal

Ghost Towns

Brazil’s coup.

The dangerous acceptance of Donald Trump. Ten things every politician who endorses Trump should be forced to defend. Trump on climate: even worse than you thought. Trump’s Twitter stormtroopers. Just what were Trump’s ties to the Mob?

Aw, jeez.

Mongolia’s new national addressing system.

Floating solar farms.

Neanderthal cave structures from 175,000 years ago.

Australia scrubbed from UN climate change report after government intervention.

Every schoolkid in Britain should hear this. Not to mention every undergrad engineer.

Ashgabat: the city of the living and the city of the dead.

30 May 2016 · Comment · Weblog


More links filched from MetaFilter and Twitter.

Read More · 22 May 2016 · Comment · Weblog

I promised my father-in-law my never-fail sourdough recipe, which is even easier than the one I was using a few months ago because it needs no kneading and actually works better than if you do. Here it is, with the earlier recipe after it.

Read More · 22 May 2016 · Comment · Food

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